Barring unforeseen circumstances, the curtain should fall today on this series. It has been a long journey from the exploration of possible cause of Sinusitis, the health waterloo of many people, and candidiasis, local as in oral (tongue) thrush or vaginal infection, or systemic, involving some organs or the entire system. The series also threw up possible remedies such as saline nasal flush, inhalation of the vapour of some essential oils, the use of garlic oil, and the deployment of anti-bacterial and immune boosting herbs.

The Mayo Clinic was to expand the scope of the exploration with the findings of a 2009 study which made a landmark discoveryabout the different possible causes of acute (sudden and short-term) sinusitis and the chronic type, which may drag for months, years or even a lifetime.

The different causes require different solutions, the study concluded, whereas, hitherto, the tendency was for physicians to regard both types of candidiasis to be caused by bacteria  and treated with antibacterial drugs, among other drugs in the protocol.

Now, it is believed chronic Sinusitis originates from yeast, of which there are about 250 varieties, including Candida, other fungi and mold. In the Mayo Clinic study, most of the 210 patients investigated had about four strains of fungi in their mucus.

Only anti-fungal drugs, not anti-bacterial, would destroy these parasites and heal the malaise. Last Thursday, the exploration highlighted the controversy over dark field microscopy analysis of the live blood specimens of Candida, other fungi or bacteria.

Increasingly, Alternative Medicine practitioners prefer this analysis to light field microscopy favoured by orthodox medicine. In conclusion last Thursday, the series attempted to explain why sinusitis may be acute or chronic, using varied degreesof blood pH as the analytical tool. Today, it would try to conclude the exploration with an offer of some herbs available in Alternative Medicine for the treatment of diseases of bacterial or fungal origins…

Lemon grass

In Nigeria, we know of this plant more for its fabled anti-snake properties, and anti-malaria effect. At the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) years ago, researchers found that the water infusion kills the malaria parasite, Plasmodium, in the blood stream. But, as part of the poverty of the mind which is crippling Nigeria’s economy and people, it has not been deemed right to grow plantations of this highly medicinal plant and make of it a national anti-malarial tea which will not only save lives but also save enormous foreign exchange spent on the importation of anti-malarial pharmaceutical finished drugs or their raw materials. Yet, every year, doctors report many deaths among pregnant women and children which are linked to malaria fever. How free the country may be from malaria fever is better imagined if every-one grows lemon grass in his flower bed at home or can get a box of lemon grass sachet tea for a drink over every meal at home or in the office. Wouldn’t this be better than sugared beverages which add little or nothing to the health profile? Many studies’ have shown that Lemon grass helps digestion, curbs high cholesterol levels, cleans and detoxifies the blood and tissue, is a healing  agent in colds and flu because of its anti-microbial, anti-bacterial and anti- fungal properties, fights even cancer, and is good for reducing arthritic pain.

According to Joanne Marie, writing in the website www.livestrong.com, a laboratory named Sloan Kettering has done some studies on the medicinal uses of Lemon grass. She says:

Lemon grass has been recommended by practitioners of Traditional Medicine for many ailments. Modern research suggests that it may have significant health benefits. Lemon grass contains a number of volatile oils, including one called CITRAL that is a mixture of several similar compounds. Information from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center indicates that Citral acts as an antioxidant that can help protect your cells from damage by free radicals. These unstable molecules form during digestion or when you are exposed to toxins. Over time, they can damage your cells and raise your risks of chronic disorders, including atherosclerosis and heart disease. Research published in the 2003 issue of Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communication found their CITRAL act by activating an enzyme, Glutathione S-Transferees, that detoxifies free radicals and helps your body rid itself of them, but this laboratory result still needs confirmation in trials with human subjects.

‘Sloan Kettering also indicates that extracts of Lemon grass have anti-microbial properties, helping  to prevent or slow the growth of bacteria and fungi. A study published in the January 2012 issue of Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice found that an oil extract from Lemon grass inhibited growth of Streptococcus bacteria in the laboratory, while research in the March 2009 issue of Phytomedicine studied the effectiveness of a Lemon grass infusion in human subject with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) who has an oral fungal infection called thrush. Researchers found that an oral rinse administered three times daily was more effective than Gentian Violet, an anti-fungal medication.

Compounds in Lemon grass also have properties that might help lower your risks of developing cancer. Several laboratory studies confirm that Lemon grass components could prevent growth of cancer cells. For example, a study in the October 2009 issue of FUNDAMENTALS OF CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY found that CITRAL from Lemon grass slowed the growth of breast cancer cells in the laboratory and also caused them to undergo a process called apoptosis, which caused cell death. According to the Sloan Kettering, components of Lemon grass might also have a sedative effect, increasing the time you stay asleep. In addition, Lemon grass may have anti-inflammatory properties that help suppress the activity of cyclo-oxygenate-2, an enzyme involved in inflammation that can cause pain in disorders such as arthritis, although these and other potential benefits still need further study.

According to www.health guide.com, Lemon grass has many medical uses, some of which are as follows:

Lemon grass as herbal medicine for gastro-intestinal problems, stomach ache, diarrhea, gas, bowel spasis, vomiting,flu and headache. Lemon grass oil mixed with such essential oils such as coconut oil, is used as liniment for back pains, rheumatism, neuralgia, sprains and other body pains… To treat circulatory disorders,some authorities recommend rubbing a few drops of lemon grass oil on the skin of effected areas. It is believed to work by improving body flow. Lemon grass has natural antimicrobial properties, is an antiseptic, suitable for use on various types of skin infections, usually as a wash or compress, and is especially effective on ring worm, infected sores, acne and athlete’s foot.

Lemon grass is effective in killing cancer cells. It is useful with respiratory infections such as sore throat, laryngitis and fever, and helps spread of infectious” diseases. Inwww.organicfacts.com, we learn that: Lemon grass is an aromatic store house of essential nutrients providing a wide array of health benefits. It is a source of essential vitamins such as Vitamin A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Niacen), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridozine), folate and vitamin C. It also provides essentials minerals such as potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Manganese, Copper, Zinc and Iron, which are required for healthy functioning of the humanbody. It offers no harmful cholesterol or fat.”

When I lived in 39 Emine Crescent, off Toyin Street, Ikeja, Lagos, I grew more than 100 heads of lemon grass from which my family obtained its tea, and from which I made cuttings for my friends. Let us return to Mother Nature by planting lemon grass today in our flower bed or flower pots. We may discover from taking lemon grass tea every day that a cup every day may keep the doctor away.

PAU d’ ARCO

Three readers of this column sort of gave me Pau d‘ Arco as a nickname after it helped to resolve their health challenges. One did not have to have surgery, earlier slated, to resolve his occult blood problem, a condition in which bleeding ulcer in the colon may lead to cancer. Another almost have his testes removed when a PSA (prostate sensitive Antigen) of more than 400 points (Norman is 0-4 points) led to a suspicion of prostate cancer.In the Websitewww.healthandwellness.com, Loretta Nanphier, N.P., Advises us that:

“A native to South American, Pau d`Arco has been used in herbal medicine with a wide range of health concerns, including pain, arthritis, inflammation of prostate gland (prostitis), fever, dysentery, boils and ulcers and various cancers. Even as early as 1873, there are reports of medicinal uses of Pau d` Arco.” it is interesting to note that scientist have identified two active chemicals in the inner bark of Pau d` Arco. These natural and active chemicals are called Laphthoquinones. Lapacnol and Beta-Lapachone.In lab studies, Lapachol has been shown to have great potential of application in fighting metastases (spread of cancer cells). According to

Dr. David Boothman, a professor at the HaroldSimmons Comprehensive Cancer center and Author of a study that appeared in the proceedings of the National Academy of Science,Beta-Lapachone distrupts the Cancer cells ability to repair its DNA, ultimately leading to the cell’s demise. (Beta-Lapachone)andLapachol have also been found effective in killing certain types of bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites as well as possessing anti-inflamatory properties.

“We must note that both Lapachol and Beta-Lapachonehave been studied as individual components, however, there is only a trace of Lapachol in the bark. In its isolated form, Lapachone is quite aggressive but in Pau d`Arco tea, Nature has brought together a concert of healing substances in the inner bark that act in a synegestic manner. It should in no way be limited to any individual substance. According to Walter Lubeck, author of THE HEALING POWER OF PAU d’ARCO,

“The very low concentrations of Lapachone in tea extracted from inner bark of the tree activates various immune cells in the human body, the Lymphocyctes and the Granulocyctes. Considerably higher concentrations of Lapacholdon’t have such a good effect in this regard,

“It is very important to take the time to take and drink Paud’Arco tea in its complete and natural form. BernhardKreher, a Munich researcher wrote his doctoral work on the immunestimulating effects of  Paud’Arco and found that the body’s defence system activity increased by more than 48 percent when Paud’ Acro was regularly consumed . Paud’ Acro also contains Selenium, a powerful antioxidants that removes free radicals which can damage cells and trigger disease. Paud’ Acro has a holistic effect on the body, meaning the whole body is detoxified.

Harmful toxic substances, including heavy metals, pesticides, preservatives and even the residue from chemotherapy may be thoroughly eliminated. Blood vessels, the lymph system, cells, tissues and organs are all detoxified, allowing the body system to function properly and effectively.

Loretta Lamphier says the health benefits of this herb includes, (in her own words) anti-inflammatory, inhibits, candida albicans preventative during the cold and flu season, effective blood purifier, stimulates production of red blood cells, anti-oxidant properties, anti-microbial,  antibacterial, anti – tumour effects, analgesic effects, sight parasites, anti-neoplastic, effective against E-coli, accelerates healing of skin wounds, strengthens immune system, protects against Staph infection, toxic effects on leukemia cells, maintains regular bowel activity, helps respiratory disorders, good for allergies, useful for arthritis, useful for diabetes, dissolves phlegni.”

It is recommended at least four, eight-ounce cupfulls be taken daily for cancer and, for maintenance, three to four cups daily.

GOLDEN SEAL ROOT

This is one of my favourite antibiotic herbs, especially when it is combined withEchinacea. One of its active Ingredients, Berberine, which is present also in Oregon Grape, Coats the surfaces of tissue so that germs cannot adhere to it. This makes infections difficult and the germs, unable to draw nutrient from the body, become weak and easy preys for immune cells.

According to www.healthsystem.com: Golden seal has been used historically as a mouth wash to help heal canker sores.

olden seal contains Berberine, and alkaloid with antibiotic and antifungal activities that (have) also been used to help relieve the diarrhoea seen in some people with chronic candidiasis. Tintures of various herbs, including Golden seal, have been applied topically to herpes outbreaks in order to promote healing.

Golden seal root has antimicrobial and mild immune stimulating effects. It smoothens irritated Mucus membranes in the throat, making it potentially useful for sore throats. Golden Seal Contains Barberine, an anti-bacterial constituent that has been chemically studied for eye infections. This websites says Berberine slows the growth of Helicobacter pyloribacterium, a cause of peptic ulcer.The herbs is described as digestive stimulant, is immune supportive, anti-microbial especially when used with a wild indigo.www.healthsystem.com says “Berberine killsamoebaand can be used successfully to treat Giardiainfections.

According to www.all for naturalhealth.com: for the digestive system, Golden seal has properties that stimulates appetite, aids digestion, often increase the production of bile and cures digestive problems. It also has an astringent effect in addition to certain antibacterial properties which work effectively in treating digestive tract conditions like gastritis, E-coli and yeast infections. This particular property of the Golden seal herb also works effectively in treating ulcer in the mouth. For anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, antiseptic properties, the health benefits of Golden seal help to treat inflammation and infections of the eye, nose and throat.

Conjunctivitis, too, can be effectively treated by using Golden seal eye wash. In addition, Golden seal is a very popular cure for infections of the gums or gingivitis.”

Golden seal is reported to help blood circulation to the liver, pancreas, spleen and thyroid gland, to mention a few of the glands it helps.

Women should be happy to note that golden seal helps regulate the menstrual cycle that used in a douche, it helps to cure “Eucorrhea and other forms of vaginal infections.

I  would like to conclude this reference on Golden seal root with www.herbwisdom.com which says: “in particular, it is the alkaloid, Berberine that is most likely responsible for golden seal’s effectiveness against bacteria, protozoa, fungi, streptococci and it also promotes easier removal of the bacteria by inhibiting their ability to adhere to tissue surface. Berberine is also anti-fungi and strongly anti-diarrhoea.

It aids against the infection of mucus membranes such as the lining of the oral cavity, throat, sinus, bronchi, genito urinary tract and gastro-intestinal tract. Clinical studies have shown its effectiveness in the treatment of diarrhoea cause by E-coli (traveler’s diarrhea), Shigella dysentery (shigellosis), Salmonella(paratyphi), (food poisoning), GirdiaLamblia (giardiasis) and vibroCholerae (Cholera).

There is a lot more to say about Golden seal root, which time and space do not permit. Orode my Lawyerfriend and an avid reader of this column, will be giggling over that. I can read her mind. She is seeing unforeseen circumstances already at work.