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Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Concern for All

I understand and believe in natural care. I have concerns too from time to time because of the many natural products now flooding the market that might not be as good as in years gone by.

Commercialism has its negative side, and along with that there is the worry that Big Pharma wants just too much control over natural products. That's a money issue, not a concern for health benefits.

What bothered me today is a UPI article on the synthetization of one element from the herb Club Moss.

Briefly, Club Moss has been used for many years as an effective diuretic that eases many conditions associated with suppressed urine, including the flushing of stones and gravel from the kidneys and gallbladder, accumulation of fluids in the tissues that produce swelling (edema), bladder irritation, cystitis, gout and rheumatoid arthritis. It is used in certain cases for Alzheimer's.

What Big Pharma fails yet to understand is that plants come as a whole. Singling out one elements may be beneficial is the lab or the short term, but this isn't the way things should be.

In its whole state, Club Moss has a number of Beneficial Uses:
Club Moss is a diuretic that has been used to treat chronic urinary complaints, such as mumps, dropsy (or edema, the accumulation of fluids in tissues that produces swelling), irritability of the bladder and cystitis.

Further supporting its diuretic applications, Club Moss helps to treat many ailments that are characterized by the suppression of urine, such as renal colic, stones and calculi in the kidneys and bladder (by helping to increase urine flow and flush debris through the system). This action also helps to relieve gout, hardening of the testes and rheumatoid arthritis.

Club Moss is said to be helpful in "women's complaints" and is thought to help treat irregular menstruation.

Used externally, Club Moss may be used as a dusting powder to relieve various skin diseases, such as eczema, itchy or irritated areas and erysipelas, and it can also be used to absorb fluids from injured tissues and as a powder to prevent chafing in infants. Moreover, it can be dusted on wounds to stop bleeding or inhaled to stop bleeding noses.

Club Moss is considered a stomachic that strengthens the function of the stomach, and as such, it has been used to aid digestion and ease gastritis. It is also thought to be an antispasmodic and nervine that helps to calm spasms, diarrhea, dysentery and hydrophobia.

The concern really is, "it's the whole herb that does the job".

Homeopathy Eases Cancer Therapy
NASHVILLE, April 16 (UPI) -- U.S. chemists say they have developed an efficient technique to produce the synthesized herbal alkaloid Serratezomine from the club moss Lycopodium serratum.

Vanderbilt University researchers said the moss -- a creeping, flowerless plant used in homeopathic medicine -- contains potent alkaloids. But the plant makes many of the compounds in extremely low amounts, hindering efforts to test their therapeutic value.

The scientists said their technique to synthesize Serratezomine is important because the alkaloid might have anti-cancer properties and could combat memory loss. The scientists said it took six years to develop the process because they had to invent entirely new chemical methods to complete the synthesis. But they said their success should make it easier to synthesize alkaloids and other natural compounds with therapeutic potential.

"This was a challenging problem," said Professor Jeffrey Johnston, who led the research. 'It takes years to develop a new chemical reaction and then apply it to the natural product target. So, once we start, we don't stop."

The study that included Aroop Chandra; Julie Pigza, Jeong-Seok Han and Daniel Mutnickwas was reported in the March 18 issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

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