Best supplements for men: The herbal extract that boosts fertility and heart health

There are many concerns that become amplified as men age but two that can loom particularly large are infertility and heart disease. Though the two are not related in any obvious way, they can both be a source of anxiety. Having difficulties conceiving can cause psychological distress, which may affect relationships. Heart disease can be life-threatening because it can lead to a heart attack, angina and some strokes.

In another study, men who received ashwagandha for stress experienced higher antioxidant levels and better sperm quality.

After three months of treatment, 14 percent of the men’s partners had become pregnant.

Heart health

Ashwagandha may help improve heart health by reducing cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Cholesterol and triglyceride are fatty substances you get from eating food and are carried into your blood.

Both substances can contribute to heart disease if you have too much of them circulating in your blood vessels.

Animal studies have found that ashwagandha supplementation significantly decreases levels of these blood fats.

One study in rats found that it lowered total cholesterol and triglyceride levels by 53 percent and nearly 45 percent, respectively.

While controlled human studies have reported less dramatic results, they have observed some impressive improvements in these markers.

In a 60-day study in chronically stressed adults, the group taking the highest dosage of standardised ashwagandha extract experienced a 17 percent decrease in LDL (bad) cholesterol and an 11 percent decrease in triglycerides, on average.

LDL cholesterol is generally regarded as the most harmful type of cholesterol because it sticks to the inside of your artery walls.

While it is important to include cholesterol-lowering items in your diet, focusing on your overall dietary approach is what counts.

“You can lower your cholesterol by eating healthily and getting more exercise,” says the NHS.



Rheumatoid arthritis treatment: The herbal extract shown to reduce joint swelling

Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are the two most common types of arthritis. Arthritis is a general term for conditions that cause pain and inflammation in a joint. What distinguishes rheumatoid arthritis from its common counterpart is the mechanisms behind it.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition, which means it’s caused by the immune system attacking healthy body tissue.

Osteoarthritis, on the other hand, is usually the result of external lifestyle factors, such as injury and obesity.

Although, as the NHS points out, osteoarthritis can be associated with the joints severely damaged by rheumatoid arthritis.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for both forms of arthritis but making healthy lifestyle changes has been shown to provide some symptom relief.

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Further research supports the effective anti-inflammatory and immune-balancing properties.

Boswellia’s ability to alleviate osteoarthritis pain and inflammation appears to be even more promising.

One study published in the journal Phytomedicine found that all 30 people with osteoarthritis knee pain who received boswellia reported a decrease in knee pain.

They also reported an increase in knee flexion and how far they could walk.

General tips to alleviate arthritis

If you have arthritis, it is vital that you take steps to lose weight if you are overweight.

Why? “Too much weight places excess pressure on the joints in your hips, knees, ankles and feet, leading to increased pain and mobility problems,” explains the NHS.

As the health body points out, exercise may seem counterintuitive if you are in pain but it can aid weight loss while bringing direct benefits for managing arthritis.

Regular exercise can also:

  • Improve your range of movement and joint mobility
  • Increase muscle strength
  • Reduce stiffness
  • Boost your energy.



Hair loss treatment: The herbal oil proven to promote hair growth and improve dandruff

Hair loss is considered normal with people losing between 50 and 10 hairs a day. But as we get older hair loss can become more permanent, and for some people this can be upsetting. While no treatment for hair loss is 100 percent effective, a range of remedies have been explored by experts.

Studies have shown how bhringraj oil could promote hair growth, though much of it has been conducted on mice.

A study carried out in 2008 on male albino rats found using bhringraj oil increased the number of hair follicles, and was more effective than minoxidil at preventing hair loss.

Also, bhringraj oil is rich in vitamin E, which is known to fight free radicals that can prevent hair growth.

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Bhringraj oil’s hair benefits don’t stop there – the oil has also been shown to reduce dandruff.

Dandruff is a common skin condition that causes white or grey flakes of skin to appear on the scalp in the hair.

Bhringraj oil has antimicrobial and anti fungal properties that can help reduce dandruff.

Its anti-inflammatory properties have also been shown to help psoriasis and other skin irritations on the scalp.

Some of bhringraj oil’s other benefits include muscle relaxation and better sleep, the prevention of urinary tract infections and liver detoxification.

There is some evidence bhringraj can cause chills, particularly when taken orally.

So before ingesting bhringraj orally you should discuss it with your GP first.

If you’re using bhringraj oil on your skin for the first time you should do a skin patch test by applying a small amount on your arm and waiting at least 30 minutes for any signs of a bad reaction.



Arthritis treatment: Apply this herbal cream to ‘significantly’ reduce pain

Arthritis is a general term for more than 100 types of joint pain or joint disease. However, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the two most common types of arthritis. Common arthritis joint symptoms include swelling, pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion.

These symptoms can greatly diminish a person’s quality of life by making even simple tasks trying.

Unfortunately, there’s no cure for arthritis, but there are many treatments that can help to alleviate symptoms.

Research has found a number of natural remedies that reduce the inflammation associated with arthritis.

Stinging nettle, which can be processed into supplements, dried, freeze-dried or cooked, appears to boast anti-inflammatory properties.

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In another study, taking a supplement that contained stinging nettle extract significantly reduced arthritis pain.

Additionally, participants felt they could reduce their dose of anti-inflammatory pain relievers because of this capsule.

General tips to help you manage your arthritis

If your arthritis is painful, you may not feel like exercising. However, being active can help reduce and prevent pain.

According to the NHS, regular exercise can also:

  • Improve your range of movement and joint mobility
  • Increase muscle strength
  • Reduce stiffness
  • Boost your energy.

What is the optimal type of exercise for arthritis?

A growing body of research supports the benefit of aerobic and strengthening exercise in alleviating arthritis, according to a literature review.

It suggested that the intensity level of the aerobic exercise should be moderate to hard and exercise be performed three times weekly for a duration of 30 to 60 minutes.

Any type of exercise which makes you breathe deeper and faster can be aerobic.

Examples of low-impact aerobic exercises that are easier on your joints include walking, bicycling and swimming.

Exercise also aids weight loss, which is crucial for managing arthritis symptoms.

The NHS explains: “Too much weight places excess pressure on the joints in your hips, knees, ankles and feet, leading to increased pain and mobility problems.”

To help you maintain a healthy weight and alleviate your arthritis symptoms, it’s very important to eat a healthy, balanced diet, says the health body.

Your diet should consist of a variety of foods from all five food groups.

These are:

  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Starchy foods – such as bread, rice, potatoes and pasta
  • Meat, fish, eggs and beans
  • Milk and dairy foods
  • Foods containing fat and sugar.



High cholesterol: Drink this herbal tea for six weeks to reduce ‘bad’ LDL levels

According to the NHS, foods high in saturated fat include:

  • Meat pies, sausages and fatty meat
  • Butter, lard and ghee
  • Cream and hard cheese, like cheddar
  • Cakes and biscuits
  • Food that contains coconut oil or palm oil.

As the health body points out, you can still have foods that contain a healthier type of fat called unsaturated fat.

In fact, many unsaturated fats can be found in the Mediterranean diet, which has been consistently linked to heart health.

Mediterranean diet is typically high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds, and olive oil.



Stomach bloating: Take this herbal supplement to restore your gut health

Stomach bloating is commonly attributed to overindulging in gassy food and drink. Gas builds up and with nowhere to turn but out, the result is often a pot belly. This is not the only cause of bloating – gut disturbances can be triggered by a range of complicated factors.

Disturbances in the movement of the muscles of the digestive system can also cause bloating.

Simply eliminating gassy food from your diet may not do the trick – you may need to make tweaks to your diet.

Research suggests that wormwood, a herb that’s prized for its distinctive aroma, herbaceous flavour, and purported health benefits, may do the trick.

Due to its bitterness, wormwood is sometimes used in digestive bitters – these are supplements made of bitter herbs and spices that may help support digestion.

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It contains thujone – a compound that can cause uterine contractions.

If your bloating persists, your gut may be alerting you to a food intolerance.

According to the NHS, a food intolerance can lead to bloating when:

  • Your bowel does not empty properly
  • The food causes gas to be trapped
  • Too much gas is produced as a reaction to the food.

“The most common foods to cause problems are wheat or gluten and dairy products,” says the health body.

It adds: “The best approach if you have a food intolerance is to eat less of the problem food or cut it out completely.”

Cutting out bread and other foods containing wheat should not harm your health, if you do it properly.

There’s now a good range of widely available wheat-free alternatives that will not compromise a balanced diet.

“There are great wheat substitutes you can buy off the supermarket shelf now. Go for gluten-free bread, and try other types of grains, such as quinoa, corn and rice,” said Isabel Skypala PhD, specialist allergy dietitian at the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust.

She adds: “Just make sure you substitute other equally nutritious foods for the wheat-based ones you’re cutting out.”

As the NHS explains, some sources of wheat are obvious, such as bread, but others are less so, such as soy sauce.

A specific type of wheat-free diet may help certain people with wheat sensitivity.

“Originally designed for people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), the low-FODMAP diet is now being recommended by dieticians to people who have problems digesting wheat,” explains the NHS.

That diet mainly consists of cutting out wheat and other fermentable foods such as onion, apple, pears, mushrooms, honey, cabbage and sometimes milk.



How to live longer: The herbal extract that may offer some protection against cancer

Achieving a long life only becomes more salient as we get older because reaching milestones, such as having a family, imbue life with meaning. Chronic diseases, such as cancer, threaten everything we hold dear but evidence suggests you can erect a barrier against such threats. There is no certified way to prevent cancer but certain dietary decisions may go some way to reducing the risk.

One particular item that may boast anti-cancer properties is echinacea extract.

Echinacea is the name of a group of flowering plants in the daisy family that are native to North America.

According to research into its medicinal use, this group has nine species, but only three are used in herbal supplements — Echinacea purpurea, Echinacea angustifolia and Echinacea pallida.

Both the plant’s upper parts and roots are used in tablets, tinctures, extracts and teas.

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It’s believed that this effect occurs due to echinacea’s immune-boosting properties.

There was some concern that echinacea could interact with conventional cancer treatments, such as doxorubicin, but newer studies have found no interaction.

What to avoid

In addition to making healthy lifestyle decisions, certain habits have been shown to raise your risk of cancer so are best to be avoided.

According to Cancer Research UK, not smoking is the biggest thing you can do to reduce your risk of cancer.

The charity explains: “Chemicals in cigarette smoke get into our blood stream and can cause damage around the body.”

Processed meat may also raise your risk of cancer so it is advisable to avoid it where possible or cut down.

Research has found an increased risk of cancer for every 25 grams of processed meat a person eats a day, which is just around a rasher of bacon or a slice of ham.

The Department of Health recommends that people who eat a lot of meat should cut down to 70 grams or less per day, which is around three slices of ham.

According to Cancer Research UK, it’s thought that the chemicals either found in the meat, added during processing or produced when cooking increase the risk of cancer by damaging our cells.

As the charity explains, eating lots of processed and red meat can increase the risk of bowel cancer.

There is also some evidence for an increased risk of stomach and pancreatic cancer.

“More expensive or organic processed and red meat are not necessarily any healthier, so it’s better to cut down altogether rather than to switch to these,” it adds.



How to live longer: The herbal tea that may help ward off cancer and other threats

In one study, nettle leaf extract lowered blood glucose and A1C in a group of people with type 2 diabetes who were taking insulin as well as oral diabetes medications.

A1C is a blood test that measures your average blood glucose, or blood sugar, level over the past three months.

General tips to reducing risk of chronic diseases

According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), active people generally live longer and are at less risk for serious health problems like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and some cancers.

In fact, exercising regularly can reduce your risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer by up to 50 percent and lower your risk of early death by up to 30 percent, says the NHS.



Stomach bloating – the best herbal tea to get rid of your trapped wind or tummy aches

Stomach bloating affects most people at some point in their lifetime, according to the NHS. But you could avoid feeling bloated by simply drinking herbal tea for breakfast, it’s been claimed.

Bloating can make the stomach feel swollen, hard, and it’s generally quite uncomfortable.

Your bloating pain may be caused by eating certain gassy foods, or by eating too fast or too much.

But, one of the best and easiest ways to limit your risk of bloating is to add herbal teas to your shopping list.

There’s a simple home remedy that could actually prevent bloating from ever developing, according to A.Vogel’s nutritional practitioner, Alison Cullen.

READ MORE: Stomach bloating – simple dinner swap to avoid trapped wind

“We know that diet [what we eat], but also how we eat, is often very important in the management of bloating,” said Cullen.

“We know that in some cases of bloating employing home, herbal and conventional remedies may also help to manage the symptoms.

“Herbs can help with bloating in many cases and it could be as simple as swapping your regular daily brew with a herbal tea bag.

“Ginger, fennel and chamomile to name a few, all have carminative and anti-spasmodic properties which can help to keep bloating at bay.”



How to lose visceral fat: The Chinese herbal tea shown to attack belly fat

Compared to water, oolong tea increased energy expenditure by 2.9 percent, the equivalent of burning an additional 281 calories per day, on average.

General tips for reducing visceral fat

Drinking oolong tea should form one part of a low-carb diet – this diet has been shown to reduce visceral fat in many studies.

In an eight-week study including 69 overweight men and women, scientists found that people who followed a low-carb diet lost 10 percent more visceral fat and 4.4 percent more total fat than those on a low-fat diet.

Additionally, the ketogenic diet, which is a very low-carb diet, may also help reduce visceral fat, reseach suggests.