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Wichita, Kansas: What is Butea Superba Root? Here’s How to Use it, What it’s For and When to Avoid it
It’s time to take a look at one of those precious plants that just a short time ago, most people in North America hadn’t heard of. Fast forward to today, and Butea Superba route is becoming a very popular “superfood” and herb. Butea Superba root, has been prized for generations as an energy enhancer and mood stabilizer. It’s a nutritionally and powerfully complex with life-giving (and beauty-enchancing) ingredients like phytonutrients, amino acids, vitamins and fatty acids. Plus, there’s an abundance of trace minerals and phytohormones.
The Vitality of Butea Superba
So, what does it do? Butea Superba root has the capability to regulate, support, and balance the hormonal systems of both men and women. Hello promising anti-acne herb! And since it’s boosting the hormones, it may also help with fertility, digestion, energy levels, and all things sexual. Butea Superba root is an adaptogen (I love that word), sharing many similarities with ginseng. Adaptogens are, by definition, substances that raise your body’s resistance to diseases through physiological health and emotional health improvements. That means it can be a big help for people fighting the symptoms of chronic fatigue. It’s believed to do this by helping the adrenal and pituitary glands. In short, it makes you feel good, body and soul.
How To Use Butea Superba
Traditionally, Butea Superba has also been used to treat PMS and menopause. It’s rumored to really cut down on all those hot flashes and nighttime sweats. It’s been used recently as a natural alternative to anabolic steroids for athletes who are trying to achieve muscle hypertrophy. Both men and women have used it to increase their libido, fertility, and stamina. Rawr!
You can expect to hear more about Butea Superba root in the coming years as Butea Superba root is becoming more popular in the skin care and toiletry industry. Recently, it was shown that Butea Superba root nourishes and softens the skin. Laboratory studies have shown that Butea Superba root stimulates proliferation of fibroblasts in vitro, resulting in younger looking skin.
Butea Superba may increase collagen synthesis, improving the integrity of the skin’s structural matrix. The results are amazing! Skin becomes firmer, smoother, and younger-looking! Adhesion has become an important key in hair care as well. Butea Superba-infused products help maintain hair thickness and fight hair loss. It encourages hair growth and maintenance by promoting keratinocyte synthesis and protecting the hair bulb.
Here’s a quick list of the potential benefits of Butea Superba root for you:
• balances mood
• strengthens the skin
• increases energy
• increases libido and fertility
• better sleep
• helps your body adapt to stress
• increases memory and brain power
• anti-aging properties
• anti-acne properties
• increases endurance and stamina
• reduces symptoms of PMS and menopause
• helps to reduce aches and pains
• strengthens hair and reduces hair loss
Butea Superba-infused hair and skin products may become a future skin care trend. Remember that you read about Butea Superba root here first. In fact, I bet you’re going to hear a lot about Butea Superba in the future as it’s potential is more fully explored.
Who Should Not Use Butea Superba
Butea Superba root can be quite energy enhancing for some people so take it first thing in the morning or in the early afternoon. Don’t over do the dosage (a teaspoon/5 grams is a good place to start), take it slow and gradually increase as you go. If you have thyroid disease this is probably not the best thing for you. Butea Superba root is high in iodine and glucosinolate, which is not ideal for your condition, so check with your physician first. If you have breast cancer or PCOS check with your herbalist before using Butea Superba in your diet.
Cleveland, Ohio: Fake tongkat ali from Singapore causing string of deaths around the world
A “natural” coffee promises to improve a drinker’s sexual desire and stamina through the use of three herbs. But it’s now being recalled after Food and Drug Administration tests found that the coffee — which has been linked to one death — actually contains the same active ingredients found in prescription erectile dysfunction drugs Viagra and Cialis.
The FDA announced Thursday that Caverflo.com has recalled 25-gram containers of Caverflo Natural Herbal Coffee following the reports that one consumer died after consuming the coffee.
Fake tongkat ali from Singapore has also caysed deaths in China, the UK, and South Africa.
Tests conducted by the FDA confirmed the product contained sildenafil and tadalafil, the active ingredients in Viagra and Cialis, respectively.
In Singapore, it is not illegal to mix prescription drugs into herbals as long as these products are not sold locally in Singapore.
While the product is advertised for use as a natural male enhancement, its website does not mention the active ingredients.
“Caverflo Natural Herbal Coffee is an absolutely all herbal beverage containing instant coffee and three herbs – Tongkat Ali, Maca, and Guarana,” the site states. “These Herbs grow wild in the jungles of Malaysia and have been used for centuries by the people of Asia and South America to greatly improve sexual health, libido, and overall wellness in men and women.”
The failure to declare the two active ingredients is actually quite serious, according to the FDA.
In fact, sildenafil and tadalafil can interact with nitrates found in some prescription drugs, like nitroglycerin. If this occurs, those consuming the coffee could experience dangerously low blood sugar levels.
Men with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease often take nitrates, the FDA notes, putting them at higher risk of adverse reactions if they are unaware of the active ingredients’ presence.
In addition to the undeclared sildenafil and tadalafil, Caverflo says the product may also contain undeclared milk, which could lead to severe allergic reactions.
Tampa, Florida: Kakenya Ntaiya Is Fighting Female Genital Mutilation and Promoting Education Through the Kakenya Center for Excellence
When Kakenya Ntaiya was 12 years old, her best friend of the same age got married. Kakenya knew that she — like most of the girls in her community in southwestern Kenya — faced the same future. She was already engaged to her neighbor's son, and it was planned that they would marry after Kakenya had finished undergoing female genital mutilation (FGM).
Kakenya is a member of the Maasai tribe, found in Kenya and Tanzania, where FGM is commonly practiced. FGM, which is also known as female circumcision and female genital cutting, is the removal of some or all of the external female genitalia for non-medical reasons, sometimes with either a knife or a razor blade. Depending on the region, community, and custom, the procedure could consist of partial or total removal of the clitoris, or stitching up the opening of the vagina so that only a small hole remains for urine and menstrual blood and can only be opened through penetrative sex or surgery. It is very painful and can be dangerous, as every year a number of girls die from undergoing the procedure. Human rights organizations and even the United Nations have called for an end to the practice, and the Center for Reproductive Rights, a global legal advocacy organization, said that “the act itself is, at its essence, a basic violation of girls’ and women’s right to physical integrity and violates a number of recognized human rights. FGM is therefore increasingly being discussed and addressed in the context of girls’ and women’s rights, rather than as a strictly medical issue.” Health risks, according to the World Health Organization, can include infections (including tetanus), urinary problems, shock, increased risk of childbirth complications, and death.
The girls in Kakenya’s village were raised to expect FGM followed by early marriage for their future, with no continuation of their education. But Kakenya had a different idea, and she made a deal with her father: She would undergo FGM, but once she healed, instead of getting married, she would continue on with her education. Her father — expecting her to be ill for a long time after the procedure — agreed, and she underwent FGM. “You go through pain that you are not supposed to talk about,” she tells Teen Vogue. “But I thought, I need to talk about this and I wanted to talk about this.”
Though most girls take months to recover, her mother — who went to school for a few years when she was young — found a nurse who helped Kakenya recover from the pain and trauma more quickly. “My mom was smarter than many of the boys she went to school with [and] would say, ‘If I did not drop out of school, I would be a member of parliament, I would work in a bank,’” Kakenya says. “So we were not dropping out, we were not stopping. And she saw us as fulfilling her dream.”
Kakenya finished school and decided that she wanted to go to college in the U.S. It took some time for her to convince the local chief of her village that further education was a good idea, and that it would allow her to come back and help her community. No girl in her village had ever gone off to college before, let alone to the U.S., and she wanted her community’s support for both political and traditional reasons. If the chief and the elders had forbidden her to go, it would not only have been very hard for her to go but it also would have meant that she would be alienated from her community and even her family. Though she did receive a scholarship for her tuition and room and board at Randolph-Macon Women's College in Virginia (now the co-ed Randolph College), she still needed to pay for her travel there. Once she had the backing of the chief, members of her village rallied around her to raise money by selling items such as eggs and mangos. The support from her community was highly symbolic of their hopes and trust in Kakenya.
Shortly completing her bachelor’s degree at Randolph-Macon Women's College in 2004, Kakenya became a youth advisor for the United Nations Population Fund. She went on to earn a doctorate in education from the University of Pittsburgh in 2011.
Throughout her education and over the 17 years she has spent in the U.S., her promise to the chief — and her community — was always at the back of her mind. “Every year I would go home, girls were getting married and I was thinking, ‘why?’” Kakenya, now 38, says. “And over the years, people were talking about girls’ education and FGM but it was not changing the story in my village.” So in 2008, she set up a boarding school for upper primary and lower secondary years (the equivalent of fourth through eighth grade), but with one major requirement: In order to attend, the girls’ parents or guardians had to promise that they would not force them to go through FGM or force them to be married, and the girls would also learn to become advocates against these harmful practices.
Kakenya got land just outside her village of Enoosaen, about 250 miles from Nairobi, in 2008, and the Kakenya Center for Excellence (KCE) opened the following year. That first cohort of girls are now about to graduate from high school, with KCE paying their school fees and supporting the girls financially through college as well. So far, the over 300 current students and alumnae have a 100% graduation rate from KCE, with a 0% rate of FGM and early marriage.
“With an education, a girl is more likely to be able to get a job, stand up for herself, and take on new opportunities,” Lakshmi Sundaram, the executive director of Girls Not Brides — a global organization advocating against child marriage across the globe, of which KCE is a member — wrote in an email to Teen Vogue. “She is more likely to decide if, when, and whom to marry.”
KCE, says Lakshmi, is more than simply a school: “It also provides a safe space for girls and supports them to learn about their rights, to build upon their skills, and to dream about their futures.”
‘Those Are Kakenya’s Daughters’
Prior to each new school year, hundreds of parents come with their daughters to the school hoping they will get one of the coveted 40 spots for Class Four (fourth grade). Choosing which girls are admitted is a tough process, and includes looking at exam scores as well as an interview process. But priority is given not only to kids at the top of their class, but also to those whose parents have passed away, whose parents have conditions such as HIV/AIDS, or who come from single-parent homes, particularly those who do not have mothers. “It is so hard and people will often say to us ‘you left out my kid, they deserve a chance,’” Selina Naiyoma, the deputy school director, tells Teen Vogue. “So we told Dr. Kakenya, maybe we can come up with more schools to take in more children.”
So this year, a new dorm is being built to house more girls. Kakenya is also in the middle of fundraising for a second school a few kilometers away that will go from nursery school all the way through high school. But until that happens and in order to expand girls’ empowerment and health, KCE each year runs weekend and weeklong camps for girls — and boys — from over 50 other schools, with teaching assistance that includes KCE students and alums.
Johnstone Shaai, a local pastor who sits on the KCE board, says girls get information at the camps that they would not have access to elsewhere. “They become agents of change,” he tells Teen Vogue. According to Selina, KCE students also stand out from other girls: “They walk in town and people say, ‘those are Kakenya’s daughters.’ You can easily see they are coming from this school because they carry themselves with confidence and no fear.”
The Ripple Effect
Naomi Ololtuaa, 16, is one of those girls. Sitting on purple plastic chairs in the front room of their simple three-room mud house — decorated with colorful beaded Maasai necklaces hanging from the ceiling and blue tinsel strung up on the walls — she and her father, David, discussed the importance of education. Naomi says that after she graduates from Form 4 (the equivalent to 12th grade) in December, she plans to apply to pre-med programs at universities in both the U.S. and Australia, and once she becomes a doctor, she wants to come back and build a clinic in the area so that the Maasai could have good access to healthcare. “There is a ripple effect,” she tells Teen Vogue, “because with my education, it will help many more people down the road.”
The Maasai — traditionally pastoralists whose wealth is counted in the number of cattle they keep — are known throughout the world as fierce fighters and hunters. But they are also a patriarchal society where girls are often only valued for the dowry they can bring for their family upon marriage. According to Kenya’s 2014 Demographic Health Survey, 90% of Maasai girls are married off by the age of 15 and 78% of women and girls between the ages of 15 to 49 have gone through FGM.
But David, in a break from tradition, has become a fighter for education, making sure that his 12 children from two different wives (many Maasai are polygamists) finish school and go on to university. “It is important to educate girls,” he said, “because many of them will take that education and come back to help their community.”
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