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Latin Name: Linum Usitatissimum
Part Of Plant Used: Seeds
Flax is a food and fibre crop and the seeds from the flax plant are golden yellow to reddish brown in colour. These seeds contain an abundance of Lignans, which are phytoestrogens and are similar to the hormone oestrogen in women. The seeds also contain soluble fibre and oil. Flaxseed oil contains the essential omega-3 fatty acid - alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). It has been effective for diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, breast pain and swelling of the kidneys in people with lupus. The fibre in flaxseed is found primarily in the seed coat. Taken before a meal, flaxseed fibre seems to make people feel less hungry, so that they might eat less food. This fibre binds with cholesterol in the intestine and prevents it from being absorbed. Overall, flaxseed’s effects on cholesterol and blood clotting lower the risk of “hardening of the arteries”.
- High in Soluble and Insoluble Fibres
- Rich in Vitamins: E, K, B1, B3, B5 (Pantothenic Acid) B6, B9 (Folate)
- High content of Minerals: Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium, Iron, Zinc, Copper, Manganese
- Its high content of lignans act as anti-oxidants and phytoestrogens. Flaxseed contains almost 800 times more lignan than other plant foods
- Beneficial for Diabetics.
- Flaxseed helps to reduce total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad" cholesterol).
- Flaxseeds helps reduce blood pressure .
- Controls breast pain associated with the start of the menstrual cycle.
- Flaxseed helps reduce body weight and body mass index (BMI).
- Flaxseed fibres work as an appetite suppressant
- The rich source of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids in flaxseeds protect your body from bacteria and viruses, improving your system's immunity.
- Due to their anti-inflammatory properties, it helps keep inflammations and asthma under control
- The high content of Omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) gets metabolized in the body into DHA and EPA. The health benefits of all these Omega-3 fatty acids (ALA, EPA and DHA) assist in alleviating cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, osteoporosis, autoimmune and neurological disorders.
Flaxseed is one of the world’s oldest crops, having been cultivated since 500 BCE. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, used flaxseed as a remedy for intestinal discomfort. The Latin name of the flaxseed is Linum usitatissimum, which means “very useful”. Every part of the flaxseed plant is utilized commercially, either directly or after processing. The Ancient Egyptians used flaxseed as food and medicine, one of the main traditional uses of the seed was to relieve constipation. Charlemagne back in the 8th century deemed flaxseed so important to health, he passed laws governing its consumption. Pioneers in North America made dressings for cuts and burns from flaxseed flowers. Fibre from the plant was made into linen, and oil from the seed was used in paints, among other products. According to Ayurveda, flaxseed has properties like Madhura (balances the skin pH); Picchaila (lubricous); Balya (improves tensile strength or elasticity of the skin); Grahi (improves moisture holding capacity of skin); Tvagdoshahrit (removes skin blemishes); Vranahrit (wound healing) and useful in Vata (skin) disorders.
In the last two decades, flaxseed has been the focus of increased interest in the field of diet and disease research due to the potential health benefits associated with some of its biologically active components.
Himachal Pradesh, India.
Has been standardized for: 3% Flavonoids using Herb ratio of 5:1. Non standardized for extraction of Isoflavones, Omega 3 and 6 acids.
Drug Interactions: Flaxseed can decrease blood sugar levels. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking flaxseed along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to be too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. Flaxseed might slow blood clotting. Taking flaxseed along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.
Reduced risk of breast cancer: A food frequency questionnaire was used to measure the consumption of flaxseed and flax bread by 2,999 women with breast cancer and 3,370 healthy control women who participated in the Ontario Women's Diet and Health Study (2002-2003), to investigate the association between intake of flaxseed and breast cancer risk. This Canadian study is, to our knowledge, the first to report on the association between flaxseed alone and breast cancer risk and has found that flaxseed intake is associated with a reduction in breast cancer risk.
Lower Cholesterol: Department of Human Nutrition, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark conducted a double-blind randomized crossover study with 17 subjects. Three different 7-day diets were tested: a low-fibre control diet (Control group), a diet with flaxseed fibre drink (3 per day) (Flax drink), and a diet with flaxseed fibre bread (3 per day) (Flax bread). Both Flax drink and Flax bread groups resulted in decreased plasma total and LDL-cholesterol and increased fat excretion than the control group. Concluding that flaxseed dietary fibres may be a useful tool for lowering blood cholesterol and potentially play a role in energy balance.
Blood Pressure: The Department of Food and Nutrition, Government Kamla Raja Girls PG Autonomous College, Madhya Pradesh, India conducted a study which included 50 subjects with high cholesterol and divided them into two groups, a control and an experimental group. Both the groups were prescribed similar dietary guidelines. Subjects in the experimental group received 30g of roasted flaxseed powder for 3 months. The supplementation of roasted flaxseed powder for 3 months improved the BMI, blood pressure, and lipid profile of subjects with high cholesterol in the experimental group in comparison to the control group, thus proving a cardio protective effect.
Latin Name: Glycine max
Part Of Plant Used: Seeds
Soy isoflavones are compounds found in soybean. Soy contains the highest concentration of isoflavones, a type of plant estrogen (phytoestrogen) that is similar in function to human oestrogen but with much weaker effects. The main isoflavones in soy are genistein and daidzein. When you eat soy, bacteria in your intestines break it down into its more active forms. Once in your 1body, soy isoflavones bind to the same receptors as oestrogen. Receptors are like docking stations on the surface of cells. When isoflavones bind to some receptors, they mimic the effects of oestrogen. When isoflavones mimic oestrogen, they might help reduce hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause, osteoporosis and antiaging.
- Isoflavones are considered phytoestrogens, meaning that they are similar in structure to the female hormone, oestrogen and mimic the effects of oestrogen in women.
- Benefit in cognitive functions
- They are packed with fibre, protein, omega – 3 fatty acids and antioxidants
- Isoflavone supplements help improving fatigue and irritability and decreasing hot flashes in menopausal symptoms
- Effective product for natural hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
- Help reduce hot flashes and anxiety during menopause
- Considered as an anti-oxidant compound so they reduce damage caused by free radicals.
- Phytoestrogens in Soy Isoflavones influence serotonin levels and the sleep-wake cycle. Isoflavones have similar effects on sleep quality as oestrogen replacement therapy, which has shown to alleviate symptoms of insomnia and increase sleep efficiency in postmenopausal women
The word "lecithin" is derived from the Greek term lekithos meaning "egg yolk." In 1846, Gobley isolated lecithin from egg yolk and in 1850 gave it its present name. For years Lecithin was used in foods to ensure the water and oil based ingredients mix uniformly. When lecithin enters the equation, oil is broken down into smaller particles in a making the oil droplets easier to mix, clean or digest when eaten. With extensive studies conducted on this ingredient over time, the nutritional benefits of Soy Lecithin have emerged.
Has been standardized for: 40% Isoflavones by HPLC.
Allergies: People with severe allergies to soy products or those who are sensitive to soy lecithin should avoid foods made with the ingredient.
Heart health: A double blind randomised parallel study involving 200 women (average age of 55 years) in the early menopause who were randomised to 15 g soy protein with 66 mg isoflavone (SPI) OR 15 g soy protein alone (depleted of all isoflavones; SP) given as a snack bar between meals daily for 6 months. Supplementation with soy protein with isoflavones for 6 months significantly improved the Cardiovascular risk markers and calculated Cardiovascular risk at 6 months during early menopause compared to soy protein without isoflavones. The conclusion of the trial was that hormone replacement therapy may be beneficial for cardiovascular disease risk in post-menopausal women. Soy isoflavones act as selective oestrogen receptor modulators in HRT.
Menopause: Menopausal estrogen loss leads to an increased bone loss. A double-blind randomized parallel study in which 200 women within 2 years after the onset of their menopause were randomized to 15 g soy protein with 66 mg isoflavone (SPI) or 15 g soy protein alone (SP), daily for 6 months. The study was conducted by the Department of Academic Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism - Hull York Medical School, UK. and the Department of Academic Cardiology, University of Hull, UK.
Perimenopausal and Postmenopausal: An observational pilot study was done involving 29 perimenopausal and 21 postmenopausal women prescribed 100 mg soy isoflavones for 12 weeks by the Department of Pharmacology, Rohilkhand Medical College, to study the effect of soy isoflavone supplementation on the menopausal symptoms in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women.
Menopause Rating Scale (MRS) questionnaire was administered to the patients before starting soy isoflavone therapy and at the end of treatment. Responses were analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) software 23.0. Total score of both the groups were comparable at baseline. After 12 weeks of treatment, total scores improved significantly by 19.55% perimenopausal and 12.62% in postmenopausal women. The greatest improvement was seen in scores of hot flashes for both the groups and the least improvement was shown by symptoms of urogenital subscale.
Soy isoflavone improves the MRS score among both the perimenopausal and postmenopausal women.
Blood pressure: A study was commissioned to The Key Laboratory of Clinical Cardiovascular Genetics, Ministry of Education and Sino-German Laboratory for Molecular Medicine, China with the objective to evaluate the effect of dietary soy isoflavones on blood pressure. A total of eleven randomized controlled trials were reviewed by the team. The review concluded that Soy isoflavones had an effect of lowering blood pressure in hypertensive subjects, but not in non-hypertensive subjects.
Latin Name: Asparagus Racemosa
Part Of Plant Used: Roots
Shatawar literally means 'the plant of one hundred roots' which has been cleverly captioned into 'she who has one hundred husbands' as it gives women boundless reserves. In fact, Shatawar is the main Ayurvedic equivalent tonic for women, as Ashwagandha is for the men. It has also been called the "Queen of the Herbs" for female health, hormone balancing and libido enhancing properties. The root of this plant is rich in active constituents such as Steroidal saponins, known as shatvarins, Immunosides (immune regulators), Isoflavones, Minerals like zinc, manganese, copper, cobalt, calcium, magnesium, potassium and selenium and Essential fatty acids. Often used to enhance reproductive and digestive health, shatawar also has rejuvenating and nourishing effects and since its an adaptogenic herb it helps your body cope with physical and emotional stress.
As a reproductive tonic, Shatawar helps to regulate the menstrual cycle and female hormones, reduce vaginal pain during the monthly cycle. It promotes uterine strength during pregnancy, childbirth and lactation post pregnancy. Shatawar also helps to reduce hot flashes, night sweats, irritability, hormonal disturbances and dryness during the menopausal period. Finally – Shatawar helps you take back the control of your hormones, so you can never be blamed for ‘having one of those days’ ever again.
- ‘Queen of the herbs’, equivalent to Ashwagandha which is labelled as the ‘King of Herbs’.
- Shatawar is high in saponins. Saponins are compounds with high antioxidant abilities
- Adaptogenic in nature, therefore helps decrease stress & balances hormones
- Helps with the monthly menstrual cycle. Shatawar main constituents are steroidal saponins which are oestrogen regulators. This helps regulate menstrual cycles, manage PMS symptoms, alleviate menstrual cramps and control the amount of blood loss per cycle. Shatawar greatly helps with reducing fluid retention and therefore helpful with the uncomfortable bloating often suffered before a period.
- Helps increase milk production for lactating mothers
- Acts as an aphrodisiac by increasing the blood flow to the female genital area, enhancing sexual sensation, sensitivity and increasing vaginal lubrication. Its hormone balancing effect, makes it useful for women who experience loss of libido as a side effect of the menopause.
- Due to its oily, heavy nature, Shatawar nourishes the female reproductive system from within to relieve menopause symptoms such as vaginal dryness, hot flashes and insomnia. Shatawar also stimulates and balances the production of happy hormones; endorphins, serotonin and dopamine – so bye-bye to mood swings, irritability and menopause induced depression.
- Boosts the immune system by stimulating the immune cells. The Saponins in the roots enhance the body’s resistance during normal and immune-suppressed conditions. Saponins also stimulate the cells that fight infection, weaking infection-causing cells.
- It improves digestion by increasing the activity of digestive enzymes lipase and amylase. Lipase aids fat digestion whereas amylase helps with the digestion of carbohydrates.
Asparagus Racemosus or Shatawar is a species of the Asparagus family found throughout Nepal, Sri Lanka, India and the Himalayas. It has always played an important role in traditional ayurvedic and alternative medicine. The power of its medicinal properties has been reported in the Indian and British Pharmacopoeias as well as in traditional systems of medicine such as Ayurveda, Unani, and Siddha. First mentioned in the Rig Veda and Atharva Veda, Shatawar has been used for thousands of years as an aphrodisiac; a powerful rasayan promoting strength, youthfulness, memory and intelligence; and hridayam, uplifting for the heart. The word Shatawar literally translates to “she who has hundreds of husbands” or “curer of one hundred diseases” and is widely used today as a female reproductive tonic.
Madhya Pradesh, India.
Has been standardized for: 20% Steroidal saponins, known as shatvarins.
Menopausal Symtoms: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial to assess the safety and efficacy of Shatawar in reducing menopausal symptoms, was conducted by the Integrated Health Group Pty. Ltd, Brisbane, Australia and the Sydney Medical School, Australia with 117 healthy women, aged 40–65 years using a formulated Ayurvedic dose composed of 75 mg Tinospora Cardifolia (Giloy), 100 mg Asparagus racemosus (Shatawar), 100 mg Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) and 225 mg Commiphora mukul (Guggul) per capsule, administered as one capsule two times per day over a period of 12 weeks. There was a significant reduction in total hot flushes, daytime hot flushes and night sweats in the active treatment group compared to the placebo group, indicating that the treatment was effective for reducing menopausal symptoms in healthy menopausal women over a duration of 12 weeks.
Lactation stimulant: A Double-Blind Randomized Clinical Trial for assessing the role of Shatawar in increasing the flow of a lactating mother was conducted by the Department of Dravyaguna, Institute of Post Graduate Ayurvedic Education and Research, Kolkata, India, using 60 lactating mothers by measurement of changes in their prolactin hormone levels during the study. The oral administration of Shatawar led to more than three-fold increase in the prolactin hormone level of the volunteers in the research group as compared to the control group.
Ovulation: A randomized controlled trial was carried out at the National institute of Unani medicine Hospital, Bangalore to evaluate the efficacy of Shatawar in stimulating follicular growth and ovulation in anovulatory infertility (an ovulation cycle where a woman skips her ovulation, usually PCOS related), using 40 randomly allocated women to test group (20 ladies) and control group (20 ladies). All women were between the ages 18-40, infertile with menstrual irregularities, polycystic ovarian disease (PCOD) & spouse normal sperm analysis.
The test group was administered 6g of Shatawar powder twice daily from day 1-14 of cycle and in control group, clomiphene citrate (a medication used to treat fertility) 50 mg once daily from day 2-6 of cycle was administered orally for 2 consecutive cycles. It was concluded that the effect of Shatawar was comparable with that of clomiphene citrate in stimulating follicular growth & ovulation, but not as effective as clomiphene citrate to achieve conception.
Urinary Tract Infections: A clinical trial on the efficacy of Shatawar Root Powder in controlling urinary tract infection was conducted by the Department of Dravyaguna Vijnana, Govt. Ayurveda College, Thripunnithura, India, using 30 patients administered 6 g of Shatawar moola choorna (3 g each, morning and evening) before food along with cold water as adjuvant. Responses of the patients to the drug intervention were assessed before and after the treatment and follow up after one month. The trial revealed that Shatawar was not only effective in reducing the pus cell count, epithelial cell count but also boost the immune mechanism of the body, thereby improving the general health and preventing the recurrence of infection.
Premenstrual: A clinical study to assess the effect of Shatawar in premenstural disorders which start approximately one week prior to onset of menses and suppressed after menstrual cycle, with mood swings, difficulty in concentrating, depressed mood, anxiety, tension, sleep disturbance along with physical symptoms like joint pain, muscle pain and breast tenderness. The study was conducted by the Department of Mano Vijnan evum Manasa roga, SDM Ayurveda College, Udupi, India, using 30 patients suffering from Premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Each were administered 5g of Shatawar Churna, three times a day for 90 days. The trial reveals that Shatawar has an effective role in premenstrual dysphonic disorder.
Latin Name: Panax Ginseng
Part Of Plant Used: Roots
Panax ginseng, also called Asian Ginseng or Korean Red Ginseng, takes 5-6 years to grow before it can be harvested for medicinal value – but its well worth the wait. Its fresh roots are extensively researched for years and recognised as a nutrient rich medicinal herb. While there are many varieties of Ginseng, the two most commonly used are American (Panax quinquefolius) and Korean or Asian (Panax ginseng). They both work in very different ways – while the Asian ginseng in known to invigorate the body and American ginseng can help soothe calm and reduce body temperature.
Panax Ginseng is rich with active nutrients and the most potent compounds are ginsenosides and gintonin. Its properties extend to antitumour and anti-inflammatory, which slows down the growth of cancerous cells in the body. The antioxidant present in ginsenosides, boosts the immune system. Ginseng Panax has been a common component in the herbal medicines to treat male erectile dysfunction as it contains warming properties that enhances blood circulation and releases testosterone. Not only for men but has proved beneficial for women experiencing perimenopause symptoms. To sum up in one line, in Greek Panax means “Heals All” and Ginseng Panax is often referred to as a “general well-being medication” because it nourishes different systems of the body separately.
- Panax Ginseng helps to improve memory and the thinking skill among middle aged people.
- With enormous amounts of antioxidant, it reduces the chances of viral infection by boosting the immune system.
- Panax Ginseng has also been considered as an aphrodisiac in the medical science. It is used to treat sexual dysfunction by improving symptoms of erectile dysfunction in men and enhances sexual performances.
- The inflammatory property in panax ginseng slows down the growth of cancerous cells in the body.
- Adaptogens are those that can help to release stress and help a person to relax. Panax Ginseng is one of the known adaptogens that helps to fight depression, anxiety, and headaches.
- Panax Ginseng is famous for increasing libido and satisfaction among postmenopausal women.
- It helps to fight fatigue in both men and men and kicks off the tiredness even after a tiring day.
- It reduces the sugar level in the blood among diabetic people.
Panax Ginseng was discovered in the mountains of Manchuria, China, over 5000 years ago. It is likely that ginseng was originally used as a food amongst the farmers and field laborers; many ancient Chinese records show that it was used for medicinal purposes over 3000 years ago. It was revered for its strength-giving properties and rejuvenating powers. Ginseng was, and still remains a powerful symbol of divine harmony on earth. The old Chinese Canon of Medicine states that:
“Ginseng strengthens the soul, brightens the eyes, opens the heart, expels evil, benefits understanding and if taken for prolonged periods of time will invigorate the body and prolongs one's life.”
There was a strong belief that the strength behind the ginseng root strongly stems from its resemblance to the human body. The word ginseng is derived from the Chinese term rénshēn which translates to “man root.” The root has a characteristic forked shape, resembling the legs of a man. It was thought that the closer the resemblance of a root to the human form, the more potent the root when consumed.
Himachal Pradesh, India.
Was carried out for 20% ginsenosides using a 20:1 herb ratio.
- Korea Food Research Institute, Sungnam, South Korea, conducted a systematic review to evaluate the evidence for the effectiveness of red ginseng for treating erectile dysfunction, searching 20 electronic databases without language restrictions. All randomized clinical studies (RCT) of red ginseng as a treatment of erectile dysfunction were considered for inclusion. Collectively these RCTs provide evidence for the effectiveness of red ginseng in the treatment of erectile dysfunction.
- A double-blind crossover study evaluating the efficacy of Korean red ginseng in patients with erectile dysfunction was conducted by the Department of Urology, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Korea. Using a total of 45 patients with clinically diagnosed erectile dysfunction in a double-blind, placebo controlled, crossover study, over 8 weeks on treatment, 2 weeks of washout followed by another 8 weeks on treatment. 900mg of Ginseng was administered 3 times a day to the treatment group and a placebo was given to the control group. The Mean International Index of Erectile Function scores were significantly higher in patients treated with the ginseng than in those who received placebo. The trial concluded that ginseng can be an effective alternative for treating male erectile dysfunction.
Cognitive Function: The Korean Longitudinal Study on Cognitive Aging and Dementia conducted an observational study on the effects of lifetime cumulative ginseng intake on the cognitive function in an elder population.3918 participants completed the 2-year and 4-year follow-up evaluations. Subjects were categorized according to cumulative ginseng intake in no use group, low use group, and high use group. The high use group showed higher CERAD total scores compared to the no use group. The trial concluded in confirming that a prolonged use of ginseng for longer than 5 years may be beneficial to cognitive function in late life.
- Risk Factor Modification Centre, St. Michael's Hospital, Canada and the Department of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Canada, conducted a research review to study the effect of ginseng on glycemic control through data analysis of randomized controlled trials in people with and without diabetes. The result of the review showed that Ginseng significantly improved fasting blood glucose in people with and without diabetes.
- The Human Cognitive Neuroscience Unit, Division of Psychology, Northumbria University, UK, conducted a study to assess the glycaemic effects of single doses of Panax ginseng in young healthy volunteers, using 30 participants through a placebo-controlled, double-blind cross-over. The thirty participants received three treatments: placebo; 200mg Ginseng; 400mg Ginseng. The study demonstrated that ginseng alone significantly lowers fasting blood glucose levels.
Menopausal: Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Institute of Women's Life Medical Science, Korea, conducted a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial to investigate the effects of Red Ginseng on surgical menopause symptoms in premenopausal women with gynaecologic cancer, using 55 premenopausal women diagnosed with gynaecologic cancer. The study was performed at Severance Hospital in Seoul, Korea. Patients were randomly assigned to two groups Treatment group of 29 patients, receiving 3g red ginseng per day or a placebo control group of 26 patients, for a period of 12 weeks.Through the study, Red ginseng did not show absolute relief of surgical menopause symptoms in premenopausal women after gynecologic cancer surgery. However, the study did demonstrate that KRG may be effective in reducing sexual complaints.
Sexual Function in women: The Psychiatric Research Center, Roozbeh Hospital, Iran conducted a 6-week, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial, using 31 participants in each group – controlled and treatment, to evaluate the effects of a combined vitamin E and ginseng supplement on enhancement of female sexual function. The volunteers were randomly allocated to receive the supplement (100 IU vitamin E, 67 mg Korean ginseng, and 40 mg Siberian ginseng) or placebo daily. The treatment group found significantly heighted levels of sexual desire and satisfaction compared to the placebo group. However, the study could not find additional benefits for the vitamin E and ginseng supplement over placebo in enhancing the overall sexual function.
Antioxidant: Liver and Immunology Research Center, Daejeon Oriental Hospital, South Korea conducted a double-blind randomized controlled design, using 82 healthy participants (21 men and 61 women). They were divided into three groups, the control group received a placebo and the other two groups received the ginseng extract (1g and 2g/day respectively) for 4 weeks. The findings indicate that ginseng enhanced the antioxidant defence mechanism in the treatment groups and the results reinforce the use of Panax ginseng as a potential antioxidant supplement.
Latin Name: Actaea Racemosa
Part Of Plant Used: Roots
The parent plant of black cohosh is Actaea racemosa (Cimicifuga racemosa). It grows up to 2 meters high and has an upright bare branched stem, white flowers and leather-like capsules. The rhizomes and roots of the plant have been used for medicinal purposes, most commonly for menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes and night sweats, vaginal dryness, heart palpitations, tinnitus, vertigo, sleep disturbances, nervousness, and irritability. Compounds found within the Black Cohosh root include: triterpene glycosides and aromatic acid derivatives such as caffeic, isoferulic, and fukinolic acids.
- Helps with Menstrual disturbances: irregular and heavy menstrual bleeding
- Gives relief to vaginal dryness
- Helps with Muscle, joint, bone pain and Osteoporosis
- Reduces Hot flushes, sweating, Headaches, Dizziness and palpitations
- Regulates Sleep disturbances
- Lowers Depression, Irritability, anxiety and the frequency of mood swings
- Helps with concentration, forgetfulness, tiredness
- Plays a role in elevating libido in women
Black Cohosh is a member of the buttercup family and is native to North America, where it has been used for centuries to treat pain, anxiety, inflammation, malaria and gynaecological problems. The medicinal use of Black Cohosh dates back to 1801 when it was actually recognized as a medicinal plant in the US Pharmacopoeia. It is a valuable herbal remedy for gynaecological problems including menopause symptoms, painful periods and difficult childbirth. Other uses included; sore throats, kidney problems and depression.
Has been standardized for: 2.5% Triterpene glycosides in a 10:1 herb ratio.
Menopause is the final menstrual period, and occurs at an average age of 50 years in women. However, the number of peri-menopausal women is increasing around the world. Menopause happens because of loss of ovarian activity, and is associated with a number of early and late symptoms. Early symptoms include hot flashes, insomnia, sweating, anxiety, palpitations, headaches, poor concentration, and loss of libido. These symptoms usually last for 1 or 2 years after menopause, but may continue up to 10 years or more in some women. The symptoms may reduce quality of life, and are independent of age and other sociodemographic variables.
Menopausal Symptoms: This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial was conducted over 8 weeks on 84 early post-menopausal participants who were referred to two public health care centres in Tehran, Iran, in 2011–2012. 42 randomly selected participants were administered 6.5 mg of dried extract of Black cohosh roots daily and the control groups were administered a placebo. The differences between the treatment and control groups at week 8 were significantly higher. Black cohosh greatly reduced the menopausal symptoms – psychiatric and physical of the women in the treatment group, including increased libido.
Latin Name: Crocus Sativas
Part Of Plant Used: Dried Stigmas
The dried stigmas of the Crocus sativus (Saffron) flower are used to make saffron spice. This variety is special because it’s a triploid, which means it can’t grow in the wild or reproduce without human intervention. The gorgeous purple flower is painstakingly propagated and harvested by hand, and only on the morning it blooms. The more careful the cultivation, the higher the price.
It can take 75,000 saffron blossoms to produce a single pound of saffron spice making it one of the world's most expensive spices. The plant originated in Greece, where it was revered for its medicinal properties. People would eat saffron to enhance libido, boost mood, and improve memory. As a food, saffron is used as a spice, food colouring, and as a flavouring agent. Commercially saffron extracts are used as fragrance in perfumes. As a medicinal plant it has many therapeutic effects and is composed of more than 150 chemicals of which four are the most active that include crocin, crocetin, picrocrocin and safranal. These chemicals alter mood, kill cancer cells, decrease swelling, and act like antioxidants.
- Powerful antioxidant from the chemical Safranal which gives saffron its distinct taste and aroma, help improve your mood, memory, and learning ability, as well as protect your brain cells against oxidative stress
- Crocin - the main antioxidant in saffron — may make cancer cells more sensitive to chemotherapy drugs
- Saffron is nicknamed the “sunshine spice,” not just due to its colour, but because it helps brighten your mood.
- Acts as a powerful aphrodisiac for both men and women
- Helps reduce appetite and promote weight loss
Saffron is a natural compound that has been used for centuries in many parts of the world as a food colorant and additive. It was shown to have the ability to mitigate various disorders through its known anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. It was brought to India by the Mughals that made India their home in the 16th century, however the story of the spice goes back 4000 years to Greece and Iraq, where archaeologists discovered that cave dwellers have used the powerful orange colour of the Saffron stigma as a component of their paint. Saffron has been used historically to treat everything from heartache to haemorrhoids by traditional healers.
Has been extracted under a 50:1 herb ratio ensuring the content of Crocin and Safranal are optimized in the extraction process.
As a medicinal plant: The Department of Pharmacodynamy and Toxicology, School of Pharmacy, Iran, conducted a study to review the strengths and weaknesses of some of the clinical trials about different pharmacological effects of saffron. 8 anti-depressant clinical trials in comparison to placebo or some antidepressant drugs, were studied, in which saffron showed effectiveness as an antidepressant drug. Other clinical trials on anti-Alzheimer effect of saffron demonstrated that it was more effective than the placebo, and as effective as donepezil. A clinical trial on weight loss treatment, proved that saffron could reduce snacking frequency. Several other clinical trials conducted on women with premenstrual syndrome showed that saffron could reduce PMS symptoms more than the placebo.
Depression: The Department of Pharmacognosy, University of Szeged, Hungary, carried out a literature review referencing, published, randomized, controlled clinical trials to evaluate the efficacy of saffron in mild to moderate depression, compared to placebo or routinely used antidepressants. Eleven randomized trials were included in the qualitative analysis, and nine were pooled for statistical analysis. According to the findings, saffron has a significant effect on the severity of depression.
- IN WOMEN: The Infertility Ward, Arash Hospital, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Iran conducted a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study, to assess the safety and efficacy of saffron on anti-depressant-induced sexual dysfunction in women. Using 38 women being treated with fluoxetine 40 mg per day for depression the group was randomly assigned to saffron (30 mg/daily) or placebo for 4 weeks. The trial showed that saffron may safely and effectively improve some of the anti-depressant-induced sexual problems including arousal, lubrication, and pain.
Mood: The University of Southern Queensland, School of Psychology and Counselling, Australia conducted a 3 arm study to investigate the efficacy of a standardised Saffron extract for improving mood, stress, anxiety and sleep quality in healthy adults, over a 4 week double-blind, parallel, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial. 128 participants with low mood but not diagnosed with depression, were given the saffron extract at 28mg/day, 22mg/day, for 4 weeks. The saffron extract increased mood, reduced anxiety and managed stress without side effects, offering a natural alternative to standard treatments