Tag Archives: Androgen

Arctium minus

Botanical Name : Arctium minus
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cynareae
Genus: Arctium
Species: A. minus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Common Names : Lesser Burdock, Burweed, Louse-bur, Common burdock,, Button-bur, Cuckoo-button, or Wild rhubarb

Habitat : Arctium minus is native to Europe, but has become an invasive weed in Australia, North and South America, and other places. It grows in waste ground, edges of woods, roadsides etc.

Description:
Arctium minus is a binnial plant.   It can grow up to 1.5 meters (1 to 5 feet) tall and form multiple branches. It is large and bushy. Flowers are prickly and pink to lavender in color. Flower heads are about 3/4 inches (2 cm) wide. The plant flowers from July through October. The flowers resemble and can be easily mistaken for thistles, but burdock can be distinguished by its extremely large (up to 50 cm) leaves and its hooked bracts. Leaves are long and ovate. Lower leaves are heart-shaped and have very wavy margins. Leaves are dark green above and woolly below. It grows an extremely deep taproot, up to 30 cm (12 in) into the ground.
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The plant produces purple flowers in its second year of growth, from July to October. Outer bracts end in hooks that are like Velcro. After the flower head dries, the hooked bracts will attach to humans and animals in order to transport the entire seedhead.

The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, lepidoptera, self.The plant is self-fertile.  It is noted for attracting wildlife.

Cultivation :
Succeeds on most soils, preferably moist. Prefers a sunny position. Prefers partial shade according to another report. A polymorphic species. A good butterfly plant.

Propagation :
Seed – best sown in situ in autumn.

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Leaves; Root; Seed; Stem.
Edible Uses: Coffee.

Root – raw or cooked. The best roots are obtained from young plants. Usually peeled and sliced. The roasted root is a coffee substitute. Young leaves and leaf stems – raw or cooked. Used as a potherb]. Mucilaginous. It is best to remove the rind from the stem. Young flowering stem – peeled and eaten raw or cooked like asparagus. Seed sprouts.
Medicinal Uses:

Alterative; Antibacterial; Antifungal; Aperient; Blood purifier; Carminative; Cholagogue; Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Hypoglycaemic.

Burdock is one of the foremost detoxifying herbs in both Chinese and Western herbal medicine. Arctium lappa is the main species used, though this species has similar properties. The dried root of one year old plants is the official herb, but the leaves and fruits can also be us. It is used to treat conditions caused by an ‘overload’ of toxins, such as throat and other infections, boils, rashes and other skin problems. The root is thought to be particularly good at helping to eliminate heavy metals from the body. The plant is antibacterial, antifungal and carminative. It has soothing, mucilaginous properties and is said to be one of the most certain cures for many types of skin diseases, burns, bruises etc. It is used in the treatment of herpes, eczema, acne, impetigo, ringworm, boils, bites etc. The plant can be taken internally as an infusion, or used externally as a wash. Use with caution. One-year old roots are alterative, aperient, blood purifier, cholagogue, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic and stomachic. The seed is alterative, antibacterial, antifungal, antiphlogistic, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic and hypoglycaemic. It is used in the treatment of colds with sore throat and cough, measles, pharyngitis, acute tonsillitis and abscesses. The crushed seed is poulticed onto bruises. The seed is harvested in the summer and dried for later use. The seed contains arctiin, this excites the central nervous system producing convulsions an increase in respiration and later paralysis. It also lowers the blood pressure by dilating the blood vessels. The leaves are poulticed onto burns, ulcers and sores.

Other Uses:..Paper.…..A fibre is obtained from the inner bark and is used to make paper. It is about 0.9mm long. The stems are harvested in late summer, the leaves are removed and the stems steamed in order to strip off the fibre. The fibres are then cooked for two hours in soda ash before being put in a ball mill for 2 hours. The resulting paper is a light tan/ brown colour.

Known Hazards :Although no reports of toxicity have been seen for this plant, some caution is advised due to the following report for the closely related A. lappa[K]. Care should be taken if harvesting the seed in any quantity since tiny hairs from the seeds can be inhaled and these are toxic.

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/Arctium_minus
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Arctium+minus

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Hair Loss in Women

Introduction:
One of the commonest forms of hair loss in women (and men) is a condition called telogen effluvium, in which there is a diffuse (or widely spread out) shedding of hairs around the scalp and elsewhere on the body.

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This is usually a reaction to intense stress on the body’s physical or hormonal systems, or as a reaction to medication.

The condition, which can occur at any age, generally begins fairly suddenly and gets better on its own within about six months, although for a few people it can become a chronic problem.

Because telogen effluvium develops a while after its trigger, and causes generalised thinning of hair density rather than a bald patch, women with the condition can easily be diagnosed as overanxious or neurotic.

Fortunately, it often gets better with time. Telogen effluvium is a phenomenon related to the growth cycles of hair.

Hair growth cycles alternate between a growth phase (called anagen, it lasts about three years) and a resting phase (telogen, which lasts about three months). During telogen, the hair remains in the follicle until it is pushed out by the growth of a new hair in the anagen phase.

At any one time, up to about 15 per cent of hairs are in telogen. But a sudden stress on the body can trigger large numbers of hairs to enter the telogen phase at the same time. Then, about three months later, this large number of hairs will be shed. As the new hairs start to grow out, so the density of hair may thicken again.

Many adults have had an episode of telogen effluvium at some point in their lives, reflecting episodes of illness or stress.

Another common type of hair loss in women is androgenetic alopecia, which is related to hormone levels in the body. There’s a large genetic predisposition, which may be inherited from the father or mother.

Androgenetic alopecia affects roughly 50 per cent of men (this is the main cause of the usual pattern of balding seen as men age) and perhaps as many women over the age of 40.

Research shows that up to 13 per cent of women have some degree of this sort of hair loss before the menopause, and afterwards it becomes far more common – one piece of research suggests that over the age of 65 as many as 75 per cent of women are affected.

The cause of hair loss in androgentic alopecia is a chemical called dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, which is made from androgens (male hormones that all men and women produce) by the action of an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase.

People with a lot of this enzyme make more DHT, which in excess can cause the hair follicles to make thinner and thinner hair, until eventually they pack up completely.

Women’s pattern of hair loss is different to the typical receding hairline and crown loss in men. Instead, androgenetic alopecia causes a general thinning of women’s hair, with loss predominantly over the top and sides of the head.

Another important cause of hair loss in women is a condition called alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease that affects more than two per cent of the population. In this, the hair follicles are attacked by white blood cells. The follicles then become very small and hair production slows down dramatically, so there may be no visible hair growth for months and years.

After some time, hair may regrow as before, come back in patchy areas, or not regrow at all. The good news is that in every case the hair follicles remain alive and can be switched on again; the bad news is that we don’t yet know how to do this.

TOP MYTHS ABOUT FEMALE HAIR LOSS:-
•It means you’re not a proper women with two X chromosomes.
•It’s caused by washing your hair too often.
•It’s caused by too much brushing or combing.
•Hair dyes and perms can cause permanent loss.
•It may result from wearing hats and wigs.
•Shaving your hair will make it regrow thicker.
•Standing on your head will help it grow back.
•It’s a sign of an overactive brain.
•There’s a miracle cure out there waiting for you.
•Scan the internet and you’ll see all sorts of miracle cures for baldness on offer, from strange herbal lotions to mechanical devices. Perhaps the most useful first step you can take is to avoid the myths.
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After this there are several options. You can find some way to accept the change and live with it (let’s face it, this is a tall order – most men struggle to come to terms with their baldness and for them at least society equates it with maturity and power).

You can try cosmetic treatments such as wigs or hair thickeners, or you can try medical therapies. The last option is hair-replacement surgery.

The drug minoxidil was first developed for treating high blood pressure, which was found to have the side effect of thickening hair growth in some people. It’s now available as a lotion to apply directly to the scalp.

No one really knows how it works, however, and it’s not effective for everyone. Studies show that only about 20 per cent of women between 18 and 45 have moderate regrowth using the drug, while another 40 per cent experience minimal regrowth.

It works best on younger people with early hair loss. A big disadvantage is that you have to carry on using minoxidil indefinitely or the new hair will fall out.

Another drug, finasteride, which was developed for treating prostate cancer, has also been found to be effective but is only available for men.

Surgical techniques for restoring hair have improved greatly in the past couple of decades, but this is still an option that requires careful consideration.

There are two main options:
•Hair transplantation – tiny punch-holes of skin containing a few follicles of hair are taken from elsewhere in the body (such as the back of the head, if this is still well covered) and implanted into the thinning areas. Some surgeons use a needle to sew in just one or two hairs. However, as women are more likely to have diffuse loss of hair all over the scalp, this technique may not be possible. There has been little success with implanting artificial fibres.
•Scalp reduction – devices are inserted under the skin to stretch areas of scalp that still have hair, then the redundant bald areas are removed. Alternatively, flaps of hairy scalp can be moved around the head.
Key points
•Many causes of female hair loss are temporary – check your general health and be patient.
•Take a look at your family for an idea of your risk of female pattern baldness.
•Don’t be taken in by claims for wonder products – there’s no cure for female pattern hair loss.
•Many women cope well by using cosmetic products, hats and wigs, so persevere until you find your own style.

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.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/hair_loss_women.shtml

http://www.prevention.com/health/beauty/unsure/hair-loss-in-women/article/1aebd08f88803110VgnVCM20000012281eac____/

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Hourglass Figure not Always Healthy

Having an imperfect body may not be all that bad, says a new article, which claims that ‘imperfections’ come with substantial benefits for some women.
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The report has been published in the December issue of Current Anthropology. The hormones that make women physically stronger, more competitive and better able to deal with stress also tend to redistribute fat from the hips to the waist, according to Elizabeth Cashdan, an anthropologist at the University of Utah.

So in societies and situations where women are under pressure to procure resources, they may be less likely to have the classic hourglass figure.

Cashdan’s hypothesis aims to explain a peculiar observation. Women around the world tend to have larger waist-to-hip ratios—more cylindrical rather than hourglass-shaped bodies—than is considered optimal.

Medical studies have shown that a curvy waist-to-hip ratio of 0.7 or lower is associated with higher fertility and lower rates of chronic disease. Studies have also shown that men prefer a ratio of 0.7 or lower when looking for a mate.

The preference makes perfect sense, according to evolutionary psychologists, because the low ratio is a reliable signal of a healthy, fertile woman.

But in data that Cashdan compiled from 33 non-Western populations and 4 European populations, the average waist-to-hip ratio for women is above 0.8. If 0.7 is the magic number both in terms of health and male mate choice, why are most women significantly higher? That’s where the hormones come in.

Androgens, a class of hormones that includes testosterone, increase waist-to-hip ratios in women by increasing visceral fat, which is carried around the waist. But on the upside, increased androgen levels are also associated with increased strength, stamina, and competitiveness. Cortisol, a hormone that helps the body deal with stressful situations, also increases fat carried around the waist.

“The hormonal profile associated with high WHR (waist-to-hip ratio) may favour success in resource competition, particularly under stressful circumstances,” writes Cashdan.

“The androgenic effects—stamina, initiative, risk-proneness, assertiveness, dominance—should be particularly useful where a woman must depend on her own resources to support herself and her family,” the expert added.

In other words, trading the benefits of a thin waist for better ability to collect resources may be a good deal in certain societies and situations. And there is evidence that male mate preferences may reflect this trade-off, according to Cashdan.

Source : The Times Of India

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