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HerbSprout Microbiome Blog -


Herbsprout is a webblog and podcast dedicated to sharing the health benefits of herbs, food, innovations related to 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).

Ginseng & Ginger are two healthy TCMs during stressful times

Source: getty images Source: getty images Ginseng & Ginger are two heal...
A May 17 2020 article by Yahoo News suggests you might consider incorporating some traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) ideas into your daily practice. There's much to choose from- qi gong, acupressure/ acupuncture, teas and tonics, and food. Yahoo News recommended these TCM remedies in this order.

Given that food and teas are more prevalent and widely used, let's look at it from the opposite order. Beginning with the universally accepted herb ginger, which contains Gingerol. Regular consumption of it couldn't hurt. Gingerol is the main bioactive compound in ginger that is anti-inflammatory and a digestive aid. This is based on studies referenced by the Healthline article below.

Ginseng has also been tested and proven to boost the immune system with its bioactive compounds, ginsenosides and gintonin, according to WebMD. Regarding both ginger and ginseng, there have been broad but varying unproven claims that these food based herbs provide other benefits such as lowering blood sugar and treating cancer. However, consuming them in moderation can help and is recommended.

For more information see: ; and
#herbs #herbalmedicine #plantnutrition #health #mentalhealth #diet #gutmicrobiome #bacteria #healthinnovation #psychobiotics #probiotics #datascience #ai #healthtech

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Connection found between anti-obesity statin drugs & gut Bacteroides 2

According to a May 06 2020 Nature article, statin drugs, a common medication for lowering cholesterol, also known as HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, are a class of lipid-lowering medications that lower risk of cardiovascular disease. They are the most common cholesterol-lowering drugs, able to reduce illness and mortality, according to Wikipedia.

The study referenced in the Nature article analyses human faecal samples, and classifies them into one of four groups called enterotypes, depending on the abundance of particular microbial species. These groupings are termed Bacteroides 1 (Bact1), Bacteroides 2 (Bact2), Ruminococcaceae (Rum) and Prevotella (Prev). Bacteroides 2 are associated with inflammation, and more Bacteroides bacteria than Faecalibacterium microbes.

The authors unexpectedly discovered that there were significantly fewer of the Bact2 enterotype than expected in obese individuals who were taking cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins. The authors found a connection between these gut microbes and the statin drugs, but further research is needed to determine the nature of that connection. According to the article, "molecules such as trimethylamine oxide, which are made by gut bacteria, might accelerate atherosclerosis, and their presence is associated with adverse cardiovascular outcomes, including death."

And study in the European Union called the MetaCardis project ( including nearly 900 participants whose data they analysed, also found a higher prevalence of the Bact2 enterotype with a higher body-mass index and obesity.

See article, .
#gutmicrobiome #bacteria #healthinnovation #health #datascience #ai #healthtech #obesity #cardiovasculardisease

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Three Classical Text of Ayurveda

Three Classical Text of Ayurveda
There are three main classical text of Ayurveda:

1) Charaka Samhita - is the book of internal medicine and includes the eight systems of the body. This also comprises the basic concepts of Ayurveda, the Ayurvedic School of Physicians.

2) Sushruta Samhita - is the book of surgery. This book includes detailed description of surgical instruments and what they are used for, not only surgical instruments familiar to the west, but also eastern instruments such as needles for Chinese acupuncture, for example.

3) Ashtanga Sanraha & Ashtaga Hyridayam - The Hridayam over 7,500 verses, is written in poetry and prose. Both works have been dated about the same time and are believed to come after the Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita. It outlines the sub kapha doshas for the first time with emphasis on treating the physical body.

More information about the Ayurveda classical text is available at The Ayurveda Institute,
#herbs #herbalmedicine #plantnutrition #health #spices #diet #gutmicrobiome #bacteria #ayurveda #Indianmedicine #easternmedicine

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More links of gut microbiome to the brain

Pavlov's classical conditioning... Pavlov's classical conditioning with dogs. source: Shutterstock
A May 17 2020 article in Neuroscience News published proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, brings us more evidence of the brain-body connection. If you took psychology classes in college you are familiar with Ivan Pavlov's stimulus- response tests on dogs. Since his revolutionary research back in the mid- 1800s, this has come to be known as "classical conditioning". The brain-gut connection dates back to Pavlov's work. Peter Strick director at the University of Pittsburgh Brain Institute, is quoted in the article referring to Pavlov's famous research that the "central nervous system uses environmental signals and past experience to generate anticipatory responses that promote efficient digestion."

Dr. Strick and his associate Dr. David Levintha, professor of gastroenterology at Pitt, were able to trace the connection of signals between the gut and brain's rostral insula in mice confirming the connection of one's emotional, past experiences and contextual knowledge to the gut.

A January 29, 2020 article on points to a couple of studies that suggest there is another connection between our gut microbiome and autism.

John Cryan, a biochemist at University College Cork in Ireland, was among the first researchers to investigate how gut microbes affect social behaviour. In 2014, he reported that germ-free mice — those lacking the typical mix of gut microbes — avoided other mice, shunned new social situations and groomed themselves excessively. “It started to crystallize that the microbiome was involved in many aspects of behaviour,” Cryan says.

Clostridia bacterial pathogens, for instance, generate propionic acid in the gut — a short-chain fatty acid known to disrupt the production of neurotransmitters. Propionic acid also causes autism-like symptoms in rats.

Deficits in beneficial gut bacteria might also affect social brain function. In 2017, Cryan reported that when mice with an autism-like condition had lower levels of Bifidobacterium and Blautia gut bacteria, their guts made less tryptophan and bile acid — compounds needed to produce serotonin3. And children with autism have been consistently found to have lower levels of Veillonellaceae, Coprococcus and Prevotella gut bacteria.

(Source: , and ).

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eJIM and CAM - Japan's role in east-west relations; why not medicine too?

It is not by any means anything unique for Japan to play a role in East- West integration and collaboration. From the opening up of Japan in 1848 when American Commodore Perry reached its shores to promote trade to the introduction of western Christianity at the arrival of the Jesuits led by Francis Xavier in 1549, Japan has always played an integral role in East- West relations.

Fast forward to this century, in his final interview with Asia Pacific Economic Review writer Steve Barth, Edward Demming reached the pinnacle of Japan's role in integrating western management principles into Japan, which in turn reversed by way of the likes of UCLA professor William Ouchi and his bestselling book on Japanese management style, "Theory Z". Japan has always been a synergistic doorway to the west, and arguably the west's most valuable portal to the east.

So why not in health care? Japan is one of the world’s most technologically advanced health care systems while at the same time still holds onto traditional medicine or Kampo. Japan Ministry of Health and Welfare created acronyms for its role in integrative medicine, and published it in cooperation with Shimane University Medical School. It believes the Japanese health care system is uniquely placed in facilitating the integration of evidence- based Japanese integrative medicine or eJim. The more common term used today is "complementary and alternative medicine" or CAM which Japan seeks to bring into the mainstream core of its healthcare offerings. And it claims to be doing it backed by science, the aforementioned "evidence- based Japanese integrative medicine", or e-Jim (see for more information).

When we talk about eJIM however, it inevitably leads back to the origins of healthcare in Japan over a thousand years ago, traditional Japanese medicine or Kampo, and beyond the island's shores to China and TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) (see ). So how has Japan integrated traditional Kampo and alternative medicine into its modern western health care system?

The integration has become seamless, including widespread insurance coverage for Kampo. Today, Japan is taking it a step further, and -- a step deeper with proven, "evidence- based Japanese integrative medicine" or eJIM. Japan and other Asian countries like Singapore, India and China, are studying the chemical properties of herbs and foods, and making key connections to their influence on everything from our gut microbiome to our immune system.
#herbs #herbalmedicine #plantnutrition #health #spices #diet #gutmicrobiome #bacteria #healthinnovation #datascience #ai #healthtech #eJIM #CAM #alternativemedicine #integrativemedicine

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Need more proof our gut bacteria influences our brain? How about our memory?

Need more proof our gut bacte...
April 29 2020 study found another tangible connection between the brain and the gut, making its appearance in the form of memory. Microbiome might partner with genetics to affect memory,” said Janet Jansson, a microbial ecologist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and a corresponding author of the study in cooperation with Antoine Snijders, a bioscientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab).

The labs identified four families of microbes that were associated with improved memory, including Lactobacillus, L. reuteri, in mice. To sparse out which microbe molecules were connected to memory, they found that Lactate was a common metabolic molecular byproduct, a molecule that all Lactobacillus strains produce. They fed lactate or Lactobacillus microbes to mice which increased their levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a molecular messenger linked to memory formation in their brains.

Admitting that these same connections need to be verified in humans, Snijders believes that it might be possible one day to use probiotics to improve memory in targeted populations, such as people with learning disabilities and neurodegenerative disorders.

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Holobiome & Viome - "Microbiomes Intimate Role in Every Human Disease”

In a May 07, 2020 Science Magazine article, Holobiome announced it seeks to produce new treatments for depression and other disorders of the brain and nervous system beginning with isolating and culturing bacteria to benefit humans through our gut microbiome. The focus of the startup will be psychobiotics, those that address brain - related ailments, says company CEO, Phil Strandwitz. It seems the creation of startups like these are a sign of the times.

In an early interview by Herbsprout writer Chris Kenji Beer, Viome's CEO Naveen Jain takes us into a deeper understanding of the role of microbiomes to our health. “Every single chronic disease that we know of -- from Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, autism, depression, anxiety, obesity, autoimmune diseases, cancer-- every single one of these diseases have one thing in common, chronic inflammation. Every one of them is caused by microbiome. Think about this. Every one of these diseases is caused by microbiomes. And every time we take antibiotics we are killing those microbiomes.”
“A lot of people are saying ‘I know about microbiomes, what is so unique about it?’ The change is we not only know what is inside our gut, we are able to know exactly what they are doing.”


How do we know? “The latest wave (of Microbiome testing) is transcriptome. The transcriptome testing approach looks at the RNA and analyzes what the RNA of microbiomes are doing. The popular ‘16S sequencing’ of microbiomes testing is a twenty year old technology and is not able to do this.”
“What if you can find out exactly what is going on (inside the RNA of microbiomes)? What if you know what vitamins they are producing? What if you knew which specific compounds they are producing that cause inflammation? And from this data, what if you were able to figure out which specific content and combinations of food can actually address these inflammations more effectively than any prescription drugs we have available today?” asserts Jain.

Given the lag in treatments particularly for mental health treatments, Holobiome proposes to source and find microbe -based solutions to these ailments, or "psychobiotics". What if Holobiome and Viome are at the beginning of a new trend in health care where startups like Holobiome are among hundreds of companies focused on finding and deploying microbe- based solutions, gut bacteria treatments for different human diseases?

See article on Holobiome, ; and Viome .
#herbs #herbalmedicine #plantnutrition #health #mentalhealth #diet #gutmicrobiome #bacteria #healthinnovation #psychobiotics #probiotics #datascience #ai #healthtech

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The microbiome of sweet potatoes

The microbiome of sweet potat...
An April 23 2020 article in explores the significance of microbiota in sweet potatoes. The sweet potato is rich in fiber and the following essential vitamins:

▪︎Vitamin A: 769% of the Daily Value (DV)
▪︎Vitamin C: 65% of the DV
▪︎Manganese: 50% of the DV
▪︎Vitamin B6: 29% of the DV
▪︎Potassium: 27% of the DV

It is particularly popular in Asian countries such as China and sub-Saharan Africa. Little is known to date of the the microbiome in potatoes which are critical to its growth and development, particularly for protectibg it from insects, according to the article quoting Agbiome entomologist Brook Bissinger. Agbiome is an organization funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

For the intent increase yield, this is the first study to characterize the sweet potato microbiome using modern sequencing technology, claims the report.

(See article, ; Source of health benefits, ).

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The power of inulin as a "prebiotic" for bacteria in our colon

The power of inulin as a "pre...
A March 23 2020 article by Healthline explains why inulin is a critical food source for humans. It is derived from a number of common herbs and vegetables including chicory root, artichokes, agave, asparagus, bananas, garlic, leeks, wheat, onions, and wild yams. It is very healthy as a "prebiotic" for bacteria in our colon; as it is adaptable, high in fiber, low in calories and remains in tact through the intestine.

The common good bacteria in our gut, Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli, are key beneficiaries of inulin, which improves digestion by slowing it down and giving our digestive system time to process nutrients.

The Healthline article claims inulin also fends off unwanted pathogens (bad bacteria), prevents infection, stimulates your immune system, processs calcium, controls blood sugar, and lowers risk of colon cancer.

You can find inulin in so many common herbs and vegetables, as described in this article by Candida Diet on prebiotics, .

For Healthline article, see .

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