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Health benefits of elderberry

Evidence-based health benefits of elderberries

(From Medical News Today) The elderberry contains certain compounds and substances that might have a beneficial impact on health.
We take a look at the evidence behind some of the main reported health benefits of elderberries:

Fighting colds and flu

There is some evidence to support the claim that elderberry can help treat colds and flu, though the available studies are small.
A systematic review from 2010 concluded that elderberries might have antioxidant and antiviral effects, though the authors state that more research is needed.
In one study, 60 people with flu-like symptoms took 15 milliliters (ml) of elderberry syrup four times a day. Their symptoms improved 4 days before the people who took a placebo.
In another study, 32 people with flu-like symptoms took lozenges containing 175 milligrams (mg) of elderberry extract four times a day for 2 days. After 24 hours, they reported an improvement in symptoms, such as fever, headache, muscle aches, and nasal congestion.
A double-blind, randomized control trial looked at whether elderberry extract could prevent people from experiencing cold-like symptoms after traveling on an airplane. People took lozenges containing 300 mg of elderberry extract and 150 mg of rice flour twice a day for 10 days before traveling.
Researchers found that the capsules did not prevent the symptoms, but people who took elderberry had less severe symptoms that lasted for a shorter time.

Treating acne

Elderberry fruit contains high levels of flavonoids, which means it might have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. These help to protect healthy cells from harmful free radicals that play a role in skin problems.
The American Nutrition Association (ANA) suggest that using an elderberry face wash can help fight acne because of its antiseptic effects.

Reducing wrinkles

Elderberries contain high levels of vitamin A. The ANA also say that elderberries may soothe the skin, help ease the appearance of age spots, and prevent or lessen wrinkles.
Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha

(Taken from Medical News Today) Ashwagandha is an evergreen shrub that grows in India, the Middle East, and parts of Africa. It has a long history of use in traditional medicine.
For hundreds of years, people have used the roots and orange-red fruit of ashwagandha for medicinal purposes. The herb is also known as Indian ginseng or winter cherry.
The name “ashwagandha” describes the smell of its root, meaning “like a horse.” By definition, ashwa means horse.

Practitioners use this herb as a general tonic to boost energy and reduce stress and anxiety. Some also claim that the herb may be beneficial for certain cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, and anxiety.

More research is necessary; to date, promising studies into the health benefits of ashwagandha have mainly been in animals.
This article looks at the traditional uses of ashwagandha, how to take it, and the evidence behind its possible health benefits and risks. What do people use ashwagandha for?
Ashwagandha is an important herb in Ayurvedic medicine. This is one of the world’s oldest medical systems and one of India’s healthcare systems.

In Ayurvedic medicine, ashwagandha is considered a Rasayana. This means that it helps maintain youth, both mentally and physically.
There is some evidence to suggest that the herb can have neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory effects. Inflammation underpins many health conditions, and reducing inflammation can protect the body against a variety of conditions.

For example, people use ashwagandha to help treat the following:
  • stress
  • anxiety
  • fatigue
  • pain
  • skin conditions
  • diabetes
  • arthritis
  • epilepsy
Different treatments make use of different parts of the plant, including the leaves, seeds, and fruit.

This herb is gaining popularity in the West. Today, people can buy ashwagandha as a supplement in the United States.
Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola rosea

(From Medical News Today)

Rhodiola rosea

is a flowering herb that grows in cold, high-altitude regions of Europe and Asia. Other names for it include arctic root, golden root, king’s crown, and rose root.
Rhodiola rosea has been used in traditional medicine for many years, particularly in Russia, Scandinavia, and other cold, mountainous areas. Some people believe the herb can treat anxiety, depression, fatigue, anemia, and headaches.
Numerous studies have been conducted on the plant. While some results appear promising, many of the studies have been small, biased, or flawed. As such, experts say more research needs to be done to determine how Rhodiola rosea is effective, and whether it should be included in treatment plans.
Meanwhile, Rhodiola rosea has a low risk of side effects and appears to offer some benefits for many of these conditions. Therefore, it may be a natural option that is worth trying for its supposed uses.

Benefits and evidence

The evidence for Rhodiola rosea’s health claims varies. The following are some of its popular uses and what research says about each one. The health benefits of this herbal root are probably linked to anti-inflammatory properties it may have.

Stress

Rhodiola rosea is a flowering herb that has been used in traditional medicine for many years.
One of the best-known claims about Rhodiola rosea is its power as a substance that helps the body adapt to stress, otherwise known as an adaptogen.
Its specific abilities and qualities, however, have not yet been scientifically proven with enough well-designed studies.
A report published in Alternative Medicine Review found that Rhodiola rosea shows promise as an adaptogen. Based on evidence from several small studies, the author states that the plant’s extracts provide benefits for mental health and heart function.
Another 2005 article describes Rhodiola rosea as “a versatile adaptogen,” stating that the herb can increase resistance to stress. In particular, the authors state that it holds promise as a possible treatment for reducing stress hormone levels and stress-induced heart problems.

Physical and mental performance

Some people take Rhodiola rosea to enhance physical performance before exercise or as a way to improve concentration and thinking. There are also claims that it helps reduce physical and mental fatigue.

A number of studies touch on these claims. They include the following: A review that states Rhodiola rosea may hold promise as an aid for enhanced physical and mental performance. The authors conclude that more research on the plant is needed to further examine and prove its effects.
A study in 2009 found that women who took a high dose of Rhodiola rosea were able to run faster than those who got a placebo. The study examined 15 college-age women.
Another study suggests that taking a standardized extract of Rhodiola rosea may improve concentration and reduce fatigue. The research looked at 60 men and women, who took an extract called SHR-5. The dosage given for these effects was 576 milligrams (mg) per day.
Despite these results, a large 2012 review published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine looked at 206 studies on Rhodiola rosea and fatigue but found only 11 were suitable to include.
Five of these trials determined that Rhodiola rosea helped with symptoms of physical and mental fatigue. But, the reviewers state, all of the studies had a high risk of bias or had reporting flaws with an unknown bias.
The reviewers conclude that research on Rhodiola rosea is “contradictory and inconclusive.” They recommend a non-biased, valid trial of the herb before it is put forward as a treatment for fatigue.

Depression and anxiety

One study found evidence to suggest that Rhodiola rosea may reduce symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder. Ten people were included in this study, and they took 340 mg of Rhodiola rosea extract for 10 weeks.
Another study in Phytomedicine found that Rhodiola rosea reduced symptoms of depression, but its effects were mild. The herb did not reduce symptoms as effectively as sertraline, a prescription antidepressant, although it had fewer and milder side effects.
The authors of this 2015 study concluded that, as it may be better tolerated by some people and did provide benefit, Rhodiola rosea may be suitable as a treatment for mild to moderate depression. The study included 57 people who took the herb for 12 weeks.

Stress-induced eating disorders

An active ingredient in Rhodiola rosea known as salidroside, was studied for its effects on binge eating. This study, published in Physiology & Behavior, was done using rats. It found that a dry extract of Rhodiola rosea that included 3.12 percent salidroside did help reduce or eliminate binge eating in the animals.
The rats that took Rhodiola rosea also had lower blood levels of a stress hormone that may play a role in binge eating.
Another study in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, similarly conducted on rats, determined that Rhodiola rosea may reduce stress-induced anorexia. The authors say their findings provide evidence to support claims that the herb has anti-stress properties.

Tumeric

(Taken from Medical News Today)

Turmeric,

sometimes called Indian saffron or the golden spice, is a tall plant that grows in Asia and Central America.
The turmeric that we see on shelves and in spice cabinets is made of the ground roots of the plant. The bright yellow color of processed turmeric has inspired many cultures to use it as a dye. Ground turmeric is also a major ingredient in curry powder. Capsules, teas, powders, and extracts are some of the turmeric products available commercially.
Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric, and it has powerful biological properties. Ayurvedic medicine, a traditional Indian system of treatment, recommends turmeric for a variety of health conditions. These include chronic pain and inflammation. Western medicine has begun to study turmeric as a pain reliever and healing agent.
Keep reading to find out more about how turmeric might benefit your health, as well as some of its negative side effects.

Positive side effects of turmeric

It’s anti-inflammatory
The Arthritis Foundation cites several studies in which turmeric has reduced inflammation.
This anti-inflammatory ability might reduce the aggravation that people with arthritis feel in their joints.
The foundation suggests taking capsules of 400 to 600 milligrams (mg) of turmeric up to three times per day for inflammation relief.

It can relieve pain

Many people, including doctors, cite their own anecdotal experience with turmeric as a pain reliever. The spice is reputed to relieve arthritis pain as well.
Studies seem to support turmeric for pain relief, with one noting that it seemed to work as well as ibuprofen (Advil) in people with arthritis in their knees. Though dosing recommendations seem to vary, those who participated in the study took 800 mg of turmeric in capsule form each day.

It improves liver function

Turmeric has been getting attention recently because of its antioxidant abilities. The antioxidant effect of turmeric appears to be so powerful that it may stop your liver from being damaged by toxins. This could be good news for people who take strong drugs for diabetes or other health conditions that might hurt their liver with long-term use.

It may help reduce the risk of cancer

Curcumin shows promise as a cancer treatment. Studies suggest it has protective effects against pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, and multiple myeloma.

It can aid your digestion

Part of the reason that turmeric is in curry powder is because it adds an element of deliciousness to food. But turmeric can also play an important role in digesting that food. Because of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric can contribute to healthy digestion.
It’s used in ayurvedic medicine as a digestive healing agent. Now Western medicine has begun to study how turmeric can help with gut inflammation and gut permeability, two measures of your digestive efficiency. Turmeric is even being explored as a treatment for irritable bowel syndrome.