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M A R C H 2020

herbs for allergies page

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Detox for a Fresh Start Probiotics 101 Mushrooms’ healing powers

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March 2020 vol. 16 no. 3

18

8 departments

12 feature

6 From the Editor’s Desk 8 Health Pulse

Try mindfulness to reduce blood pressure • Tea linked to longevity • More

10 Sports Nutrition and Performance CBD may enhance athletic performance.

15 Supplement Spotlight

Probiotics Q&A with James B. LaValle, RPh, CCN.

18 Herbal Healing

Got allergies? Get relief with these helpful herbs.

20 Healthy Glow

Supplements to combat the signs of aging.

spring forward! Warmer weather means it’s time for a tune-up.

23 Everyday Remedies

Natural ways to ease the symptoms of sinusitis.

25 Healthspan

Medicinal mushrooms: ancient remedies in a modern world.

29 Postscript

Karen Howard of the Organic & Natural Health Association discusses CBD. Cover: Ginkgo biloba

A source for news, information, and ideas for your healthy lifestyle. remedies-and-recipes.com

/RemediesRecipes

@RemediesRecipes March 2020  

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from the editor ’s desk Chief Content Officer and Strategist Lynn Tryba

Spring has sprung As we roll into springtime, we say goodbye (we hope) to bitter cold and piles of snow. Flowers bloom, grasses grow, and leaves emerge from the trees. It’s a beautiful season. But for some people, it’s one of respiratory distress. It’s no secret that spring is allergy season. About 20 percent of Americans suffer from seasonal hay fever. “Spring Allergy Relief” (page 18) offers a range of herbs and other natural treatments that can help ease the symptoms. You might even be able to stave off or reduce the discomfort by taking proper care early this month, before the major onslaught begins. Spring is also a good time for a seasonal detoxification. Check out “Spring Forward” by Maria Noël Groves for a gentle guide to detox (page 12). This issue of remedies also features a couple of hard looks at the growth of cannabidiol (CBD) products (pages 10 and 29). The extract appears to have significant potential for health enhancement. As with any developing market, however, the watchword is “buyer beware.” The science behind medicinal mushrooms is further along, and the benefits of mushrooms as food and dietary supplements are well established. Roy Upton provides an overview of the options, beginning on page 25. Here’s to a safe and non-sniffly season.

Contributing Editor Rich Wallace Assistant Editor Kelli Ann Wilson Art Director Michelle Knapp Graphic Designer Ronna Rajaniemi Custom Graphics Manager Donna Sweeney Business Development Director Amy Pierce Customer Service customerservice@tasteforlife.com Client Services Director—Retail Judy Gagne 800-677-8847 x128 Client Services Director—Advertising and Digital Ashley Dunk 800-677-8847 x190 Western Brand Promotions Director Shannon Dunn-Delgado 415-382-1665 Group Brand Promotions Director Bob Mucci 603-831-1868 Executive Director of Retail Sales and Marketing Anna Johnston (Anna.Johnston@TasteforLife.com) Retail Account Manager Kim Willard Founder and Chief Executive Officer T. James Connell

EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD Jeffrey Blumberg, PhD, FASN, FACN, CNS, professor, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and director, Antioxidants Research Laboratory, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University; Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director, American Botanical Council, editor/publisher of HerbalGram, senior editor, The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs; C. Leigh Broadhurst, PhD, research geochemist, author, Natural Asthma Relief and Prevent, Treat, and Reverse Diabetes; Steven Foster, photographer, herbalist, and senior author of three Peterson Field Guides, author of 101 Medicinal Herbs, A Desk Reference to Nature’s Medicine and more, associate editor of HerbalGram, the journal of the American Botanical Council; John Neustadt, ND, founder of Montana Integrated Medicine, coauthor, A Revolution in Health Through Nutritional Biochemistry; Lisa Petty, RHN, RNCP, holistic nutrition consultant, author of Living Beauty and host of the health talk radio show Lisa Live; Dana Ullman, MPH, author of The Homeopathic Revolution: Why Famous People and Cultural Heroes Choose Homeopathy and other titles on homeopathy; Marc Ullman, partner at Ullman, Shapiro & Ullman, chairman, Legal Advisory Counsel, Natural Products Foundation; Amber Lynn Vitse, CN, is certified in Integrative Nutrition, a fusion bodyworker, and an Ayurvedic practitioner, and writes on health issues. remedies is published monthly by Taste for Life, 149 Emerald Street, Suite O, Keene, NH 03431, 603-283-0034 (fax 603-283-0141); ©2020 Connell Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. This magazine is not intended to provide medical advice on personal health conditions, nor to replace recommendations made by health professionals. The opinions expressed by contributors and sources quoted in articles are not necessarily those of the editor or the publisher. Advertisers and advertising agencies assume liability for all content of advertising and for any claims arising therefrom. Information appearing in remedies may not be reproduced in whole or in part without express permission of the publisher.

Creative and Sales Offices: 149 Emerald Street, Suite O, Keene NH 03431 603-283-0034 Rich Wallace, editor

Printed in the US on partially recycled paper.

The inks used to print the body of this publication contain a minimum of 20%, by weight, renewable resources.

Products advertised or mentioned in this magazine may not be available in all locations. 6  remedies 

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tea drinkers may live longer An analysis of more than 100,000 adults determined that those who drank tea at least three times a week lived longer and healthier lives. Frequent green tea drinkers had about a 25 percent lower risk of heart disease and stroke compared to those who drank tea fewer than three times a week. SOURCE “Tea drinkers live longer,” European Society of Cardiology, 1/9/20

did you know? mindfulness may lower BP “We know enough about hypertension [high blood pressure] that we can theoretically control it in everybody—yet in about half of all people diagnosed, it is still out of control.” Those words from Brown University researcher Eric Loucks, PhD, highlight the difficulty medical professionals have in treating many blood pressure patients. A new study led by Dr. Loucks identifies an option that may help: “Mindfulness may represent another approach in helping these people bring their blood pressure down, by allowing them to understand what’s happening in their minds and bodies,” he said. The research team developed a nine-week program focused on mindfulness and BP reduction, then followed up with the participants a year later. The program aimed to enhance attention control, regulation of emotions, and self-awareness of healthy and unhealthy behaviors. Participants were found to have made improvements in BP readings, self-regulation skills, physical activity, and adherence to recommendations for salt and alcohol intakes. The gains were still present after a year.

A cup of hot tea may help protect your vision. Researchers found significantly lower rates of glaucoma among daily drinkers of hot, caffeinated tea. Glaucoma causes a buildup of fluid in the eye, resulting in pressure that damages the optic nerve. It is a leading cause of blindness. SOURCE “Drinking hot tea every day linked to lower glaucoma risk,” BMJ, 12/14/17

SOURCE “Mindfulness training may help lower blood pressure, new study shows,” Brown University, 12/4/19

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sports nutrition and performance

CBD gets green light for athletes Olympians can safely use it (and so can you) Cannabidiol (CBD)—a nonpsychoactive extract of the hemp plant—has been touted for numerous health benefits in recent years, including for athletes. While research is ongoing, promise has been seen for pain relief, inflammation reduction, better sleep, and other factors that can enhance workouts, ease recovery, and ultimately result in better performances during competition.

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Go for the gold The closest most of us will get to the Olympics or Paralympics is to watch the competition on television, but we can benefit from some of the resources available to those elite competitors. Recent developments regarding CBD indicate that it’s considered a safe and effective supplement. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which regulates substance use for Olympic athletes, now permits the use of CBD. The use of all other natural and synthetic cannabinoids remains prohibited for Olympic athletes. Athletes should be diligent when choosing CBD products, however, since some contain prohibited amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive component of the cannabis plant. “Cannabidiol, including CBD oil, is now permitted,” according to the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). “However, cannabidiol extracted from cannabis plants may contain varying concentrations of THC, which remains a prohibited substance.”

Exercise caution A new report in the journal Sports warned against buying CBD products from “dubious Internet sources without quality control.” It cautioned that some products, especially “so-called full-spectrum cannabis extracts, may contain significant levels” of THC, “potentially leading to positive doping tests.” —Cameron Hendrix SELECTED SOURCES “Cannabidiol excluded from WADA’s 2020 prohibited substances list,” www.SputnikNews.com, 10/1/19 l “CBD for athletes: What you need to know about cannabidiol” by Chris Carmichael, www.TrainRight.com l “Pain medications: Prohibited v. permitted,” www.USADA.org l “A warning against the negligent use of cannabidiol in professional and amateur athletes” by D.W. Lachenmeier and P. Deil, Sports (Basel), 12/14/19

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By Maria Noël Groves, RH (AHG)

spring forward!

a seasonal detox can tune you up

In the season of spring, we crave vibrance and renewal for our bodies. We emerge from the sluggish hibernation of winter and storage crops to a melting landscape, sprouting bitter greens, and earthy fresh roots.

The energy of seasonal spring food and medicinal herbs is for detoxification— clearing out waste and encouraging vigor in the body. In the supplement aisles, this may take the form of detox kits and tea blends. Here’s what to look for to give your body a spring tune-up.

Bitter and nutritious greens

In spring, we welcome fresh greens back into our diet as well as our teas and supplements. They’re dense with nutrients and also support detoxification through various body systems. Nettle leaf (Urtica dioica) remains one of our most nutritious greens, rich in calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamin K, and chlorophyll. It also supports detoxification via the urinary tract (it’s a diuretic that makes you pee and helps clear uric acid) and tastes pleasant enough as a tea alongside more flavorful herbs like mint. Dandelion leaf (Taraxacum officinale) is also rich in minerals and acts as a diuretic, but its stronger bitter flavor belies its ability to enhance digestive function and bile (the liver’s waste) formation and excretion. It also acts as an indirect laxative. Other spring medicinal greens include the mild tasting violet leaf (Viola tricolor and V. sororia), which stimulates healthy lymph circulation and detoxification, and horsetail (Equisetum arvensis), which is high in silica and is a diuretic.

Earthy and bitter roots

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Dandelion roots and the closely related chicory (Cichorium intybus) have an even greater affinity for the liver, with a milder diuretic effect than the leaves, and they offer a somewhat pleasant, bitter chocolate/coffee-like flavor for tea blends, especially when roasted. Their common companion weed burdock (Arctium lappa and A. minus) has an earthy, sweet, and mildly bitter flavor that blends well with dandelion and encourages detoxification via both the liver and the lymphatic system. For those on the more constipated side, the potent bitter-aromatic and mild laxative effects of yellow dock can be added to the mix.

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Fiber plus water helps soften and bulk up the stool while grabbing the waste cleared by the liver via the bile to help it more effectively clear from the body. Excellent sources include ground seeds such as flax, hemp, chia, and psyllium. The first three offer excellent omega-3 fatty acid content, but they go rancid quickly. Store them in the fridge or freezer and toss if they taste or smell fishy. If you’re new to eating fiber, introduce it gradually to give your gut flora a chance to adapt and limit gas and bloating. Other high-fiber foods include beans, apples, pears, and whole grains. For additional laxative action, consider yellow dock, triphala, or magnesium, which are safe to consume regularly without creating dependence.

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Food first

A food-first approach will provide the best detoxification benefits, but supplements are mighty convenient. Most of these herbs are available in detox kits, pills, powders, liquid extracts, and tea. To eat them, consider dandelion leaf pesto, violet leaf in tea blends or salad, roasted dandelion-burdock-chicory root tea, flax crackers, chia smoothies and pudding, burdock and nettle in soup and stir fries, and nettle tea blended with chai spices or mint. ADDITIONAL READING The Detox Diet by Elson M. Haas ($16.99, Ten Speed Press, 2012) l Herbal ABC’s: The Foundation of Herbal Medicine by Sharol Marie Tilgner ($29.95, Wise Acres, 2018) l Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine by David Hoffmann ($60, Healing Arts Press, 2003) l The Wild Medicine Solution: Healing with Aromatic, Bitter, and Tonic Plants by Guido Mase ($18.95, Healing Arts Press, 2013)

Maria Noël Groves, RH (AHG), is the best-selling, award-winning author of Body into Balance: An Herbal Guide to Holistic Self Care and Grow Your Own Herbal Remedies. Maria’s a registered professional herbalist with the American Herbalists Guild and a graduate of the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine and Rosemary Gladstar’s Sage Mountain. Learn more about Maria and herbs at www.WintergreenBotanicals.com.

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supplement spotlight

why probiotics? a leading expert offers his take

James B. LaValle, RPh, CCN, is an internationally recognized clinical pharmacist, author, board-certified clinical nutritionist, and naturopathic doctor with more than 30 years of clinical experience. He works with the National Football League, National Basketball Association, and Major League Baseball to offer health, wellness, and diet strategies.

Best known for his expertise in metabolic and integrative medicine, Dr. LaValle has written more than 20 books, including Cracking the Metabolic Code and Your Blood Never Lies. We checked in with him for his expertise about probiotic bacteria, their health benefits, and recommended intakes.

How do you know if you need to take probiotics? James LaValle: Other than people with SIBO [small intestine bacterial overgrowth], anyone with digestive issues such as gas, bloating, indigestion, constipation, or loose stools or immune issues such as allergies or being prone to colds will benefit from probiotics. Anyone who has taken antibiotics for an illness or surgery or acne in the past should take a probiotic to restore beneficial flora to adequate levels. People on acid-blocking medications or non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) should also consider probiotics. March 2020  

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continued from page 15

Which strains work well for specific symptoms and conditions?

If you eat fermented foods, do you need to take probiotics?

JL: The science of probiotics for condition-specific uses is still evolving. For example, L-rhamnosus has some studies showing it might help weight loss, especially in women. I recommend “the friendly trio,” which are three of the most well-documented, clinically studied species: Lactobacillus gasseri KS-13, Bifidobacterium longum MM-2, and Bifidobacterium G9-1. These have been reported to improve digestion, reduce cold and allergy symptoms, and restore a healthy microbiome in aging adults.

JL: Depending on the products, you often do still need to take a probiotic supplement, mostly because the bacteria starters used to make those products can be limited in bacteria types. Kefir tests out pretty well for the amount of beneficial bacteria it contains, but you have to tolerate milk. I believe reasonable support with products that contain human flora strains is needed to fortify immunity.

What are the recommended levels of colony forming units (CFUs)? JL: You want counts in the billions, not millions. Some conditions like antibiotic-induced diarrhea will resolve more quickly with higher CFUs. For issues like colitis or autoimmune disorders, healthcare providers may recommend higher CFUs initially but then back down to lower doses as maintenance. It’s not just about CFU count. Verifying that a brand tests to guarantee that the bacteria remain viable through the shelf life and CFU counts are accurate to the date of expiration is an important part of picking a probiotic.

How do you know how often to take probiotics? JL: Take probiotics daily until symptoms improve. After that, cut down to a couple of times a week. If you are on medications that disrupt the microbiome, I would suggest taking a probiotic at least five days per week.

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If you have to take antibiotics, when and how should you take probiotics to restore healthy flora? JL: Take a probiotic at least two hours away from antibiotic dosing, typically twice a day. I have recommended this for the last 35 years. Rarely do I ever see a case of antibiotic-induced diarrhea or any decreased efficacy of the prescribed medication.

Can people of any age take probiotics? JL: Yes, probiotics are safe and effective for every stage of life. For children, we need to remember they are also being medicated with antibiotics, acid-blocking drugs, and other medications that could change the diversity of their microbiome. It has been shown that dysbiotic flora can increase risk for developing allergies, sometimes severe. I often recommend probiotics for children due to their role in supporting the immune system, in addition to helping to address skin issues and easing digestive woes associated with antibiotic usage. Visit www.probiotics.com for more information. This website is a great way to understand how probiotics work and which are appropriate to take and when.

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17 l remedies   1/15/20 9:07 AM

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herbal healing

STINGING NETTLE

spring allergy relief natural remedies to ease seasonal allergy symptoms The reemergence of buds, blooms, and green grass brings joy to many people in spring. But for others—one in five Americans—these harbingers of a new season mark the beginning of the suffering known as allergic rhinitis or hay fever.

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If your immune system goes haywire when exposed to pollen and other nonthreatening allergens, consider these helpful herbs. Your swollen eyes, runny nose, muddled mind, and sore throat will thank you.

Herbal helpers Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) acts as a mild antihistamine, reducing inflammation. It’s available as a supplement or liquid extract (tincture) and is often combined with other anti-allergy herbs. Because it blooms at the same time as ragweed, goldenrod (Solidago spp.) is frequently, but incorrectly, blamed for causing allergy symptoms. Goldenrod helps to drain sinus congestion and thin mucus. This is another antihistamine herb that blends well with nettle. Goldenrod can be taken as a tincture or brewed as a tea. Petadolex is an extract of butterbur (Petasites hybridus) that has had the liver-toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids removed. “In clinical studies, it performed as well as Zyrtec and Allegra, without drowsy side effects,” said clinical herbalist Maria Noël Groves. Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba), one of the oldest and longest-living tree species on Earth, has been used in Chinese herbal medicine for more than 5,000 years. This anti-inflammatory herb may help relieve coughs and allergy symptoms.

GOLDENROD

GINKGO

Be proactive with probiotics Taking probiotics before allergy season may reduce suffering. Adults who received a probiotic-rich fermented milk product prior to exposure to grass pollen showed significantly fewer allergy symptoms. Eating fermented foods like sauerkraut may also help your immune system be less reactive to allergens. But be aware that “1 percent of the population may find that fermented foods actually aggravate an underlying histamine intolerance,” said Groves.

Alternative therapies

BUTTERBUR

Moistening the nasal passages with sprays or washes can provide relief. Saline sprays or xylitol sprays help to liquefy secretions, eliminating buildup. They’ll also reduce inflammation, decrease postnasal drip, and flush mucus and allergens from your nose. Using a neti pot can bring about the same effects. Herbs that help with removing excess mucus—barberry (Berberis spp.), Oregon grape root (Mahonia spp.), goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), and coptis (Coptis spp.) can be added to a neti wash to fight sinusitis and sinus infections, according to Groves. “For allergic rhinitis, consider a special acupressure technique called NAET,” recommended Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, a board-certified internist and author of the popular free iPhone application “Cures A-Z.” “It eliminated my decades-long hay fever in 20 minutes!” To learn more, visit www.naet.com.

GOLDENSEAL

—remedies staff SELECTED SOURCES Body into Balance by Maria Noel Groves ($24.95, Storey, 2016) l “Complementary therapies in allergic rhinitis” by I. Sayin et al., ISRN Allergy, 11/13 l “Dear allergy sufferers: Don’t blame goldenrod” by Tom Oder, Mother Nature Network, www.mnn.com, 9/29/14 l “Effect of Lactobacillus Paracasei ST11 on a nasal provocation test with grass pollen in allergic rhinitis” by J. Wassenberg et al., Clin Exp Allergy, 4/11 l “Histamine hack: How to safely eat fermented foods,” https://BodyEcology.com l “Nettle extract (Urtica dioica) affects key receptors and enzymes associated with allergic rhinitis” by B. Roschek Jr. et al., Phytotherapy Research, 1/12/09

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healthy glow

anti-aging skin care Does your bathroom mirror reflect the march of time? From age spots and crow’s feet to brittle hair and chipping nails— you might be wondering what can be done to slow down the visible signs of aging.

It’s not just what you buy to slather on the outside, but also the supplements you take that can help transform your mirror’s reflection. There’s lots of good research about which supplements offer the biggest payoff when it comes to complexion. Consider starting with a daily multivitamin/mineral supplement. Some specifics to keep in mind are the B vitamins to ensure good circulation to the skin, the mineral selenium for better skin elasticity, and vitamin C for firmer skin collagen.

Healthy skin from the inside out When you take a supplement for the sake of your skin, it will also benefit your hair and nails (and vice versa). This is because skin, hair, and nails are all made from the same fibrous proteins, so what’s good for one of them is generally good for all of them. Silica helps create the structures of the proteins in your skin, hair, and nails. Silica from foods or supplements, once in the stomach, gets transformed into an active form called orthosilicic acid, which is better absorbed into the bloodstream than silica. As you age, however, this conversion of silica to the

active form slows down. So, it can be helpful to supplement with the more active form—orthosilicic acid—rather than relying on silica obtained through your diet. Collagen, the protein in skin that helps create strength, elasticity, and smoothness, is continuously renewed by your body. Getting enough vitamin C and protein supports your body’s collagen production, but oral supplements of collagen can also play a role. Over time, your body doesn’t make as much collagen as it used to; this goes hand-in-hand with the appearance of wrinkles and loss of youthful skin “plumpness.” Oral and topical supplemental sources of collagen can help shore things up, say researchers who’ve designed several studies using women taking supplements of collagen daily—either 2.5 grams (g) or 5 g. Study participants experienced significant improvements in smoothness, elasticity, and the appearance of crow’s feet after two months. —Victoria Dolby Toews, MPH Victoria Dolby Toews, MPH, a health journalist for more than two decades, is the author of Life After Baby: Rediscovering and Reclaiming Your Healthy Pizzazz (Basic Health Publications, 2012).

SELECTED SOURCES “Hair, nails, and skin: Differentiating cutaneous manifestations of micronutrient deficiency” by M. DiBaise and S.M. Tarleton, Nutr Clin Pract, 5/29/19 l “Oral intake of specific bioactive collagen peptides reduces skin wrinkles and increases dermal matrix synthesis” by E. Proksch et al., 12/24/13; “Oral supplementation of specific collagen peptides has beneficial effects on human skin physiology: A double-blind, placebo-controlled study” by E. Proksch et al., 8/14/14, Skin Pharmacol Physiol l Personal communication: Ashma Ishaq l “Use of silicon for skin and hair care: An approach of chemical forms available and efficacy” by L.A. Araujo et al., An Bras Dermatol, 5/16

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e ve r y d a y r e m e d i e s

sinusitis What is it? Sinusitis is inflammation of the air-filled cavities in the head and face. What causes it? Allergies; bacterial, viral, or fungal infections.

Diet: Cayenne pepper, garlic, ginger, horseradish, onion, pineapple, pumpkin seeds, and turmeric help reduce mucus and drain sinuses. Hot tea with honey and lemon can ease congestion.

Supplements: Bromelain, vitamin C, probiotics,

Lifestyle: Drink lots of water; irrigate sinuses with

Herbal therapy: Bee balm, butterbur, goldenrod,

Homeopathy: Hepar sulphuricum, Kali

quercetin.

horehound, oregano, nettle.

a neti pot or spray; get plenty of rest.

biochromicum, Mercurius, Pulsatilla, Silicea, Spigelia.

SELECTED SOURCES “Acute and chronic sinusitis: Treatments and home remedies,” www.WebMD.com, 2/17 l Body into Balance by Maria Noel Groves ($24.95, Storey, 2016) l “Vitamin C is an essential factor on the anti-viral immune responses . . . ” by Y. Kim et al., Immune Netw, 4/13

March 2020  

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healthspan

TURKEY TAIL

medicinal mushrooms ancient remedies for a modern world

In recent years, consumer interest in the health-promoting potential of medicinal mushrooms has literally mushroomed, and for good reason. These delightfully edible and medicinal fungi are applicable for promoting general health: Some exhibit adaptogenic activity and others are specific for the treatment of serious diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. March 2020  

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continued from page 25

REISHI

Some researchers consider select mushrooms as a standard of care to support the immune system in patients undergoing conventional cancer therapy, suggesting that the benefits of mushrooms run the gamut of being valuable for those wanting to generally improve their level of health and vitality to those hoping to increase the chances of survival when faced with serious health challenges.

Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) This is clearly the leader of all medicinal mushrooms in terms of broad-spectrum health-promoting benefits, clinical utility, and popular appeal. Its benefits are far too many to name. Reishi is also known as the “mushroom of immortality.” Reishi is rich in compounds known as triterpenes and polysaccharides, many of which have been documented to possess immunomodulating, liver-protective, cholesterol-lowering, anti-allergenic, and antidepressant activity. Practitioners who prescribe reishi to patients consider it one of the most effective botanical ingredients to decrease side effects and improve quality of life and chances for survival when used as an adjunct to conventional cancer therapies.

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Turkey tail (Trametes versicolor) As long as 20 years ago, noted natural health researcher Paris Kidd stated, “After a quarter century of trials indicating PSK [a polysaccharide] can improve cancer survival, the cumulative human findings amount to a recommendation of its inclusion in standard anticancer protocols. With its risk for adverse events virtually nonexistent, PSK’s contribution to the benefit-risk profiles of these protocols can only be positive.” Despite a plethora of clincal data demonstrating benefit of turkey tail mushrooms, the majority of Americans remain unaware of their benefit.

Lion’s mane (Hericium erinaceus) Lion’s mane is uniquely beneficial for enhancing neurological function and cognition. Recently, pharmacological investigation demonstrated that numerous compounds in lion’s mane increase neurological transmission and are neuroprotective.

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MAITAKE

Maitake (Grifola frondosa)

Quality concerns

Both clinical and preclinical data support the use of maitake in a variety of cancers. Research originally conducted by Japanese researcher Hiroaki Nanba identified an immunomodulating polysaccharide that is dosed at approximately 0.5–1 milligram (mg) per kilo of body weight or approximately 35–70 mg of maitake extract daily.

There are two primary issues regarding the quality of medicinal mushrooms: quality of data, which is highly mixed between good and poor, and quality of material. For consumers, the most significant difference is determining between fruiting body (the visual portion of a mushroom) and mycelium biomass products. Historically, fruiting bodies have been most used, while mycelium biomass products, grown on a nutritive medium, were developed as an economical alternative. There are data supporting the immunomodulating effects of both. Constituent data suggest that fruiting bodies possess a broader range of compounds, but there is no comparative clinical data to say definitively if one is superior to the other. There are a host of other mushrooms including common button, oyster, and shiitake mushrooms that have a plethora of health-supporting properties. Americans would benefit greatly by taking advantage of what the world of medicinal mushrooms has to offer. —Roy Upton, RH (AHG)

Chaga (Ionotus obliquus) Chaga is a powerful antioxidant, is antiviral and anti-inflammatory, and uniquely acts as an aromatase inhibitor, which means it blocks the production of potentially cancer-causing hormones such as estrone, making it specific for estrogensensitive breast tumors.

Cordyceps (Cordyceps species) Of all the medicinal fungi, cordyceps is most specifically used for fatigue, sexual debility, athletic performance, and generally as an adaptogen. It is also specific for conditions associated with fatigue, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and other pulmonary conditions.

Roy Upton, RH, DipAyu, has been working professionally as an herbalist for almost 40 years. He is trained in Ayurvedic, Chinese, and Western herbal traditions, and is president of the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia and director of the California-based herbal company Planetary Herbals.

March 2020  

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postscript

The ABCs of CBD

Congressional passage of the Farm Bill in 2018 launched the hemp industry into hyperdrive, and with it the sale of CBD, a powerful cannabinoid that is found in both hemp and marijuana. Reputed to contain healing properties that reduce stress, alleviate pain, and provide a good night’s sleep, tens of thousands of products have appeared online and in stores, making outrageous and illegal claims. Here’s what you need to know to make a wise purchase. First, the politics. There’s a political power struggle brewing over CBD between pharma and everyone else with a vested interest. The FDA believes that since they approved the drug Epidiolex—which contains CBD in an isolate form—the law requires all CBD to be categorized as a drug. (If an ingredient first becomes an approved drug, it can never be a dietary supplement.) The dietary supplement industry and hemp industries disagree. A lack of clarity is what enabled the sale of subpar products. You can track these issues on Organic & Natural’s Facebook page.

Buyer beware

Karen Howard, CEO and executive director of the Organic & Natural Health Association, has spent more than 30 years working with Congress, state legislatures, and healthcare organizations to develop innovative policies and programs. Prior to Organic & Natural Health, Howard served as executive director for both the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) and the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Schools. www.organicandnatural.org

The opinions expressed in Postscript are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of remedies magazine.

Do your research. Only buy from a trusted source. Visit the company’s website and look for a Certificate of Analysis (COA). The COA, while not foolproof, demonstrates transparency. Hemp cleans the soil, absorbing heavy metals and pesticides. A COA provides test results for both, and confirms ingredient identity. Be aware that the terminology is changing rapidly. Quality companies are moving away from labeling their products as CBD, in exchange for the terms hemp oil concentrate, full-spectrum hemp (a hemp extract with less than 0.3 percent THC) or broad-spectrum hemp (all THC has been removed through processing). Don’t buy products labeled as hemp seed oil. The cannabinoids you seek are only in the plant, not the seeds. Many of the hemp products marketed as CBD are derived from hemp seed oil.

Red flags to watch for: • Do not buy a product that claims to treat, cure, or mitigate disease. It’s illegal to say those things. If it seems too good to be true, it is. • Read the label. It needs a lot number and company contact information. There must be someone you can call with a question, report an adverse reaction, or contact in the event of a recall. • The label should include a recommended dose. Many products don’t. • If the label says it’s been approved by the FDA, walk away. The FDA doesn’t approve dietary supplements. • Don’t buy CBD on Amazon, the largest of all gas stations. We’ve tested their products: They aren’t what you want. Do seek guidance from practitioners trained to prescribe medical marijuana when available. Many dispensaries carry quality CBD products derived from hemp. And remember, if you are seeking treatment for serious health issues, consult with your personal physician. March 2020  

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These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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