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Thyme oil suppresses inflammation

A new study has shown that essential oils derived from a common herb, thyme, could help suppress inflammation. Essential oils from plants have long been a component of home remedies, and even today are used for their aromatherapy, analgesic (eg: cough drops), or antibacterial properties.

Japanese researchers have found that six essential oils —from thyme, clove, rose, eucalyptus, fennel and bergamot — can suppress the inflammatory COX-2 enzyme, in a manner similar to resveratrol, the chemical linked with the health benefits of red wine.

Lead researcher Hiroyasu Inoue believed that many essential oils might target COX-2 much like compounds in wine and tea.

During the study, the research team screened a wide range of commercially available oils and identified six (thyme, clove, rose, eucalyptus, fennel and bergamot) that reduced COX-2 expression in cells by at least 25 per cent. However, thyme oil proved the most active as it reduced COX-2 levels by almost 75 per cent.

Is swine flu ‘a false pandemic’?

A leading Australian expert has said that the outbreak of H1N1 was falsely exaggerated by pharmaceutical industries to create a huge market for vaccines.
According to Wolfgang Wodarg, head of health at the Council of Europe, insists that major firms organised a ‘campaign of panic’ to put pressure on the World Health Organisation (WHO) to declare a pandemic.

Wodarg has also called for an inquiry into what he calls a ‘medical scandal’. He also raised concerns about the swift release of swine flu vaccines. “The vaccines were developed too quickly. Some ingredients were insufficiently tested.”

However Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, Jim Bishop, has strongly discarded the accusations.

“The recognition and declaration of a pandemic by the WHI occurred in response to cases and deaths in Mexico and the USA not because of drug companies input or influence,” said Bishop.

He also refuted Wodarg’s claims that swine flu: “Was a normal kind of flu. It does not cause a 10th of deaths caused by the classic seasonal flu.”

“Swine flu is similar to ordinary flu but with some dangerous differences,” said Bishop.

Possible key to fight obesity

Scientists in the US have discovered a molecular mechanism that controls energy expenditure in muscles and helps determine body weight — a finding that could lead to a new medical approach in treating obesity.

Mayo Clinic researchers and investigators at the University of Iowa, University of Connecticut and New York University said that the energy-saving mechanism is controlled by ATP-sensitive potassium (KATP) channels. ATP, or adenosine triphosphate, is the ‘energy currency’ utilised by cells in the body.

These particular channels can sense ATP pools and regulate heart and skeletal muscle performance accordingly.

Animals lacking this energy-saving mechanism burn more stored energy by dissipating more heat when at rest or when normally active.

As in humans, excess energy from food is stored as glycogen or fat that could be converted into ATP according to energy demand.

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