Sunday, March 29, 2009

Adaptogens (Part 2)

Adaptogens (Part 2)

As mentioned in an earlier post, Adaptogens (Part 1),
These plants have been used for centuries. Serious scientific studies didn’t begin until the 1940’s when Soviet scientists began researching the health benefits of certain plants. They were specifically exploring how plants could prevent and reduce illness, fight effects of stress, achieve and maintain homeostasis, improve physical performance and strengthen the body. As stated by David Winston and Steven Maimes in their excellent book, Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief:
“In 1947, Dr. Nikolai Lazarev defined an adaptogen as an agent that allows the body to counter adverse physical, chemical, or biological stressors by raising nonspecific resistance toward such stress, thus allowing the organism to “adapt” to the stressful circumstances.”
Since then scientists have gone on to classify 30 plants out of the over 750,000 plants identified on earth as adaptogens. To be classified as an adaptogen a plant must meet 3 strict criteria:1. Adaptogens are non toxic2. Adaptogens produce a non-specific defense response to stress3. Adaptogens have a normalizing influence on the bodyVery simply put, adaptogens are safe. There are little or no side effects to anyone that consumes them. They help the cells to “adapt” or maintain balance while under “attack” from stressors. They enhance the body’s natural homeostatic balancing capacity or better said; get us back into balance – as we were meant to be.Now that we are familiar with what an adaptogen is, what plants are categorized as Adaptogens? Well, here is a list of what are considered to be an adaptogen. Research is ongoing and not everyone agrees on a few so here is the list of the common names to date of what are most widely agreed upon as an Adaptogen:· American Ginseng· Alma· Ashwagandha· Asian Ginseng· Astragalus· Chaga Mushroom· Cordyceps· Dang shen· Eleuthero· Guduchi· He shou wu· Holy Basil· Jiaogulan· Licorice· Lycium· Macca· Maral Root· Prince Seng· Reishi· Rhaponticum· Rhodiola· Schisandra· Shatavari· Shilajit· Suma· Water Hyssop



Supports Sexual Health and Improves Overall Vitality, while promoting a calm state of mind.

India's best-kept secret Ashwaganda is India's most potent sex-enhancing herb used by men and women to boost sexual desire. This rejuvenative herb has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine to support a healthy reproductive and hormonal system.

Now according to scientific studies, we know that Ashwaganda is an adaptogen that also improves overall vitality while promoting a calm state of mind.

What makes Ashwaganda special? Also called winter cherry, Ashwaganda holds a place in Ayurvedic pharmacology similar to Ginseng in Chinese medicine. The herb comes from the roots of a shrub cultivated in India and North America, and contains flavonoids and withanolides, which are believed to account for the multiple medicinal applications of Ashwaganda.(1)

Studies have shown that Ashwaganda delivers:

•Enhanced sexual desire

•Antioxidant and rejuvenating properties

•Nourishment to muscle and bone tissues

•Support for the adrenal glands and the reproductive system

•A positive influence on the central nervous, endocrine, and cardiopulmonary systems (2)

•Stimulation to immune system cells, such as lymphocytes (3)

How safe is Ashwaganda?
No drug contraindications are known at this time. Overall supportive herbIf you want to calm your mind, alleviate stress, and support your immune, hormonal and reproductive systems while enjoying a spicier sex life, Ashwaganda is an excellent adaptogen to add to your health regimen.

1.Wagner H, Nörr H, Winterhoff H. Plant adaptogens. Phytomed 1994;1:63–76.

2.Mishra LC, Singh BB, Dagenais S. Scientific basis for the therapeutic use of Withania somnifera (ashwagandha): a review. Altern Med Rev. 2000 Aug;5(4):334-46.

3. Wagner H, Nörr H, Winterhoff H. Plant adaptogens. Phytomed 1994;1:63–76

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Gotu Kola

Gotu Kola

In Ayurvedic Medicine, Gotu Kola is considered the most important rejuvenative herb. The Name for Gotu Kola in Sanskrit Is Brahmi, which Means Wisdom or Consciousness.
There is no better time than NOW to support your memory and brain health with a scientifically proven, time-tested herb. Gotu kola has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years to support memory, clarity of thinking, and the nervous system, as well as to promote a state of well-being. Now scientific research is demonstrating how this superior herb works. Your brain is what makes everything in your life possible. It controls your consciousness—and whether you are asleep or awake—your thought processes, reasoning, judgment, memory, and emotions. We certainly owe it to ourselves to protect and nourish our brain with a proven and effective herb such as Gotu kola.
What Makes Gotu Kola Special?Gotu kola is a perennial plant native to India, Japan, China, Indonesia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and the South Pacific. Gotu kola's small, fan-shaped green leaves are used for medicinal purposes. In Ayurvedic medicine, Gotu kola is considered the most important rejuvenative herb. It is believed to increase intelligence, fortify the immune system, and strengthen the adrenal glands. It is an excellent nerve and restorative tonic, and also helps maintain healthy skin. Scientists attribute Gotu kola's unique healing abilities to these pharmacologically active constituents:

Triterpenoids produce remarkable wound-healing activity (1) and an anti-stress action. (2)

Asiatocosides support collagen production, enhancing skin repair and strengthening hair, skin, nails, (3, 4-6 )and other connective tissue. (6,7)

Saponin glycosides produce a sedative effect.
"Gotu kola helps balance the right and left hemispheres of the brain," according to Dr. Vasant Lad, a prominent Ayurvedic physician, and co-author of The Yoga of Herbs (Lotus Press, 1986.)Scientific studies have shown that Gotu kola:

Decreases amyloid beta plaque (considered a culprit in Alzheimer's disease) formation in animals (8)

Supports healthy brain aging (9)

Enhances GABA (a neurotransmitter in the brain) activity in the brain (10)

Enhances learning and memory in laboratory animals (11)

Supports healthy mood (12 )

How Safe Is Gotu Kola? Gotu kola is safe and nontoxic in recommended doses. It has not been proven safe for pregnant and nursing women, however. Superb Herb for Brain HealthPioneers in brain research have made significant advances in the field of neuroscience that have shown the potential for preserving and enhancing brain health. Now, thanks to scientific studies about Gotu kola, we know that ancient Ayurvedic medicine has been right all along. Gotu kola is one of the best herbs on the planet to maintain and support your brain health!

Boiteau P, Ratsimamanga AR: Asiaticoside extracted from Centella asiatica, its therapeutic uses in the healing of experimental or refractory wounds, leprosy, skin tuberculosis, and lupus. Therapie 11, 125-149, 1956.

Ramaswamy AS, Periyasamy SM, Basu N. Pharmacological studies on Centella asiatica L. (Brahma manduki) (N.O. Umbelliferae). J Res Indian Med 4, 160-175, 1970.

Kartnig T: Clinical applications of Centella asiatica (L.) Urb. Herbs Spices Med Plants 3, 146-73, 1988.

Boiteau P, Ratsimamanga AR. Asiaticoside extracted from Centella asiatica, its therapeutic uses in the healing of experimental or refractory wounds, leprosy, skin tuberculosis, and lupus. Therapie 11, 125-149, 1956.

5. Boiteau P, Nigeon-Dureuil M, and Ratsimamanga AR. Action of asiaticoside on reticuloendothelial tissue. Acad Sci Compt Rend 232, 760-762, 1951.

Monograph: Centella asiatica. Indena S.p.A., Milan, Italy, 1987.

Kartnig T. Clinical applications of Centella asiatica (L.) Urb. Herbs Spices Med Plants 3, 146-73, 1988

Dhanasekaran M, Holcomb LA, Hitt AR, Tharakan B, Porter JW, Young KA, Manyam BV. Centella asiatica extract selectively decreases amyloid beta levels in hippocampus of Alzheimer's disease animal model. Phytother Res. 2009 Jan;23(1):14-9

Singh RH, Narsimhamurthy K, Singh G Neuronutrient impact of Ayurvedic Rasayana therapy in brain aging. Biogerontology. 2008 Dec;9(6):369-74. Epub 2008 Oct 18

Awad R, Levac D, Cybulska P, Merali Z, Trudeau VL, Arnason JT. Effects of traditionally used anxiolytic botanicals on enzymes of the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) system. Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 2007 Sep;85(9):933-42.

Rao SB, Chetana M, Uma Devi P. Centella asiatica treatment during postnatal period enhances learning and memory in mice. Physiol Behav. 2005 Nov 15;86(4):449-57. Epub 2005 Oct 6.

Chen Y, Han T, Qin L, Rui Y, Zheng HEffect of total triterpenes from Centella asiatica on the depression behavior and concentration of amino acid in forced swimming mice. Zhong Yao Cai. 2003 Dec;26(12):870-3.