Herbs & Plants

Juniperus brasiliensis

Botanical Name: Juniperus brasiliensis

Alternative Names:
Catuaba Casca, Caramuru, Chuchuhuasha, Golden Trumpet, Piratancara , Pau de Reposta, Tatuaba
Scientific Name: Trichilllia Catigua

Common Names: Catuaba

The name catuaba,( a Guarani word that means “what gives strength to the Indian”) is used for the infusions of the bark of a number of trees native to Brazil. The most widely used barks are derived from the trees Trichilia catigua and Erythroxylum vacciniifolium. Other catuaba preparations use the bark of trees from the following genera or families : Anemopaegma, Ilex, Micropholis, Phyllanthus, Secondatia, Tetragastris and species from the Myrtaceae.

It is often claimed that catuaba is derived from the tree Erythroxylum catuaba, but this tree has been described only once, in 1904, and it is not known today to what tree this name referred. E. catuaba is therefore not a recognised species (Kletter et al.; 2004).

Local synonyms are Chuchuhuasha, Tatuaba, Pau de Reposta, Piratancara and Caramuru. A commercial liquid preparation, Catuama, contains multiple ingredients, one of these being catuaba from Trichilia catigua.

An infusion of the bark is used in traditional Brazilian medicine as an aphrodisiac and central nervous system stimulant. These claims have not been confirmed in scientific studies. In catuaba is found a group of three alkaloids dubbed catuabine A, B and C.

A study by Manabe et al. (1992) showed that catuaba extracts from Catuaba casca (Erythroxylum catuaba Arr. Cam.) were useful in preventing potentially lethal bacterial infections and HIV infection in mice.

Catuaba extract is also used as a food flavouring in the British “traditional” cola drink manufactured by Fentimans, Fentiman’s Curiosity Cola.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

News on Health & Science

Mediterranean Diet Cuts the Risk of Depression by 30%

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Consuming plenty of olive oil, nuts, fruit and vegetables – like those living in warm countries by the Med – means you’re less likely to be hit by the blues, according to researchers.

A study of 10,000 people found that those who ate these foods most regularly were found to be have a much sunnier outlook on life.

The diet traditionally favoured by natives of countries such as Greece, Spain and Italy is high in unsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants. It is also low in red meat and dairy products while alcohol, particularly red wine, is encouraged – but in moderation.
……..… & see

Sunshine food: Regularly consuming, nuts, fish, fruit and vegetables – like those living in warm countries by the Med – can cut the risk of depression by 30 percent

A Mediterranean diet is already thought to improve heart health and stave off cancer.
Dieticians believe it appears to improve the flexibility of cells lining the walls of blood vessels, particularly in the heart and circulatory system.
The latest study was inspired by the lower risk of suffering mental disorders in Mediterranean countries than in Northern Europe.
Dr Almudena Sanchez-Villegas and colleagues studied 10,094 healthy Spanish men and women between 1999 and 2005. For the project, they filled in food diaries and their adherence to a Mediterranean diet was checked on nine main points.
These included frequency of consumption of mono-unsaturated fatty acids, moderate intake of alcohol and dairy products, and low intake of meat. High intakes of fruit, nuts, cereals, vegetables and fish were also important.

The Mediterranean diet is high in unsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants. Wine is encouraged, but in moderation
After more than four years of follow-ups, there were 480 new cases of depression, 156 in men and 324 in women.
Those who followed the Mediterranean diet most closely had a greater than 30 per cent reduction in the risk of depression compared with those who had lowest scores.

The figures did not change even when adjusted for other markers of a healthy lifestyle, such as being married, said a report in the Archives of General Psychiatry.
Dr Sanchez-Villegas admitted: ‘The specific mechanisms by which a better adherence to the Mediterranean diet could help to prevent the occurrence of depression are not well-known.’

However, the diet is known to keep arteries healthy, fight inflammation and repair cell damage, she said.
‘The role of the overall dietary pattern may be more important than the effect of single components,’ added the academic, of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and University of Navarra.

There may be ‘a fair degree of protection’ from the combination of the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish with other natural ingredients in olive oil, nuts, fruit and plant foods.

Last year, U.S. researchers found strict adherence to a Mediterranean diet could help stave off Alzheimer’s and premature death.
A team from the UK, Greece and Spain also found it helped prevent the development of asthma and respiratory allergies in children.
Other research shows taking fish oil every day in pregnancy can cut the risk of post-natal depression.

Source: Mail Online.6Th. Oct.2009

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