16th May 2009

Study shows Ginseng is Anti-Inflammatory

Laboratory experiments have demonstrated the immunological effects of ginseng. Researchers writing in BioMed Central’s open access Journal of Translational Medicine have shown that the herb, much used in traditional Chinese and other Asian medicine, does have anti-inflammatory effects.

Allan Lau led a team of researchers from the University of Hong Kong who identified seven ginseng constituents, ginsenosides, which showed immune-suppressive effects. He said, “The anti-inflammatory role of ginseng may be due to the combined effects of these ginsenosides, targeting different levels of immunological activity, and so contributing to the diverse actions of ginseng in humans”.

The scientists treated human immune cells with different extracts of ginseng. They found that of the nine ginsenosides they identified, seven could selectively inhibit expression of the inflammatory gene CXCL-10.

Lau concludes, “Further studies will be needed to examine the potential beneficial effects of ginsenosides in the management of acute and chronic inflammatory diseases in humans”.

Uniquely, the researchers were able to holistically test the ginseng extract’s immune effects by using sophisticated purification technologies to identify individual constituents and define their bioactivity using genomics and bioactivity assays. After that, they reconstituted them back into a whole extract with definable individual ginsenosides for re-confirmation of effects. This potentially opens up a vigorous methodology to study medicinal herbs with state-of-the-art technologies.


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28th October 2008

Healing Touch

The Healing Power of Touch. Now there is scientific proof to show how a healing touch actually acts as a painkiller. Prof McGlone working with a group of Swedish researchers has found that a hug or a soothing touch can work to help relieve pain.

The research conducted at the University of Gothenburg reveals that the sensation of pain from other nerves is reduced by gentle stroking as it activates pleasure nerves beneath the skin. So in case you are under the weather, welcome a big hug as it could be much better than medicine and will surely make you feel better.

Professor Francis McGlone, reported, “If you get a piece of grit in your eye, have a toothache, or bite your tongue, it hurts so much because there are more C fibres there. The research we have been doing is building evidence for another role of C fibres in the skin that are not pain receptors, but are pleasure receptors.”

Nerves are supposedly a part of C-fibres of the nervous system. These are known to produce the sensation of pain. However a lesser known fact is that a part of these C-fibres also appears to stimulate pleasure.

He also mentioned, “There is another sensory nerve fibre system in human skin that appears to code for the pleasant and affiliate aspects of touch we are all familiar with, such as when grooming or being cuddled.”

The team of researchers examined people who were exposed to painful temperatures on the surface of their skin. They discovered that the individuals felt less pain if they were stroked at the same time. The researchers assert that signals from the nerves that detect pain are dampened by the detection of a pleasurable stroke (the healing touch) by nerves in the brain,

According to researchers, a soothing touch is really important for developing children. Apparently inadequate physical contact while growing up could involve a risk of depression in later stages of life.

In case you are confused about an effective way to stroke someone, the research has more to it. McGlone believes that he has calculated an optimum way to touch someone in order to induce most pleasure. He reveals that the key was to stroke with a slow speed and little pressure.

So now you know that a subtle stroke, a gentle pat on the back or a tight hug is more than signs of appreciation it makes you feel better.

The research was presented at the British Association for the Advancement of Science.

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4th July 2008

Study: Spiritual benefits of Magic Mushroom (psilocybin) are long lasting.

A new study has revealed that the spiritual effects of magic mushrooms can last for many months.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland found that the majority of 36 volunteers who took psilocybin in controlled conditions continued to feel the beneficial effects for more than a year afterwards.

“Most of the volunteers looked back on their experience up to 14 months later and rated it as the most, or one of the five most, personally meaningful and spiritually significant of their lives,” said Roland Griffiths, a professor in the department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Neuroscience.

The first results of the clinical trial, aimed at uncovering the secrets of the “magic” mushrooms that have been used for religious or healing purposes in some cultures for centuries, were published in 2006.

Fourteen months after the trial, the 36 volunteers (all in good physical and mental health) were given the same questionnaire as well as some follow-up questions.

Results show that about the same proportion ranked their experience in the trial as one of the most personally meangingful or spiritually significant events of their lives.

“This is a truly remarkable finding,” said Griffiths, lead author of the study which appeared in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

“Rarely in psychological research do we see such persistently positive reports from a single event in the laboratory.”

He said the results gave credence to claims that the mystical-type experiences some people had during hallucinogen sessions may help patients suffering from cancer-related anxiety or depression.

Psilocybin could also be used as a possible treatment for drug dependance, the professor said.

He said his team was “eager” to continue their research, adding that although some of the volunteers had reported fear and anxiety immediately after receiving psilocybin, “none reported any lingering harmful effects.”

However, the team warned against giving hallucinogens to people at risk of psychosis or other serious mental disorders, and said it was important that it be administered under controlled conditions.

Psilocybin is a plant alkaloid that affects some of the same brain receptors as serotonin, a neurotransmitter.


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14th April 2008

Reishi Mushrooms fight prostate cancer tumours

Researchers at the University of Haifa; Israel, are using extract from the Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum; Lingzhi) to slow the progression of prostate cancer.

Reishi mushrooms have been used in traditional medicine in China and other Asian countries for thousands of years for the general promotion of health and long life and for the treatment of specific diseases.
   Reishi Mushrooms 

Now this research and other recent scientific studies have confirmed that Reishi mushroom (especially when combined with Green Tea) enhances the body’s immune functions and hold the potential for treatment and prevention of many types of cancer.

Chinese scientists have found that combining the active ingredients in the Reishi mushroom and Green Tea creates synergetic effects that inhibited the growth of tumors and delayed the time of death in mice with sarcomas.

Yan Zhang, a pharmacology researcher of Beijing, reported the results of two studies at the “Experimental Biology 2008” gathering (over 12000 biological and biomedical scientists attending) in San Diego on April 8. The presentation was part of the scientific program of the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET).

Reishi mushrooms have always been rare & difficult to find, but today Reishi, like Green Tea polyphenols, are manufactured as an extract. Yan Zhang and her colleagues examined commercial products sold as ReishiMax and Tegreen.

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22nd March 2008

Silver Jubilee Celebrations For British Holistic Medical Association

On April 18th and 19th the British Holistic Medical Association (BHMA) will be celebrating its Silver Jubilee year with a ground breaking conference in London entitled:-
Medicine as if People Matter: Patients, Practitioners and Places.

In recognition of this milestone, Claire Rayner, the Patients Association President, Claire will open the conference on 18th April 2008, reminding us why, when medical technology seems all powerful, medicine as if people matter is more important than ever. The first afternoon of the conference is free to anyone who books a place.

President of RIBA Sunand Prasad, will present the BHMA-Nutri Centre Healing Spaces awards at on Friday night. Prizes of £2000 and £500 will be awarded for buildings that best reflect the part played by architecture, interior design, the use of sound, light, colour, or new ways of using healthcare space creatively. Entries have come in from general practices, hospices, hospitals, cancer care units, complementary medicine clinics; even a mortuary!

The conference will launch BHMA’s ‘Going for Gold’ Fundraising venture in support of its next 25 years’ work. The BHMA is aiming to raise £1 million pounds to achieve its Golden Jubilee goals.

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5th January 2008

Proposed Regulation of Alternative & Complementary Therapies

Controlling Complementary Medicine

The Lords Science and Technology select committee (a british government advisory group)  recently called for much tighter regulation over who can practice alternative medicines such as acupuncture and aromatherapy. (to act almost as an alternative form of the British Medical Association / General Medical Council?) It is also calling for more scientific & medical research to judge the efficacy of various Alternative  & Complementary remedies & therapies.

The committee’s recommendations follow a 15-month investigation, prompted by a rapid growth in the number of people using complementary & alternative medicine in developed western society. (for developed read “distanced from nature?)
It’s estimated around five million patients a year visit a complementary medical practitioner in Britain, However many doctors are cautious about alternative medicine and those who practice it, believing that the therapies & remedies effectiveness are yet to be proven and that many treatments remain untested.

Alternative? Complementary? – since when?
Most practitioners feel agrieved that remedies based on “Ethno-Botany” and thousands of years of experience should be labelled Alernative or Complementary to modern medicine & treatments.

Over the years “official” medical bodies have sought to group and define theraputic practices. Now a  recent European Commission report says the accepted definition in the United States of America is:

“A broad domain of healing resources that encompass all health systems, modalities and practices, and their accompanying theories and beliefs, other than those intrinsic to the politically dominant health system of a particular society or culture in a given historical period.’

‘It includes all such products and ideas self defined by their users as preventing or treating illness or promoting health and well-being.’

‘Boundaries within complementary and alternative medicine and between complementary and alternative medicine and the domain of the dominant system are not always sharp or fixed.’

The Lords Science and Technology select committee, as an aid to distinguish between therapies, divided them into three groups.

The first group were loosely defined as “acceptable therapies”, and included the best known therapies, such as acupuncture, chiropractic, herbal medicine, homoeopathy and osteopathy.

The second group included the Alexander technique, reflexology, shiatsu, aromatherapy, hypnotherapy, flower remedies, shiatsu and meditation. Presently such practices lack definitive regulation, with several “self regulatory bodies” in operation. Although the committee recognised these therapies were often used to complement conventional medical practises, they warned of their ‘lack of scientific basis’.

The chairman of the select committee, Lord Walton, stated that if he had terminal cancer he may consider group two practices, but he would never consider group three practices. This final group included what were considered to be “unacceptable theories”, and included crystal therapy, kinesiology, iridology, Chinese herbal medicine and Ayurvedic medicine.  (why would they include Chinese herbal medicine in this group?)

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19th December 2007

Fungii have healing properties too

Mushrooms are low in calories, carbohydrates & sodium, are cholesterol & fat free!  They contain as much fibre as 1 medium tomato, are high in riboflavin and are also a good source of niacin, pantothenate and copper.

While medicinal mushrooms have been used in the Orient and Japan for over 2,000 years to boost immunity and fight diseases such as cancer, only in recent decades has their power begun to be recognized in Western countries. 

In more scientific terms, several compounds in fungi have been found to boost intestinal flora, stimulate the function of the immune system & inhibit tumour growth, complex chain-like sugars called polysaccharides have been shown to exert antitumor and immuno-stimulating properties. Substances in certain mushrooms called terpenoids help kill bacteria and viruses and exert anti-inflammatory effects.

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17th December 2007

Gold Nugget empowers Healer

A Cheltenham woman claims a gold nugget – believed to feature an image of the pregnant Virgin Mary – has given her healing powers, Linda Gillatt, was given the treasure by a Papua New Guinean chief some four years ago.

She first noticed its power when she gave a hug to a friend in pain, she had the nugget in her hand. Mrs Gillatt said: “My hands began to heat up. I looked at the nugget and exclaimed, Oh my God! It’s Mother Mary!”  you could clearly she the holy mother’s likeness in the nugget – the woman’s pain then receded – the first of several cures.

The lady now wants to sell the nugget, saying: “I am at a stage of my life whereby I should let this talisman go to someone else.”

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28th November 2007

The Soothing Healing Power of Aromas

Do you know every person has their own scent (aroma) and that it changes slightly from your normal smell when you are ill, angry, happy. Are you aware of how much the vapours of essential oils can enrich your life – even heal? Physicians centuries ago, would routinely smell their patients as a part of their diagnosis (sadly, not something that the Medical Training Establishments advocate nowadays) We shall explore this and more in this topic of Aromatherapy and discover how much it can do for your life.

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19th November 2007

Oysters – a medicine waiting to be used?

It appears that Oysters are not only aphrodisiac they can heal our bones, Scientists have been studying the way oysters produce mother of pearl, (also known as nacre) and believe the process could be replicated to provide cures and preventative treatments for osteoporosis, arthritis and certain skin complaints.

Christian Milet at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris said the process of biomineralisation is key. “Humans and oysters share the capacity for self repair. A human bone heals, as does a cracked oyster’s shell. We now believe nacre can be used to stimulate bone growth.”

Not all Oysters are equal, those that produce the biggest pearls (Pinctada oysters) are better for healing because of their higher production of nacre, the type of Oysters that we eat could get their Aphrodisiac reputation due to their relatively high Zinc content (Zinc is neccessary for the production of Testosterone).

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