Wearing Contact Lenses Can Endanger Eyes

A new study reveals that just 2 percent of contact lens wearers follow all the rules when it comes to contact lens hygiene, while more than 80 percent of people believe that they follow good practices, America’s NPR reported on Tuesday. Continue reading

Why the Fuss Over Resveratrol?

There is a substance floating about in red wine called “resveratrol.” As time has passed, the collective book of health news has revealed amazing result after amazing result. You can thank resveratrol for the health advice of a glass a day being good for you. Well, it’s at it again and you are going to love this one. Continue reading

Insomnia can be treated with Natural Progesterone for Women

A source of great frustration for many people, insomnia is a fairly common occurrence that prevents individuals from sleeping. It can manifest in a variety of ways, including the inability to initially fall asleep and repeatedly waking up in the middle of the night. When not treated, insomnia can affect the health and productivity of an individual, and if left alone for too long, it can cause serious health problems. Many women that are undergoing premenopausal or menopause complain of insomnia, which is one of many items on a list of symptoms associated with these phases that cause the body to change in major ways (understandably throwing off several of their usually regular systems). Because sleeping aids can become addictive and cause other side effects, many women who suffer from insomnia seek out natural remedies, and some studies have shown that the intake of the hormone progesterone can relieve the sleepless nights.

A steroid hormone, Progesterone is produced in the ovaries, adrenal glands, and placenta of human beings. An important part of the female reproductive system, this hormone plays a major role in the conception, development, and birth of a child. Because the levels of progesterone are so closely tied to the cycle of a woman’s reproductive organs, premenopausal and menopause naturally leave its levels highly unbalanced, which can cause many side effects through its lack of interaction with other parts of the body. Continue reading

Introducing – Valerian

Other names: All-heal, Amantilla, Setwall, Setewale, Capon’s Tail, Valeriana officinalis

Valerian is a plant native to Europe and Asia. It grows to up to four feet high and has trumpet-shaped flowers. The roots are used medicinally. Although the fresh root is relatively odorless, the dried root has a strong odor that many find unpleasant.

Valerian is believed to have been used since at least the time of ancient Greece and Rome. It was used as a folk remedy for a variety of conditions such as sleeping problems, digestive complaints, nervousness, trembling, tension headaches and heart palpitations. Valerian’s popularity waned with the introduction of prescription sleep medication.

There is no consensus on what the active constituents of valerian are. It’s possible that valerian’s activity may result from a combination of compounds rather than any one. Valerian appears to increase the body’s available supply of the neurotransmitter gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), possibly by increasing its production, decreasing its absorption or slowing its breakdown.

Valerian can be found in capsule, tea, tablet or liquid extract forms in most health food stores, some drugstores and online.

Why Do People Use Valerian?

  Insomnia

The use of valerian is supported by some evidence from clinical studies. The problem with many of the studies, however, is they’ve generally been small, used different amounts of valerian for varying lengths of time, or had problems with the study design, making it impossible to form a conclusion about the effectiveness of valerian.

Valerian appears to be less effective than prescription sleep medication. One possible advantage of valerian, however, is that it may not have as much of a “hangover” effect on mental or physical functioning the following day. Also, people taking sleeping pills sometimes have a temporary worsening of insomnia when they are discontinued, an effect that hasn’t been reported with valerian.

  Anxiety

Valerian is also used for anxiety, although there’s insufficient evidence that it’s effective.

Side Effects and Safety Concerns

Pregnant or nursing women and children should not use valerian.

People taking medications for insomnia or anxiety, such as benzodiazepines, should not combine these medications with valerian.

Side effects of valerian may include headache, dizziness, itchiness, upset stomach, drowsiness during the daytime, dry mouth and vivid.dreams.

Rarely, liver damage has been associated with the use of valerian. It’s not certain whether the cause of the liver damage was due to valerian itself or to contaminants in the product. Until we know more, people should use valerian only under the supervision of a qualified health care practitioner and those with liver disease should avoid it. Although liver damage doesn’t always produce noticeable symptoms, if excessive tiredness, intense itching, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, pain or discomfort in the upper right side of the abdomen, or a yellowing of the whites of the eyes or skin occurs, see your doctor immediately.

Possible Interactions

Valerian may cause excessive sleepiness or daytime drowsiness if combined with other drugs that cause drowsiness, such as the benzodiazepines Ativan (lorazepam) or Valium (diazepam), some antidepressants, narcotics such as codeine, and barbituates such as phenobarbitol, or with over-the-counter sleep and cold products containing diphenhydramine and doxylamine.

It may also cause excessive sleepiness if taken with herbs thought to have a sedative effect, such as hops, catnip and kava.

Valerian is broken down in the liver. Theoretically, it could interfere with the effectiveness of medications that are broken down by the same liver enzymes, such as:

  • allergy medications like Allegra (fexofenadine)
  • cholesterol medication such as Mevacor (lovastatin)
  • antifungal drugs such as Sporanox (itraconazole) and Nizoral (ketoconazole)
  • cancer medications such as Camptosar (irinotecan), Etopophos, Vepesid (etoposide), Gleevec (STI571), Taxol (paclitaxel), Velbe (vinblastine) or Oncovin (vincristine)