Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a chronic gastrointestinal disorder characterized by abdominal pain and bloating with an alteration in bowel habits ranging from diarrhea to constipation. IBS is one of the most common causes of visits to the doctor in the United States. It affects between 10-20% of Americans, with women being 2-3 times more likely to develop IBS than men. Unlike bowel diseases such as Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, IBS is not associated with any inflammation or structural change to the intestine. Instead, IBS is caused by dysfunctional patterns in bowel motility. IBS appears to be another problem of Western society, decreasing in frequency for people removed from the influences of Western culture on their diet. It has significantly lower incidence among Asians, Africans, and Hispanics and is most common in people of northern European descent. Although there is no known cure, the symptoms can be controlled through diet and lifestyle changes.
Lifestyle changes should involve the minimization of stress, as this is a significant trigger for IBS. In one study, researchers looked at how different emotions affected muscle contractions of the colon. Even at rest, IBS patients generally had more active colons than those in the control group. Stressful emotions, such as anger, caused colon muscle contractions to significantly increase in IBS patients, while happiness reduced colonic spasms. Another study looked at how the stress caused by lack of sleep affects IBS. A significant correlation was noted between the severity of morning IBS symptoms and the quality of the previous night’s sleep. Finally, even environmental factors such as hot, humid weather can serve as stressors for IBS patients. Meditation, yoga, acupuncture, and hypnosis have all shown promise in helping IBS sufferers cope with the stresses that can trigger IBS.
Dietary changes should involve avoiding bowel irritants such as caffeine, alcohol, high fat foods, and artificial sweeteners, and incorporating the appropriate use of fiber. There are two types of dietary fiber, soluble and insoluble. While both types of fiber are necessary in a healthy diet, insoluble fiber can trigger severe attacks of pain and diarrhea in IBS sufferers. Insoluble fiber is rough, high-residue, and can be irritating to the digestive tract. It is found in foods such as whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and some fruits and vegetables. Insoluble fiber should be eaten in small portions, always along with soluble fiber foods. Soluble fiber, in contrast insoluble fiber, is smooth, low-residue, and soothing to the digestive tract. It is found in foods such as rice, oatmeal, cornmeal, potatoes, and some fruits and vegetables. Soluble fiber should always be the first thing eaten on an empty stomach, and it should form the basis of every snack and meal.
An aid to people suffering from IBS and other digestive issues is acacia soluble fiber. This particular type of fiber regulates bowel motility, prevents spasms, and has the remarkable ability to normalize colonic activity from the extremes of either diarrhea or constipation. It can be added to any liquid or moist food; it is tasteless, odorless, grit-free, non-thickening, and gluten free. Acacia fiber helps keep the colon consistently stabilized by providing it with a regular supply of soluble fiber.
Question: What is the difference between Medical Marijuana and CBD?
Answer: Medical Marijuana contains many compounds, specifically cannabinoids. CBD is one of those cannabinoids and happens to be the most therapeutic of all the cannabinoids. CBD can presently be purchased without a prescription, over the counter, at pharmacies and health food stores. Medical Marijuana will only be available in Pennsylvania by prescription for specific health disorders. Medical Marijuana contains THC, which is the cannabinoid which makes people high; CBD does not contain THC and does not make people high. CBD has the following potential benefits: reduces inflammation, relieves pain, reduces nausea, relieves anxiety and depression, reduces seizures, reduces muscle spasms, aids sleep, reduces blood sugar, and may have anti-cancer properties. CBD supposedly has most of the medical benefits of medical marijuana, without the negatives.
Question: My friend is using a hemp oil product that she says has helped her arthritis more than prescription medicines. Is hemp oil legal in Pennsylvania?
Answer: Yes, Hemp Oil is legal in PA and we sell it. People are in confusion on the difference between Hemp derived products and Marijuana. It comes down to the THC content. THC is the compound in Marijuana that makes people high. Hemp has less than 0.3% THC in its flower buds, whereas Marijuana is selectively grown to have a high THC content, even up to 30%. People cannot get high with hemp. Medical Hemp is hemp grown for its CBD content. CBD is the main compound in hemp that has medicinal properties. CBD has many more medical uses than THC. Medical Marijuana contains both THC and CBD. Medical Hemp contains high CBD and other useful cannabinoids, but very low to no THC. Some companies guarantee no THC content. Medical Hemp oil and CBD are legal to be sold and this is great news. You do not have to medically qualify for it or to get it from a dispensary. CBD/ hemp oil have the potential for helping a number of illnesses, including: anxiety, depression, pain, inflammation, arthritis, seizures, PTSD, addiction, MS, cancer and more. However, buyers beware: not all hemp oil/ CBD products are equal. Choose a reputable company.
Question: Is a Hemp Oil product with higher levels of CBG more effective than a Hemp Oil that only contains CBD?
Answer: The research on CBG (Cannabigerol) is rather new and not as extensive as CBD. Early research has shown that CBG relieves pain, reduces seizures, reduces inflammation systemically, induces sleep, inhibits cancer cell growth, promotes bone growth, and stimulates growth of new brain cells. Our manufacturer of CBD Hemp oil products states that the addition of greater amounts of CBG to a full spectrum CBD Hemp oil can enhance its potency by 250%. That’s a bold statement and more research is needed to prove that. My advice to people is that if you try a reasonable potency CBD Hemp oil product and don’t see the results you want, you may want to try one with greater concentrations of CBG and see if it works better for you. Full Spectrum Hemp products will almost always out- perform isolated CBD products.
Have more questions? Please call us at Specialty Herbal Products 724.852.1949
Michael Sena, A.C.P.T., A.C.F.S.
CBD OIL - “CANNABINOIDS”,
AND THE POWER OF NATURAL HEALING!
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Cannabidiol—CBD—is a cannabis compound that has significant medical benefits, but does not make people feel “stoned” and according to recent studies, counteract Hyper-Sensitivity to THC in some cases. The fact that CBD-rich cannabis is non-psychoactive or less psychoactive than THC-dominant strains makes it an appealing option for patients looking for relief from inflammation, pain, anxiety, psychosis, seizures, spasms, and other conditions without disconcerting feelings of lethargy or dysphoria some experience from High THC Cannabis. Scientific and clinical research—much of it sponsored by the US government—underscores CBD’s potential as a treatment for a wide range of conditions, including arthritis, diabetes, alcoholism, MS, chronic pain, schizophrenia, PTSD, depression, antibiotic-resistant infections, epilepsy, and other neurological disorders. CBD has demonstrable neuroprotective and neurogenic effects, and its anti-cancer properties are currently being investigated at several academic research centers in the United States and elsewhere.
Goji berries are considered to be one of the greatest tonic herbs in the world. They are revered in Asia for their youth preserving, health protective, strengthening and mood-elevating properties. They have been used in China for over 5,000 years as a health-enhancing herb. Goji is classified in traditional Chinese medicine as a yin jing herb. Yin jing herbs tonify the kidney/adrenal organ system, which is considered the seat of energy, drive and longevity.
People who have lived a stressful life are in particular need of yin jing herbs. Goji berries (also known as Wolfberries or Happy berries) are unquestionably one of the supreme superfoods in the world. They are considered to be perhaps the premier anti-aging herb known to mankind. Goji berries have many health benefits.
They are extremely high in antioxidants, having the highest ORAC (antioxidant) value. They are as rich in vitamin C as oranges and lemons, and they are one of the richest sources of carotenoids found in nature. No other food on earth has more beta-carotene than Goji berries. They are also rich in the carotenoid zeaxanthin, which is an antioxidant pigment that protects vision. Goji berries are potent immune-potentiators.
Lycium Barbarum Polysaccharide, a phytochemical found in Goji berries, is being studied all over the world because of its immune-boosting power. Goji has been shown to protect our DNA from breaking down. It is believed to be a human growth hormone secretagogue, which means that it stimulates the release of HGH, which is a hormone that slows down aging. Goji also improves fat metabolism and helps regulate sugar metabolism, two actions that mitigate premature aging. An extract of Goji has been shown in studies to help build muscle, reduce fat and increase both physical and mental energy in those who consume it regularly. Goji is very beneficial to those who have sugar related problems. It has been proven to have significant blood sugar lowering effects and can be eaten by anyone (in moderation, of course).
Goji is considered a “beauty food” in China and throughout Asia. It helps prevent drying and wrinkling of skin. Millions of people in Asia consume Goji daily to retain their youthful appearance. It is also said to have a positive influence on sexuality and sexuality. In addition, Goji can reduce inflammation throughout the body, and in particular in the cardiovascular system. Cardiovascular inflammation has recently been considered one of prime risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Goji is high in the nutrient betaine, which has a wide range of benefits that include nerve calming, memory enhancing, liver protecting and cardiovascular protection properties. Last, but not least, Goji is said to enhance the mood, hence the name “happy berries.” Research in England has shown that consumption of Goji berries for several months significantly enhances people’s mood.
Goji berries need to be eaten regularly to cash in on their full health benefits: 1 or 2 ounces daily. Choose genuine Goji berries that that are “di tao,” a concept that means they are harvested from the area that they originally grew. Goji berries were originally native to the Heaven Mountain region of China, a remote area that is a thousand miles from any industry; where glacial melt waters semi-desert soils rich in alkaline minerals; a land of extreme temperature fluctuations and harsh climate.
Curcumin is a polyphenol present in the spice turmeric and was used by Indians over 3,000 years ago in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. In present day, Curcumin is impressing scientists around the world with its remarkable multiple health benefits. Modern research has found that Curcumin has anti-oxidative, immunomodulatory, apoptotic, hepatoprotective, anti-inflammatory, and antiangiogenic properties. Curcumin is best known for its ability to quell inflammation. Many people take Curcumin for joint inflammation and pain. Curcumin works as an anti-inflammatory through many pathways (NF-kappaB, cyclooxygenase, lipoxgenase, interleukins, and tumor necrosis factor). Curcumin is also a great detoxifying agent, increasing powerful detoxifying enzymes like glutathione. Glutathione is the key detoxifying enzyme in our bodies. It is used in ridding our bodies of mercury and other heavy metals as well as numerous toxic organic compounds. I recently attended a nutritional conference in New York City, and Curcumin was the buzz. Research is showing that Curcumin is proving to be a wonder herb with the capacity to prevent degenerative diseases and extend life span. Clinical trials suggest Curcumin can help maintain healthy lipid profiles, bowel health, and joint functions. It also can help maintain normal healthy platelet function and has immunomodulatory effects by inhibiting histamine release from mast cells. Other studies show Curcumin’s potential for supporting healthy brain function and offering neuroprotection. Curcumin may effectively support pancreatic islet health. Curcumin’s multifaceted effects include protecting against estrogen-mimicking chemicals. Many man-made chemicals act like estrogen in our bodies. Dr. John Lee, one of the leading experts on female hormonal conditions, believed most women have excess estrogen due to their constant exposure to estrogen mimicking chemicals. Curcumin can counterbalance the effects of these estrogen-like compounds. Curcumin is a great antioxidant nutrient and also assists in normal cell cycle growth, which, in turn, prevents cancer cells from getting started. The only problem with Curcumin as a supplement is that it is very poorly absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract. Only a fraction of it actually gets into the blood stream. Recently, a company has developed a Curcumin product called BCM-95 Bio-Curcumin, which absorbs up to seven times better than conventional Curcumin. BCM-95 provides a far greater peak blood level, and it remains in the bloodstream almost twice as long as conventional Curcumin supplements. The enhanced delivery complex provides other beneficial turmeric compounds in addition to standardized Curcumin.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Motrin, Mobic, and Naproxen used to be one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in medicine. They were used for arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. However, research showed they were causing numerous deaths from side effects: 64,000 deaths per year, most of which were from gastrointestinal bleeds from ulcers. These drugs quelled inflammation by inhibiting the COX-2 enzymes, but they also blocked COX-1 enzymes, which protected the stomach and intestinal linings. This problem was thought to be solved when more specific NSAIDs were developed which blocked only the COX-2 pathways. As with all “miracle drugs” which work exclusively at specific receptor sites, as opposed to natural medicines which work more broadly at multiple receptor sites and pathways, these new COX-2 inhibitors caused fatal side effects: increased heart attacks. The problem with many of our newer pharmaceuticals is that they are too specific and too strong. Their action is exclusive for one receptor site, enzyme, or metabolic pathway; and their binding ability to that site is too powerful: totally shutting down the enzyme system or pathway. Enzyme systems in our bodies need tweaked and modulated, never eradicated. That is why drugs come and go, but the same natural herbal medicines continue to be used in various cultures century after century. For thousands of years, folk medicine practitioners have used the herb Boswellia to treat a wide range of inflammatory conditions. The herbal extract is derived from gum resin secreted by the boswellia tree found in India, Africa, China, and the Middle East. Boswellia decreases inflammation by partially blocking the 5-LOX enzyme and the HLE enzyme, as well as other inflammatory enzymes. A pre-clinical animal study demonstrated boswellia’s benefits in managing osteoarthritis. Dogs suffering from osteoarthritis received boswellia extract once daily for 6 weeks. After only 2 weeks of therapy, 71% of the animals showed significant improvements. In a human study, boswellia was similarly shown to be effective. Thirty subjects with osteoarthritis of the knee took part in a 16-week placebo-controlled trial. All of those who took boswellia reported less pain and swelling, increased knee flexion, and the ability to walk a greater distance. Studies indicated that boswellia’s anti-inflammatory ability and its ability to modulate the immune system might help improve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune conditions. Boswellia is also showing promise for people that suffer from Ulcerative Colitis and Chron’s disease. In a clinical trial of 30 Ulcerative Colitis patients, 20 patients took boswellia extract 3 times a day for 6 weeks, while 10 patients in the control group took the standard drug for Ulcerative Colitis: sulfasalazine. A remarkable 90% of those treated with boswellia showed improvement, compared to only 60% of the drug treatment group. Even more impressive was that 70% of the boswellia treated patients went into disease remission, compared to 40% of those taking sulfasalazine. Boswellia is also showing promise in the prevention of several forms of cancer and in the treatment of Asthma. Boswellia ranks shoulder-to-shoulder with Turmeric as a natural anti-inflammatory wonder.
As a pharmacist, I have specialized in nutritional supplements for over twenty years. I have worked as a pharmacist for about thirty years and have owned a health food store for over twenty years. I first became interested in vitamins as a child, but it wasn’t till my early twenties that I started using herbs. I was literally amazed how effective herbal medicine can be: sometimes amazed; sometimes disappointed. It takes a lot of trial and error to find what works well and what doesn’t. There are good products and there are fads. There are products that have stood the test of time and others that are here today and gone tomorrow. There is a lot of hype and exaggeration in the natural products industry. People will do anything to sell something and make money. The drug companies are no different. On this website I have tried to list what I feel are some of the best natural products on the market. It is by no mean exhaustive. I have chosen these because they have proven themselves to me either by personal experience, customer feedback, or because of the solid science behind their formulas and the reputation of the companies that manufacture them.