In a Brazilian study published in the Journal of Herbal Medicine, extracts of rosemary leaves and pomegranate peels, along with a South African herb known as misty plume bush, significantly reduced the ability of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria to grow and spread in the laboratory, a finding that may help develop new strategies against the superbug.
Avoid Pesticides to Lower Kids’ Risk of Depression
Another reason to consider organics: A study of 529 teens and preteens linked high exposure to pesticides to a higher risk of depression. University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers studied children between 11 and 17 years old in the Ecuadorian Andes, the third-largest exporter of roses. The flowers are routinely sprayed with organophosphate insecticides known to affect the human cholinergic system, a key component in the function of the brain and nervous system. Drawing blood samples, the researchers found that teens that had lower levels of acetylcholinesterase enzyme activity resulting from pesticide toxicity showed more symptoms of depression, especially in girls and those younger than 14. The findings back up anecdotal reports from Andeans of a rise in teen depression and suicide.
Protect Kids From Bullying to Lower Risk of Teen Depression
A three-decade study of 3,325 young people in Bristol, UK, found that kids that were bullied at age 10 had eight times the rate of depression in their teen years, and that it persisted for some into their adult years. Using detailed mood and feelings questionnaires and genetic information, researchers found that childhood bullying was strongly associated with depression. Bullied children had a greater risk of both limited depression occurrence and persistent depressive issues. Other risk factors found to be associated with depression in the children included anxiety and the mother’s postnatal depression.
Reduce Kids’ Risk of High Blood Pressure With Maternal Vitamin D
Children born with low vitamin D levels have an approximately 60 percent higher risk of elevated systolic blood pressure between ages 6 and 18, reports a study of 775 Boston children published in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension. Those with persistently low levels of vitamin D through early childhood had double the risk of elevated systolic blood pressure between ages 3 and 18. The higher systolic number increases the risk of cardiovascular disease later in life. Because infants’ vitamin D levels are determined by the mothers’ levels during pregnancy, researchers suggested exploring an official recommendation for vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy.
Consider Motherwort to Reduce Postpartum Bleeding
A meta-review of 37 studies that included 7,887 mothers giving birth found that an injection of oriental motherwort (Leonurus japonicus), a Traditional Chinese Medicine herb used for thousands of years, decreased blood loss and other adverse events during birth at a minimal cost with few side effects.
Take Rosemary to Boost Memory, Mood and Sleep
The common kitchen herb Rosemary holds promise for insomniacs. Iranian researchers tested 68 university students for a month, giving them either 1,000 milligrams of rosemary herb each day or a placebo. Those who took the rosemary herbal supplement had improved memory, reduced anxiety and depression at the end of the month. Using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Inventory scale, those taking the rosemary slept better, as well.
Try Fennel Oil to Fight Vaginal Yeast
Up to 75 percent of women deal at some point with the itchiness, discharge and sexual discomfort and pain of vaginal yeast infections caused by Candida species, the most prevalent being Candida albicans. Egyptian laboratory researchers tested fennel oil and eight other plant-based essential oils on 19 Candida albicans strains that were resistant to the antifungal medication fluconazole. They found that the fennel oil had significant antifungal properties against the strains, outperforming chamomile, jojoba, nigella, fenugreek, cod liver, peppermint, clove and ginger oils. When combined with fluconazole, fennel was effective on seven strains, theoretically lowering the need for higher doses of the medication.
Boot the Bottle for Mental Well-Being
A study of 10,386 people in Hong Kong and the United States compared mental well-being among moderate drinkers and nondrinkers, with multiple year follow-up periods. Men and women that were lifetime abstainers had the highest levels of mental well-being, surpassed only by women that had quit drinking.
Take Cordyceps to Enhance Immunity
Cordyceps, a fungus that grows on caterpillars high in the Himalayas, has long been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine as a rejuvenating and performance-enhancing medicine. The latest Korean research shows it also boosts the immune system. Scientists tested 79 healthy adults for eight weeks, giving 39 of them 1,680 milligrams of cordyceps a day in capsules and the other 40 were given a placebo. The cordyceps produced a 38 percent increase in NK cell activity, which plays a role in immunity by detecting and killing virus-infected cells, tumor cells and abnormal cells.