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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

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Buxus sempervirens

Botanical Name :Buxus sempervirens
Family: Buxaceae
Genus: Buxus
Species: B. sempervirens
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Buxales

Synonym : Dudgeon.

Common Names :Common box, European box, or boxwood

Habitat : Buxus sempervirens is native to western and southern Europe, northwest Africa, and southwest Asia, from southern England south to northern Morocco, and east through the northern Mediterranean region to Turkey. Buxus colchica of western Caucasus and B. hyrcana of northern Iran and eastern Caucasus are commonly treated as synonyms of B. sempervirens

Description:
Buxus sempervirens is an evergreen shrub or small tree growing to 1–9 m (3 ft 3 in–29 ft 6 in) tall, with a trunk up to 20 centimetres (7.9 in) in diameter (exceptionally to 10 m tall and 45 cm diameter). Arranged in opposite pairs along the stems, the leaves are green to yellow-green, oval, 1.5–3 cm long, and 0.5–1.3 cm broad. The hermaphrodite flowers are inconspicuous, greenish-yellow, with no petals, and are insect pollinated; the fruit is a three-lobed capsule containing 3-6 seeds

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Box in its familiar dwarfed state is merely a shrub, but when left to grow naturally it will become a small tree 12 to 15 feet in height, rarely exceeding 20 feet, with a trunk about 6 inches in diameter covered with a rugged, greyish bark, that of the branches being yellowish. It belongs to the family Buxacece, a very small family of only six genera and about thirty species, closely related to the Spurge family – Euphorbiaceae. Only this evergreen species has been utilized in medicine.

Its twigs are densely leafy and the leaves are about 1/2 inch in length, ovate, entire, smooth, thick, coriaceous and dark green. They have a peculiar, rather disagreeable odour and a bitter and somewhat astringent taste. The flowers are in heads, a terminal female flower, surrounded by a number of male flowers. The fruit dehisces explosively the inner layer of the pericarp separating from the outer and shooting out the seed by folding into a U-shape.

Constituents:  The leaves have been found to contain besides a small amount of tannin and unimportant constituents, a butyraceous volatile oil and three alkaloids: (i) Buxine, the important constituent, chiefly responsible for the bitter taste and now regarded as identical with the Berberine of Nectander bark, (ii) Parabuxine, (iii) Parabuxonidine, which turns turmeric paper deep red. The bark contains chlorophyll, wax, resin, argotized tallow, gum, lignin, sulphates of potassium and lime, carbonates of lime and magnesia, phosphates of lime, iron and silica.

Medicinal Action and Uses:
The wood in its native countries is considered diaphoretic, being given in decoction as an alterative for rheumatism and secondary syphilis. Used as a substitute for guaiacum in the treatment of venereal disease when sudorifics are considered to be the correct specifics.

It has been found narcotic and sedative in full doses; emetico-cathartic and convulsant in overdose. The tincture was formerly used as a bitter tonic and antiperiodic and had the reputation of curing leprosy.

A volatile oil distilled from the wood has been prescribed in cases of epilepsy. The oil has been employed for piles and also for toothache.

The leaves, which have a nauseous taste, have sudorific, alterative and cathartic properties being given in powder, in which form they are also an excellent vermifuge.

Various extracts and perfumes were formerly made from the leaves and bark. A decoction was recommended by some writers as an application to promote the growth of the hair. The leaves and sawdust boiled in Iye were used to dye hair an auburn colour.

Dried and powdered, the leaves are still given to horses for the purpose of improving their coats. The powder is regarded by carters as highly poisonous, to be given with great care. In Devonshire, farriers still employ the old-fashioned remedy of powdered Box leaves for bot-worm in horses.

In former days, Box was the active ingredient in a once-famous remedy for the bite of a mad dog. The leaves were formerly used in place of quinine, and as a fever reducer

The timber, though small, is valuable on account of its hardness and heaviness, being the hardest and heaviest of all European woods. It is of a delicate yellow colour, dense in structure with a fine uniform grain, which gives it unique value for the wood-engraver, the most important use to which it is put being for printing blocks and engraving plates. An edge of this wood stands better than tin or lead, rivalling brass in its wearing power. A large amount is used in the manufacture of measuring rules, various mathematical instruments, flutes and other musical instruments and the wooden parts of tools, for which a perfectly rigid and non-expansive material is required, as well as for toilet boxes, pillrounders and similar articles.

‘The root is likewise yellow and harder than the timber, but of greater beauty and more fit for dagger haftes, boxes and suchlike. Turners and cuttlers do call this wood Dudgeon, wherewith they make Dudgeonhafted daggers.’

In France, Boxwood has been used as a substitute for hops and the branches and leaves of Box have been recommended as by far the best manure for the vine, as it is said no plant by its decomposition affords a greater quantity of vegetable manure.

Other Uses:
Slow growth of box renders the wood (“boxwood”) very hard (possibly the hardest in Europe) and heavy, and free of grain produced by growth rings, making it ideal for cabinet-making, the crafting of clarinets, engraving, marquetry, woodturning, tool handles, mallet heads and as a substitute for ivory. The noted English engraver Thomas Bewick pioneered the use of boxwood blocks for engraving.

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/Buxus_sempervirens
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/b/box—67.html

 

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Onycholysis

 

Definition:
Onycholysis is a diseases whose symptoms appear as the separation of the nail plate from the nail bed on your fingers and toes. But that is not the full definition. The separation must be gradual and must be painless. Onycholysis can happen due to a number of reasons including trauma, onychomycosis or fungal infection in the nails. Onycholysis is generally seen in adulthood and might be symptomatic of other skin diseases or infections, allergic contact to some compounds like acrylic nail products, consequence of an injury, or hyperactive thyroid glands.

click to see

Click to see the picture

Onycholysis disease is not restricted to any one sex but generally women are more prone to it specially those who keep long fingernails. Actually long fingernails result in its tip being hit against hard objects repeatedly. It is also seen that the affected nails don’t show any skin inflammation and the finger nail remains firm and smooth. It is simply because onycholysis is not a disease of the nails tissue matrix.

 

Symptoms:
It is actually very easy to spot Onycholysis nail disease. You’ll find that the nail lifts itself from its bed and there is a gap between the pink portion of the nail and the white outside edge of the finger nail.
Click to see the picture
One way of determining Onycholysis has set in to check for signs of discoloration underneath the nail since this may occur as a result of secondary infection. The painless and spontaneous separation of the nail plate starts at the distal free margin and gradually progresses proximally. That actually signifies secondary infection making the situation more serious. Secondary infections might also result in the deformation of the shape of the nail plate and appearance of pits and indentations in the nail surface.
Larger portion of the nail may become opaque, get whitened or discolored to yellow or green and this calls for medical attention.

Causes:
*Idiopathic
*Trauma e.g. excessive manicuring
*Infection: especially fungal
*Skin disease: psoriasis, dermatitis
*Impaired peripheral circulation e.g. Raynaud’s
*Systemic disease: hyper- and hypothyroidism, reactive arthritis

Diagnosis:
Diagnosing Onycholysis is simple and straight forward. To diagnose Onycholysis you must examine closely your fingernails and the toenails for nail plate separation, opacity and discoloration and effects the disease might have on the peripheral skin surrounding your nails and toes. If you feel that something is wrong but can’t make a clear diagnostic, you need to go see your doctor or physician who would look for and diagnose for other symptoms and search for other symptomatic signs of the disease such as skin appearance around your nails or the appearance of indentations in the surface or the color and shape of the nails. Doctors search for sign of rashes on the skin or even check for related symptoms linked to thyroid problems. If the diagnostic suspicious of your doctor leans towards fungal infection, some tissues from beneath your nail plate might be scraped out for further testing.

Treatment:

Treatment usually involves tackling the underlying cause, such as a fungal infection.

Nail changes aren’t usually permanent, but they can take many months to resolve, even after treatment.
*Some of the remedial measures one can take for Onycholysis at home include regular trimming of nails to ensure they remain short and clean (manageable too) and using a skin softening hand cream to nourish the nails and hands.
*If Onycholysis has set in due to nail biting, picking or tearing, the person can consider seeking psychological counseling to get the necessary encouragement and guidance to underlying problems to stop this behavior.
*Persons suffering from Onycholysis should wear light cotton gloves under vinyl gloves for wet work and avoid keeping their hands immersed for prolonged periods in water.


*If Onycholysis has set in on the feet, one should avoid wearing tight shoes and trim the nails straight across the top only.

Prevention:
What you can do is to take some preventive steps to avoid the occurrence of onycholysis. You can start with avoiding exposure to harsh chemicals like nail polish remover. You would do well to wear cotton gloves or rubber gloves while immersing your nails in water repeatedly. Nails expand when it is moisten and shrinks when it dries. And yes, clip your nails at the affected portion and try to keep your nails short to avoid further trauma from getting damaged everyday.

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onycholysis
http://www.fuelthemind.com/health/health/Onycholysis_nail_disease.html
http://beautytips.ygoy.com/nail-disorders/onycholysis.php
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/imagepages/2010.htm

http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/onycholysis1.shtml

Onycholysis – Definition, Causes, Symptoms, Pictures and Treatment

http://missinglink.ucsf.edu/lm/DermatologyGlossary/img/Dermatology%20Glossary/Glossary%20Clinical%20Images/Onycholysis-18.jpg

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Hair Colouring

Grey Hair & Wrinkles

Grey Hair & Wrinkles (Photo credit: Bunches and Bits {Karina})

As we grow older several changes take place in our body, some visible, others not so visible. The most obvious one is the hair — and moustache in the case of men — turning grey from jet black. Unfortunately, nowadays it is not just senior citizens who are greying but also those in their twenties or early thirties. Twenty years ago, 18 per cent of adults under the age of 30 had started to grey. According to a recent report, that figure is now close to 32 per cent. Hair care brands have come up with a new mnemonic for grey haired over stressed twenty something — GHOSTS. The first grey hair stresses out GHOSTS even more as the current job market prizes youth — or at least looking youthful — over experience.

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The age at which one starts to grey is determined genetically. At that age the hair cells stop producing the colouring pigment melanin. This makes the shaft of the hair transparent. Light reflects off it, giving it its white appearance. Not all hairs stop producing melanin simultaneously. The mixed white and normal black makes the hair appear grey.

People who are exposed constantly to pollution and UV rays can get grey hair even before their genetically determined age to grey. The poisonous chemicals in tobacco kill the melanocytes, making smokers go grey before their non-smoking peers. Deficiency of vitamin B12 can also cause premature greying, as can a a peculiar type of anaemia called pernicious anaemia. Thyroid malfunction can also turn hair grey.

Grey hair has been cosmetically unacceptable for centuries. People used all kinds of natural dyes such as henna, indigo, walnut, curry leaves, gooseberries, tea, coffee, hibiscus flowers and arecanut either alone or in combination to colour grey hair. These natural products are used even today. Most, if used consistently, produce a dark brown colour. They are popular as they are inexpensive, can be applied at home, and are considered safe. But some people are allergic to even herbal products.

Hair can also be dyed with commercially available colouring agents. Temporary colours last a single wash. They can be funky colours like pink, blue or green but dark hair will not take these unless it is bleached first. Repeated use of these dyes without proper conditioning can, however, make hair brittle and lustreless.

Permanent hair colouring is the one usually used to disguise grey hair. It is a two-step process. First the hair is lightened using an agent like hydrogen peroxide or ammonia. Then the dye is applied and fixed. The colouring lasts until the hair grows out. This can be anything between 4 to 6 weeks.

Some people are allergic to hair dyes. Redness, itching, burning or skin rashes can occur either immediately or within 48 hours. To prevent this, before applying a dye for the first time, or switching brands, do a patch test. Take a small quantity of dye and apply it to the skin [usually on the inside of the elbow] for a day to see if there is any reaction. Sometimes a person can turn allergic to a product that they have been using safely for many years.

If hair is being coloured at home, it is important to follow the instructions on the package implicitly. Before using the dye, apply Vaseline to the hairline and ears. This will prevent the skin from staining. Always use gloves to apply the colour. Leave it on the hair for the time specified. Then wash it off with water. Apply a conditioner and leave it on for 7-9 minutes. Shampoo the next day.

Most shampoos (particularly the anti-dandruff ones) are harsh and unsuitable for regular use on coloured hair. Special colour safe shampoos and conditioners should be used to preserve the health of hair and minimise fading.

Hair that has been damaged by excessive and improper exposure to chemicals becomes dry, rough and fragile. The only solution is to stop using chemicals and cut off the damaged bit.

Hair colour should also not be used to darken facial hair because its texture is different and also because using traditional hair dyes so close to the nose can be distressing because of the odour of ammonia and other chemicals. The best thing to use is a range of colouring products labelled “just for men”.

How to delay greying:
*Avoid stress
*Don’t smoke
*Avoid too much exposure to ultraviolet rays
*Exercise regularly
*Eat at least 4-5 helpings of fruit and vegetables a day.
*Take care of your stomach &  liver function
*Try to avoid pollution

You may click to see :

*Grey Hair – Why & How to Treat it

*Experts Uncover Cause of Greyness

*Going gray? Hair ‘Bleaches Itself as People Age’

*Why does hair turn grey?

*What Causes Grey Hair
Source :The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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Prickly Heat? Don’t Try Talc

Sweat (Hadise album)

Sweat (Hadise album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A genuine “Indian summer” is upon us now with temperatures all over the country in the high thirties and forties. Earlier, Indians used to wear white cotton clothes in summer but now most prefer to dress in synthetic silks, and polyester fabrics, little realising that those clothes are totally inappropriate in this weather.

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Even school children — who are issued uniforms with the material and tailoring regulated by the school — end up wearing thick synthetic clothes when ideally they should wear pure cotton or at least a 60 per cent cotton and 40 per cent polyester mix.

To survive, our bodies need to maintain an average internal temperature of 98.6ºF or 36.6ºC and it uses sweating to regulate the temperature. When the outside temperature is high, the body secretes sweat from glands situated in the layer below the skin. The sweat reaches the surface through coiled tubes and forms a thin film of fluid. As this layer evaporates, the body cools down. Sweating can be excessive when the temperature is high, there is increased physical exertion, there is little or no circulation of air and if the clothes are made of synthetic material that traps the sweat. (Nowadays many sports companies manufacture sports clothes out of special material that “wicks” away the sweat).

If sweat pores get blocked (by dead skin cells, dirt or talcum powder), the trapped sweat forms tiny clear bumps below the surface of the skin called miliria crystalline (prickly heat). These look unsightly but do not really cause any symptoms. Eventually, they turn red (miliria rubra), and evolve into a brown scaly rash which can be confused with pimples, folliculitis or chicken pox.

Prickly heat usually appears in covered areas where sweat cannot evaporate easily or the pores are blocked. The forehead is affected if it is covered with a fringe or cap. The upper back and chest, and the arms are other common locations. In adults the rash sometimes appears on the inner thighs or in areas where there are body folds. It is aggravated by friction between the skin and tight fitting non-absorbent synthetic clothing. The continuous rubbing can lead to the skin eventually peeling off, leaving a raw red area.

Prickly heat causes itching and a tingling sensation but scratching can cause secondary infection with bacteria. The appearance of the rash then changes and there can be a yellow pus discharge. The person may develop fever. Uninfected prickly heat, however, does not cause fever. Although prickly heat is uncomfortable and unsightly, with a little care it can be easily prevented.

• Stay away from the direct heat of the sun as far as possible

• Wear loose fitting cotton clothes or at least a 60-40 mix of cotton and polyester

• Make sure school uniforms are stitched out of natural materials, preferably thin materials

• Try to ensure that schools have fans and ventilation.

• Do not scratch. The more you scratch, the more it will itch.

• Use a mild dose of antihistamine to control itching.

• Do not apply thick oil-based creams and talc. They will only block the pores further.

Bathe two or three times a day in tepid water. Add a teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate to a bucket of water before bathing till the prickly heat disappears.

• Use soap containing trichlorhexidine (Dial, Neko) Do not apply soap directly to the skin. Use a moist wash rag, a herbal scrubber or a loofah.

• If prickly heat becomes red and pustular, changes appearance or the temperature rises, consult a doctor immediately.

Contrary to advertisements on television, talc does not soothe, relieve or prevent prickly heat. Talc is made up of finely powdered combinations of ground zinc stearate, and silicates. It blocks the skin pores, increasing the sweat build up and aggravating prickly heat.

Talc causes other medical problems as well. The size of the particles is so small that they can easily be inhaled. The particles can reach the smallest areas of the lung and cause pneumonia, inflammation or swelling of the airways. This can be fatal in babies. If applied to the groin and genital areas, talc can migrate through the vagina, uterus, and fallopian tubes to the ovary. Some scientific studies have found a relationship between the use of talcum powder and cancer of the ovary.

Baby powder is talc based and should not be used. Nappy rash is different from prickly heat and the treatment is different too.

If you get prickly heat, bathe two to three times a day. Use plain calamine lotion (not creams and ointment) to relieve the itching. If secondary infection has occurred, consult a doctor.

You may click to see :
*Remedies for Prickly Heat
*Natural Remedy for Prickly Heat

* Two baths a day keep bacteria at bay

Source : The Telegraph ( Kolkata, India)

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