Posts Tagged ‘antioxidant’

Road to Recovery with Rhodiola Rosea: A Rejuvenating Herb

Rhodiola Rosea also known as Russian Rhodiola is a herb which consists of multiple therapeutic effects.  It is found mainly in countries with colder climates such as Iceland and in mountains in Eastern Siberia.  Each part of the plant consists of various essential nutrients, but it is the roots and the rhizomes or the Rhodiola that contain the most medicinal properties.

Rhodiola Rosea has adaptogenic properties which help combat fatigue and anxiety, and increase resistance against physical, mental and environmental stresses and therefore it is also known as a rejuvenating herb.  The admirable benefits of this herb do not just stop here.  It also acts as a neuroprotective, anti-cancer, cardio protective, anti-depressive, and an anxiolytic agent.  The extracts derived from Rhodiola Rosea’s rhizomes are important in improving seasonal affective disorders (SAD), concentration and mood.

 

Depression

A research study was carried out to investigate the effectiveness of this extract in terms of treating individuals with mild to moderate depression.  This study consisted of males and females aged 18-70 years old.  This was a double blind placebo controlled study where participants arbitrarily were assigned to group A, B and C.  Group A and B received daily doses of the Rhodiola Rosea extract consisting of different potencies, and group C only received the placebo.  After 40 days it was found that participants in Group A and Group B showed less symptoms of depression and were able to sleep better than the patients in Group C, demonstrating the effectiveness of Rhodiola extract in terms of treating patients with mild to moderate depression as well as poor sleep.

This herb plays an important role in counteracting the effects of stress by interacting with hormones and neurotransmitters such as serotonin, epinephrine, norepinephrine, dopamine and cortisol.  These hormones and neurotransmitters play a crucial role in regulating our mood.  Rhodiola does this by stopping the enzyme which disintegrates the neurotransmitter that is required to stay happy.

 

Stress and Heart

Stress induced cardiac damage can be prevented by taking Rhodiola Rosea.  This herb plays an important role in preventing the release of catecholamines during highly stressful times.  Catecholamines are hormones which affect our sympathetic nervous system during flight or fight situations.  One of the major organs our sympathetic nervous system acts on is our heart.  Therefore during highly stressful times the release of catecholamine increases our heart rate, rate of contraction, and our blood pressure.  With the help of Rhodiola, the reduced release of catecholamines allows for the proper functioning of our parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system to maintain homeostatis.

 

Anti-oxidant Power

The antioxidant power of this herb is also being extensively studied worldwide.  The ability of Rhodiola Rosea to counteract the damage of oxidation by radicals was found to be very high.  The anti-mutagenic and anti-cancer properties of this herb, was also shown to be powerful, having great ability to help prevent the advancement of tumors in cancer patients.

 

Weight Loss

When it comes to losing weight, again Rhodiola is not a silent player.  Some individuals who have a difficult time losing weight around certain areas of the body such as the abdomen can greatly benefit from Rhodiola.  This herb initiates lipase enzymes in our system.  These enzymes play a substantial role in the breakdown of fat found in our adipose tissues.  Research data shows that taking Rhodiola Rosea is an effective way to help shed those extra pounds.

 

Athletic Performance

This herb is also used extensively by Russian athletes to help enhance their athletic performances.  Recent studies have found Rhodiola Rosea to play an important role during intense physical exercise.  The supplementation of this herb taken by elite athletes appears to have improved the capacity to physically exercise by decreasing skeletal muscle damage and lactate levels after an intensive physical exercise session.

 

Importance of the Quality of the Herb

Not all Rhodiola Rosea supplements are equal in quality and hence effectiveness.  Some supplements have poor quality due to faulty harvesting methods, over drying and poor extraction techniques.  Since the medicinal properties are found in the root of Rhodiola Rosea, it is important that the supplements contain the Rhodiola root.  A pure and potent amount of rosavin and salidrosides which are two of the active ingredients of Rhodiola roots is an important part of a good quality Rhodiola Rosea supplement.

 

The benefits of Rhodiola Rosea are endless with the majority of research pointing to a positive impact on both physical and mental health.

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Cinnamon Supports Healthy Blood Sugar Levels

Cinnamon is a delectable spice and much more. It has a long history of therapeutic use. In ancient times cinnamon was even considered more precious than gold. Some cultures used it in meat preservation, recognizing its ability to stop bacterial growth. Besides its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, new research reveals that cinnamon is very effective in lowering blood sugar levels.
The effect of cinnamon on blood sugar levels was discovered by accident by USDA researchers in Maryland. While testing the effects of various foods on blood glucose levels, the researchers found out that the classic apple pie which is traditionally flavored with cinnamon paradoxically helped lower blood glucose levels instead of increasing it. Encouraged by these findings, further studies on cinnamon were done.
In a 2007 study conducted at Malmö University Hospital in Sweden, the effects of cinnamon on gastric emptying rate and blood sugar levels in healthy subjects were revealed. Researchers measured how quickly the stomach emptied after 14 volunteers ate 300 grams of rice pudding alone or seasoned with 6 grams of cinnamon. The cinnamon appeared to slow down stomach emptying  and blood glucose levels were notably lower in those who ate the pudding with the added cinnamon.
In another study in Pakistan, researchers demonstrated the effects of cinnamon on patients with type 2 diabetes. Subjects with type 2 diabetes were given cinnamon supplements in different dosages: one, three or six grams per day. Within weeks the results revealed that that cinnamon supplementation considerably reduced the level of blood glucose and cholesterol levels in subjects as compared to the placebo group. This led to the conclusion that cinnamon is beneficial in the treatment of patients with type 2 diabetes as well as reducing the risk factors associated with diabetes including the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Another double-blind study conducted by French researchers in 2009 revealed that in the case of overweight people with impaired fasting glucose, cinnamon supplementation could reduce the risk factors associated with diabetes. Cinnamon also helps to improve the diabetic patients’ ability to respond to insulin and normalize their blood glucose levels. By helping reduce insulin resistance, cinnamon can also aid in weight loss.
More studies are under way to show the powerful effect of cinnamon on blood sugar. In the meantime, go ahead sprinkle some of this aromatic spice on your toast, porridge, stir fries, hot cocoa or simply drink it as a nice warming tea!
Wellness Naturopathic Centre, North Vancouver, BC
www.wellnessnaturopathic.com
The information on this website is for educational purposes only. It does not substitute for proper assessment and treatment by a licensed health care provider.