Children’s Sleep: what is your routine? (Zarbee’s Coupon)

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Zarbee’s Naturals. I received product samples and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.With daylight saving time hitting us hard last week (seriously, ugh.), the entire house has had trouble sleeping and getting back on schedule. I actually think our 2-year-old handled it the best. Our 4-year-old just couldn’t get to bed “earlier” and with the time change, that meant he was staying up late and sleeping in. That first Monday? Ryan slept in until 8:20am and we had to leave for school by 8:40, eek! It’s so hard to wake a sleeping babe though!How did your family make it out of the daylight saving drama? Did it take …

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Natural remedies for kids: Zarbee’s (coupon)

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Zarbee’s Naturals (#ZarbeesCough). I received product samples and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.Did you know that about 10,000 kids every year are sent to the emergency room from accidental cough syrup overdoses? In 2007 the FDA stated these products were not safe for young children and many were then removed from store shelves or were labeled for ages 4 and up. So when you have little ones that need relief, where do you find it? It is miserable to see your babies not feeling well and being unable to help.natural remediesDr. Zarbock felt the same way for his 4 sons. He needed a solution and discovered a clinical trial that showed dark …

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A new chapter for Chinese medicine

Oct. 5, 2012 — When comes to minor complaints, chronic conditions and even fatal illnesses, people sometimes turn to ginseng and other herbal remedies.

A team of scientists from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has been working on a new approach to drug development involving chemistry, biotechnology, mathematics, computer power and 5000-year ancient practices in Chinese medicine. The groundbreaking regime for herbal study and testing called quantitative-pattern-activity-relationship (“QPAR” in short) verifies the quality and health benefits of traditional herbs. While Western pharmacology focuses on purified chemical compounds such as Vitamin C, Prof. Chau Foo Tim from the Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology and Dr Daniel Sze from the Department of Health Technology and Informatics studied the impact from a mix of compounds, a unique property in herbs.

“Information-rich pattern called chromatographic fingerprint were used to prove the authenticity of a medicinal plant. Our research team has further utilized the ‘big data’ three dimensional (3D) fingerprints to give a good presentation of active ingredients and bioactivities that allow scientists to excavate any healing power from a mix of compounds,” said Prof. Chau.

To further bridge the gap between Chinese and Western medicines, Prof. Chau and Dr Sze have been working on a completely new drug classification and rating standard to establish a scientific link between traditional herbs and various diseases. The new QPAR standard for the first time links medicinal properties to cells, genes and proteins that trigger or contribute to a disease. For example, the magic fungus Ganoderma (靈芝) could be investigated for its ability to improve immunity by stimulating Dendritic Cells and therefore cell-mediated immune responses in our body.

“This is an innovative framework that quantifies the effect of traditional herbs would have on human health and common diseases on a sound scientific basis. QPAR can be used to verify how well Ganoderma can boost immunity and give a rating,” said Dr Sze.

The research is still at an early stage but if successful, scientists will only have to do laboratory tests and crunch on computers to build databases, and get an accurate projection of active ingredients, efficacy and toxicity for preliminary herbal study in the future.

Another breakthrough is that QPAR uses mathematical methods to make predictions and the sophisticated algorithms tapped into 5000-year ancient system of Chinese medicine which was based on the flow and balance of positive (yang) and negative (yin) energies in the body. “We believed that blending the Chinese understanding of diseases into the western medicines would yield an approach more successful in unlocking the full potential of Chinese herbs,” Dr Sze continued.

Dr Albert B. Wong, the founding president of the Modernised Chinese Medicine Association who was also a member of Hong Kong SAR Government’s Panel on Promoting Testing and Certification Services in Chinese Medicine Trade, shared his views on this novel technique. “Health benefits of herbal remedies are widely known but not yet proven. People don’t want to waste money or gamble on unproven treatments and then miss the chance of beating the diseases. New innovations are needed to bring transparency and credibility into herbal medicine.”

Dr Wong also believed that this innovation would drive the evolution of herbal trade. “Herbs can be grown, hand-picked or collected. The quality of active ingredients and medicinal effects also varies with region, altitude, growing techniques and processing methods. QPAR provides a scientific way to quickly verify the authenticity and active ingredients by different sources, making herbal trade fairer and more transparent. Drug companies would better control the prices and quality of raw herbs and also enforce standardisation and consistence across products. From the consumers’ point of view, it is worth to spend the money on products that can give exactly what they want for their health benefits.”

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Folk remedies often offered during breastfeeding, survey finds

Jan. 7, 2013 — Breastfeeding can be a difficult time for both mother and baby, so using cabbage leaves and tea bags to ease pain or eating oatmeal to increase milk production are among the folk remedies that women pass along to new mothers seeking help.

As experts in this field, lactations specialists were surveyed to see how often they pass along this folklore to breastfeeding mothers, despite a lack of research-based evidence to support these suggestions, according to a recent survey by Dr. Jonathan Schaffir, an obstetrician at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

Results of the survey are published in Breastfeeding Medicine.

The online survey of 124 lactation consultants affiliated with U.S. medical centers in 29 states found that 69 percent reported hearing of folk remedies, and 65 percent had recommended at least one of these methods.

Survey respondents were asked to provide examples of advice they had heard of, as well as advice they routinely passed on to breastfeeding mothers. Advice was broken into five categories: recommendations to promote lactation, to initiate breastfeeding, to treat pain associated with breastfeeding, to assist with weaning, and about substances to avoid for the baby’s sake.

The survey found that certain folk remedies are widely discussed among experts, particularly herbal remedies to increase milk production and cabbage leaves to ease pain from breastfeeding. They suggest that recommending folk remedies that are outside of the medical mainstream is a common practice among lactation consultants who advise women about breastfeeding.

“Despite the frequency with which such advice is given, there is little empirical evidence to support the use of most the remedies listed,” said Schaffir. “But I’m all for anything that helps and is safe for the baby.”

More than half of the lactation consultants who responded to the survey said they had heard of and passed on a folklore remedy intended to either increase milk production or ease/prevent pain associated with breastfeeding. Many respondents said they were aware of folklore recommendations to avoid certain foods to prevent infant gassiness, but only two educators relayed this advice to patients.

For example, using beer to promote milk production is a folk tradition of long standing that was in the spotlight when celebrity Mariah Carey was accused of endangering her twins for following it. This folk tradition began in the late 1800s, but no studies have demonstrated a positive impact in milk production.

In fact, maternal alcohol consumption has been demonstrated to decrease milk production, and may have an adverse effect on the baby, Schaffir said. Many cultures also encourage mothers to eat oatmeal to increase milk production, but no studies have been conducted to examine its use.

Folk traditions that aid with breast pain or engorgement were also mentioned, including using cabbage leaves, even though studies have questioned their effectiveness.

Several lactation consultants recommend tea bags to help women deal with nipple soreness, but a randomized trial of breastfeeding women with pain demonstrated that tea bags offered no additional benefit than a water compress, Schaffir said. A review of studies that examine treatment for nipple pain concluded that there was no significant benefit to the use of tea bags, lanolin or expressed milk on the nipple.

The lactation consultants who made recommendations based on folklore compared with those who only made medical recommendations did not have any significant difference in relation to age, parity, education, experience or socioeconomic status.

The folk traditions communicated in this survey represent a particular culture in the United States, and folklore in general varies by culture and background. Surveys of lactation consultants in different countries and different ethnicities may yield different results, Schaffir notes.

“With the attention given to these remedies, this survey may spur future research to objectively measure whether such recommendations are actually safe and effective, rather than relying solely on anecdotal evidence,” Schaffir said.

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Ziziphora effective in the battle against gastric cancer, study suggests

Feb. 12, 2013 — A recent publication in the journal Food and Agricultural Immunology investigating the effects of aloe vera, ginger, saffron and ziziphora extracts as herbal remedies for gastric cancer suggests that the latter may be effective in the treatment of the fourth most common form of the disease.


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Already applied in the treatment of various other diseases, the study now shows that this traditional Uygur medicinal plant to have the highest cytotoxic effect on AGS cell line of those under investigation.

Professor C. J. Smith, Editor of the journal and Director of the Manchester Food Research Centre at Manchester Metropolitan University, commented “Hippocrates declared “Let your food be your medicine and let your medicine be your food.” The modern world is increasingly beginning to appreciate the wisdom of this simple statement. As we have developed modern medicines over the last couple of centuries we have neglected the role which diet plays in the maintenance of good health. However, recent years have shown the importance of understanding both the role of diet and the role of the gut flora in maintaining good health.”

“The understanding of the significance of the gut microflora in good health and in disease has taken major strides in the past three decades and much has been made of the importance of herbs and spices as modulators of health and as being useful in preventing various disorders including gastric ulcers and obesity. ‘Cytotoxic effect of four herbal medicines on gastric cancer (AGS) cell line’ is an excellent example of these developments. The authors tested four spices for their cytotoxic effect on a gastric cancer cell line and show that three of these have varying cytotoxic properties which may be of clinical relevance. This paper therefore fits in a general theme of scientific evaluations of the control and treatment of diseases by food ingredients and components which leads one readily back to the hypothesis proposed by Hippocrates.”

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The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Taylor & Francis, via AlphaGalileo.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.


Journal Reference:

  1. Tooba Ghazanfari, Roya Yaraee, Jalaleddin Shams, Batool Rahmati, Tayebeh Radjabian, Hoda Hakimzadeh. Cytotoxic effect of four herbal medicines on gastric cancer (AGS) cell line. Food and Agricultural Immunology, 2013; 24 (1): 1 DOI: 10.1080/09540105.2011.637549

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