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Can 4 Red Bull really kill a man ?

2 years ago, a Bolivian man working in Oxfordshire, UK died of heart attack after consuming 4 cans of the ‘It gives you wings’ energy drink, Red Bull

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Last week, Oxfordshire coroner recorded a verdict of “death by unascertained natural causes” which he compared the death to sudden adult death syndrome which is linked to cardiac illness.

What killed Alfredo Duran since the coroner stated that he was healthy and Red Bull has such a long sale record as far back as 1982 and had since sold 3.5 billion drinks in 140 countries in 2007?

Overdose of caffeine and an enlarged heart are probably the resultant cause.

As he had to work up to five night shifts a week, 40-year-old Alfredo, a father-of-two was known to consume at least 4 cans of the Red Bull each night. The amount of caffeine found in him although not fatal by itself, could have triggered a card­iac arrest for someone who has already an enlarged heart. According to the pathologist, this will not have any effect in people with a normal heart.

Looking at a chart from the American Beverages Association, taking a can of Red Bull is pretty close to a cup of instant coffee (hmm, Sprite & 7-Up no caffeine).

Although caffeine is not addictive, a consumer may go for additional can of energy drink to stay awake once he starts to lose that peppy feeling.

However, it is also known that when people take too much caffeine, side effects like nervousness, insomnia and elevated blood pressure will be experienced. That being the case, one can imagine how it will be like downing 4 cans of the Red Bull. In fact, some countries banned it because of fears of causing high blood pressure.

Still, Red Bull said that “clin­ical tests and toxicological evaluations by independent experts had concluded it was safe to drink for adults” . Just don’t drink more than 2 cans, they said. Understandably, they are in a market which according to market research firm ACNielsen clocked $4.7 billion in 2007 up from $3.5 billion in 2006 and expecting to grow to $10 billion by 2010.

Yes, many consumers will swear by it as several studies have indicated that energy drinks may help boost cognitive performance, verbal reasoning and attention levels. However, other experts are saying that there is nothing unique in them that sustain the alertness. Rather, it is the work of the high sugar and caffeine in them which one can easily get from other sources like coffee and candy bars.

For me, no coffee during my “night-shift” writing this blog. I will just head for the aromatic kopitiam’s coffee-O in the morning.

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).

What’s in coffee drinking that lowers gout risk ?

There is no answer as it is not caffeine.

It is recently researched by the University of British Columbia that coffee (including decaffeinated) drinking (4 or more coffees a day) is more likely to have a much lower uric acid level in the blood.

I will take it that the kind of coffee mentioned in the research is the usual “diluted” “no-kick” morning coffee found in hotels and fast food restaurants and not those dark and strong kopi (coffee) that we drink in the kopitiam (coffee shop) in Singapore and other Asian countries. Drinking 4 or more local kopi per day even for a coffee drinker like me will be too much for my heart.

Normally, uric acid dissolves in the blood and passes through the kidneys and out of the body in urine. Uric acid comes from the breakdown of substances called purines. Although purines are found in all of our body’s tissues, uric acid can build up in the blood when a person eats too many foods high in purines, such as liver, dried beans and peas, and anchovies.

When the kidneys do not get rid of enough of the uric acid, it can later crystallize out of the blood into the joints. The result is gout, one of the most painful forms of arthritis. It can wake one up in the middle of the night with pain, swelling, heat and or stiffness in the joints in the big toe, ankles, heels, knees, insteps, wrists, fingers, etc.

A gout attack can be brought on by stressful events, too much beer, or eating too much red meat or drugs, or another illness. Early attacks usually get better within 3 to 10 days, even without treatment. The next attack may not occur for months or even years.

The main way to tackle the condition is to take anti-inflammatory pills, change diet and drink more water, or in more severe cases, to take more powerful drugs to reduce uric acid levels in the blood.

Researchers said that coffee drinking can lead to lower insulin levels in the blood, and that there is an established link between higher insulin levels and higher uric acid levels. However, high blood uric acid levels does not necessarily lead to gout attack as some people with high uric acid levels throughout life don’t suffer such attack.

So it looks like it is about not letting the uric acid crystallises out of the blood into the joints. That means healthy kidney, healthy diet with balanced purine-producing food. So, apart from my kopi-O (black coffee with sugar), I’m continuing with my daily consumption of Clerodendranthus Spicatus or Cat Whiskers tea and start drinking more red wine than beer.

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.

Alcohol shrinks my brain while tea improves my memory

Everyone knows that heavy drinking is bad for health but I guessed not many knows that Drinking heavy amounts of alcohol over a long period of time may decrease brain volume“. This is according to the latest research that was presented to the American Academy of Neurology”.

What is heavy amount of alcohol ? According to the study, it means more than 14 drinks per week.

Luckily, other research have suggested that tea especially green tea could boost the memory of everyday drinkers.

Reseachers have being conducting tests to see if it can helps the estimated 10 millions suffers of Alzheimer’s disease.  As we know, Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that gradually destroys a person’s memory and ability to learn, reason, make judgments, communicate and carry out daily activities. As Alzheimer’s progresses, individuals may also experience changes in personality and behavior, such as anxiety, suspiciousness or agitation, as well as delusions or hallucinations.

Although there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, the research indicated that “green and black tea inhibited the activity of enzymes associated with the development of Alzheimer’s Disease, but coffee had no significant effect.

Both teas inhibited the activity of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE), which breaks down the chemical messenger or neurotransmitter, acetylcholine. Alzheimer’s is characterised by a drop in acetylcholine.Green tea and black tea also hinder the activity of the enzyme butyrylcholinesterase (BuChE), which has been discovered in protein deposits which are found on the brain of patients with Alzheimer’s.

Green tea went one step further in that it obstructed the activity of beta-secretase, which plays a role in the production of protein deposits in the brain which are associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists also found that it continued to have its inhibitive effect for a week, whereas black tea’s enzyme-inhibiting properties lasted for only one day. ”

Latest study also found “Green Tea Extract Protects Against Brain Damage In New Mouse Model Of HIV-related Dementia

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