Monthly Archives: February 2008

Make A Sound Physic

There are three things that are essential for designing your ideal PHYSIC: 1. proper diet 2. resistive training and 3.cardiovascular training. Having knowledge in each of these areas will help when it comes to designing your program.

The saying “You are what you eat” is certainly true if you are not providing your body with the proper nourishment it needs for you to function at your optimal level. We are either putting things into our body that are not good for us or we are depriving our body of the vitamins and minerals it needs to sustain us. In any workout it is important to drink water because it helps to prevent headaches and cramping, as well as to maintain your energy level. When doing resistance training, it is important to ingest protein within 30 to 60 minutes of a workout so the muscle can undergo growth and recovery. Protein should consist of eggs, chicken, fish and lean beef. Good fats such as omega-3s, which can be found in cold-water fish like salmon, and good carbohydrates like those found in fruits and vegetables, are essential in overall function.

Deciding whether to work out with free weights or plate-loaded machines will be determined by what you actually want to accomplish. Each one has its pros and cons. When using free weights, you will be working not only the intended muscle but also the stabilizing muscles. For example, when doing a bench press you are working the chest muscles, but in order to accomplish that movement you will be activating the triceps and rotator cuff muscles which are stabilizing the movement to prevent buckling. Free weights are an excellent way to increase overall function as you increase your strength. Because you are also using the stabilizing muscles, you are not going to be lifting as much weight as you would with the weight machines.

If you are a beginner or have an injury, utilizing exercise bands and balls is a great way to develop function at a low intensity. You can increase the resistance in the bands as you start to improve. If you cannot perform between 10-12 reps with good form, the resistance is too much and should be reduced to a more manageable level.

There are many types of equipment that will give you a great cardio workout – the treadmill, stair climber, elliptical and bicycle. It is recommended that you engage in some form of cardio just about every day. The duration can vary, with a minimum of 30 minutes for each session. It is always prudent to start off slow and increase your intensity as you become more fit. The elliptical is good for anyone who has a knee injury because it provides a low-impact workout. The treadmill, stair climber and bicycle can be used at many different intensity levels. For example, by raising the speed and incline on the treadmill, you increase the intensity of the workout. Increasing the speed with the stair climber and increasing the resistance on the bike and elliptical are great ways to intensify your workout.

Even though you should do cardio every day (even a brisk walk), limit intense cardio training to only 2-3 times per week. When doing high-intensity interval training, spinning or heavy-duty elliptical work, your body can cross the anaerobic threshold and can no longer metabolize blood lactate fast enough. The blood lactate level rises suddenly, resulting in a buildup that is detrimental to muscle tissue, function and recovery. If recovery time is not sufficient, you are overtraining, which is counterproductive.

No matter what your goals are, start off slow. Use resistance bands and stability balls, and then progress to free weights. Then you can utilize the weight machines to define certain areas. Most of all, have fun exercising. Change your routine often – it is good for your body and it also prevents boredom. Even when doing your cardio workouts, change from the bike to the elliptical to the stair climber to the treadmill. Remember, the real secret is to eat less and exercise more.

For more information, go to:->Body by Design

Source: MSN News for Health

Chalta (Dillenia)

Botanical Name:Dillenia indica L. (Dilleniaceae)
Family : Dilleniaceae
Syn : Dillenia speciosa Thunb.
English name: Dillenia, Elephant Apple
Common name: Chulta, hondapara tree, elephant apple,Outenga
Sanskrit names: Bhavya, Bharija.
Vernacular names: Asm : Chalita, Qutenga; Ben: Chalta; Guj : Karambel; Hin : Chalta; Kan :Betta kanijala; Mar: Mota karmal; Mal: Chalita, Punna; Man: Heigri; Ori : Qu, Uvu; San: Korbhatta; Tam and Tel: Uva.
Trade name: Chalta.

Habitat :Sub-Himalayan tract from Garhwal to Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Tripura, West Bengal, Orissa, Bihar, Central and South India; Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka.

Evergreen, round-headed tree, 9-42.5 m high; branchlets tomentose, bark cinnamomum-like; leaf alternate, simple, fascicled at the apices of branches, petiole 3.7 cm long, lamina 20-25 cm by 5-10 cm, oblong-Ianceolate, closely set parallel veins from midrib, upper surface glabrous, hairs present on the lower surface, especially on veins; flower terminal or leaf-opposed, solitary, white, 15 cm in diameter, sepals thick; fruit globose with accrescent calyx, 12.5-15 cm in diameter, green when young, yellowish and sweet-scented when ripe; seeds many, compressed, embedded in hairy cells.

It is a spreading tree and has beautiful white fragrant flowers, toothed leaves and globose fruits with small brown seeds. The greenish-yellow fruit, which has a thick protective covering, is edible. Unripe fruits are cooked to make pickle and chutney. The juicy pulp is aromatic but very acidic.

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The fruit is a 5-12 cm diameter aggregate of 15 carpels, each carpel containing five seeds embedded in an edible pulp.

According to the reference literatures, botanically, Dillenia indica (Syn. D. elliptica) is an evergreen tree; Leaves oblong, acute or acuminate, margins dentate; Flowers solitary, pendent; Fruits yellowish-green with enclosed sepals; Seeds reniform, black, margin spiny.

Flowering: May-June; Fruiting: July-August. – ripens in November­December.

The natives of many parts of Chhattisgarh prepare Shurbut from Chalta fruits. The Shurbut is consumed for its specific delicious taste. The traditional healers of many region are aware of its health benefits. They recommend this Shurbut to the patients having troubles related to respiratory system. It is also considered as promising heart tonic. As its use is limited to few natives, I personally feel that there is a need to popularise this health drink among the common natives. To prepare the Shurbut, the fruit juice is extracted. Separately, sugar is boiled in water to prepare the Chashni (Syrup). The juice is added in Chashni to prepare the Shurbut. Once prepared in bulk, it is used round the year by diluting with water.The fruit pulp is used in Indian Cuisine in curries, jam, and jellies.

The natives consume its fruit with taste and use it in preparation of different dishes. The natives of Ambikapur and Jashpur region confirmed that the Elephants are fond of its fruits. These regions have wild population of Elephants. Although Chalta is a common tree in different parts but it is a matter of surprise that the traditional healers are not much aware of its traditional medicinal uses and properties. Besides fruits, they use its leaves and bark in treatment of common diseases. According to the traditional healers of Bastar region, the bark in combination with other herbs can be used in treatment of all types of internal bleeding. The traditional healers of Narharpur region suggest the patients having the problem of Leucorrhoea to wash the vagina with the decoction of bark. The decoction is diluted with water according to the condition of the patients. The herb collectors use its leaves as styptic but as other promising alternatives are available, the leaves are used less commonly. The healers of Chhattisgarh Plains use the leaves in popular combinations used externally in form of aqueous paste, in treatment of Headache particularly Adhasisi (Migraine). In many parts of Chhattisgarh, the cattle owners use the decoction of leaves to wash the cattle in rainy days and to dress the open wounds. In reference literatures it is mentioned that the syrup of the juice of unripe fruits allays cough, assists expectoration and cures angina and stomatitis. The healers of Chhattisgarh are aware of these reported uses.

Chemical contents: Stem-bark: betulin, betulinaldehyde, betulic acid, flavonoids, dillentin, dihydroisorhamnetin, lupeol, myricetin, glucosides, B-sitosterol; Wood: betulinic acid, lupeol, β-sitosterol; Leaf: betulinic acid, cycloartenone, flavonoids, n-hentriacontanol, B­sitosterol; Fruit: an arabinogalactan, betulinic acid, β-sitosterol.

Medicinal Uses:
Traditional use: MANIPURI : Fruit decoction: for curing dandruff and checking falling of hairs; MIKIR (Assam) : Fruit: eat to combat weakness; TRIBES OFTEJPUR (Assam) : Plant: in fever; TRIBES OF TlRAP (Arunachal Pradesh) : Leaf: in dysentery; SANTAL : (i) Root: as prophylactic at the cholera season, an ingredient of a medicine for burning sensation in the chest; (ii) Stem-bark: component of medicine for sores caused by mercury poisoning, chronic progredient sores and carbuncle, and as a prophylactic at the cholera season; (iii) Mucilage: on wounds of burns; TRIBES OF ABUJH MARH RESERVE AREA (Madhya Pradesh) : Fruit: as tonic; TRIBES OF EAST GODAVARI (Andhra Pradesh) : Fleshy calyx: in stomach disorders.

YAJURVEDA : an important plant; UPAVARHANA SAMHITA : the plant is aphrodisiac and prpmotes virility; CHARAKA SAMHITA : the fruit is sweet, acidic, astringent, removes bile, phlegm, fetid and flatulence; SUSHRUTA SAMHITA : fruit cardiotonic, tasteful, astringent, acidic, removes bile, phlegm, fetid and flatulence; RAJANIGHANTU: green fruit is acidic, pungent, hot, removes wind, phlegm, but the ripe fruit is sweet, sour, appetising and beneficial in colic associated with mucous; MATSYA PURANA : decoction of this plant can be used as universal antidote for poison; AGNI PURANA : spraying water, containing stem extract, on and around the wound caused by spider bite helps in removing the poison.

AYURVEDA: (i) Root (bark extrac_: in food poisoning; (ii) Root-bark(paste): along with leaf­paste applied externally in sprains; (iii) Young bark and Leaf: astringent; (iv) Fruit-juice : mixed with sugar and water serves as a cooling beverage in fever, fit, and as a cough syrup; (v) Ripe fruit-juice: removes flatulence, increases quantity of semen, galactogogue, combats weakness, external application helps supuration of boil, and checks loss of hair.

.Modern use: Leaf (50% EtOH extract) : shows antiamphetamine activity; Seed-extract: antimicrobial; Seed-oil: antifungal, and its unsaponifiable matter antibacterial.

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


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Entropion involves the turning in of the edges of the eyelid (usually the lower eyelid) so that the lashes rub against the eye surface.It is a medical condition in which the eyelids fold inward. It is very uncomfortable, as the eyelashes rub against the cornea constantly. Entropion is usually caused by genetic factors and may be congenital. Trachoma infection may cause scarring of the inner eyelid, which may cause entropion.

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Causes :

Congenital , Aging , Scarring and Spasm

The most common cause of entropion is a part of the aging process, particularly the tissues supporting the lower eyelid.
Scars within surface of the eyelid resulting from inflammation, chronic infections, or trauma may lead to entropion as well.

Entropion can be a congenital condition. In babies, it rarely causes problems because the lashes are very soft and do not easily damage the cornea. In older people, the condition is usually caused by a spasm and weakening of the muscles surrounding the lower part of the eye, causing the lid to turn inward.

Although rare in North America and Europe, trachoma infection can cause scarring of the inner side of the lid, which may cause entropion. Trachoma scarring is one of the three leading causes of blindness in the world. Risk factors for entropion are aging, chemical burn, or prior infection with trachoma.

Symptoms :

*Excessive tearing

*Eye irritation

*Redness and pain around the eye

*Eye discomfort or pain

*Decreased vision if the cornea is damaged

*Sensitivity to light and wind

*Sagging skin around the eye

*Decreased vision, especially if the cornea is damaged

Congenital , Aging , Scarring and Spasm

A physical examination of the eyes and eyelids confirms the diagnosis. Special tests are usually not necessary.

Artificial tears (a lubricant) may provide relief from dryness and keep the cornea lubricated. Surgery to correct the position of the eyelids is usually effective.

Severe cases with corneal ulcer may require surgery to move conjunctiva over the cornea to protect the eye from perforation.

The probable outcome is good if treated before cornea damage occurs.

Possible Complications:
Corneal dryness and irritation may predispose the eye to infections or corneal abrasions or corneal ulcers

When to Contact yuor health care provider?:
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if eyelids turn inward, or if there is a persistent sensation of a foreign body in the eye. Rapidly increasing redness, pain, light sensitivity, or decreasing vision should be considered an emergency in a person with entropion.

Prevention :
Most cases are not preventable. Treatment reduces the risk of complications.
Persons who have recently traveled to an area with trachoma present (North Africa, South Asia) should seek treatment if they have red eyes.

Entropion in dogs:-
Canine entropion has been documented in most dog breeds, although there are some breeds (particularly purebreds) that are more commonly affected than others. These include the Akita, Pug, Chow Chow, Shar Pei, St. Bernard, Cocker Spaniel, Boxer, Springer Spaniel, Labrador Retriever, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Bull Mastiff, Great Dane, Irish Setter, Poodle and particularly Bloodhound . The condition is usually present by six months of age. Entropion can also occur secondary to pain in the eye, scarring of the eyelid, or nerve damage. The upper or lower eyelid can be involved, and one or both eyes may be affected. When entropion occurs in both eyes, this is known as “bilateral entropion.”

Canine entropion

Upper lid entropion involves the eyelashes rubbing on the eye, but the lower lid usually has no eyelashes, so hair rubs on the eye. Surgical correction is used in more severe cases. A strip of skin and orbicularis oculi muscle are removed parallel to the affected portion of the lid and then the skin is sutured. Shar Peis, who often are affected as young as two or three weeks old, respond well to temporary eyelid tacking. The entropion is often corrected after three to four weeks, and the sutures are removed.

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.This is purely for educational purpose.


Chewing Gum Helps In Bowel Recovery

Chewing gum may make your jaws hurt after a bit, but it could get you out of bed earlier after gastrointestinal surgery as it helps in the recovery of bowel function.

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Researchers studied 102 patients undergoing gastrointestinal surgery and gave half of them 5 pieces of chewing gum per day after their operation.

They found that 51 patients who chewed gum recovered their bowel movement significantly faster than those who did not.

Researchers theorized that chewing the gum might have stimulated the smooth muscle fibres and secretion from the salivary glands and liver.

Bradley Kropp, Faculty Member for F1000 Medicine Urology and Professor of Pediatric Urology at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, has decided to give his patients undergoing reconstructive surgery a piece of gum following their operation.

“In today’s high-tech, molecular-driven scientific world, it is nice to come across an article that can be implemented immediately into our practices without increased healthcare cost,” he said.

“Just think how much a pack of gum would cost today had the pharmaceutical industry come across this information first,” he added.

Sources:The study is published in the journal Urology

Tool Kit To Track Drug Toxicity

A Harvard Medical School team led by Vamsi Mootha has developed a new tool kit that helps in explaining how drugs can affect its users…….CLICK & SEE

The kit is important as certain drugs affect some people in unexpected ways, not all of them harmful.

For instance, muscle cramps affect nearly a million people relying on cholesterol-lowering statins. Conversely, a diabetic taking medication for intestinal worms could find his glucose levels improve.

The reason for this, according to this new study, can be traced to mitochondria, those tiny organelles floating around in cellular cytoplasm, often described as the cell’s battery packs.

Findings of the study have been published in the latest issue of the journal Nature Biotechnology .

The kit isolates five primary aspects of mitochondrial function and analyses how individual drugs affect them.

Over the past decades, mitochondria have increasingly been understood as a key determinant of cellular health. On the other hand, mitochondrial dysfunction can lead to many degenerative conditions as well as metabolic diseases such as diabetes.

“Historically, most studies on mitochondria were done by isolating them from their normal environment,” said Mootha.

“We wanted to analyse mitochondria in the context of intact cells, which would then give us a picture of how mitochondria relate to their natural surroundings. To do this we created a screening compendium that could then be mined with computation.”

“It’s just like taking your car in for an engine diagnostic,” explains Mootha.

“The mechanic will probe the battery, the exhaust system, the fan belt, etc., and as a result will then produce a read-out for the entire system. That’s analogous to what we’ve done.”

Sources: The Times Of India

Don’t Put Your Coffee in Plastic Cups

The amount of dangerous bisphenol A (BPA) that leaches from plastic bottles into the drinks they contain is most dependent on the liquid’s temperature, according to new research. When both new and used polycarbonate drinking bottles were exposed to boiling hot water, BPA was released 55 times more rapidly.

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BPA an endocrine disruptor which mimics your body’s natural hormones. Hormones serve different functions throughout your body. BPA has been shown to affect reproduction and brain development.

The increased release of BPA continued even after the hot liquid was removed, meaning that even washing plastic cups or bottles in a hot dishwasher could lead to increased BPA content in cold drinks.

Science Daily January 30, 2008


Other Names: Granulated eyelids.

Blepharitis is a common condition that causes inflammation of the eyelids. The condition can be difficult to manage because it tends to recur.It is characterized by inflammation of the eyelid margins. Blepharitis usually causes redness of the eyes and itching and irritation of the eyelids in both eyes. Its appearance is often confused with conjunctivitis and due to its recurring nature it is the most common cause of “recurrent conjunctivitis” in older people. It is also often treated as ‘dry eye‘ by patients due to the gritty sensation it may give the eyes – although lubricating drops do little to improve the condition.



There are two types of Bepharitis:
1.Anterior blepharitis affects the front of the eyelids near the eyelashes. The causes are seborrheic dermatitis (similar to dandruff) and occasional infection by Staphylococcus bacteria and scalp dandruff.

It is a type of external eye inflammation. As with dandruff, it is usually asymptomatic until the disease progresses. As it progresses, the sufferer begins to notice a foreign body sensation, matting of the lashes, and burning. Usually, the primary care physician will prescribe topical antibiotics for staphylococcal blepharitis. Unfortunately this is not an effective treatment.This ailment can sometimes lead to a chalazion or a stye.
2.Posterior blepharitis or Rosacea associated blepharitisaffects the back of the eyelids, the part that makes contact with the eyes. This is caused by the oil glands present in this region. It is by far, the most common type of blepharitis.

Posterior blepharitis affects the inner eyelid (the moist part that makes contact with the eye) and is caused by problems with the oil (meibomian) glands in this part of the eyelid. Two skin disorders can cause this form of blepharitis: acne rosacea, which leads to red and inflamed skin, and scalp dandruff (seborrheic dermatitis).It is the most common type of blepharitis, is usually one part of the spectrum of seborrheic dermatitis seborrhea which involves the scalp, lashes, eyebrows, nasolabial folds and ears. Treatment is best accomplished by a dermatologist.

This most common type of blepharitis is often found in people with a rosacea skin type. The oil glands in the lid (meibomian glands) secrete a modified oil which leads to inflammation at the gland openings which are found at the edge of the lid.

Symptoms of either form of blepharitis include a foreign body or burning sensation, excessive tearing, itching, sensitivity to light (photophobia), red and swollen eyelids, redness of the eye, blurred vision, frothy tears, dry eye, or crusting of the eyelashes on awakening.

Other conditions associated with blepharitis:

Complications from blepharitis include:

Stye: A red tender bump on the eyelid that is caused by an acute infection of the oil glands of the eyelid.

Chalazion: This condition can follow the development of a stye. It is a usually painless firm lump caused by inflammation of the oil glands of the eyelid. Chalazion can be painful and red if there is also an infection.

Problems with the tear film: Abnormal or decreased oil secretions that are part of the tear film can result in excess tearing or dry eye. Because tears are necessary to keep the cornea healthy, tear film problems can make people more at risk for corneal infections.

Treatment and management:
The single most important treatment principle is a daily routine of lid margin hygiene as described below. Such a routine needs to be convenient enough to be continued lifelong to avoid relapses as blepharitis is a lifelong condition.

A typical lid margin hygiene routine consists of 3 steps:
1. Softening of lid margin debris and oils:
Apply a warm wet compress to the lids – such as a washcloth with hot water – for about 2 minutes.

2. Mechanical removal of lid margin debris:
At end of shower routine, wash your face with a wash cloth. Use facial soap or non-burning baby shampoo (make sure to dilute the soap solution 1/10 with water first). Gently and repeatedly rub along the lid margins while eyes are closed.

3. Antibiotic reduction of lid margin bacteria (at the discretion of your physician):
After lid margin cleaning, spread small amount of prescription antibiotic ophthalmic ointment with finger tip along lid fissure while eyes closed. Use prior to bed time as opposed to in the morning to avoid blurry vision.

The following guide is very common but is more challenging to perform by visually disabled or frail patients as it requires good motor skills and a mirror. Compared to above it does not bear any advantages:

1. Apply hot compresses to both eyes for 5 minutes once to twice per day.

2. After hot compresses, in front of a mirror, use a moist Q-tip soaked in a cup of water with a drop of baby shampoo. Rub along the lid margins while tilting the lid outward with the other hand.

3. In front of mirror, place small drop of antibiotic ophthalmic ointment (e.g. erythromycin) in lower conjunctival sack while pulling lid away from eye with other hand.

Often the above is advised together with mild massage to mechanically empty glands located at the lid margin (Meibomian glands, Zeiss glands, Moll glands).

Depending on the degree of inflammation of the lid margin, a combination of topical antibiotic and steroid drops or ointments can be prescribed to provide instant relief. However, this harbors significant risks such as increased intraocular pressure and posterior subcapsular cataract formation. Since cataract formation is irreversible and even intraocular hypertension might be (harboring the risk of glaucoma with permanent visual loss), both need to be checked for monthly. Steroid-induced cataracts and ocular hypertension can affect all ages.

If acne rosacea coexists, treatment should be focused on this skin disorder as the underlying cause together with the above lid margin hygiene routine. Typically, 100 mg doxycycline by mouth twice per day is prescribed for four to six weeks which can be tapered to 50 mg once daily for several years. Some physicians use a lower starting dose. Patients are instructed to continue use for at least two months before symptoms improve significantly. Contrary to common belief, use of tetracycline-type antibiotics is not primarily to treat bacterial infection but rather to inhibit matrix metalloproteinases resulting in thinning of oil gland secretions and change of the characteristic prominent capillary pattern.

Dermatologists treat blepharitis similarly to seborrheic dermatitis by using safe topical anti-inflammatory medication like sulfacetamide or brief courses of a mild topical steroid. Although anti-fungals like ketoconazole (Nizoral) are commonly prescribed for seborrheic dermatitis, dermatologists and optometrists usually do not prescribe anti-fungals for seborrheic blepharitis.

4. Ocular Antihistamines and allergy treatments:
If these conventional treatments for blepharitis do not bring relief, patients should consider allergy testing. Allergic responses to dust mite feces and other allergens can cause lid inflammation, ocular irritation, and dry eyes. Prescription optical antihistamines like Patanol, Optivar, Elestat, and over the counter optical antihistamines like Zaditor are very safe and can bring almost immediate relief to patients whose lid inflammation is caused by allergies.

Click to learn more about Belpharitis:->.……………………………..(1)...(2)...(3)

Herbal Remedies of Bepharitis

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.This is purely for educational purpose


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Catharanthus (Nayantara)

Giant steps periwinkle (Vinca major)

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Botanical Name:Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don (Apocynaceae)
Family: Apocynaceae
Genus: Catharanthus
Syn: Lochnera rosea (L.) Spach, Vinca rosea L.
English names: Madagascar periwinkle, Old maid, Red periwinkle.
Vernacular names: Ben: Nayantara; Hin : Sada sawagon; Lad: Swet chandu; Mal: Mar: Ushamalari;Sadaphul; Ori : Ainskati; Pun: Rattanjot; Tam: Sudukadu Mallikai; Tel: Billaganneru.

Trade name: Nayantara.
Habitat:A native of West Indies; commonly grown in gardens throughout India;Bangladesh and Pakistan.

An evergreen shrub, it grows to a height of 1m with a spread of 1m. The stem is short, erect and branching; the leaves are glossy gree, oval, 5cm long and opposite acuminate; the flowers are soft pink, tinged with red, 5 petalled, open, tubular and 4cm across, appearing in spring and autumn.

You may click to see the pictures..>...(01)…….(1)..…..(2)…….(3)

Catharanthus coriaceus Markgr. Madagascar: A native of tropical Africa and Madagascar, it prefers rich, well drained, moist soils in a protected, sunny position, and is drought and frost tender.
Propagation is by seed and by cuttings.
A small herb or subshrub, up to 75 cm high; leaves elliptic-ovate to oblong, 4-10 by 2-4 cm, glabrous to puberulous, base acute or cuneate, apex obtusely apiculate, lateral nerves 10-12 pairs, petiole 1.0-1.5 cm; flowers in axillary or terminal cymes; solitary or paired, shortly pedicellate, pink or white or white with pink or yellow ring in orifice region; mericarps 3-4 by 0.3 cm, puberulous.
Flowering and Fruiting: throughout the year.

Catharanthus (Madagascar Periwinkle) is a genus of eight species of herbaceous perennial plants, seven endemic to the island of Madagascar, the eighth native to the Indian subcontinent in southern Asia.

Species :

Catharanthus coriaceus Markgr. Madagascar.
Catharanthus lanceus (Bojer ex A.DC.) Pichon. Madagascar.
Catharanthus longifolius (Pichon) Pichon. Madagascar.
Catharanthus ovalis Markgr. Madagascar.
Catharanthus pusillus (Murray) G.Don. Indian subcontinent.
Catharanthus roseus (L.) G.Don. Madagascar.
Catharanthus scitulus (Pichon) Pichon. Madagascar.
Catharanthus trichophyllus (Baker) Pichon. Madagascar.

Ecology and cultivation: Plains from the coasts, in wastelands, fallow fields, less on the hills 800-1400 m, also widely cultivated.

The species are self-propagating from seed; the seeds require a period of total darkness to germinate. Cuttings from mature plants will also root readily.

One species, C. roseus, has been widely cultivated and introduced, becoming an invasive species in some areas.

Chemical contents : Root-bark: vincaline I & II; Root: vinblastine or vinleukoblastine (VLB), vincristine or vinleurocristine (VCR), ursolic acid, oleanolic acid, ajmalicine, alstonine; Stem: vinca rodine, vincoline, vinamidine,leurocolombine, vincathicine, vincubine; Leaf: leurosine, vindoline, catharanthine, lochnerine, tetrahydroalstonine, roseoside, essential oil; Seed: vincedine, vincedicine, tabersonine.

Medicinal Uses:
C. roseus has gained interest from the pharmaceutical industry; the alkaloids vincristine and vinblastine from its sap have been shown to be an effective treatment for leukaemia. Although the sap is poisonous if ingested, some 70 useful alkaloids have been identified from it. In Madagascar, extracts have been used for hundreds of years in herbal medicine for the treatment of diabetes, as hemostatics and tranquilizers, to lower blood pressure, and as disinfectants. The extracts are not without their side effects, however, which include hair loss.

In 1923, considerable interest was aroused in the medical world by the statement that this species of Vinca had the power to cure diabetes, and would probably prove an efficient substitute for Insulin, but V. major has long been used by herbalists for this purpose. Vincristine, a major chemotherapy agent for leukemia, and vinblastin (for Hodgkin’s disease) are derived from the plant.  The anti-cancer constituents are very strong and should only be taken under the supervision of a qualified health care practitioner.  Use as a fluid extract.  It has also been used in traditional herbal medicine to treat wasp stings (India), stop bleeding (Hawaii), as an eyewash (Cuba), and to treat diabetes (Jamaica); contains the alkaloid alstonine which can reduce blood pressure.

Vinca alkaloids:
Vinca alkaloids are anti-mitotic and anti-microtubule agents. They are nowadays produced synthetically and used as drugs in cancer therapy and as immunosuppressive drugs. These compounds are vinblastine, vincristine, vindesine and vinorelbine. Periwinkle extracts and derivatives, such as vinpocetine, are also used as nootropic drugs.

Catharanthus lanceus contains up to 6% yohimbine in its leaves

Indian Traditional use: BODO: (i) Plant: in cancer, diabetes, (ii ) Leaf: in menorrhagia; LODHA : (i) Root-paste: in septic wounds, (ii) Root-decoction (with paste of long peppers) : in fever, (iii) Leaf-juice: in blood dysentery, (iv) Leaf-decoction: to babies in gripping pain; SANTAL : (i) Latex: in scabies, (ii) Seed-powder (with decoction of black pepper) : in epilepsy; ETHNIC COMMUNITIES OF EAST GODAVARI DISTRICT: Root: in cancerous wounds.

Modern use: Plant-extract: antimitotic; Root (alkaloids) : in cancer, and as emetic, hypotensive, sedative and antiviral.

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Catharanthus roseus (Madagascar Periwinkle)

.Description and Natural History of the Periwinkle
Vinblastine and vincristine are alkaloids found in the Madagascar periwinkle

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


Three Kidneys For The Price Of One

 India has the dubious distinction of being the   great organ bazaar, where various human body parts are available for a price. The trade is run by a nexus of skilled medical professionals and cut throat businessmen.


Hypertension, diabetes mellitus, polycystic kidney disease, in-born errors of metabolism, infections or autoimmune diseases can cause the kidneys to fail. Once the filtration rate drops to 20-25 per cent of normal, the patient has fatal end-stage renal disease. To live, the patient has to opt for long term dialysis or a kidney transplant.

According to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), almost 100,000 patients are awaiting a legal kidney transplant.

The donated kidney may come from a deceased donor or a living donor, who may be genetically related or non-related. Earlier, the donor and recipient had to be genetically similar. They needed to have the same blood group and share other minor blood antigens (HLA groups). Now with a technique called plasmapharesis and high doses of the new immunosuppressant regimens (Cedars-Sinai High Dose IVIG therapy), these criteria do not have to be met. This means that now spouses, siblings, friends or even strangers can donate a kidney to each other, even if they have different blood groups.

There is a yawning gap between demand and supply, and this provides a lucrative business opportunity for unscrupulous individuals. There is a nexus between travel agents (medical tourism), brokers and medical professionals. They arrange for financially desperate individuals to sign an affidavit claiming a blood relationship with the recipient. These potential donors are not evaluated medically and psychologically. As the supply falls (sometimes even the poor refuse to sell their kidneys), the brokers resort to illegal activities. Donors are duped or kidnapped and some unsuspecting individuals have their kidneys stolen. Since everyone has two kidneys, the removal of one poses no danger to life.

A typical patient lives 10 to 15 years after a kidney transplant. The quality of life also improves as the patient feels more energetic and has less food and fluid restrictions.

All nations have strict criteria for legal kidney transplants. The person should be less than 60, should not have incapacitating heart or lung disease, incurable terminal infections, cancer or mental illness or be a drug addict, smoker or an alcoholic. But in the black market, money is the only determining factor.

Traditionally, the donor kidney was removed through a large incision. Now, laparoscopy has made the incision smaller and the hospital stay shorter. The recipient’s diseased kidneys are not removed. They are left in situ and the donor kidney is placed in a different location, usually in the iliac fossa, an area in the lower abdomen. The new kidney is connected to different blood vessels, usually the external iliac artery and vein. The ureter from the donor kidney is then connected to the bladder. Instead of two kidneys the recipient now has three.

In most cases, the kidney will start functioning immediately and reach normal levels within 3-7 days. Rejection of the new kidney is prevented by starting immunosuppressive medications immediately. Permutation and combination of tacrolimus, mycophenolate, prednisone, cyclosporine, rapamycin or azathioprine may be used. They have to be continued lifelong.

Despite intensive treatment, 10-25 per cent of the patients reject the new kidney in the first 60 days. If this occurs, adjustments in the medication have to be made. The patient may need to return to dialysis or opt for another transplant. Other complications are severe infections, development of a type of post transplant lymphoma (cancer), bone problems, stomach ulcers, hirsutism, electrolyte imbalances, baldness, obesity and acne. Pre-existing diabetes and hypercholesterolemia may be aggravated.

Transplants provide a new lease of life for the terminally ill. Some patients have lived for 25 years and longer, only to eventually die from unrelated causes. Some athletes have even made a comeback after receiving a transplant.

Transplants provide miracles, but the demand exceeds supply. This is why black marketeering, racketeering and unethical practices flourish. It may be worthwhile to ponder over certain issues:

Have we not failed as a society if the economically underprivileged have to resort to selling parts of their body to survive?

Do people not have the freedom to do as they wish with their bodies?

Instead of exploitation, and the middle man making the money, can organ donors not be given a fair deal financially?

Can they not be provided health insurance to look after them after the surgery?

With no proper laws and controls, are we not in danger of being kidnapped and killed for our organs?

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National Kidney Foundation:( A to Z Health Guide Item )


Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

India To Boost Tribal ‘Folk Medicine’

India will document, validate and popularise folk medicine practices of tribals across the country and even start institutes for their study to save these traditions from extinction.

“Folk medicine is different from ayurveda, homeopathy or unani. These are local medicinal procedures practised by tribals across India. We are trying to document, digitise and scientifically validate them,” said Verghese Samuel, joint secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

“Due to modern systems of medicine, this health heritage is losing its popularity. We are trying to save these good practices through the initiative,” Samuel said.

Sanjeev K. Chadha, director, department of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Sidha and Homeopathy) in the ministry, said: “Because of folk medicine practices, tribals in India have a very good immune system. If they are getting benefits out of these practices then there must be something good about these practices.

“These age-old traditions should not be lost in the wilderness. We will do research on these practices and record them. All the good practices would also be considered from patenting.”

There are over 130 tribal groups in India, many from north eastern states.

Chadha said the health ministry had decided to establish a North Eastern Institute of Folk Medicine at Pasighat, Arunachal Pradesh. The state government has already given over 40 acres of land for the purpose and the institute will come up at a cost of nearly 330 million.

“The institute will dedicate itself to the cause. Research and scientific validations will also be done there. The institute may soon have branches in states like Orissa, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh among others.”

Talking about the institute’s location, he said north eastern states were full of folk medicinal practices. “From malaria, to diarrhoea to wounds, people in this region use folk medicines and it’s better to start from there.”

Chadha said folk medicine was “a pool of knowledge” that had to be tapped.

“The practices are very utilitarian. We as a nation with diverse culture can’t allow a body of knowledge to perish. Like manuscripts, here is a pool of knowledge that needs to be tapped for a greater cause, for betterment of millions of people.

“Who knows it may give India a different pedestal in the health community of the world.”

Sources: The Times Of India