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The Medicinal Herb Info site was created to help educate visitors about the often forgotten wisdom of the old ways of treating illnesses. Many of today's drugs and medicines were originally derived from natural ingredients, combinations of plants and other items found in nature.

We are not suggesting that you ignore the help of trained medical professionals, simply that you have additional options available for treating illnesses. Often the most effective treatment involves a responsible blend of both modern and traditional treatments.

We wish you peace and health!

Recent Studies Show Seven Herbs Help Stop Cancer Growth

According to a recent study, seven medicinal plants actually do slow or stop the growth of multiple forms of cancer, including cervical, breast, leukemia, colon, ovarian, liver, and uterine cancer. These plants have long been used by traditional healers to treat a number of ailments, but now they have been proven to have powerful effects against cancer.

Medicinal plants that fight cancer

“Medicinal plants have been used for the treatment of diverse ailments since ancient times, but their anti-cancer properties have not been well studied,” says Koh Hwee Ling, associate professor from the National University of Singapore’s pharmacy department.

“Our findings provide new scientific evidence for the use of traditional herbs for cancer treatment, and pave the way for the development of new therapeutic agents.”

Several of these plants have become endangered species and this highlights the need for their protection and cultivation. They may be valuable constituents of new and more effective treatments in the future.

“Given the scarcity of land due to rapid urbanization and the dearth of records on herbal knowledge, there is a pressing need to document and investigate how indigenous medicinal plants were used before the knowledge is lost,” says Siew Yin Yin, who did the research as part of her doctoral thesis under Koh’s supervision.

It is important to note that even with the discovery of the effectiveness of these plants in fighting cancer, people should not self-medicate without consulting modern medical practitioners. Often a combined approach between modern and traditional treatments could be the best approach.

Be sure to check out the full descriptions of these seven plants for the complete information about their beneficial uses.

Resource Links

Futurity.org: These Medicinal Plants Put Brakes on Cancer Growth

Journal of Ethnopharmacology: Evaluation of anti-proliferative activity of medicinal plants used in Asian Traditional Medicine to treat cancer

National University of Singapore: Anti-cancer properties uncovered in plants

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New Research Tells Why Cilantro Helps Delay Seizures

Cilantro

A recent research study offers potentially good news for some people that suffer from seizures.

Practitioners of traditional medicine and herbology have used cilantro for centuries as a treatment for seizures and as an anticonvulsant, but now research is finding out why it works.

It turns out that there’s a molecular action that helps cilantro delay seizures in those with epilepsy and other seizure disorders. This is because cilantro is a highly potent KCNQ channel activator. Researchers think that this discovery could lead to more effective medications for and treatments for seizure disorders.

This important research was supported by National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of General Medicine Sciences.

According to the report on Futurity.com, “Researchers screened cilantro leaf metabolites, revealing that one—the long-chain fatty aldehyde (E)-2-dodecenal—activates multiple potassium channels including the predominant neuronal isoform and the predominant cardiac isoform, which are responsible for regulating electrical activity in the brain and heart. This metabolite was also found to recapitulate the anticonvulsant action of cilantro, delaying certain chemically-induced seizures. The results provide a molecular basis for the therapeutic actions of cilantro and indicate that this ubiquitous culinary herb is surprisingly influential upon clinically important potassium channels.”

The findings were published in FASEB Journal:

“We discovered that cilantro, which has been used as a traditional anticonvulsant medicine, activates a class of potassium channels in the brain to reduce seizure activity,” says Geoff Abbott, professor of physiology and biophysics at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine and principal investigator on the study.

“Specifically, we found one component of cilantro, called dodecenal, binds to a specific part of the potassium channels to open them, reducing cellular excitability. This specific discovery is important as it may lead to more effective use of cilantro as an anticonvulsant, or to modifications of dodecenal to develop safer and more effective anticonvulsant drugs.”

Be sure to check out the full description of Cilantro (called Coriander in the UK) for the complete information about its beneficial uses.

Resource Links

Futurity: Scientist Now Know How Cilantro Works Against Seizures

FASEB Journal: Cilantro leaf harbors a potent potassium channel–activating anticonvulsant

UCI School of Medicine: New study explains the molecular mechanism for the therapeutic effects of cilantro

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Purple Nut Sedge: Today’s Weed was Yesterday’s Medicinal Herb

Recent archaeological research has found that prehistoric people living in Central Sudan may have used medicinal plants. Specifically, evidence that the Purple Nut Sedge (Cyperus rotundus) was eaten and possibly used medicinally has been found by examining the dental calculus of the skeletons found in recent digs.

The purple nut sedge is now known as a weed and can be very difficult to eradicate in agricultural settings. However, Chinese medicine and Ayurveda recognize the plant as having medicinal properties.

According to a recent Futurity article:

The research was carried out at Al Khiday, a pre-historic site on the White Nile in Central Sudan. For at least 7,000 years, beginning before the development of agriculture and continuing after agricultural plants were also available, the people of Al Khiday ate the plant purple nut sedge. The plant is a good source of carbohydrates and has many useful medicinal and aromatic qualities.

Purple Nut SedgeThis research shows that these ancient people were well-versed in medicinal herbs and used them long before agriculture became prevalent.

Medicinal Uses of Purple Nut Sedge:

Purple nut sedge is known to inhibit the growth of Streptococcus mutans which contributes to tooth decay. As a result, members of the ancient population were found to have unexpectedly low incidents of dental decay.

Purple nut sedge was used by the Egyptians medicinally and as a perfume.

This plant is known in Chinese medicine as a qi-regulating herb.

Ayurveda uses this herb for fevers, dysmenorrhea and digestive disorders.

Extracts from the purple nut sedge tubers are said to act as a muscle relaxant and may reduce nausea.

Other medical uses of purple nut sedge include reduction of pain and inflammation.

Warning:

This plant is also said to be “the world’s most expensive weed” due to the difficulties in eradicating it and the costs involved for agriculture. It is not recommended as an herb to cultivate.

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Peppermint Extract May Help Fight Drug-resistant Bacteria

Peppermint

A little over a year ago, my adult son contracted MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), one of several types of dangerous, drug-resistant bacteria. It all started as a small, harmless-looking bite of an unknown insect and ended in what could have become a nightmare. Luckily, after surgery and a multitude of intraveneous antibiotics he was finally able to be cured of the infection and is just fine today.

However, the frightening truth is that these sometimes deadly bacteria seem to be getting increasingly resistant to antibiotics all the time. One reason is the pervasive overuse of antibiotics. Also, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) “…the practice of adding antibiotics to agricultural feed promotes drug resistance. More than half of the antibiotics produced in the United States are used for agricultural purposes.”

I hate to think what eating the meat of the animals that have been served antibiotics does to those of us with severe allergies to various antibiotics. But I digress.

Because of this growing problem, scientists are now testing various medicinal plants to see which ones may be useful in fighting these microorganisms. One of the plants tested is the familiar peppermint plant (Mentha piperita). Multiple types of peppermint extracts were tested for their ability to alleviate these microorganisms:

  • multidrug resistant S. pyogenes
  • Enterococcus faecalis
  • methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
  • methicillin resistant Staphylococcus epidermidis (MRSE)
  • penicillin-resistant Streptococcus pyogenes
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Seratia marcescens
  • Acinetobacter baumannii
  • Stenotrophomonas maltophilia
  • carbapenem-resistant E. coli
  • Klebsiella pneumonia

These pathogenic culprits are to blame for infections ranging from pneumonia to serious skin infections to urinary tract infections and can be extremely difficult to treat. You can follow the link at the end of this article to read the entire scientific procedure used in the testing.

The great news is that the peppermint extracts were able to inhibit growth and showed antibacterial abilities. This is only the latest scientific study using peppermint and other plant-based extracts to fight drug-resistant bacteria and the results are extremely promising. Especially since we are hearing that things like MRSA bacteria is virtually everywhere in our environment.

In my opinion, based on this, it can’t hurt to use a common body wash like Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Castille Soap for showering. And we should stop contributing to the drug-resistance issue by discontinuing use of antibacterial soaps and cleansers.

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An Herb That Enhances TB Treatment

WormwoodOnce again, an herbal remedy that’s been used for centuries comes to the aid of researchers that are looking for a way to more effectively treat a drug-resistant disease. Tuberculosis has increasingly become resistant to treatments over the years, making it even more difficult to treat. Researchers have now found that the ancient remedy artemisinin (aka Wormwood) offers new benefits in TB treatment.

“When TB bacteria are dormant, they become highly tolerant to antibiotics,” says Robert Abramovitch, a microbiologist and assistant professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Michigan State University. “Blocking dormancy makes the TB bacteria more sensitive to these drugs and could shorten treatment times.”

One-third of the world’s population is infected with TB and the disease killed 1.8 million people in 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The bacteria can lie dormant in the body for many years, but once the immune system is weakened, it can spring into action again. This makes it extremely difficult to cure. Currently, treatment involves a regimen of medications given for at least six months.

By adding the wormwood remedy to the treatment, the success rate goes way up and the treatment time might be able to be reduced.
This is big news for TB sufferers and shows that medicinal herbs may just be the key to solving many of the world’s disease issues.

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Turns Out, Not All Cinnamon is the Same

Several days ago, I reported on the recent research using cinnamon. What I learned since then is very important and makes a lot of difference as to whether or not cinnamon would really be helpful in helping to burn fat, or to help in any number of other health-related ways. It seems that there are two forms of cinnamon available and only one is potent and active in this regard.

The most common form of cinnamon sold in the US is Cinnamomom cassia. It’s sometimes labeled as Chinese cinnamon or cassia cinnamon. This is the less-potent form and apparently, has the less desirable flavor in cooking as well. Who knew? I feel like a flake, having not known this before now.

The more potent and more flavorful form of cinnamon is known as Cinnamomom aromaticaum, or Ceylon cinnamon, which is native to Sri Lanka. You’ll see it also referred to as “true” cinnamon in some stores as well. It’s not as easy to find and often pricier and only found in specialty stores. Luckily, I found it and ordered it on Amazon.
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Ethnobotanist Talks About The Riches of the Rainforest

I don’t know if you are a follower of the T.E.D. Talks, but here’s one that deals with the medicinal herbs in of the rainforest as well as the current plight of the Amazon indigenous peoples. Ethnobotanist, Mark Plotkin tells of the richness of the plant life, cultures and peoples of the Amazon rain forests and what we can do to help preserve them.

This presentation was given in Brazil as part of the T.E.D. Global Talks.

Mark Plotkin is the author of the book Tales of a Shaman’s Apprentice: An Ethnobotanist Searches for New Medicines in the Amazon Rain Forest and the book Medicine Quest: In Search of Nature’s Healing Secrets.

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Oil of Cinnamon May Help the Body Burn Fat

nullOne of the most popular flavors today is that of cinnamon. We use it in desserts, to add flavor to coffees and teas, and even in many savory dishes as well. Now we have some very welcome news about our favorite cinnamon. It contains an ingredient that helps improve metabolic health…and may even aid weight loss. This ingredient is cinnamaldehyde, an essential oil that gives cinnamon its flavor.

A recent research study has found that cinnamaldehyde causes fat cells to burn more energy using a process known as thermogenesis. Scientists have known that mice, given cinnamon were somehow protected from becoming obese, but little was understood about why this happened.

“Scientists were finding that this compound affected metabolism,” says Jun Wu, who also is an assistant professor of molecular and integrative physiology at the University of Michigan Medical School. “So we wanted to figure out how—what pathway might be involved, what it looked like in mice, and what it looked like in human cells.”

Wu’s team used cells from a wide range of humans across age groups, ethnic groups and weight ranges. They then applied the cinnamaldehyde to the cells. The cells then started to show signs of increased thermogenesis, or the fat-burning process.

There is much more research needed to fully understand why this happens and how it can be harnessed for use in the human battle against obesity. As new developments are released, I’ll report on them here. Stay tuned.

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Cancer Treatment that ‘Reboots’ Itself, Thanks to This Herb

Stinging NettleA recent research study has found that a “chemo-catalyst” found in stinging nettles can enable cancer treatments to destroy cancer cells in a new way. This chemo-catalyst is known as sodium formate, or JPC11 and is a non-toxic ingredient that can cause the treatment to convert substances used by cancer cells to reproduce into an unnatural lactate. Without the substance needed by the cancer cells, they are destroyed.

“This is a significant step in the fight against cancer. Manipulating and applying well-established chemistry in a biological context provides a highly selective strategy for killing cancer cells,” says James Coverdale, a research fellow from the chemistry department at the University of Warwick.

IN addition, this newly discovered compound can even cause the treatment to “reboot” itself, attacking the cancer cells over and over. This may eventually allow for the use of smaller doses of the cancer treatment and a reduction in the side-effects of chemotherapy.

In recent years, certain types of cancer, namely ovarian and prostate cancers, are becoming increasingly resistant to treatment. This new addition to the chemotherapy may be just the thing to overcome this resistance by attacking the cancer cells in a new way.

Another advantage to the use of this new method of treating these cancers is that the JPC11 only attacks the cancerous cells, leaving the normal, healthy cells intact. Traditional treatments can also damage healthy cells.

This research is ongoing, but shows great promise for treating cancer. And we owe it all to stinging nettles. Once again, a medicinal herb offers hope for new treatments. I will update this site as new discoveries are made on the subject. Stay tuned.

Learn more about stinging nettles here.

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Organically Grown Saw Palmetto

Saw Palmetto

Saw palmetto is a medicinal plant, native to the eastern United States, whose use originated with the Seminole tribe in Florida, according to Medicinal Herb Info. The 1-inch fruits resemble olives because of their dark purple or black color. These fruits are harvested and their extract is used to make medicinal treatments. Some saw palmetto supplements are raised organically, others are not. Consult your health care provider before you begin to use saw palmetto to treat a health condition.

Organic Defined

The term “organic” refers to the way a plant is grown. Organic farmers use no pesticides, genetically modified organisms, radiation, sewage sludge or conventional fertilizers, according to Organic.org. Farms have to be inspected before they can be certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as organic. The companies involved in transporting, handling and processing organic foods also need to be certified by the USDA as organic. Saw palmetto extract that is certified as organic has met all these criteria. Plants that are not organic may have been rasied using any of the processes forbidden for organic farming, so supplements that are not organic may have unwanted additives or contaminants.

Health Benefits

Saw palmetto supplements are primarily used as a natural treatment for the symptoms of enlarged prostate, according to MedLinePlus. Saw palmettos must be taken for as long as two months before it will begin to offer any improvement. Some men have reported that taking saw palmetto supplements helped them grow thicker hair, but there have been no supporting research studies to confirm this result. MedLinePlus adds that saw palmetto may also be used to treat migraines, chronic bronchitis, asthma, sore throat, colds and coughs. Whether or not the supplements are from an organic source does not change their potential uses.

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