Monday, May 16, 2011

Green Tea is medicine!

Green tea (Camellia sinensis) is one of the most widely studied plants for medicinal use. Phytotherapy students at PRC recently reviewed available research on peer reviewed medical databases (such at PubMed and others). We discussed our findings and have summarized them here. Please contact us or comment if you are interested in viewing the references for related studies.
NOTE: This review includes human and in vitro studies of Camellia sinensis and in some cases studeies are limited to small sample extracted constituents. It is not intended to conclude curative actions for the disorders listed. We are providing information for research interest only, and will provide further info on resources if requested.

Potential Actions: 
antioxidant, chemoprotective, anti-carcinogenic, anti-mutagenic, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-rheumatic, chrondoprotective, UV protective, radioprotective, anti-inflammatory, osteoprotective, hypoglycemic.

Medicinal uses supported by preliminary studies:
  • reduce cancer risk and progression (including ovarian, prostate  lung, gastrointestinal, breast, skin, leukemia, bladder.
  •  protect from UV radiation (internal and external use), and from radiation therapy side effects.
  • prevention of cardiovascular disease,  including coronary artery disease, and prevention of hypertension.
  • improve vascular function and reduce low-density-lipoprotein oxidation.
  • decreasing cartilage destruction in Rheumatoid Arthrtis, Osteoarthritis, periodontal disease.
  • decrease risk of osteoporosis and related fractures by regulating bone metabolism, particularly when associated with exercise.
Metabolic / Diabetes:
  • increasing satiety.
  • obesity and over eating.
  • decreases / management of blood sugar.
  • decrease sebum production to treat acne.
  • eye damage and ocular inflammation.
  • decrease risk of death from pneumonia.
  • hemochromatosis.
  • modulation of immune response in autoimmunity.
  • prevent or slow cognitive dysfunction/degradation.
  • chelating heavy metals.

    -may be inappropriate for patients with insomnia who are sensitive to caffeine; caution should be for patients with heart conditions due to risk of tachycardia; limit of 1-2 cups per cay during pregnancy and lactation.

    -over consumption may cause problems due to caffeine content, sensitive people may experience nervousness, sleep disorders, vomiting, headache, epigastric pain, tachycardia; aluminium content may cause accumulation especially problematic for patients with renal disorders; disruption of iron bioavailablity is a concern for anaemic patients; diuretic effect should be monitor and dosage limited accordingly.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Spring Wildharvesting: Rose family

Hawthorn (Crataegus species) offer us a wonderful heart tonic to heal and prevent complications of circulatory system disorders such as hypertension and heart attacks. Hawthorn is a member of the Rose family and both the North American native and European introduced species can be used.  
Hawthorn flowers can be collected along with some leaves in the spring. Collect flowers when the anthers are still pink and harvest at the stem rather than picking individual flowers. Can be prepared as a tincture or tea. Berries are also useful and can be collected in the autumn.

Wild Rose species (such as Rosa nutkana) will also soon be ready to harvest. Petals should be selected when in full colour. They contain volatile oils so they should be dried at a low temperature (max 25 degrees C) and dried without light to maintain colour. They can be used for teas or made into a syrup. Rose is astringent for the digestive system and is traditionally used as a cordial to cheer the heart.