Monday, September 29, 2014

"Natural Male Enhancement" and ED

** This article originally published in Prime Magazine June 2008**

Dear Jonathan, I‘ve got to ask. I have seen the commercials about male enhancement. They seem pretty convincing. Is there any truth to what they claim?    

Sigh….. I‘ve tried to avoid this issue but,… I contacted one of these companies after watching their infomercial (rhymes with benz).  I got a list of the ingredients, many of which seemed rather benign. There were several however, that I cannot identify, which makes me leery.  What also bothered me was the fact the customer service representative could not even pronounce the ingredients correctly (licorice for example). Their website explains their product increases blood flow to the erectile chambers and somehow stems the outflow, hence, you get bigger. I asked about high blood pressure and they told me it is not recommended if you have pressure problems.  But what if you do not ask? How many guys have tried the product without knowing the consequence? My other concern is not based on anything but conjecture. How much is too much? Can constant increases cause stretching or tissue damage? Think about a balloon. The first time you blow it up and let the air out, it’s a bit misshapen, keep blowing it up and it really loses a lot its shape and elasticity. Is this possible by too much of a good thing? Unfortunately, I do not have an answer.

Another company sells a topical cream which contains peppermint oil. Peppermint oil!? Have you ever noticed how your face tingles after using a mint shaving cream? This is not exactly the place I want to apply peppermint oil if you follow my drift.

Now, there are some products found individually and in combination that have a track record for safety and efficacy.

MACA is a root and radish like vegetable from South America that is used for food and medicine. According to UMASS researcher Chris Kilham, MACA contains a variety of compounds to help your body develop energy and endurance, enhance immunity, a cardio tonic ,adaptgen and aphrodisiac. It is very useful for both sexes for lack of libido and hormonal imbalance. It is non-toxic and has no known side effects or contraindications.

CATUABA is well known in Brazilian herbal medicine as a central nervous system stimulant and aphrodisiac. In addition to treating impotence, it is used for many nerve conditions including insomnia, sciatica and neuralgia. Summary: Aphrodisiac, nervine, anti-anxiety, tonic, libido stimulant, antiviral, antibacterial and cardiotonic. No known contraindications or drug interactions.

MUIRA PUAMA, also known as “potency wood” is another Amazon rainforest herb. In recent clinical research, Muira puama extracts have been reported to have adaptogenic, antifatigue, antistress and beneficial effects on the central nervous system. The traditional medicine history for Muira puama is filled with stories of its use dating back many centuries. Summary: Useful for erectile dysfunction, impotence, libido enhancement, male tonic, central nervous system tonic, anti depressant, cardiotonic, hypotensive and memory enhancer.  Very safe and effective.

YOHIMBE. This African tree bark was used for many years for erectile dysfunction. Yohimbe stimulates erectile tissue in both sexes, enhances sensitivity and helps increase sperm count and motility.    Long term or overuse of Yohimbe can cause nervousness and increased blood pressure. There are concerns that over use can cause over stimulation or irritation to erectile tissue and could contribute to erectile dysfunction. Yohimbe is best used sparingly, or in a combination. If you suffer from heart or kidney disease, or if you have high blood pressure, it would be best to avoid using Yohimbe.

DAMIANA has historically been used as an aphrodisiac and mild sedative. Damiana has been used by both sexes to increase libido and is also helpful for anxiety and depression. There are no known contraindications or drug interactions.

  There are many other herbs that have a history of use as aphrodisiacs, such as the Ginsengs, along with foods such as chocolate and oysters. Yes they can help, just do not trust what you see or read on the internet. The Rule of Thumb:  Believe 50% of what they say, and Do Not Buy Their Product! The HERBARIUM carries many of the aforementioned herbs, from reliable sources. KNOW YOUR SOURCE!  Over the years I have seen some pretty weird products for male enhancement, with some strange ingredients, and it never ceases to amaze me that people would ingest this stuff without having the slightest idea of what the ingredients were or what they could do. Honestly, when I see these infomercials, I feel sleazy and dirty just watching them.   If you are going to do it,  do it right.  

Friday, September 19, 2014

Make the Most of Hand Sanitizer

Here it is only September and we are already getting reports of flu and other viruses.
The pat answer is to use hand sanitizer, but this is a bad plan. Most of the commercial hand sanitizers  and all the the stuff in hospitals are the same strength and concentration.
This is a problem. The more you expose the germs to the same thing, the faster they can develop an immunity to them. this is how the ‘superbugs” and MRSA developed. This is how antibiotics became less and less effective. Why this is not obvious is beyond me.
If you want to really help yourself ,add essential oils to your sanitizer. Even better, add a mixture of oils, in sufficient strength to kill the viruses and bacteria. For example, add about 20-30 drops of lavender and 20 drops of tea tree oil . next batch try 10 lavender and 30 tea tree oil. If you keep changing up the mixture, the bacteria and virus cannot mutate fast enough and you can stay healthy.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Fall Cold & Flue remedies/ prevention

Natures  Rx  November 2007

Welcome to Autumn, or what is passing for the season this year. As I write this column it is 76 degrees outside and I must admit, it is a funny feeling to be telling you about getting your natural medicine chest in order for the cold and flu season.  Ah well…

There are numerous herbs that may help stimulate the immune system and combat cold symptoms.  There are numerous ways to take them, depending on your preference.
Most of the herbs can be brewed into a tea, or infusion. Alcohol or glycerine extracts are commonly used and are stronger than the infusion method. An alcohol extract will deliver both water and fat soluble compounds. If you really do not like the taste,  capsules and tablets are available. Remember, the following  is just a list of possible herbs. It is not necessary to use all of them, though you will find many in combination .
Goldenseal (Hydrastis Canadensis) this is one of Mother Nature’s most powerful and effective antibiotics with anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. We use Goldenseal in much the same fashion that a pharmaceutical antibiotic would be used, that is, for 10-14 days and then stop. Goldenseal does not destroy the good bacteria in your gut, but it is an endangered species, and recent over-harvesting has seriously diminished the natural stock. Try to use this herb sparingly, or according to directions.
Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum), Elecampagne (Inula helenium) and Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) help support respiratory function and help relieve cough and congestion
Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) contains anti-viral compounds. Israeli researchers found this extract great for fighting the flu virus.
Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum) and Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) help promote healthy adrenals and a normally functioning respiratory tract.
Gargling with thyme, goldenseal, garlic or Echinacea is helpful o relieve a sore throat
Mushrooms especially Shitake, Maitake or Reishi are powerful foods, rich in 1, 3 beta glucan and helps support innate and adaptive immunity. Pound for pound, mushrooms are incredibly nutrient dense and health promoting foods.
Echinacea. Despite the reports you may have read about Echinacea not having any effect on curing a cold, the evidence does show it effective for preventing secondary respiratory attacks, shortening the duration of a cold and relieving the symptoms
One great cold and flu remedy that is often overlooked but very effective is Matris fowlasoupis, or Mom’s Chicken soup. There is actually a great deal of evidence pointing to using the chicken soup as a health aid. It’s warm, thins mucous, soothing to the mucous membrane, easy on the digestion, and depending on how much garlic and vegetables you add to the stock, a very nutrient rich food
Recently on our radio show, we discussed the uses for Hawthorn berry (Crategus oxycantha)
Hawthorn is first and foremost of the heart tonics, and so much more. Hawthorn has a normalizing effect on the heart, improves cellular metabolism, increases blood flow to the heart, and strengthens the hearts contractions, thereby improving blood flow throughout the body. Hawthorn contains flavinoids which have been shown to dilate peripheral coronary blood vessels, and Hawthorn is a rich source of procyanidins which exert antispasmodic and sedative effects. Conditions which Hawthorn has been used to treat include regulating high and low blood pressure, angina, Reynaud’s syndrome, hypertension, and insomnia, rhythmic disturbances, strengthening venal and arterial walls. To top it all off, Hawthorn exhibits anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.

People have asked me about a new weight loss product that is being heavily advertized as the only FDA-approved weight loss aid on the market. I recently had a chance to check it out, and I am sorry to say, don’t get your hopes up.    From what I can determine, ALLI is nothing more than a repackaged version of OLESTRA. Remember Olestra? It was supposed to be added to all kinds of fatty foods and it would inhibit your absorption of the fat.  The one BIG side effect was”, loose or more frequent stools that may be hard to control, or gas with an oily discharge” This is exactly the wording from ALI’s pamphlet.  ALLI‘s pamphlet puts most of the weight (no pun intended) on you. You have to commit to lose weight gradually, reduce your caloric and fat intake, exercise, eat smaller portions, and more.  Sounds like any basic weight loss program, which doesn’t need ALLI.
There are natural products which can aid in weight loss, without these kinds of side effects, but that will be discussed in a future column.