Tag Archives: Amino acid

Chamomile

Botanical Name: Matricaria chamomilla
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Anthemideae
Genus: Matricaria
Species: M. chamomilla
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonym: Matricaria recutita

Common Names:Chamomile, German chamomile, Hungarian chamomile (kamilla), wild chamomile or scented mayweed,

Habitat:Chamomile is native to southern and eastern Europe. It is also grown in Germany, Hungary, France, Russia, Yugoslavia, and Brazil. It was introduced to India during the Mughal period, now it is grown in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Jammu and Kashmir. The plants can be found in North Africa, Asia, North and South America, Australia, and New Zealand. Hungary is the main producer of the plant biomass. In Hungary, it also grows abundantly in poor soils and it is a source of income to poor inhabitants of these areas. Flowers are exported to Germany in bulk for distillation of the oil. It often grows near roads, around landfills, and in cultivated fields as a weed, because the seeds require open soil to survive.

Description:
Chamomile is an annual plant with thin spindle-shaped roots only penetrating flatly into the soil. The branched stem is erect, heavily ramified, and grows to a height of 10–80 cm. The long and narrow leaves are bi- to tripinnate. The flower heads are placed separately, they have a diameter of 10–30 mm, and they are pedunculate and heterogamous. The golden yellow tubular florets with 5 teeth are 1.5–2.5 mm long, ending always in a glandulous tube. The flowers bloom in early to midsummer, and have a strong, aromatic smell. The flowers are 6–11 mm long, 3.5 mm wide, and arranged concentrically. The receptacle is 6–8 mm wide, flat in the beginning and conical, cone-shaped later, hollow—the latter being a very important distinctive characteristic of Matricaria—and without paleae. The fruit is a yellowish brown achene.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation:
German chamomile can be grown on any type of soil, but growing the crop on rich, heavy, and damp soils should be avoided. It can also withstand cold weather with temperature ranging from 2°C to 20°C. The crop has been grown very successfully on the poor soils (loamy sand) at the farm of the Regional Research Laboratory, Jammu. At Banthra farm of the National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow, the crop has been grown successfully on soil with a pH of 9. Soils with pH 9–9.2 are reported to support its growth. In Hungary, it grows extensively on clayey lime soils, which are barren lands and considered to be too poor for any other crop. Temperature and light conditions (sunshine hours) have greater effect on essential oils and azulene content, than soil type. Chamomile possesses a high degree of tolerance to soil alkalinity. The plants accumulate fairly large quantity of sodium (66 mg/100 gm of dry material), which helps in reducing the salt concentration in the top soil.[43] No substantial differences were found in the characteristics of the plants grown 1500 km apart (Hungary–Finland). Under cooler conditions in Finland, the quantity of the oxide type in the essential oil was lower than in Hungary.

Propagation:
The plant is propagated by seeds. The seeds of the crop are very minute in size; a thousand seeds weigh 0.088–0.153 gm. About 0.3–0.5 kg of clean seed with a high germination percentage sown in an area of 200–250 m2 gives enough seedlings for stocking a hectare of land. The crop can be grown by two methods i.e. direct sowing of the seed and transplanting. Moisture conditions in the field for direct sowing of seeds must be very good otherwise a patchy and poor germination is obtained. As direct sowing of seeds usually results in poor germination, the transplanting method is generally followed. The mortality of the seedlings is almost negligible in transplanting.

Medicinal Uses:
Chamomile is used in herbal medicine for a sore stomach, irritable bowel syndrome, and as a gentle sleep aid. It is also used as a mild laxative and is anti-inflammatory and bactericidal. It can be taken as an herbal tea, two teaspoons of dried flower per cup of tea, which should be steeped for 10 to 15 minutes while covered to avoid evaporation of the volatile oils. The marc should be pressed because of the formation of a new active principle inside the cells, which can then be released by rupturing the cell walls, though this substance only forms very close to boiling point. For a sore stomach, some recommend taking a cup every morning without food for two to three months. It has been studied as a mouthwash against oral mucositis ]and may have acaricidal properties against certain mites, such as Psoroptes cuniculi.

One of the active ingredients of its essential oil is the terpene bisabolol. Other active ingredients include farnesene, chamazulene, flavonoids (including apigenin, quercetin, patuletin and luteolin) and coumarin.

Dried chamomile has a reputation (among herbalists) for being incorrectly prepared because it is dried at a temperature above the boiling point of the volatile components of the plant.

Chamomile is used topically in skin and mucous membrane inflammations and skin diseases. It can be inhaled for respiratory tract inflammations or irritations; used in baths as irrigation for anogenital inflammation; and used internally for GI spasms and inflammatory diseases. However, clinical trials supporting any use of chamomile are limited.

Possible Side Effects:
Chamomile, a relative of ragweed, can cause allergy symptoms and can cross-react with ragweed pollen in individuals with ragweed allergies. It also contains coumarin, so care should be taken to avoid potential drug interactions, e.g. with blood thinners.

While extremely rare, very large doses of chamomile may cause nausea and vomiting. Even more rarely, rashes may occur. A type-IV allergic reaction with severe anaphylaxis has been reported in a 38-year old man who drank chamomile tea.

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/Matricaria_chamomilla
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3210003/
http://www.drugs.com/npp/chamomile.html

Advertisements

Gardenia jasminoides

Botanical Name : Gardenia jasminoides
Family: Rubiaceae
Genus: Gardenia
Species: G. jasminoides
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Common Names: Common gardenia, Cape jasmine or Cape jessamine (The common names cape jasmine and cape jessamine derive from the earlier belief that the flower originated in Cape of Good Hope, South Africa)

Habitat :It originated in Asia and is most commonly found growing in Vietnam, Southern China, Taiwan, Japan and India.

Description:
Gardenia jasminoides is a fragrant flowering evergreen tropical plant  with greyish bark and dark green shiny leaves with prominent veins. The white flowers bloom in spring and summer and are highly fragrant. They are followed by small oval fruit.

CLICK & SEE  THE  PICTURES 

You may click to see more pictures: 

It is  favorite in gardens worldwide.  With its shiny green leaves and fragrant white summer flowers, it is widely used in gardens in warm temperate and subtropical climates. It has been in cultivation in China for at least a thousand years, and was introduced to English gardens in the mid 18th century. Many varieties have been bred for horticulture, with low growing, and large- and long-flowering forms.

Cultivation:
Gardenia jasminoides is generally considered to be somewhat difficult to take care of.

As a tropical plant, it thrives best in warm temperatures in humid environments. Getting those conditions is rather hard when in non tropical latitudes, reason for which gardenias are usually cultivated indoors or in greenhouses. In warm places, though, it can be grown outdoors. Either way, it prefers bright indirect sunlight or partial shade, rather than direct sunlight.

Apart from the difficulties in creating the suitable conditions for the plant to live, Gardenias need to be planted in an acidic soil (it is an acidophile plant). If the soil is not acid enough, many of its nutrients (especially iron compounds) will not be available for the plant, since they won’t dilute in water and therefore won’t be absorbed via the roots. It this happens, gardenias start to develop chlorosis, whose main symptom is a yellowing of the leaves. (See Soil ph).

For this reason, it’s advisable not to water Gardenias with very hard water. When having to water with hard water, it is possible to add some vinegar or lemon juice to it before doing so, this will lower the pH of the water.

Iron chelate can be added to the soil in order to lower the pH, but care must be taken since an overdose can kill the plant, as with any other inorganic soil amendment.

Some gardeners will spill vinegar over the soil to effectively keep the pH low and prevent chlorosis. This can be carried out either regularly or when the first symptoms of chlorosis have been spotted.

Medicinal Uses:
It is used as a tea for feverish states, inflammations of the liver (chronic hepatitis), gastrointestinal tract (with impaired digestion, minor constipation), genitourinary tract (cystitis), and as an antidyscratic (blood purifier) and anti-inflammatory for atopic eczema and chronic rheumatic complaints.

Traditional uses:
Gardenia jasminoides fructus (fruit) is used within Traditional Chinese Medicine to “drain fire” and thereby treat certain febrile conditions.

Pharmacological research:
Studies in animals indicate some pharmacological potential, but there is no evidence from clinical studies in humans. In one animal study Gardenia jasminoides significantly lowered serum IL-1? and TNF-? levels in rheumatoid arthritis rats, and its effect had a close relation with inhibitory development of rheumatoid arthritis in the rats.

A mice study found that genipin was an active constituent in Gardenia that regulated inflammatory activity. Geniposide from Gardenia enhanced glutathione content in rat livers. Glutathione is an important immune system amino acid that helps determine modulation of immune response, including cytokine production

Other Uses:
It is widely used as a garden plant in warm temperate and subtropical gardens. It can be used as a hedge.

The fruit is used as a yellow dye, which is used for clothes and food (including the Korean mung bean jelly called hwangpomuk).

Polynesian people in the pacific islands use these fragrant blooms in their flower necklaces, which are called Ei in the Cook Islands, Hei in French Polynesia and Lei in Hawai’i

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/Gardenia_jasminoides
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_IJK.htm

Enhanced by Zemanta

Phenylketonuria (PKU)

Definition;
Phenylketonuria (PKU) is an autosomal recessive metabolic genetic disorder characterized by a mutation in the gene for the hepatic enzyme phenylalanine hydroxylase (PAH), rendering it nonfunctional.:541 This enzyme is necessary to metabolize the amino acid phenylalanine (Phe) to the amino acid tyrosine. When PAH enzymatic activity is reduced, phenylalanine accumulates and is converted into phenylpyruvate (also known as phenylketone), which is detected in the urine.

Amino acids are the building blocks for body proteins. ‘Essential’ amino acids can only be obtained from the food we eat as our body does not normally produce them. In ‘classic PKU’, the enzyme that breaks down phenylalanine phenylalanine hydroxylase, is completely or nearly completely deficient. This enzyme normally converts phenylalanine to another amino acid, tyrosine. Without this enzyme, phenylalanine and its’ breakdown chemicals from other enzyme routes, accumulate in the blood and body tissues. Although the term ‘hyperphenylalaninemia’ strictly means elevated blood phenylalanine, it is usually used to describe a group of disorders other than classic PKU. These other disorders may be caused by a partial deficiency of the phenylalanine breakdown enzyme or the lack of another enzyme important to the processing of this amino acid. A normal blood phenylalanine level is about 1 mg/dl. In classic PKU, levels may range from 6 to 80mg/dl, but are usually greater than 30mg/dl. Levels are somewhat less in the other disorders of hyperphenylalaninemia. Chronically high levels of phenylalanine and some of its breakdown products can cause significant brain problems. Classic PKU is the most common cause of high levels of phenylalanine in the blood and will be the primary focus of this topic sheet.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

The mean incidence of PKU varies widely in different human populations. In Turkey, 1 in 2600 births (the highest rate in the world) show PKU; in Ireland, 1 in 4,500, 1 in 13,000 in Norway, and fewer than one in 100,000 in Finland. In the United States, about 1 in 15,000 births shows classical PKU. The incidence is relatively high in Italy, China, and Yemen

Classic PKU and the other causes of hyperphenylalaninemia affect about one of every 10,000 to 20,000 Caucasian or Oriental births. The incidence in African Americans is far less. These disorders are equally frequent in males and females.

Since its discovery, there have been many advances in its treatment. It can now be successfully managed by the patient under ongoing medical supervision to avoid the more serious side effects. If, however, the condition is left untreated, it can cause problems with brain development, leading to progressive mental retardation, brain damage, and seizures. In the past, PKU was treated with a low-phenylalanine diet. Latter-day research now has shown diet alone may not be enough to prevent the negative effects of phenylalanine levels. Optimal treatment involves lowering blood Phe levels to a safe range and monitoring diet and cognitive development. Lowering of Phe levels to a safe range may be achieved by combining a low-Phe diet with protein supplements. There is currently no cure for this disease; however, some treatments are available with varying success rates. In general, PKU is detected through newborn screening and diagnosed by a geneticist. PKU clinics around the world provide care for PKU patients to optimize Phe levels, dietary intake, and cognitive outcomes.

Symptoms:
Newborns with phenylketonuria initially don’t have any symptoms. Without treatment, though, babies usually develop signs of PKU within a few months. Phenylketonuria symptoms can be mild or severe and may include:

*Mental retardation
*Behavioral or social problems
*Seizures, tremors or jerking movements in the arms and legs)
*Hyperactivity
*Stunted growth
*Skin rashes (eczema)
*Small head size (microcephaly)
*A musty odor in the child’s breath, skin or urine, caused by too much phenylalanine in the body

*Fair skin and blue eyes, because phenylalanine cannot transform into melanin — the pigment responsible for hair and skin tone

Varying severity
The most severe form of the disorder is known as classic PKU. Children with untreated classic PKU usually develop obvious, permanent mental retardation.

Less severe forms of PKU — sometimes called mild or moderate PKU — have a smaller risk of significant brain damage, but most children with these forms of the disorder still require a special diet to prevent mental retardation and other complications.

Pregnancy and PKU
A woman who has PKU and becomes pregnant is at risk of another form of the condition called maternal PKU. Many people with PKU used to stop following a low-phenylalanine diet during their teen years, as was directed by doctors at the time. But, doctors now know that if a woman doesn’t follow the diet during pregnancy, blood phenylalanine levels can become very high and harm the developing fetus. Because of this, and other reasons, doctors recommend that anyone with PKU follow the low-phenylalanine diet for life.

Although babies born to mothers with high phenylalanine levels may have complications at birth, most don’t actually inherit PKU and won’t need to follow a PKU diet after birth. However, these babies are at risk of being born with:

*Mental retardation
*Abnormally small head (microcephaly)
*Heart defects
*Low birth weights
*Behavioral problems

 

Causes:
A genetic mutation causes PKU. The defective gene contains the instructions for making an enzyme needed to process the amino acid called phenylalanine. Amino acids are the building blocks for protein. In a person with PKU, this gene is defective, causing a complete or near-complete deficiency of the enzyme. Without the enzyme necessary to process phenylalanine, a dangerous buildup of this amino acid can develop when a person with PKU eats foods that are high in protein, such as milk, cheese, nuts or meats. This can eventually lead to serious health problems.
CLICK & SEE
For a child to inherit PKU, both the mother and father must have and pass on the defective gene. This pattern of inheritance is called autosomal recessive. It’s possible for a parent to have the defective gene, but not have the disease. This is called being a carrier. Most often, PKU is passed down the family tree by parents who are carriers of the disorder, but don’t know it.

.For women affected with PKU, it is essential for the health of their children to maintain low Phe levels before and during pregnancy.  Though the developing fetus may only be a carrier of the PKU gene, the intrauterine environment can have very high levels of phenylalanine, which can cross the placenta. The child may develop congenital heart disease, growth retardation, microcephaly and mental retardation as a result.  PKU-affected women themselves are not at risk from additional complications during pregnancy.
In most countries, women with PKU who wish to have children are advised to lower their blood Phe levels (typically to between 2 and 6 micromol/deciliter) before they become pregnant, and carefully control their levels throughout the pregnancy. This is achieved by performing regular blood tests and adhering very strictly to a diet, in general monitored on a day-to-day basis by a specialist metabolic dietitian. In many cases, as the fetus’ liver begins to develop and produce PAH normally, the mother’s blood Phe levels will drop, requiring an increased intake to remain within the safe range of 2-6 micromol/dL. The mother’s daily Phe intake may double or even triple by the end of the pregnancy, as a result. When maternal blood Phe levels fall below 2 micromol/dL, anecdotal reports indicate the mothers may suffer adverse effects, including headaches, nausea, hair loss, and general malaise. When low phenylalanine levels are maintained for the duration of pregnancy, there are no elevated levels of risk of birth defects compared with a baby born to a non-PKU mother.   Babies with PKU may drink breast milk, while also taking their special metabolic formula. Some research has indicated an exclusive diet of breast milk for PKU babies may alter the effects of the deficiency, though during breastfeeding the mother must maintain a strict diet to keep her Phe levels low. More research is needed. US scientist announced in June 2010 that they would be conducting a thorough investigation on the mutation of genes in the human genome. Their top priority is PKU, as it has become increasingly common, and sufferers often bear children who will be carriers of the recessive gene, and may themselves live past the age of sixty.
Risk factors:
Both parents must pass along a copy of the mutated PKU gene for their child to develop the condition. If only one parent has the PKU gene, there’s no risk of passing PKU to a child. The gene defect occurs mainly in people of Northern European and Native American ancestry. It’s much less common in blacks, Asians and Hispanics.

Children of mothers who have PKU but who didn’t follow the PKU diet during pregnancy also may be affected. Although these children don’t often have PKU, they do have consequences of the high level of phenylalanine in the mother’s blood.

Diagnosis:
PKU can be easily detected with a simple blood test. Most states require a PKU screening test for all newborns. The test is generally done with a heelstick shortly after birth.

If the initial screening test is positive, further blood and urine tests are required to confirm the diagnosis.

•The objective in diagnosing or treating the disorder is to prevent mental retardation.

•Serum phenylalanine levels greater than 4 mg/dl is abnormal, the normal values is 2 mg/dl. Significant brain damage usually occurs when levels are greater than 10 – 15 mg/dl

 

Treatment:
If PKU is diagnosed early enough, an affected newborn can grow up with normal brain development, but only by managing and controlling Phe levels through diet, or a combination of diet and medication. Optimal health ranges (or “target ranges”) are between 120 and 360 µmol/L, and aimed to be achieved during at least the first 10 years. When Phe cannot be metabolized by the body, abnormally high levels accumulate in the blood and are toxic to the brain. When left untreated, complications of PKU include severe mental retardation, brain function abnormalities, microcephaly, mood disorders, irregular motor functioning, and behavioral problems such as ADHD.

All PKU patients must adhere to a special diet low in Phe for optimal brain development. “Diet for life” has become the standard recommended by most experts. The diet requires severely restricting or eliminating foods high in Phe, such as meat, chicken, fish, eggs, nuts, cheese, legumes, milk and other dairy products. Starchy foods, such as potatoes, bread, pasta, and corn, must be monitored. Infants may still be breastfed to provide all of the benefits of breastmilk, but the quantity must also be monitored and supplementation for missing nutrients will be required. The sweetener aspartame, present in many diet foods and soft drinks, must also be avoided, as aspartame consists of two amino acids: phenylalanine and aspartic acid.

Supplementary infant formulas are used in these patients to provide the amino acids and other necessary nutrients that would otherwise be lacking in a low-phenylalanine diet. As the child grows up these can be replaced with pills, formulas, and specially formulated foods. (Since Phe is necessary for the synthesis of many proteins, it is required for appropriate growth, but levels must be strictly controlled in PKU patients.) In addition tyrosine, which is normally derived from phenylalanine, must be supplemented.

The oral administration of tetrahydrobiopterin (or BH4) (a cofactor for the oxidation of phenylalanine) can reduce blood levels of this amino acid in certain patients. The company BioMarin Pharmaceutical has produced a tablet preparation of the compound sapropterin dihydrochloride (Kuvan), which is a form of tetrahydrobiopterin. Kuvan is the first drug that can help BH4-responsive PKU patients (defined among clinicians as about 1/2 of the PKU population) lower Phe levels to recommended ranges.[17] Working closely with a dietitian, some PKU patients who respond to Kuvan may also be able to increase the amount of natural protein they can eat. After extensive clinical trials, Kuvan has been approved by the FDA for use in PKU therapy. Some researchers and clinicians working with PKU are finding Kuvan a safe and effective addition to dietary treatment and beneficial to patients with PKU.

Several other therapies are currently under investigation, including gene therapy, large neutral amino acids, and enzyme substitution therapy with phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL). In the past, PKU-affected people were allowed to go off diet after approximately eight, then 18 years of age. Today, most physicians recommend PKU patients must manage their Phe levels throughout life.
Prognosis:
The outlook depends on how early an infant with PKU is diagnosed and begins the special diet, as well as how strictly and consistently the diet is followed throughout life. Infants with PKU who are identified within the first few days after birth and are put on a strict diet before 3 weeks of age have the best prognosis and usually do not experience severe developmental delay or mental retardation.

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.nursing-lectures.com/2011/04/phenylketonuria-pku-nursing-care-plan.html
http://www.newbornscreening.info/Parents/aminoaciddisorders/PKU.html
http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/phenylketonuria/overview.html
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/phenylketonuria/DS00514
http://www.medhelp.org/lib/pku.htm
http://www.onlymyhealth.com/what-prognosis-phenylketonuria-pku-12977608306
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phenylketonuria#cite_note-17

Eat Watermelon to Prevent High Blood Pressure

Eating watermelon may help prevent high blood pressure, according to findings published in the American Journal of Hypertension.

During a six-week study, four men and five postmenopausal women aged 51 to 57 were given 6 grams (g) of amino acid, which was extracted from the fruit. As a result, the researchers found that all the participants experienced better arterial function, which led to lower blood pressure.

The investigators suggest that these findings occurred because cardiovascular complications are improved by nutrients found in the fruit, such as vitamins A, B6, C, fiber, potassium and lycopene, which is a strong antioxidant.

Arturo Figueroa, co-author of the study, stated that “these findings suggest that this ‘functional food‘ has a vasodilatory effect, and one that may prevent prehypertension from progressing to full-blown hypertension, a major risk factor for heart attacks and strokes.” He added that because of the success of this trial, “we hope to continue the research and include a much larger group of participants in the next round.”

People who are interested in adding other food sources to their diet that combat high blood pressure can benefit from beetroot juice, brown rice, grapes and walnuts, which all contain several of the nutrients found in watermelon

Source :Better Health Researech

Enhanced by Zemanta

Lobelia chinensis

Botanical Name: Lobelia chinensis
Family: Campanulaceae
Genus: Lobelia
Species: L. chinensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Common Name :Creeping Lobelia,Chinese Lobelia,Lobelia chinensis

Chinese  Name :Pinyin : ban bian lian

Habitat:Original native of China

Description:
Lobelia chinensis is a species of flowering plant in the family Campanulaceae. Growing Height: 2″-3″.  Small pink flowers all summer.
It is in hardy to zone 7.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation:
Planting depth: Bog plant, not to be fully submerged. Thrives in full sun to partial shade. Works well in floating islands.

Chemical constituents:
Lobelia chinensis contains constituents including lobeline, lobelanine, isolobelanine, lobelanidine, and some chemical reactions of flavonoid, amino acid etc.

Medicinal uses;
It is one of the 50 fundamental herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine.
It has a number of purported uses and folk remedies that include treatment for inflammation, scurvy and fever. A tea made from the stem and leaves can be made to act as a diuretic. Moreover, it also has certain astringent properties and uses.

Click to see : Cadmium and Other Metal Uptake by Lobelia chinensis and Solanum nigrum from Contaminated Soils  :


Other Uses:
This can be grown as cute little ground cover .It makes a darling groundcover of tiny leaves, topped all summer with miniature pink, lobelia-like flowers.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.callutheran.edu/gf/plants/category/gar-4463.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lobelia_chinensis
http://www.watergarden.org/Pond-Supplies/Floating-Island-Bog-Plants/Chinese-Lobelia
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Lobelia_chinensis
http://www.plantdelights.com/Catalog/Plants/Lobelia-chinensis.html

Enhanced by Zemanta