Royal Jelly

Royal jelly is a honey bee secretion that is used in the nutrition of larvae, as well as adult queens. It is secreted from the glands in the hypopharynx of worker bees, and fed to all larvae in the colony.
When worker bees decide to make a new queen, either because the old one is weakening, or was killed, they choose several small larvae and feed them with copious amounts of royal jelly in specially constructed queen cells. This type of feeding triggers the development of queen morphology, including the fully developed ovaries needed to lay eggs.


Royal jelly is secreted from the glands in the heads of worker bees, and is fed to all bee larvae, whether they are destined to become drones (males), workers (sterile females) or queens (fertile females). After three days, the drone and worker larvae are no longer fed with royal jelly, but queen larvae continue to be fed this special substance throughout their development. It is harvested by stimulating colonies with movable frame hives to produce queen bees. Royal jelly is collected from each individual queen cell (honeycomb) when the queen larvae are about four days old. It is collected from queen cells because these are the only cells in which large amounts are deposited; when royal jelly is fed to worker larvae, it is fed directly to them, and they consume it as it is produced, while the cells of queen larvae are "stocked" with royal jelly much faster than the larvae can consume it. Therefore, only in queen cells is the harvest of royal jelly practical. A well-managed hive during a season of 5–6 months can produce approximately 500 g of royal jelly. Since the product is perishable, producers must have immediate access to proper cold storage (e.g., a household refrigerator or freezer) in which the royal jelly is stored until it is sold or conveyed to a collection centre. Sometimes honey or beeswax are added to the royal jelly, which is thought to aid its preservation.


Royal jelly is collected and sold as a dietary supplement for humans, claiming various health benefits because of components such as B-complex vitamins such as pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine). The overall composition of royal jelly is 67% water, 12.5% crude protein, including small amounts of many different amino acids, and 11% simple sugars (monosaccharides), also including a relatively high amount (5%) of fatty acids. It also contains many trace minerals, some enzymes, antibacterial and antibiotic components, and trace amounts of vitamin C,[2] but none of the fat-soluble vitamins, A, D, E and K.


The component of royal jelly that causes a bee to develop into a queen appears to be a single protein that has been called royalactin. Jelly which had been rendered inactive by prolonged storage had a fresh addition of each of the components subject to decay and was fed to bees; only jelly laced with royalactin caused the larvae to become queens. Royalactin also induces similar phenotypical change in the fruitfly (Drosophila melanogaster), marked by increased body size and ovary development.

Epigenetic effects

The honey bee queens and workers represent one of the most striking examples of environmentally controlled phenotypic polymorphism. In spite of their identical clonal nature at the DNA level, they are strongly differentiated across a wide range of characteristics including anatomical and physiological differences, longevity of the queen, and reproductive capacity. Queens constitute the sexual caste and have large active ovaries, whereas workers have only rudimental inactive ovaries and are functionally sterile. The queen/worker developmental divide is controlled epigenetically by differential feeding with royal jelly; this appears to be due specifically to the protein royalactin. A female larva destined to become a queen is fed large quantities of royal jelly; this triggers a cascade of molecular events resulting in development into a queen. It has been shown that this phenomenon is mediated by an epigenetic modification of DNA known as CpG methylation. Silencing the expression of an enzyme that methylates DNA in newly hatched larvae led to a royal jelly-like effect on the larval developmental trajectory; the majority of individuals with reduced DNA methylation levels emerged as queens with fully developed ovaries. This finding suggests that DNA methylation in honey bees allows the expression of epigenetic information to be differentially altered by nutritional input.


Royal jelly has been reported as a possible immunomodulatory agent in Graves' disease. It has also been reported to stimulate the growth of glial cells and neural stem cells in the brain. To date, there is preliminary evidence that it may have some cholesterol-lowering, anti-inflammatory, wound-healing, and antibiotic effects, though the last three of these effects are unlikely to be realized if ingested (due to the destruction of the substances involved through digestion, or neutralization via changes in pH). Research also suggests that the 10-Hydroxy-2-decenoic acid (10-HDA) found in royal jelly may inhibit the vascularization of tumors. Royal jelly has also been hypothesized to correct cholesterol level imbalances due to nicotine consumption.
There are also some preliminary experiments (on cells and lab animals) in which royal jelly may have some benefit regarding certain other diseases, though there is no solid evidence for those claims, and further experimentation and validation would be needed to prove any useful benefit.
Royal jelly can also be found in some beauty products.
Royal jelly may cause allergic reactions in humans ranging from hives, asthma, to even fatal anaphylaxis. The incidence of allergic side effect in people that consume royal jelly is unknown.
However, it has been suggested that the risk of having an allergy to royal jelly is higher in people who already have known allergies. (from wikipedia)

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Honeybees sterilise their hives

Honeybees sterilise their hives

Honeybees sterilise their hives with antimicrobial resin, scientists have discovered.
In doing so, they give the whole colony a form of "social immunity", which lessens the need for each individual bee to have a strong immune system.
Although honeybee resin is known to kill a range of pathogens, this is the first time that bees themselves have been shown to utilise its properties.
The team published details of their discovery in the journal Evolution.
Honeybees in the wild nest in tree cavities.
When founding a new colony, they line the entire nest interior with a thin layer of resins that they mix with wax. This mixture is known as propolis.
They also use propolis to smooth surfaces in the hive, close
holes or cracks in the nest, reduce the size of the entrances to keep out intruders, and to embalm intruders that they've killed in the hive that are too big to remove.
A number of studies have shown that propolis has a
range of antimicrobial properties, but mostly in relation to human health. For example, numerous publications cite its effectiveness against viruses, bacteria and even cancer cells.

That is how Mike Simone, a PhD student from the University of Minnesota in St Paul, US, and his supervisor Professor Marla Spivak became interested.
Spivak and her colleagues had tested the effectiveness of honeybee propolis against the HIV-1 virus. They then progressed to see how it impacted bee pathogens, such as American foulbrood.
"This led us to wonder what other things propolis might be doing for the bees," said Simone.
In experiments funded by the US National Science Foundation, Simone's team painted the inside walls of hives with an extract of propolis collected from Brazil or Minnesota. This inside layer mimicked how propolis or resins would be distributed in a feral colony nesting in a tree cavity.
They then created colonies of honeybees and housed either in hives enriched with resin, or hives without the resin layer - to act as a control.
After one week of exposure they collected bees that had been born in each colony.

Genetic tests on these 7-day-old bees showed that those growing in the resin-rich colonies had less active immune systems.
"The resins likely inhibited bacterial growth. Therefore the bees did not have to activate their immune systems as much," said Simone.
"Our finding that propolis in the nest allows bees to invest less in their immune systems after such a short exposure was surprising. Resins in the hive have been thought of as a potential benefit to a honey bee colony, but this has never been tested directly."
Using resins to help sterilise the colony can be thought of as a type of "social immunity" said the researchers.
And it may partly explain why bees and other social insects, such as ants, collect resins to build their nests in the first place.

"Honeybees can use wax, which they produce themselves, to do all the things that they use resin for in the nest. So it is interesting to think about why they might go and collect resins," said Simone.
"Especially since resins, being sticky, are hard to manipulate and take a lot of energy for individual bees to gather in very small quantities."
There is also some evidence that some mammals and birds coat themselves in naturally-occurring plant resin in a bid to reduce infestations with parasites.

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Propolis is a resinous mixture that honey bees collect from tree buds, sap flows, or other botanical sources. It is used as a sealant for unwanted open spaces in the hive. Propolis is used for small gaps (approximately 6 millimeters (0.24 in) or less), while larger spaces are usually filled with beeswax. Its color varies depending on its botanical source, the most common being dark brown. Propolis is sticky at and above room temperature (20 °C). At lower temperatures, it becomes hard and very brittle.


For centuries, beekeepers assumed that bees sealed the beehive with propolis to protect the colony from the elements, such as rain and cold winter drafts. However, 20th century research has revealed that bees not only survive, but also thrive, with increased ventilation during the winter months throughout most temperate regions of the world.
Propolis is now believed to:
reinforce the structural stability of the hive
reduce vibration
make the hive more defensible by sealing alternate entrances
prevent diseases and parasites from entering the hive, and to inhibit bacterial growth
prevent putrefaction within the hive. Bees usually carry waste out of and away from the hive. However if a small lizard or mouse, for example, finds its way into the hive and dies there, bees may be unable to carry it out through the hive entrance. In that case, they would attempt instead to seal the carcass in propolis, essentially mummifying it and making it odorless and harmless.


The composition of propolis varies from hive to hive, from district to district, and from season to season. Normally it is dark brown in color, but it can be found in green, red, black and white hues, depending on the sources of resin found in the particular hive area. Honey bees are opportunists, gathering what they need from available sources, and detailed analyses show that the chemical composition of propolis varies considerably from region to region, along with the vegetation. In northern temperate climates, for example, bees collect resins from trees, such as poplars and conifers (the biological role of resin in trees is to seal wounds and defend against bacteria, fungi and insects). Poplar resin is rich in flavonoids. "Typical" northern temperate propolis has approximately 50 constituents, primarily resins and vegetable balsams (50%), waxes (30%), essential oils (10%), and pollen (5%). In neotropical regions, in addition to a large variety of trees, bees may also gather resin from flowers in the genera Clusia and Dalechampia, which are the only known plant genera that produce floral resins to attract pollinators. Clusia resin contains polyprenylated benzophenones.In some areas of Chile, propolis contains viscidone, a terpene from Baccharis shrubs, and in Brazil, naphthoquinone epoxide has recently isolated from red propolis, and prenylated acids such as 4-hydroxy-3,5-diprenyl cinnamic acid have been documented. An analysis of propolis from Henan, China found sinapinic acid, isoferulic acid, caffeic acid and chrysin, with the first three compounds demonstrating anti-bacterial properties. Also, Brazilian red propolis (largely derived from Dalbergia ecastaphyllum plant resin) has high relative percentages of the isoflavonoids 3-Hydroxy-8,9-dimethoxypterocarpan and medicarpin.
Occasionally, worker bees will even gather various caulking compounds of human manufacture, when the usual sources are more difficult to obtain. The properties of the propolis depend on the exact sources used by each individual hive; therefore any potential medicinal properties that may be present in one hive's propolis may be absent from another's, and the distributors of propolis products cannot control such factors. This may account for the many and varied claims regarding medicinal properties, and the difficulty in replicating previous scientific studies investigating these claims. Even propolis samples taken from within a single colony can vary, making controlled clinical tests difficult, and the results of any given study cannot be reliably extrapolated to propolis samples from other areas.

Medical uses

Propolis is marketed by health food stores as a traditional medicine, and for its claimed beneficial effect on human health.
Natural medicine practitioners use propolis for the relief of various conditions, including inflammations, viral diseases, ulcers, superficial burns or scalds.[citation needed]
Propolis is also believed to promote heart health, strengthen the immune system and reduce the chances of cataracts. Old beekeepers[citation needed] recommend a piece of propolis kept in the mouth as a remedy for a sore throat. Propolis lozenges and tinctures can be bought in many countries. Though claims have been made for its use in treating allergies, propolis may cause severe allergic reactions if the user is sensitive to bees or bee products.
Some of these claims are being clinically investigated and several studies are published in the biomedical literature. Since the chemical composition of propolis varies depending on season, bee species and geographic location, caution must be applied in extrapolating results (as above).

As an antimicrobial
Depending upon its composition, propolis may show powerful local antibiotic and antifungal properties

As an emollient
Studies also indicate that it may be effective in treating skin burns

As an immunomodulator
Propolis also exhibits immunomodulatory effects

As a dental antiplaque agent
Propolis is a subject of recent dentistry research, since there is some evidence that propolis may actively protect against dental caries and other forms of oral disease, due to its antimicrobial properties. Propolis can also be used to treat canker sores. Its use in canal debridement for endodontic procedures has been explored in Brazil.

As an antitumor growth agent
Propolis' use in inhibiting tumorigenesis has been studied in mice in Japan.In pre-clinical models of human breast cancer, propolis induces cell cycle arrest, apoptosis and reduces expression of growth and transcription factors, including NF-κB. Notably, caffeic acid phenethyl ester down-regulates mdr-1 gene, considered responsible for the resistance of cancer cells to chemotherapeutic agents.

Commercial uses

In musical instruments
Propolis is used by certain music instrument makers to enhance the appearance of the wood grain. It is a component of some varnishes and was reportedly used by Antonio Stradivari

In food
Propolis is used by some chewing gum manufacturers to make Propolis Gum.

Car wax
Propolis is used to bring about a chemical reaction to convert fats and oils into automobile wax during application.
(from wikipedia)

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Chocolate may be Beneficial for Chronic Fatigue

Regularly consuming chocolate could be beneficial to those with chronic fatigue syndrome, according to a study at Hull York Medical School. People who suffered with the illness found that they had more energy when they consumed high cocoa content.

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is an illness that has a vast array of diverse symptoms; the primary one being exhaustion. Most chronic fatigue specialists advise their clients to avoid chocolate because of the caffeine and sugar it contains.

Professor Steve Atkin, who led the study, said he had clients who reported feeling much better after swapping normal milk chocolate for dark chocolate with a high cocoa solid content. This sparked him to investigate further.

The trial consisted of 10 patients who received 45g of dark chocolate or white chocolate dyed to look like dark chocolate everyday for two months. After the month was over, they avoided chocolate for one month and then began taking the other type of chocolate for two months.

When the patients were taking a daily dose of dark chocolate, they reported significantly less fatigue, but felt the fatigue return when they stopped eating it.

Atkin was surprised at what good results were achieved. "Although it was a small study, two patients went back to work after being off for six months."

He explained: "Dark chocolate is high in polyphenols, which have been associated with health benefits such as a reduction in blood pressure. Also high polyphenols appear to improve levels of serotonin in the brain, which has been linked with chronic fatigue syndrome and that may be a mechanism."
Although more research was needed to confirm the findings, Atkin said that patients would not do themselves any harm by eating small amounts of dark chocolate. He added that no one in the study put on any weight.

Chronic fatigue is a very complex illness with many different causes including food intolerances, Candida, heavy metals and parasites. There is no single cure that works for everyone, and most people require quite a few lifestyle changes along with herbs, nutrients and detoxing.
Because of this, chronic fatigue specialists warn against believing that eating chocolate daily is going to completely solve the problem.

Most importantly, consuming chocolate with sugar in it should be generally avoided by everyone, especially those with a disabling illness.

Raw Chocolate

While dark chocolate is high in antioxidants and other nutrients, raw chocolate is even more potent since none of the nutrients have been destroyed through heating and processing. Further, raw chocolate is sugar free. Most people make raw chocolate with agave nectar, stevia or xylitol. All of these are fine in moderation for those with chronic fatigue syndrome because they don`t create blood sugar imbalances and they don`t feed the imbalances like sugar does.
(by: Sheryl Walters)

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Bilberries: The Berry that Enhances Vision

Bilberries are tasty, dark blue or purple berries that are related to the blueberry. Native to North America and Europe, the bilberry belongs to the Vaccinium family of herbs. This powerful berry is one of the richest sources of antioxidants, and has been shown to improve vision and symptoms associated with diabetes.

Both the berries and leaves of the plant are edible, although for regular consumption, it is better to avoid the leaves as there are chemicals in them that can cause liver inflammation. In times past, people ate the leaves or drank a tisane made from them. This concoction did lower blood sugar, but at the cost of liver inflammation. It is now recommended that only the berries be ingested.

The high concentration of anti-oxidants is in the berries. Bilberries are well known as a natural treatment for diabetes mellitus.

Bilberries contain concentrated quantities of a flavonoid known as anthocyanin. This potent antioxidant is known to shield blood vessels from damage caused by fats and calcium that circulate in the blood. They are known to have a beneficial effect on the miniscule capillaries that are often damaged by too much sugar in the blood. The anthocyanin enhances binding of harmful chemicals to themselves instead of to cells in the body. This process protects the innermost lining of the blood vessels from being damaged by oxidation chemicals.

This action of the bilberry may help prevent eye conditions common to diabetes, such as retinopathy and macular degeneration. It is also seen as helpful in other eye conditions including cataracts and night blindness. There is some evidence that this remarkable berry is also helpful in reducing the burning and tingling associated with diabetic neuropathy, which can cause extreme discomfort of the feet and hands.

The visual benefits of the bilberry were first noticed During World War II when British Royal Air Force pilots ate bilberry jam. They noticed that their night vision was sharper than usual whenever they ate the jam before starting their nighttime missions.

If you find a good source of bilberries growing near you, they can be picked when ripe and frozen. They freeze well so they can be eaten all year. This berry also makes a great jam, but the medicinal benefits are greatly reduced.

If picking wild bilberries is not possible, the best way to be certain of getting a consistent supply of the helpful anti-oxidants is by purchasing a regulated, commercial preparation of only berries. The bilberry fruit has no known harmful effects. (by: Sheryl Walters)

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Eat More Chocolate for Health

Chocolate has been a favorite food of people since it was first discovered. A joke among chocolate lovers is that it is an essential nutrient. But aside from a velvety texture and indescribable taste, is chocolate good for you? Research has shown that raw, dark cocoa is. Chocolate in assorted candies or bars has been processed. It has been fermented and sweetened with unhealthy sugars. It has preservatives and other added chemicals. It isn`t good for you at all, unlike raw, dark, healthy chocolate.

Unlike money, chocolate really does grow on trees. Raw cocoa powder produced directly from the fruit of the cacao tree is a pure substance. It contains no additives and is high in antioxidants. A Cornell University study cites findings that it has two times the antioxidants of red wine.
Raw chocolate is high in tryptophan. The human body uses tryptophan to help manufacture serotonin, a biogenic amine or neurotransmitter that prevents depression, so if you`ve heard that chocolate is an anti-depressant, there is some truth to that.

There seems to be a positive link between raw chocolate and cardiovascular health. Early findings demonstrate that risk of blood clots, strokes and heart attacks is lessened in those people who regularly eat raw chocolate. One of the minerals needed for good heart function is magnesium (Mg). It is needed only in trace amounts, but in the majority of heart attack sufferers, the body`s Mg content is subnormal. Raw chocolate is an excellent source of Mg.

Raw chocolate contains oleic acid. This is a monounsaturated fat that early research findings show helps raise the good cholesterol or HDL.

Healthy, raw, dark chocolate is extremely bitter. In order to make it palatable, equal parts of raw cocoa powder, raw honey and raw cocoa butter should be mixed together. Kept in the refrigerator, this makes a healthy sweet chocolate treat. Hot cocoa can be made with a healthy milk such as hemp or raw sheep, raw cocoa powder and raw honey. Some people seem to enjoy raw chocolate without anything added whatsoever. Apparently, this is an acquired taste.

Just how healthy is raw chocolate? A study done in 2005 reported the following results:
(1) Those study patients who ate 3.5 ounces of dark chocolate daily for two weeks and a day experienced a drop in LDL or bad cholesterol.

(2) The investigators identified a lowering of blood pressure, both top and bottom numbers.

(3) Chocolate has been found to make cells more sensitive to insulin. When cells become insensitive to insulin, hypoglycemia and diabetes can develop. Therefore, chocolate seems to offer some protection against these diseases.

Other studies have shown that dairy products interfere with the antioxidant absorption of healthy chocolate. Bittersweet chocolate, if it is sweetened with a healthy sugar such as raw honey or xylitol, is the healthy alternative to the milk chocolate bars. White chocolate has none of the healthy chocolate in it; it`s made from cocoa butter. (by: Sheryl Walters)

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Discover What Traditional Chinese Medicine Knows about Mushrooms

Mushrooms are gaining popularity as a beneficial super food in North America. They are high in vegetable proteins and low in calories, making them a valuable source of healthy nutrition. They also contain zinc, iron, chitin, vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. Not only are mushrooms a healthy addition to the diet, they also have important medicinal properties.

Traditional Chinese Medicine has used mushrooms for thousands of years. There are over 200 species of mushrooms in China that are used to practice healing. An amazing 25 percent of these mushrooms are credited with tumor-fighting capabilities.

All varieties of mushrooms possess cleansing capabilities. Mushrooms contain a substance called Germanium. Germanium is a nutrient that helps boost the oxygen efficiency within the body. Germanium also helps counteract the body's exposure to environmental toxins and helps to increase the body's ability to fight disease.

Another amazing property of mushrooms is a compound named Polysaccharides. This enables mushrooms to boost the immune system and fight the growth of tumors. Mushrooms are also high in amino acids, nicotinic acid, riboflavin, vitamins B, C, and K, and pantothenic acid. Medicinal mushrooms also contain other compounds that further enhance tumor-fighting capabilities.

Shiitake Mushrooms

The shiitake mushroom is one of the most popular mushrooms. Asians have utilized it for centuries as a stimulant to boost health, prevent strokes, and improve circulation.

Shiitake mushrooms contain a substance called lentinan. Lentinan has been shown to be an effective way to treat chromosomal damage caused by common anti-cancer treatments. In Japan a purified form of lentinan has recently been approved for treating cancer and the effects of chemotherapy.

Shiitake mushrooms also contain a compound called eritadenine. This is thought to be helpful in reducing cholesterol by facilitating fat excretion.

An additional beneficial compound found in shiitake mushrooms is lentinula edodes mycelium (LEM). LEM has been found to be effective for treating and preventing cancer, heart disease, hypertension, infectious diseases and hepatitis.

It's important to note that there are several side effects associated with shiitake mushrooms, including skin irritation and diarrhea. In addition, people taking blood thinners should first consult a physician before supplementing with shiitake mushrooms because there are anti-clotting compounds contained in these mushrooms.

Reishi Mushrooms

Reishi mushrooms are rich with healing compounds and are touted as being beneficial for the health of both the prostate and the heart. Reishi mushrooms are also considered to effective for fighting cancer. Chinese medicine routinely utilizes reishi mushrooms for their antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and immunogenic capabilities. Reishi mushrooms have also demonstrated their ability to regulate metabolism and fight tumor growth.

Western medicine is now taking notice of reishi mushrooms due to their ability to treat hypertension, heart disease, arthritis, and muscular dystrophy. Additionally, reishi mushrooms have been found to be able to stop tumor growth in prostate cancer patients.

Reishi mushrooms have also been discovered to contain compounds that can produce a calming effect and promote sleep.

Maitake Mushrooms

Maitake mushrooms are very popular in Asian cultures for their ability to strengthen and improve general health. Recent research shows that the maitake mushroom enhances the immune system and stops tumor growth.

Patients with the AIDS virus have benefited from eating maitake mushrooms and diabetics can improve their blood sugar levels by ingesting maitake mushrooms. Additionally, maitake mushrooms can help reduce high blood pressure, shrink brain tumors, and fight prostate cancer.

Maitake mushrooms can also help to manage emotional and physical stress levels. Cancer patients can benefit from eating maitake mushrooms because they contain a compound that strengthens the body while it fights cancer. Additionally, it is thought that maitake mushrooms can make some chemotherapy drugs more effective and thereby may reduce necessary dosages.

Most mushrooms are available either as a vegetable to include in the diet and as supplements. Not only are mushrooms an interesting and beneficial addition to one's diet, they are also a promising medicinal option for many people. (by: Jo Hartley)

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Elderberry is an Effective Treatment for Colds and Flu

Elderberry is gaining popularity as an effective supplement for fighting colds and flus. Elderberry is primarily recognized as providing natural support for the immune system. Elderberry contains concentrated amounts of vitamin C, flavinoids, fruit acids, and anthocyanic pigments. It is also an excellent source for vitamins A and B and may also have antiviral properties.

Elderberry is a common, shrubby tree that produces white flowers in early summer. Following the blossoms, deep wine-colored berries become ripe in the fall. Native Americans used the flower water (from the blossoms) for eye and skin lotions and the berries were used for jams, pies, teas, and wines. Elderberry wine was common in Colonial America and the elderberry was even called "the country medicine chest" because of its many uses.

There is new evidence concluding that Elderberries have great value in fighting flu and other similar viruses. Elderberry has an ability to help break fevers because it promotes profuse sweating.

The list of attributes that Elderberry boasts is impressive. Elderberry works as a simple cleanser and also as an antioxidant. It is also a diuretic, an anti-inflammatory, an anti-catarrhal, and can act as a mild laxative. This useful herb can be used for bronchitis, catarrh, coughs, sore throats, fevers, influenza, neuralgia, rheumatism, sciatica, skin disorders, and even hay fever.

Elderberry's use as a flu remedy dates back to ancient Roman times. Typically, Elderberry consumption will improve flu symptoms within three days. Elderberry has been proven effective against eight different strains of influenza. This fact alone gives it a stronger record than any synthetic vaccine being offered at a clinic this winter. In addition, laboratory studies on Elderberry concerning HIV, herpes, and Epstein-Barr viruses have all had positive results.

To effectively utilize Elderberry, make a tea with 3 to 5 grams of the dried flowers steeped in 1 cup of boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes. This may be taken three times a day. Liquid Elderberry extract can be taken twice a day. The dosages are 5 ml (for children) and 10 ml (for adults). Between 20 and 60 drops of a tincture may be taken two or three times a day.

One caution - the leaves and stems of Elderberry are considered slightly toxic if they are ingested in raw form. There are no other known adverse reactions, however. There is also no evidence of other drug interactions with Elderberry.

Elderberry has proven itself in many studies to successfully reduce the viral impact of cold and flu viruses. It also works as a gentle cleanser and supports longevity as a tonic. This is actually where it got the name "Elder." Hippocrates even promoted elderberry as an all purpose tonic. Elderberry can be purchased in the vitamin/herb sections of many supermarkets and drugstores.(naturalnews)

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Evening Primrose Oil (Oenothera biennis) Benefits

Evening Primrose Oil has been called the most sensational preventive discovery since vitamin C. It contains the pain relieving compound phenylalanine and is increasingly being used to treat chronic headaches. It is currently being studied all over the world as a treatment for aging problems, alcoholism, acne, heart disease, hyperactivity in children, multiple sclerosis, weight control, obesity, PMS and schizophrenia. It has so many preventive and therapeutic qualities that it has become a standard part of recommendations of many herbalist for maintaining youth and preventing disease.

Evening Primrose Oil contains a high concentration of a fatty acid called GLA and it is this fatty acid that is largely responsible for the remarkable healing properties of the plant. In fact, Evening Primrose contains one of the highest concentrations known of this important substance and only a few other plants contain it at all. This makes Evening Primrose an important medicinal herb, and as studies continue, the list of benefits will likely become much longer. The gamma-linoleic acid, linoleic acid and other nutrients in this oil are essential for cell structure and improve the elasticity of the skin. These fatty acids also help to regulate hormones and improve nerve function aiding problems ranging from PMS to migraine headaches. The hormone balancing effect contributes to healthy breast tissue.

Specifically, evening primrose oil may help to:

Relieve the discomforts of PMS, menstruation, endometriosis and fibrocystic breasts: By interfering with the production of inflammatory prostaglandins released during menstruation, the GLA in evening primrose oil can help to lessen menstrual cramps. It may also minimise premenstrual breast tenderness, irritable bowel flare-ups, and carbohydrate cravings, and help to control endometriosis-associated inflammation. Many PMS sufferers are found to have unusually low levels of GLA in their systems, which is why supplements might help so much. In women with fibrocystic breasts, the oil's essential fatty acids can minimise breast inflammation and promote the absorption of iodine, a mineral that can be present in abnormally low levels in women with this condition.

Ease the joint pain and swelling of rheumatoid arthritis: Supplementation with evening primrose oil and other sources of GLA has been shown to lessen the joint pain and swelling of this crippling disease. A six-month study reported fewer signs of inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis sufferers taking capsules containing GLA than in those taking a placebo. In another trial, the number of tender joints and swollen joints dropped significantly with GLA but not with a placebo.

Prevent diabetes-associated nerve damage: Research indicates that the GLA in evening primrose oil can help prevent, and in some cases even reverse, the nerve damage (neuropathy) so commonly seen with diabetes. In a year-long study, such symptoms as numbness, tingling, and loss of sensation in participants with mild diabetic neuropathy were less marked in those who took evening primrose oil than in those who took a placebo.

Reduce the symptoms of eczema: In some cases, eczema develops when the body has problems converting dietary fats into GLA. Getting supplemental GLA from evening primrose oil may therefore be helpful.

Some studies indicate that this oil can outperform a placebo in relieving eczema-related inflammation, as well as the itching, oozing, and flaking associated with this condition. By taking GLA, eczema sufferers may tolerate reduced doses of steroid creams and drugs, many of which cause unpleasant side effects.

Help treat acne and rosacea: By working to dilute sebum, a thick oily substance that is oversecreted in some people with acne, the essential fatty acids in evening primrose oil may reduce the risk of pores becoming clogged and lesions developing. The oil's EFAs help treat rosacea by reducing inflammation, controlling cells' use of nutrients and by producing prostaglandins, which stimulate the contraction of blood vessels.

Combat damage from multiple sclerosis: The abundant supply of essential fatty acids in evening primrose oil may be valuable in minimizing the inflammation associated with this progressive nerve disorder. The fatty acids may also contribute to healthy nerve development when taken over time.

Treat Alzheimer's-related memory deficiencies: By boosting the transmission of nerve impulses, evening primrose oil may be valuable in treating this progressive brain disorder.

Counter impotence and female infertility: By promoting blood flow, the GLA in evening primrose oil can help treat a primary cause of male impotence; compromised circulation leading to impaired penile blood flow. The oil is often taken with vitamin C and ginkgo biloba for this purpose. In addition, when the oil is taken long term, GLA can help prevent blood vessel narrowing, often a consequence of plaque buildup from high cholesterol. By improving uterine function, GLA may also help those who are unable to conceive.

Nourish nails, scalp, and hair: The rich stores of essential fatty acids in evening primrose oil not only prevent nails from cracking but also help to keep them generally healthy. In addition, the essential fatty acids nourish the scalp, making the supplement potentially valuable in treating a variety of hair problems.

Prevent alcohol withdrawal symptoms: GLA prompts the brain to produce a specific type of prostaglandin called prostaglandin E, which works to prevent withdrawal symptoms such as depression and seizures by indirectly protecting the liver and nervous system.


Consult a doctor first if you suffer from epilepsy, are taking anticoagulants, blood pressure medicine, blood cholesterol medicine or estrogen or other hormonal therapies.

Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should not use this herb.

Latin Name: Oenothera biennis

Common Names: Fever Plant, OEP, Sun Drop

Anti-aggregatory, anti-atherogenic, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-proliferative, anti-thrombotic, vasodilator

Indicated for:
Acne, allergies, arteriosclerosis, asthma, cholesterol regulation, chronic headaches, diabetic nerve damage. dermatitis, eczema, hyperactivity in children, high cholesterol, impotence and female infertility, inflammation, lupus, multiple sclerosis, prostate health, psoriasis, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, rosacea, scleroderma, treat, Alzheimer's-related memory deficiencies, upset stomach. Nourish nails, scalp, and hair. Prevent alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Relieve the discomforts of PMS (premenstrual syndrome), menstruation, endometriosis and fibrocystic breasts. Minimise premenstrual breast tenderness, irritable bowel flare-ups, and carbohydrate cravings, and help to control endometriosis-associated inflammation.(herwisdom)

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Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) Benefits

Used for its antioxidant activity, to lower cholesterol, improve vision, boost the immune system, improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsilitis. Elderberry juice was used to treat a flu epidemic in Panama in 1995.

Elderberries have been a folk remedy for centuries in North America, Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, hence the medicinal benefits of elderberries are being investigated and rediscovered. Elderberry is used for its antioxidant activity, to lower cholesterol, to improve vision, to boost the immune system, to improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsilitis.
Bioflavonoids and other proteins in the juice destroy the ability of cold and flu viruses to infect a cell. People with the flu who took elderberry juice reported less severe symptoms and felt better much faster than those who did not. Elderberry juice was used to treat a flu epidemic in Panama in 19951

Elderberries contain organic pigments, tannin, amino acids, carotenoids, flavonoids, sugar, rutin, viburnic acid, vitaman A and B and a large amount of vitamin C. They are also mildly laxative, a diuretic, and diaphoretic. Flavonoids, including quercetin, are believed to account for the therapeutic actions of the elderberry flowers and berries. According to test tube studies2 these flavonoids include anthocyanins that are powerful antioxidants and protect cells against damage.

Elderberries were listed in the CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs as early as 1985, and are listed in the 2000 Mosby's Nursing Drug reference for colds, flu, yeast infections, nasal and chest congestion, and hay fever. In Israel, Hasassah's Oncology Lab has determined that elderberry stimulates the body's immune system and they are treating cancer and AIDS patients with it. The wide range of medical benefits (from flu and colds to debilitating asthma, diabetes, and weight loss) is probably due to the enhancement of each individual's immune system.

At the Bundesforschungsanstalt research center for food in Karlsruhe, Germany, scientists conducting studies on Elderberry showed that elderberry anthocyanins enhance immune function by boosting the production of cytokines. These unique proteins act as messengers in the immune system to help regulate immune response, thus helping to defend the body against disease. Further research indicated that anthocyanins found in elderberries possess appreciably more antioxidant capacity than either vitamin E or vitamin C.

Studies at Austria's University of Graz found that elderberry extract reduces oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Oxidation of LDL cholesterol is implicated in atherogenesis, thus contributing to cardiovascular disease.


Latin Name:
Sambucus nigra

Common Names:
Elderberry, Black Elderberry, North American Elderberry

antioxidant, diaphoretic, diuretic, laxative, immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory

Immune system boost, coughs, colds, flu, bacterial infections, viral infections, tonsilitis, lower cholesterol, improved vision and heart health.

Indicated for:
Cancer, HIV, asthma and bronchitis, reduce inflammation of the urinary tract and bladder.

Infusions of the fruit are said to be beneficial for nerve disorders, back pain, and have been used to reduce inflammation of the urinary tract and bladder.(herbwisdom)

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