Herbs Info - Page 2 of 309 -

Olive Oil Nutrient Found To HALT Brain Cancer Cells In Their Tracks

Olive Oil Nutrient Found To HALT Brain Cancer Cells In Their Tracks
Graphic – herbs-info.com Image sources – see foot of article

The Mediterranean diet has long been regarded one of the healthiest ways of eating, especially with regard to heart problems and cancer. Typically made up of plant-based foods, fish, whole grains, the Mediterranean diet is more famously known for its liberal use of olive oil and tomatoes.

Researchers now believe that one of the principal keys to the diet’s benefit lies in its replacement of less-healthy fats with the healthy fats found in olive oil. Olive oil is naturally rich in Vitamin K, E and omega fatty acids 3 and 6. This combination of nutrients is believed to be the reason why the Mediterranean diet appears so capable of safeguarding heart health and affording longevity to a person. [1]

But the effects of olive oil go well beyond its heart protective properties. In a fascinating series of recent studies, researchers have discovered that olive oil is also a good for your brain. A study undertaken by the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University (LKSOM) of Philadelphia, USA has found that extra-virgin olive oil can help preserve memory function and even fight against Alzheimer’s. [2]

Alzheimer’s disease is a condition characterized by cognitive decline and memory impaired caused by the build-up of amyloid plaques in the brain. These plaques destroy the delicate structure of the brain, causing deleterious effects on a person’s cognitive functions, notably their ability to retain and recall information. In the study, researchers were to discover that olive oil is capable of trigger the brain’s defense mechanism against amyloid plaques. This defense mechanism is called autophagy. With the presence of olive oil in the diet, the occurrence of autophagy increases, which breaks down and clears out “debris” in the brain. With the debris out of the way, brain function is spared and may work optimally.

Another benefit of adding olive oil to your diet is the anti-cancer properties that researchers have noted. Considering the fact that certain types of brain cancer have some of the poorest prognoses around, every single step you can take to prevent them is most welcome. [3] A study from the University of Edinburgh has determined that oleic acid, the primary ingredient in olive oil, is capable of stopping cancer-causing genes from functioning within brain cells. Oleic acid prevents the protein known as MS12 from decreasing the levels of an anticancer molecule called mIR-7. When there is enough mIR-7 in the brain, the likelihood of developing brain tumors is drastically decreased. [4]

Although cancer is a multifactorial disease and there is no one direct way of surely preventing it, incorporating high-quality olive oil in your diet would definitely seem to be a decision that’s a step towards the right direction.


[1] If olive oil is high in fat, why is it considered healthy? http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/food-and-nutrition/faq-20058439

[2] Extra-Virgin Olive Oil Preserves Memory and Protects Brain Against Alzheimer’s Disease, New Research at Temple Shows http://www.templehealth.org/News/Extra-VirginOliveOilPreservesMemoryandProtectsBrainAgainstAlzheimersDiseaseNewResearchatTempleShows

[3] Survival Rates for Selected Adult Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors https://www.cancer.org/cancer/brain-spinal-cord-tumors-adults/detection-diagnosis-staging/survival-rates.html

[4] Oleic Acid Induces MiR-7 Processing through Remodeling of Pri-MiR-7/Protein Complex (2017) http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022283617301997a

Infographic photo sources:

Pixabay.com (PD)

Study Confirms Benefits Of Fennel In Reducing Postmenopause Symptoms

Study Confirms Benefits of Fennel in Reducing Postmenopause Symptoms
Graphic – herbs-info.com Image sources – see foot of article

Menopause brings in a number of inevitable physiological changes to women that affect their day-to-day lives. There are symptoms that appear before, during and after the onset of menopause. The medical community refers to these symptoms collectively as postmenopausal syndrome. [1] The most common symptoms include mood swings, weight gain, occasional hot flashes, urinary tract infections, vaginal dryness, sleep issues, and stress incontinence.

Menopausal symptoms are often managed by physicians using hormonal therapy. However, HT poses serious health risks including heart attack, stroke, and breast cancer. Many women are veering away from hormone therapy due to these risks and exploring alternative and complementary medicine for menopause symptom management.

Remarkable new research suggests that women may be able to ameliorate post-menopausal symptoms with fennel, a flavor-enhancing herb widely used in cooking.

The study first appeared in Menopause (the journal of The North American Menopause Society). [2] It confirmed the benefits of fennel in reducing post-menopause symptoms without any serious side effects.

The experiment focused on Iranian women between 45 and 60 years old. Half of them received daily medication of fennel capsules for two months, while the other half received placebo. The participants’ responses revealed that those who were administered with fennel capsules had lower menopause rating scale scores compared to the placebo group. The study indicated the potential of fennel as a powerful substitute for hormone therapy.

Fennel has an anise flavor and is growing in popularity as an herbal medicine due to the array of benefits the plant has been reported to provide for all sorts of issues, including digestion problems. [3] Fennel is also rich in calcium, iron, vitamin B6, zinc, vitamin K, and manganese. The herb contains essential oils and phytoestrogenic properties which help manage post-menopausal symptoms.

There are also other herbal treatments for the postmenopausal syndrome as well. One of them is soy which was found to have the potential to address conditions associated with menopausal transition. Soy is rich in isoflavones which have phytoestrogenic effects, which researchers have claimed can alleviate menopausal hot flashes. [4]

Ginseng, a perennial plant, was also found beneficial for treating menopausal symptoms. It is considered as the best general purpose herb for menopause. A Korean study posited ginseng as an attractive option for postmenopausal women, especially those with elevated cardiac risk factors. [5]

Vitamins and supplements are also important components of a woman’s care during and after menopause. Some of the menopausal supplements that women use include omega 3 fatty acids, probiotic, calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12. But before you start popping a bunch of supplements, it is important to consult a physician first to know if your body is primed to process them. Blood work can indicate the levels of minerals and many other things in the body and this is highly regarded throughout the medical community as part of an ongoing health care regimen. Note also that some herbal treatments have been found to interact with medications and if you are using any meeds a good doctor should be consulted prior to commencing use of herbs and supplements.


[1] Pronob K. Dalal and Manu Agarwal. 2015. Indian Journal of Psychiatry. Postmenopausal syndrome. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4539866/

[2] Fatemeh R et al. 2017. Effect of Foeniculum vulgare Mill. (fennel) on menopausal symptoms in postmenopausal women: a randomized, triple-blind, placebo-controlled trial http://journals.lww.com/menopausejournal/Abstract/publishahead/Effect_of_Foeniculum_vulgare_Mill___fennel__on.97782.aspx

[3] Alexandrovich I et al. 2003. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. The effect of fennel (Foeniculum Vulgare) seed oil emulsion in infantile colic: a randomized, placebo-controlled study https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12868253

[4] Messina M. 2014. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Soy foods, isoflavones, and the health of postmenopausal women https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24898224

[5] Kim SY et al. 2012. Menopause. Effects of red ginseng supplementation on menopausal symptoms and cardiovascular risk factors in postmenopausal women: a double-blind randomized controlled trial https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22027944

Infographic photo sources:

Pixabay.com (PD), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Fennel_seed.jpg (lic. under CC)

Study Finds Daily Consumption Of Tea May Protect The Elderly From Cognitive Decline

Study Finds Daily Consumption Of Tea May Protect The Elderly From Cognitive Decline
Graphic – herbs-info.com Image sources – see foot of article

Tea is one of the most popular beverages in the world. In 2016, Americans consumed more than 3.8 billion gallons [1] of tea, with black tea being a favorite. This is good news – due to the numerous possible health benefits of tea consumption, which have been well researched.

Recent data from a Singaporean human trial has reaffirmed the role of tea drinking in reducing the risk of cognitive decline in older persons.

Led by Feng Lei, an assistant professor at the National University of Singapore’s Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, the study focused on 957 Chinese seniors aged 55 years or older. Lei and his team discovered that the neuroprotective role of daily consumption of tea is not a bailiwick of one tea variety and is not limited to one race. They published the research outcomes [2] in The Journal of Nutrition, Health, & Aging.

The research team noted that drinking “real tea” – tea that is brewed from the leaves of Camellia sinensis, such as green, black (Earl Grey, English Breakfast, Assam, etc) or oolong, reduces a person’s risk of developing neurocognitive disorders later in life. The authors gathered information on the participants’ tea drinking habits, lifestyles, medical conditions, and physical and social activities. They attributed the neuroprotective effect of brewed tea to a combination of bioactive compounds which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that protect the brain from vascular damage and neurodegeneration.

The neuroprotective cognitive effects of tea have been widely explored by scientists: A study that first appeared in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition [3] confirmed the association between regular tea consumption and lower risks of cognitive impairment and decline. A Japanese study [4] determined the link between consumption of green tea and reduced risk of dementia or mild cognitive impairment. A Chinese study [5] also presented evidence on the relationship between tea consumption and reduced cognitive impairment.

Cognitive disorders refer to mental health issues that affect learning, memory, perception, and problem-solving. The most common types of cognitive disorder include amnesia, dementia, and delirium. Data from the World Health Organization [6] estimate that around 47.5 million people are living with dementia which is a major neurocognitive disorder. This medical condition registers 7.7 million new cases every year. The main risk factors linked to dementia include advancing age and family history of dementia. By 2050, the number of people with dementia is expected to reach 135.5 million.

As of this writing, there are no medications [7] approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat the onset of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), which likely leads to Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. However, there are coping strategies that may help delay or prevent the progression of MCI to dementia.

As posited by Lei’s team, drinking tea is a simple and inexpensive measure which may protect yourself from cognitive decline. Regular exercise [8] is another way to combat MCI since it benefits your blood vessels – including those that nourish your brain. Having a diet rich in flavonols and omega-3 fatty acids [9][10] could also reduce the risk of dementia.


[1] Tea Association of the U.S.A. Inc. Tea Fact Sheet – 2016-2017 http://www.teausa.com/14655/tea-fact-sheet

[2] Feng L et al. 2016. Tea consumption reduces the incidence of neurocognitive disorders: Findings from the Singapore longitudinal aging study https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs12603-016-0687-0

[3] Ng TP et al. 2008. Tea consumption and cognitive impairment and decline in older Chinese adults https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18614745

[4] Noguchi-Shinohara M et al. 2014. PLoS One. Consumption of Green Tea, but Not Black Tea or Coffee, Is Associated with Reduced Risk of Cognitive Decline http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0096013

[5] Shen W et al. 2015. PLoS One. Tea Consumption and Cognitive Impairment: A Cross-Sectional Study among Chinese Elderly https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4567322/

[6] World Health Organization. Dementia Fact Sheet http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs362/en/

[7] Alzheimer’s Association. Mild Cognitive Impairment http://www.alz.org/dementia/mild-cognitive-impairment-mci.asp

[8] Geda YE et al. 2010. Archives of Neurology. Physical Exercise and Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Population-Based Study https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2919839/

[9] P.J. Smith and J.A. Blumenthal. 2016. The Journal of Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4758517/

[10] Colin R. Martin and Victor Preedy. Diet and Nutrition in Dementia and Cognitive Decline http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/book/9780124078246

Infographic photo sources:

Pixabay.com (PD)