Monthly Archives: November 2008

Organic Consumers and Companies Harassed by Drug Agents and Police

organic, personal care products, soap, dr. bronner, tom's, pangea, deodorant, rosemary, hash, GHB, cocaine, chocolate, police, drug testWhen Canadian citizens Nadine Artemis and Ron Obadia took a family vacation, it ended with them being led through Toronto’s airport in handcuffs, locked up and separated from their baby.

Police told them they could be facing years in prison for exporting narcotics.

Two and a half pounds of material found in their carry-on bag had tested positive for hashish. But they didn’t have drugs. They had chocolate. So far, the couple’s legal bills have topped $20,000.

The couple was caught up in what civil libertarians say is a growing problem — the use of unreliable field drug-test kits as the basis to arrest innocent people on illegal drug charges.

The kits, which are used by most every police department in the U.S., and by federal agents in Customs at the nation’s borders, use powerful acids that react with the substance in a plastic pouch. If the liquid turns a certain color, it is a considered a positive result.

A positive result generally leads to an arrest.

But a number of legal products and plants test positive:

With the growth of organic and natural foods and products, experts say arrests are likely to increase.

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15 Ways to Hack Your Brain

smart, memory, brainIf you’re looking to improve mental cognition, increase your memory, and enhance your alertness, here are 15 easy ways to help out your brain.

1. Exercise: More than 20 percent of your body’s blood and oxygen go directly to your brain. Exercise, particularly cardio training, effectively increases the flow to your brain, keeping it a well-oiled machine. But if you’d like something a little more Zen, try Yoga. Many Yoga poses, like Downward Facing Dog, are specifically engineered to get blood to your brain faster.2. Hydrate: If you’re looking for a little pick-me-up, don’t reach for your usual double espresso. Instead try drinking water. The caffeine in coffee and soda may temporarily make you feel more alert, but in the long run will make you even more tired by dehydrating your muscles and constricting your blood vessels. Water, on the other hand, is a simple way to keep your mind alert and refreshed.

3. Find Stimulation: By decorating your work area brightly or switching your font color to something more vivid, you can work through boredom and fatigue. Aromatherapy can also be enormously effective, as smell is the strongest of the senses. Lemon, peppermint, and cypress are several scents known to stimulate the brain.

4. Think Happy Thoughts: Your brain, particularly your memory, doesn’t respond well to stress. If you’re tense, overwrought, or unhappy, you’re much less likely to retain information or stay alert. Try to eliminate stressful influences from your life and workplace.

5. Play Games: Studies with dementia patients have shown that playing word games and puzzles can increase and even restore mental cognitive abilities.

6. Watch Quality TV: Unfortunately, studies indicate that passively sitting in front of the TV is counterproductive. But if you must, choose a game or quiz shows like Jeopardy, and try to answer the questions. Even if you have never heard of the Federalist Papers, your brain will be stimulated in the same way as if you were playing Trivial Pursuit with your friends.

7. Surf the Net: A recent study at the University of California Los Angeles found that searching the Web stimulated centers in the brain that controlled decision-making and complex reasoning. A simple task like searching the Web appears to enhance brain circuitry.

8. Eat Brain Food: If you want to get peak mental performance from what you eat, here are a few things to remember. Protein is the main source of fuel for your brain. Your brain also needs foods rich in crucial vitamins and minerals, and it’s always better to get these from food rather than taking pills …

Vitamin A is needed to protect brain cell membranes
• B Vitamins are essential for neuronal growth and vitality
• Vitamin C is so vital for brain function that its levels in your brain are 15 times higher than anywhere outside your brain
• Vitamin E prevents and actually reverses brain deterioration• Magnesium maintains the metabolic viability of neurons
• Zinc rids your brain of impurities
• Amino Acids are necessary to the growth and health of neurotransmitters

9. Load Up On Fish Oil: The omega -3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in fish oil keep the dopamine levels in your brain high, increase neuronal growth in the frontal cortex of the brain, and increase cerebral circulation. Krill oil is another excellent source of omega-3, and may even be superior to fish oil.

10. Eat Weeds: There are about a dozen or so ‘brain-boosting’ herbs, but the two most important are Ginkgo Biloba and Ginseng. Ginseng helps your brain adapt to stress agents by heightening the productivity of your adrenal glands.

11. Learn Something New: Very few people find the time to master new skills or even read a new book that isn‘t for work or class. But learning a foreign language, a new handcraft or recipe, or challenging yourself with an unfamiliar subject all increase brain growth.

12. Don’t Waste Time: The best way to organize your mind is to declutter your life. Maximize your time with a few personal alterations. Make and keep a list of daily and long-term priorities, and don’t let your focus wander.

13. Actively Improve Your Memory: The most effective way to remember facts is by forming multiple associations. For example, you may remember the date of your dentist appointment, because that number was the age of your favorite singer when he died. After that, repetition is a tried and true method of memorization.

14. Rest: Almost nothing is as crucial to proper and efficient brain functioning as sleep.

15. Have Sex: A lot happens to your body during sex, and much of it goes on in your brain. There is no activity that increases more blood flow to your brain, enhancing cognitive capabilities.

Having sex also produces hormones that dramatically improve brain functioning. One example includes the hormone oxytocin, which increases your ability to think of original solutions to a problem. Serotonin and dopamine, which surge after sex, help your creative thinking and support calm, logical decision-making.
Sources:
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Why Large Amounts of Fruit May Not Be Healthy

fruit The editorial linked below appeared in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. It traces the rise in fructose consumption, and the rise in chronic diseases that have come in its wake.Fructose is a simple sugar found in honey, fruit, table sugar, and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Because of the increase in the consumption of these sweeteners, fructose intake worldwide has quadrupled since the early 1900s.

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Over the past three decades, there has been an even greater acceleration in consumption, in part because of the introduction of HFCS. The increase in fructose consumption parallels the rise in obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and kidney disease.

Studies in animals have shown that fructose can induce insulin resistance, elevated triglycerides, abdominal obesity, elevated blood pressure, inflammation, oxidative stress, endothelial dysfunction, microvascular disease, hyperuricemia, glomerular hypertension and renal injury, and fatty liver. The consumption of large amounts of dietary fructose also can rapidly induce insulin resistance.

Chopchini (Smilax china)

Botanical Name: Smilax china
English Name : China Root
French Name : Sarutori ibara
Arabic Name : Khabsul Seeni, Jazar Seeni
Persian Name : Chobchini
Sanskrit Name : Madhusnuhi
Hindi Name : Chopchini, Chobchini
Chinese Name : Tu Fu Ling
German Name : Chinawurzel
Family:Smilacaceae

Other name:Sarsaparilla, China root
Range :E. Asia – China, Japan.
Habitat :E. Asia,China, Japan. Shrub thickets in hills and mountains. Forests, thickets, hillsides, grassy slopes, shaded places along valleys or streams from near sea level to 2000 metres.

Description:
It is a climbing herbs with a large tuberous rhizome; stem and branches unarmed, polished; Leaves lanceolate, acuminate, rounded at the base, 3-nerved, glaucous underneath; Umbels axillary simple, sessile, solitary.

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You may click to see the pictures

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It is hardy to zone 6. It is in flower in May, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required)The plant is not self-fertile.
The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.


Medicinal Uses:

Antibacterial activity has been observed with the lant extracts. They are useful in skin diseases, vitiated conditions of vata, flatulence, tuberculosis, and general debility. It helps in faster clearance of symptoms.

Roots are aphrodisiac, pseudorific, demulent, alteratively used in rheumatism, syphilis, and skin diseases. The rhizome is made into a paste and applied to painful swellings.

The root is depurative, diaphoretic, stimulant, alterative, resolvent, tonic, diuretic, aphrodisiac, antibiotic, alterative, antisyphilitic, astringent, sudorific and demulcent. Useful in sexual debility and in syphilis, scrofula and other skin diseases. Also useful in rheumatism, gout, epilepsy and chronic nervous diseases.

Useful in Following diseases : Blood Impurities, Epilepsy, Fevers, Gout, Nervous Debility, Psoriasis, Rheumatism, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Seminal Debility, Sexual Debility, Syphilis,

Used in Following medicines : Femone, Rheuma, SkinClear Syrup (Raktsafa),

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.

Resources:

http://www.dehlvi.com/ingredient.php?section=view&itemID=54

http://www.bicco.com/herb_photo.html

http://www.vasuhealthcare.com/vasusmilaxchina.htm

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Cranberries

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The Cranberry Harvest on the Island of Nantuck...

Image via Wikipedia

Botanical Name:Vaccinium macrocarpon
Family:Ericaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Ericales
Genus: Vaccinium
Subgenus: Oxycoccos
Other names: North American cranberry, large cranberry

Parts Used: The ripe fruit of the cranberry is the part used in commercial and medicinal preparations

Habitat:Cranberries mainly thrive in sandy soil and bogs. They are mainly seen in the regions between Newfoundland, down to North Carolina, and also westwards to Minnesota. In terms of production, the state that produces the most cranberries in the US is Wisconsin, while Massachusetts comes a close second. Massachusetts alone produces about 2 million barrels of cranberries annually!

Description:
Cranberries are low, creeping shrubs or vines up to 2 m long and 5 to 20 cm in height;[1] they have slender, wiry stems that are not thickly woody and have small evergreen leaves. The flowers are dark pink, with very distinct reflexed petals, leaving the style and stamens fully exposed and pointing forward. They are pollinated by domestic honey bees. The fruit is an epigynous berry that is larger than the leaves of the plant; it is initially white, but turns a deep red when fully ripe. It is edible, with an acidic taste that can overwhelm its sweetness.
click to see the pictures..>....(1)...(2).……..(3)….(4)....
The cranberry plant--called a vine by growers–is a long-lived perennial less than eight inches high with trailing, thin, wiry stems that bear small, opposite, evergreen leaves. Cranberry flowers appear around the Fourth of July; these are white to light pink, downward-pointing, bell-shaped, axillary flowers. The common name cranberry is a modification of the colonial name “crane berry,” because the drooping flower looked like the neck and head of the sand crane, which was often seen eating the fruits.

Cranberries are a major commercial crop in certain American states and Canadian provinces (see “Cultivation and Uses” below). Most cranberries are processed into products such as juice, sauce, and sweetened dried cranberries, with the remainder sold fresh to consumers. Cranberry sauce is regarded an indispensable part of traditional American and Canadian Thanksgiving menus and European winter festivals.

Since the early 21st century within the global functional food industry, there has been a rapidly growing recognition of cranberries for their consumer product popularity, nutrient content and antioxidant qualities, giving them commercial status as a novel “superfruit”.

Species:
There are three to four species of cranberry, classified in two sections:

*Subgenus Oxycoccos, sect. Oxycoccos

*Vaccinium oxycoccos or Oxycoccos palustris (Common Cranberry or Northern Cranberry)
is widespread throughout the cool temperate Northern Hemisphere, including northern Europe, northern Asia and northern North America. It has small 5-10 mm leaves. The flowers are dark pink, with a purple central spike, produced on finely hairy stems. The fruit is a small pale pink berry, with a refreshing sharp acidic flavour.

*Vaccinium microcarpum or Oxycoccos microcarpus (Small Cranberry) occurs in northern Europe and northern Asia, and differs from V. oxycoccus in the leaves being more triangular, and the flower stems hairless. Some botanists include it within V. oxycoccos.

*Vaccinium macrocarpon or Oxycoccos macrocarpus (Large cranberry, American Cranberry, Bearberry) native to northeastern North America (eastern Canada, and eastern United States, south to North Carolina at high altitudes). It differs from V. oxycoccus in the leaves being larger, 10-20 mm long, and in its slightly apple-like taste.

Subgenus Oxycoccos, sect. Oxycoccoides
Vaccinium erythrocarpum or Oxycoccos erythrocarpus (Southern Mountain Cranberry) native to southeastern North America at high altitudes in the southern Appalachian Mountains, and also in eastern Asia.

Chemical Composition of Cranberries
Basically, cranberries have a very rich chemical composition. They are formed chemically of triterpinoids, a range of acids, such as benzoic acid, citric acid, malic acid, quinic acid, ascorbic acid, leptosine glycosides, glucuornic acid, catechin, as well as alkaloids and anthocyanin dyes. The different combinations of these are what provide the rich variety of medicinal benefits associated with cranberries.

Phytochemicals: The cranberry contains Catechins, Triterpenoids, Quinic Acid, Hippuric Acid, Anthocyanins

Medicinal Uses and Indications

Urinary tract infections
Cranberry is used to prevent urinary tract infections of the bladder and urethra (the tube that drains urine from the bladder). Several studies indicate its effectiveness. In one study of older women, cranberry juice significantly reduced the amount of bacteria present in the bladder compared to placebo. Another study showed that younger women with a history of recurrent UTIs who took cranberry by capsule significantly reduced the recurrence of UTI compared to those who took placebo.

However, evidence suggests that cranberry is not as effective against bacteria once they have attached to cells in the urinary tract. For this reason, cranberry is more effective at preventing UTIs than treating them. Instead, UTIs should be treated with conventional antibiotics.

Ulcers
A preliminary study suggests that cranberry may also prevent the bacteria Helicobacter pylori from attaching to stomach walls. H. pylori can cause stomach ulcers, so it is possible that cranberries may eventually prove to play a role in the prevention of this condition. However, more research is needed.

Heart disease
The antioxidants found in cranberry may protect from heart disease by lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, relaxing blood vessels, and preventing plaque from building up in arteries. However, more research is needed.

Cancer
In some test tube studies, cranberry appears to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. It is too early to say whether the herb will have the same effect in humans.

Oral hygiene
Studies also suggest that cranberries may help prevent bacteria from adhering to gums and around the teeth, helping to prevent cavities. Researchers caution, however, that cranberry juice is often high in sugar and should not be used for oral hygiene.

Available Forms
Cranberries are available fresh or frozen and in juice and concentrate forms. Dried berries are also available in tablet or capsule form. Pure cranberry juice is very sour, so most cranberry juices contain a mixture of cranberries, sweeteners (which may reduce the healthful effects of the juice), and vitamin C. Look for a brand of cranberry juice that has the lowest amount of added sugar or is sugar-free.

How to Take It
Pediatric
There is not enough evidence to establish a safe dose for children prone to UTIs. A child with a UTI should be under the care of a qualified health care provider.

Adult
Juice: 3 or more fluid oz. of pure juice per day, or about 10 oz. of cranberry juice cocktail
Capsules: 300 mg to 400 mg, 6 per day in divided doses
Fresh or frozen cranberries: 1.5 ounces


Precautions:

The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, can trigger side effects and can interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, herbs should be taken with care, under the supervision of a healthcare practitioner.

Cranberry juice and supplements are generally considered safe with no serious side effects, even for pregnant women.

Cranberry contains relatively high levels of oxalate, chemicals that may increase the risk of kidney stones. People who have or have had kidney stones should talk to their doctor before taking cranberry supplements or drinking large amounts of cranberry juice.

Cranberry should not be used as a substitute for antibiotics during a UTI.

Because most cranberry juice contains added sugar, people who have diabetes should look for brands of juice that are artificially sweetened or should limit their consumption of regular juice.

Possible Interactions
A preliminary report suggests that cranberry may interfere with the effects of the blood-thinning drug warfarin. If you take warfarin, do not take supplemental cranberry and limit your consumption of cranberry juice.

Research Reviews:
*A flavonoid fraction from cranberry extract inhibits proliferation of human tumor cell lines
*Inhibition of Helicobacter pylori and associated urease by oregano and cranberry phytochemical synergies. *Cranberry for Prevention of Urinary Tract Infections
*What’s the use of cranberry juice?

Abstracts:
*Cranberry and the Urinary Tract
*Anti-Adhesion Properties of Cranberry
*Cranberry and Dental Health
*Cranberry and Stomach Ulcers
*Influence of Cranberry on Heart Disease
*Anti-Cancer Properties of Cranberry Phytochemicals
*Phytochemicals in Cranberry

Click to see :->How Cranberries Grow

How to grow Cranberrie

Americans Discover the Bacteria-Blocking Properties of Cranberries

Medicinal uses of Cranberrie.

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.

Resources:

http://www.botgard.ucla.edu/html/botanytextbooks/economicbotany/Vaccinium/index.html

http://www.furtherhealth.com/article/54_2_Cranberry-Facts/

http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/cranberry-000235.htm#Medicinal%20Uses%20and%20Indications

http://www.phytochemicals.info/plants/cranberry.php

 

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Kava

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Botanical Name: Piper methysticum
Family:Pepper/ Piperaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Piperales
Genus: Piper
Species: P. methysticum
Other names: kava kava, kawa, kew, yagona, sakau .awa (Hawaii), ‘ava (Samoa), yaqona (Fiji), and sakau (Pohnpei).
Parts Used:The part of the plant used medicinally is the root. Although the root was traditionally chewed or made into a beverage, kava is now available in capsule, tablet, beverage, tea, and liquid extract forms.

Habitat:South Pacific Isands.

Description:
Kava is a tall shrub in the pepper family that grows in the South Pacific islands.Kava kava belongs to the pepper family (Piperaceae) and is also known as kava, asava pepper, or intoxicating pepper. It grows to an average height of 6 ft (1.83 m) and has large heart-shaped leaves that can grow to 10 in (25.4 cm) wide. A related species is Piper sanctum, a native plant of Mexico that is used as a stimulant. It has been used there for thousands of years as a folk remedy and as a social and ceremonial beverage.

click to see the pictures…..(01)…..(1)…....(2)………(3)………..(4)..

The part of the plant used medicinally is the root. Although the root was traditionally chewed or made into a beverage, kava is now available in capsule, tablet, beverage, tea, and liquid extract forms.

Botany and agronomy
There are several cultivars of kava, with varying concentrations of primary and secondary psychoactive substances. The largest number are grown in the Republic of Vanuatu, and so it is recognised as the “home” of kava. Kava was historically grown only in the Pacific islands of Hawaii, Federated States of Micronesia, Vanuatu, Fiji, the Samoas and Tonga. Some is grown in the Solomon Islands since World War II, but most is imported. Kava is a cash crop in Vanuatu and Fiji.

The kava shrub thrives in loose, well-drained soils where plenty of air reaches the roots. It grows naturally where rainfall is plentiful (over 2,000 mm/yr). Ideal growing conditions are 20 to 35 degrees Celsius (70 to 95 °F), and 70–100% relative humidity. Too much sunlight is harmful, especially in early growth, so kava is an understory crop.

Kava cannot reproduce sexually. Female flowers are especially rare and do not produce fruit even when hand-pollinated. Its propagation is entirely due to human efforts by the method of striking.

Traditionally, plants are harvested around 4 years of age, as older plants have higher concentrations of kavalactones. But in the past two decades farmers have been harvesting younger and younger plants, as young as 18 months. After reaching about 2 m height, plants grow a wider stalk and additional stalks, but not much taller. The roots can reach 60 cm depth.

Composition
Fresh kava root contains on average 80% water. Dried root contains approximately 43% starch, 20% fibers, 15% kavalactones, 12% water, 3.2% sugars, 3.6% proteins, and 3.2% minerals. Kavalactone content is greatest in the roots and decreases higher up the plant. Relative concentrations of 15%, 10% and 5% have been observed in the root, stump, and basal stems, respectively.

The mature roots of the kava plant are harvested after a minimum of 4 years (at least five years ideally) for peak kavalactone content. Most kava plants produce around 50 kgs (110 lbs) of root when they are harvested. Kava root is classified into two categories: crown root (or chips) and lateral root. Crown roots are the large diameter pieces that look like big (1.5 inch to 5 inches diameter) wooden poker chips. Most kava plants consist of approximately 80% crown root upon harvesting. Lateral roots are smaller diameter roots that look more like a typical root. A mature kava plant is approximately 20% lateral roots. Kava lateral roots have the highest content of kavalactones in the kava plant. “Waka” grade kava is kava that is made of lateral roots only.
General use
Kava kava has been prescribed by healthcare providers to treat a wide range of ailments, including insomnia, nervousness, and stress-related anxiety and anxiety disorders. It is also reported to relieve urinary infections, vaginitis, fatigue, asthma, rheumatism, and pain.

The active ingredients in kava kava are called kavalactones and are found in the root of the plant. Kavalactones cause reactions in the brain similar to pharmaceutical drugs prescribed for depression and anxiety. Research has shown that kavalactones have a calming, sedative effect that relaxes muscles, relieves spasms, and prevents convulsions. Kavalactones also have analgesic (pain-relieving) properties that may bring relief to sore throats, sore gums, canker sores, and toothaches.

Kava kava is a strong diuretic that is reportedly beneficial in the treatment of gout, rheumatism, and arthritis. The diuretic effect of the herb relieves pain and helps remove waste products from the afflicted joints. Antispasmodic properties have shown to help ease menstrual cramps by relaxing the muscles of the uterus. Kava kava’s antiseptic and anti-inflammatory agents may help relieve an irritable bladder, urinary tract infections, and inflammation of the prostate gland.

Kava root.…………………....Kava root power…………….Cava in bottle as medicine

Medicinal Uses:
Kava kava has been used as a medicinal herb for hundreds of years and used by Pacific Islanders to treat rheumatism, asthma, worms, obesity, headaches, fungal infections,leprosy, gonorrhea, vaginal infections, urinary infections, menstrual problems, migraine headaches, and insomnia. It was also used as a diuretic, an aphrodisiac, to promote energy, and to bring about sweating during colds and fevers. Pacific Islanders consume a kava kava drink at social, ritual, and ceremonial functions. It is drunk at ceremonies to commemorate marriages, births, and deaths; in meetings of village elders; as an offering to the gods; to cure illness; and to welcome honored guests. Pope John Paul II, Queen Elizabeth II, and Hillary Rodham Clinton have all drunk kava kava during their island visits.

The drink is prepared by grinding, grating, or pounding the roots of the plant, then soaking the pulp in cold water or coconut milk. Traditionally the root was chewed, spit into a bowl, and mixed with coconut milk or water. That practice is no longer the standard.

Captain James Cook has been credited with the Western discovery of kava kava during his journey to the South Pacific in the late 1700s. The first herbal products made from kava kava appeared in Europe in the 1860s. Pharmaceutical preparations became available in Germany in the 1920s. Currently, kava kava has received widespread attention because of its reputation to promote relaxation and reduce stress.

Preparation & Consumption:
Traditional preparation
Kava is consumed in various ways throughout the Pacific Ocean cultures of Polynesia, Vanuatu, Melanesia and some parts of Micronesia and Australia. Traditionally it is prepared by either chewing, grinding or pounding the roots of the kava plant. Grinding is done by hand against a cone-shaped block of dead coral; the hand forms a mortar and the coral a pestle. The ground root/bark is combined with only a little water, as the fresh root releases moisture during grinding. Pounding is done in a large stone with a small log. The product is then added to cold water and consumed as quickly as possible.

Kava root drying in Lovoni village, Ovalau

The extract is an emulsion of kavalactone droplets in starch. The taste is slightly pungent, while the distinctive aroma depends on whether it was prepared from dry or fresh plant, and on the variety. The colour is grey to tan to opaque greenish.

Kava prepared as described above is much more potent than processed kava. Chewing produces the strongest effect because it produces the finest particles. Fresh, undried kava produces a stronger beverage than dry kava. The strength also depends on the species and techniques of cultivation. Many find mixing powdered kava with hot water makes the drink stronger. However the active ingredients of kava, such as Kavalactone, are ruined at 140 degrees. Most tea steeps at 180 degrees for at least a couple minutes which will reduce the potency of the kava.

In Vanuatu, a strong kava drink is normally followed by a hot meal or tea. The meal traditionally follows some time after the drink so that the psychoactives are absorbed into the bloodstream quicker. Traditionally no flavoring is added.

Fijians commonly share a drink called “grog”, made by pounding sun-dried kava root into a fine powder and mixing it with cold water. Traditionally, grog is drunk from the shorn half-shell of a coconut, called a “bilo.” Despite tasting very much like dirty water, grog is very popular in Fiji, especially among young men, and often brings people together for storytelling and socializing.

Modern preparation
In modernized countries Kava beverage is usually made from Kava root powder. The root is dried and then finely ground into powder before being exported. Generally one tablespoon of powder is added per cup of water, but sometimes as much as a half a cup of powder (eight tablespoons) is added per cup of water to increase potency. The powder is then soaked in water for approximately 30 minutes to allow the water to completely soak through the powdered fibers. Lecithin is often added to aid in the process of emulsifying the kavalactones with water. The Kava powder, water, and lecithin are blended in a blender for several minutes then strained into a straining cloth. Nylon, cheesecloth, and silk screen are common materials for straining. The remaining liquid is squeezed from the pulp and the pulp is discarded. As an alternative to the blender method, with the powdered pulp enclosed within the straining material, the pulp is massaged for five to ten minutes in water, then the liquid is wrung out. The more pressure that is applied to the wet powdered pulp while wringing it out, the more kavalactones will be released from it. Finally the pulp resin is discarded and the beverage is enjoyed. Often coconut water, coconut milk, lemongrass, cocoa, sugar, or soy milk is added to improve flavor.

Pharmacology
Kava’s active principal ingredients are the kavalactones, of which at least 15 have been identified and are all considered psychoactive. Only six of them produce noticeable effects, and their concentrations in kava plants vary. Different ratios can produce different effects. Kava has some abuse potential and some experts recommend cycling use over 1 to 3 months.

Pills
Pharmaceutical companies and herbal supplement companies extract kavalactones from the kava plant using solvents such as acetone and ethanol and produce pills standardized with between 30% and 90% kavalactones. Some kava herbal supplements have been accused of contributing to very rare but severe hepatotoxic reactions (see section on safety) such may have been due to the use of plant parts other than the root, such as stems or peelings that are known to have been exported to European manufacturers. A kava pill usually has anywhere from 60 mg to 150 mg of kavalactones. By comparison the typical bowl of traditionally prepared kava beverage has around 250 mg of kavalactones.

Uses: In some parts of the Western World, kava extract is marketed as herbal medicine against stress, insomnia, and anxiety. A Cochrane Collaboration systematic review of its evidence concluded that it was likely to be more effective than placebo at treating short-term social anxiety. Safety concerns have been raised over liver toxicity, although research indicates that this may be largely due to the use of stems and leaves in supplements, which were not used indigeneously

The word kava is used to refer both to the plant and the beverage produced from its roots. Kava is a tranquilizer primarily consumed to relax without disrupting mental clarity. Its active ingredients are called kavalactones.

Because kava can cause sedation, and in high amounts, intoxication, kava drinks are consumed in some parts of the world in much the same way as alcohol.

Although it’s not clear exactly how kava works, kavalactones may affect the levels of neurotransmitters (chemicals that carry messages from nerve cells to other cells) in the blood. Kava has been found to affect the levels of specific neurotransmitters, including norepinephrine, gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) and dopamine

A number of well-designed studies have examined kava’s ability to relieve anxiety compared to anxiety medication or a placebo. The results have been promising.

In 2003, a review by the Cochrane Collaboration examined the existing research to see how kava fared compared to a placebo in treating anxiety. After analyzing the 11 studies (involving a total of 645 people) that met the criteria, the researchers concluded that kava “appears to be an effective symptomatic treatment option for anxiety.” However, they added that it seemed to be a small effect.

Effects:
A moderately potent kava drink causes effects within 20–30 minutes that last for about two and a half hours, but can be felt for up to eight hours. Because of this, it is recommended to space out servings about fifteen minutes apart. Some report longer term effects up to two days after ingestion, including mental clarity, patience, and an ease of acceptance. The effects of kava are most often compared to alcohol, or a large dose of Valium.

The sensations, in order of appearance, are slight tongue and lip numbing (the lips and skin surrounding may appear unusually pale); mildly talkative and sociable behavior; clear thinking; anxiolytic (calming) effects; relaxed muscles; and a very euphoric sense of well-being. The numbing of the mouth is caused by the two kavalactones kavain and dihydrokavain which cause the contraction of the blood vessels in these areas acting as a local topical anesthetic. These anesthetics can also make one’s stomach feel numb. Sometimes this feeling has been mistaken for nausea. Some report that caffeine, consumed in moderation in conjunction with kava can significantly increase mental alertness.

A potent drink results in a faster onset with a lack of stimulation, the user’s eyes become sensitive to light, they soon become somnolent and then have deep, dreamless sleep within 30 minutes. Sleep is often restful and there are pronounced periods of sleepiness correlating to the amount and potency of kava consumed. Unlike alcohol-induced sleep, after wakening the drinker does not experience any mental or physical after effects. However, this sleep has been reported as extremely restful and the user often wakes up more stimulated than he or she normally would. Although excessive consumption of exceptionally potent brew has been known to cause pronounced sleepiness into the next day. Although heavy doses can cause deep dreamless sleep, it is reported that many people experience lighter sleep and rather vivid dreams after drinking moderate amounts of kava.

After thousands of years of use by the Polynesians and decades of research in Europe and the U.S., the traditional use of kava root has never been found to have any addictive or permanent adverse effects. Users do not develop a tolerance. While small doses of kava have been shown to slightly improve memory and cognition, large amounts at one time have been shown to cause intoxication. In Utah, California, and Hawaii there have been cases where people were charged with driving under the influence of alcohol after drinking a significant amount of kava (eight cups or more) although some of them were acquitted due to the laws not being broad enough to cover kava consumption.

Kava Culture:
Kava is used for medicinal, religious, political, cultural and social purposes throughout the Pacific. These cultures have a great respect for the plant and place a high importance on it. Correspondingly, the paraphernalia surrounding the traditional kava ceremony are expertly crafted. Traditionally designed kava bowls are bowls made from a single piece of wood, with multiple legs. More modern examples are also highly decorated, often carved and inlayed with mother of pearl and shell.CLICK & SEE

Kava root being prepared in Asanvari, a village on Maewo Island in the Pacific nation of Vanuatu. Photo taken in September, 2002 by Jordan Bigel.

Kava is used primarily at social gatherings to increase amiability and to relax after work. It has great religious significance, being used to obtain inspiration. Among some fundamentalist Christian sects in the Western Pacific, the drink has been demonized and seen as a vice, and young members of these religions often reject its traditional use. However, among most mainline Christian denominations, i.e. the Roman Catholic, Methodist, and Anglican churches, kava drinking is encouraged where it replaces the greater danger of alcohol.

Basic research on anti-cancer potential
On 15 February 2006, the Fiji Times and Fiji Live reported that researchers at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland and the Laboratoire de Biologie Moleculaire du Cancer in Luxembourg had discovered that kava may treat ovarian cancer and leukemia. Kava compounds inhibited the activation of a nuclear factor that led to the growth of cancer cells. The Aberdeen University researchers published in the journal The South Pacific Journal of Natural Science that kava methanol extracts had been shown to kill leukemia and ovarian cancer cells in test tubes.The kava compounds were shown to target only cancerous cells; no healthy cells were harmed. This may help explain why kava consumption is correlated with decreased incidence of cancer.

Fiji Kava Council Chairman Ratu Josateki Nawalowalo welcomed the findings, saying that they would boost the kava industry. For his part, Agriculture Minister Ilaitia Tuisese called on the researchers to help persuade members of European Union to lift their ban on kava imports.

Liver damage incidents and regulation
In 2001 concerns were raised about the safety of commercial kava products. There have been allegations of severe liver toxicity, including liver failure in some people who had used dietary supplements containing kava extract (but not in anyone who had drunk kava the traditional way). Out of the 50 people worldwide taking kava pills and extracts that have had some type of problem, almost all of them had been mixing them with alcohol and pills that could have effects on the liver.[16] The fact that different kava strains have slightly different chemical composition made testing for toxicity difficult as well.

The possibility of liver damage consequently prompted action of many regulatory agencies in European countries where the legal precautionary principle so mandated. In the UK, the Medicines for Human Use (Kava-kava) (Prohibition) Order 2002 prohibits the sale, supply or import of most derivative medicinal products. Kava is banned in Switzerland, France, Germany and The Netherlands[17]. The health agency of Canada issued a stop-sale order for kava in 2002. But legislation in 2004 made the legal status of kava uncertain. The United States CDC has released a report[18] expressing reservations about the use of kava and its possibly adverse side effects (specifically severe liver toxicity), as has the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration has recommended that no more than 250 mg of kavalactones be taken in a 24 hour period.[20] According to the Medicines Control Agency in the U.K., there is no safe dose of kava, as there is no way to predict which individuals would have adverse reactions.

Potential Side Effects of Kava:
Side effects include indigestion, mouth numbness, skin rash, headache, drowsiness and visual disturbances. Chronic or heavy use of kava has linked to pulmonary hypertension, skin scaling, loss of muscle control, kidney damage, and blood abnormalities.

Kava may lower blood pressure and it also may interfere with blood clotting, so it shouldn’t be used by people with bleeding disorders. People with Parkinson’s disease shouldn’t use kava because it may worsen symptoms.

Kava should not be taken within 2 weeks of surgery. Pregnant and nursing women, children, and people with liver or kidney disease shouldn’t use kava.

Possible Drug Interactions:
Kava shouldn’t be taken by people who are taking Parkinson’s disease medications, antipsychotic drugs, or any medication that influences dopamine levels.

Kava shouldn’t be combined with alcohol or medications for anxiety or insomnia, including benzodiazepines such as Valium (diazepam) or Ativan (lorazepam). It may have an additive effect if taken with drugs that cause drowsiness.

Kava may have an additive effect if combined with antidepressant drugs called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI).

Kava shouldn’t be taken with any drug or herb that impairs liver function. Kava also may interfere with blood clotting, so people taking Coumadin (warfarin) or any drug that influences blood clotting should avoid it unless under a doctor’s supervision.

Kava is a diuretic, so it may have an additive effect if combined with drugs or herbs that have diuretic properties.

Allergy
Literature suggests that <0.5% of people that take kava have an allergic reaction to it. Allergic reactions are usually mild and include itchy skin or itchy throat, and hives on the skin usually prevalent on the user’s belly region. If someone has an allergy to any relative of the pepper family, such as black pepper, they have a higher chance of having a kava allergy.

Click to learn more about Kava.:-.>………(1)….(2)……(3).…..(4)….(5)

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.

Resources:

http://altmedicine.about.com/od/kava/p/kava.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kava

http://www.healthline.com/galecontent/kava-kava

 

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Nail Diseases & Disorders

Definition:
Nail diseases & disorders are distinct from diseases of the skin. Although nails are a skin appendage, they have their own signs and symptoms which may relate to other medical conditions. Nail conditions that show signs of infection or inflammation require medical assistance and cannot be treated at a beauty parlor. Deformity or disease of the nails may be referred to as onychosis.

A nail disorder is a condition caused by injury to the nail or disease or imbalance in the body.Many persons have had some type of common nail disorder at some part of their lifetime. In some cases one can cosmetically improve a nail disorder but to get a permanent result it is always wise to contact a Licensed Nail Technician.

There are many different kinds of nail diseases and disorders and some of them are mentioned below:-

Click to see the pictures

Bruised Nails
is a condition in which a clot of blood forms under the nail plate. The clot is caused by injury to the nail bed. It can vary in color from maroon to black. In some cases, a bruised nail will fall off during the healing process. Severe bruising should not be worked on.

Onychatrophia
Also known as atrophy describes the wasting away of the nail. The nail loses its shine, shrinks, and falls.
This can be caused by injury to the nail matrix or by internal disease.
Handle this condition with care

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Onychauxis
Show the opposite symptoms of onychatrophia.
Nails with this disorder are abnormally thick. The condition is usually caused by internal imbalance, local infection, or heredity.
File the nail until smooth and buff

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Onychocryptosis:

Onychocryptosis, commonly known as “ingrown nails” (unguis incarnatus), can affect either the fingers or the toes. In this condition, the nail cuts into one or both sides of the nail bed, resulting in inflammation and possibly infection.Ingrown nails is a familiar condition of the fingers and toes in which the nail grows into the sides of the tissue around the nail.If the nail is not too deeply imbedded in the flesh, you can trim the corner of the nail in a curved shape to relieve the pressure on nail groove. If it is deep they should see a doctor.

The relative rarity of this condition in the fingers suggests that pressure from the ground or shoe against the toe is a prime factor. The movements involved in walking or other physical disturbances can contribute to the problem. Mild onychocryptosis, particularly in the absence of infection, can be treated by trimming and rounding the nail. More advanced cases, which usually include infection, are treated by surgically excising the ingrowing portion of the nail down to its bony origin and thermally or chemically cauterizing the matrix, or ‘root’, to prevent recurrence. This surgery is called matrixectomy. The best results are achieved by cauterizing the matrix with phenol. Another, much less effective, treatment is excision of the matrix, sometimes called a ‘cold steel procedure’.

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Onychophagy
Is the medical term for nails that have been bitten enough to become deformed. This condition can be greatly improved by regular manicures or artificial nails.
It is not realistic to tell a nail biter to come back for artificial nails after they have grown a free edge. Artificial nails can help this person break the biting habit. There are also nail biting topically applied remedies available.

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Pterygium
Describes the common condition of the forward growth of the cuticle on the nail. The cuticle sticks to the nail plate and, if not treated, will grow over the nail to the free edge.

The nail pictured is an extreme case and will take several manicures to get the cuticle back in place.

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Leukonychia
Is a condition in which white spots appear on the nails. It is caused by air bubbles, a bruise or other injury to the nail.
Leukonchia can not be corrected but it will grow out.

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Onychorrhexis
Refers to split or brittle nails that also have a series of lengthwise ridges. It can be caused by chemicals, injury to the fingers, excessive use of cuticle solvents, nail polish removers and careless rough filing.
This condition may be corrected by softening the nails with a reconditioning treatment and discontinuing the abuse.

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Hangnails
Is a common condition in which the cuticle around the nail splits.
Hangnails are caused by dry cuticles and skin. They are also aggravated by improper trimming.
This disorder can be solved by keeping the cuticles moisturized with oil and lotion. These can become infected and very painful

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Furrows
Also known as corrugations, are long ridges that run either lengthwise or across the nail. Some lengthwise ridges are normal in adults.
These ridges increase with age and can also be caused by psoriasis, poor circulation and frostbite.
Ridges that run across the nail are caused by high fevers, pregnancy & measles

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Eggshell Nails
Are thin, white, and curved over the free edge. The condition is caused by improper diet, internal disease, medication, or nervous disorders. Be careful when manicuring these nails because they are fragile and break easily.

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Discolored Nails..
This is a condition in which the nails turn a variety including yellow, blue, blue-gray, green, red and purple. Discoloration can be caused by poor circulation, a heart condition, or topical or oral medications. It may also indicate the presence of a systemic disorder. Artificial wraps, tips or an application of colored polish can hide this condition.

To learn more about Nail Disorders you may click on….....(1)(2)….(3)….(4).…..(5)

CLICK TO SEE:->

Castor Oil Is Inexpensive Nail Remedy
Herbal Home Remedies for Brittle Nails

Herbs to support your skin & nail

HERBS TO SOLVE YOUR NAIL PROBLEM
How to Get Healthy Nails

Nutrition for Healthy Nails

Resources:

http://www.beautyweb.com/Ask_the_Experts/Nails/nail_disorders.htm

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Cranberries — Good for What Ails

Some informations about the tart fruit’s healing abilities.

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European settlers first put cranberries on the Thanksgiving table because the local fruit lasted through winter and enhanced the flavor of gamy meat. The settlers had picked up on the berry’s culinary potential from Native Americans, who survived cold winters by filling up on pemmican, a cake of cranberries, nuts and dried venison or bear meat.

Both groups also prescribed cranberries for fevers, gastrointestinal problems and dropsy — a term used to describe any swelling or inflammation. Turns out, they were onto something. In the last few decades, scientists have begun to confirm and explain the cranberry‘s ability to fight infections of the urinary tract and gut and its potential to fight gum disease, heart disease and cancer.

“For over a hundred years, women have known that cranberry juice can prevent urinary tract infections,” says Amy Howell, associate research scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture-supported Marucci Center for Blueberry and Cranberry Research at Rutgers University in Camden, N.J. “They thought it was due to acidity, but that’s actually not the case.”

Cranberry’s antibacterial properties are due to a class of chemical compounds called proanthocyanidins. Ten years ago, Howell’s research group isolated the compounds and demonstrated how they work: Proanthocyanidins bind to harmful bacteria such as E. coli, forming a “Teflon-like” coating around them. The coating prevents the bacteria from sticking to gastrointestinal and urinary tract walls, impeding infections.

The nonstick properties of proanthocyanidins may explain the results of several clinical trials that showed that cranberry juice can reduce the frequency of urinary tract infections.

For example, a study published in the British Medical Journal in 2001 showed that women who drank a couple of ounces of cranberry juice daily for six months had a 20% lower risk of urinary tract infections, compared with women in a control group. A study published in the Canadian Journal of Urology in 2002 showed that just 20% of women who drank three glasses of cranberry juice daily for a year experienced urinary tract infection symptoms, compared with 32% of women who drank a placebo.

And last month, a study in the journal Urology found that two glasses of cranberry juice a day reduced the frequency of urinary tract infections by 41% among pregnant women.

Proanthocyanidins also appear to keep the bacterium H. pylori, which causes ulcers, from sticking to the linings of the stomach and intestines. A 2005 study of 189 adults with H. pylori infections in the journal Helicobacter, showed that two glasses of cranberry juice daily for three months reduced the degree of infections, compared with those who drank a placebo.

And a study in the journal Nutrition this year showed that a daily glass of cranberry juice eliminated H. pylori infections in 16% of infected children; a placebo eliminated only 1.5%.

Other research suggests that the compounds could keep plaque-forming bacteria at bay. In lab experiments, cranberry proanthocyanidins stopped oral streptococci and other bacteria from sticking to surfaces. But researchers warn against using the juice as a mouthwash because of its sugar content and acidity.

Cranberries are high in vitamins A, E and C, iron, calcium, potassium and antioxidants. The last may explain the fruit’s possible anti-cancer and anti-heart-disease effects. Cranberry impedes the growth of liver and breast cancer cells in lab dishes, says Jie Sun, a scientist at General Mills who previously researched the fruit’s anti-cancer effects at Cornell University.

And in 2006, Canadian researchers published suggestive findings in the British Journal of Nutrition showing that drinking a glass of cranberry juice a day increased concentrations of good HDL cholesterol by 8% in overweight men. (The study was funded by the Canadian Cranberry Growers Coalition.)

But the tart red berries may not be for everyone. Gorging on too many or guzzling too much juice can result in an upset stomach or diarrhea. A couple of reports indicate that cranberry juice may increase the risk of kidney stones in people prone to them. And there’s conflicting evidence that cranberries may interfere with blood thinning drugs, such as warfarin.

The common cranberry’s benefits still seem to outweigh its drawbacks, but despite this, most Americans limit their consumption to a single day of the year. The reason for this may have been best summed up by writer and naturalist Henry David Thoreau more than 150 years ago: Cranberries, he wrote, were easy to harvest, but their taste was “a little bitterish.”

Sources: Las Angles Times

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How Mind Can Suppress Hunger Pangs

You might not be keeping a check on the amount of calories you’re consuming during a party, but your brain will, say Yale University researchers, who have identified a molecule that tells brain that the stomach is full – and signals it’s time to say no to a second piece of Delicious food and push back from the dining table.
....click to see the picture
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In a study on rodents, the researchers have discovered that one type of lipid produced in the gut, called N-acylphosphatidylethanolamines or NAPEs, rises after eating fatty foods.

The NAPEs enter the bloodstream and go straight to the brain, where they concentrate in a brain region that controls food intake and energy expenditure.

Led by Gerald I. Shulman, Yale professor of medicine and cellular & molecular physiology and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, the researchers suggested that the molecule may help regulate how much animals and people eat.

NAPEs are synthesized and secreted into the blood by the small intestine after fatty foods are eaten. The researchers found that mice and rats injected regularly with NAPEs ate less food and lost weight. In addition, treatment with NAPEs appeared to reduce the activity of “hunger” neurons in the brain while stimulating activity in neurons that are believed to play a role in reducing appetite.

In the last two decades, scientists have made great inroads toward understanding how the body communicates with the brain to control food intake. Till date, hormones such as leptin that act as regulators of this complex system have proved disappointing when tested as potential weight-loss treatments in humans.

The researchers are now planning to investigate how the new findings apply to humans.The team will first study non-human primates to determine if NAPE on centrations increase in a similar fashion after fat ingestion.

Then, Shulman said: “If chronic NAPE treatment is well tolerated and can cause weight loss by a reduction of food intake, we would have strong impetus to move forward with human NAPE trials.” The findings are published in the latest issue of the journal Cell.

Sources: The Times Of India

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Web Self-Diagnosis Ups Anxiety Attack

Playing doctor on the web often leads people to mistakenly believe that they are suffering from rare illnesses, according to a study by researchers at Microsoft.

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“Web search engines have the potential to escalate medical concerns,” or “cyberchondria”, Ryen White and Eric Horvitz wrote in the study published by the Redmond, Washington-based software company. They described cyberchondria as “unfounded increases in health anxiety based on the review of web content”.

White, an expert in text mining, web search and navigation, and Horvitz, another Microsoft researcher who is president of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, noted that the internet provides an “abundant source” of medical information.

“However, the web has the potential to increase the anxieties of people who have little or no medical training, especially when web search is employed as a diagnostic procedure,” they said.

“Common, likely innocuous symptoms can escalate into the review of content on serious, rare conditions that are linked to the common symptoms,” they said.

For example, web surfers with a headache may determine they have a brain tumor or those with chest pain that they are suffering a heart attack.

“A brain tumor is a concerning possibility when a searcher experiences headache,” the researchers said. “However, the probability of a brain tumor given a general complaint of headache is typically quite low.”

“Such escalations from common symptoms to serious concerns may lead to unnecessary anxiety, investment of time, and expensive engagements with healthcare professionals,” White and Horvitz said.

The researchers said the study was aimed at “improving the search and navigation experience for people turning to the web to interpret common symptoms” and determining “the challenges that cyberchondria presents for search engine designers.”

Sources: The Times Of India

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