Latest Researches
 Thyme may be better than prescription creams for a
 Herbal preparations of thyme may provide a better treatment for skin acne than prescription creams, scientists have revealed.

Researchers from Leeds Metropolitan University tested the effect of thyme, marigold and myrrh tinctures on Propionibacterium acnes – the bacterium that causes acne by infecting skin pores and forming spots, which range from white heads through to puss-filled cysts. The group found that while all the preparations were able to kill the bacterium after five minutes exposure, thyme was the most effective of the three.

In addition, they discovered that thyme tincture had a greater antibacterial effect than standard concentrations of benzoyl peroxide – the active ingredient in most anti-acne creams or washes.

The researchers used a standard in vitro model that is used to test the effect of different substances applied to the skin. The effects of the tinctures were measured against an alcohol control – proving their antibacterial action was not simply due to the sterilizing effect of the alcohol they are prepared in.

These initial findings pave the way for more research into the use of tinctures as a treatment for acne.

 Alternative therapies may help ease chronic sinusi
 When used in tandem with standard Western treatments, alternative therapies such as acupuncture, acupressure and dietary changes may spell significant relief for patients battling chronic sinusitis, a new pilot study suggests.

The authors say that their study is the first to explore the potential of combining Western medicine with Eastern therapies among these patients, who experience swollen and inflamed sinuses, facial pain, headaches and impaired breathing.

The acute version of the disease is typically due to infection, experts say. However, the chronic form is thought to stem from a variety of environmental and anatomical causes, thereby complicating treatment efforts.

During the study, all previous treatments were continued. However, patients were offered eight weekly 20-minute sessions of therapeutic acupuncture and acupressure massage, performed by licensed therapists. Counseling was also offered to teach patients how to self-administer acupressure at home.

The team found that when applied alongside modern medicine, the use of such so-called "staples of Eastern medicine" appeared to be both safe and effective. After two months, all the patients showed a statistically significant gain in terms of quality of life, with a drop in feelings of frustration and restlessness and a boost in their ability to concentrate.

What's more, patients were found to have less of a problem with runny noses, reduced sneezing and a subsequent reduced need to blow their noses. Facial pain and pressure also appeared to drop off somewhat.

 Ayurveda may cure Alzheimer
 A cure for Alzheimer's - a degenerative disorder of the brain - may be around the corner, going by the results achieved in studies at the National Brain Research Centre (NBRC). The disorder marked by memory and judgment loss usually occurs in people older than 65, and has defied a cure so far. But researchers working with the extract of a herb used in Ayurveda since ancient times have reported promising results. Using an extract of the Ashwagandha root on mice with Alzheimer's disease, NBRC scientists found it can reverse memory loss and may prove to be an effective cure for the disease in humans.

NBRC neuroscientist Vijayalakshmi Ravindranath tested the semi-purified sample extracted at Delhi University on genetically modified mice with Alzheimer's disease. Two sets of test mice - middle aged (9-10 months) and old (2 years) - were given oral doses of the extract for 30 days and monitored. Over the month, scientists found a reduction in amyloid plaques (a symptom of Alzheimer's) in the mice brains and improvement in the animals' cognitive abilities. Their study was published recently in the Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), and the Nature India Journal. The mice used for the experiment carry the mutation that is characteristic of Alzheimer's disease and produce the amyloid in greater quantities.

"We got the mice from Jackson Labs in US. They were tested on a radial arm maze, where they are trained to go and pick food from four of the maze's eight arms. Since the mice had Alzheimer's, they were neither able to learn nor retain the learning. But after 20 days of the Ashwagandha treatment, we noticed a difference, and after 30 days they had started behaving normally," said Ravindranath, former founder-director of NBRC, and chairperson of Centre of Neurosciences, Indian Institute of Science.

She explained that the extract didn't work directly on the brain. It enhanced a protein in the liver that is thrown out in the blood and acts like a sponge to pull out the amyloid from the brain.

The NBRC's results have also boosted morale at DU's Natural Products Laboratory. "Professor Vijayalakshmi had approached us to evaluate some plants and their effect on neurological disorders. Most medicines that are currently being used for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's are synthetic drugs that have some side effects," said professor Subhash Chand Jain of Delhi University. The team at DU selected the root of Ashwagandha and followed up with a series of extractions at the lab.

 Ayurveda a positive hope for HIV+ patients
 An ongoing study by the KEM Hospital, Mumbai, India to find out the efficacy of ayurvedic drugs in improving the life expectancy of HIV positive patients has yielded some positive results.

The Medicine Department of the hospital has been studying the potency of an ayurvedic drug on 700 HIV patients since April last year. After little more than a year, the institute found a significant boost in the count of CD4 cells in these patients, and that it could probably push the initiation of Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART), known to have many side effects, by a few years.

The count of CD4 cells is directly proportional to the health of a person for these cells are the most important part of one's immune system. Anyone with less CD4 count is more prone to ailments as the body's defence mechanism starts giving way. The ART for HIV patients is started only after the CD4 count falls below 250.

After administering the ayurvedic drug, the doctors found that the CD4 count in patients on an average went up from 448 to 546 within six months and up to 590 in a year's time. Besides, many patients had weight gains, increase in haemoglobin count and a sense of well-being.

However, the study solely focused on CD4 cells and did not check if the drug could bring down the viral load in a patient. Another hitch remains that ayurvedic drugs cannot be consumed simultaneously with the ART drugs.

 Vegetables cut down diabetes risk
 A new study says, eating leafy vegetables like broccoli, spinach, sprouts and cabbage can reduce by 14 percent your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. The vegetables are a rich source of anti-oxidants and magnesium, linked to lower levels of diabetes.

Regularly sampling salads, including spinach could help reduce diabetes risk, the study has shown.

University of Leicester researchers reviewed six studies based on 223,000 people and compared intake of green leafy vegetables. They found those who consumed more than one serving daily had a lower risk of diabetes than people who barely ate any.

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