Bilberry and Blood Sugar
In BusinessWeek, Robert Preidt reports on research findings about the bilberry. For mice anyway, bilberry extract can help keep blood sugar levels where they are supposed to be, and there is hope that the same goes for humans. Eventually they would like to show that bilberry can help people who are threatened by type 2 diabetes. For those with a more technical interest, Preidt, who writes on health topics for many publications, goes into some detail about how this works on a chemical level. For instance,
The effect of AMPK was accompanied by an increase in glucose transporter 4 (which helps glucose enter cells) in white adipose tissue and skeletal muscle…
On a practical level, the thing to know is that a lot of bright-colored foods such as cranberries, bilberries, blueberries and cherries contain chemicals called anthocyanins, which fight inflammation, improve sensitivity to insulin, and keep the blood sugar down. They seem to help the body produce its various enzymes in a balanced way. Among mice, anthocyanins also keep the weight down.
Blueberries and Memory
Registered nurse Kathleen Blanchard has contributed more than 80 articles on health and medical issues to EmaxHealth, where she explains the benefits of blueberry juice. The source of the information is “J. Agric. Food Chem. DOI: 10.1021/jf9029332″ which seems to be a government document. So, when people in their 70s drink blueberry juice, evidence shows that their memories improve and they can learn new things better. The theory is, something in the juice enhances the ability of neurons, which our brains are full of, to send out their signals. Along with antioxidants, it contains our old friends the anthocyanins. The amount of blueberry juice administered in the 12-week study was two-and-a-half cups per day, and it seemed to help not only neurodegeneration, but depression.
Lemongrass and Headache
At Australia’s Griffith University, research has shown that lemongrass, traditionally used by the indigenous people of the Northern Territory, actually works. It took five years, but the scientists now feel confident that Cymbopogon ambiguus “may be as good as aspirin when it comes to treating headaches,” including migraines. Sabrina Rashid tells us how these findings were published in an academic journal called Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The active ingredient in the lemongrass plant is eugenol, which resembles aspirin, in that it keeps blood platelets from sticking together in clumps.
Aromatherapy and Sin Eating
At the appropriately-named website Aromatherapy, Ross Heaven tells us how, according to anthropological evidence, humans have been using aromatherapy for thousands of years. If you never heard of a “sin eater” before, this is the place to catch up on the concept. He describes a fascinating mode of folk medicine that depends on “the energetic or sympathetic connection between plant and patient.” A modern person might be torn between thinking, “This is nuts,” and “What if this really works?” In the old days, people weren’t faced with the choice between traditional medicine and clinics full of technology. Traditional medicine was all they had. Their lives depended on it, and they knew a thing or two about it. Sin eating is the subject of one of the workshops Heaven offers through the Four Gates Foundation. Others are plant spirit shamanism, soul retrieval, love and relationships, and sacred journeys.
Stones for Health
The Home Remedy Network offers a comprehensive resource compiled by Groshan Fabiola. A very large number of stones for health are described in terms of well-being issues they are believed to influence. Just to mention a few, agates are associated with mental function and emotional trauma; calcite with detoxification; carnelian with the general metabolism; jade with water retention, and so on through a long, alphabetized list.
Source: “Bilberry Seems to Act Against Blood Sugar,” BusinessWeek, 02/17/10
Source: “Blueberry juice could provide alternative therapy for memory loss,” Emax Health, 01/22/10
Source: “Native lemon grass fights headaches like aspirin,” Griffith University, 03/02/10
Source: ” Plant Spirit Shamanism: Fragrant Fascinations,” Aromatherapy, 04/09/10
Source: ” Using Particular Healing Crystals & Healing Minerals as Stones for Health,” Home Remedy Network, 02/10
Image by audreyjm529, used under its Creative Commons license.