It is that time of year in the northern hemisphere when thoughts turn to staying in shape or at least thinking about weight control.
Check out the links on how herbs and spices can help to get into shape:
Immunity and Herbs
Modes of boosting the immune system by herbs & spices are discussed in this review by Sultan et al.
The activation and suppression of specialized cells could lead to improvement in immune responses and the body’s defence system. This review highlights the importance of, amongst others, green tea (Camellia sinensis), ginger (Zingiber officinale) and licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) as natural immune boosters.
In a study by Gamboa-Gómez et al they investigated the effect of Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum L. (OS)) diet on obesity in an animal study. In an infusion with other herbs, Holy Basil appeared to suppress fat accumulation, and significantly down-regulated the mRNA levels of two hepatic lipogenesis genes:
The researchers conclude that the consumption of plant infusions containing these type of herbs is a feasible therapy for metabolic changes induced by obesity.
More good news for the herbs and spices we use at The Wise Herb Company!
Diet-health connections are coming increasingly into focus as, globally, many chronic conditions like diabetes, cancer and obesity are increasing. As a result of this there has been a move to functional and nutraceutical foods.
Augmenting immunity via functional foods is explored by Sultan et al in a review. The immune system is critical in maintaining the body’s internal biochemical equilibrium.
A range of plants have been identified as immuno-modulating agents. This interesting review highlights herbs and spices such as Green Tea (Camellia sinensis), Ginger (Zingiber officinale) and Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), as natural immune boosters. These are key ingredients used by The Wise Herb Company.
“…some of these plants carry free radical scavenging and anti-inflammatory activities that are helpful against cancer insurgence…”
Oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) seems to have a role in atherosclerotic plaque formation. Ginger has been shown to have antioxidants and cardioprotective properties (see also Ginger & Heart Health and Ginger: Prevention Hypertension and Cardiovascular Disease).
In a study by Gunathilake and Rupasinghe they demonstrated the antioxidant effects of extracts of ginger and major ginger constituents of human LDL. The LDL oxidation inhibition by ethanol, methanol, ethyl acetate, and hexane extracts of ginger was 71%, 76%, 67%, and 67%, respectively.
These studies indicate that the phenolic bioactives of ginger-6-gingerols, 8-gingerols, 10-gingerols, and 6-shogaol-seem to be strong inhibitors of induced LDL oxidation. Ginger extracts inhibit human LDL oxidation in vitro.
Can Ginger have a protective effect in the formation of “fatty” plaques in arteries?
“Atherosclerosis, a chronic inflammatory disease of the arterial wall, is the major cause of morbidity and mortality from CVD (Cardiovascular Disease) in much of the world’s population. The disease involves the formation of Plaques in arterial walls that narrow the arterial passage, restricting blood flow and increasing the risk of occlusion of blood flow by a myocardial infarction. There is now a consensus that Atherosclerosis represents a state of heightened oxidative stress characterized by lipid and protein oxidation in the vascular wall. The Oxidative Modification hypothesis predicts LDL (Low-Density Lipoproteins) oxidation as an early event in Atherosclerosis, and oxidized LDL as one of the important contributors of Atherogenesis” see LDL Oxidation in Atherogenesis.
Back to nature with Grandmother and Ginger!
New research by Hintzpeter et al may explain why Green Tea constituents (EGCG) help with various metabolic disorders such as insulin resistance, diabetes type 2, hypertension, dyslipidemia and obesity.
Studies at the Institute of Toxicology and Pharmacology at the University Medical School Schleswig-Holstein in Germany revealed that these health benefits may be attributed to an inhibition of the cortisol producing enzyme 11β-HSD1. There is strong evidence for an important role of 11β-HSD1 in various metabolic disorders.
Green tea has been associated with health benefits for many hundreds of years and this link between EGCG and prevention of diseases such as diabetes type 2 is an important step in the right direction!
Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), is an active compound found in Green Tea. We have seen on many of these pages that it is strong antioxidant which may help to prevent many serious chronic illnesses.
The molecular mechanisms of EGCG from Green Tea are still being investigated and Ma et al, in their studies, suggest that EGCG had a positive anti-proliferative effect on human lung cancer cells. They demonstrated that EGCG inhibited anchorage-independent growth and induced cell cycle G0/G1 phase arrest.
Various marker molecules for cancer were suppressed following Green Tea EGCG treatment. The results indicate that inhibition of signaling pathways may partly contribute to the anticancer activity of EGCG.
Garcia-Rodríguez et al also showed similar interesting effects. It seems that green tea polyphenols have a modulating effect of on genotoxic damage and apoptotic activity in an animal model study.
(See also Barg et al)
Additional Useful References from recent studies:
Anti-inflammatory effects of Green Tea EGCG: (Asthma, bronchal & airway diseases etc)
Green tea may rely on to inhibit lung tumorigenesis: (Lung disease, Cancer)