Monthly Archives: July 2010

Block-Supported Yoga Pose

Foam blocks are great tools for practicing yoga poses. Use them to develop more flexibility in your hamstrings while eliminating pressure on your lower back.

 

Foam blocks are great tools for practicing yoga poses. Use them to develop more flexibility in your hamstrings while eliminating pressure on your lower back. Include this stretch at the end of your workouts when your hamstrings are warmed up.

Place two yoga blocks in front of you and stand upright with your feet in a split stance. Position your right leg forward between the blocks and your left leg approximately 31/2 feet back. For added stability, turn your back foot out slightly. Inhale with your hands on your hips, lift your chest and relax your shoulders down away from your ears.

On an exhale, bend forward at the hips, maintaining a long spine. Rest your hands on top of the yoga blocks. Inhale, lengthen the crown of your head away from your hips. Pull your abdominals in to support your spine. Pause for 10 to 20 seconds, feeling the stretch in the backs of your legs. Return to your upright start position, switch legs and repeat with your left leg forward.

Source : The Losangles Times

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Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)

Botanical Name: Pelargonium graveolens
Family :Geraniaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Geraniales
Genus: Pelargonium
Species: P. graveolens
Common Names :  Geranium

Synonym
Common names include rose geranium, old fashion rose geranium, and rose-scent geranium. Pelargonium graveolens is also known by taxonomic synonyms “Geranium terebinthinaceum Cav.” and Pelargonium terebinthinaceum (Cav.) Desf.” “Rose geranium” is sometimes used to refer to “Pelargonium incrassatum (Andrews) Sims” or its synonym “Pelargonium roseum – the herbal name- (Andrews) DC.” Commercial vendors often list the source of geranium or rose geranium essential oil as Pelargonium graveolens regardless of its herbal botanical name.


Habitat
:Pelargonium genus, is indigenous to various parts of southern Africa, and in particular South Africa.This specific species has great importance in the perfume industry. It is cultivated on a large scale and its foliage is distilled for its scent. P. graveolens cultivars have a wide variety of smells, including rose, citrus, mint, coconut and nutmeg, as well as various fruits. However, the most commercially important varieties are those that have rose scents.

Description
Pelargonium graveolens is an erect, much-branched shrub, that can reach a height of up to 1,3 m and a spread of 1 m. The hairy stems are herbaceous when young, becoming woody with age. The deeply incised leaves are velvety and soft to the touch due to the presence of numerous glandular hairs. The leaves are strongly rose-scented. The showy white to pinkish flowers are borne in an umbel-like inflorescence and are present from late winter to summer (August – January) peaking in spring (September – October).Mint Scented Rose Geranium is one of the best all around Scented Geraniums. It has great variegation, good size, nice pink flowers and a great fragrance.

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Cultivation :
Pelargonium graveolens grows very well in moist, semi-shaded positions in the garden where it can be used as filler. Its velvety leaves add texture to the planting. This species also makes a good container or hanging basket subject, provided it is kept in a semi shade position. Pelargonium graveolens responds well to feeding with liquid organic fertilizers. Use a suitable systemic insecticide if whiteflies are observed feeding on the plants.

This plant can be propagated by means of stem and tip cuttings, or seed. Cuttings root well when dipped into a suitable rooting hormone and then placed in trays filled with coarse river sand. The trays should be kept in coldframes. Optimum rooting time is autumn (March-May) and spring (September-November). Seed can be sown in spring, summer or autumn.

Uses:
Pelargonium distillates and absolutes, commonly known as “geranium oil,” is sold for aromatherapy and massage therapy applications is sometimes used to supplement or adulterate more expensive rose oils. Other applications include

*Natural insect repellent
*Cake ingredient (flowers and leaves)
*Jam and jellies ingredient (flowers and leaves)
*Ice creams and Sorbets ingredient (flowers and leaves)
*Salad ingredient (flowers)
*Sugar flavouring (leaves)

Medicinal  Uses:
Abrasions/Cuts * Burns/SunBurn * Depression * Diarrhea * Facial and Skin care * Fungus Infections * Insect Repellent * Scabies * Stress *
Properties: Astringent* Cisatrisant* Diuretic* Hemostatic* Sedative* Skin tonic* Vulnerary* Analgesic* Anti-inflammatory* Insect repellents* Stimulant* Antifungal*
Parts Used: Leaves

Pelargoniums were used in South African cultures as a traditional medicine for healing wounds, abscesses, cold sores, sore throats and infections, and continue to have a wide array of uses in the garden, kitchen and medicine cabinet.

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.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail26.php
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pelargonium_graveolens
http://www.plantzafrica.com/plantnop/pelarggrav.htm
http://www.mountainvalleygrowers.com/pelgraveolensmintrose.htm

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An Increase in Leptin Could Promote Colorectal Cancer

While researchers have known that obesity increases the risk for the development of colon cancer, the underlying molecular mechanisms have remained unclear.
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Now, for the first time, researchers have found that an increase in leptin, a cytokine that is normally increased in obese or overweight individuals, may promote colorectal neoplasms by activating colorectal cancer stem cells.

Cancer stem cells constitute a small subfraction of tumor cells that are characterized by long lifespan and capacity for self-renewal, and are responsible for tumor development, resistance to treatments and cancer recurrence. In colon cancer, leptin is able to increase the growth, survival, and resistance to certain chemotherapy treatments in this key cell population.

Leptin, a fat tissue-derived pluripotent cytokine regulating appetite and energy balance in the brain, also controls many physiological and pathological processes in peripheral organs, including carcinogenesis.

Colon cancer has increased in developed countries, possibly due to sedentary lifestyles and high caloric diets. Prior research has linked obesity to colorectal cancer risk by .4-1.0 fold in men and up to 2.0 fold in premenopausal women.

“Since targeting cancer stem cells may be a translationally relevant strategy to improve clinical outcomes, interfering with leptin signaling by targeting leptin receptors might become a novel attractive option for colorectal cancer treatment, particularly in obese patients,” says senior author of the study, Eva Surmacz.

“It is important to consider that cancer stem cells have been identified in several human malignancies,” says Monica Bartucci, study co-author. “Understanding how cancer stem cells interact with a tumor environment, including hormones like leptin, is likely to have significant implications for treatment management of different cancer types in human patients. We hope, in collaboration with Dr. Surmacz, not only to test the effects of leptin antagonist compounds on colon cancer stem cells but also to study the results of leptin stimulation on cancer stem cells isolated in other cancer tissues.”

Source: Elements4Health

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Mushrooms Enhance Activity of Critical Cells in Body’s Immune System

Mushrooms are among the many foods thought to play an important role in keeping the immune system healthy. Now scientists have conducted an animal-model and cell-culture study showing that white button mushrooms enhanced the activity of critical cells in the body’s immune system.
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In the United States, white button mushrooms represent 90 percent of the total mushrooms consumed.

The results suggest that white button mushrooms may promote immune function by increasing production of antiviral and other proteins that are released by cells while seeking to protect and repair tissue.

The study’s cell-culture phase showed that white button mushrooms enhanced the maturity of immune system cells called “dendritic cells,” from bone marrow.

Dendritic cells can make T cells—important white blood cells that can recognize and eventually deactivate or destroy antigens on invading microbes.

When immune system cells are exposed to disease-causing pathogens, such as bacteria, the body begins to increase the number and function of immune system cells, according to study author Simin Meydani. People need an adequate supply of nutrients to produce an adequate defense against the pathogen. The key is to prevent deficiencies that can compromise the immune system.


Source :
Elements4Health

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Stretch Away Stress at Your Desk

Here’s a great way to reduce tension in the upper back, neck and shoulders. Practice this stretch at your desk after long hours of sitting in front of the computer or talking on the telephone.
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Sit upright toward the front edge of a sturdy chair. Place your feet below your knees, hip-width apart. Hook your left elbow over your right elbow and wrap your forearms, pressing the palms of your hands together as much as you can. Inhale and raise your arms as you arch your upper back. Pause for a few breaths.

On an exhale, bring your chin in toward your throat, press your navel to your spine and move your elbows down toward your waist. Pause with your back in this C-curve position. Feel a deep stretch in your entire back and across the back of your shoulders. Inhale, raise your arms to repeat the arch and exhale again to repeat the C-curve. Return to center, then switch your arms and repeat.


Source :
The Losangles Times

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