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Asarum maximum

Botanical Name: Asarum maximum
Family: Aristolochiaceae
Genus: Asarum
Species: A. maximum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Piperales

Common Name : Ling Ling Panda Face Ginger

Habitat :Asarum maximum is native to E. Asia – China in Hubei and E. Sichuan. It grows in the forests in humus rich soils at elevations of 600 – 800 metres.

Description:
Asarum maximum is a perennial herb growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in).
This clumping species from China has large, 6″, glossy, rounded arrowhead-shaped, green leaves. It is certainly best-known for its stunning flowers (often the subject of fine paintings). It is in flower from May to June. The 2″ flower is velvet-black outside with a stunning white interior. This easy-to-grow species really responds well to rich humus-laden soils and high fertility. A well-grown 10″ tall x 18″ wide clump of Asarum maximum ‘Green Panda’ is simply stunning as well as deer-resistant .

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The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Flies.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) or semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist soil.

Cultivation:
Prefers a rich moist neutral to acid soil in woodland or a shady position in the rock garden[1, 200]. Plants are hardy to at least -15°c. The flowers are malodorous and are pollinated by flies. Plants often self-sow when growing in a suitable position.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe in the summer. Stored seed will require 3 weeks cold stratification and should be sown in late winter. The seed usually germinates in the spring in 1 – 4 or more weeks at 18°c. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out when large enough in late spring. Division in spring or autumn. Plants are slow to increase. It is best to pot the divisions up and keep them in light shade in the greenhouse until they are growing away strongly.

Medicinal Uses:
The dried plant is used medicinally in Vietnam. The leaves ate used in the treatment of dyspepsia and colic whilst the flowers and roots are used as a reconstituent. Analgesic, expectorant. Used as a gargle for sore throats etc
Known Hazards: Although no reports of toxicity have been found for this plant, at least 3 other members of this genus have reports that the leaves are toxic. Some caution is therefore advised in the use of this plant.

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/Asarum_maximum
http://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Asarum+maximum
Asarum maximum Ling Ling

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HOW TO KEEP MEMORY SHARP

By age 60, more than half of adults have concerns about their memory. However, minor memory lapses that occur with age are not usually signs of a serious problem, such as Alzheimer’s disease, but rather the result of normal changes in the structure and function of the brain. This report describes these normal age-related changes and other more serious causes of memory loss — and how to distinguish between them.

The way you live, what you eat and drink, and how you treat your body can affect your memory just as much as your physical health and well-being. Here are five things you can do every day to keep both your mind and body sharp.

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1. Manage your stress. The constant drumbeat of daily stresses such as deadline pressures or petty arguments can certainly distract you and affect your ability to focus and recall.Always negative thinking against an agenda is the bigger problem is an ongoing sense of anxiety — that can lead to memory impairment. If you don’t have a strategy in place for managing your stress, protecting your memory is one reason to get one.Positive thinking, deep breathing, meditation, yoga, and a “mindful” approach to living can all help.

2. Get a good night’s sleep. People who don’t sleep well at night tend to be more forgetful than people who sleep soundly. A good night’s sleep is essential for consolidating memories. The most common reason for poor sleep is insomnia — difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. Unfortunately, many medicines used to treat insomnia can also impair memory and general brain function. That’s why it’s best to try improving your sleep habits first and turn to medication only if those steps don’t help. If you do need sleep aids, use the lowest dose for the shortest time needed to get your sleep back on track.

3. If you smoke, quit. Easier said than done, certainly — but if you need additional motivation, know that smokers have a greater degree of age-related memory loss and other memory problems than nonsmokers. People who smoke more than two packs of cigarettes a day at midlife have more than double the risk of developing dementia in old age compared with nonsmokers. However, those who stop smoking by midlife and those who smoke less than half a pack a day have a similar a risk of dementia as people who have never smoked.

4. If you drink alcohol, do so moderately. Drinking too much alcohol increases the risk for memory loss and dementia. People with alcoholism have difficulty performing short-term memory tasks, such as memorizing lists. Another type of memory loss associated with alcohol use is called Korsakoff’s syndrome. In this condition, long-term vitamin B1 deficiency, combined with the toxic effects of alcohol on the brain, can trigger sudden and dramatic amnesia. In some cases this memory loss is permanent, but if caught early, it can be reversed to some degree.

5. Protect your brain from injury. Head trauma is a major cause of memory loss and increases the risk of developing dementia. Always use the appropriate gear during high-speed activities and contact sports. Wear a helmet when bicycling, riding on a motorcycle, in-line skating, and skiing. Wear seat belts when riding in motor vehicles. Car accidents are by far the most common cause of brain injury, and wearing a seat belt greatly reduces the chances of severe head injury.

Source: Advice from Harvard Medical School

Gentiana manshurica

Botanical Name: Gentiana manshurica
Family: Gentianaceae
Genus: Gentiana
Species: G. manshurica
Order: Gentianales

Common Name : Gentiana manshurica

Habitat :Gentiana manshurica is native to East Asia – China, Manchuria. It grows on the grassland slopes, wet meadows, roadsides; 100-1100 m. Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Jilin, Liaoning, Nei Mongol, Ningxia, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi, Taiwan, Zhejiang.

Description:
Gentiana manshurica is a perennial herb, growing 20-30cm tall. Stems glabrous. Lower stem leaves pale purple, 5-8 mm; middle to upper leaves linear to linear-lanceolate, 3-10 cm × 3-9(-14) mm, base narrowed to obtuse, margin slightly revolute and smooth, apex acuminate to acute, veins 1-3; upper leaves slightly smaller, longer than but not surrounding flowers. Flowers terminal, solitary, sessile or subsessile, rarely also few in axils of upper leaves; bracts linear-lanceolate, 1.5-2 cm. Calyx tube 8-10 mm, entire; lobes linear to linear-lanceolate, 0.8-1.5 cm, margin slightly revolute, apex acute, vein 1. Corolla violet to blue-purple, tubular-campanulate, 4-5 cm; lobes ovate-triangular, 7-9 mm, margin entire, apex acuminate; plicae obliquely ovate, 3.5-4 mm, margin irregularly denticulate, apex obtuse. Stamens inserted at basal part of corolla tube; filaments 0.9-1.2 cm; anthers narrowly ellipsoid, 3.5-4 mm. Style 2-3 mm. Capsules 1.5-1.8 cm; gynophore to 2 cm. Seeds 1.8-2.2 mm. Fl. and fr. Aug-Sep
The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bumblebees, butterflies….CLICK &  SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation:
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in most parts of this country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. In general, gentians require a moist well-drained soil in a sheltered position, a certain minimum of atmospheric humidity, high light intensity but a site where temperatures are not too high. They are therefore more difficult to grow in areas with hot summers and in such a region they appreciate some protection from the strongest sunlight. Most species will grow well in the rock garden. A moisture loving plant, preferring to grow with full exposure to the sun but with plenty of underground moisture in the summer, it grows better in the north and west of Britain. Plants are intolerant of root disturbance.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a light position in a cold frame. It can also be sown in late winter or early spring but the seed germinates best if given a period of cold stratification and quickly loses viability when stored, with older seed germinating slowly and erratically. It is advantageous to keep the seed at about 10°c for a few days after sowing, to enable the seed to imbibe moisture. Following this with a period of at least 5 – 6 weeks with temperatures falling to between 0 and -5°c will usually produce reasonable germination. It is best to use clay pots, since plastic ones do not drain so freely and the moister conditions encourage the growth of moss, which will prevent germination of the seed. The seed should be surface-sown, or only covered with a very light dressing of compost. The seed requires dark for germination, so the pots should be covered with something like newspaper or be kept in the dark. Pot up the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. The seedlings grow on very slowly, taking 2 – 7 years to reach flowering size. When the plants are of sufficient size, place them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Division in March. Most members of this genus have either a single tap-root, or a compact root system united in a single root head, and are thus unsuitable for division. Cuttings of basal shoots in late spring.

Medicinal Uses:
The roots of gentian species contain some of the most bitter compounds known and make an excellent tonic for the whole digestive system, working especially on the stomach, liver and gall bladder. The root is antibacterial and stomachic. It is used in the treatment of jaundice, leucorrhoea, eczema, conjunctivitis, sore throat, acute infection of the urinary system, hypertension with dizziness and tinnitus. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use.

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://vi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gentiana_manshurica
http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=200018011
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Gentiana+manshurica

Brahmi (Bacopa monniera)

Botanical Name :Bacopa monniera
Family :Scrophulariaceae/PLANTAGINACEAE Plantain Family
Genus: Bacopa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales
Species:
B. monnieri
Common Names :  Bacopa , Water hyssop, Brahmi, Coastal Waterhyssop, Thyme-leafed gratiola,
International Naming:
(Niirpirami) in Tamil
Phak mi, Phrommi , in Vietnamese
Lunuwila in Sinhalese (Sri Lanka)

Habitat: Native in India,Bangladesh,Burma.It commonly grows in marshy areas throughout India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, China, Taiwan, and Vietnam, and is also found in Florida and other southern states of the USA where it can be grown in damp conditions by the pond or bog garden.. Wetlands and muddy shores.

Description:
Bacopa Monniera is a genus of 70-100 aquatic plants in the family Plantaginaceae. The plants are annual or perennial, decumbent or erect stemmed plants. Crushed Bacopa leaves have the distinct scent of lemons.It is a  creeping herb with numerous branches, small oblong leaves, and light purple flowers. In India and the tropics it grows naturally in wet soil, shallow water, and marshes. The herb can be found at elevations from sea level to altitudes of 4,400 feet, and is easily cultivated if adequate water is available. Flowers and fruit appear in summer and the entire plant is used medicinally.   Brahmi is also the name given to Centella asiatica, particularly in north India, although that may be a case of mistaken identification that was introduced during the 16th century.

CLICK TO SEE THE PICTURES..>....(01).......(1).….…(2)..…....(3)..……....(4)….

Bacopa Monniera is used prominently in Ayurveda, a holistic medicine system from India, and has been used since approximately the 6th century AD.
Bacopa monnieri in Hyderabad, India.The leaves of this plant are succulent and relatively thick. Leaves are oblanceolate and are arranged oppositely on the stem. The flowers are small and white, with four or five petals. Its ability to grow in water makes it a popular aquarium plant. It can even grow in slightly brackish conditions. Propagation is often achieved through cuttings.

Edible uses:
It is used in Vietnamese cuisine, where it is called rau ??ng bi?n. It is used in cháo cá, a variety of rice congee made with fish and n?m tràm mushrooms.

Active Constituents and Pharmacokinetics:
Compounds responsible for the pharmacological effects of Bacopa include alkaloids, saponins, and sterols. Many active constituents–the alkaloids Brahmine and herpestine, saponins d-mannitol and hersaponin, acid A, and monnierin–were isolated in India over 40 years ago. Other active constituents have since been identified, including betulic acid, stigmastarol, beta-sitosterol, as well as numerous bacosides and bacopasaponins. The constituents responsible for Bacopa’s cognitive effects are bacosides A and B.5. (5-9)

Medicinal Actions & Uses:

Traditional uses: Bacopa has been used in traditional Ayurvedic treatment for epilepsy and asthma. It is also used in Ayurveda for ulcers, tumors, ascites, enlarged spleen, inflammations, leprosy, anemia, and gastroenteritis.

It has antioxidant properties, reducing oxidation of fats in the bloodstream. However, anti-epilepsy properties seem to be in very high toxic and near lethal doses, so it’s only used—at much lower non-toxic dosage—as a (cognitive) additive to regular epilepsy medication. Studies in humans show that an extract of the plant has antianxiety effects.

It is listed as a nootropic, a drug that enhances cognitive ability. In India, this plant has also been used traditionally to consecrate newborn babies in the belief that it will open the gateway of intelligence. Laboratory studies on rats indicate that extracts of the plant improve memory capacity and motor learning ability.[5] Recent studies suggest bacopa may improve intellectual activity. The sulfhydryl and polyphenol components of Bacopa monniera extract have also been shown to impact the oxidative stress cascade by scavenging reactive oxygen species, inhibiting lipoxygenase activity and reducing divalent metals. This mechanism of action may explain the effect of Bacopa monniera extract in reducing beta-amyloid deposits in mice with Alzheimer’s disease.

It is used in Rebirthing therapy to accelerate trauma release and make continuous breathing easier. Bacopa monnieri is a well known nootropic plant reported for its tranquilizing, sedative, cognitive enhancing, hepatoprotective and antioxidant action.(ref name: m mujassam)

Common uses:
Memory, attention and other cognitive functions, occasional panic and anxiety, mental/physical fatigue, immune system response

Pharmacology and Phytochemicals:
Much modern research has focused on the activity Bacopa Monniera demonstrates in the Central Nervous System. Recent studies indicate that Bacosides, B. Monniera’s primary components, enhance nerve impulse transmission, possibly helping improve concentration, learning, memory, and attention span as well as other higher order cognitive functions. Preliminary lab results also suggest it influences that production and availability of Serotonin.

Scientists state that B. Monniera likely affects multiple systems in the body in order to promote emotional well-being, mental sharpness, and physical endurance.

Mechanisms of Action:
Bacopa Monniera has been identified in clinical study as an adaptogen that increases resistance to a wide range of chemical, physical, and biological stressors.

Research:
Bacopa monnieri displays in vitro antioxidant and cell-protective effects. In animals, it also inhibits acetylcholinesterase, activates choline acetyltransferase, and increases cerebral blood flow.

Several studies have suggested that Bacopa monnieri extracts may have protective effects in animal models of neurodegeneration. Small clinical trials in humans have found limited evidence supporting improved free memory recall, with no evidence supporting other cognition-enhancing effects.


Safety

A standardized Bacopa monniera preparation was evaluated for safety and tolerability in 23 healthy adult volunteers.   Participants took 300 mg of the extract daily for 15 days, followed by 450 mg/daily for the subsequent 15 days. No adverse effects were observed in biochemical, electrocardiographic, hematological or clinical parameters in the post-treatment vs. the pre-treatment period. There were some reports of mild gastrointestinal symptoms that resolved spontaneously.

Interactions
Bacopa Monnieri might agonize (strengthen) cytochrome p450 liver isoenzymes “7-pentoxyresorufin O-dealkylase” (CYP2B1/2?) and “7-ethoxyresorufin O-deethylation” (CYP1A1), especially under stressful conditions.

Known Hazards:  Aqueous extracts of Bacopa monnieri may have reversible adverse effects on spermatogenesis, sperm count, and fertility in male mice.

The most commonly reported adverse side effects of Bacopa monnieri in humans are nausea, increased intestinal motility, and gastrointestinal upset.

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/Bacopa_monnieri#cite_note-11
http://www.anxiety-and-depression-solutions.com/articles/complementary_alternative_medicine/herbs_supplements/bacopa_monniera.php
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0FDN/is_1_9/ai_114563492/
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail304.php

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Folic Acid for Women Between 16 to 45

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Learn More About Folic Acid

Scottish Spina Bifida Association

Source: Mail Online. Sept.2 ,2009

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