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Natural cures for Yuletide ailments



It is three days to Christmas. The excitement is palpable. Preparations are near conclusion. Indeed, the season is associated with over indulgence in alcohol, ‘bad’ diets, hangover and food poisoning.

But scientists have validated herbal combination of ginger, grape seeds, bitter kola, shitake mushrooms, taurine, scent leaf, bitter leaf to ameliorate the negative effects of overindulgence-related ailments.

Scientists suggest that bitter kola can detoxify and protect the liver from any alcohol and food poisoning effects. Several studies have shown that bitter kola prevents alcoholic induced hangover.

A study published in African Journal of Biochemistry Research has validated the hepato-protective role of bitter kola.

The study, titled “Hepatoprotective role of Garcinia kola (Heckel) nut extract on methamphetamine: Induced neurotoxicity in mice” was published by Gabriel Oze, Iheanyi Okoro, Austin Obi and Polycarp Nwoha from the Institute of Neuroscience and Biomedical Research, College of Medicine, Imo State University, Owerri, Imo State.

Yet another study published in Journal of Medicine and Food evaluated the “Effect of kolaviron, a biflavonoid complex from Garcinia kola seeds, on ethanol-induced oxidative stress in liver of adult wistar rats.”

Adaramoye O.A., Awogbindin I., and Okusaga J.O. from the Department of Biochemistry, University of Ibadan, Oyo State, wrote: “The role of oxidative stress in the pathogenesis of alcoholic diseases in the liver is well documented. Kolaviron (KV), a biflavonoid complex from Garcinia kola seeds, possesses a variety of biological activities, including antioxidant.

Our aim was to investigate in vivo whether KV may attenuate oxidative stress in liver of Wistar albino rats following chronic ethanol administration.

Thirty-six male Wistar albino rats were randomly divided into six groups. Administering 7.5 per cent or 45 per cent ethanol at 3 g/kg of body weight daily for eight weeks induced toxicity. Rats were treated with KV at 200 mg/kg of body weight for the same duration. Treatment was by oral gavage…”

In fact, a consultant pharmacognocist and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Bioresources Development Group and Intercedd Health Products (IHP), Prof. Maurice Iwu, told The Guardian that his research group has formulated bitter kola into capsules and marketed worldwide as Garcinia IHP- ‘The Cold Cap’.

Iwu said: “With Cold Cap, you may not feel the after effect of alcohol.”

Also, the DailyMailUK reported, penultimate week, of “hangover cure in a bottle” containing shiitake mushrooms and a grape seed that really prevent symptoms or is a fizzy drink better.

The new product, dubbed a “hangover cure in a bottle”, promises to allow you to have a very merry festive period – without suffering the after-effects.

YourSaint – which comes in drops and shot form – is meant to be taken one hour before drinking and then every six hours for best results.

The remedy contains a blend of vitamins, minerals, and ‘liver cleansing’ ingredients – including ginger, grape seeds, shitake mushrooms and taurine – and promises to “neutralise the effect of alcohol” within 30 minutes of having it.

The symptoms – usually some combination of headache, thirst, fatigue, dizziness and nausea – reach their peak when your blood-alcohol goes back to zero.

In the liver, alcohol is broken down into a toxic chemical called acetaldehyde. An enzyme, alcohol dehydrogenase, further metabolises it into acetic acid.

If the amount of alcohol you consume outpaces the ability of your enzymes to process it, acetaldehyde builds up, leading to headaches and nausea.

“Acetaldehyde drains your body of antioxidants, B vitamins, and other vital nutrients,” the YourSaint website says. “The results are dehydration, plummeting blood sugar levels, nutrient deficiencies and cellular damage to vital organs, such as the liver.”

The claim: YourSaint says the ginger is for relieving digestive problems such as nausea, loss of appetite, motion sickness and pain.
Ginger, used medicinally for thousands of years, is known for its ability to soothe stomach upsets.

Studies show it may help pain, by blocking the formation of the inflammatory compounds prostaglandins and leukotriene, so it could even help ease a throbbing head.

The claim: YourSaint does not seem to make any claim for the effect of grape seeds – derived from the ground-up seeds of red wine grapes – on the hangover process.

Instead it says they are “rich in powerful antioxidants and natural plant compounds called oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes (OPCs). Grape seed extract may play a role in cancer prevention, bone strength, oral health, healthy blood pressure and more”.

There have been various studies on whether the antioxidant properties of grape seed has any affect on various diseases – with mixed results. The DailyMail Online was unable to find any research on the extract and it is effect on acetaldehyde levels.

Shiitake mushrooms are an excellent source of copper, pantothenic acid and selenium. They are a very good source of vitamin B2 and zinc. Additionally, they are a good source of manganese, vitamin B6, niacin, choline, dietary fibre, vitamin D and folate.

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