Monthly Archives: September 2010

Phellodendron Amurense

Botanical Name :Phellodendron amurense
Family: Rutaceae
Genus: Phellodendron
Kingdom
: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Sapindales
Common Name :Amur cork tree
Chinese Name : Huang bo
Other Names: Phellodendron, Huang Bai, Philodendron bark

Habitat: Native to eastern Asia; northern China, Manchuria, Korea, Ussuri, Amur, and Japan, the Amur cork tree is considered invasive in many parts of North America. The State of Massachusetts lists it as a noxious weed.Forests in valleys and on mountains

Description:
Phellodendron amurense Rupr. is a species of tree in the family Rutaceae, commonly called the Amur cork tree. It is a major source of huáng bò, one of the 50 fundamental herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine.

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It is a medium-sized deciduous tree grows to between 30′ and 45′ tall. Generally trees are significantly wider than they are talland the branching is broad spreading
short main trunk and several large main branches. Most trees frequently become almost flat-topped with maturity  and picturesque branching.

Summer Foliage:->.....
Leaves are opposite and p innately compound. 5 to 11 leaflets per leaf and leaves are 10″ to 15″ long, leaflets are 2.5″ to 4.5″ long  . The leaf color is a very nice, lustrous dark green. Crushed foliage gives off a turpentine odor.

Autumn Foliage:->
yellow and short-lived ,not especially showy

Flowers:->
Dioecious, with male and female plants. Flowers are small and greenish-yellow, not ornamentally significant  and blooms in late May and early June.

Fruit:->
Pea-sized fruits that change from green to black , aromatic when crushed. Only on female plants held in clusters

Bark:-..
Conspicuously ridged and furrowed, light gray color.Bark is soft and cork-like to the touch, attractive in a subtle way.

Cultivation:
Prefers a moisture retentive well-drained deep rich loam in full sun. Prefers a neutral to alkaline soil. Succeeds in shallow chalky soils. Grows best in areas with long hot summers. Plants are gross feeders and require a rich soil if they are to perform well. Dormant plants are fully hardy in Britain, but the young growth is liable to damage from late spring frosts. The leaves are aromatic. This species is occasionally cultivated for timber in S.E. Europe. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown in the autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed requires 2 months cold stratification, sow in late winter in a cold frame[78, 113]. Germination is usually good. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 7 – 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Pot up in autumn and over winter in a cold frame. Fair to good percentage. Root cuttings – obtain in December and store in leafmold in a warm place for 3 weeks. Cut into 4cm lengths and plant horizontally in pots. Grow on in a warm greenhouse. Good percentage[

Medicinal Uses:
Anti-inflammatory, antipyretic,Antibacterial;  Bitter;  Cholagogue;  Diuretic;  Expectorant;  Hypoglycaemic;  Ophthalmic;  Skin;  Stomachic;  Vasodilator.lowers blood sugar.

Amur cork tree, called Huang Bai in China, is commonly used in Chinese herbalism, where it is considered to be one of the 50 fundamental herbs, but one that should be used with care. A strongly bitter remedy, the bark acts strongly on the kidneys and is regarded as a detoxicant for hot damp conditions. Recent research has shown that the plant is useful in the treatment of meningitis and conjunctivitis. Huang Bai should only be used under professional supervision and should not be take during pregnancy. The bark is alterative, antibacterial, antirheumatic, aphrodisiac, bitter stomachic, cholagogue, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, hypoglycaemic, ophthalmic, skin, vasodilator and tonic. It is taken internally in the treatment of acute diarrhoea, dysentery, jaundice, vaginal infections including Trichomonas, acute urinary tract infections, enteritis, boils, abscesses, night sweats and skin diseases. It is commonly used in conjunction with Scutellaria baicalensis and Coptis chinensis in a preparation called ‘injection of three yellow herbs’. It is given intramuscularly for upper respiratory tract infections. The bark of 10 year old trees is harvested in the winter or spring and dried for later use. The fruit is expectorant

Purges heat, detoxifies, clears damp heat. Used for infections and inflammation with possible symptoms of discharge from the anus, vagina, or penis. It also is customarily used for night sweats, afternoon fever, and nocturnal emissions. Phellodendron is an effective herb used topically for sores and damp heat conditions of the skin.

You may click to see :->What Are the Medical Uses of Phellodendron Amurense?

Safety: Phellodendron should not be used by those with spleen or stomach deficiency with or without diarrhea.

Other Uses:
Cork;  Dye;  Insecticide;  Oil;  Wood.

A yellow dye is obtained from the inner bark. An oil obtained from the seed has insecticidal properties similar to pyrethrum. Wood – heavy, hard, strong, close grained. Used for furniture. The bark is a cork substitute

The mature gray-brown bark is decorative, with ridges and furrows in a cork-like pattern. A suitable tree for large lots and park landscaping, which is generally free of pests. Very tolerant of soil conditio.

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.righthealth.com/Health/Phellodendron%20Amurense-s?lid=goog-ads-sb-8536643334

http://www.hort.uconn.edu/Plants/p/pheamu/pheamu1.html

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

http://holisticonline.com/herbal-med/_Herbs/h354.htm

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Phellodendron+amurense

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Lobelia chinensis

Botanical Name: Lobelia chinensis
Family: Campanulaceae
Genus: Lobelia
Species: L. chinensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales
Common Name :Creeping Lobelia,Chinese Lobelia,Lobelia chinensis
Chinese  Name :Pinyin : ban bian lian

Habitat:Original native of China

Description:
Lobelia chinensis is a species of flowering plant in the family Campanulaceae. Growing Height: 2″-3″.  Small pink flowers all summer.
It is in hardy to zone 7.
..

Cultivation:
Planting depth: Bog plant, not to be fully submerged. Thrives in full sun to partial shade. Works well in floating islands.

Chemical constituents:
Lobelia chinensis contains constituents including lobeline, lobelanine, isolobelanine, lobelanidine, and some chemical reactions of flavonoid, amino acid etc.

Medicinal uses;
It is one of the 50 fundamental herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine.
It has a number of purported uses and folk remedies that include treatment for inflammation, scurvy and fever. A tea made from the stem and leaves can be made to act as a diuretic. Moreover, it also has certain astringent properties and uses.

Click to see : Cadmium and Other Metal Uptake by Lobelia chinensis and Solanum nigrum from Contaminated Soils  :


Other Uses:
This can be grown as cute little ground cover .It makes a darling groundcover of tiny leaves, topped all summer with miniature pink, lobelia-like flowers.

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.callutheran.edu/gf/plants/category/gar-4463.htm

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

http://www.watergarden.org/Pond-Supplies/Floating-Island-Bog-Plants/Chinese-Lobelia

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Lobelia_chinensis

http://www.plantdelights.com/Catalog/Plants/Lobelia-chinensis.html

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The Truth About 12 Health Myths Even Most Doctors Believe

You Shouldn’t Cut Off the Bread’s Crust. It’s Full of Vitamins.: The truth is: In a 2002 German study, researchers found that the baking process produces a novel type of cancer-fighting antioxidant in bread that is eight times more abundant in the crust than in the crumb. That said, it’s more important to serve whole-wheat bread, with or without the crust, because it’s all around higher in nutrients, such as fiber, says New York City nutritionist Keri Glassman, author of The O2 Diet ($25, amazon.com). Make sure the ingredients list “100% whole-wheat flour.” Breads simply labeled “wheat” are usually made with a mixture of enriched white flour and whole-wheat flour and have less fiber.


If You Go Out With Wet Hair, You’ll Catch a Cold.
:The truth is: You will feel cold but will be just fine healthwise, says Jim Sears, a board-certified pediatrician in San Clemente, California, and a cohost of the daytime-TV show The Doctors. He cites a study done at the Common Cold Research Unit, in Salisbury, England, in which a group of volunteers was inoculated with a cold virus up their noses. Half the group stayed in a warm room while the rest took a bath and stood dripping wet in a hallway for half an hour, then got dressed but wore wet socks for a few more hours. The wet group didn’t catch any more colds than the dry. Sears’s conclusion: “Feeling cold doesn’t affect your immune system.”


If You Cross Your Eyes, They’ll Stay That Way.
: The truth is: “There’s no harm in voluntary eye crossing,” says W. Walker Motley, an assistant professor of ophthalmology at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. But if you notice your child doing this a lot (when he’s not mimicking a cartoon character), he might have other vision problems.
You may click to see:- 7 Ways to Protect Your Vision

You Should Feed a Cold and Starve a Fever.: The truth is:
In both cases, eat and drink, then drink some more. “Staying hydrated is the most important thing to do, because you lose a lot of fluids when you’re ill,” says Sears, who adds that there’s no need for special beverages containing electrolytes (like Gatorade) unless you’re severely dehydrated from vomiting or diarrhea.

Gum Stays in Your Stomach for Seven Years. The truth is: Your Little Leaguer’s wad of Big League Chew won’t (literally) stick around until high school graduation. “As with most nonfood objects that kids swallow, fluids carry gum through the intestinal tract, and within days it passes,” says David Pollack, a senior physician in the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Care Network. And even though gum isn’t easily broken down in the digestive system, it probably won’t cause a stomachache, either.

An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away.: The truth is: A handful of blueberries a day will keep the doctor away more effectively. Blueberries are a nutritional jackpot, rich in antioxidants and fiber, and they’re also easy to toss into cereal and yogurt. That said, eating a variety of fruits and vegetables is important to prevent many chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes, down the road. (To find out how much earth-grown goodness your child should be getting, enter his or her age, sex, and level of physical activity at fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov.)
You may click  to see: Doctor’s Tips for Keeping Your Kids Healthy

You Lose 75 Percent of Your Body Heat Through Your Head.: The truth is: “This adage was probably based on an infant’s head size, which is a much greater percentage of the total body than an adult head,” says Pollack. That’s why it’s important to make sure an infant’s head remains covered in cold weather. (This also explains those ubiquitous newborn caps at the hospital.) But for an adult, the figure is more like 10 percent. And keep in mind that heat escapes from any exposed area (feet, arms, hands), so putting on a hat is no more important than slipping on gloves.

To Get Rid of Hiccups, Have Someone Startle You.: The truth is: Most home remedies, like holding your breath or drinking from a glass of water backward, haven’t been medically proven to be effective, says Pollack. However, you can try this trick dating back to 1971, when it was published in The New England Journal of Medicine: Swallow one teaspoon of white granulated sugar. According to the study, this tactic resulted in the cessation of hiccups in 19 out of 20 afflicted patients. Sweet.

Eating Fish Makes You Smart.: The truth is: For kids up to age three or four, this is indeed the case. Fish, especially oily ones, such as salmon, are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, including DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). “DHA is particularly beneficial in the first two years of life for brain development, cognition, and visual acuity,” says Beverly Hills pediatrician Scott W. Cohen, the author of Eat, Sleep, Poop: A Common Sense Guide to Your Baby’s First Year ($16, amazon.com). And a 2008 study in Clinical Pediatrics showed an increase in vocabulary and comprehension for four-year-olds who were given daily DHA supplements. Omega-3 options for the fish-phobic? Try avocados, walnuts, and canola oil.

You may click to see: What You Need to Know About Multivitamins

You Shouldn’t Swim for an Hour After Eating.: The truth is: Splash away. “After you eat, more blood flows to the digestive system and away from the muscles,” says Cohen. “The thinking was that if you exercised strenuously right after eating, that lack of blood would cause you to cramp up and drown.” But that won’t happen. Sears concurs: “You might have less energy to swim vigorously, but it shouldn’t inhibit your ability to tread water or play.”

Every Child Needs a Daily Multivitamin.: The truth is: Children who are solely breast-fed during their first year should be given a vitamin D supplement. After that, a multivitamin won’t hurt anyone, but many experts say that even if your child is in a picky phase, there’s no need to sneak Fred, Wilma, and company into his applesauce. “Even extremely fussy eaters grow normally,” Cohen says. “Your kids will eventually get what they need, even if it seems as if they’re subsisting on air and sunlight.”

Warm Milk Will Help You Fall Asleep.: The truth is: Milk contains small amounts of tryptophan (the same amino acid in turkey), “but you would have to drink gallons to get any soporific effect,” says Michael Breus, a clinical psychologist in Scottsdale, Arizona, who specializes in sleep disorders. “What is effective is a routine to help kids wind down,” he says. And if a glass of warm milk is part of the process, it can have a placebo effect, regardless of science.

Source : CNN Health

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Hypertension or High Blood Pressure (BP)

Nothing to worry much, but get going:-


Hypertension or high blood pressure (BP) is like a thief who creeps in without warning in the dead of the night. That’s because the disease produces practically no symptoms.

People rarely develop giddiness, headaches or nose bleeds until the hypertension is very high. The first sign that there is something wrong may be a complication like a heart attack, stroke or ruptured aneurysm.

Blood pressure is optimal when it is 120/80 mmHg (millimetres of mercury) or less. It is considered normal even if it is 130/90 and high when it is 140/90 or more. Values of 130-140/85-99 are considered in the prehypertension category. Blood pressure needs to be monitored every two years after the age of 20 and yearly after 40.

Some kidney and adrenal gland diseases and diabetes can cause a rise in BP. It can also occur with certain medications like the oral contraceptive pill, some pain relieving medications and even decongestant cough syrups. Pregnancy may cause a peculiar type of hypertension called pre-eclampsia. In these patients, hypertension can revert to normal if the aggravating condition is tackled.

Doctors, too, can precipitate hypertension in normal people. The mere thought of a medical check-up and sight of the blood pressure apparatus can set the heart racing and blood pressure soaring. This is called “white coat hypertension”. If these people are monitored for 24 hours as they go about their daily activities, their BP is found to be normal. They do not require treatment.

Hypertension usually sets in during middle age. The exact reason is not known. Genes, the environment and upbringing count. Though it is not due to a single inherited gene, it’s more likely to occur if one or both parents are hypertensive.

Ideally, those with hypertension should monitor their BP at home to make sure it is under control. This way, they can immediately consult a doctor if it seems to be fluctuating or elevated. Wrist and cuff apparatuses are available that show automatic readings. The arm should be straight and on level with the heart while doing this.

Though a reading of 120/80 is ideal, doctors may set a target that is slightly higher in older people.

High BP should not be ignored. It must be treated and kept under control. Untreated, it makes the blood vessels thicken and less pliable. The blood supply to the brain is then affected. This can lead to loss of memory, balance, reasoning and other changes of dementia. It can cause a stroke with paralysis of parts of the body. The heart, unable to pump against high resistance, may fail or there may be a heart attack.

There are several groups of medicines to control hypertension. They should be taken exactly as advised. Timing is important – they pills should be swallowed as per schedule, even on fasts. They should not be taken in the morning one day and in the evening the next.

To prevent hypertension, and help lower the pressure once it has set in, the diet should have no high calorie snacks or junk food, be low in fat and dairy products, and rich in fruits and vegetables.

Fruits and nuts contain potassium and magnesium. The minerals balance the effect of sodium or salt in the diet. Salt causes the body to retain water and this elevates the BP. Salt consumption should be 2.5gm (1/2 tsp) per person a day. The “hidden salt” in aerated drinks, health supplements and preserved food should be taken into account. The taste for salt is developed at a very young age and depends on one’s cooking and eating habits.

A sedentary lifestyle results in a tendency to gain weight. The BMI (or body mass index — weight divided by height in metre squared) should be 23. Obesity (BMI greater than 30) increases the work of the heart and blood vessels. At least 40 to 60 minutes of active exercise should be incorporated into the every day schedule.

Tobacco in any form (gutkha, chewing tobacco, snuff, beedis and cigarettes) aggravates hypertension. When it comes to tobacco, there can be no halfway measures. Use has to be completely stopped. Alcohol, too, raises the BP. If you must drink, consumption should be limited to 60ml a day for men (two drinks) and 30ml a day for women.

Sustained stress, at home or in the workplace, also elevates the BP. Worry has never provided a solution to a problem. It just produces further problems. Exercise, deep breathing, yoga and meditation are good stress busters. Try them.

And for those who are not affected and want to remain that way, get up and get moving. Now.

Source : The Telegraph ( Kolkata, India)

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Ligusticum wallichii


Botanical Name
:Ligusticum wallichii
Family: Apiaceae/Umbelliferae
Genus: Ligusticum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales
Species: L. wallichii
Common Names:  Szechuan lovage &  Chuan Xiong


Habitat
:E. Asia – Himalayas, from India to China.  Shady slopes in forests at elevations of 1500–3700 metres in western China.

Description:Ligusticum wallichiiis a perennial flowering plant in the carrot family, growing to 1 m (3ft 3in). It is in flower from Jul to September, and the seeds ripen from Jul to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.

 

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Cultivation:
The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus.The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil.The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils..It cannot grow in the shade.It requires moist soil.

Propagation:
The seed is best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame in the autumn. Stored seed should be sown as early in the year as possible in a greenhouse or cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer if they have grown large enough. Otherwise, keep them in a cold frame for the first winter and plant them out in early summer. Division in spring.

Chemicial constituents
Biologically active compounds in the plant include tetramethylpyrazine.


Medicinal Uses

Haemostatic;  Nervine;  Oxytoxic;  Vasodilator.

This plant is commonly used in Chinese herbalism, where it is considered to be one of the 50 fundamental herbs. It is used as a main ingredient of a ‘coronary pill’ which is said to have a definite therapeutic effect on heart problems. Carthamnus is the other major ingredient whilst Acronychia and Salvia are also included. Haemostatic. The root is analgesic, emmenagogue, nervine, oxytocic, sedative and vasodilator. It is used in the treatment of abnormal menstruation, dysmenorrhoea, amenorrhoea, cerebral embolism, coronary heart disease, headaches and body aches. The root is an ingredient of ‘Four Things Soup’, the most widely used woman’s tonic in China. The other species used are Rehmannia glutinosa, Angelica sinensis and Paeonia lactiflora. The root has also shown antibacterial activity against E. coli, Bacillus dysenteriae, Pseudomonas, B. typhi, B. paratyphi, Vibrio cholerae and Vibrio Proteus.

You may click to see :Effects of electret and Ligusticum wallichii (chuangxiong) on the functional recovery of muscle grafts

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/Ligusticum_wallichii

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Ligusticum+wallichii

http://image.made-in-china.com/2f0j00MedTCsitZUzv/Ligusticum-Wallichii-Concentrated-Granules.jpg

http://ethnobotanicals.ca/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=0&products_id=22

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Leonurus japonicus

Botanical Name :Leonurus japonicus
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Leonurus
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Lamiales
Species: L. japonicus
Common Name : Chinese motherwort

Habitat:Native to Asia, including Korea and Japan, China to Cambodia. E. Asia – China.   Waste places, hillsides, roadsides and gardens. Sunny areas to elevations of 3,400 metres all over China.

Description:
It is  a herbaceous annual or biennial flowering plant, growing from taproots. The stems are upright growing to a height of 30 to 120 cm. The flowers are sessile and produced in verticillasters. The calyx is tubular-campanulate shaped and 6-8 mm long with broad triangle shaped teeth. The corolla is white or reddish to purplish red in color. Plants bloom from June to September. It is in flower from Jul to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.
.....
The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in nutritionally poor soil.The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils..It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade.It requires moist soil.

Cultivation:
We have almost no information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in this country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Succeeds in most soils[200]. Prefers a poor soil[108]. There is some doubt over the correct name for this species, a recent work suggested that it should be L. artemisia (Lour.)S.Y.Hu. – at least in as much as it refers to the medicinal plant in China.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer.

Medicinal Uses:
Alterative;  Antibacterial;  Antifungal;  Aphrodisiac;  Birthing aid;  Contraceptive;  Depurative;  Diuretic;  Emmenagogue;  Hypotensive;  Ophthalmic;
Poultice;  Vasodilator;  Vulnerary;  Women’s complaints.

It is one of the 50 fundamental herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine, where it is called yìmucao (Chinese), literally “beneficial herb for mothers

This plant (and other closely related species) is commonly used in Chinese herbalism. The leaves are diuretic and are placed in bath water to relieve itching and painful shingles. The dried flowers are emmenagogue and are also used in pregnancy and to help expel the placenta after giving birth. The juice of the stems is vulnerary. The fruit is antibacterial, diuretic, emmenagogue, hypotensive, ophthalmic and vasodilator. It is used in the treatment of abnormal menstruation, nebula and conjunctivitis. The seed is aphrodisiac, diuretic, emmenagogue, ophthalmic and is also used in the treatment of various women’s complaints. The plant was ranked number one in a survey of 250 potential antifertility plants in China. The seed is used in the treatment of conjunctivitis and night blindness. The aerial parts of the plant are alterative, antibacterial, antifungal, depurative, diuretic, emmenagogue, hypotensive, vasodilator and vulnerary. The whole plant is decocted, either on its own or with other herbs, as an ophthalmic. It is used in the treatment of abnormal menstruation, postpartum abdominal pain, tumours, uterine bleeding, oedema, eczema and purulent abscess. It is also used externally as a poultice for bruises. Stimulates blood circulation. (The part of the plant used is not made clear.)
Functions: Smooth menses; Regulate menses; Invigorate blood circulation; Move blood; Reduce masses; Promote urination; Reduce swelling; Disperse phlegm; Disperse edema.

Indication: Menstrual disorders, delayed or absent menses, irregular menses, amenorrhea, dysmenorrha, endometriosis, infertility, PMS, lower abdominal pain, placenta leakage, dystocia, retained placenta, postpartum abdominal pain due to blood obstruction, postpartum pain and bleeding, hematuria, hypertension, nephritis, kidney stones, edema, dysuria, hematuria (blood in urine), lump in the breast, skin infections, skin eruptions.

The leaves are diuretic and are placed in bath water to relieve itching and painful shingles.

The dried flowers are emmenagogue and are also used in pregnancy and to help expel the placenta after giving birth.

The juice of the stems is vulnerary.

The fruit is antibacterial, diuretic, emmenagogue, hypotensive, ophthalmic and vasodilator. It is used in the treatment of abnormal menstruation, nebula and conjunctivitis.

The seed is aphrodisiac, diuretic, emmenagogue, ophthalmic and is also used in the treatment of various women’s complaints. The plant was ranked number one in a survey of 250 potential antifertility plants in China. The seed is used in the treatment of conjunctivitis and night blindness.

The aerial parts of the plant are alterative, antibacterial, antifungal, depurative, diuretic, emmenagogue, hypotensive, vasodilator and vulnerary.

The whole plant is decocted, either on its own or with other herbs, as an ophthalmic. It is used in the treatment of abnormal menstruation, postpartum abdominal pain, tumours, uterine bleeding, oedema, eczema and purulent abscess. It is also used externally as a poultice for bruises.

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/Leonurus_japonicus

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Leonurus+japonicus

http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=210000972

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Brawn and Brains

Children who exercise regularly have a bigger hippocampus and thus an improved memory.


Click to see:>
Physically Fit Kids Have Bigger Hippocampus

In the age of the intellect, it may not be surprising if people do not exercise regularly. What does it matter to an intellectual career if you are not in your peak physical fitness, as long as you are healthy and in reasonable shape? Recent scientific research, however, says there is a connection. Fit people tend to be better off intellectually, no matter what their age. And fitter children tend to have better brains, literally and figuratively.

Art Kramer, professor of psychology at the University of Illinois, the US, has been studying the influence of exercise on brains for a long time now. Like everyone else, he has been noticing links between the mind and exercise.

Recently, he set out to measure something others have not done so far with children’s brains: how their size responds to exercise. Kramer found out something that should make all educators sit up and take notice: fit children have a bigger hippocampus in the brain and perform better on memory tests. Says Kramer, “Brain size and function improve significantly with physical fitness.”

Kramer’s was the first study that tried to use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to correlate brain sizes and physical fitness. Other studies previously have shown a correlation between exercise and academic performance in children. Kramer himself had earlier shown a correlation between exercise and brain size in older people.

Exercise has been shown to be beneficial in recovery after brain radiation treatment. Exercise has been also seen to be good for treating schizophrenia, depression and other brain-related problems. The link between physical fitness and mental fitness seem to be quite strong, and also in an unexpected manner.

Recent research in neuroscience has shown a strong correlation between brain size and performance. Although it seems to contradict common sense, neuroscientists have seen a link between brain size and mental ability, on occasions even intelligence. While this may be true even for overall brain size, the link seems to be strong for parts of the brain that seem to increase volume with certain activity. Neuroscientists have been focusing on the hippocampus because it is critical to several functions like long-term memory and spatial ability.

The size of the hippocampus is seen to increase with certain activity. For example, certain areas of the region are large in experienced taxi drivers. This is not surprising because specific skills are seen to increase the size of specific areas of the brain. However, current research on exercise goes beyond skills. It is about overall fitness, and it is seen to increase the size as well as improve the function of parts of the brain.

Kramer’s studies mainly pertained to aerobic exercise, the most well-studied form of exercise. He used a tested and reliable method of determining fitness: a person’s ability to use oxygen while running on a treadmill. Those who used oxygen more efficiently are fitter. This is supposed to be the gold standard in determining physical fitness. Kramer and his team worked with 49 children, of whom the fitter ones had a 12 per cent larger hippocampus. He also made the children perform memory tests, and the fitter children also scored better on those. Those who had a bigger hippocampus also performed better.

In another recent study, Lesley Cottrell of the University of West Virginia analysed over two years the link between physical fitness and academic performance, from fifth grade to seventh grade. She separated the students into groups, those who maintained their fitness levels over the two-year period, those who gained and those who lost it. She then analysed their academic performance during the period. Those who maintained their fitness were the best. Those who improved on it came second, and those who lost it came third. Those who remained unfit were in the last group.

Although this study did not look at brain sizes, the study size was large enough — 725 students — to be taken seriously. It also sent home a message, one that Kramer’s study substantiated. “In these times of tight budgets, it is the budget for physical education that is cut first,” says Kramer. “We should reconsider this policy.” Fit children are seen to carry their fitness into adulthood. The American Heart Association recommends 60 minutes of physical activity for children and adults.

Neuroscientists had also looked at older people and found roughly the same correlation as in children. The brain function, as measured by its chemistry, also improved in several studies. In animals, the size of the cerebellum — a brain part that is important for maintaining balance — increased with exercise. Blood flow improved as well.

Human studies are not as thorough, but they suggest the same pattern. Neuroscientists are now trying to see how the ability to tackle physically challenging tasks can correlate with the ability to tackle mentally challenging tasks.

It is early days yet, but the message is clear: physical activity is essential for maintaining an active mental life.

Click to see : Physical Fitness Increases Brain Size in Elderly

Source :
The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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Drinking Water Proven to Help Weight Loss

A study says that  obese dieters  can reduce their weight by 5 pounds in three months  if they drink two cups of water before every meal. And also one year later they will  loose more weight .

This technique of dieting is welknown, but this study may be the first hard evidence that increasing your water intake is a useful weight-loss strategy.

According to Discovery News:
“The reason could be physical. According to some research, water consumption might spark the body to produce more heat, boosting metabolism and burning more calories. Or, drinking more water might simply make people less likely to drink a lot of high-calorie sugar-filled beverages.”

Source:
Discovery News August 23, 2010

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Quinoa

Botanical Name : Chenopodium quinoa
Family: Amaranthaceae
Subfamily: Chenopodioideae
Genus: Chenopodium
Species: C. quinoa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales
Common Spanish Name :Quinua, from Quechua kinwa

Habitat :The original habitat is obscure, the plant probably arose through cultivation.

Quinoa originated in the Andean region of South America, where it has been an important food for 6,000 years. Its name is the Spanish spelling of the Quechua name. Quinoa is generally undemanding and altitude-hardy, so it can be easily cultivated in the Andes up to about 4,000 meters. Even so, it grows best in well-drained soils and requires a relatively long growing season. In eastern North America, it is susceptible to a leaf miner that may reduce crop success; this leaf miner also affects the common weed and close relative Chenopodium album, but C. album is much more resistant.

Similar Chenopodium species, such as pitseed goosefoot (Chenopodium berlandieri) and fat hen (Chenopodium album), were grown and domesticated in North America as part of the Eastern Agricultural Complex before maize agriculture became popular. Fat hen, which has a widespread distribution in the Northern Hemisphere, produces edible seeds and greens much like quinoa, but in lower quantities.

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ANNUAL growing to 1.5 m (5ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in).
It is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Wind, self.The plant is self-fertile.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil.The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. and can grow in very alkaline and saline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade.It requires moist soil and can tolerate drought.The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

Quinoa is a species of goosefoot (Chenopodium), is a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. It is a pseudocereal rather than a true cereal, or grain, as it is not a member of the grass family. As a chenopod, quinoa is closely related to species such as beets, spinach, and tumbleweeds. Its leaves are also eaten as a leaf vegetable, much like amaranth, but the commercial availability of quinoa greens is currently limited.

Chenopodium quinoa (and a related species from Mexico, Chenopodium nuttalliae) is most familiar as a fully domesticated plant, but it was believed to have been domesticated in the Andes from wild populations of Chenopodium quinoa. There are non-cultivated quinoa plants (Chenopodium quinoa var. melanospermum) which grow in the same area where it is cultivated; those are probably related to quinoa’s wild predecessors, but could instead be descendants of cultivated plants.

History & Culture:
The Incas, who held the crop to be sacred, referred to quinoa as chisaya mama or mother of all grains, and it was the Inca emperor who would traditionally sow the first seeds of the season using ‘golden implements’. During the European conquest of South America quinoa was scorned by the Spanish colonists as food for Indians, and even actively suppressed, due to its status within indigenous non-Christian ceremonies. In fact, the conquistadors forbade quinoa cultivation for a time and the Incas were forced to grow corn instead.

Cultivation:
An easily grown plant, it requires a rich moist well-drained soil and a warm position if it is to do really well, but it also succeeds in less than optimum conditions.   Tolerates a pH range from 6 to 8.5 and moderate soil salinity. Plants are quite wind resistant. Plants are drought tolerant once they are established. Plants tolerate light frosts at any stage in their development except when flowering. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is commonly cultivated as a grain crop in Chile and Peru. This plant is receiving considerable attention world-wide as a trouble-free easily grown seed crop for warm temperate and tropical zones. It has the potential to outcrop cereals on light land in Britain. There are a great many named varieties. The plant is day-length sensitive and many varieties fail to flower properly away from equatorial regions, however those varieties coming from the south of its range in Chile are more likely to do well in Britain. Different cultivars take from 90 – 220 days from seed sowing to harvest. Yields as high as 5 tonnes per hectare have been recorded in the Andes, which compares favourably with wheat in that area[196]. Young plants look remarkably like the common garden weed fat hen (Chenopodium album). Be careful not to weed the seedlings out in error. The seed is not attacked by birds because it has a coating of bitter tasting saponins. These saponins are very easily removed by soaking the seed overnight and then thoroughly rinsing it until there is no sign of any soapiness in the water. The seed itself is very easy to harvest by hand on a small scale and is usually ripe in August. Cut down the plants when the first ripe seeds are falling easily from the flower head, lay out the stems on a sheet in a warm dry position for a few days and then simply beat the stems against a wall or some other surface, the seed will fall out easily if it is fully ripe and then merely requires winnowing to get rid of the chaff.

Propagation :
Seed – sow April in situ. The seed can either be sown broadcast or in rows about 25cm apart, thinning the plants to about every 10cm. Germination is rapid, even in fairly dry conditions. Be careful not to weed out the seedlings because they look very similar to some common garden weeds[

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Leaves;  Seed.

Seed - cooked. A pleasant mild flavour, the seed can absorb the flavour of other foods that are cooked with it and so it can be used in a wide variety of ways. It should be thoroughly soaked and rinsed to remove a coating of saponins on the seed surface. The seed can be used in all the ways that rice is used, as a savoury or sweet dish. It can also be ground into a powder and used as a porridge. The seed can also be sprouted and used in salads though many people find the sprouted seed unpleasant. The seed contains a very high quality protein that is rich in the amino acids lysine, methionine and cystine, it has the same biological value as milk. The seed contains about 38% carbohydrate, 19% protein, 5% fat, 5% sugar. Leaves - raw or cooked. The young leaves are cooked like spinach. It is best not to eat large quantities of the raw leaves, see the notes above on toxicity.

Nutritional Value :
Quinoa was of great nutritional importance in pre-Columbian Andean civilizations, being secondary only to the potato, and was followed in importance by maize. In contemporary times, this crop has become highly appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content is very high (12%–18%). Unlike wheat or rice (which are low in lysine), and like oats, quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it an unusually complete protein source among plant foods. It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest. Because of all these characteristics, quinoa is being considered a possible crop in NASA's Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration manned spaceflights

Click to see :

The Health Benefits of Quinoa

Chenopodium quinoa as World's most Healthy Food :

Preparation:
Quinoa has a light, fluffy texture when cooked, and its mild, slightly nutty flavor makes it an alternative to white rice or couscous.

The first step in preparing quinoa is to remove the saponins, a process that requires soaking the grain in water for a few hours, then changing the water and resoaking, or rinsing it in ample running water either in a fine strainer or in cheesecloth. Removal of the saponin helps with digestion; the soapy nature of the compound makes it act as a laxative. Most boxed quinoa has been pre-rinsed for convenience.

A common cooking method is to treat quinoa much like rice, bringing two cups of water to a boil with one cup of grain, covering at a low simmer and cooking for 14–18 minutes or until the germ separates from the seed. The cooked germ looks like a tiny curl and should have a slight bite to it (like al dente pasta). As an alternative, one can use a rice cooker to prepare quinoa, treating it just like white rice (for both cooking cycle and water amounts).

Vegetables and seasonings can also be added to make a wide range of dishes. Chicken or vegetable stock can be substituted for water during cooking, adding flavor. It is also suited to vegetable pilafs, complementing bitter greens like kale.

Quinoa can serve as a high-protein breakfast food mixed with honey, almonds, or berries; it is also sold as a dry product, much like corn flakes. Quinoa flour can be used in wheat-based and gluten-free baking.

Quinoa may be germinated in its raw form to boost its nutritional value. Germination activates its natural enzymes and multiplies its vitamin content.[6] In fact, quinoa has a notably short germination period: Only 2–4 hours resting in a glass of clean water is enough to make it sprout and release gases, as opposed to, e.g., 12 hours overnight with wheat.[citation needed] This process, besides its nutritional enhancements, softens the grains, making them suitable to be added to salads and other cold foods


Name of crops:

This crop is known as quinoa in English and, according to Merriam-Webster, the primary pronunciation is with two syllables with the accent on the first (English pronunciation:KEEN-wah). It may also be pronounced with three syllables, with the stress on either the first syllable  or on the second . In Spanish, the spelling and pronunciation vary by region. The accent may be on the first syllable, in which case it is usually spelled quinua [?kinwa], with quínoa [?kinoa] being a variant; or on the second syllable: [ki?noa]), in which case it is spelled quinoa. The name derives from the Quechua kinwa, pronounced in the standard dialect [?kinwa]. There are multiple other native names in South America:
......
Quechua: ayara, kiuna, kuchikinwa, achita, kinua, kinoa, chisaya mama
Aymara: supha, jopa, jupha, juira, ära, qallapi, vocali
Chibchan: Suba, pasca
Mapudungun: dawe, sawe


Other Uses

Dye;  Repellent;  Soap.

Gold/green dyes can be obtained from the whole plant. Saponins on the seed can be used as a bird and insect deterrent by spraying them on growing plants. The saponins are obtained by saving the soak-water used when preparing the seed for eating. The spray remains effective for a few weeks or until washed off by rain.

Known Hazards :  The leaves and seeds of all members of this genus are more or less edible. However, many of the species in this genus contain saponins, though usually in quantities too small to do any harm. Although toxic, saponins are poorly absorbed by the body and most pass straight through without any problem. They are also broken down to a large extent in the cooking process. Saponins are found in many foods, such as some beans. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish[K]. The plants also contain some oxalic acid, which in large quantities can lock up some of the nutrients in the food. However, even considering this, they are very nutritious vegetables in reasonable quantities. Cooking the plants will reduce their content of oxalic acid. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition.

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.hub-uk.com/interesting/quinoa.htm

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

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Chenopodium%20quinoa

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Don’t Ever Drink This During Pregnancy

Fluoride avoidance reduced anemia in pregnant women, and decreased preterm births, according to a new study.

Anemia in pregnancy can lead to maternal and infant mortality; it continues to be a problem despite nutritional counseling and maternal iron and folic acid supplementation.

Medical News Today reports:
“Anemic pregnant women living in India, whose urine contained 1 mg/L fluoride or more, were separated into two groups. The experimental group avoided fluoride in water, food and other sources …

Results reveal that anemia was reduced and pre-term and low-birth-weight babies were considerably fewer in the fluoride-avoidance group.”

Click to see:Chlorine may cause birth defect

Resources:
Medical News Today September 3, 2010
Current Science May 25, 2010, Vol. 98, No. 10

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