July 2005

Natural Health Article

CONTENTS

  • ABCs of Health – “O” is for Oxygen
  • Alzheimer’s Awareness
  • Tip of the Month – How long to boil an egg?
  • The Herbalist – “B” is for Bitter Orange

ABCs OF HEALTH

“O” is for oxygen. That’s right!  Oxygen is a gas that is necessary for all cells in the body to generate energy and function properly. The air we breathe normally has 21% oxygen.

As with nearly everything in life, too much or too little oxygen can be harmful. If the cells in the body receive too little oxygen, energy production is decreased. With too little energy, cells may not work properly and may die.

COMPOSITION OF THE HUMAN BODY

Element Percentage of Human Body
Oxygen 62.81
Carbon 19.37
Hydrogen 9.31
Nitrogen 5.14
Sulfur 0.64
Phosphorus 0.63
Other 2.10

Next to water, oxygen is crucial to sustain life. Oxygen is the most common element in the human body, making up almost 63% of the average human.

ALZHEIMER’S AWARENESS

The following excerpt was take from the website: Alzheimers Disease Education and Referral Centre

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common form of  dementia (a brain disorder that seriously affects a person’s ability to carry out daily activities) among older people. It involves the parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language. Every day scientists learn more, but right now the causes of AD are still unknown.

AD is named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer, a German doctor. In 1906, Dr. Alzheimer noticed changes in the brain tissue of a woman who had died of an unusual mental illness. He found abnormal clumps (now called amyloid plaques) and tangled bundles of fibers (now called neurofibrillary tangles). Today, these plaques and tangles in the brain are considered hallmarks of AD.

Scientists also have found other brain changes in people with AD. There is a loss of nerve cells in areas of the brain that are vital to memory and other mental abilities. There also are lower levels of chemicals in the brain that carry complex messages back and forth between nerve cells. AD may disrupt normal thinking and memory by blocking these messages between nerve cells.

One of the symptoms of AD is mind forgetfullnes. Age and/or genetics may cause part in the onset of AD.
Please visit: Alzheimers Disease Education and Referral Centre for more information.

TIP OF THE MONTH

To hard boil eggs, place them in a pan of cold water and bring to boil.  Remove the pan from the heat, cover and let stand for 20 minutes, then rinse with cold water.

THE HERBALIST

I promised I would give you some information on a specific herb, it’s origins and uses.  I really enjoy this part of our newsletter, as I always learn something new and exciting.  This month we will discuss:

Bitter Orange

Latin Name: Citrus aurantium (Rutaceae [citrus] family)
Other Common Name: chih-shih

General Description:  Bitter Orange is the whole, unripe fruit of the mandarin orange.  Smaller fruits are preferred in herbal medicine.  The peel, known as chen-pi, is also used medicinally.

Excellent For: Bitter Orange contains synephrine, which has decongestant effects on the respiratory system. It may also help with blood pressure, digestion, constipation, gastritis, and abdominal distention.  This herb has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years to improve circulation and liver function, stimulate gastrointestinal functions, and treat indigestion.

Bitter orange is a potent stimulant of certain nerves that control the circulation of blood. It also constricts small arteries in the nose, sinuses, and eustachian tubes to counteract allergic reactions.  Chinese formulas containing the herb release compounds that may inhibit the spread of cancer.  Laboratory tests in Korea have found that bitter orange extracts are especially effective in killing rotavirus, the organism that causes viral diarrhea in children.

Benefits of Bitter orange for specific health conditions include the following:

Anemia:  Bitter orange contains generous amounts of vitamin C and can be beneficial for anemia if vitamin C is needed to provide the acidic environment necessary for iron absorption.
Heart attack, heat stress, and high blood pressure:  One of the chemical compounds found in bitter orange is synephrine.  It stimulates the nerves that “shut the gate” in the femoral artery for blood flow to the legs, shunting blood flow to the hearts, lungs, kidneys, and brain.  This action is gentle but effective against low blood pressure caused by arterial failure.  Bitter orange also helps maintain the proper electrolyte balance in the blood.  This action allows it to counteract unusually low blood pressure and heat stress.
Another compound found in bitter orange, natsudaidain, regulates the heart.  Small doses of natsudaidain increase the heart rate, while large doses slow it down.  The larger doses of bitter orange that slow down the heart rate do not reduce circulation to the brain and kidneys.  While natsudaidain is slowing the heart rate, it makes the heart muscle beat more forcefully.  At the same time, circulation to the legs is reduced.  This action shunts blood to vital tissues in the top half of the body.  In laboratory experiments, natsudaidain has all of these effects without the potentially dangerous side effects of some perscription drugs used to stimulate the heart.  For this reason, bitter orange is being investigated as a remedy for congestive heart failure.
Indigestion:  Bitter orange has been used to relieve nausea and soothe stomach disturbances such as indigestion, gas, and bloating.  Research has shown that it is effective in shrinking a distended stomach.
Liver, cancer:  Bitter orange contains monoterpenes, such as d-limonene, which help to prevent liver tumors.  Studies with laboratory animals have found that d-limonene both stops the spread of cancer to the liver from the colon and slows the growth of cancerous tumors originating in the liver.
Overweight:  Bitter orange has the ability to bind to a specific subgroup of B cell receptors called B-3 receptors.  This binding effect causes an increase in the rate at which fat is released from body stores for energy production, and increases the resting metabolic rate.  It has been added to herbal weight loss formulas as a replacement for epinephrine.  However, the effect in weight reduction is still controversial and awaits clinical assessment.

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Bitter orange is available from Asian food markets and Chinese pharmacies.  It is best used as a tea.  Bitter orange acts on the uterus and the intestines.  In small doses,  it inhibits contractions from these organs, but in larger doses, it stimulates contractions. Bitter orange should NOT be used with cocaine, codeine, or other narcotic pain relievers, since the combination can cause irregular heartbeat and high blood pressure.  It should be used with caution during pregnancy and in cases of low energy.  It has been reported to have a contraceptive  effect.  Bitter orange can also make the skin more sensitive to sunlight, especially for fair-skinned individuals.

This concludes another exciting issue of Natural Health. REMEMBER YOU HAVE TO READ TO WIN!

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