Scientists hail healthy olive oil

Scientists from all over the world are meeting in southern Spain for the first international conference on olive oil and health.

The Mediterranean diet is famous for its richness, in taste and in vitamins: fresh vegetables, fish, a glass or two of red wine and of course, olive oil.

"Olive oil and wine - healthy and divine," says a famous Spanish proverb.

Spaniards are indeed three times less likely than northern Europeans to contract heart disease.
They think it is largely thanks to their olives.

But new studies show that olive oil has an even healthier allure.

It promotes strong bone development, helps to prevent colon and breast cancer, Alzheimer's and other aging diseases.

More than 300 scientists from the world over are attending the conference in Jaen, the centre of Spain's oil production, to compare notes, in the hope of persuading their respective governments to invest more money in olive oil medical research.

Source BBC News

Hoodia - who owns the patent for a plant?

The hoodia cactus is sought by drug companies because of its appetite-suppressing qualities.

The rare plant has been used for thousands of years by southern Africa's San Bushmen to dampen their appetites during long treks through the harsh Kalahari desert, and holds the key to potentially lucrative anti-obesity drugs.

South Africa's Council for Scientific and Industrial Research has patented the chemical entity extracted from hoodia and licensed British drugs-from-plants firm Phytopharm PLC to develop the plant's commercial potential.

Phytopharm said it welcomed moves to protect hoodia from illegal cultivation.

Red wine 'wards off lung cancer'

Drinking red wine may help to ward off lung cancer, a study suggests.

A team from the University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain found each glass a day reduced the risk of lung cancer by 13% compared to non-drinkers.

While studies have already suggested red wine can help reduce the risk of heart disease, it was not thought to offer protection against lung cancer.

But Cancer Research UK cast doubt on the findings, warning excess drinking increases the risk of other cancers.

Professor Tim Key, of the charity's epidemiology unit at Oxford University, said there was "no solid evidence to support the suggestion that red wine might help to prevent cancer".

Source BBC News

Vitamins pills do not stop cancer

Vitamin supplements do nothing to prevent gut cancers and may shorten life expectancy, research suggests.

A review of 14 trials involving more than 170,000 people found antioxidant vitamins, like vitamin E, offered no protection against these cancers.

People taking some supplements died prematurely, the European researchers said in the Lancet.

Cancer Research UK cautioned the findings were preliminary and did not offer convincing proof of hazard.

Source BBC News

Cup of tea may help boost memory

Drinking regular cups of tea could help improve your memory, research suggests.

A team from Newcastle University found green and black tea inhibited the activity of key enzymes in the brain associated with memory.

The researchers hope their findings, published in Phytotherapy Research, may lead to the development of a new treatment for Alzheimer's Disease.

They say tea appears to have the same effect as drugs specifically designed to combat the condition.

Source BBC News

Apples may ward off colon cancer

An apple a day may help to keep bowel cancer at bay, say researchers.

The key could be chemicals in the fruit called procyanidins, a team from the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research believe.

These chemicals were shown to significantly reduce the number of precancerous lesions in lab animals.

The research, which could lead to new cancer treatments, was presented at a meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Source BBC News

Cranberries 'could treat herpes'

Cranberries may be an effective treatment for the herpes virus, researchers claim.
The berry is known to be effective in treating bladder conditions.

But experts at the Kaohsiung Medical University in Taiwan say in Chemistry and Industry they could also treat the cold sores and genital herpes virus.

However UK experts said there was not enough evidence to suggest people should eat or drink cranberries to treat herpes.

Source BBC News

'Tomato treatment' slows cancer

An artificial version of the pigment that gives tomatoes their colouring is being tested on prostate cancer patients after promising animal trials.

Researchers at the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, Holland, had found synthetic lycopene slowed the growth of human prostate tumours in mice.

Lycopene has already been linked with a reducing the risk of prostate cancer.

Source BBC News

Evening Primrose

I have just completed a new page for Complete Herbal on the Evening Primrose. What a fantastic plant!

Of course I have known about evening primrose oil (EPO) for a long time, my friend used to sell EPO capsules to health food shops. What I wasn't aware of is how other parts of the plant have been used for centuries. It's a shame that I didn't collect any seeds from my mother's garden as I now feel the urge to plant some and at least try the roots boiled (as a treatment for obesity it sounds very interesting).

As for the web site; Culpeper's Complete Herbal is coming along slowly - I have nearly finished R where, believe it or not, I learnt all about Mangel Wurzel (aka root of scarcity). And I am now beginning my next piece of research into F for Fennel.