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Damiana Introduction: History, Chemistry, Gardening

Damiana (Turnera diffusa or Turnera aphrodisiaca) is a woody plant with several stems that grows in hot and humid parts of Mexico, Central and South America. It can also be found under such names as “herba de la pastora,” “Mexican damiana,” and “old woman’s broom”.

The plant has approximately 1-2 m in height. Its leaves are 10-25 cm long and they are toothed on the edge. The upper side of the leaves is smooth and pale green, while the lower one is hairy on the ribs. The leaves have a pleasant scent of chamomile. Damiana blooms during the whole summer with yellow flowers that rise from the leaves’ axils. The plant has small fruits that resemble a capsule divided into three parts. They are sweet and smell like fig.

Having been first introduced in the USA in 1874, Damiana herb has a long and interesting history of use in the folk medicine. The indigenous population praises the plant for its antidepressant, diuretic, tonic, hypoglycemic, and antibacterial properties. Ancient Mayas and Aztecs used Damiana as a general tonic to improve health condition.

It was also used by the tribes as an aphrodisiac, because people thought the plant had the ability to improve sexual function. There was a ceremony, during which Damiana leaves were burnt. Ancient people thought this ritual aroused sexual desire and helped lovers perform much better.

Ancient people thought that Damiana was effective in calming nerves and relieving depression and anxiety. They smoked plant’s leaves to relax. Smoking Damiana is practiced even nowadays. Some researchers say that the effect from smoking the herb’s leaves on human brains is similar to the influence of cannabis.

It is interesting to note that boosting sexual desire is not the only property of Damiana. Native tribes also use it to treat constipation and digestive problems, as well as gastric ulcers, menstrual irregularities, and bed-wetting.

Chemical structure of Damiana is rather complicated. The herb is rich in many active components that account for its main medicinal uses and applications. One of the main constituents is volatile oil that is found in the leaves of Damiana. This oil consists of at least 20 elements, including 1.8-cineole, p-cymene, alpha- and beta-pinene, thymol, alpha-copaene, and calamene. The leaves are also a source of flavonoids, tannins, damianin, beta-sitosterol, arbutin.

People learned to process Damiana long time ago and now the herb is available in various forms: capsules, tablets, tea blends, tinctures, and extracts. It is often combined with other herbs to achieve higher efficiency. Undoubtedly, Damiana is a precious medicinal plant, but we need more research to study and verify all the herb’s actions.

Astragalus and Astragalus Root

China is a unique country. The Chinese gathered knowledge and accumulated ancestors’ experience in different spheres of life for thousands of years, and now they do not let all the wisdom lie on the bookshelves and get dusty – they still use it effectively and safely irrespective of the change of life rhythm, new millennium and the progress in computer technologies. He is wise, who can combine the old and the new. The Chinese succeeded in that.

Traditional medicine of China is the most vivid example to prove all the said above. Chinese herbalists gained respect not only in their homeland, but all over the world. Nowadays, whenever we want to try the alternative way of curing the disease, we usually do it with the help of Chinese herbs and recommendations of Chinese herbalists.

One of the most precious herbs, discovered, studied, and used by herbalists of China, is Astragalus. It belongs to the Fabaceae family (it is a bean family), a genus of multiple species, some of which are poisonous (the cases of poisoning pigs with some members of this family are known). However, Astragalus membranaceus is widely used in traditional Chinese medicine and has proved its positive influence on human health. It is also known as Milk vetch, Huang qi, Milk vetch root, Goat’s horn, Green dragon, Yellow emperor, etc.

Astragalus membranaceus is a sprawling perennial legume, about 16 inches high. It has a hairy stem, leaves made up of 12-18 leaflets, and aromatic flowers, which are produced in late May or June. In late June beaked legumes (“pea pods”), covered with small hairs, are formed. The seeds are said to be viable for six years and they tend to geminate better if lightly scratched (scarified) with fine sandpaper. However, it is a root that is used in medicine. For this purpose it is usually harvested on the fourth year of the life of a plant.

Astragalus is indigenous to the northern and eastern parts of China and some areas of Mongolia. It prefers sunny places and sandy, well-drained soils. Although regular garden soil will also suit, in that case a good drainage is needed to prevent the crown rot.

The Chinese use the dried sliced or powdered root of the plant to boost the immune system, to increase the body resistance to the infections, to heal the allergies, and to raise and renew the vitality. Usually, teas and tinctures are made combining Astragalus with Echinacea, Ginseng, and Codonopsis. The preparations are believed to work best for preventing the diseases, not for curing them.

Mulberry as a Super Fruit

Biological Description

Mulberry is a deciduous, fruit-bearing tree, which Latin name is Morus from the Moraceae family. It includes many species, the most popular ones being Morus alba, Morus nigra, and Morus rubra. Their names are derived from the colour of the buds, not the fruits.

Mulberries are fast-growing when young, but become slow-growing when they age. Morus trees have short rough trunk and twisted and drooping branches. Their leaves with toothed margins are alternate and simple, lobed on the young shoots and on the old trees. All the parts of the tree contain milky juice.

Mulberry may have male and female flowers on the same tree; they are usually wind-pollinated. Many small flowers are gathered in the inflorescences to form catkins, situated in the axils of the leaves. Female catkins are shorter than the male ones. The incredibly juicy fruit of the Mulberry tree is actually a collective fruit, consisting of closely-situated drupes with one seed inside.

Morus nigra, or Black mulberry, is the most widely-known and grown tree for its fruits, which are larger than in the other two species. It reaches about 40 feet in height, having a wide and spreading crown, which in diameter may even exceed the height of the tree. It is a long-lived plant. The large, thick, and quite rough leaves of the Black mulberry are similar to those of the Morus rubra (Red mulberry). The fruits of the two species are also very alike; except for the Black mulberry fruits are darker in colour.

Morus alba is the tallest tree, reaching up to 80 feet. Its fruit, smaller than in the other two species, is, however, very sweet and lacks the tartness of the Red and Black mulberries.


White mulberry is native to China. It grows well in almost any type of soil and tolerates drought and cold temperatures. It can be grown practically anywhere in the world. Black and Red mulberries are more fastidious: they need warmer climatic conditions, more fertile soils (preferably a deep loam), and good drainage with timely watering, however. These trees need full sun and much space for their large crowns. At the same time, they are wind-tolerant.

Black mulberry originates from western Asia (Armenia, Persia, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, etc.), while Morus rubra comes from the United States.

Parts Used

These days fruits of the Mulberry tree are widely-popularized as valuable health-promoting and nutritionally-rich foods. Some sources even state that Mulberry may be included into the list of the super foods due to its potential health benefits. Nonetheless, traditional herbalism contains many recipes of the remedies made of the Morus tree leaves and bark, which also have medicinal value.


The whole spectrum of the beneficial elements may be enjoyed in the fresh fruits of the Morus tree. At the same time, dried fruits, extracts (including leaf extract), and juices are available in the stores selling natural remedies and food supplements.


Antioxidants, capable of eliminating the damage caused by free radicals in the body and slow down the process of aging, seem to be the main constituents of the fruit juice of the Mulberry tree. Scientists mention resveratrol as the most promising component in this respect. For this reason, they now try to discover as much as possible important information about this element. It is suggested to have cardio protective, antiviral and anti-cancer action. It may also lower bad cholesterol and work to alleviate chronic inflammation, as well as postpone the development of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

Anthocyanins – pigments in the fruit – also have antioxidant action; thus, are medicinally valuable as well. They have been studied primarily as the means to fight cancer and showed excellent results. Their content is the highest in the fruits, which are grown in the warm climate with much sunshine.

Flavonoids in the root bark of the Mulberry tree were discovered to increase the level of insulin in the body and reduce blood glucose level; therefore, they may help in controlling diabetes. The root bark is considered a mighty diuretic and expectorant. The bark of the tree has anthelmintic property.

Mulberry leaves are used to treat diabetes and hypertension, but the old leaves have tranquilizing properties and may cause hallucinations, headache, and upset stomach, so, their remedies should be used with the extreme caution.

Mulberry contains large amounts of vitamins C and K, minerals magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium and iron, carbohydrates glucose and fructose, free acids (tartaric and malic), fatty acids (linoleic, stearic, and oleic), protein, pectin and fiber. The health benefits of the Morus tree are tightly connected with the elements composing its chemical structure.

Health Benefits

Lately, fighting diabetes and cancer with Mulberry became the primary issue of scientific research. These diseases are difficult to manage and Morus fruit seems to possess the necessary properties, which could be of great help in controlling these conditions.

On the other hand, strengthening the immune system, relieving pain from chronic inflammation (for example, caused by arthritis or atherosclerosis), and nourishing the blood have a long history of treatment with Mulberry fruits.

In addition, naturopaths recommend to lower bad cholesterol levels (thus, helping to avoid the development of cardiovascular disorders), shed excessive pounds, increase bone strength and fight osteoporosis with Mulberry remedies. Besides, maintaining healthy liver and kidneys, soothing the nerves, eliminating weakness, fatigue, and anemia is possible with them. It is interesting to note that premature graying of the hair may be stopped with Mulberry and even increasing low libido is possible with its fruits.

Do not forget that the treatment with Mulberry remedies is not only effective against the mentioned disease, but pleasant due to the taste of the fruits as well.

Catuaba – Improving Men’s Sexual Health

Catuaba is an herb of Brazilian origin with an over 500 year history of use. Experienced harvesters define two kinds of the plant as those having various benefits associated with catuaba – “big catuaba” (mahogany family, Trichilia catigua) and “small catuaba” (Erythroxylum catuaba). They don’t differ in medicinal properties they provide, but usually differ from other plant’s varieties – such as Anemopaegma (catuaba-verdadeira in Brazil), which is often presented on western market as “catuaba”, but doesn’t really possess real catuaba’s effects. Erythroxylum catuaba grows 2-4 m tall, has yellow-to-orange flowers and oval inedible fruit. The flowers of “big catuaba” are of a cremy color, and the plant grows 6-10 m tall.

For the most of herbal formulas the bark of the plant is used. Its major chemical compounds include alkaloids, tannins, aromatic oils and fatty resins, phytosterols, cyclolignans, sesquiterpenes, and flavonoids.

“Until a father reaches 60, the son is his; after that, the son is catuaba’s!” This is a line from the Brazilian song praising aphrodisiac properties of the plant. These were first discovered by Tupi Indians in Brazil and this knowledge has been passed through generations. Today Brazilian herbal medicine uses catuaba as tonic for central nervous system with, also benefiting from its aphrodisiac properties.

Decoction prepared from the bark is used to handle sexual impotency, sexual weakness, agitation, nervousness, exhaustion, and memory failures. These are alkaloids (yohimbine) in the plant that are believed to act enhancing sexual system by stimulating parts of nervous system responsible for sexual performance.

Popularized in Brazil, catuaba is widely used now in American and European herbal medicine as well. Herbalists suggest using it for the same conditions: stimulating genital function, treating sexual impotence, and various nervous conditions, such as exhaustion, hypochondria, pain related to central nervous system disorders, fatigue, and insomnia. Moreover, prolonged consumption of the herb (one week to 10 days) leads to erotic dreaming, which is followed by certain influence on increased libido.

Aphrodisiac actions of catuaba are effective in both women and men, although the most effective results are noted for male impotence.

While providing relief from nervous disorders, catuaba gives a mild euphoria and lift, although no other side effects or toxicity have been noticed on this herb.

Usually catuaba is sold in form of tincture. It is taken with a small amount of water and a teaspoon of lemon juice. The latter will aciditify the tincture for the release of alkaloids into the water and their more effective penetration to the body.

Also, catuaba is commonly used with Muira Puama root which enhances the stimulating properties for the male genital system and urinary organs.

Graviola Research and Health Benefits

Graviola is a real miracle from the rainforest. For a long time it has been widely applied by indigenous population to cure various illnesses and diseases. Graviola has been praised for its abilities to fight cancer cells, kill viruses, bacteria and parasites, as well as to lower blood pressure, calm nerves, and prevent depression. This has made Graviola very important and precious in natural herbal medicine.

The scientific researches of Graviola started in the 1940s and they are still underway. The results of the early studies have proved the plant’s antispasmodic (prevents or relieves spasms or convulsions), hypotensive (reduces blood pressure), cardiotonic (balances functioning of heart), and vasodilator properties. The further studies of Graviola extract have shown its antibacterial properties. Moreover, Graviola bark is believed to be a good antifungal agent (destroys fungi parasitic spores). The plant’s seeds are used to kill parasites. Another study proved a leaf extract to be effective against malaria.

In 1997 the scientists have isolated a set of novel alkaloids from the Graviola fruit. These chemicals are thought to be effective antidepressants, but at the same time specialists do not recommend eating too much of this fruit, because the compounds may be neurotoxic and cause atypical Parkinson’s disease.

There is no doubt that the results of the scientific researches mentioned above are very important. Nevertheless, scientists all over the world are more interested in anti-cancerous and anti-tumor properties of Graviola. Researching this Graviola potential started in 1976, when a plant screening program, initiated by the National Cancer Institute, discovered high activity of Graviola leaves and stem in fighting cancer cells. Another researches followed the initial trial and, as a result, the scientists isolated a set of chemicals called annonaceous acetogenins. These substances turned out to have strong anti-cancerous and anti-tumor properties.

Acetogenins are believed to slow down certain processes that take place only in cancer cells. This explains their selective toxicity: acetogenins destroy cancerous cells, but do not harm healthy ones. Furthermore, the researchers from the Purdue University published the statement in 1997, saying that acetogenins had the ability to kill cancerous cells that did not respond to traditional anti-cancer treatment. At the same time, these compounds had some analogy with the resistant cells. Graviola annonaceous acetogenins show positive results in the treatment of colon, breast, lung, ovarian, prostate, lymphoma, pancreatic, and cervical cancers. Acetogenins are said to be 10,000 times stronger in colon cancer cure than traditional adriamycin drug.

Many researches have already proved high effectiveness of Graviola as anti-cancerous and anti-tumor agent, but we still need more and more in vivo studies. Currently, pharmacists try to synthesize annonaceous acetogenins and create a new safe drug. However, some cancer patients do not wait until the final official results of Graviola research and decide to take Graviola extracts in the forms of food supplements.

In addition to all the “miraculous” properties, Graviola is also famous for its sedative properties. This is due to a serotonin uptake inhibitor that is found in the plant’s fruit. It is responsible for the experience of joy and mood elevation.

As you have seen, Graviola, a small tree from the rainforest, demonstrates wonderful healing properties and may be further used as an alternative treatment for many serious diseases.


Information about Cordyceps is very controversial for the time being: this mushroom is believed (by both traditional herbalists and many Western scientists) to be one of the most potent and health improving herbs in the world; on the other hand, modern science has very little knowledge about it, the majority of facts and results being taken from the studies done by the Chinese scientists.

Cordyceps belongs to the family of numerous mushrooms, which are, actually, parasitic organisms, growing wildly on the caterpillars in the high plateaus of China, Nepal, and Tibet. The fruiting body of Cordyceps looks like grass. That is why it is called Winter Worm – Summer Grass besides Deer Fungus, Caterpillar Fungus, and Aweto.

Among the numerous species Cordyceps sinensis is the most famous due to its curing properties. The Chinese discovered its power many centuries ago, having noticed that sheep, grazed on Cordyceps, were stronger and healthier. Traditional herbalists began using the fungus for curing many diseases in humans. Cordyceps was believed to be a cure-all herb, able to fortify all the body systems, providing anti-aging, immune boosting, and strength increasing effects. This mushroom was especially popular for its ability to improve male sexual function, working as an aphrodisiac. Its influence on the human organism was often compared to that of ginseng.

The Western world got acquainted with Cordyceps not so long time ago, mainly due to the works and research of Dr. Georges Halpern, a physician and professor emeritus with the University of Hong Kong, and the author of several books about this fungus. He and other scientists and herbalists confirm that the mushroom can:

– stimulate the immune system; – cure sexual dysfunction in men; – maximize body oxygen uptake; – build muscles; – improve kidney, liver, and lung functioning; – provide anti-aging effect…

The list of what is stated is not complete.

At the same time, the mechanism of Cordyceps activity in the human body is not known. The fungus effects are connected with its components, which are classified as “host defense potentiators” (HDPs): polysaccharides, ophiocordin (an antibiotic compound), cordypyridones, nucleosides, bioxanthracenes, sterols, alkenoic acids, hemicellulose, triterpeniods, complex starches and exo-polymers. Special emphasis is made on two chemicals, which are believed to be active Cordyceps compounds: cordycepin (deoxyadenosine) and cordycepic acid (mannitol).Many scientists, though, are positive that combinations of the above mentioned ingredients are to produce the health benefits in humans and animals.

Although, wild Cordyceps are said to be the most powerful, they are quite expensive and difficult to buy in many parts of the world. Therefore, the cultivated forms of the fungus, grown on the soybeans, are the most popular and widely spread. Many manufacturers use not Cordyceps sinensis, but its substitutes (C. ophioglossoides, C. capita, and C. militaris) in their commercial preparations.

It is said that Cordyceps is safe to use even for a long period. Still, it is up to the consumers to decide, since many questions about the fungus remain open.

Yohimbe – Herb of Controversy and Potential

Yohimbe comes from the inner bark of West African evergreen trees called pausinystalia yohimbe and Corynanthe yohimbe found primarily in Cameroon, Gabon, and Zaire. The active ingredient is an alkaloid called yohimbine, which is found in higher concentrations in the pausinystalia yohimbe. Pausinystalia yohimbe is verging on extinction due to over harvesting by pharmaceutical companies. Yohimbine has been isolated and is available in prescription form for impotence. Yohimbe the herb, while containing yohimbine, also contains other compounds and can have additional effects.

Traditionally yohimbe bark has been used in Africa to treat fevers, coughs, and leprosy. Often yohimbe tea was taken by warriors in preparation for battle. Yohimbe was also taken during fertility celebrations, mating and marriage rituals. It has been used as a topical anesthetic slightly milder than cocaine, and a hallucinogen when smoked. Yohimbe’s most common, modern use is as a sexual enhancer.

Little clinical research has been done to prove the effects of yohimbe or yohimbine, but in practical application it has proven to be effective in treating impotence and frigidity. It’s efficacy for women is often overlooked, however it works the same way in both women and men with similar results. Increased blood flow to the genitals and increased brain activity make it a double whammy as an aphrodisiac.

The benefits of yohimbe are a subject of much controversy. Yohimbe is used to help build muscle, improve sexual function, reduce anxiety, elevate mood, and prevent heart attacks. Because it stimulates the central nervous system, it has been used to treat narcolepsy and for weight loss. Yohimbe increases fatty acid mobilization, decreasing fat synthesis, which means it not only aids in weight loss, but actual fat reduction. Yohimbe is popular with bodybuilders. By stimulating the production of testosterone, it can help build muscle mass.

Yohimbe is a vasodilator increasing blood flow to the extremities, a nootrpoic substance increasing brain activity, and an anti-oxidant. While it has been used to prevent heart problems, it can be unsafe for people who have heart problems. Yohimbe can raise or lower blood pressure and therefore has been used to treat both high and low blood pressure, but can be dangerous for people with either condition.

Yohimbe should not be taken in conjunction with tyramine which is found in cheese, liver, red wine, chocolate, beer, nuts, aged or smoked meats, sauerkraut, and yeast. Tyramine affects blood pressure. Yohimbe affects how the body processes tyramine, and the combination can be very dangerous.

Yohimbe blocks monoamine oxidase (MAO), dopamine and serotonin. Blocking MAO can help with depression. Blocking dopamine and serotonin can make depression worse.

Recent studies have shown that Yohimbe can be helpful when taken in conjunction with some antidepressant drugs, both by increasing the efficacy of the drugs and by reducing impotence often caused by antidepressant medications. Other studies have shown that yohimbe can be dangerous when taken in conjunction with antidepressants.

Yohimbe can have great physical and mental benefits when taken with caution and under professional supervision. While much more research is needed, yohimbe has great potential as both a complementary and a stand alone herb.

Yohimbe should not be taken by people with heart problems, high blood pressure, anxiety, kidney disease, those who are pregnant, or taking antidepressants.

What is Spirulina?

Spirulina is blue – green algae, which, as many other non-pharmaceutical means, nowadays seems to be a very promising alternative option in the treatment of multiple health disorders.

Scientific name for what we commonly call Spirulina is Arthrospira platensis. It belongs to the family of several species of microalgae such as blue-green aphanizomenon (the closest “relative” of Spirulina) and green algae chlorella and dunaliella. These microscopic dark-green algae have the shape of spiral coils. Their color is explained by a combination of several natural pigments found in Spirulina: chlorophyll (green), carotenoids (yellow and orange) and phycocyanin (blue).

.The given alga is one of the oldest life forms on Earth, which billions of years ago produced the oxygen in our atmosphere so that other life forms could appear. Amazingly, Spirulina has remained till our days, and is still believed to be one of the superfoods containing multiple nutrients, beneficial for human health.

Aborigines of Africa and America consumed Spirulina for centuries and made sure of its safety and positive influence on the human body. However, scientific research of these algae started only 30 years ago. Multiple studies were done to define Spirulina’s constituents and prove their benefits for human health (by the way, chlorella is also edible, but it contains less useful ingredients).

Although all the kinds of microalgae grow wildly everywhere, both edible species are cultivated at the especially designed algae farms to provide their purity and avoid contamination with toxic elements (unfortunately, the majority of the natural Earth’s resources are polluted). One of such places, where Spirulina is cultivated using ecological farming methods is Earthrise Farms, founded by Robert Henrikson, who devoted about 30 years of his life to investigating and growing Spirulina for food. Nowadays it is available in about 70 countries.

A great advantage of these algae is that they can be cultivated all over the globe in different climatic conditions on the most non-fertile lands, preferring, though, the hottest and the sunniest places, while these will allow Spirulina get the biggest bunch of phytonutrients so valuable and highly praised by the modern society seeking for the best and the most revolutionary dietary and medicinal options.

Robert Henrikson, being the author of the book about Spirulina, and many other scientists confirm that the algae show promises in:

– strengthening the immune system, making the body produce more red and white blood cells, as well as the cells, which kill viruses and germs, – increasing antioxidant protection, since this superfood helps fight free radicals responsible for body aging process; – lowering cholesterol levels, promoting weight loss (it is said to satisfy the appetite better than any other food) and thus supporting cardiovascular function; – improving gastrointestinal and digestive health, while creating beneficial flora in these systems; – promoting body’s natural cleansing and detoxification.

Therefore, Spirulina can reduce the risk of all kinds of cancers and help fight multiple viruses (herpes types 1 and 2, influenza, mumps, measles and even AIDS). It is also viewed as a possible treatment of anxiety disorders, diabetes and allergies, as well as a source of vitality, life energy, better health and stronger body.

Hair Loss and Herbal Remedies

About 30% of people have hair loss by age 30 years. The picture is worsen when one reaches the age of 50 – 50% of men and women experience hair loss. This condition is so common that it becomes to be like a norm, like wrinkles on your skin.


Hair loss (or baldness, alopecia) is a partial or complete loss of hair. There are 3 cycles of hair growth–growing, resting, and shedding. Normal cycle of hair growth lasts for 2 to 6 years. Each hair growsapproximately 1 centimeter per month during this period, then rests and then falls out. A new hair begins to grow in this place. About 90 % of your hair now is on its growing phase, and accordingly 10 % in its resting phase.

To lose hair each day is normal as it is a part of the ‘hair cycle’, but some men, women and even children experience excessive (more than normal) hair loss.

Men usually loose more hair, and male-pattern baldness is more common case of hair loss in men (this is when the hair is reduced or bald on the top of the head). This trait is usually inherited, sometimes men started to loose their hair at an early age, and as a result experience more extensive baldness.

Women usually experience hair loss in other form – female-pattern baldness – the hair becomes thin over the entire scalp. Women develop hair loss almost as frequently as men do, but they do not normally loose SO much hair as men do (due to the hormonal differences). More than that, a woman herself may not notice her hair loss, or can just hide it with a help of hair styling.

Interesting fact: blacks are four times likely to have abnormal hair loss than whites are. Also Japanese men – less then whites are, and even if becoming bald it develops about 10 years later than in whites.

There are different types of hair loss. Most common type is male-pattern baldness (or androgenic alopecia). The others are traumatic alopecia (this is when the hair loss is being torn out), drug-induced alopecia (caused by medications) and so-called alopecia areata (bald patches that develop on the scalp, beard, and, possibly, eyebrows (and eyelashes) it usually can be reversible).

Hair loss has just few medical complications, more common complication is ‘psychological inferiority complex’ – when one feels inferior and most likely to have negative body image about him- /herself.


Symptoms are pretty obvious for the person. One notices hair loss when looking in a mirror and finds many hairs on ones pillow in the morning or in ones hairbrush or comb. A woman may notice a decrease in the size of her ponytail.


Baldness is usually related to aging, heredity, and testosterone and not caused by a disease. But some cases of baldness (especially if in an unusual pattern) may be caused by other conditions and states.

Common causes of hair loss are following:

  • Male pattern baldness
  • Chemicals
  • Medications (for example Allopurinol (Zyloprim) and Warfarin (Coumadin)
  • Trauma (for example burns)
  • Poor nutrition
  • Fever
  • Stress (emotional or physical, as during a major illness) and nervous habits such as scalp rubbing or hair pulling
  • Improper hair care – if you wear pigtails or cornrows or use tight hair rollers, the pull on your hair can cause a type of hair loss called traction alopecia. Blow-drying and heated brushes can worsen hair loss – extreme heat damages the proteins in the hairs, making them fragile, brushing the hair during blow-drying causes more damage
  • Scarring – it can cause permanent hair loss

Uncommon causes of hair loss:

  • Poor blood flow
  • Cancers (chemotherapy)
  • Hormone problems (for example childbirth, birth control pills, thyroid disease)
  • Kidney or liver failure
  • Skin diseases such as lupus (and other autoimmune conditions)
  • Infections such as syphilis (or fungal infections of the scalp that can cause hair loss in children)
  • Tinea capitis (ringworm of the scalp)
  • Tumor of the ovary or adrenal glands

More interesting fact: If you are bald (especially at the crown of the head) you are more likely to have a heart attack. In 1999, doctors at Harvard Medical School found that men who had lost hair at the top of the head had a 32% increased chance of coronary heart disease. So you would better stop smoking, eat healthily and do some exercise if you are bald at the top of your head (as well as if you are not).

Medical Approaches

For treating baldness medicals and surgery are used.

Two medications can be used for hair loss treatment:

  • Finasteride (Propecia, Proscar) – the pill that is used in hair loss treating in men. If taken once a day it blocks the effects of testosterone on hair growth.
  • Minoxidil (Loniten, Rogaine). This medication rubbed directly on your scalp enlarges hairs and makes the growing phase be longer. It helps both women and men and especially good for the top and back of the head (less effective for the front area of the scalp). But the grown hair may fall out again if you stop using the medication.

Surgery is rather good, effective and long lasting treatment of baldness. There are two kinds of surgeries:

  • Hair transplant – during this surgery the doctor takes plugs of hair from areas on your scalp where hair is thick and puts them on areas where your hair is thin (if the appearance of these plugs don’t bother you – this method is for you)
  • Scalp rotation – a doctor moves a piece of your scalp that has good hair growth to an area of poor growth. This method is not very effective to adults, but is very good in children.

Before choosing the medicals (or other methods) your doctor would probably ask about your diet, recent illnesses, taking other medicals; if you are a woman – about your periods, pregnancies, etc.

Alternative Approaches

Lots of herbs can help you ‘to have your hair on its place’ when others get bald. From Fleece flower root an excellent herbal blood tonic can be made. It helps to maintain healthy hair and darken gray hair.

The leaves of Chinese date are appeared to promote the growth of hair. As is rich in vitamin E it nourishes the blood (especially in combination with Chinese angelica root, prepared rehmannia root and other herbs).

Wild jujube leaf and Oriental arborvitae seed are astringent and febrifuge – promote hair growth.

Biota leaf can be used externally for the treatment of alopecia and scalds.

Drynaria rhizome together with wild rose branches decoction is good in cases of loosing the hair after illnesses.

A fungal scalp infection with a crusting and scaly lesion of the scalp that can also be associated with localised hair loss is treated by Genkwa. It can also help in case of head sores and intractable tinea.

Eclipta is not only a rejuvenative and liver tonic, but a wonderful remedy for the hair. Especially in combination with glossy privet fruit in the form of oil (that is used externally) it is used in herbal treating of hair loss (besides wounds, eczema and dermatitis).

Dahurian angelica and Chuanxiong enhance the quality of activating blood circulation and dispelling wind (that refers to action, accounting for the loss of hair)

Mulberry mistletoe strengthens hair, promotes the growth of eyebrows and beards. And Mulberry leaf has been used to promote hair growth.

Psoralea fruit is also used in the treatment of hair loss (externally).

Good attitude to your hair and your entire health would also help in slowing down the process of your natural loss of hair. Foods also play the important role in the treatment (as well as in preventing the condition). Black soybeans promote blood circulation; black sesame seed contains nutrients that are required for healthy hair such as polyunsaturated fatty acid, vitamin E, protein, lecithin and others. Fresh ginger pieces and onion juice rubbed into the skin of your hair promote the growth of hair and is a wonderful remedy for baldness (though it really awfully stinks!). Watercress is an effective hair tonic; it promotes the growth of thick hair. As well as olive oil (mixed with alcohol). Coconut and parsley leaves are a good remedy for hair loss. Royal jelly seems to maintain and enhance hair (and nails also) and seaweed promotes the growth of glossy hair and prevent its loss (but mind the sodium content).

To prevent hair loss you should start as early as you can. But if you loose your hair try to accept this as a matter of getting older, thus wiser:)

Goji Berry: Basic Information and Traditional Uses

Did you ever wonder why Asian people tend to live longer than the rest of the human kind? Their life-time is often 100 years and more. Moreover, it is not a legend, but a well-documented fact that the herbalist Li Qing Yuen lived to the age of 225. They say that the secret is in the daily intake of goji berries – a powerful anti-aging herb.

The Latin name for goji plant is Lycium Eleagnus Barbarum. It is a member of the genus of multiple species – more than 40 in Tibet alone! These plants grow in many areas of the Far East. The most miraculous, however, seems to be Lycium Eleagnus Barbarum, indigenous to the Himalayan Mountains, where the soils are fertile and virgin, and are not spoiled even if they are cultivated. Nowadays, however, the same sort of plant grows in Inner Mongolia, as well as in the Heavenly Mountains of western China, without losing its powerful effect.

Lycium Eleagnus Barbarum is an 8-10 feet tall shrub with long (up to 15 feet) vines. From summer to the first heavy frosts the bush is covered by purple and white (on the same plant) trumpet-shaped flowers, which turn into small (8-20mm in diameter) bright red berries. However, only a 2-years old plant begins to fruit, heavy yields being available on the 4th or 5th year. It is necessary to prune the vines to have more berries and to make the bush more beautiful.

Although goji plant can grow in almost any type of soil, it prefers well drained soils of moderate quality. Under the full sun its berries become sweeter and juicier. It is also possible to grow goji as a house plant, supplying its extensive root system with a big pot and pollinating the flowers by hand (touching them together).

A very specific feature of the berries is that they must not be touched until they are ripe enough to fall down from the branches. If they are touched they oxidize and turn black partially losing their healing powers.

The Himalayans use goji berries for many years and know well about their positive influence upon the human organism. The plant is highly prized by Tibetan healers, who treat kidney, liver, eye, and skin problems; diabetes, tuberculosis, anxiety, and insomnia; lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels with the help of these berries for centuries. All in all, goji fruits can effectively improve the state of health, strengthen the immune system, and increase the longevity and vitality as no other traditional remedy or pharmaceutical drugs known to the human kind.

The fresh or dried berries are praised most often, but other parts of the plant can also be used in medicine or as a vegetable (the young shoots and new leaves are usually cooked). The bitter root bark helps control coughs, lower fevers, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. It is also effective in reducing irritability and treating nosebleeds.

Though goji plant has been known to the Western world for quite a short time, many researches have already been done. All of them confirm the curing effect and healing power of the herb, which makes it more and more attractive to the modern science and medicine.