Introducing – Bilberry

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Bilberry fruit is a close relative to the American blueberry. It’s a common ingredient in pies, cakes and jams. The active constituents are thought to be antioxidants called anthocyanins.

Why Do People Use Bilberry

Bilberry is primarily used for eye conditions and to strengthen blood vessels. During World War II, British Royal Air Force pilots reportedly found that eating bilberry jam just before a mission improved their night vision which prompted researchers to investigate bilberry’s properties.

Bilberry is also used for glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and cataracts.

The anthocyanins in bilberry may strengthen the walls of blood vessels, reduce inflammation and stabilize tissues containing collagen, such as cartilage, tendons and ligaments. Grape seed contains similar substances, however, bilberry’s anthocyanins are thought to have particular benefits for the eye.

Because bilberry is thought to strengthen blood vessels, it’s sometimes taken orally for varicose veins and hemorrhoids.

Are There Toxins in Your Herbs?

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BOSTON – There’s some disturbing news for those who use ayurvedic medicine: Many of the herbal products sold on the Internet for ayurveda contain dangerous leavels of lead, mercury and arsenic, according to a new study.

Ayurveda is an ancient form of medicine that orginated in India and uses herbal products, including some known as Rasa shasta that deliberately mix herbs with metals, minerals and gems. Ayurvedic experts believe that if such products are prepared and administered properly they are safe and effective.

But several studies have indicated that the levels of toxic metals found in these products may be unsafe. To try to get a sense of the safety of the products sold over the Internet, Robert Saper at the Boston University School of Medicine and his colleagues identified 25 websites featuring 673 ayurvedic medicines. They randomly selected, purchased and tested 193 products made by 37 manufacturers.

More than 20 percent of the products contained detectable lead, mercury and/or arsenic, the researchers reported in this week’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Products made in the United States were no less likely to contain the toxins than those produced in India, the researchers found. Rasa shasta products were more than twice as likely to contain metals and had high concentrations of lead and mercury.

All the products containing metal exceeded at least one standard for acceptable metal intake and several of the products made in India could result in lead and/or mercury ingestions 100 to 1,000 times greater than acceptable limits, the researchers reported. Among the products containing metal, 95 percent were sold by U.S. websites and 75 percent claimed to follow “Good Manufacturing Practices.”

The researchers said the findings underscore the recommendations of a 2005 National Academy of Sciences report that Congress give the Food and Drug Administration greater authority to regulate herbal remedies.

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Introducing – Comfrey Herb

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Heal External Injuries and Wounds using  Comfrey Herb

Comfrey is also popularly referred to as knitback, boneset, woundwort, slippery root, symphytum, healherb, blackwort, gum plant, consound, all heal, and ass ear among others. Its botanical name is symphytum officinale.

Occurrence of Comfrey Herb:

The comfrey plant is indigenously grown in Europe and in parts of temperate Asia. Comfrey is commonly seen throughout England especially on riverbanks and trenches, and in watery places.

Parts used of Comfrey Herb:

In order to make medicinal remedies from the comfrey plant, the roots and rootstalks of the plant are generally used. In some herbal preparations, the leaves of comfrey are utilized to a smaller degree.

Medicinal uses of Comfrey Herb:

Comfrey has been used for centuries as an invaluable herb to treat bruises, lesions, injures, contusions, and in some cases even broken bones. In the olden days, herbalists used comfrey as a unique source of protein, and minerals such as potassium, calcium. Comfrey is also found to be rich in vitamins such as A, B12, and C.

Some herbalists use comfrey in salads, or as a sauté along with vegetables. As a medicinal preparation or as a soothing drink, comfrey can also be had as a comforting tea. As an external application, comfrey is wholly safe, and can be used on babies as a dressing.

Medical researchers believe that the healing agent in comfrey is allantoin—a chemical compound that accelerates the production of new cells and assists in the healing of wounds and bruises. Comfrey as a herbal plant is soothing and helps in healing inflamed tissues. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, comfrey is useful in external wounds.

The leaves as well as the root of the comfrey plant are used in reducing the swelling, stopping the bleeding and reducing the pain of the external injury. Herbalists are of the opinion that staph infections caused by Staphylococcal bacteria, are rapidly destroyed by an application of comfrey directly on the infected area. Exposed wounds are cured quickly with comfrey, normally within a day or less, and also do not leave any scar behind.

Although traditional practitioners feel that comfrey can be used safely as an internal medicine as well as an external application, modern medical researchers strictly avoid, and in fact dissuade the use of comfrey. To prevent any form of liver toxicity, comfrey must not be taken internally, and only under the supervision of a licensed practitioner, well-versed in the art of administering the herb as a medicine. Since modern medical research has not cleared the use of this herb it is subject to legal confinement in some countries.

Comfrey Herb Administered as:

Comfrey is administered in a variety of applications; as an infusion or herbal tea, decoction, syrup, sweet uncarbonated drink, medical poultice, medicated compress, ointment/salve, emollient, lotion.