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HerbSprout Microbiome Blog -


Herbsprout is a webblog and podcast dedicated to sharing the health benefits of herbs, food, innovations, and our gut microbiome. Herbsprout seeks to bridge the vast chasm dividing the mainstream medical community, alternative medicine, and Asian medicine, especially of China (TCM), India (Ayurveda), and Japan (eJim & Kampo).

Over 50% of Americans use alternative medicine

A December 2019 article by Very Well Health says a government survey shows over 36% of Americans use some form of complimentary and alternative health (CAM). March 20, 2019 article by WebMD suggests that number is higher, as "complementary and alternative medicine or CAM is becoming more and more mainstream. They say over half of adult Americans use some form of alternative medicine, according to the WebMD article.

What types of treatments are considered alternative medicine? The WebMD article says that definition is somewhat of a moving target as alternative treatments become more widely accepted.

They include Chinese acupuncture, chiropractic treatments, energy therapies which include reiki and healing touch, herbal medicine, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), Japanese Kampo, and Indian Ayurveda. However, the article gives the standard disclaimer, consult your doctor. Common uses of CAM according to the government survey include back pain or problems, colds, neck pain, joint pain or stiffness, and anxiety or depression.

For more information about the government survey, see .

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Antiviral effects of Palmarosa

Antiviral effects of Palmarosa
According to NIH research, Palmarosa has among the most potent antibacterial, anti-viral properties of the essential oils. It has anti-viral, anti-microbial and anti septic qualities, and as an oil that is good for inflammation and hydration of the skin it is recommended for wound care (to keep sepsis from setting in) and it is used to treat both psoriasis and acne. Additionally, the oil has been tested for its effect upon maladies of the central nervous system—a problem for which it has been used in traditional medicine since ancient times. The amazing thing about the oil is that it is gentle enough to use on animals and is suggested for dogs and horses — fungal infections of the skin and dermatitis.

The neuroprotective effect of essential oil Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martinii (EOCM)) is against global cerebral ischemia/reperfusion (I/R). Palmarosa, is traditionally prescribed for central nervous system (CNS) disorders such as neuralgia, epileptic fits and anorexia. Although the plant possesses diverse pharmacological actions.

This blog post was contributed by Cindy Postma. Additional reading on the subject is available here, ; .

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Microbial induced hepsidin from cDCs can alleviate gastrointestinal disorders

Microbial induced hepsidin fro...
Science Magazine reported April 10 2020 that conventional dendritic cells (cDCs) in our bodies induced by microbial stimulation in mice alleviate gastrointestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). These cDCs are a prominent source of hepsidin, which maintains and regulates our bodies iron homeostasis or balance. Hepsidin is also critical to our body's ability to heal damaged tissue.

"Bleeding and altered iron distribution occur in multiple gastrointestinal diseases," according to the report. This happens during an imbalance of our iron levels. Microbial induced hepsidin from cDCs apoears to be the key to promoting local iron sequestration, thus triggering mucosal tissue repair in our intestines.

Further information about the study is available here,

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EJim, Evidence- based medicine and Japan's place in modern medicine

EJim, Evidence- based medicin...
On reflection of the challenges facing innovation and the importance of establishing credibility in a relatively young sector of the medical industry, a key party to this process is evidence based herbs and foods in our health, particularly as it relates to our gut microbiome. In my view this brings Japanese and Japanese medicine to the forefront of bridging the gap between the idea of herbs and food as medicine and the mainstream medical community. In Japan they call it eJim, or "evidence- based Japanese integrative medicine".

Without credible integration, the whole idea of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and Indian Ayurvedic medicine face an almost insurmountable uphill climb in order to gain acceptance in the American mainstream medical community. Some of the highest rated institutions in these Asian health care approaches such as Bastyr University, have long been perceived by the mainstream medical community as advocating "quack" medicine.

How does one bridge this gap? The solution has to be a demonstrated effort in the naturopathic medicine communities to back their claims with scientific evidence. The evidence points toward how herbs and food influence our gut microbiome. This is where the integration starts and occurs. This is a rapidly growing sector of research and medicine. It is an opportunity to scientifically verify, give credence to the premises offired by eastern and naturopathic medicine (particularly those of India, China, and Japan). More information about Japan's eJim program is available here, .
#herbs #herbalmedicine #plantnutrition #health #mentalhealth #diet #gutmicrobiome #bacteria #healthinnovation #probiotics #datascience #healthtech

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GUT microbiome byproduct found to cause heart disease

A March 05, 2020 study published in Cell, found that a gut microbiome byproduct phenylacetylglutamine (PAG) is linked to development of "cardiovascular disease, including heart attack, stroke and death." Research in this field is critical as diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD) have become the leading cause of death and disease worldwide.

Phenylalanine is an amino acid found in many foods, including plant- and animal-based protein sources like meat, beans and soy. The researchers found that when phenylalanine is broken down by microbes in the gut, it produces a byproduct (metabolite) that ultimately shows up in blood called phenylacetylglutamine (PAG) that contributes to heart disease (led by Stanley Hazen, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the Department of Cardiovascular & Metabolic Sciences in Lerner Research Institute and co-section head of Preventive Cardiology & Rehabilitation in the Miller Family Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute).

(see source:

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Gut bacteria strains found to prevent onset of Parkinson's

Gut bacteria strains found to p...
Parkinson’s News Today reported on April 08, 2020 that several strains of a bacteria Bacillus subtilis "inhibits, delays, and reverses" the buildup of the protein alpha-synuclein in Parkinson’s disease patients. The study, “Probiotic Bacillus subtilis Protects against α-Synuclein Aggregation in C. elegans,” was originally published in the journal Cell Reports. The building up of the protein alpha-synuclein, or Lewy bodies, is known to create the degeneration of brain cells in Parkinson’s disease (see source: ).

Last September. Herbsprout reported that scientists found evidence that Parkinson's disease may originate in the gut. Building on that discovery, scientists found the strains of gut microbes that may prevent Parkinson's, each finding building on the next.

It is not yet conclusive whether or not the a-synuclein build up occurs first in our gut, and before or after it reaches the brain. This study was tested in round worms, and is proven as a preventive measure. It is not able to treat Parkinson's disease but prevent it's growth. While further studies are required , it poses the possibility of a preventive dietary supplement, according to scientists involved in this study (see article

Other articles by Herbsprout include microbial treatments for Parkinson's, ; and Parkinson's disease may originate in the gut, .
#herbs #herbalmedicine #plantnutrition #health #mentalhealth #diet #gutmicrobiome #bacteria #healthinnovation #psychobiotics #probiotics #datascience #ai #healthtech

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Shinrinyoku- an evidence based connection to "forest bathing"

Shinrinyoku- an evidence base...
Japan's Shinrinyoku

Japanese health care evolving from the Shinto and Buddhist traditions seek to integrate our connection to nature with our physical and spiritual health, and recommends regular “Shinrinyoku”, or “bathing in the forest”. Likewise, Ayurveda seeks to integrate the mind, body and spirit to promote health and wellness.

Today, we can identify two evidence based connections between Shinrinyoku and healthy living. Scientists have found that common evergreen trees such as pine, cedar, oak, and cypress trees emit phytoncides, which are volatile substances that protect against pathogens and insects. Phytoncides possess insecticidal, antimicrobial, and antifungal properties.

The second evidence based property of certain evergreen trees are they contain and emit alpha-pinenes or α-Pinene. A-pinene is an organic compound of the terpene class found in the oils of many species of coniferous trees, such as pine and hinoki (Japanese cypress). This chemical is anti-inflammatory, possibly antimicrobial, and an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor (known to be a memory aid).

The National Institute of Health and the Public Library of Science reported that phytoncides reduced the level of noradrenaline, a stress hormone, in mice. It also cited studies of humans who practiced "forest bathing" showed an increase in the number of natural killer cells and levels of intracellular anticancer proteins when exposed to phytoncides. Hinoki cypress, Chamaecyparis obtusa, is the representative tree of forest bathing, and is popular activity in East Asia. (See ). The same effect can just as easily be experienced as your weekend walk in the woods or hike in the mountains.

For further evidence of the therapeutic chemical emitted by certain evergreen trees such as hinoki, read our previous blog by Herbsprout contributing writer, Cindy Postma at

Modern science- based approaches have evolved to include healthy living. It also supports the belief that the fundamentals of even meditation are factors influencing our overall health, such as slowing down, being present, mindful, and conscious in our breathing. In these holistic traditions, the fundamentals of Hinduism and Buddhism are a worthy consideration. For individuals not seeking a replacement to their western traditions, eastern traditions can simply complement your traditionally held beliefs.
#herbs #herbalmedicine #plantnutrition #health #spices #diet #gutmicrobiome #bacteria #healthinnovation #easternmedicine #japanesemedicine #Shinrinyoku #forestbathing #essentialoil

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Skin, our body's largest organ shows bidirectional relationship between gut and skin

source: source:
As pointed out by a January 2020 article by Amy Myers MD, "your skin is the largest organ in your body, your first defense against the outside world." Since we know that 70 to 80% of your immune system is located in your gut, there must be a connection between the gut and skin, right? Researchers in fact have found such connections. Dr. Myers begins backing this assertion by saying that our gut's 300 to 500 species defend our body against pathogens as do the healthy bacteria covering our skin. Both our gut and skin need to be covered in beneficial bacteria when in a healthy state (see ).

Researchers found evidence that Dr. Myers assertions are in fact true. They demonstrate an intimate, bidirectional connection between the gut and skin, gastrointestinal (GI) health to skin, according to an NIH report.

This includes microbiome’s contribution to three common skin disorders – acne, atopic dermatitis (AD), and psoriasis, and probiotic supplementation as a therapeutic remedies.

The study found that short chain fatty acids (SCFAs), products of dietary fibers fermented by components of the gut microbiome, demonstrate a protective role against the development of inflammatory disorders including arthritis and allergies.

"SCFAs resulting from fiber fermentation in the gut – propionate, acetate, and butyrate – are believed to play a pivotal role in determining the predominance of certain skin microbiomic profiles." Propionibacterium, for example, is a genus capable of producing SCFAs, predominantly acetate and propionic acid are one of a number of gut microbes that influence our immune defense system.

Another study found that lactobacillus brevis in rats resulted in decreased cutaneous arterial sympathetic nerve. (Source: ).
#herbs #herbalmedicine #skinhealth #acne #eczema #plantnutrition #health #spices #diet #probiotics #gutmicrobiome #bacteria #healthinnovation #datascience #ai #healthtech

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Gut microbe bifidobacteria found to help fight cancer

Gut microbe bifidobacteria foun...
According to March 20, 2020, a Medical News Today article says scientists discovered various species of Bifidobacterium that are able to enter tumors, and activate immune support which serve to enhance a type of cancer treatment called CD47 blockade immunotherapy.

The report was led by Prof. Yang-Xin Fu at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Prof. Ralph R. Weichselbaum, co-director of The Ludwig Center for Metastasis Research at the University of Chicago. Originally reported in the Journal of Alternative Medicine, the injection of bifidobacteria in mice successfully converted the nonresponder mice into responders. They found that bifidobacteria survive within the low oxygen environment inside tumors. Current treatments block the aid from our natural immune response.

Having made this finding, the scientists are also conducting several additional clinical trials using other anaerobic bacteria, namely Salmonella typhimurium and Clostridium novyi–NT, to destroy tumors.

(See, and ).
#herbs #herbalmedicine #health #diet #gutmicrobiome #bacteria #healthinnovation #chinesemedicine #easternmedicine #healthtech

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