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Arca shell

Other Names: Arca noae or the Noah’s Ark shell
Family: Arcidae
Genus: Arca
Species: A. noae
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Bivalvia
Order: Arcoida

Common Names: Cockle shell or Wa Leng Zi in mandarin,

Distribution & availablity: Arca noae or Ark shell is found in the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas. It used to be common in the Adriatic but in 1949/50 there was a sudden unexplained, catastrophic decline in numbers. Since then populations have been creeping back upwards and in 2002, densities of up to 13 individuals per square metre (11 square feet) were recorded but, because of lack of records, it is unclear whether a return to prior population levels had been reached.
Description:
The shell of Arca noae grows to about 10 cm (4 in) in length. It is shortened at the anterior end and elongated posteriorly. It is irregularly striped in brown and white and has fine sculptured ribs running from the umbones to the margin. The hinge is long and straight and the shell is attached strongly to the substrate by byssal threads. There are pallial eyes on the edges of the mantle, especially at the posterior end. There are 42 to 48 radial ribs outside.

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They are characterized by boat-shaped shells with long, straight hinge lines bearing many small, interlocking teeth. The shells are usually coated with a thick, sometimes hairy periostracum (outer organic shell layer). Many of these clams have rows of simple eyes along the mantle margins. Most of the 200 or so known species are found in tropical seas, with only a few species occurring in temperate areas. Ark shells are slow-moving or sedentary.It lives shallowly buried in sands and silts.

Biology:
In the lower part of the intertidal zone in the Adriatic, Arca noae often grows in association with Modiolus barbatus.The shells are often heavily encrusted with epibionts. Water is drawn into the shell mainly at the posterior end. Plankton and fine organic particles are filtered out as the water passes over the gills and inedible particles are rejected at the same time. Its shell contains a large amount of calcium carbonate and a small amount of calcium phosphate. Besides, it also contains aluminum silicate and inorganic elements, such as chlorine, chromium, copper, iron, potassium, manganese, sodium, nickel, phosphorus, sulfur, silicon, strontium, and zinc. And it has a specific enrichment capacity of nuclide manganese.

Collection & Uses:
Arca noae is fished commercially in the Adriatic Sea, either by divers gathering individual shells by hand or from boats using specially adapted rakes which are pulled along the seabed. The shellfish are then sold in local markets. In China it is produced around the coastal areas and captured all year round for medicinal purpose. And the subsequent steps are to clean, slightly boil in boiling water, remove the meat, and finally dried in sun. Medicinally it is used broken and raw or calcined.

Medicinal Uses:
Modern pharmacology reveals that its ability of reducing gastric ulcer pain comes from calcium carbonate, which can neutralize stomach acid.

Ark shell, clam shells (Hai Ge Ke), and pumice (Fu Hai Shi) have quite similar medicinal uses in traditional Chinese medicine. However, it doesn’t mean that they are interchangeable. On the contrary, they need to be well distinguished clinically for proper uses.

All of the three are of salty in flavor and have the common function of eliminating phlegm, softening hardness and dissipating binds. As a result, all of them can be used to treat phlegm-fire stagnation induced scrofula, subcutaneous nodule, goiter and tumor; clam shell and pumice stone can also treat cough and asthma accompanied with thick yellow sputum that is caused by lung heat and phlegm-fire since both of them is capable of clearing lung and eliminating phlegm; clam shell and ark shell are also good at treating stomach discomfort and acid reflux since they can neutralize acidity and relieve pain.

And they do have their own advantage respectively on healing properties. Clam shell is still capable of inducing diuresis to alleviate edema. So it is often used for the treatment of edema and difficult urination; pumice stone can treat bloody stranguria and urolithiasis by inducing diuresis; ark shell removes blood stasis and disperses phlegm. Hence, it treats mass in the abdomen and hepatosplenomegaly.

Sample ark shell recipes on herbal remedies:   The Chinese Pharmacopoeia says that it is salty in flavor and neutral in nature. It covers meridians of lung, stomach, and liver. Crucial functions are dissolving phlegm, dispersing blood stasis, resolving hard lump, relieving hyperacidity, and stopping pain. Prime ark shell uses and indications include substantial amounts of lingering phlegm, difficulty coughing up thick, sticky mucus, goiter and tumor, scrofula, abdominal mass, stomachache, and acid regurgitation. Recommended dosage is from 9 to 15 grams in decoction. And please keep in mind to decoct it before other ingredients.

1) Han Hua Wan from Zheng Zhi Zhun Sheng (The Level-line of Patterns and Treatment). It is formulated with Hai Zao (Sargassum Seaweed), Kun Bu (Kombu), etc. to treat scrofula, goiter and tumor;

2) Wa Long Zi Wan from Wan Shi Jia Chao Fang (Wan’s Heirloom Prescriptions). It is fried, processed with vinegar, and used alone to cure abdominal mass and eliminate phlegm;

3) Wa Leng Zi Wan from Nu Ke Zhi Zhang (Full Knowledge of Gynecology). It is formulated with Xiang Fu (Cyperus), Tao Ren (Peach Seed), Mu Dan Pi (Tree Peony), Chuan Xiong (lovage), Da Huang (rhubarb), and Hong Hua (Safflower) to heal pain and no blood flow during menstruation. Lower abdomen is hard and full when pressed and it is kind of excess pain.

Clinical research of ark shells:  50 cases of burns and scalds, including second degree, have been treated with the combination of ark shell and vegetable oil at the ratio of 1:1. The oil was directly applied to the wounds and wall of them were cured. – Si Chuan Yi Xue (Sichuan Medicine), 1982; 1:44.

Ark shell side effects and contraindications:
Generally ark shell causes no adverse reaction when it is used in the treatments a variety of diseases like gastric and duodenal ulcers. But there were individual cases reported with facial swelling, blood in the urine, cloudy urine, recurrent urinary tract infections and others. Ben Cao Yong Fa Yan Jiu (Studies of The Uses of Drugs in Chinese Materia Medica) says that it shouldn’t be used in the patients with no blood stasis and sputum retention.

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/Arca_noae
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/34878/ark-shell

Ark Shell (Wa Leng Zi)

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Caralluma fimbriata

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Botanical Name : Caralluma fimbriata
Family: Apocynaceae
Subfamily: Asclepiadoideae
Genus: Caralluma
Species: C. fimbriata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Common Names: Caralluma

Habitat  :  Caralluma fimbriata is native to Asia, the Mediterranean, and Africa.

Description:
Caralluma fimbriata plants are shrubs that tend to grow in small groups to form clumps. The plant can be identified with its angular stems and its leaves are somewhat underdeveloped which look like spines. The flowers of this plant are star shaped and they grow in summer or fall. Its flowers are of many different colors like purple, black, red or yellow. Another distinguishable feature of this plant is that it has an unpleasant smell.
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Edible Uses:
Traditional Uses
In urban India, Caralluma fimbriata grows as a roadside shrub. Some people use this wild plant as boundary marker in their gardens. Traditionally, in rural India, various tribes used it as a vegetable for regular consumption. It is consumed in raw form or is cooked with salt and spices. It can also be preserved as pickles. Its unique qualities of appetite suppression and thirst quenching abilities have been known to many for centuries. For this reason, tribesmen used to pack this plant as a portable food and carry it along with them, when they went for hunting. They also referred to it as ‘famine food’ as this plant could help them to sustain for days together.

Constituents:  pregnane ester glycosides in the aerial parts and leaves of certain species. in addition to these compounds, fiber, proteins, lipids, fatty acids, and aromatic compounds.

Medicinal Uses:

Properties: * Appetite Depressant/Obesity

Caralluma fimbriata has a number of traditional ethnobotanical uses that include: diabetes, leprosy, rheumatism, paralysis, joint pain, migraines, fever, malaria, and inflammation. The species C. fimbriata and C. adscendens var. fimbriata have been used in traditional Indian medicine in this manner. In addition, C. tuberculata has been used as a digestive aid and to treat diabetes. Today most interest is centered on caralluma’s use as an appetite suppressant. Caralluma works in much the same way as hoodia; both hoodia and caralluma contain preganane glycosides thought to aid in weight loss. 1

Caralluma Fimbriata Plant as a Weight Loss Supplement :
Today, one of the most popular uses of Caralluma herb is to prepare the extract, which is included in different weight loss diets. The extract contains concentrated form of the raw ingredients of the plant, which acts as an excellent appetite suppressant. Various research studies have been conducted to understand the mechanism of its weight loss properties. The active ingredients of this herb are pregnane glycosides, megastigmane glycosides, flavone glycosides and saponins. These phytochemicals play a major role controlling body weight. Pregnane glycosides have the ability to block the activities of a number of enzymes such as citrate lyase, etc. This kind of blockage affects formation of fat in the body. In this way, it ensures that no fat is accumulated in the body at all. In this condition, the body is forced to use up its fat reserves. Thus, lots of calories are burned in the process. On the other hand, the components of this herb have inhibitory effects over the hypothalamus in the brain. This part of the brain controls the feeling of thirst and hunger in the human body. When these sensations are suppressed, it facilitates in better appetite control. It has two other positive effects on the body. One is that it improves stamina and endurance really well. Secondly, it has the ability to decrease blood sugar level in the body.

Side Effects of Caralluma Fimbriata Extract:
Studies have found that this plant does not have any toxic component in it that can cause any harm to human health. Even its extract does not have any major side effects. Soon after starting consumption of the plant extract, some people may get minor gastrointestinal problems like upset stomach, flatulence, constipation, etc. Usually, these problems disappear after a few days once the body gets used to the supplement. However, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers should avoid using this plant extract.

After reading all these qualities of Caralluma fimbriata plant, if you are planning to utilize it for its weight loss properties, then you must keep two things in mind. Firstly, there are several weight loss products that claim to have Caralluma fimbriata extract in them as a component. The amount of extract present in various weight loss products often varies, which in turn can give you varied results. And the second and most important thing is, like in case of any other supplement, it is always advisable to consult your doctor before using this plant extract. The doctor will decide whether it is suitable for you or not and will also recommend the correct dosage for you.

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.buzzle.com/articles/caralluma-fimbriata-plant.html
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail540.php
http://www.ask.com/wiki/Caralluma_fimbriata?o=3986&qsrc=999

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Enhanced Bent-Over Row

Here’s a challenging variation of the traditional bent-over row that will strengthen your core and your upper body muscles. Remember to hold lighter dumbbells while you master the technique, then increase the weight once you’re comfortable finding your balance. Practice patience because this exercise is harder than it looks.

Stand upright grasping a 3-, 5- or 8-pound dumbbell in each hand, with your arms hanging below your shoulders. Slowly begin to tilt your torso forward, bending at the hips. Bend your right knee slightly and shift your body weight off your left leg. Find your balance with just your left toes touching the floor behind you. Concentrate on keeping your shoulders, chest and hips facing squarely toward the floor.

When you feel ready, begin to raise your left leg off the floor until it reaches hip level. At the same time, bend your elbows and bring the dumbbells to your hips. Pause. Continue to hold your leg up as you lower and raise your dumbbells eight to 12 times. Return to an upright position and repeat, this time balancing over your left leg while lifting your right leg.


Source
: Los Angeles Times

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Lobelia chinensis

Botanical Name: Lobelia chinensis
Family: Campanulaceae
Genus: Lobelia
Species: L. chinensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Common Name :Creeping Lobelia,Chinese Lobelia,Lobelia chinensis

Chinese  Name :Pinyin : ban bian lian

Habitat:Original native of China

Description:
Lobelia chinensis is a species of flowering plant in the family Campanulaceae. Growing Height: 2″-3″.  Small pink flowers all summer.
It is in hardy to zone 7.
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Cultivation:
Planting depth: Bog plant, not to be fully submerged. Thrives in full sun to partial shade. Works well in floating islands.

Chemical constituents:
Lobelia chinensis contains constituents including lobeline, lobelanine, isolobelanine, lobelanidine, and some chemical reactions of flavonoid, amino acid etc.

Medicinal uses;
It is one of the 50 fundamental herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine.
It has a number of purported uses and folk remedies that include treatment for inflammation, scurvy and fever. A tea made from the stem and leaves can be made to act as a diuretic. Moreover, it also has certain astringent properties and uses.

Click to see : Cadmium and Other Metal Uptake by Lobelia chinensis and Solanum nigrum from Contaminated Soils  :


Other Uses:
This can be grown as cute little ground cover .It makes a darling groundcover of tiny leaves, topped all summer with miniature pink, lobelia-like flowers.

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://www.callutheran.edu/gf/plants/category/gar-4463.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lobelia_chinensis
http://www.watergarden.org/Pond-Supplies/Floating-Island-Bog-Plants/Chinese-Lobelia
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Lobelia_chinensis
http://www.plantdelights.com/Catalog/Plants/Lobelia-chinensis.html

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Why Some Diets Work Better for Some People than Others

 

Ever notice some people seem to eat anything they want and never gain a pound, while others seem to gain weight just by looking at fattening foods? You may be seeing things correctly after all. According to research this may have a biological cause. Using fruit flies, researchers have found that genes interacting with diet, rather than diet alone, are the main cause of variation in metabolic traits, such as body weight. This helps explain why some diets work better for some people than ot…hers, and suggests that future diets should be tailored to an individual’s genes rather than to physical appearance.

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“There is no one-size-fits all solution to the diseases of obesity and type-2 diabetes,” said Laura K. Reed, the lead investigator in the work. “Each person has a unique set of genetic and environmental factors contributing to his or her metabolic health, and as a society, we should stop looking for a panacea and start accepting that this is a complex problem that may have a different solution for each individual.”

To make this discovery, the scientists studied 146 different genetic lines of fruit flies that were fed four different diets (nutritionally balanced, low calorie, high sugar, and high fat). Researchers then measured a variety of metabolic traits, including body weight, in each group. Flies in some of the genetic lines were highly sensitive to their diets, as reflected by changes in body weight, while flies of other lines showed no change in weight across diets. The scientists were able to ascertain what portion of the total variation in the metabolic traits was determined by genetics alone, by diet alone, or by the interaction between genotype and diet. Results showed that diet alone made a small contribution to the total variation, while genotype and genotype interactions with diet made very large contributions. This study strongly suggests that some individuals can achieve benefits from altering their dietary habits, while the same changes for others will have virtually no effect.

“The summer beach season often serves as a ‘gut check’ for many in terms of their weight,” said Mark Johnston, Editor-in-Chief of the journal Genetics. “This research explains why the one-size-fits-all approach offered by many diet programs can have dramatically different effects for people who try them.”


Source
: Elements4Health