Author Archives: Mukul

Few Health Quarries & Answers

Be on your feet, to keep fit:
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Question: I have been reading a great many articles that are advising standing up frequently if you have a sedentary lifestyle.

Ans: A sedentary lifestyle shortens your lifespan, increases the risk of diabetes, dementia, deep vein thrombosis, anxiety, cancer, osteoporosis and worsens health and backache. It also offsets the effect of your 40-minutes-a- day aerobic workout. To counteract this, you should stand up every hour, stretch, touch your toes and take a short walk.

Mouth bleeding:
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Question: My gums suddenly started bleeding.

Ans: Gums may bleed because your toothbrush is hard and causes injury, or you have bad dental hygiene causing gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and plaque build up. Any blood leaking out may not clot because of medications like aspirin, clopidogrel or heparin, or due to deficiency of vitamins C and K. Diseases like dengue, cirrhosis of the liver and blood cancers (leukemia) also reduce the platelet count in the blood so that blood oozes.

The first step is to consult a dentist. If the problem is not a localised one, he will refer you to a physician for tests.

Armpit boils:
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Question: I have painful boils in my armpit. They appear in crops and leave scars when they heal.

Ans: These boils do not occur because of bad hygiene. Naturally occurring skin oils and sebum block the pores of the skin. The secretions build up under the skin causing pain. There can be secondary infection, usually from bacteria which normally reside harmlessly on the skin.

You need to bathe twice a day with antibacterial soap. Instead of directly applying the soap, use a scrubber. After that apply antibiotic ointment (mupirocin) without steroid. It may take around two weeks to clear up.

You can try massaging with pure edible coconut oil.

Cracked tongue:
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Question: My tongue has developed multiple fissures in which food sometimes gets stuck.

Ans: Deep fissures can develop with hypothyroidism, or be part of Down’s syndrome. Often there is no cause. The condition is harmless.

You could gently brush out your tongue after eating, with a soft toothbrush.

Flu break:
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Qustion:  I have fever, cold and cough. How long should I stay away from work?

Ans: Colds and the flu are very contagious. If you work in an air-conditioned office, the droplets you expel will soon spread through the system and infect everyone else. It is best to stay at home at least 24 hours after the fever and cough have subsided. The same goes for school-going children. Remember flu can be prevented with annual flu vaccines.

Diabetes fit:
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Question: I am a diabetic. My doctor keeps telling me to exercise. I don’t see the point as I am already on insulin.

Ans: Aerobic exercise like walking, swimming and cycling consumes around 300-400 calories per hour. Weight training increases muscle mass so that calories are burnt more efficiently all day. If you walk 30-40 minutes a day and do weight training with light dumbbells for 20 minutes three times a week, you will keep your metabolism humming efficiently all day. This will increase calorie expenditure and can reduce insulin requirement.

Weight Gain:
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Qustion:  I have gained weight after menopause and so have all my friends. Is this normal?

Ans: People do gain weight after menopause because their BMR (basal metabolic rate) slows down. Activity may also be less as children have left home. You just need to consciously exercise more and eat less.

Resource: The Telegraph, (Kolkata, India)

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Alexanders


Botanical Name: Smyrnium Olisatrum
Family: Apiaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Apiales
Genus: Smyrnium
Species: S. olusatrum

Synonyms: Alexanders. Alisanders. Black Pot-herb.

Common Names: Alexanders, Alisanders, Horse parsley, and Smyrnium.

Habitat:
Alexanders is native to the Mediterranean but is able to thrive farther north.Widely dispersed in England and Ireland. Common in waste ground and edges of fields especially near the shore.

Description:
Alexanders is a large binnial or perennial herb, growing 3 or 4 feet in height, with very large leaves, doubly and triply divided into three (ternate), with broad leaflets; the sheaths of the footstalks are very broad and membraneous in texture.
It has solid stem which becomes hollow and grooved with age. The leaves are bluntly toothed, the segments ternately divided the segments flat, not fleshy.

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The flowers are yellow-green in colour and arranged in umbels,and its fruits are black. It flowers from April to June.The flowers are produced in numerous close, rounded umbels without involucres (the little leaves that are placed often at the spot where the various rays of the umbel spring). The whole herb is of a yellowish-green tint. The fruit is formed of two, nearly globular halves, with prominent ridges. When ripe, it is almost black, whence the plant received from the old herbalists the name of ‘Black Pot-herb,’ the specific name signifying the same. (Olus, a pot-herb, and atrum, black.)

Edible Uses: Alexanders is intermediate in flavor between celery and parsley. It was once used in many dishes, either blanched, or not, but it has now been replaced by celery.

Leaves and young shoots – raw in salads or cooked in soups, stews etc. The plant comes into growth in the autumn and the leaves are often available throughout the winter. They have a rather strong celery-like flavour and are often blanched (by excluding light from the growing plant) before use. Leafy seedlings can be used as a parsley substitute. Stem – raw or cooked. It tastes somewhat like celery, but is more pungent. The stem is often blanched (by excluding light from the growing plant) before use. Flower buds – raw. Added to salads, they have a celery-like flavour. The spicy seeds are used as a pepper substitute. Root – cooked. Boiled and used in soups, its flavour is somewhat like celery. The root is said to be more tender if it has been kept in a cool place all winter.

It is now almost forgotten as a food source, although it still grows wild in many parts of Europe, including Britain. It is common among the sites of medieval monastery gardens.

Look out for this tall plant on cliff paths, the first seaside greenery of the year. The Romans brought it with them to eat the leaves, the stems, the roots, and the buds.

Medicinal Uses:
The whole plant is bitter and digestive. It has been used in the past in the treatment of asthma, menstrual problems and wounds, but is generally considered to be obsolete as a medicinal plant.
It is used as traditional medicine in China.

Other Uses:
Alexanders is a feed source much appreciated by horses.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smyrnium_olusatrum
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/l/lovbla44.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Smyrnium+olusatrum

Alabama rot

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Other Name:Cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV).  Prior to its identification in the United Kingdom, Alabama rot had previously been reported in greyhounds in the USA.

Description:
Alabama rot or idiopathic cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV) is an often fatal condition in dogs. It was first identified in the USA in the 1980s in greyhounds. The initial symptoms are skin lesions on the legs, chest and abdomen followed by renal involvement.

It is a disease of unknown cause, which leads to skin sores/lesions on the bottom of the legs, pads, body and face. It is often associated with sudden onset kidney failure (acute kidney injury or AKI).

In November 2012 the first cases were identified in the UK. In January 2014, the outbreak in England was identified as having the same or similar histological and clinical findings as Alabama rot, although a wide range of breeds were affected. The disease has continued to spread across England, with a case being reported as far north as North Yorkshire in March 2015. A UK map posted on-line shows confirmed (with post-mortem) and unconfirmed (without post-mortem) cases of Alabama rot since December 2012. In May 2017 it was reported that 98 deaths from the disease have occurred in the UK, including 15 in 2017

About 60% of cases of Alabama rot, which has killed more than 100 dogs in the UK, occur in the first three months of the year, researchers have found.

New research by London’s Royal Veterinary College is under way to try and discover more about the risk factors and spread of the disease.

The cause of the disease, which first occurred in the UK in 2012, is still unknown.

However, researchers have found there are more cases in autumn and winter.

The disease causes lesions on the skin and occasionally in the mouth. Some dogs can also develop life-threatening kidney failure.

The number of cases in the US is not known, but a Hampshire veterinary practice reported on 24 March 2015 that there had been 103 suspected cases in the UK, including 52 deaths confirmed by postmortem examination

?Most deaths caused by the disease have happened in Hampshire, Dorset and Greater Manchester.

The research is being funded by the New Forest Dog Owners Group and charity Stop Alabama Rot.

Signs and symptoms:
The disease is characterized by cutaneous and renal changes with the latter being ultimately fatal.

Common symptoms include, but are not limited to:
*Cutaneous lesions involving erythema, erosion, ulceration occurring mainly on extremities such as distal limbs, muzzle and ventrum
*Pyrexia (fever)
*Lethargy or malaise
*Anorexia
*Vomiting or retching

In affected dogs, skin lesions commonly appear less than a week before clinical signs of kidney failure (tiredness, vomiting, not eating). However, not all animals with Alabama rot develop kidney failure.

Causes:
Some veterinary experts theorize it is a parasite, others theorize it is bacterial. It is more widely believed that Alabama rot is caused by toxins produced by E. coli. Because the exact cause has not been found, developing a vaccine is not possible. The cause of Alabama rot in the UK is under study as of 2013 at Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists in Winchester, Hampshire. A podcast on Alabama rot was published in April 2014 by the Royal Veterinary College.[10] As of February 2015 the Forestry Commission England will only publish specific site location details if “cases are confirmed as CRGV and a scientific connection to the dogs walked on the site is made”.

A comprehensive report on CRGV was published in March 2015 by the British Veterinary Association, concluding that it is a disease of unknown cause “carrying a poor prognosis when azotaemia develops.

Diagnosis:
A definite diagnosis of Alabama rot can only be made by assessment of a kidney sample under the microscope; however, the index of suspicion for the disease can be high based upon the presence of skin lesions, kidney failure and some other blood test changes.

Treatments:
Treatment is primarily symptomatic involving wound management of skin lesions and aggressive supportive therapy when renal compromise occurs. Some UK dogs with Alabama rot have been successfully treated since 2013. A webinar on Alabama rot by the Royal Veterinary College on 11 February 2015 was tutored by David Walker of Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own Veterinary Specialists.

Resources:
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-hampshire-41664119
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alabama_rot

Alabama rot – What every dog owner needs to know

Ocimum tenuiflorum

Botanical Name: Ocimum tenuiflorum
Family: Lamiaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Genus: Ocimum
Species: O. tenuiflorum

Synonym: Ocimum sanctum

Common Name: Tulasi, Holy basil, (sometimes spelled thulasi) or tulsi.

DNA barcodes of various biogeographical isolates of tulsi from the Indian subcontinent are now available. In a large-scale phylogeographical study of this species conducted using chloroplast genome sequences, a group of researchers from Central University of Punjab, Bathinda, have found that this plant originates from North Central India. The discovery might suggest the evolution of tulsi is related with the cultural migratory patterns in the Indian subcontinent

Description:
Holy basil is an erect, many-branched subshrub, 30–60 cm (12–24 in) tall with hairy stems. Leaves are green or purple; they are simple, petioled, with an ovate, up to 5 cm (2.0 in)-long blade which usually has a slightly toothed margin; they are strongly scented and have a decussate phyllotaxy. The purplish flowers are placed in close whorls on elongate racemes . The two main morphotypes cultivated in India and Nepal are green-leaved (Sri or Lakshmi tulasi) and purple-leaved (Krishna tulasi).

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Chemical composition:
Some of the phytochemical constituents of tulsi are oleanolic acid, ursolic acid, rosmarinic acid,eugenol, carvacrol, linalool, ?-caryophyllene (about 8%).

Tulsi essential oil consists mostly of eugenol (~70%) ?-elemene (~11.0%), ?-caryophyllene (~8%) and germacrene (~2%), with the balance being made up of various trace compounds, mostly terpenes.

Edible Uses:
Thai cuisine:
The leaves of holy basil, known as kaphrao in the Thai language (Thai: ??????), are commonly used in Thai cuisine. Kaphrao should not be confused with horapha which is normally known as Thai basil, or with Thai lemon basil (maenglak; Thai: ??????). One dish made with this herb is phat kaphrao — a stir-fry of Thai holy basil with meats, seafood or, as in khao phat kraphao, with rice.

Medicinal Uses:
Ayurveda:
Tulasi (Sanskrit:-Surasa) has been used in Ayurveda for its supposed uses to treat diseases. Traditionally, tulasi is taken as herbal tea, dried powder, fresh leaf or mixed with ghee. Essential oil extracted from tulasi is mostly used for supposed medicinal purposes and herbal cosmetics.

Other Uses:
Religious Uses:
In Hinduism:
Tulsi leaves are an essential part in the worship of Vishnu and his avatars, including Krishna and Ram, and other male Vaishnava deities such as Hanuman, Balarama, Garuda and many others. Tulsi is a sacred plant for Hindus and is worshipped as the avatar of Lakshmi. It is believed that water mixed with the petals given to the dying raises their departing souls to heaven. Tulsi, which is Sanskrit for “the incomparable one”, is most often regarded as a consort of Krishna in the form of Lakshmi. According to the Brahma Vaivarta Purana, tulsi is an expression of Sita. There are two types of tulsi worshipped in Hinduism: “Rama tulsi” has light green leaves and is larger in size; “Shyama tulsi” has dark green leaves and is important for the worship of Hanuman. Many Hindus have tulasi plants growing in front of or near their home, often in special pots. Traditionally, tulsi is planted in the centre of the central courtyard of Hindu houses. It is also frequently grown next to Hanuman temples, especially in Varanasi.

According to Vaishnavas, it is believed in Puranas that during Samudra Manthana, when the gods win the ocean-churning against the asuras, Dhanvantari comes up from the ocean with Amrit in hand for the gods. Dhanvantari, the divine healer, sheds happy tears, and when the first drop falls in the Amrit, it forms tulasi. In the ceremony of Tulsi Vivaha, tulsi is ceremonially married to Krishna annually on the eleventh day of the waxing moon or twelfth of the month of Kartik in the lunar calendar. This day also marks the end of the four-month Chaturmas, which is considered inauspicious for weddings and other rituals, so the day inaugurates the annual marriage season in India. The ritual lighting of lamps each evening during Kartik includes the worship of the tulsi plant, which is held to be auspicious for the home. Vaishnavas especially follow the daily worship of tulsi during Kartik. In another legend, Tulsi was a pious woman who sought a boon to marry Vishnu. Lakshmi, Vishnu’s consort, cursed her to become a plant in earth. However, Vishnu appeased her by giving her a boon that she would grace him when he appears in the form of Shaligrama in temples.

Vaishnavas traditionally use Hindu prayer beads made from tulsi stems or roots, which are an important symbol of initiation. Tulsi rosaries are considered to be auspicious for the wearer, and believed to put them under the protection of Hanuman. They have such a strong association with Vaishnavas, that followers of Hanuman are known as “those who bear the tulsi round the neck”.

Tulsi grown in front of a house and worshiped. An altar with tulsi plant for daily worship in a courtyard in India

Insect repellent:
For centuries, the dried leaves have been mixed with stored grains to repel insects.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Crataegus dispessa

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocimum_tenuiflorum

Ipomoea carnea

Botanical Name:Ipomoea carnea
Family: Convolvulaceae
Kingdom:Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Solanales
Genus: Ipomoea
Species:I. carnea

Common Name: Pink morning glory
Another common name is “bush morning glory”, but particularly in temperate North America, that usually refers to Ipomoea leptophylla.

Habitat :  Ipomoea carnea  is native to tropical America; naturalized / cultivated elsewher

Description:
Ipomoea carnea is a flowering plant. It has heart-shaped leaves that are a rich green and 6–9 inches (15–23 cm) long. It can be easily grown from seeds which are toxic and it can be hazardous to cattle; the toxicity is related to the swainsonine produced by endophytes and to bioaccumulation of selenium species in leaves but mostly in seeds.

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In Brazil, I. carnea is known as canudo-de-pita, literally “pipe-cane”, as its hollow stems were used to make tubes for tobacco pipes. It thus became the namesake of Canudos, a religious community in the sertão of Bahia, over which the War of Canudos was fought 1893–1897.

Medicinal Uses:
The plant has medicinal value. It contains a component identical to marsilin, a sedative and anticonvulsant. A glycosidic saponin has also been purified from I. carnea with anticarcinogenic and oxytoxic properties.

The shrub Ipomoea carnea has been used traditionally for thousands of years. However, there are few scientific studies on this medicinal plant, and most of the information are scattered. Different extracts of Ipmoea carnea plant possess anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-oxidant, anti-cancer, anti-convulsant, immunomodulatory, anti-diabetic, hepatoprotective, anti-inflammatory, anxiolytic, sedative and wound healing activities.

Other Uses: The stem of Ipomoea carnea can be used for making paper.

Known Hazards: Some toxicological effects have been also reported. Some of the major phytochemicals associated with the bioactivity of I. carnea have been characterized.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ipomoea_carnea
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24651023

https://sites.google.com/site/efloraofindia/species/a—l/cl/convolvulaceae/ipomoea/ipomoea-fistulosa