Herbal Remedies Are An Overlooked Global Health Hazard

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Submitted by the Baylor College of Medicine, please share your comments below…..

didyouknow?Millions of people around the world use herbal health remedies, following a tradition that began millennia ago. Many believe that herbs are safe because they have been used for many years, but researchers from Baylor College of Medicine and Stony Brook University are raising awareness that long-term use of herbal remedies is no guarantee of their safety. The invited commentary appears in EMBO reports.

Dr. Donald M. Marcus, professor emeritus of medicine and immunology at Baylor, and Dr. Arthur P. Grollman, distinguished professor of pharmacological sciences at Stony Brook University, discuss the scientific evidence showing that the plant Aristolochia can cause aristolochic acid nephropathy (AAN). People with this condition experience interstitial nephritis, renal failure and cancers of the urinary track.

The authors remark that in Taiwan, according to the national prescription database, between 1997 and 2003, 8 million people were exposed to herbals containing Aristolochia. Studies of patients with renal failure and cancer in Taiwan and China show that tens of millions of people in those countries are at risk of AAN.

In genetically susceptible people, consuming Aristolochia can lead to the formation of complexes between aristolactam, a compound in Aristolachia, and DNA in renal tissues. These complexes lead to mutations in the TP53 tumor suppressor gene, which in turn initiate the process toward kidney cancer. Additional studies have shown that this process may also lead to the development of cancer in the liver and the bladder.

Marcus and Grollman indicate that other herbals and traditional medicines are responsible for severe adverse events in Africa and Asia, but in these cases epidemiological data are lacking.

Although Aristolochia has been used as a herbal remedy for more than 2000 years, “the intrinsic toxicities were not recognized, owing, in large part, to the latency period between exposure and the onset of symptomatic disease, and, in part, to genetic determinants that confer susceptibility to only approximately 5 percent of those exposed to this herb,” said the authors. The long-term scientific study of AAN revealed the association of the disease with Aristolochia.

Almost all carcinogens and many toxins require a long period of time before symptoms appear. This makes it very difficult for a layman or a professional to identify a particular compound as the cause of an illness when it was taken months or years earlier.

“The history of Aristolachia indicates that other herbs that have been used for a long time may also have toxic and/or carcinogenic compounds,” said the authors. “It is prudent to assume that many herbs may contain toxic or carcinogenic substances that can cause subsequent health problems for humans.”

Marcus and Grollman disagree with the World Health Organization’s endorsement of the use of traditional herbal remedies on the premise that traditional medicine is of proven quality, without mentioning the lack of scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of herbal remedies or their demonstrated hazards, as in the case of Aristolochia.

The authors emphasize that their primary concern is “the prevention of toxicities associated with herbal medicine and not a categorical rejection of traditional healing practices. Herbal remedies pose a global hazard. We encourage the global health community to take actions that will evaluate both long- and short-term safety, as well as the efficacy of botanical products in widespread use.”

The authors declare having no conflict of interest.

Is Your Baby Dehydrated? Here Are The Best Remedies To Your Rescue

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By Aradhana Pandey

mombabyAs a new mom, there different things you will discover about your child’s body that are very different from yours. Apart from requiring good amount of sleep and rest, you will also notice that your baby needs to eat and drink regularly and his bowel movements are more frequent as compared to yours. This is mainly due to the fact that infants have small bodies (and stomachs) which store less fluid and their metabolic rates are much higher. This makes them require foods and fluids more frequently. If your infant falls short of essential fluids and electrolytes, he can fall prey to dehydration which may lead to serious consequences if left untreated.

If your baby if displaying the following symptoms, chances are that he might be dehydrated:

• Reduced frequency of urine or less than 6 wet diapers in a day;

• Dark yellow urine;

• Dry mouth and increased thirst;

• Few or no tears while crying;

• Increased fatigue;

• Sunken eyes,

• Blotchy hands and feet;

• Sunken fontanelle/soft spot;

• Rapid breathing and elevated heart rate

There could be many reasons why your baby is dehydrated such as diarrhea, vomiting, environmental conditions (too much heat), fever and lack of food intake. Following remedies can help better your infant’s condition if he is dehydrated:

1. Offer Plenty Of Fluids For Mild Dehydration – It’s not uncommon for babies to succumb to mild bouts of dehydration if the weather gets too hot. In a case like such, ensure you increase your baby’s fluid intake and offer him plenty of liquids like water, breast milk or formula, if you formula-feed your infant. According to an article by American Family Physician, offering liquids like fruit juices or soft drinks during dehydration should be avoided as their mix of salt, sugar and minerals is not consistent and they can aggravate diarrhea resulting in further dehydration. It is also important that you let your baby rest in a cool place to avoid further loss of fluids due to sweating.

baby2. Offer Oral Rehydration Solution For Mild – Medium Dehydration – If your baby is experiencing moderate dehydration caused due to diarrhea or vomiting, you can replace his body’s lost fluids, sugar and salt by offering him oral hydration solution along with his regular feed. Formula should stop being given to formula-fed babies during the process of rehydration and resumed only once dehydration is under control.

3. Other Treatments To Ease The Symptoms Of Dehydration – If your baby develops a mild fever or is facing trouble drinking or swallowing, you can give him infant paracetamol or infant ibuprofen to reduce his uneasiness. Make sure that he continues to drink plenty of fluids, frequently along with the dose of these medicines. These drugs are not recommended for infants who are under 3 months of age. Consult your doctor before giving your child a dose of these medicines.

4. Dietary Recommendations After Dehydration Is In Control – While the age old maxim suggests that withholding food for 24 hours can improve the condition of dehydration in infants, it is not recommended and is extremely unsafe. On the contrary, early feeding can offset changes in intestinal permeability caused by infection, decrease the duration of illness and even improve nutritional outcome. You can offer your infant the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce and toast) which is recommended for babies who are over 7 months of age.

If despite following the aforementioned remedies at home, your baby’s condition still doesn’t improve, rush him to your doctor without further delay. His diarrhea could be the result of a serious underlying health condition. Look out for warning signs like black or bloody stools, no improvement in situation even after 24 hours, continued irritability and fatigue, high fever, bloody vomiting and persistent vomiting even after 4-6 hours. Always remember to keep an eye on altered patterns in your baby’s behavior and eating habits for his good health and safety.

– Aradhana is from India. She is a veteran writer on topics concerning parenting, child nutrition, wellness, health and lifestyle. As a regular contributor to popular sites like natural news, elephant journal, thehealthsite, naturally savvy, curejoy and MomJunction. Aradhana writes to inspire and motivate people to adopt healthy habits and live a stress-free lifestyle.

5 Homemade Remedies For Anti-Aging Skin

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By Kelly Hanson

WomanCreamWe all will become old one day. This is a fact, an order of nature, a testament to the thought that nothing in this world is permanent. One of the greatest literary works of all time, The Picture of Dorian Gray, was based on a handsome young man’s aversion to aging. While we cannot completely stop the signs of aging, we can make an attempt to prolong it. By taking care of our skin we can make an attempt at ensuring that we do not age prematurely.

A lot of people think that taking care of your skin entails paying visits to expensive salons, buying overpriced creams, or going under the knife; however, the fact of the matter is that the ingredients for making a great skin care product can be found in our home! Yes, from simple food products such as eggs, honey, lemon juice, etc. you can make some great skincare products. In the following paragraphs, we will take a look at the some homemade remedies for anti-aging skin.

Lemon Juice with Honey

The combination of lemon juice and honey can work wonders for your skin. Lemon juice is high in Vitamin C, which is great for the skin. When mixed with honey, lemon juice can have a soothing effect on your skin. Preparing this skincare remedy is very easy. Mix one tablespoon of honey with lemon juice and gently massage it on the skin for some time. Leave it on for around 15 minutes, and then rinse with tap water. It is advisable to do this at night as you will not be exposed to sunlight. Do this every alternate day, and you will see the results for yourself.

Egg with Lemon Juice

We all know eggs are great for the body; however, you will be surprised to know that eggs work wonders for the skin too! Eggs contain zinc, proteins, and biotin, which work to repair the damaged cells of the body. To prepare this remedy, mix one teaspoon of egg white with one teaspoon of lemon juice. Stir well and then apply on the face. Leave it on for around 20 minutes and rinse with tap water. Doing this twice or thrice in a week will help in maintaining vitality in the skin.

Papaya, Yogurt, Honey, and Lemon Juice

womanarmupThis homemade remedy is a variation of the first remedy that we mentioned. To prepare this remedy, mash a papaya, and mix it with two tablespoons of yogurt. Add half a tablespoon of honey and lemon juice to this. Stir well, and apply the paste on your face. Rinse off with cold water after 20 minutes. Do this for around 3-4 days in a week, preferably in the night. This ingredients in papaya and yogurt, combined with the soothing effect of honey, and citric acid of lemon juice will keep your skin rejuvenated.

Bananas with Honey and Oat Flour

Bananas contain Vitamin A and Vitamin E, which help in keeping the skin wrinkle-free. To prepare this homemade remedy for anti-aging skin, mash 1 banana, and add two tablespoons of honey, and 1 tablespoon of oatmeal flour to it. Stir it so that it becomes a thick, heavy paste. Apply on your face thoroughly and leave it on for half an hour. Rinse with tap water and tap dry. Doing this thrice a week can help you in maintaining younger-looking skin.

Potato

This remedy is for those who want a quick-fix home remedy. Slice a potato and keep the slices on your face for 20 minutes. Rinse your face with lukewarm water. Doing this on a frequent basis will be beneficial for your skin.

These were some homemade remedies for your anti-aging skincare. As we mentioned in the beginning of the article, aging is a natural process, and no cream or surgery will stop it. We can only prolong the onset of wrinkles and other age-related signs by taking good care of our skin.

Kelly Hanson has an extensive experience of writing on health-related topics. Her quest to know more about healthy living has developed into a passion of disseminating information through her articles. She appreciates the feedback of the readers, so don’t shy away from commenting.