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Monday, 15 December 2008

Mahkota Dewa Tea

Mahkota DewaMahkota Dewa Tea, an herbal cure-all, Slamet Susanto, The Jakarta Post, Kulonprogo, Yogyakarta

Lamuri had a heart complaint and hypertension for some time. The woman from Kampung Bahari, North Jakarta, did not see any improvements, even after consulting specialists several times.

"I started drinking Mahkota Dewa Tea and then I regained my health," she said.

Muhidin Hasan told a different story. The father of three from Plumbon in Kulonprogo regency's Temon district, almost lost his sense of self-worth before his wife: He suffered from erectile dysfunction.

"After regularly drinking Mahkota Dewa Tea, we could resume intimacy in less than a month," he claimed.

These are only two of the numerous people enjoying the benefits of Mahkota Dewa Tea. This herbal concoction is composed of 70 percent Mahkota Dewa, also known as the Crown of God (Phaleria Papuana) fruit, 20 percent green tea (Camelia sinensis) and 10 percent tea parasites (Scurrula cetropurpurea).

The tea is also believed to cure various other diseases and ailments, including cancers and tumors, to reduce the uric acid content in the bloodstream and to burn cholesterol, because it contains the key organic compounds needed by the human body.

The tea blend has been produced as an herbal drug since 2003 by PT Salama Nusantara, which employs 150 farmers in Samigaluh, Kulonprogo. It is licensed by the Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM) and the Ministry of Health, and is certified by the Indonesian Ulema Council.

PT Salama Nusantara director Maryono said that research carried out by Sumastuti of Yogyakarta's Gadjah Mada University (UGM) had found the Mahkota Dewa fruit to contain antihistamines, flavonoids, saponin, polyohenol and other substances with analgesic, anti-bacterial and blood sugar-lowering effects.

Separately, a green tea study by Johannes Guitenburg of Germany's Mainz University indicated that the presence of active antioxidants and anti-carcinogen components in the leaves was effective for the prevention of cellular and DNA damage caused by free radicals, which are connected to cancers and heart problems.

"Tea parasites are useful for cancer prevention," added Maryono.

To maintain a product quality devoid of chemicals, the company's farmers use organic fertilizers in growing the herbs. UGM personnel, acting as advisers and supervisors, conduct regular field checks to make sure that the plants are completely free of inorganic elements.

The herbal mixture is also made according to a strict process: desiccated Mahkota Dewa fruit is blended with green tea and tea parasites at a ratio of 7:3:1; green tea is freeze-dried to maintain its medicinal properties.

"The entire blending process is overseen by pharmacists for quality control," Maryono told The Jakarta Post during a visit to his secondary production site on Jl. Tentara Pelajar in Sebokarang, Wates regency.

The blend is then packaged in ordinary 100-gram plastic pouches, each priced at Rp 20,000, and in the more fashionable 130-gram cardboard boxes, each priced Rp 35,000.

"Though the packaging and content weight are different, they have the same efficacy," Maryono assured.

Export & employment

Two thousand packs of Mahkota Dewa Tea are now manufactured daily. Their marketing is handled by agents in Jakarta and Surabaya, and in major cities across Bali.

"We expect to have more marketing agents in other cities. But we still impose strict requirements to guarantee product quality," stressed Maryono.

Since this year, Mahkota Dewa Tea has been sought by overseas consumers, and Malaysia and Suriname have each ordered 50,000 packages.

"We deliver 2,000 packages to Malaysia weekly. As there are no direct flights to Suriname, we make monthly deliveries to that country," revealed Maryono.

Aside from maintaining strict quality control, job creation is another priority of PT Salama Nusantara in its herbal drug manufacturing business.

In packaging, for instance, the company uses no machines.

"For packaging work, we employ 24 people, while only three are needed with machines. We want to provide jobs," said Maryono.

In addition, farmers are trained to mince and half-dry the Mahkota Dewa fruit, and supply the fruit in this half-processed form.

"In this way, they can enjoy greater financial benefits," said Maryono. "The fruit only costs Rp 1,000 per kilogram. We pay them Rp 10,000 for 1 kg of half-processed fruit, which requires 7 kg of raw material to make."

Maryono said that quite a number of consumers had requested the herbal medicine be produced in syrup form for easy consumption, but the constraint was the liquid tea's shelf life.

"We are studying whether a liquid blend is as effective as our dried product. Otherwise, we won't produce syrup because we use no preservatives," he said.

Maryono started his herbal medicine business because of a personal concern over the presence of various over-the-counter drugs and supplements containing substances hazardous to the health. Many medicinal products and supplements have now been found to contain harmful -- and illegal -- chemicals, preservatives, and additives.

"Consumers should be careful, as some so-called herbal drugs have a high chemical content," Maryono cautioned.

In cooperation with UGM and local farmers, Maryono set up the company in 2003, with hopes that Indonesia would regain its potential in the health market through indigenous herbal medicine production.

Indonesia was known previously for an indigenous herb called Jawa Dwipa but, said Maryono, "it was abandoned although it had already been proven to have positive health benefits".

While wondering why Indonesians relied so much on foreign health products, Maryono noted that several types of drugs and supplements from Malaysia or Singapore, sold at high prices here, were manufactured with raw materials from Indonesia.

The main challenge to Indonesia's herbal medicine industry is the existence of "herbal" drugs loaded with chemicals.

"So we are producing drugs without preservatives or additives to restore the public trust and to prompt consumers to be more selective in buying health products," said Maryono.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Nutrition for Increasing Brain Power

Here is the seven step plan to get your diet under control and to use food as brain medicine.

1. Increase Water Intake - Given that your brain is about 80 percent water, the first rule of brain nutrition is adequate water to hydrate your brain. Even slight dehydration can raise stress hormones which can damage your brain over time. Drink at least 84 ounces of water a day. It is best to have your liquids unpolluted with artificial sweeteners, sugar, caffeine, or alcohol. You can use herbal, non-caffeinated tea bags, such as raspberry or strawberry flavored, and make unsweetened iced tea. Green tea is also good for brain function as it contains chemicals that enhance mental relaxation and alertness.

2. Calorie Restriction - Substantial research in animals and now in humans indicates that a calorie-restricted diet is helpful for brain and life longevity. Eating less helps you live longer. It controls weight; decreases risk for heart disease, cancer, and stroke from obesity - a major risk factor for all of these illnesses; and it triggers certain mechanisms in the body to increase the production of nerve growth factors, which are helpful to the brain. Researchers use the acronym CRON for "calorie restriction with optimal nutrition," so the other part of the story is to make these calories count.

3. Fish, Fish Oil, Good Fats and Bad Fats - DHA, one form of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, makes up a large portion of the gray matter of the brain. The fat in your brain forms cell membranes and plays a vital role in how our cells function. Neurons are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. DHA is also found in high quantities in the retina, the light-sensitive part of the eye. Research in the last few years has revealed that diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids may help promote a healthy emotional balance and positive mood in later years, possibly because DHA is a main component of the brain's synapses.

4. Lots of Dietary Antioxidants - A number of studies have shown that dietary intake of antioxidants from fruits and vegetables significantly reduce the risk of developing cognitive impairment. The research was done because it was theorized that free radical formation plays a major role in the deterioration of the brain with age. When a cell converts oxygen into energy, tiny molecules called free radicals are made. When produced in normal amounts, free radicals work to rid the body of harmful toxins, thereby keeping it healthy. When produced in toxic amounts, free radicals damage the body's cellular machinery, resulting in cell death and tissue damage. This process is called oxidative stress. Vitamin E and Vitamin C and beta carotene inhibit the production of free radicals.
The Best Antioxidant Fruits and Vegetables - from the US Department of Agriculture: Blueberries, Blackberries, Cranberries, Strawberries, Spinach, Raspberries, Brussels sprouts, Plums, Broccoli, Beets, Avocados, Oranges, Red grapes, Red bell peppers, Cherries and Kiwis.

5. Balance Protein, Good Fats and Carbohydrates Given the weight issues in my family, I have read many of the diet programs popular in America. Some I like a lot, others make me a little crazy. The idea of eating protein and fat only, avoiding most grains, fruits and vegetables may be a quick way to lose weight, but it is not a healthy long term way to eat for your body or your brain. The best thing in my mind about the Atkins Diet and its many clones is that they get rid of most of the simple sugars in our diets. Diets high in refined sugars, such as the low fat diets of the past, encourage diabetes, tiredness, and cognitive impairment. Yet, to imply that bacon is a health food and that oranges and carrots are as bad as cake seems silly. The more balanced diets, such as The Zone by Barry Sears, Sugarbusters by H. Leighton Steward and a group of Louisiana based physicians, the South Beach Diet by cardiologist Arthur Agatston, and Powerful Foods for Powerful Minds and Bodies by Rene Thomas make sense from a body and brain perspective. The main principles to take away from these programs is that balance is essential, especially balancing proteins, good fats, and good carbohydrates. Having protein at each meal helps to balance blood sugar levels; adding lean meat, eggs, cheese, soy, or nuts to a snack or meal limits the fast absorption of carbohydrates and prevents the brain fog that goes with eating simple carbohydrates, such as donuts. At each meal or snack, try to get a balance of protein, high fiber carbohydrates, and fat.

6. In order for you to stick with a "brain healthy" calorie restricted nutritional plan you must have great choices. I am fond of the book Super Foods Rx by Steven Pratt and Kathy Matthews. It lists 14 top food groups that are healthy and reasonable in calories. I am going to add several other choices that are especially good for the brain. Choose between these 24 foods each week. They are healthy, low in calories, and help us reach the goals of consuming powerful antioxidants, lean protein, high fiber carbohydrates and good fat.
The American Cancer Society recommends five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Mixing colors - eating from the rainbow - is a good way to think about healthy fruits and vegetables. Strive to eat red things - strawberries, raspberries, cherries, red peppers and tomatoes, yellow things - squash, yellow peppers, small portions of bananas and peaches, blue things - blueberries, purple things - plums, orange things - oranges, tangerines and yams, green things - peas, spinach and broccoli, etc.

Lean Protein
  1. Fish - Salmon (especially Alaskan Salmon caught in the wild - farmed fish is not as rich in omega-3-fatty acids, tuna, mackerel, herring (also listed under fats)
  2. Poultry - chicken - skinless, and turkey - skinless
  3. Meat - lean beef and pork
  4. Eggs - enriched DHA eggs are best
  5. Tofu and Soy products - whenever possible choose organically raised
  6. Dairy products - low fat cheeses and cottage cheese, low fat sugar free yogurt and low fat or skim milk
  7. Beans, especially garbanzo beans and lentils - also listed under carbohydrates
  8. Nuts and seeds, especially walnuts - also listed under fats
    Great recipe - soak walnuts in water and sea salt overnight, drain and sprinkle with cinnamon - natural blood sugar balancer - and low roast 4 hours at 250 degrees -- makes them easier to digest.

Complex Carbohydrates

  1. Berries - especially blueberries - brain berries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries
  2. Oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit
  3. Cherries
  4. Peaches, plums
  5. Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts
  6. Oats, whole wheat, wheat germ oatmeal needs to be the long cooking kind as instant has a higher glycemic index since the manufacturer has broken down the fiber to speed cooking time and basically make it a refined carbohydrate. Same goes for bread, look for at least 3 grams of fiber. Remember unbleached wheat flour is white flour, it must say whole wheat.
  7. Red or yellow peppers (much higher in Vitamin C than green peppers)
  8. Pumpkin squash
  9. Spinach - works wonderfully as a salad, or a cooked vegetable, adds fiber and nutrients
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Yams
  12. Beans - also listed under proteins


  1. Avocados
  2. Extra virgin cold pressed olive oil
  3. Olives
  4. Salmon - also listed under protein
  5. Nuts and Nut Butter, especially walnuts, macadamia nuts, Brazil nuts, pecans and almonds - also listed under protein


  1. Water
  2. Green or black tea

7. Plan Snacks - I love to snack; just like to munch on things to get through the day. When snacking it is helpful to balance carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Since I travel frequently, I have learned to take my snacks with me, so I am not tempted to pick up candy bars along the way. One of my favorite low calorie snacks are dried fruits and vegetables. Not the kind of dried fruits and vegetables stocked in typical supermarkets that are filled with preservatives, but the kind that just have the dried fruit and veggies. A company called Just Tomatoes, from Walnut, California makes great products. When you have dried fruit or veggies - all carbohydrates - add some low-fat string cheese or a few nuts to balance it out with protein and a little fat.

Source : womenshealth.about

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