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Lactuca sativa

Botanical Name: Lactuca sativa
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Lactuca
Species: L. sativa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms:
* Lactuca scariola var. sativa (Moris)
*L. scariola var. integrata (Gren. and Godr.)
*L. scariola var. integrifolia (G.Beck)

Common Names: Lettuce, Garden lettuce

Habitat: Lactuca sativa is native to mediterranean Regions to Siberia. It grows well in cultivated bed.
Description:
Lactuca sativa is a annual/perennial herb growing to 0.9 m (3ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in). Lettuce types include romaine, butter head, iceberg, and loose leaf. All are at their best if grown quickly.

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It is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to August. Flowers are not showy and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Flies, self.The plant is self-fertile.

Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.
Cultivation:
Prefers a light sandy loam. Succeeds in most well-drained, humus-rich soils but dislikes acid conditions. Plants strongly dislike dry conditions, quickly running to seed in such a situation. Early and late sowings are best in a sunny position, but summer crops are best given a position with some shade in order to slow down the plants tendency to go to seed and to prevent the leaves becoming bitter. The garden lettuce is widely cultivated in many parts of the world for its edible leaves and is probably the most commonly grown salad plant. There are many named varieties capable of providing fresh leaves throughout the year if winter protection is given in temperate areas. Over the centuries a number of more or less distinct forms have arisen in cultivation. These forms have been classified as follows. They are treated separately in more detail:- L. sativa angustana. L.H.Bailey. is the Celtuce. The leaves of this form are not of such good quality as the other lettuces and the plant is grown more for its thick central stem which is used in the same ways as celery. L. sativa capitata. L. is the heading lettuce, it forms a heart in a similar way to cabbages. Examples of this include the Iceberg and Butterhead lettuces. L. sativa crispa. L. is the curled or leaf lettuce. This does not form a central heart but produces a loose rosette of basal leaves. It can be harvested on a cut and come again basis. L. sativa longifolia Lam. is the cos lettuce. This has longer, thinner leaves and a more erect habit, it does not form a compact heart. Lettuces are quite a problematic crop to grow. They require quite a lot of attention to protect them from pests such as slugs, aphids and birds. If the weather is hot and dry the plants tend to run very quickly to seed, developing a bitter flavour as they do so. In wet weather they are likely to develop fungal diseases. In addition, the seed needs to be sown at regular intervals of 2- 3 weeks during the growing season in order to provide a regular supply of leaves. Lettuces make a good companion plant for strawberries, carrots, radishes and onions. They also grow well with cucumbers, cabbages and beetroot.

Propagation:
Seed – sow a small quantity of seed in situ every 2 or 3 weeks from March (with protection in cooler areas) to June and make another sowing in August/September for a winter/spring crop. Only just cover the seed. Germination is usually rapid and good, thin the plants if necessary, these thinnings can be transplanted to produce a slightly later crop (but they will need to be well watered in dry weather). More certain winter crops can be obtained by sowing in a frame in September/October and again in January/February.
Edible Uses:
Leaves – raw or cooked. A mild slightly sweet flavour with a crisp texture, lettuce is a very commonly used salad leaf and can also be cooked as a potherb or be added to soups etc. A nutritional analysis is available. Seed – sprouted and used in salads or sandwiches. An edible oil is obtained from the seed. The seed is very small, extraction of the oil on any scale would not be very feasible.

Constituents:

Leaves (Fresh) :-

*0 Calories per 100g
*Water : 92.9%
*Protein: 2.1g; Fat: 0g; Carbohydrate: 3g; Fibre: 0.5g; Ash: 1.2g;
*Minerals – Calcium: 26mg; Phosphorus: 30mg; Iron: 0.7mg; Magnesium: 10mg; Sodium: 3mg; Potassium: 208mg; Zinc: 0mg;
*Vitamins – A: 2200mg; Thiamine (B1): 0mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0mg; Niacin: 0.4mg; B6: 0mg; C: 15mg;
Medicinal Uses:
The whole plant is rich in a milky sap that flows freely from any wounds. This hardens and dries when in contact with the air[4]. The sap contains ‘lactucarium’, which is used in medicine for its anodyne, antispasmodic, digestive, diuretic, hypnotic, narcotic and sedative properties. Lactucarium has the effects of a feeble opium, but without its tendency to cause digestive upsets, nor is it addictive. It is taken internally in the treatment of insomnia, anxiety, neuroses, hyperactivity in children, dry coughs, whooping cough, rheumatic pain etc[238]. Concentrations of lactucarium are low in young plants and most concentrated when the plant comes into flower. It is collected commercially by cutting the heads of the plants and scraping the juice into china vessels several times a day until the plant is exhausted. The cultivated lettuce does not contain as much lactucarium as the wild species, most being produced when the plant is in flower. An infusion of the fresh or dried flowering plant can also be used[9]. The plant should be used with caution, and never without the supervision of a skilled practitioner. Even normal doses can cause drowsiness whilst excess causes restlessness and overdoses can cause death through cardiac paralysis. Some physicians believe that any effects of this medicine are caused by the mind of the patient rather than by the medicine. The sap has also been applied externally in the treatment of warts. The seed is anodyne and galactogogue. Lettuce has acquired a folk reputation as an anaphrodisiac, anodyne, carminative, diuretic, emollient, febrifuge, hypoglycaemic, hypnotic, narcotic, parasiticide and sedative.

Other Uses : The sap of flowering plants that is used as parasiticide. The seed is said to be used to make hair grow on scar tissue.

Known Hazards: The mature plant is known to be mildly toxic.
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/Lettuce
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Lactuca+sativa
http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=a679

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Rhus sempervirens

Botanical Name:Rhus sempervirens
Family:Anacardiaceae
Genus:Sumaker
Division: vascular plants
Class: Dicotyledonous angiosperms
Order:Sapindales

Synonyms: Toxicodendron sempervirens Kuntze, Schmaltzia pachyrrhachis ( Hemsl. ) FA
Habitat :Rhus sempervirens is native to Southern N. America – Texas, New Mexico and Mexico. It grows on dry slopes, rocky hillsides and cliffs, 600 – 2250 metres.
Description:
Rhus sempervirens is an evergreen Shrub growing to 3.5 m (11ft 6in). It is frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan. It is in flower from Jul to August, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by Bees.The plant is not self-fertile.
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Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Cultivation:
We have very little information on the hardiness of this species and do not know if it will succeed outdoors in Britain. It is unlikely to succeed anywhere outside the mildest areas of the country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Succeeds in a well-drained fertile soil in full sun. The young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. Plants have brittle branches and these can be broken off in strong winds. Plants are also susceptible to coral spot fungus. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. Many of the species in this genus are highly toxic and can also cause severe irritation to the skin of some people, whilst other species such as this one are not poisonous. It is relatively simple to distinguish which is which, the poisonous species have axillary panicles and smooth fruits whilst non-poisonous species have compound terminal panicles and fruits covered with acid crimson hairs. The toxic species are sometimes separated into their own genus, Toxicodendron, by some botanists. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Propagation :
Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in hot water (starting at a temperature of 80 – 90c and allowing it to cool) prior to sowing in order to leach out any germination inhibitors[200]. This soak water can be drunk and has a delicious lemon-flavour. The stored seed also needs hot water treatment and can be sown in early spring in a cold frame[200]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame[200]. Root cuttings 4cm long taken in December and potted up vertically in a greenhouse. Good percentage[78, 200]. Suckers in late autumn to winter

Edible Uses:

Fruit – raw or cooked. The fruit is small with very little flesh, but it is produced in fairly large panicles and so is easily harvested. When soaked for 10 – 30 minutes in hot or cold water it makes a very refreshing lemonade-like drink (without any fizz of course). The mixture should not be boiled since this will release tannic acids and make the drink astringent.
Medicinal Uses:
The leaves are used in domestic medicine for relieving asthma. Some caution is advised in the use of the leaves and stems of this plant, see the notes below on toxicity.

Other Uses:
Dye; Mordant; Oil.
An oil is extracted from the seeds. It attains a tallow-like consistency on standing and is used to make candles. These burn brilliantly, though they emit a pungent smoke. The leaves are rich in tannin. They can be collected as they fall in the autumn and used as a brown dye or as a mordant.

Known Hazards:There are some suggestions that the sap of this species can cause a skin rash in susceptible people, but this has not been substantiated. See also notes in ‘Cultivation Details’.
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://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rhus+sempervirens
https://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhus_virens

Folic Acid for Women Between 16 to 45

Women between 16 and 45 should take folic acid even if they don’t plan to become pregnant, say experts..

A pregnant woman takes folic acid. Now a spina bifida charity says ALL women of child bearing age should take the supplement just in case

All women of child-bearing age are being advised to take extra folic acid after a rise in spina bifida cases, a national charity said today.

The Scottish Spina Bifida Association (SSBA) issued the warning after it was revealed the number of new babies suffering from the disease born this year had doubled.

Research already suggests that folic acid supplements help prevent the condition. Women planning a pregnancy are recommended to take folic acid for three months prior to conception and during the first few months of pregnancy.

However the charity is warning that  unplanned pregnancies can mean the vitamin is taken too late.
‘Any sexually active woman of child bearing age should start taking folic acid now,’ a spokesman said.

Spina bifida causes vertebrae in the backbone to form incorrectly, often leading to paralysis from the waist down and other damage to the nervous system.

SSBA chairman Dr Margo Whiteford told the BBC: ‘This year we’ve had as many contacts from families in the first half of the year – a total of 15 – as we’d expect to see for the full year.

‘We don’t know if this is down to folic acid but we do know that most women don’t take enough folic acid at the right time.

‘Ladies do know about folic acid preventing spina bifida but they wait until they’ve missed a period before they start taking it.

‘The spinal cord develops within the first four weeks of pregnancy so by that stage it’s too late – if the baby’s going to have spina bifida it will already have developed it.’

It is not known whether there has been a similar rise in spina bifida cases in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Food Standards Agency currently recommends pregnant women take a daily 400 micrograms folic acid supplement until the 12th week of pregnancy.

This is as well as eating foods containing the natural form of folic acid such as green vegetables, brown rice, and breakfast cereals.

Currently, it is not mandatory in the UK to add the vitamin to food, although experts are assessing the evidence to make a decision.

Food that contain folate in high doses include leafy green vegetables, oranges, orange juice, dried beans and legumes. If  a food contains the sign ‘enriched’, it is likely it contains folic acid. In the US, grains such as flour, rice, pasta, cereals and bread are enriched with folic acid.

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You may click to learn more :->Women Needs 400 Micrograms of Folic Acid Every Day

Learn More About Folic Acid

Scottish Spina Bifida Association

Source: Mail Online. Sept.2 ,2009

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Abortion Leads to Next Premature Delivery

Women who have an abortion could be risking the health of their next baby, it  emerged last night. Those who terminate a pregnancy are subsequently more likely to give birth prematurely, with two or more abortions more than doubling the odds.
……….pregnant woman
Premature babies are at greater risk of health problems, with one in ten having lung disease, cerebral palsy, blindness or deafness.

Fertility doctors said the study did not prove abortion caused premature births because some of the reasons why women choose to terminate a pregnancy  –  such as unemployment or money worries  –  are also linked to early birth.

But other experts said the evidence was ‘compelling’ and insisted women seeking abortions should be warned of the risk. The data, revealed at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology conference in Amsterdam, comes as abortion rates hit record levels.

More than 200,000 women a year in England and Wales choose to terminate pregnancies  –  second only to the U.S. in the West.

The link between abortion and premature birth emerged during a review of dozens studies on pregnancy complications. Combining the results revealed that having one abortion raised the risk of the woman having her next baby prematurely, which is defined as before 37  weeks, by 20 per cent.


The risk of a very premature baby before 34 weeks rose by 50 per cent.

Women who had two or more abortions were almost twice as likely to have a premature baby and two and a half times as likely to have one very prematurely.

Dr Robbert van Oppenraaij, of Erasmus University in Rotterdam, said it was not clear what caused the link, suggesting that abortion may harm the womb or create infection.

Smoking, drug use, unemployment and low income are also associated with abortion and premature birth. However, others said it made ‘total sense’. Josephine Quintavalle, of the campaign group Comment On Reproductive Ethics, said: ‘There’s a logic. The body is protecting a healthy baby. By producing a abortion, you destroy that protection and make the cervix  –  the neck of the womb  –  more vulnerable.

‘And if you make the cervix more vulnerable, you are more at risk of a premature baby. ‘You don’t need a degree in biology to understand that.’

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service, which carries out almost a third of abortions in Britain, said leaflets it gives patients mention the link to premature birth.

Medical director Dr Patricia Lohr said: ‘Abortion is extremely safe. When we counsel women, we provide them with information about the potential for a slightly higher risk of miscarriage or early birth.’
TERMINATIONS FOR GIRLS OF
Scores of girls as young as 12 have abortions every year, Government figures show.

More than 450 under the age of 14 terminated pregnancies between 2005 and 2008, including 23 aged 12, Department of Health statistics reveal.

In the same period, 52 had at least their fourth termination before they were 18. Across all age groups, 64,715 repeat abortions were carried out last year, the most on record.

The figure included 46 women who had terminated at least eight pregnancies.

Research this year found that abortions on teenagers who have already had at least one termination had risen by almost 70 per cent since 1991.

Sources:
MailOnline 29th. June.’09

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Endometrial Biopsy

Introduction:An endometrial biopsy is a way for your doctor to take a small sample of the lining of the uterus (endometrium). The sample is looked at under a microscope for abnormal cells. An endometrial biopsy helps your doctor find any problems in the endometrium. It also lets your doctor check to see if your body’s hormone levels that affect the endometrium are in balance.

Doctors take biopsies of areas that look abnormal and use them to detect cancer, precancerous cells, infections, and other conditions. For some biopsies, the doctor inserts a needle into the skin and draws out a sample; in other cases, tissue is removed during a surgical procedure.

The lining of the uterus changes throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle. Early in the menstrual cycle, the lining grows thicker until a mature egg is released from an ovary (ovulation). If the egg is not fertilized by a sperm, the lining is shed during normal menstrual bleeding.

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There are several ways to do an endometrial biopsy. Your doctor may use:

*A soft, straw-like device (pipelle) to suction a small sample of lining from the uterus. This method is fast and is not very painful.

*A sharp-edged tool called a curette. Your doctor will scrape a small sample and collect it with a syringe or suction. This is called a dilation and curettage (D&C). A D&C may be done to control heavy uterine bleeding (hemorrhage) or to help find the cause of bleeding. This is done with general or regional anesthesia.

*An electronic suction device (Vabra aspiration). This method can be uncomfortable.

*A spray of liquid (jet irrigation) to wash off some of the tissue that lines the uterus. A brush may be used to remove some of the lining before the washing is done.

When a woman is having a hard time becoming pregnant, an endometrial biopsy may be done to see whether the lining of her uterus can support a pregnancy.

An endometrial biopsy may also be done to find the cause of abnormal uterine bleeding, to check for overgrowth of the lining (endometrial hyperplasia), or to check for cancer.

An endometrial biopsy is sometimes done at the same time as another test, called hysteroscopy, which allows your doctor to look through a small lighted tube at the lining of the uterus.

Why It Is Done
An endometrial biopsy is done to:

*Check for cancer. For example, an endometrial biopsy may be done to help determine the cause of some abnormal Pap test results.
*Find the cause of heavy, prolonged, or irregular uterine bleeding. It is often done to find the cause of uterine bleeding in women who have gone through menopause.

*See whether the lining of the uterus (endometrium) is going through the normal menstrual cycle changes.

How To Prepare
Tell your doctor if you:

*Are or might be pregnant. An endometrial biopsy is not done during pregnancy.

*Are taking any medicines.

*Are allergic to any medicines.

*Have had bleeding problems or take blood-thinners, such as aspirin or warfarin (Coumadin).

*Have been treated for a vaginal, cervical, or pelvic infection.

*Have any heart or lung problems.
Do not douche, use tampons, or use vaginal medicines for 24 hours before the biopsy. You will empty your bladder just before your biopsy.

If you are not bleeding heavily, you might want to take an NSAID medicine such as ibuprofen one to two hours before the test, to reduce the possibility of uterine cramps during the procedure. Ask your physician for a recommendation ahead of time.

You will need to sign a consent form that says you understand the risks of an endometrial biopsy and agree to have the test done. Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results may mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the medical test information form (What is a PDF document?) .

If you are having a dilation and curettage (D&C) and will go to sleep (general anesthesia) for the test, do not eat or drink anything for 8 hours before the test. If you are taking any medicines, ask your doctor what medicines you can take the day of the test.

How It Is Done
An endometrial biopsy is usually done by a gynecologist, a family medicine physician, or a nurse practitioner who has been trained to do the test. The sample will be looked at by a pathologist. The biopsy can be done in your doctor’s office.

Your cervix may be numbed with a spray or injection of local anesthetic.

You will need to take off your clothes below the waist. You will be given a covering to drape around your waist. You will then lie on your back on an examination table with your feet raised and supported by foot rests (stirrups).

Your doctor will put an instrument with smooth, curved blades (speculum) into your vagina. The speculum gently spreads apart the vaginal walls so your doctor can see inside the vagina and the cervix. See a picture of a pelvic examination with a speculum. The cervix is washed with a special solution and may be grasped and held in place with a clamp called a tenaculum.

The tool to collect the sample is guided through the cervix into the uterus. The tool may be moved up and down to collect the sample. Most women have some cramping during the biopsy.

An endometrial biopsy takes 5 to 15 minutes.

Dilation and curettage (D&C)
A D&C is usually done in a hospital or clinic. Most women do not need to stay overnight but can go home the same day.

Your doctor will put an instrument with smooth, curved blades (speculum) into your vagina. The speculum gently spreads apart the vaginal walls so your doctor can see inside the vagina and the cervix. Your cervix will be gently spread open (dilated). Depending on the reason for the D&C, your doctor may use a tool called a hysteroscope to look inside the uterus. A small spoon-shaped instrument (curette) is then guided through the cervix and into the uterus. The top layer of the lining of the uterus is carefully scraped off and removed (along with any other tissue that looks abnormal) for biopsy.

If you have general anesthesia, you will be watched by a nurse in the recovery room until you are fully awake.

You can do most of your normal activities in a few days. Do not lift anything heavy for a few days after the test. Do not douche or have sex for one week after the test.

How It Feels
If you have not had any pain medicine, you may feel a sharp cramp as the tool is guided through your cervix. You may feel more cramping when the biopsy sample is collected. Most women find that the cramping feels like a really bad menstrual cramp.

Some women feel dizzy and sick to their stomachs. This is called a vasovagal reaction. This feeling will go away after the biopsy.

An endometrial biopsy usually causes some vaginal bleeding. You can use a pad for the bleeding or spotting.

Dilation and curettage (D&C)
If general anesthesia is used during a D&C, you will be asleep and feel nothing. After the test, you will feel sleepy for a few hours. You may be tired for a few days after the test. You may also have a mild sore throat if a tube (endotracheal tube, or ET) was placed in your throat to help you breathe during the test. Using throat lozenges and gargling with warm salt water may help relieve your sore throat.

Risks Factors:
You might have pelvic cramps (sometimes intense) during the procedure and sometimes for a day or two afterward; you may also experience a small amount of vaginal bleeding. It is extremely rare to have heavy bleeding or to develop an infection that needs treatment.There is also a small risk of disturbing a very early pregnancy. To guard against this, your doctor might order a pregnancy test before performing the biopsy.

After the test:
You may feel some soreness in your vagina for a day or two. Some vaginal bleeding or discharge is normal for up to a week after a biopsy. You can use a sanitary pad for the bleeding. Do not do strenuous exercise or heavy lifting for one day after your biopsy. Do not douche. You may have to avoid sex or using tampons for several days. Ask your doctor when you can have sex or use tampons again.

Follow any instructions your doctor gave you. Call your doctor if you have:

*Heavy vaginal bleeding (more than a normal menstrual period).

*A fever.

*Belly pain.

*Bad-smelling vaginal discharge.

Results:
Time to know the results:
An endometrial biopsy is a way for your doctor to take a small sample of the lining of the uterus (endometrium). Lab results from a biopsy may take several days to get back.


Endometrial biopsy  Normal
: No abnormal cells or cancer is found. For women who have menstrual cycles, the lining of the uterus is at the right stage for the time in the menstrual cycle when the biopsy was done.

Endometrial biopsy  Abnormal:

*A noncancerous (benign) growth, called a polyp, is present.

*Overgrowth of the lining of the uterus (endometrial hyperplasia) is present.

*Cell changes that may lead to cancer are present.

For women who have menstrual cycles, the lining of the uterus is not at the right stage for the time in the menstrual cycle when the biopsy was done. More tests may be needed.

Resources:
https://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/diagnostics/endometrial-biopsy.shtml
http://women.webmd.com/endometrial-biopsy

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