Moroccan Chicken with Tomato Dressing

Moroccan Chicken with Tomato Dressing

FB-Moroccan-Chicken-w-Tomato-Dressing_p [640x480].jpgServes 4
Preparation time: 25 minutes, plus overnight marinating
Cooking time: 12-15 minutes
4 chicken breasts, skin on if preferred (healthier without because most of the fat is within the skin).

Moroccan Marinade:
1 tsp cumin seeds
Large handful of fresh coriander, chopped
1 small onion, very finely chopped
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
2 plump garlic cloves, crushed
120ml/8 tbsp Filippo Berio Olive Oil
1 lemon, juice only
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Tomato Dressing :
100 ml/3½ fl oz Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 tbsp roughly chopped chives
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
350g/12oz vine-ripened tomatoes, halved
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Slash the chicken breasts 3 times with a sharp knife and put into a glass dish.
2. To prepare the Moroccan marinade, heat a small heavy-based pan on the hob and add the cumin seeds. Shake them around for a few seconds until their aroma rises. Remove from the heat and crush roughly using a mortar and pestle. Put the seeds into a bowl with the coriander, onion, chilli, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix all the ingredients together well. Pour over the chicken, cover and refrigerate overnight.
3. To make the tomato dressing, pour the olive oil into a blender or food processor,
add the chives and vinegar and blend until smooth. Scrape the mixture into a bowl.
4. Remove the seeds from the tomatoes then chop. Add to the dressing and season.
5. Cook the chicken on a fairly hot barbecue for about 6-7 minutes on each side
or until cooked through, brush with the marinade during cooking. Serve with the
tomato dressing.


Chinese herbs may help eczema sufferers


A traditional Chinese herbal medicine consisting of five herbs may benefit people with eczema, new research in the British Journal of Dermatology reveals.

Scientists at the Chinese University of Hong Kong evaluated the effects of the Pentaherbs brand formulation on patients aged between five and 21 with atopic eczema, the most common type of the disease which affects at least one in 10 children.

The Pentaherbs formulation capsules contain extracts of five raw herbs based on a widely used ancestral Chinese concoction – Flos lonicerae (Japanese honeysuckle), Herba menthae (peppermint), Cortex moutan (root bark of peony tree), Atractylodes Rhizome (underground stem of the atractylodes herb) and Cortex phellodendri (Amur cork-tree bark).

The first study was a clinical trial of 85 patients divided into a control group receiving a placebo, and a group taking the pentaherbs formulation. Using a questionnaire index that measures how much a skin problem affects a patient, the scientists found that the quality of life improved by a third in the group taking the herbs, compared to no improvement in the placebo-treated group.

The researchers also found that the herbal remedy reduced patients needs for the conventional treatment of topical steroids, with the duration of use reduced by an average of four days per month in the herbal group, compared to one day per month in the placebo group.

The team went on to explore the clinical effects of pentaherbs on the immune system. This is because people with eczema have been found to have higher blood levels of certain cytokines, a group of proteins and peptides that have a pivotal role in the immune system and which trigger inflammation in eczema.

The herbs reduced the expressions of four proteins and cytokines thought to have inflammatory effects linked with eczema.* This was confirmed in tests done both by adding an extract of the pentaherbs formulation to blood cells in a test tube (in vitro testing), and by testing the blood of 28 children taking the supplements (in vivo testing).

Study co author Dr Ting-fan Leung said: “Our recent clinical trial showed that Pentaherbs formulation reduced topical corticosteroid usage and improved quality of life in children with moderate to severe atopic eczema. Our latest study further clarifies this by showing that the herbs suppress the production of atopic eczema-related inflammatory mediators. Further studies are needed to explore this in more depth; however this is an interesting first step.

Caution needs to be exercised when using Chinese herbal medicines and patients should consult their GP before doing so. Like any supplement they can interact/interfere with prescribed drugs or a current medical condition.

Herba menthae (peppermint), one of the ingredients in the Pentaherbs formulationcan have a number of adverse effects, for example it can induce biliary colic in patients with existing bile stones, may worsen heartburn and cause a burning sensation in the mouth. The application of peppermint oil to the face of infants and children has caused narrowing of the tubes or airways of the lung (bronchospasm), swelling and spasm of the opening to the breathing tract (laryngeal oedema and spasm), both of which are potentially life-threatening complications.

These facts, other contra-indications and more are revealed in a new book raditional Herbal Medicines – A Guide To Their Safer Use

Co author Dr Lakshman Karalliedde MB BS DA FRCA, consultant, Chemical Hazards and Poisons Division (London), Health Protection Agency, says: 밢ne of the key reasons for the increased use of traditional herbal medicines in developed countries is the generally accepted perception that 몁atural?products are safe. They have stood the test of time and do not carry the risks inherent in newly developed conventional medicines.

There is not enough awareness that the ingredients that make traditional medicines effective could also be potentially capable of causing serious illness such as allergy, liver or kidney malfunction, blindness, cancer or even death.

Herbal medicines should therefore be used with the same degree of caution as conventional medicines, but this is difficult given the lack of information available about effectiveness, optimum dose or adverse effects.

The problem is that while the toxic profiles of conventional medicines have been extensively documented and publicised, the harmful effects of herbal medicines either taken on their own or in combination with conventional medicines are not well enough known. According to a National Institute of Medical Herbalists survey, 96% of qualified medical herbalists believed that conventional doctors do not know enough about herbs to give their patients advice. And if GPs are relatively in the dark, what hope is there for members of the general public.

It was with this in mind and the growing, urgent need for more information to be made available to the public ?that a group of toxicology experts got together to co-author Traditional Herbal Medicines namely Dr Lakshman Karalliedde, who spent 10 years at the MTU and is now a toxicologist with the Chemical Hazards and Poisons Division of the Health Protection Agency; Debbie Shaw, who heads the MTU Chinese Medicine Advisory Service; and Indika Gawarammana, former registrar at the MTU. They have combined their significant knowledge of traditional medicines to produce a comprehensive herbal compendium covering traditional herbal remedies from around the world, describing their sources, known effects and side effects, dosages, interactions and ?most importantly precautions. It’s a must for anyone involved in prescribing either conventional or traditional herbal medicines as well as the growing number of people who are taking them.

Traditional Herbal Medicines: A Guide To Their Safer Use is published by Hammersmith Press, price £9.99.

Study details: British Journal of Dermatology, publication date March 2008, in vitro and clinical immunomodulatory effects of a novel Pentaherbs concoction for atopic eczema T.F. Leung, K.Y. Wong, C.K. Wong*, K.P. Fung C.W.K. Lam*, T.F. Fok, P.C. Leung K.L.E. Hon; Departments of Paediatrics and Chemical Pathology*, and Institute of Chinese Medicine. The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, Hong Kong. DOI 10.1111/J.1365-2133.2008.08502.X

Natural alternatives to fight depression


Scientific study and clinical experience demonstrate that several natural remedies can help alleviate depression. These include the herb St John’s Wort, 5-HTP and SAMe(S-adenosylmethionine) which work by enhancing the brain’s production of the well-being hormone serotonin.

SAMe is a natural substance that the body can produce itself from the essential acid methionine and the cell fuel ATP. Found in all our cells SAMe plays an important role in critical biochemical processes, assisting other body’s chemicals to convert into serotonin.

Researchers from the University of Alabama in the US in the late 1980s found that depressed patients were not making enough of their own SAMe in their brains. After checking red cells from patients suffering from depression and schizophrenia, they discovered a decreased amount of a chemical called methionine adenosyl transferase (MAT), an enzyme necessary for the formation of SAMe.

People who have lower levels of SAMe tend to have high levels of the protein homocysteine in their blood. Homocysteine is implicated in a number of serious illnesses such as heart attack, stroke, liver damage, eye problems and is thought may contribute to the sticky plaques in the brain in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Since a deficiency in the B vitamin, folic acid, is associated with high homocysteine levels, high levels of SAMe may be assisted by eating foods containing folic acid such as asparagus and other green vegetables.

Depression is helped by a balanced diet which should include essential fatty acids from fish and nut which feed the brain; avoiding alcohol and sugar which cause sugar spikes in the blood, taking a multi-vitamin and minerals, incuding potassium. Vitamin D is helpful for the winter blues.

Exercise including medication and yoga are destressers, as it listening to music.

SAMe can be purchased online as a supplement at It also supports joint and bone health. This supplement should not be taken by anyone with bipolar disorder or pregnant woman.

People who are experiencing profound feelings of sadness and hopelessness should seek professional help. Natural herbs and supplements should not be taken in conjunction with other drugs and advice should always be sought from a medical professional before taking natural herbs and medicines for depression.

Herbal medicines do work, expert hits back


London: Complementary health expert Jayney Goddard today defended the reputation of herbal medical remedies following a recent study labelling them as “hocus pocus”.

In a new book published by Collins, Goddard, founder and president of The Complementary Medicines Association examined 10,000 scientific trials to reveal that a wide range of herbal medicines are effective.

The evidence in the book Complementary and Alternative Health: The Scientific Verdict on What Really Works, she says, is proof that herbal medicine cannot be ignored by the medical establishment.

“This book is, essentially, a vast encyclopaedia which encompasses virtually every aspect of complementary medicine and draws from data accrued from over 10,000 scientific trials,” says Jayney.

It is a book which will be absolutely invaluable to everyone involved in complementary medicine and alternative therapies. It is also essential reading for anyone who is interested in using complementary therapies and wants to know just what the scientific evidence is, so far, for a particular approach.

One such supplement is St John’s Wort with Passion Flower that has recently been proven in a clinical trial to dramatically reduce depression and anxiety quickly.

The trial shows without a doubt that this herbal supplement comprising 450mg St John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) and 350mg Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) per daily dose can ease mild to moderate depression.

Significantly it shows a considerable reduction in depression and anxiety. The results were felt quickly – within two weeks of taking the supplement (St John’s Wort alone is recognised as achieving this reduction within four
to six weeks).

St John’s Wort is renowned for its effectiveness in treating mild depression but patients are advised it can take up to six weeks to take full effect. Passionflower is known to ease anxiety quickly. It is concluded that the combination of these two herbs in this synergistic supplement brings about a reduction in BOTH depression and anxiety.

The trial was double-blind, placebo controlled and randomised and 162 people took part. They were classified as either mildly depressed (14-17 on the Hamilton Scale of Depression – HAMD) or moderately depressed (18-24 on the HAMD).

The Hamilton scale runs from 0-30: In light depression HAMD-17 total scores sum 8-13.

• A score between 14-18 is mild depression
• Between 18-24 is moderate severe depression
• And 25 or more is severe depression

The patients took either the St John’s Wort and Passionflower combination or a placebo for eight weeks during which time their HAMD and HAMA (Hamilton Scale for Anxiety) were measured

– Those on the supplement showed significant improvement

– Those mildly depressed went from around 15 on the scale to 8

– At the same time the placebo group worsened from around 15 to 17

– Those moderately depressed went from around 20 to 8 (within the
time scale)

– At the same time the placebo group worsened from around 20 to 21

– After 56 days the placebo groups were crossed over, so the placebo
group took the supplement.

– When the placebo group switched to taking the supplement they saw a
drop of 39.6% and 31.6% in their HAMD and HAMA ratings respectively with
a major drop in both showing within four weeks


Many herbs, quite clearly, DO work and there are trials to prove it, says Jayney Goddard. “Across Europe and in Germany in particular, we see alternative medicine taken very seriously indeed. It’s about time that sort of attitude was given air time and breathing space in the UK where we have some first class products that can be trusted to work effectively and safely when taken in the recommended way for the specified conditions.


Complementary and Alternative Health: The Scientific Verdict on What Really Works is available at the and good book shops priced £19.99.

Researcher discovers anti-wrinkle plant


Jerusalem: A plant-based antioxidant that fights wrinkles in your skin has been isolated by a researcher at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Antioxidants help to fight free radicals, which can break down many body tissues when present in excessive amounts. In the skin, free radicals from aging or exposure to ultraviolet light cause a breakdown of collagen and elastin fibres, leading to a loss of skin elasticity and wrinkles.

The antioxidant developed at The Hebrew University delays skin aging by inhibiting the breakdown of collagen fibres in the skin.

“The newly isolated antioxidant differs from other anti-aging antioxidants on the market in that it is able to withstand high temperatures and does not oxidize easily. This means it will remain effective longer than other antioxidants that oxidize quickly,” documents Dr. Joseph Mercola.

The plant source of the antioxidant has not been revealed because the research is still being patented for commercial profit interests

Phyto Medicines Fact Sheet


Medicinal plants and their preparations belong to the oldest known health-care products that have been used by human beings all over the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that up to 80% of the population of most developing countries use plant-based medicines. Between 25 and 50% of all modern drugs are derived from plants.

According to IMS research in 1995, the European Market for herbal medicinal products was estimated to be worth US $ 5,600 million. The leading countries are Germany (44 %) and France (28 %), followed by Italy, United Kingdom, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium and others.

According to the Allensbach study natural medicines helped people to alleviate various disorders such as cold, flu, digestive troubles, headache, insomnia, stomach trouble, nervousness, circulatory disorders, bronchitis, skin disease and exhaustion.

People are turning to natural and alternative treatments more and more as they become more health-intelligent and aware about what they put into their bodies. The medical profession in the UK is also becoming more accepting of these kinds of treatment as clinical evidence and patient experience is recognised. Alternative therapies are now available on the NHS in many parts of the country.

Natural Remedies

Recent clinical trials proved the effectiveness of a non-drug, DHT-inhibiting treatment for androgenic baldness (hereditary male pattern baldness). The formula contained saw palmetto berry, plant sterols and other botanicals and was shown to be a viable natural alternative to prescription hair-loss drugs in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in the April 2002 issue of The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Palmetto is used in some of the remedies outlined below.

The following are some examples of natural remedies: Ultra Hair (Nature’s Plus), for example, contains organic sulphur to promote healthy hair, while Thin-to-Thick (Jason Natural Cosmetics) features biotin for gentle cleansing. Viviscal, contains a concentrated marine protein that showed effectiveness against alopecia areata and androgenic hair loss in studies, including one published in The Journal of International Medical Research in August 1992. Shen Min, derived from the eastern wild rose, contains substances that inhibit DHT and 5-alpha reductase–the enzyme that causes DHT formation.

Revivogen is another natural product that contains promising DHT-inhibiting substances such as zinc and azelaic acid, while Shen Min contains the very popular Chinese anti-aging tonic herb, “fo ti”, also known as “he shou wu”, which is prescribed widely in traditional Chinese medicine to combat pre-mature aging and greying hair. Published research on “he shou wu” is limited, however, other than confirmed cholesterol-lowering effects and test-tube studies that suggest immune-protective activity.

There are also a number of follicle formulas which assist follicle health by acting as a relaxant. Formulas based on a “nitro” compound called NANO (3-carboxylic acid pyridine-N-oxide) known as the “natural” minoxidil. The active ingredient in the synthetic, over-the-counter product Rogaine.

Some products also include L-arginine as a hair-growth-promoting substance. L-arginine has several characteristics that may benefit hair follicles. It boosts nitric oxide levels, promotes circulation and aids in the release of human growth hormone. These products, like all herbal remedies, typically take several months to slow or stop hair loss, and several months more to show regrowth. If a follicle has died, it cannot be revived. But resting or sluggish follicles that produce increasingly thin or short-lived hairs can often be stimulated or saved from further damage if the cause is properly identified.

Saw palmetto

Saw palmetto, is a prostate-protecting herb that prevents the conversion of testosterone into one of the androgens that causes hair loss. A product containing this herb, FolliGro, from Denmark, has been trialled with 65% of participants reporting moderate improvement in hair regrowth, and 18% a clear improvement. The treatment is a two-pronged approach: a spray containing saw palmetto and capsules made of fenugreek, which promotes better circulation to the scalp along with B vitamins to “feed” the hair follicles.

FolliGro available through Victoria Health (0800 413596).

Alopesan 400 by Vitamust works by stimulating growth, nourishes follicles and roots and maintains suppleness of the scalp. Maxilene works by boosting micro-circulation. See

Other natural solutions:

Nature’s Best Maxihair which contains iron, lysine, vitamin c, B12, brewers yeast tablets. the average time before noting a reduction in shedding is 16 weeks.

Urticalcin homeopathic calcium by Bioforce.

Phytologie’s Phytocyane with Phytologie dietary supplement Phytophanere

Chinese herbal medicine and Ayurvedic head massage.

Aloe vera cream and yiang yiang essential oil which can be massaged into the scalp.

Traditional Chinese Medicine

Based on ancient Chinese medicine over 5,000 years old and uses herbs to treat a variety of illnesses. The herbs which are either pungent, sour, sweet, bitter or salty, are boiled in water and drunk several times a day and often used alongside acupuncture. Reputed to be useful for skin diseases, addictions, weight loss,
fertility and breathing problems.

Contact the Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine
PO Box 400
Wembley HA9 9NZ, UK.
Tel: 44(0) 7000 790322
Fax: 44(0) 7000 790332
Contact: Mr Melvin Lyons

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