African Plant Extract Offers New Hope for Alzheimer’s

A plant extract used for centuries in traditional medicine in Nigeria could form the basis of a new drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease, researchers at The University of Nottingham have found.

Their study, published in the journal Pharmaceutical Biology, has shown that the extract taken from the leaves, stem, and roots of Carpolobia lutea, could help to protect chemical messengers in the brain which play a vital role in functions including memory and learning.

The tree extract could pave the way for new drugs to tackle patient symptoms but without the unwanted side-effects associated with some current treatments.

The study was led by Dr. Wayne Carter in the University’s Division of Medical Sciences and Graduate Entry Medicine, based at Royal Derby Hospital. He said: “As a population, we are living longer, and the number of people with dementia is growing at an alarming rate. Our findings suggest that traditional medicines will provide new chemicals able to temper Alzheimer’s disease progression.”

Neurodegenerative diseases represent a huge health burden globally, placing pressure on health services and having a negative impact on the lives of patients and their families.

Researchers and drug companies are racing to discover new treatments for these disorders and have begun looking to plant extracts as a potential source of novel drugs.

In patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and myasthenia gravis, the activity of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, is reduced, leading to problems with memory and attention.

Current drugs – called acetylcholinesterase inhibitors – reduce the normal breakdown of acetylcholine. Extensive research is underway to find new versions of these drugs but with additional beneficial properties.

Carpolobia lutea, known more commonly as cattle stick, is a small shrub or tree found native to Central and West Africa. Herbalists in Nigerian tribes use the essence of the root as an aphrodisiac and the treatment of genitourinary infections, gingivitis, and waist pains.

It has also been reported to possess other anti-inflammatories, anti-arthritic, antimicrobial, antimalarial, and analgesic properties. This could be particularly important in Alzheimer’s disease as there is more evidence emerging that Alzheimer’s patients have inflammation in the brain.

The Nottingham study found that the plant was highly effective in preventing the breakdown of acetylcholine but had other beneficial antioxidant properties in fighting free radicals – unstable atoms that can cause damage to cells and contribute to aging and disease – damage that may be exacerbated in Alzheimer’s disease.

Article: Anti-acetylcholinesterase activity and antioxidant properties of extracts and fractions of Carpolobia lutea, Pharmaceutical Biology, doi: 10.1080/13880209.2017.1339283, published online 19 June 2017.

Lemon Balm Extract Reported Safe in Providing Beneficial Effects for Glycation-Associated Tissue Damage, Arterial Stiffness, and Skin Elasticity

  • Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis, Lamiaceae)
  • Glycation-associated Tissue Damage
  • Arterial Stiffness
  • Skin Elasticity

Advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) are generated by the nonenzymatic glycosylation of proteins, or glycation, and are associated with increased oxidative stress and inflammation. In patients with diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, or Alzheimer’s disease, the tissue content of AGEs is much higher than in healthy individuals. The AGE pentosidine increases with age and correlates with the degree of skin and artery stiffness; yellowing skin associated with aging also may be due partly to glycation. Seeking to find a potent antiglycation food material, these authors studied plant extracts that inhibited the formation of pentosidine, selecting lemon balm (LB; Melissa officinalis, Lamiaceae) extract (LBE) and identifying its active components. In an open-label, parallel group, comparative trial, they examined the beneficial effects of LB on arterial stiffness, skin elasticity, and blood hematological and biochemical parameters.

A total of 681 plant extracts were screened and evaluated for antiglycation activity. Among the 22 possible candidate plants, 4 species were of the Lamiaceae family; 17 species exhibited higher activity against pentosidine than the antiglycation agent aminoguanidine. LB was selected from those plants because of its safety, taste, stable supply, and adaptability to beverage form.

Twenty-eight healthy Japanese subjects (14 males and 14 females) were enrolled in the trial, conducted at Yakult Central Institute in Tokyo, Japan, from late October 2010 to early December 2010. The subjects were instructed to continue their usual exercise regimens and diet, excluding herbal teas. The trial included a 1-week pre-intake phase and a 6-week intake phase. Measurements conducted during the pre-intake phase (baseline) and on the day after the last day of intake included brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV) as a marker of arterial stiffness, blood pressure, skin elasticity of the left cheek, skin color, and hematological and biochemical parameters.

The subjects were randomly assigned to the LBE group or the control group, with 14 in each group. The beverages were prepared daily by the subjects for 6 weeks as follows: bags containing 3.3 g dried LB leaves (Charis Seijyo Co., Ltd.; Tokyo, Japan) in the LBE group or barley (Hordeum vulgare, Poaceae) tea grains (Nihon Seibaku Co., Ltd.; Kanagawa, Japan) in the control group were extracted for 5 minutes in 200 mL hot water before drinking. Fractionation of the LBE revealed that the polyphenol rosmarinic acid (RA) was the most abundant active component. The subjects recorded their daily intake of the beverages and any adverse effects.

Of the 14 subjects in the LBE group, 2 were excluded from the analysis because they had health problems, unrelated to the tea, for more than 10 days during the study period. Compliance rates were 100% in the control group and 99.5% in the LBE group.

Evaluations of the glycation-induced coloration of collagen fiber sheets and glycation-induced changes in the fibrous structure of elastin fiber sheets revealed that “LBE or RA dose-dependently suppressed glycation-associated reactions such as increased fluorescence, yellowing of collagen fiber sheets, and degeneration of the fibrous structure of elastin fiber sheets,” report the authors.

After 6 weeks of treatment, baPWV was reduced in the LBE group and unchanged in the control group, with a significant between-group difference in the change (P = 0.007). No significant between-group differences were observed for changes in systolic or diastolic blood pressure. Age of the subjects correlated strongly with baPWV at baseline (P < 0.001).

No significant between-group differences were observed in the changes in cheek skin elasticity during the trial. However, comparing the changes in male skin with female skin of both groups, the authors report that the only gender difference detected was a significant between-group difference in R7 value (total deformation) in only the female subjects; in females in the control group, the R7 value decreased by 0.044 ± 0.025 and in those in the LBE group, by 0.012 ± 0.018 (P = 0.027). The authors suggest that timing may have attributed to this finding, stating that because the trial was conducted during the autumn and winter, with frequent changes in humidity and temperature, and because female skin is thinner and drier than male skin, “the seasonal effects might be more severe in female subjects.”

In the LBE group compared with the control group, significant reductions were observed in both a* (red [asterisk is part of value name]; P = 0.017) and b* (yellow; P = 0.008) color values in forearm skin; the values did not change in the control group. Previously reported anti-inflammatory activity of RA1 may reduce a* value, say the authors. In one prior study, b* values increased through glycation in mouse skin,2 and such increases reportedly reflect the accumulation of AGEs.3,4 “Therefore, the decrease in b* values is presumed to be due to the anti-glycation effects of the daily intake of LB tea,” write the authors.

No significant between-group changes were observed for L* values (brightness of skin), which in earlier studies were found to be linked to antioxidation.5,6 “This observation indicates that the involvement of anti-oxidation in the anti-glycation effect of LB tea may be small,” state the authors.

No significant differences were seen in reported adverse effects between the 2 groups. Among the hematological and biochemical parameters, the serum glucose and uric acid levels after 6 weeks were significantly lower in the control group compared with baseline (P < 0.05 for both). Serum creatinine levels decreased significantly in both groups (P < 0.01 for the control group and P < 0.05 for the LBE group).

This study is limited by its small sample size; its lack of detection of AGE content in arteries and skin to clarify whether LB tea affects that content; and the study design, which did not include a placebo.

The authors conclude, “The hot water extract of LB leaves is considered a safe and potent food material to provide health benefits with regard to glycation-associated tissue damage and symptoms such as increased arterial stiffness and decreased skin elasticity.”

References

1Osakabe N, Takano H, Sanbongi C, et al. Anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic effect of rosmarinic acid (RA); inhibition of seasonal allergic rhinoconjunctivitis (SAR) and its mechanism. Biofactors. 2004;21(1-4):127-131.

2Yokota M, Tokudome Y. Permeation of hydrophilic molecules across the glycated skin is differentially regulated by the stratum corneum and epidermis-dermis. Biol Pharm Bull. 2015;38(9):1383-1388.

3Monnier VM, Cerami A. Nonenzymatic browning in vivo: a possible process for the aging of long-lived proteins. Science. 1981;211(4481):491-493.

4Ohshima H, Oyobikawa M, Tada A, et al. Melanin and facial skin fluorescence as markers of yellowish discoloration with aging. Skin Res Technol. 2009;15(4):496-502.

5Kim SB, Jo YH, Liu Q, et al. Optimization of extraction condition of bee pollen using response surface methodology: correlation between anti-melanogenesis, antioxidant activity, and phenolic content. Molecules. 2015;20(11):19764-19774.

6Ya W, Chun-Meng Z, Tao G, Yi-Lin Z, Ping Z. Preliminary screening of 44 plant extracts for anti-tyrosinase and antioxidant activities. Pak J Pharm Sci. 2015;28(5):1737-1744.

Yui S, Fujiwara S, Harada K, et al. Beneficial effects of lemon balm leaf extract on in vitro glycation of proteins, arterial stiffness, and skin elasticity in healthy adults. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2017;63(1):59-68.

Oregano Oil Health Benefits

Oregano oil is widely known as nature’s potent defense against harmful organisms. Not only is it highly respected within the natural health community, it is also being widely studied within the scientific community for its vast medical uses.

Research designed to examine oregano oil has encompassed many topics. Oregano oil also has extremely high levels of free-radical-fighting antioxidants, agents that protect the body.

Oregano oil may also provide support for indications of common infectious ailments including respiratory problems, skin problems, athlete’s foot, yeast infections and harmful organisms.

Research on Oregano Oil

Studies have shown its usefulness against Candida albicans, Aspergillus mold, staph, vaginal imbalance, Pseudomonas, and listeria. A study from the US Department of Agriculture showed that oregano essential oils presented potent action against Salmonella and E.coli. Other research holds the same, stating that oregano oil is such a powerful agent that it can be used to preserve food. Studies from the Department of Food Science at the University of Tennessee and the University of the Algarve found that similar results for oregano’s power against pathogenic germs.

A recent study from the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at Georgetown University Medical Center stated the following in regard to the role of essential oils for infections:

    • “New, safe agents are needed to prevent and overcome severe bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. Based on our previous experience and that of others, we postulated that herbal essential oils, such as those of origanum (oregano oil)…offer such possibilities.”

In an article published on Science Daily, oil of oregano was found to be effective in killing Staphylococcus bacteria.

Another study published in the journal, Experimental and Toxicologic Pathology found that oregano oil could lower the negative effects of induced colitis in rats and opens the door to new ideas about its benefit to the colon and liver.

More Health Benefits of Oregano Oil

  • Resistant to redness and swelling
  • Can help relieve congestion
  • Emmenagogue — Oregano oil can aid irregular menstruation and reduce the negative effects of menopause.
  • Calms sensitivities to environmental irritants. Oregano oils produce a sedating effect on the hyper-sensitivity of allergies.
  • Potent anti-oxidant capacity — Through neutralizing free-radicals, oregano oil helps us slow the process of cellular deterioration, thus slowing the process of aging.
  • Rosmarinic acid, a component of oil of oregano, is an antihistamine, and a more powerful antioxidant than vitamin E.
  • Digestive aid — Stimulates the flow of bile in the digestive organs
  • With regular use, oregano oil can help protect us against fungal infections.

Action Against Harmful Organisms

  • A recent study on the activity of multiple essential oils against harmful organisms found that both oregano and thyme oils showed the strongest activity.
  • Inhibition of the growth of enteric organisms. A 6-weeks study on individuals with organisms found that supplementation with 600 mg of oregano oil daily led to a complete disappearance of the harmful organisms. It may also protect us against a wide variety of infiltration within the body, as well as the physical environment. This includes round worms, tape worms, bed bugs, lice, fleas, and mosquitoes.

Oregano oil is also an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. It is high in the vitamins A C, and E complex, as well as zinc, magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, copper, manganese and niacin.

I have used oregano oil for many different things over the years and highly recommend you keep some in your natural medicine cabinet. When researching oil of oregano products to buy, be sure to look at the amount of Carvacrol it contains, and also try to buy organic when possible. Oregatrex™ is the oregano oil product that I personally use and recommend for everyone.

Lung Cleansing Benefits of Oregano

Allergies, asthma, harmful organisms, and even inhalation of various pollutants may cause upper respiratory problems. Symptoms of respiratory problems can include chest congestion, difficulty breathing and irritated nasal or throat passages. If you, or someone you’re close to, has experienced these symptoms, you know they can be very disruptive.

As we enter into the time of year when respiratory ailments are common, it’s important to know that organic oregano is a powerful tool to include in your lung health arsenal. Effective, reliable and safe, organic oregano is naturally rich in carvacrol, flavonoids, and terpenes; all of which are natural decongestants and antihistamines.

Oregano as an Antihistamine

When pollen, dust, mold, chemicals, fungus, and bacteria are invading your body, it releases a chemical called histamine which causes a reaction similar to allergic reactions — nasal congestion, increased mucous production, and sneezing. Histamine reducing herbs like oregano aid in counteracting histamine and may help reduce these reactions.

Oregano also contains rosmarinic acid. An article summarizing a study that examined the ability of the Rosmarinic acid to inhibit allergic irritation appeared in a 2004 edition of Clinical & Experimental Allergy. It was discovered that rosmarinic acid reduces fluid buildup and even swelling during an allergy attack, making it a natural histamine-reducing compound.

Oregano for Cough and Overall Health

The research examined by the ENT Department at the Israel Institute of Technology Medical Center found the therapeutic potential for various aromatic herbs, including oregano. Oregano has direct, positive benefits on the respiratory tract, coughing reflex and nasal passage airflow.

Oregano also contains calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, potassium, vitamins A and C, and niacin. Although these components don’t directly impact upper respiratory problems, all of them are required by the systems within the body, including the immune system. Adequate vitamin and mineral intake is paramount for maintaining a healthy body that can fight off problems, such as upper respiratory issues before they start.

If you suffer from symptoms of respiratory ailments or need to cleanse your lungs on a regular basis, try organic oregano or a lung cleansing formula such as Allertrex®.

What Is Carvacrol?

Carvacrol may not be a widely recognized household name, but its source — oregano, probably is. As it turns out, oregano offers more than a pleasant taste; research has shown that carvacrol, its active ingredient, offers a wide range of health benefits; including protective effects for the liver, antioxidant, activity against harmful organisms, and more. The next 8 facts about carvacrol are sure to make it a known name in your household.

1. Interesting Results Against Cancer Cells

I’m not going to tell you that carvacrol is a cure for cancer but it certainly is demonstrating some interesting activity in preliminary research. When tested against breast cancer cells, it expedited cancer cell death… while being non-toxic. Long Island University researchers reported similar results when putting it up against prostate cancer cells. Actually, carvacrol exhibits the same results regardless of cancer. Lung cancer cells, oral cancer cells, and malignant brain tumors… all have been on the losing end when pitted against carvacrol. Again, it’s important to remember that these reports are exploratory and solution potency was a factor in each experiment; regardless, the potential is exciting.

2. Cleans as Effectively as Chlorine

Produce is often washed before it’s made available for purchase. That’s great… except for the fact that chemicals like chlorine may be used. One study looked to compare the antimicrobial effect of carvacrol to chlorine as a wash for grape tomatoes. For the experiment, grape tomatoes were contaminated with Salmonella and then given a chlorine wash or carvacrol. The solution using carvacrol achieved significant reductions in Salmonella. The researchers also noted the natural solution did not affect nutritional value, antioxidant content, look or taste.

3. Great Against Harmful Organisms

Experiments repeatedly confirm the efficacy of carvacrol against Salmonella, e. Coli, Campylobacter jejuni, and Listeria. It’s had so much success, researchers decided to pit it against an even more serious problem — antibiotic-resistant Salmonella. When tested on Salmonella-infected celery, carvacrol eliminated Salmonella colonies immediately.  It’s believed this action may offer an alternative to keeping food clear of such harmful organisms.

4. Effective Against Candida

Many people are plagued by yeast infections and often times Candida albicans is to blame. They may occur in the mouth, digestive tract, or really anywhere that’s accommodating to fungus. When researchers tested carvacrol against Candida sampled from denture wearers, the results found carvacrol to be very effective; supporting the traditional use of oregano oil as a natural remedy for Candida.

5. Promotes Normal Lipid Levels

The oxidation of LDL cholesterol leads to accumulation along artery walls. The essential oil of oregano was one of several plant oils, which demonstrated protective effects for LDL against copper-induced oxidation. The most pronounced effect was observed with oregano oil and the activity was attributed to carvacrol.

6. Supports Balanced Blood Sugar

The Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Welfare in the former Soviet bloc country of Georgia approved an herb-based remedy containing carvacrol and other plant compounds as therapeutic support for blood sugar abnormalities. Although the carvacrol used didn’t originate from oregano, trials of this drug reported that it lowered blood sugar without side effects.

7. Fights Systemic Redness and Swelling

Redness and swelling are present with nearly all forms of injury or irritation. Clinical evidence suggests carvacrol may defend against redness and swelling. Tests have shown that it suppresses COX-2 expression, a primary cause of redness. While many plant-based essential oils have this potential, carvacrol is the best in class; research indicates it offers the greatest effectiveness.

8. Amazing Cleansing Abilities… In the Home!

Carvacrol can offer cleansing action outside your body, too. One study examined its effectiveness as a surface cleansing agent. Concentrations of oregano oil reportedly eliminated Listeria biofilms from plastic and stainless steel surfaces, confirming it as a cleaning agent even in non-organic environments.

In my opinion, the best source of carvacrol, easily, is oregano and oregano oil. While oregano can add to the taste of a meal, oregano oil provides the most potent form to encourage the greatest health benefits.

Oregano Oil Benefits to Support Your Health Naturally

Oregano oil is extracted from the oregano plant (Origanum vulgare), a perennial herb from the flowering plant family Lamiaceae. Thanks to its high concentration of antioxidants, carvacrol, and other critical vitamins and nutrients, the health benefits of oregano oil are truly staggering. Oregano oil may support gastrointestinal, respiratory, and skin health. Additionally, its chemical makeup is a powerful force against harmful organisms.

Unlike the dried leaves used in cooking, organic oregano oil provides the health benefits of both the leaf and flower in a few concentrated drops. The potency of oregano oil is due to carvacrol, the compound in the leaves and flowers that are responsible for most of the oregano’s positive health benefits. There are over fifty different types of oregano. Mediterranean varieties of oregano, like those grown in Turkey, usually have the highest amount of carvacrol. These varieties include Origanum heracleoticum and Origanum vulgare, among others.

According to Greek myth, oregano was a beloved and cherished herb of the goddess Aphrodite. She grew it in her garden atop Mount Olympus. Given this history, it’s no surprise that oregano has been studied intensely and its benefits for human health are well known. Below are the top nine you should know about.

1. Calms Lip Blemishes

Many people apply oregano oil to lip blemishes with the belief it will help soothe the area and accelerate healing time. Research is ongoing to pinpoint the validity of this use. Carvacrol may promote resistance against the harmful organisms that cause lip blemishes.

2. Helps with Food Preservation

Spices and herbs, like oregano, have a long history of food preservation and safety. Many types of food, especially raw meat, are a haven for harmful bacteria. Oregano oil may help resist harmful organisms. In one study, a concentrated application of carvacrol slowed the growth of lab cultures or caused them to stop multiplying altogether. Other studies show that essential oils, including oregano, halt the spread of organisms in spoiled fruit juice and aged meat.

3. Soothes Muscle Discomfort

Oregano itself is tremendously soothing and research shows that oregano oil may be helpful for reducing muscle discomfort. In one study, carvacrol was administered orally to mice and measured against opioid-based pain medication. The study concluded that carvacrol offered benefits similar to opioid drugs while being safer.

4. Promotes Intestinal Balance

Maintaining a proper balance of healthy bacteria in your intestines and gut is crucial for supporting good health. A healthy colony of intestinal flora encourages proper digestion and boosts the immune system. Good bacteria also support the immune system and help balance mood. Carvacrol may help promote gut health by creating an appropriate balance of good bacteria and bad bacteria.

5. Eases Bone and Joint Discomfort

Swelling and redness of the joints is an uncomfortable ailment that affects many people. Preliminary studies suggest that carvacrol may offer hope for soothing bones and joints.

6. Resists Harmful Organisms

If you travel to underdeveloped areas of the world, you’ll be exposed to organisms that can wreak havoc on your health. Avoiding the water may be insufficient. Harmful organisms in the natural environment carry a high risk, especially if the body is already in poor health. Research has shown that carvacrol may support the body’s natural response to toxic invaders.

7. Encourages Normal Yeast Balance

Yeast and fungus exist everywhere, even on and in the human body; total eradication is next to impossible. Balance, however, is both desirable and achievable with the help of carvacrol. In a study that examined the use of essential oils as a means to address fungus, carvacrol was among the most effective. Likewise, oregano oil is helpful for promoting balanced candida, a fungus that commonly falls out of balance from poor diet, stress, or antibiotics.

8. Supports Liver Health

Toxins exist in our water, food, and even the air we breathe. The ever-present barrage of toxins in our environment is extraordinary, and the burden it places on the liver is equally mind boggling. Carvacrol may support the normal function of the liver, the body’s primary detoxifying organ.

9. Boosts the Immune System

Gut health, toxins, and lifestyle all play a role in your body’s ability to stay healthy. Oregano oil supports many of the critical factors that ultimately contribute to a strong immune system. In addition to oregano oil’s ability to encourage better gut health, it supplies the body with powerful antioxidants. Eating a healthy diet rich in plants, like oregano encourages a balanced, healthy environment within your body.

Choosing the Right Oregano Oil

If you are looking for the best oregano oil, remember the importance of carvacrol. Global Healing Center has pioneered a new industry standard of high-quality oregano oil with Oregatrex™. It’s a liquid herbal extract that has a minimum carvacrol content of 80% and includes organic peppermint, cayenne, and olive oil. This potent blend supports digestive health and supports the body’s response to harmful organisms.

What About Fresh or Dried Oregano?

Like oregano oil, fresh or dried oregano is packed full of nutritional benefits. Oregano leaf is a good source of vitamins A, C, and K, iron, calcium, and potassium. Fresh oregano is loaded with beneficial antioxidants. Oregano blended with other herbs can contain as many or more antioxidants as fruit, berries, and vegetables.

Tips for Growing Oregano

Can’t find the right organic, non-GMO oregano? Then maybe it’s time to grow your own. Like many herbs, it’s easy. With a little bit of work, you’ll be harvesting home-grown oregano in no time.

To start growing oregano, you need some oregano seeds (if you are using cuttings or container plants you can skip these first steps). The variety you should choose depends on your intended use. For a high carvacrol content, Mediterranean varieties are your best bet. Search for the Origanum vulgare variety, which is sometimes referred to as “Greek” oregano. Shop around for a trusted seed supplier who can provide organic, non-GMO seeds. The designation of “heirloom seeds” may assure that the seeds are non-GMO.

Once you have found your seeds, plant this perennial herb in early spring following the last frost of the year. Oregano does best in full sunlight. Check your soil and make sure it’s well drained and has a good mixture of sand, clay, and decaying organic material. If you are not sure if your soil is right, ask a local greenery for compost and fertilizer suggestions.

When your planting location is prepared, it’s time to plant. Place small groups of seeds approximately ¼ inch down and 10 inches apart. Next, cover the seeds with soil and water. Check your plants often. When the soil is dry to the touch, it’s time to water thoroughly.

You may see sprouting after just five days, but exact timing may vary. Oregano leaves will be ready to harvest once the plant reaches about four inches in height, but you may want to wait until they are around eight inches high before taking the leaves. Don’t wait too long to harvest. The best flavors for culinary use come from the leaves before the plant flowers, usually sometime in early July. Instead of taking off individual leaves, harvesting may be done by cutting off whole stems with the leaves still attached.

After harvesting, tie the stems together and hang upside down in a cool, dry environment—preferably indoors—to dry. After 5-7 days, the oregano leaves should be ready. Remove the leaves and store them in an airtight, glass container for up to one year.

10 Uses for Organic Oregano Oil

Hands down, oregano oil is one of the best natural supplements you can get. It’s produced from the perennial herb oregano and loaded with free-radical-crushing antioxidants. A growing body of research has shown that oregano oil offers many positive health benefits and is one of the most potent natural remedies in existence. In particular, there has been a significant evaluation of its effects against harmful organisms; investigations even been made by major pharmaceutical companies. Let’s take a look at why there’s so much interest in oregano oil and its 10 best uses.

What Are the Top 10 Uses for Oregano Oil?

1. Immune System Support

There’s a lot of evidence to show that oregano oil is a powerful tool for the immune system, especially when it encounters outside invaders. One study straight from the United States Department of Agriculture reported that oregano oil has such a strong action against germs that it could easily defeat Salmonella.

These findings were echoed by researchers the Department of Physiology & Biophysics at Georgetown University Medical Center who said, “New, safe agents are needed to…overcome harmful organisms… Based on our previous experience and that of others, we postulated that herbal essential oils, such as those of origanum (oregano oil) offer such possibilities.”

2. Protection Against Harmful Organisms

If you’ve consumed undercooked meat or impure water, or countless other risky actions, harmful organisms are likely to be residing inside of your body. Thankfully, oregano oil is shown to be extremely useful for getting rid of these unwanted invaders. One study examined the relationship between oregano oil and harmful organisms and found that taking 600 mg of oregano oil daily prompted a complete disappearance of harmful organisms in the body.

3. Promotes a Balanced Mood

Studies have found that some compounds in oregano oil, including carvacrol, thymol, and terpinene may positively influence the nervous system and mind. Aromatherapy with oregano oil seems to promote a healthy mood, reduce stress, and inhibit emotional abnormalities.

4. Digestive Aid

I’ve said it a million times—health begins in the gut! Good digestion is absolutely necessary to experience good health. While I recommend using an oxygen-based colon cleanser to clean out your digestive tract, stopping the build-up in the first place needs to be part of the plan, and oregano oil can help. Oregano oil is known to stimulate the flow of bile into the digestive organs, enhancing the digestive process.

5. Menstrual Aid

Irregular, uncomfortable periods and unpleasant effects from menopause are a big problem for many women; one of the best natural remedies is oregano oil. It may actually help support regular menstruation and protect against negative menopause experiences. For women, this is a substantial bonus to the already lengthy list of uses and effects of oregano oil.

6. Supports Graceful Aging

Perhaps the hottest health trend of the past few years is the science of combatting aging. It’s important to understand that aging is largely affected by oxidation and free radicals, which is why antioxidants are so effective. Oregano oil offers a huge amount of antioxidants that can aid in the defense against these aging-accelerators.

7. Allergy Support

If you suffer from allergies and environmental sensitivities, the soothing properties of oregano oil are appealing. Oregano oil can produce a sedating effect on the hypersensitivity of allergies, which ultimately encourages relief. For those wishing to avoid harsh medications, oregano oil may be a natural alternative for curtailing the undesirable effects associated with environmental sensitivities.

8. Weight Loss

In addition to its reputation as a natural immune booster, oregano oil also packs a punch against unwanted body fat. Its main active ingredient, carvacrol, is thought to modulate genes and reduce irritation in white adipose tissue. In one study, when fed a high-fat diet, mice not given carvacrol quickly became obese. In contrast, mice given carvacrol gained significantly less weight and even had lower levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in their blood.

9. Eases Discomfort

Aches and stiffness can wreak havoc and negatively impact your quality of life. Many people use oil of oregano topically and say that it feels like it goes deep inside their skin to relieve sore joints and muscle discomfort. Simply create a 50/50 mixture of organic oregano oil and organic olive oil and apply topically to the affected area for relief. If you suffer from sore muscles, sports injuries, and backaches, this is one benefit you’ll appreciate.

10. May Help You Feel Better When You Have a Cold

Oregano oil isn’t a cure for the cold, but it can help you feel better. The essential oil can help promote easy breathing, calm a cough, and soothe a sore throat. Many people claim that when they start to feel under the weather, they place 3-6 drops into an empty capsule and take 2-3 times daily before meals. A 5-10 day regimen has been reported as doing wonders.

Supplementing with Oregano Oil

Oregano oil is an absolute must-have item for any medicine cabinet or emergency kit. The array of benefits it offers makes it one of the best all-around supplements you can get. Remember, as with any health product, quality matters tremendously.

Oregatrex™, Global Healing Center’s oregano oil blend, is organic, has an extra virgin olive oil base, and at least 80% carvacrol. It’s also blended with peppermint oil and capsaicin (the compound that gives peppers their heat) for added resistance to harmful organisms.

It’s easy to get started with an organic oregano oil blend like Oregatrex. Simply shake the bottle, place 1-6 drops in a vegetarian capsule (included), and take at the beginning of your meal, 2-3 times daily or as recommended by your physician. Capsaicin is a great ingredient and wonderful substance in its own right, but it is hot, so it’s best to avoid consuming oregano oil liquid directly. Keep it away from your eyes and don’t leave it where children or pets could get into it.

Top 10 Health Benefits of Thyme

There are few things a sprig of thyme won’t make immensely better. This versatile herb blends well with a myriad of flavors and is packed full of health-promoting compounds, vitamins, antioxidants, and other nutrients.

Thyme belongs to the genus Thymus which is part of the mint family and closely related to oregano—another powerful herb. Native to the Southern Mediterranean regions, this perennial herb is now grown around the world for its culinary and therapeutic uses. While this herb will liven up your cooking, thyme may also help expel harmful organisms from your body and support your mental and physical health.

What Is Thyme?

Thyme is an evergreen herb that blooms with small white, pink, and purple flowers. They hybridize easily and grow quickly in sunny areas with well-drained soil. Thanks to its ease of cultivation and growth, there are over 300 varieties of thyme in existence today. Each variety has unique flavors and applications for cooking, oils, medicines, or decoration. Common thyme (T. vulgaris) and lemon thyme (T. citriodorus) are used for cooking, while Spanish thyme (T. zygis) and creeping thyme (T. serpyllum) are popular in many herbal supplements.

History of Thyme

People’s love and admiration for thyme is nothing new. The recorded history of thyme extends back to ancient Egypt and Rome. Egyptians used thyme as part of their mummification process and Romans ate it before meals and gave it to soldiers as a sign of courage and admiration. In fact, the Latin word for thyme, thymus, means courage and strength. This tradition of giving thyme to soldiers carried on through the middle ages when people in England started using thyme as a cooking herb.

Nutrients in Thyme

Thyme has remained influential over the years in part because of its health benefits, all of which are owed to its diverse profile of vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutritional compounds. Thyme is an excellent source of fiber, calcium, iron, manganese, and vitamins A, B6, and C. There are also robust phenols inside the plant—thymol, eugenol, and carvacrol.

Here is the nutritional breakdown of one tablespoon of fresh thyme.

Nutrient Amount
Protein 0.1 g
Fiber 0.3 g
Calcium 10 mg
Copper .01 mg
Manganese .04 mg
Magnesium 4 mg
Iron 0.4 mg
Phosphorus 15 mg
Potassium 5 mg
Riboflavin 17.7 mg
Thiamin 0.117 mg
Riboflavin .01 mg
Zinc .04 mg
Vitamin A .03 mg
Vitamin B6 .008 mg
Vitamin C 3.8 mg
Zinc .04 mg

Top 10 Health Benefits of Thyme

Here is a list of impressive health benefits that have been corroborated by recent studies and research.

1. Resists Harmful Organisms

Thyme contains potent chemical compounds like thymol and carvacrol which are resistant to harmful organisms. Studies have found that thyme promotes fungal balance. Some studies even show compounds found in thyme and oregano oil are helpful as part of a comprehensive strategy for dealing with some types of organisms that are particularly aggressive.

2. Supports Respiratory Health

Respiratory health is important, especially for those with compromised immune systems. Thyme supports normal respiratory health in every season. Studies show that thyme combined with primrose root helps soothe your airways and promote normal lung health.

3. Promotes Heart Health

Blood pressure and cholesterol both play a significant role in heart health. Thyme contains nutrients that support normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

4. Mood Booster

Thyme may help maintain mental wellness. Daily consumption of thyme and oregano oil can influence neurotransmitters and boost your mood. One compound found in thyme oil, carvacrol, when consumed over a seven-day period, positively affected dopamine and serotonin status.

5. Encourages Healthy-looking Skin

For years, nurses wrapped thyme into bandages to help wounds heal. Recent studies confirm that thyme does have the ability to support skin health. One study even noted thyme might contribute to reducing the appearance of wrinkles.

6. Natural Bug Repellent

Thyme is a favorite herb to grow at home. Not only is it convenient for cooking, but it may help keep your home bug free. Thyme acts as a natural repellent for mosquitoes and other pests.

7. Powerful Antioxidant

Thyme is a great source of antioxidants such as apigenin, luteolin, saponins, and tannins. These antioxidant compounds help neutralize free radicals before they can cause harm and oxidative stress. Thyme and iron are often taken together to help keep a better balance and reduce the chances of oxidative stress from occurring.

8. Soothes Occasional Coughs and Sore Throats

For years, thyme has been used to support seasonal wellness. Many studies have validated this use, showing thyme’s ability to help your body get over an occasional cough and sore throat.

9. Promotes Oral Health

Thyme, along with other herbs, can support good oral health. Thyme essential oils can protect against harmful organisms that target the mouth, and help prevent bad breath.

10. Food Safety and Preservation

While thyme is a well-liked addition to many dishes, it can be used for more than taste. Thyme’s resistance to harmful organisms is something that’s been observed and harnessed by large-scale food producers. Thyme essential oil is an effective, natural way to preserve food and increase shelf life.

Thyme Side Effects

Thyme has no documented side effects. The primary concern with using fresh thyme or thyme essential oils is the possibility of having an allergic reaction. Beyond any known allergies, thyme is considered safe and gentle to eat or apply topically.

Adding Thyme to Your Diet

You can grow thyme at home or buy it fresh at most grocery stores and farmer’s markets. Fresh thyme is perfect for making tinctures, teas, or adding to food dishes. Dried thyme is also found in any spice aisle and is an excellent way to keep the herb in your home at all times. Thyme essential oils are also a great way to access the benefits of thyme quickly and easily. Not all essential oils are food grade, but thyme essential oils can be used in a diffuser or applied topically.

You can also take thyme therapeutically to reap its many health benefits. While thyme is great on its own, its nutritional profile and unique properties make it a worthwhile addition to some supplement formulas. Global Healing Center uses the highest quality organic thyme in our revolutionary iron supplement, Iron Fuzion™. Thyme extracts in Iron Fuzion provide nutrients that can help your body absorb and use iron.

Thyme Oil Shows Success in Killing MRSA

Nearly 20 thousand Americans die each year due to complications that stem from Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or better known as MRSA. This “Super Staph” has received a lot of media coverage, and for good reason, it’s scary. A regular Staph infection isn’t remarkably dangerous or difficult to treat. In fact, it’s perfectly normal for a healthy person to have some Staphylococcus bacteria living on their skin or inside their nasal cavity at any given time. The only time it becomes a serious issue is if it’s somehow able to penetrate the skin through an opening such as a cut or a surgical incision, at which point it can require medical attention.

What is MRSA?

MRSA is not regular Staph. It doesn’t respond to the normal treatment methods that work with other species of Staphylococcus bacteria, and because of this, it is much more dangerous. Because of it’s increased tenacity, MRSA is much more likely to eventually work its way below the skin into parts of the body where it can cause serious damage.

Once under the surface, MRSA can quickly contaminate the bloodstream and other systems such as the urinary tract. If left untreated, it can eventually work its way into the heart, lungs and other internal organs, where it can create a life-threatening situation even in otherwise healthy individuals. The overall impact on people with weakened immune functions (such as children and the elderly) can be obviously much more severe.

Staph is a remarkably resilient bacteria. It’s also able to quickly adapt to new antibiotics. In fact, less than half of today’s infections respond to the commonly used antibiotic, methicillin. Hence the name “Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.” Less than 10 percent of the bacteria is believed to still be responsive to traditional penicillin-based antibiotics. These adaptations have forced many doctors to recommend much more powerful and potentially toxic antibiotic drugs to treat infections. That is, until recently…

New Study Offers Surprise Treatment for MRSA

A new study presented in the International Journal of Essential Oil Therapeutics shows how simple thyme oil could be the solution the medical world has been searching for. A research team at the University of Brighton, East Sussex tested the effects of essential thyme oil on cultivated staphylococcus with great success. Their goal is to now determine its usefulness in actual patients infected with the resistant bacteria in order to develop better long-term treatment options.

Organic Thyme plant

The secret to the success of essential oils in treating MRSA may be the fact that no two batches of oil are exactly the same. The minor variations in plant chemistry are believed to make adaptation more difficult for bacteria. Certain other botanical oils, such as geranium, tea tree, and oregano oil, are also thought to be helpful in fighting resistant Staph. Some researchers theorize that some sort of cocktail treatment may offer the best overall solution to this ongoing problem.

In light of these recent findings, it’s a good idea to stock up on organic oregano oil and thyme oil.

Bitter Melon and Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition that affects blood sugar levels and can lead to health issues if not properly managed. Could eating bitter melon be healthful for those looking to manage diabetes?

The bodies of people with diabetes do not produce enough insulin or are not able to use insulin effectively, which leads to there being too much glucose in the blood. Insulin is required so that cells can use it for energy.

A healthful diet and exercise are important for people with diabetes to help them manage their condition. Certain foods can cause blood sugar levels to spike, which is problematic.

In this article, we explore whether the bitter melon is healthful for people looking to manage diabetes. As part of this, we analyze the impact bitter melon may have on blood sugar.

Treating diabetes

bitter melons on a wooden table
Some people with diabetes look to natural treatments, such as bitter melon, to help manage their symptoms.

In type 1 diabetes, high blood sugar is the result of the body not producing enough insulin.

Type 2 diabetes, however, occurs when the body does not respond correctly to insulin. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, and people of any age can develop it.

Many people with diabetes manage their condition well and do not experience further health problems. A range of medications and lifestyle changes can help people with diabetes live healthy lives.

However, drug therapies may have some side effects. As such, some people look to try natural treatments that are free of side effects. To make an informed decision about these, it helps to understand the science behind these options.

One such natural treatment method is better melon. Although further research is needed to draw reliable conclusions, some research suggests bitter melon may normalize blood glucose levels.

What is bitter melon?

Bitter melon has many different names, depending on where you are in the world. People all around the world have used it for both food and medicine for centuries.

Rich in vitamins and minerals, bitter melon grows on a vine of the Momordica charantia plant and is the most bitter of all fruits and vegetables.

Bitter melon grows in tropical and subtropical environments and thrives in:

  • South America
  • Asia
  • the Caribbean
  • some parts of Africa

An alternative remedy for centuries, people are said to have used it to manage:

  • colic
  • fevers
  • burns
  • coughs
  • skin conditions
  • childbirth

In parts of Asia and Africa, it has been used to manage symptoms of chicken pox and measles. And researchers from St. Louis University have even found evidence that bitter melon can hinder the growth of breast cancer cells.

How does bitter melon affect people with diabetes?

It is believed that bitter melon could have properties which lower blood sugar levels.

A number of clinical studies have examined the effect bitter melon has on diabetes to see whether it could be an effective treatment for normalizing blood glucose.

Effect on blood sugar levels

Researchers believe bitter melon contains substances that cause decreases in blood glucose and appetite suppression. In this way, it behaves similarly to insulin.

One study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that 2,000 mg daily of bitter melon lowers blood glucose levels considerably in people with type 2 diabetes. The effect was less than taking a 1,000 mg dose of metformin, which is a medicine often prescribed to control blood sugar levels.

Effect on glucose intolerance

Another study from 2008, suggests bitter melon improves glucose intolerance and suppresses blood glucose levels after meal consumption in animal studies.

However, other studies suggest any improvement is insignificant or inclusive.

Effect on hemoglobin A1c levels

Another study aimed to determine whether people with diabetes who took bitter melon supplements could decrease their hemoglobin A1c levels.

A1c levels are the average blood sugar levels over a 2-3 month period. The study looked to see if bitter melon could reduce A1c levels by at least 1 percent over this three-month period.

Two groups of people took part in the study:

  • people recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes
  • those with poor glucose control, who had A1c levels from 7 to 9 percent

The participants were advised to take two capsules of bitter melon three times daily.

The results of the study, reported in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, uncovered a less than 0.25 percent decrease in A1c levels in the study group.

The placebo group showed no change. The authors noted that the study size was too small but showed potential for larger studies.

Compared to no treatment

A 2014 report from Nutrition and Diabetes, looked at four studies that compared treatment using bitter melon supplements to no diabetic treatment at all.

The authors of the study found no evidence bitter melon had any significant effects on A1c levels or fasting plasma glucose levels.

They further concluded most of the research to date is inclusive regarding glycemic outcomes. They believed larger sample sizes could better determine bitter melon’s effectiveness as a supplemental treatment for diabetes.

Further research

A 2016 report published in Current Pharmacology Reports similarly looked at several studies related to bitter melon including its effects on diabetes.

The authors did find merit in the theories that bitter melon may have hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) properties.

They also found it may help to reduce the adverse effects of diabetes but felt further study was warranted to come to any real conclusions.

Using bitter melon as a supplemental diabetes treatment

drinking a green juice after exercise
Bitter melon is also available as a juice.

Bitter melon is available in many forms, including as:

  • a fruit
  • a powder
  • an herbal supplement
  • juice

The fruit is available at most Asian grocery stores. Powders, Supplements, and juices are available at health food stores and sold by online retailers.

How much to consume

Anyone considering taking bitter melon alongside their diabetes treatment should consume no more than:

  • 50-100 milliliters daily (or about 2 to 3 ounces spread throughout the day)
  • one small bitter melon per day

Supplements should be taken according to the instructions on the packaging. People should check with their doctors to see if it is safe to include supplements to their treatment plan. This is because supplements may counteract the effects of diabetes medications.

Risks of consuming bitter melon

Excessive consumption of bitter melon may cause stomach troubles, including diarrhea. Another potential adverse effect is extremely low blood sugar.

Children should not take bitter melon as it has been known to cause vomiting and diarrhea. Pregnant women should not consume bitter melon in any form because it has been associated with bleeding, contractions, and miscarriage.

Conclusion

Bitter melon is generally safe for most adults. However, as reported by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, possible side effects caused by long-term use have not been studied.

Whilst there may be some benefits, no double-blind, placebo-controlled study (the gold standard of studies) has proven effectiveness or safety in all people with diabetes. People with diabetes should use bitter melon with caution, due to the associated hypoglycemia risks.

People with diabetes wanting to include bitter melon in their treatment plan should consult with their doctors. They should monitor their blood glucose levels closely because bitter melon may interact with diabetes medications that might reduce blood sugar to dangerous levels.

With more research, however, bitter melon may become a standard treatment for diabetes management.

Can Turmeric Help Manage Diabetes?

Turmeric has been used for centuries in both food and medicine. The spice is believed to have many potential benefits for the human body. But could turmeric be a new tool to help manage diabetes?

Turmeric is the common name for the root Curcuma longa. It is a bright yellow-orange spice that is a staple in traditional food dishes from many Asian countries.

In this article, we explore the role of turmeric in alternative and Western medicine. We go on to analyze the potential benefits of the spice for diabetes management.

Turmeric and medicine

turmeric
Turmeric and its compounds are being studied for conditions such as cancer, inflammation, and psoriasis.

Turmeric plays an important role in medical practices, such as Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

Medical science is interested in the herb, as well, due to the high levels of friendly compounds it contains. Of particular interest is a class of compounds called curcuminoids.

One curcuminoid found in turmeric is curcumin. This name is sometimes loosely used to describe all of the curcuminoids in turmeric.

Turmeric and curcumin are being studied for a number of human conditions such as:

  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • cancer
  • arthritis
  • uveitis
  • peptic ulcers
  • inflammation
  • h. pylori infections
  • vitiligo
  • psoriasis
  • Alzheimer’s disease

Turmeric is also often added to the diet to help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.

Can turmeric help people with diabetes?

Including turmeric in the diet seems to promote general wellbeing. There is also evidence that indicates turmeric may be especially beneficial for people with diabetes.

It is believed that curcumin is the source of many of the medical benefits of turmeric. The focus of most research has been on curcumin itself, rather than the whole turmeric.

A review in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine compiled more than 13 years of research on the connection between diabetes and curcumin. The result suggests curcumin can help people with diabetes in different ways, as described here:

Curcumin may help control blood sugar

Curcumin may help people with diabetes control their blood sugar levels.

Tests using animal models indicated that curcumin could have a positive effect on high blood sugar. Many tests were also able to improve the levels of insulin sensitivity in test subjects. Other studies found that curcumin had little effect on blood sugar.

Thus, taking turmeric or curcumin orally may help reduce blood sugar levels to more controllable levels in some people, though more research on humans is necessary.

Curcumin may help prevent diabetes

curcumin capsule turmeric
Studies suggest that people with prediabetes may not develop full diabetes when given curcumin in capsules.

Researchers also noted that many of the studies done over the years showed turmeric might also protect against developing diabetes. One study posted to Diabetes Care found that people with prediabetes who were given curcumin for a period of 9 months were less likely to develop the full-blown condition.

The study also noted that the curcumin appeared to improve the function of the beta cells that make insulin in the pancreas. Accordingly, including turmeric or curcumin in the diet may be beneficial for people who want to reduce their chance of developing diabetes.

Curcumin may reduce diabetes-related complications

Compounds like curcumin may also help with a few diabetes-related complications.

People with diabetes often have liver disorders, such as fatty liver disease. Researchers gave test subjects curcumin over a long period of time. As a result, these people appeared to have fewer symptoms of liver disorders.

Curcumin may also help:

  • prevent nerve damage caused by diabetes
  • prevent diabetic cataracts, according to results of animal tests
  • fight cognitive problems, due to antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
  • fight kidney disease, by reducing important markers

The compound curcumin was reported to be active against diabetic vascular disease, and it seems to speed wound-healing. There is also evidence that suggests long-term curcumin intake can improve aspects of digestion.

Curcumin may adjust immune response in type 1 diabetes

An article posted to Clinical and Experimental Immunology also noted that curcumin may adjust how the over-active immune system works in people with type 1 diabetes.

Researchers found that curcumin lowers the T cell response of the body. This is the immune response that destroys the pancreatic beta cells that make insulin.

This means that curcumin may help empower the immune system. Similarly, it may boost the immunomodulatory medicines prescribed to manage type 1 diabetes.

Risks, considerations, and side effects

Before taking any new supplements, a healthcare professional should be consulted.

Turmeric is considered safe and can be included in the diet regularly. However, there is the potential for side effects when turmeric or curcumin are taken in large doses. Some people experience symptoms of indigestion, nausea, or diarrhea if they take too much of either.

People with certain conditions may need to avoid turmeric altogether, as it may make these worse. Conditions that might be affected include:

  • gallbladder disease
  • kidney stones
  • anemia

Taking too much curcumin or turmeric for a long period of time may also contribute to liver problems.

Similarly, the spice may increase the effects of other blood sugar medications, potentially leading to hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. The best course of action is for people to work with a knowledgeable doctor or healthcare practitioner before using supplements like curcumin for any of their symptoms.

Turmeric and diabetes management

If people with diabetes add turmeric to their diets, it should be used as a supplement to a comprehensive diabetes management plan.

Many people with diabetes respond well to:

  • eating a healthful diet
  • exercising regularly
  • managing their stress levels

Doctors will often work directly with a person to create an individualized health plan that addresses their specific symptoms.

A good diet plan for people with diabetes usually begins with a move away from processed foods. People should aim for a diet rich in natural, unprocessed meals instead. Eating a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, and grains helps to ensure a diet contains as many nutrients as possible.

People with diabetes must watch their carbohydrate intake, particular carbohydrates in processed and refined sugars, as these can cause spikes in the blood sugar. Although natural sugars such as those found in fruit are better options, these also need to be accounted for when managing diabetes.

Fiber-rich foods are also needed, as they slow the rate of sugar absorption in the body. This may help prevent blood sugar spikes during the day.

Including plenty of other healthy spices besides turmeric in the diet may also help some people manage their diabetes symptoms. These include:

  • cinnamon
  • ginger
  • cumin

Criticisms of turmeric and curcumin

Not everyone is convinced curcumin is as good as it seems.

A recent study posted in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry was critical of the use of curcumin to help prevent or treat anything.

The researchers argued that curcumin is not very bioavailable and that the quality of the herb can vary greatly. This makes it difficult to use or test its compounds in a controlled way. They called for a more careful examination of curcumin in future research.

Outlook on taking turmeric for diabetes

Turmeric is not a medicine in the Western sense of the word. It is not a replacement for any medications a person may be taking. It should also not be used as a substitute for any part of diabetes care.

Both turmeric and curcumin can easily be taken to supplement a diabetes-care regimen. This should be done under the guidance of a doctor, who may ask a person to start out with a low dose to gauge their reaction to it. The dose can be increased, gradually, to avoid any complications or side effects.

Pairing turmeric or curcumin with oils, fats, or black pepper may also increase the effect of their beneficial compounds.

Home Remedies for Bronchitis

Bronchitis is an inflammation or swelling of the lining of the bronchial tubes, otherwise known as the bronchi.

The bronchi are the passages that connect the lungs to the mouth and nose. But what home remedies are best to treat bronchitis?

People with bronchitis experience breathing difficulties caused by a reduced capacity to carry air through the bronchi into the lungs. They also tend to have mucus or phlegm in their airways.

Several treatments, including many home remedies, are available to treat bronchitis and its symptoms. This article looks at how effective these treatments may be so that people with bronchitis can make an informed decision about how to treat it.

Drinking warm liquids

Warm water, tea, and other hot drinks help to thin mucus, making coughing easier.

A 2008 study suggests that hot beverages can provide “immediate and sustained relief from symptoms of a runny nose, cough, sneezing, sore throat, chilliness, and tiredness”.

Ginger tea may also help bronchitis symptoms, as ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory.

Using a humidifier

Keeping the air in the home or workplace moist helps to loosen mucus in the airways and reduce coughing. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommend a cool-mist humidifier or steam vaporizer to do this.

A 2014 study indicates that long-term humidification therapy is a cost-effective treatment for people with the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or bronchiectasis. However, researchers cautioned that more investigation was necessary.

COPD is an umbrella term for a number of lung conditions including bronchitis and bronchiectasis, which is a condition where the airways become abnormally wide.

If a person with one of these conditions uses a humidifier, it should be regularly cleaned, according to the manufacturer’s guidelines, to kill bacteria and other pathogens that make symptoms worse.

Wearing a face mask in cold weather

Being hit by sudden cold air can increase a cough. Covering up the mouth and nose before going outside in cold weather can help to reduce coughing and shortness of breath. Cold-air face masks are available, or the mouth can be covered with a scarf or other item of clothing.

Honey

Honey is often used as a natural remedy for a cough, and it is said to have both antiviral and antibacterial properties.

Research into the effectiveness of honey for respiratory tract infections indicates it may be an effective home treatment.

A 2007 study looked at how well dark honey worked for children with bronchitis. While the children who took the honey experienced greater symptom relief than those taking the placebo, the clinical benefit was small. Honey should not be given to children under 1 year.

Pursed-lip breathing techniques

A breathing technique known as pursed-lip breathing may benefit people with bronchitis, as well as those with COPD.

The COPD Foundation advise that this technique helps people breathe easier by:

  • keeping airways open longer
  • slowing down breathing
  • helping the lungs eliminate stale, trapped air
  • improving the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide
  • increasing the time that can be spent on certain activities

Pursed-lip breathing involves inhaling through the nose for 2 seconds, before puckering the lips and exhaling slowly through the mouth for 4 to 6 seconds.

Essential oils

Eucalyptus oil
Essential oils such as eucalyptus may help to reduce airway inflammation.

Many people with bronchitis or COPD use essential oils to ease symptoms, particularly inflammation and breathing difficulties.

Some research suggests airway inflammation can be reduced by using myrtol, eucalyptus oil, or orange oil, with myrtol oil showing additional benefits against inflammation.

An animal study also found that oil from the flower Zataria multiflora reduced inflammation in guinea pigs with COPD.

Other essential oils which may help ease the breathing difficulties associated with bronchitis include:

  • basil
  • eucalyptus
  • peppermint
  • rosemary
  • tea tree
  • thyme
  • oregano

Essential oils can be inhaled directly or used in a diffuser. Never take essential oils internally or apply them directly to the skin. To use on the skin, mix them with a carrier oil, such as mineral oil or sweet almond oil. Usually, it is 3-5 drops per 1 ounce of carrier oil.

Ginseng extract

Ginseng is a popular herbal remedy extracted from the fleshy roots of various slow-growing perennial plants.

In some research, ginseng extract was found to reduce the number of bacteria in the lungs of people with chronic bronchitis, who were having an attack of acute bronchitis.

Ginseng also has anti-inflammatory qualities, which may help it quell inflammation in the bronchial tubes.

N-acetylcysteine (NAC)

This supplement is a modified version of the amino acid cysteine. It may help to reduce both the frequency and severity of coughing. NAC may also thin the mucus in the bronchi, allowing it to be eliminated from the body more easily.

An analysis of 13 studies on NAC for chronic bronchitis or COPD suggests that people with chronic bronchitis and an airway obstruction benefit from 1,200 milligrams (mg) per day. Those with bronchitis without an airway obstruction see benefits from a regular dose of 600 mg daily.

Vitamin D

According to the Vitamin D Council, many studies indicate that people who have low levels of the vitamin are more prone to respiratory infections, including COPD.

Other research suggests that those who have high vitamin D levels experience shorter bouts of respiratory infections or milder symptoms.

However, the evidence is mixed when it comes to taking vitamin D to treat respiratory infections. Nonetheless, vitamin D is important for overall health and supplementation is a low-risk approach to bronchitis treatment.

If you choose to use supplements, essential oils, or herbs, be aware that these are not monitored by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for safety, quality, purity, or packaging. Choose to buy from a company you trust.

Types of bronchitis

There are two types of bronchitis known as acute and chronic.

Acute bronchitis, or a chest cold, is a common condition which can develop from a cold or respiratory infection. People tend to recover from acute bronchitis within 10 to 14 days.

Chronic bronchitis is characterized by a constant irritation of the bronchi that lasts 3 months or more, or recurrent episodes of bronchitis for at least 2 years. In 2015, 9 million Americans were diagnosed with chronic bronchitis.

Symptoms of chronic bronchitis may worsen periodically, which indicates acute bronchitis in conjunction with the chronic condition.

Causes of bronchitis

The causes of bronchitis vary depending on the type.

Acute bronchitis is most commonly caused by a virus, particularly those that cause cold and flu. Viruses do not respond to antibiotic treatment, and so antibiotics should not be prescribed to someone who has acute bronchitis caused by a virus.

Smoking is the most common cause of chronic bronchitis, although air pollution or dust can be a factor in some cases.

Risk factors

A very large percentage of people who develop bronchitis have a history of smoking.

Several risk factors are linked with the onset of bronchitis, including:

  • Poor immunity: People with lowered immunity are more vulnerable to bronchitis. Factors which reduce immunity include illness, viral infection, and age. Older adults and young children are at greater risk.
  • Smoking: Cigarette smoke can irritate the lining of the bronchial tubes, which can result in bronchitis. More than 90 percent of people diagnosed with chronic bronchitis have a history of smoking. However, even passive smoke can be a risk factor. A 2012 study found that exposure to passive smoking at work almost doubled the risk of chronic bronchitis, while passive smoking at home increased the risk by 2.5 times.
  • Other irritants: Continued exposure to grains, chemicals, dust, and fabric is known to cause irritation to the delicate lining of the bronchi.
  • Heartburn: The acid that rises due to heartburn causes inflammation in the bronchial tubes.

Symptoms of bronchitis

The most common symptoms of bronchitis are:

  • cough
  • difficulty breathing
  • mucus exhaustion
  • generalized discomfort in the chest
  • low-grade fever
  • chills

People with acute bronchitis may also have had other symptoms consistent with cold or flu that contributed to the development of bronchitis. Examples of such symptoms include:

  • headache
  • runny nose
  • sore throat

Complications

Approximately 1 in 20 cases of bronchitis result in pneumonia. In addition, repeated episodes of bronchitis can indicate COPD.

Preventing Bronchitis

There are several steps to take to reduce the risk of developing acute or chronic bronchitis:

  • Avoid irritants: If contact with lung irritants is unavoidable, take steps to reduce exposure. For example, increase ventilation or wear a mask.
  • Quit smoking: Cutting out tobacco and avoiding exposure to secondhand smoke will help.
  • Improve immunity: Addressing underlying health conditions, eating a balanced diet, working out, reducing stress, and getting enough sleep all help.
  • Limit exposure to bacteria and viruses where possible: Do this by washing hands frequently.
  • Discuss vaccinations with a doctor: These may reduce the risk of bronchitis.

When to see a doctor

It is important to consult a doctor if symptoms of bronchitis endure beyond 3 weeks, are accompanied by a fever, or interfere with sleep.

Seek immediate medical attention if breathing difficulties become severe, or coughing produces blood.