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We’ve all experienced stress manifesting in physical symptoms. For example, you may notice that your allergies or asthma get worse when you are stressed. You may wonder whether the stress from work is making the allergy or asthma attack worse. Wonder no more: a massive study spanning 30 years of data and examining over one million people has found a strong connection between stress and an increased risk of developing autoimmune diseases such as, allergy, asthma, arthritis and Crohn’s disease.
This extraordinarily large-scale observational study followed over one million people in Sweden for a period of 30 years. Over 100,000 people were ultimately diagnosed with a stress-related disorder, from PTSD to acute stress reaction and adjustment disorder. This population is compared with another one million subjects who over the 30-year period were not diagnosed with any stress-based disorder. The study found that those suffering from a diagnosed stress-related disorder were 30 to 40 percent more likely to be diagnosed later with autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, Crohn’s disease and celiac disease.
Previous research has shown that too much stress can affect the immune system. This study clarified the link between stress and autoimmune diseases. The study conclusively draws a strong link between psychological stress and physical inflammatory conditions.
Work related stress may be unavoidable. However, learning to manage stress using stress-relieve practices such as meditation or yoga may be benefiting you more than just simple stress relieve. Those practices may be relieving your allergy or asthma symptoms too.
Journal Reference: Huan Song, MD, PhD1,2; Fang Fang, MD, PhD2; Gunnar Tomasson, MD, PhD3,4,5; et al Association of Stress-Related Disorders With Subsequent Autoimmune Disease JAMA. 2018;319(23):2388-2400. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.7028

Researchers at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute found significant improvement in verbal recall among a group of people with age-associated memory impairment who took the herbal supplement ginkgo biloba for six months when compared with a group that received a placebo.

The six-month UCLA study examined the impact of ginkgo biloba, compared to a placebo, in 10 volunteers, aged 45 to 75, who did not have dementia but complained of mild age-related memory loss. Four patients received 120 mg of ginkgo biloba twice daily, and six received a placebo or inactive substance such as a sugar pill.

Researchers used cognitive tests to measure verbal recall and positron-emission tomography (PET) to measure brain metabolism before and after the treatment regimen. Magnetic resonance imaging was used to determine regions of interest to be examined by PET.

The UCLA study found that for patients taking gingko biloba, improved recall correlated with better brain function in key brain memory centers.  Researchers noted that, although volunteers taking gingko biloba experienced better verbal recall, actual changes in brain metabolism, measured by PET, did not differ significantly between the study’s two volunteer groups.

Gingko biloba is a Chinese herb often used as a dietary supplement to treat memory loss. The herb is packed with powerful antioxidants including gingko flavone, a family of natural antioxidants that have been shown to strengthen cardiovascular system, boosts cerebral blood flow and therefore include blood supply to brain cells.

For a product packed with powerful brain boosting nutrients, check out Seattle Gummy’s Mocca (https://seattlegummy.com/product/mocca/), which taps into synergistic effect between herbal components (including Ginkgo biolba and cocoa flavonoids) and caffeine. The product provides sustained mental focus without caffeine crash and jittery.

Thanks for reading.

Dr. Connie Wan

Reference: Rachael Champeau “UCLA Researchers Find Gingko Biloba May Help Improve Memory.” UCLA Newsroom, November 10, 2003. http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/UCLA-Researchers-Find-Gingko-Biloba-4691

Mix together the powder of Angelica (Baizhi), Baiji, Almond and Japanese yam. Prepare the ginsend water as described in the previous post. Mix the ginseng water with the powder mix to make a spreadable paste. Spread the paste over your clean face. Wait until dry. Wash off with warm water and end with a splash of cold water. Pat dry. The mask is very effective in removing wrinkles and clarifying the skin.

Happy Friday!

Dr. Connie Wan

Chili peppers are one of the very popular spices known for their medicinal and health benefiting properties. Chili pepper contains an impressive list of plant derived chemical compounds that are known to have disease preventing and health promoting properties. Capsaicin, which gives them strong spicy, pungent character, has been shown to have anti-bacterial, anti-carcinogenic, analgesic and anti-diabetic properties. Fresh chili peppers, red and green, are a rich source of vitamin-C, an essential nutrient for the collagen synthesis inside the human body. Chili peppers are also good source of other antioxidants such as vitamin-A, and flavonoids like β-carotene, α-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and cryptoxanthin, as well as minerals such as potassium, manganese, iron, and magnesium.

Ginger is among the healthiest (and most delicious) spices on the planet. It is loaded with nutrients and bioactive compounds that have powerful health benefits including protecting cardiovascular system, anti-nausea, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidation. The main active component, 6-gingerol, is the compound that gives ginger its unique spicy aroma and many health benefits

Both chili peppers and ginger are widely used spices in certain cuisines, particularly in Asia. However, some studies suggest that diets rich in capsaicin might be associated with stomach cancer. Oddly enough, capsaicin and 6-gingerol both bind to the same cellular receptor — one that is related to tumor growth. Researchers from Henan University (China) have decided to further investigate this apparent contradiction.

Over several weeks, the researchers fed mice prone to lung cancer either capsaicin or 6-gingerol alone, or a combination of both. During the study period, all of the mice that received only capsaicin developed lung carcinomas while only half of the mice fed 6-gingerol did. Surprisingly, an even lower percentage — only 20 percent — of the mice given both compounds developed cancer. The researchers also dug into the potential molecular underpinnings of how the compounds interact to lead to this effect.

It seems that the cancer-promoting effect of capsaicin was due to the increased level of EGFR (an enzyme), which is caused by the decreased level of TRPV1 (another enzyme). In contrast, 6-gingerol promoted TRPV1 level and therefore drastically decreased the level of EGFR. Essentially, 6-gingerol counteracts capsaicin’s effect by working on the exact the same biological pathway.

So what’s the take-home message? Eat chili with your ginger. Or, you can take some ginger infused gummy, Energon Qube Recover gummy https://seattlegummy.com/product/energon-qube-recover/.

Thanks for reading.

Dr. Connie Wan

Journal Reference: Shengnan Geng, Yaqiu Zheng, Mingjing Meng, Zhenzhen Guo, Ning Cao, Xiaofang Ma, Zhenhua Du, Jiahuan Li, Yongjian Duan, Gangjun Du. Gingerol Reverses the Cancer-Promoting Effect of Capsaicin by Increased TRPV1 Level in a Urethane-Induced Lung Carcinogenic Model. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2016; 64 (31): 6203 DOI: 10.1021/acs.jafc.6b02480


Stew ginseng whole herb in water at low heat for two hours. Let the mixture cool down. Decant the solution to provide ginseng water. Let it cool down. To make a ginseng skin toner, mix 4 parts of ginseng water, 4 parts of rose water, with 1 part of distilled vodka and 1 part of glycerol. Shake the mixture well. Use the toner after face wash and before applying the moisturizer. The toner is moisturizing and anti-aging.

Happy Friday!

Dr. Connie Wan

Ginseng, an herb prized by Chinese Traditional Medicine, has long been hailed as a cure-all from anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, boosting immune system to increasing endurance and fighting fatigue. In a study by researchers from Georgia State University Institute for Biomedical Sciences, the scientists report that Ginseng can help treat and prevent influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a respiratory virus that infects the lungs and breathing passages.

Seasonal influenza is a serious respiratory disease that causes annual epidemics in humans worldwide, resulting in about three to five million cases of severe illness and about 250,000 to 500,000 deaths, according to the World Health Organization. There are challenges with existing influenza vaccines, such as required annual updates and no protection against pandemic strains and bird flu. And, there are no vaccines available for RSV, which affects millions and is the leading cause of inflammatory bronchiolitis pneumonia and viral death in infants and in some elderly adults.

In the study published in Nutrients, GSU group investigated whether red ginseng extract has preventive effects on influenza A virus infection. The researchers found that red ginseng extract improves the survival of human lung epithelial cells infected with influenza virus. Also, treatment with red ginseng extract reduced the expression of genes that cause inflammation.

After infection with influenza A virus, mice that were orally administered ginseng over a long time showed multiple immune modifying effects, such as stimulated antiviral production of proteins important in immune response and fewer inflammatory cells in their bronchial walls. The study indicates the beneficial effects of red ginseng extract on preventing influenza A virus infections could result from immune modifying capabilities of ginseng.

In a second publication published in the International Journal of Molecular Medicine, the GSU group investigated whether Korean red ginseng extract has antiviral effects, or the ability to treat RSV infection. They found that Korean red ginseng extract improved the survival of human lung epithelial cells against RSV infection and inhibited the virus from replicating, or multiplying, in the body. Specifically, treatment with Korean red ginseng extract suppressed the expression of RSV-induced inflammatory genes and the formation of chemically reactive molecules containing oxygen, which play a role in virus-induced epithelial damage in RSV. In addition, it is observed that mice that were orally administered Korean red ginseng extract had lower viral levels after infection with RSV. The results suggest that Korean red ginseng extract has antiviral activity against RSV infection.

For products containing ginseng extract, check out our Energon Qube Power Up performance gummies at https://seattlegummy.com/product/energon-qube-power-up/.

Thanks for reading.

Dr. Connie Wan

Journal Reference:

  1. Jong Lee, Hye Hwang, Eun-Ju Ko, Yu-Na Lee, Young-Man Kwon, Min-Chul Kim, Sang-Moo Kang. Immunomodulatory Activity of Red Ginseng against Influenza A Virus Infection. Nutrients, 2014; 6 (2): 517 DOI: 10.3390/nu6020517
  2. Jone Seok Lee, Eun-ju Ko, Hye Suk Hwang, Yu-na Lee, Yong-man Kwong, Min-chul kim and Sang-Moo Kang. Antiviral activity of ginseng extract against respiratory syncytial virus infection. Int J Mol Med. 2014 Jul; 34(1): 183–190; doi: 10.3892/ijmm.2014.1750

Puffiness of the face is caused by accumulation of fluids on the face. The condition makes your face to appear more rounded and inflamed. There are varieties of causes for puffy face. Some drugs can lead to water retention in the body and cause puffiness, such as steroids, aspirin, birth control pills, antidepressants, blood pressure mediations and hormone replace therapy. Certain medical conditions can also cause face puffiness, such as allergies, sinusitis, conjunctivitis, certain hormonal imbalance, diabetes, dehydration, high blood pressure and obesity.

Another major reason for facial puffiness is the life style —too much sugary drinks, too much salty and/fatty food, long sleepless night, heavy drinking the night before can lead to a puffy face in the morning. Before you write off the puffiness on your face to too much fatty food, you should consult a doctor for persistent puffiness because it could be a sign for a serious health problem.

Lotus leaf is a common herb used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for treating facial puffiness. For a facial application, boil 3 teaspoons of dried and chopped lotus leaf with a small amount of water for a few minutes. Add to the boiled mixture 2 teaspoons of Coix seed powder to provide a soft spreadable paste. Sprinkle in a small amount of agar or gelatin powder to help with the paste consistency. Spread the paste onto your clean face. Wait until dry. Wash off with warm water and end with a splash of cold water. Pat dry. The mask whitens the skin, reduces the puffiness and firms the skin.

According to the “Compendium of Matera Medica,” lotus leaf is capable of reducing swelling, increase drainage of water, and reducing the inflammation. If you have persistent puffy face, drinking lotus tea also helps to alleviate the symptom.

Happy Friday!

Dr. Connie Wan

Ginkgo biloba has a long history of use in treating blood disorders and memory issues.  In Chinese traditional medicine, Ginkgo biloba is often used for cognitive enhancement or to alleviate cognitive decline.  The extract of the Ginkgo biloba is rich in antioxidants such as flavonoids and terpenoids.  Laboratory studies have shown that the extract improves blood circulation by opening up blood vessels and making blood less sticky.

A recent study, published in Neural Regeneration Research, provides one additional explanation for the herb’s cognitive enhancing function.  It seems that Ginkgo biloba is capable of promoting neural stem cells growth and therefore combat cognitive decline and impairments due to old age.

Led by Professor Jiwei Wang from Weifang Medical University, the research team studies the effect of Ginkgo biloba extract using a rat model with vascular dementia.  In the experiment, rats were supplemented with Ginkgo biloba extract at 50mg/Kg per day for a period of time.  Over the course of the treatment, the rats learning and memory abilities were assessed using the water maze.  In addition, the endogenous neural stem cells in rats’ brain were measured.

Researchers found that Gingko biloba extract significantly improve learning and memory in the rats.  In addition, the analysis showed that the number and proliferation of neuronal stem cells were significantly higher in rats given the extract. The researchers concluded that Ginkgo biloba extract may be used to treats memory loss and cognitive impairments in patients with senile dementia.

Thanks for reading.

Dr. Connie Wan

Journal Reference: Wang JW, Chen W, Wang YL. A ginkgo biloba extract promotes proliferation of endogenous neural stem cells in vascular dementia ratsNeural Regeneration Research, 2013; 8 (18): 1655-1662 DOI: 10.3969/j.issn.1673-5374.2013.18.003

Mix together ginseng powder (1g), pearl powder (2g), sandalwood powder (2g), with proper amount of coconut milk (1ml) and honey to make a spreadable paste.  To make the paste more adhesive to the skin, sprinkle a small amount of alginate or collagen powder, microwave the mixture for 10 seconds and stir vigorously.

Spread the paste over your clean face. Wait until dry. Wash off with warm water and end with a splash of cold water. Pat dry.

This mask is especially effective in removing wrinkles, even skin tone and whitening the skin.

Happy Friday!

Dr. Connie Wan

Mix together an equal amount of dry powder of angelica (Danggui), ginseng, Salvia miltiorrhiza (Dansheng), dwarf lilyturf tuber (Maidong), and Panax (Sanqi) to provide a herbal mix. All herbs are available in Chinese grocery stores. Angelica and ginseng are essential for the recipes.   Other herbs are optional.

Mix an equal amount of honey, glycerol and water into a liquid mixture. You can replace the water with any flower water.

Add the liquid mixture into the herbal mix and blend together to provide a spreadable paste with soft consistency. If you have oily skin, add a small amount of egg white to the blend. If you have dry skin, add a small amount of whole milk.

Spread the paste over your clean face. Wait until dry. Wash off with warm water and end with a splash of cold water. Pat dry. The mask moisturizes the skin, decreases fine wrinkles, removes dark spots, and firms the skin.

Happy Friday!

Dr. Connie Wan