Monthly Archives: October 2008

Liquid Smoking

A sip of smoke to help drop the fag . A puff of cigarette may not be in vogue anymore with a sip promising the same smoking experience sans nicotine.
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Called ‘Liquid Smoking‘ the drink has South African herbal extracts, say its Dutch manufacturers United Drinks and Beauty Corporation.

The drink has already been on sale for one year now in Netherlands and United Drinks hopes the product would be available in the UK before Christmas, The Telegraph reported recently.

“The manufacturers say it does not contain the drug nicotine but rather a mix of roots from South African plants which is said to give ‘a slight energising effect, followed by a euphoric sense of calming and relaxation,” the newspaper said.

‘Liquid Smoking’ would cost about 1.50 pounds in the shops and would have less than 21 calories in every 275 ml can.

Meanwhile, The Guardian in a recent report about the drink said, “Coming in a can reminiscent of a cigarette packet, it has a box proclaiming ‘no warning needed’ where a health warning would be on a packet of cigarettes“.

Quoting United Drinks Chief Executive Martin Hartman, The Telegraph said, “The product we (United Drinks) have developed has got similar properties to nicotine, so we are trying to help people out who are affected by the ban on nicotine.

People might use this instead of a cigarette or tobacco to help the cravings.”

Martin Hartman was further quoted as saying “it will take the edge off of a need for nicotine for between one to four hours… I think it will help people who feel the need for nicotine in bars, restaurants, long-haul flights and on the train,” Martin Hartman added.

Sources: The Times Of India

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Play in Youth, Pay in Old Age

Playing tennis or badminton might be an excellent way of keeping fit, but if you’re not careful, you may end up paying in old age, healthwise.

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A new study headed by Navah Ratzon, director of occupational therapy department at Tel Aviv University (TAU), can be applied to any number of leisure sport activities.

“Increasing numbers of adults are pursuing amateur athletics during their leisure hours. But we’ve found worrying indications that this activity — when not done properly — may have negative effects on the musculoskeletal system,” Ratzon warned.

For example, in the US, musculoskeletal disorders and disease are the leading cause of disability, and are the cause of chronic conditions in 50 per cent of all people 50 years and older.

Musculoskeletal complaints include discomfort, pain or disease of the muscles, joints or soft tissues connecting the bones.

Focusing specifically on bowlers, Ratzon and her graduate student Nurit Mizrachi found that 62 per cent of the 98 athletes in their study reported musculoskeletal problems — aches and pains in the back, fingers, and wrist, for example.

According to the study, the degree of pain a player reported was in direct proportion to the number of leagues in which the person participated. Their conclusion is that the intensity of the sport exacerbated the risk of long-term musculoskeletal damage.

The risks are particularly high in sports where the body is held asymmetrically and repetitive movements are made, according to a TAU release. These findings were recently published in the journal Work.

All ball sports should be played with caution, Ratzon advised, including sports like golf, basketball, tennis and squash. “Your body is meant to work in a certain way,” she added.

“If you jump for the tennis ball while twisting your back, you put too much stress on your body because it’s an unnatural movement.”

Stretching before games is an obvious prevention method against long-term damage. But people should take other measures to keep their bodies fit.

Sources: The Times Of India

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Oregano

Botanical Name:Origanum vulgare
Family:
Lamiaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Lamiales
Genus: Origanum
Species: O. vulgare

Habitat: Native to Europe, the Mediterranean region and southern and central Asia.

Description: It is a perennial herb, growing to 20-80 cm tall, with opposite leaves 1-4 cm long. The flowers are purple, 3-4 mm long, produced in erect spikes. Its name derives from the Greek origanon , oros “mountain” + the verb ganousthai “delight in”. Oregano (seed) is also known as Ajwain in Urdu.

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Oregano is a hardy perennial that may need winter protection to survive in the colder zone in northern Illinois. It may grow two feet tall with a rounded, sprawling spread of 18 inches. White or pinkish-purple flower spikelets appear in mid to late summer. The cultivar ‘Aureum’ has golden yellow leaves and develops into an 8–10 inch mound. Use oregano in Spanish, Italian and Mexican cooking.

How to Grow
Plant oregano in full sun and well-drained soil. The gold leaf variety needs partial shade to help prevent leaf scorch. Plants may be started from seed, cuttings or crown division. Seed grown plants may not have good flavor. Propagate oregano by stem cuttings or crown division. Space plants 10–12 inches apart. Plants respond well to clump division every 2–3 years. This helps restore vigor and improve flavor.

Harvesting
Leaves can be snipped as needed. For best flavor, harvest leaves just as flower buds form. To dry, cut stems and bag dry or tray dry. When leaves are brittle, remove and separate them from the stem and store in an airtight container.

Uses:
The subspecies of oregano Origanum vulgare is an important culinary herb. It is particularly widely used in Greek and Italian-American cuisines. It is the leaves that are used in cooking, and the dried herb is often more flavourful than the fresh.

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Oregano is often used in tomato sauces, with fried vegetables, and grilled meat. Together with basil, it contributes much to the distinctive character of many Italian dishes.

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Oregano combines nicely with pickled olives, capers, and lovage leaves. Unlike most Italian herbs,[citation needed] oregano works with hot and spicy food, which is popular in southern Italy.

Oregano is an indispensable ingredient for Greek cuisine. Oregano adds flavour to Greek salad and is usually used separately or added to the lemon-olive oil sauce that accompanies many fish or meat barbecues and some casseroles.

Oregano growing in a pot.It has an aromatic, warm and slightly bitter taste. It varies in intensity; good quality is so strong that it almost numbs the tongue, but the cultivars adapted to colder climates have often unsatisfactory flavour. The influence of climate, season and soil on the composition of the essential oil is greater than the difference between the various species.

The related species Origanum onites (Greece, Asia Minor) and O. heracleoticum (Italy, Balkan peninsula, West Asia) have similar flavours. A closely related plant is marjoram from Asia Minor, which, however, differs significantly in taste, because phenolic compounds are missing in its essential oil. Some breeds show a flavour intermediate between oregano and marjoram.

Traditional Ethnic Uses
Oregano is the spice that gives pizza its characteristic flavor. It is also usually used in chili powder.

The dish most commonly associated with oregano is pizza. Its variations have probably been eaten in Southern Italy for centuries. Oregano became popular in the US when returning WWII soldiers brought back with them a taste for the “pizza herb”.

Oregano tastes great with tomato, egg, or cheese based foods, and is also a great addition to many lamb, pork, and beef main dishes. Try sauteeing aromatic vegetables in olive oil with garlic and Oregano. You can make a savory sauce with melted butter, lemon juice and a bit of Oregano; drizzle it over grilled fish and poultry. An easy way to accent pasta sauces, salad dressings, and ground meat dishes is with a dusting of crushed Oregano leaves. To release its flavor, crush Oregano by hand or with a mortar and pestle before using it in your recipes.

Medicinal Uses:
Oregano is high in antioxidant activity, due to a high content of phenolic acids and flavonoids. Additionally, oregano has demonstrated antimicrobial activity against food-borne pathogens such as Listeria monocytogenes. Both of these characteristics may be useful in both health and food preservation. In the Philippines, oregano (Coleus aromaticus) is not commonly used for cooking but is rather considered as a primarily medicinal plant, useful for relieving children’s coughs.

Main constituents include carvacrol, thymol, limonene, pinene, ocimene, and caryophyllene. The leaves and flowering stems are strongly antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, cholagogue, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, stimulant, stomachic and mildly tonic. Oregano is taken by mouth for the treatment of colds, influenza, mild fevers, indigestion, stomach upsets and painful menstruation. It is strongly sedative and should not be taken in large doses, though mild teas have a soothing effect and aid restful sleep. Used topically, oregano is one of the best antiseptics because of its high thymol content.

Hippocrates, the father of medicine, used oregano as an antiseptic as well as a cure for stomach and respiratory ailments. A Cretan oregano (O. dictamnus) is still used today in Greece to soothe a sore throat[7].
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Other plants called oregano
Mexican oregano, Lippia graveolens (Verbenaceae) is closely related to lemon verbena. It is a highly studied herb that is said to be of some medical use and is common in curandera female shamanic practices in Mexico and the Southwestern United States. Mexican oregano has a very similar flavour to oregano, but is usually stronger. It is becoming more commonly sold outside of Mexico, especially in the United States. It is sometimes used as a substitute for epazote leaves[citation needed]; this substitution would not work the other way round.

Several other plants are also known as oregano in various parts of Mexico, including Poliomintha longiflora, Lippia berlandieri, and Plectranthus amboinicus (syn. Coleus aromaticus), also called Cuban oregano.

Disclaimer: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.

Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oregano
http://www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/herbs/oregano.html
http://www.culinarycafe.com/Spices_Herbs/Oregano.html

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Ancient Chinese Salad Plant Yields Cancer-Killing Compound

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Researchers have used a traditional Chinese medicine to create a compound that is more than 1,200 times more specific in killing certain kinds of cancer cells than currently available drugs.

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The new compound is derived from artemisinin, which is made from the sweet wormwood plant (Artemisia annua L), an herb that has been used in Chinese medicine for at least 2,000 years, and is eaten in salads in some Asian countries.

The scientists attached a chemical homing device to artemisinin that targets the drug selectively to cancer cells, sparing healthy cells. “The compound is like a special agent planting a bomb inside the cell,” said chemistry professor Tomikazu Sasaki, who worked on developing the compound.

The compound Sasaki and his colleagues developed kills about 12,000 cancer cells for every healthy cell.

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Fans Lower Risk of Sudden Baby Death

baby, crib

Using a fan to circulate air lowered the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in a study of nearly 500 babies.

SIDS is the sudden death of an otherwise healthy infant that can’t be attributed to any other cause. It may be caused by brain abnormalities that prevent babies from gasping and waking when they don’t get enough oxygen.

Researchers interviewed mothers of 185 infants who died from SIDS, and mothers of 312 infants of similar race and age. The mothers answered dozens of questions about their baby’s sleeping environment. Researchers found that fan use was associated with a 72 percent lower risk of SIDS.

However, placing babies on their backs to sleep is still the best advice for preventing SIDS. Experts also recommend a firm mattress, removing toys and pillows from cribs, and keeping infants from getting too warm.

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