herbs


Health benefits of peppermint

Candy and ice cream come to mind. But peppermint is also an age-old herbal medicine that has been used to treat a wide range of abdominal woes, from flatulence to stomach cancer to gallbladder disease.

But does it really work? Peppermint has fared a bit better than many herbal medicines in clinical trials. Several studies have shown that peppermint oil seems to be fairly effective at relieving irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a collection of symptoms that includes abdominal cramping and pain, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. In 2007, Italian investigators reported that 75% of the patients in their study who took peppermint oil capsules for four weeks had a major reduction in their IBS symptoms, compared with just 38% of those who took a placebo pill.

There are also findings — admittedly from studies of iffy quality — that topical application of peppermint oil helps relieve tension headaches and that a combination of peppermint and caraway oils can help with recurrent indigestion.

The oil that’s extracted from the peppermint plant contains lots of compounds. Menthol is the most abundant and pharmacologically important.

Menthol is an ingredient in many conventional over-the-counter products, including cough lozenges and muscle pain ointments like Bengay. Menthol creates that familiar cooling sensation by stimulating nerves that sense cold (your mouth has some of these nerves, which is the reason products containing menthol “taste” cool); it also inhibits those that react to painful stimuli. The effect doesn’t last long, but sometimes a brief reprieve or distraction from a cough or a muscle ache does wonders.

One explanation for how peppermint oil might help IBS sufferers is that the oil — and perhaps especially the menthol — blocks calcium channels, which has the effect of relaxing the “smooth” muscles in the walls of the intestine.

Peppermint oil also relaxes the sphincter that keeps the contents of the stomach from backing up into your esophagus. That’s why people troubled by heartburn (gastroesophageal reflux) are advised to avoid peppermint. It’s also the reason peppermint oil is often sold these days in enteric-coated capsules designed to bypass the stomach and dissolve in the small intestine.

People do occasionally have bad reactions to menthol and peppermint. In 2007, Swedish doctors reported the case of a 44-year-old man who got a runny nose every time he brushed his teeth. Allergy tests showed he was allergic to the menthol in his toothpaste. Several years ago, Israeli doctors reported the case of a woman whose mouth and throat were chemically burned by the large amount of peppermint oil she took to treat a cold.

~~ extracted from Havard Medical School newsletter ~~

Hello Tongkat Ali, Cat Whiskers Tea is MY Tea

While on a trip to our factory, 200km away in Melaka (formerly known as Malacca), I was pleasantly surprised to hear and read that the local government is promoting Cat Whiskers Tea in this second smallest state of Malaysia.

It was reported on 24th May in the Malaysian’s Chinese newspapers, Nanyang Siang Pau that Melaka Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Mohamed Ali Rustam had announced that the Melaka Government has classified Cat Whiskers Tea “猫须茶”as its official beverage and was given the name “MY Tea”. The daily has reported that this traditional herbal tea is good for health and beneficial for illness such as high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.

It looks like the Malaysian government is serious about making this Cat Whiskers Herb another popular herb after Tongkat Ali. It can be drunk as normal Cat Whiskers tea or can be blended with other herbal ingredients used by products such as our Good Image Cat Whiskers Tea. Prior to the news, I had already heard that plantations has been created or converted to grow Cat Whiskers Herb (locally known as Misai Kuching).

How did the Goddess become the Tea ?

It is very interesting on how Chinese gave name to things like flowers and herbs. From the resemblance to the whiskers of a cat, Clerodendranthus Spicatus was named MaoXuCao 猫须草 or translated as Cat Whiskers Herb.

Similarly, depending on which Chinese accent, some said that Roselle (the herb that Good Image Roselle Tea was based on) sounded a bit like “luo shen” and because it is pretty due to its ruby red color, it was given the name “LuoShenHua” or “洛神花” in Chinese.

After reading the various Chinese texts on this fable, I have digested and translated the legend of LuoShen as follows :-

LuoShen 洛神 was the legendary Goddess of Luo who ranked very highly among the Chinese mythological deities. She was a ravishing beauty which many ancient scholars and writers including the great poet, QuYuan 屈原(Warring States period 475-221 BC) would not hesitate to embellish and extol with beautiful poems.

According to one of the popular legends, on both sides of the Luo River 洛河(in China Henan province), there was a well-known story of Lady Mi 宓妃 who later was conferred Goddess of Luo.

Lady Mi was the daughter of FuXi伏羲, the legendary Chinese emperor deemed to be the mythical creator of fishing, trapping, and writing. Because she was very fascinated with the beautiful scenery on both sides of the Luo River, Lady Mi descended onto the Luo River basin where the brave YouLou 有洛clan resided. There she mingled among the industrious folks and taught them how to create nets, fish as well as the skills of hunting, livestock-raising and herding which were learned from her father.

One day, while everyone was working, Lady Mi took out her seven-string qin (七弦琴is a Chinese musical instrument) and played a melodious tune. Unfortunately, this exquisite melody was heard by HeBo河伯 (pronounced Her Pu-or), the prodigal demigod of the Yellow River. He infiltrated into the Luo River to get a glimpse of this qin player and was instantly mesmerized by the beauty of Lady Mi. He subsequently transformed himself into a white dragon, caused a great havoc in the Luo River and engulfed Lady Mi.

While Lady Mi was imprisoned in the water palace of HeBo, in order to drown her daily sorrow and anxiety, she strummed her seven-string qin. Her melodious tune attracted the lonely HouYi 后羿to her side.

About HouYi: HouYi was the renowned legendary deity and great archer who with his magical bow and arrows shot down nine of the ten suns that caused constant great droughts and miseries to earth. His heroism created jealousies among some other deities who later caused him and his wife, ChangE (pronounced Chunch Er) to be demoted to earth as mortal human beings. To atone for his downfall, he successfully pleaded with a higher deity for two elixir pills for his wife and himself. However, ChangE swallowed both of them while HouYi was out hunting and she ascended into the sky and became the goddess of the moon. Thus, HouYi was left alone on earth.

Upon hearing Lady Mi’s bitter encounter, HouYi was very indignant and rescued her from the water palace and returned to the Luo River. Both of them fell in love. On hearing that Lady Mi had escaped and that both of them became lovers, HeBo was so embarrassed with shame and anger that he again transformed himself into a white dragon and attacked the Luo River, gobbling up the villages, farms and livestock.

The furious HouYi came to the rescue and shot an arrow into HeBo’s left eye which sent the panicky HeBo fleeing. Knowing that he was no match for HouYi, HeBo went to lodge a complaint with the King of Heaven. The King of Heaven who knew about the whole saga, sided Hou Yi by telling that HouYi shot a dragon and that HeBo should not have transformed himself. HeBo got no choice but to retreat to his water palace and left both Lady Mi and HouYi alone.

Since then, Lady Mi and HouYi led a happy live in the town of LuoYang洛阳. For their contributions, HouYi was later conferred the title of God of ZhongBu宗布神by the King of Heaven and Lady Mi was conferred Goddess of Luo. Subsequently, the folks on both sides of the Luo River erected the grandiose Temple of Luo Goddess at the east gate of the old city.

Thus, the legend of LuoShen was passed down from generation to generation.

Goddess of Luo

What has cat whiskers got to do with your kidneys ?

Cat Whiskers HerbThat was exactly what I asked when I was given the product, Good Image Cat Whiskers Tea. Cat Whiskers good for cleansing and strengthening kidneys ?

As I digged further, I began to love it. Besides its aroma, it is a nice detox tea for cleansing the kidney and urinary tract. Instead of keeping a cat at home, I am looking forward to growing this beautiful herb in my little balcony and touching its whiskers.

It has been called Kidney Tea, Holy Tea, Toddler Tea, Stone Removal Herb, Ageless Herb, Romance Herb and Cat Whiskers Herb (click here) but its botannical name is Spicate Clerodendranthus.

Although it can be found in Malaysia (called Misai Kuching or Misai Kucing), I can’t wait to visit Xishuangbanna in China Yunnan Province to see the mu of Cat Whiskers.

Healthy Liver, Beautiful Skin

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Unlike the computer that I have faced for more than 20 years, the human body is a different and complex machinery that I have to learn now. As part of understanding my product Good Image Tea (green tea), I have to gather feedback from customers and friends on what effects it has on them after taking our uniquely formulated detox/anti-constipation/excess fat removal beverage.

Weight reduction is not so obvious unless the weight was measured before and after drinking the Good Image Tea religiously for a period of about 45 days.

What I heard commonly is that their skin complexion becomes obviously better, especially for those who have not or were unsuccessful in taking care of their skin.

It was explained to me that when the body is free from toxin, the organs like the liver will be healthy. The liver has many functions. They include:

  • Storing energy in the form of sugar (glucose)
  • Storing vitamins, iron, and other minerals
  • Making proteins, including blood clotting factors, to keep the body healthy and help it grow
  • Killing germs that enter the body through the intestine
  • Processing worn out red blood cells
  • Making bile which is needed for food digestion
  • Metabolizing or breaking down many medications and alcohol

I read that the liver shoulders a heavy workload for the body, plays an important role in the metabolism and almost never complains as it can also regenerate itself. The liver breakdowns and filters the oily fats from the food we take and excrete the waste through the intestines. If the liver is overworked or ill and is unable to filter effectively, the skin is the alternative venue for such removal. Otherwise, those oily fats can reach the kidney and adversely affect the function of the kidney.

We have a saying, “要美的起来,就须要健康 which translates as “Be healthy so as to become beautiful” .

Thus, with a detoxed body which translates to healthy organs reinforced with the antioxidants found in the green tea and other supporting herbs, the skin should naturally become better and more radiant.

Overweight, overeat

OVERWEIGHT OR OBESE IS FAT – WHAT ELSE TO TALK ABOUT? The subject of overweight, obese or fat has never interest me before until now.  It just came across to me that there was reported 1 billion people in the world that are overweight including 300 millions who are obese.  As I am fortunate that I am not one of the 30% of Singaporean reported to be overweight or obese, all these while, to me, overweight or obese is just being fat. 

Now that I recalled, in the print and broadcast media, we frequently see and read that hypertension, constipation, diabetes, heart disease, fatty liver, degeneration of the kidney, etc. creep into lives of middle age men and women, especially the aged folks. 

While being slightly overweight is very common, being obese is no joke. I have noted down that that obesity is regarded an invisible killer which causes numerous contemporary diseases. It was reported that how vulnerable are obese people as compared to normal people in terms of the following diseases: 

  1. hypertension incidence rate, obese people are 3 times higher
  2. atherosclerosis incident rate, obese people are 2-3 times higher
  3. heart disease and arteriosclerosis incident rate, obese people are 2.5 times higher
  4. cancer incidence rate, obese people are twice higher

Now I learned that there are fundamentally four factors that lead to obesity. 

  1. Congenital  obesity – this is hereditary, which means that it is genetically passed down from parent to their offspring
  2. Pathological obesity – caused by infection from disease
  3. Medicinal obesity – caused by medicinal drugs that affect the hormones. One of the common hormonal drugs is oral contraceptives.
  4. Acquired obesity – this is caused by unbalanced diet, excessive consumption of meat, sugary food and animal fat, or just being gluttonous.

For the congenital, pathological and medicinal obese people, if they intend to lose weight, they will need to consult their doctors who will diagnose and prescript the appropriate remedy. 

Acquired obesity is easy to take care of. There are all kinds of pills and medicines that can take care of it but there can be different side effects which need to be advised by professional doctors.  Another type is the used of traditional herbs like those found in Good Image Tea which is proven to safely and swiftly decompose the excessive solid fat accumulated in the body. The result is also the cleansing of the intestinal systems which also solve the habitual constipation problem that many people in the world are suffering from. 

Body detoxification is for men too ! 

Every person needs to be enlightened in different aspect and at different stage of their lives. 

Having spent many years in detoxifying computers and preaching about anti-virus / Trojans / spyware / ransomware / phishing, anti-spam and what-have-you in the IT content security world, I stepped into the “different” yet the “same” industry. Different in the sense of human beings vs computers but yet the same as it is about health. Until 2 months ago, it had never occurred to me that it is not just about another business but about the real need to detoxify our body. 

Like most if not all “unenlightened” men, the sheer mention of “detox” or “detoxification” will raise my eyebrows followed by a frown and ended with a quick switch of subject to something else. The basic reason is that this ritual or obsession is for the female population. It is all about skin beauty that the “rugged” men do not have to be concerned about.

As marketing professional which loves Alvin Toffler’s quotation that The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn”, I set on “unlearning” the previous (IT) products and immediately dive into learning the new product which is the Good Image Tea, which is formulated, manufactured and distributed by our company and group’s herbal manufacturing plant.

 biolife3-1.jpgGood Image Tea

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It is through the course of understanding the overall Good Image Tea, the characteristics and benefits of each of the ingredients such as green tea, licorice, peppermint and ginseng; as well as talking and learning from people in the same industry, customers and associates that I “relearn” that detoxification is for men too, especially those that are entering the middle age and beyond.

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Detoxification is not about maintaining skin beauty, it is about health maintenance.

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How many men in modern days do not entertain, smoke, drink alcohol, eat all kinds of “unhealthy” food?   The demand from life, the stress from career to excel, the swing between happiness and sadness are the “evils” that everyone has to face them. However, when come to the physical well-being, most men are not too concerned about it or do not have the time to manage them. As chauvinist pig, the man might think to himself, “if there is so much toxin in my body, why is it that I am still so strong and healthy?” My shifu (teacher) told me that when one doesn’t take care of the body, it will “calculate the bill” when he or she gets older. This reminds me of the how we are treating mother earth all these years and the global warming, chaotic weather changes and unprecedented disasters are cropping across the globe might just be what mother earth is showing the bill now. 

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Back to the men – haven’t you noticed that men reaching the 40’s are experiencing many serious challenges ? – long sightedness, memory retardation, more lethargic, facial wrinkles, pot belly, pain at the joints, puffy eyes, etc. These are the signs of the changes in metabolism.  It is not that there is no toxin, but it is because the toxins accumulated over the years have yet to create havoc. The rising number of people with constipation is just a simple sign of toxin accumulation. Once the toxins have accumulated to a certain level, they will start to block your arteries, get into the blood, damage the organs and finally causing the body to collapse. 

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Younger people are no longer spared too! 

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News of men in the thirty’s having heart attack & stroke is not uncommon.  Be it the heavy mental stress at work, unbalanced diet or the fun and “de-stressing” night activities, the chauvinistic men will not admit or reveal it and are nonchalant about it. 

Call it doom-saying but this kind of attitude towards health will be a great mistake. As the world progresses, our health habits should follow suit to harmonize with our body.  Men must personally take care of themselves.  Detox is definitely for men too.

Top 10 Health Benefits of Drinking Tea
by Lynn Grieger, RD, CD, CDE

There are lots of reasons why I enjoy a hot cup of tea: I love the aroma of various flavors of tea; holding onto a hot tea mug warms my hands on a cold winter morning; sipping tea in front of the fireplace is a great way to relax. And those are just the feel-good reasons. If you’re not drinking tea yet, read up on these 10 ways tea does your body good and then see if you’re ready to change your Starbucks order!

1. Tea contains antioxidants. Like the Rust-Oleum paint that keeps your outdoor furniture from rusting, tea’s antioxidants protect your body from the ravages of aging and the effects of pollution.

2. Tea has less caffeine than coffee. Coffee usually has two to three times the caffeine of tea (unless you’re a fan of Morning Thunder, which combines caffeine with mate, an herb that acts like caffeine in our body). An eight-ounce cup of coffee contains around 135 mg caffeine; tea contains only 30 to 40 mg per cup. If drinking coffee gives you the jitters, causes indigestion or headaches or interferes with sleep — switch to tea.

3. Tea may reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke. Unwanted blood clots formed from cholesterol and blood platelets cause heart attack and stroke. Drinking tea may help keep your arteries smooth and clog-free, the same way a drain keeps your bathroom pipes clear. A 5.6-year study from the Netherlands found a 70 percent lower risk of fatal heart attack in people who drank at least two to three cups of black tea daily compared to non-tea drinkers.  

4. Tea protects your bones. It’s not just the milk added to tea that builds strong bones. One study that compared tea drinkers with non-drinkers, found that people who drank tea for 10 or more years had the strongest bones, even after adjusting for age, body weight, exercise, smoking and other risk factors. The authors suggest that this may be the work of tea’s many beneficial phytochemicals.

5. Tea gives you a sweet smile. One look at the grimy grin of Austin Powers and you may not think drinking tea is good for your teeth, but think again. It’s the sugar added to it that’s likely to blame for England’s bad dental record. Tea itself actually contains fluoride and tannins that may keep plaque at bay. So add unsweetened tea drinking to your daily dental routine of brushing and flossing for healthier teeth and gums.

6. Tea bolsters your immune defenses. Drinking tea may help your body’s immune system fight off infection. When 21 volunteers drank either five cups of tea or coffee each day for four weeks, researchers saw higher immune system activity in the blood of the tea drinkers.

7. Tea protects against cancer. Thank the polyphenols, the antioxidants found in tea, once again for their cancer-fighting effects. While the overall research is inconclusive, there are enough studies that show the potential protective effects of drinking tea to make adding tea to your list of daily beverages. 

8. Tea helps keep you hydrated. Caffeinated beverages, including tea, used to be on the list of beverages that didn’t contribute to our daily fluid needs. Since caffeine is a diuretic and makes us pee more, the thought was that caffeinated beverages couldn’t contribute to our overall fluid requirement. However, recent research has shown that the caffeine really doesn’t matter — tea and other caffeinated beverages definitely contribute to our fluid needs. The only time the caffeine becomes a problem as far as fluid is concerned is when you drink more than five or six cups of a caffeinated beverage at one time. 

9. Tea is calorie-free. Tea doesn’t have any calories, unless you add sweetener or milk.Consuming even 250 fewer calories per day can result in losing one pound per week. If you’re looking for a satisfying, calorie-free beverage, tea is a top choice.

10. Tea increases your metabolism. Lots of people complain about a slow metabolic rate and their inability to lose weight. Green tea has been shown to actually increase metabolic rate so that you can burn 70 to 80 additional calories by drinking just five cups of green tea per day. Over a year’s time you could lose eight pounds just by drinking green tea. Of course, taking a 15-minute walk every day will also burn calories.

http://health.ivillage.com/eating/0,,7kq79l90,00.html  

Healthy tea boost
– Mar 15, 2007
The Business Times

WITH so many varieties of teas out on the market today, here’s a guide to some TCM-inspired ones said to have medicinal values that are especially beneficial for women. Five-flower tea
COMPRISING five different types of medicinal flowers – honeysuckle, frangipani, chrysanthemum, cotton and pagoda tree – this tea helps the body to detoxify and reduce inflammation. In TCM, any condition that shows redness, pain and swelling is a symptom of excess heat. This tea removes excess heat and helps to alleviate conditions like painful acne and skin eruptions.
American wild ginseng tea
AMERICAN ginseng helps rejuvenate the body and boost physical and vital energy. It reduces heat in the body and relieves stress and stress-related problems such as insomnia. It is especially ideal for the modern working woman.
Chinese rose tea
CHINESE rose tea is said to be able to stimulate appetite, ease abdominal cramps and relieve menstrual pains.

Rooibos tea
ROOIBOS tea is caffeine-free and rich in minerals and anti-oxidants. This tea is suitable for the young and the elderly and can be drunk hot or cold. It is a good source of supplements.

Mini Tuo Tea
TUO tea or tuocha is prepared from Yunnan’s superior green tea. It is known to help eliminate fats, reduce weight, stimulate metabolism, and regulate the level of cholesterol in the body.

Green tea
USED as a medicine in China for thousands of years, green tea lowers total cholesterol levels as well as improves the ratio of good cholesterol to bad cholesterol. What’s more, clinical tests have shown that green tea inhibits the growth of cancer cells.

Source : http://health.asiaone.com.sg/alternativemedicine/20070315_002.html

Malaysia pins hopes on herbal Viagra for biotech push

By Clarence Fernandez – Mar 19, 2007
Reuters
KUALA LUMPUR, March 19 (Reuters) – Malaysia’s answer to Viagra is a traditional herb the country has picked to spearhead its push into biotechnology, but now it faces the challenge of convincing the world the remedy is both potent and safe.Surging interest in the herb, “tongkat ali”, has spawned dozens of products, from pills to beverages, that play up its reputed aphrodisiac properties, and could even threaten the sway overseas of ginseng, a more-widely established remedy in Asia.

Generations of ageing Malaysian men have sworn by the rejuvenation effects of “tongkat ali”, scouring the countryside for it so eagerly that it has almost vanished from all but the deepest rainforest, and now has the status of a protected plant.

Scientific studies show that concoctions of “tongkat ali” can help hormone production, making rats and mice more frisky, but have yet to prove it can reliably produce the same effect in humans, researchers say.

“It can have different effects on different people,” said Abdul Razak, head of the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia, which is driving research and commercial production of the herb.

“For me, it gives the energy to play a game of golf without getting tired, but has no other effects,” said Razak, who takes two capsule supplements of the herb before each weekly game to increase his stamina.

“Tongkat ali”, which scientists call Eurycoma longifolia, is a slender evergreen shrub with bitter, brownish-red fruit that is native to Malaysia and Indonesia.

All parts of the plant which grows up to 10 metres (33 ft) tall can be chopped up fine and boiled in water to make the traditional medicine.

As Malaysia looks to biotechnology for economic growth, scientists are taking a harder look at the aphrodisiac qualities of tongkat ali, which means the “walking-stick of Ali,” in Malay, and they say it could spawn drugs to treat cancer and malaria.

PREPARING FOR COMMERCIAL USE

Five years of research studies in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States have helped to identify the key compounds in the herb, Razak said.

“All these compounds have been found, have been tested and have been patented, and we are now in the process of carrying out clinical studies, and hopefully after some time we might even commercialise this,” he added.

A Malaysian industry and government group says the rapidly growing global market for aphrodisiacs is worth about $4 billion and could reach nearly $7 billion by 2012, but plans for “tongkat ali” to grab a share of this pie hinge on proving it is safe.

In Taiwan this year, Taipei city officials banned six brands of coffee from supermarkets because they contained “tongkat ali”, saying the plant had not been evaluated for safe use, although there were no confirmed reports of side-effects, newspapers said.

The episode in January stirred indignation in Malaysia, where some officials publicly defended the herb, saying its safety and efficacy had been demonstrated by hundreds of years of use.

Others said the incident showed how far Malaysia still has to go to prove its claims for the herb.

“We’ve still got a lot of homework to do as a nation,” said M. Rajen, chief executive of Tropical Botanics Sdn Bhd, which counts among its products Malaysia’s most popular fish-oil brand.

Makers of ginseng, which has a global market of about $2 billion a year, according to some industry estimates, would be ruthless in battling competition from “tongkat ali”, he said.

“What we see in Taiwan and elsewhere is an example of this ruthlessness,” Rajen added. “Because we have not done our homework, we cannot fight it.”

But Malaysia is confident it will convince the world. Officials of Power Root Malaysia Sdn Bhd, which exports tea and coffee drinks containing the herb to Japan and South Korea, have said they are looking to the United States and the Middle East.

“One day ‘tongkat ali’ will be marketed internationally, even in Harrods of London,” Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak said in January, at the launch of a $7 million biotech research centre that will study ways to clone the herb.

At the Forest Research Institute, workers in white protective gear poured sacks of the herb into gleaming stainless steel dryers and grinders to turn out powder for capsules.

“It’s high time for ‘tongkat ali’ now,” said researcher Mohamad Shahidan, grinning through his face mask. “Everybody wants to try it.”

http://health.asiaone.com.sg/alternativemedicine/20070319_001.html

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