Thursday, August 9, 2012

1 in 8 people with ifbromyalgia use cannabis as medicine


1 in 8 with fibromyalgia uses cannabis as medicine

Thu, Jul 12 2012
By Kerry Grens
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - One in eight people with the painful condition fibromyalgia self-medicate with pot and other cannabis products, according to a new Canadian study.
"That is not unusual behavior, in general, for people with chronic medical illnesses for which we don't have great treatments," said Dr. Igor Grant, who heads the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at the University of California and was not involved in the study.
"People start looking around, they look for other types of remedies, because they need the help," he told Reuters Health.
The question is if self-medicating with cannabis is really helpful for people with fibromyalgia, researchers say.
Marijuana has been shown to ease certain types of pain in patients with HIV and other conditions. But Grant said he doesn't know of any research showing the drug can relieve the pain associated with fibromyalgia.
And the question of whether it helps fibromyalgia sufferers regain some of their daily functions, such as housekeeping or working, remains up in the air, too.
"We don't want to just see pain reduction, but an improvement in function," said Peter Ste-Marie, a pain researcher at McGill University in Montreal, who worked on the new study. "If it's not helping them get back into a daily life pattern, is it helping them?"
People with fibromyalgia typically experience pain in their joints and muscles and may also suffer from frequent headaches and fatigue.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about two percent of adults have fibromyalgia, which remains a mystery to scientists.
The condition can be treated with physical therapy, antidepressants, pain medications and other approaches, although none of them is a cure.
To see how many people turn to marijuana, Ste-Marie and his colleagues collected information from the medical records of 457 patients who came to the pain unit at McGill University Health Center. Their findings are published in the journal Arthritis Care & Research.
All of the patients had been referred to the clinic for fibromyalgia symptoms, although only 302 of the patients were confirmed to have fibromyalgia as their primary diagnosis.
About 10 percent said they smoked marijuana for medical purposes and another three percent had a prescription for a synthetic form of the active chemical in the cannabis plant.
"The popular knowledge of marijuana being available for pain would tend to demonstrate why 10 percent of patients would give it a try," said Ste-Marie.
"There really is no miracle drug for fibromyalgia. We definitely understand that patients would try to find something else," he told Reuters Health.
The researchers couldn't tell from the study which of the patient had started smoked pot before their fibromyalgia developed. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 40 percent of U.S. adults have tried marijuana at some point.
The study showed that pot smokers and non-users had the same rates of disability and unemployment. However, patients who had unstable mental illness or had a worrisome use of opioid pain medications were more likely to report using cannabis - a finding that raised concerns with Ste-Marie and his colleagues.
"Before saying herbal cannabis has a future in fibromyalgia, there are multiple things that need to be looked at," he said.

SOURCE: Arthritis Care & Research, online June 21, 2012.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Herbs and Spices by Dr.Oz

Top 10 Anti-Aging Herbs and Spices

Dr. Joseph Mercola’s counts down the 10 most powerful spices you may already have in your kitchen that can fight aging and prevent disease. He suggests you incorporate a variety of these spices into your daily meals to maximize your benefit – consuming just 1 teaspoon a day of any of these herbs and spices can have a positive effect on your health. When choosing between fresh or dried herbs, Dr. Mercola suggests that the fresh variety is more powerful. In general, the more fragrant the herb, the stronger its benefits. You can, however, get nearly the same benefits from dried herbs if you store them in an airtight container out of direct sunlight.

10. Protect Your Skin Cells: Italian Spice
Damaged skin cells make us look older prematurely. Dr. Mercola recommends adding an Italian spice blend to your cooking, which may provide vital protection on the cellular level. Basil, Italian spice blend’s key ingredient, is loaded with antioxidants that can protect your cells from harmful free radicals – the damaging molecules that also contribute to heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis and Alzheimer's disease. 

9. Heal From Infections Faster: Thyme
Bacterial infections can range from a common sore throat to potentially deadly pneumonia. Studies have shown that thyme can kill MSRA bacteria, which lead to staph infections. Additionally, extracts of thyme are used in mouthwashes to treat inflammations and in cough drops to treat throat infections.

8. Fight Inflammation: Sage
Inflammation on the cellular level is the main reason the body ages faster than it should. Dr. Mercola adds sage to his meals to fight inflammation. This herb can help fight inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and atherosclerosis, which causes a hardenening of the arteries.

7. Improve Digestion and Sleep: Marjoram 
A healthy digestive system and a good night’s sleep are essential to your overall health. Studies show that incorporating marjoram into your diet may activate cells that aid digestion. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try adding five drops of marjoram oil, available in health food stores, to a warm bath. The herb’s essential oils may relieve stress, helping you sleep soundly through the night.

6. Immunity Booster: Oregano
Numerous studies have demonstrated the antioxidant properties of oregano. Its active agent, rosmarinic acid, clears out the free radicals that age us and contribute to disease. Additionally, oregano is also one of the strongest and most effective broad-spectrum antibiotics and antifungals out there. It can help kill Candida, or yeast infection, as well as fungal nail infections.

5. Keep Your Heart Young: Apple Pie Spice
Ginger is the key ingredient in this aromatic spice blend. The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger keep your heart young and your arteries clear. Additionally, ginger helps protect against harmful bacteria and fungi. It boosts the immune system and can protect against atherosclerosis by lowering cholesterol levels and preventing the oxidation of LDL (the bad cholesterol). As an additional benefit, ginger is a potent treatment for nausea.

4. Stimulate Digestive Juices: Jamaican Allspice 
Allspice is produced from the fruit of the Pimenta dioica plant and has a complex peppery taste that resembles a mix of cinnamon, juniper, clove and nutmeg. To keep your gut healthy, Dr. Mercola recommends rubbing Jamaican allspice on your meat and vegetables or sprinkling it in your soups. It’s terrific for its anti-gas effects, and it aids digestion. Jamaican allspice also helps keep blood sugar under control, which is one of the primary ways to keep your arteries young.

3. Relieve Stiffness Due to Arthritis: Cinnamon
As we age, many of us may experience muscle and joint pain due to arthritis. Cinnamon contains anti-inflammatory compounds that can help relieve that pain. Furthermore, cinnamon’s antibiotic properties help prevent urinary tract infections, tooth decay and gum disease, and have been shown to kill the harmful bacteria, E.coli. 

2. Fight Just About Everything: Cloves
Dr. Mercola describes cloves as “cinnamon on steroids.” Like cinnamon, cloves can be beneficial against muscle pains and arthritis. Of all spices, cloves received the highest ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) Score, meaning it is the highest in antioxidants. Additionally, cloves contain eugenol, which has mild anesthetic benefits useful for toothaches, gum pain, and sore throats. Cloves also offer relief from respiratory ailments such as asthma and bronchitis, and eliminate intestinal parasites, fungi, and bacteria. It makes you wonder, is there anything cloves can’t do?  

1. Prevent Cancer and Alzheimer’s: Turmeric 
Far too many of us have felt the effects of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease in our lives. Yet in India, where turmeric is widely used, the prevalence of the four most-common US cancers is 10 times lower. Researchers attribute this, in part, to curcumin, the compound that gives turmeric its yellow color. Laboratory studies suggest that curcumin is effective both in protecting against cancer and in inducing the programmed death of colon cancer cells. Furthermore, population studies have shown that elderly villagers in India appear to have the lowest rate of Alzheimer's disease in the world.