Another large review of Horse Chestnut shows it improves circulation safely

October 04, 2005

Damaged valves in the veins in the lower part of the legs allows a backward flow of blood, and causes ongoing pooling of liquid in the legs that causes swelling of the lower legs and feet. Over time the constant high pressure against the skin can lead to thinning of the skin, discoloration, and ulceration. This is a common form of the condition called peripheral vascular disease (PVD). Changes in lifestyle, leg compression, and medication are often used for PVD. In this analysis, researchers reviewed the existing evidence for Horse Chestnut Seed Extract (HCSE) and the treatment of PVD looking at high quality studies that met their research requirements. Seven placebo-controlled studies assessed leg pain. Six reported a significant reduction in leg pain with HCSE compared to placebo where the seventh study demonstrated a great decrease compared to the start of the study. The swollen volume of the leg was assessed in six placebo-controlled trials. There was a significant difference between HCSE and placebo with a significant reduction in leg volume. The meta-analysis was performed by the Cochrane Database Systematic Review.

Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.

Do not just depend on medication to lower your cholesterol, focus on diet and nutrition and include plant sterol containing foods or plant sterol containing supplements as part of your daily healthy lifestyle.

Reishi Mushroom stimulates a wide variety of immune system cells that fight bacteria, viruses, and the cancer process

Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) affects many components of the immune system: it improves the activity of antigen-presenting cells, NK cells (cells with granulocytes that can kill tumor and bacterially or virally infected cells), T and B lymphocytes (T lymphocytes are white blood cells that control immune system reactions by triggering effects in other immune cells, they aid the B cells in producing antibodies to fight bacterial infections and cancer cells, B lymphocytes are antibody producing immune cells - these antibodies on the B cells attach to bacteria and viruses and allow the immune system to attack). Reishi mushroom has significant anti-tumor activity through its ability to enhance immune function. Reishi mushroom also has a direct cytotoxic effect on tumor cells. The research is published in the November 2004 issue of the journal Acta Pharmacologica Sinica.

Shiitake Mushroom liquid helps fight infectious bacteria while ignoring beneficial bacteria

Many bacteria live in the intestines, some of them friendly and some of them dangerous. When the good bacteria die off and the unfriendly bacteria are left over it is called dysbiosis. Because bacteria release different chemicals an overgrowth of the wrong bacteria can wreak havoc including inhibiting the proper digestion of food, releasing inflammatory components that lead to lung inflammation, asthma, and even food allergies. In this study the action of a liquid preparation of Shiitake mushroom (Lentinus edodes) was tested on both infectious and friendly flora bacteria. The Shiitake had a pronounced antimicrobial effect against Candida albicans (yeast), Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecalis, and a problematic strain of E. coli known as Escherichia coli O-114: most strains of E. coli are harmless and live in the intestines whereas E. coli O-114 can cause severe illness. Shiitake mushroom stimulates the growth of E coli strain M-17, a strain of E coli that is both friendly and helps fight inflammation and the mushroom had no effect on either Bifidobacteria or Lactobaccilus. Shiitake Mushroom may be very helpful in balancing the flora of the intestines. The study is published in the January-February 2005 issue of the Journal of Microbiology, Epidemiology, and Immunobiology.