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Coccinia cordifolia(Bengali :Kundri)

Botanical Name: Coccinia cordifolia
Family: Cucurbitaceae
Genus: Coccinia
Species: C. grandis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Cucurbitales

Synonyms: Coccinia grandis, Cephalandra indica and Coccinia indica

Common Names:Ivy gourd,Baby watermelon,Little gourd, Gentleman’s toes, Tindora, Ivy gourd,Gentleman’s toes  and Gherkin,
Bengali Name :Kundri or Tela kochu
Sanskrit Name: Bimbi, Uthundika, Bimbitika, Rakthaphala, Ostopamphala, Pilulparni.
English Name:Ivy gourd
Kannada Name:Tonde
Hindi Name: Kanduri, Kulari, Kundru

Habitat : Coccinia cordifolia is native to Tropical Asia To Africa.It grows on light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

Description:
Coccinia cordifolia is a large, glabrous, deciduous climbing shrub. The stems are rather succulent with long filiform fleshy aerial roots from the branches. The bark is grey-brown and warty; the leaves are membranous and cordate; the flowers, small, yellow or greenish yellow, in axillary and terminal racemes or racemose panicles; the male flowers clustered and females usually solitary; the drupes are ovoid, glossy, succulent, red and pea-sized; the seeds curved. ...CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Edible Uses:
In India it is eaten as a curry, by deep-frying it along with spices; stuffing it with masala and sauteing it, or boiling it first in a pressure cooker and then frying it. It is also used in sambar, a vegetable and lentil-based soup.

There are a variety of recipes from all over the world that list ivy gourd as the main ingredient. It is often compared to bitter melon. The fruit is commonly eaten in Indian cuisine. People of Indonesia and other southeast Asian countries also consume the fruit and leaves. In Thai cuisine it is one of the ingredients of the Kaeng khae curry. Cultivation of ivy gourd in home gardens has been encouraged in Thailand due to it being a good source of several micronutrients, including vitamins A and C.

Constituents:
Tinsporine, tinosporide, tinosporaside, cordifolide, cordifol, heptacosanol, clerodane furano diterpene, diterpenoid furanolactone tinosporidine, columbin, and ß-sitosterol.

Medicinal Uses:
In traditional medicine, fruits have been used to treat leprosy, fever, asthma, bronchitis and jaundice. The fruit possesses mast cell stabilizing, anti-anaphylactic and antihistaminic potential.  In Bangladesh, the roots are used to treat osteoarthritis and joint pain. A paste made of leaves is applied to the skin to treat scabies.

Ivy gourd extracts and other forms of the plant can be purchased online and in health food stores. It is claimed that these products help regulate blood sugar levels. There is some research to support that compounds in the plant inhibit the enzyme glucose-6-phosphatase. Glucose-6-phosphatase is one of the key liver enzymes involved in regulating sugar metabolism. Therefore, ivy gourd is sometimes recommended for diabetic patients. Although these claims have not been supported, there currently is a fair amount of research focused on the medicinal properties of this plant focusing on its use as an antioxidant, anti-hypoglycemic agent, immune system modulator, etc. Some countries in Asia like Thailand prepare traditional tonic like drinks for medicinal purposes.

The leaves are rubbed on skin diseases  like  eximas,sorasis  etc  to get releaf.

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/Coccinia_grandis
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Coccinia+grandis
http://parisaramahiti.kar.nic.in/Medicinal_plants_new/med%20plants/p62.html

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Laser Guns to Kill Mosquitoes

American scientists are making a ray gun to kill mosquitoes. Using technology developed under the Star Wars anti- missile programme, the zapper is  being built in Seattle where astrophysicists have created a laser that locks onto airborne insects.

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The laser — dubbed a weapon of mosquito destruction — has been designed with the help of Lowell Wood, one of the astrophysicists who worked on the original Star Wars plan to shield America from nuclear attack.

The WMD laser works by detecting the audio frequency created by the beating of mosquito wings. A computer triggers the laser beam, the mosquito’s wings are burnt off and its smoking carcass falls to the ground. The research is backed by Bill Gates, the Microsoft billionaire. It is speculated that lasers could shield villages or be fired at swarming insects from patrolling drone aircraft. “You could kill billions of mosquitoes a night,” said one expert.

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*GM mosquito could help defeat malaria
*New ‘selfish’ gene aids plan for safe mosquito

Sources: The Times Of India

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Biting Back At Malaria With Mosquitoes

CLICK & SEEAn American scientist is leading an international team of researchers using an army of blood-sucking mosquitoes to produce a potentially potent vaccine against malaria.

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Stephen Hoffman, 58, founded Sanaria Inc, a biotech firm solely dedicated to the production of a vaccine against malaria.
Hoffman officially opened a manufacturing facility on Friday in the Washington suburb of Rockville, where he said he aims to produce 75 to 100 million doses a year. “The opening of this facility is an important step in the process to develop a whole-parasite malaria vaccine,” he said. The scientist said he was optimistic the vaccine could be tested in clinical trials by late 2008.

His goal, which has received US government support, was given a major boost in late 2006 when the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation donated 29.3 million dollars through the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative, Hoffman said. Hoffman knows the debilitating effects of malaria all too well.

In the 1980s, when he was director of the US Navy’s malaria research programme, he was so confident in a new vaccine that he reportedly let himself be bitten by mosquitoes carrying Plasmodium falciparum, the malaria parasite responsible for over 95% of severe malarial illnesses and deaths worldwide.

Sure enough, he came down with the symptoms. The vaccine did not work. Despite that failure, the researcher has taken the same approach and hopes that a vaccine can be mass produced and maintain its potency. His firm is “turning the mosquitoes into the production factories for the vaccine,” he said, adding that each mosquito can produce two doses of the vaccine. “We have a long way to go before we’ll be able to license and deploy an effective vaccine to control and eventually eradicate malaria from the world, but most importantly to prevent the 3,000 deaths that will occur today among children and one million in a year.”

Source:The Times Of India

Time Management

Few simple tips for managing your time better
According to recent data — and most people’s experience –the workweek is expanding and leisure time is evaporating, not only for top-level executives but for the average person as well. Most experts advocate organization as the key to getting a grip on time. They suggest you start by asking what your real goals are for yourself, your family, and your career. With goals established, break your time down into manageable segments.

Use a monthly calendar for short-term scheduling and a 6-month calendar for long-range scheduling. Pencil in all things that pertain to your goals, including classes you want to take (learning a computer program for your job or mastering the piano for fun), regular exercise sessions, social events, and family time.
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On a daily action list, categorize tasks: those that need immediate attention (you had better do them yourself), those that can be delegated (you can hire a teenager to mow the lawn or to clean the garage, for example), and those that can be put off. To avoid procrastination, tackle the toughest jobs first, breaking them into smaller, less daunting components.
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Free up time for the things you really want to do by simplifying your life. Let go of activities (your third church committee assignment or polishing the car every week, for example) that don’t contribute to your goals.
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Reduce the waste – and frustration – of everyday delays. Wherever you go, take reading material or a portable player with music you want to hear. Then when you have to wait, you can make good use of or enjoy the time.
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Set aside a half-hour toward the end of the day to worry. Psychologist Roland Nathan believes that having a formal worrying time cuts down the amount of worrying you do.

Source:Reader’s Digest

Vaccinated Kids Protect Whole Family

Kids are known for spreading germs.
When it comes to the flu, kids are 10 to 100 times more infectious than adults, experts say.

What if your child could be vaccinated at school with a simple nasal spray that would protect not only your child but your whole family?

According to a new study published in this week’s New England Journal of Medicine, flu vaccines for elementary school children can help reduce flu for the whole family.

In this study, children from 24 public elementary schools in the United States were assigned to get either a nasal-spray flu vaccine or no vaccine.

Families of those children who got the the flu vaccine had fewer flulike symptoms, visited doctors less frequently, and used less medication than families whose kid did not receive the flu vaccine, researchers say.

“Our study showed that not only did we protect the child by the flu vaccine — by doing a school-based vaccination program    we protected their families and probably the community as well,” said Dr. James King, lead author of the study and chief of general pediatrics at University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.

Another study published in the same issue of the journal indicated that flu vaccines offered good protection even when the vaccine was not a direct match to whatever virus was circulating in the environment.

This offers more support to the idea of vaccinating children to better protect families and communities against the flu.

Flu Vaccine Safe for Kids
The risks of giving kids flu vaccines are small, experts say.

“There are essentially no downsides to immunizing school kids,” said Dr. Gregory Poland, director of Mayo Vaccine Research Group in Rochester, Minn. “These data are important because they provide confirmatory data useful in constructing public health policy.”

“The risks of vaccination with available influenza virus vaccines are so minimal, while the likelihood of illness, even hospitalization and rarely death from influenza, are major and real,” said Dr. Samuel Katz, professor and chairman emeritus of pediatrics at Duke University Medical School in Durham, N.C.

Flu  Mist   a live, weakened type of flu vaccine used in this study   is not a shot but a spray delivered into the nostrils. This may make both parents and kids happy.

“No child got a needle. We were able to do this without disrupting activities,” King said.

Kids are biologically more infectious than adults and are infectious for longer periods of time, according to experts.

Some believe that by vaccinating kids, we are able to better protect our most vulnerable population    the elderly.
If kids are never infected, they can’t spread the flu to other people.

“Children are tremendous amplifiers of the flu,” King said. “A child is able to infect the family and the whole community much more effectively than an adult. By vaccinating kids, we can protect the elderly.”

“The benefits [of vaccinating children] are enormous,” said Dr. Robert Jacobson, chairman of the department of pediatric and adolescent medicine at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. “The elderly do not respond as well to the vaccine as young people. We can break the cycle and spread by vaccinating the younger people.”

Breaking the cycle, so to speak, would be a great step for public health.

Roughly 36,000 people die annually from the flu, experts estimate, even though it is a preventable disease. This study could even help shape vaccination priority policies in case of a pandemic influenza.

“Kids might be vaccinated first,” Poland said.
Because vaccinating kids appears to help protect the whole family, a flu vaccine sounds like the thing to do. But how hard is it to have your child vaccinated by the pediatrician?

“It will be very hard for private practitioners to vaccinate all the children in the fall,” King said.
“School-based flu shots will become a public health tool that we can use to vaccinate large numbers of children. In reality, this will help parents not miss any workdays to get their kids vaccinated,” King said.

Given the many advantages of vaccinating kids, experts say that school-based flu vaccination deserves nationwide consideration.

In fact, a number of school districts in California, Florida, Philadelphia and Tennessee have already adopted school-based vaccination program for kids.

The momentum is “increasing annually for a universal influenza virus vaccine recommendation for everyone,” Katz said.

“Public health officials and physicians should consider continuing to broaden flu vaccine recommendations. We should consider whether we as a country should move to universal flu vaccination of all schoolchildren,” Jacobson said.

School-based vaccination “represents sound, cost-effective public health practice designed to reduce illness, reduce hospitalization, and save lives in the community,” said Dr. John Modlin, chair of the department of pediatrics at Dartmouth Medical School in Lebanon, N.H

For additional information on the Influenza Vaccine check out: www.uptodate.com

Source:ABC News.