HERBS FOR HEALTH MANAGEMENT

Herbs are a foundational root in medicine and health treatments, dating back thousands of years throughout every culture around the world. Modern Western herbalism comes from ancient Egypt. The Greeks developed a comprehensive philosophy of herbal medicine by 100 BCE and the Romans built upon it to create a variety of medical practices, some of which are still used today.

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ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE IMPACTS PSYCHOLOGICAL HARDINESS

Psychological hardiness is an individual’s resistance to stress, anxiety and depression. It includes the ability to withstand grief and accept the loss of loved ones. Alternative medicine is a more popular term for health and wellness therapies that have typically not been part of conventional Western medical approaches but are often used along with conventional medicinal protocols.  Coping and dealing with stress in a positive manner play a major role in maintaining the balance needed for health and well-being.

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ALTERNATIVE REMEDIES FOR ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION

Interest in complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM) is increasing as consumers and health care professionals search for additional ways to treat anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders. Some of these remedies include:

St. John’s Wort.  More than 30 studies show it to be effective for treatment of mild forms of depression,…

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establish more precisely the relationship between immune-related markers found in the blood and brain function and behavior. The second stage of research will carry out “proof-of-concept” experimental medicine trials, using anti-inflammatory drugs in patients who have been identified according to their specific immunological profile.


“Neuro-inflammation has been increasingly implicated as a key player in a wide range of brain disorders including depression and Alzheimer’s disease,” said Dr. Stevin Zorn, executive vice president at Lundbeck Research USA. “This partnership is an exciting opportunity to increase our understanding of the important role of emerging immune and neuronal interactions in these disorders and to point us toward new avenues to develop breakthrough treatments for them.”


One promising treatment for depression on the horizon is the use of electrical stimulation to change the signals between the brain and the immune system. Prof. Kevin Tracey, president and CEO of the US Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, discovered the brain controls production of an inflammatory chemical called TNF. If released in high doses, TNF can be fatal, causing people to literally die of shock. Tracey has recently developed an electrical device that switches off the chemical.


“This is the tip of the iceberg of a new field called bio-electric medicine,” said Tracey. “This is a new way of thinking about medicine.

THE REAL PHYSICAL CAUSE OF DEPRESSION COULD BE INFLAMMATION

ANGELA S. HOOVER

Angela is a staff writer for Health & Wellness magazine.

more articles by Angela s. hoover

Research has also shown that people who have suffered severe emotional trauma in their past have inflammatory markers in their bodies, suggesting their immune system is constantly firing.


“It’s pretty clear inflammation can cause depression,” said Prof. Ed Bullmore, head of the department of psychiatry at the University of Cambridge. “There is a very robust association between inflammation and depressive symptoms. We give people a vaccination and they will become depressed. The question is, does the inflammation drive the depression or vice versa, or is it just a coincidence? In experimental medicine studies, if you treat a healthy individual with an inflammatory drug like interferon, a substantial percentage of those people will become depressed. So we think there is good enough evidence for a causal effect.”


Scientists in conjunction with Janssen Research & Development LLC, H. Lundbeck and Johnson & Johnson Innovation in London are investigating whether anti-inflammatory medicines could benefit patients. In a two-stage project, the teams will examine the immune systems of patients with depression that have not responded to conventional treatment. They will also use animal models to

Inflammation, especially systemic inflammation, has been found to be a root cause of nearly every physical malady. Inflammation makes the immune system kick into hyper gear, often leading to damage. This cause-effect mechanism between inflammation and the immune system is now implicated as the physical cause for depression.


Rather than chemical imbalance(s) in the brain, an overactive immune system that does not switch off after a trauma or illness causes inflammation throughout the body. This widespread inflammation may be at the heart of depression.


The immune system triggers an inflammatory response when it feels threatened, sparking wide-ranging changes in the body in anticipation of needing to heal a wound. It has taken so long to establish this connection because until recently scientists believed the brain was entirely cut off from the immune system because of the blood-brain barrier.


A growing body of research has shown a connection between treating inflammation and alleviating depression. It has also been shown inflammatory processes can trigger phenomena that resemble mood disorders. Scientists now believe depression can be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs. But when doctors use inflammatory drugs to boost the immune system, some patients become depressed.