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Ammi visnaga

Botanical Name: Ammi visnaga
Family:Apiaceae
Genus:Ammi
Species:A. visnaga
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:Apiales

Synonyms : Ammi dilatatum. Apium visnaga. Carum visnaga. Daucus visnaga.

Common names : Bisnaga, Toothpickweed, and Khella.

Habitat: Ammi visnaga is native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa, but it can be found throughout the world as an introduced species.It grows in fields and sandy places.
Description:
Ammi visnaga is an annual or biennial herb growing from a taproot erect to a maximum height near 80 centimeters. Leaves are up to 20 centimeters long and generally oval to triangular in shape but dissected into many small linear to lance-shaped segments. The inflorescence is a compound umbel of white flowers similar to those of other Apiaceae species. The fruit is a compressed oval-shaped body less than 3 millimeters long. This and other Ammi species are sources of khellin, a diuretic extract.

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It is in flower from Jul to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.

Cultivation:
Prefers a well-drained soil in a sunny position, succeeding in ordinary garden soil. Tolerates a pH in the range 6.8 to 8.3. This species is not fully winter-hardy in the colder areas of Britain, though it should be possible to grow it as a spring-sown annual. This plant is sold as toothpicks in Egyptian markets.

Propagation: Seed – sow spring in situ. ( Sow under cover Feb-March in a seed tray, module or guttering. Sow direct March-May and/or August-September.)
Edible Uses: Leaves are chewed raw for their pleasant aromatic flavour

Chemical constituents:
Khellin, a chemical obtained from Ammi visnaga gives rose red color with KOH (solid) or NaOH & 2-3 drops of water, was used at one time as a smooth muscle relaxant, but its use is limited due to adverse side effects. Amiodarone and cromoglycate are derivates of khellin that are frequently used in modern medicine.

The chemical visnagin, which is found in A. visnaga, has biological activity in animal models as a vasodilator and reduces blood pressure by inhibiting calcium influx into the cell.
Medicinal Uses:
Antiarrhythmic; Antiasthmatic; Antispasmodic; Diuretic; Lithontripic; Vasodilator.

Visnaga is an effective muscle relaxant and has been used for centuries to alleviate the excruciating pain of kidney stones. Modern research has confirmed the validity of this traditional use. Visnagin contains khellin, from which particularly safe pharmaceutical drugs for the treatment of asthma have been made. The seeds are diuretic and lithontripic. They contain a fatty oil that includes the substance ‘khellin’. This has been shown to be of benefit in the treatment of asthma. Taken internally, the seeds have a strongly antispasmodic action on the smaller bronchial muscles, they also dilate the bronchial, urinary and blood vessels without affecting blood pressure. The affect last for about 6 hours and the plant has practically no side effects. The seeds are used in the treatment of asthma, angina, coronary arteriosclerosis and kidney stones. By relaxing the muscles of the urethra, visnaga reduces the pain caused by trapped kidney stones and helps ease the stone down into the bladder. The seeds are harvested in late summer before they have fully ripened and are dried for later use.
In Egypt, a tea made from the fruit of this species has been used as an herbal remedy for kidney stones. Laborarory rat studies show that the extract slows the buildup of calcium oxalate crystals in the kidneys and acts as a diuretic.
This plant and its components have shown effects in dilating the coronary arteries. Its mechanism of action may be very similar to the calcium channel-blocking drugs. The New England Journal of Medicine writes “The high proportion of favorable results, together with the striking degree of improvement frequently observed, has led us to the conclusion that Khellin, properly used, is a safe and effective drug for the treatment of angina pectoris.” As little as 30 milligrams of Khellin per day appear to offer as good a result, with fewer side effects. Rather than use the isolated compound “Khellin,” Khella extracts standardized for khellin content (typically 12 percent) are the preferred form.

A daily dose of such an extract would be 250 to 300 milligrams. Khella appears to work very well with hawthorn extracts. An aromatic herb which dilates the bronchial, urinary and blood vessels without affecting blood pressure.

Visnaga is a traditional Egyptian remedy for kidney stones. By relaxing the muscles of the ureter, visnaga reduces the pain caused by the trapped stone and helps ease the stone down into the bladder. Following research into its antispasmodic properties, visnaga is now given for asthma and is safe even for children to take. Although it does not always relieve acute asthma attacks, it do3es help to prevent their recurrence. It is an effective remedy for various respiratory problems, including bronchitis, emphysema, and whooping cough. In Andalusia in Spain, the largest and best quality visnaga were employed to clean the teeth. Khella is the source of amiodarone one of the key anti-arrhythmia medications. The usual recommendation calls for pouring boiling water over about a quarter-teaspoon of powdered khella fruits. Steep for five minutes and drink the tea after straining.

Its active constituent is khellin, a bronchiodilator and antispasmodic that makes it useful for asthma sufferers It’s best used to prevent asthma rather than to counter an attack and can be taken on a daily basis with no contraindications. Because khella builds up in the blood, its use can be decreased after a period of time. Khella is safer than ma huang (ephedra) for asthma sufferers because it’s nonstimulating and nonenervating. Unlike ma huang, it doesn’t rob the body, especially the adrenals, of energy.

Spasmolytic action of khellin and visnagin (both furanochromones) is indicated for treatment of asthma and coronary arteriosclerosis.
An extract from khella (Ammi visnaga) is so far the only herb found to be useful in vitili. Khellin, the active constituent, appears to work like psoralen drugs?it stimulates repigmentation of the skin by increasing sensitivity of remaining pigment-containing cells (melanocytes) to sunlight. Studies have used 120-160 mg of khellin per day. Khellin must be used with caution, as it can cause side effects such as nausea and insomnia.

Another use is for vitiligo (an extract from ammi visnaga appears to stimulate repigmentation of the skin by increasing sensitivity of remaining pigment containing cells, melanocytes to sunlight)

Other Uses: The fruiting pedicel is used as a toothpick whilst the seeds have been used as a tooth cleaner

Known Hazards : Skin contact with the sap is said to cause photo-sensitivity and/or dermatitis in some people. Avoid during pregnancy and lactation. Avoid if on warfarin or other blood thinning medication. Prolonged use may lead to: constipation, appetite loss, headaches, vertigo, nausea and vomiting.

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/Ammi_visnaga
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Ammi+visnaga
http://www.sarahraven.com/flowers/plants/cut_flower_seedlings/ammi_visnaga.htm

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

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Mouth Indicates Body’s Overall Health

The mouth or oral cavity area is an excellent indicator of the whole body’s health, says a University of Maryland Dental School professor.
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Professor Li Mao insists surface tissues inside the cheek could be checked to detect tobacco-induced damage in the lungs.

This could prove to be an important advancement in designing future lung cancer prevention trials.

“We hypothesized that tobacco-induced molecular alterations in the oral epithelium are similar to those in the lungs,” said Mao.

The expert added: “This might have broader implications for using the mouth as a diagnostic indicator for general health.”

“I feel that dentists should play a major role in prevention of cancer and Dr. Mao is the leading oral cancer researcher in the country. He crosses the bridge between medicine and dentistry,” said University of Maryland Dental School Dean Christian S. Stohler, DMD, DrMedDent, a leader in the movement to retool dental education.

“Being a physician helps expand dental health care and he wants to change how patients are being treated because his background is in head and neck cancer,” Stohler added.

Source: The study is published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research.

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Some Health Quaries & Answers

 
Do antacids
help?………

Q: Whenever I take any antibiotics or painkillers I develop severe gastric irritation, with belching, burning and pain. Can I take antacids to prevent this?

A: Painkillers usually belong to the “aspirin” family, or are paracetamol or are NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents). All of them can cause gastric irritation to varying degrees. The same is true of some antibiotics also. Using an antacid decreases the availability of the medication as many of them interact with the antacid in the stomach. Instead, you can add omeprazole, pantoprazole or ranitidine to the prescription. You can speak to your physician for specific advice and dosage schedules.

Try smiling :-

Q: At 50 years of age I find I have a sad and depressed look as I have bags on the cheek and my whole face sags. It affects my mood when I look in the mirror.

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A: Sagging of the skin (jowls) occurs owing to the loss of subcutaneous elastic tissue with age. The skin is not held taut. Gravity then causes the cheeks to sag. You have to be very conscious of this.

Instead of developing a grumpy expression, try smiling. This will pull up your cheek muscles and the skin overlying them.

You can also apply oil every morning and massage your cheeks upwards. This will give you slow improvement. If nothing works, and you are really mentally affected by this, several plastic surgery techniques are available. Alternatively, you can always try Botox.

Grandma’s bladder :-

 

Q: My 82-year-old grandmother suffers from recurrent urinary tract infections. Cultures of the urine repeatedly grow significant numbers of bacteria. The doctors advised an ultrasound (USG) and it indicated significant residual urine — around 190cc. What can we do?

A: Residual urine means that her bladder is not emptying properly. Urine is left behind in significant amounts after she has passed urine. This occurs because of a weakness of the pelvic muscles as a result of previous childbirth, age and the loss of protective female hormones after menopause. Urine is a good culture medium for bacteria to gain a foothold and thrive. As long as this problem persists and urine remains in the bladder, infections will recur. You also need to check if she has any additional risk factors like diabetes.

Appropriate antibiotic treatment has to be given in the correct dosage for the recommended schedule for the infection to clear. Sometimes a small night dose of antibiotic has to be continued prophylactically for a few months. Ask your grandmother to lean backwards instead of forwards while passing urine. That will help to empty the bladder more. In addition, yoga or Keegle’s exercises can be done to strengthen the pelvic muscles.

Exercise, please:-

Q: I have been a naturopath and yoga teacher for 30 years. Many diseases, infirmities, injuries and the effects of ageing can be delayed or prevented by practising this scientific ancient exercise form. Recovery from illness is also faster. I find most of my patients very resistant to the idea of exercise. They have a thousand irrelevant excuses to put off to “tomorrow” a schedule to start being physically active. Needless to say, tomorrow never comes!

A: People are looking for a “quick fix ”, an instant solution or a miracle drug that’ll cure all their ailments with the least effort. Unfortunately the body has to be maintained and nurtured like any other piece of functioning ageing machinery.

Studies show that 60 minutes of aerobic activity and 10 minutes of stretching will go a long way in maintaining health. For those who cannot spare that amount of time at one stretch, it can be split into 10 or 20 minute segments. The eventual benefits are immeasurable.

On the pill for 15 years :-

Q: I am 45 years old and have been on an oral contraceptive pill (OCP) for 15 years. How will I know if I have reached menopause? After all, the pill produces withdrawal bleeding every month.

A: When you actually reach menopause there will be no withdrawal bleeding after the tablets are stopped. If this occurs for three months you have probably reached menopause. It is safer to continue the pills for a year more. If you stop the pill you should use some other form of contraception like condoms for a year.

Excruciating pain :-

Q: I was pregnant a year ago. On scan the baby was found to have Down’s syndrome. I underwent a termination of the pregnancy. Now I have lower abdominal pain all the time. Sometimes it is so severe that I have to double up. What can I do?

A: Since this pain has appeared after the abortion, you could take an ultrasound of the pelvis and do a urine examination. This will help to determine if there is an infection or any other reason for the pain. Armed with these reports you could go to a gynaecologist for specific advice and treatment.

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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