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Gaura parviflora

Botanical Name: Gaura parviflora
Family: Onagraceae
Genus: Gaura
Species: G. parviflora
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Myrtales
Synonyms: G. mollis James; velvetweed, velvety gaura, downy gaura, or smallflower gaura

Common Names: Velvetweed

Habitat : Gaura parviflora is native to the central United States and northern Mexico, from Nebraska and Wyoming south to Durango and Nuevo Leon. It grows on upland prairies, abandoned fields, vacant lots, areas along railroads, and barren waste areas. Open areas with a history of disturbance are preferred.
Description:
Gaura parviflora is an annual or biennial wildflower  plant  which  is 2-6′ tall and either unbranched or sparingly branched. The central stem is light green to reddish brown, terete (round in cross-section), and covered with fine hairs. Ascending alternate leaves occur along the lower to middle sections of the stem. Individual leaves are 2-5″ long and ¼-1″ across; they are narrowly lanceolate to lanceolate, sessile (or nearly so), and either entire (smooth) or sparsely denticulate with barely perceptible teeth. Leaf surfaces are light gray-green and either glabrous or sparsely to moderately covered with appressed fine hairs. Leaf venation is pinnate. The upper stem (or stems) terminates in a narrow spike of flowers about ½-2½’ long. Only a few flowers are in bloom at the same time, beginning at the bottom of the spike and ending at its apex. Each flower is about ¼” across, consisting of 4 spreading petals, 4 drooping sepals, an inferior ovary, 8 stamens, and a single style with an X-shaped stigma. The petals are white, pink, or magenta (often becoming more deeply colored with age); they are oblanceolate in shape. The sepals are light green to red and linear-lanceolate. The ovary is light green to red and narrowly cylindrical. The central stalk of the floral spike is light green to red and glabrous. The blooming period occurs during the summer and lasts about 2 months. The flowers open during the evening and close during the morning. However, on cloudy days, they may remain open later. Each flower lasts only 1-2 days. In the absence of cross-pollination, the flowers are self-fertile. They are replaced by ellipsoid seed capsules that become about 1/3″ (9 mm.) in length at maturity. Each capsule contains 2-4 seeds about 2-3 mm. in length that are lanceoloid and somewhat flattened. The root system consists of a stout taproot.

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The flowers are cross-pollinated by bees and moths. Both nectar and pollen are available as floral rewards. The foliage, flowers, and other parts of Small-Flowered Gaura and similar species are sometimes eaten by various insects, including the flea beetle Altica foliaceae, the aphid Macrosiphum pseudorosae, Hippiscus ocelote (Wrinkled Grasshopper), Melanoplus keeleri luridus (Keeler’s Grasshopper), and some moth caterpillars. These moth species include Proserpinus guarae (Proud Sphinx), Proserpinus juanita (Green-Banded Day Sphinx), and Schinia gaurae (Clouded Crimson). The foliage is palatable to goats and probably other mammalian herbivores.

Cultivation: The preference is full sun, mesic to dry conditions, and almost any kind of soil that is well-drained. Resistance to hot dry weather is excellent, although some of the lower leaves may wither away. This wildflower is somewhat weedy.

Medicinal Uses:
Among the Zuni people, fresh or dried root would be chewed by medicine man before sucking snakebite and poultice applied to wound.
A poultice made of the crushed plant has been used to treat muscular pains and arthritis.
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/Gaura_parviflora
http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/weeds/plants/sf_gaura.html
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_UZ.htm

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Fit Enough to Fly

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Families are scattered all over  the globe and they travel to stay in touch. Airplanes are safe, despite the high flying altitude, relatively lower partial pressure of oxygen, variable air circulation, low humidity, sustained periods of noise, vibration and turbulence.
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The rapid changes that occur during a flight (typically during descent) can give rise to ear pain, a blocked feeling, ringing in the ears, giddiness, hearing loss or even rupture of the eardrum. These complications are more likely if the Eustachian tube (connecting the ear and throat) is blocked by allergy, colds, sinusitis or middle ear infections. Chewing gum and frequent swallowing during descent can help ease the discomfort.

Decongestant nose drops will clear a blocked nose. Air travel should be avoided for 10 days if there has been a recent ear surgery or tonsillectomy.

Women often need to travel during pregnancy — as part of their jobs, because of transfers or simply to head home to have the baby. Air travel during pregnancy is safe and poses no special risks. Mid pregnancy, from the 14th to 28th week, is the safest time. In the case of multiple pregnancy (twins), a history of premature delivery, cervical incompetence, bleeding or increased uterine activity (irritable uterus), flying is inadvisable. If you need to be elsewhere for the delivery, it is better to leave before the 36th week or use an alternative mode of transport.

Most airlines refuse to allow pregnant passengers after the 36th week because of the fear that labour may set in during the flight. It is better to carry certified medical documentation about the expected date of delivery.

During pregnancy,

• the seat belt should be fastened under the abdomen, not across it;

• an aisle seat is preferable to facilitate visits to the toilet;

• try to get out of the seat every 30 minutes and walk a short distance;

• if this is not possible, flex and extend the ankles.

Babies should, preferably, not fly till they are at least seven days old.

There is a 10-day ban on air travel (not prohibited but inadvisable) after a stroke, brain surgery, an epileptic seizure, eye surgery or ear, nose or throat procedures.

Even in normal people abdominal gas increases by 25 per cent during air travel. A three to four week gap is advisable after abdominal surgery even if it is a “keyhole” or laparoscopic surgery as gas is introduced into the abdomen during the procedure. This extra gas can expand and cause the sutures to give way.

A person with congestive cardiac failure (when the heart does not function properly) should be stable for at least 10 days prior to travel.

In the case of a heart attack the person should have been stable for three to four weeks.

After pneumonia or chest surgery, a person should wait for three weeks
. Even after this time they should be able to walk unassisted for at least 50 metres without becoming breathless.

Anaemia, with haemoglobin count less than 7.5 grams per decilitre, reduces the oxygen carrying capacity of blood. This can get critical during flights.

People with fractures can travel two days after the cast has been applied. In traditional casts air can be trapped between the cast and the leg. As this air expands during the flight, it can compress the limb and cut off blood supply. If a person needs to fly immediately, the doctor needs to be informed beforehand. A bivalved or split cast, which does not trap air, can be applied.

People with mental illness should be well controlled, on medication and preferably have a companion.

Diseases are spread from one country to another by infected travellers. In the recent swine flu epidemic, the spread of the disease could be plotted by tracking the flights out of Mexico (where the epidemic started).

People with open tuberculosis or measles should also defer travel.
If a person has an infectious disease, travelling should be postponed until recovery. Infected air keeps circulating in a plane and this will result in the disease spreading.

The economy class has little legroom. The edge of the seat can compress the veins at the bent knee.
Together with the forced immobility, blood pools in the legs and the feet swell. This can result in deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. Sudden unexpected death can occur hours or days after travel.

Generally, try to drink plenty of fluids and balance any alcohol consumed with an equal amount of water. Walk around the airport while waiting. Remember, the most dangerous thing to do is to sit still with your legs crossed.

Source: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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