The organic benefits of the herb Barberry Root and it’s special properties

By Jon Barron

There are many natural foods that help with digestion and colon cleansing, but few are like Barberry root. It can aid in the secretion of bile to support liver health, act as a mild purgative to disinfect and cleanse the colon, and help regulate the digestive processes all in one swoop. It has anti-microbial properties that are especially beneficial for the skin and intestinal tract.

Barberry is an evergreen shrub that grows throughout the temperate and subtropical regions of the world. It is a common ornamental, and you may have even seen this natural health ingredient in your local landscaping. Barberry has been used medicinally all over the world for at least the last 2,500 years. In fact, more than three dozen medicinal uses for barberry have been discovered.

Most similar to goldenseal, barberry contains the active substance berberine, a bitter alkaloid. Berberine extracts and decoctions have demonstrated significant antimicrobial activity against a variety of organisms, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoans, helminths, and chlamydia. The antibacterial properties of the alkaloid berbamine have shown activity against Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Salmonella, Shigella, and Escherichia Coli. It may also help the immune system function better.

Currently, the predominant clinical uses of berberine include treating bacterial diarrhea, intestinal parasite infections, and ocular trachoma infections. Some studies have found that barberry may ease the symptoms associated with diarrhea more quickly than with antibiotics alone. Berberine also aids in the secretion of bile and is good for liver health, acts as a mild purgative, and helps regulate the digestive processes.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, the liquid extract of barberry has been shown to have beneficial effects on both the cardiovascular and neural system. As such, it may be useful in the treatment of hypertension (nit dilates blood vessels), tachycardia (rapid heartbeat), and some neuronal disorders, such as epilepsy and convulsions.

And that’s not all! In a study published in “Circulation Journal” in May 2012, it was reported that an active compound in barberry, berbamine, may also help protect your heart from ischemia/reperfusion injury. Another study shows that berbamine may also strengthen the heart, enhancing the contraction of heart muscles by increasing the sensitivity of cells to calcium, a mineral that regulates muscle contraction.

Along with its antibacterial, antifungal properties, barberry also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity that not only work internally, but externally as well. As such, it has been used to help treat skin conditions such as psoriasis, acne and eczema. In addition, it has been used to help ease inflammation and infections such as:

  • Bladder and urinary tract infections
  • Respiratory related issues such as sore throat, nasal congestion and sinusitis, and it can also reduce bronchial constriction
  • Candida infections

In addition, recent research also supports the theory that barberry may offer some type of protection against Type 2 diabetes. The study involved participants consuming a preparation containing barberry and milk thistle for 90 days. The study found that barberry, when used along with milk thistle, helps stabilize blood sugar levels and treat diabetes.

Barberry is also rich in vitamin C but should not be used on a regular basis to provide nutrients. Other than exceptional circumstances, you should not use barberry for more than seven days at a time without the supervision of your doctor. Then wait at least a week before using barberry again. This gives the beneficial bacteria in the intestinal tract a chance to recover. For this reason, it is also recommended to supplement with a good probiotic formula after using barberry to speed up the rebuilding process. Another caution is that barberry can decrease heart rate and depress the breathing, which can be benefits under certain conditions.

Barberry rootbark is available in many forms and the fruit, which is not generally considerd medicinal, can often be found in jams, jellies and juices. As a medicinal herb you can find barberry in the form of capsules, liquid extracts, tinctures and in topical ointments. You may even find the dried roots in tea form.

The Organic Info on Vit C and Cataracts

By Jon Barron

We’ve talked a number of times before about how the press frequently gets stories about health and nutrition wrong. Often it’s because they literally copy summaries of recently published studies that were sent to them by the big news agencies such as Reuters, AP, and UPI. Never bothering to even glance at the original studies, the press takes what the news agencies supply them as gospel and republish those stories making some minor changes in wording to make it look like an original story.

Unfortunately, the news agencies frequently get the story wrong when writing up their summaries–or more accurately, leave out key parts to “simplify” the story for their clients in the press–so that misleading information is often published by hundreds of media outlets throughout the world…and assumed to be gospel by the public. After all, if everyone is saying the same thing, it must be true.

The Organic News About Cataracts

Cataracts affect about 24 million people in the US and are very common in older people. By age 80, more than half of all Americans either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery.1Worldwide, cataracts are the leading cause of blindness,2 accounting for about 48% of all cases–with about 18 million people blind in both eyes as a result.3

Essentially, there are:

  • Multiple triggers for cataracts
  • Two primary pathways
  • But when all is said and done, only one cause.

Cataracts occur when there is a buildup of protein in the lens that makes it cloudy. The lens itself is primarily made up of water and proteins. The proteins in the lens are arranged in a perfect physiochemical balance, ensuring that the lens is perfectly transparent. Once a cataract starts, however, it progresses as new lens cells form on the outside of the lens, compacting all the older cells into the center of the lens resulting in the cataract getting progressively denser and more opaque. These are known as nuclear cataracts. (Two variations are cortical cataracts, which are wedge-shaped and form around the edges of the nucleus, and posterior capsular cataracts, which form faster than the other two types and affect the back of the lens.) In any case, that’s the sole cause of all cataracts: damage to the proteins in the cells of the lens. But as I mentioned earlier, there are multiple triggers that can spark the initial seed, without which there is no cataract to progress.

Free Radical Damage & Cataracts

A free radical is an especially reactive atom or group of atoms that has one or more unpaired electrons. If you remember your high school chemistry, you will remember that electrons come in pairs. When one electron is lost from that pair, it makes the atom “highly reactive” as it looks to replace that lost electron anywhere it can. In your body, those replacement electrons come from cells in your body–destroying those cells in the process.

Free radicals put your body in a state of oxidative stress in which your body is no longer able to maintain a balance between the appearance of reactive oxygen species and its ability to detoxify those free radicals or to repair the resulting damage. A single free radical can destroy an enzyme, a protein molecule, a strand of DNA, or an entire cell. Even worse, that one free radical can unleash, in a fraction of a second, a torrential chain reaction that produces a million or more additional killer free radicals–each out hunting for living cells to destroy like a herd of sharks in a mindless feeding frenzy.

The proteins in the lens of the eye are especially vulnerable, which is why a number of antioxidants are concentrated in the eye to protect it from free radical damage. Free radical damage can be halted by anti- oxidants, but as we age, our bodies produce more harmful free radicals and less natural antioxidants. The net result is that damage from free radicals gradually begins to accumulate. Such free radical damage can happen in the cells of the eye, which, coupled with the damage caused by glycation, worsens the situation with regard to cataracts.

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