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Ferula gummosa

 

Botanical Name : Ferula gummosa
Familia: ApiaceaeGalbanum
Subfamily: Apioideae
Genus: Ferula
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales
Tribe: Scandiceae
Subtribes: Ferulinae
Species: Ferula gummosa

Synonyms : Ferula galbaniflua. Bioss.&Buhse.

Common Names: Galbanum
Vernacular names:-
Akan: Prekese
italiano: Galbano

Habitat :Ferula gummosa is native to W. Asia – Central Iran, Turkey and southern Russia. It grows on herbaceous slopes in steppes.

Description:
Ferula gummosa is a perennial herb growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 1 m (3ft 3in).
It is in flower from May to June, and the seeds ripen from Jun to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Flies.The plant is self-fertile.

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Suitable for: 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 dry or moist soil.

Cultivation:
Succeeds in most soils. Requires a deep fertile soil in a sunny position. This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the country, it tolerates temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c. Another report says that it tolerates temperatures down to at least -15°c and should therefore succeed outdoors in most parts of the country. Plants are intolerant of root disturbance due to their long taproot. They should be planted into their final positions as soon as possible. The flowers have an unpleasant smell.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as the seed is ripe in a greenhouse in autumn. Otherwise sow in April in a greenhouse. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle. Plant them out into their permanent positions whilst still small because the plants dislike root disturbance. Give the plants a protective mulch for at least their first winter outdoors. Division in autumn. This may be inadvisable due to the plants dislike of root disturbance.
Edible Uses:
Edible Uses: Condiment…….The gum resin obtained from the root is used as a celery-like food flavouring.
Medicinal Uses:
The whole plant, but especially the root, contains the gum resin ‘galbanum‘. This is antispasmodic, carminative, expectorant and stimulant. It is used internally in the treatment of chronic bronchitis, asthma and other chest complaints. It is a digestive stimulant and antispasmodic, reducing flatulence, griping pains and colic. Externally it is used as a plaster for inflammatory swellings, ulcers, boils, wounds and skin complaints.

Other Uses:
The aromatic gum resin ‘Galbanum’ is obtained from wounds made in the stem. It is collected by removing soil from around the top of the root and then cutting a slice off the root and can also be obtained from incisions made in the stem. It is used medicinally and is also an ingredient of incense. It was an important ingredient of the incense used by the Israelites

Researches:
The whole plant, but especially the root, contains the gum resin “galbanum”. A study of the comparative effects of galbanum gum and two standard binding agents–polyvinylpyrolidone and acacia–on characteristics of acetaminophen and calcium carbonate compacts was made. The Ferula gummosa gum was extracted and its swelling index was determined. Acetaminophen and calcium carbonate granules were prepared using the wet granulation method and were evaluated for their micromeritics and flow properties, while the compacts were evaluated for mechanical properties using the hardness, tensile strength and friability. The drug release from acetaminophen compacts were assessed using dissolution studies. The dry powder of Ferula gummosa gum resin (galbanum) yielded 14% w/w of gum using distilled water as extraction solvent. The swelling index indicates that galbanum gum swelled to about 190% of initial volume in distilled water. Thus galbanum gum has the ability to hydrate and swells in cold water. The bulk and tapped densities and the interspace porosity (void porosity) percent of the granules prepared with different binders showed significant difference. The hardness and tensile strength of acetaminophen and calcium carbonate compacts containing various binders was of the rank order PVP > acacia > galbanum gum (p < 0.05) and the friability percent was of the reverse order (p < 0.05). The ranking for the dissolution rate of tablets containing the different binders was PVP> galbanum gum > acacia. The results of mechanical properties of acetaminophen and calcium carbonate compacts indicate that galbanum gum could be useful to produce tablets with desired mechanical characteristics for specific purposes, and could be used as an alternative substitute binder in pharmaceutical industries.

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://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Ferula_gummosa
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Ferula+gummosa
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22568044

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A Shot for All

A vaccine in the making — equally effective for birds, men and other mammals — offers a shield against another outbreak of bird flu.

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Of all the viruses that can cause a devastating pandemic (worldwide outbreak), the influenza virus is the most likely to cause one. Influenza is a tricky disease to control. The world has already seen several outbreaks, of which the influenza pandemic in 1918 was the most serious: at least 20 million people died all over the world then. There were pandemics in 1957, 1968 and 1977, but of much less severity.

Recently, avian influenza (or bird flu) has emerged as a candidate that can cause a serious pandemic. Experts warn that another outbreak is imminent and we have only limited ability to control it if one breaks out. However, several vaccines — now in the laboratory stage — offer hope.

One of the problems of bird flu is that it affects birds as well as humans and other mammals. The virus may be slightly different in each of the animals, and it is difficult to give different vaccines for different animals during a pandemic. At the Department of Veterinary Medicine in the University of Maryland in the US, Daniel Perez and his colleagues have developed a vaccine that can control the disease in birds, humans and rodents. It is based on a region of the virus gene that is common to all the strains. “We have shown that the vaccine works in rodents and does not cause the disease,” says Perez.

This vaccine has been tested in rats but not yet in humans. Meanwhile, at the University of Pittsburgh medical college, scientists are testing a vaccine against the deadliest of all avian flu viruses, the H5N1. This is a genetically engineered vaccine that takes only 10 weeks to manufacture. The other vaccines now in the market are made using chicken eggs, and take several months to manufacture, apart from not being able to provide enough immunity. Two months ago, the institution received a $3.6 million grant to test the vaccine in non-human primates.

Currently, three companies manufacture vaccines against the avian flu virus H5N1, all of them approved in different countries in the last year and a half. Sanofi Pasteur’s vaccine was approved in the US in 2007, GlaxoSmithkline’s vaccine was approved in Europe in May this year. Australia approved a vaccine from CSL Limited. All of them are live attenuated virus — which have been so altered that they can’t cause disease — raised on chicken eggs. While all of them provide some protection, none of them can prevent a pandemic. This is because the virus mutates fast, and we do not know what strain of the virus would be involved in a pandemic.

One of the known — and fortunate — facts about the bird flu virus is its specificity. The virus that infects birds does not easily infect humans. This is why many outbreaks in birds have not resulted in human infections. Which is probably also why human to human transmission has not happened in large numbers so far.

However, such a transmission is not scientifically impossible. Since the virus mutates fast, strains of broader range can emerge. They can infect humans, pigs, rats, birds and other animals. It would be difficult, if not impossible, for us to make different vaccines for different animals. The Maryland University team has shown that it is possible to make a single vaccine effective in many animal species.

This vaccine is based on a DNA backbone that is common to all the strains. This backbone lies inside the virus and not outside. The scientists have a strain of the virus called WF10 with this backbone. They have isolated other influenza viruses that are related to this strain, including the human influenza virus. They had earlier shown that by tweaking the gene of this strain they could make a vaccine effective in birds. Now they have shown that, by further modification, this strain can protect many species against the influenza infection. In particular, they have shown that it provides protection in rats against H5N1, the most lethal strain against which human vaccines are made. Says Perez: “We have done animal trials, but we are yet to do human trials.”

There are other developments that could help in preventing a major pandemic. A series of DNA vaccines against H5N1 are also under development in several institutions. They are the Virology Research Institute in Maryland, which began clinical trials last year, the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and the Rockefeller University. A DNA vaccine is a piece of DNA that can directly make the protein that produces an immune response. It is safe, because it cannot by itself cause the disease. The vaccines can be made rapidly, which is invaluable in case of an epidemic.

However, there are technical issues, which all these teams claim to have solved. If they work, we could soon have a vaccine that can be rapidly made when there is an epidemic. Let us wait and watch their progress.

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

Broccoli Boosts Aging Immune Systems

A chemical in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables may help to restore your immune system as you age. UCLA researchers found that the chemical, sulforaphane, switches on a set of antioxidant genes and enzymes in specific immune cells, which fight the damaging effects of free radicals.

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Free radicals are a supercharged form of oxygen that can cause oxidative tissue damage — for example, they can trigger the inflammation process that causes clogged arteries. Oxidative damage is thought to be one of the major causes of aging.

According to researchers, treating older mice with sulforaphane increased their immune response to the level of younger mice.

The ability of sulforaphane to reinvigorate the immune system abilities of aged tissues could play an important role in reversing much of the negative impact of free radicals.
Sources:
Science Daily March 10, 2008
The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology March 6, 2008