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What causes gray hair?
Scientists believe that senile hair graying, as the process is called, results from changes to enzymes in the hair follicle caused by naturally generated hydrogen peroxide. This is the same chemical that is used to bleach hair, only generated by the body itself due to free radical stress.
Hydrogen peroxide stops the production of the pigment called melanin, the same pigment that gives us our skin color. It does this by chemically changing the amino acid methionine so that an enzyme called tyrosinase cannot assist in the process of making the natural hair coloring pigments. Some people have a genetic variation that causes melanin to make pigments that cause the hair to look blue, instead of gray, in the presence of the chemically altered amino acid.
Graying hair isn’t just due to age.
Some people’s hair turns gray gradually, but sometimes the hair turns gray almost overnight. Typically there has been some kind of extreme stress on the body that disrupts the production of antioxidants that protects the hair (and other parts of the body) against free radicals.
Hair turns gray from the root up.
The biochemical process that causes hair to turn gray takes place during the “anagen” stage of hair production, inside the follicle, before the hair emerges from the skin. If you can’t dye the “roots,” you will never completely conceal gray hair.
Food Grade Yucca Schidigera extract has a considerable number of uses. Natural plant saponins address many human maladies. Yucca Schidigera extracts are from a plant in the Lillie family that is native to the Southwestern United States and Mexico. Native Americans have used Yucca for hundreds of years to treat a variety of disorders.
MINERALS: Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Selenium and Silicon
VITAMINS: A, B complex, C
Daily doses of Yucca Schidigera extract has many human consumption uses: reduces arthritis, reduces Gout (lowers uric acid), reduces trans fat digestion, reduces carpal tunnel syndrome, reduces cholesterol, restores cartilage, reduces colitis, reduces irritable bowl syndrome, prevents sore muscles, use as a shampoo to stop hair loss and restore hair growth, helps people to stop smoking, detoxifies the intestinal track.
Use of silicon for skin and hair care: an approach of chemical forms available and efficacy*
Silicon is the second most abundant element on Earth, and the third most abundant trace element in human body. It is present in water, plant and animal sources. On the skin, it is suggested that silicon is important for optimal collagen synthesis and activation of hydroxylating enzymes, improving skin strength and elasticity. Regarding hair benefits, it was suggested that a higher silicon content in the hair results in a lower rate of hair loss and increased brightness. For these beneficial effects, there is growing interest in scientific studies evaluating the efficacy and safety of using dietary supplements containing silicon. Its use aims at increasing blood levels of this element and improving the skin and its annexes appearance. There are different forms of silicon supplements available and the most important consideration to be made in order to select the best option is related to safety and bioavailability. Silicon supplements are widely used, though there is wide variation in silicon bioavailability, ranging from values below 1% up to values close to 50%, depending on the chemical form. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate the scientific literature related to the different chemical forms of silicon supplements available and the limitations and recent progress in this field. According to reported studies, among the different chemical forms available, the orthosilicic acid (OSA) presents the higher bioavailability, whereas the others forms have absorption inversely proportional to the degree of polymerization. However, clinical studies evaluating safety and efficacy are still lacking.
Silicon is the second most abundant element on earth, exceeded only by oxygen. Also, it is the third most abundant trace element in the human body.1,2 It is present in the water and in plant and animal sources. On the skin, it is suggested that silicon is important for optimal synthesis of collagen and for activating the hydroxylation enzymes, improving skin strength and elasticity. It was shown that physiological concentrations of orthosilicic acid (OSA) stimulate fibroblasts to secrete collagen type I.3–5 In the case of hair, it is suggested that higher silicon content in the hair fiber results in a lower rate of hair loss and increased brightness. Nails are also affected by the presence of silicon, since this is the predominant mineral in their composition.4,5 For these beneficial effects, there is growing interest in scientific studies to examine the efficacy and safety of the use of dietary supplements containing silicon, which aims to increase serum levels of this element and hence lead to improvements in the skin and its annexes. There are different forms of silicon supplements available and to select the most suitable option, the most important considerations to be made are regarding safety and bioavailability. In some countries, these supplements are already widely used, although there is great variation in silicon bioavailability, ranging from less than 1% up to values close to 50%, depending on the chemical form.6,7
However, it is observed that there is still no consensus among researchers about the statement that silicon is an essential element for man or about the real benefits obtained from the use of supplements containing silicon. Thus, it is extremely important to critically evaluate the information published so far regarding efficacy, safety and bioavailability of silicon used in complementary supplements to the diet. That was the aim of this study.
SKIN AGING PROCESS
The aging process occurs by two main mechanisms: intrinsic and extrinsic. The intrinsic aging is unavoidable and results in atrophy, fibroblasts reduction and thinning of blood vessels. The collagen fibers are particularly affected in this process, which results from the accumulation of irreversible degenerative changes associated with aging.4,8,9 The extrinsic aging primarily results from damage caused by ultraviolet radiation. Other factors related to this type of aging include smoking, pollution and inadequate nutrition. These types of injury lead to increased degradation of collagen and elastin. Also, a reduction in the number of extracellular matrix proteins and a decrease in fibroblasts are described,8,9 in addition to a reduction of silicon levels and hyaluronic acid in the connective tissues.10
Collagen and fibers formed by it are responsible for the biomechanical properties of the skin, allowing it to act as an organ of protection from external trauma. They present as essential components of structural integrity of the connective tissue and are present in large quantities in the skin, bones and joints.9,11 A reduction in the amount of collagen in the skin of about 1% per year after 21 years of age is described, resulting in thickness reduction and elasticity loss, which is directly related to the wrinkles depth.11,12
Changes occurring after menopause are even more striking, including loss of about 30% of skin collagen in the first 5 years and annual loss of 0.55% of elastin.13,14 The biosynthesis process of collagen after the third or fourth decade of life remains at a low level, insufficient to allow mature skin to repair or replace the collagen that has been lost as part of the degradation processes associated with age.9 The decrease of collagen that occurs after menopause especially correlates with decreased bone mineral density associated with age.14
By the study of skin aging process, it’s possible to observe that the degradation of collagen fibers has a remarkable role in this context. Based on this, the use of mechanisms that influence the biosynthesis of this protein is as a potential tool for improving and preventing skin aging.
SILICON: A UBIQUITOUS ELEMENT
Considering the abundance of silicon in the human body, it seems unlikely that its deficiency occurs in men and women.15
In 1972, two studies by two different research groups showed that silicon was an essential element in chickens and mice.16,17 These experiments demonstrated that nutritional deficiencies of silicon led to skeletal deformities such as abnormal skull and long bone structures, as well as malformed joints with cartilage poor content. Thus, an important role of silicon in bone mineralization was demonstrated.
After that, several studies showed silicon participation in different mechanisms, with positive results associated with higher concentrations of this element in the blood in patients with osteoporosis, atherosclerosis, skin aging and fragile hair and nails.10,15 However, there are no conclusive data to determine whether or not silicon is an essential nutrient for humans and superior animals, since its deficiency has not led to cell cycle interruption in mammals, and its functional role remains to be clearly defined.15,18–20 Most of the silicon present in the blood is filtered by the kidneys, suggesting that this mechanism represent the major route of excretion and that levels of silicon in blood correlate with the levels present in urine.21 For this reason, various studies evaluate the serum concentration as well as the one present in urine in order to study the bioavailability of silicon and its derivatives.
Silicon occurs naturally in foods in the form of silicon oxide and silicates, which are present in water and in plant and animal sources and are found in high concentrations especially in cereals.18,22 The main sources of silicon from the diet in the Western Hemisphere are cereals (30%), followed by fruit, beverage and vegetable-derived products in general. Together, these foods provide about 75% of the total silicon ingested by man.23
However, there are studies that question the bioavailability of silicon from some sources, due to the low solubility of some compounds, especially those that are polymerized.15,24 Thus, although significant quantities of silicon are present in some foods, sometimes it is presented in an insoluble form and cannot be directly absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract. The silicon present in food is solubilized in the acid environment of stomach, becoming OSA [Si (OH)4], which can then be absorbed. It is described in the literature that the aging process is associated with an increase in gastric pH, which decreases the conversion capacity of this silicon found in foods in the bioavailable form.5
OSA is the main type derived from silicon present in drinking water and other liquids, including beer, and it is considered the most readily available form of silicon to humans.19 It is stable when diluted (<10-4 M) but polymerizes in higher concentrations in a pH close to neutral. Absorption studies indicated that only OSA is available while its polymerized form is not absorbed.25 Questions on the bioavailability of silicon from the mineral water are reported in the literature. In a study conducted with rats that received supplementation with OSA in the water they ingested, there were no significant differences in the concentration of silicon present in bones in relation to baseline.1 In beer, it demonstrated that about 80% of the total silicon found corresponds to OSA.26 However, there are discussions involving the availability of OSA, which could be unstable in industrial processes such as, for example, bottling.
At high concentrations, OSA needs to be stabilized so it doesn’t polymerize excessively, resulting in a reduced bioavailability.10 For this reason, silicon-containing supplements attempt, by different methods, to concentrate OSA and stabilize it in a way to make it more bioavailable.
FOOD SUPPLEMENTS CONTAINING SILICON
Different consumptions patterns of supplements containing silicon are observed around the world. As an example, the organic silicon – commonly the monomethyl silanetriol (MMST) – is more consumed in France, while in Germany the colloidal silicon are more present and, in Belgium, choline-stabilized OSA (ch-OSA) is more frequent.6,7
The MMST is not only organic, but also monomeric while other silicates show different degrees of polymerization, which should explain the different silicon absorption values in experiments with rats and in some preliminary studies in humans.25,27 Some studies have shown that it is readily absorbed after digestion and observed no adverse events with its use. Nevertheless, it is noteworthy that, until the completion of these works, specific studies to evaluate its safety were not conducted.28
Jugdaohsingh et al, in 2013, conducted a study to assess the safety of using this supplement. A group of 22 healthy women, who were not menopausal, received MMST oral supplementation for 4 weeks, with the maximum recommended dose of 10.5 mg/Si/day. The authors concluded that MMST intake is safe and that it was absorbed. They also presented data to prove that, after ingestion, there is conversion of MMSR in OSA, which would justify its absorption.28
However, in response to the published article, Vanden Berghe questioned some points of the study, claiming that studies of longer duration in humans and toxicological tests in vitro and in animals are needed in order to prove the safety of using the supplement containing MMST. According to Vanden Berghe, these studies were not presented in the article in question and they are also scarce in the available literature on the subject. The statement on MMST conversion in OSA was also questioned.29
The authors of the original study published a response that kept emphasizing the study’s findings. They argued that they used rigorous methodology and that, in the adopted conditions, they could conclude it was safe to use the supplement containing MMST. The authors, however, agreed that studies with larger numbers of volunteers and greater length of time would be needed for the continuation of research involving this supplement.30
MMST has been used as a silicon source for a long time around the world, especially in Europe.28 This supplement, unlike others available, does not contain nano-silica particles, on which concerns regarding the safety have been reported.31,32 However, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) considers that there is not enough data to justify the use of MMST as silicon supplement.19
The greatest number of studies in the literature evaluates ch-OSA. The ch-OSA has been approved for human consumption and is known to be non-toxic, in addition to representing the most bioavailable form of silicon.15,22
In chemical terms, ch-OSA is a mixture of OSA and choline chloride. Given the lack of data about adverse reactions to silicon, a recommended dose has not been established. Nevertheless, according to the American regulatory agency, choline, silicon oxides and various silicates are classified as substances “generally recognized as safe”.18,19
The stabilization with choline is considered the most advanced technology for OSA stabilization. Choline has important characteristics that place it in the position of an ideal stabilizer for OSA, in addition to promoting benefits due to its own characteristics.33 In high concentrations, choline avoids extensive polymerization and aggregation of silicon particles, to keep it in an aqueous suspension.33
Furthermore, as previously mentioned, choline present in the compound may have a synergistic effect with OSA, since it is well known its participation in many basic biological processes.33 Choline is a precursor of phospholipids, which are essential for the formation of cell membranes, as well as being involved in processes such as cell signaling, lipid metabolism and protection against the collagen breakdown mediated by homocysteine.34,35
In 2009, EFSA requested a scientific opinion to the Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources Added to Food concerning ch-OSA safety. The only objective was to evaluate ch-OSA as a silicon source and also its bioavailability. Thus, silicon safety itself, in terms of daily amounts that can be consumed and its classification as a nutrient, was outside the scope of scientific opinion published by the Panel.19
Based on different studies conducted in animals and in humans, the Panel concluded that the silicon present in ch-OSA is bioavailable and that its use in supplements, in the proposed doses, does not present risks for safety, providing that the choline maximum level is not exceeded (3.5 g/day).
Studies were analyzed both in animals and in humans so the conclusion on bioavailability and safety were published by EFSA. A study of calves that received supplement containing ch-OSA or placebo for 23 weeks evaluated the evolution of serum silicon concentration. There was a 4.9% increase at this concentration in the group of animals receiving silicon.36 In another study, Vanden Berghe assessed the bioavailability of silicon in offspring of 21 pigs, which received or not (control) supplement containing ch-OSA during the gestation (16 weeks) and lactation (four weeks) period. In the offspring of pigs that received supplement containing silicon, significantly higher silicon concentrations were found (150% increase) than in the offspring of the control group. The authors attributed this result to the bioavailability of silicon in the supplement containing ch-OSA and also to the maternal transfer capability of absorbed silicon.37 The silicon absorption from supplement containing ch-OSA was assessed in a study of 14 healthy volunteers aged 22-34 years. Each volunteer received successive oral doses of silicon from different sources. A significant increase in serum concentration of silica compared to baseline was observed for ch-OSA.6,19 This study demonstrated that the bioavailability of silicon is to a great extent dependent on the chemical form of the compound.
In another study, conducted in order to examine in vivo absorption of silicon by evaluating its serum dosage and its urinary excretion, different patterns of absorption for the different sources used were found. This study obtained different results, depending on the source, although it has evaluated absorption in just a healthy volunteer. It was observed that a diet rich in silicon does not result in sufficient bioavailable amounts of this element that would lead to a statistically significant increase in its urinary excretion and serum levels, when compared with the period in which the volunteer was subjected to a normal diet. A significant increase in silicon urinary excretion was observed when the evaluated supplementation consisted of tablets containing dry extract of horsetail. However, the silicon serum levels remained constant. Only the biologically active silicon present in solution at 2% silicon in a matrix of choline and glycerol was absorbed, which reflected in the significant increase of silicon in both serum levels and in urine excretion. Based on this study, the authors concluded that silicon absorption is strongly influenced by its chemical form and matrix.
Sripanyakorn et al measured silicon uptake from 8 different sources. In healthy volunteers, blood and urine samples were analyzed to quantify the concentration of silicon. The results confirmed that the degree of silicon polymerization is inversely proportional to intestinal absorption.7
SILICON AND ITS RELATION WITH SKIN, HAIR AND NAILS
Regarding the skin, it is suggested that silicon is important for optimal synthesis of collagen and for activating the hydroxylation enzymes, important in the formation of collagen network, improving skin strength and elasticity. Silicon is also associated with the synthesis of glycosaminoglycans. Concerning the hair, it is suggested that strands with higher silicon content tend to have lower falling rate and higher brightness. Nails are also affected by the presence of silicon, since this element is one of the predominant mineral in their composition. The presence of soft and brittle nails can indicate systemic deficiency of silicon. By improving the quality of nails, there is an increased protection against nail infections.4,5
In a study with 50 healthy volunteers, aged between 40 and 65 years and with clear clinical signs of facial photoaging, the effect of the intake of supplements containing ch-OSA to the skin, hair and nails were analyzed. The supplement was held for a period of 20 weeks, with 2 capsules containing 10 mg of ch-OSA taken daily. Also, serum concentrations of various components in the blood were evaluated in order to verify safety of oral treatment. The silicon intake under these experimental conditions was considered safe, since there were no reported adverse events with this treatment. This study, according to the authors, was the first randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial that showed positive results in the skin microtopography and anisotropy after the intake of supplement containing ch-OSA. At the end of the period of use supplement containing silicon, there was a significant improvement in the skin surface characteristics and in its mechanical properties.
Also in this study, it was observed a significant improvement in the fragility of nails and hair in the group using the ch-OSA. The placebo did not lead to significant differences in rating assigned by the volunteers by the self-assessment questionnaires completed before the start and after the end of the study.
Another randomized study with 48 volunteers investigated the effect of ch-OSA on hair. The volunteers had thin hairs and were divided into 2 groups: ch-OSA and placebo. The first group received daily doses of 10 mg of silicon, for a period of 9 months.4 Morphology and mechanical properties of hair were evaluated at the beginning and at the end of the study. In general, positive results were obtained in the evaluated hair properties, such as strand resistance to breaking, for example. Furthermore, the area of the strand front section increased significantly after 9 months of supplementation containing ch-OSA, whereas the placebo group exhibited no significant difference.4
The fact that ch-OSA have partially prevented the loss of hair tensile strength suggests that it has a structural effect on hair fibers. According to the authors, an interaction with keratin is possible, considering that OSA is the chemical form of silicon prevalent in physiological fluids and that silanol group, present on OSA, is known to form complexes with amino acids and peptides.4,38,39
The analysis of the scientific literature on the use of supplements containing silicon shows great therapeutic potential of this element, as it operates in different conditions of human health and presents aesthetic properties. Among the various chemical forms available, the analysis of studies shows that OSA is the form that presents greater bioavailability; other forms have absorption inversely proportional to the degree of polymerization. We also observed that ch-OSA is the most referenced form in the literature, suggesting a greater scientific support regarding its use. However, there are few studies evaluating the safety, efficacy and bioavailability of the different existing chemical forms of silicon that use proper design, large number of volunteers and long follow-up period.
Does Biotin Really Help With Hair Growth? (What Studies Show)
Let’s talk biotin and hair growth. You know those commercials that claim that these hair, skin and nail multivitamins can help speed up hair growth, and add volume at the same time? Well it’s the vitamin biotin in these products that claims to be the vitamin for beauty. It’s hard to avoid a conversation on hair growth without hearing about biotin, so I have dug into the scientific studies to determine if biotin truly does help to promote hair growth or not.
Let’s find out if taking biotin really makes a difference, and uncover the sources, and health benefits of this “beauty” vitamin.
What is Biotin?
Biotin is often referred to as Vitamin H, for hair or B7. Biotin is a water soluble b-vitamin. This vitamin is a vital part of a healthy metabolism and is essential for creating important enzymes. (1) Since Biotin is classified as a b-vitamin it is an excellent source of energy, and is used as energy in our bodies. This vitamin is known to help many systems in the body including our skin, nerves, digestive tract, metabolism, and our cells. Biotin may play an important role in many parts of the body, but we need to take a closer look as to whether or not it really does speed up hair growth. First let’s take a look at the sources of Biotin.
Sources of Biotin
Although biotin is supplemented with more times than not when trying to promote hair growth, biotin can also be found in small amounts in foods. At the end of the day getting biotin fromfood sources it better absorbed in the body than from a supplemental version of the vitamin. Sherry Ross, OB/GYN and Women’s Health Expert at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica states that the foods listed below contain small amounts of Biotin.
- Soy flour
- Wheat germ
- Dairy products
- Swiss chard
Health Benefits of Biotin for Your Hair
“Many people take biotin supplements to increase the health of their skin, hair and nails. While more research is needed, it seems that B7 may be helpful in these areas.”
Taking biotin for hair growth can be promising, and there have been studies to prove how effective it is:
- Ablon Skin Institute Research Center and the University of California, concluded that women who suffered with thinning hair had great success with hair growth when taking biotin.
- Registered Dietitian, Lauren Graf who works out of a cardiac wellness center has stated that biotin is very important for hair, skin and nails, and that those with low levels could experience thinning hair, and brittle nails.
Biotin for Thinning Hair
We known that biotin can benefit our hair, but let’s talk about how exactly it can prevent and improve hair thinning.
Hair thinning can occur for a number of reasons such as aging, or certain medications however it can also occur if someone is not getting enough biotin. Supplementing with biotin can improve hair thinning, and actually prevent it from happening.If you are getting adequate amounts of biotin your chances of developing a deficiency are lower which means your chances of thinning hair reduces as well!
Biotin for Hair Growth
This is what most of us want to know before taking biotin. Will biotin really work to help promote hair growth?
“Biotin is vital to cell proliferation, which is why it is a valuable tool in hair growth.” (3)
When it comes down to what hair is composed of, it actually consists of keratin which is a protein. This is a big reason as to why biotin helps to promote hair growth. When biotin is ingested, biotin then reacts with cell enzymes and plays a large part in producing amino acids. Amino acids are the building block of proteins. Strings of amino acids are what makes up a protein. Since hair consists of protein, consuming foods high in biotin can actually boost hair growth, and lead to healthier hair.
What Biotin Won’t do for Your Hair
While biotin can be very beneficial for hair growth, supplementing with biotin will not help to prevent hair loss. Oregon State University’s Linus Pauling Institute states that there is just not enough scientific evidence to prove that biotin supplementation can improve hair loss. It’s important to understand why you are experiencing hair loss in the first place, it may be something that needs to be addressed a different way before trying to supplement with biotin. For example someone with a hormonal imbalance that is experiencing hair loss is not going to see hair re-growth from biotin until they address their hormonal imbalance, the root cause of their hair loss.
How Do You Know if You Are Deficient in Biotin?
Biotin deficiency is actually quite rare in the US, however if you are not getting enough biotin you will see noticeable symptoms.
One of the obvious symptoms of biotin deficiency is thinning hair, and weak or brittle nails. A biotin deficiency can however present itself in more ways than one.
Other deficiency symptoms include nausea, muscle pain, fatigue, loss of appetite, depression and skin changes.
Proper Dosage of Biotin
The Mayo Clinic’s dosage recommendation for adults is between 30-100 mcg per day of biotin. (2) While The Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board recommends that adults should get 19.30 mcg of biotin per day. The dosages ranges according to your age, and if you are actually biotin deficient or not.
Should You Supplement With Biotin?
The bottom line is that if you have thinning hair, brittle nails and skin issues then you may benefit from taking biotin. If you are deficient in biotin then supplementing can also not only be very important for your overall health, but can also be beneficial for hair growth. Even though supplementing with biotin can give your hair and nails a nice boost, a vitamin alone should never replace a healthy diet high in vitamins and minerals. If you eat well, and eat foods high in biotin while always staying hydrated then you will not have to worry about biotin deficiency. It’s important to remember that ” Your body needs other substances found in food, such as protein, minerals, carbohydrates and fat. Vitamins themselves cannot work without the presence of other foods.” (4) If you are consuming healthy foods, as well as foods high in biotin, and you are just looking to boost your hair growth then taking a biotin supplement will help your hair grow faster.
“Healthy hair comes from a healthy diet, and a healthy lifestyle. Supplementing with biotin should come second to improving your diet.”
Eclipta alba (also known “Bhringraj” and “False Daisy”) is a tropical herb that has been used to treat various illnesses. A traditional use for it in Ayurvedic medicine has been hair loss treatment and hair dyeing.
While many traditional remedies have not been scientifically studied, Eclipta alba has not one but two actual studies behind it showing hair growth promoting activity in rodents. In the first paper, petroleum ether and ethanol extracts of the herb were compared against minoxidil (link). The second paper also used minoxidil as a positive control, but this time the extract was made with methanol (link).
To get an overview of how effective Eclipta alba really is for growing hair, in this post we’ll be comparing the results from both papers.
The three Eclipta alba extracts
In the first paper, 500 grams of dried coarse powder of Eclipta alba was initially extracted with petroleum ether. The resulting marc was further extracted with ethanol to make the ethanol extract. These extracts were then incorporated into an ointment base in concentrations of 2% and 5% (i.e. the resulting ointments contained 2-5% ethanol extract).
In the second paper, 1 kilogram of Eclipta alba was extracted with 95% methanol and then filtered and concentrated. The final formulations contained either 3.2 mg/kg or 1.6 mg/kg of the extract in a solution of propylene glycol and DMSO.
The petroleum ether & ethanol study used six groups of rats with their backs shaved. Group I was applied ointment base only and served as control, Group II was applied 2% ethanol extract, Group III was applied 5% ethanol extract, Group IV was applied 2% petroleum ether extract, Group V was applied 5% petroleum ether extract, and group VI was applied 2% minoxidil and acted as positive control. The ointments were applied for 30 days.
In the methanol study, mice with hair already in telogen phase were selected. Two experiments were done: the first one compared the effectiveness of 1% and 2% minoxidil to a control vehicle, and the second one looked at the effectiveness of 1.6 mg/kg and 3.2 mg/kg methanol extracts of Eclipta alba. The extracts were applied for 10 days.
Results from Eclipta alba in rats
Shaved rats treated with the petroleum ether extract of Eclipta alba began growing new hair significantly faster than rats in the control group. Whereas the control rats took 12 days to initiate hair growth, the petroleum ether extract rats took only 5 to 6 days, with the stronger ointment being slightly more effective. The time it took to completely cover the shaved area in hair was also decreased from 24 days to 20 days.
2% minoxidil reduced hair growth initiation time to 6 days and completion time to 20 days. Therefore, minoxidil was as effective as 2% petroleum ether extract but slightly less effective than 5% petroleum ether extract. Ethanolic extracts reduced the time of hair growth initiation only slightly and had no effect on completion time.
The hair growth effects were due to a marked conversion of hair follicles from telogen to anagen phase. In the control group and ethanol extract group, most of the follicles were in telogenic phase, while in the minoxidil and petroleum ether extract groups most follicles were in anagenic phase. Notably, petroleum ether extract of Eclipta alba was even more effective in inducing anagen phase than minoxidil.
Petroleum ether extract also increased the length of the hair follicles, similarly to minoxidil. In the control group only 34% of follicles were longer than 0.5 mm. In the extract and minoxidil treated groups the percentage was 44-49%, with minoxidil being most effective. Once again, ethanol extract did not have a significant effect.
Results from Eclipta alba in mice
Conversion from telogen to anagen phase was observed in 87.5% of the mice treated with the stronger methanol extract (3.2 mg/kg) and in 50% of the rats treated with the weaker extract (1.6 mg/kg). This was evidenced by the increased number of follicles in the subcutis layer and a thickening of the skin. The total number of follicles was also increased. None of the control rats showed a similar effect.
Both concentrations of minoxidil increased skin thickness, follicle count and the percentage of follicles in anagen phase. 2% minoxidil was slightly more effective than 1% minoxidil. According to the authors, the effects of minoxidil and the methanol extracts were “comparable”, but looking at the data, it seems that the stronger extract of Eclipta alba was in fact significantly more effective. For example, 2% minoxidil increased mean follicle count from 43 to 73, whereas the 3.2 mg/kg methanol extract increased it from 19 to 66. The conversion from telogen to anagen was also more pronounced in the methanol extract group.
A petroleum ether extract of Eclipta alba increases hair growth in rats by converting follicles from telogen to anagen phase. The hair growth promoting effect is similar to that of minoxidil. An ethanol extract, however, showed only very modest results. No change in fur color was reported.
In mice, methanol extracts of Eclipta alba induce conversion of hair follicles from telogen to anagen phase. Eclipta alba also increases skin thickness and the number of total and subcutaneous hair follicles. These effects are even more pronounced than those seen from 1% and 2% minoxidil. Since the mice had black fur to begin with, the hair dyeing claims could not be evaluated.
Possible reasons for the lack of efficacy in ethanol extracts of Eclipta alba are the lack of wedelolactone and beta-sitosterol. While petroleum ether extracts and methanol extracts contain significant amounts of wedelolactone, ethanol extracts do not. Wedelolactone has the abilitiy to suppress caspase-11 (link) and androgen receptors expression (link).
Petroleum ether extracts are also high in beta-sitosterol, which has been shown to inhibit 5-alpha-reductase (link), a key factor in genetic hair loss. The beta-sitosterol content of methanol extracts of Eclipta alba was not reported in the study.
Hair can be considered a crowning glory for many women and a sign of youth and vitality for men. When men and women begin to lose their hair, this can become a source of insecurity. In addition to products like Rogaine or other prescription medications, there are many natural remedies, like eating pumpkin seeds, that may help grow hair.
Pumpkin seeds contain fatty oils with linoleic acid and oleic acid, both known to prevent cancer-causing cell production. They are also an excellent source of vitamins A, B6 and C. In addition, the seeds contain beneficial nutrients like zinc, magnesium, calcium and iron. Perhaps most important to those suffering from hair loss, the seeds contain cucurbitin, a unique amino that may be responsible for pumpkin seeds’ effects on hair growth.
There are many causes of hair loss, including poor health or long-term illness, genetics, stress and hormonal imbalance. A lack of important nutrients in your diet can also lead to hair loss or a nonproductive scalp. The oil from pumpkin seeds are believed to effect testosterone and androgen levels in the body. Lack of androgens in the body is believed to be a primary cause of hair loss. Eating a handful of seeds a day can benefit in the fight for hair growth.
Pumpkin Seeds for Prostate Problems and Preventing Hair Loss
Raw pumpkin seeds are a high protein and mineral rich food that have some specific benefits for hair loss prevention and protecting men against prostate problems.
Here’s just what makes pumpkin seeds so good for both preventing hair loss and improving your prostate health if you are a man.
BHP, Dihydrotestosterone and Pumpkin Seeds
Benign prostatic hyperplasia, commonly called BPH, is a painful male condition that leads to constriction of the urethra and difficulty urinating.
It is quite common in older men but there are several health nutrients in pumpkin seeds that can help by reducing dihydrotestosterone, the primary cause of BHP.
The first of these is a mild steroidal compound called delta-7-sterine. Research has found delta-7-sterine directly competes with the much more potent dihydrotestosterone (DHT) at the receptor sites in the prostate.
DHT is strongly implicated in prostate cell proliferation, but when delta-7-sterine is present in the diet in large enough amounts, it appears to minimize the harmful effects of dihydrotestosterone on the prostate.
Pumpkin seeds contain high levels of phytosterols, including the much studied beta-sitosterol. Beta-sitosterol has been shown to block the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone by inhibiting the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase.
This can have many positive effects, like a reduction in hair loss, but specifically for prostate problems, the less excess DHT in the body to act upon the prostate the better.
In a double-blind placebo-controlled study of treating benign prostatic hyperplasia with phytosterols, BPH symptoms were shown to be ‘significantly improved in the treatment group’ with no side effects noted.
The high zinc content in pumpkin seeds is another reason why they are considered so good for guarding against prostate problems.
Zinc is important for proper hormone production, including testosterone. It also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and is said to enhance your immune response. All of these are potentially beneficial for a man suffering from an enlarged prostate.
Zinc is also needed for healthy hair and a deficiency in this mineral is often associated with hair loss as it directly affects the proper functioning of your hair follicles.
Other Nutrition for a Healthy Prostate in Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds also contain other protective factors to help prevent or treat prostate problems, such as good levels of antioxidant carotenoids like beta-carotene, magnesium and essential fatty acids.
The incidence of male prostate problems has been found to be considerably lower in countries where pumpkin seeds are often consumed, like Austria and Hungary.
This is hardly surprising with all of the different nutrients in pumpkin seeds and eating them regularly may help moderate dihydrotestosterone levels, reduce an enlarged prostate and relieve the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia.
Pumpkin Seeds and Hair Loss
Excessive dihydrotestosterone can cause many problems for men, particularly later in life. The same DHT responsible for enlarging the prostate and causing benign prostatic hyperplasia, also contributes to hair loss and eventually male pattern baldness.
DHT causes hair loss in men by shortening the anagen (growth) phase of the hair follicle. This can lead to progressively finer and weaker hairs that, over time, simply stop growing.
However, the beta-sitosterol in pumpkin seeds has been shown to act as an inhibitor of the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase. It’s this enzyme that converts testosterone to hair damaging dihydrotestosterone.
http://superfoodprofiles.com/pumpkin seeds-prostate problems%20preventing-hair-loss
Review of clinical studies of Polygonum multiflorum Thunb. and its isolated bioactive compounds
Polygonum multiflorum Thunb. (PMT), officially listed in the Chinese Pharmacopoeia, is one of the most popular perennial Chinese traditional medicines known as He shou wu in China and East Asia, and as Fo-ti in North America. Mounting pharmacological studies have stressed out its key benefice for the treatment of various diseases and medical conditions such as liver injury, cancer, diabetes, alopecia, atherosclerosis, and neurodegenerative diseases as well. International databases such as PubMed/Medline, Science citation Index and Google Scholar were searched for clinical studies recently published on P. multiflorum. Various clinical studies published articles were retrieved, providing information relevant to pharmacokinetics-pharmacodynamics analysis, sleep disorders, dyslipidemia treatment, and neurodegenerative diseases. This review is an effort to update the clinical picture of investigations ever carried on PMT and/or its isolated bio-compounds and to enlighten its therapeutic assessment.
Plants, herbs, and ethnobotanicals have been selected and used empirically as drugs for centuries, initially as traditional preparations then as pure active principles, with the knowledge and accumulated practice passing from generation to generation.[1,2] Medicinal plants are plants containing the substance that are used for therapeutic purposes or which are precursors for the synthesis of useful drugs. Herbal Medicinal can be categorized into two broad parts. The first one includes complex of mixture containing a wide variety of compounds (e.g.: Infusions, essential oils, tinctures or extracts), and the second category refers them as pure, chemically define active principles.
Polygonum multiflorum Thunb. (PMT, Polygonaceae family, Figure 1)), well known as He shou wu in China and Fo-ti in North America, is one of the most popular perennial Chinese traditional medicinal vine-like herbs, officially listed in the Chinese Pharmacopoeia. Various parts of the plants were utilized for different medicinal purposes. The leaves [Figure 2a], root tuber [Figure 2b] and rhizomes [Figure 2c] of this plant have been used as tonic and anti-aging agents[7,8,9,10,11,12] whereas the stem [Figure 2d] is used to alleviate insomnia and even to have an antidiabetic therapeutic activity as well.[13,14,15]
Laboratory studies and clinical practice have demonstrated that PMT possesses various biological and therapeutic actions, including anti-tumor,[16,17] antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant,[19,20,21] anti-HIV, liver protection,[23,24] nephroprotection, antidiabetic,[15,26] anti-alopecia,[27,28] and anti-atherosclerotic activities.[29,30] It has been also reported to exert preventive activity against neurodegenerative diseases,[31,32,33,34,35] cardiovascular diseases and to reduce hyperlipidemia as well.[36,37]
The clinical efficacy, as well as the safety of PMT and its bioactive products, has attracted much attention in the recent years; due to the increasing reports of various cases on hepatotoxicity,[38,39,40,41,42] published worldwide. In the present review, the advancements in thorough investigation of clinical studies and pharmacokinetics (PKs)-pharmacodynamics (PDs) profile of P. multiflorum are discussed, meanwhile describing the clinical features of this particular herbal-induced liver injury. This report will enlighten the broad understanding on the clinical therapeutic evaluation of PMT or other herbal drug containing quite the same phytochemical components.
An electronic search was performed by searching several databases: PubMed (Medline), Highwire, HerbMed, Google Scholar, Scopus, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and Cochrane Library using key terms including, “PMT,” “He shou wu,” “Shou-Wu-Pian,” “Shen-Min,” “Fo-Ti,” and “clinical study,” “humans,” “patients,” “case report,” “hepatotoxicity” to identify English-language publications (case reports, case series, prospective study and clinical review articles) and abstracts published regarding P. multiflorum and/or its compounds. Furthermore, we scanned the references lists of the primary articles to identify the publications not retrieved by electronic research. A total of 54 publications were identified, and the results compiled. They showed 7 articles relevant to clinical PKs-PDs analysis, 2 to anti-inflammatory effect, 2 for dyslipidemia treatment, 2 relevant to sleep disorders, 3 for neurodegenerative diseases and 52 patients with hepatotoxicity due to P. multiflorum ingestion. The quality of clinical studies on P. multiflorum, the characteristics and outcomes of patients reported with herbal hepatotoxicity and the P. multiflorum claimed pharmaco-therapeutic values are reviewed and discussed in this paper.
CLINICAL PHARMACOKINETICS AND PHARMACODYNAMICS STUDIES OF POLYGONUM MULTIFLORUM EXTRACTS AND/OR ITS BIOACTIVE COMPONENTS
Herbal medicines are mixtures of more than one active ingredient. The multitude of pharmacologically active compounds obviously increases the likelihood of interactions taking place. Hence, the likelihood of herb-drug interactions is theoretically higher than that of drug-drug interactions, if only because synthetic drugs usually contain single chemical entities. Case reports and clinical studies have highlighted the existence of a number of clinically important interactions, although cause-and-effect relationships have not always been established. Herbs and drugs may interact either pharmacokinetically or pharmacodynamically [Figure 3].
To date, a number of in vitro studies have addressed the potential of selected herbal extracts and/or specific constituents to inhibit or induce drug-metabolizing enzymes or transporters, especially cytochrome P450 (CYP450) isoforms and P-glycoprotein (P-pg). However, translation of in vitro data in a clinical setting is hard to accomplish, and discrepancies are often observed between predicted outcomes on the basis of the in vitro studies and results of controlled clinical studies.
Several pharmacological and clinical studies have been done to investigate the PK-PD parameters analyzes of PMT and/or its bioactive components. In 2002, some Korean scientists conducted a clinical PK study about rhein; one of the main bioactive of PMT. This research produced some interesting findings, enlightening that in terms of the bioavailability, while the levels in aloe-emodin, emodin, and chrysophanol [Figure 4] in herbal extracts were much higher than rhein level, only rhein was selectively absorbed by the body even if rhein is structurally similar to other anthraquinones. These findings corroborate the results of another clinical study published a decade earlier by Krumbiegel and Hu. This phenomenon can be explained by one of the three following possibilities. The first one is that rhein are formed when sennosides (e.g.: Sennoside A, Figure 5) are decomposed by bacteria in the intestines, but the time courses of plasma rhein concentrations render this possibility highly improbable. The second possibility is that sennosides are metabolized by intestinal bacteria into anthrones [Figure 6], and the sulfoconjugation or glucoronidation occurs leading to the excretion of the substance through urine. The third possibility stressed out the fact that rhein can be easily bio-transformed from aloe-emodin.[47,49] Furthermore, in another clinical investigation, the high bioavailability of rhein was assessed using the routes of administration as comparative key of the research. The findings suggested that after a single dose of herbal extract, the oral bioavailability of rhein was significantly higher than its rectal bioavailability. By analysis of the route administration, the absorption of weak acids such as rhein may be optimal in the acidic environment of the stomach, whereas their absorption might be unfavorable in the relatively alkaline situation of the small intestine. Retention enema therapy requires multiple, higher daily doses due to poor bioavailability if the same plasma rhein concentration as oral therapy is to be achieved.
Herbal medicines constituents may affect the function of the drug-metabolizing enzymes by inhibiting through different, yet not completely disclosed mechanisms, the catalytic activity of specific enzymes, or they may simply compete for binding. In either case, increase in oral bioavailability and/or reduction of hepatic clearance of the affected drugs are expected to occur, thus leading to an increase in the plasma drug levels, which may expose the patient to a serious risk of adverse drug toxicity. The drug transporters and drug-metabolizing enzymes involved in the in vivo process, the modulatory effects on both P-pg[51,52,53] and CYP450 isoenzymes[54,55] and the acute toxicity[39,56,57,58,59,60] of PMT and/or its major bioactive compounds are all well documented. P-gp-based drug interactions are a major concern in the clinic and in preclinical drug development, especially with respect to the intestinal absorption of drugs and distribution of drugs across the liver, kidney, intestine and blood-brain barrier. Despite the widespread use of herbal medicines, documented herb-drug interactions are spare. However, studies on common herbs indicate that significant herb-drug interactions exists. Several commonly used traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) have been reported to interact with P-gp. For example, St. John’s wort was found to increase the duodenal P-gp expression by 1.4-fold in healthy volunteers after multiple oral administrations. It was also reported that St. John’s wort could result in an 18% decrease of digoxin exposure after a single oral dose of digoxin (0.5 mg).[53,63] Li et al. investigated the inhibitory effect of PMT constituents on P-pg mediated the digoxin transport in MDR1-MDCKII cells. The herbal constituents tested were trans-Resveratrol [Figure 7], 2,3,5,4′-tetrahydroxylstilbene-2-O-β-D-glucoside (TSG, Figure 8), emodin, chrysophanol, aloe-emodin, and physcion. Among the various constituents of P. multiflorumtested, emodin was significantly the strongest inhibitor of P-gp (IC50= 9.42 μM) in MDR1-MDCKII and Caco-2 cells. Furthermore, clinical study findings enlightened emodin to be found to possess the strongest promising effect for overcoming P-gp mediated steroid resistance by inhibiting the P-gp efflux function.
Genetic polymorphisms in the CYP450 enzyme also contribute to differences in an individual’s ability to metabolize herbal medicines. The use of concurrent medications that either inhibit or induce one or more isoforms, which may result in significant changes in the rate of drug clearance, is one of the major reason for altered CYP450 activity.[44,64] CYP450 1A2 (CYP1A2) and CYP450 3A4 (CYP3A4) are involved in the metabolism of xenobiotic in the body,[65,66] their expression appear to be induced by various herbal medicines and/or dietary constituents. The genotype and the allelic frequencies of CYP1A2 were evaluated in Chinese patients with acute liver injury induced by P. multiflorum in order to investigate CYP1A2 allele polymorphism association with the hepatotoxicity from PMT. The findings revealed that the frequency of the CYP1A2 * 1C mutation in Chinese patients with P. multiflorum-induced acute liver injury differed significantly from that in healthy Chinese people, indicating that CYP1A2 * 1C is probably related to metabolism of PMT, which is, followed by acute liver injury. Moreover, despite the structural similarity and/or identical molecular weight of various herbal constituents, emodin significant inhibited CYP3A4/5 activity. Considering P. multiflorum and/or its constituents as relative toxic compound, potential drug-herb/herb-herb interactions based on CYP and P-gp should be taken into account when using this herbal medicine in the clinic. By fully appreciating the nature of PKs, PDs principles, and drug-herb interactions, healthcare professionals can drastically reduce unwanted side effects and at the same time enhance the therapeutic efficacy and usefulness of herbal medicines.
CLINICAL STUDIES DONE ON POLYGONUM MULTIFLORUM AND/OR ITS BIOACTIVE COMPOUNDS
In general, sound scientific evidence is lacking to support the use of many of the herbs currently marketed. A number of herbal products rely on anecdotal evidence to support their use. Many of the clinical trials in the literature are of limited quality owing to small sample sizes, improper randomization, and/or the lack of adequate controls. Large-scale, randomized, controlled trials have not been undertaken by the herbal industry owing to the fact that herbs are not patentable, and the potential of economic gain from positive study results is limited. A number of researchers and organizations (e.g. Cochrane collaboration) have attempted to critically evaluate available study data through systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Many of the analyses have been equivocal. The use of herbal medicines presents unique clinical and pharmacological challenges not encountered with conventional single-compound medicines. These medicines are usually complex mixtures of many bioactive compounds and conventional “indications and uses” criteria devised for single-compound entities may not be applicable in a significant number of ways.
Few clinical studies have been conducted to evaluate the traditional therapeutic claims and to study the potential of PMT and/or its various bioactive constituents, highlighting available clinical evidence.
Inflammation is known to contribute to physiological and pathological processes by the activation of the immune system, local vascular system, and various cells within the damaged tissue. Prolonged inflammation, known as chronic inflammation, is caused by a variety of factors, including microbial pathogen infection, physical, chemical, and surgical irritation, and/or wounding and it is involved in the pathogenesis of various many chronic diseases, including inflammatory bowel diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, sepsis, and cancer.[71,72,73,74] The classical characteristics of inflammation are pain, swelling, edema, redness, and heat. Accumulating epidemiological, and clinical evidence shows that chronic inflammation is an important risk factor for various human diseases. Therefore, suppressing the production of pro-inflammatory molecules and signaling factors is one of the important target pathways in order to prevent or treat various diseases.
Various natural products from TCM have been shown to safely suppress pro-inflammatory pathways and control inflammation-associated disease. In vivo and/or in vitro studies have demonstrated that anti-inflammatory effects of PMT and/or its bioactive constituents occur by inhibition of the expression of pro-inflammatory signaling factors such as nuclear factor-κB, tumor necrosis factor-α, inducible nitric oxide synthase, cyclooxygenase-2, chemokines (e.g.,: CCL2) and cytokines (e.g.: Interleukin-1 beta).[13,52,74,77] P. multiflorum was significantly tested for the treatment of the localized neurodermatitis by plum-blossom needle taping in a clinical study that enrolled 141 patients. Moreover, STD07 (Physcion) developed by Sun Tem Phytotech for the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases, was evaluated in a randomized, double-blind, single-centered and placebo controlled study in Asian healthy volunteers. The authors found that up to 250 mg/day orally for 14 days; STD07 was general well tolerated with no clinically meaningful adverse effects in healthy volunteers in this Phase I clinical trial. Good therapeutic evidences of P. multilforum and/or its bioactive constituents have been shown in these aforementioned clinical studies to be used as anti-inflammatory agents. However, extensive clinical research is needed concerning the therapeutic value of this herbal medicine on its anti-inflammatory activity.
The hepatocytes play important role in the distribution, biosynthesis, transferring and removal of triglyceride (TG), total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein (LDL), high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and other related lipoproteins. In normal human liver, the mean contents of TC and TG are 3.9 and 19.5 mg/g wet weight, respectively. Traditionally, liver fat content >50 mg/g (5% by wet weight) is diagnostic of hepatic steatosis. Dyslipidemia, defined as any abnormality of serum lipids and lipoproteins, including low levels of HDL-cholesterol that is associated with increased coronary heart diseases (CHD) risk, is a substantial contributor to the incidence of CHD. In developed countries, most dyslipidemias are hyperlipidemias; that is, an elevation of lipids in the blood. This is often due to diet and lifestyle. Prolonged elevation of insulin levels can also lead to dyslipidemia. Similarly, increased levels of O-GlcNAc transferase may cause dyslipidemia. Dyslipidemia can be treated with dietary alterations and medications that affect lipid metabolism via a variety of mechanisms. Being the first-line therapies for reducing LDL-C serum levels, statins also have adverse effects, including muscle myopathy and derangements in hepatic function. Fibrates are second-line drugs that are used for the treatment of dyslipidemia and reduce serum TG levels by activating peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha. However, fibrates increase serum creatinine concentrations and have been correlated with sudden death, pancreatitis, and venous thrombosis.
Traditional Chinese medicine plays a very important role in the treatment of dyslipidemic patients. An early uncontrolled clinical study of 50 hyperlipidemic patients suggested that PMT has lipid-lowering effect which may be related to its regulatory effect on the genes involved in cholesterol synthesis and lipoprotein metabolism. In a very recent randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, the therapeutic effect of P. multiflorum in patients with dyslipidemia was investigated. The findings concluded that being a considerable composition of the multiherb formula, P. multiflorum showed marginal beneficial effect on reducing plasma LDL cholesterol levels in patients with dyslipidemia. In order to validate the claimed dyslipidemia therapeutic action of P. multiflorum and/or its bioactive compounds, further well-designed clinical studies with solid evidence are warranted to investigate this mechanism.
Insomnia or sleeplessness is a sleep disorder in which there is an inability to fall asleep or to stay asleep as long as desired. It is prevalent in woman and the elderly by 40% more common in women than in men.[90,91] Different measures, such as pharmacotherapy and behavioral management, are applied for insomnia and associated complaints. Current insomnia pharmacotherapeutic agents mainly target the γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptor, melatonin receptor, histamine receptor, orexin, and serotonin receptor. GABA receptor modulators are ordinarily used to manage insomnia, but they are known to affect sleep maintenance, including residual effects, tolerance, and dependence. An analysis of the United States National Health Interview Survey data from 2002 by Pearson et al. revealed that of the 17.4% of adults (n = 93 386) reporting insomnia or regular sleep disturbance in the preceding month, 4.5% (of that population) used complementary and alternative medicine to improve their sleep.
In an effort to discover new drugs that relieve insomnia symptoms while avoiding side effects, numerous studies focusing on the neurotransmitter GABA and herbal medicines have been conducted. Several traditional herbal medicines, such as Valeriana officinalis,[93,94] Passiflora incarnata,[95,96] Matricaria recutita L.,[97,98] Humulus lupulus,[99,100] Ginkgo bibola, Centella asiatica, Rhodiola rosea, Hypericum perforatum, Piper methysticum[105,106] and Zizyphus jujuba have been widely clinically reported to improve sleep and other mental disorders. Moreover, recently Wuling capsule, a single herb formula from mycelia of precious Xylaria nigripes was investigated for its efficacy and safety, through a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trail, in Chinese patients with insomnia. The clinical findings claimed that Wuling capsule could considerably improve insomnia and in terms of adverse effect, on a-6 weeks study period the drug was well-tolerated by all the patients.
In the first large-scale survey done in Taiwan of the use of Chinese herbal medicines (CHMs) or the treatment of insomnia in a Chinese population, P. multiflorum was found to be the most commonly prescribed single Chinese herb. Furthermore, among the Chinese herbal formulas used to treat insomnia, P. multiflorum was found significantly an important constituent of the ingredients. Although Shou-wu-teng (P. multiflorum) is often used to treat insomnia during clinical practice, no clinical research exists in the Western literature verifying its sedative or anxiolytic effects. Despite limited evidence from currently available studies, herbal medicines, especially P. multiflorum and/or its bioactive compounds may have beneficial effects on anxiety and insomnia in patients with bipolar disorder.
Anti-insomniac phytotherapy opens up an exciting aspect of research which might benefit a large number of patients suffering from different degrees of insomnia. Future research using CHM for sleep disorders requires further rigorous studies with improved methodological design, such as using an appropriate placebo control, double-blinding, validated outcome scales, and longer follow-up periods. There is a need for more PD and PK studies to examine the mechanism of action, dosage regimen, toxicology and adverse effects, if there are any drug interactions and the epigenetic differences affected between single active constituents versus whole extracts and complex prescriptive formulas.[109,110] In order to avoid location bias, as nearly all these studies are conducted in China, other countries are also encouraged further to pursue CHM clinical studies in the treatment of sleep disorders.
Age is the leading risk factor for acute and chronic neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease (PD), stroke, Huntington’s disease (HD), vascular dementia (VaD) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD), etc., As population aging is occurring on a global scale, the incidence of these diseases is likely to increase significantly in the near future. They show common pathology of aggregation and deposition of abnormal protein. For example, deposit of Aβ and tau in AD, α-Synuclein for Parkinson’s disease, huntingtin protein in HD, transactive response DNA-binding protein 43 in frontotemporal dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Neurodegenerative diseases usually have the symptoms of loss of orientation, spoken language, comprehension and learning abilities. To date, there is a lack of effective preventive strategies for these disorders. Furthermore, treatments are mainly symptomatic and can at best temporarily slow down disease progression. Moreover, lack of treatment options has led to an increasing number of people to use “natural” and herbal medicines in an attempt to prevent or delay the deleterious effects of ageing as longevity and good health have always been desirable goals for humans.
Various herbal medicines and/or their bioactive compounds have been found to exert significant therapeutic effect in vitro model of neurodegenerative diseases. Pharmacological studies of PMT extract claimed that this medicinal plant may be beneficial in preventing PD and AD. Furthermore, TSG [Figure 8], one of the bioactive compounds purified from its roots significantly antagonized age-related α-synuclein overexpression in the hippocampus of APP transgenic mouse model of AD and possessed neuroprotection in the 1-Methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) mouse model of Parkinson’s disease. Ginkgo biloba and Lycopodium serratum (Huperzine A), through various randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel and multi-center clinical trials have been assessed for their clinical efficacy and safety in AD treatment.[117,118] Their claimed neuroprotective therapeutic activity was significantly expressed on mild AD clinical cases.
Few clinical trials have investigated the potential therapeutic activity of PMT in neurodegenerative diseases. Chen et al. observed the clinical effect of PMT extract on AD. The findings suggested that the scores for the Mini-Mental State Examination and the Ability of Daily Living Scale were significantly improved in the treatment group compared to the Chinese herb control group and the western medicine control group (P < 0.01). Moreover, in a randomized, Piracetam-controlled, single-center clinical trial, P. multiflorum (Shouwu yizhi capsule) was evaluated as monotherapy for VaD. The authors found that the total clinical effective rate was 71.25% and that the herbal medicinal had obvious therapeutic effect on VaD, with no relative adverse drug reactions.
DCB-AD1 is a new drug derived from PMT and a medical team in Taiwan is proposing a Phase II double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled and parallel clinical trial to assess its efficacy and safety in patients with mild to moderate AD. We therefore believe that further high quality clinical studies on PMT and its isolated bio-compounds, as well as the herbal mixtures resulted, will assess its actual clinical value and could lead to the discovery of new drugs for effective treatment and prevention of neurodegenerative diseases.
CLINICAL CASES OF POLYGONUM MULTIFLORUM-INDUCED HEPATOTOXICITY
Herbal medicines are generally sold as food supplements, and as a consequence, therapeutic indications, efficacy, and safety are influenced by different opinions, according to the clinical or traditional experience of various folk medicines available in each country. The market regulation of herbal medicines is not harmonized because there are different regulations in European, Asian and North American countries, and as a consequence, this lack of rules gives poor guarantee of clinical safety. Many herbal products have been shown to cause severe toxicity, but, despite the potential toxicity, there is widespread use among eastern and western general population. Information on clinical issues of herbal medicines are scarcely available and even if they have been reported, unlike what happens general practitioners may not be fully informed since correct use and safety of herbal medicinal products is not taught by academic institutions in medicine faculties. The current situation requires the knowledge, recognition and monitoring of adverse reactions through pharmacovigilance activities.
Herbal hepatotoxicity or herb-induced liver injury is rare and represents a bundle of disorders, each characterized by a specific herb or herbal mixture considered as potentially hepatotoxic. Any individual herb with its multiple chemical constituents may target different liver cell types and/or different subcellular structures, causing likely different diagnostic markers for potentially hepatotoxic herbs and injury types with no single marker characteristic for herbal liver damage. P. multiflorum (Shou-Wu-Pian and Shen-Min have been the most-well known products), being one of the most famous Chinese herbs to treat several diseases and medical conditions including dizziness with tinnitus, premature greying of hair, lumbago, spermatorrhea, leucorrhea, constipation and even chronic hepatitis B,[38,59,127] has also been ranked in the top five of individual herbs or used most frequently in TCM formulations to induce hepatotoxicity. Several cases of hepatotoxicity due to PMT have been reported in patients from Australia, China, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands and Slovakia taking the product for hair loss, chronic prostatitis and to boost the immune system.[38,39,40,58,60,129]
The patients had a history of having ingested PMT in various forms (tea boil with PMT, liquor made of PMT, honey-soaked out with PMT, and the powder of dried PMT). However, it raised the issue concerning the form of the intake with the relation to the severity of hepatotoxicity. The processed roots of PMT have displayed lower rates of toxicity as reported in animal experiments. Processing appears to significantly reduce the amount of chemicals like 2,3,4′5-tetrahydroxystilbene-2-O-β-Dglucoside, but it remains to be determined if this can explain reduced toxicity in humans. For raw PMT, the toxicity of water decocta appears to be higher than that of acetone extract. Meanwhile, the toxicity of acetone extract of unprocessed PMT is considerably higher than that of acetone extract of processed PMT. High-performance liquid chromatography analyses and nuclear magnetic resonance analysis revealed that the contents of characteristic compounds in raw PMT were changed after processing: The content of 2,3,4Ͳ,5-tetrahydroxystilbene 2-O-β-D-glucoside was decreased by 55.8%, whereas the content of anthraquinone emodin was increased by 34.0%.[40,130] Thus, suggesting that processing should reduce the toxicity of P. multiflorum.
Plants have been selected and use empirically as drugs for centuries, initially as traditional preparations then as pure active principles, with the knowledge and accumulated practice passing from generation to generation. Herbal medicine, phytotherapy, phytomedicine, complementary and alternative medicine, ethnomedicine, herbal medicinal product and dietary supplements are all terms used interchangeably to denote the use of botanicals in healthcare and are therefore used as such in this text. The human population is a total mixture, unlike selected batches of laboratory animals (same age, weight, sex, strain, etc.). For this reason, human beings do not respond uniformly to one or more drugs or even herbal medicines. Our genetic make-up, ethnic background, sex, renal and hepatic functions, diseases and nutritional states, ages and other factors such as the route of administration, all contribute toward the heterogeneity of our responses.
Pharmacological studies have demonstrated that PMT. extracts and/or its isolated pure compound possessed various biological activities such as anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-cancer, anti-oxidant and exerting preventing activity against neurodegenerative diseases as well. Clinical investigations have enlightened its claimed therapeutic action in anti-inflammatory, dyslipidemia, sleep disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. A general lack of knowledge of the interaction potentials of concurrent use of herbal medicines with prescription and/or over-the counter medicines poses a great challenge for health care professional and safety concern for the patients. In the recent years, due to increasing reports of herbal-induced hepatotoxicity, the clinical efficacy and safety of P. multiflorum and/or its isolated compounds have attracted much interest. The clinical presentation and severity of P. multiflorum can be highly variable, ranging from mild hepatitis to acute hepatitis failure requiring transplantation.
Pharmacists and technicians, as well as physicians, dieticians, and other health care providers must become knowledgeable about herbal supplements and prospectively seek information regarding their patients’ use of unconventional medicines to avoid adverse consequences. Consumers need to be reminded that herbs are composed of chemicals that may, in some cases be toxic, especially if large quantities are ingested. Furthermore, much developed countries and scientific societies are encouraged to conduct clinical studies on P. multiflorum and/or its isolated compounds in order to evaluate their claimed therapeutic activities.
Li Ching Yuen was quite the extraordinary man. As a Chinese herbalist, he lived 256 years or 197 by his own account. Either way this is far more than is recognized as the maximum human life span.
(The longest confirmed lifespan comes from Shirali Muslimov with the French woman Jeanne Calment, at 122. Another front runner, with similar debate about his, is Shirali Muslimov at an alleged 168 years old.
This modern day Methuselah had the picture taken above in 1927, a few years before his death, at the invitation of general Yang Sen in Wan Xian, Szechuan. The general, fascinated by his age and the youthfulness he displayed despite it, investigated his background and later published a report with his findings.
The New York Times covered Li Ching-Yuen several times including after his death in 1933.
Li Ching-yun, a resident of Kaihsien, in the Province of Szechwan, who contended that he was one of the world’s oldest men, and said he was born in 1736 — which would make him 197 years old — died today.
A Chinese dispatch from Chung-king telling of Mr. Li’s death said he attributed his longevity to peace of mind and that it was his belief every one could live at least a century by attaining inward calm.
Compared with estimates of Li Ching-yun’s age in previous reports from China the above dispatch is conservative. In 1930 it was said Professor Wu Chung-chien, dean of the department of education in Minkuo University, had found records showing Li was born in 1677 and that the Imperial Chinese Government congratulated him on his 150th and 200th birthdays.
A correspondent of THE NEW YORK TIMES wrote in 1928 that many of the oldest men in Li’s neighborhood asserted their grandfathers knew him as boys and that he was then a grown man.
According to the generally accepted tales told in his province, Li was able to read and write as a child, and by his tenth birthday had traveled in Kansu, Shansi, Tibet, Annam, Siam and Manchuria gathering herbs. For the first hundred years he continued at this occupation. Then he switched to selling herbs gathered by others.
Wu Pei-fu, the war lord, took Li into his house to learn the secret of his living to 250. Another pupil said Li told him to “keep a quiet heart, sit like a tortoise, walk sprightly like a pigeon and sleep like a dog.”
According to one version of Li’s married life he had buried twenty-three wives and was living with his twenty-fourth, a woman of 60. Another account, which in 1928 credited him with 180 living descendants, comprising eleven generations, recorded only fourteen marriages. This second authority said his eyesight was good; also, that the finger nails of his right hand were very long, and “long” for a Chinese might mean longer than any finger nails ever dreamed of in the United States.
And here’s a few more details from Wikipedia:
One of his disciples, the Taijiquan Master Da Liu… reports that his master said that his longevity “is due to the fact that I performed the exercises every day – regularly, correctly, and with sincerity – for 120 years.”
Certainly his practice of qigong and exercises was a contributor to his longevity.
His diet was made up primarily of herbs, along with rice wine (suggesting that many of these were in tincture form). According to many immortal legends of Daoist hermits, one of the ways to live far longer than most humans is to gradually shift away from a diet of regular food and subsist mostly on the tonic herbs.
Although there is no way it can be 100% verified as a fact either way, Yuen certainly was an old man. And it wouldn’t become legendary without some amount of truth to the story. Plus he’s not the only one to achieve such legendary status. Not only in age, but in sexual prowess. The man from which Fo-Ti (He Shou Wu) got its name, has a similar story.
The commonalities of such legends, including how to live your life and the taking of tonic herbs, is something well worth doing for anyone looking to live an advanced age, even just 100 years or beyond today.
Extra tricks My Dad and I use….. They are not necessary for Hair Growth Explosion though!
Momatomix Color Paste Conditioner – simply mix activated charcoal powder with Momatomix drops and mix into a paste apply to hair…. let it sit for 10-30 minutes and wash it out….
Pure Lemon Juice Scalp washing treatments also work wonders…especially with raw onion juice conditioner!!!!