Thursday, April 29, 2010
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Friday, April 9, 2010
|Disclaimer: We do not directly dispense medical advice or prescribe the use of herbs or supplements as a form of treatment for illness. The information found on this Web Site is for educational purposes only to empower people with knowledge to take care of their own health. We disclaim any liability if the reader uses or prescribes any remedies, natural or otherwise, for him/herself or another. Historically all of these herbs & vitamin supplements may nutritionally support the bodies biological systems. Please consult a licensed health professional should a need be indicated.|
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Monday, April 5, 2010
Urinary Tract Health
The urinary system consists of the kidneys, bladder, ureters and urethra. The urinary
system plays an important role in well-being by removing wastes from the body and
keeping electrolytes, salts and water in healthy balance.1
The urinary system removes urea; a toxic waste formed as a byproduct of the metabolism
of proteins, from the body.1 Urea, other wastes and water make up the urine which is
removed by the kidneys. On average, adults eliminate approximately 1 quart of urine per
The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs located below the ribs in the middle of the
back.2 They filter wastes and toxins from the blood through tiny filtering units called
nephrons, which consist of a ball of capillaries called glomerulus, and a small tube called
a renal tubule.1 Urine then travels from the kidneys down two tubes called ureters into the
bladder, a hollow organ located in the pelvic region.1 A small amount of urine is emptied
into the bladder about every 15 seconds.2 If urine backs up or remains stationary for long,
a kidney infection can develop. Nerves in the bladder signal when it is time to urinate.2
Urine is emptied from the bladder and out of the body through the urethra.2
Importantly, the kidneys also function to regulate blood pressure levels and the
production of erythropoietin, which controls red blood cell production.2 The kidneys are
also involved in the body’s production of the active form of vitamin D.3
Problems in the urinary system can be due to illness, injury or aging.1 As we age, the
kidneys’ ability to remove wastes from the blood decreases, and the other organs of the
urinary system lose some of their strength. This can cause disorders such as incontinence
(loss of bladder control) and incomplete emptying of the bladder, which can lead to
infection.1 Reduced kidney function can lead to chronic kidney disease and kidney
Kidney stones are a relatively common problem that has been increasing in the
the past 30 years.4 Kidney stones are small, hard deposits that form in the kidneys out of
mineral and acid salts in the urine.5 Different types of kidney stones exist, depending on
their composition. Stones may form when the urine becomes concentrated and the normal
balance of water, salts, minerals and other substances in urine changes.6 Kidney stones
can travel out of the kidneys and into other parts of the urinary tract. Small stones may be
eliminated through the urethra without causing much pain. Larger stones however, may
get stuck anywhere in the urinary tract and cause great pain.
It is important to drink plenty of water (6–8 full glasses per day) to help flush bacteria
and toxins from the urinary tract and prevent the urine from becoming overly
concentrated. Medical treatment should be sought if kidney stones or infection are
Cranberry fruit is commonly used to promote urinary tract health. Cranberries contain
proanthocyanidins and an unidentified high-molecular-weight compound that seem to
interfere with the adhesion of bacteria to the bladder wall.7 Research shows that cranberry
consumption significantly reduces the risk of urinary tract infections.7
Buchu leaf is used to soothe and fight infection in the urinary tract, for bladder irritation
and as a natural diuretic.8
Juniper berries and parsley leaf have traditionally been used to support the urinary system
and help the body maintain healthy fluid balance.7 Juniper berries and parsley both have
aquaretic properties. Aquaretics increase urine excretion but not electrolyte excretion.
Aquaretic agents can be beneficial in the case of water retention.7 Phytochemicals in
juniper berries and in parsley also increase kidney filtration rate.7 Parsley is used to flush
the urinary tract and for the prevention of kidney stones.8,9
Asparagus and corn silk contain constituents that have diuretic properties7,10 and have
been used to support the urinary system in expelling excess water from the body.7
Marshmallow root contains mucilage polysaccharides that soothe and protect mucous
membranes.7 It is often used for urinary tract inflammation and as a natural diuretic.7
Hydrangea root has traditionally been used to support bladder and kidney health.9 Some
researchers indicate that hydrangea acts as a mild diuretic and that it may prevent the
formation of kidney stones.7
Uva Ursi leaf is used to soothe the urinary tract and to fight bacteria in the urinary tract.7
A phenol constituent in uva ursi leaf known as arbutin has demonstrated antimicrobial
1. NIH National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Your Urinary System and How
it Works. 2010. Available at: http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/Yoururinary/ Accessed February
. Anatomy of the Urinary System. 2010. Available at: Ohio State University Medical Center
NEY/ANATOMY_URINARY_SYSTEM/Pages/index.aspx Accessed February 17, 2010.
3. WebMD. Chronic Kidney Disease. 2010. Available at:
http://www.emedicinehealth.com/chronic_kidney_disease/article_em.htm Accessed February 19, 2010.
4. NIH National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Kidney Stones in Adults. 2007.
Available at: http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/Kudiseases/pubs/stonesadults/ Accessed February 19, 2010.
5. MayoClinic. Kidney Stones. 2009. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/kidneystones/
DS00282 Accessed February 19, 2010.
6. WebMD. Kidney Stones – Cause. 2009. Available at: http://www.webmd.com/kidney-stones/kidneystones-
cause Accessed February 19, 2010.
7. Jellin JM, Gregory PJ, Batz F, Hitchens K, et al. Pharmacist’s Letter/Prescriber’s Letter Natural
Medicines Comprehensive Database. 9th ed.
: Therapeutic Research Faculty; 2009. Stockton, CA
8. The Complete German Commission E Monographs Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines Ó1998
American Botanical Council.
L. Parsley. LaGow B. ed-in-chief. The PDR for Herbal Medicines. 3rd ed. Murray : New Jersey
Thompson PRD; 2004. \
10. Dr. Duke’s Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases. Zea mays L. Poaceae. 2010. Available at:
http://sun.ars-grin.gov:8080/npgspub/xsql/duke/pl_act.xsql?taxon=1077 Accessed February 22, 2010.
Angela Palacio Anew Herb Shoppe
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Diabetes and Dietary Supplementation
Diabetes is a serious threat to the health of Americans. According to the latest report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 24 million people in the United Stated have diabetes. There are three types of diabetes: type 1 (insulin dependent); type 2 (non-insulin dependent); and gestational diabetes, which can occur during pregnancy. This disease is characterized by high levels of blood glucose due to defects in insulin production, insulin action, or both. Diet is a major treatment modality for managing diabetes and its associated symptoms. Several dietary supplements have been demonstrated to help maintain blood glucose levels within the normal range, as well as to help in alleviation of associated symptoms.
Insulin resistance refers to the condition of the muscle cells, fat cells and liver cells not properly responding to insulin. Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas that signals these cells to remove glucose from the blood. At the onset of the resistance, the pancreas can adjust and secrete more insulin to keep blood glucose levels normal. However, as the resistance becomes greater, enough insulin cannot be produced to compensate, and type 2 diabetes develops. Certain nutrients have shown promise in helping enhance the cells’ sensitivity to insulin. Banaba leaf, gymnema, bitter melon, nopal, chromium, vanadium and cinnamon all help in maintaining normal blood glucose levels. Starchy carbohydrates are the most important source of calories in our diets. Starches
are long chains of glucose and are provided in staple foods such as breads, pastas and cereals. In order for starches to provide energy to the body, they must be digested into small enough particles to be absorbed. The majority of this process occurs in the small intestine by the action of an enzyme called alpha-amylase. Certain ingredients can greatly interfere with this process, including a white kidney bean extract that inhibits the activity of alpha-amylase. Psyllium contains a high amount of water-soluble fiber that swells in the digestive tract and slows the emptying of foods from the stomach, reduces surface area on foods that enzymes need to act on, and can create somewhat of a barrier between the gut wall and glucose molecules to reduce absorption. These dietary supplements need to be taken with meals to be effective. They are most effective
with meals containing starches; psyllium is useful with any carbohydrate-containing meals. The end result of either dietary supplement is a slowed or reduced release of sugars into the blood, as well as a reduced surge of insulin.
Alpha Lipoic Acid is probably best-known as the “universal antioxidant.” It is soluble in both water and fat, which allows it to exert its protective actions on virtually every tissue in the body. Alpha lipoic acid (
ALA) has been used outside the as an approved drug therapy for diabetic neuropathies since 1959. Studies have shown that U.S. can significantly reduce symptoms associated with diabetic neuropathies such as severe pain, weakness, burning and touch pressure. Some evidence also suggests that ALA may mimic insulin and signal cells to take in glucose from the blood. ALA
Diabetes can develop as a result of genetic, environmental and/or auto-immune factors. We have the most control over the environmental factors. Recent epidemiological studies have made a connection between regions that receive less ultraviolet radiation (our primary source of vitamin D) and the increased incidence of type 2 diabetes in populations living there. It has also been observed that daily supplementation of vitamin D in infants during the first year of life is associated with a reduced incidence of type 1 diabetes later in life. Supplementing with Vitamin D3 daily may be warranted for those concerned with developing diabetes.
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