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IN FRATERNAM MEAM
Friday, March 28, 2008
DO HERBAL MEDICINE WORK?
YEARS AGO, I WITNESSED AN OPEN HEART OPERATION at the University of shanghai in China. The surgeons using acupuncture as the only "anesthesia". This experience left me with an open mind about the possibilities of what was then called "alternative medicine".

Natural remedies have been used for centuries. In fact, many of the prescription drugs we take are plant based. Some 5 billion people worldwide rely solely on traditional plant based treatments to heal what ails them, and more than half of Americans take dietary supplements, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH).

Unfortunately, the FDA does not supervise the manufacture or importation of herbal remedies. The pill you take may not contain what's listed on the label, and there is a risk of contamination. Until recently, claims about the effectiveness of supplements had not been tested.

The good news is that large and well-designated trials of many natural therapies are being conducted to determine their effectiveness. Here is what we know so far.

GINSENG. This popular herb has long been used to boost energy, increase sex drive, prolong lie and improve appetite. However, most of the research supporting its effectiveness was performed on animals. Try it if you like, but don't take ginseng if you have heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or are taking an anticoagulant.

GARLIC. Marketed as a pill, capsule or powder, garlic supplements are said to lower cholesterol and blood pressure and to have antibiotic properties. I believe that it does these things -- but not well enough to be sued as the sole treatment for high cholesterol, hypertension or infection. Don't take it if you also are taking aspirin or anticoagulants.

ECHINACEA. Millions of Americans take echinacea because they believe it boosts immunity and helps prevent the common cold. Studies have shown conflicting results, possibly due to variation in the contents of the products tested. It seems that one particular species, Echinacea purpurea, works best. There's no harm in trying it unless you are allergic to ragweed, have an autoimmune disorder or are taking drugs that can hurt the liver.

CHAMOMILE. This herb does have some antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. I recommend chamomile to improve sleep, settle the stomach, soothe a sore throat and relieve bronchial congestion. Some of my patients tell me that it eases the pain of arthritis and menstrual cramps and that a chamomile batch can reduce symptoms of hemorrhoids. Avoid it if you are taking an anticoagulant, are allergic to daisies or are pregnant.

ST. JOHN' S WORT. This herb acts on receptors in the brain to improve mild depression. However, it interacts poorly with some medications and may reduce the effectiveness of oral contraceptives. If you're not taking other medication and your depression is mild, it's OK to try it.

GINKGO BILOBA. Evidence suggests that gingko biloba has a positive effect on the vascular system, probably because it contains flavonoids and organic acids and helps to eliminate free radicals. It has anti-inflammatory properties and reduces the tendency to form blood clots. Some doctors recommend it to boost memory, promote circulation to the legs or ease cognitive impairment due to decreased blood flow to the brain. It's well tolerated at prescribed levels, but don't take it if you also are taking an anticoagulant.

VALERIAN. Valerian has been around for thousands of years and was prescribed by Hippocrates to help his patients relax and sleep. It is probably the most widely used sedative in Europe, where preparations are available for children as well as adults. It is safe, but don't take it for longer than a few weeks.

GINGER. The root is a safe and effective antinauseant, but claims that it benefits the hearts, intestinal tract or lungs are unproven.

SAW PALMETTO. Millions of men worldwide use saw palmetto to treat symptoms of an enlarged prostate. Although it is safe and has few side effects, a recent study in the New England of Medicine found it to be no more effective than a placebo.

HAWTHORN. Leaves and flowers of this tree have been used to treat heart disease since the first century. The NIH has found that it strengthens the heart and may be used to treat mild heart failure. Be sure to let your doctor know if you decide to try it.

BLACK COHOSH. Clinical trials to determine whether black cohosh relieves menopausal symptoms have yielded conflicting results. Some women do experience benefits, and it appears to be safe. But don't use it for more than six months, and don't take it if you have a history of estrogen-dependent tumors.

FEVERFEW. Taken regularly, this herb may prevent (not treat) migraines. Since preparations vary, be sure to find one with at least 0.2 percent parthenolide, the anti-imflmmatory compound believed to make it work.
Feverfew has not serious side effects, but don't ake it if you're pregnant.


These are just a few of the many herbal products available on the market. Remember: Even though they are natural, supplements can interact with other herbs and prescription drugs. If you decide to try one, consult with your doctor first.


SOURCE: (PARADEMAG by: Dr. Isadore Rosenfeld/visit PARADE.COM)
posted by infraternam meam @ 4:20 PM   0 comments
Sunday, March 16, 2008
LO MEIN STREET, USA
Americans love Chinese food. The problem is, most of what we're eating does'nt really come from China.

IN THE UNITED STATES, THERE ARE more Chinese restaurants than McDonalds, Burger King and KCF's combined. Chances are, you've got your own favorite wonton spot. The Presidents Bush - 41 and 43 - do; the Peking Gourment Inn in Falls Church, Va., which has installed bulletproff glass in front of table N17, just for them. In Iraq, homesick American troops frequented the two Chinese restaurants in Bagdhad's Green Zone until they were shut down. even at the American Scientific outpost in Antarctica, every Monday is Chinese food night (though good luck getting it delivered). Beyond peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches or a burger and fries, there may be no food that's more American than Chinese. The boardinghouse where John Wilkes Booth planned the assassination of President Lincoln? It's now an eatery called Wok'n'Roll. But as Jennifer 8. Lee writes in her book "The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: adventures in the World of Chinese food isn't Chinese at all. Chop suey is an American creation. Fortune cookies were invented in Japan. and get this : Kari-Out, the largest Chinese restaurant supplier in the United States, uses no soybeans in its soy sauce.

So what, exactly, are we dousing with all that non-soy sauce? and if it's no more authentic than a pair of fake ivory chopsticks, why do we even bother to eat it? Lee, a reporter for The New York Times, says the cuisine's appeal lies in its dual nature; Chinese food is at once regional and universal, foreign and familiar. It has been a way for Americans to safely dabble in exoticism while holding on to their own cultural traditions. "In the 1950's", she says, "if you ate Chinese food, China itself seemed a lot less threatening." although Chinese restaurants abound in other areas - Korea, Peru, India, Japan, Mexico and Jamaica - with large numbers of Chinese immigrants. Americans have them all beat. According to Lee, Thanksgiving is the only slow day in the Chinese restaurant business, which is why so many waiters and cooks uses that day to get married. It makes sense that we are obsesses with this "ethnic" food that has no true ethnicity; from its roots in a flood of immigration that evolved into a mix cultural contradictions, the story of Chinese food in America is in many ways the story of America itself.

The stream of Chinese immigrations to America has been constant since the Gold Rush in the 1840's and '50's, slowed only briefly by the Chinese Exclusion act o 1882. Prejudice drove the unwelcome immigrants from jobs in the mines and on the railroads, but, as lee writes, "cooking and cleaning were both women's work. They were not threatening to white laborers.". Which is why in 1885 New York City had six Chinese restaurants, but 20 years later there were more than 100. Today, Lee writes, if the immigrations are here illegally and cannot speak English, there's a good chance they'll wind up in New York's Chinatown, where employment agencies post listings from Chinese restaurants around the country. "To these Chinese restaurants workers, who can barely read English, the United States is not a series of towns," Lee writes. "it is a collection of area codes, almost all of which have dozens upon dozens of Chinese restaurants looking for help." Many of these illegal immigrants will have paid a smuggler as much as $70,000 to get them to this country. Such was the case of the 286 illegal immigrants aboard the Golden Venture, a ship that crashed into New York's shore in 1993. Fifteen years later, 90 percent of the immigrants still in the United States were in the chines food business.

They must be shocked by the food they're serving. When you eat by the food they're serving. When you eat out with Lee, you see how dishes have been adapted for American palates. Perusing the manu of a Shanghai style Chinese restaurant in Manhattan, she asks the waiter about traditional whole fish dishes. But when the plate arrives smeared with unnaturally bright red sauce studded with chunks of pineapple, she says, "Oh, I guess it's just sweet and sour". authentic Chinese food often involves bones, shells and eyeballs, " more vegetables, less meat, less oil" she writes - and, one presumes, no fluorescent sauces. But Lee hesitates to label restaurants authentic or inauthentic. "Authenticity is a function of time and place", she says. "I prefer traditional Chinese food. But that wasn't always the case. My taste evolved after I went to china."

But it shouldn't matter if pineapples aren't found in china. Chinese food, whether Cantonese, Hunan, Sichuan or from Beijing, is remarkably adaptive, which explains how it's survived in the trend driven U.S. restaurant world. In Louisiana, Lee sampled Sichuan alligator and soy vinegar crawfish. In Rhode Island she tried chow mein sandwiches; fried noodles on Wonder bread. (Editor's note:yuck.) Chop suey has been replaces by beef with broccoli and General Tso's chicken, though in China more people are probably familiar with the colonel's. So the prevalence of restaurants will likely grow. In the three years Lee spent researching her book, the number of Chinese restaurants in the United States rose from 40,000 to 43,000. Whether the coming years see a surge in popularity of traditional Chinese style fare or gather interpretations of the cuisines (cheesesteak eggrolls, anyone?). Chinese food will continue to represent food for thought about our identity as Americans.

(Source: NEWSWEEKS MAG by: Jennie Yabroff)
posted by infraternam meam @ 6:10 PM   1 comments
LIFE WITHOUT SUGAR
More choices to help you move away from sugar
Although sugar is still sugar, the following can be used in small amounts in place of artificial sweeteners until you're ready to give it up altogether.

BROWN RICE SYRUP
Amber in color, with a mild butterscotch or caramel-like flavor; it's about half as sweet as sugar and is gluten free, according to Connie Bennett, author of "Sugar Shock". The syrup is made by fermenting cooked brown rice with enzymes. After straining off the liquid, the process converts the rice starches into about 50 percent soluble complex carbohydrates, 45 percent maltose and 3 percent glucose.

SORGHUM SYRUP
The National Sweet Sorghum Producers and Processors association makes this very clear; Sorghum syrup is not the same as molasses, a byproduct of the sugar-making process. Sorghum syrup comes from sorghum cane. Genuine sorghum cane. Juices are extracted and then concentrated through evaporation. Genuine sorghum contains nutrients such as iron, calcium and potassium. The association recommends substituting sorghum cup for cup in any recipe or dish that calls for molasses, honey, corn syrup or maple syrup.

REAL MAPLE SYRUP
A little drop goes a long way. It's made by boiling down maple sap and contains a full complement of minerals and is particularly rich in potassium and calcium, said Ann Louse Gittleman, author of "Get the Sugar Out".

BLACKSTRAP MOLASSES
Another Bowden favorite, molasses is the thick syrup that's left after sugar beets or cane is processed for table sugar. Black strap contains the lowest sugar content of the molasses and has a bitter tart flavor. It has good for you ingredients, but few consume enough of the strong flavoured syrup to benefit.

HONEY
Although it has more calories and raises the blood sugar even more than white sugar, Jonny Bowden lists raw, unfiltered honey in his book "The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth" (Fair Winds Press) because it contains enzymes and phytonutrients and has some reported medicinal benefits. But it could cause allergic reactions to pollen sensitive individuals.

DATE SUGAR
If you simply can't do without sugar, this is Gittleman's favorite stain in. It's made from pulverized dried dates; although it has the consistency of sugar, it isn't refined like sugar. It also contains fiber and is high in many minerals. One table spoon of date "sugar" is counted as one fruit exchange in the diabetic exchange system. Because it has an intense flavor, you might be inclined to use less.


(Source: CHICTRIB:QUALITIES OF LIFE by: Julie Deardoff/Tribune Reporter)

posted by infraternam meam @ 5:49 PM   0 comments
About Me

Name: infraternam meam
Home: Chicago, United States
About Me: I am now at the prime of my life and have been married for the past 25 years. Sickly at times, but wants to see the elixir vita, so that I will be able to see my grandchildren from my two boys.
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