African Star Grass

African Star Grass

African Star Grass

Scientific names: Hypoxis rooperi

Other common names: African potato

This member of the Hypoxidaceae (Amaryllidaceae) family, a perennial herbaceous plant native of South-East African regions. The part of the plant usually used is made from a dark brown or black tuber, which presents a yellow pulp. Hypoxis roopery is traditionally known as a “miracle plant” because it has been traditionally used for a wide array of human aliments, including cancers, diabetes, infections, nervous disorders, immune-related illnesses, heart weaknesses, and urinary problems

HEALTH BENEFITS OF AFRICAN STAR GRASS

Immune Support, Men, Women, Urinary Tract Support

Uses

Hypoxis rooperi—also known as African star grass, African potato, Hypoxis hemerocallidea, or yellow star—belongs to the Hypoxidaceae (Amaryllidaceae) family, a perennial herbaceous plantnative of South-East African regions. The part of the plant usually used is made from a dark brown or black tuber, which presents a yellow pulp. Hypoxis roopery is traditionally known as a “miracle plant” because it has been traditionally used for a wide array of human aliments, including cancers, diabetes, infections, nervous disorders, immune-related illnesses, heart weaknesses, and urinary problems [1]. Botanical formulations based on Hypoxis rooperi became popular as far back as 1967, when R.W. Liegenberg initiated the use of Hypoxis phytosterols, β-sitosterol, and its glucoside products. The product, marketed as Harzol is used for the treatment of benign prostatic hypertrophy which gained wide acceptance in Germany [2].

View Important Precautions

Active Constituents of African Star Grass

Botanical formulations based on Hypoxis rooperi became popular as far back as 1967, when R.W. Liegenberg initiated the use of Hypoxis phytosterols, β-sitosterol, and its glucoside

Mechanism of Action:

The pharmacological effects of Hypoxis could be attributed to sterols. In particular, β-sitosterol is postulated to have antiandrogenic and antiinflammatory properties increasing, in the stromal cells of human prostate, the TGF-β1 expression, and protein kinase C-alpha activity [7,8]. The mechanism of action of this tuber is not well known; from preclinical studies it does not seem to inhibit 5-α-reductase. In vitro, has been shown to have antiinflammatory activity, by inhibiting the cytokine production, COX-1 and COX-2 activity, by reducing the activity of transcription factors, and it might interfere with the synthesis of inflammatory mediators, such as prostaglandins [3].

Clinical Studies

The most recent systematic review of its efficacy of beta-sitosterols for BPH was undertaken in 1999 by Wilt et colleagues encompassing three different products: Harzol, Azuprostat, and WA184, all of which have different amounts of β-sitosterol. Five hundred and nineteen men from four randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trials (lasting 4–26 weeks) were assessed. Three trials used nonglucosidic β-sitosterols and one utilized a preparation that contained 100% B-sitosteryl-B-d-glucoside. Two of the four studies reported an improvement in IPSS score of roughly 35% over placebo. All studies reported an improvement in maximum flow rate of around 45% against placebo but β-sitosterols did not reduce prostate size [4].

Parts Used

Rhizome

Additional Resources

[1] Giuseppe Morgia, Salvatore Privitera, Phytotherapy in Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia in Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms and Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, 1st Ed. From Research to Bedside, Academic Press 2018:148-149

[2] Giuseppe Morgia, Salvatore Privitera, Phytotherapy in Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia in Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms and Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, 1st Ed. From Research to Bedside, Academic Press 2018:150-151

[3] Giuseppe Morgia, Salvatore Privitera, Phytotherapy in Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia in Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms and Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, 1st Ed. From Research to Bedside, Academic Press 2018:152-153

[4] Giuseppe Morgia, Salvatore Privitera, Phytotherapy in Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia in Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms and Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, 1st Ed. From Research to Bedside, Academic Press 2018:154

Pregnancy and lactation

The safety of African Star Grass has not been established. In view of the lack of toxicity data and the documented hormonal activity, the use of African Star Grass during pregnancy and lactation should be avoided.

Disclaimer

This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.

NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENT USING THIS HERB

Akkermansia muciniphila

Akkermansia muciniphila

Akkermansia muciniphila

Aspergillus oryzae

Babassu

Babassu

Babassu

Scientific names: Orbygnya Speciosa

Other common names: Babassu Coconut, Babassu Palm Tree

Babassu is the common name of a Brazilian native palm tree called Orbignya speciosa, whose kernels are commonly used (eaten entirely or as a grounded powder), in parts of Brazil for the treatment of urinary disorders

Lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) are a common complaint among aging men and are usually caused by Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). A number of medical treatments for LUTS/BPH exist, such as α-blockers, 5α-reductase inhibitors, phytotherapeutical drugs and combination therapies. [1]. 

TRADITIONAL HEALTH BENEFITS OF BABASSU

 Immune Support, Men, Urinary Tract Support

Uses

Among the parts used for medicinal purposes, leaves, roots, and fruits should be highlighted. Leaves and roots are used as tea for pain and wound healing, while fruits are used in a much bigger scale: mesocarp floor and milk are used for the treatment of gastritis, hepatitis, osteoporosis, skin wounds, and leukorrhea; liquid albumen is used as eyedrops to treat conjunctivitis; and the seed oil is used as laxative, vermifuge, and anti-inflammatory and for the treatment of myiasis, mycosis, skin wounds, hemorrhoids, leukorrhea and female genital inflammation, and spider bites

Microemulsions containing babassu oil, may act as new and potentially efficient therapies for benign prostatic hyperplasia due to their antiproliferative and apoptotic effects and improve human immune system function by increasing superoxide anion release, phagocytosis of mononuclear phagocytes, and antimicrobial activities [2].

View Important Precautions

 Chemistry of Babassu oil

Babassu oil is composed mainly of saturated fatty acids (80-91%),  such  as  lauric  acid  (43-50%),  myristic  acid  (15-18%), palmitic acid (6-10%), capric acid (4-6%), caprylic acid (0-5%) and stearic acid (3-5%); the remainder is unsaturated fatty acids (9-20%), in which oleic acid (12-19%) and linoleic acid (1-3%) are present.

Parts Used

Kernels

Additional Resources

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21396436?report=abstract.
[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5753019/

Important Precautions

Not for use during pregnancy or lactation. If you have a medical condition or take pharmaceutical drugs please consult your doctor prior to use.

Disclaimer

This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.

NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENT USING THIS HERB

Bearberry Uva-Ursi

Bearberry Uva-Ursi

Bearberry Uva-Ursi

Scientific names: Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, Arctostaphylos coactylis, Arctostaphylos adenotricha

Other common names: Arctostaphylos, bear’s grape, crowberry, foxberry, hogberry, kinnikinnick, manzanita, mountain box, rockberry, uva-ursi

The common bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi L. Sprengel) is a ubiquitous procumbent evergreen shrub located throughout North America, Asia, and Europe. The fruits are almost tasteless but the plant contains a high concentration of active ingredients.

Bears are particularly fond of the fruit, which explains its Latin name, “uva ursi,” which means “bear’s grape.” Most authorities refer to Arctostaphylos uva-ursi as uva ursi. However, the related plants, Arctostaphylos adentricha and Arctostaphylos coactylis, have also been termed uva ursi by some experts.

Uva ursi is used primarily for urinary tract disorders, including infections of the kidney, bladder, and urethra; swelling (inflammation) of the urinary tract; increased urination; painful urination; and urine that contains excess uric acid or other acids. Uva ursi is also used for constipation and a lung condition called bronchitis.

Uva ursi, hops, and peppermint are also used in combination to treat people with compulsive bedwetting and painful urination [1].

HEALTH BENEFITS OF BEARBERRY UVA-URSI

Immune Support, Women, Urinary Tract Support

Uses

 Bearberry exerts antimicrobial effects against Escherichia coli, Proteus vulgaris, Enterobacter aerogenes, Streptococcus faecalis, Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella typhi, and Candida albicans. Bearberry traditionally has been used as a diuretic (it is especially effective in cases of highly acidic urine), an antiinfl ammatory, and an astringent. Contemporarily, it is used as a decoction to treat urinary tract infections. Bearberry may be useful in premenstrual bloating.

Actions

Little primary research is available detailing the mode of action of bearberry.

Antiseptic/Diuretic Action

The diuretic effect of bearberry results from both its triterpene chemical components and arbutin, a hydroquinone. These components stimulate diuresis.

Antiinflammatory Action

One of the flavonoid components of bearberry, quercitrin, is responsible for decreased infl ammation. Arbutin and urosolic acid may also be responsible for its antiinfl ammatory effects (Jahodar et al, 1985).

Antimicrobial Action

Research on the antimicrobial effect of bearberry has focused on arbutin. Arbutin has been reported to be effective as a diuretic and as a urinary antiseptic in moderate doses, but only if the urine is alkaline. Use of the whole plant is most effective because of the combined effects of arbutin and gallic acid, another chemical component (Constantine et al, 1966; Leung, Foster, 1996). Urosolic acid has been found to be effective against gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria and yeast (Kowalewski et al, 1976; Zaletova et al, 1986). Arctostaphylos uva-ursi has been shown to be effective against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (Shimizu et al, 2001).

Bearberry has shown an inhibitory effect against Arcobacter butzleri, A. cryaerophilus, and A. skirrowii (Cervenka et al, 2006). Methanol extracts showed strong antimicrobial activity.

Herbal Use

Uva-ursi is stated to possess diuretic, urinary antiseptic, and astringent properties. Traditionally, it has been used for cystitis, urethritis, dysuria, pyelitis, lithuria, and specifically for acute catarrhal cystitis with dysuria and highly acidic urine (2).

Constituents

The following is compiled from several sources, including General References G2 and G6.

Flavonoids Flavonols (e.g. myricetin, quercetin) and their glycosides including hyperin, isoquercitrin, myricitrin and quercitrin. Iridoids Asperuloside (disputed), monotropein. (1) Quinones Total content at least 6%, mainly arbutin (5–15%) and methyl-arbutin (glycosides), with lesser amounts of piceoside (2) (a glycoside), free hydroquinone and free p-methoxyphenol. (3)

Tannins 6–7% (range 6–40%). Hydrolysable-type (e.g. corilagin pyranoside); ellagic and gallic acids (usually associated with hydrolysable tannins). Terpenoids a-Amyrin, a-amyrin acetate, b-amyrin, lupeol, uvaol, ursolic acid, and a mixture of mono- and di-ketonic aamyrin derivatives.(4, 5) Other constituents Acids (malic, quinic), allantoin, resin (e.g. ursone), volatile oil (trace) and wax.

Contraindications

defi ciency, anemia, malnutrition due to high tannin level, and disorders involving gastrointestinal irritation. It is not intended for prolonged use unless used under the direction of an experienced herbalist.

Parts used:

Leaf

Additional Resources

[1] https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-350/uva-ursi

[2] Mosby’s Handbook of Herbs and Natural Supplements – fourth edition

Important Precautions

Not for use during pregnancy or lactation. If you have a medical condition or take pharmaceutical drugs please consult your doctor prior to use.

Disclaimer

This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.

NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENT USING THIS HERB