Monthly Archives: August 2011

Hymenoxys hoopesii

Botanical Name : Hymenoxys hoopesii
Family :Asteraceae – Aster family
Genus : Hymenoxys Cass. – rubberweed
Species: Hymenoxys hoopesii (A. Gray) Bierner – owl’s-claws
Kingdom : Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division : Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass: Asteridae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms:
Hymenoxys hoopesii (A. Gray) Bierner

DUHO Dugaldia hoopesii (A. Gray) Rydb.
HEHO5 Helenium hoopesii A. Gray

Common Name : Herb of the Wolf ,Sneezeweed,Helenium,Dugaldia

Habitat :Hymenoxys hoopesii is native to the western United States, where it grows in habitats of moderate elevation, such as mountain meadows.

Description:
Hymenoxys hoopesii  is an erect perennial herb approaching a meter in maximum height, with smooth-edged leaves oval on the lower stem and lance-shaped toward the top. The inflorescence bears several flower heads on erect peduncles, each lined with a base of hairy, pointed phyllaries. The flower head has a center of disc florets fringed with many orange or yellow ray florets up to 3.5 centimeters long. The fruit is an achene with a pappus of scales.

The round, deep yellow flower heads with rays hanging around the edge distinguish. The heads of some species are much smaller, and the way their leaves are arrayed along the stem varies.

Medicinal Uses:
Pains due to rheumatism or pulmonary diseases are treated by rubbing with the dried, ground roots.  A tea made by boiling the roots has been used to treat stomachache and diarrhea, and to eliminate intestinal worms.  A snuff made from the crushed blossoms and the leaves of Psoralidium lanceolatum has been inhaled in the treatment of headaches and hay fever.

Preparations made from the root of this plant have been used to treat rheumatic pains, stomach disorders, and, in infants, colic and diarrhea.

Known Hazards: Allergic irritation caused by the pollen.

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.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_FGH.htm

http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=HYHO

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

http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=HYHO&photoID=hyho_009_avp.tif

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Retinoblastoma

Definition:
Retinoblastoma is an eye cancer that begins in the retina — the sensitive lining on the inside of your eye. Retinoblastoma most commonly affects young children, but can rarely occur in adults.

Our retina is made up of nerve tissue that senses light as it comes through the front of your eye. The retina sends signals through your optic nerve to your brain, where these signals are interpreted as images.

A rare form of eye cancer, retinoblastoma is the most common form of cancer affecting the eye in children. Retinoblastoma may occur in one or both eyes.

In the developed world, Rb has one of the best cure rates of all childhood cancers (95-98%), with more than nine out of every ten sufferers surviving into adulthood.

Retinoblastoma is rare and affects approximately 1 in 15,000 live births. In the UK, around 40 to 50 new cases are diagnosed each year.

Most children are diagnosed before the age of five years old. In the UK, bilateral cases usually present within the first year with the average age at diagnosis being 9 months. Diagnosis of unilateral cases peaks between 24 and 30 months.

Classification:
There are two forms of the disease; a heritable form and non-heritable form (all cancers are considered genetic in that mutations of the genome are required for their development, but this does not imply that they are heritable, or transmitted to offspring). Approximately 55% of children with Rb have the non-heritable form. If there is no history of the disease within the family, the disease is labeled “sporadic”, but this does not necessarily indicate that it is the non-heritable form.

In about two thirds of cases,  only one eye is affected (unilateral retinoblastoma); in the other third, tumours develop in both eyes (bilateral retinoblastoma). The number and size of tumours on each eye may vary. In certain cases, the pineal gland is also affected (trilateral retinoblastoma). The position, size and quantity of tumours are considered when choosing the type of treatment for the disease.

Symptoms:
The most common and obvious sign of retinoblastoma is an abnormal appearance of the pupil, leukocoria. Other less common and less specific signs and symptoms are: deterioration of vision, a red and irritated eye, faltering growth or delayed development. Some children with retinoblastoma can develop a squint, commonly referred to as “cross-eyed” or “wall-eyed” (strabismus). Retinoblastoma presents with advanced disease in developing countries and eye enlargement is a common finding.

Depending on the position of the tumors, they may be visible during a simple eye exam using an ophthalmoscope to look through the pupil. A positive diagnosis is usually made only with an examination under anesthetic (EUA). A white eye reflection is not always a positive indication of retinoblastoma and can be caused by light being reflected badly or by other conditions such as Coats’s Disease.

In a photograph, the photographic fault red eye may be a sign of retinoblastoma, if in the photograph it is in one eye and not in the other eye. A more clear sign is “white eye” or “cat’s eye”.

The child’s vision may also start to deteriorate and the eye may become  inflamed and sometimes painful.

In two-thirds of cases the cancer is unilateral (affecting one eye). In the rest it’s bilateral.

In 95 per cent of children, the tumour develops before the age of five. Occasionally, babies are born with a retinoblastoma. There’s an increased risk of developing other tumours later in life.

Causes:
Cause of retinoblastomaIn children with the heritable genetic form of retinoblastoma there is a mutation on chromosome 13, called the RB1 gene.The genetic codes found in chromosomes control the way in which cells grow and develop within the body.  If a portion of the code is missing or altered (mutation) a cancer may develop.

The defective RB1 gene can be inherited from either parent; in some children, however, the mutation occurs in the early stages of fetal development. It is unknown what causes the gene abnormality; it is most likely to be a random mistake during the copy process which occurs when a cell divides.

Inherited forms of retinoblastomas are more likely to be bilateral; in addition, they may be associated with pinealoblastoma (also known as trilateral retinoblastoma) with a dismal outcome. The genetic codes found in chromosomes control the way in which cells grow and develop within the body.

Several methods have been developed to detect the RB1 gene mutations.  Attempts to correlate gene mutations to the stage at presentation have not shown convincing evidence of a correlation

Complications:
Recurrent retinoblastoma
Children treated for retinoblastoma have a risk of cancer returning in and around the treated eye. For this reason, your child’s doctor will schedule follow-up exams to check for recurrent retinoblastoma. The doctor may design a personalized follow-up exam schedule for your child. In most cases, this will likely involve eye exams every few months for the first few years after retinoblastoma treatment ends.

Additionally, children with the inherited form of retinoblastoma have an increased risk of developing other types of cancers in any part of the body in the years after treatment. For this reason, children with inherited retinoblastoma require long-term follow-up with a cancer doctor (oncologist).

Diagnosis:
Tests and procedures used to diagnose retinoblastoma include:

*Eye exam. A doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases of the eye (ophthalmologist) will likely conduct an eye exam to determine what’s causing your child’s signs and symptoms. For a more thorough exam, the doctor may recommend using anesthetics to keep your child still.

*Imaging tests. Scans and other imaging tests can help your child’s doctor determine whether retinoblastoma has grown to affect other structures around the eye. Imaging tests may include ultrasound, computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), among others.

*Consulting with other doctors. Your child’s doctor may refer you to other specialists, such as a doctor who specializes in treating cancer (oncologist), a genetic counselor or a surgeon.

Treatment:
Treatment of retinoblastoma varies from country to country.  The first priority is to preserve the life of the child, then to preserve the vision and thirdly to minimize any complications or side effects of the treatment. The exact course of treatment will depend on the individual case and will be decided by the ophthalmologist in discussion with the paediatric oncologist.

Many treatment options exist, including chemotherapy (administered locally via a thin catheter threaded through the groin, through the aorta and the neck, into the optic vessels), cryotherapy, radioactive plaques, laser therapy, external beam radiotherapy and surgical removal of the eyeball.  Any combinations of these treatments may be adopted.

In recent years, there has been an effort to find alternatives to enucleation and radiation therapy.

Prognosis;
Treatment for retinoblastoma has one of the highest success rates of all childhood cancers – nine out of ten children can be cured.

Prevention:
In most cases, doctors aren’t sure what causes retinoblastoma, so there’s no proven way to prevent the disease.

Prevention for families with inherited retinoblastoma
In families with the inherited form of retinoblastoma, preventing retinoblastoma may not be possible. However, genetic testing enables families to know which children have an increased risk of retinoblastoma, so eye exams can begin at an early age. That way, retinoblastoma may be diagnosed very early — when the tumor is small and a chance for a cure and preservation of vision is still possible.

If your doctor determines that your child’s retinoblastoma was caused by an inherited genetic mutation, your family may be referred to a genetic counselor.

Genetic testing can be used to determine whether:

*Your child with retinoblastoma is at risk of other related cancers
*Your other children are at risk of retinoblastoma and other related cancers, so they can start eye exams at an early age
*You and your partner have the possibility of passing the genetic mutation on to future children

The genetic counselor can discuss the risks and benefits of genetic testing and help you decide whether you, your partner or your other children will be tested for the genetic mutation.

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://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/in_depth/cancer/retinoblastoma1.shtml

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

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/retinoblastoma/DS00786

http://trialx.com/curebyte/2011/06/02/retinoblastoma-photos-and-a-listing-of-clinical-trials/

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Rumex patientia

Botanical Name : Rumex patientia
Family: Polygonaceae
Genus: Rumex
Species: R. patientia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales
Synonyms: Rumex callosus (Fr. Schmidtex ex Maxim.) Rech. fil.
Common Name :Garden patience”, “Herb patience”, or “Monk’s rhubarb

Habitat : Rumex patientia grows in Middle Europe, the Mediterranean, Balkany – Asia Minor, Armenian-Kurdish region. In the territory of the former USSR: the European part – Crimea, Black Sea Coast, Top and Middle Dnepr, the Bottom Don; Caucasus – Ciscaucasia, East, Western and Southern Transcaucasia, Dagestan; Western Siberia – Altai; the Far East -Ussurijsky, Udsky, Sakhalin areas. Grows in meadows, on edges of rivers, and on wet soils.

Description:
Rumex patientia is a herbaceous perennial plant. The stem is straight, thick, with grooves, 80-100 cm tall, branching in upper part. The bottom leaves are 20-30 cm long, 7-9 cm wide, ovate, pointed or blunt and a little bit wavy on the edges. The base of the bottom leaves is heart-shaped. Stalks of the bottom leaves are long. The top leaves are on short stalks, finer than bottom leaves, lanceolate. Flowers are thin, jointed in the bottom part, a little bit expanded. Flower whorls consist of 10-16 flowers, pulled together on almost leafless brush, which form together a long dense panicle. Internal shares of perianth are entire or with small denticles, light brown, ovary or heart-shaped, 6-8 mm long, 5-7 mm wide, mesh, round above or poorly pointed. Seeds are trihedral, oval, peaked, light brown, 3 mm long and 1.5-2 mm wide. Blossoms in June-July, fructifies in July-August.

You may click to see the pictures

Edible Uses:
Rumex patientia is often consumed as a leaf vegetable in Eastern Europe, especially in Bulgaria and Serbia. It is also used in Romania in spring broths.

Leaves are used as a vegetable, fresh and cooked, instead of spinach. In culture it is known under the name of English spinach.

Mrdicinal Uses:
The juice, and an infusion of the root, has been used as a poultice and salve in the treatment of various skin problems.  An infusion of the root has been used in the treatment of constipation. The leaves have been rubbed in the mouth to treat sore throats.

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/Rumex_patientia

http://www.agroatlas.ru/en/content/related/Rumex_patientia/

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_FGH.htm

http://www.flogaus-faust.de/e/rumepati.htm

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Stachys palustris

Botanical Name :Stachys palustris
Family : Lamiaceae – Mint family
Genus: Stachys L. – hedgenettle
Species : Stachys palustris L. – marsh hedgenettle
Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division : Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass Asteridae
Order: Lamiales

Synonyms:
Stachys palustris L.

STPAE Stachys palustris L. var. elliptica Clos
STPAP7 Stachys palustris L. var. petiolata Clos
STPAS Stachys palustris L. var. segetum (Mutel) Grogn.

Common Name :Hedge Nettle or Hairy Hedge Nettle

Habitat :Stachys palustris  occurs primarily in central and northern Illinois, where it is occasional to locally common. In southern Illinois, it is absent or uncommon. Habitats include moist black soil prairies, edges of marshes, moist meadows in woodland areas, low-lying areas along roadsides and railroads, and the edges of fields. This plant can be found in either disturbed or high quality habitats.

Description:
Stachys palustris is  perennial plant , grows  about 2-3′ tall and little branched. The four-angled central stem is covered with fine hairs. The opposite leaves are up to 4″ long and 1¾” across. They are finely serrate along the margins and sessile against the stem (or nearly so). Their upper surface is dark green and covered with fine short hairs, while the lower surface is light green with hairs along the major veins. The foliage has a slightly rank smell. The central stem terminates in a spike of flowers about 4-8″ long when fully mature. This spike consists of about 6-10 whorls of flowers, each whorl having 4-8 flowers. A typical flower is about ½” long and tubular, with a hairy upper lip and a lower lip that is divided into 3 lobes (a large central lobe and smaller side lobes). The flowers are usually white with splotches of rosy purple; sometimes they are pink. The hairy calyx is green or purplish green, and divided into long triangular sepals. These sepals are more than half as long as the tube of the corolla (excluding the length of the lips).

The blooming period occurs during the summer and lasts about 1-2 months. There is a mild floral scent that is sweet and pleasant. The flowers are eventually replaced by capsules containing small nutlets. The root system is rhizomatous and produces tubers that are edible. Hairy Hedge Nettle often forms vegetative colonies of varying size.

Cultivation: The preference is moist conditions and light shade to full sun. A soil that is loamy or sandy is satisfactory as long as it remains moist. Unlike other members of the Mint family, foliar disease doesn’t appear to bother the leaves to any significant degree.

Medicinal Uses:
One of the most effective sweating herbs, useful in the early stages of colds, flu, and fevers.  Internally used for gout, cramps, vertigo and hemorrhage.  It will relieve diarrhea and dysentery. Externally used for minor injuries.  The bruised leaves when applied to a wound will stop bleeding and help heal the wound.  It is an equivalent of comfrey in its effect on wounds.  It may be used directly or as an ointment or compress.

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.illinoiswildflowers.info/prairie/plantx/hairy_hdgnettlex.htm

http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=STPA&photoID=stpa_007_avp.tif

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_FGH.htm

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Calluna

Botanical Name :Calluna vulgaris
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Calluna
Salisb.
Species: C. vulgaris
Kingdom: Plantae
clade: Angiosperms
clade: Eudicots
clade: Asterids
Order: Ericales

Common Name:Common Heather, ling, or simply heather

Habitat :Calluna is found widely in Europe and Asia Minor on acidic soils in open sunny situations and in moderate shade. It is the dominant plant in most heathland and moorland in Europe, and in some bog vegetation and acidic pine and oak woodland. It is tolerant of grazing and regenerates following occasional burning, and is often managed in nature reserves and grouse moors by sheep or cattle grazing, and also by light burning.

Description:
It is a low-growing perennial shrub growing to 20 to 50 centimetres (7.9 to 20 in) tall, or rarely to 1 metre (39 in) and taller.Primary flower color  is red  that  blooms during late summer to fall. Zones 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

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Cultivation:
Despised until the 19th century for its associations with the most rugged rural poverty, heather’s growth in popularity may be paralleled with the vogue for alpine plants. It is a very popular ornamental plant in gardens and for landscaping, in lime-free areas where it will thrive, but has defeated many a gardener on less acid soil. There are many named cultivars, selected for variation in flower colour and for different foliage colour and growing habits.

Different cultivars have flower colours ranging from white, through pink and a wide range of purples, and including reds. The flowering season with different cultivars extends from late July to November in the northern hemisphere. The flowers may turn brown but still remain on the plants over winter, and this can lead to interesting decorative effects.

Cultivars with ornamental foliage are usually selected for reddish and golden leaf colour. A few forms can be silvery grey. Many of the ornamental foliage forms change colour with the onset of winter weather, usually increasing in intensity of colour. Some forms are grown for distinctive young spring foliage.

The plant was introduced to New Zealand and has become an invasive weed in some areas, notably the Tongariro National Park on the North Island and the Wilderness Reserve (Te Anau) on the South Island, overgrowing native plants. Heather beetles have been released to stop the heather, with preliminary trials successful to date.

Cultivars include ‘Beoley Crimson’ (Crimson red), ‘Boskoop’ (light purple), ‘Cuprea’ (copper), ‘Firefly’ (deep mauve),‘Long White’ (white).

Medicinal Uses:
It was used in baths for easing joint and muscle pain, and taken for urinary infections and to ease sleep. An infusion of the dried flowers helped to decrease nervousness, sleeplessness and the pains of rheumatism.  It was also recommended as a bath for babies who were failing to thrive. Today, heather makes a useful urinary antiseptic when taken internally due to the arbutin it contains, and can be taken for cystitis, urethritis and prostatitis.  It has a mild diuretic action, reducing fluid retention and hastening elimination of toxins via the kidneys.  It makes a good cleansing remedy for gout and arthritis as well as skin problems such as acne.  It has a mildly sedative action and can easy anxiety, muscle tension and insomnia.  A hot poultice of heather tips is a traditional remedy for chilblains.

Other Uses:
Hummingbirds & Butterflies, Fragrant, Borders, Rock Gardens, Showy Flowers
Heather is an important food source for various sheep and deer which can graze the tips of the plants when snow covers low-growing vegetation. Willow Grouse and Red Grouse feed on the young shoots and seeds of this plant. Both adult and larva of the Heather Beetle Lochmaea suturalis feed on it, and can cause extensive mortality in some instances. The larvae of a number of Lepidoptera species also feed on the plant.

Formerly heather was used to dye wool yellow and to tan leather. With malt heather is an ingredient in gruit, a mixture of flavourings used in the brewing of heather-beer during the Middle Ages before the use of hops. Thomas Pennant wrote in A Tour in Scotland (1769) that on the Scottish island of Islay “ale is frequently made of the young tops of heath, mixing two thirds of that plant with one of malt, sometimes adding hops”. The use of heather in the brewing of modern heather beer is carefully regulated. By law[specify] the heather must be cleaned carefully before brewing, as the undersides of the leaves may contain a dusting of an ergot-like fungus, which is a hallucinogenic intoxicant.[citation needed]

Heather honey is a highly valued product in moorland and heathland areas, with many beehives being moved there in late summer. Not always as valued as it is today, and dismissed as mel improbum by Dioscurides. Heather honey has a characteristic strong taste, and an unusual texture, for it is thixotropic, being a jelly until stirred, when it becomes a syrup like other honey, but then sets again to a jelly. This makes the extraction of the honey from the comb difficult, and it is therefore often sold as comb honey.

White heather is regarded in Scotland as being lucky, a tradition brought from Balmoral to England by Queen Victoria. and sprigs of it are often sold as a charm and worked into bridal bouquets.

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/Calluna

http://www.americanmeadows.com/heather-lady-in-red

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_FGH.htm

http://www.types-of-flowers.org/heather.html

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Polytrichum commune

Botanical Name : Polytrichum commune
Family: Polytrichaceae
Genus: Polytrichum
Species: P. commune
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Bryophyta
Class: Polytrichopsida
Subclass: Polytrichidae
Order: Polytrichales

Common Name : Common haircap moss, Common hair moss, or Great Goldilocks

Habitat
Living all over the world both in the wild and as decorative ground coverings in personal gardens Common Hair Cap Moss is easy to find.  Preferring to live in lightly shaded areas with moist slightly acidic soil, it can also survive in areas of full sunlight provided the soil is moist .  The Common Hair Cap Moss can also grow in areas of poor soil and slow drainage.  These characteristics make this moss a good plant for all types of gardens and gardeners.  In gardens of Japan, where mosses are used commonly, the Common Hair Cap Moss is used more than any other species combined.  In the wild it grows in many places, from granite outcrops to the coastal plain to the banks of ponds or lakes.  With the ability to grow in a diversity of habitats, Common Hair Cap Moss is seen all over the world.

Description:
Polytrichum commune is a medium to large moss. It is dark green in colour, but becomes brownish with age. The stems can occur in either loose or quite dense tufts, often forming extensive colonies. The stems are most typically found at lengths of 5 to 10 cm, but can be as short as 2 cm or as long as 70 cm. They range in stiffness from erect to decumbent (i.e. reclining) and are usually unbranched, though in rare cases they may be forked. The leaves occur densely to rather distantly, and bracts are present proximally.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
The leaves typically measure 6 to 8 mm in length, but may be up to 12 mm long. When dry they are erect, but when moist they are sinuous with recurved tips and are generally spreading to broadly recurved, or sharply recurved from the base. The leaf sheath is oblong to elliptic in outline, forming an involute (i.e. with inward rolling margins) tube and clasping the stem. This sheath is typically golden yellow and shiny, and it is abruptly contracted to the narrowly lanceolate blade. Using a microscope, the marginal lamina can be seen to be level or erect, narrow, and typically 2 to 3 cells wide, though sometimes as many as 7 cells wide. It is toothed from the base of the blade up to the apex, with the teeth being unicellular and embedded in the margin. The costa, or central stalk of the leaf, is toothed on the underside near the apex, and is excurrent, meaning it extends beyond the end of the apex, ending in a short, rough awn.

The lamellae, ridges of cells that run along the leaf surface, are crenulate (i.e. with small rounded teeth) in profile and are 5 to 9 cells high. Their margins are distinctly grooved with 2 rows of paired, projecting knobs. The marginal cells, when observed in section, may be narrow, but are more typically enlarged and wider than those beneath. They are retuse (i.e. with a rounded apex with a central shallow notch) to deeply notched, and in rare cases are divided by a vertical partition. These cells are smooth and brownish in colour and have relatively thick cell walls. The sheath cells measure 60 to 90 µm long by 10 to 13 µm wide. These cells may be elongated rectangles or strongly linear structures up to 20 times long as wide. They become narrower toward the margins. Marginal lamina cells are 10 to 15 µm wide and are subquadrate (i.e. nearly square).

Close-up of capsules (after shedding of calyptra)The plants are sexually dioicous. The leaves of the perichaetium have a long sheath with a scarious (i.e. membranous) margin, while the blades themselves are greatly reduced, gradually narrowing to a finely acuminate tip. These blades have toothed margins, are denticulate to subentire in outline, roughened to almost smooth, and have a costa that is excurrent. The seta, or capsule stalk, is 5 to 9 cm long, and is stout and yellowish to reddish brown in colour. The capsule is 3 to 6 mm long, slightly rectangular to cubic in shape, and brown to dark reddish brown in colour. It is sharply 4 winged, inclined to horizontal, and glaucous when fresh. The peristome measures 250 µm, is pale in colour and has 64 teeth. The calyptra is golden yellow to brownish and completely envelops the capsule. The spores measure 5 to 8 µm, but may be up to 12 µm.

Medicinal Uses:
Reduces  inflammation, as an anti-fever agent, detergent, diuretic, laxative and hemostatic agent

Not just visually pleasing, Common Hair Cap Moss has other uses.  It is used by some people to make a tea to dissolve kidney and gall bladder stones .  Also, this moss is good for hair, so the same tea was used by women as a rinse to strengthen their hair.  In the past the stems have been woven and used to make baskets.  Like many plants the Common Hair Cap Moss can be useful to humans.

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/Polytrichum_commune

http://www.commanster.eu/commanster/Plants/Mosses/Mosses/Polytrichum.commune.html

http://tolweb.org/treehouses/?treehouse_id=3364

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Chemotherapy

Definition:
Chemotherapy is a medical treatment that is needed in order to stop cancer cells from growing and its tracks. Chemotherapy is extremely effective in treating cancer. It is even more effective when it is used with other treatments like radiotherapy. It is also sometimes needed to relief the symptoms, and it is design to give a longer life by causing the disease to go into remission-the stage in which there are no active symptoms.  Chemotherapy works differently than surgery or radiotherapy – two other treatments designed to fight against the cancer as well. Chemotherapy drugs travel throughout the whole body. This is important because it allows the durgs to reach part of the body where the cancer cells may have spread out. In combination with surgery means that fewer surgical procedures need to be done. Follow-up surgery can often be avoided if chemotherapy is used.

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On the other hand, radiation therapy, or radiotherapy, is the use of high energy rays to treat such disease. Is it very important to know that radiation causes damage to cancer cells, so they stop growing. With each treatment, more of the cells die and the tumor shrinks. The dead cells break down and are carried away by the blood, eventually passing out of the body. Normal cells that are also exposed to the radiation process start to repair themselves afterwards, and the process lasts just a few hours. You might be concerned that radiation hurts, but is actually quite painless. Also, in case you are wondering, the radiation gets into your body and then passes out -it does not cause you to become radioactive.

To understand how chemotherapy works, it is helpful to know some basics about the cells of the body. Everything in your body is made up of cells. A group of cells is called tissue and tissues make up all the organs, the major structures of your body. Tissue stays healthy because cells grow and reproduce, new cells replace the ones that are damaged because of injury. This means that a combination of drugs may be used to attack cancer cells so that each drug can attack the cells in a different phase.

Cancer is a disease in which abnormal cells in the body grow and multiply at a very high rate. There are more than 100 specific types of cancer cells. Cancer also may involve the spread of abnormal cells around the body. Normal cells in our body grow, divide, and die in a way that maintains health and does not damage the body. A majority for the cancer cases are due to age issues because of the fact that in adulthood your cells divide only to replace worn-out or dying cells, or in other cases, to repair injuries. Cells make up all living tissue and stronger throughout your childhood. But cancer cells continue to grow and divide, even though they are no serving in any of the vital functions, and can spread to other parts in the body. These cells clump together and form tumors (lumps) that may destroy normal tissue. If cells break off from a tumor, they can travel  throughout the blood stream or the lymphatic system. When they settle in and grow; eventually, forming other tumors. When a tumor spreads out to a new place, it is called metastasis. Even when cancer spreads, it’s called by the name of the body where it originally started and developed. Leukemia, a type of cancer growing, does not usually form a tumor, it is an exception to the rule. The cancer cells get into the blood and the organs that make blood bone narrow, then they circulate through other tissues, where they eventually develop and grow.

Chemotherapy damages cancer cells, but it also can damage normal cells. Damage to these cells is what causes the side effects of chemotherapy treatment. For instance normal cells that divide quickly, such as blood cells and the cells of hair follicles, are more likely to be damaged by chemotherapy medications. In other words, in healthy cells the damage does not last, and many only happen on the days you are actually taking the drugs. Chemotherapy is usually given is several cycles. Depending on the drug and combination, it may last to a few hours, days, or weeks.

How Chemotherapy Is Given
Just as other medicines can be taken in various forms, there are several ways to get chemotherapy. In most cases, it’s given intravenously into a vein, also referred to as an IV. An IV is a tiny tube inserted into a vein through the skin, usually in the arm. The IV is attached to a bag that holds the medicine. The chemo medicine flows from the bag into the vein, which puts the medicine into the bloodstream. Once the medicine is in the blood, it can travel through the body and attack cancer cells.

Sometimes, a permanent IV called a catheter is placed under the skin into a larger blood vessel of the upper chest. That way, a child can get chemotherapy and other medicines through the catheter without having to always use a vein in the arm. The catheter remains under the skin until all the cancer treatment is completed. It can also be used to obtain blood samples and for other treatments, such as blood transfusions, without repeated needle sticks.

Chemo also can be:

•taken as a pill, capsule, or liquid that is swallowed
•given by injection into a muscle or the skin
•injected into spinal fluid through a needle inserted into a fluid-filled space in the lower spine (below the spinal cord)

Chemotherapy is sometimes used along with other cancer treatments, such as radiation therapy, surgery, or biological therapy (the use of substances to boost the body’s immune system while fighting cancer).

Lots of kids and teens receive combination therapy, which is the use of two or more cancer-fighting drugs. In many cases, combination therapy lessens the chance that a child’s cancer will become resistant to one type of drug — and improves the chances that the cancer will be cured.

When and Where Chemotherapy Is Given
Depending on the method used to administer chemotherapy, it may be given at a hospital, cancer treatment center, doctor’s office, or at home. Many kids receive chemotherapy on an outpatient basis at a clinic or hospital. Others may need to be hospitalized to monitor or treat side effects.

Kids may receive chemotherapy every day, every week, or every month. Doctors sometimes use the term “cycles” to describe a child’s chemotherapy because the treatment periods are interspersed with periods of rest so the child can recover and regain strength.

Dosage :
Dosage of chemotherapy can be difficult: If the dose is too low, it will be ineffective against the tumor, whereas, at excessive doses, the toxicity (side effects, neutropenia) will be intolerable to the patient. This has led to the formation of detailed “dosing schemes” in most hospitals, which give guidance on the correct dose and adjustment in case of toxicity. In immunotherapy, they are in principle used in smaller dosages than in the treatment of malignant diseases.

In most cases, the dose is adjusted for the patient’s body surface area, a measure that correlates with blood volume. The BSA is usually calculated with a mathematical formula or a nomogram, using a patient’s weight and height, rather than by direct measurement.

Side Effects:
Although chemo often effectively damages or eliminates cancer cells, it also can damage normal, healthy cells. And this can lead to some uncomfortable side effects.

The good news is that most side effects are temporary — as the body’s normal cells recover, the side effects gradually go away.

Cancer treatment is multifaceted — that is, patients receive a lot of care (i.e., fluid and nutrition support, transfusion support, physical therapy, and medicines) to help them tolerate the treatments and treat or prevent side effects such as nausea and vomiting.

It’s difficult to pinpoint which side effects a  patient might experience, how long they’ll last, and when they’ll end.

The common side effects are:
1.Fatigue
2.Discomfort and Pain
3.Skin Damage or Changes
4.Hair Loss and Scalp Sensitivity
5.Mouth, Gum, and Throat Sores
6.Gastrointestinal Problems

Other side effects are:
•Anemia
•Blood Clotting
•Increased Risk of Infection

Chemo may cause a reduction in white blood cells, which are part of the immune system and help the body to fight infection. Therefore,  the patient  is more vulnerable to developing infections during and after chemo.

•Long-Term Side Effects
Chemotherapy can cause long-term side effects (sometimes called late effects), depending on the type and dose of chemotherapy and whether it was combined with radiation. These effects may involve any organ, including the heart, lungs, brain, kidneys, liver, thyroid gland, and reproductive organs. Some types of chemotherapy drugs may also increase the risk of cancer later in life. Receiving chemo during childhood also may place some kids at risk for delayed growth and cognitive development, depending on the child’s age, the type of drug used, the dosage, and whether chemotherapy was used in addition to radiation therapy.

Newer anticancer drugs act directly against abnormal proteins in cancer cells; this is termed targeted therapy and is technically not chemotherapy.

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://englendd.wordpress.com/2011/06/05/chemotherapy/

http://kidshealth.org/parent/system/ill/chemotherapy.html#

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

http://medicineworld.org/cancer/lead/11-2008/concurrent-chemotherapy-in-lung-cancer.html

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Radiotherapy

Definition:
Radiotherapy is a way of treating or managing cancer using radiation. It works by damaging cells in the area being treated. Normal cells are able to repair this damage, but cancer cells can’t and are destroyed.
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Radiation therapy is commonly applied to the cancerous tumor because of its ability to control cell growth. Ionizing radiation works by damaging the DNA of exposed tissue, furthermore, it is believed that cancerous cells may be more susceptible to death by this process as many have turned off their DNA repair machinery during the process of becoming cancerous. To spare normal tissues (such as skin or organs which radiation must pass through in order to treat the tumor), shaped radiation beams are aimed from several angles of exposure to intersect at the tumor, providing a much larger absorbed dose there than in the surrounding, healthy tissue. Besides the tumour itself, the radiation fields may also include the draining lymph nodes if they are clinically or radiologically involved with tumor, or if there is thought to be a risk of subclinical malignant spread. It is necessary to include a margin of normal tissue around the tumor to allow for uncertainties in daily set-up and internal tumor motion. These uncertainties can be caused by internal movement (for example, respiration and bladder filling) and movement of external skin marks relative to the tumor position.

Radiation oncology is the medical specialty concerned with prescribing radiation, and is distinct from radiology, the use of radiation in medical imaging and diagnosis). Radiation may be prescribed by a radiation oncologist with intent to cure (“curative”) or for adjuvant therapy. It may also be used as palliative treatment (where cure is not possible and the aim is for local disease control or symptomatic relief) or as therapeutic treatment (where the therapy has survival benefit and it can be curative). It is also common to combine radiation therapy with surgery, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, Immunotherapy or some mixture of the four. Most common cancer types can be treated with radiation therapy in some way. The precise treatment intent (curative, adjuvant, neoadjuvant, therapeutic, or palliative) will depend on the tumor type, location, and stage, as well as the general health of the patient. Total body irradiation (TBI) is a radiation therapy technique used to prepare the body to receive a bone marrow transplant. Brachytherapy, in which a radiation source is placed inside or next to the area requiring treatment, is another form of radiation therapy that minimizes exposure to healthy tissue during procedures to treat cancers of the breast, prostate and other organs.

Radiation therapy has several applications in non-malignant conditions, such as the treatment of trigeminal neuralgia, severe thyroid eye disease, pterygium, pigmented villonodular synovitis, and prevention of keloid scar growth, vascular restenosis , and heterotopic ossification. The use of radiation therapy in non-malignant conditions is limited partly by worries about the risk of radiation-induced cancers.

Method of radiotherapy
Radiotherapy can be given as teletherapy (also known as external beam radiotherapy), when a beam of radiation is aimed at the area to be treated from a machine located away from the patient.

Other forms of radiotherapy are high or low-dose brachytherapy, which involves a radioactive source being placed on or in a tumour.

Dose:
The amount of radiation used in photon radiation therapy is measured in gray (Gy), and varies depending on the type and stage of cancer being treated. For curative cases, the typical dose for a solid epithelial tumor ranges from 60 to 80 Gy, while lymphomas are treated with 20 to 40 Gy.

Preventative (adjuvant) doses are typically around 45 – 60 Gy in 1.8 – 2 Gy fractions (for Breast, Head, and Neck cancers.) Many other factors are considered by radiation oncologists when selecting a dose, including whether the patient is receiving chemotherapy, patient comorbidities, whether radiation therapy is being administered before or after surgery, and the degree of success of surgery.

Delivery parameters of a prescribed dose are determined during treatment planning (part of dosimetry). Treatment planning is generally performed on dedicated computers using specialized treatment planning software. Depending on the radiation delivery method, several angles or sources may be used to sum to the total necessary dose. The planner will try to design a plan that delivers a uniform prescription dose to the tumor and minimizes dose to surrounding healthy tissues.

Treatment planning
All patients who are to have radiotherapy need individually tailored treatment so it is given accurately. A lot of information is needed so the doctor can target the tumour while minimising damage to the healthy tissue. This is called treatment planning and there are a number of ways of doing this.

Simulator planning is done using a specialised x-ray machine that can do the same things as the treatment machines except deliver treatment. The simulator allows the doctor to carefully look at the area that needs treatment and plan it precisely. During the planning, the radiographer will draw some marks on the skin using a pen; when the doctor and radiographer are happy they have an accurate plan, the radiographer may need to make two to three permanent marks called tattoos. These tattoos are the size of a pinhead and are used to ensure the radiotherapy is given to exactly the right place.

ACQSIM planning is done using a scanner. Some patients may need to have an intravenous injection before the scan to show up the area to be treated better. The scan usually takes about 15 minutes and the information from the scan is used to produce a treatment map. Sometimes it’s necessary to take some x-rays and measurements to check the treatment map and this is done on the simulator.

What radiotherapy involves
When radiotherapy treatment is being given by external beam, it’s important the patient is in exactly the same position each time. The radiographers will often use pillows and wedges to make sure the patient is comfortable and in the correct position.

Patients having radiotherapy to the head or neck area may need to have a mould made to keep them in the right position. Moulds are made from clear Perspex after a plaster cast has been made of the head and neck. Once the Perspex mould has been made, the radiotherapy is planned while the patient is wearing the mould and marks are drawn on the mask instead of the skin.

Once the radiographers are happy that the patient is in the correct position they will leave the room to switch the treatment machine on. When the machine is on it makes a buzzing noise. The radiographers watch closely on a television screen. Treatment only lasts a few minutes and does not hurt.

Side effect of radiotherapy
Side effects are different depending on the part of the body being treated. Most side effects are temporary but some may continue for weeks or months after treatment is finished. They include:

•Hair loss (alopecia)
•Cerebral oedema (excess fluid accumulating in the brain) can cause changes in mental state, restlessness, irritability, impaired pupil reactions, headache, increase in blood pressure, decrease in pulse and respiration, and nausea
•Dry or sore mouth or throat, changes in taste sensation, skin thickening
•Inflammation of the gullet, indigestion, nausea, lung inflammation
•Nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea, cystitis
•Sexual dysfunction. In males treatment of the abdomen area can cause impotence, sterility. In females it can cause sterility, loss of sexual desire. Irradiation of the pelvis may cause tightening of the vagina, loss of vaginal lubrication, inflammation or ulceration of the vagina. Some women may find intercourse painful
•Treatment of red bone marrow may cause infection and impaired healing, anaemia, increased tiredness, bruising and bleeding

As well as treating cancer the radiotherapy temporarily damages the outer layers of skin. During treatment the skin cannot repair itself as it normally would and it can become sore. But once treatment has finished the skin generally recovers quite quickly – usually within a month. The level of reaction can depend on your skin type, the type and number of treatments you have, and how you would normally react to the sun.

Skin side effects usually happen later on in the course of radiotherapy treatment or sometimes a few weeks after treatment has finished. Many patients do not have any skin changes at all. Skin care advice will be given to the patients by the staff treating them.

A common side effect of radiotherapy is tiredness and fatigue, which often prevents patients from doing normal everyday activities. Fatigue and tiredness are normal results of having radiotherapy and begin in the first week of treatment, reaching a peak after two weeks of treatment and gradually disappearing a few weeks after treatment has finished.

Radiation therapy accidents:
There are rigorous procedures in place to minimise the risk of accidental overexposure of radiation therapy to patients. However, mistakes do occasionally occur; for example, the radiation therapy machine Therac-25 was responsible for at least six accidents between 1985 and 1987, where patients were given up to one hundred times the intended dose; two people were killed directly by the radiation overdoses. From 2005 to 2010, a hospital in Missouri overexposed 76 patients (most with brain cancer) during a five-year period because new radiation equipment had been set up incorrectly.  Although medical errors are exceptionally rare, radiation oncologists, medical physicists and other members of the radiation therapy treatment team are working to eliminate them. ASTRO has launched a safety initiative called Target Safely  that, among other things, aims to record errors nationwide so that doctors can learn from each and every mistake and prevent them from happening. ASTRO also publishes a list of questions for patients to ask their doctors about radiation safety to ensure every treatment is as safe as possible.

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/Radiation_therapy

http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/in_depth/cancer/carecancer_radio.shtml

http://www.allvitalpoints.com/2010/how-radiotherapy-is-performed/

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Gymnema silvestre

Botanical Name : Gymnema silvestre
Family: Asclepiadaceae
Genus: Gymnema
Species: G. sylvestre
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Common Name :Gurmari, Gurmarbooti, Gurmar, periploca of the woods, meshasring.

Alternative names:
Despite the part used being the leaf, one common name of this species is miracle fruit, a name shared by two other species: Synsepalum dulcificum and Thaumatococcus daniellii. Both species are used to alter the perceived sweetness of foods.

In English the species is also known as gymnema, Cowplant and Australian cowplant.

This species also goes under many other names such as; Gurmari, Gurmarbooti, Gurmar, periploca of the woods and Meshasringa. The Hindi word Gur-mar (Madhunaashini in Sanskrit, Chakkarakolli in Malayalam,Podapatri in Telugu), literally means sugar destroyer. Meshasringa (Sanskrit) translates as “ram’s horn”, a name given to the plant from the shape of its fruits. Gymnema derives from the Greek words “gymnos”  and “n?ma” (????) meaning “naked” and “thread” respectively, the species epitheton sylvestre means “of the forest” in Latin.

Habitat :  Gymnema silvestre is   native to the tropical forests of southern and central India where it has been used as a natural treatment for diabetes for nearly two millennia.

Description:
Gudmar or Gymnema Sylvestre is Large climbers, rooting at nodes, leaves elliptic, acuminate, base acute to acuminate, glabrous above sparsely or densely tomentose beneath; Flowers small, in axillary and lateral umbel like cymes, pedicels long; Calyx-lobes long, ovate, obtuse, pubescent; Corolla pale yellow campanulate, valvate, corona single, with 5 fleshy scales. Scales adnate to throat of corolla tube between lobes; Anther connective produced into a membranous tip, pollinia 2, erect, carpels 2,unilocular; locules many ovuled; Follicle long, fusiform1.

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Chemical composition:
The major bioactive constituents of Gymnema sylvestris are a group of oleanane type triterpenoid saponins known as gymnemic acids. The latter contain several acylated (tigloyl, methylbutyroyl etc.,) derivatives of deacylgymnemic acid (DAGA) which is 3-O-glucuronide of gymnemagenin (3, 16, 21, 22, 23, 28-hexahydroxy-olean-12-ene)2. The individual gymnemic acids (saponins) include gymnemic acids I-VII, gymnemosides A-F, gymnemasaponins.

G. sylvestre leaves contain triterpene saponins belonging to oleanane and dammarene classes. Oleanane saponins are gymnemic acids and gymnemasaponins, while dammarene saponins are gymnemasides. Besides this, other plant constituents are flavones, anthraquinones, hentri-acontane, pentatriacontane, ? and ?- chlorophylls, phytin, resins, d-quercitol, tartaric acid, formic acid, butyric acid, lupeol, ?-amyrin related glycosides and stigmasterol. The plant extract also tests positive for alkaloids. Leaves of this species yield acidic glycosides and anthroquinones and their derivatives.

Gymnemic acids have antidiabetic, antisweetener and anti-inflammatory activities. The antidiabetic array of molecules has been identified as a group of closely related gymnemic acids after it was successfully isolated and purified from the leaves of Gymnema sylvestre. Later, the phytoconstituents of Gymnema sylvestre were isolated, and their chemistry and structures were studied and elucidated.

Medicinal Uses:
While it is still being studied, and the effects of the herb are not entirely known, the herb has been shown to reduce blood sugar levels when used for an extended period of time. Additionally, Gymnema reduces the taste of sugar when it is placed in the mouth, thus some use it to fight sugar cravings. From extract of the leaves were isolated glycosides known as Gymnemic acids, which exhibit anti-sweet activity.

This effect lasts up to about 2 hours. Some postulate that the herb actually reduces cravings for sugar by blocking sugar receptors in the tongue. This effect was observed in rats in a 2003 study conducted by CH Lemon, et al. It is currently being used in an all natural medication for diabetes with other ingredients such as cinnamon, chromium, zinc, biotin, banaba plant, huckleberry and bitter melon.

The active ingredients are thought to be the family of compounds related to gymnemic acid: purified gymnemic acids are widely used as experimental reagents in taste physiology and have also been shown to affect experimental diabetes, reduce intestinal transport of sugars. and fatty acids. Extracts of Gymnema is not only claimed to curb sweet tooths but also for treatment of as varied problems as hyperglycemia, obesity, high cholesterol levels, anemia and digestion. The leaves were also used for stomach ailments, constipation, water retention, and liver disease; historically these claims are not supported by scientific studies.[8] According to the Sushruta of the Ayurveda it helps to treat Madhumeha ie glycosuria.[citation needed]

In 2005, a study made by King’s College, London, United Kingdom, showed that a water-soluble extract of Gymnema Sylvestre, caused reversible increases in intracellular calcium and insulin secretion in mouse and human ?-cells when used at a concentration (0.125 mg/ml) without compromising cell viability. Hence forth these data suggest that extracts derived from Gymnema Sylvestre may be useful as therapeutic agents for the stimulation of insulin secretion in individuals with Type 2 Diabetes.[9] According to research done by Persaud and colleagues in 1999 the raise in insulin levels may be due to regeneration of the cells in the pancreas.  Gymnema can also help prevent adrenal hormones from stimulating the liver to produce glucose, thereby reducing blood sugar levels  Clinical trials with diabetics in India have used 400 mg per day of water-soluble acidic fraction of the gymnema leaves. However, Gymnema cannot be used in place of insulin to control blood sugar by people with either Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes.

In 2010, King’s College, London, United Kingdom performed another study on Gymnema Sylvestre. OmSantal Adivasi extract, a high molecular weight extract from the plant Gymnema Sylvestre was found to improve the symptoms of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Glycemic control after OmSantal Adivasi administration was related to increased circulating levels of insulin and/or C-peptide. Experimenting with human islets in vitro, there was a rapid onset response to OmSantal Adivasi exposure, continued for extent of exposure to OmSantal Adivasi, and also a rapid reverse if there was a withdrawal of OmSantal Adivasi. OmSantal Adivasi created a biphasic pattern of glucose-induced insulin secretion. This resulted in enhanced rates of insulin secretion being maintained for length of exposure to OmSantal Adivasi. Other Gymnema Sylvestre extracts induce cell damage to the membrane causing pathological and unregulated release of insulin to BETA-cells. OmSantal Adivasi has a low concentration of saponin, what causes damage to cell membranes, which would be degraded during digestion. OmSantal Adivasi directly stimulates BETA-cells of the islets of Langerhans, reducing fasting and post-prandial blood glucose. OmSantal Adivasi experiments, in vitro, initiated insulin secretion at a sub-stimulatory concentration of glucose. OmSantal Adivasi has been shown to effectively reduce blood glucose and increase plasma insulin and C-peptide levels in humans

Indian physicians first used Gymnema to treat diabetes over 2,000 years ago.  . In the 1920s, preliminary scientific studies found some evidence that Gymnema leaves can reduce blood sugar levels, but nothing much came of this observation for decades.  It is a taste suppressant.  By topical application gymnema has been shown to block the sweet and some of the bitter taste, but not salt and acid taste.  By keeping off the sweet taste it helps to control a craving for sugar.  Responsible for this are considered saponins.  Gymnema has also shown mild hypoglycemic effect.  Topically (applied to the tongue, mainly to the tip or by chewing) it is used to control a craving for sugar, recommended as an aid to a weightloss diet and diabetes.  Internally it is used as an adjuvant (tea, h.p.) for diabetes. Gymnema leaves raise insulin levels, according to research in healthy volunteers. Based on animal studies, this may be due to regeneration of the cells in the pancreas that secrete insulin. Other animal research shows that Gymnema can also improve uptake of glucose into cells and prevent adrenaline from stimulating the liver to produce glucose, thereby reducing blood sugar levels. The leaves are also noted for lowering serum cholesterol and triglycerides.  In the past, powdered Gymnema root was used to treat snake bites, constipation, stomach complaints, water retention, and liver disease.

Gurmar, also known as Gymnema or Gymnema Sylvestre, is often referred to as “sugar destroyer” and has been used in Ayurveda since the 6th century BC. It has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for several centuries as a safe and natural approach to help regulate sugar metabolism. The key component of Gymnema – Gymnemic Acids – mimics glucose molecules, numbing receptor sites on the tongue. Gymnema contains Gymnemic acid, Quercitol, Lupeol, Beta-Amyrin and Stigmasterol, all of which are thought to help the body maintain healthy blood glucose levels.

Benefits of Gymnema Sylvestre (Gurmar)
Gymnema may:

*Help abolish the taste of sugar*
*Help manage sugar cravings and sugar addictions*
*Help support healthy glucose metabolism*
*Help maintain healthy blood sugar levels*
*Support healthy weight*

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.herbalprovider.com/gymnema-sylvestre.html?src=ggl&w=gymnema-sylvestre&gclid=CLjflMqo8qoCFQHf4AodDghbPA

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

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_FGH.htm

http://www.nutrasanus.com/gymnema-sylvestre.html

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Tinospora cordifolia

Botanical Name :Tinospora cordifolia
Family: Menispermaceae
Genus: Tinospora
Species: T. cordifolia
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Ranunculales

Common Name :Guduchi

SANSKRIT NAME : Guduchi,Madhuparni,Amrita,Chinnaruha,
Vatsadaani,Tantrika,Kundalini,Chakralakshanika

LOCAL NAMES (in India): Giloya, Guduchi (Hindi), Gulancha(Bengali),Tippaatigo (Telugu), Shindilakodi (Tamil), Gulavel (Marathi),Galo (Gujarati),Amrita balli(kannada).

Habitat :Tinospora cordifolia is  indigenous to the tropical areas of India, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.

Description:
The plant is a glabrous climbing shrub found throughout India, typically growing in deciduous and dry forests. The leaves are heart shaped. The succulent bark is creamy white to grey in color, with deep clefts spotted with lenticels. It puts out long, slender aerial roots, often growing on mango or neem trees. Flowers are yellow, growing in lax racemes from nodes on old wood. Fruits are drupes, turning red when ripe………

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Constituents:
The active adaptogenic constituents are diterpene compounds including tinosporone, tinosporic acid, cordifolisides A to E, syringen, the yellow alkaloid, berberine, Giloin, crude Giloininand, a glucosidal bitter principle as well as polysaccharides, including arabinogalactan polysaccharide (TSP). Picrotene and bergenin were also found in the plant. The active principles of Tinospora cordifolia, a traditional Indian medicinal plant were found to possess anticomplementary and immunomodulatory activities.

Medicinal Uses:
Historically administered to increase longevity, promote intelligence, and improve memory and immune function, modern science has shown the herb protects against infections, decreases allergic reactions, and stimulates the immune system by increasing the production of white blood cells.  This herb is a bitter tonic. It has been helpful in eye conditions and as a tissue builder, as well as helping development of the brain and intelligence, and combating premature aging.  It is a constituent of several compound preparations. It is used in fever, urinary disorders, dyspepsia, general debility and urinary diseases. It is also used in treatment of rheumatism and jaundice.  The plant is used in Ayurvedic rasayanas to improve the immune system and the body’s resistance to infections. It is used in general debility, digestive disturbances, loss of appetite and fever in children. It has long been known in Ayurvedic literature as a tonic, vitalizer and a remedy for diabetes and metabolic disorders. It has been used to reduce blood glucose level. The plant has been found effective in preventing fibrous changes and promotes regeneration of the liver from drug induced hepatic toxicity.

Used for the treatment of jaundice, rheumatoid arthritis  and  diabetes.
To treat gout, viral hepatitis, arthopathies and general weakness.   Guduchi is widely used in veterinary folk medicine
As anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, antiarthritic and  anti-allergic .

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.ayurhelp.com/plants/guduchi.htm

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

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_FGH.htm

http://explorepharma.wordpress.com/2010/09/26/tinospora-cordifolia/

http://lankachronicle.srilankacoffee.com/health_medicine.html

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