Monthly Archives: December 2008

Sprain & Strain

Definition:
A sprain (from the French espraindre – to wring) is an injury which occurs to ligaments caused by being stretched beyond their normal capacity and possibly torn. Muscular tears caused in the same manner are referred to as a strain. In cases where either ligament or muscle tissue is torn, immobilization and surgical repair may be necessary.

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Sprain. A sprain is a stretching or tearing of ligaments. Ligaments are tough bands of fibrous tissue that connect one bone to another. Common locations for sprains are your ankles and knees.

Strain. A strain is a stretching or tearing of muscle or tendon. People commonly call strains “pulled” muscles. Hamstring and back injuries are among the most common strains.


Degrees:

Although some signs and symptoms can be used to assess the severity of a sprain, the most definitive method is with the use of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Sprains are graded in four degrees.

*The first degree is only a minor tear or stretch of a ligament.

*The second degree is a tear of a ligament, which is usually followed by pain or swelling.

*The third degree is a complete rupture.

*The fourth degree is the most severe and actually breaks the ligament, along with some small bones if severe enough, and requires surgery to repair.

Causes:
Sprains and strains occur commonly, and most result in minor injuries.

Sprains. A sprain occurs when you overextend or tear a ligament while severely stressing a joint. Ligaments are tough bands of fibrous tissue that connect one bone to another. They help to stabilize joints, preventing excessive movement. You may sprain your knee or ankle when walking or exercising on an uneven surface. A sprain also may occur when you land awkwardly, either at the end of a jump or while pivoting during an athletic activity.

Strains. A muscle becomes strained or pulled — or may even tear — when it stretches unusually far or abruptly. This type of injury — an acute strain — often occurs when muscles suddenly and powerfully contract. A muscle strain may occur when you slip on ice, run, jump, throw, lift a heavy object or lift in an awkward position. A chronic strain results from prolonged, repetitive movement of a muscle.

Signs & Symptoms:
The typical signs and symptoms associated with a sprain are the cardinal signs of a sprain.

*Inflammation

*Localized pain

*Swelling

*Loss of function

*Loss of normal limb function

*Elasticity of ligament decrease

Joints involved:
Although any joint can experience a sprain, some of the more common include:

*The ankle. It is the most common, and has been said that sprains such as serious ankle sprains are more painful and take longer to heal than actually breaking the bones in that area. See ->sprained ankle for more details.

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*The knee. Perhaps one of the more talked about sprains is that to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) of the knee. This is a disabling sprain common to athletes, especially in basketball, football, and judo. See Anterior cruciate ligament injury.

*The fingers.

*The wrist.

*The toes.

Risk factors:
Factors contributing to sprains and strains include:

*Poor conditioning. Lack of conditioning can leave your muscles weak and more likely to sustain injury.

*Poor technique. The way you land from a jump — for example, when skiing or practicing martial arts — may affect your risk of injury to a ligament in your knee called the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Past research has shown that landing with an inward rotation at the knee (“knock-kneed” position) can predispose you to an ACL sprain.

*Fatigue. Tired muscles are less likely to provide good support for your joints. When you’re tired, you’re also more likely to succumb to forces that could stress a joint or overextend a muscle.

*Improper warm-up. Properly warming up before vigorous physical activity loosens your muscles and increases joint range of motion, making the muscles less tight and less prone to trauma and tears.

Treatment:
The first modality for a sprain can be remembered using the acronym R.I.C.E.

*Rest: The sprain should be rested. No additional force should be applied on site of the sprain. If, for example, the sprain were an ankle sprain, then walking should be kept to a minimum.

*Ice: Ice should be applied immediately to the sprain to minimize swelling and ease pain. It can be applied for 20-30 minutes at a time, 3-4 times a day. Ice can be combined with a wrapping to minimize swelling and provide support.

*Compression: Dressings, bandages, or ace-wraps should be used to immobilize the sprain and provide support.

*Elevation: Keeping the sprained joint elevated above heart level will also help to minimize swelling.

*Ice and compression (cold compression therapy) will not completely stop swelling and pain, but will help to minimize them as the sprain begins to heal itself. Careful management of swelling is critical to the healing process as additional fluid may pool in the sprained area.

Click to see :
->Sprain: First aid

Prevention:
Sprains can best be prevented by proper use of safety equipment (wrist, ankle guards), warm-ups and cool-downs (including stretching), being aware of your surroundings and maintaining strength and flexibility. Physical conditioning is the best way to avoid or lessen the degree of sprains.

Lifestyle and home remedies:
For immediate self-care of a sprain or strain, try the P.R.I.C.E. approach — protection, rest, ice, compression, elevation. In most cases beyond a minor strain or sprain, you’ll want your doctor and physical therapist to help you with this process:

*Protection. Immobilize the area to protect it from further injury. Use an elastic wrap, splint or sling to immobilize the area. If your injury is severe, your doctor or therapist may place a cast or brace around the affected area to protect it and instruct you on how to use a cane or crutches to help you get around, if necessary.

*Rest. Avoid activities that cause pain, swelling or discomfort. But don’t avoid all physical activity. Instead, give yourself relative rest. For example, with an ankle sprain you can usually still exercise other muscles to prevent deconditioning. For example, you could use an exercise bicycle, working both your arms and the uninjured leg while resting the injured ankle on a footrest peg. That way you still exercise three limbs and keep up your cardiovascular conditioning.

*Ice. Even if you’re seeking medical help, ice the area immediately. Use an ice pack or slush bath of ice and water for 15 to 20 minutes each time and repeat every two to three hours while you’re awake for the first few days following the injury. Cold reduces pain, swelling and inflammation in injured muscles, joints and connective tissues. It also may slow bleeding if a tear has occurred. If the area turns white, stop treatment immediately. This could indicate frostbite. If you have vascular disease, diabetes or decreased sensation, talk with your doctor before applying ice.

*Compression. To help stop swelling, compress the area with an elastic bandage until the swelling stops. Don’t wrap it too tightly or you may hinder circulation. Begin wrapping at the end farthest from your heart. Loosen the wrap if the pain increases, the area becomes numb or swelling is occurring below the wrapped area.

*Elevation. To reduce swelling, elevate the injured area above the level of your heart, especially at night. Gravity helps reduce swelling by draining excess fluid.

*Continue with P.R.I.C.E. treatment for as long as it helps you recover. Over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) and acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) also can be helpful. If you want to apply heat to the injured area, wait until most of the swelling has subsided.

After the first two days, gently begin to use the injured area. You should see a gradual, progressive improvement in the joint’s ability to support your weight or your ability to move without pain.

Mild and moderate sprains usually heal in three to six weeks. If pain, swelling or instability persists, see your doctor. A physical therapist can help you to maximize stability and strength of the injured joint or limb.

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

Resources:

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

MayoClinic.com

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Pokeweed

Botanical Name: Phytolacca americana
Family: Phytolaccaceae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Caryophyllales
Genus: Phytolacca
Other Names: Poke Salet, American Pokeweed, Cancer-root, Cancer jalap, Inkberry, Pigeon Berry, Pocan, Poke, Poke Root, Pokeberry, Reujin D Ours, Sekerciboyaci, Skoke, Virginian Poke, Yoshu-Yama-Gobo, Yyamilin

Common Names: poke, pokebush, pokeberry, pokeroot, polk salad, polk sallet, inkberry or ombú.
Kingdom: Plantae

Caution : Toxic when misused. For experienced herbalists only. Can cause intense vomiting and diarrhea.In East Asia and New Zealand Pokeweed contains phytolaccatoxin and phytolaccigenin, which are poisonous to mammals.

Habitat
Pokeweed is a common perennial native plant, found in Northern and Central N. America from the New England States to Minnesota and south to Florida and Texas, naturalized in Britain and other countries. Growing in damp rich soils in clearings, woodland margins and roadsides.

Description:Pokeweed is a common perennial plant. The stout erect stalk is tall, growing to 10 feet or more, smooth and branching, turning deep red or purple as the berries ripen and the plant matures. The root is conical, large and fleshy, covered with a thin brown bark. Leaves are about 5 inches long and 2 to 3 inches wide, simple, alternate, ovate-lanceolate, and smooth. The flowers which appear from July to September are long-stalked clusters and each has 5 whitish petals with green centers. The fruit is a rich deep purple round berry, containing a rich crimson juice. Gather young edible shoots in spring, the roots in fall, slice and dry for later use, and berries as they ripen.

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Uses:
Young pokeweed leaves can be boiled three times to reduce the toxin, discarding the water after each boiling. The result is known as poke salit, or poke salad, and is occasionally available commercially.[1] Many authorities advise against eating pokeweed even after thrice boiling, as traces of the toxin may still remain. For many decades, poke salad has been a staple of southern U.S. cuisine, despite campaigns by doctors who believed pokeweed remained toxic even after being boiled. The lingering cultural significance of Poke salad can be found in the 1969 hit song “Polk Salad Annie,” written and performed by Tony Joe White, and famously covered by Elvis Presley and the El Orbits. Pokeberry juice is added to other juices for jelly by those who believe it can relieve the pain of arthritis. There is a poke salad festival held annually in Gainesboro, TN.

Pokeweed berries yield a red ink or dye, which was once used by Native Americans to decorate their horses. The United States Declaration of Independence was written in fermented pokeberry juice (hence the common name ‘inkberry’). Many letters written home during the American Civil War were written in pokeberry ink; the writing in these surviving letters appears brown. The red juice has also been used to symbolize blood, as in the anti-slavery protest of Benjamin Lay. A rich brown dye can be made by soaking fabrics in fermenting berries in a hollowed-out pumpkin.

Some pokeweeds are also grown as ornamental plants, mainly for their attractive berries; a number of cultivars have been selected for larger fruit panicles.

Pokeweeds are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Giant Leopard Moth.

Toxic Principle toxic constituents have been identified including the alkaloid phytolaccine ( and the alkaloid phytolaccotoxin, as well as a glycoprotein. When pokeweed is used as food, the water in which it is boiled must be discarded. The roots are particularly toxic.

A beautiful red ink and a dye are obtained from the fruit. The rootstock is rich in saponins and can be used as a soap substitute.

Medicinal Properties and Uses:Various parts of the plant have been used since pre-Colombian times to treat many conditions. It seems the berry juice has been used for pimples and boils, in some cases taken internally in other cases applied to the skin. It has also been taken for joint pain and applied to sore breasts. Leaf concoctions have been used as an expectorant, emetic and cathartic.

Pokeweed is edible (cooked) and medicinal. It has a long history of use by Native Americans and in alternative medicine. The young shoots are boiled in two changes of water and taste similar to asparagus, berries are cooked and the resulting liquid used to color canned fruits and vegetables. The root is alterative, anodyne, antiinflammatory, cathartic, expectorant, hypnotic, narcotic and purgative. It is used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, tonsillitis, mumps, glandular fever and other complaints involving swollen glands, chronic catarrh, bronchitis and diseases related to a compromised immune system it has potential as an anti-AIDS drug. Some of the chemical constituents in the plant are triterpenoid saponins, lectins, antiviral proteins and many phytolaccagenic acids, which are not completely understood.

New research has revealed that a possible CURE for Childhood Leukemia called (B43-PAP) is found in the common Pokeweed.

Anti-B43-pokeweed antiviral protein, B43-PAP, PAP is a pokeweed toxin. The B43 carries the weapon–the PAP–to the leukemia cells. It has been touted as a smart weapon. In one study 15 out of 18 children who had participated had attained remission.

The following is part of a repot from Parker Hughes Institute: The two parts of this drug are the B43 antibody (or anti-CD19) and the pokeweed antiviral protein (PAP) immunotoxin, a natural product in the pokeweed plant. B43 is designed to recognize specific B-cell leukemia cells just as natural antibodies attack and recognize germs. When the antibody finds a leukemia cell, it attaches and B43 delivers the other part of the drug, PAP. Inside the cell, PAP is released by the antibody and inactivates the ribosomes that make the proteins the cell needs to survive. With the cell unable to produce proteins, the specific leukemia cell is killed. More than 100 patients have been treated with B43-PAP and shown only minimal side effects.

Pokeweed is used as a folk remedy to treat many ailments. It can be applied topically or taken internally. Topical treatments have been used for acne and other ailments. Internal treatments include tonsilitis, swollen glands and weight loss. Grated pokeroot was used by Native Americans as a poultice to treat inflammations and rashes of the breast. These uses of pokeweed are scientifically unproven, dangerous, and may cause death.

Caution is advised as the whole plant, but especially the berries, is poisonous raw, causing vomiting and diarrhea.

Clinical signs:-

In humans:
The eating of limited quantities of poke, perhaps of the shoots, may cause retching or vomiting after two hours or more. These signs may be followed by dyspnea, perspiration, spasms, severe purging, prostration, tremors, watery diarrhea and vomitng (sometimes bloody) and, sometimes, convulsions. In severe poisonings, symptoms are weakness, excessive yawning, slowed breathing, fast heartbeat, dizziness, and possibly seizures, coma and death.

In horses:
Colic, diarrhea, respiratory failure.

In swine:
Unsteadiness, inability to rise, retching. Jerking movements of the legs. Below-normal temperature.

In cattle:
Same general signs plus a decrease in milk production.

Folklore
Some Native American tribes used Pokeweed as a Witchcraft Medicine, believing that it’s ability to totally purge the body by causing drastic diarrhea and vomiting would also expel bad spirits. Fruit was made into a red dye used in painting horses and various articles of adornment.

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phytolacca

http://2bnthewild.com/plants/H171.htm

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Bend and Stretch — Your Hips Will Thank You

This stretch, a crossed-leg sit with a block, targets the muscles around your hip joints, which get tight from everyday activities such as walking, stair-climbing or prolonged sitting. Remember to relax and breathe deeply while performing this move.
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Step 1-> Sit on the floor with a yoga block in front of you and your right leg crossed in front of your left leg. Wiggle your knees in a little closer until your ankles are directly below your knees. Inhale and sit tall. On an exhale, hinge at your hips, leaning your torso forward with a straight back.
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Step 2-> Continue to lean forward until you can rest your forehead on top of the yoga block. Stay in this position as you breathe fully and deeply for 30 seconds. Concentrate on relaxing your buttocks and back muscles. Come out of the stretch by rolling your spine up, then change the cross of your legs and repeat with your left leg in front.

Sources: Los Angles Times

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Vitamin B1 Can Reverse Kidney Damage

Vitamin B1 can reverse early kidney disease in people with type-2 diabetes, a study by British researchers has shown.
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The team from Warwick University tested the effect of vitamin B1 (thiamine), which is found in meat, yeast and grain, on 40 patients from Pakistan, BBC News website reported on Monday.

The treatment stopped the loss of a key protein in the urine, the journal Diabetologia reports. Charity Diabetes UK called the results “very promising” — but said it was too early for any firm conclusions.

The latest findings build on earlier work by the same team, showing that many diabetes patients have a deficiency of thiamine.

Sources: The Times Of India

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Leg Lifts that Boost Overall Strength

To increase your overall body strength, with special attention on your core, incorporate this straight-legged elbow plank into your daily workouts. You don’t need any tools or equipment, so you can do it anytime, anywhere. Just remember to place your elbows directly below your shoulders when you start. This will help avoid undue tension in your neck.

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Step 1 ->Begin by kneeling on a flat surface. Place your elbows directly underneath your shoulders, shoulder-width apart. Turn your palms down to the ground and be sure that your forearms are parallel to each other. Curl your toes under and straighten your knees. Lower your hips just below shoulder height. Your body should form a straight line from the back of your neck to your heels.

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Step 2:->
Keeping your hips and shoulders facing the floor, shift your weight to your right leg and lift your left foot off the floor. While pushing your right heel backward, keep your right knee straight. Pull your abdominal muscles in toward your spine to support the weight of your pelvis. Draw your shoulder blades down your back, away from your ears. Do not allow your waist to sag. Hold this position for three to six breaths. Lower your left leg, shift your weight to the left and lift your right leg to repeat on the other side. Lower your knees to the floor to release.

Sources: Los Angeles Times

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Wine Raises Cancer Risk

A large glass of wine a day increases the risk of liver and bowel cancer by a fifth, experts have warned. What’s more, the same goes for a pint of beer or a couple of spirits such as vodka or gin.

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Rachel Thompson, science programme manager for World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), warned that just two units of alcohol a day increases the risk of bowel cancer by 18% and the risk of liver cancer by 20%.

The warning appears to conflict with other studies which suggest moderate alcohol intake can help combat heart disease. “If you are drinking a pint of lager or a large glass of wine every day then this might not seem like a lot, but the science shows you are increasing your risk of bowel cancer by 18% and your risk of liver cancer by 20%,” she said.

She added: “When you consider how many cases of these types of cancer are diagnosed in the UK every year, it is clear that drinking even relatively small amounts of alcohol can make a significant difference.”

More than 3,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with liver cancer each year and a similar number die. The WCRF said there was convincing evidence that drinking alcohol also increased the risk of breast cancer and cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx and oesophagus.

Click to see:->Link between colon cancer & drinking alcohol

Sources:The Times Of India

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Effective Treatment for Neuroblastoma

Shown is a microscopic view of a typical neuro...
Image via Wikipedia

Experts have claimed that they have discovered an effective treatment for deadly cancer — neuroblastoma — by applying new science with a 40-year-old known drug.

Michelle Haber, a molecular and cellular biologist in Australia, said laboratory trials with mice genetically programmed to develop neuroblastoma — a solid tumour that spreads rapidly through the body — showed the drug, DFMO, delayed the development of tumours or prevented them forming in the first place.

By combining DFMO with conventional anti-cancer drugs such as cisplatin, that was then used to treat mice with neuroblastoma, the tumours were reduced, took longer to return and some tumours never came back, according to a report published in The Australian.

Haber, executive director of Sydney-based Children’s Cancer Institute Australia for Medical Research, said, “The mice were cured. That’s something you virtually never see in aggressive neuroblastoma.”

Luciano Dalla-Pozza, head of oncology at Children’s Hospital in Sydney welcomed the series of genetic and animal experiments Haber’s team had conducted.

“If the trial was opened now, I’d unhesitantly look at enrolling patients in it,” Dalla-Pozza said.

While roughly 75 per cent of children diagnosed with other cancers survive, only 50 per cent of those diagnosed with neuroblastoma survive. Two-thirds of youngsters get an aggressive form of neuroblastoma that kills more than 80 per cent of them within a year.

Haber said discussions were under way with Sydney Children’s Hospital and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for trials of combination therapy with children who had relapsed from neuroblastoma.
“For me that’s incredibly exciting,” Haber said.

Sources: The Times Of India

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Natural Drugs Set for Major Role

Natural drugs, especially of plant origin, are expected to play a major role in the healthcare programme in the 21st Century, a leading scientist has said.

“The revival of interest in plant-based drugs and other herbal products is mainly because of the widespread belief that ‘green medicine’ is healthier than the synthetic products,” said veteran scientist P Pushpangadan in a paper titled ‘Health Food and Nutraceuticals – Traditional Wisdom’.

“This is mainly due to the increasing evidences of the health hazards associated with the harmful side effects of many synthetic drugs and the indiscriminate use of modern medicines such as antibiotics, steroids,” said the paper, which will be presented at the ongoing Annam – National Food and Agro-biodiversity festival on Monday.

Pushpangadan is the director general of Amity Institute for Herbal and Biotech Products Development, and has previously served as director of the National Botanical Research Institute till 2006.

The preference for green food and medicine has resulted in the rapid growth of plant-based drugs, pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, functional foods and even cosmaceuticals.

The scientist said in the 1980s, this led to the rapid spurt of demand for health products such as herbal tea, ginseng and products of traditional medicine.

Health improvement and disease preventive strategies in treatment, prevalent in oriental systems, especially Indian (Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Amchi) and the Chinese systems of medicine are finding increasing acceptance all over the world.

“Because of this sweeping ‘green wave’ a large number of herbal drugs and plant-derived herbal products are sold in the health food shops all over the developed countries. According to some healthcare experts, there will be more dieticians rather than physicians in coming years,” Pushpangadan said.

Sources: The Times Of India

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Perilla

Korean perilla leaves prepared for kimchi
Image via Wikipedia

Botanical Name:Perilla frutescens
Family :Lamiaceae/Mint
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales
Genus: Perilla

Other Names: Ao Shiso, Beefsteak plant, Ji Soo, Perilla, Purple Perilla, Shiso, Wild basil, Wild red basil, Chinese basil, Purple mint, Rattlesnake weed, Summer coleus
Perilla smells funny, which is no wonder since you will usually find it in cow pastures. Rub leaves on your skin and clothes on hikes to repel ticks. Also a good companion plant for tomatoes. Harvest before seeds form, very invasive if allowed to seed.

Habitat:It is native to E. Asia, it is a traditional crop of China, India, Japan, Korea, Thailand, and other Asian countries. Perilla was brought to the United States in the late 1800s by Asian immigrants.It has quickly naturalized and become a common weed of pastures and roadsides in the southeastern United States. Found growing in sunny open fields, roadsides, waste places and open woodlands.

Description: Annual herb. It is a very aromatic plant, with a strong minty smell. Growing up to 4 feet tall when in bloom, the stems are square, reddish-purple and branching. The leaves are large, up to 6 in. in diameter, petioled, opposite, ovate and serrate, edges ruffled or curly, dark green tinted red to purple (especially on the underside) and hairy. Sometimes the leaves are so large and red that they remind one of a slice of raw beef, hence the name beefsteak plant. The flower spikes are long, up to 10 in. and born in the leaf axils. Flowers are small about 1/4-inch long and tubular, pink to lavender and numerous. After blooming from July to October, they leave their calyx on the spike to cover the seed pod, shake the dry seed stalks and it rattles like a rattlesnake. That’s how the plant got one of its common names (rattlesnake weed). Perilla is often confused with purple Basil and used for the same purposes. Gather the edible tender leaves from the plant tops anytime. Gather entire plant in bloom and dry for later use.

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In mild climates the plant reseeds itself. The most common species is Perilla frutescens var. japonica or shiso which is mainly grown in India and East Asia. There are both green-leafed and purple-leafed varieties which are generally recognized as separate species by botanists. The leaves resemble stinging nettle leaves, being slightly rounder in shape. It is also widely known as the Beefsteak plant. In North America, it is increasingly commonly called by its Japanese name, shiso, in addition to being generally referred to as perilla. Its essential oils provide for a strong taste whose intensity might be compared to that of mint or fennel. It is considered rich in minerals and vitamins, has anti-inflammatory properties and is thought to help preserve and sterilize other foods. In Nepal and parts of India, it is called silam. Its seeds are ground with chili and tomatoes to make a savoury dip/side dish.

Cultivation:Cultivation is very easy. Perilla prefers light to medium moist well-drained and rich soil in full sun. Perilla is a very attractive plant for the garden and attracts butterflies. It’s deep purple stems and purple to red tinted leaves last all summer and fall.

Medicinal Properties and Uses: Perilla is edible and medicinal. The leaves have a very pleasant sweet taste and are used as a spice, cooked as potherbs or fried, and combined with fish, rice, vegetables and soups. It is also chopped and combined with gingerroot, then added to stir-fries, tempuras and salads in many Asian countries. The plant also supplies a nutritious cooking oil from the seed, as well as giving color and flavor to many pickled dishes. In the United States the essential oil of the plant is used as a food flavoring in candies and sauces. It is used as a flavoring in dental products and at one time, it was one of the main ingredients in sarsaparilla. The entire plant is very nutritious, packed with vitamins and minerals, and one of the aldehyde isomers found in Perilla is 2,000 times as sweet as sugar. There are many scientifically proven medicinal uses for Perilla. It has been used for centuries in Oriental medicine as an antiasthmatic, antibacterial, antidote, antimicrobial, antipyretic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antitussive, aromatic, carminative, diaphoretic, emollient, expectorant, pectoral, restorative, stomachic and tonic. The plant constituents confirm these uses in alternative medicine and ongoing studies have revealed that this plant is useful in curing many cancers as well as various other diseases and disorders. Further research has isolated such constituents as apigenin, ascorbic-acid, beta-carotene, caffeic-acid, citral, dillapiol, elemicin, limonene, luteolin, myristicin, perillaldehyde, protocatechuic-acid, quercetin, rosmarinic-acid, and more, to numerous to mention. It is a pungent, aromatic, warming herb. An infusion of the plant is useful in the treatment of asthma, colds, cough and lung afflictions, influenza prevention, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, constipation, food poisoning and allergic reactions (especially from seafood), and to restore health and balance. The stems are a traditional Chinese remedy for morning sickness and restless fetus in pregnancy, though some say the herb should be avoided by pregnant women. Perilla seed oil has been used in paints, varnishes, linoleum, printing ink, lacquers, and for protective waterproof coatings on cloth. Volatile oils of the plant are also used in aroma therapy and for perfume. The seed heads can be collected and dried for use in arrangements, potpourris and wreaths. The crushed plant also makes an effective insecticide.

The essential oil extracted from the leaves of perilla by steam distillation consists of a variety of chemical compounds, which may vary depending on species. The most abundant, comprising about 50–60% of the oil, is perillaldehyde which is most responsible for the aroma and taste of perilla. Other terpenes such as limonene, caryophyllene, and farnesene are common as well.

Of the known chemotypes of perilla, PA (main component: perillaldehyd) is the only one used for culinary purposes. Other chemotypes are PK (perilla ketone), EK (elsholzia ketone), PL (perillene), PP (phenylpropanoids: myristicin, dillapiole, elemicin), C (citral) and a type rich in rosefuran.

Perilla ketone is toxic to some animals. When cattle and horses consume purple mint (of the PK chemotype) while grazing in fields in which it grows, the perilla ketone causes pulmonary edema leading to a condition sometimes called perilla mint toxicosis.

Perilla oil is obtained by pressing the seeds of perilla, which contain 35 to 45 percent oil. In parts of Asia, perilla oil is used as an edible oil that is valued more for its medicinal benefit than its flavor. Perilla oil is a very rich source of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid. As a drying oil similar to tung oil or linseed oil, perilla oil has been used for paints, varnishes, linoleum, printing ink, lacquers, and for protective waterproof coatings on cloth. Perilla oil can also be used for fuel.

The oil from the seeds of this plant, widely used in the manufacture of paint, varnish, and artificial leather and as a substitute for linseed oil.

The seed oil is used for cooking, and as an ink dryer. The seeds are eaten by people, they have a sweet, pungent taste. They are alse used as bird seed. The foliage is cooked as a potherb. A few cut leaves are sometimes used to color the rice pink.

The oxime of perillaldehyde (perillartin) is used as an artificial sweetener in Japan as it is about 2000 times sweeter than sucrose.

Chemistry
The essential oil extracted from the leaves of perilla by steam distillation consists of a variety of chemical compounds, which may vary depending on species. The most abundant, comprising about 50–60% of the oil, is perillaldehyde which is most responsible for the aroma and taste of perilla. Other terpenes such as limonene, caryophyllene, and farnesene are common as well.

Of the known chemotypes of perilla, PA (main component: perillaldehyd) is the only one used for culinary purposes. Other chemotypes are PK (perilla ketone), EK (elsholzia ketone), PL (perillene), PP (phenylpropanoids: myristicin, dillapiole, elemicin), C (citral) and a type rich in rosefuran.

Perilla ketone is toxic to some animals. When cattle and horses consume purple mint (of the PK chemotype) while grazing in fields in which it grows, the perilla ketone causes pulmonary edema leading to a condition sometimes called perilla mint toxicosis.

Perilla oil is obtained by pressing the seeds of perilla, which contain 35 to 45 percent oil. In parts of Asia, perilla oil is used as an edible oil that is valued more for its medicinal benefit than its flavor. Perilla oil is a very rich source of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid. As a drying oil similar to tung oil or linseed oil, perilla oil has been used for paints, varnishes, linoleum, printing ink, lacquers, and for protective waterproof coatings on cloth. Perilla oil can also be used for fuel.

The oxime of perillaldehyde (perillartin) is used as an artificial sweetener in Japan as it is about 2000 times sweeter than sucrose.

China
Perilla is traditionally used in Chinese medicine and has been shown to stimulate interferon activity and thus, the body’s immune system.

Japan:
The Japanese name for perilla is shiso. The Japanese call the green type aojiso , aoba (“green leaf”), ?ba or aoshiso and often eat it with sashimi (sliced raw fish) or cut into thin strips in salads, spaghetti, and meat and fish dishes. It is also used as a flavorful herb in a variety of dishes, even as a pizza topping (initially it was used in place of basil). The purple type is called akajiso ( “red shiso”, akajiso?) and is used to make umeboshi (pickled ume) dyed red, or combined with ume paste in sushi to make umeshiso maki. An inflorescence of shiso is called hojiso (ear shiso). Its young leaves and flower buds are used for pickling in Japan and Taiwan

Vietnam
Vietnamese cuisine uses a variety similar to the Japanese hojiso but with greenish bronze on the top face and purple on the opposite face. The leaves are smaller and have a much stronger fragrance than hojiso. In Vietnamese, it is called tía tô, derived from the characters whose standard pronunciation in Vietnamese is tia tô. It is usually eaten as a garnish in rice vermicelli dishes called bún and a number of stews and simmered dishes.

Koerea:
The plant’s Korean name is deulkkae or t?lkkae ( which means ‘wild sesame’.). The same word is also used when referring to its seed, which has many uses in Korean cuisine, just as the leaves (kkaennip,) do. The literal translations of deulkkae (“wild sesame”) and kkaennip (“sesame leaf”) are in spite of perilla’s not being closely related to sesame, and Korean cookbooks translated to English sometimes use these translations. Cans of pickled kkaennip can be found in Korean shops all over the world, with some ground red pepper between every two leaves in the can. The leaves’ essential oils provide for their strong taste. Fresh leaves have an aroma reminiscent of apples and mint and are eaten in salad dishes. The flavor is distinct from Japanese perilla, and the leaf appearance is different as well – larger, rounder, flatter, with a less serrate edge and often, a violet coloring on the reverse side. Perilla oil (deulgireum,) is extracted from the seeds; the cake can be used as animal food. Perilla oil has a rich taste and scent slightly resembling dark sesame oil (chamgireum,). Perilla seed can be cooked with meals, roasted, crushed to intensify its taste and/or mixed with sesame and salt.

Folklore
In Asia, centuries ago, ceremonies were conducted before harvesting the plant, it was considered to be alive and was held as sacred, sent by God as food and medicine to treat all ailments of man. Disrespect for the plant meant death, anyone caught stepping on the plant would himself be trampled to death!

Recipe
“Medicinal” tea: To ¼ cup dry herb add 1 pint of boiling water, allow to steep 10 to 15 min. Drink throughout the day for colds, flu, sore throat, and congestion. Also can be boiled and the steam inhaled to clear the sinuses.

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perilla

http://www.answers.com/topic/perilla

http://www2.pittstate.edu/herbarium/wildflowers/Perilla_frutescens_BeefsteakPlant.html

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Ankle Sprain? Fret not

Ankle joints, undependable as they are, can easily slip. As joints they are fragile, and, unlike the hip, are not surrounded by protective strong muscles. Instead the bones are held in place by ligaments — the rope-like ends of muscles — that are not as strong. They are also more prone to displacement, stretching and tears. This means around 25,000 people sprain their ankles every day just in the US.
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The ankle is a hinge joint, meant to move upwards and downwards. If torsion or twisting movement occurs accidentally, the ligaments fail to hold. The ankle can then be forced out of its normal position. As the body is unprepared, the joint can “give way” resulting in a sprain.

The entire weight of the body rests on this weak pair of ankle joints. Acute injury usually means that the person either falls or hobbles away painfully.

Age is no bar, and both the young and old can “sprain” their ankles. An ankle sprain is more likely to occur if:

• The footwear is unsuitable, with hard unyielding soles, or spiky or rocker-bottom heels.

The foot is placed awkwardly while landing after a jump.

• A fall causes the ankle to twist.

• One walks or exercises on an uneven surface resulting in loss of balance.

• A person is overweight.

• The ankle has been injured before and is unstable, causing a repetition of the injury.

If the sprain is mild, after a few painful minutes it is possible to put the foot back on the ground and walk. With a more severe injury, the foot may be swollen. There may be a bluish red discolouration over the joint. Weight bearing may cause such excruciating agony that it is impossible to walk. If there is a popping sound or weight bearing is impossible, the ligament may have been torn. In the process, a small piece of bone may have been dislocated or chipped off.

In many mild sprains “home remedies” work wonders. This consists of PRICE — Protection, Rest, Ice Compression and Elevation:

• Immediately apply ice. It reduces the swelling and inflammation, reduces muscle spasm and numbs pain.

• Protect the joint from further dislocation with elastocrepe bandages and an ankle support. These are available in medical stores.

• Avoid bearing weight by using a crutch or leaning on a cane.

• Rest as much as possible.

• Elevate the leg so that the ankle is above the level of the heart. Keep it like that as long as possible. This will reduce the swelling.

• Take mild painkillers like Aspirin, or NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents) like Ibuprofen.

If the sprain is mild, with these measures the pain will disappear in three days. If discomfort persists, it is better to consult a physician, as the ligaments may be torn or the bone chipped. An X-ray or a scan may be needed to evaluate the joint.

The first stage of recovery takes around a week. The ankle should be rested as much as possible. For the next two weeks, passive exercises should be done to increase the strength and restore flexibility. This is very important because if the ligaments are not moved they can become stiff and fixed.

Plaster of Paris (POP) can be applied as a cast if the sprain is severe. It keeps the joint fixed and helps rapid recovery. Casts can also be made with new lightweight materials and fitted to facilitate walking.

Surgery is rarely required, but can be performed if pain and instability persist after months of using elastocrepe bandages and exercises. Arthroscopy can be done with a scope to visualise the joint and remove any loose fragments of bone or cartilage. If the ligaments are badly damaged, reconstruction of the joint can be undertaken.

Athletes sometimes tape their ankles or wear an elastic guard prior to exercise to prevent a sprain from occurring. This is not effective unless the joint is already known to be unstable.

If the sprain is unrecognised or neglected, the joint can become chronically unstable and troublesome. A sprain is diagnosed as chronic if it lasts for more than four weeks. This is because by then the muscles have become weak and the ligaments lax. This predisposes the joint to instability and repeated injury.

The best way to prevent ankle sprains is to maintain good strength, muscle balance and flexibility.

• Don’t start exercising with “cold” stiff muscles. Warm ups are essential to prevent dislocations.

• Run in well-lit areas. That way, uneven surfaces, stones and obstructions can be seen well.

• Pay attention to footwear. Wear sports shoes for games. Formal stilettos, spiky heels and elevated shoes can cause loss of balance and are better avoided.

• If the ankle suddenly pains, stop the activity and check to see what is wrong.

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Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)