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Renovate Revitalize and Restore Yourself With Medicinal Herbs!
Many athletes use traditional herbs for special or general effects as well as new
derivatives of plant substances that deliver a powerful array of performance benefits.
Dr. Frederick C. Hatfield
The Herbal Medicine and Recovery Chest
Boswellia Serrata –
Having been researched extensively in India and also known as
, Boswellia has been used for not one or two but for hundreds of
years to treat arthritis. Recently researchers at Gandhi Medical College
in Nagpur, India,
in a randomized double blind placebo controlled study reported that after 8 weeks
patients receiving Boswellia had decreased knee pain, improved knee flexion and greater
walking distances accompanied with less swelling and inflammation. Studies indicate
that Boswellia serrata regulates the pain response by inhibiting 5-lipoxgenase activity
major enzyme involved in heightening the physical and mental trauma associated with
pain and inflammation. Equally, a recent study appearing in Clinical Pharmacokinetics
researchers concluded that Boswellia Serrata is a viable alternative to NSAID’s ( non-
steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs ).
150 mg daily.
Ciwujia (ginseng) –
Utilized for over 7000 thousand years by traditional Chinese
medical practitioners to combat fatigue and improve immune function, ginsengs main
active ingredients are the steroid like compounds saponin triterpenoid glycosides
Renewed interest in ciwujia commonly known as eleutherococeus
senticosus or siberian ginseng
, has increased due to reports that subjects given ciwujia
survived longer under low-oxygen conditions. Researchers at the Academy of
in Beijing, China also found that ciwujia has the ability to increase
fat burning during exercise, while improving workout performance by sparring
carbohydrate use which delays lactic-acid buildup, which as you know accelerates muscle
fatigue, and the inflammatory response. Similar results were demonstrated in studies at
the Department of Physiology
at the University of North Texas Health Science Center
well as the Lesgraft Institute of Physical Culture and Sports in Moscow. Professor Igor
, a Russian sports physiologist found that eleutherocuecus senticocus stimulates
the production of powerful anti-stress compounds produced by the adrenal glands. Today
many natural health practitioners utilize siberian ginseng to stabilize adrenal activity to
reduce cortisol production to prevents muscle wasting and post-workout traumatic
syndrome symptoms. This improves both mental and physical recovery.
Grooving and Not Crashing
As a point of clarification here, siberian ginseng doesn’t drive the central nervous
system like many energizers, instead it strengthens the adrenal and endocrine systems.
Classified as an adaptogen it works by targeting specific body systems and not symptoms
to bring internal systems back into balance regardless of whether the system is under or
overactive. This is in complete contrast to drug counterparts which only act in one
direction which generally cause other problems or have dangerous side effects.
Adaptogens in essence work on the same premise as the theory of traditional Chinese
herbal medicine that diseases and disruptions to metabolic pathways are a result of yin
yang imbalance, a excess or shortage of either force in the human body.
The Many Faces of Ginseng
Being one of the most utilized herb in the United States today , Ginseng’s anti- fatigue,
sexual enhancing and immune boosting abilities are legendary. It’s performance
enhancing abilities within a variety of athletic and fitness circles have also been well
documented. While many varying forms of ginseng exist , some are more stimulating
than others. For example Korean ginseng known as panax ginseng is highly simulative
and is warranted for short term or immediate energy needs. The other most common
forms of ginseng used today are: American, Angelica sinensis ( female ginseng, donq
quai), Asian, Chinese, Oriental, Red and White .
9 to 27 grams daily.
Devil’s Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) –
This herb originating from South Africa is
used extensively in Europe as an anti-rheumatic agent. In fact, it is approved by the
German Commission E
( a regulating body similar to the FDA here in the US
) to treat
arthritis, lower back, knee and hip pain. While its mode of action initially wasn’t fully
understood, studies suggest that it suppressed the production of leukotrienes (
compounds that heighten inflammatory response)
via active components within the
herb known as harpagosides
. More recent studies have indicated that Devil’s Claw
works by inhibiting the expression of COX-2
(cyclo-oxygenase 2, a enzyme that
) and iNOS( nitric oxide enzymes that cause or transmit pain
), by suppressing NF-kB(nuclear factor –kappaB, a pro-inflammatory agent
involved in activating and accelerating nerve pain signals)
and decreasing the
production of MMP’s (matrix metalloproteinases which are proteases enzymes that can
degrade collagen and tendons and increase pain following injury ).
Bottom line here, devil’s claw can help relieve arthritic disturbances, muscle soreness,
swelling, tendonitis, as well as detoxify the blood and improve digestion.
200 mg standardized to 5% harpogoside daily.
This Brazilian herb is reputed for its ability to combat physical and mental
fatigue. Guarana contains about 7% caffeine, but a key difference between the two is the
fact that guarana has a sustained release action, meaning it works over the course of
hours and not for a few minutes, ultimately sustaining energy versus sending you into
crash mode and the doldrums. This occurs due to the fact that guarana stimulates the
release of fats in the blood. Your muscles can then utilize these fats for energy in place
of glycogen, (fuel stored in the liver and muscles from carbohydrates) for later use.
Conversely, researchers at the Human Cognitive Neuroscience Unit at Northumbria
of the United Kingdom, found that as little as 75 mgs of guarana can improve
cognitive (mental) functioning and increases mood and alertness. This will help you
50 to 250 mg divided in 3 doses daily.
Milk Thistle -
Strong, reliable, and consistent data has validated milk thistle’s use as a
liver tonic and detoxifier, as well as its high ORAC capacity. ORAC is short for Oxygen
Radical Absorbance Capacity,
which is a test scientists use to measure the total
antioxidant power of foods and other substances. Clinical studies have shown that
silymarian the most active ingredient in milk thistle, encourages the production of
(SOD) and glutathione peroxidase
, two of the most powerful
inborn antioxidants your body has. Why is this important? Well for starters, this
physiological process will protect your cells, reduce free radical production, eliminate the
buildup of toxic by products, thus reducing muscle wasting, muscle soreness and
accelerate healing. The other key point here is the fact that you ingest a variety of growth
factors on a daily basis, which are metabolized by the liver. Milk thistle will cleanse and
detoxify your liver of the toxic byproducts of those growth factors. Remember, your
liver is your primary organ that breaks down medications, drugs, supplements, foods and
other substances, rendering them harmless. As a astute fitness and bodybuilder you know
that protecting and preserving your liver function is not only key to maintaining life’s
processes but to how well your body stores and utilizes nutrients. In fact, it is glutathione
that neutralizes the negative affects of acetometaphine the active component of many
over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs like Tylenol, which is the number one cause of
liver failure here in the United States.
300 to 600 mgs daily – standardized for silymarian content.
Know as the Asian viagra or long jack root this herb is highly touted for its
ability to boost libido, sexual performance and to treat erectile dysfunction. Studies
indicate it’s mode of action is that of accelerating and increasing testosterone production.
Researchers indicate that compounds known as glycoprotein’s( proteins bound to
found in this herb are responsible for its sexual enhancement abilities.
These glycoprotein’s appear to boost testosterone production by there ability to inhibit
the release of the hormone SHBC
, short for sex hormone binding globulin.
with and inhibits testosterones release. According to Dr. Ismail Tambe
of the University
by reducing SHBG activity there is less protein to bind with this androgen
and therefore more free androgen for use by the organs. Dr. Tambe also commented that
this process will also reduce fat production. Additional studies have also found that
Tongkat Ali’s influence on a hormone know as hormone synthesizing enzyme CYP17
simulates testosterone production. Tongkat ali has also been show in studies to be
affective at increasing muscle mass and improving strength as a result of its direct impact
: 600mg twice daily.
Tribulus Terrestris –
Tribulus, also known as puncturevine, is gaining notoriety and
being called nature’s super herb. Used traditionally in Chinese medicine to treat liver,
kidney, urinary, and cardiovascular disorders, it is touted for its ability to stimulate
natural testosterone production. Tribulus influence on testosterone release according to
Dr. Ray Sahelian M.D., may be due to its influence on androgen receptors located in
brain cells. Data from a variety of scientific journals have also confirmed the fact that
tribulus contains a number of steroid saponins. Due to the above factors, this herb can
also enhance sexual performance and is used to treat erectile dysfunction. Additionally,
its ability to increase energy has been well documented because of its influence on the
The Lutenizing Connection
The component thought to be most responsible for tribulus’s effect is protodiosein.
Studies suggest that this compound stimulates the production of lutenizing hormone a
precursor of testosterone and all it’s related anabolic attributes such as, lean body mass
development, increased metabolism, more strength and heightened sex drive.
Suggested dose :
Data indicates that 250 mg of tribulus can improve lutenizing hormone
levels by 166% and increase testosterone levels by 40%.
Wild African Mango Root
Recently showcased on the Dr Oz show, this West African herb also know as Irvingia
Gabonensis latin for African Mango has medical and natural health researchers clamoring
over the possible positive health implications this herb would extend to various factions
within the United States. Used as a daily food source for centuries in Africa, a number of
published studies since the 1980’s have confirmed two distinct side effects of this herb if
taken, resistance to diabetes and obesity
. Based on all the research what is so exciting
about this herb is it’s multi-dimensional regulation of a number of different chemicals,
metabolic pathways (PPARy and glycerol-3, phosphate), genes that influence the
production of hormones and enzymes that control metabolism, as well as inhibiting C-
reactive protein elevation and regulation of adiponectin and leptin . Furthermore, this
herb lowers total cholesterol and LDL ( harmful cholesterol) and stabilizes blood
glucose. With its 14% fiber content Irvingia Gabonenis improves elimination and also
The Scientific Stuff
As a point of clarification here C-reactive protein
is a protein produced by the liver.
When this protein is elevated this signals alarming rates of inflammation throughout the
body, which have been linked to a number of negative long term health conditions such
as, cancer, elevated cholesterol levels, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, weight gain
and obesity. Adiponectin
is a hormone found in fat cells that revs up the body’s
metabolic rate thus converting food to energy at a faster rate, which discourages fat
storage. Adiponectin also modulates and balances the actions of the hormones
Neuropeptide Y increases appetite while ghrelin keeps
appetite cravings on a even keel and discourages over-eating. Leptin
food cravings, body heat and improves metabolism so that calories are burned up faster.
is a enzyme that enables glucose to be stored as
triglcerides in fatty tissue. Last but not lease is PPARy
which stands for peroxisome
proliferators activated receptors.
Forget the scientific jargon here but remember that this
is one of those proteins, yes proteins found in fat cells that play the lead roll in initiating
and reactivating adipogenesis
(the formation of fat cells).
The Study Results Have Been off The Charts
Over the last couple of decades besides some astounding results, it is the consistency of
those results that has caught every ones attention. For example, in a recent 10 week
double blind placebo controlled study subjects who took Wild African Mango lost 28.1
pounds of weight as compared to1.5lbs versus the placebo group, with a accompanying
reduction of body fat by 6.3%., as compared to 1.9% in the placebo group. Collective
data has also revealed that individuals supplemental use of this herb resulted in
cholesterol levels dropping by up to 27% as compared to 4.8% in placebo groups. Also in
a double blind randomized study at the Department of Biochemistry
at The University of
in Cameroon, 40 subjects average age of 42 over the course of one month at
dose ranges of 1.05g of Irving gabonesis 3xday saw a 11.7lb reduction of weight as
compared to 2.9 lbs of the placebo group. Furthermore researchers have reported that
study subjects have enjoyed corresponding drops in cholesterol by 39.2%, triglycerides
by 44.9%, elevation of HDL (good cholesterol) by 46.8%, and a overall reduction in
blood glucose levels of 32.3%., as compared to little to no change within the placebo
groups, in addition to the weight and fat loss.
:150 mg twice daily before meals up to 1000mg 3 times a day before
meals. I would suggest starting at the low end range and adjust your dose based on your
A Army To Large To Mention Them All
While this report can’t cover all of the herbal allies you have at your disposal, there are
however some other well known and utilized herbs. They are and there known attributes
a (anti- inflammatory ,bruising, pain relief ), Ashwaganda
maintains internal anabolic activities, insomnia, mild sedative). Bee pollen
( known as
natures perfect food, increases energy, stamina, and strength, reduces the production of
histamine and boost immunity. Contains 35% protein, 55% carbohydrate, 2% fatty acid
and 3% minerals and a high level of B-vitamins). Bilberry
( improves microcirculation in
eyes, increases blood circulation, rebuilds healthy connective tissue).Fenugreek
treat metabolic and nutritive dysfunctions, increases testosterone production, reduces and
regulates the consumption of fat). Fucoxanthin
( a type of brown seaweed or kelp that
activates uncoupling proteins (UCP1’s) in mitochondria cells to accelerate fat burning).
( appetite suppressant, enhances energy without stimulating central
nervous system, promotes glycogen synthesis, reduces and burns body fat).Garlic
a natural antibiotic, stabilizes blood pressure, boost the immune response),.Ginge
inflammatory, reduces pain, relieves nausea and motion sickness, strengths muscles in
digestive tract),Ginkgo Biloba
( enhances memory, improves over all body circulation).
Goldenseal( detoxifies system, fights infections, reduces muscle spasms, stimulates
digestion). Gotu Kola
( boost energy, reduces stress, rejuvenates nerve and brain cells).
( boost metabolism and fat burning, reduces fat absorption). Horny Goat Weed
(boost sexual prowess/known as herbal viagra , used to treat erectile dysfunction and
stimulate testosterone production ). Pygeum
( improves sexual performance, reduces
inflammation of prostate gland, relieves symptoms of enlarged prostate gland).
( acts as a antioxidant, cleanses the liver, improves digestion, reduces
increases water and mineral electrolyte content in colon, prevents
stagnation in colon thus speeding up elimination).Valerian Root
( acts as a sedative,
improves energy by regulating central nervous system activities, relieves muscle spasms
Some After Thoughts
The concept of chemical exercise focuses on giving your body the right tools to enhance
the activity of inborn bio-energetic pathways. Medicinal herbs appear to be one of those
right tools and more! Don’t put your goals in a holding pattern because of minor set
backs. You have a whole arsenal of pharmacologically active compounds ready to jump-
start, re-ignite and rejuvenate your metabolic pathways. The only and most important
aspect left in this renovation project is your continued commitment to reaching your
goals. As the saying goes no surrender, no retreat, tomorrow and the next day in reality
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EDUCATION Ph.D. September 1998. University of California Davis, Department of History B.A January 1992. Smith College. Magna cum laude with high honors in American Studies. EMPLOYMENT 2010- Professor, Department of History, University of Cincinnati 2005-2010 Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Cincinnati 2000-2005 Assistant Professor, Department of History, Univer
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