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Supplement of the week: Designs for Health Immunitone Plus

IMP090 lrg

Quick Overview

Immunitone Plus™ is an herbal formula that is designed to support healthy immune system function during cold and flu season. It contains herbs that support normal natural killer (NK) cell activity and the balance of cytokines, which are the regulatory proteins released by immune cells as part of a normal immune system response.* The standardized herbs in this formula contain optimal and consistent amounts of the most active ingredients. Immunitone Plus™ is suitable for long term use and for all age groups.

Product Desription

This powerful immune supportive formula combines herbs that have antiviral and antibacterial abilities as well as the ability to maintain Natural Killer (NK) cell activity and cytokine synthesis. Immunitone Plus is safe enough to use for chronic viral conditions, and in cases of a weak immune system and acute illness.* There is impressive research on every ingredient of Immunitone. This formula is extremely powerful yet safe enough to use in high doses for acute applications, while also being suitable for long-term use in chronic conditions. This formula contains green tea standardized to a very high level of EGCG as well as standardized Echinacea augustifolia, Andrographis paniculata, and even Goldenseal. Standardized herbs contain optimal and consistent amounts of the most active compounds.

Astragalus Root Health Benefits

Astragalus Root Health Benefits

Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceous)

By Art Presser, PharmD - President, Huntington College of Health Sciences


Astragalus comes to us from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), where it is first mentioned in Shen Nung Ben Cao Jing, a 2000- year-old classic as Huang Qi. Huang Qi means “yellow leader,” and astragalus is considered a most important tonic. Traditional uses include lethargy, colds, flu, appetite (lack of), stomach ulcers, and deficiencies of chi (namely, general weakness and fatigue). Other Chinese uses include diabetes, lowering blood pressure, and water retention.

The plant is native to northern China where the 4-7 year old roots are harvested in the spring to make medicine preparations. There are over 2000 types of Astragalus worldwide, but it seems that the Chinese variety has been the most studied. Astragalus gummifera, also known as tragacangth, is an old friend of the pharmaceutical industry, long used as a thickening agent.

Natural Androgen Alternatives

natural androgen alternatives

By Gene Bruno, MS, MHS – Dean of Academics, Huntington College of Health Sciences 

Smart SupplementationTM is a free series of educational literature created by Huntington College of Health Sciences (HCHS) as a public service. Although copyrighted, it may be freely photocopied and distributed, but may not be altered in any way. Smart SupplementationTM is not intended as medical advice. For diagnosis and treatment of any medical condition, consult your physician. 

For better of for worse (depending upon your viewpoint), as of January 2005 androgen or “andro” products are no longer available. For some athletes, this represents a significant loss in their dietary supplement arsenal. After all, whatever else you might say about andro it did have some established benefits: 

  • Some androgens increased testosterone levels

  • Some androgens increased performance

  • Some androgens increased strength

  • Some androgens promoted muscle growth  

So now that andro is gone, what viable alternatives currently exist? Following is a discussion of dietary supplement ingredients that offer similar benefits to those of andro, or perhaps better. 

Aspirin Alternatives: Salicin Containing Herbs


By Art Presser, PharmD - President, Huntington College of Health Sciences 

Smart SupplementationTM is a free series of educational literature created by Huntington College of Health Sciences (HCHS) as a public service. Although copyrighted, it may be freely photocopied and distributed, but may not be altered in any way. Smart SupplementationTM is not intended as medical advice. For diagnosis and treatment of any medical condition, consult your physician.

The Willow is a shrub or tree depending on its size (some can grow to 50 feet), native to England, Europe, Asia, and North America. There are 300 species of Willow, White Willow the most famous of them. Native Americans relied on Willow for its analgesic properties.

In 1829, another bright pharmacist, this time a Frenchman named H. Leroux, discovered Willow’s active chemical, salicin. In 1838, pure salicylic acid was synthesized by an Italian chemist, not from Willow but Wintergreen and other plants. Salicin and salicylic acid were widely used through the 19th century for fever, gout, pain, and inflammation. However, as usual, when you isolate chemicals from plants or synthesize them, you almost always increase their toxicity. The farther away you stray from Nature, the more likely you are to do harm. And such was the case. The high doses used routinely led to gastric irritation and vomiting.

Health Benefits Of Dandelion Greens

health benefits dandelion
"A weed is just a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

I live in a part of California where dandelion greens grow like weeds. In fact if I didn't keep my yard tended to, it would be full of these flowering plants. The name actually comes from a corruption of the French for "tooth of the lion" (dent de lion). The Latin name for dandelion is Taraxacum officinale, or remedy for disorders. While many consider this plant a nuisance, herbalists and nutritionists rever the dandelion as a valuable herb.

The Roots of Ginger

Ginger has been used by many cultures in cooking and spicing up dishes for added taste and aroma. The Japanese serve it pickled alongside their sushi delicacies for added flavor and to "clear the pallet" when moving from one dish to the next. The Irish (or English depending on your source) began sprinkling ginger in their beer for flavoring in the late 19th Century. Ginger Ale was quickly invented by adding sugar and carbonated water to the pungent root. Aside from its culinary contributions, ginger has exquisite healing properties that cannot be ignored.

The ginger plant (botanical name Zingiber officinale) is a perennial herb with thick tuberous rhizomes (or roots) that branch out beneath the earth. Depending on the variety, these roots have skins of varying colors. Only the root is used both in cooking and medicinally. Surprisingly, however, it comes in many forms. Plants that are harvested when young can be used with the skin on, while more mature specimens have thicker skin that should be peeled before use. Whole fresh roots provide the freshest taste and possibly the best benefits when used for healing. "Historically, ginger has a long tradition of being very effective in alleviating symptoms of gastrointestinal distress" (Murray; 2005:485). In herbal medicine it is used to promote the release of intestinal gas. It is said that ginger promotes the release of a substance known as intestinal spasmolytic that relaxes the intestinal tract (Murray; 2005:485).

Ginger has been used in pregnancy to alleviate the severe vomiting and nausea that is associated with the condition known as hyperemesis gravidum (Murray; 1996:108). Studies show that "a dose of 250 milligrams four times a day brought about a significant reduction" in symptoms (Murray; 1996:108). Ginger is becoming an acceptable prescription during pregnancy even among modern medical practitioners. Not only does it alleviate the nausea associated with pregnancy, but is also highly affective against motion sickness and other instances of nausea.

Ginger also has remarkable anti-inflammatory properties. The root contains very potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols (Murray; 2005:486). It has been used to alleviate the pain, stiffness and swelling associated with different types of arthritis. “Gingerols inhibit the formation of inflammatory cytokines, chemical messengers of the immune system” (Murray; 2005:486) that play a major roll in the arthritic condition.

The active substances in ginger are found in high levels, so small amounts of the root can produce impressive results. Powdered ginger has the benefits of whole fresh ginger. However, the fresh ginger contains active enzymes which apparently can bring even greater results. Those suffering from arthritis find relief from using just a 1/4 inch slice of the root in cooking. However, those treated with higher doses experience greater and quicker results. (Murray; 2005:487). Ginger root is known to assist in alleviating the symptoms of allergies like colds, soar throats and nausea (Krohn; 2000:387,396,400).

Ginger can also be purchased in powder form for cooking, or dried pieces of root. Crystallized ginger is made when cooked in sugar syrup, dried then rolled in sugar and served like candy. As previously mentioned, pickled ginger sliced paper thin is served with Japanese food between courses. Tea made from sliced fresh ginger is made from steeping in hot water for several minutes. It is good for colds as it warms the person from the inside and assists in perspiration.

The only safety issues associated with the therapeutic use of ginger is for those who have suffered from oxalate-containing kidney stones, as the root does contain moderate amounts of this substance (Murray; 2005:488). Care should be made in not over-consuming this food for those with this condition.

Ginger is an amazing herb that requires proper attention and inclusion in both the chefs cabinet and the apothecary's cabinet. Use it liberally and intentionally. I know I do!

Krohn, Jacqueline. Allergy Relief & Prevention. Washington: Hartley & Marks Publishers, Inc., 2000.

Murray, Michael. Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements. New York: Three Rivers Press, 1996.

Murray, Michael. The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. New York: Atria Books, 2005.

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