Tag Archives: Acetic acid

Agrimonia eupatoria

 

Botanical Name:Agrimonia eupatoria
Family:    Rosaceae
Genus:    Agrimonia
Species:    A. eupatoria
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:    Rosales

Synonyms: Common Agrimony. Church Steeples. Cockeburr. Sticklewort. Philanthropos.
Common Name: Agrimony, Churchsteeples

.
Habitat: The plant is found abundantly throughout England, on hedge-banks and the sides of fields, in dry thickets and on all waste places. In Scotland it is much more local and does not penetrate very far northward.It grows on  fields, stone walls, waste ground and roadside verges, usually on alkaline soils, preferring sunny positions.

Description:
The common agrimony grows as a deciduous, perennial herbaceous plant and reached heights of up to 100 centimeters. Its roots are deep rhizomes, from which spring the stems. It is characterized by its typical serrated edged pinnate leaves.

The whole plant is dark green with numerous soft hairs. The soft hairs aid in the plant’s seed pods sticking to any animal or person coming in contact with the plant. The flower spikes have a spicy odor like apricots. In the Language of Flowers Agrimony means thankfulness or gratitud.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

The short-stemmed flowers appear from June to September, in long, spike-like, racemose inflorescences. The single flower has an urn-shaped curved flower cup, the upper edge has several rows of soft, curved hook-shaped bristles, 1 to 4 millimeters long. The hermaphrodite flower has fivefold radial symmetry. There are five sepals present . There are five yellow, rounded petals.   The petals and the five to 20 stamens rise above the tip of the flower cup . The two medium-sized carpels in the flower cups are sunk into, but not fused with it. The flowers with their abundant pollen supply attract hoverflies, flies and honey bees. The pollinated flowers develop fruits with burs. These attach to passing grazing animals such as cattle, sheep and deer and are spread over a large area

Agrimony has an old reputation as a popular, domestic medicinal herb, being a simple well known to all country-folk. It belongs to the Rose order of plants, and its slender spikes of yellow flowers, which are in bloom from June to early September, and the singularly beautiful form of its much-cut-into leaves, make it one of the most graceful of our smaller herbs.

Cultivation:
Easily grown in most soils, preferring a calcareous soil. Thrives in a dry lightly shaded position, though it prefers full sun. Plants usually self-sow quite freely when growing in a suitable position. The seeds are contained in burrs that can easily attach themselves to clothing or animal’s fur, thus transporting them to a new area where they can germinate and grow. The cultivar ‘Sweet scented’ is popular in France for making tea because the whole plant is sweet scented and the flowers have a spicy apricot-like fragrance.
Propagation:
Seed – can be sown in spring or autumn, either in pots in a cold frame or in situ. It usually germinates in 2 – 6 weeks at 13°c, though germination rates can be low, especially if the seed has been stored. A period of cold stratification helps but is not essential. When grown in pots, prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in late spring or early summer. Division in autumn. Very easy, the divisions can be planted straight out into their permanent positions.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Seed.
Edible Uses: Tea.

A refreshing tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves, flowers and stems. It can be drunk hot or cold. It was formerly very popular either on its own or added to China tea, having a peculiar delicacy and aroma. Seed – dried and ground into a meal. A famine food, used when all else fails. This report could refer to A. pilosa. Ledeb (q.v.).

Constituents: Contains volatile oils, flavonoids, apigenin, luteolin, quercetin, kaempferol, tiliroside, triterpene glycosides including euscapic acid and tormentic acid, phenolic acids, and 3%–21% tannins.

Medicinal Uses:
-Astringent tonic, diuretic. Agrimony has had a great reputation for curing jaundice and other liver complaints. Gerard believed in its efficacy. He says: ‘A decoction of the leaves is good for them that have naughty livers’: and he tells us also that Pliny called it a ‘herb of princely authoritie.’ Dioscorides stated that it was not only ‘a remedy for them that have bad livers,’ but also ‘for such as are bitten with serpents.’ Dr. Hill, who from 1751 to 1771 published several works on Herbal medicine, recommends ‘an infusion of 6 oz. of the crown of the root in a quart of boiling water, sweetened with honey and half a pint drank three times a day,’ as an effectual remedy for jaundice. It gives tone to the system and promotes assimilation of food.

Agrimony is also considered a very useful agent in skin eruptions and diseases of the blood, pimples, blotches, etc. A strong decoction of the root and leaves, sweetened with honey or sugar, has been taken successfully to cure scrofulous sores, being administered two or three times a day, in doses of a wineglassful, persistently for several months. The same decoction is also often employed in rural districts as an application to ulcers.

In folklore:
Agrimony has been stated to have medical and magical properties since the time of Pliny the elder. It is ruled astrologically by Cancer, according to Nicholas Culpeper. Common folklore held that it could cure musket wounds, and ward off witchcraft.

Traditional herbal medicine:
The 9th-century text Bald’s Leechbook advised the use of Agrimony as a cure for male impotence – saying it should be boiled in milk, and that it could excite a man who was “insufficiently virile”; it also states that when boiled in Welsh beer it would have the opposite effect.

A. gryposepala, the plant’s North American relative, also has traditional medical uses.

Other Uses:
A. eupatoria is a foodplant for the caterpillars of the snout moth Endotricha flammealis.
A yellow dye is obtained from the root – from whole plant according to other report, – and from the leaves according to another. Harvested in autumn, the yellow becomes deeper the later that the plant is harvested

Known Hazards:  Large quantities could lead to digestive complaints and constipation due to its tannins.

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/Agrimonia_eupatoria
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/a/agrim015.html

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Agrimonia+eupatoria

Advertisements

Arbutus unedo

Botanical Name :Arbutus unedo
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Arbutus
Species: A. unedo
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Ericales

Common Nanmes: Strawberry tree, occasionally cane apple,Irish strawberry tree” or “Killarney strawberry tree”.

Habitat :Arbutus unedo is native to the Mediterranean region and western Europe north to western France and Ireland. Due to its presence in South West Ireland.

Description:
Arbutus unedo grows to 5–10 m tall, rarely up to 15 m, with a trunk diameter of up to 80 cm.

The leaves are dark green and glossy, 5–10 cm (2–4 in) long and 2–3 cm (0.8–1.2 in) broad, with a serrated margin.

The hermaphrodite flowers are white (rarely pale pink), bell-shaped, 4–6 mm diameter, produced panicles of 10–30 together in autumn. They are pollinated by bees.

Bloom Color: Pink, White. Main Bloom Time: Early fall, Early winter, Late fall, Late winter, Mid fall, Mid winter.  Form: Rounded.

click to see..>...…(01)......(1).…....(2).…..(3).…..(4)…...(5).….

The fruit is a red berry, 1–2 cm diameter, with a rough surface, maturing 12 months at the same time as the next flowering. The fruit is edible, though many people find it bland and meally; the name ‘unedo’ is explained by Pliny the Elder as being derived from unum edo “I eat one”, which may seem an apt response to the flavour.

When eaten in quantities this fruit is said to be narcotic, and the wine made from it in Spain has the same property.
The tree is common in the Mediterranean region, and the fruit was known to the ancients, but according to Pliny (who gave the tree the name of Arbutus) was not held in much esteem, as the name implies (un ede=one 1 eat), the fruits being considered so unpalatable, that no one tasting them for the first time would be tempted to repeat the experiment. Nevertheless, there is some evidence that at one time the fruit was an article of diet with the ancients. Horace praises the tree for its shade and Ovid for its loads of ‘blushing fruit.’ Virgil recommends the young shoots as winter food for goats and for basket-work.

Gerard speaks of it in his time as growing in ‘some few gardens,’ and says, ‘the fruit being ripe is of a gallant red colour, in taste somewhat harsh, and in a manner without any relish, of which thrushes and blackbirds do feed in winter .’

In Spain, a sugar and spirit have been extracted from the fruit and a wine made from it in Corsica.

In the neighbourhood of Algiers it forms hedges, and in Greece and Spain the bark has been used for tanning. The wood of the tree makes good charcoal.
Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Container, Espalier, Pest tolerant, Hedge, Standard, Specimen. Requires a nutrient-rich well-drained moisture-retentive soil in sun or semi-shade and shelter from cold drying winds, especially when youn. Grows well in heavy clay soils and in dry soils. Most species in this genus require a lime-free soil but this species is fairly lime tolerant. Succeeds in fairly exposed maritime positions[166, 200]. A tree in a very exposed position at Rosewarne in N. Cornwall was looking rather tattered in April 1987 but it was 4.5 metres tall and carrying a very good crop of immature fruit[K]. Tolerates industrial pollution. Plants have withstood temperatures down to -16°c without injury at Kew. They grow very well in S.W. England, fruiting well in Cornwall. Plants resent root disturbance and are best placed in their final positions whilst young. Give them some protection in their first winter. The strawberry tree flowers in November and December, the fruit takes 12 months to ripen and so the tree carries both mature fruit and flowers at the same time and is incredibly beautiful at this time. The flowers have a soft honey scent. There are a number of named varieties developed for their ornamental value. ‘Elfin King’, ‘Croomei’ and ‘Rubra’ are all small forms that fruit well when smal. The variety ‘Rubra’ was 1.2 metres tall at Kew in late 1990 and was laden down with fruits and flowers. ‘Elfin King’ only reaches a height of 1 metre, comes into bearing when young and fruits well. It is ideal for container culture. ‘Croomei’ is said to be a more reliable fruiting form. Special Features:Attracts birds, Not North American native, Attractive flowers or blooms.

Propagation:
Seed – best surface sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Stored seed should be soaked for 5 – 6 days in warm water and then surface sown in a shady position in a greenhouse. Do not allow the compost to become dry. 6 weeks cold stratification helps. The seed usually germinates well in 2 – 3 months at 20°c. Seedlings are prone to damp off, they are best transplanted to individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and should be kept well ventilated. Grow them on in a greenhouse for their first winter and then plant out in late spring after the last expected frosts. Basal cuttings in late winter. Cuttings of mature wood of the current season’s growth, November/December in a frame. Poor percentage. Layering of young wood – can take 2 years.
Edible Uses:
Fruit – raw or cooked. Sweet but insipid. The Latin name ‘unedo’ means ‘I eat one (only)’ and suggests that the fruit is not very palatable, though another report says that the fruit is so delicious that a person only needs to eat one. It does have a somewhat gritty skin, but the fruit itself has the texture of a lush tropical fruit and has a delicate pleasant flavour. For those people with sensitive taste buds, this is a fruit that can be enjoyed when eaten in moderate quantities. The fruit contains about 20% sugars and can be used to make delicious and nourishing jams and preserves. It is ripe in November/December and is about 15mm in diameter. When fully ripe it falls from the tree and so it is advisable to grow the plant in short grass in order to cushion the fall of the fruit.

Medicinal Uses:
Antiseptic;  Astringent;  Diuretic.

The strawberry tree is little used in herbalism, though it does deserve modern investigation. All parts of the plant contain ethyl gallate, a substance that possesses strong antibiotic activity against the Mycobacterium bacteria. The leaves, bark and root are astringent and diuretic. They are also a renal antiseptic and so are of use in the treatment of affections of the urinary system such as cystitis and urethritis. Their astringent action makes them of use in the treatment of diarrhoea and dysentery and, like many other astringent plants, a gargle can be made for treating sore and irritated throats. The leaves are gathered in the summer and dried for later use. The flowers are weakly diaphoretic.

Other Uses:

Tannin is obtained from the leaves, bark and fruit. The bark contains 45% tannin. Wood – used for turning, Greek flutes etc. It makes a good charcoal.
Arbutus unedo serves as a bee plant for honey production, and the fruits are food for birds. The fruits are also used to make jams, beverages, and liqueurs (such as the Portuguese medronho, a type of strong brandy).

The Garden of Earthly Delights, a painting by Hieronymus Bosch, was originally listed by José de Sigüenza, in the inventory of the Spanish Crown as La Pintura del Madroño – “The Painting of the Strawberry Tree“.

The tree makes up part of the Coat of arms of Madrid (El oso y el madroño, The Bear and the Strawberry Tree) of the city of Madrid, Spain. In the center of the city (Puerta del Sol) there is a statue of a bear eating the fruit of the Madroño tree. The image appears on city crests, taxi cabs, man-hole covers, and other city infrastructure. The fruit of the Madroño tree ferments on the tree if left to ripen, so some of the bears become drunk from eating the fruits.

 

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/Arbutus_unedo
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/a/arbut053.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?latinname=Arbutus+unedo

Enhanced by Zemanta

SOME HEALTHY TIPS

HEALTH BENEFITS OF APPLE CIDER VINEGER….
__________________________________________

In India, Ayurvedic physicians prescribe apple cider vinegar in combination with the herb Gotu Kola to help in the revitalizing of the skin. Indians have been known to consume apple cider vinegar in combination with honey to improve digestion.
It contributes greatly to the breaking down of food in the body and also prevents harmful bacteria from multiplying. Even respiratory infections can be kept at bay, sore throats improve, and nasal discharges decrease.

The benefits of apple cider vinegar have been proclaimed by the ancient Egyptians and have been traditionally used by them to treat ailments of all kinds. In fact they believed apple cider acted as a tonic improving the circulation and flow of blood.

Apples are allowed to ferment and this fermented fruit acid, which is loaded with pectin and minerals like potassium, chlorine, magnesium, sodium and calcium, seems to be a panacea. In addition it contains vitamins and beta-carotene. In fact experiments have proved that it contains carbolic acids, aldehydes, ketones, alcohols and acetates also.

It is no wonder than that the health benefits of apple cider vinegar are infinite. Pectin in the apples is a fiber, which attaches itself to cholesterol globules, and when combined with the herb centella aids in getting rid of bad cholesterol and helps in regulating blood pressure.  This fruit acid is often used by some as a final hair-rinse.

A look at how the minerals contribute to the overall health of a person is very fascinating. The potassium present in apple cider vinegar is vital because it helps to remove the excess water and also the toxic waste. The excess of sodium is also drawn out and it helps to regulate blood pressure.
Calcium, which is important for the bones and for combating osteoporosis, is an important constituent of apple cider vinegar. The beta carotene actually is supposed to help people to retain their youth longer as it counters effectively the damage made by free radicals..

The virtues of apple cider vinegar seem to extend itself beyond normal peripheries. Every constituent seems to play an important role. The malic acid and acetic acid present help to combat fungal and bacterial infections and relieves painful joints. The malic acid dissolves the deposits of uric acid, which form around the joints, and slowly pushes the acid deposits out of the body. It seems to even have some effect on viruses.

The amino acids present in apple cider vinegar act as an antibiotic and an antiseptic. It has been known to drastically reduce the toxicity in the body. This is because the acetic acid is able to form acetate compounds, which are not so toxic. This property makes it very useful while treating insect bites and skin allergies.

Arthritis has plagued people for centuries and apple cider combined with centella actually relieves pain due to arthritis. By Strengthening arteries and assisting in healing of wounds, improving skin lesions and reducing the effects of varicose veins, apple cider vinegar has been elevated to the status of a total health benefit product. It reduces stress and tension and revitalizes the body. The health benefits of  apple cider vinegar just cannot be ignored.

Apple cider vinegar speeds up metabolism especially when taken regularly before meals and if used in conjunction with a sensible diet and exercise program it can be a powerful aid in keeping your weight under control.. Apple cider vinegar has less salt, less sugar and less fat, helps in digestion and helps in the metabolism of food. If the metabolic activity increases, then more food is used to get energy and less of it is stored as fat. So if you want to lose weight, use apple cider vinegar.

Possibly what contributes to the all round potency of apple cider vinegar is the number of enzymes and organic acids produced during the 2 fermentations.  apple cider vinegar is claimed to be a  natural multi vitamin and mineral treasure house. Even Hippocrates—the father of medicine acknowledged the wonderful healing properties of apple cider vinegar.  ~ author Lata Batra..

HEALTH BENEFITS OF FLAXSEED OIL……..
____________________________________

Flaxseed oil contains lignans, which can be used to counter hormone related problems and ward off the ill effects of certain, bacteria and fungi. Studies, which have been conducted show that the health benefits of flaxseed oil are extensive. It controls high blood pressure, helps to lower cholesterol and guards against heart disease. Flaxseed oil also protects against angina and could prevent a second heart attack. The health benefits of flaxseed oil also extend to combating inflammation due to gout, lupus and also inflammation in the joints and kidneys. Flaxseed oil reduces the intensity of joint pain and also reduces joint swelling. The omega 3 acids present in flaxseed oil helps to absorb the iodine and this is very useful in treating conditions where this element is present in small amounts.

Surprisingly, flaxseed oil is also useful in controlling constipation. The dietary fiber content in the oil is considerable and helps to ease bowel movements. As it has been known to combat inflammation, it is useful in repairing any intestinal tract damage. It has been known to keep those gallstones at bay and sometimes dissolve existing stones.

Problems associated with the skin have a ready remedy in flaxseed oil. The EFAs target the sites of inflammation and brings about an overall soothing. Acne, eczema, psoriasis, sunburn and rosacea have all been known to respond favorably to flaxseed oil. The omega 3 acids ensure healthy hair and nails and it also helps to revitalize skin and prevents nails from cracking and breaking.

Flaxseed oil helps to reduce the severity of nerve damage and also aids in the triggering of nerve impulses. As it nourishes the nerve, it may possibly be of some use in the treating of Parkinson’s disease. It helps to combat the effects of aging and the lignans present in the oil guard against cancer. Sprains and bruises heal faster on the application of flaxseed oil. Another important area where it is of great help is the brain. The omega 3 fatty acids help retain emotional health of a person, helping to tackle depression and possibly Alzheimer’s disease. Used externally, it can soften dry skin. The gel of flaxseed has been used as a poultice on injured areas in many Indian homes.. In fact, rural India  has been advocating the use of flaxseed oil for quite a long time.

The oil is used in cooking and is ingested in the capsule form for various other disorders. 2-3 grams of flaxseed oil is good although no side effects have been detected with people who consume more. Flaxseeds themselves can be crushed and used along with beverages, bread and other baked products. The oil should however be kept away from heat and light. In the light of so many advantages, it actually seems worthwhile to do away with vegetable oils and replace it with flaxseed oil. The health benefits afforded by flaxseed oil almost makes it out to be a miracle oil.

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

Enhanced by Zemanta

Seven Quick Ways To Feel Better

The signals our bodies use to tell us we need to cleanse ourselves physically, mentally, and emotionally are multifaceted and often mirror symptoms we associate with illness. If we heed these signs, we not only feel better quickly but also stave off poor health before it can start. These quick fixes for common ailments can get you started.

1. Applying pressure to the acupressure point between the thumb and forefinger can release blockages causing pain, tension, and fatigue. You can relieve a headache naturally by squeezing for 20 seconds and releasing for 10 seconds, without letting go, four times.

2. To breathe freely, irrigate your nasal passages with a neti pot and warm salt water. As you clear and soothe the sinuses, congestion associated with allergies or infection will
gradually disappear.

3. Apple cider vinegar is a powerful purifying and detoxifying agent. Soaking for 20 minutes in a warm bath infused with two cups of apple cider vinegar pulls toxins from the body and can clear blocked energy.

4. The foods you eat can have a profound impact on your outlook and mood. Eating a small yet satisfying meal rich in complex carbohydrates can lift your spirit and help you let go of feelings of anger, irritability, and depression.

5. Anxiety and fear dissipate quickly when countered with conscious breathing because concentrating on the breath enables you to refocus your attention inward. You can ground yourself and regain your usual calm by taking a series of deep belly breaths as you
visualize your feet growing roots that stretch miles down into the earth.

6. Though tuning out can seem counterproductive, a few minutes spent lost in daydreams or listening to soothing music can help you see your circumstances from a new angle when you feel frustrated.

7. If you feel ill health coming on, brew a wellness elixir. Simmer three sliced lemons, one
teaspoon freshly grated ginger, one clove freshly minced garlic, and one quarter teaspoon
cayenne pepper in five cups water until the lemons are soft and pale. Strain a portion into
a mug and add honey by tablespoons until you can tolerate the taste. Drinking this potent mixture of antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal ingredients three times each day can
ensure your symptoms never progress into a full-blown illness.

Source:Daily Om

Cat Scratch Disease

What is cat scratch disease?

Cat scratch disease (CSD) is a bacterial disease caused by Bartonella henselae. Most children with CSD have been bitten or scratched by a cat and developed a mild infection at the point of injury. Lymph nodes, especially those around the head, neck, and upper limbs, become swollen. Additionally, a youngster with CSD may experience fever, headache, fatigue, and a poor appetite.

Can my cat transmit Bartonella henselae to me?

Sometimes, yes, cats can spread B. henselae to people. Most people get CSD from cat bites and scratches. Kittens are more likely to be infected and to pass the bacterium to people. About 40% of cats carry B. henselae at some time in their lives. Cats that carry B. henselae do not show any signs of illness; therefore, parents cannot tell which cats can spread the disease to you. children with immunocompromised conditions, such as those undergoing immunosuppressive treatments for cancer, organ transplant patients, and children with HIV/AIDS, are more likely than others to have complications of CSD. Although B. henselae has been found in fleas, so far there is no evidence that a bite from an infected flea can give you CSD.

How can I reduce my child’s risk of getting cat scratch disease from my cat?

  • Avoid “rough play” with cats, especially kittens. This includes any activity that may lead to cat scratches and bites.
  • Wash cat bites and scratches immediately and thoroughly with running water and soap.
  • Do not allow cats to lick open wounds that your child may have.
  • Control fleas.
  • If your child develops an infection (with pus and pronounced swelling) where they were scratched or bitten by a cat or develop symptoms, including fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes, and fatigue, contact your child’s physician.

COMMON OCCURANCE:

Swollen glands a Common Occurrence :

Most adults know that an unexplained lump is one of the seven warning signs of cancer. So it is easy to understand why discovering an enlarged lymph node in their child’s neck or under their arm strikes fear in a parent’s heart. They suspect the worst and arrange a prompt visit with their youngster’s physician. True, enlarged lymph nodes can be a symptom of a serious disease, but in children that is rarely the case.

Made up of specialized blood cells, lymph nodes are an important part of the body’s defense system. There are nearly 1,000 of them stationed throughout the body, ranging in size from a pinhead to a small grape. Nodes act as filtering plants for the lymph system, trapping and eliminating foreign particles and infectious agents from the circulation. In addition, lymph nodes act to prevent the spread of infection by producing white blood cells and antibodies to destroy infecting germs and poisons. When lymph nodes enlarge, it usually means that the nodes are being called into action to make extra antibody or are filtering out unfriendly germs. Any illness or wound, even one as minor as an insect bite, can mobilize this response, which explains why children’s nodes can be swollen even when the youngster does not seem sick.

click to see the pictures>….…(01).....(1)....(2).……..(3)……….

The lymph node system is divided into different districts with each part of the body being defended by its own network of nodes. Most of the time, the location of the enlaged node indicates where the current or past infection was located. For example, since most infections enter the child’s body through the nose, mouth, and throat, the lymph nodes in the neck (especially the ones just under the corner of the jaw bone) are most often swollen and tender. When a child has an infection in the arm, the nodes under the arm will enlarge. Similarly, swollen nodes found in the groin usually indicate an infection in the leg. Certain viral infections, like infectious mononucleosis, can cause swelling of the lymph nodes all over the body. Occasionally, the node itself can become infected causing skin redness, node tenderness, and in rare cases a yellow discharge is seen oozing from the lump. When this occurs, parents should contact the child’s physician since antibiotics will probably be needed.

Because less fat covers the lymph nodes in children, they are very easy to feel, even when they are not busy filtering germs or making antibody. Furthermore, a youngstes nodes enlarge faster and get bigger in response to an infection and stay swollen longer, “like a peace keeping force that remains behind after the battles have all been fought,” according to California pediatrician Dr. Gilbert Simon. “They both seem to last a lot longer than would appear necessary.”

When a child’s lymph nodes enlarge without an obvious reason, infections such as mononucleosis, tuberculosis, and a number of viruses, may be responsible. Another cause of lymph node swelling is a common condition called “Cat-Scratch Disease” that follows weeks to months after a scratch from a cat (most often a kitten).

Still, the major concern for most parents when they feel a lymph node in their child is leukemia or Hodgkin’s Disease. Physicians also think about this possibility, and use child’s physical examination to help determine whether an enlarged node is worrisome or not.

The first important finding is the gland’s location – lymph nodes in the neck are less likely to be a problem than those found above the collarbone, for example. A node that is growing rapidly is potentially more serious than one that remains the same size for a period of time. Physicians are less concerned about a swollen node when the cause is found, such as a past ear or throat infection. Generally, a lymph gland that is easily movable and can be rolled around under the skin is less likely to be caused by a serious disease. The size of the lymph node is usually a poor indicator of its cause, but a node that is abnormally large should always be carefully watched. While all nodes in children feel like firm rubber, an extremely hard lymph node might be more cause for concern. The last sign doctors look for has more to do with the child than node. Lymph node swelling that persists while the child begins experiencing intermittent fevers, weight loss, night sweats, fatigue, or loss of appetite requires a more intensive investigation.

Occasionally, a two-week trial of antibiotics will help determine whether or not a swollen lymph node is worrisome. If the node responds to medication by getting smaller, an infection is most likely the cause. Failure of the lymph node to get smaller may mean followup observation perhaps additional studies. Investigations might include a blood count, skin test for tuberculosis and cat-scratch disease, throat culture, chest x-ray and a mononucleosis test.

A physician might consider a biopsy of the lymph node if the swelling persists without an apparent diagnosis. Fortunately, most biopsies do not reveal cancer but reassure both the family and physician that the condition is not malignant. It can also help in making the diagnosis!

Doctors caring for kids frequently exam their young patients after a parent discovers a swollen lymph node. Since young children are more suscpetible to infections than older kids and adults, enlarged nodes are very common. However, whenever a parent is worried after finding a lump in their child, they should check with their pediatrician, just for safety sake.

 Swollen Glands Rarely Serious :-
Discovering a bump in your young child’s neck or under their arm can strike fear into the hearts of parents. True, this can be the sign of a serious illness such as cancer or tuberculosis, but that’s rarely the case. Children quite often have visible enlarged glands, especially in their necks, and most of the time the swelling indicates the presence of an infection of some kind. Every wonder what are these “swollen glands?” Think back to the last time that you were sick and visited your doctor. If your memory is good, you might recall the doctor carefully palpated all sides of your neck. More than just to soothe a tense patient, this exam provided important clues for your doctor about the body’s current “battle readiness” in the war against infections diseases.

Swollen glands are, in fact, specialized tissue called lymph nodes. There are more than a thousand lymph nodes scattered throughout the body, ranging in size from a pinhead to a small grape. These glands consist of a dense core of cells that serve as a “staging area” for the body’s fight against disease by producing white blood cells and antibodies. The lymph glands also filter out impurities in the body such as germs and foreign proteins. The glands in young children are covered with less tissue and fat than in adults, and so are more visible. When a physician feels a swollen node on physical examination, it usually infers the possibility of some infectious process at work.

In children, swollen lymph nodes are usually due to viral illnesses. Another frequent cause of enlerged glands in children is “Cat Scratch Disease.” The course of children with “Cat-Scratch Disease” is fairly consistent; several weeks to months after a scratch or bite from a cat, the lymph glands that drain the scratch site become enlarged and tender. For example, if the scratch is on the hands or arms, the lymph glands under the arm or in the neck become swollen. Likewise, the lymph glands in the groin enlarge if the cat scratch was on the leg. Additionally, the skin over the enlarged gland(s) may become red and warm. Usually by the time the lymph glands become enlarged, the primary scratch site has completely healed over. The child is otherwise healthy; rarely are there other symptoms present, such as headache, fever, persistent fatigue, or a sore throat.

“Cat-Scratch Disease” was first described by doctors in the 1930’s and is primarily a pediatric disease, with 80% of cases occurring in persons under 21 years of age. Over 90% of the children have been exposed to a healthy cat, usually a kitten (since adult cats are probably smart enough to stay away from kids!). Boys have a higher chance of getting the disease, perhaps because they tend to be more aggressive when playing with their pets. Interestingly, 25% of children cannot recall actually being scratched by a cat! The incubation period of the disease is usually 7 to 12 days after exposure, but it can be as long as three months. Person to person transmission has not been reported. The actual cause of “Cat-Scratch Disease” is unknown, but investigators have recently isolated what appears to be a previously unknown bacteria at the site of the infections. More research will be necessary to better define the disease and to then develop appropriate treatment.

The diagnosis of “Cat-Scratch Disease” is usually made by a history of exposure to a cat, an inoculation or scratch site, and a physical examination of the child. While there is a definite test to confirm the diagnosis it is not readily available to most practicing physicians. Since enlarged lymph nodes can be caused by other medical conditions, your child’s doctor may order other tests, such as a tuberculosis skin test, blood tests, chest x-rays, or even a biopsy of the lymph gland itself.

Prevention of “Cat-Scratch Disease” is difficult; there are over 50 million cats in the United States and cases of “Cat-Scratch Disease” can occur even though a cat has been declawed. Parents should teach their children to avoid bites and scratches, and not to allow a cat to lick open skin wounds on the child. Parents of a young child with “Cat-Scratch Disease” frequently ask about permanent removal of the animal from the home, but this is unnecessary. The cat who transmits “Cat-Scratch Disease” is not sick (Veterinarians are presently unable to test cats for this illness) and the disease confers lifelong immunity to the child. This means that each child will only be stricken once by the disease. Furthermore, not every child who gets scratched by a cat will get the illness. Because there has never been a case of child-to-child transmission, isolation from other siblings or playmates is unnecessary.

Parents need to help their children through the extended recovery period, which may be as long as five months. Treatment includes acetaminophen for fever and ibuprofen for pain. Hot, salt water compresses on the involved glands have been known to shorten the duration of lymph gland enlargement. Rough-housing and contact sports should probably be avoided until the glands are no longer tender. In some cases, the involved lymph glands may need to be sampled by needle aspiration by a surgeon to insure that other diseases are not present. This is usually done if the gland becomes extremely painful and disabling to the child. The long term outlook for children with “Cat-Scratch Disease” is similar to other common infectious diseases in children, with little long term effects persisting into adulthood. Parents whose households also include cats as pets should be on the look out for swollen glands in their children, for this may be a tip-off to this common and relatively harmless disease caused by a cat scratch.

Source:KidsGrowth.com

Enhanced by Zemanta