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Daily Herbal News

Understanding Chinese Medicine: The Herbal Approach - See more at:



Irish Revenue remove VAT from Herbal Teas after only a few months

The Government is cutting the VAT rate on herbal tea as part of measures included in the Finance Bill.

It is reducing the rate to zero, from 23%. This is good news for Irish herbal tea producers like award wining Solaris Teas and medicinal herb growers Bareroot Botanicals. Herbal teas and medicinal herbs are a rapidly growing market in Ireland. with the demand for herbal products going up by 7% each year, removing the VAT was a good move by the government to encourage more development in this sector. Currently Bareroot Botanicals would be the largest grower of medicinal plants in Ireland, for teas and further processing into herbal tinctures and powders. In five years time they expect to be exporting their medicinal herbs from their farm in North Sligo. 

It is one of the measures included in the Finance Bill, which has been published today, a week after the Budget.




Chinese herb as good as RA drug

Furthermore, combining the herbal remedy with methotrexate — the disease modifying drug (DMARD) most commonly used to treat RA — was more effective than treatment with methotrexate alone, the findings showed.

Triptergium wilfordii Hook F, or TwHF, is used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat joint pain, swelling, and inflammation, and is already approved for the treatment of RA in China.

The research team randomly assigned 207 patients with active RA to one of three treatment groups: methotrexate 12.5mg once a week; or TwHF 20mg three times a day; or a combination of the two over a period of 24 weeks.

The researchers wanted to find out which of these approaches would sufficiently alleviate symptoms to reach an ACR 50 response. This indicates a 50 per cent improvement in the number of tender or swollen joints and other criteria including pain, disability, and the doctor’s assessment of disease severity.

Most (174; 84 per cent) of the participants completed the full 24 weeks of the trial. The proportion of patients achieving ACR 50 was almost 46.5 per cent in those treated with methotrexate alone; 55 per cent in those treated with TwHF alone; and just under 77 per cent in those treated with both.

Similar clinically significant patterns of improvement in disease activity and remission rates also occurred among the three treatment groups.

There was little difference between the frequency or type of side effects experienced in the different treatment groups, although the number of women who developed irregular periods was slightly higher in those treated with TwHF.

More than 300 compounds have been identified in TwHF, including diterpenoids, which experimental research suggests can suppress genes controlling inflammation and dampen down the immune response, the authors point out.

And an extract of the root has recently been investigated for its potential to treat automimmune diseases and some cancers, say the researchers from Peking Union Medical College.





Israeli tap water will no longer contain fluoride after Tuesday, following a decree by Health Minister Yael German earlier this month discontinuing the practice. (25/8/2014)



The decision has been lauded by various rights groups but criticized by many in the medical and dental communities as a serious mistake.

Fluoride is commonly added to national water supplies by governments throughout the world in order to prevent tooth decay, but critics say over-consumption of the invisible, odorless, tasteless gas is a health hazard.

Israel originally mandated water fluoridation in 1970 for population centers with 5,000 or more residents and had successfully fluoridated 70 percent of the public’s water supply.

Despite the widespread fluoridation, German, a member of the Yesh Atid party, has made no secret about her disdain for the practice. During her tenure as mayor of Herzliya, she successfully stopped the national government from fluoridating the city’s water supply.

Shortly after she was appointed health minister in 2013, she announced her plans to end public fluoridation once and for all. However, following a wave of backlash from public health experts and government officials including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, she mandated that fluoridation would only continue for population centers that opted for the program.

The program, which had been opted into by local authorities of 5.3 million residents, has no longer become optional as German officially announced her decision to discontinue fluoridation on August 26.

German acknowledged that the naturally occurring element is beneficial in preventing dental decay, but strongly defended her position in a letter to a medical group, writing that “doctors have told me that fluoridation may harm pregnant women, people with thyroid problems and the elderly.”

She added that fluoridation is an infringement on personal rights and, furthermore, unreasonable considering that only 2 percent of tap water is used for drinking.

Despite her justifications, many municipalities and members of the country’s medical and academic communities remain unconvinced and claim that there will be disproportionate consequences for children in underprivileged communities.

Professor Eli Somekh and Dr. Zahi Grossman, the chair and secretary general of Israel’s Pediatricians Union, were among those who opposed German’s first attempt to ban fluoridation in 2013. “National fluoridation cessation…may harm the health of children’s teeth. The Union of Pediatricians is convinced that fluoridation of drinking water is the safest, most efficient and egalitarian method in the world to reduce tooth decay.”

With the discontinuation, Israel has joined the ranks of countries like Finland, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, and Sweden, which have abandoned or outright banned water fluoridation altogether.

The technique is practiced in Australia, Ireland and the United States, among 21 others.





Understanding Chinese Medicine: The Herbal Approach


Whether it’s brewed in tea or taken as a supplement, Chinese herbal medicine is becoming more main-stream. Even patients who don’t fully understand it are willing to give it a try if it could work.

Many herbs can easily be found at a local drug store. But which ones should someone take and what can they do?

Dr. Xiu-Min Li specializes in Chinese herbal medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital and said someone should start with a purpose.

“In general, you have a purpose. Whether it’s to enhance your energy, to enhance your good immune system to not get sick very often, or to increase your digestion system,” said Xiu-Min.

Once you target your need, you then head to the aisle of your local store where herbs are easy to find, but understanding them can be a challenge.

She highlighted a few common ones, and one of her favorites is medicinal mushrooms.

“Mushrooms also called Ling Zhi, has several indications for the health. Good immune function for good sleep, energy, more focus,” said Xiu-Min.

Astragalus root is another one that is often used as an immune defender, good to take to prevent colds or other illnesses. Same with ginseng. Ginseng is often used for immune defense and energy, but look for American ginseng.

“There are different types : American Ginseng, Chinese Ginseng and Korean Ginseng. American Ginseng is more mild and for all purpose," said Xiu-Min.

She said the other forms of ginseng are used for specific treatments and may be too strong for the average healthy person. If stomach upset and allergies are an issue, she said ginger root may help. If stomach upset is caused by stress, an herb called xiao yao is said to settle nerves. If hair loss or graying is a problem, some people turn to Fo-ti root.

Anyone thinking of trying one of these Chinese herbs should check with their physician first. Also, many herbs are packaged together, so be sure to read all the ingredients.

Understanding Chinese Medicine: The Herbal Approach - See more at:


Understanding Chinese Medicine: The Herbal Approach - See more at:

Fijian herbal medicine using coconut oil

by Chiho Iuchi

With the growing interest in coconut oil as a healthy food and natural cosmetics ingredient, a workshop on ways to use it was held earlier this month at the Minato City Eco-Plaza in Tokyo.

“The traditional herbal medicine in the villages on Fiji’s islands, where people live with nature, has been passed down for generations,” said Yuko Hara, who served as speaker at the event.

Inspired by the South Pacific herbal medicine of Fiji, Hara has been involved in the “Organic Humanness” project since 2007, and established Rebula, a company that promotes organic products, in 2009.

“Within Fijian herbal medicine, the coconut has played the primary role,” Hara said. read more



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