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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.
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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

 

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Reverse Warrior Battles Bad Posture

With regular practice, reverse warrior will help ease back pain and improve your posture and gait. (Charles Bush)
Practice this classic yoga posture called “reverse warrior” to strengthen your legs, stretch the muscles on the sides of your torso and open your hips. Remember to be patient with this pose. With regular practice, it will help ease back pain and improve your posture and gait.
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Begin with your feet parallel to each other in a wide stance. Turn your right foot out and your left foot in slightly. Bend your right knee to a 90-degree angle so that your right knee is directly above your right foot. Stretch both arms out to the sides at shoulder level, palms turned down. Gaze over your right hand. Contract your leg muscles and allow your pelvis to descend as you lift and lengthen your spine. Pause for three breaths.

Maintain the 90-degree angle with your right leg as you inhale and raise your right arm up. On an exhalation, lean your torso to the left as you slide your left hand down along the outside of your left calf. Try to create more space between each of the ribs on the right side of your torso. Hold this position for three to six breaths. Then switch sides and repeat.

Source : Los Angeles Times

Maintaining the Flow

A strong and fluid energy field is the key that unlocks the doors of self-healing and peace of mind.
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The essence of all being is energy. Our physical and ethereal selves depend on the unrestricted flow of life energy that is the source of wholeness and wellness. Though the channels through which this energy flows are open systems and influenced by factors outside of our control, we ultimately choose what impact these will have in our lives. It is up to us to identify and clear blockages in the energy field to ensure that flow is maintained. A healthy, grounded individual absorbs some portion of the energy emitted by other people and the environment, but this does not interrupt the continuous stream of balanced energy sustaining them. The same individual copes constructively with stress and upset, and they are not subject to the stagnation that frequently goes hand in hand with negativity. When we keep the energy in and around our bodies flowing harmoniously, we are naturally healthy, vibrant, and peaceful.

Life energy flows through us like a swift stream when there is nothing to obstruct it, but various forces such as trauma, downbeat vibrations, and disappointments act like stones that impede the current. If we allow these to pile up, our life energy is thrown off its course or blocked entirely, causing illness, restlessness, and a lack of vigor. If, however, we take the time to clear these forces away, we rob them of the power to impact our lives. When we cultivate simple yet affirmative habits such as taking regular cleansing baths, practicing meditation and breathing exercises, smudging, and self-shielding, we protect ourselves from outside influences that might otherwise impede our energy flow. Likewise, we lessen the impact of inner influences when we clear our auras of unwanted attachments and divest ourselves of blocked emotions.

A strong and fluid energy field is the key that unlocks the doors of self-healing and peace of mind. Your awareness of the flow of energy sustaining you empowers you to take charge of your own well-being by taking steps to unblock, correct, and enhance that flow. Fear will likely be the culprit when you cannot identify the source of stagnation—you may simply be afraid to let go of what is obstructing the flow. Letting go can be challenging, but the exuberance you will feel when the flow is restored will be a welcome and blessed reward.

Source : Daily Om

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How To Practise Yoga

Yoga (asana)is an ancient eastern exercise that is valuable in today’s fast paced society. Yoga is more than a simple workout regime, but rather it is a holistic method of exercise that serves to rejuvenate the body. Weight loss, stress relief, and emotional stability are often experienced by dilligent practitioners.

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Yoga is very similar to stretching and is usually performed in a series of movements. The neck, the spine, and the legs are the three basic concentrations of movement in the performance of Yoga. Performed in this succession, they will render the practitioner fit and exhuberant. The neck twist is easily performed at any time during the day, by simply turning the head to either side, and relaxing the neck muscles. There may be a gentle cracking of the neck in this exercise. The neck should by no means be forced in this exercise, rather it should simply be left to fall in to position. This position should be held for a count of ten, before the head is switched to the other side. This exercise serves to bring blood flow to the brain, and ready the body for the important stretching of the spine.

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There is an old sanskrit saying that “He who has a flexible spine, has a healthy life”. Indeed, the spine is important to the wellness of the individual, as it serves to relay messages from the brain to the body. There are two simple exercises, which will aid in the flexibility of the spine. The “cobra” is performed by laying flat upon the floor, and gradually pushing upwards with the hands, so that the back is upright, (or near upright), while the legs and pelvis are flat upon the ground. This is a suitable vertical stretch of the spine. The “cross over”, is performed by sitting upright, placing one leg over the other with the “over” leg bent at the knee, and twisting around away from the over leg, using the arm for torque. This is a suitable horizontal stretch. The leg stretch is performed by sitting upright, with legs out straight, and bending the waste, so as to strive towards touching your toes. There should be a slight burning sensation in the calves, and or hamstrings; you should adjust the length between the feet, so as to stretch various parts of the legs.

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Practiced in this sequence, of neck, spine, and leg exercises, yoga should impart a wonderful feeling and a general improvement in overall health. Yoga, together with a healthy vegetable and whole grain based diet, should serve to improve anybodys’ quality of life.

Source:Yoga.Com: Jan.29. 2010

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Get Rid Of Diabetes & Obsesity Through These Yoga Practices

The following are some basic Asanas or Yoga Poses for Obesity and Diabetes:

Easy Pose (Sukhasana)_...click to see
This is one of the classic Meditative Poses and is usually performed after doing the Corpse Pose. The Easy Pose helps in straightening the spine, slowing down metabolism, promoting inner tranquility, and keeping your mind still.

Shoulder Stretches:-…...click to see
Shoulder Stretches are great in relieving stress and tension on your shoulders, as well as your entire upper back. Practice them daily for several weeks and notice the changes. Learn some basic stretches for the shoulders in this section.

Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar):-…..click to see
The Sun Salutation or Surya Namaskar is a Yoga Pose which limbers up the whole body in preparation for the Yoga Asanas. It is a graceful sequence of twelve Yoga positions performed as one continuous exercise. Learn how to practice Sun Salutation in this section.

Half Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana):-..click to see
If done properly, the Half Spinal Twist lengthens and strengthens the spine. It is also beneficial for your liver, kidneys, as well as adrenal glands. Practice this Yoga Pose under the supervision of a Yoga instructor. In this section, learn how to perform the Half Spinal Twist.

Stand Spread Leg Forward Fold:-….click to see
Practicing the Standing Spread Leg Forward Fold can strengthen and stretch your inner and back legs and your spine. People with lower back problems should avoid doing the full forward bend. For beginners, you may use props like a folding chair to support your forearms.

Tree Pose (Tadasana):-…. click to see
The Tree Pose helps strengthen your thighs, calves, ankles and back. It can also increase the flexibility of your hips and groin. Your balance and concentration can also be improved with constant practice. This Yoga Pose is recommended for people who have sciatica and flat feet.

Double Leg Raises:-...click to see
A Double Leg Raise is similar to a Single Leg Raise, only this time, you will raise both legs. In doing this Yoga Pose, make sure that the full length of your back is resting on the floor and your shoulders and neck are relaxed. This section covers the steps and guidelines on how to do this pose properly.

Fish Pose (Matsyasana):-...click to see
Doing the Fish Pose relieves stiffness of the neck and shoulder muscles and improves flexibility of your spine. It is the counter-pose of the Shoulderstand. Hold the Fish Pose for at least half the amount of time you spent in the Shoulderstand in order to balance the stretch.

Yoga Exercise – Corpse Pose (Savasana):-...click to see
The Corpse Yoga Pose is considered as a classic relaxation Yoga Pose and is practiced before or in between Asanas as well as a Final Relaxation. While it looks deceptively simple, it is actually difficult to perform. Learn more on how to do it with the help of this article.

Kapalabhati:-…..click to see
Kapalabhati is a Breathing Technique used specifically for cleansing. If you have a lot of mucus in the air passages or feel tension and blockages in the chest it is often helpful to breathe quickly. This article will introduce you to this breathing techniques and show you its its benefits.

Simple Meditation Technique…..click to see
This Meditation process is good to induce relaxation response and promotes a peaceful and relaxed mind. Meditation has also been scientifically proven to have health benefits such as lowering blood pressure and aiding the asthmatics in their breathing.

Anuloma Viloma…...click to see
Anuloma Viloma is also called the Alternate Nostril Breathing Technique. In this Breathing Technique, you inhale through one nostril, retain the breath, and exhale through the other nostril. Learn how to do this technique for beginners by following the steps found in this article.

Relaxation Pose:-...click to see.
There are three parts to proper relaxation – physical, mental and spiritual relaxation. Relaxation Yoga Pose relaxes your body and mind, and makes you feel refreshed after doing the Asanas and the pranayama. This is why it is an essential part of Yoga practice. Source

Source:
Yoga.am  14th.Jan.2010

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