Tulsi Benefits and Dosage

Tulsi (also known as Ocimum sanctum, or Holy Basil), is an Ayurvedic herb historically used for general health and a long life. While basil is found on every continent, holy basil (tulsi) is indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. Scientific findings are available on various medicinal aspects ie adaptogenic, immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, hepato-protective, cardio-protective, neuro-protective, antimicrobial, and antidiabetic.

Tulsi Benefits and Therapeutic Effects

In traditional systems of medicine, different parts of tulsi, have been recommended for the therapy of bronchitis, bronchial asthma, chronic fever, malaria, dysentery, arthritis, skin diseases, painful eye diseases. Eugenol, the active constituents present in tulsi have been found to be largely responsible for the therapeutic effects. Results from various researches indicate that holy basil might have effects as a painkiller, a COX-II anti-inflammatory agent, an antioxidant, and as a therapy for bacterial, fungal and viral infections. Tulsi helps fight inflammation since it contains strong anti-inflammatory agents called COX-2 (cyclooxygenase-2) inhibitors, which inhibit COX-2 inflammatory enzymes. In vitro research shows the ursolic acid in tulsi inhibits COX-2.


This herb supports healthy pulmonary function. Animal-based studies have found that extracts of tulsi help keep the bronchial airway passages clear. Two clinical trials treated asthma patients with 500 mg of tulsi 3 times daily for one month. Breathing function improved and the frequency of attacks was reduced.


Tulsi, especially, is an efficacious way to both prevent and combat the damaging effects of everyday stressors. As an adaptogen, tulsi improves the body’s natural protective response to physical and emotional stress. Studies examining this effect of tulsi have found that supplementation with various extracts of tulsi decreases stress hormone levels, corticosterone especially.  Holy Basil Anxiety


There is a lack of safe hepatoprotective medications in modern medicine to prevent and treat drug-induced liver damage. New research on holy basil indicate that holy basil contains potent antioxidants and it may be liver protecting. Holy Basil seems to be beneficial in preventing toxin-induced harm to the liver in doses of 100-200mg/kg bodyweight. Synergism was noted on hepatoprotection when paired with silymarin (milk thistle). The agent used in the study to induce hepatic harm was acetaminophen.


Holy basil is considered as a sacred herb and traditionally it is believed that consumption of holy basil leaf on empty stomach increases immunity. Experimental studies have shown that alcoholic extract of holy basil modulates immunity. In a 2011 clinical trial in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, twenty-four healthy participants were given either holy basil extract (300mg ethanolic extract of tulsi leaves – empty stomach) or a placebo. After 4 weeks, results demonstrated important improvements in interferon and T-helper cells in the holy basil group compared to the placebo.


Tulsi may have blood sugar lowering properties and may be beneficial as an adjunct to dietary therapy and medication treatment in mild to moderate diabetes. In a animal-based study, holy basil was administered orally to diabetic rats, resulting in reductions in plasma glucose levels of 9 % by day 15 and 26 % by day 30. An uncontrolled study reported that 1,000 mg per day of tulsi lowered blood sugar. A controlled trial investigated 2,500 mg per day and found similar changes in blood sugar. In a clinical trial, 40 patients (type 2 diabetes) were treated. Participants were asked to stop their diabetes drugs 7 days before the start of the study. Then all participants  were given tulsi leaves for a run-in period of 5 days. Half of the patients were randomly assigned to take 2.5 g of powdered tulsi leaf, and 20 were given placebo for 4 weeks and then were crossed over to the other treatment group without a washout period for another 4 weeks. In the first group, average fasting glucose declined from 134 mg/dl to 99 mg/dl after 4 weeks of therapy with tulsi. After being crossed over to placebo for 4 weeks, it increased to 115 mg/dl. In the placebo-first group, average fasting glucose declined from 132 mg/dl to 123 mg/dl after 4 weeks and then declined even further to 97 mg/dl after being crossed over for 4 weeks to tulsi.


Holy Basil contains the natural compound ursolic acid, which has proven beneficial in dealing with the inflammatory producing enzymes Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and 5-Lipoxygenase (5-LOX) responsible for joint pain and stress conditions. Research performed by the College of Pharmacy in New Delhi, found that an extract of Holy Basil (ursolic acid) inhibited arachidonic acid and leukotriene-induced edema. On the basis of the results it was proven that standardized Holy Basil extract may be effective as an anti-inflammatory agent, which blocks both inflammatory pathways, ie Cyclooxygenase-2 and 5-Lipoxygenase, as well as arachidonic acid metabolism. A study reported in “Phytomedicine” measured the activity of Tulsi’s phenolic compounds and found the COX-2 inhibitory activity of these compounds to be comparable to aspirin, naproxen and ibuprofen.


Preclinical studies have shown that Holy basil and some of its phytochemicals eugenol, apigenin, rosmarinic acid, luteolin, myretenal, ß-sitosterol, and carnosic acid prevented chemical-induced liver, lung, oral, and skin cancers and to mediate these effects by increasing the antioxidant activity, altering the gene expressions, inducing apoptosis, and inhibiting angiogenesis and metastasis. In a 2007 study reported in the Journal of Medicinal Food, researchers examined the effectiveness of tulsi extract in rats who exhibited oxidative stress, DMBA-induced cancer. Four different concentrations of tulsi extract were fed to rats over a five day period, then were injected with DMBA. At a dosage of 300 mg per kilgram of body weight,tulsi extract significantly reduced the formation of cancerous micronuclei, enzymes which metabolize toxins in the body, and oxidation in both proteins and fats.  A number of studies of animals have shown that holy basil protects healthy cells from the toxicity of chemotherapy and radiation.Tulsi has also been shown to protect the heart from damage caused by a widely used chemotherapy medication, adriamycin.


For general preventive treatment, the dosage range recommended in review literature is 300 mg – 2,000 milligrams of tulsi extract for a single dose on a daily basis. 600-1,800 mg divided doses has been used daily for curative  treatment. In a clinical study used 2.5 grams tulsi leaves as dried powder in 200 mL water daily for two months for hypoglycemic effect.

Side Effects

Tulsi seems to be well tolerated in most people, and it has usually recognized as safe (GRAS) status in the United States. Tulsi can have a blood-thinning effect and may increase the effect of blood-thinning drugs. Some examples include aspirin, anticoagulants such as warfarin (Coumadin®) or heparin, anti-platelet medications such as clopidogrel (Plavix®). Caution is advised when using drugs that may lower blood sugar. Theoretical interactions would be possible hypoglycemia when taken by diabetics treated with insulin or insulin secretagogues such as sulfonylureas, Prandin or Starlix.

Holy Basil Anxiety Benefits

Holy basil (Ocimum sanctum), also known as Tulsi, is an Indian herb known for its beneficial effects on conditions such as stress and depression. Holy basil is used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine as an “adaptogen” to counter life’s stresses.

Holy Basil Anxiety Benefits

Stress is associated to many aspects of both physical and mental health. Over time, stress can negatively affect the health of the nervous, immune and digestive systems. Holy basil has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine as an adaptogenic herb to improve the body’s ability to cope with stress. According to a research reported in the Sep 2008 edition of the Nepal Medical College Journal, 500 mg of tulsi extract taken two times a day can significantly reduce the intensity of generalized anxiety disorder. A 1991 study reported in the “Indian Journal of Pharmacology” compared anti-stress effects with those of Korean ginseng (Panax ginseng) and Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus ), found that tulsi was a more powerful herb. A study reported in the 2011 Research Journal of Pharmaceutical, Biological and Chemical Sciences showed that mice given a holy basil extract experienced important reduction in stress levels when compared to mice given ginseng.

In a study reported  in the Nov 2003 edition of the “Indian Journal of Experimental Biology,” tulsi was showed to have calming propertieson the central nervous system that may benefit panic disorder. Holy basil may impact the secretion of neurotransmitters in the brain, such as dopamine and serotonin. Epinephrine and norepinephrine are used in coping with stress. In a study found that animals that received the extract demonstrated significant normalization of epinephrine, norepinephrine, serotonin, and MAO. Tulsi herb exerts a calming effect by preventing elevations in the cortisol. Nicknamed the ‘stress hormone’,cortisol production increases in response to chronic stress. A notice reported by the California Naturopathic Doctors Association in 2007 describes tulsi as an helpful factor of reducing the cortisol in individuals experiencing cancer and related depression.

Alcohol extracts of this herb demonstrated important anti stress effects in mice exposed to acute and chronic noise stress. A study using male albino rats, via intraperitoneal administration of 70% ethanolic extract of tulsi, dosed at 100 mg/kg body weight, were able to withstand sub-chronic broadband white noise exposure at 100 dB for 4 hours a day for a total of 15 days. This application of the extract prevented noise-induced  increases in the levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin turnover in specific brain regions.


Holy basil standardized extract, 400 milligrams daily, for stress and adrenal health. Studies show that taking holy basil at 500 mg twice daily after meals has a important effect in reducing generalized anxiety and depression. Because multiple constituents of holy basil have been shown to combat stress, an efficacious supplement must provide each of these important active components at therapeutic dosages. Researches have shown that eugenol, especially, helps to combat stress and enhance mental clarity.  Also, research has shown that the triterpenoic acids isolated from holy basil effectively improve the body’s response to stress. Holy basil supplements are available as tea, tablets, capsules, and liquid extracts. The best holy basil supplements are in soft-gel capsules.

Neem Benefits and Therapeutic Effects

The Neem tree (Azadirachta indica) is an evergreen tree that is part of the mahogany family. The leaves, bark, flowers, and seeds are used to make remedy. Neem leaves have been used traditionally for leprosy, skin ulcers, eye disorders, stomach upset, diabetes,  diseases of the heart and blood vessels, fever, gingivitis, and liver disorders.

Neem Benefits for Health

Neem has been commonly used in traditional Indian ayurvedic, and homoeopathic medicine and has become a cynosure of modern medicine. More than 140 compounds have been isolated from different parts of neem. The therapeutic properties have been described particularly for neem leaf. Neem leaf and its constituents have been showed to exhibit immunomodulatory, antioxidant, nantimutagenic, anticarcinogenic, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, antimalarial, anti-inflammatory, antiulcer, and antihyperglycaemic effects.


Neem oil relieves dry skin and soothes itchy, red, irritated skin. Neem oil contains high levels of antioxidants, which help protect the skin from free radicals caused by over-exposure to sun, environmental toxins and other damaging factors. A study published in May 2001 (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition) scientists found that fatty acids, which are found in neem, provided some protection against ultraviolet light, the cause of photoging. Because neem contains antibacterial effects, it is highly helpful in treating epidermal conditions such as acne, eczema and psoriasis. Experiments have shown that people with psoriasis who have taken neem leaf orally, combined with tropical therapy with neem extracts and neem seed oil, achieve results at least as favorable as those who use coal tar and cortisone. A study in 1979 demonstrated neem extract to be beneficial in treating ringworm, scabies, eczema, and some forms of dermatitis.


neemNeem seed and leaf have anti-microbial, anti-fungal and anti-viral effects. In test tubes, neem has been shown to have important properties on both gram-positive and gram-negative organisms and other bacteria that cause a wide array of human and animal diseases including Escherichia coli, streptococcus and salmonella. A 0.2% concentration of neem had the same anti-bacterial property as penicillin G. Its antiseptic effects help to prevent periodontal diseases. In a scientific review published in the June 2002 edition of the “Current Science“, the authors concluded that neem oil has a wide spectrum of antibacterial action in vitro against fourteen different strains of pathogenic bacteria. In a clinical trial, a cream containing neem seed extract, saponins of Sapindus mukerossi and quinine hydrochloride eliminated all symptoms in 10 of 14 women with chlamydia compared with none of 4 women given placebo cream.

Gum Disease

Neem oil is used in lotions, soaps, shampoos, and toothpastes. It helps treat fungal infections, lice, dry scalp, skin disorders, and gingivitis. Neem oil is frequently added to natural toothpastes as a purifier and as an antimicrobial agent that helps prevent dental diseases. Mouthwashes containing neem can significantly inhibit the growth of the bacteria Streptococcus mutans in the mouth, according to a study reported in the  2001 of the Indian Journal of Dental Research. Applying neem leaf extract gel to the teeth and gums twice  daily for six weeks might reduce plaque formation, according to developing research. In 2004, a study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology; 36 men were assigned to 6 weeks of therapy with either a gel containing neem extract, or a mouthwash containing chlorhexidine gluconate. Study findings demonstrated that the neem-based gel was more effective in reducing plaque buildup than the mouthwash.

Mosquito Repellent

Some researches demonstrates that neem oil may help protect against insect bites. Neem’s mosquito repellent effects are an important weapon in the fight against malaria in third world countries. In 1994 the the Malaria Research Centre of Delhi, investigated whether kerosene lamps with 1% neem oil can protect people from mosquito bites. Neem oil openly reduced the number of bites on the volunteers and the number of mosquitoes caught. In a study reported in the “Southeast Asian Journal of Tropical Medicine and Public Health” in 1995, researchers discovered that a blend of neem oil and coconut oil may act as a mosquito repellent. Different concentrations of neem oil mixed in coconut oil were applied to the exposed body parts of volunteers. Results showed 81%-91% protection during 12 hour period of observation from the bites of anopheline mosquitoes. In another study, repellent action of neem oil was studied against different mosquito species. 2% neem oil mixed in coconut oil provided 96-100% protection from anophelines, 85% from Aedes, 37.5% from Armigeres whereas it demonstrated wide range of efficacy from 61-94% against Culex spp. A July 2008 study reported in the Malaria Journal shows the 50% reduction in the mosquito population after applying neem seed powder to mosquito breeding areas.

Head Lice

Head louse infestations are prevalent worldwide. Neem effectively kills lice in all stages of their life cycle. An anti-louse shampoo (Licener®) based on a neem was studied in vitro and in vivo on its efficacy to eliminate head louse infestation by a single therapy. In a 2011 study reported in “Parasitology Research“, the hair of 12 children being selected from a larger group due to their intense infestation with head lice were incubated for 10 minute with the neem-based shampoo. It was found that after this short exposition period, none of the lice had survived, when being observed for 22 hour. Other living head lice were in vitro incubated within the undiluted product. It was seen that a total submersion for just 3 minute prior to washing 3× for 2 minute with tap water was sufficient to kill all motile stages.

The eggs (nits) of head and body lice were incubated for 5, 10, 15, 20, 30 or 45 min into a neem seed extract contained in a fine shampoo formulation (Wash Away® Louse provided by Alpha-Biocare GmbH, Düsseldorf). It was found that an incubation time of just 5 minute was enough to prohibit any hatching of larvae, whilst 93 ± 4% of the larvae in the untreated controls of body lice hatched respectively approximately 76% of the controls in the case of head lice. In a study 60 heavily lice-infested female and male children were selected and subjected to the therapy with a neem seed based shampoo. Twenty to thirty ml of the neem seed extract shampoo were thoroughly mixed with completely wet hair and rubbed in to reach the skin of the scalp. After 10, 15 and 30 minute, the neem shampoo was washed out. The neem seed shampoo proved to be extremely powerful against all stages of head lice. At the pediatric clinic of Iserlohn a study was conducted on a product under the name of “Neem-Extrakt FT-Shampoo”. In this clinical study, children were treated both for head lice and scab mites. With head lice, the therapy was especially successful when the hair was shampooed on the 1st, 3rd and 10th day.

Birth Control

Vaginal suppositories and creams made with neem oil are becoming the birth control method of popular in India. Several studies demonstrated that neem oil appears to be a safe and  effective contraceptive, pre and post coital. When tested against human sperm neem extract at 1000 mg was able to kill all sperm in only 5 minutes and required only 30 minutes at a 250 mg level. Neem oil appears to be the most powerful form of neem for birth control, especially hexane extracted neem oil. After a single injection of a minute amount of neem oil in the uterine horns, a potent cell-mediated immune response reaction produced a long term and reversible block in fertility (up to 12 months).

This herb may become the first  effective birth control “pill” for men. In both India and the United States, studies show neem extract reduces fertility in male monkeys without it hurting libido or sperm production. Neither neem leaf extract in water nor neem leaf oil alters the rate spermatogenesis. But, neem seed oil and neem bark extract caused arrest of spermatogenesis within two months, with a decrease in the number of Leydig cells. Male antifertility activity of neem leaf extract was examined in rats. The infertility effect was seen in treated male rats as there was a 66 % decreased in fertility after 6 weeks, 80% after 9 weeks, and 100% after 11 weeks. Neem leaf tablets ingested for one month produced reversible male antifertility without affecting sperm production or libido. In a test of neem’s birth control properties with members of the Indian Army, daily oral doses of several drops of neem seed oil in gelatin capsules were given to 20 married soldiers. The effect took 6 weeks to become 100% effective, it remained effective during the entire year of the study and was just reversed 6 weeks after a man no longer took the capsules.


Traditional Indian ayurvedic medicine has recommended the use of neem leaf, seed, and bark, for reducing arthritic pain and inflammation and for halting the progression of the disease. Clinical trials have showed that the anti-inflammatory effects of various compounds in neem leaves are equally as effective as phenyl butazone and cortisone. Neem leaf and bark extracts have been shown to be a more strong inhibitor of prostaglandin synthetase than acetylsalicylic acid and pethidine hydrochloride. A study at the Department of Pharmacology at Rajshahi Medical College, scientists found that neem extract has a important effect on inflammation.The anti-inflammatory effects of azadirachtin, the active ingredient in neem oil have been established. A study reported in the February 2010 edition of the Journal of Biological Chemistry demonstrated hat azadirachtin support an anti-inflammatory response in human skin cell lines by blocking the expression of certain enzymes involved in producing inflammation, such as COX-2 (cyclooxygenase 2).


Neem is known to have powerful gastroprotective and antiulcer properties. Standardized aqueous extract of neem leaves has been reported to show both ulcer protective and ulcer healing effects in normal as well as in diabetic rats. The effect of neem extract on gastric ulceration was examined in albino rats. Neem extract (100-800 mg/kg po, 100-25 mg/kg ip) significantly inhibited gastric ulceration induced by indomethacin (40 mg/kg). In a 2004 clinical trial at the “Indian Institute of Clinical Biology” demonstrates neem bark causes important decreases in gastric acid secretion (77%), as well as gastric secretion volume (63%) and pepsin activity (50%). The bark extract when taken at the dose of 30–60 mg twice daily for 10 weeks nearly completely healed the duodenal ulcers monitored by barium meal X-ray or by endoscopy. One case of esophageal ulcer and one case of gastric ulcer healed completely when treated at the dose of 30 mg twice daily for six weeks.


Neem seed and leaf extracts have antiviral effects. Neem acts as an antiretroviral agent via inhibition of viral invasion of host cells. Neem has been shown to be efficacious against herpes virus and the viral DNA polymers of the hepatitis B virus. Research at “Johns Hopkins University” demonstrated that neem “provided significant protection” against the Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) in mice infected with the extremely infectious virus. A study in the Aug 2010 edition of the Phytotherapy Research showed that neem bark extract inhibit the entry of herpes simplex virus (HSV) type 1 into the target cells in the lab and may help prevent or treat herpes infections. The antiviral and virucidal effect of an extract of neem leaves was investigated to determine its activity against the Coxsackie B group of viruses. Neem leaves extract inhibited the replication of 6 types of Coxsackie virus B. Observations of virus inactivation and population reduction in the experiment showed that neem was most powerful against Coxsackie virus B-4 early in its replicative cycle. A 2002 research findings that neem leaf extract inhibits the growth of Dengue virus, type 2, a viral hemorrhagic fever related to Ebola. In vitro tests demonstrated it completely inhibited the virus. In vivo tests conducted on mice demonstrated the neem leaf extract resulted in inhibition of the virus as confirmed by the absence of symptoms.  Ten HIV-positive participants were included in a study. Bodyweight, blood cell count, and CD4+ cell count were measured before and after the trial period. All received capsules containing neem extract (1000 mg), once daily for 30 days. The increases in body weight and blood cell count after 30 days was important among all subjects. The scientists also found that neem extract protected 75% of human cells in a test tube from the HIV virus.


Several components found in neem leaves may be helpful in cancer therapy including the  vitamin C, beta carotene  quercetin, azadirachtin, azadirone, deoxonimbolide, kaemferol, nimbolide and glucopyranoside. An ethanolic extract of neem leaf reduced the incidence of chemical-induced gastric tumors in mice; and neem-treated monocytes induced apoptosis in cervical and prostate cancer cells. In India, Japan  and Europe researchers have found that polysaccharides and liminoids in neem bark, leaves and seed oil reduced tumors and cancers and were effective against lymphocytic leukemia. Neem leaf extract demonstrated an adjuvant immune response to tumor growth in mice as well as protection from leucopenia caused by chemotherapy. Neem extract may help kill prostate cancer cells, according to a research reported in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology in April 2006. A 2011 research reported in “Cancer Biology and Therapy” showed that neem may offer anti-cancer effects, including immune-stimulating and tumor-suppressing activities. A new research, performed with mice and  rats, showed that the inclusion of a preparation from neem leaf added to an antigen helped create higher quantities of an immune antibody beneficial for shielding against breast cancer.

Side Effects

Don’t take any neem products internally if you are trying to conceive a child. Taking neem oil internally is not recommended, for children. Oral administration of neem oil resulted in serious poisoning in children. These severe adverse effects include  blood disorders, seizures, loss of consciousness, coma, brain disorders, and death. Neem oil has been found to produce Reye’s syndrome symptoms in infants who are exposed to neem oils.

Flaxseed Benefits and Nutrition Facts

Flaxseeds (Linum usitatissimum L.)  are the tiny, brown seeds of the flax plant. The seeds produce a fixed oil known as linseed oil or flaxseed oil. Flaxseed’s therapeutic effects come from the fact that it’s high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, as well as phytochemicals called lignans. Flax has been shown to help prevent heart disease, reduce symptoms of inflammatory disorders, protect against cancer, and ease the effects of Type 2 diabetes.

Flaxseed Benefits and Studies

Flax contains disease-fighting compounds, primarily the omega-3 fatty acid, alpha linolenic acid (ALA),  lignans and fiber. Flaxseed acts like a laxative because of its fiber content. Phytoestrogens (lignans), may help protect against some kinds of cancer. Other health effects of flaxseed, such as protection from heart disease and arthritis, are due to a high concentration of the omega-3 fatty acid ALA. Flaxseed contains 35% of its mass as oil, of which 55% is ALA. Other foods and oils contain ALA. However, at approximately 7 g per tablespoon, flaxseed oil is by far the richest source. Flax seed has been given in studies at doses from 15 to 50 g/day.


Flax is an excellent source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, providing 3 g of fiber per tablespoon. This helps keep the bowels regular. Flaxseed’s laxative effects come from the fiber and mucilage content in the seeds. Approximately 40% of flax seed is made up of fiber, about 10% soluble fiber and 30% insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel that travels through intestines. Insoluble fiber stays intact, travels through gut and helps pass food. If you are taking flax seed for constipation, consume 2 tbsp. Like other sources of fiber, flaxseed should be taken with plenty of fluids. In a clinical trial, 55 participants with chronic constipation caused by irritable bowel syndrome received either ground flaxseed or psyllium seed  daily for three months. Those taking flaxseed had significantly fewer problems with constipation, abdominal pain. Commission E (Germany’s regulatory agency for herbs) authorizes the use of flaxseed for various digestive problems, such as chronic constipation, diverticulitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and general stomach discomfort.

Menopausal Symptoms

A few studies have shown flaxseed to be as efficacious in treating hot flashes and night sweats as hormone replacement therapy. Flaxseed has been given in doses of 25 to 40 g/day in studies and demonstrated effect in postmenopausal women suffering hot flushes. A 2002 study in Obstetrics and Gynecology found that flax seed supplements were equally as effective as hormone replacement therapy in reducing menopausal symptoms. In a clinical trial, 28 women consumed four tablespoons of ground flaxseed daily—two in the morning, two at night. After 6 weeks, the frequency of their hot flashes dropped, on average, from 7.3 to 3.6 a day. In a study was conducted on 188 women in 2009 and found no statistically significant difference in mean hot flash scores between women taking flaxseed and those taking a placebo. Osteoporosis is characterised by low bone mass, which leads to an increase risk of fractures, particularly the hips, spine and wrists. Animal-based studies demonstrate that adding flaxseed oil to the diet could reduce the risk of osteoporosis in postmenopausal and women with diabetes, according to a report to be published in the International Journal of Food Safety, Nutrition and Public Health.


FlaxseedFlax contains lignans and ALA, both of which decrease inflammatory reactions. Lignans and ALA block the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Flax ALA has been shown to lower blood levels of a compound called (CRP) C-reactive protein. (Patients with elevated basal levels of CRP are at an increased risk for, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. CRP levels of 0.3 mg/dL or greater are related with a higher risk of death in patients with acute coronary syndromes). Through these properties, flax consumption may help prevent and treat disorders characterized in part by an over-stimulated immune system. Such disorders include atherosclerosis, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus and multiple sclerosis.

ALA in flaxseed enhances phospholipid ALA, DHA and EPA levels in mononuclear cells, neutrophils, lipoproteins, and platelets. This change in membrane phospholipid content results in reduced biosynthesis of arachidonic acid from linoleic acid and decreased production of the proinflammatory eicosanoids, LTB4 (leukotriene B4) and TXA2 (thromboxane A2). Lignans have been shown to decrease the production of tumor necrosis factor alpha and IL-6 in microglial cells of rats. In a clinical trial of 28 healthy men, consuming flax oil for four weeks resulted in a decrease in tumor necrosis factor alpha and IL-1ß production of approximately 30% in mononuclear cells. In the Nurses’ Health Study, the greater the ALA intake, the reduce the concentration of the inflammatory markers in the blood. These results indicate  that ALA helps reduce inflammation and therefore lowers chronic  disease risk.


Flaxseed decreases the production of major systemic markers of inflammatory activity, including eicosanoids, cytokines and platelet-activating factor. Flax is very high in the omega-3 fat ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). Two other omega-3 fats are DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). All of these omega-3 fatty acids help lessen inflammation, which is a trigger for heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. In a clinical trial, the ALA content of red blood cell membranes increased 225%, and their content of EPA increased 150%, in healthy men who ate a diet enriched with flax oil for twelve weeks.

The results of one large cohort study and two clinical trials indicate that flax and its essential omega-3 fat (ALA), decrease the blood levels of soluble cell adhesion molecules. Cell adhesion molecules are biomarkers of early events in the development of atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. Results from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study of 45,722 men showed that each one gram of ALA in the daily diet was associated with a 47% lower risk of heart disease among men with low intakes of DHA and EPA.

Populations with high intakes of ALA have a low risk of cardiovascular diseases such as CHD (coronary heart disease) and stroke. In a case-control study  of 96 middle-aged men with incident stroke, found that a significant 0.06% increase in phospholipid ALA content was associated with a 28% decrease in the risk of stroke. A 0.13% increase in the serum level of ALA was linked with a 37% decrease in the risk of stroke. In the Lyon Diet Heart Study, ALA was associated with a reduction risk of recurrent fatal and nonfatal myocardial infarction, and a 73% decreased in risk of primary end points between the experimental and control groups.  Some researches have showed that diets rich in flaxseed omega-3s help prevent hardening of the arteries and keep plaque from being deposited in the arteries partly by keeping white blood cells from sticking to the blood vessels’ inner linings. Regular use of flaxseed may influence the progression of atherosclerosis. Lignans in flaxseed have been shown to lessen atherosclerotic plaque buildup by up to 75%.

Arrhythmias usually precede a myocardial infarction and may ultimately cause death. Omega-3 fatty acids may protect against arrhythmia by helping heart muscle cells remain stable electrically and by preventing them from becoming hyperexcitable. In test tube studies of rat heart cells, omega-3 fats decreased the electrical excitability of the heart cells, making them less likely to develop abnormal heart rhythms. Pure preparations of ALA, DHA  and  EPA are equally good at protecting against fatal arrhythmias in dogs. In a study, pure solutions of ALA, EPA and DHA were infused separately. All three omega-3 fats reduced significantly the occurrence of ventricular fibrillation and protected a majority of dogs from fatal arrhythmias. According to a study; eating flaxseed was associated with reduced blood pressure in people with hypertension. A research team led by Dr. Grant Pierce, assessed 110 hypertensive patients with peripheral artery disease, which is strongly associated with high blood pressur. They sought to determine if adding 30 g of milled flaxseed each day for 6 months would lower blood pressure. In the placebo group, systolic blood pressure increased slightly while diastolic blood pressure remained steady. In the flaxseed group, systolic blood pressure dropped an average 15 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure fell an average 8 mm Hg. “These anti-hypertensive effects of flax seed are amongst the most strong ever observed,” Dr. Grant Pierce said. “The change in blood pressure from flaxseed could result in about a 50% reduction of strokes and 30 % less heart attacks.”


Flax contains lignans which reduce the risk of prostate cancer in men and breast cancer in women. Flaxseed has been shown to affect intracellular signals within the body that may play a role in breast and prostate cancer growth. Lignans are estrogen-like chemical compounds with antioxidant effects able to scavenge free radicals in the body. Flaxseed is considered to be one of the most important sources of lignans. Flax contains up 75 to 800 times more lignans than other plant sources, such as whole grains and legumes. (When flaxseed is eaten, the lignans are activated by bacteria in the intestine. But, flaxseed oil does not contain the lignan).

Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) in flax seed has shown promising results in reducing the risk of cancer because of its high concentration of lignans. These compounds interfere with the cancer-promoting effects of estrogen by binding to estrogen receptors. Flaxseed inhibits the growth and metastasis of human breast cancer, prostate cancer and melanoma in vitro and in mice. In a cell culture study, flaxseed lignans reduced stickiness and movement of breast cancer cells, both properties related to the cancer’s ability to spread or metastasize.

A 2004 article reported in the Nutrition Journal reports that eating flaxseed, along with plenty of fruits and vegetables, can help reduce risk of cancer. In a study, mice were injected with human cancer cells and then fed a typical laboratory chow diet for eight weeks. At eight weeks, rats were randomly assigned into a group that continued with the chow diet or to a 10% flaxseed diet. At the end of the study period, flax seed supplementation was shown to reduce the tumor growth rate and reduce metastasis by 45%. In another study reported in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research in 2010, flaxseed oil prevented breast tumors from growing in cancer patients.

Findings from a “Duke University Medical Center” small study on pre-surgical prostate cancer patients indicate “a flaxseed-supplemented, fat-restricted diet may affect prostate cancer biology and associated biomarkers”. In a clinical trial, ate a low-fat diet with 30 g of flaxseed daily lowered PSA (prostate specific antigen) levels in men with a precancerous prostate condition called prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia. In a study of 25 men with prostate cancer found that a low-fat diet along with flaxseed reduced serum testosterone, slowed the growth rate of cancer cells, and increased the death rate of cancer cells. One study presented at the 43rd annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology  demonstrated that consuming flaxseed can stop prostate cancer tumors from growing. “Excited that this study showed  that flaxseed is safe and associated with a protective effect on prostate cancer “ said Dr Wendy Demark-Wahnefried. After flax seed is consumed, its lignans are converted in the intestine into enterolactone, which then enter the bloodstream. New findings suggests that flaxseed may help avert prostate cancer by boosting blood levels of useful enterolactones. In a study that investigated blood enterolactone levels in men with prostate cancer versus healthy controls, men with the highest enterolactone levels were 82% less likely to have prostate cancer.

Cod Liver Oil Benefits and Studies

Cod liver oil is extracted from cod, which is a cold-water fish. This  oil has a long history of use and great cultural importance for the people of Ireland, Scotland, northern Europe, and Iceland, where it is consumed to treat rickets, rheumatism, and a variety of diseases. Cod liver oil is extracted from cod livers, whereas fish oil is extracted from the body flesh of fish. Cod liver oil contains much more vitamins A and D per unit weight than regular fish oil. The types of omega-3 oils are the same for both products.

Cod Liver Oil Benefits and Researches

Cod liver oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, and vitamin D. The vitamin A in cod liver oil supports immune system. This vitamin regulates critical functions such as cell division and bone growth and helps keep the skin healthy.Vitamin A deficiency is a important cause of blindness in the world.

Vitamin D is necessary to keep a balance between phosphorus and calcium in the body. Vitamin D affects DNA through vitamin D receptors, which bind to specific locations of the human. Researchers have mapped the points at which vitamin D interacts with our DNA – and identified over two hundred genes that it directly influences. Deficiency of vitamin D is associated to rickets, bone softening, osteoporosis, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, and autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and type 1 diabetes. Several findings indicate that adequate levels of vitamin D may reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis, some cancers, high blood pressure and autoimmune disorders. A individual’s vitamin D level is gauged by measuring the blood level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D. When levels go below 20 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) the person has vitamin D deficiency.

Cod liver oil is rich in DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). EPA is the precursor of important prostaglandins, localized tissue hormones that help the body deal with inflammation; and DHA is very important for the development and function of the brain and nervous system. In several studies, the elongated omega-3 fats found in cod liver oil have been shown to improve brain function, memory, immune response, asthma, allergies, learning and behavioral disorders.


Cod Liver OilRickets is a disease caused by a deficiency of vitamin D, calcium, or phosphate. Insufficiency of vitamin D can lead to rickets in children (soft bones that can be painful and deformed) and osteomalacia in adults (soft bones, bone pain, and muscle weakness). Vitamin D can prevent and treat some bone problems such as rickets in children  and osteomalacia in adults. By  clinical studies conducted in Vienna between 1919 and 1922, Dr Harriette Chick and her coworkers were able to confirm the preventive and therapeutic value of cod liver oil and sunlight against rickets in young infants. With the discovery of vitamin D and the delineation of the antirachitic effects of cod liver oil by the 1930s, it became possible to not just treat but also eradicate rickets in the United States.


Vitamin D deficiency, which is usually seen in older people, can lead to osteoporosis and is associated to an increased risk for broken hips. The vitamin D in cod liver oil helps build bone density in adolescents to lower the risk of osteoporosis and other bone related problems later in life. In a animal-based study, the effect of cod liver oil was investigated in the prevention of  bone loss in the ovariectomized female rats. One group of ovariectomized rats received an estrogen implantation at the time  of operation and the second group was supplemented orally with cod liver oil daily for eight weeks. It was found that estrogen implantation as well as cod liver oil supplementation in ovariectomized rats increased the calcium  level in femur. Therefore, cod liver oil may benefit postmenopausal women at risk of osteoporosis.


Cod liver oil has anti-inflammatory effects that help quell the inflammation of arthritis. Some researches have shown that cod liver oil may help with the symptoms of arthritis. Cod liver oil likely works in two different ways in preventing arthritis. It is a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids and of vitamin D. These substances modify immune reactions in the body and help to prevent the body being attacked by itself in what is called an autoimmune reaction.

A pilot study studied the efficacy of cod liver oil supplements on symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Forty three participants with rheumatoid arthritis took 1g of cod liver oil daily for three months. Supplementation significantly reduced morning joint stiffness for 52 % of patients. Joint pain was reduced in 42% of patients and joint swelling was reduced in 40% of patients. Intensity of pain was reduced in 67.5% of patients. Results of the Cardiff study of 25 arthritis patients awaiting knee replacement surgery demonstrated that 86% of patients who took 2,000 mg of cod liver oil capsules daily had absent or significantly reduced levels of one of the enzymes that cause cartilage damage. Also, the result demonstrated a marked reduction in some of the enzymes that cause joint pain in those people taking the cod liver oil.“The data suggests cod liver oil has a dual mode of action, potentially slowing down the cartilage degeneration inherent in osteoarthritis, and also reducing factors that cause pain and inflammation,” Professor Bruce Caterson said.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the most common prescribed medications worldwide. The most frequently known NSAIDs are ibuprofen and asprin. The ibuprofen and other NSAIDs prescribed to millions of patients each year have been linked to a range of adverse effects. A study reported in the March 2008 Rheumatology investigated the effectiveness of cod liver oil on reducing reliance on non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Approximately 40 % of the patients in the cod liver oil group were able to wean themselves off of NSAIDs, compared to only 10% in the control group. Deficiency of vitamin D has been associated with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. A study at “Malmo University” found recently that babies that began breast feeding in hospital were more likely to suffer from rheumatoid arthritis later in life than babies that did not begin breast feeding in hospital and probably went on to bottle feeding.

•Heart Health

Cod liver oil significantly improves heart function. Pure cod liver oil is a important source of these Omega-3. Omega-3 exert a protective property on the heart, by making the heart cells that generate the electric impulses that cause the heart to beat less prone to developing abnormal rhythms. Several researches have showed that Omega-3 fatty acids can significantly reduce the mortality rate of people who have suffered heart attacks. Cod liver oil helps to reduce stickiness in the blood and  helps lower high triglyceride levels. Taking cod liver oil can reduce triglyceride levels by 20% to 50% in individuals with high triglyceride levels.

•Otitis Media

Otitis media (middle ear infection), is an infection of the middle ear common in younger children. In a study at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, researchers found that youngsters prone to otitis media had lower than normal levels of EPA, selenium and vitamin A. When they gave the youngsters cod liver oil, selenium, and a multivitamin, they found the children suffered fewer ear infections.“This study provides preliminary evidence that otitis media may be prevented and that the reliance on antibiotics may be reduced among young children by using nutritional supplements,” said Dr. Linday. The results were reported in the July 2002 edition of the Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology.


With respect to type 1 diabetes, cod liver oil has been shown to potentially lower the likelihood of developing the disease if taken within the first year of life. Studies conducted out by researchers in Norway showed that infants regularly given a spoonful of the oil during their first year were 25 % less likely to develop the disease.

•Cancer Prevention

Lab and animal studies and observational epidemiologic studies demonstrate that higher levels of vitamin D in the body may be linked to lower cancer risk. Higher vitamin D levels in the blood have been associated to lower risk for some types of cancer, particularly colorectal cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, reviewed this topic and concluded in a 2008 report that vitamin D may reduce risk of colorectal cancer. According to a 2009 study performed by Norwegian scientists and reported in the International Journal of Cancer, daily supplementation of cod liver oil associated with a higher survival rate among lung cancer patients and cancer patients with solid tumors. A population-based case-control study studied the correlation between vitamin D and breast cancer. Women with newly diagnosed invasive breast cancer and women without breast cancer participated in the study. Increasing sun exposure between ages 10 and 19 was associated with reduced breast cancer risk. Use of cod liver oil  and consumption of milk  were also correlated  with reduced breast cancer risk.