Christmas comes early

A whole host of updates all across Examine.com

We recently introduced a new section on some pages which is essentially a notification of when pages are deemed compleat (yes it is a real word, which denotes whether they are completely representative of the literature at hand. In doing so, it was discovered that many pages that already existed in our database were poorly conducted. This week brings you 10 updates of herbs that were moderately complete previously, but are not fully complete on Examine. In no particular order:

  • Juniperus chinensis is a small tree that has some folklore usage (not medicinal) and is not highly studied. It would be completely unremarkable to be honest, except for a single rat study where it greatly outperformed Glibenclamide (diabetic reference drug) in acutely reducing blood glucose. Not the best model (acutely), but some promise here potentially.

  • Polypodium leucotomos is known as either Fernblock or Heliocare, and is an oral supplement that acts like sun block (really). It basically reduces DNA damage to the skin that occurs from UV radiation and can lessen the rate of skin reddening under UV radiation after oral administration. A promising herb that does appear to have a fair bit of human evidence, but it is unique in the sense that we don't have an active reference drug to compare its potency to (oral sun block is pretty novel) and many trials were unblinded.

  • Ecklonia cava is a seaweed with a high antioxidant content. It has gained a bit of attention since topical application induced both hair growth and attenuated androgenic hair loss (first compound in Examine to do both of those rather than just one) but beyond that Ecklonia is merely just a 'healthy' compound. It does many things beneficially but with low magnitude of benefit. If anything, this page (and the new Aquatic category) can be used as a reason to eat more seaweed

  • Ziziphus Jujube is Korean/Chinese Date, the fruit of which the candy 'jujubes' gets it flavor from. The bioactives all seem to be variants of the bioflavonoid Apigenin which is a known sedative, and Jujube appears to have preliminary evidence in rats saying that it can be a potent anxiolytic and sedative; no human evidence currently. It appears to be synergistic with Green Tea Catechins for anti-cancer effects (although inherently isn't too remarkable) and eating the fruit itself seems to be one of the few healthy laxatives in existence (increasing fecal softness and short-chain fatty acid production; indicative of happy gut bacteria).

  • Higenamine is a beta-2-adrenergic agonist that is being investigated for fat burning effects. However, currently there is no comparative study on fat cells to see how it fares against other compounds (Synephrine or Ephedrine) but one study on asthma suggesting it has similar potency to Salbutemol. A promising fat burner, but too little evidence right now.

  • Nelumbo nucifera is the sacred lotus of Asian cuisine, and is actually a source of the aforementioned Higenamine. This herb is beneficial merely because it is a very high source of polyphenolic compounds (meaning it is similar to Ecklonia Cava; unremarkable but beneficial). Isolated Neferine may, however, be a promising sedative and anti-diabetic agent. It is too preliminary to recommend eating the lotus for the neferine though.

  • Kaempferia parviflora is Thai Ginseng, done on request. This one is odd, because usually when there is an aphrodisiac herb with a study done in rats the rats do indeed get aphrodisia from it. Thai Ginseng appears to be an incredibly weak aphrodisiac and once has been demonstrated to be anti-aphrodisiac in higher doses. It may be pro-erectile (having PDE5 inhibitors similar to Horny Goat Weed or Viagra) but this has not been tested in a living model. Beyond that, unremarkable health benefits and it seems to be failing as a testosterone booster (one study in castrated rats says yes, others say no). This herb has not yet been shown to deserve its status as a 'ginseng.'

  • Spilanthes acmella is also an aphrodisiac, and although it only has one study in rats done, it was remarkably potent on all measured parameters and was associated with a dose-dependent increase in Testosterone up to 115% at 150mg/kg in mice (this is an oral dose of about 1.6g in humans, very feasible). Higher doses were remarkably effective at being a diuretic as well (stronger than furosemide) and hilariously, eating the leaves of this plant numbs the tongue (which is why it is called toothache plant; it eases toothaches by being a pain reducing agent). A very novel and cool herb.

  • Sphaeranthus indicus seems to be an interesting herb pertaining to the immune system being immunomodulatory and anti-allergic, but is understudied. Not much can be said about this herb, but file it under 'very interesting to look out for' in the future, as a preliminary assessment of its anti-cancer effects noted very potent cytotoxicity in a wide range of cancer cells at relatively low concentration (first compound in Examine to induce 100% apoptotic cell death in a cell line; Colo-205). Oh, and 50mg/kg was as potent as Finasteride in inhibiting the 5-alpha reductase enzyme and increasing testosterone; so technically there are two test boosters in this summary list.

When it was said that these were given in no particular order, it was a sort of misdirection; we saved the best for last, Boswellia serrata. The main bullet points here are:

  • Novel inhibitor of an enzyme called 5-Lipoxygenase (5-LOX) and, possibly by this, has shown remarkable anti osteoarthritic effects in three trials in humans (unfortunately, all independently funded by the producers of the supplements used).

  • Phytopharmaceutical in Europe for the treatment of brain edema, appears to be effective if the edema was from radiotherapy

  • Appears to have weak anxiolytic, anti-depressive, and cognitive enhancing properties

  • Although mixed evidence exists, it may be an immune support agent

  • Potent inhibitor of angiogenesis and cancer proliferation in some models. Has in vivo (in living system) evidence against prostatic, pancreatic, and colorectal cancer as well as gliomas (one human case study indicating a resolution of breast cancer metastasis in the brain). The pancreatic trial was noted with an oral dose of 100mg/kg Boswellia

  • It might also make your skin pretty when topically applied

Finally, we have changed some of our categories around. The now non-existent 'Herbal Supplement' and 'Health Support' were too vague to be useful and were purged. Given the new existence of our stacks pages, they were not necessarily replaced by goals (as we cover those in our stacks). Some new categories were made though, and Aquatic was already mentioned; others include Spice, Immune Booster (in reference to things that help the adaptive response to antigens), Pseudovitamin, and Joint Health (a more blanket category, as we have a more precise stack page).


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