4 Ingredients for Winter Wellness

Wintertime – which is rapidly approaching — is often fraught with annoying issues such as eye fatigue, irritating skin dryness and low mood due to Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Spending more time indoors means spending more time on screen devices like smartphones, tablets, computers and watching TV – causing eye strain.  Astaxanthin added to vision support for tired eyes and computer vision syndrome (CVS) will be smart to market for wintertime. Clinical studies have shown that astaxanthin, a carotenoid derived from an alga, improves eye fatigue through its antioxidant abilities. In fact, astaxanthin, which is part of the same xanthophyll group as lutein and zeaxanthin (the dominant “eye carotenoids”) is approximately 10 times more antioxidant power!

We can also recommend European bilberry powder extract, which is also loaded with antioxidants, such as anthoycanins. Bilberry has been extensively studied for its vision support activity, and has also been shown to help improve circulation; the eye contains numerous capillaries.

In the winter, skin becomes dry and as such can exacerbate a tired, aged look. Hyaluronic acid (HA) is great for skin support. HA is a glycosaminoglycan, found naturally and abundantly in healthy skin. One of its attributes is that it is highly hydrophilic, it retains moisture, adding plumpness. It has been shown that one gram of HA can retain as much as six liters of water.

Winter blues – or SADs – affects millions of Americans do different degrees; the loss of available sunlight (or lengthy darkness) tends to affect the “feel good” neurochemicals, making sufferers feel loss of interest, listless, unable to concentrate as well, and often, want to eat carb-heavy foods, “comfort foods.”

The adaptogen Panax ginseng helps support against SADs by helping the body regain balance through the ability to better withstand stress. Panax ginseng can lessen physical and mental fatigue; and it has an energizing effect, which is attractive during times of stress, when stress saps energy – and can support mood.  In some studies, researchers have suggested that Panax ginseng may elevate neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline, all which are linked to sustained healthy mood.

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Cactus Botanics Gives Thanks

Thanksgiving will be here next week, and we at Cactus Botanics want to express our gratitude and recognize what this holiday means.

It all began with the famous ship, The Mayflower, which left Plymouth, England and landed in Massachusetts in 1620; half of its passengers survived and colonized the area. In November of 1621, the pilgrims enjoyed an abundant harvest, and Governor William Bradford organized a celebration, inviting pilgrims, and their Native American friends, the Wampanoag and their chief, Massasoit – who all feasted on the fruits of the harvest together. This was America’s first albeit unofficial Thanksgiving.

The settled community held their second Thanksgiving feast in 1623 to commemorate the harvest, for which the pilgrims were extra thankful due to a harsh summer drought.

5 Reasons to Use Pumpkin Protein

In last blog, we discussed why pumpkin protein is exceptional for a wide variety of adults, its nutrients both macro and micro are attractive for both brand marketers and their consumers. In honor of the bountiful autumn harvest season, Here are five excellent reasons to use pumpkin protein.

1Pumpkin protein can be applied in making beverages.

With the characteristics of low foam, strong solubility and no odor, pumpkin protein can be added to various beverages. The numerous carbonated beverages, bottled water and tea drinks in the market all have some drawbacks. Carbonated beverages are not healthy enough. Bottled water only has single function (hydration) and lacks nutrition. Tea beverages (those without added sugars) are healthier but still lack the nutrition that the body needs. These deficiencies in the popular beverage market create the opportunity for development of vegetable protein beverages, which are natural, green, and highly nutritious. And, because pumpkin seed is the only alkaline seed, adding pumpkin protein to high-acidity diets can help maintain a favorable pH balance. A study found that eating more alkaline food can help support cardiovascular health, maintain strong bones, and improve brain function.

2Pumpkin protein can be applied in building muscles and losing weight.

Since pumpkin protein can help build muscles, it has been the best choice for fitness enthusiasts. Pumpkins are high in healthier fat (monounsaturated fat with few carbohydrates) over that contained in whey animal protein. Thus, it is suitable for those who want to lose weight and gain muscle mass. Additionally, pumpkin protein is rich in dietary fiber which cannot be digested and absorbed by the body, and therefore supports healthy cholesterol and enterogastric peristalsis.

3Pumpkin protein is attractive as a dietary supplement.

Pumpkin protein is rich in nutrients, such as pectin, amino acids, vitamins, minerals and other substances, which helps eliminate excessive cholesterol in the body, protect against arteriosclerosis, protect the gastrointestinal mucosa, and enhance stomach peristalsis and digestion. Pumpkin protein is also abundant in trace elements that support healthy blood sugar levels. A 2010 study found that a diet containing high amounts of pumpkin seeds and flaxseed can improve glucose regulation and antioxidative activity.

4Pumpkin protein can be applied in benign prostatic hyperplasia

Pumpkin protein contains zinc and antioxidants, which play an important role in supporting prostate health. A 2009 study found that supplying pumpkin protein may be effective in supporting management of benign prostatic hyperplasia.

5Pumpkin protein can replace meat.

The latest research provided by Harvard Medical School indicated that vegetable proteins instead of meat can prolong life. Meat contains unhealthy fats and therefore can dramatically increase the chances of diseases. Pumpkin protein contains proteins (amino acids), and compared to other vegetable proteins like soy, it will not cause indigestion – it is easily absorbed and digested

The Great Pumpkin Powder

It’s that fun, whimsical and spooky time of year, when the greatest gourd of all – the pumpkin – is front and center. When most people think of pumpkin, they first think of the autumnal décor – and then they think of pumpkin pie and almost everything pumpkin-spiced flavored. For good reason, this gourd is delicious – and its seeds are not only perfect for foods, they are an excellent source of protein.

The seeds are flexible enough for the diet – they can be added to salads, side dishes such as brown rice, in yogurt. However as with any food, there are people who just don’t like the mouthfeel, and would like to compress the seed’s natural goodness into optimal servings of nutrients.

Our pumpkin seed powder has several health benefits for a wide array of consumers.

Omega 3 alpha-linolenic acid is converted by the body into omega-3 DHA and EPA, and is thus a great source of these essential fatty acids, which have widespread benefits for human health, notably support of cardiovascular function and brain structure and function.

Zinc is a mineral required by men, women and children to support optimal functioning of the immune system, which is more important today than ever due to an increasingly stressful modern lifestyle and toxic environments. Zinc was more plentiful in the diet but due to depleted soils, resulting foods have much lower contents, and therefore, replenishment through supplementation is necessary. Zinc is also highly important for men to consume, as it is associated with healthy reproductive function via prostate support.

For women, especially those in peri- and post-menopause, pumpkin seed powder’s naturally occurring phytoestrogens help decrease severity of symptoms such as hot flashes, and supports an increase in HDL.

Magnesium is another mineral that is more than precious in today’s stressed-out society; it helps regulate melatonin production, resulting in better sleep, and when stress causes secretion of stress hormones, this increases magnesium-dependent reactions, depleting our stores. Magnesium is also necessary for proper cardiac function, among other biological actions.

Vegetable proteins such as those from pumpkin are also abundant in amino acids, as well as antioxidants and are more easily absorbed than animal-based proteins. Cactus Botanics offers both organic and non-organic pumpkin powder.

Milk Thistle

Most people do not think about the liver – as it never makes any “noise” or gives off pain. But, one of the hardest working organs, the liver is responsible for keeping the body “clean” and “detoxed.” When, through poor lifestyle habits, it has to work much harder to do so, then it needs help. The liver acts like a filter, removing toxins from the body and assists in the manufacture of hormones. Further, the liver also releases glucose to provide energy.

One study of people with compromised blood glucose function showed that those who took silymarin for four months had improved glycemic profiles, including a reduction in total fasting blood glucose levels, as well as improved cholesterol profiles, compared to those taking placebo.

Milk thistle has been shown to be outstanding for overall liver health. Its primary active component has been shown to be silymarin, a group of flavonoids that protects the liver, our largest internal organ (the largest is the skin). Many studies have shown that silymarin can protect newly formed liver cells from damage from toxins and heavy metals, as well as support against damage from inflammation. Relatedly, milk thistle also supports healthy kidney function, as well as healthy inflammatory response.

The herb may also be used in formulas that address supporting healthy cholesterol balance. One study of silymarin in conjunction with conventional therapies showed a significant improvement on cholesterol levels (favorable LDL, HDL, and triglycerides).

The gall bladder may also be supported with milk thistle supplementation; as it assists in detoxifying the body of metabolic waste, which then supports healthy regulation of the gall bladder. One research team also found that milk thistle supplementation helped stimulate healthy gallbladder contractions, strengthening its function.

Cactus Botanics offers milk thistle and silymarin. Please contact us today to find out more.

Psyllium: Perfect for the Colon and the Heart

The world of natural ingredients for human health is abundant with raw materials that are multi-tasking. Pysllium powder is one such ingredient. Psyllium powder is a raw material derived from psyllium seed husks. It is rich in soluble fiber. Beneficial bacteria utilize soluble fiber to “fuel” the colon, helping to improve the body’s natural elimination process (defecation). The health of the colon, like all body systems, is dependent on energy. Psyllium also slows absorption of foods and holds water, supporting healthy, normally formed bowel movements.

Psyllium powder has three main attributes for human wellness, each is prevalent.

  1. Relieves constipation: Psyllium is a natural laxative. It means it can soak up water in your gut thereby facilitating bowel movements. It helps promote regularity without increasing flatulence. Psyllium husk powder can be used as a solution to ease constipation, or be added to the diet to help promote regularity and overall digestive health.
  2. Healthy weight management: Psyllium powder can be helpful in maintaining and achieving a healthy weight since it encourages a feeling of satiety when it is consumed. Moreover, psyllium powder is capable of improving the body’s natural elimination process which supports healthy weight management, as waste matter is removed more quickly and regularly from the body.
  3. Supports heart health: One study shows that at least six weeks of daily psyllium intake is an effective way for people who are obese or overweight to manage their cholesterol with very few side effects. In addition, numerous studies have shown that fiber like psyllium, taken as part of a healthy diet, can help lower a person’s risk of heart disease. Psyllium can support heart health by lowering blood pressure, improving lipid levels, and strengthening the heart muscle.

Emerging research shows psyllium powder may help to maintain a healthy glycemic balance.

Cactus Botanics’ psyllium powder is suitable for vegetarians and vegans, and it is a flexible ingredient. It can be mixed into beverages, used in pills, and as part of a protein powder combination for sports nutrition and overall healthy diet.

 

Green Tea Research Shows Wide Benefits

Green tea, as we know, has been on the marketplace as a supplement (and in more conventional beverage form) for a few decades now. But that has not stopped researchers from continuing to investigate and identify its health benefits.

We rounded up some recent research abstracts to showcase just how relevant green tea is to good health. Note: although these studies of green tea constituents by the scientists are in relation to disease states, the FDA prohibits any language that link natural compounds with disease states. In the following examples, we can state that research shows that green tea can support kidney function, cognition and brain structure, and joint health.

Mohan, et al, in their study “Impact of EGCG Supplementation on the progression of Diabetic Nephropathy in Rats: An Insight into Fibrosis and Apoptosis,” explain that a key constituent in green tea, epigallo catechin gallate (EGCG) exhibits hypoglycemic and antifibrotic activity. They write that this study “aims to explore the potential of EGCG to prevent apoptosis in a high-fat diet and STZ induced diabetic nephropathy rats by assessing renal function, pro-fibrotic marker, and the expression of apoptotic and antiapoptotic proteins. Our results validate EGCG as a potential antiapoptotic agent evidently by improving renal function via down regulating TGF-β, consequently ameliorating diabetic nephropathy. In accordance with this, EGCG might be regarded as a prospective therapeutic candidate in modulating diabetic nephropathy, thus being a promising treatment.

J Agric Food Chem. 2017 Aug 30

Unno, et al, in their study, “Blood-Brain Barrier Permeability of Green Tea Catechin Metabolites and their Neuritogenic Activity in Human Neuroblastoma SH-SY5y Cells,” sought to clarify the mechanisms of green tea in lowering risk of dementia. EGCG. They fed rats EGCG, which is metabolized into EGC-M5, and its conjugated forms that are then distributed throughout the body. The team then examined the blood-brain barriers of the subjects to determine the permeability of EGC-MG, and its conjugated forms. They concluded, “The permeability of EGC-M5 and its conjugated forms into the BBB suggests that they reached the brain parenchyma. In addition, the ability of EGC-M5 to affect nerve cell proliferation and neuritogenesis suggests that EGC-M5 may promote neurogenesis in the brain.”

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2017 Sep 11.

In their study, “Molecular insights into the differences in anti-inflammatory activities of green tea catechins on IL-1 β signaling in rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts, Fechtner et al looked at how several green tea catechins affected inflammatory molecules in rheumatoid arthritis. They write, “In this study, we found that catechins found in green tea (EGCG, EGC or epigallocatechin, and EC or epicatechin) differentially interfere with the IL-1β signaling pathway which regulates the expression of pro-inflammatory mediators (IL-6 and IL-8) and Cox-2 in primary human rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts (RASFs). EGCG and EGC inhibited IL-6, IL-8, and MMP-2 production and selectively inhibited Cox-2 expression. EC did not exhibit any inhibitory effects. When we looked at the expression of key signaling proteins in the IL-1β signaling pathway, we found all the tested catechins could inhibit TAK-1 activity. Therefore, the consumption of green tea offers an overall anti-inflammatory effect.”

Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2017 Aug 15

Psyllium Powder

What is Psyllium Powder?

Psyllium Powder is derived from the husks of the seed of the Psyllium plant, also called ispaghula. It is rich in soluble fiber. Beneficial bacteria utilize soluble fiber to “fuel” the colon, helping to improve the body’s natural elimination process (defecation). The health of the colon, like all body systems, is dependent on energy. Psyllium also slows absorption of foods and holds water, supporting healthy, normally formed bowel movements.

How Psyllium Powder Works

  • Relieves constipation: Psyllium is a natural laxative. It means it can soak up water in your gut thereby facilitating bowel movements. It helps promote regularity without increasing flatulence. Psyllium husk powder can be used as a solution to ease constipation, or be added to the diet to help promote regularity and overall digestive health.
  • Healthy weight management: Psyllium powder can be helpful in maintaining and achieving a healthy weight since it encourages a feeling of satiety when it is consumed. Moreover, psyllium powder is capable of improving the body’s natural elimination process which supports healthy weight management, as waste matter is removed more quickly and regularly from the body.
  • Supports heart health: One study shows that at least six weeks of daily psyllium intake is an effective way for people who are obese or overweight to manage their cholesterol with very few side effects. In addition, numerous studies have shown that fiber like psyllium, taken as part of a healthy diet, can help lower a person’s risk of heart disease. Psyllium can support heart health by lowering blood pressure, improving lipid levels, and strengthening the heart muscle.
  • Other benefits:
    • Maintains a healthy glycemic balance
    • Suitable for vegans
    • Promotes colon health

Application:

Psyllium Powder is an easy way to add natural fiber to the diet. Simply mix into beverages such as water, juice, milk, rice milk or soymilk.

Why Buy from Cactus Botanics?

Our new psyllium powder does not contain: animal derivatives, artificial colors or flavors, preservatives, corn, wheat/gluten, dairy, soy, sugar or yeast. As a veteran in the raw material market, Cactus Botanics can provide psyllium powder with purity 85%, 80 mesh at competitive prices and with prompt shipment. Please email us at info@cactusbotanics.com.

Five Sea Plants for Good Health

Formulators are looking increasingly at incorporating sea plants into their various formulas for a range of target actions, from brain support to skin health. At Cactus Botanics, we provide superior quality sea plants at competitive prices.

  1. Bladderwrack

Bladderwrack is a type of seaweed whose key component is fucoidan, which has a wide range of biological activities, giving it applicable value in the medical, pharmaceutical, and other fields. Some research has suggested that bladderwrack may improve the body’s immune ability, as well as manage healthy blood fat, blood pressure, and glucose. Bladderwrack also contains glutamic acid, which supports healthy, youthful skin.

2. Wakame

Wakame seaweed has high nutritional value, containing rich amounts of active ingredients including protein, vitamins, minerals, alginic acid, mannitol, fucoidan, unsaturated fatty acid, dietary fiber fucoxanthin, and iodine. Research has suggested that wakame seaweed can manage blood fat, blood pressure, and support immunity.

  1. Spirulina

Spirulina, analgae, is a natural, high-protein, nutritious functional food. Spirulina contains 60% protein containing isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, etc. Spirulina also contains fat, carbohydrate, chlorophyll, and carotenoids. Spirulina has long been revered for its ability to strengthen the immune system. Because it actively promotes cell regeneration, it helps promote healthy wound healing. Spirulina can assist in supporting healthy cholesterol and blood sugar. According to research, spirulina can effectively promote the differentiation and growth of stromal stem cells.

  1. Astaxanthin

Astaxanthin is a colorful, lipid-soluble pigment that is one of nature’s most potent antioxidants. Research shows that astaxanthin is 65 times more powerful than vitamin C, 54 times more powerful than beta-carotene, and 14 times more powerful than vitamin E. Astaxanthin exhibits very strong free-radical scavenging activity and protects cells, organs and tissues from oxidative damage by working throughout the entire body.

  1. Mozuku

Mozuku is a large alga that contains high concentrations of fucoidan, a powerful active ingredient found frequently in sea plants. Studies have shown it can manage healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels, support the immune system, and promote healthy aging.

Grape Seed – Great for Nourishing Skin

Our skin speaks a lot about us without saying a word: beautiful, glowing, smooth shows that we are healthy and vibrant, and probably happy too. The anti-aging market is one of the fastest-growing health and beauty segments ever — and for good reason: women and men strive to look as youthful as possible as they age.

Grape seed extract — a superior antioxidant with years of prestigious research uncovering its health properties — is a strong contender for anti-aging beauty supplements and topicals. The extract, according to a study appearing in the Journal of Medicinal Food, has the ability to bond with collagen (a building block of healthy, supple skin), which maintains skin elasticity, helping to maintain a more youthful visage.

Researchers from Vanderbilt University in Tennessee explain that the oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) contained in grape seed extract help protect and improve skin health through scavenging the free radicals that cause damage to skin cells.

Grapes are packed with nutrition — they may be tiny, but each part of the grape is, in short, amazing: Grape seeds also contain vitamin E, flavonoids and linoleic acid. These compounds can also be found in lower concentrations in the skin of the grape. OPCs are also found in grape juice and wine, but in lower concentrations. Resveratrol is another of grape’s compounds which is related to OPCs and found mainly in the skins. Resveratrol has become very popular as an antioxidant and is being studied in connection with a variety of diseases.

Grape seed extract has been researched and made into supplements for conditions related to the heart and blood vessels, to provide support against atherosclerosis high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and poor circulation.

Other uses of grape seed extract include support against complications related to diabetes, such as nerve and eye damage, vision problems, such as macular degeneration, and swelling after an injury or surgery. Grape seed extract has also been researched to discern its role in supporting cancer prevention and wound healing.

Through several years’ research and development, Cactus Botanics has cultivated strong relationships with internationally renowned grape growers allowing us to provide abundant grape seed extract material for our customers.