Herbs & Plants

Eleutherococcus senticosus

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Botanical Name : Eleutherococcus senticosus
Family: Araliaceae
Genus: Eleutherococcus
Species: E. senticosus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales

Common Name :E. senticosus ,Siberian Ginseng or eleuthero

Habitat ; Eleutherococcus senticosus is native to  E. Asia – China, Japan, Siberia.  It grows in the mixed and coniferous mountain forests, forming small undergrowth or groups in thickets and edges. Sometimes found in oak groves at the foot of cliffs, very rarely in high forest riparian woodland.

Eleutherococcus senticosus  is a deciduous shrub growing to 2m at a slow rate. It is hardy to zone 3. It flowers in July in most habitats. The flowers are hermaphroditic and are pollinated by insects.

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Prefers a light warm open loamy humus-rich soil and a position sheltered from north and east winds. Prefers a well-drained soil and full sun. (A surprising report, this species is a woodland plant and we would expect it to prefer shade) Tolerates urban pollution and poor soils. Plants are hardy to at least -15°c if they are sheltered from cold winds. A highly polymorphic species. Siberian ginseng is cultivated as a medicinal plant in Russia and China.
Propagation :
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame. It can be slow to germinate. Stored seed requires 6 months warm followed by 3 months cold stratification and can be very slow to germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse for at least the first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Cuttings of ripe wood of the current season’s growth, 15 – 30cm long in a cold frame. Root cuttings in late winter. Division of suckers in the dormant season

Edible Uses: Tea….Young leaves and buds – cooked. The dried leaves are used as a tea substitute.

Chemical constituents:
The major constituents of E. senticosus are ciwujianoside A-E, eleutheroside B (syringin), eleutherosides A-M, friedelin, and isofraxidin

Medicinal Uses:
E. senticosus is an adaptogen that has a wide range of health benefits attributed to its use. Currently, most of the research to support the medicinal use of E. senticosus is in Russian or Korean. E. senticosus contains eleutherosides, triterpenoid saponins that are lipophilic and that can fit into hormone receptors.  Extracts of E. senticosus have been shown to have a variety of biological effects in vitro or in animal models:

*Increased endurance/anti-fatigue
memory/learning improvement



Chinese herbology, Eleutherococcus senticosis is used to treat bone marrow suppression caused by chemotherapy or radiation, angina, hypercholesterolemia, and neurasthenia with headache, insomnia, and poor appetite.

Eleutherococcus senticosus has been shown to have significant antidepressant-like effects in rats

There has been much research into Siberian ginseng in Russia since the 1950s, although the exact method by which it stimulates stamina and resistance to stress is not yet understood.  Siberian ginseng seems to have a general tonic effect on the body, in particular on the adrenal glands, helping the body to withstand heat, cold, infection, other physical stresses and radiation.  It has even been given to astronauts to counter the effects of weightlessness.  Athletes have experienced as much as a 9% improvement in stamina when taking Siberian ginseng.  Siberian ginseng is given to improve mental resilience, for example, during exams, and to reduce the effects of physical stress, for example during athletic training.  Siberian ginseng is most effective in the treatment of prolonged exhaustion and debility, resulting from overwork and long-term stress.  The herb also stimulates immune resistance and can be taken in convalescence to aid recovery from chronic illness.  As a general tonic, Siberian ginseng helps both to prevent infection and to maintain well-being.  It is also used in treatments for impotence.  Eleuthero root happens to be anti-yeast and immune supportive.

Interactions and side effects:
*People with medicated high blood pressure should consult their doctor before taking E. senticosus because it may reduce their need for medication.

*E. senticosus will enhance the effectiveness of mycin class antibiotics.

*E. senticosus, when purchased from non-GMP sources, has occasionally been adulterated with Periploca graeca, which can potentiate digoxin or similar drugs; however, this is not an interaction of E. senticosus

Known Hazards :  Caution if high blood pressure. Avoid coffee. 6 weeks maximum use. Avoid during pregnancy. Unsuitable for children. High doses may cause drowsiness, anxiety, irritability, mastalgia and uterine bleeding. Possible blood pressure increases and irregular heart beats. Effects of antidiabetic drugs, sedatives and anticoagulants may be potentiated.

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


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Healthy Tips

Health Benefits of Humor and Laughter

  1. [amazon_link asins=’B00W47ZFAW,0880072199′ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’finmeacur-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’5ddc25ea-f276-11e6-8fa4-cd8ae65ac82e’]Part of the problem in obtaining proof that laughter promotes health or prolongs life is that it is sometimes viewed as being synonymous with humor and happiness. Laughter is not the same as humor or happiness.


Click to see:Humor & Health

Laughter is the physical and physiological response to humor that frequently results in a feeling of happiness.


The only link between all of these is that happy people and those with a good sense of humor are more apt to laugh at something that is funny than their crabby counterparts.

A prior article, titled Why Do Happy People and Optimists Live Longer?, reviewed the evidence that validates this view and discussed possible explanations for such relationships. Since then, this belief has been bolstered by other reports that also shed light on some mechanisms of action that may be responsible.

In one study of 2,500 senior citizens that were followed for six years, those who scored high on a happiness quiz had much fewer strokes than those at the bottom of the scale.

In another study of more than 200 middle-aged healthy London civil service employees, those who reported feeling happy almost every day, whether while at work or on weekends, were significantly healthier and had lower heart rates than others who were not as consistently jolly and gleeful.

Researchers asked participants to rate their happiness at 33 times during work or leisure days during which they also monitored heart rate and blood pressure.

Saliva samples were collected eight times a day to determine concentrations of cortisol, a stress-related hormone that increases risk for heart disease and diabetes.

In addition, all were subjected to a mental stress test, following which they were asked to rate their happiness level on a scale of 1 to 5 and blood samples were obtained to measure fibrinogen, a blood clotting factor and index of inflammation associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease.

After adjusting for age, smoking, weight and other possible influences, it was found that people in the top fifth for daily happiness scores had cortisol levels 32 percent lower than those in the bottom quintile. Happiness was also linked to a lower average heart rate in men. While the majority showed some rise in fibrinogen following the mental stress test, this was far greater for the least happy group compared to those at the other end of the scale.

Surprisingly, there was no evidence of any relationship between happiness levels and age, sex, marital status or socioeconomic status. The happiest people reported feeling that way whether working or during leisure time but those who were least happy tended to report this more while they were working.

Low-Rung Employees, High Mortality Rates

These subjects were part of the large ongoing Whitehall II study designed to determine the causes and health effects of job stress in British civil service workers. The original Whitehall study that started in 1967 showed that males in the lowest clerical jobs had the highest overall mortality rate and heart disease death rate whereas top administrators had the least; there was a consistent inverse correlation between mortality and grade of employment for those in between.

The second, Whitehall II, began in 1985, and was designed to confirm and explore the reasons for this disparity. In one phase, investigators interviewed over 2,000 male civil servants aged 45-68 who had completed questionnaires detailing their medical history, job title and responsibilities, mental health, diet, smoking, alcohol use and physical exercise habits.

Various risk factors for coronary disease were measured including heart rate variability (HRV), which reflects the heart‘s ability to adapt to changing situations such as increased physical activity and emotional distress. As emphasized previously, low HRV, a strong predictor of sudden death and coronary events, may be the most accurate way to assess the severity of job stress.

Researchers very recently reported that a diminished HRV was more common in workers at the bottom of the corporate ladder. However, it was also associated with job stress due to a sense of little job control that was independent of civil service employment grade. One might assume that frustrated workers with little job control would be less happy than others.

HeartMath studies have also confirmed that feelings of frustration lower HRV while those of happiness and satisfaction have the opposite effect. In addition, a prior Whitehall II report on male workers showing a link between low HRV and high job stress levels may help explain why both, as well as depression, can contribute to coronary disease.

Low HRV was associated with an increase in cortisol, fibrinogen and other chemicals believed to cause insulin resistance, diabetes, hypertension and other manifestations of metabolic syndrome, a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. This suggests that it is not that healthy people are happy but rather that they promote their health by being happy and thus have a higher HRV

Does Laughter Really Help?

While happiness may be associated with better health or longevity, is there any proof that laughter per se provides similar benefits?

Japanese researchers suggested it might help patients with type 2 diabetes, the most common form of this disease. They showed that there was a significantly smaller spike in blood sugar after a meal when diabetics watched a popular comedy show compared to listening to a boring lecture.

In another study of patients allergic to dust mites and other common irritants, skin lesions shrank after watching Charlie Chaplin‘s antics in Modern Times, whereas a video containing weather information had no effect. There is abundant evidence that laughter can relieve pain, as Norman Cousins had claimed.

A five-year study that began in 2000 called Rx Laughter at UCLA‘s Jonsson Cancer Centre was designed to determine if laughter could lessen the pain and improve immune system function in children suffering from cancer and other chronic diseases.

It started with the help of a $75,000 grant from cable TV network Comedy Central by working with hundreds of children to determine what makes them laugh.

One of the methods used was to ask them to hold their arms in cold water as long as they could for up to three minutes. It was found that kids watching funny videos during the experiment reported significantly less pain and could also keep their arms in the cold water longer than controls not viewing the videos.

Other benefits of laughing reported by this and other groups here and abroad include:

•Relaxation and reduction in muscle tension.
•Lowered production of stress hormones.
•Improved immune system function.
•Reduction in blood pressure.
•Clearing the lungs by dislodging mucous plugs.
•Increasing the production of salivary immunoglobulin A, which defends against infectious organisms that enter through the respiratory tract.
•Aerobic effects that increased the body‘s ability to utilize oxygen.
•A rapid ability to disregard aches and pains or to perceive them as less severe.

SourceArticle written by : Paul J. Rosch, M.D.  President, The American Institute of Stress

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Exercise Health & Fitness

Exercise Protects Against Stress Induced Cell Aging

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Exercise can buffer the effects of stress-induced cell aging, according to new research that revealed actual benefits of physical activity at the cellular level.

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The scientists learned that vigorous physical activity as brief as 42 minutes over a 3-day period, similar to federally recommended levels, can protect individuals from the effects of stress by reducing its impact on telomere length. Telomeres (pronounced TEEL-oh-meres) are tiny pieces of DNA that promote genetic stability and act as protective sheaths by keeping chromosomes from unraveling, much like plastic tips at the ends of shoelaces.

A growing body of research suggests that short telomeres are linked to a range of health problems, including coronary heart disease and diabetes, as well as early death.

“Telomere length is increasingly considered a biological marker of the accumulated wear and tear of living, integrating genetic influences, lifestyle behaviors, and stress,” said Elissa Epel, who is one of the lead investigators. “Even a moderate amount of vigorous exercise appears to provide a critical amount of protection for the telomeres.”

The findings build on previous research documenting that chronic psychological stress takes a significant toll on the human body by impacting the length of telomeres in immune cells. While the exact mechanisms have remained elusive, a research study in 2004 found that the ramifications of stress stretch deep into our cells, affecting telomeres, which are believed to play a key role in cellular aging, and possibly disease development.

The findings also build on previous studies showing that exercise is linked to longer telomeres, but this is the first study to show that exercise — acting as a “stress-buffer” – can prevent the shortening of telomeres due to stress.

Research on telomeres, and the enzyme that makes them, was pioneered by three Americans, including molecular biologist Elizabeth Blackburn who co-discovered the telomerase enzyme in 1985. The scientists received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2009.

“We are at the tip of the iceberg in our understanding of which lifestyle factors affect telomere maintenance, and how,” noted Blackburn.

In the study, 62 post-menopausal women – many of whom were caring for spouses or parents with dementia — reported at the end of each day over three days the number of minutes of vigorous physical activity in which they had engaged. Vigorous activity in the study was defined as “increased heart rate and/or sweating.” They also reported separately their perceptions of life stress that they had experienced during the prior month. Their blood’s immune cells were examined for telomere length.

Results support the discovery six years earlier in premenopausal women that psychological stress has a detrimental effect on immune cell longevity, as it relates to shorter telomeres. The new study showed, however, that when participants were divided into groups – an inactive group, and an active group (i.e., they met federal recommendations for 75 minutes of weekly physical activity) – only the inactive high stress group had shorter telomeres. The active high stress group did not have shorter telomeres. In other words, stress predicted shorter telomeres in the sedentary group, but not in the active group.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests 75 minutes of vigorous activity a week for adults, or 150 minutes of moderate activity in addition to weight-bearing exercises. For children and adolescents, recommended levels are 90 minutes per day. For this sample of older women, it appears that the CDC-recommended level of vigorous exercise for adults may be enough to buffer the effects of stress on telomeres. However, the researchers say, this finding needs to be replicated with larger samples.

“At this point, we have replicated previous findings showing a link between life stress and the dynamics of how cells age,” said lead author Eli Puterman. “Yet we have extended those findings to show that, in fact, there are things we can do about it. If we maintain the levels of physical activity recommended, at least those put forth by the CDC, we can prevent the unyielding damage that psychological stress may have on our body.”

“Our findings also reveal that those who reported more stress were less likely to exercise over the course of the study,” he said.”While this finding may be discouraging, it offers a great opportunity to direct research to specifically examine these vulnerable stressed individuals to find ways to engage them in greater physical activity.”

The researchers are now embarking on another research project in which participants will learn their own telomere length. The scientists will test whether discovering one’s personal telomere length will motivate people to make lifestyle changes such as exercising more, reducing stress and eating less processed red meat, all factors that have been linked to telomere length.

You may click to see:->
*Joint Pain
*Fitness is Critical to Staying Mentally Sharp as We Age

*Study Suggests Running More Beneficial for Building Stronger Bones
*Physical Fitness Increases Brain Size in Elderly


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Practice Yoga Daily To Earn Maximum Gains

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Yoga is a low impact form of exercise and when it’s far from being easy, there are plenty of exercises that would suit elderly people. Keeping fit is very important for younger people and in their busy schedule, only yoga can keep them healthier and stress free. Many diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, rheumatism, and arthritis can be aggravated due to lack of exercises. Through yoga, obese problem can also be sorted.
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Yoga focuses a lot on breathing that keeps you relax and calm. Yoga looks at self development with discipline, confidence and an earnest effort. It is good for your body because the sorts of movements it includes are for the benefit and limberness of each and every part of the body. An integral part of yoga includes meditation and if your mind doesn’t tune rightly, you can’t perform yoga properly.

Yoga has a lot health benefits. It develops the immune system and gives for better blood circulation in the body. It gives complete control over your mind, anxiety, stress and depression. By practicing yoga everyday, you can control your weight and also lose. Yoga assists in detoxifying the body and also assists to cure lots of illnesses such as heart diseases, chronic fatigue, arthritis, back and joint pain. Yoga reduces stress and tension, assist in concentrating better and also better creative thinking. The mind becomes refreshed, relaxed and rejuvenated after a session of deep meditation.



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Practice Yoga & Sleep Well

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Nothing can make you more refreshed and energised for a long day than a night of sound sleep. Whether you are a corporate professional, a student or a housewife, all of us experience some form of stress in our day to day lives. There is no end to the number of worries and the anxiety that can plague one’s happiness; especially when we go to sleep. For some of us, depending on our lifestyle, this may be the only time that we get in the whole day, to relax our body and mind. This however, becomes difficult when you try too hard to relax. It only makes your body tenser.

There are numerous benefits of a night of good, sound sleep. It is when you sleep that your body repairs the damaged cells in it. It also helps increase your concentration and retention power because your mind is relaxed. When you do not get this dose of sleep, you feel tired, drained out and unable to concentrate on work at hand. Worse, if this continues, it leads to disorders like insomnia and sometimes people even start hallucinating.

While there are drugs and chemicals to superficially cure you of such disorders and make you sleep, nothing can replace the benefits of a natural remedy. Yoga is such an experimental science. Through yoga, you learn to experiment and understand your own body. It automatically tells you what is good for your body and what is not, what relaxes your body and what does not. The external environment around you will then no longer matter, because you know that you can calm your body down no matter where you are and give it the relaxation it needs. You will not need to depend on anything else to get that night’s sleep.

Shavasana is a relatively common relaxation yogasana but its benefits are innumerous. It relaxes your entire being. This asana should be practiced before sleep as it will take away all your physical and mental fatigue and make you aware of your own body. Ujjayi Pranayama when done in Shavasana helps in inducing sleep. It is a tranquilising  pranayama and a perfect cure for insomnia. It has an enormous soothing effect on the nervous system and calms down your nerves. Matsya Kridasana is another relaxation asana that can be practiced before going to sleep. It is especially helpful in calming down. Source

Source: Dec 13.’09

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