To date I have spent about 10 years as a consultant in developing countries, and some of my assignments were to place that most people wouldn't chose as a vacation destination. I became concerned with the natural treatment of intestinal parasites and started to recommend a cocktail of wormwood (here is a good NPR article on Wormwood) black walnut and cloves to colleagues who were suffering the effects of an infection (I learned long ago to always boil my water, wash vegies with a few drops of bleach in a sink-full of water, and in restaurants to order mineral water with gas that way you know that it isn't tap water). You know about an ounce of prevention and a pound of cure, right? Wormwood isn't particularly tasty, in fact, most people find it quite bitter.
I got to know Schistosoma mansoni while on the faculty at Oklahoma State University. I use to hang out at the vet school because a good friend, a Ph.D. biologist not a DVM, who taught the parasite courses and had a great lab full of large jars with interesting critters in them. In fact I hung out at the vet school enough that I ended up teaching the practice management course for them. I like hanging out with vets, they are kind people, the love animals and are closer to nature than most people. Anyway my bio-sci prof friend had taught me enough about parasites that I knew what to expect when colleagues in developing countries started to feel the effects.
So here is the good news if you don't like the taste of Wormwood but insist on traveling to high risk countries (and parasite infections happen in first-world countries too). Here is a 2019 paper where live Schistosoma mansoni worms were treated with Nigella sativa or fennel flower aka black cumin. The researchers reported that the mortality rate of worms reached 88.9 percent after they were treated with 100 and 80 micrograms per milliliter (mcg/ml) Chitosan Nanoparticles loaded with Nigella sativa (NSLCN), and 84.6 percent after they were treated with 80 and 60 mcg/ml. After 48 hours, the researchers observed variable effects on the motility and death of the worms. Death rate reached 100 percent in all groups treated with NSCLN. The tea reported in the NPR article cited above was fennel flower tea.
Here is a good review article that summarizes the use of fennel flower in the treatment of a variety of parasitic infections. And here is another recent article that reports on the use of fennel flower oil in the treatment of Schistosoma mansoni with similar positive results. The use of herbs is important in the treatment of intestinal parasites because traditional chemical drugs are not fully effective against schistosomaisis due to the evolving drug resistant worm strains. It appears that worms, like bacteria, evolve and develop resistance to modern drugs.
Hope you never need this information, but store it away in your just-in-case file.
Dr. Dave, ND
Acne is probably the most common skin condition in the U.S., affecting about 80 percent of the population at one time or another during their lives. It usually developed when skin pores become clogged or infected with bacteria. The skin is your largest eliminatory organ. Think about what happens when any of your eliminatory organs get clogged up.
I usually recommend that individuals with acne breakouts consider a colon cleanse (twice a year I do a 15-day cleanse with NutriRise Colon Cleanse (no they don't pay me) that I get from Amazon). I also suggest a liver detox. Here are my four favorite "home remedies" for treating acne.
Doc Dave, ND
I love sesame seeds, not so sure about the bagel part, and here is why.
These little seeds are packed with good stuff. Here is what you get in one tablespoon of sesame seeds (source):
L-Theanine probably isn't on the top of your list of amino acids. I can think of five or six others that are much more widely known and used. However, than doesn't mean that its not important. Green tea is rich in L-Theanine and this amino acid is one of the reasons why you feel better after a warm cup of green tea. L-Theanine is an anti-anxiety amino acid. Research shows that it works in a way that is similar to certain neurotransmitters (like GABA and glutamate) to relax the brain without causing a sedative response.
Here are five ways that L-Theanine can help you feel better:
1. Mental Alertness
You’ll feel increased awareness with L-theanine thanks to the way that it exerts influence over the brain’s alpha band. You have probably read about the different frequencies or wave states at which your brain functions. The alpha state is the frequency band that your brain enters when at a resting state. Alpha waves aid overall mental coordination, calmness, alertness, mind/body integration and learning. This means that L-Theanine can help you feel alert, yet relaxed. Part of this comes from the paring of caffeine with L-Theanine. The combination helps you achieve rapid alertness (within about 30 minutes of your cup of tea) for demanding tasks, without the anxious effects of strong caffeine on its own. See here and here.
2. Anxiety and Stress Relief
L-theanine has the potential for serious relief from anxiety or chronic stress. Research finds that L-theanine can prevent low levels of anxiety and promote overall relaxation. A 2007 study showed that L-theanine works by reducing the body’s stress response, like increased heart rate, due to its ability to downgrade the activity of the sympathetic nervous system, the “fight or flight” response.
3. Better Sleep Quality
L-theanine doesn’t induce sleep or cause drowsiness, it may help you to fall asleep faster. Anxiety, stress, and restlessness are often at the root of insomnia. L-theanine calms the area of the brain that constantly runs under this stress pattern, allowing the mind to calm and the body to naturally fall into a state of rest. It appears that L-theanine is especially helpful for those with hyperactivity issues, like ADHD.
4. Supports Immunity
I really like this effect. Stress can damage the immune system in the long-term, resulting in more frequent episodes of illness and infection. Stress downregulates certain immune cells while activating others and this can make us more susceptible to illness and infection. L-theanine counteracts this process by giving a boost to the immune system cells that fight infection and tumors (See this article and this one too about cold and flu symptoms). As a result, L-theanine decreases your chance of getting the common cold or the flu (here and here). In addition, L-theanine can also help those who struggle with allergies. When you take L-theanine, it reduces the release of histamine to prevent immune over-response (here and here).
5. Promotes Healthy Blood Pressure Levels
Stress can also lead to higher blood pressure levels, which can become an ongoing health challenge in chronic cases. So it stands to reason that decreased stress levels would help promote healthy blood pressure levels. L-theanine does more than that, it also supports healthy blood vessel function by boosting natural nitric oxide production in the body, lowering blood pressure during stressful situations.
While cholesterol alone isn’t a risk factor for heart disease and your body, especially your brain, needs cholesterol oxidized LDL cholesterol can be dangerous. Fortunately, L-theanine can protect against oxidation of LDL and hardening of the arteries.
The next time you get the urge for a cup of Joe, give your body a boost and pour a cup of green tea instead.
To your health,
Dr. Dave, ND