Reishi Mushroom Polysaccharides may Improve Gut Flora

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Concerning the possible mechanism of action of polysaccharides from a water extract of Ganoderma lucidum mycelium (WEGL), previous studies suggest that intestinal bacteria possess distinct polysaccharide preferences and that these molecules may favour the growth of specific bacterial species in the gut microbiota. Collectively, our results suggest that both WEGL and its high molecular weight polysaccharides may be used as prebiotics to reduce body weight gain, chronic inflammation and insulin resistance in obese individual.

From the study: Ganoderma lucidum reduces obesity in mice by modulating the composition of the gut microbiota

Not that we really needed another reason to praise Reishi, but we got one anyway.  Of course this was an animal-model study and further research in humans is warranted.

Sorrow Has an Ending

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Sorrow follows us like our shadow, and we do not seem to be able to resolve it. Sorrow has an ending, but it does not come about through any system or method. There is no sorrow when there is perception of ‘what is’. When you see very clearly what is whether it be the fact that life has no fulfilment, or the fact that your son, your brother, or your husband is dead; when you know the fact as it actually is, without interpretation, without having an opinion about it, without any ideation, ideals, or judgements, then I think there is the ending of sorrow.

– Jiddu Krishnamurti

Spicy Food Associated with a Lower Risk of Death

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According to a recent study in BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal) the regular consumption of spicy food is associated with a lower risk of death. This study does not prove causation so take the results as exploratory rather than conclusive.  This study does however point to potential fruitfulness of further research to establish causation in this area.  The study was completed by an international team that looked at the data from almost half a million participants.

From the results:

Spicy food consumption showed highly consistent inverse associations with total mortality among both men and women after adjustment for other known or potential risk factors. … Compared with those who ate spicy foods less than once a week, those who consumed spicy foods 6 or 7 days a week showed a 14% relative risk reduction in total mortality.

You can view this study online: Consumption of spicy foods and total and cause specific mortality: population based cohort study

Many spices are also herbs and spices are generally known for their high levels of beneficial phytochemicals. It’s not a great leap to have a hypothesis that people who consume spices fair better than those who don’t.

Common Chemicals More Carcinogenic than Thought

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A global taskforce of 174 scientists from leading research centres across 28 countries studied the link between mixtures of commonly encountered chemicals and the development of cancer. The study selected 85 chemicals not considered carcinogenic to humans and found 50 supported key cancer-related mechanisms at exposures found in the environment today.

In regards to the study: Assessing the carcinogenic potential of low-dose exposures to chemical mixtures in the environment: the challenge ahead

While sadly not surprising this study is an important step in bringing awareness to the effects of the chemicals we have allowed to infiltrate day-to-day life.

Despite a rising incidence of many cancers, far too little research has been invested into examining the pivotal role of environmental causative agents. This worldwide team of researchers refocuses our attention on this under-researched area. – Professor Francis Martin (Lancaster University)

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Dandelion Root as an Anti-Cancer Herb?

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The University of Windsor has a page about the Dandelion Root Project:

Since the commencement of this project, we have been able to successfully assess the effect of a simple water extract of dandelion root in various human cancer cell types, in the lab and we have observed its effectiveness against human T cell leukemia, chronic myelomonocytic leukemia, pancreatic and colon cancers, with no toxicity to non-cancer cells. Furthermore, these efficacy studies have been confirmed in animal models (mice) that have been transplanted with human colon cancer cells.

We also applied for Phase I clinical trials in 2012 for the use of DRE in hematological cancers and in November 2012, we obtained approval for the administration of DRE in human patients and currently, the dandelion root extract is under Phase 1 clinical trials for drug refractory blood cancers.

There is still more research to be done, and results in human patients can differ significantly from lab and animal models.  Regardless, we are happy to see this research being done at all.  Herbs are very neglected as compared to pharmaceuticals in the academic setting.

The Canadian Broadcasting Association also has a story about this research: Cancer-killing dandelion tea gets $157K research grant

Other inulin-containing plants, such as dandelion root and elecampagne, are widely used as blood purifiers or tonics.” – Paul Bergner

Herbs are rarely used in isolation by herbalists unlike how they are studied in an academic setting.  We hope to see research with herbal protocols put in place by experienced, practicing herbologists.

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