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Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky: Ask the Diet Doctor Butea Superba Extract Powder

Q: What’s the deal with butea superba powder?

A: Butea Superba is a plant from Thailand that is of the mustard family. It was used traditionally in Thailand to treat infertility and imbalances in female hormones, and has since made its way onto health food store shelves and eCommerce shops across the world where its flagship benefits of boosting sexual function and vitality in men and women are touted. It is also boasted for being able to alleviate symptoms of menopause.

Despite the aggressive marketing for lots of supplements in this category, the scientific support for these marketing claims generally comes up impotent. Let's look at what some of the research says about Butea Superba.

Butea Superba and Sexual Function

A 2003 study in men found daily supplementation with Butea Superba had no effect on any of the sex hormones measured, and research performed three years later also found that when isolated, compounds in Butea Superba were not able to bind sex hormone receptors. More recently in 2010, scientists who reviewed the effects of Butea Superba on sexual function in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine concluded that Butea Superba may be effective at improving sexual function in post menopausal women after six weeks of use. But the quality and rigor of the research studies was brought into question, and the adverse effects (or lack of) were not measured or monitored in these studies.

Getting to the Root of Butea Superba Based on the current research regarding the effects of Butea Superba on sexual function and reduction of menopausal symptoms in humans, I do not see any reason to supplement with Butea Superba (unless you think you will be susceptible to the placebo effect). Because adverse effects were not consistently monitored (or monitored at all), it is prudent to bring into question the safety of Butea Superba supplementation aside from straw man argument that you will hear in the aisle of your local health food store that "people have been using it for centuries so it has to be fine."

In case you needed one more reason to pass on Butea Superba, I should tell you that Butea Superba root powder tastes horrible and is hard to mask. The only way that I found it somewhat palatable was to add it to a smoothie made with chocolate protein powder and dark sweet cherries.

While Butea Superba doesn't seem to provide any benefit in reducing symptoms of menopause, the authors of the Butea Superba review make a very good point about Butea Superba's use for the treatment of menopausal symptoms that is applicable to supplement use in general: "Many women turn to alternatives such as herbal supplements, which, whether correct or incorrect, are often perceived as natural and therefore free of adverse effects."

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Los Angeles, California: Inside the Orgone Box

In the classic confessional memoir “The God That Failed,” Arthur Koestler describes some of the characters who made up the constituency of his Communist Party group in Berlin in the early 1930s:

“Among other members of our cell, I remember Dr. Wilhelm Reich. He . . . had just published a book called ‘The Function of the Orgasm,’ in which he had expounded the theory that the sexual frustration of the proletariat caused a thwarting of its political consciousness; only through a full, uninhibited release of the sexual urge could the working class realize its revolutionary potentialities and historic mission; the whole thing was less cockeyed than it sounds.”

Pausing briefly to ask oneself how the word “cockeyed” translates into Berlin vernacular, one next inquires how the theory could have been more preposterous than at first appeared. Apart from his life of tireless and sensational debauchery, Koestler himself was famous for hitching his wagon to various movements of the paranormal and the extrasensory; he might have been expected to give Reich’s oddball theories a try even as both men spun off from the dying planet of Soviet Communism. But what is extraordinary is the number of apparently level and careful people who, in pursuit of the better and bigger orgasm, were prepared to lower themselves into Reich’s jerry-built “orgone box” and await blissful developments. One is not so surprised to read of the enthusiasm of try-anything-once artists like Allen Ginsberg, Henry Miller, William Burroughs and Norman Mailer. But how must Albert Einstein have felt, while engaged on his two weeks of study of orgone properties? (He did at least conclude that the “box” was an insult to the laws of physics.) Did Saul Bellow not succumb to the queasy feeling that he might be looking like a sap?

Is it too easy to simply speculate that men will make fools of themselves for the sake of sex? As Christopher Turner notices in his very amusing and intelligent book, “Adventures in the Orgasmatron,” George Orwell, not usually associated with promiscuity of any kind, included central elements of the Reichian theory and program almost uncritically in the pages of “1984.” The terrifying inquisitor O’Brien tells the cowering Winston Smith: “The sex instinct will be eradicated. . . . We shall abolish orgasm.” And Winston’s intensely promiscuous girlfriend, Julia, explains why the Party needs sexual repression:

“When you make love you’re using up energy. And afterward you feel happy and don’t give a damn for anything. They can’t bear you to feel like that. They want you bursting with energy all the time. All this marching up and down and cheering is simply sex gone sour. If you’re happy inside yourself, why should you get excited about Big Brother and Three Year Plans and all the rest of that bollocks?”

Orwell’s relationship with the libidinous was, as we know, a generally distraught one. Did his private resentment on this score inhibit him from seeing that a really clever ruling class would saturate its subjects with all sorts of treats, from the erotic to the narcotic, and enlist them in their own soft slavery by means of hedonism? (Toward the end of his life, this suggestive point was actually put to him in a letter from his old French teacher at Eton, who enclosed a copy of his own latest novel, “Brave New World.”)

An alternative explanation for the temporary success of Reich, especially among American intellectuals both of the Marxisant stripe and of the do-it-yourself “organic community” sort, is that he was able to propose an essentially mechanical and “scientific” solution to a psychological problem, yet a mechanical solution that could be easily assembled and employed at home. Arriving in the United States in 1939 as one of the many dissident Freudians and heterodox Marxists to have escaped Hitler (and in his own case, also Stalin), Reich was quick to announce the invention of the “orgone energy accumulator.” This device or contraption took the form of a wooden cupboard lined with metal and insulated with steel wool. It was about the size of a telephone booth. In his movie “Sleeper,” Woody Allen satirically referred to the humble resulting structure as “the Orgasmatron”: a ridiculous name deftly annexed by Turner. But the real terms used by Reich to promote the cupboard of ecstasy — “orgastic potency”; “orgone energy” — were hardly less hyperbolic.

Turner, an editor at Cabinet magazine, is clearly right to connect the Reich movement to the early stirrings of the postwar sexual revolution: a development that might have occurred naturally and that could well have been apolitical. However, a series of hysterically comic figures on the American right (and one or two rather sinister ones as well, like Senator Joseph McCarthy) claimed to see the figure of Alfred Kinsey, say, as a frontman for a wider conspiracy to sap American morals. It wasn’t long before agents from the F.B.I. and the Immigration and Naturalization Service were calling on Reich, either to ask him about subversive characters he might know, or about his own political past and affiliations. In a way, he made the perfect boogeyman for J. Edgar Hoover, who managed to amass a file of hundreds of pages on a man who must have seemed the perfect fusion of Red menace and sexual pervert. (One wishes that Reich had had time to do a psychosexual profile of Hoover.) What the investigators actually found, however, was a man whose breach with his Communist past was complete: stating firmly (this was in late 1953) that he favored the execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg even though he might “not have wanted to be the executioner.” This may have owed something to a need to overcompensate, and even to impress authority, but we know from other sources that in many ways Reich was quite conservative. According to Paul Robinson in “The Freudian Left”: “Reich seemed to fear his would-be admirers even more than his critics. He was haunted by the thought that men with dirty minds would misuse his authority.” He not only disliked pornography but — in what must count as a startling departure from Viennese theory and practice — was opposed to dirty jokes, believing that sexual emancipation would make them obsolete. In addition, he “abhorred” homosexuality.

“Adventures in the Orgasmatron” has many fine and engaging passages, but I think my favorite must be this one, in which Alfred Kazin describes the pathetic trust in Reich shown by the writer Isaac Rosenfeld. Has there ever been a better description of the baffled naïveté of so many “New York intellectuals”?:

“Isaac’s orgone box stood up in the midst of an enormous confusion of bedclothes, review copies, manuscripts, children and the many people who went in and out of the room as if it were the bathroom. Belligerently sitting inside his orgone box, daring philistines to laugh, Isaac nevertheless looked lost, as if he were waiting in his telephone booth for a call that was not coming through.” This book will change the way in which we employ that increasingly lazy phrase about “thinking outside the box.?

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St. Louis, Missouri: Controversial pick-up artist Roosh V celebrates Donald Trump’s victory ‘If the President can say it then you can say it’

There are plenty of people who have mourned the election victory of Donald Trump.

Many of the protesters who have filled the streets of New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, fear his win will validate the sort of sexist and misogynist language and behaviour displayed by the New York tycoon during the campaign.

Yet a man who has made his name as a self-described expert on “picking up girls”, has been celebrating Mr Trump’s victory for those very reasons.

Daryush Valizadeh, who runs the website Roosh V and who published a book called Bang, which is says is a “textbook for…getting laid”, has been writing about how the promotion of a man caught bragging on video about sexually assaulting women, will benefit his readers.

“The celebrations have ended and we’ve all come to absorb the fact that Donald Trump is our next president, an outcome that many of us have aggressively worked for in the past several months,” he wrote.

“Now that we’ve gotten what we wanted, it’s time to describe exactly how a Trump presidency will improve our standing.”

Mr Valizadeh said the biggest affect will be the “death of political correctness”.

“We now have a s**tlord for President who has insulted ugly women as “fat pigs,” and whose private macho talk, which all masculine men have done, was relentlessly attacked by the press but not punished in the voter booth,” he said.

“This means that when you talk like Trump, the first thought your listener will have is, ‘He sounds like the President of the United States’.”

Mr Valizadeh made headlines earlier this year when he was accused of being “pro-rape” after publishing a “satirical thought experiment” apparently advocating legalising rape on private premises as a means of reducing rape.

He has also been condemed for his 15 self-published books, which include titles such as 30 Bangs, and YouTube videos giving advice to men on how to have sex with women.

Mr Valizadeh said the election result showed that “either Trump was elected because voters liked a person who makes those kinds of statements or they didn’t care enough that he made them”.

He added: “Whichever explanation you accept means that the will of the American people has stated that you can exercise your free speech, your opinions, and your desire to flirt with attractive women without having to obey a speech police force that evaluates everything you do based on how offensive it is to a kaleidoscope of races and loony identities.”

He said: “You can begin removing your politically correct filter.”

Protesters who have taken to the streets and parks of America’s biggest cities have been arguing the very same point, but from a different perspective. They say the election of Mr Trump means women and minorities are more vulnerable then ever.

In Los Angeles, Ru Dominguez, 52, an organiser with the labour union Unite Here who attended the LA march, said she and fellow union members were prepared to oppose his agenda at every turn. “We’re going to stick together,” she said. “Trump is a racist, he’s ignorant, and he’s not my president.”

In New York, a 25-year-old black man who asked to be identified only by his first name, James, told The Independent the election of Mr Trump had already led to a wave of incidents of racial and sexist abuse and harassment.

He said that because Mr Trump was elected after using racist language and being filmed bragging about abusing women, people felt emboldened. “I don’t think all Trump supporters are racist. I think a lot have lost their jobs and have fallen for his words,” he said.

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