Stevia Leaf Extract
Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) is a flowering shrub native to South America. Crude Stevia is derived from the leaves of the plant and is offered in many forms besides simply the leaves, including a powder, an extract and a liquid form. In its native South America, Stevia has been used for hundreds of years to sweeten foods, and presumably it offered some form of relief for those suffering from diabetes. Today we know that the leaves of the Stevia plant contain Vitamins C and A, zinc, iron, magnesium and rutin. The leaf is rich in antioxidants and in some studies has been shown to guard against damage from free radicals. An enzyme present in the leaves may inhibit cancer growth, although much more research is needed to substantiate this. Besides being used as a sweetener, Stevia is an ingredient in many healthcare as well as beauty products, and is found in lip balm, facial products, some toothpastes and infant shampoos.
Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glare) has historically been used to treat ailments of the skin as well as coughs. In traditional Chinese medicine, Licorice root has been used to treat a myriad of problems including respiratory problems, dandruff, viral infections, tendonitis, yeast infections and even arthritis. It can also act as a mild laxative and helps in cases of ulcers. It may protect the liver, promote healing in the liver and even reduce fevers. There are most likely hundreds of possible healing substances in licorice that have yet to be revealed. Licorice root just may be one of the most overlooked of all herbal remedies!
The Fo-ti plant (Polygonum multiflorum) is said to be native to Taiwan and Japan, however, the plant originated in China where it is called He Shou Wu, with one explanation of this name literally translating to "Mr. Wu's hair stays black" or something similar. Fo-ti is a member of the buckwheat family. Traditional Chinese herbalists place great importance on the age as well as the shape of the roots of the plants. Fo-ti is referred to as the "Elixir of Life" because it is said to produce longevity and possess anti-aging properties, including the previously mentioned reversal of grey hair. In many Asian cultures, among other benefits, Fo-ti is said to increase energy levels and tone the liver. Today, research shows that this amazing herb has rejuvenating effects on nerves and brain cells, and may also help to detoxify the body.
Ginseng (Panax ginseng) is revered in much of Asia and is considered to be a revitalizer for the over-all health of the human body. This is partly because of the root's shape. In Chinese medicine, Ginseng has been used for centuries to improve the health of those recovering from illness and for instilling a feeling of well-being and stamina. Ginseng is found in tablets and capsules, in extracts and in teas, and in some other preparations and topical creams for external use. Today, although most evidence is only preliminary, various studies have shown that ginseng may have some effect on lowering blood sugar and may possibly have some effect on immune function.
Echinacea is a member of the Compositae family (Andrographis paniculata) was a favorite of the American Indians where both the roots and leaves were used for centuries as a booster for the immune system. Today, some studies show that it may help during chemotherapy, radiation treatment and may help with certain cancers. People use Echinacea today in the treatment of colds and flu and it is being studied to kill and attack microbes, cause aptosis (cancer cell death) and other uses. Although there is more study to be done, generally this is considered to be a very well-researched herb.
Ginger root (Zingiber officinale), long used in the preparation of foods has also been utilized to remedy motion sickness, nausea and indigestion. Ginger has been used for centuries to treat minor gastrointestinal complaints. Today it is believed that Ginger directly effects the intestinal tract, helps to improve muscle tone and prevents intestinal cramping and may even be used torelieve nausea during pregnancy, after surgery or after chemotherapy. There may be some future use of Ginger to relieve joint inflammation, reduce nervousness and possibly reduce cholesterol levels in the blood and liver.
Green tea (Camellia sinensis) originated in China more than 4,000 years ago and is used in Asian cultures from Japan to South Korea to the Middle East. In tradition Asian medicine, Green tea was used to help heal wounds, regulate body temperature and blood sugar, control bleeding and help with digestion. Today, studies have shown that it may help prevent the development of colon cancer in rats, though human studies in this have not been done. One of the properties in Green tea may help reduce the severity of rheumatoid arthritis, help in the treatment of obesity, and may help prevent buildup of arterial plaque.
Curcumin (Curcumin longa) has been utilized for thousands of years both in food preparation as yellow curry powder or turmeric, and in traditional Ayurvedic medicine as an anti-inflammatory agent. Today we know that Curcumin is being studied for a wide range of conditions or diseases including Alzheimer's, as a possible anti-carcinogen and an anti-tumoral. There is some hope that after more clinical trials and more studies and with Curcumin's low toxicity, its use will be advantageous in battling a wide range of conditions.
Grape seed Extract
The leaves and fruit of the grape (Vitis vinifera) have been used for medicinal purposes since the times of the ancient Greeks. Folk healers in Europe prepared an ointment from grapevine sap to treat eye and skin diseases. The leaves were utilized to stop bleeding, pain and inflammation. Grape seeds contain substantial amounts of Vitamin E, linoleic acid, flavonoids and resveratrol. Clinical studies have shown that Grape seed extract is a powerful antioxidant and may have promising results for conditions ranging from edema to high blood pressure to high cholesterol and pancreatitis.
Olive leaf is derived from the ancient olive tree (Olea europaea). It was first used as a medicine in ancient Egypt and more recently steeped in a drink to lower fevers. Even more recently Olive leaf was used to treat mosquito-borne malaria.Today, research is being done which may show it to be effective in the treatment of colds and viral illnesses and to supporting the cardiovascular and immune systems. Very recent research shows that Olive leaf holds promise as a true anti-viral agent.
The slender stalks of the Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) have been used for over 2,000 years as a vegetable and has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to stimulate the immune system, to stimulate milk in nursing women and for nervous disorders. Today the root is used as a diuretic, a cleansing herb, as a natural laxative and as an anti-inflammatory to soothe inflammation and pain. Some studies offer hope that it will help to lower blood pressure. It is loaded with vitamins, minerals and enzymes and might even help a hangover!
Red Raspberry Leaf
Red Raspberry leaf (Rubus idaeus, family Rosaceae) is mentioned as both a food and an herbal medicine as early as the time of the ancient Greeks and was even utilized by the father of medicine, Hippocrates. In Chinese and European medicine, it was used as a classic herbal medicine during pregnancy to tone the muscles of the uterus and as an astringent. Today it is believed to posses potent anti-viral properties and may kill some viruses including influenza. It is recognized to be beneficial for eye health and hold promise for use in macular degeneration.
Astragulus (Astragulus membranaceous) has been utilized in Chinese medicine for at least two thousand years to boost natural energy levels. It is derived from the root of the plant and looks similar to a garlic bulb. In traditional medicine, it is used for charging the immune system and has considerable effect on heart disease. It has immunostimulant effects but more studies need to be completed. It may reduce side-effects of chemotherapy, increase survival rates and may even be an adaptogenic herb but much more work needs to be done on these theories.
Moringa oleifera (family Moringaceae) is an exceptionally nutritious, rapidly growing vegetable tree with a variety of potential uses as all parts of the Moringa tree are edible. It is probably native to the southern foothills of the Himalayas and was utilized by the ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians for traditional medicinal and industrial uses. In our modern world, Moringa seems to be a medicinal and nutritional goldmine. is used for gum, animal forage, honey, rope, and perfume, among many, many other uses. The leaves are highly nutritious and are a significant source of beta-carotene, Vitamin C (more than oranges), protein (Moringa rivals milk and eggs in this regard), iron, and potassium. The leaves which can be eaten fresh, cooked or turned into powder, and the pods are said to help in increasing the flow of breast milk which is vital in underdeveloped and famine stricken countries. Although many more human trials are necessary, in recent years, Moringa preparations have been cited in some scientific literature as having antibiotic, hypotensive, antispasmodic, anti-ulcer, anti-inflammatory, hypocholesterolemic, and hypoglycemic activities. More study needs to be done on the use of Moringa.
A protease (also referred to as peptidase or proteinase) is an enzyme that breaks proteins down into peptides or amino acids. Protease occurs naturally in all living organisms and is one of the largest gene bases in nature. In the body, Proteases are involved in a gamut of reactions ranging from basic, simple digestion of food proteins to extremely complex mechanisms. Proteases are involved in digesting long protein chains into short fragments and thus Protease is sometimes referred to as a molecular scissor.
Amylase is an enzyme that breaks starches down into sugar. Amylase is found in the mouth in human saliva where it begins the complex chemical process of digestion. Amylase is also found in the pancreas (Alpha amylase) where it is converted by other enzymes to supply the body with glucose for energy. Amylase enzymes also are used in the making of bread where they break down complex sugars found in flour into simple sugars.
Cellulase is one of several enzymes which are members of a class of enzymes produced chiefly by fungi and bacteria. It is an enzyme whose chief function is to convert cellulose to a utilizable form. Cellulase is used in commercial food processing in coffee where it performs hydrolysis of cellulose during the drying of the coffee beans. Cellulase is also used in the raw pulp and paper industry for many purposes in the breakdown of the fibers. Cellulase is also found in pharmaceutical applications. Into the future, cellulase may be used to help in the production of biofuels.
Lipase is a water-soluble enzyme released by the pancreas and used by the body to break down fats into a utilizable form which then allows it to be absorbed by the intestines. Lipase is also found in the blood, gastric and intestinal juices, and adipose (fatty) tissue. Lipase performs a vital role in the digestion, transport and processing of dietary lipids (fats) in the majority of and possibly all living organisms.
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