The Women's Journal

Flower Power And A Woman’s Heart

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don_kent_fm16Photo by author, April 2012

     Photo is of Eugenia Thornton’s husband bringing her flowers a few years ago. 
     Readers of this publication will recognize Don as being the face of Frontotemporal 
     Degeneration here in Kent County. Ms. Thornton, formerly the President of the
     Southern Delaware Heart Association, is interested in alternative medicine and
     credits Protandim for keeping her fatally ill husband home with her several years
     longer than doctors at Johns Hopkins predicted possible.  

Just as flowers can warm a woman’s heart, some widely-studied medicinal plants derived from botanical sources could also potentially protect a woman’s heart from cardiovascular disease (CVD).
So says a 2012 study found at entitled: “Upregulation of phase II enzymes through phytochemical activation of Nrf2 protects cardiomyocytes against oxidant stress.”

The effects of oxidative stress can best be understood by visualizing a cut apple left out on the counter. As the air interacts with the creamy inner flesh of the apple, the moist white turns into a yucky dried up brown.
This is what happens to all cells in our bodies (including our heart muscle cells, or “cardiomyocytes”) when they are exposed to oxygen.
But, if you sprinkle lemon juice on the cut apple, the browning slows. This is what happens to our cells when Nrf2 is phytochemically activated through phase II enzymes.

Nrf2 is shorthand for “Nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2”.

Activation of Nrf2 has been suggested to be an important step in reducing oxidative stress associated with CVD, according to this study’s researchers.
“Okay, I got it,” you are thinking, “now just tell me what the plants are and where can I get them?”
The plants are Bacopa Monniera, Silybum marianum (milk thistle), Withania Somnifera (Ashwagandha), Camellia Sinensis (green tea), and Curcuma longa (Turmeric), marketed as Protandim.
You can only order this product directly from the manufacturer via independent distributors’ websites.
Mine is
This Valentine’s Day – and every day – give your heart the gift of flowers.

1. Study was performed at Department of Health and Exercise Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA

2.  The chemistry of plants and their metabolic processes.

3. An enzyme system involved in detoxification.