Category Archives: Spices

Parsley

Botanical Name :Petroselinum crispum
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Petroselinum
Species: P. crispum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales

Common Name :Parsley

Habitat :Parsley is native to the central Mediterranean region (southern Italy, Algeria and Tunisia), naturalized elsewhere in Europe, and widely cultivated as an herb, a spice and a vegetable.

Description:
Garden parsley is a bright green, hairless, biennial, herbaceous plant in temperate climates, or an annual herb in subtropical and tropical areas.]

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Where it grows as a biennial, in the first year, it forms a rosette of tripinnate leaves 10–25 cm long with numerous 1–3 cm leaflets, and a taproot used as a food store over the winter. In the second year, it grows a flowering stem to 75 cm tall with sparser leaves and flat-topped 3–10 cm diameter umbels with numerous 2 mm diameter yellow to yellowish-green flowers. The seeds are ovoid, 2–3mm long, with prominent style remnants at the apex. One of the compounds of the essential oil is apiol. The plant normally dies after seed maturation.

In cultivation, parsley is subdivided into several cultivar groups depending on the form of the plant, which is related to its end use. These are often treated as botanical varieties, but are cultivated selections, not of natural botanical origin.

Leaf parsley:
The two main groups of parsley used as herbs are curly leaf (i.e.) (P. crispum crispum group; syn. P. crispum var. crispum) and Italian, or flat leaf (P. crispum neapolitanum group; syn. P. crispum var. neapolitanum); of these, the neapolitanum group more closely resembles the natural wild species. Flat-leaved parsley is preferred by some as it is easier to cultivate, being more tolerant of both rain and sunshine, and has a stronger flavor (though this is disputed), while curly leaf parsley is preferred by others because of its more decorative appearance in garnishing.   A third type, sometimes grown in southern Italy, has thick, celery-like leaf stems

Root Parsley:
Another type of parsley is grown as a root vegetable, the Hamburg root parsley (P. crispum radicosum group, syn. P. crispum var. tuberosum). This type of parsley produces much thicker roots than types cultivated for their leaves. Although seldom used in Britain and the United States, root parsley is very common in central and eastern European cuisine, where it is used in soups and stews.

Though root parsley looks similar to the parsnip, it tastes quite different. Parsnips are among the closest relatives of parsley in the family Apiaceae, but the similarity of the names is a coincidence, parsnip meaning “forked turnip”; it is not closely related to real turnips.

Cultivation:
Parsley grows best in moist, well drained soil, with full sun. It grows best between 22–30 °C, and is usually grown from seed. Germination is slow, taking four to six weeks, and often difficult because of furanocoumarins in its seed coatPlants grown for the leaf crop are typically spaced 10 cm apart, while those grown as a root crop are typically spaced 20 cm apart to allow for the root development.

Edible Uses:
Parsley is widely used in Middle Eastern, European, and American cooking. Curly leaf parsley is often used as a garnish. In central and eastern Europe and in western Asia, many dishes are served with fresh green chopped parsley sprinkled on top. Green parsley is often used as a garnish on potato dishes (boiled or mashed potatoes), on rice dishes (risotto or pilaf), on fish, fried chicken, lamb or goose, steaks, meat or vegetable stews (like beef bourguignon, goulash or chicken paprikash).

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English: Mashed potatoes with a parsley leaf. ...

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Escargot cooked with garlic and parsley butter...

In southern and central Europe, parsley is part of bouquet garni, a bundle of fresh herbs used as an ingredient in stocks, soups, and sauces. Freshly chopped green parsley is used as a topping for soups such as chicken soup, green salads or salads such as salade Olivier, and on open sandwiches with cold cuts or pâtés. Parsley is a key ingredient in several Middle Eastern salads such as tabbouleh. Persillade is a mixture of chopped garlic and chopped parsley used in French cuisine. Gremolata is a traditional accompaniment to the Italian veal stew, ossobuco alla milanese, a mixture of parsley, garlic, and lemon zest.

Root parsley is very common in central and eastern European cuisines, where it is used as a vegetable in many soups, stews and casseroles.

Medicinal Uses:
Chew the leaf raw to freshen the breath and promote healthy skin. Infuse for a digestive tonic.  Bruised leaves have been used to treat tumors, insect bites, lice and skin parasites and contusions.  Parsley tea at one time was used to treat dysentery and gallstones.  Other traditional uses reported include the treatment of diseases of the prostate, liver and spleen, in the treatment of anemia, arthritis and cancers, and as an expectorant, antimicrobial, aphrodisiac, hypotensive, laxative and as a scalp lotion to stimulate hair growth.   Use in a poultice as an antiseptic dressing for sprains, wounds and insect bites.  Decoct the root for kidney troubles and as a mild laxative.  Apply juice to reduce swellings.  It also stimulates appetite and increases blood flow to digestive organs, as well as reducing fever. Another constituent, the flavonoid apigenin, reduces inflammation by inhibiting histamine and is also a free-radical scavenger.   The seed, when decocted, has been used for intermittent fevers.  It has also traditionally used as a carminative to decrease flatulence and colic pain.  The seeds have a much stronger diuretic action than the leaves and may be substituted for celery seeds in the treatment of gout, rheumatism and arthritis.  It is often included in “slimming” teas because of its diuretic action.   Oil of the seed (5-15 drops) has been used to bring on menstruation.  Avoid if weak kidneys

Other Uses:
Parsley attracts some wildlife. Some swallowtail butterflies use parsley as a host plant for their larvae; their caterpillars are black and green striped with yellow dots, and will feed on parsley for two weeks before turning into butterflies. Bees and other nectar-feeding insects visit the flowers. Birds such as the goldfinch feed on the seeds.

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Photograph of caterpillar of the Black Swallow...

Photograph of caterpillar of the Black Swallowtail en ( Papilio polyxenes en ) on its Curly Parsley en ( Petroselinum crispum en ) host plant. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You may click to learn more  uses of Parsley…..(1)l….(2)

Known Hazards:
Parsley should not be consumed in excess by pregnant women. It is safe in normal food quantities, but large amounts can have uterotonic effects.

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:

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

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

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Aframomum melegueta

Botanical Name :Aframomum melegueta
Family: Zingiberaceae
Genus: Aframomum
Species: A. melegueta
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Zingiberales

Common Names;Grains of paradise, Melegueta pepper, Alligator pepper, Guinea grains or Guinea pepper
English : Guinea grains, Melegueta pepper, Alligator pepper
French :Graines de paradis, Malaguette, Poivre de Guinée, Maniguette
German : Paradieskörner, Guineapfeffer, Meleguetapfeffer, Malagettapfeffer
Spanish : Malagueta, Pimienta de malagueta

Habitat : Aframomum melegueta is native to West Africa, it is an important cash crop in the Basketo special woreda of southern Ethiopia.

Description:
A. melegueta is a herbaceous perennial plant native to swampy habitats along the West African coast. Its trumpet-shaped, purple flowers develop into 5 to 7 cm long pods containing numerous small, reddish-brown seeds.

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Clicl to see Pictures of Aframomum melegueta :

The pungent, peppery taste of the seeds is caused by aromatic ketones; e.g., (6)-paradol (systematic name: 1-(4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenyl)-decan-3-one). Essential oils, which are the dominating flavor components in the closely-related cardamom, occur only in traces.

Medicinal Uses:
Used in West African herbal remedies, grains of paradise relieve flatulence and also have stimulant and diuretic effects. The seeds are in a number of veterinary medicines. They appear in old pharmacopoeias like Gerard’s for a variety of abdominal complaints.  Chinese herbalists often add it to fruits such as baked pears to reduce the production of mucus in the body.  Classified in traditional Chinese medicine as an acrid, warm herb.  It’s taken for nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, indigestion, gas and loss of appetite; morning sickness, pain and discomfort during pregnancy; involuntary urination.

Other Uses:
Melegueta is commonly employed in the cuisines of West and North Africa, where it has been traditionally imported via caravan routes through the Sahara desert, and whence they were distributed to Sicily and Italy. Mentioned by Pliny as “African pepper” but subsequently forgotten in Europe, they were renamed “grains of paradise” and became a popular substitute for black pepper in Europe in the 14th- and 15th-centuries. The Ménagier de Paris recommends it for improving wine that “smells stale”. Through the Middle Ages and into the Early Modern period, the theory of the Four Humours governed theorizing about nourishment on the part of doctors, herbalists and druggists: in this context, “graynes of paradise, hoot & moyste þey[clarification needed] be” John Russell observed, in The Boke of Nurture.

In 1469, King Afonso V of Portugal granted the monopoly of trade in the Gulf of Guinea to Lisbon merchant Fernão Gomes, including the exclusive trade of Aframomum melegueta, then called “malagueta” pepper – which was granted by 100 000 real-annually in exchange for exploring 100 miles of the coast of Africa a year for five years.[8] After Christopher Columbus reached the New World in 1492 and brought the first samples of Capsicum frutescens, the name malagueta was then taken to the new chilli “pepper”.

The importance of the spice is shown by the designation of the area from the St Johns River (present day Buchanan) to Harper in Liberia as the “Grain Coast” in honor of the availability of grains of paradise. Later, the craze for the spice waned, and its uses were reduced to a flavoring for sausages and beer. In the eighteenth century, its importation to Great Britain collapsed after a Parliamentary act of George III forbade its use in malt liquor, aqua vita and cordials. In 1855, England imported about 15,000 to 19,000 lbs per year legally(duty paid). By 1880, the Encyclopaedia Britannica (9th edition) was reporting, “Grains of paradise are to some extent used in veterinary practice but for the most part illegally to give a fictitious strength to malt liquors, gin and cordials”.

Today, it is largely unknown outside of West and North Africa, except for its use as a flavoring in some beers (including Samuel Adams Summer Ale), gins, and Norwegian akvavit. In America, grains of paradise are starting to enjoy a slight resurgence in popularity due to their use by some well-known chefs. Alton Brown is a fan of its use, and he uses it in his apple pie recipe on an episode of the TV cooking show Good Eats. They are also used by people on certain diets, such as a raw food diet, because they are less irritating to digestion than black pepper.

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.uni-graz.at/~katzer/engl/Afra_mel.html

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

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

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Cuminum cyminum

Botanical Name :Cuminum cyminum
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Cuminum
Species: C. cyminum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales
Class :Magnoliophyta
Division :Magnoliopsida

Common Names:English: Cumin seeds,Hindi: Jeera, Sanskrit: Jeerak, Gujrati :Jeeru

Etymology:
The English “cumin” derives from the Old English cymen (or Old French cumin), from Latin cuminum, which is the latinisation of the Greek ??????? (kuminon), cognate with Hebrew kammon and Arabic kammun. Forms of this word are attested in several ancient Semitic languages, including kam?nu in Akkadian. The ultimate source is the Sumerian word gamun. The earliest attested form of the word ??????? (kuminon) is the Mycenaean Greek ku-mi-no, written in Linear B syllabic script.Indian Name is Jira

Habitat : Cuminum cyminum is   is grown in Temperent climate.Western Asia, where it is culti­vated since Biblical times . Main pro­duction countries today are India, Iran, Indonesia, China and the South Medi­terranean.

Description:
Cumin is the dried seed of the herb Cuminum cyminum, a member of the parsley family. The cumin plant grows to 30–50 cm (0.98–1.6 ft) tall and is harvested by hand. It is an herbaceous annual plant, with a slender branched stem 20–30 cm tall. The leaves are 5–10 cm long, pinnate or bipinnate, thread-like leaflets. The flowers are small, white or pink, and borne in umbels. The fruit is a lateral fusiform or ovoid achene 4–5 mm long, containing a single seed. Cumin seeds resemble caraway seeds, being oblong in shape, longitudinally ridged, and yellow-brown in color, like other members of the Umbelliferae family such as caraway, parsley and dill.

You may click to see the pictures cumin seeds    and      pictures of cumin plant

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Cultivation:
Cultivation of cumin requires a long, hot summer of 3–4 months, with daytime temperatures around 30 °C (86 °F); it is drought-tolerant, and is mostly grown in Mediterranean climates. It is grown from seed, sown in spring, and needs fertile, well-drained soil.

Uses:
Cumin is the most popular spice in the world after black pepper. Cumin seeds are used as a spice for their distinctive aroma, popular in Nepalese, Indian, Pakistani, North African, Middle Eastern, Sri Lankan, Cuban, northern Mexican cuisines, central Asian Uzbek cuisine, and the western Chinese cuisines of Sichuan and Xinjiang. Cumin can be found in some Dutch cheeses, such as Leyden cheese, and in some traditional breads from France. It is commonly used in traditional Brazilian cuisine. Cumin can be an ingredient in chili powder (often Texan or Mexican-style), and is found in achiote blends, adobos, sofrito, garam masala, curry powder, and bahaarat.

Cumin can be used ground or as whole seeds. Cumin was also used heavily in ancient Roman cuisine. It helps to add an earthy and warming feeling to cooking, making it a staple in certain stews and soups, as well as curries and chilli.

Nutritional value:
Although cumin seeds contain a relatively large percentage of iron, extremely large quantities of cumin would need to be consumed for it to serve as a significant dietary source (see nutrition data).

Aroma profile:
Cumin’s distinctive flavour and strong, warm aroma is due to its essential oil content. Its main constituent and important aroma compound is cuminaldehyde (4-isopropylbenzaldehyde). Important aroma compounds of toasted cumin are the substituted pyrazines, 2-ethoxy-3-isopropylpyrazine, 2-methoxy-3-sec-butylpyrazine, and 2-methoxy-3-methylpyrazine.

*beta-Pinene
*Cuminal
*Gamma-terpinene

Main constituents:
The fruits contain 2.5 to 4% essential oil. In the essential oil, cumin aldehyde (p-isopropyl-benzaldehyde, 25 to 35%), furthermore perilla aldehyde, cumin alcohol, ?- and ?-pinene (21%), dipentene, p-cymene and ?-phellandrene were found.

In toasted cumin fruits, a large number of pyrazines has been identified as flavour compounds. Besides pyrazine and various alkyl derivatives (particularly, 2,5- and 2,6-dimethyl pyrazine), 2-alkoxy-3-alkylpyrazines seem to be the key compounds (2-ethoxy-3-isopropyl pyrazine, 2-methoxy-3-sec-butyl pyrazine, 2-methoxy-3-methyl pyrazine). Also a sulfur compound, 2-methylthio-3-isopropyl pyrazine, was found. All these Maillard-products are also formed when fenugreek or coriander are toasted. (Nahrung,?  24, 645, 1980)

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Medicinal Uses:
Cumin seed is used for diarrhea and indigestion.  Specific for headaches caused by ingestion. Hot cumin water is excellent for colds and fevers and is made by boiling a teaspoon of roasted seeds in 3 cups of water.  Honey can be added to soothe a sore throat.  It is supposed to increase lactation and reduce nausea in pregnancy.  Used in a poultice, it relieves swelling of the breast or the testicles.  Smoked in a pipe with ghee, it is taken to relieve the hiccups.  Stimulates the appetite.  Still used in veterinary practice.  Cumin mixed with flour and water is good feed for poultry and it is said if you give tame pigeons cumin it makes them fond of their home and less likely to stray.  Basalt mixed with cumin seeds was a common country remedy for pigeons’ scabby backs and breasts.

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_C.htm

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

http://www.ayushveda.com/herbs/cuminum-cyminum.htm

http://www.uni-graz.at/~katzer/engl/Cumi_cym.html

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Cloves

Dried cloves

Dried cloves (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Botanical Name : Syzigium aromaticum
Family: Myrtaceae
Genus: Syzygium
Species: S. aromaticum
Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Angiosperms
Order: Myrtales

Synonyms:Eugenia Caryophyllata

Common Names: Indian name Laung.In Urdu it is called as ‘Laong’. In Kerala state (India) it is called ‘Grampoo’ in Malayalam. In Hindi, it’s called ‘Lavang’ and many Indian languages have names similar to it, e.g. in Marathi, it is called as “Lavang”, whereas In Telugu, it is called ‘Lavangam’, plural ‘Lavangalu’ . In Kannada, it is called ‘Lavanga’. In Sinhala it is called ‘Karabu Nati. The Tamil language uses both the native  (kirambu) and also the Sanskrit-derived(lavangam).

In Vietnam, it is called ?inh huong. In Indonesia it is called cengkeh or cengkih.Cloves are also known as ‘giroflier’ in French; ‘Gewürznelkenbaum’ in German; ‘cravo-da-Índia’, ‘cravo-das-molucas’, and ‘cravo-de-doce’ in Portuguese; and ‘árbol del clavo’, ‘clavero giroflé’, and ‘clavo de olor’ in Spanish.

Habitat : Cloves are  native to the Spice Islands and the Philippines but also grown in India, Sumatra, Jamaica, the West Indies, Brazil, and other tropical areas.

Description:
The clove is an evergreen tree, 15 to 30 feet tall. It has opposite, ovate leaves more than 5 inches long; and its flowers, when allowed to develop, are red and white, bell-shaped, and grow in terminal clusters. The familiar clove used in the kitchen is the dried flower bud. The fruit is a one- or two-seeded berry.

You may click to see the pictures of plant    and    seeds 
The clove tree is endemic in the North Moluccas (Indonesia) and was of old cultivated on the islands of Ternate, Tidore, Bacan and the West coast of Halmahera. The Dutch extended cultivation to several other islands in the Moluccas, but only after the end of the Dutch monopoly (18.th century), clove trees were introduced to other countries

Uses:
Cloves can be used in cooking either whole or in a ground form, but as they are extremely strong, they are used sparingly.

Cloves have historically been used in Indian cuisine (both North Indian and South Indian). In North Indian cuisine, it is used in almost all rich or spicy dishes as an ingredient of a mix named garam masala, along with other spices, although it is not an everyday ingredient for home cuisine, nor is it used in summer very often. In the Maharashtra region of India it is used sparingly for sweet or spicy dishes, but rarely in everyday cuisine. In Ayurvedic medicine it is considered to have the effect of increasing heat in system, hence the difference of usage by region and season. In south Indian cuisine, it is used extensively in biryani along with “cloves dish” (similar to pilaf, but with the addition of other spices), and it is normally added whole to enhance the presentation and flavor of the rice.

Dried cloves are also a key ingredient in Indian masala chai, spiced tea, a special variation of tea popular in some regions, notably Gujarat. In the US, it is often sold under the name of “chai” or “chai tea”, as a way of differentiating it from other types of teas sold in the US.

In Mexican cuisine, cloves are best known as ‘clavos de olor’, and often used together with cumin and cinnamon.

In Vietnamese cuisine, cloves are often used to season the broth of Pho.

Due to the Indonesian influence, the use of cloves is widespread in the Netherlands. Cloves are used in cheeses, often in combination with cumin. Cloves are an essential ingredient for making Dutch speculaas. Furthermore, cloves are used in traditional Dutch stews like hachee.

Non-culinary uses:
The spice is used in a type of cigarette called kretek in Indonesia. Kreteks have been smoked throughout Europe, Asia and the United States. In 2009, clove cigarettes (as well as fruit and candy flavored cigarettes) were outlawed in the US. However, they are still sold in similar form, re-labeled as “filtered clove cigars.”

Cloves are also an important incense material in Chinese and Japanese culture. And clove essence is commonly used in the production of many perfumes.

During Christmas, it is a tradition in some European countries to make pomanders from cloves and oranges to hang around the house. This spreads a nice scent throughout the house and acts as holiday decorations.

Cloves are often used as incense in the Jewish practice called Havdala

Clove oil anesthesia and overdose is considered a humane method for euthanizing fish.

Constituents:
Eugenol comprises 72-90% of the essential oil extracted from cloves, and is the compound most responsible for the cloves’ aroma. Other important essential oil constituents of clove oil include acetyl eugenol, beta-caryophyllene and vanillin; crategolic acid; tannins, gallotannic acid, methyl salicylate (painkiller); the flavonoids eugenin, kaempferol, rhamnetin, and eugenitin; triterpenoids like oleanolic acid, stigmasterol and campesterol; and several sesquiterpenes.

Eugenol has pronounced antiseptic and anaesthetic properties. Of the dried buds, 15 – 20 percent is essential oils, and the majority of this is eugenol. A kilogram (2.2 lbs) of dried buds yields approximately 150 ml (1/4 of pint) of eugenol.

Eugenol can be toxic in relatively small quantities—as low as 5 ml.

Medicinal Uses:
Traditional Chinese physicians have long used the herb to treat indigestion, diarrhea, hernia, and ringworm, as well as athlete’s foot and other fungal infections.  India’s traditional Ayurvedic healers have used clove since ancient times to treat respiratory and digestive ailments.  America’s 19th century Eclectic physicians used clove to treat digestive complaints and added it to bitter herb-medicine preparations to make them more palatable.  The Eclectics were also the first to extract clove oil from the herbal buds. It has antiseptic, stimulant, stomachic and digestive properties.  As an anti-infectant, cloves are effective against coli bacilli, streptococci, staphylococci, pneumococci and as an antimycotic.  The oil, too, is used in dentistry for its antiseptic and analgesic properties, and, like the whole cloves and powdered cloves, for local pain-relieving purposes.  Eugenol is a local anesthetic used in dental fillings and cements; a rubifacient and a carminative.  It is also an irritant and an allergic sensitizer.      Besides all their other uses, cloves can be used to treat acne, skin ulcers, sores, and styes.  They also make a potent mosquito and moth repellent which is where the clove studded orange pomander comes from.

Traditional medicinal uses:
Cloves are used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine, Chinese medicine, and western herbalism and dentistry, where the essential oil is used as an anodyne (painkiller) for dental emergencies. Cloves are used as a carminative, to increase hydrochloric acid in the stomach and to improve peristalsis. Cloves are also said to be a natural anthelmintic. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy when stimulation and warming are needed, especially for digestive problems. Topical application over the stomach or abdomen are said to warm the digestive tract. Clove oil, applied to a cavity in a decayed tooth, also relieves toothache. It also helps to decrease infection in the teeth due to its antiseptic properties.

In Chinese medicine cloves or ding xiang are considered acrid, warm and aromatic, entering the kidney, spleen and stomach meridians, and are notable in their ability to warm the middle, direct stomach qi downward, to treat hiccough and to fortify the kidney yang. Because the herb is so warming it is contraindicated in any persons with fire symptoms and according to classical sources should not be used for anything except cold from yang deficiency. As such it is used in formulas for impotence or clear vaginal discharge from yang deficiency, for morning sickness together with ginseng and patchouli, or for vomiting and diarrhea due to spleen and stomach coldness. This would translate to hypochlorhydria. Clove oil is used in various skin disorders like acne, pimples etc. It is also used in severe burns, skin irritations and to reduce the sensitiveness of skin.

Cloves may be used internally as a tea and topically as an oil for hypotonic muscles, including for multiple sclerosis. This is also found in Tibetan medicine. Some recommend avoiding more than occasional use of cloves internally in the presence of pitta inflammation such as is found in acute flares of autoimmune diseases.

In West Africa, the Yorubas use cloves infused in water as a treatment for stomach upsets, vomiting and diarrhea. The infusion is called Ogun Jedi-jedi.

Western studies have supported the use of cloves and clove oil for dental pain. However, studies to determine its effectiveness for fever reduction, as a mosquito repellent and to prevent premature ejaculation have been inconclusive. Clove may reduce blood sugar levels.

Tellimagrandin II is an ellagitannin found in S. aromaticum with anti-herpesvirus properties.

The buds have anti-oxidant properties

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/Clove

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

http://www.ifood.tv/blog/how-to-grow-clove-trees

http://www.heartofthedragon.net/Cloves.htm

http://www.ifood.tv/blog/how-to-grow-clove-trees

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Alligator pepper

Botanical Name :Alligator pepper
Family :Zingerberaceae (Ginger family).
Synonym :Amomum melegueta.

Common Names: Grains of paradise, nengrekondre pepre, alligator pepper, guinea grains, graines de paradis, atar, paradies kõrner, grani de Meleguetta, paradijs korrels, Grana paradise, poivre de Guinée, malaguette, Malagettapfeffer, grani de paradiso.

Parts Used: Dried ripe seeds and oil. In commerce the pods and seeds are found whole, shelled, and ground (green or roasted).

Habitat :Alligator pepper is  native to West Africa; brought over to Surinam by the slaves to swampy habitats along the West African coast.

Description:
A herbaceous plant reaching 1-4 m in height. The stem is short and marked with scars of fallen leaves. The leaves are lanceolate and  about 30 cm long and 12 cm wide, with close nerves below. The flowers are handsome, aromatic and with orange-coloured lip and a rich pinkish-orange upper part. The fruits are fleshy and indehiscent, and contains numerous small golden- or red-brown seeds. USES The cardemom-flavored seeds are used as a spice and carminative and the can also be used to spice wine and beer. Fruit, seed, leaf and rhizome have medicinal properties.

You may click to see the pictures..

The plants which provide alligator pepper are herbaceous perennials  flowering plants  reaching 1-4 m in height.The stem is short and marked with scars of fallen leaves. The leaves are about 30 cm long and 12 cm wide, with close nerves below. The flowers are handsome, aromatic and with orange-coloured lip and a rich pinkish-orange upper part. Once the pod is open and the seeds are revealed the reason for this spice’s common English name becomes apparent as the seeds have a papery skin enclosing them and the bumps of the seeds within this skin is reminiscent of an alligator’s back.

The trumpet-shaped, purple flowers develop into 5 – 7 cm long grayish – brown, wrinkled dried pods (capsules) containing the numerous very small seeds.
These are almost oval in shape, hard, shiny, and have a reddish-brown color.

The numerous seeds are borne in grayish – brown capsules.
The important part of this plant is the seed; the small (3-4 mm =1/8″) reddish – brown seeds have a pungent aroma with a pepper – like heat.
This much sought after spice is tempered with, among others, flavors reminiscing of hazelnut, butter and citrus.
The essential oil from grains of paradise consists of two sesquiterpenes, humelene and caryophyllene and the oxides of these.
It has an exotic tropical scent and flavor and is used for the production of beer, wine and spirits, and the flavoring of vinegar.
It is used in the Surinam cuisine to flavor dishes such as vegetables (okra and tomatoes recipes), soups (lentil and chicken) and fish recipes.
The rhizome of the plant is used medicinally and is also is an important part from the diet of Western lowland gorillas in Africa.

As mbongo spice the seeds of alligator pepper is often sold as the grains themselves, isolated from the pod and with the outer skin removed. Mbongo spice is most commonly either Aframomum danielli or Aframomum citratum and has a more floral aroma than Aframomum exscapum (which is the commonest source of the entire pod).

It is a common ingredient in West African cuisine where it imparts both ‘heat’, ‘pungency‘ and a spicy aroma to classic West African ‘soups’ (stews).

Use in cuisine:
Even in West Africa, alligator pepper is an expensive spice and is used sparingly. Often a single whole pod is pounded in a pestle and mortar before half of it is added (along with black pepper) as a flavouring to West African ‘soups’ (stews) or to boiled rice. The spice can also be substituted in any recipe using grains of paradise or black cardamom to provide a hotter and more pungent flavour.

When a baby is born in Yoruba culture, they are given a small taste of alligator pepper shortly after birth as part of the routine baby welcoming process and it is also used as an ingredient at traditional meet-and-greets.

In Igbo land, alligator pepper with kola nuts are used in naming ceremonies, as presentation to visiting guests and for other social events.

Click to see :Water leaf, alligator pepper treats hypertension – survey ….

Medicinal Uses:
As a purgative, galactogogue (to increase production of breast milk), anthelmintic- and hemostatic agent (purifies the blood). It is also effective against schistosomiasis (bilharzia).
Further is it used against intestinal infections, infestations, to calm indigestion and heartburn.
The seeds of Aframomum melegueta possess potent anti-inflammatory activity with a favorable gastric tolerability profile.
Phytochemical analysis revealed the presence of alkaloids, glycosides, tannins, flavonoids, sterols, triterpenes, and oils, while the methanol fraction contains alkaloids, glycosides, tannins, flavonoids, sterols, and resins.
The pungent, peppery taste of the seeds is caused by aromatic ketones such as (6)-paradol; essential oils occur only in traces.

Some of the known areas of application are to cure Arthritis, boil, pimples, and any inflammatory disease. Alligator pepper is used in combination of one or two other components to cure different sicknesses. For information on different application go to web site: http://www.free-est.com.

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/Alligator_pepper

http://www.tropilab.com/nengrekondrepepre.html

http://finimanaturepark.org/capacity-building/community-capacity/

http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/cropView?id=2872

http://hubpages.com/hub/Alligator-pepper

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Dill

Botanical Name:Anethum graveolens
Family: Apiaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales
Genus: Anethum.
Species: A. graveolens
Other Name: Shubit.
The name dill is thought to have originated from a Norse or Anglo-Saxon word ‘dylle’ meaning to soothe or lull, the plant having the carminative property of relieving gas. In Sanskrit, this herb is termed as Shatapushpa. The seeds of this herb is also termed as Shatakuppi sompa, Shatapushpi,Sabasige, Badda sompu, Sabasiga, Surva, Soyi, Sowa, Soya in Tamil, Hindi, Telugu, Kannanda, Gujarathi, Hindi, Punjabi etc

Habitat:Dill originated in Eastern Europe. Zohary and Hopf remark that “wild and weedy types of dill are widespread in the Mediterranean basin and in West Asia.” Although several twigs of dill were found in the tomb of Amenhotep II, they report that the earliest archeological evidence for its cultivation comes from late Neolithic lake shore settlements in Switzerland. Traces have been found in Roman ruins in Great Britain.

Description:
Dill (Anethum graveolens) is a short-lived perennial herb. It is the sole species of the genus Anethum, though classified by some botanists in a related genus as Peucedanum graveolens (L.) C.B.Clarke.

CLICK TO SEE THE PICTURES
It grows to 40–60 cm (16–24 in), with slender stems and alternate, finely divided, softly delicate leaves 10–20 cm (3.9–7.9 in) long. The ultimate leaf divisions are 1–2 mm (0.039–0.079 in) broad, slightly broader than the similar leaves of fennel, which are threadlike, less than 1 mm (0.039 in) broad, but harder in texture. The flowers are white to yellow, in small umbels 2–9 cm (0.79–3.5 in) diameter. The seeds are 4–5 mm (0.16–0.20 in) long and 1 mm (0.039 in) thick, and straight to slightly curved with a longitudinally ridged surface.

Its seeds, dill seeds are used as a spice, and its fresh leaves, dill, and its dried leaves, dill weed, are used as herbs.

Cultivation
Successful cultivation requires warm to hot summers with high sunshine levels; even partial shade will reduce the yield substantially. It also prefers rich, well drained soil. The seeds are viable for 3–10 years. Plants intended for seed for further planting should not be grown near fennel, as the two species can hybridise[citation needed].

The seed is harvested by cutting the flower heads off the stalks when the seed is beginning to ripen. The seed heads are placed upside down in a paper bag and left in a warm dry place for a week. The seeds then separate from the stems easily for storage in an airtight container.

Medicinal Uses:

Dill is recorded as a medicinal plant for at least five thousand years in the writings of the Egyptians. Oil extracted from the seeds is made into potions and given to colicky babies. Adults take the preparation to relieve indigiestion.
Fresh and dried dill leaves (sometimes called “dill weed” to distinguish it from dill seed) are used as herbs.
To brew a stomach-soothing tea, use two teaspoons of mashed seeds per cup of boiling water. Steep for ten minutes. Drink up to three cups a day. In a tincture, take 1/2 to 1 teaspoon up to three times a day. To treat colic or gas in children under two, give small amounts of a weak tea. Many herbalists recommend combining dill and fennel to ease colic in infants.

Carvone is a carminative. Limonene and phellandrene–an irritant found in oil of dill and many other essential oils–are photosensitizers.  Dill seed improves digestion and appetite and sweetens the breath.  The oil kills bacteria and relieves flatulence.    It is frequently used in Ayurvedic and Unani medicines for indigestion, fevers, ulcers, uterine pains and kidney and eye problems.  Ethiopians chew the leaves along with fennel to treat headaches and gonorrhea.  In Vietnam it is used to treat intestinal diseases.  Contemporary herbalists recommend chewing the seeds for bad breath and drinking dill tea both as a digestive aid and to stimulate milk production in nursing mothers.  The herb helps relax the smooth muscles of the digestive tract.  One study shows it’s also an antifoaming agent, meaning it helps prevent the formation of intestinal gas bubbles.
Historically, injured knights were said to have placed burned dill seeds on their open wounds to speed healing.  A mixture of dill, dried honey and butter was once prescribed to treat madness.

Other Uses:
The taste of dill leaves resembles that of caraway, while the seeds are pungent and aromatic. Freshly cut, chopped leaves enhance the flavor of dips, herb butter, soups, salads, fish dishes, and salads. The seeds are used in pickling and can also improve the taste of roasts, stews and vegetables. Try grinding the seeds to use as a salt substitute. Both the flowering heads and seeds are used in flavored vinegars and oils..

Like caraway, its fernlike leaves are aromatic, and are used to flavor many foods, such as gravlax (cured salmon), borscht and other soups, and pickles (where sometimes the dill flower is used). Dill is said to be best when used fresh, as it loses its flavor rapidly if dried; however, freeze-dried dill leaves preserve their flavor relatively well for a few months.

In Vietnam, dill is the important herb in the dish cha ca.

Dill seed is used as a spice, with a flavor somewhat similar to caraway, but also resembling that of fresh or dried dill weed.

Dill oil can be extracted from the leaves, stems and seeds of the plant.

Dill seeds were traditionally used to soothe the stomach after meals

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/Dill

http://www.gardenguides.com/plants/info/herbs/dill.asp

http://www.piam.com/mms_garden/plants.html

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

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Turmeric The Miracle Spice

For more than 5,000 years, turmeric has been an important part of Eastern cultural traditions, including traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda. Valued for its medicinal properties and warm, peppery flavor, this yellow-orange spice has more recently earned a name for itself in Western medicine as well.

Turmeric comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant, which is native to Indonesia and southern India, and is widely used as an ingredient in curry dishes and yellow mustard. As research into this powerful spice has increased, it has emerged as one of nature’s most powerful potential healers.

Said Dr. David Frawely, founder and director of the American Institute for Vedic Studies in Santa Fe, New Mexico:

“If I had only one single herb to depend upon for all possible health and dietary needs, I would without much hesitation choose the Indian spice Turmeric. There is little it cannot do in the realm of healing and much that no other herb is able to accomplish.

Turmeric has a broad spectrum of actions, mild but certain effects, and is beneficial for long term and daily usage. Though it is a common spice, few people, including herbalists know of its great value and are using it to the extent possible. It is an herb that one should get to know and live with.”

Turmeric’s Beneficial Effects in a Nutshell:
*Strengthens and improves digestion
*Reduces gas and bloating
*Assists in the digestion of protein and with rice and bean dishes
*Improves your body’s ability to digest fats
*Promotes proper metabolism, correcting both excesses and deficiencies
*Maintains and improves intestinal flora
*Improves elimination of wastes and toxins

Supports healthy liver function and detox:
*Turmeric helps increase bile flow making it a liver cleanser that can rejuvenate your liver cells and recharge their *capability to break down toxins
*Helps to prevent alcohol and other toxins from being converted into compounds that may be harmful to your liver
*Supports formation of healthy tissue

Purifies your blood :
*Stimulates formation of new blood tissue
*Anti-inflammatory: Helps to reduce irritation to tissues characterized by pain, redness, swelling and heat

Contains curcuminoids that fight cancer, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s :-
*Curcuminoids are potent phytonutrients (plant-based nutrients) that contain powerful antioxidant properties

*Counteract the damaging effects of free radicals in your body

*Relieve arthritis pain and stiffness, anti-inflammatory agent

*Anti-carcinogenic: “Curcumin has been shown to prevent a large of number of cancers in animal studies. Laboratory data indicate that curcumin can inhibit tumor initiation, promotion, invasion, angiogenesis and metastasis.”

*Supports treatment of Alzheimer’s disease: “Because Alzheimer’s disease is caused in part by amyloid-induced inflammation, curcumin has been shown to be effective against Alzheimer’s. Clinical trials are in progress at UCLA with curcumin for *Alzheimer’s.”

Curcumin: Turmeric’s Active Anti-Inflammatory “Ingredient”:-
Most notably turmeric is known for its potent anti-inflammatory properties, which come from curcumin — the pigment that gives turmeric its yellow-orange color, and which is thought to be responsible for many of its medicinal effects. There are an estimated three to five grams of curcumin in 100 grams of turmeric.

Curcumin has been shown to influence more than 700 genes, and it can inhibit both the activity and the synthesis of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX2) and 5-lipooxygenase (5-LOX), as well as other enzymes that have been implicated in inflammation.

Turmeric’s Cancer-Fighting Properties:-
In India where turmeric is widely used, the prevalence of four common U.S. cancers — colon, breast, prostate and lung — is 10 times lower. In fact, prostate cancer, which is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in U.S. men, is rare in India and this is attributed, in part, to turmeric.

Numerous studies have looked into this potential cancer-fighting link, with promising results. For instance, curcumin has been found to:

*Inhibit the proliferation of tumor cells
*Inhibit the transformation of cells from normal to tumor
*Help your body destroy mutated cancer cells so they cannot spread throughout your body
*Decrease inflammation
*Enhance liver function
*Inhibit the synthesis of a protein thought to be instrumental in tumor formation
*Prevent the development of additional blood supply necessary for cancer cell growth

As for the results of research studies, a study in Biochemical Pharmacology found that curcumin can slow the spread of breast cancer cells to the lungs in mice.

*Curcumin acts against transcription factors, which are like a master switch,” said lead researcher, Bharat Aggarwal.

*Transcription factors regulate all the genes needed for tumors to form. When we turn them off, we shut down some genes that are involved in the growth and invasion of cancer cells.”

A second study in Biochemical Pharmacology also found that curcumin inhibits the activation of NF-kappaB, a regulatory molecule that signals genes to produce a slew of inflammatory molecules (including TNF, COX-2 and IL-6) that promote cancer cell growth.

Turmeric’s Essential Role for Your Liver:-
Your liver’s primary role is to process and remove toxins carried in your bloodstream. When functioning at its peak, it can filter up to two liters of blood per minute and easily break apart toxic molecules to reduce their toxicity. Your liver is also a crucial part of vitamin, mineral, protein, fat, carbohydrate and hormonal metabolism.

However, poor diet, allergens, pollution and stress can cause your liver to become sluggish, and this can impair its vital functions. This is where turmeric can be a very useful part of your liver support system. Studies have shown that it:

*May increase important detoxification enzymes in your liver
*Induces the formation of a primary liver detoxification enzyme, glutathione S-transferase (GST) enzymes

Turmeric is also a natural cholagogue, a medicinal agent that promotes the discharge of bile from your system. Increased bile flow is important to help your liver detoxify and to help your body digest fats.

Click to learn more about Turmeric from Dr. Mercola’s article

You may click to see:->

Turmeric slows melanoma growth in lab study
Turmeric slows breast cancer spread in mice
Turmeric could help treat cystic fibrosis

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Lung Transplantation

Enlarged view of lung tissue showing the diffe...
Image via Wikipedia

Introduction:
Lung transplantation is a surgical procedure in which a patient’s diseased lungs are partially or totally replaced by lungs which come from a donor. While lung transplants carry certain associated risks, they can also extend life expectancy and enhance the quality of life for end-stage pulmonary patients.

It is a life-preserving therapeutic intervention for a variety of end-stage pulmonary diseases that has been used successfully for the past 20 years. Since the early 1990s, more than 6400 lung transplants have been performed, and lung transplant programs exist in many countries.

The agency for health care policy and research in the United States has concluded that “lung transplantation has evolved as a clinical procedure achieving a favorable risk-benefit ratio and acceptable 1- and 2-year survival rates.”
.Qualifying conditions;-
Lung transplantation is the therapeutic measure of last resort for patients with end-stage lung disease who have exhausted all other available treatments without improvement. A variety of conditions may make such surgery necessary. As of 2005, the most common reasons for lung transplantation in the United States were:

*27% chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD, including emphysema;

*16% idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis;

*14% cystic fibrosis;

*12% idiopathic (formerly known as “primary”) pulmonary hypertension;

* 5% alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency;

*2% replacing previously transplanted lungs that have since failed;

*24% other causes, including bronchiectasis and sarcoidosis.

Contraindications:-
Despite the severity of a patient’s respiratory condition, certain preexisting conditions may make a person a poor candidate for lung transplantation. These conditions include:

*concurrent chronic illness (e.g. congestive heart failure, kidney disease, liver disease);

*current infections, including HIV and hepatitis;

*current or recent cancer;

*current use of alcohol, tobacco, or illegal drugs;

*age;

*psychiatric conditions;

*history of noncompliance with medical instructions.

History:-
The history of organ transplants began with several attempts that were unsuccessful due to transplant rejection. Animal experimentation by various pioneers, including Vladimir Demikhov and Dominique Metras, during the 1940s and 1950s, first demonstrated that the procedure was technically feasible. James Hardy of the University of Mississippi performed the first human lung transplant in 1963.  Following a left lung transplantation, the patient survived for 18 days. From 1963-1978, multiple attempts at lung transplantation failed because of rejection and problems with anastomotic bronchial healing. It was only after the invention of the heart-lung machine, coupled with the development of immunosuppressive drugs such as cyclosporine, that organs such as the lungs could be transplanted with a reasonable chance of patient recovery.

The first successful transplant surgery involving the lungs was a heart-lung transplant, performed by Dr. Bruce Reitz of Stanford University on a woman who had idiopathic pulmonary hypertension.

*1983: First successful single lung transplant (Tom Hall) by Joel Cooper (Toronto)

*1986: First successful double lung transplant (Ann Harrison) by Joel Cooper (Toronto)

*1988: First successful double lung transplant for cystic fibrosis by Joel Cooper (Toronto)

Transplant requirements:-

Requirements for potential donors:-
There are certain requirements for potential lung donors, due to the needs of the potential recipient. In the case of living donors, this is also in consideration of how the surgery will affect the donor.

*healthy;
*size match; the donated lung or lungs must be large enough to adequately oxygenate the patient, but small enough to fit within the recipient’s chest cavity;
*age;
*blood type.

Requirements for potential recipients:-
While each transplant center is free to set its own criteria for transplant candidates, certain requirements are generally agreed upon:

*end-stage lung disease;

*has exhausted other available therapies without success;

*no other chronic medical conditions (e.g. heart, kidney, liver);

*no current infections or recent cancer. There are certain cases where preexisting infection is unavoidable, as with many patients with cystic fibrosis. In such cases, transplant centers, at their own discretion, may accept or reject patients with current infections of B. cepacia or MRSA.

*no HIV or hepatitis;

*no alcohol, smoking, or drug abuse;

*within an acceptable weight range (marked undernourishment or obesity are both associated
*with increased mortality);

*age (single vs. double tx);

*acceptable psychological profile;

*has social support system;

*financially able to pay for expenses;

*able to comply with post-transplant regimen. A lung transplant is a major operation, and following the transplant, the patient must be willing to adhere to a lifetime regimen of medications as well as continuing medical care.

Medical tests for potential transplant candidates:-
Patients who are being considered for placement on the organ transplant list must undergo an extensive series of medical tests in order to evaluate their overall health status and suitability for transplant surgery.

*blood typing; the blood type of the recipient must match that of the donor due to certain antigens that are present on donated lungs. A mismatch of blood type can lead to a strong response by the immune system and subsequent rejection of the transplanted organs;

*tissue typing; ideally, the lung tissue would also match as closely as possible between the donor and the recipient, but the desire to find a highly compatible donor organ must be balanced against the patient’s immediacy of need;

*Chest X-ray – PA & LAT, to verify the size of the lungs and the chest cavity;

*pulmonary function tests;

*CT Scan (High Resolution Thoracic & Abdominal);

*Bone mineral density scan;

*MUGA (Gated cardiac blood pool scan);

*Cardiac stress test (Dobutamine/Thallium scan);

*ventilation/perfusion (V/Q) scan;

*electrocardiogram;

*cardiac catheterization;

*echocardiogram.

Lung allocation score:-
Click to see:-> lung allocation score
Prior to 2005, donor lungs within the United States were allocated by the United Network for Organ Sharing on a first-come, first-serve basis to patients on the transplant list. This was replaced by the current system, in which prospective lung recipients of age of 12 and older are assigned a lung allocation score or LAS, which takes into account various measures of the patient’s health. The new system allocates donated lungs according to the immediacy of need rather than how long a patient has been on the transplant list. Patients who are under the age of 12 are still given priority based on how long they have been on the transplant waitlist. The length of time spent on the list is also the deciding factor when multiple patients have the same lung allocation score.

Patients who are accepted as good potential transplant candidates must carry a pager with them at all times in case a donor organ becomes available. These patients must also be prepared to move to their chosen transplant center at a moment’s notice. Such patients may be encouraged to limit their travel within a certain geographical region in order to facilitate rapid transport to a transplant center.

Types of lung transplant:-

Lobe
A lobe transplant is a surgery in which part of a living donor’s lung is removed and used to replace part of recipient’s diseased lung. This procedure usually involves the donation of lobes from two different people, thus replacing a single lung in the recipient. Donors who have been properly screened should be able to maintain a normal quality of life despite the reduction in lung volume.

Single-lung
Many patients can be helped by the transplantation of a single healthy lung. The donated lung typically comes from a donor who has been pronounced brain-dead.

Double-lung
Certain patients may require both lungs to be replaced. This is especially the case for people with cystic fibrosis, due to the bacterial colonisation commonly found within such patients’ lungs; if only one lung were transplanted, bacteria in the native lung could potentially infect the newly transplanted organ.

Heart-lung
Click to see:->Heart-lung transplant
Some respiratory patients may also have severe cardiac disease which in of itself would necessitate a heart transplant. These patients can be treated by a surgery in which both lungs and the heart are replaced by organs from a donor or donors.

A particularly involved example of this has been termed a “domino transplant” in the media. First performed in 1987, this type of transplant typically involves the transplantation of a heart and lungs into recipient A, whose own healthy heart is removed and transplanted into recipient B.

Procedure:-
While the precise details of surgery will depend on the exact type of transplant, there are many steps which are common to all of these procedures. Prior to operating on the recipient, the transplant surgeon inspects the donor lung(s) for signs of damage or disease. If the lung or lungs are approved, then the recipient is connected to an IV line and various monitoring equipment, including pulse oximetry. The patient will be given general anesthesia, and a machine will breathe for him or her.

It takes about one hour for the pre-operative preparation of the patient. A single lung transplant takes about four to eight hours, while a double lung transplant takes about six to twelve hours to complete. A history of prior chest surgery may complicate the procedure and require additional time.

Lobe:
Single-lung
In single-lung transplants, the lung with the worse pulmonary function is chosen for replacement. If both lungs function equally, then the right lung is usually favored for removal because it avoids having to maneuver around the heart, as would be required for excision of the left lung.

In a single-lung transplant the process starts out after the donor lung has been inspected and the decision to accept the donor lung for the patient has been made. An incision is generally made from under the shoulder blade around the chest, ending near the sternum. An alternate method involves an incision under the breastbone. In the case of a singular lung transplant the lung is collapsed, the blood vessels in the lung tied off, and the lung removed at the bronchial tube. The donor lung is placed, the blood vessels reattached, and the lung reinflated. To make sure the lung is satisfactory and to clear any remaining blood and mucus in the new lung a bronchoscopy will be performed. When the surgeons are satisfied with the performance of the lung the chest incision will be closed.

Double-lung
A double-lung transplant, also known as a bilateral transplant, can be executed either sequentially, en bloc, or simultaneously. Sequential is more common than en bloc.[2] This is effectively like having two separate single-lung transplants done. A less common alternative is the transplantation of both lungs en bloc or simultaneously.

….
Incision scarring from a double lung transplant.

.The transplantation process starts after the donor lungs are inspected and the decision to transplant has been made. An incision is then made from under the patient’s armpit, around to the sternum, and then back towards the other armpit, this is known as a clamshell incision. In the case of a sequential transplant the recipients lung with the poorest lung functions is collapsed, the blood vessels tied off, and cut at the corresponding bronchi. The new lung is then placed and the blood vessels reattached. To make sure the lung is satisfactory before transplanting the other a bronchoscopy is performed. When the surgeons are satisfied with the performance of the new lung, surgery on the second lung will proceed. In 10% to 20% of double-lung transplants the patient is hooked up to a heart-lung machine which pumps blood for the body and supplies fresh oxygen.

Post-operative care:-
Immediately following the surgery, the patient is placed in an intensive care unit for monitoring, normally for a period of a few days. The patient is put on a ventilator to assist breathing. Nutritional needs are generally met via total parenteral nutrition, although in some cases a nasogastric tube is sufficient for feeding. Chest tubes are put in so that excess fluids may be removed. Because the patient is confined to bed, a urinary catheter is used. IV lines are used in the neck and arm for monitoring and giving medications. After a few days, barring any complications, the patient may be transferred to a general inpatient ward for further recovery. The average hospital stay following a lung transplant is generally one to three weeks, though complications may require a longer period of time.

There may be a number of side effects following the surgery. Because certain nerve connections to the lungs are cut during the procedure, transplant recipients cannot feel the urge to cough or feel when their new lungs are becoming congested. They must therefore make conscious efforts to take deep breaths and cough in order to clear secretions from the lungs. Their heart rate responds less quickly to exertion due to the cutting of the vagus nerve that would normally help regulate it. They may also notice a change in their voice due to potential damage to the nerves that coordinate the vocal cords.

Risks Factors:-
As with any surgical procedure, there are risks of bleeding and infection. The newly transplanted lung itself may fail to properly heal and function. Because a large portion of the patient’s body has been exposed to the outside air, sepsis is a possibility, so antibiotics will be given to try to prevent that.

Transplant rejection is a primary concern, both immediately after the surgery and continuing throughout the patient’s life. Because the transplanted lung or lungs come from another person, the recipient’s immune system will “see” it as an invader and attempt to neutralize it. Transplant rejection is a serious condition and must be treated as soon as possible.

Signs of rejection:

*fever;

*flu-like symptoms, including chills, dizziness, nausea, general feeling of illness;

*increased difficulty in breathing;

*worsening pulmonary test results;

*increased chest pain or tenderness.

In order to prevent transplant rejection and subsequent damage to the new lung or lungs, patients must take a regimen of immunosuppressive drugs. Patients will normally have to take a combination of these medicines in order to combat the risk of rejection. This is a lifelong commitment, and must be strictly adhered to. The immunosuppressive regimen is begun just before or after surgery. Usually the regimen includes cyclosporine, azathioprine and corticosteroids, but as episodes of rejection may reoccur throughout a patient’s life, the exact choices and dosages of immunosuppressants may have to be modified over time. Sometimes tacrolimus is given instead of cyclosporine and mycophenolate mofetil instead of azathioprine.

The immunosuppressants that are needed to prevent organ rejection also introduce some risks. By lowering the body’s ability to mount an immune reaction, these medicines also increase the chances of infection. Antibiotics may be prescribed in order to treat or prevent such infections. Certain medications may also have nephrotoxic or other potentially harmful side-effects. Other medications may also be prescribed in order to help alleviate these side effects. There is also the risk that a patient may have an allergic reaction to the medications. Close follow-up care is required in order to balance the benefits of these drugs versus their potential risks.

Chronic rejection, meaning repeated bouts of rejection symptoms beyond the first year after the transplant surgery, occurs in approximately 50% of patients. Such chronic rejection presents itself as bronchiolitis obliterans, or less frequently, atherosclerosis.

Prognosis:-
These statistics are based on data from 2006. The source data made no distinction between living and deceased donor organs, nor was any distinction made between lobar, single, and double lung transplants.

Lung transplant-1 year survival- 84.9%, 5 years survival- 51.6%,10 years survival – 25.6%

Heart-lung transplant-1 year survival 77.8%,5 years survival- 43.6%,10 years survival -27.3%

Transplanted lungs typically last three to five years before showing signs of failure.

Living donor tranplantation:-
Living lobar lung transplantation was developed as a procedure for adult and pediatric patients considered too ill to await cadaveric transplantation. Despite fairly extensive experience, no donor mortality has been reported, and morbidity has been relatively low. Compared to bilateral cadaveric lung transplants, long-term studies have shown that the relatively smaller-sized lobes can provide similar pulmonary function and exercise capacity. Living lobar lung transplantation should be considered in a patient with a clinically deteriorating condition. Although no deaths have been reported in the donor cohort, a risk of death between 0.5% and 1% should be quoted, pending further data. A case series of 128 living lobar lung transplantations performed in 123 patients between 1993 and 2003 was published. The actuarial survival among the living lobar recipients was 70%, 54%, and 45%, at 1, 3, and 5 years, respectively.

Resources:

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

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/429499-followup

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Long Pepper

Dried long pepper catkins
Image via Wikipedia

Botanical Name:Piper longum
Family: Piperaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Piperales
Genus: Piper
Species: P. longum
Common Name:Javanese Long Pepper, Indian Long Pepper, Indonesian Long Pepper.pippali(in Sanskrit)
Synonyms:click to see:
Parts used: The tiny berries, which merge to a single, rod-like structure which bears some resemblance to catkins (flowers of trees like hazelnut or willow).(fruits and roots are used in Ayurveda))
Habitat:The species Piper longum is of South Asian origin (Deccan peninsular), whereas the closely related Piper retrofractum comes from South East Asia and is mostly cultivated in Indonesia and Thailand. Both species are often not clearly distinguished in the spice trade.

Description:The creeper that spreads on the ground or may take support of other trees. Leaves are 2 to 3 inch long.The older leaves are dentate, dark in color and heart shaped. The younger ones is ovate in shape and contains 5 veins on them. Flowers are monoceous and male and female flowers are borne on different plants. Male flowers stalk is about 1 to 3 inch long and female flowers stalk is 1/2 inch to 1 inch long. Fruit is long. When it ripes it attains red color and when it dries it attains black color. It is 1 inch in diameter. The plant flowers in rains and fruits in every winter.

....

Acording to Ayurveda it has 4 varities:-
1. Pippali
2. Gaja pippali
3. Saheli
4. Vanapippli

Pepper, Indian Long Pepper or Indonesian Long Pepper, is a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae, cultivated for its fruit, which is usually dried and used as a spice and seasoning. Long pepper is a close relative of the black pepper plant, and has a similar, though generally hotter, taste. The word pepper itself is derived from the Sanskrit word for long pepper, pippali.

The fruit of the pepper consists of many minuscule fruits — each about the size of a poppy seed — embedded in the surface of a flower spike; it closely resembles a hazel tree catkin. The fruits contain the alkaloid piperine, which contributes to their pungency. Another species of long pepper, Piper retrofractum, is native to Java, Indonesia.

Prior to the European discovery of the New World, long pepper was an important and well-known spice. The ancient history of black pepper is often interlinked with (and confused with) that of long pepper. The Romans knew of both and often referred to either as just piper; many ancient botanists erroneously believed dried black pepper and long pepper came from the same plant. Only after the discovery of the New World and of chile peppers did the popularity of long pepper decline. Chile peppers, some of which, when dried, are similar in shape and taste to long pepper, were easier to grow in a variety of locations more convenient to Europe.

Main constituents
In P. retrofractum, piperine, piperlonguminine, sylvatine, guineensine, piperlongumine, filfiline, sitosterol, methyl piperate and a series of piperine-analog retrofractamides are reported. (Phytochemistry, 24, 279, 1985)

The content of piperine (about 6%) is slightly higher than in black pepper.
Long pepper plant (P. retrofractum) kanchanapisek.or.th       © Thai Junior Encyclopedia

On the other hand, long pepper contains less essential oil than its relatives (about 1%), which consists of sesquiterpene hydrocarbons and ethers (bisabolene, ?-caryophyllene, ?-caryophyllene oxide, each 10 to 20%; ?-zingiberene, 5%), and, surprisingly, saturated aliphatic hydrocarbons: 18% pentadecane, 7% tridecane, 6% heptadecane.

Uses
Today, long pepper is an extremely rare ingredient in European cuisines, but it can still be found in Indian vegetable pickles, some North African spice mixtures, and in Indonesian and Malaysian cooking. It is readily available at Indian grocery stores, where it is usually labeled pipalli.Long pepper, also sometimes called Indian long pepper or piper longum, is a spice used in traditional Indian cooking.1

Although not used as much in modern cooking, long pepper was once used as a measure of currency and was often listed as a ransom.

Medicinal uses :

Pharmacology:
It is pitta suppressant vata and kapha aggravator. It has a strong erge to suppress any kind of infection occurring in the body due to its pungent taste. It helps in en espelling out the mucus that gets accumulated in the respiratory tract and also strengthens the nervous system. It is good digestive agent and help improving the gastrointestinal condition and also normalizes the peristaltic movements. It has a great effect on respiratory tract.

According to Ayurveda it aontains:
*Gunna(properities)-tikshan(sharp), snigdh (slimy) and laghu light
*Rasa (taste)- katu (pungent)
*Virya (potency)-moderate

Coughs, bronchitis, asthma and pain reliever for muscle pain. The flavor is similar to, but hotter, than black pepper.1 Still used in combination with other herbs in Ayurvedic medicine.

Besides fruits the roots and thicker part of the stem is cut and dried to use in various medicinal purpose in Ayurveda and Unani.

Resources:

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

http://www.uni-graz.at/~katzer/engl/Pipe_lon.html

http://organizedwisdom.com/Long_Pepper

http://www.indianetzone.com/1/long_pepper.htm

http://www.ayushveda.com/herbs/piper-longum.htm

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FDA Approves Two New Stevia-Based Sweeteners

The FDA approved two versions of a new zero-calorie sweetener developed by the Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo.

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Cargill, which is marketing the sweetener Truvia from Coca-Cola, received notification from the FDA that it had no objection to the product, calling it “generally recognized as safe.”

PepsiCo said it also had received a similar letter and the same “generally recognized as safe” designation for its sweetener, PureVia.

Both products use rebiana, an extract from the stevia plant.

Sources: New York Times December 17, 2008

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