Yellow Magic of Turmeric

By Amy Cavosora Philippine Daily Inquirer

Date First Posted 22:05:00 01/05/2010

Findings show that a tablespoon or two a day of this aromatic and natural healer can keep the doctor away locally known AS LUYANG DILAW, or yellow ginger, this ancient spice gives curry and mustard its distinct golden color and mellow kick. The powdered version comes from the root of the turmeric plant, which is considered sacred in India where it is also called the “Spice of Life.”

Modern research has uncovered more benefits to the spice, particularly its active ingredient, curcumin. Just like most spices, it is naturally antimicrobial, antiviral, antiparasitic and antifungal. As a safe and potent natural treatment, turmeric shows great promise that there has been several medical research works focused on it in the past 40 years or so. Generally, most research has been confined to animal trials and lab tests, and human trials continue to be carried out.

The spice is commercially available in the Philippines in its raw form as ginger root, its usual powdered form as culinary seasoning, and also as capsules and tea bags for those desiring to use it for health reasons. Here’s a checklist of turmeric’s healing magic based on research findings: It prevents dementia. Currently there is much buzz to the possibility of turmeric as a major treatment against dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, spurred by findings that in nations where people eat curry several times a week, there is less incidence of dementia. It seems that curcumin produces a chemical that clings to the amyloid plaque that covers brain cells, and dissolves it. If the plaque is left untreated, it can cause mental functions to degenerate, causing the symptoms attributed to Alzheimer’s.

It reduces inflammation. The spice first caught the attention of contemporary medicine when research journals published reports about studies showing its anti-inflammatory property in some clinical trials in the 1970s. Since then, in various studies, curcumin has shown that it is a safe and just as effective alternative to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs, used for rheumatism, arthritis and similar conditions.

Curcumin, without harming the rest of the immune system, attacks the wayward immune cells that cause swelling. The spice can reduce inflammation of recent wounds, insect bites, and skin bruises. Therefore, it can be of great help when dealing with muscle aches, RSI, carpal tunnel syndrome, sports injuries, bursitis and tendonitis. It’s rich in antioxidants.

Traditionally used for stomach and liver problems, the spice has demonstrated that it is protective of the liver. Studies show that curcumin tends to enhance the body’s own natural levels of the powerful antioxidant chemical, glutathione, which helps the liver detoxify properly. Further research shows that the spice likewise protected the liver from other toxic chemicals.

As an antioxidant that can inhibit free-radical behavior, curcumin chemically reacts with human cells in similar ways to the vitamins C and E. It promotes heart health and weight loss. Not only can curcumin lower bad cholesterol, it can also relax blood vessels, which is good news for those with blood pressure problems. Should a heart attack happen, it can help lessen damage to heart tissues and even reduce the size of hemorrhagic strokes. Animal tests reveal that the spice can also keep blood clots from forming along artery walls, but clinical trials on humans still need to be conducted.

Another finding for further research is the traditional use of the spice, in India’s Ayurvedic medicine, for weight control. Studies show that during digestion, the spice enhances the production of enzymes that break down sugar and fat. Another animal study shows that curcumin actually prevents fat tissues from forming, by inhibiting the growth of new blood vessels, which are needed to build fat tissue.

It can kill cancer cells. Studies on animals and human cells show that curcumin can stop cell mutation. Recent cancer research has focused on curcumin’s positive impact on several types of cancers such as prostate, breast, skin and colon. The spice, due to its antioxidant ability, can stop blood vessels that supply malignant tumors from growing. Studies also suggest that the spice can ease the symptoms and damage caused by chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

Unfortunately, what researchers have also found out is the main problem with curcumin’s cancer-fighting potential. The spice is not easily absorbed by the human body.

Spicy challenge The main proof that turmeric is generally safe for humans is that over thousands of years, people have been able to eat curry practically every day without any harmful side effects.

In India, the average intake of the spice ranges daily between 2-2.5 grams, or 60- 200 mg. Still, there has been no scientific finding as to the maximum dosage allowable for humans. There are also no standardization or safety tests conducted on the various forms of turmeric products marketed as supplements.

Studies show that people with active gallstones must avoid the spice totally, since it encourages the production of bile, which can cause gallstones. However, there is not enough information on whether turmeric may or may not be safe for pregnant women and infants.

A safe dosage as used in medical research would be one tablespoon of turmeric powder twice a day, or two teaspoons taken thrice a day, or grind 1- 1.5 g of dried root. To encourage absorption, steep the powder or ground root in hot water for 15 minutes and drink it. Because turmeric is fat-soluble, try adding virgin coconut oil. Bromelain, from pineapple, is also said to be helpful for absorption. You could drink pineapple juice or eat some pineapple.

Another way to take turmeric is simply putting one tablespoon of the powdered spice straight into the mouth, and wash it down with pineapple juice, and follow with a gulp of virgin coconut oil. Do this at least twice a day, such as morning and evening.

Some specialty stalls inside shopping malls, or at trade fairs and flea markets, sell turmeric as capsules or teabags. The capsules come in concentrated dosage, and you could take maybe two to three capsules up to three times a day.Don’t take the spice, in whatever form, on an empty stomach.

The author, being allergic to Western antibiotics, uses turmeric as a natural antibacterial when necessary. It is also a regular part of her low-yeast diet, along with other herbs and spices. Visit her blog at

FEB 23 – 26, 2010: WPU (PNAC) CENTENNIAL




We welcome any correction if the information we got is not accurate.Thanks.

The Appendix: Useful and in Fact Promising

Charles Q. Choi
Special to LiveScience
Mon Aug 24, 10:30 am ET

The body’s appendix has long been thought of as nothing more than a worthless evolutionary artifact, good for nothing save a potentially lethal case of inflammation.

Now researchers suggest the appendix is a lot more than a useless remnant. Not only was it recently proposed to actually possess a critical function, but scientists now find it appears in nature a lot more often than before thought. And it’s possible some of this organ’s ancient uses could be recruited by physicians to help the human body fight disease more effectively.

In a way, the idea that the appendix is an organ whose time has passed has itself become a concept whose time is over.

“Maybe it’s time to correct the textbooks,” said researcher William Parker, an immunologist at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. “Many biology texts today still refer to the appendix as a ‘vestigial organ.'”

Slimy sac

The vermiform appendix is a slimy dead-end sac that hangs between the small and large intestines. No less than Charles Darwin first suggested that the appendix was a vestigial organ from an ancestor that ate leaves, theorizing that it was the evolutionary remains of a larger structure, called a cecum, which once was used by now-extinct predecessors for digesting food.

“Everybody likely knows at least one person who had to get their appendix taken out – slightly more than 1 in 20 people do – and they see there are no ill effects, and this suggests that you don’t need it,” Parker said.

However, Parker and his colleagues recently suggested that the appendix still served as a vital safehouse where good bacteria could lie in wait until they were needed to repopulate the gut after a nasty case of diarrhea. Past studies had also found the appendix can help make, direct and train white blood cells.

Now, in the first investigation of the appendix over the ages, Parker explained they discovered that it has been around much longer than anyone had suspected, hinting that it plays a critical function.

“The appendix has been around for at least 80 million years, much longer than we would estimate if Darwin’s ideas about the appendix were correct,” Parker said.

Moreover, the appendix appears in nature much more often than previously acknowledged. It has evolved at least twice, once among Australian marsupials such as the wombat and another time among rats, lemmings, meadow voles, Cape dune mole-rats and other rodents, as well as humans and certain primates.

“When species are divided into groups called ‘families,’ we find that more than 70 percent of all primate and rodent groups contain species with an appendix,” Parker said.

Several living species, including several lemurs, certain rodents and the scaly-tailed flying squirrel, still have an appendix attached to a large cecum, which is used in digestion. Darwin had thought appendices appeared in only a small handful of animals.

“We’re not saying that Darwin’s idea of evolution is wrong – that would be absurd, as we’re using his ideas on evolution to do this work,” Parker told LiveScience. “It’s just that Darwin simply didn’t have the information we have now.”

He added, “If Darwin had been aware of the species that have an appendix attached to a large cecum, and if he had known about the widespread nature of the appendix, he probably would not have thought of the appendix as a vestige of evolution.”

What causes appendicitis?

Darwin was also not aware that appendicitis, or a potentially deadly inflammation of the appendix, is not due to a faulty appendix, but rather to cultural changes associated with industrialized society and improved sanitation, Parker said.

“Those changes left our immune systems with too little work and too much time their hands – a recipe for trouble,” he said. “Darwin had no way of knowing that the function of the appendix could be rendered obsolete by cultural changes that included widespread use of sewer systems and clean drinking water.”

Now that scientists are uncovering the normal function of the appendix, Parker notes a critical question to ask is whether anything can be done to prevent appendicitis. He suggests it might be possible to devise ways to incite our immune systems today in much the same manner that they were challenged back in the Stone Age.

“If modern medicine could figure out a way to do that, we would see far fewer cases of allergies, autoimmune disease, and appendicitis,” Parker said.

The scientists detailed their findings online August 12 in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology.

click here for more Live Science articles>>>>>

So, this is how they make money, huh…read on: =)

Found this in Yahoo Finance, just want to share it with you guys…

Five Secrets Your Bank Doesn’t Want You to Know

Banks are squeezing customers with historically high fees and penalties, from overdraft charges to account service fees to new surcharges on foreign debit transactions.

But the pressures that have prompted the fee war with consumers started well before the financial meltdown, according to Jo Preuninger, a former management consultant who spent more than a decade in the consumer banking arena.

I asked Preuninger for a little history, as well as some of the tricks of the trade that banks would prefer to keep secret.

Secret #1: For many banks, the most profitable customers aren’t the mass affluent — they’re “Joe Lunchbox.”

In 1999, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act allowed banks, insurers and securities firms to merge, breaking down barriers that had been in place since the 1930s. Following the new law, “if you took all the (deposit) checks written for $10,000 and above, most were written to institutions such as Charles Schwab, Fidelity or Merrill Lynch,” says Preuninger. “They took the best customers. The banks were becoming more like Laundromats, where you put money in for a short period because you still needed to pay with a check or (get cash).”

At the same time, loans provided little profit as interest rates remained relatively low, prompting banks to seek consistent, non-interest income. “The focus was on how banks could not only identify fees they could charge, it was how to do a better job of collecting their fees,” says Preuninger.

Middle-income customers presented the greatest potential to harvest fees. “There’s certainly a customer segment that could be called ‘Joe Lunchbox,’ who expect to be nickeled and dimed,” says Preuninger. “They are managing money from paycheck to paycheck. It’s someone who would prefer to pay an overdraft fee to get their mortgage covered rather than get hit by a mortgage provider with a late fee and a ding on their credit score.”

Last year, overdraft and insufficient-funds charges totaled nearly $35 billion and comprised about 90 percent of banks’ consumer-fee income, according to a study by the consulting firm Bretton Woods Inc. Three-quarters of banks automatically enroll consumers in their “overdraft protection” programs without formal permission, and more than half of banks manipulate the order in which checks are cleared to trigger multiple overdraft fees, according to a Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation study.

“They are going to try to turn the best profit they can, which is why they post in the most attractive way they can while avoiding and minimizing legal exposure,” says Preuninger.

Someone who overdraws a checking account a few times a year should choose a bank with a program that makes it easy (and free) to shift funds from savings to checking to protect against overdrafts.

Read more >>>

Dredging project endangering El Nido –, Philippine News for Filipinos


Group raises alarm over environmental degradation

By Alcuin Papa
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:58:00 08/21/2009

Filed Under: Environmental Issues, Biodiversity

MANILA, Philippines — An environmental group raised alarm on Thursday over the possible environmental degradation in El Nido, Palawan, due to a dredging project.

In a statement Thursday, Elisea “Bebet” Gozun, of Earth Day Network Phils (EDNP) and former environment secretary, called for the cancellation of an environmental compliance certificate (ECC) which allowed the El Nido Port Capital dredging project in Barangay Buena Suerte.

Gozun said the project endangers the natural habitat of El Nido.

“Such project endangers the natural habitat and heritage of the El Nido ecosystem which is considered to be one of the most beautiful in the world,” Gozun said.

Europe’s Blue Card by Leo Cendrowicz/Brussels

Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2007

For talented people around the world, the Green Card is a passport to a new life, an iconic article of identity for anyone aspiring to live and work in the United States. Its impact has been spotted by the European Commission, which this week announced plans to copy it — in blue. The Blue Card — colored to match the European Union’s flag — is part of a plan to make it easier for skilled foreign workers get jobs in the 27 member states of the E.U. The combination residence permit and work visa would allow holders and their families to live, work and travel within the Union. If agreed by member state governments, it could be introduced by 2009, alongside a global advertising campaign to draw in qualified migrants. Like the U.S., the E.U. is a magnet for migrants, mainly from Asia and Africa. But the Commission wants to manage the process more efficiently. It hopes the Blue Card will help regulate the flow, targeting bright young migrants who could fill job categories where Europe could face chronic shortages over the next few years. Commission officials say the E.U. has an aging population and a dearth of skilled workers in sectors like engineering, information technology, pharmaceuticals, health care and teaching. The continent desperately needs foreign labor and officials hope some 20 million migrants will arrive over the next two decades. The proposal comes just days after E.U. leaders agreed in Lisbon a new reform treaty designed to modernize the bloc’s institutional structure. Commission President José Manuel Barroso said that with the treaty debate behind it, the E.U. could now concentrate on concrete measures to improve life for Europeans. “At the moment, most highly skilled workers go to Canada, the United States and Australia,” he said. “Why? Because we have 27 different and conflicting procedures in the E.U.” E.U. Justice commissioner Franco Frattini, who is behind the proposals, said that 85% of global unskilled labor goes to the E.U. and only 5% to the U.S., whereas 55% of qualified migrants head for the U.S. and only 5% to Europe. Jobs in Europe’s high education sectors are growing at 3% per year, compared to 1% in other sectors. However, the percentage of foreign skilled workers in the E.U.’s overall market is just 1.74%, far behind other rich economies like Australia (9.9%), Canada (7.3%), the U.S. (3.2%) and Switzerland (5.3%). Frattini said the Blue Card could help build a channel of targeted, legal migration, making Europe more attractive, and more welcoming, to migrants with sought-after skills. The E.U. Blue Card will use a system similar to the Green Card’s points scheme for skills and languages, with some weight given to family ties. For example, computer programmers who speak fluent English and already have family in Europe would be prioritized under the measure. But to be eligible for the card, new immigrants would need to show a recognized diploma, have at least three years’ professional experience and the offer of a job that could not be filled by an E.U. citizen. And to actually receive the card, they would probably have to work in a single E.U. member state for at least two years. Once granted, the Blue Card would entitle the hold to the same tax benefits, social assistance and payment of pensions as E.U. nationals when moving to another country. Immigration control remains a prerogative of national rather than E.U. jurisdiction. Public anxieties are likely to prevent Britain, Ireland and Denmark from supporting the Blue Card. They are not expected to be able to block the scheme, but they will be able to opt out of it. However, the Commission believes this is a vital measure if the E.U. is to fill a growing labor shortage over the next decades. “Europe is an immigration continent,” Barroso said. “We are attractive to many. But we are not good enough at attracting highly skilled people. Nor are we young or numerous enough to keep the wheels of our societies and economies turning on our own.”