West Hawaii Today on the Mango Festival

West Hawaii Today video

By Tracey Leigh Yager Special to West Hawaii Today

When you ask Randyl Rupar what he loves about mangoes, he answers with an enthusiastic, “Everything.”

“When God or Goddess created mangoes, it was to put smiles on people’s faces,” said Rupar, a member of the Sanctuary of Mana Kea Gardens and the original founder of the Big Island Mango Festival, now in its seventh year.

As a champion of Big Island tropical fruit, Rupar seeks to spread that smile across thousands of faces again at this year’s festival on Saturday at the Sheraton Kona Resort &Spa at Keauhou Bay.

“The roots of this really began 10 years ago on a small farm in Honaunau,” Rupar explained. “Out of nowhere, 300 people showed up. It was really crazy. Then I knew we were on to something.”

From there, the festival moved to Amy B.H. Greenwell’s Ethnobotanical Garden in Captain Cook, but the 2,000 visitors overwhelmed the parking. This was followed by a stint at the Keauhou Beach Resort. And then finally, the celebration moved to the Sheraton, which is now its official home.

With 40 booths, 10 which are given away to community service organizations, the festival features the most unique and varied mango dishes the island has to offer.

“This festival is so much fun,” said Rupar. “Kamaaina and tourists alike can get samples of delicious local foods they‘ve never tasted. That is coupled with a strong Hawaiian cultural element, along with local arts and crafts. And it’s a free event. There is a real sense of freedom at the festival.”

Rupar feels the true purpose of the event is to strengthen the community, which is why keeping the event free is an important component. A fundraiser dinner was held on July 18 at Under The Bodhi Tree to help with the cost of this year’s festival.

“We have had to come up with some pretty creative ideas on how to raise the funds to indeed keep it at no charge,” he said.

Ken Love, executive director of the Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers Association, has been instrumental in assisting Rupar in his efforts. For Love, the festival is a chance to raise the consciousness of our community of what local produce really means and why it is important.

“Why we are bringing in lychees and mangoes from different tropical markets from around the world when we are at the height of our season is beyond me,” Love said. “The variety of our own mangoes and their level of food quality and nutrition just can’t be beat.”

For example, Love compared the flavor and nutrient-rich mangoes grown in West Hawaii soils to containers of unripe mangoes shipped here from Asian growing areas that are artificially ripened.

In flavor and food value, he said, these imports can’t compare.

In addition to showcasing this year’s bumper crop of the island’s 200 varieties of mangoes, the festival is a zero-waste event. Last year’s festival generated ten 33-gallon bags of recycling, and only one small kitchen bag that went to a landfill.

“Things can be devastating today, making you not want to leave your house or read the news,” Rupar said. “But we are adamant about showing people that you can have an event with literally thousands of people and it can be done. We can compost. We can recycle. We do not have to trash our island.”

This year’s festival master of ceremonies will be Big Island’s Kahikini Tommy Ching. The Mayoral Proclamation will be delivered by Guinevere Davenport, who was Miss Kona Coffee 2013 and Miss Mokihana 2015. At 10 a.m., Lily Dudoit will conduct the opening pule. This will be followed by Bolo Slack Key guitar and Ukulele Hula Joy Ka Lea Galagate Rothe.

From there, the sky is the limit for mango tasting and entertainment — from artisan foods and beverages, demonstrations and lectures about local agriculture and keiki activities until 5 p.m.

For more information visit mangofest.org.

How WHOLE Turmeric Heals The Damaged Brain

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How WHOLE Turmeric Heals The Damaged Brain

How Whole Turmeric Heals The Damaged Brain

Long considered impossible to accomplish, new research reveals how a simple spice might contribute to the regeneration of the damaged brain.

Turmeric is hands down one of the, if not the, most versatile healing spice in the world with over 600 experimentally confirmed health benefits, and an ancient history filled with deep reverence for itsseemingly compassionate power to alleviate human suffering.

But, most of the focus over the past decade has been centered on only one of its many hundreds of phytocompounds: namely, the primary polyphenol in turmeric known as curcumin which gives the spice its richly golden hue.  This curcumin-centric focus has lead to the development of some very good products, such as phospholipid bound curcumin concentrate (e.g. Meriva, BCM-95) which greatly helps to increase the absorption and bio-activity of curcumin. But, curcumin isolates are only capable of conferring a part of turmeric’s therapeutic power – and therein lies the limitation and hubris of the dominant ‘isolate the active ingredient’ model.

Indeed, it has become typical within the so-called nutraceutical industry to emulate the pharmaceutical model, which focuses on identifying a particular “monochemical” tree within the forest of complexity represented by each botanical agent, striving to standardize the delivery of each purported ‘active ingredient’ with each serving, as if it were a pharmaceutical drug. These extraction and isolation processes also generates proprietary formulas which are what manufacturers want to differentiate their product from all others and henceforth capture a larger part of the market share; a value proposition that serves the manufacturer and not the consumer/patient.

Truth be told, there is no singular ‘magic bullet’ in foods and herbs responsible for reproducing the whole plant’s healing power.  There are, in fact, in most healing plants or foods hundreds of compounds orchestrated by the intelligent ‘invisible hand’ of God or ‘Nature,’ or whatever you wish to call it, and which can never be reduced to the activity of a singularly quantifiable phytocompound or chemical.

Beyond The Curcumin ‘Magic Bullet’ Meme

Now, an exciting new study published in the journal Stem Cell Research & Therapy provides additional support for the concept that curcumin alone is not enough to explain the healing power of turmeric as a whole plant. The study found that a little known, fat-soluble component within turmeric – Ar-tumerone – may make “a promising candidate to support regeneration in neurologic disease.”

Titled, “Aromatic-turmerone induces neural stem cell proliferation in vitro and in vivo,” German researchers evaluated the effects of this turmeric-derived compound on neural stem cells (NSCs) – the subgroup of brain cells capable of continuous self-renewal required for brain repair.

The study found that when brain cells were exposed to ar-tumerone, neural stem cells increased in number through enhanced proliferation. Moreover, these newly formed neural stem cells also increased the number of fully differentiated neuronal cells, indicating a healing effect was taking place. This effect was also observed in a live animal model, showing that rats injected with ar-tumerone into their brains experienced increases in neural stem cell proliferation and the creation of newly formed healthy brain cells.

This study did not go unnoticed by major medical news channels. Here are some good reviews if you wish to explore the implications in greater depth:

The GreenMedInfo.com Turmeric Database Confirms It’s Brain-Saving Power!

As you may already know, our database is the world’s most extensive open access natural medical database on over 1,800 different natural substances, with over 1600 study abstracts on turmeric’s healing properties indexed thus far: view the Turmeric research page here to view!  If you take a look at the laundry list of over 600 diseases that this spice (or its components, e.g. curcumin) has been studied for to prevent and/or treat, the sheer volume of supportive literature is astounding. Amazingly, we have identified over 180 physiological pathways – according to their conventional pharmacological characterization, e.g. COX-2 inhibitor, Interleukin 6 down-regulator – by which turmeric or its components heals the human body.  In addition, you will find over 100 articles on turmeric’s neuroprotective properties on this page: Turmeric as a Neuroprotective agent.

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Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

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