Black cumin against cancer

May 12, 2009 by  
Filed under CANCER

nigella_sativa_seedAs more and more disease agents are becoming more and more resistant to mainstream pharmacological therapies, more and more researchers are looking into traditional herbal medicine for alternative treatments.

Researchers at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson reported about the potential anti-cancer properties of the Middle Eastern herbal seed Nigella sativa. The researchers observed that the oil extract from these seeds can kill pancreatic cancer cells as well as inhibit development of pancreatic cancer.

Nigella sativa seeds are also called fennel flower, nutmeg flower, Roman coriander, blackseed, black caraway, or black cumin. They are commonly used in the Middle East as well as South Asia as a spice and a food ingredient. In India, they are also eaten after a meal because they are believed to help in digestion and relieve gases. In many Eastern countries, they are used as herbal medicine to cure a wide range of health problems from asthma to diarrhea.

The Nigella sativa seeds have a long history. It has been mentioned in the Old Testament and in the writings of the ancient Greeks. It was found in the tomb of the Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamen.

The Jefferson researchers identified the substance responsible for the seed’s cancer protective properties as thymoquinone, which is a major constituent of the oil extract. The substance in question exhibited anti-inflammatory properties that reduced the release of inflammatory mediators in pancreatic cancer cells.

According to lead Jefferson researcher Dr. Hwyda Arafat

These are very exciting and novel results. Not only patients with chronic pancreatitis could benefit from this, but also several other groups with risk of development or recurrence of pancreatic cancer, such as high-risk family members and post-surgical patients. These potent effects show promise for the herb as a potential preventive and therapeutic strategy for pancreatic cancer. More importantly, the herb and oil are safe when used moderately, and have been used for thousands of years without reported toxic effects.”

This isn’t the first study to indicate the potential use of black cumin in medicine. A large number studies on Nigella sativa have been performed over the years. A few are summarized below.

  • Iranian scientists reported in 2004 that black cumin seed essential oil is a potent analgesic and antiinflammatory drug.
  • In 2007, Moroccan scientists reported observing anti-tumor properties of black cumin when tested in mice.
  • Indian researchers wrote a comprehensive review last year of the therapeutic potential of Nigella sativa.

Frankincense Against Knee Osteoarthritis

July 31, 2008 by  
Filed under ARTHRITIS

An enriched extract of the frankincense herb may reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Such were the suggested findings of a study recently reported at Arthritis Research & Therapy.

The authors of the said study have reported that patients who took the enriched herb experienced reduction in pain and increase in mobility in as little as seven days.

The herb was enriched with 30 percent AKBA (3-O-acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid), which exhibits potential anti-inflammatory properties by inhibiting the 5-lipoxygenase enzyme. This enzyme transforms essential fatty acids into leukotrienes, which use signals to regulate the body’s response to inflammation.

AKBA is believed to be the most active ingredient of the B. serrata herb.

“AKBA has anti-inflammatory properties, and we have shown that B. serrata enriched with AKBA can be an effective treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee,” said study leader Siba Raychaudhuri, a faculty member of the University of California, Davis.

“The high incidence of adverse effects associated with currently available medications has created great interest in the search for an effective and safe alternative treatment,” Raychaudhuri said.

Frankincense is something we knew that is used in incense and in perfumes. From wikipedia:

Frankincense is tapped from the very scraggly but hardy Boswellia tree through slashing the bark and allowing the exuded resins to bleed out and harden. These hardened resins are called tears. There are numerous species and varieties of frankincense trees, each producing a slightly different type of resin. Differences in soil and climate create even more diversity in the resin, even within the same species.

In the abovementioned study, the frankincense specie used is Boswellia serrata enriched with 30% 3-O-acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid (AKBA) — a product called 5-Loxin®.

5-Loxin(R) is a novel Boswellia serrata extract enriched with 30% 3-O-acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid (AKBA), which exhibits potential anti-inflammatory properties by inhibiting the 5-lipoxygenase enzyme. A 90-day, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study was conducted to evaluate the efficacy and safety of 5-Loxin(R) in the treatment of osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee.

5-Loxin(R) reduces pain and improves physical functioning significantly in OA patients; and it is safe for human consumption. 5-Loxin(R) may exert its beneficial effects by controlling inflammatory responses through reducing proinflammatory modulators, and it may improve joint health by reducing the enzymatic degradation of cartilage in OA patients.

5-Loxin® is a new, patent-pending joint health ingredient from P.L. Thomas.

Story sources: FOX News, Arthritis Research & Therapy abstract

5-LOXIN is a new, patent-pending joint health ingredient that is steeped in the historic roots of boswellia serrata extracts. The boswellia plant has been used for thousands of years in traditional Ayurvedic medicine in India, and recent studies have shown its benefits in promoting joint comfort, knee mobility and walking distance.

The application of modern science by the researchers at the renowned Laila Impex Research Center in India has resulted in the identification of the most powerful boswellia compound, acetyl-11-keto-beta boswellic acid, or AKBA.

I’m guessing it won’t take too long before this product makes it to the market for public consumption. Soon enough this will be the new osteoarthritis anti-inflammatory/pain drug, don’t you think?

Story sources: FOX News and Arthritis Research & Therapy abstract

A Glass of Pomegranate Juice A Day Keeps Arthritis Away

June 13, 2008 by  
Filed under ARTHRITIS

Pomegranate Juice Concentrate, 100% Pure 16 oz. (473 ml)It is already known that pomegranate juice has anti-inflammatory properties. Maybe this is also the reason why researchers believe that a glass of pomegranate juice daily may help fight arthritis. Such were the findings published in the Journal of Inflammation.

The findings however were from an animal study, but which the team of scientists from Case Western Reserve University behind it believes that the same could be true in humans.

If true, it could point the way to a new treatment which could avoid the side effects of current anti-inflammatory drugs, which can include nausea and bleeding in the stomach.

The scientists, from Case Western Reserve University, in Cleveland, Ohio, gave extracts of the fruit, equivalent to a 175ml tumbler of pomegranate juice, to rabbits.

They then tested the level of activity of certain proteins known to trigger inflammation in the animal’s blood.

They found that the pomegranate extracts had inhibited the activity of many of the proteins, some by almost half.

It also raised levels of antioxidants, which can also reduce inflammation, in their blood system.

Researchers of the above study believe that their findings suggest that eating pomegranate or drinking the juice could have a beneficial effect on arthritis.

Read more from The UK Telegraph.

This benefit against arthritis is not the first health benefit reported on pomegranate or pomegranate juice. Previous reports have linked pomegranate juice to lowering cholesterol levels, among other health benefits.

Pomegranate juice has been shown to work well as a blood thinner. Some research has shown it may be an excellent agent for promoting blood flow to the heart. It also has been shown to reduce plaque in the arteries, and to raise “good” levels of cholesterol while helping lower “bad” cholesterol.

This preliminary research suggests that pomegranate juice may be helpful in preventing heart disease, heart attacks and stroke. Most physicians are quick to point out pomegranate juice should be just one aspect of a healthy diet and exercise program. Pomegranate juice alone would probably not cure or completely prevent heart disease.

Some research has also evaluated the antioxidant nature of pomegranate juice and its usefulness in fighting certain forms of cancer. Pomegranate juice has been tentatively shown to reduce incidence of breast and skin cancer. It has also been tested and shown to slow the growth of prostate cancer in mice.

Well…it isn’t surprising that pomegranate juice can do all of the above. It is a powerful antioxidant — yes maybe even more powerful that read wine and green tea.

Okay…let’s wait and see. The above findings anyway admit that further research is necessary in order to determine how well the pomegranate extract is absorbed in the blood stream.

Meanwhile? I guess CHEERS to pomegranate juice! 😉

Ginger Rub: My Newly Found Arthritic Pain Reliever

May 22, 2008 by  
Filed under ARTHRITIS

ginger rubFor the longest time, I have been using that green oil that contains methyl salicylate+menthol for leg cramps, stiff painful knees, etc.

Now, I found Ginger Rub — it contains methyl salicylate+menthol too but in addition has ginger extract or gingerol(s).

According to label of this Ginger Rub that I have now, the properties are:

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Strong Circulation Stimulant
  • Analgesic
  • Antipyretic
  • Antioxidant
  • Anti-bacterial
  • Has soothing and muscle relaxing properties
  • Rejuvenating and anti-ageing
  • Refirming and energizing
  • Insect repellant

I don’t know about the anti-aging, rejuvenating bit…I am just concerned about the soothing and muscle relaxing and anti-inflammatory properties — and of course the strong circulation stimulant.

Before, I knew ginger as a good lozenge — that’s anti-bacterial right? But I didn’t know about its anti-inflammatory, circulation stimulant capabilities.

What are gingerols or ginger extract anyway?

According to wikipedia:

Gingerol, or sometimes [6]-gingerol, is the active constituent of fresh ginger. Chemically, gingerol is a relative of capsaicin, the compound that gives chile peppers their spiciness. It is normally found as a pungent yellow oil, but also can form a low-melting crystalline solid.

Cooking ginger transforms gingerol into zingerone, which is less pungent and has a spicy-sweet aroma.

Gingerol may reduce nausea caused by motion sickness or pregnancy and may also relieve migraine.

According to WHFoods, on ginger:

Historically, ginger has a long tradition of being very effective in alleviating symptoms of gastrointestinal distress. In herbal medicine, ginger is regarded as an excellent carminative (a substance which promotes the elimination of intestinal gas) and intestinal spasmolytic (a substance which relaxes and soothes the intestinal tract).

Modern scientific research has revealed that ginger possesses numerous therapeutic properties including antioxidant effects, an ability to inhibit the formation of inflammatory compounds, and direct anti-inflammatory effects.

We all know ginger as a spice used for cooking throughout the world I particularly like it because it removes the “bad” odor in meat or chicken. And of course, who doen’st like the sweet spicy aroma of ginger?

So I won’t complain if ginger extracts are included in methyl salicylate+menthol home remedies for arthritic pain. I have been using this ginger rub for more than a week and it trumped all the beneficial effects I got from methyl salicylate+menthol alone.

Somebody told me that ginger tea is good for people with gout. Hmmm…must really be the anti-inflammatory properties that are good for the joints. I haven’t heard any side effects yet, so I guess it wouldn’t harm to try it.

Besides, this ginger rub is for external use only. I’ve yet to encounter ginger tea. Or maybe I should just boil ginger? Gingerale anyone? OR is that gingerade?

What do you think? Have you tried ginger against arthritis?

Extracts in Chinese Ants May Fight Against Arthritis and Others

April 29, 2008 by  
Filed under ARTHRITIS

Chemists in China have identified substances in some of their ant species that may be able to fight against arthritis and other diseases (i.e. hepatitis, etc).

Apparently in China, ants has been used for centuries as a healthy ingredient in food or drink, against various conditions such as arthritis and hepatitis.

In the new study, Zhi-Hong Jiang and colleagues analyzed extracts from a particular species of Chinese medicinal ant (Polyrhacis lamellidens) commonly used in folk medicine.

The researchers identified at least two polyketides, potent natural products also found in plants, fungi and bacteria that have shown promise in studies by others for fighting arthritis, bacterial infections, and a variety of other diseases.

The researchers suspect that the health benefit from ants may be due to the anti-inflammatory or anti-pain properties of the substances found in ants.

However, the exact chemicals or compounds responsible for such health benefits are yet to be known.

Find more details from Science Daily.

Findings of the above study will appear in the April 25 issue of American Chemical Society‘s Journal of Natural Products — in an article entitled “Bicyclic Polyketide Lactones from Chinese Medicinal Ants, Polyrhacis lamellidens”.

In this particular research, the said Chinese medicinal ant specie is Polyrhacis lamellidens. When I searched the web, only Polyrhachis lamellidens from the Japanese Ant Image Database.

Original Reference

Smith, F. (1874) Descriptions of new species of Tenthredinidae, Ichneumonidae, Chrysididae, Formicidae, &c. of Japan. Transactions of the Entomological Society of London (4) 7: 373-409.
Description

Total length of workers around 7-8 mm. Body bicolored; head, legs and gaster black; mesosoma and petiole reddish brown. Dorsal surface of mesosoma flattened, dorsolateral edges carinate. Pronotum with a pair of forwardly-directed spines.

Mesonotum with a pair of backwardly curved spines. Propodeal spines long, their apices curved. Dorsolateral margins of propodeum carinate. Petiole with a pair of long, hooked spines.

Hmmm…seems the same as the Chinese specie used in the above study.

Well, the interesting ending remains to be seen. Really interesting. 😉

Manuka Honey For Arthritic Pain Relief

April 26, 2008 by  
Filed under ARTHRITIS

What do you rub on your joints for arthritic pain relief? I have always relied on Efficascent Oil (Methyl Salicylate Camphor + Menthol) — which could be available under different brand names in other countries.

When my knees become stiff, this home remedy efficascent oil is really a lot of help.

Have you heard of Manuka Honey? Don’t worry, I haven’t either.

Manuka Honey – a special type of honey -has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, making it a viable treatment solution for people with arthritis.

In treating arthritis and other forms of inflammation, eliminating the underlying cause and inflammation is necessary. Doctors and other medical professionals are now discovering that a particular type of honey called “Manuka Honey” has natural anti-inflammatory properties that are extremely effective in treating these conditions. In addition, Manuka Honey has the ability to diffuse into the depths of skin tissue so as to get to affected areas.

“Manuka Honey is an organic, all-natural substance that is more effective in relieving pain than most analgesic products that are available over-the-counter,” says Frank Buonanotte, CEO of Honeymark International which is a manufacturer of Manuka Honey products. “Due to its powerful anti-inflammatory properties, Manuka Honey is now being considered a viable treatment option for arthritis and other muscle and joint pain.”

Manuka Honey products are manufactured by Honeymark International.

You can purchase Honeymark’s Pain Relief Cream with Manuka Honey by calling 1-866-427-7329 or visiting www.HoneymarkProducts.com.

[Story and Photo Source]

Arthritis Drug Celebrex® and Arrhythmia

February 11, 2008 by  
Filed under ARTHRITIS

pfizer_celebrex.jpgThe COX-2 inhibitor and a popular arthritis drug Celebrex® is maybe inducing arrhythmia (irregular beating of the heart) as shown in laboratory studies.

A product of PfizerCelebrex® – is an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) used for the relief of arthritis pain, stiffness, and inflammation.

Such were the unexpected findings of University at Buffalo researchers while conducting basic research on potassium channels — totally unrelated to the drug’s anti-pain/inflammatory mechanism:

They found that low concentrations of the drug, corresponding to a standard prescription, reduced the heart rate and induced pronounced arrhythmia in fruit flies and the heart cells of rats.

The drug inhibited the normal passage of potassium ions into and out of heart cells through pores in the cell membrane known as delayed rectifier potassium channels, the study showed.

Remember Merck‘s controversial drug Vioxx? This product was withdrawn from the market in September 2004.

Satpal Singh, Ph.D. (associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and senior author on the study) explains:

“The adverse effects of drugs like Celebrex and Vioxx based on their selective inhibition of COX-2 currently are a topic of intense discussion in the medical community

We now have shown an important new effect of Celebrex through a totally different pathway, one that is unrelated to the drug’s effect as a pain reducer.

The adverse effect arising from this unexpected mechanism definitely needs to be studied more closely, because the potassium channels inhibited by the drug are present in heart, brain and many other tissues in the human body.

[Photo Credit]

Could this be a sign that Celebrex is out to have the same fate as Vioxx? Nothing final yet, let’s just speculate and not jump into conclusions.

Find more details from Science Daily.

Novartis’ Anti-Arthritis Drug Lumiracoxib (Prexige), Recalled From Philippine Market

January 19, 2008 by  
Filed under ARTHRITIS

Here in the Philippines, the Bureau of Food and Drugs has ordered the pull-out from the market of the pain-killer anti-arthritis drug – Lumiracoxib (Prexige) by Novartis – due to fears that it can cause liver damage.

In November 2007, Novartis announced that Prexige had been suspended from sale and marketing in Britain and Germany amid fears it can cause liver damage.

Apparently, Austria, Australia and Canada have taken similar steps of pulling Prexige out of their markets. On the other hand, Prexige has not been approved for sale in the United States.

The health department’s Bureau of Food and Drugs ordered Novartis Healthcare Philippines Inc. to “immediately initiate a product recall and cease and desist from further importing, distributing, or selling Lumiracoxib (Prexige)” tablets.

A bureau advisory said it has “determined that the risks of Lumiracoxib-containing medicines are greater than their benefits,” citing “reports of cases from abroad concerning potential serious liver-related side effects.”

Lumiracoxib is an anti-inflammatory drug used for the treatment of the symptoms of osteoarthritis and dysmenorrhia. The drug is used as well as in dental and orthopaedic surgery.

Lumiracoxib (rINN) is a COX-2 selective inhibitor non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. Lumiracoxib has a different structure from the standard COX-2 inhibitors (e.g. celecoxib).

It more closely resembles the structure of diclofenac (one chlorine substituted by fluorine, the phenylacetic acid has another methyl group in meta position), making it a member of the arylalkanoic acid family of NSAIDs.

It binds to a different site on the COX-2 receptor than the standard COX-2 inhibitors. It displays extremely high COX-2 selectivity.

According to the Philippines’ BFAD:

“Patients who are using Lumiracoxib (Prexige) are advised to stop taking the drug and to immediately consult their physicians for information regarding their alternative treatments.

Novartis is in the process of recalling the drug from its distribution outlets
The bureau had no data on the number of people using the drug in the country and there were no reports of any patients showing the same symptoms as those reported in other countries.

Well, I guess it is about time that the Philippines followed suit in the market recall of this product.

Source: AFP Google

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.