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Breathing Easy

Manufacturers look for innovative natural options that address respiratory and lung health as the need, unfortunately, will continue to grow.

Respiratory issues such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which includes bronchitis and emphysema) are among the top main health issues faced by Americans today. According to the American Lung Association, every year, more than 400,000 Americans die of lung disease.But lung disease is not only a killer, as more than 35 million Americans are now living with a chronic lung disease.

And while smoking, radon and asbestos are known causes of some lung disease, Trinity Ava, herbalist and director of education for Florida-based Organix-South, cited a slew of additional factors that contribute to poor lung health: “poor dietary choices with excessive amounts heavily processed ‘food’ items; excessive consumption of sugar, high fructose corn syrup and caffeine; excessive stress; not moving the body regularly and/or too much sitting while working or at school; lack of fresh air; not practicing deep breathing; environmental challenges/pollution; synthetic chemical aromas found in personal care products, cleaning products, fabric softeners and candles, which are irritating to the lungs and disrupt the endocrine system,” she said.

In addition, according to some studies, unchecked global warming would worsen respiratory allergies for approximately 25 million Americans.1

“This is a short list of contributing factors to respiratory and many other common health challenges,” said Ava.“Based upon each individual’s unique constitution and environment, some factors Play a larger or smaller role. The bummer is that most of these poor quality ingredients are part of many individuals’ daily existences.”

Ava noted that it is wise to assume that the numbers for the category will continue to increase given the unfortunate current rise of asthma, allergies and other common respiratory issues as well as annual seasonal colds and flu.

Mindful Extraction

For respiratory and lung care products, manufacturers are seeing that ingredients are handled carefully, without the use of harsh chemicals and with purity of the finished product in mind.

“From my perspective as an herbalist, one of the trends for many categories, including respiratory, is the increased use of supercritical (SCO2) extraction of herbs for the use in dietary supplements,” Ava said. “Supercritical CO2 extraction technology uses carbon dioxide (CO2) to capture more of the delicate phyto-nutrients from a plant, which yields a super-concentrated, super-pure and super-therapeutic herbal extract.”

Florida-based NaturaNectar launched Gastro Guardian Spray, which takes bee propolis from the confinement of immune health to another functional application: respiratory health, said J.L. Paes-Leme, company founder and CEO.

NaturaNectar’s standardized propolis water extract (PWE) is obtained from a chemical-free extraction method called Green Extraction, Paes-Leme explained.

“PWE is one of the few ingredients in this category that has been subject to a Double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study conducted in 2003 by the University of Cairo,” he added. The study’s findings suggest that the extract is potentially effective as an adjuvant to therapy in asthmatic patients.

NaturaNectar Throat Guardian is a mouth spray that delivers a dosage of PWE with three to four usages daily. “Bee propolis has been traditionally used to promote oral health, which is the obvious benefit of the product,” said Paes-Leme.“What makes it really a champion is that once you spray it in your mouth and swallow it, your respiratory system also benefits from it. The clinical study has demonstrated that PWE had a statistically significant impact in the subjects’ lung and bronchial health.”

The Green Extraction method separates bee propolis flavonoids from organic aromatic acids (the good stuff from phenolic acids) while standardizing the extracts and virtually eliminating impurities and beeswax, according to Paes-Leme. “That fact together with the company’s exclusive access to the various types of Brazilian bee propolis, including the exotic Brazilian red propolis, have allowed NaturaNectar to launch new and innovative bee propolis products like never before.”

Ingredient Innovation

Synergistic herbal formulations with traditional roots also take the lead for respiratory and lung health products. “I like to group them into four main categories: vaporizing/cooling herbs, antiinflammatory herbs, expectorant/mucus Regulating herbs and guiding herbs (they help the other herbs circulate into your system efficiently),” said Elle Markey, director of sales and marketing with NuCentury Herbs in Indiana, makers of Resprin.

“I have not seen anything on store shelves that have such an extensive and intricate herbal formula,” she added. “Ours is a unique, synergistic proprietary blend of 23 root, fruit and flora extracts. However, I have seen a few of the ingredients in different denominations and combinations on other supplement labels.” An in vitro pilot study suggests that Resprin possesses significant anti-inflammatory properties, as evidenced both in the decrement of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) release as well as the modulation of a number of biomarkers of inflammation, according to the company.

Markey noted that the top eight ingredients in the 23-herb traditional Chinese medicine formula (in order of formula prominence) of Resprin are:

Platycodon root: Rids of phlegm, inhibits cough, treats bronchitis, rids of pus, is beneficial for tonsillitis and sore throat, and is anti-inflammatory.

Peppermint: Can relieve sinus congestion caused by allergy from pollens (possibly due to methone and menthol), promotes secretion and rid of the mucus that attaches to the membrane, and is antipyretic and anti-inflammatory.

Schizonepeta: An anti-inflammatory that can help swollen and painful throats; also anti-pyretic.

Poria root: Can help chronic sinusitis mucus production and headache, has a relaxing effect on smooth muscles.

Ligusticum wallichii: Promotes circulation and improves blood flow to heart muscles.

Bitter orange: Can relieve cough with an abundance of phlegm.

Bupleurum root: Can have an antiinflammatory effect on immune system and effect on metabolism.

Angelica root: Reduces swelling and expels pus, is used in condition of blood stasis (circulation) to improve circulation volume.

Peucedanum root: Used for influenza with asthma, thick phlegm (which is difficult to expel) and for wind heat type of cough with abundance of phlegm, also to relieve cough and resolve phlegm.

“The formula works, plain and simple.Plus, it is actually ‘healthy’ for you and can be taken as needed or every day,” Said Markey, noting that results can be felt in as little as 45 minutes. “Many pharmaceuticals have warnings, contraindications, side effects or mess with your head/energy. Our formula has no stimulants, depressants or adverse side effects. You can take Resprin with other medications, as well as on an empty stomach.”

Organix-South’s TheraVeda line includes seven condition-specific formulas and was developed in partnership with Dr. Shrikrishna Phadke, an ayurvedic practitioner and teaching physician.“We have the best of both worlds,” noted Ava, “innovation with technology and timetested benefits of whole certified organic herbs formulated to be appropriate for diverse populations.” Ingredients used in the line include:

Holy Basil: An adaptogen that supports the respiratory system and the body’s ability to respond to occasional inflammation, holy basil helps fortify physical and emotional balance, increases stamina and strengthens immune and nervous system wellness.

Turmeric: Strengthens the body’s response to minor inflammation, maintains and protects healthy liver functions, promotes sinus and respiratory health, purifies and promotes healthy blood and circulation.By supporting healthy blood, it enriches circulation and movement to enrich respiratory function, healthy heart functions and healthy cholesterol levels. Turmeric is often considered a panacea herb that addresses many common imbalances in the body and is praised for its antioxidant benefits.

Neem: Strengthens the body’s ability to respond to occasional inflammation; boosts immune, respiratory and liver Functions; balances blood sugar; supports healthy skin, cooling and astringent.

Long Pepper: Helps clear congestion; boosts respiratory, digestive, circulatory and reproductive system function; and provides synergistic action when combined with other herbs for better absorption.

“The moral of the story is it’s not doom and gloom, but we need to get back to the basics for what is necessary for living full and healthy lives,” added Ava. “Herbs can help us to balance and tune our body systems, increase our respiratory health and to help us adapt to the challenges of our times.”

References:

1 www.nwf.org/Global-Warming/Whatis- Global-Warming/Global-Warming-is- Causing-Extreme- Weather/Allergies.aspx.

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