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Posted: Aug 1, 2012 9:17pm
Sep 13, 2011

The Green Thing > ================ > > In the line at the store, the cashier told the older woman that she > should bring her own grocery bag because plastic bags weren't good > for the environment. > > The woman apologized to him and explained, "We didn't have the > green thing back in my day." > > The clerk responded, "That's our problem today. The former > generation did not care enough to save our environment." > > He was right, that generation didn't have the green thing in its > day. > > Back then, they returned their milk bottles, soda bottles and beer > bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to > be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same > bottles over and over. So they really were recycled. > > But they didn't have the green thing back in that customer's day. > > In her day, they walked up stairs, because they didn't have an > escalator in every store and office building. They walked to the > grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every > time they had to go two blocks. > > But she was right. They didn't have the green thing in her day. > > Back then, they washed the baby's diapers because they didn't have > the throw-away kind. They dried clothes on a line, not in an energy > gobbling machine burning up 220 volts - wind and solar power really > did dry the clothes. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their > brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. > > But that old lady is right, they didn't have the green thing back > in her day. > > Back then, they had one TV, or radio, in the house - not a TV in > every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a > handkerchief, not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the > kitchen, they blended and stirred by hand because they didn't have > electric machines to do everything for you. > > When they packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, they used a > wadded up old newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic > bubble wrap. > > Back then, they didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to > cut the lawn. They used a push mower that ran on human power. They > exercised by working so they didn't need to go to a health club to > run on treadmills that operate on electricity. > > But she's right, they didn't have the green thing back then. > > They drank from a fountain when they were thirsty instead of using > a cup or a plastic bottle every time they had a drink of water. > They refilled their writing pens with ink instead of buying a new > pen, and they replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of > throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. > > But they didn't have the green thing back then. > > Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their > bikes to school or rode the school bus instead of turning their > moms into a 24-hour taxi service. They had one electrical outlet in > a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. > And they didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal > beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find > the nearest pizza joint. > > But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful the > old folks were just because they didn't have the green thing back > then?

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Posted: Sep 13, 2011 7:14pm
May 19, 2011
Black Cohosh

Introduction

This fact sheet provides basic information about the herb black cohosh—common names, uses, potential side effects, and resources for more information. Black cohosh, a member of the buttercup family, is a plant native to North America. It was used in Native American medicine and was a home remedy in 19th-century America.

Common Names—black cohosh, black snakeroot, macrotys, bugbane, bugwort, rattleroot, rattleweed

Latin NamesActaea racemosa, Cimicifuga racemosa

 

What Black Cohosh Is Used For
  • Black cohosh has a history of use for rheumatism (arthritis and muscle pain) but has been used more recently to treat hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and other symptoms that can occur during menopause.
  • Black cohosh has also been used for menstrual irregularities and premenstrual syndrome, and to induce labor.
How Black Cohosh Is Used

The underground stems and roots of black cohosh are commonly used fresh or dried to make strong teas (infusions), capsules, solid extracts used in pills, or liquid extracts (tinctures

What the Science Says
  • Study results are mixed on whether black cohosh effectively relieves menopausal symptoms. An NCCAM-funded study found that black cohosh, whether used alone or with other botanicals, failed to relieve hot flashes and night sweats in postmenopausal women or those approaching menopause.
  • Most studies to date have been less than 6 months long, so the safety of long-term use is uncertain.
  • NCCAM is funding studies to further understand the potential effects of black cohosh on hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.
  • There are not enough reliable data to determine whether black cohosh is effective for rheumatism or other uses.
Side Effects and Cautions
  • United States Pharmacopeia experts suggest women should discontinue use of black cohosh and consult a health care practitioner if they have a liver disorder or develop symptoms of liver trouble, such as abdominal pain, dark urine, or jaundice. There have been several case reports of hepatitis (inflammation of the liver), as well as liver failure, in women who were taking black cohosh. It is not known if black cohosh was responsible for these problems. Although these cases are very rare and the evidence is not definitive, scientists are concerned about the possible effects of black cohosh on the liver.
  • Some people taking black cohosh have experienced side effects such as stomach discomfort, headache, or rash. In general, clinical trials of black cohosh for menopausal symptoms have not found serious side effects.
  • Although concerns have been raised about possible interactions between black cohosh and various medications, a 2008 review of studies to date concluded that the risk of such interactions appears to be small.
  • It is not clear if black cohosh is safe for women who have had hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer or for pregnant women or nursing mothers.
  • Black cohosh should not be confused with blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides), which has different properties, treatment uses, and side effects than black cohosh. Black cohosh is sometimes used with blue cohosh to stimulate labor, but this therapy has caused adverse effects in newborns, which appear to be due to blue cohosh.
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Posted: May 19, 2011 3:45pm
May 18, 2011
Bitter Orange

 

On this page:
Introduction

This fact sheet provides basic information about bitter orange—common names, uses, potential side effects, and resources for more information. The bitter orange tree is native to eastern Africa and tropical Asia. Today, it is grown throughout the Mediterranean region and elsewhere, including California and Florida. Bitter orange oil is used in foods, cosmetics, and aromatherapy products. Bitter orange oil from the tree’s leaves is called petitgrain, and oil from the flowers is called neroli.

Common Names—bitter orange, Seville orange, sour orange, Zhi shi

Latin NameCitrus aurantium

 

What Bitter Orange Is Used For
  • Bitter orange has been used in traditional Chinese medicine and by indigenous people of the Amazon rainforest for nausea, indigestion, and constipation.
  • Current uses of bitter orange are for heartburn, loss of appetite, nasal congestion, and weight loss. It is also applied to the skin for fungal infections such as ringworm and athlete's foot.
How Bitter Orange Is Used

The dried fruit and peel (and sometimes flowers and leaves) are taken by mouth in extracts, tablets, and capsules. Bitter orange oil can be applied to the skin.

 

What the Science Says
  • There is not enough scientific evidence to support the use of bitter orange for health purposes.
  • Many herbal weight-loss products now use concentrated extracts of bitter orange peel in place of ephedra. However, bitter orange contains the chemical synephrine, which is similar to the main chemical in ephedra. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned ephedra because it raises blood pressure and is linked to heart attacks and strokes; it is unclear whether bitter orange has similar effects. There is currently little evidence that bitter orange is safer to use than ephedra.

 

Side Effects and Cautions
  • Because bitter orange contains chemicals that may speed up the heart rate and raise blood pressure, it may not be safe to use as a dietary supplement. There have been reports of fainting, heart attack, and stroke in healthy people after taking bitter orange supplements alone or combined with caffeine. People should avoid taking bitter orange supplements if they have a heart condition or high blood pressure, or if they are taking medications (such as MAO inhibitors), caffeine, or other herbs/supplements that speed up the heart rate.
  • Due to lack of safety evidence, pregnant women or nursing mothers should avoid products that contain bitter orange.
  • Bitter orange oil used on the skin may increase the risk of sunburn, particularly in light-skinned people.
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Posted: May 18, 2011 5:26pm
May 17, 2011

  

 The Green Thing
> ================
>
> In the line at the store, the cashier told the older woman that she
> should bring her own grocery bag because plastic bags weren't good
> for the environment.
>
> The woman apologized to him and explained, "We didn't have the
> green thing back in my day."
>
> The clerk responded, "That's our problem today. The former
> generation did not care enough to save our environment."
>
> He was right, that generation didn't have the green thing in its
> day.
>
> Back then, they returned their milk bottles, soda bottles and beer
> bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to
> be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same
> bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.
>
> But they didn't have the green thing back in that customer's day.
>
> In her day, they walked up stairs, because they didn't have an
> escalator in every store and office building. They walked to the
> grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every
> time they had to go two blocks.
>
> But she was right. They didn't have the green thing in her day.
>
> Back then, they washed the baby's diapers because they didn't have
> the throw-away kind. They dried clothes on a line, not in an energy
> gobbling machine burning up 220 volts - wind and solar power really
> did dry the clothes. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their
> brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.
>
> But that old lady is right, they didn't have the green thing back
> in her day.
>
> Back then, they had one TV, or radio, in the house - not a TV in
> every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a
> handkerchief, not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the
> kitchen, they blended and stirred by hand because they didn't have
> electric machines to do everything for you.
>
> When they packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, they used a
> wadded up old newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic
> bubble wrap.
>
> Back then, they didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to
> cut the lawn. They used a push mower that ran on human power. They
> exercised by working so they didn't need to go to a health club to
> run on treadmills that operate on electricity.
>
> But she's right, they didn't have the green thing back then.
>
> They drank from a fountain when they were thirsty instead of using
> a cup or a plastic bottle every time they had a drink of water.
> They refilled their writing pens with ink instead of buying a new
> pen, and they replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of
> throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.
>
> But they didn't have the green thing back then.
>
> Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their
> bikes to school or rode the school bus instead of turning their
> moms into a 24-hour taxi service. They had one electrical outlet in
> a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances.
> And they didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal
> beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find
> the nearest pizza joint.
>
> But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful the
> old folks were just because they didn't have the green thing back
> then?
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Posted: May 17, 2011 1:47pm
May 15, 2011
Astragalus

 

Introduction

This fact sheet provides basic information about the herb astragalus—common names, uses, potential side effects, and resources for more information. Native to China, astragalus has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine. In the United States, the herb gained popularity in the 1980s. There are actually over 2,000 species of astragalus; however, the two related species Astragalus membranaceus and Astragalus mongholicus are the ones primarily used for health purposes.

Common Name—astragalus, bei qi, huang qi, ogi, hwanggi, milk vetch

Latin NamesAstragalus membranaceus, Astragalus mongholicus

 

What Astragalus Is Used For
  • Historically, astragalus has been used in traditional Chinese medicine, usually in combination with other herbs, to support and enhance the immune system. It is still widely used in China for chronic hepatitis and as an adjunctive therapy in cancer.
  • It is also used to prevent and treat common colds and upper respiratory infections.
  • Astragalus has also been used for heart disease.

 

How Astragalus Is Used

The root of the astragalus plant is typically used in soups, teas, extracts, or capsules. Astragalus is generally used with other herbs, such as ginseng, angelica, and licorice.

 

What the Science Says
  • The evidence for using astragalus for any health condition is limited. High-quality clinical trials (studies in people) are generally lacking. There is some preliminary evidence to suggest that astragalus, either alone or in combination with other herbs, may have potential benefits for the immune system, heart, and liver, and as an adjunctive therapy for cancer.
  • NCCAM-funded investigators are studying the effects of astragalus on the body, particularly on the immune system.

 

Side Effects and Cautions
  • Astragalus is considered safe for most adults. Its possible side effects are not well known because astragalus is generally used in combination with other herbs.
  • Astragalus may interact with medications that suppress the immune system, such as the drug cyclophosphamide taken by cancer patients and similar drugs taken by organ transplant recipients. It may also affect blood sugar levels and blood pressure.
  • People should be aware that some astragalus species, usually not found in dietary supplements used by humans, can be toxic. For example, several species that grow in the United States contain the neurotoxin swainsonine and have caused "locoweed" poisoning in animals. Other species contain potentially toxic levels of selenium.
  • Tell all your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.
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Posted: May 15, 2011 5:57pm
May 12, 2011
Bilberry

This fact sheet provides basic information about bilberry—common names, uses, potential side effects, and resources for more information. Bilberry is a relative of the blueberry, and its fruit is commonly used to make pies and jams. It has been used for nearly 1,000 years in traditional European medicine. Bilberry grows in North America, Europe, and northern Asia.

Common Names—bilberry, European blueberry, whortleberry, huckleberry

Latin NameVaccinium myrtillus

 

What Bilberry Is Used For
  • Historically, bilberry fruit was used to treat diarrhea, scurvy, and other conditions.
  • Today, the fruit is used to treat diarrhea, menstrual cramps, eye problems, varicose veins, venous insufficiency (a condition in which the veins do not efficiently return blood from the legs to the heart), and other circulatory problems.
  • Bilberry leaf is used for entirely different conditions, including diabetes.

 

How Bilberry Is Used

The fruit of the bilberry plant can be eaten or made into extracts. Similarly, the leaves of the bilberry plant can be made into extracts or used to make teas.

 

What the Science Says
  • Some claim that bilberry fruit improves night vision, but clinical studies have not shown this to be true.
  • There is not enough scientific evidence to support the use of bilberry fruit or leaf for any health conditions.

 

Side Effects and Cautions
  • Bilberry fruit is considered safe when consumed in amounts typically found in foods, or as an extract in recommended doses for brief periods of time. Long-term safety and side effects have not been extensively studied.
  • High doses or extended use of bilberry leaf or leaf extract are considered unsafe due to possible toxic side effects.
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Posted: May 12, 2011 4:52pm
May 9, 2011
 



Demand for “green building materials” will average 13 percent annual growth through 2015, according to a study by the Freedonia Group. A briefing paper on the study offers up some choice highlights:

• The overall demand for U.S. green building materials is projected to rise from $39 billion in 2010 to $70 billion in 2015.

Forest Stewardship Council certified lumber. Image copyright: Erik Goethals/FSC“Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) -certified lumber and wood panels, both of which are produced via environmentally responsible and socially beneficial forestry practices, are expected to post the strongest growth among green products, more than tripling from relatively small 2010 levels.”

• Among the other products expected to enjoy “annual double digit gains” are “water-efficient plumbing fixtures and fittings, energy-efficient lighting fixtures, gypsum and concrete that feature recycled content, and permeable pavement.”

• The green market for floor coverings — a sector that includes the Georgia-centered carpet industry — will see healthy gains, but isn’t expected to grow quite as rapidly as the demand for many other green materials, simply “because the vast majority of floor coverings (including essentially all carpeting products) are already green and therefore the penetration rate for green materials will not be able to increase significantly.”

And, in general:

Over this period, growth in green building material demand will outpace the growth of building construction expenditures as green materials continue to account for an increasing share of materials used. While the rising use of green materials will support gains, the most important driver for demand will be the expected rebound in the construction market from low 2010 levels.

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Posted: May 9, 2011 5:24pm
May 7, 2011

 

 

TODAY’S GOOD HEALTH TIP! ASIAN GINSENG

This fact sheet provides basic information about the herb Asian ginseng—common names, uses, potential side effects, and resources for more information. Asian ginseng is native to China and Korea and has been used in various systems of medicine for many centuries. Asian ginseng is one of several types of true ginseng (another is American ginseng, Panax quinquefolius). An herb called Siberian ginseng or eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus) is not a true ginseng.

Common Names—Asian ginseng, ginseng, Chinese ginseng, Korean ginseng, Asiatic ginseng

Latin NamePanax ginseng

What Ginseng Is Used For

Treatment claims for Asian ginseng are numerous and include the use of the herb to support overall health and boost the immune system. Traditional and modern uses of ginseng include:

  • Improving the health of people recovering from illness
  • Increasing a sense of well-being and stamina, and improving both mental and physical performance
  • Treating erectile dysfunction, hepatitis C, and symptoms related to menopause
  • Lowering blood glucose and controlling blood pressure

How Ginseng Is Used

The root of Asian ginseng contains active chemical components called ginsenosides (or panaxosides) that are thought to be responsible for the herb’s medicinal properties. The root is dried and used to make tablets or capsules, extracts, and teas, as well as creams or other preparations for external use.

What the Science Says

  • Some studies have shown that Asian ginseng may lower blood glucose. Other studies indicate possible beneficial effects on immune function.
  • Although Asian ginseng has been widely studied for a variety of uses, research results to date do not conclusively support health claims associated with the herb. Only a few large, high-quality clinical trials have been conducted. Most evidence is preliminary—i.e., based on laboratory research or small clinical trials.
  • NCCAM supports studies to better understand the use of Asian ginseng. Areas of recent NCCAM-funded research include the herb’s potential role in treating insulin resistance, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Side Effects and Cautions

  • Short-term use of ginseng at recommended doses appears to be safe for most people. Some sources suggest that prolonged use might cause side effects.
  • The most common side effects are headaches and sleep and gastrointestinal problems.
  • Asian ginseng can cause allergic reactions.
  • There have been reports of breast tenderness, menstrual irregularities, and high blood pressure associated with Asian ginseng products, but these products’ components were not analyzed, so effects may have been due to another herb or drug in the product.
  • Asian ginseng may lower levels of blood sugar; this effect may be seen more in people with diabetes. Therefore, people with diabetes should use extra caution with Asian ginseng, especially if they are using medicines to lower blood sugar or taking other herbs, such as bitter melon and fenugreek, that are also thought to lower blood sugar.
  • Tell all your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.
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Posted: May 7, 2011 7:40pm
May 5, 2011

Aloe Vera
This fact sheet provides basic information about aloe vera—common names, uses, potential side effects, and resources for more information. Aloe vera’s use can be traced back 6,000 years to early Egypt, where the plant was depicted on stone carvings. Known as the &ldquolant of immortality,” aloe was presented as a burial gift to deceased pharaohs.
Common Names—aloe vera, aloe, burn plant, lily of the desert, elephant’s gall
Latin Names—Aloe vera, Aloe barbadensis What It Is Used For
    Traditionally, aloe was used topically to heal wounds and for various skin conditions, and orally as a laxative.
    Today, in addition to traditional uses, people take aloe orally to treat a variety of conditions, including diabetes, asthma, epilepsy, and osteoarthritis. People use aloe topically for osteoarthritis, burns, sunburns, and psoriasis.
    Aloe vera gel can be found in hundreds of skin products, including lotions and sunblocks.
    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved aloe vera as a natural food flavoring.
How It Is Used
    Aloe leaves contain a clear gel that is often used as a topical ointment.     The green part of the leaf that surrounds the gel can be used to produce a
juice or a dried substance (called latex) that is taken by mouth.
What the Science Says
    Aloe latex contains strong laxative compounds. Products made with various components of aloe (aloin, aloe-emodin, and barbaloin) were at one time regulated by the FDA as oral over-the-counter (OTC) laxatives. In 2002, the FDA required that all OTC aloe laxative products be removed from the U.S. market or reformulated because the companies that manufactured them did not provide the necessary safety data.
    Early studies show that topical aloe gel may help heal burns and abrasions. One study, however, showed that aloe gel inhibits healing of deep surgical wounds. Aloe gel has not been shown to prevent burns from radiation therapy.

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Posted: May 5, 2011 2:12pm

 

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