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Artemisia caruifolia

Botanical Name : Artemisia caruifolia
Family :
Asteraceae or Compositae
Subfamily:
Asteroideae
Tribe:
Anthemideae
Genus:
Artemisia
Kingdom:
Plantae
Order:
Asterales

Habitat : Artemisia caruifolia is native to E. Asia – China, Japan, Himalayas. It grows on moist river banks, floodlands, waysides, outer forest margins, canyons and coastal beaches from low elevations up to 4600 metres.
Description:
Herbs, annual or biennial, 30-150 cm, much branched, glabrous. Basal and lowermost stem leaves usually withering before anthesis. Middle stem leaves: petiole 5-10 mm; leaf blade oblong, oblong-ovate, or elliptic, 5-15 × 2-5.5 cm, abaxially green, 2- or 3-pinnatisect; segments 4-6 pairs, pectinate or lanceolate; lobules pectinate, acutely or acuminately serrate; rachis serrate. Uppermost leaves and leaflike bracts 1(or 2)-pinnatisect and pectinatisect. Synflorescence a moderately broad panicle. Capitula many; peduncle slender, 2-6 mm, nodding. Involucre hemispheric, 3.5-7 mm in diam.; phyllaries oblong, radiately spreading or not, scarious margin yellow. Marginal female florets 10-20; corolla ca. 1.5 mm. Disk florets 30-40, bisexual; corolla yellowish, ca. 1.8 mm. Achenes oblong or ellipsoid, ca. 1 mm. Fl. and fr. Jun-Sep….CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation:
The plant can be easily grown in a well-drained circumneutral or slightly alkaline loamy soil, preferring a sunny position. Established plants are drought tolerant. Plants are longer lived, more hardy and more aromatic when they are grown in a poor dry soil. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation:
Seed – surface sow from late winter to early summer in a greenhouse. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Division in spring or autumn.

Edible Uses: …..Young plants – cooked in the spring. They are also used as a flavouring for tea

Medicinal Uses:
The whole plant is depurative, febrifuge, stomachic, tonic and vermifuge. It contains abrotanine which is antiphlogistic and antifebrile. The plant is said to prevent malaria, or to drive away mosquitoes. It inhibits the maturation of malaria parasites in the body. It is also used in the treatment of low-grade fevers, tidal fever, summer heat stroke, chronic diarrhoea, phthisis, purulent scabies and intestinal troubles. A decction of the root is used in the treatment of asthma. This plant can be used interchangeably with Artemisia annua. The medicinal virtues of that plant are as follows:- Qing Ho, better known in the West as sweet wormwood, is a traditional Chinese herbal medicine. An aromatic anti-bacterial plant, recent research has shown that it destroys malarial parasites, lowers fevers and checks bleeding. It is often used in the Tropics as an affordable and effective anti-malarial. The leaves are antiperiodic, antiseptic, digestive, febrifuge. An infusion of the leaves is used internally to treat fevers, colds, diarrhoea etc. Externally, the leaves are poulticed onto nose bleeds, boils and abscesses. The leaves are harvested in the summer, before the plant comes into flower, and are dried for later use. The plant contains artemisinin, this substance has proved to be a dramatically effective anti-malarial. Clinical trials have shown it to be 90% effective and more successful than standard drugs. In a trial of 2000 patients, all were cured of the disease. The seeds are used in the treatment of flatulence, indigestion and night sweats.

Other Uses : The plant can be used as an insecticides.

Known Hazards: Although no reports of toxicity have been seen for this species, skin contact with some members of this genus can cause dermatitis or other allergic reactions in some people.

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://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Artemisia+caruifolia
http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=242420542

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artemisia_(genus)

 

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Some Health Quaries & Answers

Storm in a teacup

Q: I have a ceramic mug that I bought from a street vendor. When I drink tea out of it I get a taste of clay

. ….

A: Try drinking the beverage through a straw. If you can still taste the ceramic, discard the mug. Hot liquids can dissolve some of the clay and glaze. Some of these may be contaminated with dangerous heavy metals like lead. This is particularly true of poor quality stuff.

Breast-feeding & contraception

Q: I am breast feeding my four-month baby and want to use some safe and reliable form of contraception. I do not like the idea of an intrauterine contraceptive device.

A: You could ask your husband to use condoms from the beginning to the end of intercourse. If this does not appeal to both of you, or is not feasible, you can opt for progesterone injections. They are sold under the trade name Depo Provera. The injection has to be given every 12 weeks under medical supervision. Another option is “progesterone only” pills, the trade name of which is Cerazette. Unlike conventional oral contraceptive pills, these have to be taken every day. Both the injections and tablets can cause irregular menstruation. After one year (when you stop breast-feeding), you can switch to oral contraceptive pills.

Frequent itching

Q: I have recurrent itching in my vagina and it has been diagnosed as a yeast infection. Despite repeated treatment it comes back

A: Recurrent infection is likely to occur if the normal vaginal Ph changes. This occurs if the normal bacterial flora of the vagina changes. This can occur during pregnancy, diabetes, urinary tract infection, with the use of oral contraceptive pills or antibiotics. Vaginal douching or washing with too much soap can also cause a similar problem. Treatment is with medications like fluconazole (tablet) or clotrimazole (vaginal pessaries and creams).

Relapses are common as the organism is now becoming increasingly resistant to the common medication. Unless the underlying cause is treated, relapses will occur. Relapses can also occur if your partner has diabetes which is not very well controlled.

Sleepless nights

Q: I am 64 years old and have difficulty sleeping at night. I started taking alprazolam 0.25 mg at night. Now I find that even with 0.5 mg I do not get any sleep.

A: Alprazolam can be addictive if used as an over-the-counter (OTC) drug without medical supervision. Eventually higher doses may be needed for the same quality of sleep. It can also cause dizziness and loss of balance, particularly if you suddenly get up in the night. Other less addictive prescription medicines are available. Your doctor will be able to prescribe medication to help you sleep that will not react with any of the other medication that you might be taking for other illnesses like diabetes or hypertension. It is better to avoid “sleeping pills” altogether as far as possible. Try —

· Not sleeping in the daytime

· Exercising in the morning and evening

· Drinking a glass of warm milk at night.

Heat boils

Q: I have developed boils on my legs. They are painful and pus comes out if I squeeze them. I have this problem every summer. I am not diabetic.

A: Our skin has a number of harmless commensal bacteria living on it. If small cuts and breaks occur in the skin as a result of scratching, these bacteria can enter the body and produce superficial boils. You need to keep your skin clean by bathing twice a day. Use a germicidal soap like Neko which is bactericidal. Apply the soap using a loofah or plastic scrubber. Avoid using talcum powder. Apply an antiseptic skin ointment (without steroids) like Neosporin or Soframycin on the boils after a bath. Do not break or squeeze the boils. If you develop fever consult a physician.

Lower testes

Q: My right testes appears to be larger than the left one.

A: The two halves of the body are not same. There may even be differences between your right hand and the left one. In most people the right testicle not only hangs lower but may also be larger. As long as there are no lumps or pain, you can leave it alone. If you are really worried, do an ultrasound scan to make sure there is no hernia or hydrocoele.

Nan or Lactogen?

Q: My son is nine months old. Should I give him Nan or Lactogen?

A: Children should be weaned on to solid foods after six months. Substituting tinned milk for breast milk is not the answer. They can be started on soft home-cooked solids such as cooked rice, dal and vegetables like potato. Eventually, by the age of one, they should be on the same diet as the family. Tinned precooked cereals and biscuits should be avoided.

Source: The Telegraph (Kolkata,India)

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Malaria Vaccine May be Available in 2012

RTS,S more than halved malaria cases in field trials and could be safely given with other childhood inoculations, two studies have reported.

A vaccine against the parasitic disease malaria cut illnesses by more than half in field trials and could be safely given with other childhood inoculations, two studies have reported. The vaccine, which will begin a third and final phase of clinical trials early next year, could become the first to protect children from malaria, which kills nearly 1 million people worldwide every year.


FOR THE RECORD:
An article in Section A on Tuesday about an experimental malaria vaccine omitted the full name of a scientist who predicted that the vaccine, RTS,S, could be available as early as 2012. He is Joe Cohen, vice president for vaccines for emerging diseases at GlaxoSmithKline, who has worked on RTS,S since its inception 22 years ago

The studies, published online Monday in the New England Journal of Medicine, were reported at a New Orleans meeting of tropical medicine researchers and were hailed as a significant breakthroughin the fight against one of the most intractable and deadly infectious diseases.

If the phase three trials are successful, it would be “an extraordinary scientific triumph,” said Dr. W. Ripley Ballou, deputy director for vaccines and infectious diseases for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which helped fund the research.

“But more importantly,” Ballou added, “it could save millions of children’s lives.”

Malaria kills nearly 1 million people each year and sickens about 2 million others, according to estimates from the World Health Organization. Most of the deaths are among children younger than 5 in sub-Saharan Africa, the population that the vaccine targets.

The vaccine RTS,S was developed by Belgium-basedGlaxoSmithKline Biologicals with support from the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative, a global nonprofit consortium that works with pharmaceutical companies.

In the first study, conducted in Kenya and Tanzania, 894 children ages 5 months to 17 months were inoculated either with the three-dose experimental malaria vaccine or a rabies vaccine as a control group. In the eight-month follow-up period, researchers found that children receiving RTS,S had 53% fewer diagnosed cases of malaria — 38 episodes compared with 86 among recipients of the control rabies vaccine.

In the other study, conducted in Tanzania, the vaccine was given to 340 infants at 8, 12 and 16 weeks old, along with vaccines against polio, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough) and Haemophilus influenzae B without lessening the safety or effectiveness of the vaccines. The ability to administer the vaccine as part of already established immunization programs is important for countries where health workers, clinics and roads are in such shortage that delivering a drug can be almost as challenging as developing one, researchers say.

Again, the trial was randomized and double-blinded — considered the scientific gold standard — with half the infants receiving the malaria vaccine and the other half receiving a hepatitis B vaccine as a control. Although it was not the main object of the study, the researchers found that infants who received the malaria vaccine had 65% fewer infections, as measured by the presence of parasite in the bloodstream, over a six-month period than those who did not, confirming the findings from an earlier, smaller study.

Although half the world’s population lives in areas where malaria is transmitted, the disease received little public attention for about 50 years after being eradicated in the United States and Europe. About a decade ago, world leaders called for a renewed effort to fight the mosquito-borne disease caused by parasitic organisms, most seriously Plasmodium falciparum.

In the last few years, widespread distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets and a new combination of medicines have reduced malaria deaths in Ethiopia, Rwanda and Zambia by 50% and more. But because of the threat that Plasmodium falciparum could develop resistance to medications or insecticides, health workers consider a vaccine to be a vital tool. Developing such a vaccine has proven a challenge because the parasite is adept at evading the immune system.

Dr. Carlos C. “Kent” Campbell, who led the malaria program at the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for almost 20 years and was not involved in the research, said the findings were impressive.

Larger, clinical trials will continue to test the vaccine on 16,000 infants at 11 sites in Africa. If all goes as planned, the vaccine could be ready for licensure in 2011 and available for use by 2012, Cohen said.

Sources: Los Angles Times

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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.

CLICK & SEE

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