Browsing articles in "medicinal herbs"
Mar 30, 2014
Justine Crono

Priests of the pit

By:Aliyeh Rizvi

Somewhere among the crumbling Kala Bhairava and Anjaneya temples, silk markets and Devanga weaving looms in Cubbonpete (named after the British Resident Lord Cubbon), an oil lamp is lit to the mace wielding God, Hanuman. Inside the KodandaramaVyayam Shale, a wrestling gymnasium or garadi mane, soft red earth has been beaten down in the pit. Stone and iron exercise equipment, the Nal, Gadha, Gunndu Kallu and the Malkhamb wait to be used. Modern bar bells on the floor are the only indication that this is not an account of court wrestling from the Manasollasa, a 12th century treatise written by the Chalukyan king, Somesvara III.

Men in loin cloths slip into the Suryanamaskar and Shirshasana before starting the Vyayam system of physical training that includes jackknife push-ups and squats — the traditional dand and the bethak. They tell me that this codified vocabulary of stances, moves and counter-moves like locks, pins, throws and submission holds, builds core strength and preserves youthful energy. Sprightly old men are pointed out as proof.
Local stories attribute the high density of garadi manes to ancient military presence in the Pete. The Dodda Garadi in Cottonpet says it was founded by the legendary pehelwan Thimmarayappa in 1680. Local stories claim a young Haider Ali also exercised here in the early 17th century. Today, Garadis in Tigalarapete help train Veerakumaras,the sword bearers who protect the karaga during the ancient Pete festival.
The garadi is also a social space; a refuge from the world and women. My presence here is a privilege. Nagesh, a zari dealer and Shreerama Garadi regular, tells me the men share maintenance chores and raise funds for its upkeep. They also ensure that the sacred Matti, a symbol of elemental purity and the nurturing feminine principle, is treated regularly with butter, groundnut oil, red ochre powder, sandalwood, turmeric and other medicinal herbs to maintain its colour and texture.
Master Naganna now grapples with his langoti-clad, bare-bodied students and teaches them the finer points of nadakusti or Indian wrestling. Not so long ago, he would have been a regular pehelwan and quasi-God for hefty-bodied worshippers who were once icons of physical discipline, spiritual devotion and nationalism. As full-time residents of the garadi, they would have taken vows of abstinence including celibacy and maintained a strict daily routine. An Ayurvedic sattvic diet would have been consumed to combat the rajasic nature of wrestling along with mountains of pehelwanikhurak (almonds, milk and ghee).
But things have changed since the legendary Gama pehelwan returned unchallenged by European wrestlers from London in 1910.The almonds, ghee and milk now appear only in the Rama Rasa made around Ramnavmi, and the garadi manes come to life only at dawn and dusk.
Across the city at Kale Bhai ka Akhada in Shivajinagar, Ustad Amjad pehelwan is dismissive of modern gym techniques. “Sab khoklahai,” he says and complains that the younger generation lacks dedication. While the Muslim and Hindu schools of kusthi have imperceptible differences, both are united in their struggle for survival. Other than Dussehra celebrations in Mysore, dangs or bouts are steadily decreasing across the state. The Indian physical tradition of pahelwani, a synthesis of the ancient Indian Malla Yudha and the Persian Varzesh-e-Bastani practised by the Mughals, will soon be lost to the treadmill forever.

Mar 29, 2014
Justine Crono

Herbal remedies to treat insomnia – Information

Insomnia is a sleep disorder in adults, which is more common in women than in men though the quality of sleep decreases in both with age. Causes of insomnia include stress, depression, temperature changes, side effects of medicines, environmental changes, hormonal imbalance, chronic pain, and a number of other health reasons. Lifestyle changes like consumption of alcohol and smoking may also cause this sleep disorder, reports Newsmax Health.

Medications and natural remedies can help insomnia patients. These remedies are inexpensive and effective for curing insomnia and sleep problems. Medicinal herbs have been used to treat sleep disorder since ancient times. These herbs include lavender, lemon balm, St. John’s Wort, and passionflower, among others. Some natural remedies helpful to treat insomnia include:

Chamomile: Drinking chamomile tea 30 minutes before going to sleep is one of the most effective remedies to aid good sleep.

Kava: Kava is among herbs that have anti-anxiety properties. However, herbs that counter anxiety, including kava, have been associated with potential severe side effect risks.

Withania somnifera: Winter cherry or ashwagandha is among herbs that are effective remedies for treating stress, a major cause of insomnia. Using an extract, pill, or tisane of these herbs can reduce stress.

Valerian: Valerian is a dietary supplement that has been used since ancient times. Patients using valerian herbs or extracts should not combine it with any other medication and supplements.

5-HTTP: 5-Hydroxytryptophan is one of the natural remedies beneficial for treating insomnia. It is associated with serotonin, which is helpful to treat depression and anxiety. However, its long-term use should be avoided to prevent side effects.

Melatonin: Melatonin is among effective insomnia remedies. This natural herbal sleep aid works well for older people. The body’s melatonin hormone level decreases as the person ages. Melatonin as an insomnia remedy has no side effects when taken in low doses.

Passionflower: These herbs help treat sleep disorder. The herbs’ sedative properties are well known and it is particularly helpful for menopausal women. These herbs can be used as a tincture for treating sleep problems. Taking 10 to 20 drops of the tincture in water before bedtime is advised.

NEWS.am Medicine

Mar 28, 2014
Justine Crono

Experts warn over Nigerian ‘Viagra’ drinks

Nike Ajibade and three of her colleagues sit on a Lagos sidewalk with small plastic bottles of liquids tucked inside weather-beaten plastic buckets.

The hidden bottles of so-called Viagra drinks sell for about $2 and are much sought after for their supposed aphrodisiac qualities.

But medical professionals warn that rather than enhancing sexual prowess, regular users could be putting their long-term health at risk.

“Sales are high because of good patronage,” Ajibade, 27, said. “Most of my customers are manual laborers who need to boost their energy in bed after a hard day’s job under mostly inclement weather.”

Hundreds of hawkers ply the bustling streets of Lagos and other Nigerian towns and cities selling such “Viagra” drinks, despite their unknown and untested effects on the male sex drive.

“They are creating health problems for themselves,” warned Olukemi Odukoya, the dean of the University of Lagos’ faculty of pharmacy. “Unknown to them, some of these liquids have chemical substances which can cause liver or kidney problems, which are very expensive and difficult to manage.”

Viagra, taken to treat erectile dysfunction, costs between $5 and $11 per little blue pill in Nigeria — way beyond the means of most people who live on just $2 a day.

As a result, that creates a ready market for cheaper, apparent alternatives.

Besides the locally produced $2 bottles, others are imported, including so-called Alomo bitters, which come from Ghana.

The Ghanian liquid is a blend of rich medicinal herbs and roots that are believed to cure back pains and piles but are considered an aphrodisiac in Nigeria.

Bootleg versions of the drink — with 42 percent alcoholic content — are available in the local market for about $4 for a 750-milliliter bottle.

Such drinks — all with names promising a nirvana of sexual potency — flood the Nigerian market every day, mostly via the country’s porous borders and seaports or past officials who turn a blind eye.

“I feel high and alright each time I have sex after consuming ‘koboko’ (horse whip) or ‘kondo’ (baton) drinks, and my partner gives me a feeling of satisfaction,” said one young motor mechanic after buying a bottle.

Similar “aphrodisiac” drinks are found in other West African countries such as Togo and Benin under names such as XXL, Rox and Atomic, finding a ready market of male consumers.

There is no official control, and medical warnings against their consumption are regularly ignored.

A senior lecturer in clinical pharmacy studies at the University of Lagos, Aderemi Williams, said no scientific studies have been carried out on the drinks.

But reports indicate they could be harmful.

Most have not been tested or approved by Nigeria’s National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) regulator, and accreditation can be faked by unscrupulous distributors.

Health professionals warned that possible side effects could include anemia, increased risk of cancer and stroke, cirrhosis and reduced fertility, as well as enlargement of the prostate gland.

Nigeria has a wider problem with fake and adulterated drugs, with officials estimating that more than 70 percent of medication is bogus.

NAFDAC has arrested and prosecuted dozens of suspected dealers in counterfeit drugs and herbal products, destroyed seized goods and closed shops and warehouses where they were distributed.

One University of Lagos clinical pharmacist said that instead of enhancing libido, regular drinkers of liquid aphrodisiacs may be risking their future fertility — and even life.

But Moruf Adeyemi, 29, a mechanic in the run-down Lagos district of Obalende, is unperturbed about the potential risks — and is convinced that they aid his performance in bed.

“Each of us has to die somehow. I don’t believe the consumption of these sex-enhancing drinks has any side effects,” he said. “My wife commends my performance in bed when I take them, and that gives me joy.”

Mar 27, 2014
Justine Crono

Gardeners to gather to share seeds



Gardeners to gather to share seeds

By :TONY EVANS

Mar 26, 2014
Justine Crono

Japan’s early masters of Alpine photography and their breathtaking views

Although Japanese have long gone into the mountains on spiritual pilgrimages and to gather food, fuel and medicinal herbs, it was only in about 1900 that mountaineering emerged in Japan as a recreational pursuit. Within a decade or so, all the important peaks had been climbed and mountaineers turned to more difficult ascents in unknown territory.

“Valleys and Peaks,” which runs alongside the Shimooka Renjo exhibition at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, introduces the stunning alpine photography of Matsujiro Kanmuri (1883-1970), who broke new ground with his climbs in the Kurobe Gorge of Toyama Prefecture and Misuo Hokari (1891-1966), who worked to make mountaineering more accessible.

Kanmuri was initially reluctant to take a camera into the mountains, fearing that he’d get so focused on taking pictures that he’d fail to appreciate the nature. But his first view of the Kurobe River from the top of Mount Tate changed his mind; he wanted others to see the beauty of the mountains. Although photographic equipment then was heavy and cumbersome, he began to carry cameras on all his trips. He composed beautiful views of peaks and valleys, characterized by his skillful use of natural light. Some of his photographs capture scenes that were lost forever when parts of the gorge were flooded in 1961 to accommodate a hydroelectric plant.

Hokari first climbed Mount Yarigatake, which straddles the border between Nagano and Gifu prefectures, in 1915. At that time, anyone going into the mountains had to hire porters to carry the food and gear they would need. In an effort to make mountaineering more affordable, Hokari started a group to build lodges where climbers could stay overnight. At first he took photos only to document his climbs, but in around 1921 he acquired a large-format view camera and began serious alpine photography. He sold souvenir photos to help fund his lodges, and as his skill developed, his work began to appear in books, magazines and travel posters.

In addition to about 140 photos, the exhibition brings together related books and magazines. While the images stand as art, and testament to the beauty of nature, they also serve as fascinating documentation of the equipment, clothing and methods used before World War II, when mountaineers were truly blazing new trails.

“Valleys and Peaks” at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography runs till May 6. ¥700. Closed Mon. (except April 28 and May 5). http://syabi.com/e/contents/exhibition/index-2146.html

Mar 25, 2014
Justine Crono

New business Secret Herbs And More joins other local firms at Waltham Windmill



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BUSINESSES are gearing up for what promises to be another busy season at Waltham Windmill.

Among those already keeping very busy in the run-up to Easter is Inga Evans, owner of Secret Herbs And More, a garden centre which specialises in all sorts of herbs.

She is “chuffed to bits” to have joined the varied range of businesses based near the popular windmill, off Brigsley Road, Waltham.

“I am as happy as a piglet in mud,” she said.

The windmill and museum are not due to open until Easter but she and most of the other businesses have been kept very busy over the past few weeks and months.

“We specialise in all sorts of herbs, culinary and medicinal herbs, lavenders, fuchsia, ferns and bamboo, and everything to do with herbs,” said Inga.

She took over the business, previously known as Waltham Herbs and Holly’s Secret Garden, in October.

Inga, of Humberston, is originally from Germany and she is being assisted by Dawn Russell, who also lives in Humberston.

Inga hopes to work very closely with Grimsby herbalist Emma Warrener, who gave a talk at Secret Herbs And More.

Visitor Juanita Wray, who lives in a Louth-area village, said she was inspired by her visit.

“It was really insightful and educational,” she said.

“There’s a lot more to herbs than I had ever anticipated. It’s quite phenomenal. I have learned a lot.

“It’s quite inspiring and it makes you want to do it yourself. I am really impressed.”

Her mother, Mel Wray, said: “It’s amazing how relaxing it is as well.”

Not far away from the herbs centre is sweet shop McMillers Sweets Emporium, which has been at Waltham for 16 years.

Paul Mason helps runs the family business with his wife Glenda, who is the owner, and daughters Emma, 31, and Anna, 29.

He said the shop had more than 600 jars of sweets, fudges and Belgian treats as well as what he believes is the largest selection of sugar-free sweets in Lincolnshire.

“It’s a lovely place to be,” he said. “There’s a free car park.”

Also nearby is the Railway Carriage Tearooms, based inside a former carriage that was built in 1886.

Owner Anne Bellamy opened for business again a few weeks ago and is looking forward to staying open until Bonfire Night.

“If the sun comes out, it brings them all in,” she said. “This is the start of my fifth season.”

Customer Jo Sumner, of Cleethorpes, said: “It’s a lovely setting. It’s relaxing as well and there’s something to see.

“It makes you feel that spring is here and that summer is on the way.”

Her mother, Shirley Baker, of Humberston, said: “It’s beautiful. It’s lovely. To walk in lifts your spirits straight away. It’s wonderful.”

Also on the Waltham Windmill site is vintage and craft boutique Wren Ivy, run by Claire Kaye.

The shop will be celebrating its first anniversary at Easter and has been open throughout the winter.

It specialises in fabrics and vintage gifts as well as offering children the chance to do some sewing.

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Mar 24, 2014
Justine Crono

5 Small Businesses Run By Rural Uruguayan Women

mujeres rurales

Photo posted on Facebook by Delicias Criollas

[All links lead to Spanish-language pages.]

The Uruguayan countryside has always been a place of hard work for women, who traditionally occupied the lowest level of the social hierarchy. But this reality has changed as rural women emerge not only as members of the workforce, but also as an example of ingenuity and determination.

Starting with almost nothing, these women have managed to create successful self-managed small businesses with which they support their families. In a country where many women are the sole financial providers for their family, rural women, with tenacity and sacrifice, are building small businesses that offer novel and high-quality products to the market.

Manos del Uruguay

manos del uruguay

Photo posted by Erin Kinney on Flickr, under Creative Commons License (CC BY-SA 2.0)

It all started with Manos del Uruguay [Hands of Uruguay], in 1968, when a group of rural artisans began selling their woven garments and traditional Uruguayan handicrafts. The enterprise blends the best of artisanal production with cutting-edge design, creating products coveted on the international market.

The brand Manos del Uruguay has found international success, receiving UNESCO’s Seal of Excellence in 2012 for the quality of its products, and the 2013 Dynamic Eco Chic Design Award in the international design competition Mittelmoda de Milan for their innovations in textile design.

The Uruguayan Rural Women’s Association (AMRU)

For their part, the Uruguayan Rural Women’s Association (AMRU) brings together 1,800 women from all over the country, working in various agricultural and artisanal domains.

The majority of the association’s member groups are dedicated to productive activities (the making of preserves, textiles, cheeses, ceramics, basketwork, wood carvings, paintings on canvas, etc.), while others focus on the social domain, working to improving local health services, education, and housing.

The objectives of this association include the defense of the rural family, the empowerment of rural women, and fostering the exchange of experiences and information with similar organizations throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, where women also suffer marginalization and discrimination. One of the general principles maintained by the AMRU is the advancement of equality, especially gender equality, to support social inclusion.

Delicias Criollas

delicias criollas

Photo posted on Facebook by Delicias Criollas

A derivative of the AMRU, Delicias Criollas is a cooperative of rural women who make artisinal food products like preserves, cheeses, honey, and more. Their products enjoy widespread recognition for their use of organic ingredients and the highest standards of quality.

Founded in 2001, Delicias Criollas unites women from 14 groups from different parts of Uruguay, including Artigas, Canelones, Cerro Largo, Flores, Maldonado, Montevideo, Rocha, San José, Soriano, Tacuarembó and Treinta y Tres. Their products are sold in various parts of the country and include marmalades, jellies, pickled vegetables, dulce de leche, baked goods, and liqueurs made using traditional recipes.

Calmañana

Another example of rural women’s entrepreneurship is the cooperative Calmañana from Canelones, which consists of three groups: Gardel, Tapia, and Pedernal. The cooperative includes 18 women dedicated to the production of agro-ecological aromatic and medicinal herbs with very successful market penetration.

At first, these women were looking for a job opportunity; twenty years later, they have their own brand and their herbs can be found in the country’s main supermarkets. The cooperative also supplies various local laboratories, which use their herbs in medicinal formulas.

Mujeres Rurales de Pueblo Zeballos

Cooperatives continue to emerge, permitting rural women to become economically autonomous. Thus was born the group Mujeres Rurales de Pueblo Zeballos [The Rural Women of Zeballos], a small business emerging from a small, geographically isolated town on the banks of the river Gualeguay in the Paysandú region. This cooperative has developed a successful artisanal venture, making post-shearing coverings to protect sheep during adverse weather. The coverings are made of nylon silopac and can be used for an average of four years. The group earned a prize from the Ministry of Industry, Energy, and Mining for their entrepreneurial achievements.

The women of Pueblo Zeballos live in a poverty-stricken area, where they have electric light, but no potable water and no available jobs.

The women’s raw materials are provided by El Tejar, a group that manages local agricultural production and is interested in seeing progress in the region. The Municipal Administration of Paysandú also contributes by making a city meeting hall available for the women to work in. The group invested the prize money in equipment that will allow them to increase production: the enterprise is beginning to grow in size and the women hope that the new equipment will help them meet the growing demand.

 

Mar 23, 2014
Justine Crono

New – Infertility To Pregnancy With Acupuncture & Herbs

A new clinical study concludes that acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine have potent effects in reversing infertility. Several types of patients suffering from infertility participated in the study including those using IVF, IUI and those using no biomedical assistance. All types showed significantly improved successful pregnancy rates. 

The researchers cited prior investigations measuring the biological mechanisms by which acupuncture enhances fertility. The researchers note that beta-endorphins and related neurotransmitters stimulated by acupuncture causes the secretion of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). This exerts a regulatory effect on the menstrual cycle and ovulation. Acupuncture has been shown to enhance the micro-circulation of blood in the uterus through the inhibition of excess sympathetic nerve activity in the uterus. The researchers also note that their research is consistent with another investigation finding acupuncture successful in improving IVF outcomes.

The researchers note that the success rate of IVF is 24% (for 4 or more embryos transferred) as a standalone therapy. The combination of IVF with acupuncture has a significantly higher success rate of 42.5%. They note that the improved success rate is both indicates a safe and economical way to assist women undergoing fertility treatments. A total of 52.38% of women in the study conceived with acupuncture and/or herbal medicine without biomedical assistance. Another 9.52% conceived with acupuncture and/or herbs combined with IVF (in vitro fertilization) and 4.76% conceived with IUI (intrauterine insemination) combined with acupuncture.

Most women conceived within the first 12 months of the clinical trial. Measurements were made up to two years from the onset of acupuncture therapy. Several women did not complete the full 2 year course of the study. The study’s success rate may have been higher if all participants completed the full 2 year treatment regime. The women in the study consisted of 85.7% with primary infertility and 14.3% with secondary infertility. No adverse events were reported as a result of acupuncture and herbal medicine treatments. 

Acupuncture was the primary treatment method in this current investigation. Chinese herbal medicine supplemented acupuncture in several cases. Based on a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) differential diagnosis, herbal formulas Chai Hu Shu Gan San and Tao Hong Si Wu Tang were used. These formulas were added in cases wherein the TCM diagnostics indicated liver qi stagnation and blood stasis in the uterus respectively. We’ll take a look at the exact acupuncture points used in the study but first a quick look at the inclusion criteria.

Patients were admitted to the study if they met 5 inclusion criteria and did not meet 6 exclusion criteria. Patients had to be of child bearing age and between 21 and 45 years of age. Patients were required to be married with no conception after a least one year of unprotected sex during the fertile phase of the menstrual cycles. Patients had to be non-smokers and non-alcoholics. Patients needed to be willing to receive acupuncture and/or Chinese medicinal herbs and the husband had to have a healthy sexual activity ability and sperm analysis was required to be normal.

Patients with major heart, kidney, respiratory, liver function disorders and HIV were excluded. Women using illicit and investigational drugs were also excluded. If a patient used Traditional Chinese Medicine recently, they too were not able to participate in the study. Additionally, patients with any illness or issue that would impair compliance with the treatment schedule were excluded.

Acupuncture Treatment
Initially, acupuncture was administered 2-3 times per week following menstruation. During ovulation, acupuncture was administered on 3 consecutive days. This typically landed on days 12, 13 and 14. During the luteal phase, acupuncture was administered at a rate of approximately 2-3 times per week. The acupuncture needles were sterile, disposable needles of gauge 0.22 X 25mm and were inserted to a depth of 10-20mm. Deqi was stimulated at each point twice and the needle retention time was 25 minutes.

The acupuncture point selection was based on a TCM differential diagnosis. The primary point selection consisted of the following:

EX-CA1 (Zigong)
M-CA-23 (Sanjiaojiu, Qipang: bottom 2 points only)
SP6 (Sanyinjiao)
CV6 ( Qihai)
CV4 (Guanyuan)
CV3 (Zhongji)

Secondary points used in the study were:

CV12 (Zhongwan)
SP10 (Xuehai)
ST36 (Zusanli)
LR3 (Taichong)

The CV6, CV4, CV3 combination reflects a choice used classically by luminaries of the field. This combination powerfully nurtures the dantien, translated as the elixir field, sea of qi or energy center. Zigong is another point widely used in TCM for the treatment of infertility. Overall, the acupuncture point combinations reflect best practice choices within the TCM system.

The researchers provided a general overview of the study’s relevance and focus. They note that approximately 15% of women in the child bearing years experience infertility. There are a broad range of issues leading to infertility. The causes range from dysfunction of the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovulation to hormonal imbalances. The researchers note that studies show that acupuncture regulates the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis and therefore menstruation. Additional research demonstrates that acupuncture regulates endocrine system functions and therefore addresses hormonal disorders. In TCM, the diagnoses of blood stasis and liver qi stagnation were common to many of the participants. Based on these principles, the focus of the treatments were to enhance circulation in the uterus and ovaries to improve fertility.

The researchers note that “acupuncture shows promising success in treating female infertility as compared with IVF (in vitro fertilization) alone without acupuncture….” They also note that acupuncture and herbal medicine show a “positive effect” on treating several types of female infertility. They note that acupuncture with or without herbal medicine supplementation shows promise in the treatment of female infertility.

Similar Acupuncture Points
A recent meta-analysis concurs with this new study on the effectiveness of acupuncture for the treatment of infertility and the effectiveness of the acupuncture point selection. The researchers determined common acupuncture points across multiple studies demonstrating effectiveness in promoting fertility. The comprehensive analysis of fertility treatments revealed that four key acupuncture points were significantly effective. Acupuncture points SP6 (Sanyinjiao), CV4 (Guanyuan), CV3 (Zhongji) and Zigong (Ex-CA1) demonstrated clinical efficacy.

Comparative Acupuncture Points
Another study of acupuncture points compared women receiving infertility treatments versus women receiving acupuncture for other concerns. A cross sectional study of 48 women consisted of two groups. Group 1 consisted of 24 women who were treated for infertility. Group 2 consisted of 24 women who were fertile and received acupuncture for other concerns. The acupuncture points common to both groups were K3, LV3 and SP6. The women receiving infertility treatments more often received the acupuncture points CV4, CV3 and ST29. For group 2, they received needling at SP3 more often than the women receiving treatment for infertility.

Pregnancy and Live Birth Rates
Researchers conclude that acupuncture improves both the pregnancy and live birth rates of women receiving in vitro fertilization and embryo transplantation (IVF-ET). During the investigation, researchers uncovered a biochemical mechanism by which acupuncture enhances fertility. In addition, the researchers compared successful IVF-ET rates with Chinese medicine differential diagnoses and made an interesting discovery.

The researchers found that electroacupuncture increases blood levels of HLA-G (human leukocyte antigen) “and the level of HLA-G secreted in embryos for the patients in the process of IVF-ET.” Presence of the HLA-G protein is predictive of higher pregnancy and live birth rates according to modern research conducted at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Sunnybrook and Women’s College Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

The researchers compared the Chinese medicine differential diagnostics for the women in the study. There were 82 kidney deficiency, 74 liver qi stagnation and 54 phlegm-dampness cases. The HLA-G levels were significantly higher during embryo transplantation as a result of electroacupuncture treatment for the kidney deficiency and liver qi stagnation groups. This corresponded to differences in the “high-quality embryo rate” with the kidney deficiency group having a 73 percent yield, the liver qi stagnation group having a 70 percent yield and the phlegm dampness group having a 54 percent high-quality yield. Of interest, all three groups had similar improvements in fertilization and pregnancy rates following the application of electroacupuncture. The researchers concluded that, due to electroacupuncture, “the pregnancy outcome and the pregnancy rate are improved.”

Anovulation Infertility
Additional research concludes that acupuncture is successful for the treatment of infertility. A clinical trial was conducted at the Department of Acupuncture and Moxibustion at Ruikang Hospital, an affiliate of Guangxi University of Chinese Medicine. A total of 40 cases were invested using a standard treatment protocol of electroacupuncture combined with moxibustion. The effective rate for the treatment regime was 85% based on the pregnancy rate documented in follow-up visits.

The researchers measured the effects of acupuncture and moxibustion on anovulatory infertility, a type of infertility caused by the lack of ovulation. Following the treatment regime, FSH, LH and E2 levels improved. In addition, the thickness of the endometrium increased and the follicle diameter increased. The higher pregnancy rates and objective testing resulted in the research team finding acupuncture and moxibustion successful in enhancing fertility for women with anovulatory infertility.

Electroacupuncture and moxibustion were applied to Zigong (EX-CA-1), CV4 (Guanyuan) and Zhongji (CV3). An additional choice of acupuncture points was made with the Ling Gui Ba Fa method. Ling Gui Ba Fa, translated as the eightfold method of the sacred tortoise, is a method for choosing effective acupuncture points selected from the eight confluent points of the eight extraordinary vessels based on the time of day. This method is based on the theory of the nine palaces and eight trigrams to determine acupuncture points that are most effective for a given period of time.

The earliest account of the Ling Gui Ba Fa method is found in the Zhen Jiu Zhi Nan, A Guide to Acupuncture and Moxibustion, written by Dou Hang-qing in the Jin dynasty. The eight confluent points, which are the palette of point selection, are SP4, PC6, SI3, UB62, GB41, TB5, LU7 and KI6. More conventional methods employ the standard use of differential acupuncture channel diagnoses and indications to select from these acupuncture points.

PCOS
In other research, investigators concluded that acupuncture was able to improve “menstrual frequency and decrease circulating androgens in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).” Infertility is an unwanted complication associated with some forms of PCOS, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and acupuncture showed significant clinical improvements in the women studied.

Another study published in the American Journal of Physiology – Endocrinology and Metabolism concludes that low frequency electroacupuncture improved menstrual frequency and balanced sex steroid levels in women with PCOS. The study measured improvements in a wide range of endocrine variables such that the researchers concluded that electroacupuncture may help induce ovulation in women attempting to conceive since participants showed significant improvements in monthly menstrual frequency. There are similarities in the acupuncture point selection in this study with the study of women with anovulatory infertility.

Acupuncture was applied to CV3, CV6, ST29, SP6, SP9, LI4 and PC6. All needles were stimulated manually until deqi arrived. Thirty minutes of 2Hz electroacupuncture was applied to CV6, CV6, ST29, SP6 and SP9 for each treatment. LI4 and PC6 were manually stimulated every 10 minutes to evoke sensation. Needle length ranged from 30 to 50mm and the diameter was 0.32mm. Needle depth ranged from 15 to 35mm. Acupuncture was administered twice per week for two weeks, one time per week for six weeks and once every other week for eight weeks for a total of 14 acupuncture treatments over a 16 week period.

ART
Additional research demonstrates a consensus among acupuncture experts on best practice treatment protocols for acupuncture enhancement of assisted reproductive technology (ART) fertility treatments. ART includes all fertility treatments in which both the eggs and sperm are handled. ART includes in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI). In this study, researchers set out to determine if a consensus exists on high priority acupuncture points for the enhancement of ART.

ART has been used in the USA since 1981. Although acupuncture and Chinese medicine for the treatment of infertility is a time honored practice, the combination of acupuncture with ART has emerged in recent years as an effective approach for improving pregnancy and live birth rates. In this study, researchers administered 3 rounds of questionnaires to 15 international acupuncture fertility experts to determine if a consensus exists on best practice protocols.

The investigation revealed that several key components are central to acupuncture in combination with ART. The timing of an acupuncture treatment in relation to the menstrual cycle is of great importance. An acupuncture treatment administered between day 6 and 8 of the “stimulated ART cycle” is optimal. In addition, it is ideal to have two acupuncture treatments “on the day of embryo transfer.” Pre-transfer acupuncture points of high priority are SP8, SP10, LV3, ST29 and CV4. Post-transfer points include GV20, KI3, SP6, PC6 and KI3. Auricular acupuncture points Shenmen and Zigong were also determined to be of high priority.

Pharmaceuticals and Acupuncture
New research demonstrates higher ovulation and pregnancy rates for women receiving acupuncture combined with clomiphene (clomifert, clomid) compared with women receiving clomiphene only. Clomiphene is a selective estrogen receptor modulator. It inhibits hypothalamus feedback to stimulate production of gonadotropins, hormones that affect fertility including FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinizing hormone).

The study measured a control group of 19 women and an acupuncture group of 17 women. The control group received 50mg of oral clomiphene at a rate of once per day for a total of 50 menstrual cycles. The acupuncture group received the clomiphene at the same dosage and rate plus regular acupuncture treatments. The researchers measured changes in ovulation, endometrial thickness, cervical mucus, pelvic fluid, and follicular development. The acupuncture group showed a significantly higher rate of both ovulation and conception than the group receiving medication only.

In another recent study of 5,807 women, it was demonstrated that acupuncture improves clinical pregnancy rates and live birth rates for women receiving IVF (in vitro fertilization). A study published in the American Journal of Reproductive Immunology shows that the application of acupuncture to acupoints ST36 and SP6 was shown to prevent egg implantation failure and another study of 309 women concluded that electroacupuncture “significantly improved the clinical outcome of ET (embryo transfer).”

A recent study measured the biochemical mechanisms by which acupuncture increases IVF success rates. In a randomized controlled study, it was concluded that, “Acupuncture could improve the poor receptive state of (the) endometrium due to mifepristone by promoting Th2 cytokines secretion and inhibiting Th1 cytokines to improve blastocyst implantation.”

Sperm Motility and Acupuncture
Male infertility is also of major concern. Researchers conclude that acupuncture restores sperm motility. Laboratory experiments measured the effects of electroacupuncture on infertility by stimulating acupoints located on the scalp, abdomen and legs. The researchers measured “a trend of improved motility and increased number of motile epididymal spermatozoa in the H+EA (electroacupuncture) group.” The researchers note that electroacupuncture enhances “cell proliferation through improvement of Sertoli cell functions.” Sertoli cells are activated by follicle-stimulating hormone and are located in the convoluted seminiferous tubules, the anatomical structure in the testes where spermatozoa are produced.

Researchers disrupted spermatogenesis using a scrotal heat-treated rat model. Electroacupuncture was applied to GV20 (Baihui), CV4 (Guanyuan), ST36 (Zusanli) and SP6 (Sanyinjiao) for a total of ten acupuncture sessions. After 79 days following the heat treatment, motile spermatozoa were found in the heat-treated group that received electroacupuncture. No motile spermatozoa were found in the rats that did not receive electroacupuncture. The electroacupuncture group also showed a significant increase in PCNA-positive cells and inhibin B levels. In addition, the electroacupuncture group demonstrated a higher Johnsen’s score through day 56. As a result of these findings, the researchers conclude that electroacupuncture “may facilitate the recovery of spermatogenesis and may restore normal semen parameters in subfertile patients.”

Comfort In The Clinical Setting
Another team of researchers took a less utilitarian approach. Their research concludes that acupuncture reduces anxiety in women undergoing IVF (in vitro fertilization). A randomized-controlled study of 43 women undergoing IVF measured changes in anxiety levels.

A total of four acupuncture treatments over a period of four weeks at a rate of once per week were administered. The acupuncture group received acupuncture at acupoints Yintang, HT7 (Shenmen), PC6 (Neiguan), CV17 (Shanzhong) and DU20 (Baihui). The control group received needle stimulation at non-acupuncture points near the areas of the true acupuncture points (sham acupuncture).

The true acupuncture group showed a significant reduction in anxiety while the sham acupuncture group did not. The researchers concluded that acupuncture reduces anxiety and psychological strain for women undergoing IVF. This research focuses on the integration of acupuncture with modern medical practices and represents a trend in modern investigations.

HealthCMi
At the Healthcare Medicine Institute (HealthCMi), we follow this type of research very closely. Positive clinical outcomes for the treatment of female infertility is a consistent trend in modern reserach. Take a look at this video of recent Acupuncture CEU/PDA course on the treatment of pelvic inflammatory disorder, a major cause of infertility. This course is ABORM (American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine) approved.

A prominent acupuncturist specializing in the treatment of infertility is Dr. Ting Ting Zhang. Members of the Healthcare Medicine Institute attended a conference at the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM) in San Francisco, California where she covered some of her latest advances in the field. Dr. Zhang is the Gynecology Department Chair of Yue Yang Hospital at the Shanghai University of TCM.

Dr. Zhang presented new ultrasound and hormone testing research revealing that certain Chinese herbal medicines promote ovulation and egg development, increase sperm motility and count and prevent miscarriage.  Further, biomedical data confirms that Chinese herbal medicine greatly increases the conception rate of women undergoing artificial insemination.

Dr. Zhang opened up the conference with some basic statistics. A recent study of 500 child bearing age women who were NOT treated with Chinese herbal medicines resulted in a 60-70% conception rate given regular sexual intercourse. At 6 months, the rate increases to 75-80%. At 1 year, the rate increases to 80-90%.

From age 30 to 34, 1 in 7 women experience infertility. Between the ages of 35 and 40, 1 in 5 women are infertile and between the ages of 40 and 44, 1 in 4 women experience difficulties with infertility. In up to 55% of cases, infertility is caused by a female reproductive disharmony. In 25-40% of cases, infertility is caused solely by a male reproductive issue. In 20% of all cases, infertility is caused by both the male and female partners.

Dr. Zhang’s clinical outcomes demonstrated a very high rate of clinical success in reversing infertility. Dr. Zhang noted that “infertility is a symptom, not a disease.” She posits her great success to the teachings of the great Dr. Tai.

Dr. Zhang presented Chinese medicine differential diagnostics in relation western medical findings. Basal body temperature (BBT) charts were revealed to express a process of emerging yin essence in the first 12 days of a menstrual cycle followed by a powerful yang stage. A direct reading of the BBT chart translates into an exact Chinese medicine diagnosis. In addition, Dr. Zhang introduced methods for analyzing hormone tests. For example, high FSH is linked to yin deficiency and high LH is linked to yang deficiency.

A multitude of ways to view BBT, ultrasound, sexual hormone tests and other western related data were correlated into the Chinese medicine theoretical framework. Dr. Zhang closed the divide between biomedical medical data and Chinese medicine differential diagnostics in her presentation. Acupuncturists can now read the biomedical data, make a Chinese medicine differential diagnosis and choose from the correct herbal medicines to promote conception and a healthy pregnancy.

Common conditions leading to infertility are kidney yin and yang deficiency, liver qi stagnation and blood stasis. For women, the main concern is to harmonize the menstrual cycle. Dr. Zhang presented important herbal formulas to address many clinical scenarios and included special herbs to promote ovulation and nourish the fetus.

Dr. Zhang presented herbal remedies to prevent anti-sperm antibodies such as AsAb and other autoimmune system disorders from leading to infertility. Dr. Zhang covered the topic of uterine fibroids, their exact relationship to infertility and how to overcome any impediments they may present. This requires, at the very minimum, an ultrasound test of existing fibroids to determine their exact placement and size. Surgical removal of fibroids may be required in some cases.

Dr. Zhang presented step-by-step methods to take an abnormal BBT charted cycle to one that follows a healthy pattern from follicular phase through ovulation to luteal phase and menstruation. The herbal medicines restore the normal ovulation window, optimize the fertility cycle and enhance the process of a healthy pregnancy and fetus. Dr. Zhang detailed the exact herbs needed to promote egg maturation and those needed to facilitate uptake and transport of eggs into and through the fallopian tubes. Further, she presented a detailed herbal medicine regime to optimize the window of opportunity for patients undergoing IVF and IUI. In cases where artificial insemination has previously failed, adding Chinese herbs balances the health of the patient such that artificial insemination becomes successful.

Adam White, L.Ac. is the CEO of the Healthcare Medicine Institute. He notes that “Dr. Ting Ting Zhang has managed to fully integrate the biomedical model for the treatment of primary and secondary infertility into the Chinese medicine system. We now have a fully integrated understanding of biomedical medical test data in terms of Chinese medicine theory and we have a new understanding of herbs that promote the various stages of conception. Dr. Zhang and her colleagues at Shanghai University of TCM have employed biomedical testing methods to measure the effects of herbal medicines on processes such as ovum development and release, fallopian tube function, and fetal development. Thanks to Dr. Zhang, the clinical efficacy of Chinese medicine in the treatment of infertility has advanced tremendously.”

References:
Chui, Shiu Hon, Fung Chun Chow, Yim Tong Szeto, Kelvin Chan, and ChristopherWK Lam. “A Case Series on Acupuncture Treatment for Female Infertility with some cases supplemented with Chinese Medicines.” European Journal of Integrative Medicine (2014).

Fan Qu, Jue Zhou, Mark Bovcey, Giovanna Franconi, Kelvin Chan, Caroline Smith et al. Does acupuncture improve the outcome of in vitro fertilization? Guidance for future trials. European Journal of Integrative Medicine 2012; 4(3): e234 – e244.

Eric Manheimer, Grant Zhang, Laurence Udoff, Aviad Haramati, Patricia Langenberg, Brian M Berman et al. Effects of acupuncture on rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilisation: systematic review and meta- analysis. British Medical Journal 2008;336;545-549.

Exploration of clinical regularities in acupuncture-moxibustion treatment for infertility. Qin-feng Huang. JOURNAL OF ACUPUNCTURE AND TUINA SCIENCE, Volume 10, Number 2. (2012), 72-76, DOI: 10.1007/s11726-012-0574-0.

Acupunct Med 2012;30:12-16 doi:10.1136/acupmed-2011-010089. Traditional Chinese medicine patterns and recommended acupuncture points in infertile and fertile women. Oddveig Birkeflet, Petter Laake2, Nina Vollestad.

XU, Yin, and Miao ZHANG. “Efficacy observation on 40 cases of anovulatory infertility treated by acupuncture and moxibustion.” World Journal of Acupuncture-Moxibustion 23, no. 1 (2013): 40-43.

Electrical and manual acupuncture stimulation affects estrous cyclicity and neuroendocrine function in a DHT-induced rat polycystic ovary syndrome model. Yi Feng1,2, Julia Johansson1, Ruijin Shao1, Louise Mannerås Holm1, Håkan Billig1, Elisabet Stener-Victorin1,3 . Experimental Physiology. DOI: 10.1113/expphysiol.2011.063131.

Elizabeth Jedel, Fernand Labrie, Anders Odén, Göran Holm, Lars Nilsson, Per Olof Janson, Anna-Karin Lind, Claes Ohlsson, and Elisabet Stener-Victorin. Impact of electro-acupuncture and physical exercise on hyperandrogenismand oligo/amenorrhea in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 300: E37–E45, 2011.

BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2012, 12:88 doi 10.1186/1472-6882-12-88. 7 July 2012. Development of an acupuncture treatment protocol by consensus for women undergoing Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) treatment. Caroline A Smith, Suzanne Grant, Jane Lyttleton and Suzanne Cochrane.

Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2012 Feb;32(2):113-6. Effects of electroacupuncture on embryo implanted potential for patients with infertility of different symptom complex]. Kong FY, Zhang QY, Guan Q, Jian FQ, Sun W, Wang Y. Department of Reproduction, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Shandong University of TCM, Jinan, China.

Fertil Steril. 2005 Jan;83(1):30-6. Secretion of human leukocyte antigen-G by human embryos is associated with a higher in vitro fertilization pregnancy rate. Yie SM, Balakier H, Motamedi G, Librach CL.

JOURNAL OF ACUPUNCTURE AND TUINA SCIENCE. Volume 10, Number 2 (2012), 77-80, DOI: 10.1007/s11726-012-0575-z. Therapeutic effect observation on combined acupuncture and medication for ovulation. Xue-su Yu, Xing-qiang Yan and Yu-yu Shen.

Effects of acupuncture on pregnancy rates in women undergoing in vitro fertilization: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Cui Hong Zheng, M.D.; Ph.D.a, Guang Ying Huang, M.D., Ph.D.a; Ming Min Zhang, M.D., Ph.D.b; Wei Wang, M.D., Ph.D.c.. Fertility and Sterility. 1-11-2012.

Gui, Juan; Xiong, Fan; Li, Jing; Huang, Guangying. Effects of Acupuncture on LIF and IL-12 in Rats of Implantation Failure. American Journal of Reproductive Immunology. Am J Reprod Immunol. 1600-0897. 2012.

Fertility and Sterility. Volume 96, Issue 4, October 2011, Pages 912-916. Increase of success rate for women undergoing embryo transfer by transcutaneous electrical acupoint stimulation: a prospective randomized placebo-controlled study. Rong Zhang Ph.D., Xiao-Jun Feng B.S., Qun Guan B.S., Wei Cui M.S., Ying Zheng M.S., Wei Sun B.S., Ji-Sheng Han M.D.

T. G. Wegmann, H. Lin, L. Guilbert, and T. R. Mosmann, “Bidirectional cytokine interactions in the maternal-fetal relationship: is successful pregnancy a TH2 phenomenon?” Immunology Today, vol. 14, no. 7, pp. 353–356, 1993.

Juan Gui, Fan Xiong, Jing Li, and Guangying Huang, “Effects of Acupuncture on Th1, Th2 Cytokines in Rats of Implantation Failure,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2012, Article ID 893023, 10 pages, 2012. doi:10.1155/2012/893023.

Electroacupuncture enhances spermatogenesis in rats after scrotal heat treatment. Volume 2, Issue 1. 3-2012. Pages 53 – 62. Jing Gao, Yan Zuo, Kam-Hei So, William S.B. Yeung, Ernest H.Y. Ng and Kai-Fai Lee.

Effect of acupuncture on symptoms of anxiety in women undergoing in vitro fertilisation: a prospective randomised controlled study. Daniela Isoyama, Emerson Barchi Cordts, Angela Mara Bentes de Souza van Niewegen, Waldemar de Almeida Pereira de Carvalho, Simone Tiemi Matsumura, Caio Parente Barbosa. Acupunct Med acupmed-2011-010064. Published Online First: 12 April 2012 doi:10.1136/acupmed-2011-010064.

Mar 22, 2014
Justine Crono

Farmers market meeting set for weekend

Posted: Friday, March 21, 2014 5:00 pm

Farmers market meeting set for weekend

Carolyn R. Wilson

swvatoday.com

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Farmers market managers, food vendors, small-scale farmers, gardeners, and consumers are invited to the Appalachian Farmers Market Association’s sixth annual conference and winter market on Saturday, March 22.


The event, open to the public, is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. at the Slater Center at 325 McDowell Street in Bristol, Tenn.

The Appalachian Farmers Market Association (AFMA) supports a network of community farmers markets throughout the Appalachian region of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. The association is comprised of representatives from 32 farmers markets in the region. The locations of the markets are listed in a local food guide published by the Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD) and will be available at the conference, according to Tamara McNaughton, agriculture program manager for ASD.

AFMA market vendors will sell produce and crafts during the event.

The conference will focus on “The Safety of Local Food and Agriculture,” a topic that affects everyone, said McNaughton. Discussions will center around the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act signed into law by President Obama in January. The law will enable FDA to focus more on preventing food safety problems.

“Currently there are few rules for small-scale farmers who do direct marketing,” said McNaughton, who explained that local farmers will have to adhere to more regulations in the future. She said the rules will ensure greater food safety and good agriculture practices.

The keynote speaker for the event is Dr. Allen Straw, an area specialist in small fruits and specialty crops with Virginia Cooperative Extension. “His heart is in food production,” said McNaughton. “He has helped a lot of growers in and around the region.”

McNaughton said the conference is a good opportunity for farmers and people who support locally grown food and crafts to network and learn from each other.

Topics at the conference include pest identification, farm funding programs, the art of wine making, using social media to find new customers, growing pork for markets, enhancing the safety of locally grown produce, grafting apple trees, online sales to restaurants, aquaponic production, cultivating medicinal herbs, and ways to promote your market or farm.

Registration is $20 at the door and includes a lunch, conference materials and admission to lectures. Children younger than 12 are admitted free of charge. Visit www.appfma.org to register online.

For conference information, call or e-mail Tamara McNaughton at (276) 623-1121 or tmcnaughton@asdevelop.org.

on

Friday, March 21, 2014 5:00 pm.

Mar 21, 2014
Justine Crono

Herbal cure for cattle diseases

Using medicinal herbs, scientists of Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University have developed a herbal drug to treat mastitis, a cattle disease widespread in India. Another drug they have developed treats cattle wounds. 

Where the drugs differ from commercial products is that they leave no side-effects and cost much less.

Mastitis causes inflammation and abnormalities in the cattle’s udder area with symptoms like redness, swelling, hardness and pain at critical stage. The milk of infected animals turns watery, or even into flakes and clots that make it unfit for drinking.

Talking to The Indian Express, vice chancellor of GADVASU V K Taneja said, “In India, due to mastitis dairy farmers incur losses estimated at over Rs 7,000 crore annually. There are a number of medicines available but they all are chemical-based. A variety of germicides such as iodine, chlorhexidine, sodium hypochlorite, etc have been tried successfully as teat dips in preventing these infections. But one major concern that remains with these is the possible passing on of disinfectant residues into the milk. Hence, herbal drug as teat dip may be the best answer. Even WHO has emphasised the use of medicinal plants for curing mastitis as they are safer than synthetic drugs.”

While teat dips for mastitis in the market cost over Rs 500, the university estimates the price of its herbal drugs will be around Rs 300. The price of herbal ointment to heal wounds, too, will be around half that of synthetic alternatives.

Taneja added, “We have identified and evaluated some herbs for their antibacterial, anti-parasitic and fly repellent qualities. One such herb, evaluated in terms of minimum inhibitory concentration, was found to have antibacterial quality against common animal disease pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus, Escherchia coli, Salmonella typhimurium, Listeria and Bacillus cerius.”

Asked about plans to launch these products, he said, “We are looking for pharmaceutical companies who we can tie up with and launch these products commercially.”

During trials in the varsity dairy farm, the post-milking use of herbal teat dip was found effective in preventing clinical mastitis and in lowering occurrence of new intra-mammary infections.

“The presence of mastitis-causing organisms and drug residues of mastitis therapy in milk poses a threat to consumer health,” said Taneja.

The herbal ointment prevents contamination besides healing wounds in cattle and buffalo calves. Comparative trials with other herbal products showed that the time required to heal wounds with the two preparations was almost similar, indicating the high efficacy of the newly developed herbal product.

Work is also in progress on herbal disinfectants for animal sheds and hospitals. While common herbs like lemon-grass, aloe vera, turmeric and neem have been used in products, the university chooses not to disclose other “rare” herbs used as ingredients. “We have grown them in small quantities for trials in our herbal garden,” said Taneja.

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