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Gypsophila struthium

 

Botanical Name: Gypsophila struthium
Family: Caryophyllaceae
Genus: Gypsophila
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Common Name: Egyptian  Soapwort,  Baby’s-breath

Habitat : Gypsophila struthium is native to Eurasia, Africa, Australia, and the Pacific Islands.

Description:, 
Gypsophila struthium is a perennial herbaceous plant with a stem 1 to 2 feet in height.The leaves are variable in shape. The inflorescence is usually a cyme or a thyrse, branching intricately. Each small flower has a cup-like calyx of white-edged green sepals containing five petals in shades of white or pink. The fruit is a rounded or oval capsule opening at valves. It contains several brown or black seeds which are often shaped like a kidney or a snail shell.

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The root is generally in lengths of 4 to 6 inches, 1/2 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter; colour a yellowish white, furrowed down its length externally with lighter places where the cortex has been rubbed. The section is of a radiate and concentric structure. Taste bitter, then acrid; odour slight; powder irritating to the nostrils. This variety is rarely used medicinally, the Soapwort (Saponaria officinalis) being used as a substitute. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)
Cultivation :
Requires a sunny position and a deep soil. Lime tolerant. Grows well in a dryish soil.
Propagation :
Seed – we have no information for this species but suggest sowing the seed in a greenhouse in spring. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and, if growth is sufficient, plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer. If the plants are too small to plant out, grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter and then plant them out in late spring or early summer. Division in spring or autumn. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring. Basal cuttings before the plant flowers. Harvest the shoots when they are about 10cm long with plenty of underground stem. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer. Root cuttings.
Medicinal Uses:
Alterative; Diaphoretic; Purgative; Skin; Tonic.

Tonic, diaphoretic, alterative. A valuable remedy in the treatment of syphilitic, scrofulous and cutaneous diseases, also in jaundice, liver affections, rheumatism and gonorrhoea, the decoction is generally used. Saponin is produced from this plant. Although rarely used, this species can be employed in many of the same ways as soapwort, Saponaria officinalis. It is a valuable remedy, used as an external wash, for the treatment of many skin diseases.

Other Uses : The plant contains saponins. This may be used as soap substitute.

Known Hazards: Although no mention has been seen for this species, at least one member of this genus has a root that is rich in saponins. Although toxic, these substances are very poorly absorbed by the body and so tend to pass through without causing harm. They are also broken down by heat so a long slow baking can destroy them. Saponins are found in many plants, including several that are often used for food, such as certain beans. It is advisable not to eat large quantities of food that contain saponins. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish.

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gypsophila
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/soroeg62.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Gypsophila+struthium

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Immunisation

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Definition:
Immunization, or immunisation, is the process by which an individual’s immune system becomes fortified against an agent (known as the immunogen).It  is the process whereby a person is made immune or resistant to an infectious disease.

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Immunization is done through various techniques, most commonly vaccination. Vaccines against microorganisms that cause diseases can prepare the body’s immune system, thus helping to fight or prevent an infection. The fact that mutations can cause cancer cells to produce proteins or other molecules that are known to the body forms the theoretical basis for therapeutic cancer vaccines. Other molecules can be used for immunization as well, for example in experimental vaccines against nicotine (NicVAX) or the hormone ghrelin in experiments to create an obesity vaccine.

Before the introduction of vaccines, the only way people became immune to an infectious disease was by actually getting the disease and surviving it. Smallpox (variola) was prevented in this way by inoculation, which produced a milder effect than the natural disease. It was introduced into England from Turkey by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu in 1721 and used by Zabdiel Boylston in Boston the same year. In 1798 Edward Jenner introduced inoculation with cowpox (smallpox vaccine), a much safer procedure. This procedure, referred to as vaccination, gradually replaced smallpox inoculation, now called variolation to distinguish it from vaccination. Until the 1880s vaccine/vaccination referred only to smallpox, but Louis Pasteur developed immunisation methods for chicken cholera and anthrax in animals and for human rabies, and suggested that the terms vaccine/vaccination should be extended to cover the new procedures. This can cause confusion if care is not taken to specify which vaccine is used e.g. measles vaccine or influenza vaccine.

When this system is exposed to molecules that are foreign to the body, called non-self, it will orchestrate an immune response, and it will also develop the ability to quickly respond to a subsequent encounter because of immunological memory. This is a function of the adaptive immune system. Therefore, by exposing an animal to an immunogen in a controlled way, its body can learn to protect itself: this is called active immunization.

The most important elements of the immune system that are improved by immunization are the T cells, B cells, and the antibodies B cells produce. Memory B cells and memory T cells are responsible for a swift response to a second encounter with a foreign molecule. Passive immunization is direct introduction of these elements into the body, instead of production of these elements by the body itself.

The most important elements of the immune system that are improved by immunization are the T cells, B cells, and the antibodies B cells produce. Memory B cells and memory T cells are responsible for a swift response to a second encounter with a foreign molecule. Passive immunization is direct introduction of these elements into the body, instead of production of these elements by the body itself.

Immunization is a proven tool for controlling and eliminating life-threatening infectious diseases and is estimated to avert between 2 and 3 million deaths each year. It is one of the most cost-effective health investments, with proven strategies that make it accessible to even the most hard-to-reach and vulnerable populations. It has clearly defined target groups; it can be delivered effectively through outreach activities; and vaccination does not require any major lifestyle change.

Immunizations are definitely less risky and an easier way to become immune to a particular disease than risking a milder form of the disease itself. They are important for both adults and children in that they can protect us from the many diseases out there. Through the use of immunizations, some infections and diseases have almost completely been eradicated throughout the United States and the World. One example is polio. Thanks to dedicated health care professionals and the parents of children who vaccinated on schedule, polio has been eliminated in the U.S. since 1979. Polio is still found in other parts of the world so certain people could still be at risk of getting it. This includes those people who have never had the vaccine, those who didn’t receive all doses of the vaccine, or those traveling to areas of the world where polio is still prevalent.

The Immunization can be achieved in an active or passive manner:
Vaccination is an active form of immunization.

Active immunization/vaccination has been named one of the “Ten Great Public Health Achievements in the 20th Century”.

Active immunization:.click & see
Active immunization can occur naturally when a person comes in contact with, for example, a microbe. The immune system will eventually create antibodies and other defenses against the microbe. The next time, the immune response against this microbe can be very efficient; this is the case in many of the childhood infections that a person only contracts once, but then is immune.

Artificial active immunization is where the microbe, or parts of it, are injected into the person before they are able to take it in naturally. If whole microbes are used, they are pre-treated.

The importance of immunization is so great that the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has named it one of the “Ten Great Public Health Achievements in the 20th Century”.  Live attenuated vaccines have decreased pathogenicity. Their effectiveness depends on the immune systems ability to replicate and elicits a response similar to natural infection. It is usually effective with a single dose. Examples of live, attenuated vaccines include measles, mumps, rubella, MMR, yellow fever, varicella, rotavirus, and influenza (LAIV).

Passive immunization:……...click & see
Passive immunization is where pre-synthesized elements of the immune system are transferred to a person so that the body does not need to produce these elements itself. Currently, antibodies can be used for passive immunization. This method of immunization begins to work very quickly, but it is short lasting, because the antibodies are naturally broken down, and if there are no B cells to produce more antibodies, they will disappear.

Passive immunization occurs physiologically, when antibodies are transferred from mother to fetus during pregnancy, to protect the fetus before and shortly after birth.

Artificial passive immunization is normally administered by injection and is used if there has been a recent outbreak of a particular disease or as an emergency treatment for toxicity, as in for tetanus. The antibodies can be produced in animals, called “serum therapy,” although there is a high chance of anaphylactic shock because of immunity against animal serum itself. Thus, humanized antibodies produced in vitro by cell culture are used instead if available.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immunization
http://www.who.int/topics/immunization/en/

Tadpoles ‘Could Prevent Skin Cancer’

Tadpoles could hold the key to developing skin cancer drugs, according to scientists.
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A team at the University of East Anglia has identified a compound which blocks the movement of the pigment cells that give the tadpoles their distinctive markings.

It is the uncontrolled movement and growth of pigment cells that causes skin cancer in both humans and frogs.

And by blocking their migration, the development and spread of cancerous tumours can potentially be prevented, the scientists have claimed.

Dr Grant Wheeler, who led the team, was quoted by the British media as saying: “This is an exciting advance with implications in the fight against cancer.

“The next step is to test the compound in other species and, in the longer term, embark on the development of new drugs to fight skin cancer in humans.”

The scientists have based their findings on years of work on tadpoles in the university laboratory- the results of which are published in the latest edition of the Cell Press journal ‘Chemistry and Biology’.

In fact, the team, working in partnership with the John Innes Centre (JIC) and Pfizer, claims that South African clawed frog tadpoles- Latin name Xenopus Laevis-have the same organs, molecules and physiology as humans.

The close comparison means the same mechanisms are involved in causing cancer in both Xenopus tadpoles and humans. Until the 1960s, Xenopus Laevis frogs were used as the main human pregnancy test.

Ed Yong of Cancer Research UK welcomed the findings. But he said: “There is still a lot of work to do before these interesting but preliminary results can be used to benefit people affected by cancer. It shows that studying animals like tadpoles could lead to potential cancer drugs.”

Sources: The Times Of India

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