Garlic And Blood Pressure

In modern day stress infused life, the reports of increased incidence of blood pressure are common. As the ailment becomes more commonplace, we find people experimenting with a variety of remedies to control blood pressure or cure the condition causing raised blood pressure. Along with synthetic medicines, several naturopaths and advocates of herbal medicines also are in search of herbs to control blood pressure. Among several home remedies suggested, one is the use of garlic as a potential cure for controlling blood pressure. Several researches are being conducted and studies undertaken to validate the use of garlic as a cure for elevated blood pressure. Although there is no major breakthrough as such, it is now being suggested that regular doses of about 600-900 mg/day of garlic may help reduce both systolic blood pressure and diastolic pressure.

It is said that garlic has properties which could reduce cardiovascular morbidity and it is also said to contain antihypertensive properties. Medicinal formulations containing garlic were cited as cure for heart diseases, probably caused by raised blood pressure, in ancient Egyptian books on medicines. Garlic was thought of as an herb that helped maintain vitality and a way of maintaining a healthy heart. The antibiotic properties of garlic were demonstrated by Louis Pasture and we can find mention of garlic being more effective then penicillin as an antibiotic against some bacteria. The effectiveness of garlic in reducing blood pressure is thought to because it contains diallyldisulphide-oxide, which can reduce the level of serum cholesterol. Garlic is also said to contain selenium, which is said to be effective in reducing the sticky platelets, thus preventing atherosclerosis and controlling the formation of clots in arteries.

In India and many Asian countries, the use of garlic as a medicinal herb is quite prevalent. Nutritionists conducting studies in these regions and other European countries using garlic therapy claim that using garlic leads to considerable improvement blood pressure, both systolic and diastolic, in patients suffering from hypertension. Garlic in the extract form of liquid allicin helps regulate blood pressure as it is found to help in reducing cholesterol, effectively treat anemia, besides reducing arthritic inflammation from arthritis and reducing the level of blood sugar. The sulfur compounds of garlic are said to be effective in detoxifying the liver and stimulating the blood circulation. Thus garlic is quoted to be an effective way to control blood pressure.

Among the other studies conducted to study the efficacy of garlic in controlling blood pressure, no sustainable benefits have been found. These studies suggest the lack of adequate data to support the conclusions and claim that only moderate reduction in blood pressure can be achieved. Studies are on to validate the claim of garlic as an effective herb to control blood pressure and if proven effective, further studies will be needed to verify the dosage needed to be effective. In the meantime, based on ancient knowledge and looking at the active ingredients in garlic, which are known to have qualities to regulate heart ailments, garlic finds its place and use as a method to control blood pressure.

Shingles (Herpes Zoster) – Complementary and Alternative Treatments

Shingles

Description

Shingles is caused by the herpes zoster virus, the very same virus that causes chickenpox. In fact, shingles usually hits only those who have already had chickenpox. After chickenpox has run its course, the herpes zoster virus retreats into the body’s nerve cells, where it lies dormant. In most people, the virus remains inactive, but in some the virus reactivates, developing into shingles. Why this happens is not known.

The first symptom, a pain or tingling, occurs as the virus travels along anyone of the peripheral nerves that spread out from your spine. This sensation is felt only in the area of your face or body that is served by the affected nerve. The virus causes a localized infection, and two or three days later a rash appears as the virus reaches the skin’s nerve endings. For the next three to five days, the rash reaches its zenith. After that, the blisters form crusts that eventually fall off.

Though shingles can affect anyone, the condition is most common in individuals older than 60.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Tingling or painful sensation in a localized area on one side of the body or face, followed by a rash of small, red, fluid-filled blisters

Conventional Medical Treatment

Your physician can diagnose shingles by physically examining the resulting rash. There is no treatment that can eradicate the virus, but antiviral drugs, such as acyclovir, may shorten the duration of symptoms. Analgesics are the mainstay of treatment to relieve pain. Fortunately, herpes zoster is usually not a serious condition, though some individuals experience residual pain along one of their peripheral nerves for months or years after the rash disappears. Those who suffer from shingles on the face should be alert to any eye pain. If an infection develops in the eye-perhaps from rubbing the pained eye-it can result in reduced sight. Discuss this with your physician immediately.

Complementary and Alternative Treatments

Nutrition and Supplementation

Eat lightly and include in your diet brewer’s yeast, brown rice, garlic, raw fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. Drink plenty of pure water and cleansing herbal teas. Avoid nuts, seeds, chocolate, and supplements containing the amino acid arginine.

Nutritionists recommend the following daily supplements to treat shingles:

Most Important

  • L-lysine (500 mg 3 times daily, on an empty stomach)-heals and fights the virus that causes shingles
  • vitamin C with bioflavonoids (2000 mg 4 times daily)-fights the virus and boosts the immune system
  • vitamin B complex (100 mg 3 times daily)-necessary for nerve health
  • zinc (80 mg for 1 week, then reduce to 50 mg; do not exceed a daily amount of 100 mg from all supplements)-enhances immunity and protects against infection; use lozenge form
  • a prodophilus formula
  • thymus live cell therapy support

Also Recommended

  • calcium (1500 mg)-heals nerves and improves their function; combats stress
  • magnesium (750 mg)-balances with calcium
  • garlic (as directed on label)-builds up the immune system
  • vitamin D (1000 IU 2 times daily for 1 week, then reduce to 400 IU)-heals tissue; necessary for calcium absorption
  • vitamin E (400 to 800 lU)-prevents formation of scar tissue; can also be applied directly to affected areas of skin
  • flaxseed oil (as directed on label)-promotes the healing of skin and nerve tissue
  • grape seed extract (as directed on label)-protects skin cells; decreases the number of out breaks

(Consult your healthcare provider regarding the duration of treatment.)

Aromatherapy

Mix 5 drops of one of the following essential oils into 1 teaspoon vegetable oil: bergamot, tea tree, rose, or lavender. Apply this mixture directly to the lesions to aid healing and diminish discomfort. You can also add a few drops of those oils to warm bath water for relaxation and to aid healing.

Ayurvedic Medicine

Some Ayurvedic practitioners suggest spreading a turmeric paste over the affected area to lessen pain and speed healing. Be aware that turmeric will impart a yellow stain to clothing and skin.

Bodywork and Somatic Practices

Very gentle methods, such as reflexology, CranioSacral Therapy, Therapeutic Touch, Reiki, and polarity therapy can be used.

Flatulence – Alternative Therapies (with Video)

Causes of Flatulence

Sometimes flatulence is caused by a digestive disorder, such as lactose intolerance or celiac disease.

Medical Treatments

Normally, treatment is necessary only if a gastrointestinal disorder, a rare occurrence, causes the excessive flatulence. However, if a change in lifestyle does not sufficiently reduce a flatulence problem, a doctor may recommend a nonprescription product containing simethicone, an agent that breaks up small gas bubbles that form in the stomach and intestines.

Flatulence

Alternative Therapies

Herbal Medicine

European herbalists often recommend angostura bitters or a tincture of gentian root. A teaspoon of bitters one or more times a day is said to ease flatulence; it can be taken straight or in sparkling water to make a refreshing beverage to drink before or after meals. Other herbal remedies include teas made from crushed and steeped anise seeds, basil leaves, cinnamon, hyssop, and peppermint.

Homeopathy

Practitioners may prescribe nuxvomica for gas.

Nutrition Therapy

Large doses of vitamin C can cause flatulence as well as diarrhea. If you are taking supplements of more than 500 milligrams, reduce the amount and increase dietary vitamin C by eating more citrus fruits and other fresh fruits as well as potatoes, sweet peppers, and other vegetables.

Yoga

The knee to chest position can be helpful in relieving flatulence. While reclining on your back, bend your knees, bringing them up to your chest. Grasp the knees and rock gently, then lower the legs. Repeat the movement, but this time move one leg at a time. Inhale as you begin. When the knee is fully bent, lift your head to touch your nose to that knee, and hold for a count of 10. Exhale as you lower the head and return the leg to the floor. Do this five times with each leg. Then raise both knees again, lift your head until your nose touches your knee, and breathe as instructed for the single leg lift.

Self Treatment

You can control your gas production to some extent by dietary changes. Through trial and error, identify foods that cause excessive gas in your intestinal tract, then reduce or eliminate them. For example, certain dried beans can result in flatulence because the intestinal bacteria needed for their digestion give off methane. In particular, soybeans and pink beans tend to produce more methane than Anasazi and black beans. Other foods associated with increased gas include cabbage, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, eggplant, onions, celery, carrots, raisins, apricots, wheat germ, prune juice, and bran and other high-fiber foods. You may also want to try the following tactics:

  • Reduce fat intake. The digestion of fats sometimes contributes to the problem.
  • Eliminate dairy products if you are unable to digest lactose . Alternatively, use products in which lactose has already been partially broken down, as in Lactaid milk. You can also take lactase pills, which contain enzymes needed to digest lactose.
  • Minimize the swallowing of air by eating more slowly and not talking with food in your mouth. Some doctors also suggest eliminating carbonated beverages because they introduce extra air into the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Avoid overeating. Eating too much at one time or eating while under stress can also inhibit normal digestion and lead to excessive gas production.

Video

Phlebitis Venous Thrombosis

The veins of the leg are vulnerable to two types of blockage caused by clots: phlebitis, in which a superficial vein becomes blocked and inflamed, and acute deep venous thrombosis, in which a clot occludes an inner vein. The latter is the more serious of the two because it can lead to a pulmonary embolism, stroke, or heart attack, if a piece of the clot breaks away and enters the circulation. The cause of superficial phlebitis is unknown, although it generally develops in older people, often after an injury or prolonged period of inactivity. Varicose veins also increase the likelihood of phlebitis. The symptoms are usually unmistakable: the blocked vein becomes swollen, inflamed, and very painful. There may also be a fever. In contrast, a deep venous thrombosis often does not produce any obvious symptoms until the person suffers a pulmonary embolism or another life threatening consequence. Being bedridden for a time is a common precipitating factor because inactivity reduces blood flow in the legs, giving clots a chance to form. Other causes include the use of birth control pills or other products containing estrogen, recent childbirth or miscarriage, paralysis, a clotting disorder, and cancer. Smoking also increases the risk of deep venous thrombosis.

Diagnostic Studies And Procedures

To diagnose superficial phlebitis, a doctor will look at the area and feel the vein. Doppler ultrasonography, in which high frequency sound waves are used to study blood flow, may be ordered to confirm the diagnosis. A deep venous thrombosis is more difficult to diagnose, but Doppler ultra­sound and venography, special X-rays taken following the injection of a dye into a vein, can detect most blockages.

Medical Treatments

Treatment depends upon whether the clot is in a superficial or a deep vein. Superficial phlebitis can usually be managed with self treatment and an anti inflammatory drug such as indomethacin . If a deep vein is blocked, one large intravenous dose of heparin, an anti clotting drug, will be given, followed by periodic injections of smaller doses over several days. In some cases, streptokinase or urokinase , which dissolve blood clots, may be administered also. As the condition improves, the patient will usually be started on warfarin , an oral anticlotting agent, and tapered off heparin. Depending upon the site of the thrombosis, warfarin will be continued for one to six months, then reduced gradually. In complicated cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the clot or insert a graft to bypass the occluded vein. Recurrent phlebitis also may be treated surgically by tying off and stripping the affected veins. Rather than wait for a deep thrombosis to develop, some doctors will advocate preventive measures, such as long term or even life long anticoagulant therapy for their high risk patients. Another preventive strategy calls for low dose of heparin to be administered prior to any operation and continued for several days afterwards. Bedridden patients should also wear special elastic surgical stockings. High risk patients, such as those who have developed a pulmonary embolism despite anticoagulant therapy, may have an umbrella like device implanted in the lower vena cava the large vein that carries blood from the lower extremities back to the heart-in order to prevent the passage of clots.

Alternative Therapies

Physical Therapy

A physical therapist might be engaged to make sure that an immobilized patient moves his legs periodically. Passive exercises, in which a therapist exercises the patient’s limbs. are used for persons who are unable to move on their own. The patient is encouraged to move about as soon as possible, at first simply by moving the legs in bed, then sitting up with legs dangling over the edge, and finally, by walking around.

Self Treatment

Superficial phlebitis usually can be self­ treated as follows:

  • Keep the affected leg elevated a few feet above the floor when possible.
  • Apply warm wet compresses to the area several times a day.
  • Wear surgical or prescription elastic stockings to promote blood flow.
  • If your doctor approves, take aspirin, ibuprofen, or other non-steroidal anti inflammatory medication.

To prevent future attacks, exercise every day to promote leg circulation. A brisk walk is ideal, but if this is not feasible, try an exercise cycle or low impact aerobics. During long trips and long hours seated at work, stretch your legs every hour. Also ask your doctor about long term use of surgical stockings and low dose aspirin therapy Anyone who suffers from phlebitis should refrain from smoking, and women with this or other clotting problems should not take oral contraceptives or estrogen replacement therapy.

Other Causes of phlebitis Symptoms

Bacterial cellulitis, inflammation and infection of the connective tissue, can produce symptoms similar to those of phlebitis, as can lymphangitis, an inflammation of the lymph channels.

Cat’s Claw – Benefits and Side Effects

The bark of the inner stalk, woody vine, or roots of Uncaria tomentosa, or cat’s claw, are harvested for the plant’s alkaloids, which are included in many pharmacologically active dietary supplements.

Cat’s claw inhibits urinary bladder contractions and has local anesthetic effects; its sterol components may have anti-inflammatory activity. Rhynchophylline may inhibit platelet aggregation.

Most cat’s claw alkaloids have immunostimulant properties, which may stimulate phagocytosis. The major alkaloids dilate peripheral blood vessels, inhibit the sympathetic nervous system, and relax smooth muscles. Cat’s claw may lower serum cholesterol levels and decrease heart rate.

Cat’s claw is available as capsules, dried inner stalk bark or root ror decoction, extract, powdered extract, and tea bags. Products include Cat’s Claw Bark, Cat’s Claw Power, Devil’s Claw’, Devil’s Claw Root, Garbato, Hausca, Paraguaya, Peruvian Cat’s Claw Tincture Toron, and Tambor.

Benefits And Uses of Cat’s Claw

Cat’s claw is used to treat GI problems, including Crohn’s disease, colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, aad hemorrhoids. It’s also used in cancer patients for its antimutagenic effects. Cat’s claw has been combined with zidovudine to stimulate the immune system in patients with human immunodeficiency virus infection. It has been used to treat diverticulosis, ulcers, rheumatism, menstrual disorders, diabetes, prostate problems, gonorrhea, and cirrhosis, and to prevent pregnancy. Topically, cat’s claw is used to relieve pain from minor injuries and to treat acne.

Administration

  • Capsules: 2 capsules C 175 mg per capsule) by mouth every day or 3 capsules by mouth three times a day; dosage varies by manufacturer .
  • Extract (containing aIcohol): 250 mg of cat’s claw bark extract per milliliter, standardized to contain 3% of oxindole alkaloids .
  • Extract (alcohol free) : 7 to 10 gtt three times a day; may increase to 15 gtt five times a day .
  • Powdered extract: 1 to 3 capsules (500 mg per capsule) by mouth two to four times a day .
  • Decoction: 2 to 3 cups per day; prepared by boiling 10 to:30 g inner stalk bark or root in 1 qt of water for 30 to 60 minutes .
  • Liquid or alcohol extract: 10 to 15 gtt two to three times a day, to 1 to 3 ml three times a day.

Side Effects of Cat’s Claw

Hypotension has been reported with use of cat’s claw. Cat’s claw may potentiate hypotensive effects of conventional antihypertensives. Its immunostimulant properties may counteract the therapeutic effects of immunosuppressants. Food enhances the absorption of cat’s claw. Cat’s claw may inhibit platelet aggregation and prolong bleeding when used with antiplatelets or anticoagulants.

Cat’s claw is contraindicated in pregnant and breast-feeding patients, patients who’ve had transplant surgery, and patients who have autoimmune disease, multiple sclerosis, or tuberculosis. Those with a history of peptic ulcer disease or gallstones should use caution when taking this herb because it stimulates stomach acid secretion.

Clinical considerations

  • Some liquid extracts contain alcohol and may be unsuitable for children, patients with a history of alcohol abuse, or patients with liver disease.
  • This herb and its contents vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, and the alkaloid concentration varies from season to season; advise patient to purchase herb from the same reputable source each time.
  • This product and its contents may vary among different manufacturers and demonstrates great seasonal variation in alkaloid concentration.
  • Inform patient that herb should be used for no more than 8 weeks without a 2-week to 3-week rest period from the herb.
  • Instruct patient to promptly report adverse reactions and new signs or symptoms.
  • Instruct patient to keep herbs and drugs out of children’s reach.
  • Tell patient to remind prescriber and pharmacist of any herbal or dietary supplement that he’s taking when obtaining a new prescription.
  • Advise patient to consult his health care provider before using an herbal preparation because a treatment with proven efficacy may be available.
Research summary

Scientific studies of cat’s claw have been conducted in Peru, Italy, Austria, and Germany, but as yet have yielded no conclusive proof of any healing benefit.