Monthly Archives: April 2007

Palas(Butea) Or Flame of the forest

Botanical Name : Butea monosperma
English Name : Flame of the forest
Hindi Name
: Palash, Dhak
Sanskrit Name : Palash

Scientific name: Butea monosperma, Butea frondosa
Family: Faboideae / Leguminosae / Papilionaceae
Common names: Flame of the Forest, Dhak, Palas, Bastard Teak, Parrot Tree, Dhak or Palas (Hindi); Porasum (Tamil) ; Khakda (Gujerati).

Other names::Butea monosperma, Butea frondosa, Erythrina monosperma
Flame of the Forest, Dhak, Bastard Teak, Parrot Tree.

Trade names Palasha, Dhak.

Description:
Butea Monosperma is a tree of Fabaceae plant family. This is a small tree. The leaves are three foliate. Leaflets are coriaceous and round. The flowers bloom in February to March. The flowers are in big racemes and bright orange red in color. The petals are silky and hairy.
East Indian tree bearing a profusion of intense vermilion velvet-textured blooms and yielding a yellow dye.

The Flame of the Forest is a medium sized tree, growing from 20 to 4O feet high, and the trunk is usually crooked and twisted with irregular branches and rough, grey bark. It is seen in all its ugliness in December and January when most of the leaves fall: but from January to March it truly becomes a tree of flame, a riot of orange and vermilion flowers covering the entire crown. These flowers, which are scentless, are massed along the ends of the stalks  dark velvety green like the cup-shaped calices  and the brilliance of the stiff, bright flowers is shown off to perfection by this deep, contrasting color. Each flower consists of five petals comprising one standard, two smaller wings and a very curved beak-shaped keel. It is this keel which gives it the name of Parrot Tree. The back-curving petals are covered with fine, silky hair, which, seen at certain angles, change the deep orange to a silvery salmon-pink. The buds too, have this downy growth and acquire a beautiful mauvish bloom.

CLICK TO SEE THE PICTURES..>..(01)....(1)...(2)..…...(3).….…….

Twisted trunk habit………..PICTURE

The leaves, which appear in April and May, are 10-18″ wide and trifoliate. When fresh they are like soft suede ; thick, velvety and a beautiful pale, bronze green. Old leaves are as firm and tough as leather, smooth above and hairy below. This silky down gives them a silvery appearance from a distance.

The pods, when young, are pale green, are covered with a dense growth of fine hair and sometimes give the effect of a tree in full leaf. They are pendulous and 3 to 4 inches long. When ripe they become yellow-brown and contain flat, brown seeds.

That the flowers contain much nectar is evidenced by the frequent visits of many species of birds; sunbirds, mynahs and babblers are usually to be seen, hurrying from flower to flower, chattering and twittering. With man, also, the tree is very popular, having numerous uses. From an infusion of the flowers a brilliant colouring matter can be obtained, which may be made into water-paint or into a dye. Cotton, prepared with alum, can be dyed a bright yellow or orange.

From the seeds a clear oil is obtained and the gum which exudes from the stems, known as Bengal Kino, is valuable to druggists because of its astringent qualities, and to leather workers because of its tannin. Young roots make a strong fibre which has many uses, the making of rope sandals being one of the most important. Roots, eaten raw, cause giddiness, but, baked, are eaten by Mundari children. The leaves, because of their strength, are sewn together by poor people to make plates and the lovely flowers are popular with all Indian women for adornment of their hair.

The Palas is sacred to the moon and is said to have sprung from the feather of a falcon impregnated with the Soma, the beverage of the Gods, and thus immortalised. It is used in Hindu cremonies for the blessing of calves to ensure their becoming good milkers. When a Brahmin boy becomes a Sadhu, his head is shaved and he is given a Palas leaf to eat—the trifoliate formation representing Vishnu in the middle, Brahma on the left and Shiva on the right.

A rare yellow varity of the Flame of the Forest is sometimes found in India.
Butea Frondosa is named after the Earl of Bute, a patron of Botany and Frondosa, meaning “leafy”. It is a native of India but is not found in the dryest parts, being most common in Central India and the Western Ghats.

Uses:

The Palas is known for much more than its flowers . The powdered flower is used as “gulal” in Holi, the flowers produce a dye which Buddhist monks used to dye their robes, the tree is a host tree for the lac insect and the resinous exudation of the insect gives us shellac/lac with its numerous uses such as polishing and finishing furniture. The most surprising use of lac is as confectioner’s glaze. These glazes are used across the industry including glazing of chocolate covered and sugar coated peanuts & raisins.

Traditional use: KHASI and GARO : Leaf: in delirium; TRIBES OF PURULIATRIBES OF MA YURBHANJA (Orissa) : Seed: (West Bengal) : Seed: in ascaris; as contraceptive; TRIBES OF SANTAL PARGANAS (Bihar) : Root: in tuberculosis; TRIBES OF VARANASI (Uttar Pradesh) : Leaf: in boils; Seed: as vermifuge; TRIBES OF MIRZAPUR (Uttar Pradesh) : Bark: in dysentery; Gum: in diarrhoea, dysentery; TRIBES OF SIWALIK (Uttar Pradesh) : Gum: as tonic; BHAT: Seed: as abortifacient; BHOXA: Bark: in bone fracture, Gum: in piles, urinary complaints; GARHWALI: Leaf: in boil, inflammation, Flower: in diarrhoea, dysentery, pimples, Seed: as anthelmintic; THARU: Gum: as diuretic, Seed: as cooling agent; FOLKS OF DELHI: Gum: as astringent, Flower: as aphrodisiac, astringent, diuretic, Seed: as anthelmintic;Â Â Â FOLKS OF KURUKSHETRA (Haryana): Flower: in stomachache; DANG: Bark: in diarrhoea; TRIBESOFRATANMAHAL HILLS (Gujarat) : Flower: in eye complaints; KORKU (of Maharashtra): Flower, in dysentery; TRIBES OF KHANDLA (Maharashtra) : Flower: in dog bite, urinary complaints; TRIBES OF CHANDRAPURA (Maharashtra) : Leaf: in skin diseases; TRIBES OF JHABUA (Madhya Pradesh) : Root: in dog bite; TRIBES OF SAGAR (Madhya Pradesh): Leaf: as vermifuge, Flower: in diabetes, diarrhoea, piles; TRIBES OF EAST GODAVARI (Andhra Pradesh) : Gum: in diarrhoea; TRIBES OF NILGIRI (Tamil Nadu) : Bark: as haemostatic, in wounds, Flower: in eye complaints; TRIBES OF KANNANORE (Kerala): Flower: in antifertility.

ATHARVA VEDA
: Extract of stem: beneficial for sperms and helps securing conception; CHARAKA SAMHITA : Stem-extract: useful in leprosy, piles, gastroenteritis and menorrha­gia; SUSHRUTA SAMHITA : useful in diseases caused by vayu (wind), Seed: effective against intestinal worms; A YURVEDA : Bark: useful against snake venom, wounds, indigestion, gastroenteritis, fever, tuberculosis, Gum: astringent, beneficial to children and women, Leaf: astringent, sex stimulant, useful in intestinal worms, dyspepsia, piles, menorrhagia, pimples, wounds in mouth/throat, Flower: diuretic, sex stimulant, helps menstruation, useful in gastroenteritis, Seed: useful against intestinal worms.

SIDDHA : Flower-juice: used in preparation of the medicine Murukkam, Seed and Kernel: in Palac

UNANI: Ingredient of the medicine called ‘Dhak(tesu)’ and ‘Samaghke Dhak’.
Chemical contents: Plant: flavonoids, glucosides, butin, butrin, isobutrin, palastrin; Flower: butrin, coriopsin, monospermoside, sulphurein, chalcones; Seed: palasonin, Seed oil: d-Iactone of n-heneicosanoic acid, monospermine, new phytolectin.
Medicinal Usage:    The gum obtained from the tree is astringent and it is used for diarrhea in addition, dysentery. The extracts from the root is used for treating eye-diseases. The leaves are aphrodisiac. In Ayurveda palas leaves have several medicinal properities and uses for different women manstrual problems.

Modern use: Plant  :  alcoholic extract: produces persistent vasodepression in cats, shows activity against earthworms; Bark: insecticide against house flies; Alcohol extract of bark : inhibitory against E. coli and Micrococcus pyogenes var. aureus; Gum: solution applied to check conception; Root (bark) : aphrodisiac, analgesic, anthelmintic, useful in elephan­tiasis, applied in sprue, piles, ulcers, tumours and dropsy; EtOH (50%) extract of leaf: spasmogenic; FlolYer: effective in leprosy, gout; Alcoholic extract: antiestrogenic in mice; Aqueous extract: anti-implantation in rats; along with Hygrophila auriculata leaf and root taken with milk to cure leucorrhoea; Seed (freshly powdered) : effective against Ascaris; Extract (in vitro) : anthelmintic against Asacridia galli worms; finely powdered along with Acorus calamus rhizome or mixed with juice of Cyperus rotundus rhizome: cures delirium; Saline extract: agglutinates erythrocytes of animals; Hot alcoholic extract: anti-implantation and anti-ovulatory in animals.

Remarks: An important tree for lac cultivation, but the lac produced on it is of inferior quality. Bark yields fibre, wood yields timber of poor quality; stem-bark used as fish poison by tribes of South Rajasthan. Plates and bowls are made by stitching the leaves by the tribes of Purulia and Saurashtra. Flowers yield a yellow dye of little permanency.

Flowers are eaten as vegetables by tribes of Manbhum and Hazaribagh Districts of Bihar while fruits by Garhwalis.

Tree is sacred to the Hindus and Buddhists. Flower is an essential item of Saraswati Puja.

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Click to buy on line seeds

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

 

Help taken from:http://www.toptropicals.com/html  and http://www.bsienvis.org/medi.htm#Bauhinia%20vahlii

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Why do we perspire?

: Sweating is a natural phenomenon that occurs so that our body temperature remains constant. When the heat is on and we perspire, we might feel that all that sweat hardly does any good to us. On the contrary, it does help in reducing our body temperature to a great extent.

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The hypothalamus (a small cone-shaped structure in the brain) regulates homeostasis, that is, it regulates the areas for thirst, hunger, body temperature, water balance and blood pressure.

Our bodies use approximately 2,500 calories of our daily intake to generate energy through a process called oxidation, commonly termed as burning of food. The process generates a considerable amount of heat, which the body cannot tolerate. The hypothalamus initiates the dilation of the blood vessels (vasodilatation) in the skin to release the excess heat. This prompts the release of sweat from the pores on the skin. There are approximately two million sweat glands in our body. Sweat itself is made up of different elements, the most common of them being water and sodium, otherwise known as salt.

Perspiration emerges on the surface of the skin in the form of tiny, microscopic droplets, which quickly evaporate and cool the body to its normal temperature. Sweat evaporates at a slower rate in humid climate than otherwise. With less sweat evaporating from the body surface, it makes it difficult for us to bear the heat.

Hence, although at times embarrassing, sweating has an important role to play in our survival.

Source: The Telegraph (Kolkata,India)

Headaches

I have a headache.   Everyone   from children, teenagers and adults to the elderly   has said this at some time or the other. The statement may be true, or it may simply be an excuse to avoid an unwelcome conversation, person or venture. After all, the pain is in the  head  (no pun intended) and it cannot be objectively verified or measured.

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The brain itself is actually devoid of nerves and cannot feel pain. The sensations arise from receptors in the nerves in the surrounding structures such as the eyes, teeth, sinuses, facial muscles, scalp and the meninges (covering of the brain).

Acute pain may be due to an infection in any of these structures. If the headache is chronic and recurrent, it is probably due to tension or migraine, with an overlap between the two conditions.

During such a headache, biochemical analysis of the blood shows a drop in the levels of a neurochemical called serotonin and the trace element magnesium. This, in turn, stimulates the trigeminal nerve (one of the cranial nerves) and results in the release of substances called neuropeptides. Their action is dilatation and inflammation of the blood vessels of the covering of the brain. The result is a throbbing or dull, aching sensation in the head.

Tension headaches may not be confined to the head. There may be pain in the scalp, neck, jaw or shoulder. It may be associated with non-headache symptoms like insomnia, fatigue, irritability, loss of appetite or lack of concentration.

Migraines are the other type of recurrent headaches. They occur in 12 per cent of the population and are three times commoner in women. The headache may be familial, with many members of the family complaining of a similar indisposition. A typical migraine may be preceded for a few days by vague symptoms of drowsiness, irritability, depression, craving for sweets or increased thirst. A few hours before the onset of the headache, there is usually a typical aura with flashing lights, a feeling of lightening bolts in the head, tingling and numbness. (This differentiates migraines from tension headaches, which typically do not have an aura.) The headache that follows is throbbing and unbearable. It may last for a couple of hours or a whole day. It usually subsides with vomiting, leaving a physically and emotionally drained individual who has effectively lost a full working day.

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Migraine attacks are usually preceded by a typical aura with flashing lights, lightning bolts in the head, numbness, etc.

Devastated by the ailment, most sufferers learn to recognise and avoid triggers which precipitate the headache. Migraine may be due to  hormones, especially fluctuating levels of oestrogen and progesterone. This is the reason why migraines are commoner in women. They are also aggravated at the time of hormonal surges and changes like menarche, pregnancy and menopause.

Foods containing monosodium glutamate (an additive in Chinese food) and tryptophan (found in chocolates, oats, bananas, poultry and red meat) and some preservatives. This has lead to the coining of the term   Chinese restaurant headache.

Stress at home or at work, which can cause the release of chemicals.

Scents and perfumes or even the smell of paint.

Insomnia as well as excessive sleep.

Change in the weather.

Headaches are a source of anxiety, especially if they are severe and recurrent. There may also be the persistent nagging fear of a sinister diagnosis like a brain tumour. If you are worried,

Keep a   headache calendar, so that when you consult the physician you have precise documentation of the type, frequency and duration of the ailment.

Have an ENT (ear, nose and throat) evaluation to rule out sinusitis and an eye check-up for refractory errors or glaucoma.

If these are normal and the headache is still worrying, you need to consult a physician. You may require further tests like a CT scan or an MRI, especially if the headache is non-typical.

A physician needs to be consulted if :

The onset of the headache is abrupt and severe,

If it is associated with fever, stiff neck, rash, mental confusion, seizures, double vision, weakness, numbness or speaking difficulties,

If it has occurred after a head injury or has suddenly appeared after the age of 50 years.

Most headaches respond well to a simple paracetamol or an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) like ibubrufen or tolfenamic acid preceded by an antiemetic like domperidone or stemetil. Lying in a darkened room also helps. Anecdotal evidence suggests that acupuncture or pressure are helpful.

CLICK & SEE:  Some Natural Remedies For Headache and Migraine

Lifestyle modifications help to reduce the severity and frequency of attacks. Triggers should be avoided. Aerobic exercise for 40 minutes a day like walking, jogging, running or stair climbing releases protective mood-boosting chemicals from the calf muscles in the leg. Regular yoga, Tai-Chi, meditation and relaxation also lessen the levels of tension causing chemicals, thus reducing attacks and improving the quality of life.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.

Source:The Telegraph (Kolkata,India)

Drugs lead to brain brake failure

 A single dose of morphine was found to lower the inhibitions of rats, even after the drug had left their systems, a finding that may help scientists better understand addiction in humans, US researchers said.

In rats, the painkiller blocked the brain’s ability to strengthen connections, or synapses, that ratchet down reward or pleasure, researchers from Brown University reported in the journal Nature.

“What we have found is that the inhibitory synapses can no longer be strengthened 24 hours after treatment with morphine, which suggests that a natural brake has been removed,” said Julie Kauer, a professor of molecular pharmacology, physiology and biotechnology at Brown.

“This happens 24 hours after the animal had one dose of morphine. There is no morphine left in the brain. It shows that it is a persistent effect of the drug,” she said in a telephone interview.

Kauer said the finding adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting a link between learning and addiction and may help in the development of drugs to treat addiction. “Strengthening synapses, we think, is the beginning of the formation of memory,” she said.

By shutting off the natural ability to strengthen connections that inhibit pleasure, the brain may be learning to crave drugs, she said.

Kauer said the brain has two kinds of neurons  those that excite the nerve connections and those that inhibit or depress them.

“If inhibition is reduced, you get runaway excitability,” she said. This imbalance may boost the firing of neurons that make dopamine, the brain’s “pleasure chemical” activated after rewarding experiences such as eating, sex, and the use of addictive drugs.

Kauer found the changes in a small section of the midbrain that is involved in the reward system. While her study looked at the early response to addictive drugs, she intends to study the effect over time.

Source:The Times Of India

Flying Home

As earthbound beings, humans have always had a fascination with winged creatures of all kinds. The idea of being able to spontaneously lift off from the earth and fly is so compelling to us that we invented airplanes and helicopters and myriad other flying machines in order to provide ourselves with the many gifts of being airborne. Flying high in the sky, we look down on the earth that is our home and see things from an entirely different perspective. We can see more, and we can see farther than we can when we’re on the ground. As if all this weren’t enough, the out-of-this-world feeling of freedom that comes with groundlessness inspires us to want to take flight again and again.

Metaphorically, we take flight whenever we break free of the gravity that holds us to a particular way of thinking or feeling or being. We take flight mentally when we rise above our habitual ways of thinking about things and experience new insights. This is what it means to open our minds. Emotionally, we take flight when the strength of our passion exceeds the strength of our blockages; the floodgates open and we are free to feel fully. Spiritually we take flight when we locate that part of ourselves that is beyond the constraint of linear time and the world of form. It is in this place that we experience the essential boundlessness that defines the experience of flight.

Taking flight is always about freeing ourselves from form, if only temporarily. When we literally fly, in a plane or on a hang glider, we free ourselves from the strength of gravity’s pull. As we open our minds and our hearts, we free ourselves from habitual patterns of thought and emotional blockages. As we remember our true nature, we free ourselves from identification with the temporary state of our physical forms. The more we stretch our wings, the clearer it becomes that taking flight is a state of grace that simply reminds us of who we really are.

Source:Daily Om