TAGS: ANTIOXIDANTS/HERBAL FORMULAS | URINARY | WEIGHT MANAGEMENT
Synergistic blend of herbs and nutrients to support healthy urinary function
Historically, Taraxacum was used in Europe to treat fevers, boils, eye problems, diarrhea, fluid retention, liver congestion, heartburn, and various skin problems. In most other parts of the world, Taraxacum has been used primarily as a tonic for the liver. Taraxacum has also been used historically as a food. The leaves can be added to salad greens or utilized as a steamed vegetable or tea. The root can serve as a coffee substitute and the flowers can be used to make dandelion wine or schnapps.
Organic Dandelion Leaf (from Taraxacum officinale). Taraxacum contains an abundant amount of terpenoid and sterol bitter principles (principally taraxacin and taraxacerin), equally distributed in the roots, leaves, and flowers. Other terpene/sterol compounds include beta-amyrin, tarasasterol, and taraxerol, as well as free sterols (sitosterin, stimasterin, and phytosterin) structurally related to bile. Taraxacum contains large amounts of polysaccharides (primarily fructosans and inulin), smaller amounts of pectin, resin, and mucilage, and various flavonoids. (1)
Three flavonoid glycosides: luteolin 7-glucoside and two luteolin 7-diglucosides have been isolated from Taraxacum flowers and leaves. Hydroxycinnamic acids, chicoric acid, monocaffeyltartaric acid and chlorogenic acid are found throughout the plant and the coumarins, cichoriin and aesculin have been identified in the leaf extracts. (2)
Taraxacum is also a rich source of a variety of vitamins and minerals including beta carotene, non-provitamin A carotenoids, xanthophylls, chlorophyll, vitamins C and D, many of the B-complex vitamins, choline, iron, silicon, magnesium, sodium, potassium, zinc, manganese, copper, and phosphorous. The medicinal activity of this plant is thought to be a largely a result of the bitter principle, terpenoids, and inulin. (1)
Buchu Leaf 4:1 Extract (from Barsoma betulina). A small shrub native to South Africa where it is used as a popular flavoring agent to impart a peppermint-like flavor to brandies and wines. First used by the Hottentot tribe, it gained wide use in Europe and Africa where the dried leaves of Buchu have long been used as a folk remedy for the treatment of almost every known affliction. Employed as a diuretic and antiseptic, the long leaves of this herb are brewed for use in treatment of inflammation of the urethra, blood in the urine, bladder infections and other chronic urinary tract disorders. It is also said to be an effective remedy for kidney stones, cystitis, and rheumatism.
Buchu contains ‘barosma champhor’ and other volatile oils, which account for its mild diuretic and antiseptic activity. Buchu is considered to be an extremely safe herb and there are no reported toxic effects. If using for treatment of a urinary tract infection, prepare teas from the leaf of this herb.
Uva-Ursi Leaf (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi). Uva-ursi is also known as bearberry because bears like eating the fruit, has been used medicinally as far back as the 2nd century. Native Americans used it as a remedy for urinary tract infections; in fact, until the discovery of sulfa drugs and antibiotics, Uva-ursi was a common treatment for such bladder and related infections. Through modern-day scientific research in test tubes and animals, researchers have discovered that Uva-ursi’s antibacterial properties, which can fight infection, are due to several chemicals, including hydroquinone. (6)
The herb also contains tannins that have astringent effects, helping to shrink and tighten mucous membranes in the body. That, in turn, helps reduce inflammation and fight infection. Today, Uva-ursi is sometimes used to treat urinary tract infections and cystitis (bladder inflammation). (7)
Potassium (from 35mg Potassium Citrate). This nutrient was added to this product to ensure proper fluid levels in the body due to the diuretic natural of the above botanicals.
TABLE 1: Key agents in Hytrax.
Taraxacum has significantly different physiological activity depending upon which part of the plant is used. The root is classified as a liver tonic and has been shown to enhance aspects of liver performance. The leaf, on the other hand, is considered to be more specific for the kidneys, supporting liver and gallbladder health by promoting better bile flow and enhancing cholesterol metabolism. Taraxacum has been shown to have diuretic activity, stimulating the loss of excess water and promoting weight loss. Much of the weight loss activity is thought to be a result of the significant diuretic activity, since, in experimental research on mice, an aqueous extract of the leaf of Taraxacum was shown to have diuretic activity comparable to furosemide (Lasix). (3) However, since Taraxacum is also a rich source of potassium, capable of replacing potassium lost through diuresis, it is not associated with the side-effects of furosemide, such as hepatic coma and circulatory collapse. (1) Evidence indicates Taraxacum officinale can restore experimentally induced suppressed immune function in animals by enhancing cell mediated, humoral and non-specific immunity. (4) Experimental evidence indicates Taraxacum might possess hypoglycemic activity. (5) This finding is probably, in part, a result of the high inulin content of the plant. Inulin is a polysaccharide fiber, composed of long chains of repeating fructose molecules, thought to have the capability to mediate against fluctuations in blood sugar levels and promotes growth of friendly bacteria. In animals, Taraxacum leaf has been shown to have diuretic activity, stimulating the loss of excess water and promoting weight loss. In other words, Taraxacum is considered to be extremely safe.
In the cited experiments, the dosage of Taraxacum leaf given to the animals was 8 ml/kg of body weight daily of an aqueous fluid extract. This dose produced a 30% loss of body weight in mice and rats in a 30-day period, with much of the weight loss attributed to the loss of excess amounts of extracellular water. To put this dose in perspective, this would be approximately equivalent to drinking about 3/4 of a quart of a dandelion leaf water extract (think of this as a very strong tea) daily. Another option for consuming dandelion leaf is supplementation with a freeze-dried extract of the leaves. Since freeze-drying preserves and stabilizes the active ingredients in the plant, and since removing all of the water weight from the plant substantially decreases the weight of the material, a little of the freeze-dried leaf goes a long way.
A dose of 2 capsules daily for the first week (to make sure the dietary supplement is agreeable) is a good starting point. After this initial week, it is fine to increase the amount to two capsules twice or three times daily. Dandelion (both root and leaf) is considered safe even in very high quantities.