Posts Tagged ‘OMG Moments’

Lic-Or-Ice Is The New Spring Protective Ingredient

licoriceLicorice root extract has a long history for its flavor in food and drinks as well as for its anti-inflammatory properties in medicinal preparations, but did you know that it can also play a role in promoting healthy skin?  As an active ingredient in skin care treatments, licorice root extract does double duty by lightening dark spots as a botanical alternative to hydroquinone while offering protection against UV damage.

As a skin lightener, licorice root contains a compound called glabridin which suppresses pigmentation by stalling melanin production.  It accomplishes this by hampering tyrosinase activity, the enzyme responsible for producing melanin.  For those who are not able to tolerate hydroquinone, licorice root extract offers a plant-based option with few side effects or allergic reactions.  Irritation is also rare, most likely due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

As protection against UV damage, new research has been focused on another of licorice root extract’s compounds called Licochalcone A, an antioxidant that has the unique ability to boost the body’s own defensive system against skin-damaging free radicals.  When the skin is exposed to daily assaults by environmental hazards, pollution and UV rays, the body’s natural defense kicks in to eliminate the free radicals that are generated.  Using a lotion containing Licochalcone A, researchers found that pretreated skin cells in a laboratory setting produced a higher amount of antioxidant molecules and, as a result, significantly fewer harmful free radicals. A subsequent study on volunteers supported those findings by showing how licorice root extract was able to protect from UV damage by stimulating the skin’s own defense system.

Another new research project that backs this concept was published in Experimental Dermatology introduces a new plant-sunscreenderived agent, which protects skin from the harmful effects of ultraviolet (UV) irradiation. “We found out that the antioxidant active licochalcone a, which is the main component of the root extract of the plant Glycyrrhiza inflata (Chinese Licorice), is able to protect the skin from subsequent UV irradiation damage from within by strengthening the skin’s own defense systems,” says Gitta Neufang, a researcher involved in the work from Beiersdorf AG (Hamburg, Germany). “Thus plant extracts with the described profile are able to provide a protective shield from sun exposure supporting and going beyond the action of sunscreens regarding sun protection.” Neufang and colleagues isolated human skin cells and irradiated them with solar simulated light mimicking sun exposure. They were able to show that skin cells pretreated with licochalcone a produced a higher amount of self-protecting, antioxidant molecules. Consequently, significantly fewer harmful radicals were detected in licochalone a treated human skin cells. In addition, they also conducted a study with healthy volunteers demonstrating that the application of a lotion containing Licochalcone A-rich root extract on the inner forearms for two weeks protected the skin from damage after UV irradiation.

The hope is to use licorice root extract as a means to boost the effectiveness of sunscreens. These findings show that the skin’s own defense system can be stimulated by the application of licorice extract. In combination with UV-filters this approach therefore might provide superior sun protection by not only offering physical but also biological sun protection.  No sunscreen is able to block out 100% of the sun’s damaging rays.  Even SPF 50 products only block up to 98%. Researchers are hoping to make up the 2% gap by using new information about licorice root extract to boost the body’s own defensive systems.

~ Courtesy of American Spa Magazine

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Seasonal Holistic Pick Me Ups

soupsWhen cold and flu season arrives, why do some people get sick while others don’t? Researchers at Duke University infected 17 healthy people with a flu virus and found that only 9 of them got sick. Blood samples showed that immune system reaction, which determined sickness or health, began up to 36 hours before symptoms appeared.

To beat colds and flu, these natural remedies can be used by adults and children and have stood the test of time.

ECHINACEA:  A review published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases found tat Echinacea effectively decreased the odds of developing the common cold by 58 percent and cut the duration of a cold by 1.4 days. Take it during cold and flu season. for children, look for alcohol-free versions.

ASTRAGALUS: The herb strengthens the immune system safely. Some herbal formulas contain a combination with Echinacea.

ZINC LOZENGES: Zinc acetate, gluconate or gluconate-glycine lozenges have been shown to reduce duration of colds.

HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES: These strengthen your body’s ability to fight off viruses. Popular ones include Oscillococcium to nip the flu symptoms in the bud or if you wait, to reduce duration of flu, and Coldcalm for colds.

STRENGTHENING IMMUNITY

To lower your chances of getting “bit” by seasonal cold and flu bugs, take these:

PROBIOTICS: Friendly bacteria in our digestive system are essential for healthy immune function. A study of nearly 500 adults, published the International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeautics, found daily probiotics plus a multivitamin, taken for three months in winter and spring, were particularly effective. And in a study of nearly 250 children ages 3 to 5., published in Pediatrics, those who took probiotics twice daily for 6 months missed one-third fewer days from child care. Probiotics reduced incidence of flu-related fever by 53 percent, cough by 41 percent, and colds by 28 percent.

VITAMIN C: At least 40 studies have found that vitamin C reduces the duration and intensity of colds and flu by up to 40 percent, when approximately 1 gram daily is taken for 2 months or more. One study, published in Advances in Natural Therapy, found that compared to a placebo, vitamin C resulted in 26 percent fewer colds, and severe symptoms lasted only half as long.

WELLMUNE WGP: Also listed on labels as WGP Beta Glucan, Wellmune WGP is derived from the cell wall of a proprietary strain of baker’s yeast. Numerous studies have shown that 250 or 500 mg daily reduced colds and flu., especially for people under stress, such as firefighters, marathoner, and medial residents – and enhanced energy.

Holiday Health OMG Style

‘Tis the season to be jolly but between the stress, colds, aches and pains that is kind of hard to do. Here are a couple of holiday foods and ideas that can help you tackle those seasonal OMG Moments.

~Cloves: Has one of the highest antioxidant rankings of any spice and can be used in cider as well as winter fruit salads

~Thyme: Full of antioxidants that alleviate respiratory ailments like bronchitis and keep you breathing easy even when you’re not sick. It can be used in roasted poultry, meats and seafood.

~Anise: Use this to help with stomach issues-its relaxes the gastrointestinal muscles and can be used in poached fruit and pastries.

~Hazelnuts:The skin of the nut, filberts, is full of proanthocyanidins, compounds that may helpImage strengthen blood vessel, reduce heart disease risk, and boost brain health.

~Pecans: They boast an ORAC score (a measure of antioxidant capacity) higher than even wild blueberries. Plus regular servings may help delay age related cognitive decline.

~ Clear Your Chest:Combine 3 to 4 drops of pine or eucalyptus essential oil with a few drops of lavender in olive oil. Rub it on your chest, then apply hot and cold packs for relief. Once inhaled they stimulate blood flow through the lungs.

~Soothe Throat: Use zinc cough drops every two hours. The lozenges will coat the irritated throat tissue, dulling pain, while the mineral migrates into your system, potentially reducing the lifespan of the cold.

~Hot Cordial for Cold Relief: concentrated fruit juice warmed up can relieve colds symptoms. Try this apple and black currant cordial either hot or at room temperature. Stir 2tsp black currant syrup into 1 cup hot apple juice.

~ Health Booster: Elderberry is high in anthocynanins and antioxidants, which increase cellular absorption of vitamin C. Vitamin C, in turn, protects the mucosalsurfaces of your nose and mouth so viruses have more difficult time penetrating them.

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