Thursday, October 27, 2016

What if you're bitten by a snake...but all you have is a garlic...

What if you're bitten by a snake...but all you have is a garlic...

By: Arlene Gentallan

home remedies for snake bite
What if you're bitten by a snake...but all you have is a garlic...

        Now that's a grim fate folks. But what if it happens! What if you're bitten by a snake but all you have is a garlic!

        I've just heard that garlic has been used as a home remedy against snake bite. But hey, does this thing really works? And how do you even use a garlic?

        I've done some research...lo and behold, in India, garlic is one of their many medicinal herbs against snake bite...


        People from  Paschim Medinipur, West Bengal uses many herbal plants including garlic as a home remedy for snake bite. To use garlic as an alternative treatment for snake bite, they crush garlic bulb and ingest it.

        Another way they use garlic as an alternative medicine to snake bite is to grind it's bulb together with the roots of Indian sarsaparilla (Hemidesmus indicus), then apply it topically on the bitten site.

        Source: International Journal of Pharmacy & Life Sciences, Vol. 4, Issue 12: Dec: 2013, pages 3175- 3176, ISSN: 0976-7126 "Plants used in treatment of snakebite by the tribal communities of Paschim Medinipur district, West Bengal"

Crush it!

        Remember you have to crush garlic to release it's potent component "allicin."

Modern Medicine

        There are claims that using garlic helps decrease the effect of snake venom in the body, but there's no scientific research that can back this up. Modern medicine therefore cannot recommend garlic as a substitute for snake antivenom.

        But if you only have garlic...meh...

Related Article: 10 Medicinal Uses of Garlic

What's in snake venom?

        Snake venom contains various compounds like proteins, neurotoxins, polypeptides, enzymes, and others, with lethal effects:
  • Paralyses muscles (eg. respiratory failure)
  • Coagulates blood
  • Destroys blood cells
  • Impaired blood clotting (viper venom) leading to bleeding
  • Damages cells and tissues (eg. blood, muscle, and nerves) leading to necrosis / gangrene
  • Lowers blood pressure

This may lead to the following sign and symptoms:
  • Pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Swelling at the area of bite
  • Discoloration at the area of bite
  • Bleeding from gums
  • Brown urine
  • Gangrene at the area of bite
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Paralysis

How long does it take to die from a venomous snake bite?

        On average, a venomous snake bite can kill a victim in 30 minutes to 1 hour. But a snake bite can so lethal, it kill in just 5-10 minutes. However, death may still occur beyond 24 hours after the bite.

        Factors such as the type of the snake, the amount of venom injected, and the body size of the individual bitten can affect how fast the victim dies.

A snake is not always poisonous

        Not accounting unreported cases, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), snake bites approximately 5 million people around the world each year, out of which 2.5 million are envenomated and about 100,000 die.

        There are more than 3,000 species of snakes in the world, out of which about 500-600 species are venomous.

        50% of venomous snake's bite don't always inject the victim with venom. It's called "dry bite."

        Antisnake venom (ASV) is the only effective standard treatment to neutralize the venom. So if you're bitten by a snake...but all you have is a garlic...I do hope you survive...

        I'm unable to find a testimony or a scientific study verifying garlic's efficacy, but what do you think? Is garlic being used in your community against snake bite? Please do share...


Monday, October 24, 2016

Kidney stone formation: Acid vs Alkaline

Acidic vs Alkaline Urine: What promotes kidney stone formation?

By: Arlene Gentallan

Acidic vs Alkaline Urine: What promotes kidney stone formation?
Acidic vs Alkaline Urine: What promotes kidney stone formation?

        The kidney filters the blood, removing unwanted wastes, excess water and minerals. Kidney stones form when theses minerals and wastes hardens and forms a compact mass in the kidneys. Kidney stone sizes can vary from minute to large.

        A urine's acidity or alkalinity significantly affects formation of a specific kind of stone.

Acidic vs. Alkaline & Types of kidney stones

        An acidic pH promotes the formation of uric acid and cystine kidney stones, while an alkaline pH promotes deposits of calcium and struvite stones.

Alkaline (pH above 7): Calcium & Struvite kidney stones

1. Calcium stones is the most common form of kidney stone. It forms from calcium oxalate or calcium phosphate. Risks for developing calium stones includes a high oxalate intake in the diet, vitamin D deficiency which causes dimineralization of bones, and parathyroid disorder which causes blood calcium level to rise.

2. Struvite stones is formed by the precipitation of the mineral "struvite." Struvite is formed by certain bacteria that produces ammonia as a by-product. Factors like urinary tract infection increases the risk of it's development.

Acidic (pH below 7): Uric acid & Cystein kidney stones

3. Uric acid stones are formed from precipitation of uric acid crystals. Risk factor for it's development includes having gouty arthritis, and eating a high purine diet.

4. Cystine stones is a rare form of kidney stone resulting from a genetic disorder in which a high amount of protein "cystine" accumulates in the urine and precipitates into stones.

How to determine which specific kind of kidney stone you have?

        Make sure to consult your doctor. Your doctor may prescribe tests such urine, blood test, and kidney stone analysis.

What is pH?

        A urine's pH level determines if it's acidic or alkaline. The neutral pH is 7. A pH of less than 7 is acidic, while a pH of more than 7 is alkaline.

What is the normal pH or urine?

        Urine is normally slightly acidic in the morning then becoming less acidic or more alkaline as the day progresses. The normal pH range of urine is between 6.5 to 8.0.

        If the urinary pH is below 6.5, that means urine is too acidic, while a pH beyond 8 means it's extremely alkaline.

How to know your urine's pH?

        Urinary pH is one of the components tested in urinalysis. When you undergo urinalysis, a sample of your urine will be tested for several parameters like pH level.

Related articles:

10 Home Remedies for UTI
6 Facts about E. coli and UTI
What is Gout?
What is Uric Acid?


Friday, October 21, 2016

10 Common Diseases healed by Garlic

10 Medicinal use of Garlic

By: Arlene Gentallan

Medicinal use of Garlic
10 Common Diseases healed by Garlic

        Garlic (Allium sativum) has long been used to treat various health problems. It's medicinal property has been recognized by civilizations such as the Chinese, Egyptians, Indians, and Sumerians.

        Do note that garlic and onion can cause heartburn! So don't take in an empty stomach.

1. Lead poisoning

        A study by Kianoush, Balali-Mood, Mousavi, et al. has shown that garlic is as effective as the medicine "d-Penicillamissne" in treating mild to moderate cases of lead poisoning, but with considerably lesser side effects.

        Their study involves 117 individuals who were exposed to lead due to the nature of their work. They were split into two groups. One group were treated with garlic containing 1200mg allicin trice a day, while the other group were given the medicine d-penicillamine 250 mg trice a day. Treatment was done for 4 weeks which resulted in a significant decrease in blood concentration of lead.

2. Hypertension

        Hypertension is a sustained elevation of SBP (systolic blood pressure) equal or more than 140mmHg, or DBP (diastolic blood pressure) equal or more than 90mmHg.

        Hypertension is a silent killer.

        A study by Ashraf, Khan, Ashraf, and Qureshi shows that taking 300mg - 1500mg garlic tablets for 24 weeks significantly reduces blood pressure compared to taking antihypertensive medicine "atenolol" among 30 individuals suffering from essential hypertension.

3. Hypercholesterolaemia

        Having a high cholesterol level can predispose the development of cardiovascular diseases. The allicin content of garlic is an effective home remedy to lower bad cholesterol, thus reducing risk of heart attack and stroke.

        A study by Ried, Toben C, and Fakler,shows that garlic use for at least 2 months can lower bad cholesterol "LDL" and total cholesterol level, slightly increase good cholesterol "HDL", but with no significant effect on triglycerides level.

4. Anticoagulant

        Garlic is an anticoagulant. It can prevent the formation of deadly clots that can potentially clog blood vessels resulting in stroke or heart attack.

Important reminders:
  • If you are taking an anticoagulant medication, make sure to consult your doctor before taking garlic as an alternative medicine.
  • Stop taking high doses of garlic 7-10 days before a scheduled surgery.

5. Osteoporosis in menopause

        A study by Mukherjee, Das AS, Das D, et al. shows that garlic oil is as effective as the medicine lovastatin and 17beta-estradiol in preventing bone loss from postmenopausal osteoporosis in animal studies.

6. Intestinal worms

        The allicin content of garlic is kills bacteria, fungi, viruses, and intestinal parasites. Symptoms don't always show up when you have parasites inhabiting your intestines. If symptoms does occur, it can be as vague as constipation or diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue, abdominal pain, nausea, bloating, and presence of blood/mucus in stool.

        Including garlic in your diet ensures that you have this opportunistic parasites in check.

7. Neuroprotective & Memory

        Garlic can help prevent dementia such as alzheimer's, and parkinson's disease. Research reveals that garlic protects brain from degeneration.

        Garlic acts as an atioxidant which fights oxidative cell damages caused by free radicals.

8. Immune system booster: Cold & Flu

        Garlic strengthens the immune system. A study by Josling shows that taking 1 capsule of allicin-containing garlic supplement significantly decreases a person's risk of acquiring colds, and if they do acquire colds, duration of symptoms is shorter.

9. Toothache

        Crush a garlic and put it over your tooth to kill the ache. It's that simple. However, there has been a case when this home remedy technique using garlic for toothache resulted in a significant degree of facial chemical burn.

        However, many still claims that putting fresh garlic over an aching tooth does kill the pain!

10. Candida albicans: Yeast infection and oral thrush

        Fungi is all around us...including inside our body.  The allicin content of garlic is effective in terminating fungi particularly Candida albicans. Candida albicans is actually a form of yeast that's normally present in human gut. However, if our body's immune system fails (eg. leukemia, immunosuppresive drugs, and cancer treatment) they can grow in number uncontrollably, causing infection such as yeast infection and oral thrush.


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A leftover Onion is Deadly?

Botulism: Don't keep Onion leftover

By: Arlene Gentallan

A leftover Onion is Deadly?
A leftover Onion is Deadly?

        Onion has a number of important health benefits, but don't ever keep an already sliced leftover of this pungent vegetable. Leftover onions are not safe! Even sauteed onions left at room temperature for prolong periods can be fatal!

        Hold it right there! Suppose I only need half an onion for my recipe. So I cut an onion into half, cook one half, while I store the other half on the shelf / refrigerator. You mean to say that's fatal?

The facts

Sauteed Onion

        In the year 1983, 28 people were afflicted with botulism after eating patty-melt sandwich containing sauteed onions. Botulism toxin were isolated in the sandwich wrapper.

        Among those 28 individuals, one died 6 months later in the hospital, while 12 others required mechanical ventilation to support their breathing.

Here's another case...

Garlic-infused oil

        In 1989, 3 people were afflicted with botulism after eating garlic bread made from "garlic-in-oil product" which upon later examination, were contaminated with Clostridium botulinum and botulinum toxin.

What to do? The FDA encourages to eat onion containing products fresh from the pan. Storing left over onion at room temperature increases risk of botulism.

What is Botulism?

        Botulism is a rare but deadly disease. It is caused by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum which produces a neurotoxin. This toxin blocks the release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine which leads to paralysis.

Children and elderly are vulnerable to botulism.

12 - 36 hours after ingestion of contaminated food, botulism symptoms may develop, such as:
  • Nausea / Vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing / swallowing / speaking
  • Drooping eyelids
  • Facial weakness
  • Muscular paralysis

Don't judge an onion by it's looks

        In a study by Austin, Dodds, Blanchfield, and Farber, they were able to detect the deadly neurotoxin produced by Clostridium botulinum in spoiled cut vegetables, that's not the case for onion and butternut squash. Neurotoxin that can cause paralysis is present in onion and butternut squash even when they appear good.

Can refrigeration of onion prevent botulism?

        A study by Austin, Dodds,Blanchfield, and Farber, shows that nonproteolytic Clostridium botulinum can produce the deadly neurotoxin even at 5 degrees C, so they recommend storing fresh-cut vegetables below 5 degrees C to prevent botulism.

I eat leftover onion but I don't get botulism...

        Now, there are people who do keep leftover onion, and eat it later but don't develop botulism. This means eating stored leftover onion don't show up 100% of the time. But hey, I just want to tell you the risks involved...because food poisoning by Clostridium botulinum in onion does occur.

        Remember botulism appears rarely but is often deadly...

Related article: Health Benefits of Onion


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Is coffee an insect repellent?

Coffee: The mosquito repellent

By: Arlene Gentallan

Is coffee an insect repellent?
Is coffee an insect repellent?

        Coffee is incredible both in aroma and taste, doesn't really make sense why something will hate it...but oh well, makes it more versatile.


        If you haven't yet realize, let me point out that "mosquito is a dangerous animal." It kills more than a million people in the world each year according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

        Seriously, you don't want any of these insects staying at your house, or roaming anywhere near you home.

Coffee: The mosquito repellent

        A study by Satho, Dieng, Ahmad, et al, shows that the mosquito specie Aedes albopictus were repelled by coffee. Female mosquitoes avoid laying their eggs in water containing high concentration of coffee.

        The study also shows that if a female  did lay it's egg in water containing coffee, their eggs will have a less likelihood of hatching, so reproduction of adult mosquito decreases.

What is Aedes albopictus?

        Aedes albopictus, also known as "asian tiger mosquito" is easily spotted with it's black and white stripes. It's a daytime-biter, serving as vector of serious diseases such as dengue fever, yellow fever, chikungunya, zika, and eastern equine encephalitis.

        Aedes albopictus is native to tropical countries of the Southeast Asia but has alarmingly spread to other continents. This species of mosquito are survivors. They can even thrive in freezing temperature.

How to use coffee as an insect repellent

        Sprinkle fresh or used coffee grounds on your potted plant, garden, and other areas infested with mosquitoes. This will keep mosquitoes off of them. Also, coffee ground is a source of nourishment for the soil and the plant. It's like using fertilizer with insect repellent magic!


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

How to promote Cartilage growth in Joints

How to promote Cartilage growth in Joints

By: Arlene Gentallan

How to promote cartilage growth in joints
How to promote cartilage growth in joints

        Generally, an adult person has 206 bones. Movement is possible because joints--a point where two are more bones form connection.

        One of the indispensable feature of a joint is a cartilage, a smooth whitish layer that covers and cushions bone ends in joints. Cartilage prevents bone ends from rubbing against each other and can absorb incredible amount of compression pressure.

        Although an excellent shock-absorber, cartilage has it's own limit.

        Cartilage lacks blood supply, making cartilage repair poor.

        Overtime, cartilage damage accumulates from such factors such as:
  • Aging
  • Pysical trauma
  • Overuse of joint
  • Obesity
Related article: Osteoarthritis

...this leads to pain, and limitation of movement.

5 Ways to Increase Cartilage growth in Joints

1. Exercise

        Since cartilage lacks blood supply, nutrients and substances necessary to repair it can not easily be brought into it. Joint movement plays a crucial role to remodel and repair cartilage.

        In a study by Durmus, Alayli, Bayrak, and Canturk, they've concluded that "exercise alone was adequate to prevent structural changes and cartilage loss of the knee joint as assessed by MRI."

        Their study involves 2 groups of women with knee osteoarthritis. Both groups undergo exercise program for 12 weeks. However, the first group taken 1500 mg/day of glucosamine sulphate for 12 weeks while the other group did not.

        At the end of the 12 weeks period, the study shows that exercise did cause significant improvement in terms of mobility and pain relief. However, participants taking glucosamine sulfate did not show better result compared to those not taking the supplement.

2. Chondroitin Sulfate & Glucosamine

        Glucosamine and chondroitin are both normally found as a building block of cartilage and synovial fluid. These are popular supplement among those with osteoarthritis ( a form of arthritis marked by progressive loss of cartilage.) Studies have conflicting result as to wheather of not they help reduce pain and promote cartilage formation.

3. Vitamin D

        Vitamin D aids calcium absorption. We get this vitamin either from skin exposure to sunlight or from the foods we eat. A study by Ding, Cicuttini, Parameswaran has shows that sufficient intake of Vitamin D and sunlight exposure results to decrease of cartilage loss in the knee.

        Recommended daily allowance (RDA) of Vitamin D is 600 IU for individuals below 71 years old, and 800 IU for those over 71 years old.

        Our skin can make it's own Vitamin D. All that it needs is to be exposed to ultraviolet B from the sunlight. The amount of vitamin D you get varies depending factors such as your geographical location,  time, skin color, and surface area of your skin expose to sunlight.

4. Vitamin C

        Vitamin C aids in tissue repair. It also plays a significant role the formation of protein collagen which is one of the building blocks of cartilage.

Related articles:

5. Vitamin K

        Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin which means our body can store it for a long period of time. It has an important role in blood coagulation. Studies have shown that a deficiency in vitamin K predisposes an individual to develop knee osteoarthritis.

        Make sure you take adequate Vitamin K. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin K for individuals ages 19 years old and up is:
  • 90 mcg/day for females
  • 90 mcg/day for lactating / pregnant
  • 120 mcg/day for males

Vitamin K rich foods includes:
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Lettuce
  • Cucumber
  • Kale
  • Natto


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Does Rosemary induce Abortion?

Does Rosemary induce Abortion?

By: Arlene Gentallan

 Does Rosemary induce Abortion?
 Does Rosemary induce Abortion?

        Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a popular spice. Renowned for it's aroma and taste. But there are certain claims you need to know before anything else. "Does rosemary really induce abortion?" What does research says about it?

What research says

        A study involving rats by Lemonica, Damasceno, and di-Stasi, shows that ingesting rosemary extract may impede implantation. (Implantation refers to the attachment of the fertilized egg to the inner wall of the uterus.) However, it's intake does not seem to interfere with the normal development of the baby following implantation.

        The above research fails to show that rosemary have abortifacient effect to pregnant mother, however further studies are still needed to debunk the claim. You may be disappointed to know that rosemary's association with abortion is a poortly researched topic.

What the expert says

        According to WebMd, while pregnant women may continue to add rosemary spice in their food, it is not recommended to consume rosemary extract with dosage beyond the levels found in food.

        So if you're pregnant, it's better to watch out
for vitamins and supplements containing rosemary! Better safe than sorry!

        Also, using rosemary essential oil is not proven safe during pregnancy.


        Rosemary is considered safe to be eaten during pregnancy provided the amount ingested does not exceed the usual amount found in food. You can still enjoy this historic spice in your dishes. But avoid taking vitamins and supplements containing rosemary extract during the course of pregnancy.

Related articles:

8 Amazing things about Rosemary


8 Amazing things about Rosemary

8 Health Benefits of Rosemary

By: Arlene Gentallan

Health Benefits of Rosemary
8 Amazing things about Rosemary

        You might think of rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) as something you stuck in your dishes to taste, but this ancient symbol of remembrance has a rich history embracing both legends and reality. Rosemary's history brings forth images of Greek goddess Aphrodite, and Christian's Virgin Mary.

        In ancient times, rosemary is present in the most important life events such as weddings and funerals. It is believe to ward off evil spirit and nightmares. Ehem, rosemary has such an amazing fragrant that it has been used in ancient times to cover up the stench of rotting corpse.

Did you know: Rosemary comes from the latin "ros marinus" which translates to "dew of the sea."

1. Memory Booster

        Research has confirmed that this "ancient symbol of remembrance" actually does help you remember. Even it's smell can enhance memory and improve learning.

2. Uplifts the mood & Relieves stress

        Rosemary has an antidepressant and anxiolytic property. Studies shows that even it's smell increases alertness. If you're feeling down or sleepy, this may just be the thing for you. Rosemary's scent stimulates your brain, making you feel animated and upbeat. Now, that's a positive reason to enjoy a cup of rosemary tea!

        A study by Atsumi, and Tonosaki shows that rosemary and lavender aroma decreases the stress hormone "cortisol" level in saliva.

3. Antioxidant; Anti-inflammatory; Antitumor; Anticancer

        Rosemary is rich source of antioxidant which fights free radicals and prevents oxidative damage. Antioxidant fight premature aging. Research also shows that rosemary extract can prevent cancer cell formation and growth.

4. Antibacterial

        Rosemary contains antimicrobials such as 1,8-cineole, a-pinene ,ß-pinene, carnosic acid, and rosmarinic acid. In fact it is being used as a natural preservative to prevent spoilage of foods.

5. Acne buster

        Rosemary oil's antibacterial and anti-inflammatory property fights acne. While it's popularly used to add flavor to dishes, it's use as topical oil to relieve acne is poorly known. However, studies does who that's effectiveness as a home remedy in treating acne problems.

6. Liver protector

        In a study by Raškovic, Milanovic, Pavlovic, et al., they've found out that rats with liver damage given a dose of 5mg/kg and 10mg/kg of rosemary essential oil resulted in a decrease in  AST and ALT. AST and ALT are liver enzymes measured through blood test to indicate liver function. If it's level is elevated, it may indicate liver problem.

7. Pain reliever

        Rosemary acts as a mild analgesic. Drink a cup of rosemary tea  to relieve menstrual cramps, body pain, or headache. You can also massage rosemary essential oil on the area where you feel the pain.

8. Hair loss

        Rosemary can mean more hair for you. Androgenetic alopecia form of hair loss prevalent in both men and women. A study by Panahi, Taghizadeh, Marzony , and Sahebkar, shows that using rosemary oil for 6 months significantly improves hair count in people with androgenic alopecia.

Related Articles:

Does Rosemary induce Abortion?