By Natural Advocate | April 18, 2012 - 11:52 am - Posted in Herbal Supplements, Natural and Herbal Treatments

There was a time when I knew quite a bit about the herb called the “yellow root” goldenseal. It had quite a reputation after all in my alma mater college town, home of Kent State University. It attended school there for a few years. Never graduated from there though. I was too busy partying hard and blossoming into a woman and screwing up to pay much attention to school.

I’ll tell you what though. I will NEVER have the kind of fun I had back in college ever again in my life. There is just a certain freedom, a certain mind set that you have at this exciting time in your life, and a sort of innocence and altruism that you can never quite get back to when you’re older.

I digress.  Goldenseal had quite the reputation around town because it was often scouted for college kids who had to take a pee (urine) test and pass it for the drug cannabis – AKA blunt, aka pot, aka marijuana.

Goldenseal has the reputation of cleansing out your system and helping remove the chemicals that would show up in your urine if you had smoked pot in the past 48 hours or so.  Read some of our past stories about marijuana : Medical Marijuana Community Up in Arms

But there was always some doubt and controversy about how long ago the pot smoking had to be in order for the goldenseal to be effective in flushing the stuff out of your system. I’ll still never know – no one seemed to know for sure back then either. Back then, there was really no internet – not like it is today, that’s for sure, so all we had to rely on was word of mouth and the good sense of our fellow potheads.

There are other uses for goldenseal though. This root is often used to help cure the common cold faster and bone up the immune system as well.  One of the reasons for this may be that if helps flush the system of toxins and so forth so much more quickly than it would normally flush from your body.

Goldenseal also has antiseptic and antibacterial properties as well. It can be used to clean sores, wounds, and some minor skin conditions. It is even used occasionally to treat cases of diarrhea in people.

So you see, goldenseal isn’t just the “pot flushing herb” any more. It has many other uses beyond the pre-urine test dash for safety!

By Natural Advocate | October 26, 2011 - 5:39 pm - Posted in Herbal Supplements

I take flax seed supplements every day. I used to take a krill oil supplement, but frankly that got a bit expensive and I was getting a little tired of the fishy burps that often accompanied as dose. I also have been on a bit of a vegan kick with my diet, trying to stay away from meats and cheeses and dairy.

So flax seed oil is a great way for me to ensure that I am getting my daily dose of omega 3 fatty acids in my diet while also not having to take a fish source of it (fish sources can also be contaminated with mercury and other toxins unless they are specifically labeled as mercury free).

Flax seed is an excellent food for both men and women. However, women may be especially interested in taking flax oil or eating a lot of flax seed in their diet. Flax seeds have a high content of a nutrient called lignans. What are lignans you ask?

They are compounds that actually help to regulate the estrogen levels in the body by boosting phytoestrogens, which are an arguably safe form of estrogen-mimicking plant based hormone mimicking nutrients.

A new study that has just come out found that flax seed oil supplementation did not improve women’s hot flashes. However, previous studies indicated that women did report less hot flashes during menopause when they were taking flax oil. So, as usual, studies are contradictory and it is hard to know what to really trust.

In the end, you have to trust your own body. I trust mine, and it says to me that I feel much better when I’m getting a daily dose of omega 3 fats – no matter what form they are in – vegan or fish based!

By Natural Advocate | October 18, 2011 - 4:44 pm - Posted in Herbal Supplements

Here is some information I just received via email about an apparently flawed study that was done on saw palmetto and how it can or can’t help men with prostate issues.  Enjoy!

Last week a study was published in JAMA that brought into question the efficacy of the long established herb Saw Palmetto for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).  Undoubtedly, some of your readers or their husbands use saw palmetto to deal with the symptoms so common to men over 50. 

The published results of the JAMA study run counter to many positive studies conducted on this herb.  Because of this discrepancy the Medical Department at Bioforce AG, Roggwil Switzerland took a serious look at the study. Although the study was well designed and statistically sound. 

 However, the inclusion criteria for the study were flawed in two ways: The authors admit that many of the participants probably did not have BPH and that they did not confirm the diagnosis using commonly accepted diagnostic tools such as ultrasound imaging and rectal palpitation.

The patients included in the study had a very low PSA average with a high standard deviation, increasing the likelihood that many participants did not have BPH and reducing the likelihood of a statistically significant result.  It is important for readers who are evaluating the use of Saw Palmetto to have access to this information so that they can make an informed choice. 

I have attached a copy of a press release issued by the Head of the Medical Research Department of Bioforce AG.  They have significant experience in designing and conducting research on herbal medicines.   This release contains more detail about their findings. 

Andy Suter, the head of the department is available for more information.  His contact information is on release.  We also have available other credible, scientific resources who would be available to comment on this, should you decide to pursue it.

Here is the link to the study abstract   We hope that you will see the value of sharing this information with your readers.  Thank you so much your consideration of this information. Kind Regards,

By Natural Advocate | October 10, 2011 - 1:20 pm - Posted in Herbal Supplements

Ashwaghanda is an herb that is popular and much-used in Indian, or ayurvedic medicine.  It has been used for thousands of years in practice, and actually has many applications to the human body and human health.

Most notably of course, because our culture is obsessed with sex (as well as other cultures, don’t get me wrong), it is used in sexual applications.  It’s not just a male sexual enhancement and herbal libido enhancing herb though – it is also used to help women with sexual problems. 

These issues can include low libido, low sexual performance and stamina.  It is called the “life giving” herb because it can help with cognitive issues such as focus and depression, and it can also help with keeping the mind sharp in to older age. 

It is also used as a general health tonic in men and women and is thought to be overall healthful for the body due to its high alkaloid content. Alkaloids are beneficial to human health in several ways, but they can also be deadly as they are powerful chemical compounds.

They are often plant derived.  This does not mean they cannot have adverse health effects. However, they definitely do have their purpose in herbal medicine. The high alkaloid content of ashwaghanda is what most experts theorize make them therapeutic.

However, that is not conclusive, as so many other things are not when it comes to herbal medicine. Often times it is the fusion of several components of a plant or root or leaf of a tree that makes it so therapeutic. It is often the combination of these elements that syngerizes into one total package.

Ahswaghanda derives its therapeutic benefits only from the root of the plant. This is like others such as ginger and galangals that derive their powers from a part of the plant other than the plant the grows above the ground only.

Another interesting fact about ashwaghand, which may also explain it’s “life giving” reputation with human anatomy is that it lives in areas that are very unforgiving to other types of plants. It thrives where other plants die in conditions that are much less than ideal.

Perhaps this ability to live in such dire conditions is what gives it the excellent health benefits.

By Natural Advocate | June 26, 2011 - 5:52 pm - Posted in Herbal Supplements

It’s no wonder more and more people are turning to self reliance when it comes to their health, wellness, mental well being, and overall longevity (ie disease prevention, quality of life sustainability).

We all want to live the happiest, healthiest lives that we can, and we want to stick around for as long as we can our beloved friends and family. Too often lives are cut short or the quality of life is dramatically reduced when people don’t take care of themselves as they should.

However, in this day and age of superior educational resources, the internet, and more and more information coming out about how herbs and natural remedies, as well as lifestyle changes, can affect our lives, people are wising up that supplementation can really impact their quality of life.

I thought it would be interesting to see what the best selling herbal supplements tend to be. My guess would have been omega 3 fatty acids, fish oil, ginkgo biloba (for mental sharpness and improved focus), and maybe something like St. Johns Wort, which helps  with anxiety and depression.

I was only partly right though. Here are the best selling supplements as of 2010 :

1.)  Flax seed oil

2.)  Wheat grass juice (one of my favorites at smoothie places, it gives you an instant, identifiable boost in energy

3.)  Cranberry

4.)  Saw Palmetto (usually used for male health, prostate health and sexual enhancement for men)

This is just a tiny list, and they don’t necessarily sell in that order either, but it gives you an idea of how popular herbal remedies are getting because even ten years ago, many people didn’t even know these were available, or what they could do for their health.

With the uncertainty of Medicare and Medicaid, and the crazy stuff that is going on with the health care laws right now, I’d say it’s a good time to start thinking preventative when it comes to medicine, and not about addressing it with medications when something is too far along.

Herbal remedies and supplements can help you live the best, most healthy way you can, and often times they can do it relatively inexpensive.

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