Two formulas for gastrointestinal health based on traditional medicinal botanicals as well as modern clinical practice

Here are two formulas for gastrointestinal health derived from traditional medicinal botanicals and produced by well-regarded California-based developers of herbals, Health Concerns and Pacific BioLogic. NYBC and its predecessor DAAIR have stocked these formulas or their precursors for a number of years. Both formulas are derived from traditional schools of herbal medicine (Chinese or Tibetan), but are also informed by modern clinical practice.

Quiet Digestion from Health Concerns. Each tablet includes a formula of Poria, Coix, shen chu (a dried mass of wheat flour, fresh aerial parts of Artemisia annua, Xanthium sibiricum, Polygonum hydropiper and water), Magnolia, Angelica, Pueraria, red Atractylodes, Saussurea, Pogostemon, Oryza, Trichosanthes root, Chrysanthemum, halloysite (a mineral product that contains aluminosilicates), citrus, Mentha and malt. Used to reduce gastric distress including pain, cramping, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, regurgitation, poor appetite; addresses viral or bacterial gastroenteritis as well as motion sickness, hangover and jet lag effects.

GI Tract: Gastro Regulator (formerly Digest Ease) from Pacific BioLogic. Each tablet includes an herbal formula consisting of ginger, rhubarb (Rheum palmatum), elecampane root (Inula helenium), gentian, long pepper, tropical almond, Emblica officinalis fructus, fruit of Terminalia chebulae), Beleric myrobalan (Terminalia belerica),Glauber’s salt (Natrium sulphuricum) and kaolin (Kaolinum ponderosum). Derived from a Tibetan medicine formula, it is designed to help the function of the gastrointestinal tract, helping to optimize the course of digestion and colonic function, particularly problems arising from bad dietary habits. There may be a brief period of diarrhea or constipation at the beginning of using this product.

NYBC is always interested in having feedback from its membership about these and other products stocked by the co-op. See the website at www.newyorkbuyersclub.org for our contact information.

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Many Ways to Love Your Liver

Many Ways to Love Your Liver

(reprinted from the NYBC SUPPLEMENT, Summer 2008)

Liver impairment is a frequent concern for people with HIV. There are many different causes, including co-infection with hepatitis, HIV meds that put added stress on the liver, excessive alcohol or recreational drug use, opportunistic infections, repeated resort to antibiotics, or just consuming big doses of the over-processed, nutrient-poor junk that too often passes for food these days! (By the way, we like the rule of thumb for choosing good stuff at the supermarket: if your grandmother wouldn’t recognize the item as “food”—then it’s probably not very good for you.)

The liver is crucial for processing and breaking down wastes, whether those produced by normal body functioning or those absorbed into the system in the form of drugs, alcohol, or toxins. So keeping it in good repair is essential for health. One specific strategy to support liver function is to maintain levels of the intracellular (= “found within cells”) antioxidant glutathione, which plays a key role in protecting the liver as it performs its detoxification duties. Here is a short list of nutritional supplements that are frequently recommended for this purpose: Vitamin C (2–6 grams per day, in divided doses); N-acetyl-cysteine, or NAC (500 mg, 3 times per day); alpha-lipoic acid (300-600 mg, twice daily). (Note that NAC and Lipoic can be taken in the combination form ThiolNAC, one of the key supplements stocked by NYBC.)

Another worthy option for countering stresses to the liver is an herb called Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum), which has a long tradition of use as a botanical remedy. Modern research has isolated compounds referred to as silymarin within this plant, and many studies have pointed to silymarin’s effectiveness in protecting liver cells from toxic chemicals, and even in stimulating the repair and regeneration of liver cells. In 2007, a federally funded investigation identified one component of milk thistle as a potent anti-cancer agent, and suggested that it held much promise in protecting against or treating liver cancer. Be advised that if you consult sources such as the Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange (CATIE) website, you may encounter concerns about whether silymarin interferes with HIV meds. But here’s what one National Institutes of Health study concluded: “Milk thistle in commonly administered dosages should not interfere with indinavir therapy in patients infected with the human immunodeficiency virus.” This and other research, we believe, suggests that milk thistle-HIV med interference is not actually a very signficant issue.

Now here’s a rather unusual dietary supplement that has been investigated for liver health: S-adenosylmethionine (SAM-e). First isolated by Italian researchers in the 1950s, SAMe is synthesized by living cells from the amino acid methionine and can’t be supplemented from food sources. In several European studies of people living with hepatitis B or C, it has been shown to help reduce jaundice, fatigue, and other symptoms. And it’s also been applied to treating alcohol-related damage to the liver. The unusual aspect of SAMe is that there’s also a great deal of published research on its value as an antidepressant and as a treatment for arthritis—so it’s quite a versatile molecule! (See the NYBC Blog at http://www.nybc.wordpress.com for more details.)

Last, we note that the New York Buyers’ Club, like its predecessor DAAIR, has carefully followed the modern, US-based study and dissemination of traditional Chinese herbal remedies for liver disease. For example, NYBC stocks Pacific Biologic’s Hepato-C and Hepato-Detox, and, more recently, has added Health Concern’s Hepatoplex One and Hepatoplex Two to its product list. Both of these California-based companies have a very good reputation for quality, and both have devised blends based on Traditional Chinese Medicine as well as current clinical experience by licensed practitioners. (Please consult the NYBC website for more information about the specific herbs in these formulas, as well as recommendations for their use.) Of course we’re always interested in hearing about the experience of our members in using these products, and so we welcome your comments and questions—just email us at contact@newyorkbuyersclub.org.

Digestive/ gastrointestinal support: Vegetarian Enzymes from Douglas Labs; Quiet Digestion from Health Concerns

Here are two approaches for digestive / gastrointestinal support. The first is a combination of digestive enzymes in a vegetarian encapsulation. The second draws on Traditional Chinese Medicine in a formula from Health Concerns.

Vegetarian Enzymes from Douglas Labs, which supplies:

Amylase 4200 D.U. (dextrinizing units)
Protease 12, 500 H.U.T. (hemoglobin units)
Lipase 2400 L.U. (lipase units)
Cellulase 600 C.U.
Suggested dosage: 1-2 tablets three times daily, with meals.

Quiet Digestion (Health Concerns) Each bottle, 90 tablets. Each tablet 750 mg of Poria, Coix, shen chu (a dried mass of wheat flour, fresh aerial parts of Artemisia annua, Xanthium sibiricum, Polygonum hydropiper and water), Magnolia, Angelica, Pueraria, red Atractylodes, Saussurea, Pogostemon, Oryza, Trichosanthes root, Chrysanthemum, halloysite (a mineral product that contains aluminosilicates), citrus, Mentha and malt. Used to reduce gastric distress including pain, cramping, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, regurgitation, poor appetite; addresses viral or bacterial gastroenteritis as well as motion sickness, hangover and jet lag effects.

Suggested use is 2 tablets taken after meals, 3 times per day; also may be taken between meals or as needed. Chew for best results.

CordySeng – 60 tabs from Health Concerns

Here’s some background information on Cordyseng – 60 tablets, available through the NYBC purchasing co-op.

CordySeng is a Health Concerns formula most often recommended for fatigue associated with chronic illnesses or during recovery from an acute illness or operation; also recommended generally for supporting immune function. The ingredients of HC CordySeng are: a proprietary mix of Cordyceps fruiting body extract, Ganoderma (Reishi) fruiting body, Astragalus root extract, American Ginseng root extract, Licorice root extract, and Ginger rhizome extract.

Suggested Use: One to three tablets 2-3 times per day between meals.

Warnings and cautions: not intended for use by pregnant women. Note that less that 1% of users may notice a Ganoderma allergy, which results in a itchy rash. If this occurs, discontinue.

A note about Health Concerns:

HC was among the first companies to manufacture Chinese herbal products in the United States for practitioners trained in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Most HC products are available in tablet form, which is the preferred method of administration for American patients. HC formulas draw on both Traditional Chinese Medicine and modern biochemistry and have been developed by experienced practitioners such as Dr. Fung Fung, Andrew Gaeddert, Misha Cohen, Bob Flaws, and Jake Fratkin.

Health Concerns formulas available through New York Buyers’ Club

You may have noticed that the New York Buyers’ Club carries a selection of Health Concerns formulas:

Clear Heat
Coptis Fire Purge
Cordyseng
Ecliptex
Enhance
Hepatoplex One
Hepatoplex Two
Marrow Plus
Quiet Digestion

Health Concerns has interested the buyers’ club co-op members for quite some time, because we’ve come to believe that it’s one of the more intelligent modern adaptations of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Many of the formulas are designed by herbalist Andrew Gaeddert, who has focused especially on topics like liver health, gastrointestinal issues, and immune support. Both in his writings and in his clinical practice, he’s offered some worthwhile applications of traditional Chinese herbalism. And Health Concerns, which manufacturers its formulas in the USA, has a very good record for product quality.

For questions or comments about Health Concerns formulas, you can email NYBC at

contact@newyorkbuyerslcub.org

NYBC takes a look at a Chinese herbal formula for liver disease

NYBC is taking a look at a Health Concerns liver tonic called HEPATOPLEX. Our interest was sparked because a long-time NYBC member attended a seminar led by Misha Cohen, a Lic. Ac. who’s been instrumental in developing some of the Chinese herb combinations for Health Concerns.

To read Misha Cohen’s Interferon Treatment Protocol (as well as general remarks on managing hepatitis treatment using Eastern, Western, or a combination of Eastern and Western approaches), go to

http://www.docmisha.com/applying/hepatitis_help/06download.html#interferon

For more information on Hepatoplex, see also the NYBC website:

Hepatoplex One (earlier stage liver disease, little fibrosis)–

http://nybcsecure.org/product_info.php?products_id=269

and Hepatoplex Two (chronic hepatitis with cirrhosis and fibrosis)–

http://nybcsecure.org/product_info.php?products_id=270

As always, NYBC’s membership co-op wants to hear about the experience people have with the items we stock. So if you use either of the Hepatoplex products, let us know about outcomes, or about any comments/questions/concerns you may have.

NYBC’s email:  contact@newyorkbuyersclub.org