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Superoxide dismutase (SOD) carries out several important redox reactions in defense against oxidative stress in an organism. Its most potent reaction involves the partitioning of the superoxide (O2) radical into hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) or pure molecular oxygen (O2). An enzyme found in all living cells, SOD is produced as a byproduct of oxygen metabolism and is thus recommended as a curative agent in oxygen radical scavenging therapy.

SOD is also a metalloenzyme. This means that it is a defensive entity against reactive oxygen species-related injury via superoxide dismutation and alternate oxidation-reduction of metal ions. There are four distinct groups of SODs: Copper-Zinc-SOD (Cu, Zn-SOD), Iron SOD (Fe-SOD), Manganese SOD (Mn-SOD), and Nickel SOD. In humans and most chordates, SODs can be found in the cytoplasm, mitochondria, and the extracellular matrix (ECM) and cell surfaces.

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As was previously mentioned, SODs constitute an imperative line of defense against oxidative stress, meaning they are potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents. The enzyme has also been clinically indicated to prevent precancerous cell changes. Disorders related to SOD levels, which inevitably decline as an organism ages, have been linked to several chronic human health conditions, such as cystic fibrosis (CF), interstitial cystitis, gout, malignant breast disease, neuronal apoptosis, AIDS, nephritic syndrome, and various types of cancer.

Superoxide dismutase can be administered orally, and is often ingested for cosmetic or anti-aging purposes. However, there is no clinical evidence to indicate the efficacy of oral absorption of SODs.

Conversely, SODs can be administered via injection in order to combat swelling and inflammation. It is frequently utilized in the treatment of sports injuries, as well as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

Superoxide Dismutase Benefits and UsesHair Loss

Superoxide dismutase has been indicated as an anti-aging enzyme due to its ability to ameliorate free radical damage to skin and hair cells. Specifically, its ability to treat the type of oxidative stress implicated in androgenetic alopecia, or pattern hair loss, has been clinically evaluated. In a study published by The Journal of Medicine and Life, researchers evaluated SOD levels in twenty-seven patients with androgenetic alopecia (against twenty-five age-matched controls). Resultant plasma levels indicated decreased antioxidant activity as well as significantly decreased SOD levels in patients suffering from androgenetic hair loss. Consequently researchers concluded that there may be scope for SOD therapy in the treatment of alopecia, but that further clinical evaluation was needed.

A study published by The Journal of Dermatological Science yielded similar results. Researchers assessed the status of oxidative stress in the scalps of patients with the autoimmune inflammatory disease Alopecia areata (AA). Thiobarbituric acid reactive substances and superoxide dismutase levels were measured in tissues from the scalps of ten patients suffering from AA, and results indicated that SOD levels were significantly higher than those of control patients, though these increased levels were unable to protect patients against reactive oxygen species in instances of AA. This indicates that lipid peroxidation and antioxidant enzymes may be implicated in the pathogenesis of autoimmune-type alopecia.

In summary, it appears that there is a consequential relationship between superoxide dismutase and multiple types of hair loss. However, the use of SODs in alopecia treatment has not yet been clinically evaluated.


In a study published by Scientific Reports, researchers evaluated the impact of superoxide dismutase 3 on peptidoglycan-induced inflammation in vivo and in vitro. Results indicated that SOD-3 had a suppressant effect on the expression of both toll-receptor 2 (TLR-2), nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB), and p38 in P. acnes-treated cells. Put simply, SOD-3 had an anti-inflammatory impact and reduced the expression of inflammasome-related proteins and cytokines. Researchers concluded that SOD-3 showed promise as a therapeutic agent in the treatment of Propionbactarium acnes-mediated skin inflammation.

Other studies have implicated abnormal serum levels of superoxide dismutase in the proliferation of DNA damage in patients with acne vulgaris. In a study published by the Journal of the Egyptian Women’s Dermatologic Society, researchers evaluated serum levels in fifteen patients with acne vulgaris, fifteen patients with vitiligo, and fifteen control patients. Results indicated that, in cases of both acne vulgaris and vitiligo, both SOD levels and DNA damage were significantly elevated in symptomatic patients. Researchers concluded that management of superoxide dismutase levels was heavily linked to mediation of oxidative stress, indicating the addition of antioxidants to the treatment of acne vulgaris and similar skin disorders.

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Several recent studies have considered superoxide dismutase as a promising therapeutic agent in the management of disordered inflammation of the skin. It has also been indicated as an anti-aging and restorative metalloenzyme.

The free radical theory of aging implicates mitochondrial reactive oxygen species as the primary determinant of aging symptoms. In a study published by Dermatoendocrinology, researchers at the University of Ulm in Ulm, Germany evaluated the role of manganese superoxide dismutase in the mediation of ROS-induced oxidative stress in human skin. Data both in vivo and in vitro yielded a few noteworthy findings: first, a deficiency of SOD-2 was implicated in premature aging of human skin. Second, the upregulation of SOD-2 in human skin fibroblasts was indicated to disturb hydrogen peroxide levels and associated detoxifying enzymes, resulting in senescence (or aging) and skin atrophy. In summary, researchers found that ROS-mediated oxidative damage induced aging, recommending systemic antioxidant approaches to SOD level mediation.

Topical superoxide dismutase has also been indicated as possibly effective in the treatment of inflammatory skin diseases such as atopic dermatitis (AD). For example, in a study conducted by researchers at the University of Guglielmo Marconi in Marconi, Italy, researchers tested SOD as an anti-inflammatory factor in the treatment of AD. The modulation of SOD levels was shown to manage the expression and distribution of angiogenic factors and inflammatory mediators, in turn increasing the expression of pro-inflammatory mediators and matrix metalloproteinases. SOD was also demonstrated to participate in immune response by inhibiting leukocyte-endothelium adhesion, modulating inflammatory cytokine expression and thus alleviating skin inflammation in AD patients.

In a Ukrainian study, researchers further evaluated the tolerability and efficacy of an SOD topical treatment in children with combination AD and allergic disorders. Over the course of four weeks, treatment efficacy was evaluated in thirty-five afflicted children and thirty-two controls. Results indicated that the topical combination treatment plus emollient significantly reduced itching, dryness, and lesion intensity by the sixth day of treatment. By the end of the treatment period, lesions and rashes were reduced by 100%.


Superoxide dismutase has been touted as “an emerging target for cancer therapeutics” by clinical journal Expert Opinion on Therapeutic Targets. Indeed several clinical studies have suggested SODs’ therapeutic potential in cancer treatment and prevention. In a review published by Antioxidants & Redox Signaling, researchers evaluated the role of manganese superoxide dismutase in cancer prevention. According to recent research, lowered SOD levels are implicated in the early stages of cancer development. Further, SOD liposome and mimetics have been indicated as effective in animal models of cancer prevention. Finally, mechanistic studies have suggested that SOD inhibits metabolic shifts during tumorigenesis, or the development of cancerous masses in organisms.

In a study published by Nature: International Journal of Science, researchers examined superoxide dismutase as a protective agent during the selective termination of cancerous cells. Results yielded that active O2– production and low SOD levels in cancerous cells rendered the malignant cells highly dependent on SOD for survival and proliferation. Using DNA microarray and biochemical approaches, researchers found that targeting superoxide dismutase enzymes may be an effective approach in the selective elimination of malignant cancer cells. These data indicate SOD as a promising therapeutic and free-radical-mediating agent in the clinical management of various cancers.

Disclaimer: Please consult with your health care practitioner before changing anything in your cancer care routine.


In a study published by Brain Research, researchers evaluated the role of superoxide dismutase in fibroblast cell lines derived from trisomy 21 and Alzheimer’s patients. According to data from the Alzheimer’s Research Center, University of Cincinatti College of Medicine, SOD-1 activity was shown to be significantly elevated in Alzheimer’s cell lines (by roughly 30%). This enzymatic activity supports the hypothesis that helical filaments are synthesized in Alzheimer’s cell lines via free radical hydroxylation. These data may also indicate the management of SOD-1 levels as instrumental in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

Another study published by the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Pathology evaluated the relationship between SOD-1 polymorphisms and susceptibility to Alzheimer’s disease in Han Chinese patients. Data yielded that the Rs2070424 polymorphism in SOD-1 was likely associated with susceptibility to Alzheimer’s disease, within a 95% confidence interval. Based on these and similar data, it is clear that superoxide dismutase, specifically SOD-1, plays a role in the development of Alzheimer’s dementia. According to these and associated data, researchers have been able to assert with certainty that SOD-1 is a noteworthy target in Alzheimer’s progression and possible treatment.

Superoxide Dismutase Dosage, Side Effects, Safety, Dangers and Warnings

Superoxide dismutase can be ingested orally, but it is more credibly administered as a shot for various purposes, including the treatment of pain, inflammation, and kidney injury. In some cases, SOD is administered to improve tolerance to radiation therapy in cancer patients.

As an injection, SOD is well-tolerated in infancy and is utilized to treat lung problems in newborn infants. However, there is insufficient research to suggest that SODs are safe to administer or ingest during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Other contraindications and interactions have not yet been identified.

As a crucial antioxidant, superoxide dismutase is not implicated in allergic reactions. However, in some studies, including one published by the Journal of Applied Physiology addressing allergen-induced congestion in ragweed-sensitized dogs, SODs have failed to attenuate allergic symptoms.



The post 5 Science-based Benefits of Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) appeared first on A-Z List of Medicinal Herbs and Their Uses (Healing Herbs).

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Who was Li Ching Yun?

Can a human being live 256 years? Would you even want to? These are questions that are raised whenever someone talks about Li Ching Yuen. This Chinese herbalist, martial artist, and tactical advisor claimed to have been born in 1736. He died in 1933, which would have made him 197. There are also records—these are disputed—that placed the year of Li Ching Yuen’s birth at 1677, which would have made him 256 years old at the time of his death.

Obviously, Li Ching Yuen’s story and supposed longevity have caused a lot of controversy. Most scientists believe at a human only has a lifespan potential of 125 years. The oldest recorded human—outside of the heavily debated Li Ching Yuen—was Jeanne Calment from France who lived to be 122.

Our beliefs about the upward limit of a human’s age have been changing in the past few years. A study from 2017 even showed that after 105, a person has a decreased chance of death than they do from 70-90. This might mean that Li Ching Yuen and Shirali Muslimov—whose death at the age of 168 is similarly debated—were in fact the advanced ages they claimed at the time of their deaths.

The History of Li Ching Yuen’s fame

Knowledge about Li Ching Yuen didn’t really begin until 1928, when professor Wu-Chung Chieh from Chengdu university found a document. This piece of paper was from the Chinese government and it congratulated Li Ching Yuen on his 150th birthday. That birthday would have taken place in 1827. There was also another document from 1877 congratulating Li Ching Yuen on his 200th birthday.

A New York Times article from 1930 brought further attention to Li Ching Yuen. But, most of the “evidence” for his longevity comes from anecdotal evidence. The most famous of this is that the oldest men in Li Ching Yuen’s neighborhood who claimed that their grandfathers knew him when he was already an adult.

Li Ching Yuen’s Diet

When talking to people of advanced ages, most researchers and reporters will ask about the person’s diet. Genetics also play a huge role in the length of a person’s life, but diet and lifestyle are an equally important part of the equation. Assuming that Li Ching yuen actually lived for over two-hundred years, he must have a few secrets that enabled him to reach such an old age.

It is reported that Li Ching Yuen lived in the mountains for the first hundred years of his life. He supposedly ate primarily herbs, goji berries, Lingzi, wild ginseng, He Shoo wu, gotu kola, and rice wine. We will discuss each of the ingredients listed here in more detail below. However, if you want to try and live as long as Li Ching Yuen, you need to incorporate all of these in your diet.

Herbs used

Li Ching Yuen was a Chinese herbalist. It should come as no surprise then that he incorporated herbs into his diet. Some of these herbs, he claimed to have helped him reach over 200 years old. The most commonly cited herbs used by Li Ching Yuen are as follows:

Wild Ginseng: Wild ginseng is a slow-growing root. It grows naturally in America and Asia and has been used as a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries. You can consume ginseng in either fresh, white, or red form. It is likely that Li Ching Yuen ate all three forms of ginseng, as it made up a huge part of his diet. The most famous picture of him even shows him holding the healthy root. Ginseng is a powerful antioxidant, increases brain function, boosts the immune system, and has an anti-cancer effect, among other health benefits.

Goji Berry: Goji berries may be extremely popular around the world today, but they come to us from China. It makes sense then that Li Ching Yuen would know to use them as part of his herbal preparation. Goji berries are a great source of vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin C, Fiber, Iron, Vitamin A, Zinc. It also contains a lot of antioxidants.

Lingzhi (Reishi) Mushroom: Lingzhi or Reishi mushrooms are probably best known for their culinary uses. However, they are also a medicinal mushroom with many benefits ranging from boosting the immune system, treating altitude sickness and chronic fatigue syndrome, and as a pain reducer. These benefits occur because of the chemicals in Reishi mushrooms, which—in addition to the fact that they taste good in food—make them an important addition to any health regimen.

He Shou Wu: He Shou wu is another essential herb in traditional Chinese medicine. It also goes by the name Fo-Ti. He Shoo wu is a root and usually takes a long time to prepare effectively. You cook He Shoo wu in a stew of black beans and strained before adding it to a tea, tincture, or water. Most herbalist claim that He Shoo wu has a wide range of benefits, including DNA protection and repair, libido booster, hair growth and rejuvenation, and intuition enhancing properties.

Gotu Kola: Gotu Kola is another common herb in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda. It is a perennial plant found in Asian wetlands. The parts of the plant above the ground are use as the herb. It is reported that gotu kola can treat fatigue, anxiety, depression, psychiatric disorders, Alzheimer’s disease. It is also used to help wounds heal, increase memory and intelligence, and remove varicose veins and blood clots. With so many health benefits and uses, it is no wonder that Li Ching Yuen incorporated gotu kola into his diet.

Rice Wine: Rice wine is used to make tinctures in China, and so many of the above ingredients were likely taken in that form. Rice wine also has some health benefits of its own, including anti-cancer and anti-bacterial effects.

Daoists recommend only eating tonic herbs instead of regular food if you want to live longer than the majority of humans. Li Ching Yuen is not the only Buddhist hermit to live an enormously long life, which may be because of the extremely healthful herbs he consumed.

As you can see from the above list, all of these herbs are antioxidants, have anti-bacterial or anti-cancer properties, and most also increase libido. Li Ching Yuen was renowned for his love of women. He supposedly had twenty-four wives at up to two-hundred descendants at the time of his death. Because of the powerful nature of all of these herbs, incorporating any or all of them into your life will increase your health.

Li Ching Yuen’s Lifestyle

Li Ching Yuen’s supposed wisdom for how to life to 256 was “keep a quiet heart, sit like a tortoise, walk sprightly like a pigeon and sleep like a dog.” Next, we will investigate how this quote played a role in Li Ching Yuen’s lifestyle.

As mentioned above, Li Ching Yuen was an herbalist. According to reports, he began collecting herbs at the age of ten and could read and write as a child. These same tales indicate that Li travelled to Kansu, Shansi, Tibet, Annam, Siam, and Manchuria by his tenth birthday. These trips were undertaken in order to collect herbs.

When he was seventy-one Li Ching Yuen joined the Chinese army. He taught martial arts. Li created that discipline as well as various Qigong exercises for his longevity. These exercises supposedly directly contributed to his long life.

Qigong involves both physical movement and breath control. It is related to the more famous tai chi. Practioners of qigong use it to balance the qi (chi) or life energy. They believe that becoming a master of qigong allows one to transcend to higher levels of awareness, treat various medical conditions—like hypertension, pain, and cancer—and extend life itself.

Further reading about Li Ching Yuen

If this article has intrigued and inspired you to learn more about Li Ching Yuen, there are a few longer and more detailed sources for you to explore. The two most important books about Li Ching Yuen are

The Immortal: True Accounts of the 250-Year Old Man, Li Qingyun by Yang Sen (translated into English by Stuart Alve Olson).

This is the most comprehensive biography of Li Ching Yuen available. It is also the only one translated into English, which will help people not fluent in Chinese learn more about this amazing person.

Qigong Teaching of a Taoist Immortal: The Eight Essential Exercises of Master LI Ching-Yun by Stuat Alve Olson.

Read this book if you want to incorporate some of Li Ching Yuen’s teachings and lifestyle choices into your own life. Stuart Alve Olson presents eight of the most important qigong exercises that Li Ching Yuen incorporated into his daily ritual.



The post The 256 Year Old Man: Li Ching Yuen Diet and Lifestyle of the Herbalist appeared first on A-Z List of Medicinal Herbs and Their Uses (Healing Herbs).

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What is Phellinus linteus?

Phellinus linteus refers to a medicinal mushroom fungus indigenous to several countries in East Asia, including Japan, Korea, and China. Its colloquial names include “meshimaboku” (in Japanese), “song gen” in Mandarin Chinese, and “sanghwang” in Korean. It is often referred to as the “black hoof” mushroom in the English language as a result of its shape, color, and rough texture. Its half-moon or “kidney” shape is characteristic of some other types of common bracket (or “conk”) mushrooms, including the Ganoderma lucidum (also known as reishi or lingzhi) mushroom and the Ganoderma applanatum (otherwise known as the “artist’s conk”) mushroom.

Phellinus linteus typically grows on mulberry trees and is a polypore mushroom, meaning it releases spores from multiple pores on the underside of its fruiting body. It is able to reach an impressive fifteen inches in width, and displays an array of colors from dark brown and black to ruddy orange. The fungus has a long history of medicinal use in the traditions of China, Korea, and Japan, and its uses have been attributed to the successful treatment of ailments as varied as gastrointestinal distress to certain types of cancers. Bioactive extracts from Phellinus linteus are sometimes added to skin care and cosmetic formulations in order to alleviate dermatological irritation and/or inflammation. Some limited research also points to P. linteus as effective in the treatment of hyperpigmentation and other melanistic disorders.

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Nine compounds have been isolated and proven to be bioactive (in other words, effective in terms of their anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant activities) components of the P. linteus mushroom. These include protocateuchic aldehyde (a phenolic aldehyde compound also found in green tea), protocatechuic acid, davallialactone, hypholomine B (a neuraminidase inhibitor), interfungin A (a protein that controls cytokine production in fungi), inoscavin A (a potent antioxidant), caffeic acid (an organic hydroxycinnamic acid found in many plants and fungi), ellagic acid (an organic phenol antioxidant), and hispidin (a precursor to fungal luciferin, a bioluminescent compound).

In Korea, this mushroom is traditionally consumed as a component of brewed tea. However, Phellinus linteus is known to have a bitter or astringent taste. Further, preparations using grain alcohol to derive an alcohol-based tincture concentrate can emphasize the bitter taste of this mushroom. As such many prefer to receive the health benefits of P. linteus by ingesting the mushroom in powdered or capsule form, thus bypassing the bitterness.

Phellinus linteus Benefits and Uses Asthma

A 2014 study published by Immune Network examined the anti-asthmatic effects of Phellinus linteus in an ovalbumin (OVA) laboratory mouse model. Researchers found that oral administration of Phellinus linteus suppressed inflammation in the eosinophilic airway by augmenting Th2 cytokines IL-4, IL-5, and IL-13, eotaxin, and adhesion molecules in lung tissue. These results suggest that Phellinus linteus may be effective as a therapeutic agent in the treatment of bronchial and allergic asthma.

Phellinus linteus has also been demonstrated to be possibly effective in suppressing cell-mediated anaphylactic reaction caused by asthma and allergic rhinitis. A 2006 study published by the Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin examined the effects of an aqueous extract of Phellinus linteus in mast cell-mediated anaphylaxis-like reactions. Researchers observed that oral administration of the extract inhibited ear-swelling response and cutaneous anaphylaxis in rats without inducing any toxicity to peritoneal mast cells. The extract also reduced histamine release, suggesting that it may be a potent therapeutic for allergic diseases.


A 2010 study published by International Immunopharmacology evaluated the inhibitory effects of Phellinus linteus in non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice. After oral administration of Phellinus linteus, NOD mice exhibited less pancreatic lymphocyte infiltration than control mice. Polysaccharides isolated from the mushroom also inhibited the expression of inflammatory cytokines (IFN-gamma, IL-2, and TNF-alpha by Th1 cells and macrophages) while upregulating IL-4 expression by Th2 cells in NOD mice. Researchers concluded that Phellinus linteus may inhibit the development of autoimmune diabetes via cytokine regulation.

A 2004 study published by Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry yielded similar results. Researchers from KonKuk University and Hoseo University in ChungBuk-Do and ChungNam-Do, South Korea observed the effects of aqueous extracts from Phellinus linteus, Paecilomyces tenuipes, and Cordyceps militaris on insulin resistance in 90% pancreatectomized male Sprague Dawley rats. Results indicated that C. militaris and P. linteus decreased serum glucose levels and decreased insulin resistance (though C. militaris was more effective in decreasing resistance). Conversely, P. tenuipes increased insuling resistance more than placebo in Px rats.

A 2001 study published by Biotechnology Letters evaluated the hypoglycemic effect of a polysaccharide isolated from Phellinus linteus. Researchers found that an extracellular polysaccharide decreased plasma glucose, total cholesterol, and triacylglycerol concentrations in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Conclusions recommend further research in terms of Phellinus linteus’s ability to ameliorate and prevent hyperglycemia in diabetic patients.

Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)

In a study published by BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, researchers explored the immunomodulatory effects of Phellinus linteus on atopic dermatitis (or eczema) in vivo. For the purposes of this study, P. linteus was fractioned into methanol soluble, water soluble, and boiling water-soluble extracts. Results indicated that the water-soluble extract significantly reduced IgE (Immunoglobulin) antibody production in human myeloma U266B1 cells. Further, the water-soluble extract reduced symptoms such as ear swelling, dryness, and erythema and downregulated pathogenic cytokines (IL-4, IL-13, IL-12, and IFN-γ). Researchers concluded that a water-soluble extract of P. linteus may yield a protective effect against atopic dermatitis and possibly other allergic skin disease.

A 2007 study published by the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology examined the immunomodulatory activity of a P. linteus extract grown on germinated brown rice in treating atopic dermatitis in children. Researchers administered the oral extract to thirty-five patients ages two to fourteen with mild to moderate eczema. After twelve weeks of study, researchers observed significant reductions in mean severity and symptom scores. Further, no adverse effects were observed aside from transient aggravation of skin lesions during the first four weeks of observation.

Breast Cancer

A clinical review published by Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine explored the anticancer activity of Phellinus linteus based on a series of in vitro and in vivo placebo-controlled trials. Among the studies reviewed was a 2001 trial from Dongguk University in South Korea, which observed both anticarcinogenic and chemoprotective activities in P. linteus extracts cultured as broth and/or mycelia. Research conducted at Dongeui University College of Oriental Medicine expanded upon this observation, revealing that a mycelium extract from P. linteus has the capacity to induce apoptosis in neuroblastima SK-N-MC tumor cell lines. Further, three epidemiological studies based in China, Korea, and Japan respectively demonstrated a possible inverse correlation between P. linteus supplementation and gastrointestinal and breast cancer.

A study published by the British Journal of Cancer explored P. linteus’s anticancer activity in terms of growth suppression of breast cancer cells. Researchers were able to elucidate the molecular mechanisms responsible for cancer cell inhibition – specifically, P. linteus suppressed the invasive behaviors of MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cell lines by restraining urokinase-plasminogen secretion. Further, P. linteus inhibited capillary morphogenesis, an early stage of cancer angiogenesis, by suppressing the secretion of vascular endothelial growth factor from the MDA-MB-231 cell lines.

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Prostate Cancer

Another study published by the British Journal of Cancer explored the molecular mechanisms responsible for Phellinus linteus-mediated apoptosis in LNCaP prostate cancer cell lines. The in vivo trial found that high doses of P. linteus activated the androgen receptor-dependent and independent apoptotic pathways in prostate cancer cells.

In a 2010 study published by PLos One, researchers observed the apoptotic effects of Phellinus linteus in athymic nude mice. After injecting P. linteus every other day for twelve days, researchers observed that, while treatment did not prevent the formation of inoculated tumors, it did dramatically inhibit the growth rate of prostatic tumors. Conclusions indicate that P. linteus has the capacity to attenuate tumor growth and possibly cause tumor regression via apoptosis.

Colon Cancer

A 2002 study published by Cancer Letters explored the cytotoxic mechanism of a protein-bound polysaccharide isolated from Phellinus linteus. Researchers found that P. linteus suppressed the proliferation of SW480 human colon cancer cells via cell cycle arrest at G2/M phase. Further, inhibition of colon cancer cell line production was associated with the suppression of protein cyclin B1 and an increase in the release of cytochrome c. These results indicate the potential of P. linteus to directly induce apoptosis in certain cell lines characteristic of human colon cancer.

A study published by the International Journal of Molecular Science yielded similar results. Researchers from Gachon University and Silla University in Busan, South Korea evaluated the antitumor capabilities of Phellinus linteus in the expression of the difficult-to-treat v-ki-ras2 Kirsten sarcoma. One of the few therapies demonstrating some efficacy in the treatment of this type of colon cancer is called cetuximab, a monoclonal antibody that binds to the epidermal growth factor receptor. For the purposes of this study, researchers prepared an extract of P. linteus grown on germinated brown rice and observed its ability to sensitize KRAS-mutated colon cancer cells to cetuximab. Results indicated that P. linteus combined with cetuximab treatment increased apoptosis and suppressed the KRAS protein. Further, in a follow-up in vitro mouse model, researchers observed that tumor growth was significantly suppressed by combined cetuximab and P. linteus co-treatment.

A recent study (conducted 2017-2018) further elucidated the mechanisms by which P. linteus extract is able to antagonize colon cancer cells. Researchers at The Center for Drug Discovery at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts and the Cancer Molecular Targeted Herbal Research Center at Kyung Hee University in Seoul, South Korea observed that colon cancer cells HCT116 and HT29 were highly susceptible to cell death when exposed a co-dose of P. linteus extract and camptothecin11 (a chemotherapeutic agent). As was the case in the previously discussed study, P. linteus appeared to enhance camptothecin11’s inhibitory effect on tumor growth by degrading cancer cells in S phase of the cell cycle.

Viral Influenza

Phellinus linteus has been demonstrated to yield some antiviral activity. A 2012 study published by Mycobiology evaluated a culture broth from P. linteus for the presence of viral neuraminidase (which enable viruses to be released from their host cells) inhibitors. Researchers found that the culture broth exhibited significant inhibitory activity via Sephadex LH-20 column chromatography and high-performance liquid chromatography methods. Specifically, organic compounds hispidin and hypholomine B appeared to be primarily responsible for P. linteus’s antiviral capabilities.

Phellinus linteus Dosage

In terms of federal regulations, there is no universally proven safe or effective dose of Phellinus linteus for adults (eighteen years of age and older) or children under age eighteen. However, Phellinus linteus supplementation has exhibited a relatively limited negative side effect profile in clinical research. Supplementation has not yielded cytotoxicity when administered in laboratory trials at doses as large as 250 mg/kg of body weight.

The mushroom can be ingested as a capsule supplement, as dried slices, or in powdered form. It is also possible to consume P. linteus via the Korean tradition (“mycelium tea”). Dosing can vary anywhere from 30 mg to 900 mg per capsule or powdered serving. Please consult thoroughly with your physician before beginning a nutritional regimen of P. linteus, and research suppliers thoroughly for quality and efficacy.

Phellinus linteus Side Effects, Safety, Dangers and Warnings

Individuals with enlarged prostate should consult a physician and use Phellinus linteus with caution. Limited research has indicated that the mushroom’s side effect profile may include prostatic enlargement.

Phellinus linteus has some contraindications with other medications, specifically drugs that are metabolized by the liver’s cytochrome P450 enzyme system. The fungus may dramatically increase immune function, so individuals using medications that suppress immune function may want to avoid Phellinus linteus supplementation. Phellinus linteus may interact negatively with antibiotics, anticancer agents, antihistamines, anti-inflammatory, and/or cholesterol-lowering medications.

No clinical studies have verified the safety of Phellinus linteus ingestion or supplementation in pregnant or breastfeeding women, so it is generally discouraged. Though current research is promising, information regarding P. linteus and its effects in the human body is considered relatively preliminary. As such, lead researchers of clinical trials have advised against impulse-buying P. linteus supplements before further research definitively confirms them to be safe and effective.



The post Phellinus linteus (Sang Hwang Mushroom): Benefits and Side Effects appeared first on A-Z List of Medicinal Herbs and Their Uses (Healing Herbs).

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What is DHT?

Dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, refers to an endogenous sex hormone that is formed from testosterone, the primary male sex hormone and a potent anabolic steroid. DHT acts from within the epididymis, a duct located behind the testes in the male reproductive system. It is associated with the development of typically male secondary sex characteristics, including body hair growth and voice deepening. DHT is vital in the healthy development of the male reproductive system, including the genitalia and the prostate.

Reasons to Increase DHT Muscle Growth

Dihydrosestosterone is associated with muscle growth, and appears to be more potent than testosterone alone in that regard. A study published by the Journal of Molecular Endocrinology explored the effects of dihydrotestosterone and gonadectomy (or castration) on skeletal muscle in a laboratory mouse model. Upon examining seventy-nine genetic transcripts expressed as a result of intravenous DHT injection, researchers observed that dihydrotestosterone promoted protein synthesis, cell proliferation, and ATP production in vivo. It also appeared to mediate contraction and relaxation in the skeletal muscle.

A 2011 study published by the Journal of Physiology yielded similar results. Researchers explored the acute/non-genomic effects of dihydrotestosterone in skeletal muscles. This study was conducted in vitro, and analysis was conducted by observing amino acid uptake and cellular signal transduction events in fast and slow-twitch skeletal muscle fibers. Results indicated that DHT increased muscle force production in fast contracting muscles and decreased force in slow acting muscle. These data indicated to the researchers that dihydrotestosterone may be a superior muscle-building hormone to testosterone. Further, results confirmed that DHT increases protein synthesis and the transport of essential amino acids into muscle fibers when testosterone cannot.

While the previous two studies were conducted via laboratory mouse models in vitro and in vivo, the following study (conducted in 2006) observed the effects of dihydrotestosterone replacement therapy in health men aged sixty-five and older. The meta-study, published by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, analyzed thirty-eight statistical comparisons and found that both testosterone and DHT therapy produced a moderate increase in muscle strength among healthy elderly men.
DHT may also promote muscle growth and improve motor function in patients afflicted with progressive degenerative diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). A study examining DHT administration in mice with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis assessed the hormone’s potential anabolic and neuroprotective effects on axons and motoneurons. Results indicated that DHT-treated mice demonstrated decreased muscle atrophy, elevated body weight, and stronger grip-strength. The researchers recommended further examination of dihydrotestosterone and its ability to ameliorate clinical symptoms in muscular diseases such as ALS.

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Suppression of dihydrotestosterone concentrations has been clinically associated with decreased libido, erectile dysfunction (in a small proportion of men), and a minor decrease in sperm concentration. A 2002 study published by The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism assessed the effects of transdermal dihydrotestosterone in 114 men ages 50 to 70 years old. After three months of transdermal administration, men in the dihydrotestosterone group improved in terms of early morning erectile function and erectile maintenance in comparison to the placebo group. Researchers concluded that transdermal administration of DHT may improve sexual function in aging men.

However, placebo-controlled studies of this sort are relatively limited. DHT is known to play a role in sexual function, but its exact mechanism and the risks associated with too much dihydrotestosterone are still being elucidated.

Cognitive Function

In a 2016 study published by Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine, researchers explored how dihydrotestosterone modulates synaptic plasticity in laboratory mice with mild cognitive impairments. By using qPCR (qualitative polymerase chain reaction) and western blot analysis, researchers were able to determine DHT expression in synaptic marker proteins in the hippocampus of treated rats. Results indicted that DHT promoted the expression of CREB (cellular transcription factor), PSD95 (postsynaptic density protein 95), and drebrin (a family of developmental proteins) in the hippocampus of the castrated-DHT group. It was surmised that dihydrotestosterone depletion inhibited synaptic plasticity and increased memory-related neuropathology.

Similar results were observed among aged female ovariectomized mice in a 2009 study published by Learning & Memory. Researchers observed behavioral performance in twenty-two to twenty-four-month old female mice treated with either testosterone or dihydrotestosterone (or placebo capsules). While DHT improved passive avoidance retention in female rats significantly, testosterone only increased this factor marginally. In turn, while testosterone enhanced spatial memory retention in aged female rats, dihydrotestosterone did not. Researchers concluded that these hormones have the capacity to improve cognition in aged subjects, though the benefits were dependent on the type of treatment.


A 2003 study published by the Journal of Andrology examined cognitive changes associated with supplementation of testosterone or dihydrotestosterone in men exhibiting mild hypogonadism. A series of cognitive tests were administered to subjects prior to supplementation and then again at days 30 and 90 of treatment. Researchers observed significant improvements in spatial memory with DHT supplementation. Verbal memory scores improved with testosterone administration.

A 2009 study published by the Journal of Neurochemistry yielded similar results. Researchers observed the effects of androgens in intact and castrated male mice. Results indicated that castration impaired spatial working memory, but had no effect on recognition memory, motor coordination, or passive avoidance memory. Researchers also examined the effects of dihydrotestosterone androgen replacement on the same parameters. Following a twenty-four hour interval of administration, dihydrotestosterone appeared to recover spatial memory performance in vivo.

Reasons to Decrease DHT Hair Loss

Dihydrotestosterone has been implicated as a causal factor in androgenetic alopecia, more commonly known as male pattern hair loss. The degree to which dihydrotestosterone affects individuals depends on a variety of factors; for example, men with higher androgen receptor sensitivity or higher levels of DHT receptors at the hair follicles may be more likely to experience androgenetic alopecia with age. Currently, the reasons for fluctuating DHT levels in the epididymis are poorly understood. However, some contemporary data suggest that dihydrotestosterone (as well as type 2 5α-reductase, the enzyme that catalyzes the transformation of testosterone into DHT) is chiefly responsible for androgenetic alopecia, and thus managing DHT levels may help combat male pattern hair loss.

A 1999 study published by the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology explored the ability of a type 2 5α-reductase inhibitor to ameliorate or slow androgenetic alopecia. For 42 days, researchers administered 0.01, 0.05, 0.2, 1, or 5 mg daily of finasteride to men with age-related pattern hair loss and conducted scalp biopsies before and after treatment. Results indicated that finasteride dosages as low as 0.2 mg daily significantly decreased scalp skin and serum DHT levels. Researchers suggested further exploration into the effects of finasteride at dosages between 0.2 and 5 mg.

However, more recent research indicates that finasteride may result in significant and unwanted side effects, including persistent sexual dysfunction as a result of modulating DHT levels in the epididymis. A 2011 study published by the Journal of Sexual Medicine addressed the types and duration of sexual side effects in healthy men aged twenty-one to forty-six years old taking finasteride for androgenetic alopecia. After one month of finasteride use, 92% of users developed erectile dysfunction, 92% developed decreased arousal, and 69% reported difficulty with achieving orgasm. Researchers reported that the total sexual dysfunction score increased with long-term use, the mean duration of side effects being 40 months from the time of finasteride cessation.


Though dihydrotestosterone is a primary sexual hormone and anabolic steroid in men, it is also present in women to a lesser degree. Elevated levels of the hormone are significantly implicated in the development of adult acne, particularly in women. In a study published by the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, researchers examined a total of 62 skin biopsies from 32 subjects (both male and female) with and without acne. Results of the biopsies revealed that acne-affected skin produced 2 to 20 times more dihydrotestosterone than unaffected skin.

Further research has indicated that androstenedione is the major pre-hormone for dihydrotestosterone formation in women. As such, several androgen receptor blockers have been elucidated as possibly effective adult acne treatment in women with hormonal imbalances. Among them are spironolactone, a synthetic steroidal androgen receptor blocker that works against acne vulgaris and hirsutism, and flutamide, a nonsteroidal androgen receptor blocker that treats acne, androgenetic alopecia, and hirsutism. Oral contraceptices are also commonly used toward the suppression of ovarian androgen production.

Decreased Cancer Risk

Since the mid-twentieth century, researchers have hypothesized that human prostatic adenocarcinoma is dependent on dihydrotestosterone for growth, as opposed to testosterone. Androgen deprivation therapy has been the standard for advanced prostate cancer since Nobel Prize winner Charles B. Huggins innovated castration and estrogen administration in the treatment of this type of carcinoma. More recent findings have sought to elucidate the relationship between dihydrotestosterone and prostate cancer, in order to refine treatment possibilities.

Unfortunately, there is some lack of clarity surrounding DHT and its role in the progression of prostate cancer. The first large-scale, placebo-controlled trial to examine this link was the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial (PCPT) trial, involving healthy men 55 years of age and older. The study began in 1993 and was conducted at 221 sites across the United States. Data from this clinical trial revealed that 30% fewer men taking the drug finasteride developed prostate cancer than men not taking the drug. This would suggest that a decrease in DHT might offer some protective capabilities against prostatic cancer. However, 6.4% of the tumors in the finasteride group exhibited High Gleason scores, as opposed to the low scores observed in those administered placebo. These contradictory results have sparked some controversy in the cancer research sphere.

The Reduction by Dustasteride of Prostate Cancer Events (REDUCE) trial produced similarly murky results in 2010. This trial tested the effects of dutasteride, a selective inhibitor of both type 1 and type 2 isoforms of 5α-reductase, in men 50-75 years of age with a prostate-specific antigen level of 2.4 to 10.0 ng per mililiter. This trial indicated an overall reduction in cancerous proliferation the number of patients with a Low Gleason score upon receiving dutasteride in comparison to placebo. However, researchers also observed that patients with a High Gleason score maintained this score more consistently throughout the course of the four-year trial.

Based on these inconsistencies and a limited amount of research, it is difficult to confirm how exactly DHT acts in the progression of human prostatic adenocarcinoma.

DHT Related Side Effects

There have been several safety and efficacy reviews conducted with respect to the promotion and inhibition of dihydrotestosterone development in treated patients. In 1994, the Merck Research Laboratories in New Jersey, USA conducted a three-year safety and efficacy trial, utilizing two large multicenters and assigning finasteride to men with benign prostatic hyperplasia for twelve months. After twelve months, patients had the option to participate in an extension to the study, in which all subjects received 5 mg of finasteride (including the placebo group). After thirty-six months, researchers determined a strong safety profile and sustained clinical efficacy, ultimately deeming finasteride to be a low-risk medical option for patients afflicted with benign prostatic hyperplasia.

However, 5α-reductase inhibitors are associated with adverse side effects in a subset of men. A literature review conducted by The Journal of Sexual Medicine observed that finasteride and similar treatments were associated with erectile dysfunction, diminished libido, gynecomastia, and depression, indicating a possible causal relationship between these symptoms and a decrease in dihydrotestosterone levels.

Too much DHT is also associated with negative side effects, particularly in women. Dihydrotestosterone in excess may cause hair loss in both men and women, an overall increase in acne, and increased potential for the development of prostate cancer. Further, in men, an excess of dihydrotestosterone can result in benign prostate hypertrophy, or an enlarged prostate. Present investigations are being conducted in order to determine dihydrotestosterone’s relationship to metabolic syndrome and diabetes.

Toxicity associated with dihydrotestosterone supplementation is similar to that seen with excessive dosages of vitamin D. Symptoms include abdominal distress and discomfort, vertigo, tinnitus, lethargy, depression, amnesia, and syncope. Dihydrotestosterone supplementation is contraindicated in patients with hypercalcemia, and/or abnormal sensitivity to vitamin D.

5α-reductase inhibitors are contraindicated in patients who are pregnant or nursing, and who have liver function abnormalities.

Supplements to Increase DHT

Research regarding nutraceutical supplements that support dihydrotestosterone is relatively limited. However, there is some clinical evidence to support the following as androgen boosters.


A 2009 study published by the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine investigated resting concentrations of dihydrotestosterone and other androgens after three weeks of creatine supplementation in male rugby players with a median age of twenty. Results indicated that, after seven days of creatine supplementation, serum testosterone levels remained unchanged. However, dihydrotestosterone levels increased by 56% ad remained at levels between 20% – 40% above baseline during the six-week washout period. Researchers determined that creatine supplementation may act through an increased rate of conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone. This is a list of the best Creatine on the market.

Butea superba

Extracted from a vine shrub native to Thailand, Butea superba has been demonstrated to yield antiestrogenic and androgenic activity in male and female rats (both intact and overiectomized females). However, the only published study regarding Butea superba’s androgenic capabilities in human patients observed an instance of hyperandrogenemia (excessive dihydrotestosterone) in a single Thai male, aged thirty-five years. His DHT levels decreased to normal upon cessation of Butea superba supplementation. Based on existing research, low levels of Butea superba appear to be safe for human consumption. Doses at 48 mg/kg and above are inadvisable. This is a list of the best Butea superba on the market.


A 1981 study published by Archives of Andrology examined the effects of zinc therapy on plasma testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, and sperm count in thirty-seven patients with idiopathic infertility. Researchers observed that, while testosterone and sperm count were unaffected by zinc, dihydrotestosterone levels increased significantly. More recent research is very limited and further investigation is required to validate zinc’s effects in the human androgenic system. This is a list of the best Zinc on the market.

List of Natural DHT Blockers

Popular natural dihydrotestosterone blockers include:

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What is C60?

C60 fullerene oil, or buckminsterfullerene, refers to an allotrope molecule of carbon. Initially discovered in 1980 by Japanese physicist Sumio Iijima, C60 was the first carbon fullerene discovered outside of the commonly known graphite, graphene, diamond, and charcoal carbon allotropes. Colloquially known as “buckyballs,” buckministerfullerene molecules are identifiable under an electron microscope by their spherical shapes, which are said to resemble the balls used in European football (North American soccer). Specifically, a C60 molecule takes the shape of a truncated icosahedron, which is composed of twelve pentagonal faces, twenty hexagonal faces, sixty vertices, and ninety edges.

While Iijima identified C60 in nature five years prior, in 1985 astrophysicists Harold Kroto (of Sussex University), James Heath, Sean O’Brien, Richard Smalley, and Robert Curl were able to synthetically manufacture the molecule in the laboratories of Rice University. In the years that followed, fullerenes in general were put through extensive research and evaluation based on their hypothesized applications in nanotechnology, materials science, and biomedical science. Mass spectrometry evidence has indicated that “buckyballs” can be isolated from ordinary organic matter such as soot, and is naturally occurring in deep space. C60 is highly reactive and can act as a chemical catalyst, a chemical sensor, a polymer additive, a superconductor, and a container for hydrogen atoms (meaning they may be more effective than metal hydrides in fuel cells). In terms of human health, when prepared correctly C60 can act as an extraordinarily effective lubricant and antioxidant, and may be a promising drug delivery system by which certain pharmaceuticals and cancer therapies can be more efficiently synthesized in the human body.

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C60 Benefits and Uses Longevity

In a 2012 study published by Biomaterials, researchers examined the biomedical potential of C60 oil in a laboratory mouse model. They found that oral administration of C60 dissolved in olive oil (at a dose of 1.7 mg/kg of animal body weight) nearly doubled the lifespan of treated rats without inducing genomic toxicity. Researchers hypothesized that the lifespan-promoting effects of the C60-olive oil solution lay in its intracellular ability to attenuate age-related oxidative stress.

Researchers have further theorized that C60 fullerene may be possessed of anti-aging compounds such as lipophilic cations and other mitochondrial-targeted antioxidants that contribute to its lifespan-promoting mechanism. However, further in vitro and in vivo trials are necessary to confirm and elucidate the specifics of this ability. To date, the aforementioned study is the only peer-reviewed piece to specifically address C60 fullerene’s potential lifespan-promoting ability.


C60 fullerene has a well-researched and documented antioxidant capability. In a scientific review published by Biomedical Research International, researchers postulated that buckminsterfullerene’s antioxidant mechanisms are based on both high radical scavenging activities and the systematic uncoupling of respiration and phosphorylation activities. Via DFT (Discrete Fourier transform) simulation, they were able to discern that C60 travels between the inner and outer membranes of mitochondria, ultimately acquiring a positive charge and reducing the intensity of superoxide anion-radical production. This activity results in charge-loaded “cleaning” in subcellular compartments, possibly contributing to its highly effective antioxidant action in eukaryotic cells.

Overall, C60 fullerene is often characterized by researchers as a “free radical sponge,” an entity with an antioxidant efficacy that exceeds its conventional antioxidant counterparts by several hundred-fold. This activity has been verified in vivo. In a 2010 clinical trial published by Toxicology Mechanisms and Methods, researchers assessed the efficacy of C60 fullerene nanoparticles against doxorubicin-induced toxicity in rat kidneys, testes, and lungs. Results yielded that doxorubicin (a common chemotherapy treatment) produced a statistically significant increase in lipid peroxidation and alterations in antioxidant enzymatic activity. The C60 treatment exerted a protective role in terms of lipid peroxidation and the antioxidant activities of enzymes dismutase, catalase, glutathione-peroxidase, -reductase, and –transferase. Further investigation indicated that C60 fullerene treatment removed free iron in cells and thus attenuated doxorubicin toxicity.

Both in vivo and in vitro research has indicated that C60 has a somewhat unique and multi-faceted antioxidant and possibly radioprotective effect. In a 2009 publication of Free Radical Biology and Medicine, researchers examined the protective abilities of aqueous C60 solutions against ionizing radiation in vitro. It was confirmed that C60 fullerene exerted an antioxidant mechanism via the scavenging of hydroxyl radicals. Additionally, the compound was shown to protect nucleic acids against oxidative damage, ostensibly by reducing X-ray-generated reactive oxygen species (ROS). These results were later observed with laboratory mice that were exposed to radiation and administered an oral dosage of C60HyFn in vivo. These data indicate that C60 is both an antioxidant agent and a potential radioprotective molecule when synthesized carefully.

Convinced that C60 Oil is for you?
This is a list of our favorite C60 Oil on the market today.

Hair Growth

Fullerenes in general have been pinpointed as potential beneficial ingredients in cosmetics and hair-health products. Some science supports the theory that C60 enhances the strength of human hair fibers. In a 2006 study published by Applied Surface Science, researchers compared C60+ and Ga+ (positive gallium ions) in the enhancement of hair fibers in vitro. While at first data for the two ions appeared to be on a similar positive spectrum, further investigation yielded that C60+ produced a positive enhancement factor at silicone and cationic conditioner peaks that exceeded Ga+ by two and three orders of magnitude.

Some have theorized that C60 may have the capacity to be an effective hair-protective agent based on its purported anti-aging properties as well as its protective capabilities against chemotherapy-induced detrimental effects (possibly including hair loss). However, peer-reviewed, placebo-controlled clinical research is very limited in this regard.


In recent years, scientists have explored nanotechnology and its applications in novel cancer therapies. Buckminsterfullerene has emerged as a potential therapeutic in the field of cancer diagnosis and treatment. A 1994 study published by Chinese Physics Letters observed the biological impact of a water-soluble C60 liposome on human cervix cancer cells. Results indicated a significant inhibitory affect on cervix cancer cells when irradiated with C60.

A 2008 study published by Biomaterials further elucidated the molecule’s possible anti-cancer mechanism. Researchers administered a preparation of C60 fullerene (at doses of 25, 50, and 100 mg/kg per week for three weeks) to male Wistar rats with doxorubicin-induced toxicity as well as colorectal cancer. After results were investigated on macroscopic, microscopic, hematological, biochemical, physiological, pharmacological, and pharmacokinetic parameters, researchers concluded that C60 exerted a protective effect on the liver and tissue against chemotherapy-induced chronic toxicity. However, its ameliorative effects against colorectal cancer cells were not significant.

There is some concern that C60 fullerene may yield considerable toxicity toward normal cells, which lends some confusion towards its anti-cancer potential. A 2009 study also published by Biomaterials observed the ability of C60 to suppress tumor cell growth in vitro and in vivo. In the initial stages of the study, researchers observed that C60 induced apoptotic and necrotic cell death in B16 melanoma cells in a laboratory mouse model. However, after two weeks, researchers also observed that C60 actually began to augment tumor growth after intraperitoneal administration in an in vitro study. This demonstrates a significant difference between C60’s anticancer activity on an intracellular level and its capacity to potentiate tumor growth.

To sum, C60’s anti-cancer and chemoprotective capabilities appear to be complex and situation-dependent. For this reason, much more research is necessary before C60 fullerene can be considered a safe and effective adjunct cancer treatment.

Multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is a disease affecting the central nervous system, in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the protective myelin sheath that covers nerve fibers. This results in nerve scarring that inhibits effective signaling between the brain and body. Symptoms may include vision loss, chronic pain, impaired coordination, and chronic fatigue. While there is no cure for multiple sclerosis (MS) to date, research has indicated a strong need for effective antioxidant therapies in combating the oxidative stress associated with the disease. Some researchers have theorized that C60 may be an effective treatment for MS based on its antioxidant potency. Multiple sclerosis is also associated with free radical toxicity, a quality that may be ameliorated by C60’s mechanism of action. However, to date there have been no clinical trials proving or disproving buckminsterfullerene’s efficacy in treating multiple sclerosis.


In addition to being a powerful antioxidant, C60 fullerene has demonstrated anti-inflammatory activities. A 2016 study published by the Journal of Nanobiotechnology observed the therapeutic effects of a water-soluble form of fullerene C60 in ROS (reactive oxygen species)-dependent inflammation. A C60 solution was administered subcutaneously and epicutaneously to mice suffering from atopic dermatitis. Results indicated that C60 was able to restore functionality of the skin barrier, shifting immune response from Th2 cytokine production to increased Th1 cytokine production.

A study published by Basic  & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology yielded similar results. Researchers examined the therapeutic effects of a saline solution of C60 in mice with neutrophilic lung inflammation induced by quartz. Results indicated that, via free radical scavenging, C60 was able to attenuate neutrophilic lung inflammation and neutralize the pro-inflammatory actions of quartz-induced ROS.


A 2010 study published by the Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology evaluated a highly purified and organic-solvent-free treatment of C60 fullerene and its capabilities as a cosmetic antioxidant. The study was conducted with twenty-three Japanese women in their thirties; they were enrolled in an eight-week trial assessing the anti-wrinkle efficacy of LF-SQ (squalane-dissolved C60 fullerene) in which the blended cream was applied twice daily on one side of the face. Researchers evaluated the following parameters: trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL), moisture levels of the stratum corneum, and visco-elasticity of the cheeks. Conclusions yielded that LF-SQ was not effective by the fourth week, but began to produce results by the 8th week. Specifically, the LF-SQ preparation reduced skin roughness by a statistically significant margin (p<0.05).

C60 fullerene is often referred to as a “radical sponge” in terms of its relationship with the skin. While C60 fullerene has been the subject of intensive research in the cosmetic industry over the past few years, some researchers have also demonstrated interest in its free radical scavenging activity in relationship to melanogenesis in human skin cells. A 2006 study published by Fullerenes, Nanotubes and Carbon Nanostructures evaluated the inhibitory effect of water-soluble C60 on UV-induced apopotosis-like cell death against HaCaT cells. Researchers observed that the water-soluble fullerene treatment inhibited cell death and attenuated melanogenesis in human skin cells without any observable cytotoxicity. This information indicates that C60 fullerene may have anti-melanoma activities as well as skin-lightening properties. However, a safety evaluation of C60 fullerene and its impacts on the human dermis has yet to be conducted.


Some researchers have proposed the use of C60 in the treatment of diabetes mellitus and its complications based on the allotrope’s action on oxidative stress. In a 2012 study conducted by the Palladin Institute of Biochemistry of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (NASU) in Kiev, researchers assessed the antioxidant effects of hydrated C60 fullerene (C60HyFn) in the brains and livers of male Wistar rats with streptozotocin-induced hyperglycemia (streptozotocin also induced oxidative damage in the lipids and proteins of the rats’ central nervous system and liver). Researchers found that therapeutically-administered C60 fullerene restored gilial fibrillary acidic proteins to their normal levels by lowering astrogliosis (a destructive increase of astrocytes due to trauma or infection) caused by hyperglycemia. However, they also observed that C60 did not remediate blood glucose levels in diabetic rats and therefore did not attenuate the primary causal factor of metabolic disturbance.

Another study published by Toxicology explored diabetes mellitus as it relates to male sexual dysfunction and the ability of hydrated C60 fullerene in eliminating hyperglycemia-induced testicular dysfunction in male Wistar rats. Rats received an aqueous treatment of C60 at a dose of 4μg/kg daily for five weeks after hyperglycemia was induced with streptozotocin. Researchers found that levels of serum testosterone, testicular-reduced glutathione, and alpha-tocopherol were significantly reduced under STZ-induced diabetes, but that C60 had a significant corrective effect on these parameters.

Though results of these and other studies are not definitively conclusive, there is some clinical evidence to indicate that C60 may play a measured role in reducing diabetes-induced oxidative stress and complications of diabetes mellitus. However, it is unlikely that C60 fullerene treatment is able to ameliorate the cause of hyperglycemic diabetes.

Weight Loss

Buckminsterfullerene oil’s protective action against reactive oxygen species (ROS) has led many researchers to hypothesize that it may yield a weight management effect, based on the assumption that reactive oxygen species play a key factor in the development of obesity. A study published by Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry examined intracellular lipid accumulation in a laboratory mouse model and observed buckminsterfullerene’s ability to suppress this process. Researchers found that polyhydroxylated fullerene C60 suppressed lipid accumulation and subsequent PPARγ2 expression, ultimately decreasing the spontaneous differentiation of preadipocytes into adipocytes (or fat storage cells).

 A 2010 study published by Biomaterials yielded similar results. Researchers explored the effects of squalane-dissolved fullerene C60 on adipose conversion in inflammatory adipose-tissue and stromal preadipocyte-U937 lymphoma cell cultures. They found that squalane-dissolved fullerene C60 inhibited macrophage activation and adipogenesis in the OP9-U937 culture. Researchers concluded that squalane-C60 fullerene may have potential as a therapeutic option in the treatment of metabolic syndrome and/or obesity-related diseases.

Macular degeneration

Macular degeneration is a condition caused by the slow degradation of the eye’s central retina, and is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in North America. In recent years, individuals studying the degeneration of the human eye have turned to nanotechnology as a possible regenerative therapy.

To date, no studies have pointed to C60 specifically as a therapeutic agent in the treatment of macular degeneration. However, a 2005 study published by Chemistry & Biology did observe the antimicrobial and photosensitive activity of C60 compounds against gram-positive bacteria, gram-negative bacteria, and fungi. Results pointed C60 fullerene as an effective and selective antimicrobial photosensitizer, meaning it may have a similar mechanism to medications that use photodynamic therapy to ameliorate macular degeneration (such as verteporfin, a benzoporphyrin derivative). However, more clinical evidence is needed before C60 fullerene can be considered a safe and efficacious photodynamic therapy in the treatment of retinal degeneration.


There is no clinical evidence to suggest that buckminsterfullerene or its derivatives have an antidepressant effect on patients. A 2008 study published by the Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology found that, while intracerebral injection of C60 in laboratory rats did increase dopamine turnover rates in the hypothalamus and serotonin turnover rates in the hypothalamus, cerebral cortex, and hippocampus, intraperitoneal injection decreased dopamine turnover rates in the hippocampus. These data suggest that C60 fullerene cannot cross the blood-brain barrier and can only act on the central nervous system when administered intracerebrally.

More data is required to elucidate buckminsterfullerene’s exact mechanism of action in the central nervous systems of mammals.

C60 Dosage

Most individuals opt to take 1 to 3 ml per day of buckminsterfullerene olive oil. The proper dosage of C60 oil has not been clinically validated or scientifically evaluated, so this is based strictly on anecdotal information from individuals taking C60 olive oil.

C60 oil should not be situated near any heat-producing appliances. Further, refrigeration will cause the substance to congeal.

C60 Side Effects, Toxicity, Safety and Warning

While C60 has exhibited numerous beneficial effects in the laboratory and is easily absorbed into mammalian cells, it is important to remember that its permeability represents potential dangers to the cell membrane if administered incorrectly or excessively. Further, buckminsterfullerene is, in essence, a carbon allotrope, and has some similar structural properties to asbestos fibers. When dissolved in oil, C60 fullerene is believed to be relatively safe as oil affinity prevents the molecular clustering that leads to crystallization and toxicity. However, research into the toxicity of C60 oil is relatively limited, and it is recommended that interested patients consult thoroughly with a physician and be highly conscious of factors such as manufacturers and product purity. Though C60 fullerene has yielded substantial benefits in laboratory mouse models, it is important to note that these results arise under meticulously controlled conditions. Further, there have been some anecdotal reports of tumorigenesis resulting from C60 oil consumption.

Though C60 is believed to be safest in its oil form, it is vital to remember that oxidized oil is not invulnerable to toxicity. Polyphenols in oils decline very quickly in a matter of months, and this process is only accelerated by the introduction of light and oxygen. Many researchers are currently evaluating alternative vehicles for detoxifying C60 and delivering its beneficial bioactive assets to the human body. Further, there is some concern among global administrative bodies regarding the integration of C60 fullerene into ingestible food sources.

The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety, for example, determined after an analysis of existing toxicological and microbiological data that most key safety information is lacking in relationship to this supplement. The European Food Safety Authority concluded that the application of C60 fullerene to food sources could not be accurately assessed due to a lack of conclusive data.



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The Timeline of the Common Cold

Getting a cold can be the worst. It may feel like the discomfort, fever, and runny noses will never end. The most common cause of a cold is the rhinovirus. It has an incubation period of two days—this is the period where you have the cold and are contagious but do not yet feel symptoms.

Your age will affect the likely hood that you will contract a cold virus. In general, babies and toddlers are usually infected six times a year, adults are infected two to three times per year, and older adults get colds about once a year. The length and severity will vary slightly from person to person, but overall, there is a very specific timeline for a cold. Today, doctors break a cold into four stages: inflammation, mucous, congestion, and recovery. Each of these four stages has a specific timeline and symptoms. In order to properly treat the cold, you need to have a good understanding of each stage.

We will get into to how to treat each stage of a cold below. But, the best way to prevent a cold from occurring is to find a supplement to keep your immune system functioning optimally. Getting enough sleep and rest, managing stress, and washing your hand properly can all help keep you healthy throughout the year. But, if you are unlucky enough to get an annoying cold, we have all of the information you need in the rest of this article.

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Stage 1: The Inflammation Stage

The inflammation stage, is when you first start feeling symptoms like a fever, sore throat, and a swollen nose. These symptoms usually appear after you’ve already had the cold virus for a couple of days. However, they can be uncomfortable and indicate to most people that sickness is coming.

Stage 1 Symptoms

Stage 1 is defined by a lot of inflammation in your body. You will likely begin to have a fever and experience fatigue. Some other common symptoms include

  • Chills
  • Aches and Pains
  • Headache
  • Dry throat and cough
  • Dry and swollen nose
  • Swollen glands
  • Lake of appetite
  • Thirst

These symptoms will last approximately one to two days depending on the person and they begin about two days after you pick up the virus. You will likely feel bad during stage one, and it is important to begin treating the symptoms of your cold as soon as possible.

Stage 1 Treatment

The best way to treat the symptoms of Stage One is to get enough rest. Because you will feel fatigue, adequate rest will help to manage that symptom. Also, sleep helps your body regenerate, which is important in the treatment of a cold.

Additionally, during stage one you should begin drinking warm liquids, like chicken broth, herbal teas, and water with lemon. Do not drink or eat sugar, fruit juice, pop, cordials, or sports drinks as they may exacerbate your symptoms.

Stage 2: The Mucous Stage

The mucous stage, involves a lot of mucous as you might expect. This is the time of the cold when you cough sneeze a lot and have a runny nose. You do not want to swallow any of the mucous if you can help it, clearing it out of your system is the best option.

Stage 2 Symptoms

Stage Two is the fun part of your cold when you seem to be drowning in your mucous. It will be clear and runny. The mucous at this stage is important because it helps to wash the cold out of your system. You do not want to swallow any of the mucous if you can help it because that will keep the cold in your symptom longer.

The mucous stage usually only lasts one to three days, and its appearance indicates that your cold is getting better. Other stage two symptoms include

  • Sneezing
  • Conjunctivitis
Stage 2 Treatment

Stage Two is one of the most annoying of the four cold stages. It can be tempting to use decongestants at this stage, but that can cause the mucous to linger. You would be better served to keep getting enough sleep and drinking warm fluids like herbal teas and water with lemon.

You may also want to take vitamins or other natural treatments for building up your immune system. Plus, if you are prone to sinus infection or bronchitis, you will want to treat for those condition in this stage as well. The healthier your immune system and body, the less time you will stay in stage two of your cold.

Stage 3: The Congestion Stage

The congestion stage is when you should begin taking medicine to control your symptoms. You will likely have sinus pain, wet coughing, and post nasal drip. While the symptoms of this stage are uncomfortable and annoying, they do indicate that you are almost through the cold cycle.

Stage 3 Symptoms

Another nasty stage, the congestion stage of a cold still has a lot of mucous. However, instead of being clear, it will be yellow or green. This is caused by the healthy bacteria in your nose growing back and changing the color of the mucous. This is not unusual and is the healthy response from your body. So, you should not worry when your mucous begins to change color.

Stage Three is often shorter than the others, as your body is healing. Some people don’t even notice a difference from stage two to stage four. When you treat the first two stages of your cold effectively, then stage three is usually quite short (1-2 days) and mild. Some other symptoms from this stage are

  • Sinus pain
  • Headaches
  • Post nasal drip
  • Sore throat and nose
Stage 3 Treatment

Continue to treat your cold in Stage Three in the same way that you have in the first two stages. This means lots of warm liquids and rest. However, at this stage you can also add a decongestant if you need to control the mucous. Ibuprofen or another pain reliever can help reduce the effects of headaches or sinus pain.

A natural decongestant is garlic, which helps to break down mucous, making it easier for the mucous to leave your body. Honey can help to ease sore and irritated throats. Some improvement in nighttime coughing was observed when people take a dose of honey before bed.

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Stage 4: The Recovery Stage

The final stage, recovery, begins once you start to feel better. Your normal appetite resumes, and your symptoms begin to abate. If is essential that you take care of yourself by drinking enough fluids and getting lots of sleep. You don’t want the cold cycle to begin again.

Stage 4 Symptoms

Hurray! Your cold is almost over. Stage Four—recovery—is when you begin to feel better. Yet, you should still take it easy, as your body and immune system will be tired from fighting off the infection.

During Stage Four you will begin to feel significantly better. Your nose may stop running and you’ll lose your cough. If you had a fever that will come back to normal. However, you will likely still feel quite tired. Additionally, some of the cold symptoms from stages two and three could linger for a week or two.

Stage 4 Treatment

The best thing to do when in stage four of a cold is to continue getting enough rest. As mentioned above, your body will be depleted because of the cold, so taking a few days off from intense exercise or busy nights would be best.

During the end of your cold you should also continue to eat nutrient dense foods and warm foods like coups, stews, and casseroles. Some people recommend not consuming too much raw foods or sugar in these final days. You should also make sure to keep yourself warm, especially if you live in a cold climate.

Essentially, the best thing that you can do for yourself in stage four is to build your immune system back up, so that you don’t get another cold again for a long time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Whats the Difference Between a Cold and the Flu?

Often people struggle to know whether they have a cold or a flu since both conditions have similar symptoms. However, it is important to know whether you have a cold or flu, since you treat these conditions slightly differently. While rest and warm fluids are treatments for both flus and colds, flus can become serious.

According to the CDC, flu symptoms differ from cold symptoms in the following ways:

  • Symptom onset is abrupt for flus and gradual for colds
  • Fevers are usual with flus and rare in colds
  • Sneezing only happens sometimes with flus and is common with colds
  • Stuffy noses and sore throats only occur sometimes with flus and are common with colds

For the complete list of differences between flus and colds visit the CDC’s website at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/coldflu.htm.

What are signs that your cold is getting better?

The largest sign that your cold is getting better is that you will begin to feel better. If you have a fever it should go away around this time. You should feel stronger and your appetite should return.

Keep in mind that just because all of your symptoms do not go away doesn’t mean you are not recovering. It is common for sore throats and runny noses to continue for a while after you have started recovering from a cold. This is normal.

You should be completely back to normal by day fourteen-or two weeks after your cold began. If you are still dealing with persistent symptom, you should seek out a doctor’s opinion at this time, as your cold may have turned into something else.

How long does a Runny Nose Last?

Probably the most annoying symptom of a cold is the runny nose. This problem is messy, can interrupt sleep, and can be extremely distracting. Thankfully runny noses tend to get better on their own as your body fights off the infection. However, a runny nose is usually one of the last symptoms of the cold to go away.

Most often your nose will start running two or three days into your cold. These couple of days will be the worst of the runny nose. However, your nose may stay slightly runny for ten to fourteen days total.

You can use over-the-counter medications like Dayquil or Nightquil to treat your runny nose. Also, it is important to have tissues to blow into and Vaseline or other balm to use on your nose as it gets irritated. If your runny nose does not go away after fourteen days, you should contact your doctor.

How long does a cold typically last?

In all, a cold usually lasts ten to fourteen days. A typical timeline looks like this,

Day 0: Receiving the cold virus. You will not have symptoms at this stage, but you will be contagious.

Day 1-2: Stage 1

Day 3-4: Stage 2

Day 5-6: Stage 3

Day 6-14: Stage 4/recovery

Obviously, this is just an estimation of a typical cold timeline. Your cold should progress similarly. But, if the timeline is slightly changed—such as stage two lasting from days 3-5 and no stage three, for example—that is not an indication of any problem.

If symptoms persist after day 14, you should consult a doctor. When recovering from a cold your body is in danger from a second infection. People who have preexisting conditions like asthma, congestive heart failure, and kidney problems should especially be on the lookout for colds that do not seem to end. The cold virus can exacerbate these conditions.

Sometimes colds can become dangerous infections. You should seek immediate assistance if you have any of these serious symptoms:

  • High fever (101-degrees F or more) for more than twenty-four hours
  • Mucous discharge that is brown or bloody
  • Dizziness or confusion
  • Severe pain
  • Problems breathing, shortness of breath, or problems swallowing



The post The Stages of the Common Cold: A Day by Day Progression & Timeline appeared first on A-Z List of Medicinal Herbs and Their Uses (Healing Herbs).

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What is Jaggery?

Jaggery is a traditional sweetener from India with a long history of use especially in Asia, Africa, and South America. It was and still is a popular sweetener used in baked goods, drinks, desserts, candies, a variety of dishes, and for medicinal uses.  Jaggery is called “non-centrifugal sugar” because it is obtained through the process of evaporating water in sugar cane juice. This unrefined sugar can be made from sugar cane or palm sap, which is grown in a tropical environment.  Jaggery is said to be superior to the alternative white sugar not only because it contains more nutrients versus empty calories, but it is also said to possess a variety of health benefits. During the process of making jaggery, it’s not spun, therefore the molasses remains. Making jaggery involves three steps: extraction, clarification, and concentration. The canes or palms first are pressed, and the juice is extracted; following this the juice is left for any sediment to settle out, then strained. Finally, the pure juice is poured into a large flat pan and boiled where the impurities are removed. A sticky, dough like substance is formed and poured into molds to cool or left in the pan and cut into squares after it sets. They vary in color from light golden brown to dark brown depending on how it’s cooked and the quality. Jaggery is described as having a rich, sweet, and sometimes salty taste. Depending on the quality, the taste may vary and some may be more rich than others. Jaggery comes in blocks, liquids, or granules.

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Depending on location, jaggery goes by different names. The other most common name besides jaggery is gur, the name it’s referred to in India. Other names include: Panela in Colombia, Piloncillo in Mexico, panela in Latin America, kokuto in Japan, and tapa dulce in Costa Rica.

Jaggery Benefits and Uses

Unlike other sugars, Jaggery has some good health benefits that come along with it. Due to the way it’s processed and not spun, the nutrients are kept and have some positive effects on health.

Weight loss

Though not backed by studies yet, anecdotal use suggests Jaggery may help with weight loss by boosting the metabolism. The vitamins and minerals might keep electrolytes balanced, while reducing water retention, and having a detoxifying effect on the liver.


Again there is some anecdotal use for using Jaggery as relief for eczema by creating a homemade sugar scrub. Since Jaggery contains nutrients compared to refined sugars, it makes it a better choice for a sugar scrub and improving eczema. Always be sure to check with your doctor before trying new forms of treatment on your skin.

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Anecdotal use suggests consumption of Jaggery results in a lower incidence of diabetes compared to other areas where white sugar is mainly consumed. However, Jaggery is still sugar and diabetics need to use caution when it comes to sugar dense foods and beverages. Studies are needed to find out just how jaggery can be used for diabetes, it is proposed that there is more so a good long term effect versus any short term effects.


A common problem with women around their period is mood swings. Jaggery has been said to release endorphins and reduce anxiety, as well as relax the body. It has also been said to serve as a muscle relaxer and reduce uterine cramps and abdominal pain. On top of these benefits, jaggery can help to regulate menstrual cycles.


PCOS is an endocrine disorder that is characterized by weight gain, unwanted hair growth, infertility, mood changes, and acne. There are many more symptoms accompanying this condition and one of them is lack of or irregular periods. Though there haven’t been any studies published backing it, anecdotal evidence has shown that there are home remedies such as mixing Jaggery with black sesame seeds to induce a menstrual cycle.


Another one of the many benefits of Jaggery is its ability to help with a cough. Anecdotal evidence shows that Jaggery can sooth an irritated throat, as well as warm the lungs and dilate the respiratory track to aid with troubled breathing. Jaggery is also said to help with expelling phlegm along with cough relief. Currently there are no published studies validating this yet.


Jaggery has some benefits when it comes to the skin, these were found way back in 1993 in Japan. There were two bioactive phenolic compounds isolated from the molasses in the sugar cane used to make Jaggery that were found to have a property that inhibited tyrosinase activity. This was found to be a natural therapeutic use for treating abnormal skin pigmentation. Anecdotal evidence also says that eating Jaggery can help with acne and creating healthy, smooth skin.


Another reported benefit of Jaggery is its’ digestive properties. Since it contains natural digestive enzymes, it’s said to reduce constipation, and enhance digestion. It also has the capability to neutralize stomach acid and reduce acid reflux symptoms as some people have reported.


Studies dating way back to 1949 have showed promising data that non-centrifugal sugars such as Jaggery which contain iron, are readily absorbed when studied in rats. There have been a few studies since then on women and children that have shown more iron absorption when consuming Jaggery. If more studies follow this pattern, it may lead to new ways to help anemic patients.

Sugar vs. Jaggery: What’s the difference?

When processing the typical white sugar, it’s considered refined and all nutrients are removed. Jaggery on the other hand is unrefined, whole sugar, that is created through a process that preserves the minerals and plant chemicals. It is considered healthier than refined sugar because it contains small amounts of iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, copper, chromium, selenium, zinc, and B vitamins. Although sugar is sugar, having beneficial minerals versus empty calories is preferred. On top of the nutrient content, Jaggery has unique medicinal properties and is used to help in a variety of ways listed above.

Jaggery dosage

Jaggery should be used in relatively small amounts due to its effect on blood glucose levels and body weight. Little amounts of Jaggery has been shown to yield positive benefits. 10 grams of Jaggery is around 38 calories and 10 carbs and 10 sugars. Larger amounts such as half a cup of Jaggery is about 383 calories. Sometimes it’s easy to add Jaggery to meals to sweeten them up, but the calories add up fast and that’s where the weight gain will come from. Although there are nutrients within the calories its still sugar and spikes blood sugar. Use caution when adding Jaggery to meals or consuming squares of Jaggery, small amounts can be calorie dense and have little nutrients.

Jaggery Side Effects, Safety, Dangers and Dangers

Long term and heavy use of Jaggery can lead to weight gain if large amounts are consumed. Sugar is sugar and too much can lead to weight gain, insulin resistance, and diabetes. Diabetic patients should talk with their physician and limit Jaggery usage in order to control sugars and prevent spikes. Excessive use of Jaggery in those without diabetes can also lead to blood sugar increase. Those with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Jaggery isn’t recommended due to being harder to digest and the possibility of triggering symptoms. Prolonged use of Jaggery has been said to increase the risk for developing intestinal worms. Jaggery is safe and has not shown to be toxic in any way. It is also safe to be consumed during pregnancy in moderation. Always check with your doctor before consuming new supplements, especially if you have existing conditions.



The post Jaggery Benefits: Is Gur Really Better than Sugar? appeared first on A-Z List of Medicinal Herbs and Their Uses (Healing Herbs).

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What is Cream of Tartar?

Most people probably know cream of tartar from their kitchen. This common food additive is used in baking, especially as a stabilizing agent or leavener. When mixed with baking soda, cream of tartar helps create baking powder. (There’s a helpful tip for you, if you ever run out of baking powder and want to make muffins.) It is especially used in meringues as it helps to stabilize egg whites.

Cream of tartar does not come directly form a plant. Instead, it is a leftover of the wine-making process. It is a potassium acid salt of tartaric acid, which is left in wine barrels after fermentation. If you’ve ever seen white powder in wine barrels, that is cream of tartar. These white crystals do not dissolve into the wine, and you can also find them occasionally on the underside of wine corks.

In chemistry cream of tartar is called either potassium bitartrate or potassium hydrogen tartrate. It has the formula of K C₄ H₅ O₆ and is a carboxylic acid. This means that it is more acidic than other organic compounds. However, in the thousands of years that humans have been using cream of tartar, there are very few reported instances of cream of tartar toxicity.

When cream of tartar occurs in the wine barrels, it is in its crudest form, called argol or argal. That word comes to use from the 13th century. Then once the crystals are harvested they are known as beeswing. In order to become the common baking ingredient, the beeswing has to be purified. In the form that we know and love, it is a white and odorless powder. You can find cream of tartar in any grocery store.

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But, in addition to its culinary uses, cream of tartar has been used as a medicine. You will find it in traditional or alternative health products aimed to treated constipation, cystitis, and smoking. We go into detail on how cream of tartar is used to treat these conditions below. Additionally, cream of tartar is used in products not consumed by humans, including cleaning products, toothpastes, and other “natural” products.

Cream of Tartar Health Benefits and Medicinal Uses Smoking

There are no scientific studies to confirm this, but many people use cream of tartar to help them stop smoking. They mix the cream of tartar in water and a little bit of orange juice. We discuss this process in more detail before. Anecdotal evidence seems to indicate that this process—if drunk every night before bed—will flush the nicotine from your system. This supposedly helps you stop craving nicotine but can take 7-21 days for you to feel the full effect.

Weight Loss

Because cream of tartar has a laxative effect on the body—more on this below—it is sometimes used as a weight loss tool. However, like all laxatives, cream of tartar can be misused. This is especially dangerous with cream of tartar because of the high concentration of potassium, which could be life-threatening is overdosed on.

Also, there is some people suspect that when people use cream of tartar for weight loss—which has no scientific evidence to support it—they are confusing it with another “cream of tartar” plant, the baobab. The baobab tree from Africa and western Australia does have health benefits that could aid diets, but it is a significantly different substance than the cream of tartar we find in our kitchens.


Cream of tartar is often cited as a great detox tool, especially for people quitting smoking. It is claimed by bloggers and other non-scientific sources, that cream of tartar mixed with orange juice will flush the nicotine and lung damage from a smoker’s body. This use of cream of tartar does not have any scientific studies examining it, but you can find a plethora of anecdotal evidence to back it up.

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You will find many people claiming that applying cream of tartar to your face or ingest it with water will help clear up any acne problems. There is no scientific evidence that these cures work, and you should always be careful when consuming cream of tartar because of its high potassium content. However, as a topical application, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that cream of tartar just might help to clear up your acne scars.


Gout is caused by too many uric acid crystals occur in your joints. This causes joint pain and can be hard to treat. Although there are medicinal options for treating gout, some people prefer to not use drugs. Many use creams of tartar to help control the uric acid in their system. To do this they drink water mixed with cream of tartar, which supposedly helps to break up the uric acid crystals. There are no scientific studies to support this treatment, so its effectiveness is purely anecdotal at this point.

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

Some natural health practitioners believe that drinking a small amount of cream of tartar in warm water will help you get rid of your UTI faster. UTIs should never be treated without the input of a doctor. So, if you want to try this “cure,” you should speak to your doctor first. But, the author Jethro Kloss, claims that using cream of tartar for treating UTIs goes back for decades and can help you get well faster. Just, keep in mind, that these stories are all anecdotal.


Another common, but anecdotal, use for cream of tartar is arthritis. Many websites claim that if you combine cream of tartar with Epsom salts and bath in it, it will help ease your arthritis symptoms. These sites and blogs claim that a person has to bath in the Epsom salt/cream of tartar mixture for up to three times a week to feel the effects.


Historically, cream of tartar has been used as a laxative. In fact, cream of tartar has an extremely long history as a laxative. There is some scientific evidence to back up the claims about cream of tartar’s laxative properties. A 2003 study gave one group of test subjects sun-dried raisins and the other group received 5 grams of cream of tartar. The researchers found no difference in the laxative properties of the two substances; although, the fiber in sun-dried raisins did increase feccal weight.

Additionally, the high levels of potassium in cream of tartar may explain its laxative properties. Potassium increases the amount of water in your bowels, which them can work more quickly and efficiently. Since cream of tartar has a high amount of potassium in it, it makes sense that it would have a laxative effect on the body.


There is plenty of scientific evidence to support the use of cream of tartar as a laxative—in small amounts of course—however, some people take this a step further and use the substance as a way to cleanse their body. For one, the idea of cleansing is not supported by the medical community and is only upheld by anecdotal evidence.

Also, there is a real danger when using cream of tartar in this way. A 2013 paper published in the Journal of Medical Toxicology examined two cases where people took cream of tartar as a cleanse and ended up giving themselves Hyperkalemia. Hyperkalemia is a condition where you have too much potassium in your body, and it can be fatal. So, if you use large amounts of cream of tartar to cleanse your body, you may in fact just be poisoning it.

Cream of Tartar and Orange Juice

There are a lot of anecdotes out there that claim drinking a cup of orange juice with ½ teaspoon of cream of tartar will help you quit smoking cold turkey. There are no studies on the effectiveness of this treatment. However, many people swear that drinking this concoction will help to repair your lung functioning and other smoking damage.

There is some reason to suspect that orange juice—not from concentrate—and cream of tartar might have a healing effect on a quitting smoker’s body. First of all, cream of tartar has a lot of potassium in it, which is usually deficient in smoker’s systems. Second, it may help to balance the body’s pH. And, third, the Vitamin C you receive from the orange juice help to support your immune system, especially for people—like smokers—who have a suppressed immune system to begin with.

Keep in mind that the only evidence for this effect is anecdotal. So, you could try drinking orange juice and cream of tartar every night and it may work for you. But, you should always consult your physician before beginning a new health regime.

Cream of Tartar Dosage

The recommended dosage of cream of tartar depends on the way you are planning to use it. If you are baking with cream of tartar, then you should just use the amount called for in your recipe. For example, if you want to make a tablespoon of homemade baking powder, you should mix one teaspoon of baking soda and two teaspoons of cream of tartar—so it will be a 2:1 ration of cream of tartar to baking soda. However, if you are using cream of tartar to stabilize whipped cream, you might only use 1/8 of a teaspoon.

The dosage you probably care most about: medicine. Again, it depends on what you are curing. But, because of the high amount of potassium in cream of tartar and its laxative effect, it is best to start with an extremely small amount, probably 1/8 teaspoon or less. As always, discuss cream of tartar dosing with your doctor.

Cream of Tartar Side Effects, Safety, Dangers and Warnings

Cream of tartar contains a large amount of potassium. In fact, each teaspoon provides 14 percent of your daily recommended value. Because of the high potassium content, you need to make sure that you don’t consume too much of cream of tartar or you could end up with a condition called Hyperkalemia, which can be life threatening in some instances.

It is highly unlikely that normal, healthy adults will get Hyperkalemia from cream of tartar because of the small amounts used in most doses. But, people with kidney problems or those on medications that effect kidney function will need to be especially careful when consuming cream of tartar.

Another health concern to keep in mind with cream of tartar is its laxative effect. Again, this will likely not be a problem for most people. Most culinary recipes using cream of tartar use too small an amount to create that effect. Yet, take care when using medicinal products with cream of tartar in them, as they could have more of the substance than is good for your body.

Because of the potential problems with cream of tartar, if you are pregnant or nursing, you should discuss using cream of tartar medicinally with your doctor. For cooking purposes, so little cream of tartar is used that there is no risk. However, it is always better to be safe than sorry, especially if you have kidney issues.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Does Cream of Tartar go Bad?

Because cream of tartar is made of inorganic compounds, it is not perishable. That means that no, cream of tartar does not go bad. However, if somehow contaminates have gotten into your jar of cream of tartar, then it may no longer be good.

If you have a bottle of cream of tartar you need to check it for any punctures, rust, cracks, etc. Also, if when you open the bottle, there is signs of moisture, then you should not use the cream of tartar. You can also shake the jar before opening to make sure that the cream of tartar is not formed into a single lump. And, finally, you can always check the potency of your cream of tartar by putting ½ a teaspoon into water with a pinch of baking soda. If the mixture foams, then it is still good.



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What is Tragacanth Gum?

Tragacanth Gum is a natural gum that is produced by several different species of the Astragalus genus. Astragalus plants often go by the names goat’s thorn or locoweed. The species used to make tragacanth gum include A. adscendens, A. gummifer, A. brachycalyx, and A. tragacantha. These are all legume bearing shrubs from the Middle East. Tragacanth gum is made from the dried sap of these plants. You can find this substance also under the name Gond Katira, Kutira Gummi, Katheera, Katila, Ela-imbue-Kini Hi Riya, Shiraz gum, Shiraz, gum elect, and/or gum dragon. The most common name—tragacanth—has Greek origins. In Greek, tragos means goat and akantha means thorn.

Iran is the largest producer of tragacanth gum in the world. The gum is extracted from the Astragalus plant’s roots through tapping, just as you do to produce maple syrup. The syrup that is produced from the plant dries quickly to become tragacanth gum. It is odorless, tasteless, and water soluble. It can be made into a powder, gel, or paste.

In addition to the medicinal uses described below, tragacanth gum has a variety of uses. In fact, you can find it as an emulsifier, thickener, stabilizer, and texturizer. It is traditionally used to bind pastel paint and is used in sugar craft paste to create flowers and other sugar decorations. It is also used to secure the flag leaf of the cigar to its body. In food products, tragacanth gum can be found in drinks, sauces, salad dressings, ice cream, the list goes on. Finally, people in Saudi Arabia use a mixture of Tragacanth, water, and dried and ground Ziziphus spina-christi (Christ’s thorn jujube) as a shampoo.

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In essence, because of its tasteless and odorless nature, you will find tragacanth gum in a wide variety of seemingly unrelated products. The one thing that connects them all is tragacanth’s use as an emulsifier and/or thickening agent. You may find tragacanth to be similar to another gum called Guggul.

Tragacanth Gum Benefits, and Uses

There has been a lot of research done on tragacanth gum, but most of it is in relation to its use as a food additive. Very little research has bene don on the actual medicinal benefits of the substance. So, most of the claims discussed below are only proven from anecdotal evidence. We will mention scientific studies and clinical trials when they are applicable.


As mentioned in our overview of tragacanth gum, in some Middle Eastern countries, it is used as a shampoo. Because of its gelling qualities, it makes a good addition to any lathering shampoo or conditioner. There are no scientific studies that specifically prove that tragacanth gum is good for a person’s hair. Instead, it is a well-known emulsifier in science.

However, various traditional medicines claim that tragacanth gum helps to strengthen the hair and stop hair loss. Some even claim that the hydrated tragacanth gum will do the job of shampoo and only recommend putting in a couple of drops of essential oil for scent. Anecdotally the gel is said to give hair more thickness and volume even after just one wash.

Breast Enlargement

One of the largest claims by believers in tragacanth gum is that drinking it regularly will increase a woman’s breast size. It is also said that you have to wait quite a long time to experience this result. There have been no scientific studies that investigate this claim about the substance. How tragacanth gum physiologically changes a woman’s breast size is not explained at all. So, the only way to discover if this effect is true or not is to try it for yourself.


Multiple studies have found tragacanth gum to be an effective wound treatment. An especially interesting paper published in the International Journal of Biological Macromolecules found that tragacanth gum in addition to aloe vera extract had good wound healing activity. In particular, the product created a “considerable migration rate of fibroblast cells” that aid the healing of the skin.

Another study from 2017 found that tragacanth gum in addition to poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) and poly (vinyl alcohol) (PVA) could be able to help produce skin substitutes. In 2016, Tragacanth gum in addition to PVA and sodium alginate (SA) were also found to be suitable wound dressing application when made into hydrogels.

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Premature ejaculation

Another claim often made about tragacanth gum that is unsupported in medical literature is that it can cure sexual issues in men. Often these issues are called “weaknesses” in men. Anecdotal stories and traditional medicine history claim that tragacanth gum can cure conditions like erectile dysfunction, low semen count, and premature ejaculation. There have been no scientific studies so far that test for these results.


Because tragacanth gum is useful as a wound healing substance, it is often used to cure acne and or skin conditions. Some even include recipes for using tragacanth gum to create “beautiful skin.” These recipes typically involve rehydrating the substance and adding it to egg whites, milk or milk powder, and other ingredients. Tragacanth gum is a perfect additive and becomes a thick paste. So, there is some reason to suggest that these anecdotes may be correct. However, no medical studies have been conducted to prove the effectiveness of tragacanth gum as a treatment for acne.


A 2016 study published in the journal Biologicals found a use for tragacanth gum in the form of a hydrogel could have some orthopedic applications. This study compared a hydrogel using tragacanth gum to a collagen hydrogel and tissue culture plate to produce osteoinductivity on stem cells. The researchers found that the hydrogel using tragacanth gum accelerated and supported the stem cells the best, which suggests an interesting avenue for tragacanth gum applications in the future. Obviously more studies will be needed before tragacanth gum could be used to strengthen and repair human bones.


Another 2016 found that tragacanth gum helped heal wounds in diabetic rats. While this study would seem to fit the wound healing section better, the fact that the rats were diabetic is important. This indicates, that although tragacanth gum may not be able to cure diabetes in the way that its followers anecdotally claim, it can still be used to help mitigate symptoms of the disease.

Weight Loss

Believers in tragacanth gum—especially those who practice Ayurveda—claim that it can aid weight loss efforts by increasing the metabolic rate of the body. They also state that it also helps your body to rid itself of waste, which only aids weight loss. Again, there have been no scientific studies that examine tragacanth gum’s effectiveness as a weight loss tool or its metabolic effects. All of the evidence for this claim is anecdotal.


You will occasionally find studies that examine guar gum’s effectiveness for treating constipation. Tragacanth gum is similar to guar gum, so it may be similarly helpful for getting your bowels moving again. However, no studies examine tragacanth gum specifically for this purpose. Blogs and other websites claim that tragacanth gum has purgative—laxative—properties that help treat constipation. But, again, no studies are available that prove these claims for tragacanth gum specifically.


Many people also claim that tragacanth gum has anti-aging properties that can reduce the appearance of wrinkles. There are studies to prove that tragacanth gum has a high level of antioxidants and heals wounds well. But, neither of these studies looked at whether or not the substance actually reduced the appearance of wrinkles. There is some anecdotal evidence for this conclusion as claimed on many pro-tragacanth gum websites and blogs. But, other than the antioxidants, there is no concrete evidence for this conclusion.


An older study from 1984 found that tragacanth gum does not alter the functioning of the mitochondria and liver microsomes of rats. This study contradicts a 1978 experiment that claimed tragacanth gum was bad for the liver and mitochondria. What these two studies do not do is claim that tragacanth gum improves liver function in any way. Essentially, the 1984 article only argues that it is safe for consumption. Any claims by alternative health practitioners that tragacanth gum will improve the health of your liver are only anecdotal.

Drug Delivery

In addition to studies that examine tragacanth gum’s use as an additive, a large portion of experiments examine the substance’s use as a drug delivery system. Because tragacanth gum is so thick, it can bind with many different types of medicines. This feature is especially important in instances where a drug needs to be released slowly into the body—however, it can also cause a problem with medicines that you don’t want released slowly.

In general, the many studies on this topic in the last few years have shown tragacanth gum to be an extremely effective drug delivery method.

Tragacanth Gum Dosage

There is no clinical or scientific research that specifies a dosage for tragacanth gum. In the United States the gum has a GRAS (general recognized as safe) status with the Food and Drug Administration as a food additive—not a medication.

Traditionally, when tragacanth gum is used as an oral medication you will be instructed to “fluff” the substance overnight in water. This rehydrates the dry gum. Most recipe call for hydrating 2 pieces of dried tragacanth gum in a glass of water. The next day you need to rinse it multiple times, then you can use it in the drink of your choice. Popular tragacanth gum drinks include water and lemon, kheer, and laddoos. However, you could always put it in juice or any other drink that you prefer. It is tasteless, so you will not notice tragacanth gum’s presence in your drink of choice.

If you are using a product—medicinal or not—with tragacanth gum in it, you should always follow the instructions on the bottle/box. These will inform you as to how to get the most out of the product you are using.

Tragacanth Gum Side Effects, Safety, Dangers and Warnings

Tragacanth gum does not have many reported side effects. In fact, it is considered safe when taken orally and used topically on the skin. Because tragacanth gum becomes a thick gel, it can block the intestines. So, you should always make sure to drink plenty of water when you are ingesting the gum. Also, it may cause breathing problems in people who have a quillaia bark (Soapbark) allergy.

Although tragacanth gum is considered relatively safe for most people, pregnant or nursing mothers should take care and consult a physician before using the substance. There have not been enough studies to conclusively prove that tragacanth gum is safe for these populations. However, a 1980 study found that tragacanth is extremely vulnerable to bacterial contamination. This was shown to cause fetus death in pregnant mice. So, pregnant mothers should be especially careful when use tragacanth gum. It is always better to be safe than sorry when trying a new medication, especially one with little scientific backing like tragacanth gum.

Finally, there are no specific drug interactions with tragacanth gum. However, the thick nature of the gel can interfere with medications and inhibit the amount of them that your body absorbs. This can potentially make your medication less effective. As a preventative measure, you should take tragacanth at least one hour after you take your medications.



The post Tragacanth Gum (Gond Katira): 12 Benefits and Uses of Ayurveda Gond appeared first on A-Z List of Medicinal Herbs and Their Uses (Healing Herbs).

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