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Top 10 Home Remedies for Cirrhosis of the Liver

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Top 10 Home Remedies for Cirrhosis of the Liver Image – © decade3d

The liver is the second biggest organ in the body (the skin is the first!). It is responsible for a variety of functions, like storing vitamins and synthesizing glucose, but its major function is detoxifying the blood. The liver filters out the harmful substances found in alcohol and drugs but too much of these substances eventually damages it. As time passes, the liver learns to work overtime but when the damage worsens with prolonged abuse, the liver can turn cirrhotic – which is an irreversible condition of liver scarring.So how do you reverse (or at least slow) this kind of damage?

1. Stop Drinking: The frontrunner in healthy liver habits is to limit your alcohol intake or even stop drinking completely. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the recommended daily alcohol intake for women should not exceed 1 drink per day and should not exceed two drinks per day for men. Going over this recommended limit increases your risk for liver damage and even breast cancer. [1] If you already have a liver condition of any kind, giving up alcohol is advisable.

2. Milk Thistle: Milk thistle is a medicinal plant that has been used to treat a variety of liver and metabolic diseases over thousands of years in the Mediterranean. According to numerous studies, the inclusion of milk thistle in the management of liver health is effective in making the liver healthier. [2] While some studies beg to differ, it cannot be denied that milk thistle has been proven to have hepatoprotective effects. [3]

3. Papaya: The use of papaya has been associated with skin whitening benefits, but it is also a good addition to your diet to protect your liver. A study in 2007 used fermented papaya preparations as possible supportive treatment for people with hepatitis C. The results were very positive! Papaya was able to improve hemodynamic balance in the body, as well as improving the ability of the body to detoxify itself. [4]

4. Eclipta Alba: This herb is used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. Today, studies have indicated its effectiveness in improving liver health and protecting it from disease. Not only that, the plant is also shows good antioxidant properties on a liver damaged by alcohol abuse. [5] [6]

5. Picrorhiza kurroa: A very ancient herbal medicine and another plant popularly used in Ayurvedic traditional medicine, Picrorhiza kurroa is known for managing jaundice – a condition where the skin becomes yellow because of excess bilirubin in the blood – and liver infections. [7] Picrorhiza is available in supplement form and has been shown to have hepatoprotective effects – as well as being able to decrease hepatic lipids and fatty infiltration of the liver – overall reducing liver damage and improving liver health. [8]

6. Schisandra: Moving to Eastern Traditional Medicine, the Schisandra plant and its fruit are used for a variety of ailments, primarily infections. In a 2012 study, the Schisandra plant was able to prevent a rise in AST/ALT levels (markers of liver damage) in acute hepatotoxicity. This could be due to its ability to get rid of free radicals in the blood which damage liver tissue. [9]

7. Green tea: When talking about healthy food and drink, green tea is often on the list because of its antioxidant effects. Green tea’s anti-hyperlipidemic effects are able to reduce fat build-up in the liver tissue and oxidative stress, causing a decrease in inflammation and AST/ALT levels. [10] The antioxidant effects also help clear our free radicals from the blood as well.

8. Vitamin C: Vitamin C is has immune system-boosting powers which in turn affects our over health, preventing disease. However, did you know that it is able to boost liver regeneration? The liver is a part of the body that will continue to function even as parts of it are damaged. Vitamin C is able to promote liver cell turnover and regeneration, making fruits high in Vitamin C an important part of your daily diet. [11]

9. Acupuncture: Acupuncture rose to prominence as its use in traditional Eastern medicine promoted total body health, depending on where the acupuncture is performed. Piercing the skin is thought to promote overall health and balance in the body improving blood circulation. The hepatoprotective effects of acupuncture were proven in a 2006 study in Korea. The use of acupuncture was able to reduce liver toxicity, protecting tissue and function of the liver. [12]

10. Dandelion: Dandelion can be included in your diet through the leaves and roots made into tea. In a study that involved people with high fat diets who were at high risk for lipid accumulation in the liver. The groups who included dandelion extracts in their diets had less fat build-up in the liver, which suggests that dandelions can be used to manage non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. [13]

Note: as always for this site, this article is not medical advice. Consult your physician before using herbs / supplements especially if you have a medical condition or are taking any form of medication.

Some more of our posts on how to take care or detox your liver:

How To Make A Liver Cleansing Detox Juice
5 Common Habits That Damage Your Liver
Herbs For The Liver
Top 10 Best Foods to Cleanse Your Liver
5 Easy Tips For A Healthy Liver
How To Make A “Super Detox Juice”

References

[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2014). Alcohol and Public Health. http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/faqs.htm
[2] Lawrence, V., et. al. (2000). Milk Thistle: Effects on Liver Disease and Cirrhosis and Clinical Adverse Effects. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK33277/?report=reader
[3] Matveev, A., et. al. (2011). Hepatoprotective properties of silymarin. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21560654
[4] Marotta, F., et. al. (2007). Oxidative-inflammatory damage in cirrhosis: effect of vitamin E and a fermented papaya preparation.
[5] Baranisrinivasan, P., et. al. (2009). Hepatoprotective Effect of Enicostemma littorale blume and Eclipta alba During Ethanol Induced Oxidative Stress in Albino Rats. http://www.researchgate.net/publication/45948096_Hepatoprotective_Effect_of_Enicostemma_littorale_blume_and_Eclipta_alba_During_Ethanol_Induced_Oxidative_Stress_in_Albino_Rats
[6] Thirumalai, T., et. al. (2011). Restorative effect of Eclipta alba in CCl4 induced hepatotoxicity in male albino rats. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2222180811600728
[7] WebMD (2009). Picrorhiza. http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-1082-picrorhiza.aspx?activeingredientid=1082&activeingredientname=picrorhiza
[8] Shetty, S., et. al. (2010). A study of standardized extracts of Picrorhiza kurroa Royle ex Benth in experimental nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3087357/
[9] Cheng, Ni., et. al. (2013). Antioxidant and hepatoprotective effects of Schisandra chinensis pollen extract on CCI-induced acute liver damage in mice. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691512008290
[10] Sakata, R., et. al. (2013). Green tea with high-density catechins improves liver function and fat infiltration in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) patients: a double-blind placebo-controlled study. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24065295
[11] Kimura, M., et. al. (2014). L-ascorbic acid- and L-ascorbic acid 2-glucoside accelerate in vivo liver regeneration and lower serum alanine aminotransaminase activity in 70% partially hepatectomized rats. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24818255
[12] Yim, Y., et. al. (2006). Hepatoprotective effect of manual acupuncture at acupoint GB34 against CCl4-induced chronic liver damage in rats. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4087655/
[13] Davaatseren, M., et. al. (2013). Taraxacum official (dandelion) leaf extract alleviates high-fat diet-induced nonalcoholic fatty liver. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23603008

This Is What Happens To Your Body When You Consume Okra

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This Is What Happens To Your Body When You Consume Okra Image – Wikipedia – Aravind Sivaraj – lic. under CC BY 3.0

Okra and Diabetes: Okra, commonly referred to as lady’s finger, has been found by multiple in vitro and in vivo studies to be a potent blood glucose-lowering (anti-diabetic) food. [1][2] Okra has been used traditionally as an alternative treatment for diabetes and it is thought that this effect of okra is due to the presence of a large amount of soluble dietary fiber, which retards glucose absorption from the gastrointestinal tract.

Okra and Cancer: Okra has also demonstrated action against breast cancer cells in preliminary lab studies.

Okra and Depression: Amazing new research has proved that okra may also have the ability to fight one of the chronic illnesses of our time: Depression.

It’s been known that healthy diet improves mood since some fruits and vegetables were reported to have mood-elevating antioxidants such as flavonoids and quercetin. Because of okra’s high antioxidant content, yet no known records of antidepressant ability, the researchers from Mazandaran University of Medical Science examined its effect in elevating mood.

The researchers drew extracts from the seeds and leaves as they often contain the highest concentrations of antioxidants. As expected, the extracts were found to contain 58 – 68 mg of gallic acid equivalents per gram, the same levels of antioxidants as extracts of blackberry and blueberry, the most powerful of all fruits and berries.[3]

After standard tests on diabetic mice, the results showed that okra seed extracts acted as a powerful mood-elevating agent that when in high dosage (750 mg of 10:1 seed extract per kg bodyweight) performed as effective as the anti-depression drug imipramine. But even in lower dose (250 mg/kg), the extract already manifested a significant mood boost. The positive mood effect is attributed to high total phenol and flavonoid contents of okra extracts.

The difficulties and complications related to diabetes put diabetes sufferers at greater risk of developing depression. [4] Also, it is thought that having depression may increase one’s risk for diabetes or worsen diabetes symptoms. Studies have shown (unsurprisingly) that people with depression and diabetes suffer more severely than those with diabetes alone. [5]

With the discovery of okra’s powerful anti-depressive action, people with diabetes have a significant likelihood of handling depression and gaining control over their blood levels at the same time. Eating the whole okra contains fiber which is essential for regulating blood sugar and lowering cholesterol levels. It also contains nearly 10% of recommended levels of vitamin B6 and folic acid. Even without diabetes, munching on okra is a far more healthy option for having that “happy hormone” than binging on sweets.

References:
[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3263724/
[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3178946/
[3] http://www.europeanreview.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2609-2612.pdf
[4] http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/mental-health/depression.html
[5] http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression-and-diabetes/index.shtml




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Top 10 Home Remedies for Eczema, Dermatitis And Itchy Skin

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Top 10 Home Remedies for Eczema, Dermatitis And Itchy Skin Image © Tiler84 – Fotolia.com



You’ve been scratching the same spot for almost an hour but the itch just becomes stronger than before. You scratch harder and faster until your nails become tainted with your own blood. This may sound like a scene from a horror movie, but it’s just a glimpse of a typical day for people suffering from eczema, also known as dermatitis. Victimizing over 30 million Americans, eczema is a general term used to describe inflammation of the skin that leads to itchiness and discoloration. [1]

Moisturizers or emollients are considered by dermatologists as the first line in treating eczema. People with eczema often have very dry skin because of their skin’s inability to retain enough moisture. Without enough moisture, the gaps between skin cells are wide enough to be inhabited by bacteria and allergens. As a response, the immune system causes inflammation and inflammation causes itchiness. It may provide temporary relief but scratching actually makes it worse by decreasing the barrier function of the skin and causing further inflammation.

The good news is, eczema may be manageable and inexpensive, soothing home remedies can be found right in your very own kitchen.

1. Coconut and Virgin Olive Oils:

These oils not only moisturize skin but also prevent irritation. The skin needs fats and oils to retain water, but if your skin isn’t producing enough of those to moisturize it, gaps between cells widen and bacteria and irritants can enter easily. Coconut and virgin olive oils easily sink into the skin and fill in the intercellular gap that’s opened up and caused you dryness and susceptibility to irritants. [2]

How to apply:

Make sure your hands are clean and dry before rubbing the oil onto the affected areas. Let it dry on your skin. It is generally considered safe to apply throughout the day if needed.

2. Jojoba Oil:

Technically, it’s not an oil but a liquid wax extracted from its seeds. Since eczema differs from one person to another, what’s effective for others may not work as well for you, so it’s important to know as many options as possible. If coconut and virgin oils do not suit you, go with jojoba. It also easily sinks into the skin plus its molecular structure is the most similar to that of our skin’s natural oil. It is well-known for its anti-inflammation, barrier function, skin hydration benefits, as well as accelerating the recovery of the damaged skin barrier. [3]

How to apply:

Like applying coconut and virgin olive oils, make sure your hands are clean and patted dry before applying it onto the affected areas. You can massage your skin gently until the oil is at least partially absorbed.

3. Oatmeal:

Since ancient Rome, oatmeal has been used for skin care treatment. Over the years, studies have confirmed its anti-inflammatory, barrier repair, and moisturizing properties. [4] It has active skin-healing compounds like water-binding polysaccharides, hydrocolloids, and fats that hold moisture against the skin and relieve itchiness. Furthermore, it helps protect the skin from sun damage and inflammation of various skin conditions. [5] Easy to acquire and use, oatmeal is probably the best starting point in treating eczema.

How to apply:

To get the best skin-healing benefits of oats, you could try making your own colloidal (super fine powdered) oatmeal. Use a food processor, blender, or coffee grinder and then blend the oats or process dry until they become fine powder. Add it to a glass of water and mix well until it turns into a milky white liquid. You can add it to bathwater or apply topically to affected areas.

4. Chamomile:

Chamomile is one of the most ancient medicinal herbs with various health benefits. Other than calming the nerves and relaxing muscle tensions, chamomile also treats skin conditions. Used in a cream or ointment, studies have found that it relieves eczema symptoms and other skin irritations. In fact, some studies have documented it as effective as hydrocortisone cream for eczema. The calming effect of chamomile also play its part in relieving itchiness, as eczema is also triggered by stress. [6]

How to apply:

Using 4 or more tablespoons of dried chamomile flower, preferably German chamomile, make a tea bag using muslin or cheesecloth and tie it off. After filling the tub part way, tie the bag to the faucet so the water runs through it. Drop the bag in the tub when the tub is full. Soak for 10-15 minutes and squeeze the bag every now and then. After the bath, pat your skin gently with a soft towel.

5. Fish oil:

Essential fatty acids found in fish oil are truly essential in relieving eczema symptoms. [7] In one study, omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil showed effectiveness in significantly reducing eczema symptoms after 12 weeks. It may be that fish oils help reduce the inflammatory substance leukotriene B4. [8] Those who take supplements recorded an average of 18% reduction in their symptoms. Official advice recommends people to eat two portions of fish per week, one of which should be an oily fish.

6. Yogurt with Live Culture:

Some of you may be surprised how yogurt with live cultures end up in this list. Is there a link between the skin and the tummy? The answer is a big YES. We need probiotics or the “good” bacteria to help our intestines protect us from toxins and bad bacteria. If, however, the intestines are covered with yeasts and bad bacteria, the immune system responds through inflammation. It’s the least thing you want if you have eczema.

By affecting inflammation and strengthening the immune system in the intestinal tract, probiotics, or the good bacteria, keep the body from overreacting to allergens. [9] When exposed to allergens – substances that cause allergic reactions – many people with eczema experience flare-ups or worsening of symptoms like extreme itchiness. Some research show that a certain probiotic called “fight eczema” raise levels of allergy-calming chemicals in the blood. [10]

7. Oolong Tea:

Made from leaves, buds, and stems of the Camellia Sinensis plant, oolong tea is a partially fermented tea with a myriad of benefits. Recently, a study in Japan reported moderate improvements in eczema symptoms after just a week or two of drinking oolong tea. [11] Its effect is attributed to its anti-allergy activity of the polyphenol compounds and unique flavonoids that are anti-oxidants. [12] Like yogurt, it also boosts the immune system thereby preventing inflammatory response which may worsen the symptoms.

8. Avocado:

Rich in fatty acids, vitamins, and antioxidants, this fruit is the skin’s best friend. Avocado binds skin cells together and aids in the production of elastin and collagen. [12] This will make your skin more elastic and compact which will help in the treatment of eczema. You can use avocado oil topically for faster result.

9. Eat Foods Rich In Vitamin E:

For healthy skin and strong immunity, eat foods rich in Vitamin E. Almonds, raw seeds, spinach, turnip greens, plant oils, and hazelnuts contain this amazing vitamin known as an antioxidant that protect cells from damage. [13] To better manage eczema, you need strong immunity and a healthy skin to lessen inflammation and infection.

10. Explore Different Soaps And Detergents And Removal Of Allergens:

You may wish to consider avoiding detergents and ordinary soaps as they are known to remove the natural oils in your skin, potentially making you itch more. [14] Many of these products also contain “fragrance” – which if not otherwise stated is most likely to be synthetic, being derived from petrochemicals. The actual substances are typically not listed – however there are some brands that use more gentle ingredients and are fragrance free.

With the right food, natural oils, and proper habits, you can be in control of your eczema. As mentioned earlier, you must find which works the best for you, as eczema is highly individualistic. The most important thing to remember is to keep your skin moisturized and your immune system on top shape. Eczema may be officially incurable at the moment but nature provides amazing remedies, which if used properly and knowledgeably maybe provide great benefit.

References:

[1] http://nationaleczema.org/eczema/
[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19134433
[3] https://www.floratech.com/fileMgr/upload/files/Publications/Publication01.pdf
[4] http://dermnetnz.org/treatments/oatmeal.html
[5] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22777219
[6] http://pennstatehershey.adam.com/content.aspx?productId=107&pid=33&gid=000232
[7] http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/condition/eczema
[8] http://www.readersdigest.ca/food/diet-nutrition/3-foods-treat-eczema/
[9] http://edition.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/03/10/healthmag.probiotics.stomach/index.html?eref=rss_latest
[10] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11176659
[11] Graedon, Joe and Graedon, Theresa. Best Choices from the People’s Pharmacy: What You Need to Know Before Your Next Visit to the Doctor of Drugstore. New York: 2006
[12] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3664913/
[13] http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/lifestyle-guide-11/supplement-guide-vitamin-e
[14] http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/eczema/features/atopic-dermatitis