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Lactuca ludoviciana

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Botanical Name: Lactuca ludoviciana
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cichorieae
Genus: Lactuca
Species: L. ludoviciana
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms:
*Galathenium ludovicianum (Nutt.) Nutt.
*Lactuca campestris Greene
*Sonchus ludovicianus Nutt.

Common Names: Western Wild Lettuce, Biannual lettuce(Biennials are herbaceous plants that live two years, flowering the second)

Habitat: Lactuca ludoviciana is native to Eastern N. America – Manitoba to Wisconsin and southwards. IT grows on prairies, low ground and roadsides. Usually found in calcareous soils.
Description:
Lactuca ludoviciana is an biennial herb in the dandelion tribe within the daisy family growing from a taproot a height of up to 150 cm (5 feet). The top of the stem bears a multibranched inflorescence with many flower heads. Each head contains 20-50 yellow ray florets but no disc florets. Leaves on proximal 1/2–3/4 of each stem; blades of undivided cauline leaves obovate or oblanceolate to spatulate, margins denticulate (piloso-ciliate), midribs usually piloso-setose. Heads in paniculiform arrays. Involucres 12–15+ mm. Phyllaries usually reflexed in fruit. Florets 20–50+; corollas usually yellow, sometimes bluish, usually deliquescent. Cypselae: bodies brown to blackish (usually mottled), ± flattened, elliptic, 4.5–5+ mm, beaks ± filiform, 2.5–4.5 mm, faces 1(–3)-nerved; pappi white, 5–7(–11) mm. 2n = 34.

Flowering time is Jun–Sep. Flower color is yellow.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES : 

The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Cultivation:
The plant grows well in light sandy loam. Hybridizes in the wild with L. canadensis and the two species can sometimes be difficult to separate.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in situ and only just cover the seed. Germination is usually fairly quick.

Edible Uses: The leaves are eatet raw or cooked.

Medicinal Uses:
Most if not all members of the genus have a milky sap that contains the substance ‘lactucarium’ and can probably be used as the report below details. 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. 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. 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. An infusion of the fresh or dried flowering plant can also be used. 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

Known Hazards : Although no specific mention of toxicity has been seen for this species, many plants in this genus contain a narcotic principle, this is at its most concentrated when the plant begins to flower. This principle has been almost bred out of the cultivated forms of lettuce but is produced when the plant starts to go to seed.

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/Lactuca_ludoviciana
http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=242416716
http://www.kansasnativeplants.com/guide/plant_detail.php?plnt_id=725
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Lactuca+ludoviciana

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Orthilia secunda

Botanical Name : Orthilia secunda
Family: Ericaceae
Subfamily:Pyroloideae
Genus: Orthilia
Species:O. secunda
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Ericales

Synonyms : Pyrola secunda. L.

Common Name : Sidebells Wintergreen

Habitat :Orthilia secunda is native for Siberia. It occurs in Europe, including Britain, from Iceland south and east to the Pyrenees and Asia. N. America. It grows in damp coniferous woods and on damp rock ledges.

Description:
Orthilia secunda is an evergreen Perennial growing to 0.1 m (0ft 4in) by 0.3 m (1ft).  It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects, self.The plant is self-fertile. ...CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Flower petal color:…...click & see
*Green to brown
*White
*Yellow

Leaf type: The leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)

Leaf arrangement:
*Basal: the leaves are growing only at the base of the plant
*Leaf blade edges: The edge of the leaf blade has teeth
the edge of the leaf blade is entire (has no teeth or lobes)

Flower symmetry:
There are two or more ways to evenly divide the flower (the flower is radially symmetrical)
Number of sepals, petals or tepals : There are five petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
Fusion of sepals and petals: both the petals and sepals are separate and not fused
the petals or the sepals are fused into a cup or tube

Fruit type (general) : the fruit is dry and splits open when ripe
Fruit length: 3–5 mm
Cultivation:
Prefers a moist sandy woodland soil in a cool position with partial shade. Requires a peaty or leafy but not very acid soil that remains moist in the summer. This is a very difficult plant to grow. It requires a mycorrhizal relationship in the soil and therefore needs to be grown initially in soil collected from around an established plant. It is also very difficult from seed as well as being intolerant of root disturbance which makes division difficult.

Propagation:
Seed – the only information we have on this species is that it is difficult from seed and germinates infrequently. We would suggest sowing the seed as soon as it is ripe if this is possible. Sow it into soil collected from around an established plant, only just covering the seed, and put the pot in a shady part of a cold frame. Pot up any young seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle, once again using soil from around an established plant. Plant out into their permanent positions when the plants are large enough. You should not need to use soil from around an established plant to do this since the soil in the pot will contain the necessary micorrhiza. Division with great care in the spring. Pot up the divisions using some soil from around an established plant, grow on in a lightly shaded part of a greenhouse or frame and do not plant out until the plants are growing away vigorously

Edible Uses: Seeds are eatable. The leaves are occasionally used as a tea.

Constituents: This herb consists of tannins, flavonoids, gums, bitters, lemon and tartaric acids, arbutin and saponin.

Medicinal Uses:
Orthilia Secunda is recommended by herbalists as an herb for gynecological disorders and inflammations. Orthilia Secunda preparations are used for sterility, bleedings, infantilism, cervical erosion, for menstrual cycle derangements, toxicosis. In some countries Orthilia Secunda is used as diuretics and antiseptics for kidney and urinary bladder inflammations. More than that, a strong decoction of the root has been used as an eye wash.

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/Orthilia
http://www.aptekastore.com/en/orthilia-secunda-p-1098.html
https://gobotany.newenglandwild.org/species/orthilia/secunda/
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Orthilia+secunda

Aegopodium podagraria

Botanical Name : Aegopodium podagraria
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Aegopodium
Species: A. podagraria
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales

Common Names: Ground Elder, Bishop’s goutweed, Goutweed, Ground Elder, Bishop’s Weed, d ground elder, herb gerard, Gout wort, and Snow-in-the-mountain, and sometimes called English Masterwort, and Wild masterwort.

Habitat : Aegopodium podagraria is native to most of Europe, including Britain, to western Asia and Siberia. It grows on wedgerows and cultivated land. A common garden weed.

Description:
Aegopodium podagraria is perennial plant, growing to a height of 100 cm with rhizomes. The stems are erect, hollow and grooved. The upper leaves are ternate, broad and toothed. It is in flower from May to July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies.The plant is self-fertile. The flowers are in umbels, terminal with rays 15 – 20, with small white flowers, the fruits are small and have long curved styles. The flowers are visited by many types of insects, thus being characterised by a generalised pollination system…….CLICK & SEE  THE PICTURES

Edible Uses: Leaves – raw or cooked. An unusual tangy flavour, the majority of people we give it to do not like it although some reports say that it makes a delicious vegetable. The leaves are best harvested before the plant comes into flower, they can be used in salads, soups, or cooked as a vegetable.

The tender leaves have been used in antiquity and throughout the Middle Ages as a spring leaf vegetable, much as spinach was used. Young leaves are preferred as a pot herb. It is best picked from when it appears (as early as February in the UK) to just before it flowers (May to June). If it is picked after this point, it takes on a pungent taste and has a laxative effect. However, it can be stopped from flowering by pinching out the flowers, ensuring the plant remains edible if used more sparingly as a pot herb.

Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Foundation, Ground cover, Woodland garden. Prefers damp shady conditions but succeeds in most soils. Prefers a well-drained soil, succeeding in sun or shade. Plants are hardy to at least -15°c. This species was cultivated in the Middle Ages as a medicinal and food plant. A very invasive plant, spreading freely at the roots, though it seldom sets seed in Britain. Once established it can be very difficult to eradicate because any small piece of root left in the ground can regrow. If introducing this plant to your garden, it might be best to restrict the roots by growing the plant in a bottomless container buried in the soil. There is a variegated form of this species that is less invasive and is sometimes grown in the ornamental garden. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits. Special Features: Attractive foliage, Not North American native, Invasive, Naturalizing, Wetlands plant.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. Division in spring. Very easy, divisions can be carried out at almost any time of the year and the divisions can be planted out straight into their permanent positions.

Medicinal Uses:
Aegopodium podagraria has a long history of medicinal use and was cultivated as a food crop and medicinal herb in the Middle Ages. The plant was used mainly as a food that could counteract gout, one of the effects of the rich foods eaten by monks, bishops etc at this time. The plant is little used in modern herbalism. All parts of the plant are antirheumatic, diuretic, sedative and vulnerary. An infusion is used in the treatment of rheumatism, arthritis and disorders of the bladder and intestines. Externally, it is used as a poultice on burns, stings, wounds, painful joints etc. The plant is harvested when it is in flower in late spring to mid-summer and can be used fresh or be dried for later use. A homeopathic remedy is made from the flowering plant. It is used in the treatment of arthritis and rheumatism.

Diuretic and sedative. Can be successfully employed internally for aches in the joints, gouty and sciatic pains, and externally as a fomentation for inflamed parts.  The roots and leaves boiled together, applied to the hip, and occasionally renewed, have a wonderful effect in some cases of sciatica.

Other Uses:
This species makes a good ground-cover for semi-wild situations. Make sure that it has plenty of room since it can be very invasive and is considered to be a weed in many gardens.

It is used as a food plant by the larvae of some species of Lepidoptera, including dot moth, grey dagger and grey pug, although A. podagraria is not the exclusive host to any of these species.

A variegated form is grown as an ornamental plant, though with the advice to keep it isolated.

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=Aegopodium+podagraria
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aegopodium_podagraria

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

Pain

Definition:
Pain is an unpleasant feeling often caused by intense or damaging stimuli, such as stubbing a toe, burning a finger, putting alcohol on a cut, and bumping the “funny bone”. The International Association for the Study of Pain‘s widely used definition states: “Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage.”

CLICK & SEE

Everyone feels pain at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, there is no machine to objectively assess pain. Physicians have to rely on what the patient says. Sensitivity to pain varies – acute pain may make a person only grit her teeth and wince whereas the same injury can produce “severe, unbearable pain” with weeping and wailing in others.

Pain forces a person to take notice of a body part they had probably taken for granted. This is particularly true of acute pain such as a toothache, sinusitis, appendicitis or urinary tract infection.

Our bodies are plentifully supplied with “nociceptors” in the skin, bones, muscles and internal organs. Noxious stimuli, (either injury or infection) activates them. They release electrical currents and biochemical agents. These travel along the nerves, up the spinal cord and eventually reach certain areas in the brain. The reaction occurs in a flash and the perception of pain is instantaneous

Pain motivates the individual to withdraw from damaging situations, to protect a damaged body part while it heals, and to avoid similar experiences in the future. Most pain resolves promptly once the painful stimulus is removed and the body has healed, but sometimes pain persists despite removal of the stimulus and apparent healing of the body; and sometimes pain arises in the absence of any detectable stimulus, damage or disease.

Symptoms:
Pain may occur with other symptoms depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. For instance, if your pain is due to arthritis, you may experience pain in more than one joint. Pain due to a compressed nerve in the lower back can even lead to loss of bladder control. Pain is often a major symptom of fibromyalgia, which is also characterized by fatigue and sleep problems.

Symptoms that might occur along with pain:

The range of symptoms that may occur with pain include:

*Depression
*Flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, sore throat, fatigue, headache, cough)
*Inability to concentrate
*Loss of appetite
*Muscle spasms
*Numbness
*Sleep disturbances
*Unexpected weight loss

There are certain Serious symptoms that might indicate a life-threatening condition:
In some cases, pain may occur with other symptoms that might indicate a serious or life-threatening condition, such as a heart attack. Seek immediate medical care  if you, or someone you are with, have any of these serious symptoms, with or without pain, including:

*Bleeding symptoms, such as bloody urine or bloody stools
*Change in consciousness or alertness; confusion
*Chest pain radiating to the arm, shoulder, neck or jaw
*Difficulty breathing, wheezing, or shortness of breath
*High fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit)
*Increased or decreased urine output
*Loss of bladder or bowel control
*Progressive weakness and numbness
*Redness, warmth or swelling
*Seizures
*Stiff neck and headache, with or without nausea or vomiting
*Weakness or lethargy

Causes:
Hundreds of diseases, disorders and conditions can cause pain, such as inflammatory syndromes, malignancy, trauma, and infection. In some cases, pain may be a symptom of a serious or life-threatening condition, such as a heart attack or cancer.

The experience of pain is invariably tied to emotional, psychological, and cognitive factors.

Pain can be due to a wide variety of diseases, disorders and conditions that range from a mild injury to a debilitating disease. Pain can be categorized as acute, chronic, referred, cancer, neuropathic, and visceral.

Acute pain is experienced rapidly in response to disease or injury. Acute pain serves to alert the body that something is wrong and that action should be taken, such as pulling your arm away from a flame. Acute pain often resolves within a short time once the underlying condition is treated.

Chronic pain is defined as lasting more than three months. Chronic pain often begins as acute pain that lingers beyond the natural course of healing or after steps have been taken to address the cause of pain.

Referred pain is pain that originates in one part of the body but is felt in another part of the body.

Cancer pain is due to malignancy.

Neuropathic pain is caused by damage to the nervous system and is often perceived as tingling, burning, and pins-and-needles sensations called paresthesias.

Visceral pain is caused by a problem with the internal organs, such as the liver, gallbladder, kidney, heart or lungs.

Recent studies have found that some people with chronic pain may have low levels of endorphins in their spinal fluid. Endorphins are neurochemicals, similar to opiate drugs (like morphine), that are produced in the brain and released into the body in response to pain. Endorphins act as natural pain killers. Chronic pain most often affects older adults, but it can occur at any age. Chronic pain can persist for several months to years.

Complications:
Complications associated with pain depend on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. For example, pain resulting from a degenerative condition such as multiple sclerosis can lead to inactivity and its associated complications. Fortunately, pain can often be alleviated or minimized by physical therapy, basic self-help measures, and following the treatment plan outlined by your doctor.

However, in some cases the degree and duration of your pain may become overwhelming and affect your everyday living. Research into the diagnosis and treatment of chronic pain is ongoing, so contact your health care professional for the latest information.

Over time, pain can lead to complications including:

*Absenteeism from work or school
*Dependence on prescription pain medication
*Pain that does not respond to treatment (intractable pain)
*Permanent nerve damage (due to a pinched nerve) including paralysis
*Physiological and psychological response to chronic pain
*Poor quality of life

Diagnosis:
A person’s self-report is the most reliable measure of pain, with health care professionals tending to underestimate severity.A definition of pain widely employed in nursing, emphasizing its subjective nature and the importance of believing patient reports, was introduced by Margo McCaffery in 1968: “Pain is whatever the experiencing person says it is, existing whenever he says it does”. To assess intensity, the patient may be asked to locate their pain on a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 being no pain at all, and 10 the worst pain they have ever felt. Quality can be established by having the patient complete the McGill Pain Questionnaire indicating which words best describe their pain.

As an aid to diagnosis:
Pain is a symptom of many medical conditions. Knowing the time of onset, location, intensity, pattern of occurrence (continuous, intermittent, etc.), exacerbating and relieving factors, and quality (burning, sharp, etc.) of the pain will help the examining physician to accurately diagnose the problem. For example, chest pain described as extreme heaviness may indicate myocardial infarction, while chest pain described as tearing may indicate aortic dissection.

Physiological measurement of pain:
fMRI brain scanning has been used to measure pain, giving good correlations with self-reported pain.

Hedonic adaptation:
Hedonic adaptation means that actual long-term suffering due to physical illness is often much lower than expected.

Legal awards for pain and suffering:
One area where assessments of pain are effectively required to be made is in legal awards for pain and suffering. In the Western world these are typically discretionary awards made by juries and are regarded as difficult to predict, variable and subjective, for instance in the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand.

Treatment:
Inadequate treatment of pain is widespread throughout surgical wards, intensive care units, accident and emergency departments, in general practice, in the management of all forms of chronic pain including cancer pain, and in end of life care. This neglect is extended to all ages, from neonates to the frail elderly. African and Hispanic Americans are more likely than others to suffer needlessly in the hands of a physician; and women’s pain is more likely to be undertreated than men’s.

The International Association for the Study of Pain advocates that the relief of pain should be recognized as a human right, that chronic pain should be considered a disease in its own right, and that pain medicine should have the full status of a specialty. It is a specialty only in China and Australia at this time. Elsewhere, pain medicine is a subspecialty under disciplines such as anesthesiology, physiatry, neurology, palliative medicine and psychiatry. In 2011, Human Rights Watch alerted that tens of millions of people worldwide are still denied access to inexpensive medications for severe pain.

A number of medications can be used to treat acute pain. Many of these are available OTC (over the counter). Commonly used medication is paracetemol (10 mg /kg/dose in children 500 mg per dose in adults). It can be repeated every four hours. Paracetemol helps with fever as well, so if the aches and pains are due to seasonal flu, there is rapid improvement. It also blocks the areas of the brain that recognise pain. NSAIDs (non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen (Brufen) and nalidixic acid relieve pain but do not have much effect on fever. They act by blocking prostaglandin, one of the chemicals responsible for feeling pain. Topical anti-inflammatory medications, particularly those containing capsaicin are very effective. They should be applied lightly over the painful area followed by an ice pack.

More often chronic pain is due to the various types of arthritis (rheumatoid, osteoarthritis), autoimmune diseases, gout and mechanical problems like a disc prolapse. It needs to be diagnosed correctly so that appropriate treatment can be started. The medications taken may be steroids, opiods or the coxib group of drugs.

Acute pain is usually managed with medications such as analgesics and anesthetics. Caffeine when added to pain medications provides some additional benefit. Management of chronic pain, however, is much more difficult and may require the coordinated efforts of a pain management team, which typically includes medical practitioners, clinical psychologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners.

Sugar taken orally reduces the total crying time but not the duration of the first cry in newborns undergoing a painful procedure (a single lancing of the heel). It does not moderate the effect of pain on heart rate and a recent single study found that sugar did not significantly affect pain-related electrical activity in the brains of newborns one second after the heel lance procedure. Sweet oral liquid moderately reduces the incidence and duration of crying caused by immunization injection in children between one and twelve months of age.

The brain has to be retrained in its perception and response to pain. This can be done with a combination of physiotherapy and aerobic exercise. Judiciously used, these interventions help to reduce long-term dependence on pain medication.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://www.healthgrades.com/right-care/bones-joints-and-muscles/pain–symptoms
http://www.telegraphindia.com/1141229/jsp/knowhow/story_5590.jsp
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pain

Peppermint ( Mentha piperita )

Botanical Name : Mentha piperita
Family:
Lamiaceae
Genus:
Mentha
Kingdom:
Plantae
Order:
Lamiales

Synonym: Brandy Mint.

Common Names :Peppermint

Habitat:Mentha piperita is found throughout Europe, in moist situations, along stream banks and in waste lands, and is not unfrequent In damp places in England, but is not a common native plant, and probably is often an escape from cultivation. In America it is probably even more common as an escape than Spearmint, having long been known and grown in gardens.

Description:
Mentha piperita is a herbaceous rhizomatous perennial plant growing to 30–90 cm (12–35 in) tall, with smooth stems, square in cross section. The rhizomes are wide-spreading, fleshy, and bare fibrous roots. The leaves are from 4–9 cm (1.6–3.5 in) long and 1.5–4 cm (0.59–1.57 in) broad, dark green with reddish veins, and with an acute apex and coarsely toothed margins. The leaves and stems are usually slightly fuzzy. The flowers are purple, 6–8 mm (0.24–0.31 in) long, with a four-lobed corolla about 5 mm (0.20 in) diameter; they are produced in whorls (verticillasters) around the stem, forming thick, blunt spikes. Flowering is from mid to late summer. The chromosome number is variable, with 2n counts of 66, 72, 84, and 120 recorded. Peppermint is a fast growing plant once it sprouts, it spreads very quickly.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation:
Peppermint generally grows best in moist, shaded locations, and expands by underground stolons. Young shoots are taken from old stocks and dibbled into the ground about 1.5 feet apart. They grow quickly and cover the ground with runners if it is permanently moist. For the home gardener, it is often grown in containers to restrict rapid spreading. It grows best with a good supply of water, without being water-logged, and planted in areas with part-sun to shade.

The leaves and flowering tops are used; they are collected as soon as the flowers begin to open and can be dried. The wild form of the plant is less suitable for this purpose, with cultivated plants having been selected for more and better oil content. They may be allowed to lie and wilt a little before distillation, or they may be taken directly to the still.

Medicinal Uses:

Part Used: Herb.

Chemical constituents: Peppermint has a high menthol content. The oil also contains menthone and menthyl esters, particularly menthyl acetate. Dried peppermint typically has 0.3-0.4% of volatile oil containing menthol (7-48%), menthone (20-46%), menthyl acetate (3-10%), menthofuran (1-17%) and 1,8-cineol (3-6%). Peppermint oil also contains small amounts of many additional compounds including limonene, pulegone, caryophyllene and pinene.

Peppermint has a long tradition of medicinal use, with archaeological evidence placing its use at least as far back as ten thousand years ago.

Peppermint is commonly used to soothe or treat symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, indigestion, irritable bowel, and bloating.

One animal study has suggested that Peppermint may have radioprotective effects in patients undergoing cancer treatment.

The aroma of peppermint has been found to enhance memory and alertness, although other research contests this. Peppermint is used in aromatherapy.

Peppermint oil:
Peppermint oil has a high concentration of natural pesticides, mainly pulegone (Found mainly in Mentha arvensis var. piperascens Cornmint, Field Mint, Japanese Mint and to a lesser extent-6,530 ppm in Mentha x piperita subsp. nothosubsp. piperita) and menthone.

The chemical composition of the essential oil from peppermint (Mentha x piperita L.) was analyzed by GC/FID and GC-MS. The main constituents were menthol (40.7%) and menthone (23.4%). Further components were (+/-)-menthyl acetate, 1,8-cineole, limonene, beta-pinene and beta-caryophyllene.
Italian investigators reported that 75% of the patients in their study who took peppermint oil capsules for four weeks had a major reduction in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms, compared with just 38% of those who took a placebo. A second study in 2010, conducted in Iran, found similar results. 2011 research showed that peppermint acts through a specific anti-pain channel called TRPM8 to reduce pain sensing fibres.[citation needed] The authors feel that this study provides information that is potentially the first step in determining a new type of mainstream clinical treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

According to the German Commission E monographs, peppermint oil (as well as peppermint leaf) has been used internally as an antispasmodic (upper gastrointestinal tract and bile ducts) and to treat irritable bowel syndrome, catarrh of the respiratory tract, and inflammation of the oral mucosa. Externally, peppermint oil has been used for myalgia and neuralgia. According to the German Commission E, peppermint oil may also act as a carminative, cholagogue, antibacterial, and secretolytic, and it has a cooling action.

Enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules (Colpermin) been used as an orally administered antispasmodic premedication in colonoscopy. The capsules were found beneficial in reducing total procedure time, reducing colonic spasm, increasing endoscopist satisfaction and decreasing pain in patients during colonoscopy.

Similarly, some poorly designed earlier trials found that peppermint oil has the ability to reduce colicky abdominal pain due to IBS with an NNT (number needed to treat) around 3.1, but the oil is an irritant to the stomach in the quantity required and therefore needs wrapping for delayed release in the intestine. This could also be achieved by using the whole herb or leaves rather than the volatile components alone.

Due to the menthol constituent, topical use of peppermint oil around the facial or chest areas of infants and young children, especially around the nose, can induce apnea, laryngeal and bronchial spasm, acute respiratory distress with cyanosis, or respiratory arrest. It is also used in construction and plumbing to test for the tightness of pipes and disclose leaks by its odor.

Peppermint oil may cause or worsen heartburn.

Other Uses:
It is the oldest and most popular flavour of mint-flavoured confectionery and is often used in tea and for flavouring ice cream, confectionery, chewing gum, and toothpaste. Peppermint can also be found in some shampoos, soaps and skin care products.

Menthol activates cold-sensitive TRPM8 receptors in the skin and mucosal tissues, and is the primary source of the cooling sensation that follows the topical application of peppermint oil.

Peppermint flowers are large nectar producers and honey bees as well as other nectar harvesting organisms forage them heavily. A mild, pleasant varietal honey can be produced if there is a sufficient area of plants.
Known Hazards:  The toxicity studies of the plant have received controversial results. Some authors reported that the plant may induce hepatic diseases (liver disease), while others found that it protects against liver damage that is caused by heavy metals. In addition to that, the toxicities of the plant seem to vary from one cultivar to another and are dose dependent. This is probably attributed from the content level of pulegone.

With the limitation that the concentration of pulegone should not exceed 1%, it has been concluded that Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Extract, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaves, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Water are safe as used in cosmetic formulations.

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/Peppermint
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/m/mints-39.html#pep