Monthly Archives: December 2012

Herbs for Healing – Ginko Biloba

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Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba; in Chinese and Japanese 銀杏, pinyin romanization: yín xìng, Hepburn romanization: ichō or ginnan), also spelled gingkoand known as the Maidenhair Tree, is a unique species of tree with no close living relatives. The Ginkgo is a living fossil, as a unique species recognizably similar to fossils dating back 270 million years. Native to China,[1] the tree is widely cultivated and introduced early in human history, and has various uses as a food and in traditional medicine. [2][3]

[1] http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/233931/ginkgo

[2]Mustoe, G.E. (2002). “Eocene Ginkgo leaf fossils from the Pacific Northwest”. Canadian Journal of Botany 80 (10): 1078–1087. doi:10.1139/b02-097.

[3]Shen, L; Chen, X-Y; Zhang, X; Li, Y-Y; Fu, C-X; Qiu, Y-X (2004). “Genetic variation of Ginkgo biloba L. (Ginkgoaceae) based on cpDNA PCR-RFLPs: inference of glacial refugia”. Heredity94 (4): 396–401. doi:10.1038/sj.hdy.6800616. PMID 15536482.

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The Herbs of Smoothie Essentials: Cyanocobalamin

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Cyanocobalamin is the most common and widely-produced of the chemical compounds that have vitamin activity as vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is the “generic descriptor” name for any of such vitamers of vitamin B12. Because the body can convert cyanocobalamin to any one of the active vitamin B12 compounds, by definition this makes cyanocobalamin itself a form (or vitamer) of B12, albeit a largely artificial one.

Cyanocobalamin usually does not occur in living organisms, but animals can convert commercially-produced cyanocobalamin into active (cofactor) forms of the vitamin, such as methylcobalamin.[1] The amount of cyanide liberated in this process is so small that its toxicity is negligible.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyanocobalamin

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The Herbs of Smoothie Essentials: Ginger

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Ginger or ginger root is the rhizome of the plant Zingiber officinale, consumed as a delicacy, medicine, or spice. It lends its name to its genus and family (Zingiberaceae). Other notable members of this plant family are turmeric, cardamom, and galangal.
Ginger cultivation began in South Asia and has since spread to East Africa and the Caribbean.[2]

Preliminary research indicates that nine compounds found in ginger may bind to human serotonin receptors which may influence gastrointestinal function.[3]

Research conducted in vitro tests show that ginger extract might control the quantity of free radicals and the peroxidation of lipids.[4]

In a 2010 study, daily consumption of ginger was shown to help ease muscle pain associated with exercise by 25%. [5]

Ginger root supplement has been identified in one study to help reduce colon inflammation markers such as PGE2, thus indicating a measure that might affect colon cancer.[6]

[1] “ginger”. Online Etymology Dictionary, http://www.etymonline.com/. Retrieved 22 January 2011.

[2] “Zingiber officinale information from NPGS/GRIN”. ars-grin.gov. Retrieved 3 March 2008.

[3] Identification of serotonin 5-HT1A receptor partial agonists in ginger. Nievergelt A. Huonker P. Schoop R. Altmann KH. Gertsch J. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry. 18(9):3345-51, 2010 May 01

[4] http://www.aseanbiodiversity.info/Abstract/51006851.pdf

[5] http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100519131130.htm

[6] http://www.uofmhealth.org/news/ginger-cancer-1011

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The herbs of Smoothie Essentials: Pyridoxine HCL (Vitamin B6)

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Add a Boost with Pyridoxine HCL (Vitamin B6)

Pyridoxine assists in the balancing of sodium and potassium as well as promoting red blood cell production. It is linked to cardiovascular health by decreasing the formation of homocysteine. Pyridoxine may help balance hormonal changes in women and aid the immune system.[1][2] Lack of pyridoxine may cause anemia, nerve damage, seizures, skin problems, and sores in the mouth.[3]

It is required for the production of the monoamine neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine, as it is the precursor to pyridoxal phosphate: cofactor for the enzyme aromatic amino acid decarboxylase. This enzyme is responsible for converting the precursors 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) into serotonin and levodopa (L-DOPA) into dopamine, noradrenaline and adrenaline. As such it has been implicated in the treatment of depression and anxiety. [1]

Very good sources of pyridoxine are grains and nuts.

Pyridoxine is one of the compounds that can be called vitamin B6, along with pyridoxal and pyridoxamine. It differs from pyridoxamine by the substituent at the ‘4’ position. It is often used as ‘pyridoxine hydrochloride’. [2]

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyridoxine

[2] Kashanian, M.; Mazinani, R.; Jalalmanesh, S. (2007). “Pyridoxine (vitamin B6) therapy for premenstrual syndrome”. International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics 96 (1): 43–4. DOI:10.1016/j.ijgo.2006.09.014. PMID 17187801.

[3] Vitamin B1, www.HowStuffWorks.com

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