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Tony Soprano’s last stand: How heart disease may have led to James Gandolfini’s death

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source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/20/tony-sopranos-last-stand/

Baby Matters recalls recliner linked to infant deaths

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Baby Matters LLC is recalling baby recliners linked to five infant deaths as part of a settlement with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the U.S. agency said on Friday. The settlement calls for the company, based in Berwyn, Pennsylvania, to recall its foam rubber Nap Nanny and Nap Nanny Chill infant recliners and their covers, in exchange for the CPSC dropping an administrative complaint that it filed in December 2012, the agency said in a statement. Four infants have died in the Nap Nanny Generation Two recliners, and a fifth death involved the Chill model, the agency said. The CPSC also received 92 reports of infants hanging or falling over the side of the recliners, including some children who were restrained in the product's harness. The agency urged consumers to stop using Nap Nanny and Nap Nanny Chill recliners. It said Baby Matters was no longer in business and was not accepting returns. About 165,000 of the Nap Nanny and Chill products were sold between 2009 and 2012 for about $130 each. In December 2012, Amazon.com Inc, Buy Buy Baby Inc, Diapers.com, and Toys R Us/Babies R Us {TOY.UL] announced a voluntary recall of Nap Nanny and Chill models sold in their stores. Consumers who bought a Nap Nanny from one of those retailers should contact them for information on receiving a refund, the CPSC said. “CPSC urges other consumers to immediately dispose of the products to ensure that they are not used again,” the statement said.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/14/baby-matters-recalls-recliner-linked-to-infant-deaths/

Red clover: A powerful herb with strong healing properties

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Every year, a beautiful crop of red clover spontaneously matures on my lawn. For a few weeks, the dark pink tops adorn the yard. I always look forward to the blooming of red clover, and I take advantage of the bumper crop in my yard by picking some and drying it for herbal tea. Originating from Europe, northern Asia and Africa, red clover is broadly distributed throughout the United Sates. As a fodder crop red clover is cultivated for animals, and the plant benefits soil by fixing nitrogen, thereby making it an ideal cover crop for enriching soil fertility for other crops. In the U.S., red clover is the state flower of pastoral Vermont. The use of red clover as an herbal remedy goes back centuries, and the plant enjoys a history of both topical and internal applications. As a topical aid, red clover is often an ingredient in liniments and balms, for relieving the pain of both eczema and psoriasis, for sores, burns, and as an aid against skin cancer. The pain-relieving properties of red clover are likely due to the presence of the anti-inflammatory compounds eugenol, myricetin and salicylic acid in the flowers. Salicylic acid also demonstrates activity against eczema. Red clover has long been used as a “blood purifier,” specifically for the potential treatment of cancer. The flower is a mainstay ingredient in traditional herbal formulas, including Essiac Tea, Jason Winters Tea, and the Hoxsey Therapy. In the best selling herbal classic Back to Eden, author Jethro Kloss declares red clover as a life-saving anti-cancer remedy. Proponents of these therapies claim a multitude of successes, while various health agencies including the FDA and the American Cancer Society declare these same formulas to be of no value. In red clover blossoms, the compounds biochanin-A, caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, coumarin, formononetin, genistein and isorhamnetin all demonstrate some anti-cancer properties, according to various published studies. So the truth of red clover’s possible value for treating cancer likely lies between the positions of advocates and critics. One thing is certain: Red clover is a blood thinner. This is due to the concentration of coumarin found in the blossoms. For cases of thrombosis and other conditions in which thick blood obstructs vessels, red clover tea may be of benefit. However, for those who are taking blood-thinning medications, adding red clover to the mix can be a bad idea. Prior to surgery, drinking red clover is not recommended, as doing so may exacerbate surgical bleeding. Because of its concentration of the phytoestrogens daidzein and genistein, which mimic the activity of estrogen, red clover has been studied for its use in alleviating the discomfort of menopause. In one study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the red clover-based product Promensil showed slightly better activity than a placebo for the relief of hot flashes – but overall the results were underwhelming. In general, red clover has not proven especially effective for menopausal discomfort. The same presence of phytoestrogens – plant compounds that mimic estrogen – has led many doctors to warn against using red clover preparations if women have had reproductive health disorders including endometriosis, uterine fibroids, or breast and uterine cancers. The concern is that the phytoestrogens may increase rather than alleviate these conditions. As a gentle cleansing tea drunk on occasion for overall salutary purposes, red clover appears to offer many benefits to health. High in natural protective antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds – and pleasant in flavor – red clover is good for general health, and is a tasty beverage. Rather than buying red clover tea in a store, just harvest a little from your lawn. Dry it on some newspaper for a few days, and you have red clover herbal tea, ready to go.Chris Kilham is a medicine hunter who researches natural remedies all over the world, from the Amazon to Siberia. He teaches ethnobotany at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he is Explorer In Residence. Chris advises herbal, cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies and is a regular guest on radio and TV programs worldwide. His field research is largely sponsored by Naturex of Avignon, France. Read more at& MedicineHunter.com.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/12/healing-properties-red-clover/

Aronia: The North American super berry with cancer fighting properties

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While elderberry from Austria, acai from the Amazon, maqui from Patagonia and sea-buckthorn berry from Northern Asia have all made headlines as super berries packed with nutrition, a lesser known North American berry is gaining ground, poised to hit the nutritional spotlight as a world class super berry: Aronia. Commonly found wild in woodlands and swamps, aronia is also known as chokeberry, due to its astringent flavor. The berries come naturally in three colors – red, purple and black-purple. Aronia melanocarpa, the black-purple species, has a much deeper purple color than blueberries, which are also North American natives. The berry is now cultivated, and that cultivation is expanding in anticipation of the berry’s impending popularity. The deep purple color of Aronia melanocarpa has attracted a lot of scientific attention. Purple fruits by virtue of their color are rich in the category of antioxidants known as anthocyanins. These pigments demonstrate potent cell-protective properties, and are also anti-inflammatory, helping to reduce systemic inflammation – a key factor in the development of chronic diseases. But this is just the start of the benefits offered by aronia. Digging more into the compounds found in this native berry, scientists have found a number of more specific agents, including caffeic acid, cyanidin-3-galactoside, delphinidin, epicatechin, malvidin, and many more. You’ll likely never have to remember these names, but to health researchers, the presence of these compounds in aronia is big news. Combined, these specific agents in aronia are anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-diabetic. They fight the formation of arterial plaque and lower serum cholesterol, and they protect the liver against a host of insults and toxins.  In our ever-increasingly diabetic society, aronia’s compounds help to lower blood sugar and improve the body’s own natural production of insulin. Several of the compounds in aronia are natural cancer fighters, and protect against the development of tumors of the bladder, breasts, colon, lungs, ovaries and skin. In addition, these compounds fight Crohn’s disease, inhibit HIV, reduce uncomfortable symptoms of PMS and fight herpes. Preliminary studies have also shown that aronia may prove helpful in slowing the growth of glioblastoma – a form of fatal brain cancer. Since the 1940s, aronia has been commercially cultivated in Russia, and since the 1950s, it has been a commercial crop in Europe. In 2009 the Midwest Aronia Association formed in Iowa to provide information and resources to farmers who wanted to get involved with commercial farming of this super berry. According to the association, members are now found in California, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Ontario, Canada. In the world of berries, antioxidant activity is a major factor in the endless jockeying for position as top berry. Aronia has greater antioxidant activity than cranberry, blueberry, strawberry, cherry, pomegranate, goji and mangosteen. You can think of aronia as the King Kong of antioxidant berries. This awesome antioxidant power gives growers of the berry confidence that super-stardom for aronia is close at hand. Aronia berry products are already in the market, and some have received coveted USDA Organic certification – the highest standard of agriculture purity in effect today. Unlike strawberries and many other fruits, aronia is naturally pest-resistant and does not require the use of agricultural toxins. This spells good news for those who do not want unhealthy chemicals in their fruits. In the contest for ever healthier foods, aronia is surely a winner in the making. With science demonstrating significant benefits to health, farmers planting large acreage and the media increasingly boosting its fortunes, it’s only a short matter of time before aronia, the North American super berry, leaps to prominence in juices, jams, jellies and many other products.Chris Kilham is a medicine hunter who researches natural remedies all over the world, from the Amazon to Siberia. He teaches ethnobotany at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he is Explorer In Residence. Chris advises herbal, cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies and is a regular guest on radio and TV programs worldwide. His field research is largely sponsored by Naturex of Avignon, France. Read more at& MedicineHunter.com.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/07/aronia-north-american-super-berry-with-cancer-fighting-benefits/

Chaga: A potent immune enhancing fungus

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Recently my wife and I were walking in the woods when I spotted a rotting birch tree. All over the decaying trunk were clusters of a gnarly black growth, which I quickly recognized as chaga (Inonotus obliquus).  Relatively unused in the west, chaga is a potent immune enhancing agent that is highly popular in Russia and parts of Europe, and it enjoys a major body of science for its health benefits. Unlike most fungus, chaga is hard and woody, bearing no resemblance to mushrooms. Instead, it looks more like a cracked piece of burned charcoal. Chaga’s black color is due to a concentration of melanin, the same pigment that colors human skin. Because chaga can be used to start fires, it is also known as the “tinder fungus.” The name chaga derives from the Komi-Permyak language of Russia’s Kama River Basin, where the fungus has played a role in traditional medicine for centuries. Chaga can be found throughout northern Asia and in Canada, Norway, northern and eastern Europe and northern parts of the United Sates. Chaga is rich in natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phenols, containing the compounds betulin and betulinic acid – which derive directly from host birch trees. Both betulin and betulinic acid demonstrate anti-tumor effects, which explain why chaga is known as an anti-cancer agent. Additionally, some science shows that betulin can play a beneficial role in controlling metabolic disorders, such as obesity and metabolic syndrome. A group of compounds in chaga called lanostanoids also appear to play significant anti-cancer roles. The exact anti-cancer activity of chaga is not completely understood, but some compounds in the fungus boost immune activity, some specifically prevent cancer cells from replicating, and others cause premature cancer cell death. This argues for the utilization of a whole chaga extract, rather than isolating a single compound. In chaga, many agents appear to be active against cancer. One of the most surprising benefits of chaga is in regards to psoriasis. In one Russian study, psoriasis patients who took chaga recovered from their condition. Given that psoriasis is notoriously difficult to treat and responds to very little therpaies, this effect alone could be of enormous benefit to many. The compound ergosterol in chaga, along with related agents, shows anti-inflammatory activity. This may account for why chaga is thought of as a life-extending agent in China, as inflammation is part of every chronic, degenerative disease. Reducing systemic inflammation can mitigate or help prevent a variety of health problems, leading to a healthier life – and presumably a longer one. Traditionally, chaga has been used for a variety of purposes. Scientific investigation chaga’s use as an anti-allergy agent shows that in animals, the fungus has the ability to prevent anaphylactic shock – a serious and potentially fatal consequence of a severe allergy. In another study, administration of an extract of chaga reduced infection due to the Herpes simplex virus. In a cell study, chaga showed potent activity against the hepatitis C virus. Whether this same activity will prove true in living humans remains to be seen, but if it does, then chaga will benefit thousands of people who often suffer for many years with this crippling disease. Chaga products are widely available in natural food stores and on the Internet. One chaga product I like is made in Vermont and is available at www.Mariefrohlich.com. Considering that spring is here and chaga demonstrates value against allergies, this may be an excellent time to try chaga, whose nickname “Mushroom of Immortality” appears to be far more than just a clever slogan.Chris Kilham is a medicine hunter who researches natural remedies all over the world, from the Amazon to Siberia. He teaches ethnobotany at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he is Explorer In Residence. Chris advises herbal, cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies and is a regular guest on radio and TV programs worldwide. His field research is largely sponsored by Naturex of Avignon, France. Read more at& MedicineHunter.com.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/05/29/chaga-potent-immune-enhancing-fungus/

Cannabis use associated with lower blood sugar

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A new study published in the American Journal of Medicine has revealed a potential benefit from the use of cannabis. The article, entitled “The Impact of Marijuana Use on Glucose, Insulin, and Insulin Resistance among U.S. Adults,” investigated the blood sugar-related effects of cannabis use among participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2005 to 2010. In several other studies of large populations, lower rates of both obesity and diabetes have been noted among users of cannabis, as compared with non-users. This curious fact encouraged the three primary authors of the study to examine cannabis use among the 4657 participants in the national survey. The researchers noted that although cannabis smokers generally consume more calories than non-users, they paradoxically live with lower body mass indexes (BMIs) and reduced rates of both obesity and diabetes. Of the participants in the national survey, 579 were currently using cannabis and 1975 had previously used cannabis. To assess blood glucose, insulin resistance and other factors among cannabis users, the authors organized survey participants into three groups – those who had never used cannabis, those who had used cannabis but not within 30 days, and those who were current users. The authors put study participants through tests for fasting blood sugar levels, high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) testing, and assessments of blood pressure, BMI and waist circumference. The researchers found that subjects who were current cannabis users had lower levels of fasting insulin, lower levels of insulin resistance, smaller waist circumference, and higher levels of HDL cholesterol, which is known to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. This supported findings from earlier studies in which cannabis users showed improved weight, improved insulin resistance, and reduced incidence of diabetes, as compared with non-users. While the potential relationship between cannabis and improved body mass and blood sugar has yet to be fully understood, it is believed that cannabis acts on the cannabinoid 1 and 2 receptors in the brain, enhancing the activity of adiponectin. This hormone helps to regulate blood sugar and plays a role in controlling weight and reducing the tendency toward diabetes.   Cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug in the United States, with approximately 17 million regular users. Medical marijuana has been legalized in 19 states plus the District of Columbia, and two states, Colorado and Washington, have legalized cannabis outright. A number of states have effectively decriminalized the possession of small quantities of cannabis and its use. This fundamental shift in legal status has drawn more researchers to investigate cannabis for any possible health benefits. This study strikes at the heart of two major epidemics: obesity and diabetes. Based on results reported in this study and supported by other epidemiological surveys, it is possible that cannabis use helps to reduce the tendency toward both obesity and type 2 diabetes. Thus, the substance that induces “the munchies” may hold hope for two epidemic diseases arising from overeating.Chris Kilham is a medicine hunter who researches natural remedies all over the world, from the Amazon to Siberia. He teaches ethnobotany at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he is Explorer In Residence. Chris advises herbal, cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies and is a regular guest on radio and TV programs worldwide. His field research is largely sponsored by Naturex of Avignon, France. Read more at& MedicineHunter.com.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/05/22/cannabis-use-associated-with-lower-blood-sugar/