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Growing up is a process of dehydration

We should think it this way:..….when we are born, we are soft, squishy watery baby with liquids flowing in and out of us. As you grow up, our body gains more form, our skin is harder, our bodily fluids are more contained. As we continue to grow, our skin becomes dryer, joints lose their flexibility, and our body begins to lose strength.
As we grow old, we experience changes both in our life circumstances, our mind and in our body.

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Ayurveda explains it this way:-

According to Ayurveda, our life is deeply influenced or dominated by each of the  3 Doshas- Vata, Pitta and Kapha…….CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Kapha, the combination of water and earth, dominates childhood. Moisture, stickiness, we are affectionate, emotional and carefree. We get attached easily, we cry quickly. We consume liquids- our digestive power is yet to be built.

As we grow older, we pass through the phase of Pitta, which is made up of water and fire. We are ambitious, energetic, at the prime of the strength of our faculties. You can eat and experiment with most foods, your digestion is fully developed.

And eventually, we enter the phase of Vata, which is made up of air and space. We are less fluid in our movements. We are spaced out more often, there are gastric issues. We cannot easily eat anything we like, for, our digestion is challenged. Feeling cold, dried, wrinkled skin, dry, painful joints, restlessness, forgetfulness and anxiety is Vata making its presence felt.

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Hemiphragma heterophyllum

Botanical Name: Hemiphragma heterophyllum
Family : Scrophulariaceae
Genus : Monotypus
Species : Hemiphragma heterophyllum

Common names: Nash Jhaar (In Nepali)

Habitat : Hemiphragma heterophyllum is native to E. Asia – Western Himalayas. It grows on dry slopes, forest and scrub at elevations of 1800 – 4000 metres.
Description:
Hemiphragma heterophyllum is a perennial herb growing to 0.1 m (0ft 4in) by 1 m (3ft 3in). It is diffusely creeping, villous. Stems slender, much branched, rooting from nodes. Leaves dimorphic. Stem leaves opposite, flat, orbicular. Branch leaves crowded, needlelike, involute. Flowers axillary, solitary. Calyx deeply 5-lobed to base, lobes narrow. Corolla white or rose, actinomorphic; lobes 5, subequal, as long as tube. Stamens 4, included, equal, inserted at base of corolla. Style shorter than or as long as stamens; stigma subulate or 2-lobed. Capsule septicidal lengthwise, valves entire or 2-parted. Seeds numerous; seed coat smooth.

Leaves on main stems with petiole 2-5(-10) mm or sometimes subsessile; leaf blade orbicular, cordate, or reniform, 0.5-2 cm, base truncate, subcordate, or cuneate, margin serrately 2-7-toothed, apex obtuse to acuminate, veins inconspicuous. Leaves on branches crowded, needlelike, sometimes linear-lanceolate upward, 3-5 mm. Flowers subsessile or short pedicelled. Calyx lobes narrowly triangular-lanceolate, 3-5 mm, subequal. Corolla white or rose, ca. 6 mm; tube short campanulate; lobes 5, orbicular to oblong, subequal, sometimes transparently punctate. Filaments filiform, adnate to corolla tube; anther locules apically confluent. Style ca. 1 mm. Capsule red, ovoid to globose, berrylike, fleshy, shiny, 5-6(-10) mm. Seeds pale yellow-brown, ovoid, to 1 mm.

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It is in flower from Jul to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)Suitable for: light (sandy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.
Cultivation:
Grows best in a warm, sheltered sunny position in a light well-drained soil. Plants are not very cold hardy, tolerating temperatures down to around -7°c. It succeeds outdoors in the milder areas of Britain but elsewhere needs protection from winter cold. A prostrate perennial, forming spreading carpets of growth.
Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a greenhouse. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer. Division of plants in mid spring. Layering. Plants often produce new roots along the stems at the nodes. Cuttings
Edible Uses: Fruit – raw. The bright red ripe fruits are eaten fresh.

Medicinal Uses: The juice of the plant is applied to cuts and wounds.

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.botanyvn.com/cnt.asp?param=news&newsid=821&lg=en
https://www.flowersofindia.net/catalog/slides/Nash%20Jhaar.html
http://www.pfaf.org/User/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Hemiphragma+heterophyllum

Mentha x gracilis

Botanical Name: Mentha x gracilis
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Mentha
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Synonyms: Mentha cardiaca (S.F. Gray) Bak.), M. sativa gentilis.

Common Names : Gingermint, Redmint and Scotchmint in Europe, in North America it is known as Scotch spearmint

Habitat : Gingermint is a naturally occurring hybrid indigenous throughout the overlapping native regions of cornmint and spearmint in Europe and Asia. It was first introduced to North America from Scotland by a gardener in Wisconsin in 1969; due to the Scottish origin of the variety and its similarity in flavour to spearmint, it is known there as Scotch spearmint.

Description:
Mentha x gracilis is a perennial herb growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in) by 0.6 m (2ft).
It is not frost tender. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.It is noted for attracting wildlife.

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Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Cultivation;
Succeeds in most soils and situations so long as the soil is not too dry. Grows well in heavy clay soils. A sunny position is best for production of essential oils, but it also succeeds in partial shade. This species is somewhat less easy in cultivation than most other mints. It can be lost over winter if the weather is very cold or wet so ensure that it is grown in a warm, well-drained sunny position. A sterile hybrid, the result of a cross between M. arvensis and M. spicata, though it can back-cross with its parents. There are some named varieties, most of which have variegated leaves. A polymorphic species. Most mints have fairly aggressive spreading roots and, unless you have the space to let them roam, they need to be restrained by some means such as planting them in containers that are buried in the soil. The whole plant has a strong minty aroma with a hint of ginger. The flowers are very attractive to bees and butterflies. A good companion plant for growing near cabbages and tomatoes, helping to keep them free of insect pests. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Germination is usually fairly quick. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. Mentha species are very prone to hybridisation and so the seed cannot be relied on to breed true. Even without hybridisation, seedlings will not be uniform and so the content of medicinal oils etc will vary. When growing plants with a particular aroma it is best to propagate them by division. Division can be easily carried out at almost any time of the year, though it is probably best done in the spring or autumn to allow the plant to establish more quickly. Virtually any part of the root is capable of growing into a new plant. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. However, for maximum increase it is possible to divide the roots up into sections no more than 3cm long and pot these up in light shade in a cold frame. They will quickly become established and can be planted out in the summer.

Edible Uses:
Leaves – raw or cooked. They are used as a flavouring in salads or cooked foods. A refreshing odour and taste, they are said to go particularly well with melon, tomatoes and fruit salads. The slight ginger scent make them an interesting addition to fresh salads. A herb tea is made from the leaves. An essential oil from the leaves is used as a spearmint flavouring, it is especially used in N. America in chewing gums. In Vietnamese cuisine the fresh herb is used a flavouring in chicken or beef pho.
Medicinal Uses:
Ginger mint, like many other members of this genus, is often used as a domestic herbal remedy, being valued especially for its antiseptic properties and its beneficial effect on the digestion. As a medicinal herb it is used to treat fevers, headaches, and digestive ailments . Like other members of the genus, it is best not used by pregnant women because large doses can cause an abortion. A tea made from the leaves has traditionally been used in the treatment of fevers, headaches, digestive disorders and various minor ailments. The leaves are harvested as the plant comes into flower and can be dried for later use. The essential oil in the leaves is antiseptic, though it is toxic in large doses.

Other Uses:
Essential; Repellent; Strewing.

The essential oil obtained from the leaves has a spearmint flavour and is used commercially in N. America. Rats and mice intensely dislike the smell of mint. The plant was therefore used in homes as a strewing herb and has also been spread in granaries to keep the rodents off the grain. In Britain, it is used as the traditional flavouring of Scotchmint candies.

Known Hazards : Although no records of toxicity have been seen for this species, large quantities of some members of this genus, especially when taken in the form of the extracted essential oil, can cause abortions so some caution is advised.

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/Mentha_%C3%97_gracilis
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Mentha+x+gracilis

Better Prescription

After open source software, it is now the turn of open source drug research. If this unique process can find a new anti-TB drug, it might well become the future of drug research. G.S. Mudur reports
In the temple town of Thanjavur, Aparna Venkatachalam, a final year engineering student, has turned into a foot soldier in a fresh scientific assault on the microbe that causes tuberculosis. After combing through some 200 research papers and spending dozens of hours searching online biological databases, she has assigned functions — biological tasks — to 60 proteins found in the TB microbe. She picked up a reward for her efforts last week — an Acer Netbook.

Venkatachalam is one of a group of 120 students and researchers scattered across India, Dubai, Japan and Germany, who have put together the most detailed map constructed so far to describe the biochemistry of a living organism. The 18-month science project, spearheaded by India’s Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), is seeking new drugs against the TB microbe in a manner never attempted before.

“When you want to destroy an enemy, it’s good to identify vulnerabilities,” said Samir Brahmachari, director general of the CSIR. “This map will provide us unprecedented insights into the biochemistry of the TB micro-organism.”

The search for new drugs against TB is the first project of the CSIR’s Open Source Drug Discovery (OSDD) programme, a Rs 150 crore effort to solve complex problems by breaking them into smaller “work packets” open to virtually anyone across the scientific community to solve. The challenges are posed on the OSDD website, and researchers wishing to try and tackle them need only to register and join the effort.

An international consortium of scientists had sequenced the genome of the microbe Mycobacterium TB [MTB] nearly 12 years ago. And over the past decade, scientists have identified 3,998 genes, and assigned biological functions to all but nine of them.

The OSDD effort has now generated a map that places about 3,700 MTB genes and their protein products into a network of biochemical pathways. The network, a web of biochemical reactions, shows how these genes and proteins allow MTB to carry out its myriad life-cycle activities — from invading human cells to evading the human immune system to routine housekeeping.

“It’s a very big and a very complex circuit,” said Hiraoki Kitanu, director of the Systems Biology Institute in Japan, who leads a research team that has contributed significantly to the development of a computer-readable format to display models of biological processes, and who has joined the OSDD effort. “This is a new approach for drug discovery,” Kitanu said.

Scientists believe MTB is an appropriate organism to pit innovative ideas against. This killer microbe claims about 1,000 lives across India each day. The four best anti-TB drugs that make up the first line of therapy were developed in the 1950s and 1960s. Secondary drugs are toxic and expensive. There are now drug-resistant versions of MTB, which pose a new challenge. While clinical trials are under way, a new drug is not expected to be ready for use until 2012.

All previous efforts at finding drugs to fight MTB involved a laborious trial-and-error method in which researchers exposed the organism to compounds and picked the ones that appeared most effective in killing bacteria or suppressing their growth. Researchers believe that the map of biochemical pathways will now allow them to choose specific regions of the pathway as targets for future drugs. “Instead of shooting in the dark, we’ll be searching for targets in a rational way,” said Anshu Bharadwaj, a scientist at the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, New Delhi, who, among other roles, also assigns work packets to OSDD researchers.

Some 800 researchers — most of them students — joined the effort, but only some 120 who succeeded in assigning functions to at least 40 genes — Venkatachalam among them — were picked to receive the reward. One of them was a homemaker from Dubai who had used her skills in bioinformatics to help build the pathways map. All those who won a reward, however, did not attend the meeting in Delhi — a software engineer from Germany told the OSDD that he doesn’t travel as he is wheelchair bound.

Venkatachalam, a bioinformatics student at SASTRA University in Thanjavur, and her colleague Ahalyaa Subramanian scanned published scientific literature to tell the stories of 60 MTB genes. In all, Brahmachari estimates, the consortium of researchers scanned at least 12,000 research papers on TB and compiled the information in a standardised format to build the map.

Some biologists caution people not to expect a new drug too soon. “I’m very optimistic this is going to have an impact,” said Richard Jefferson, a molecular biologist based in Australia and chief executive officer of Cambia, a non-profit institute seeking to promote innovation. “But it’s important we do not expect too much too soon. It’s going to be a long fight,” Jefferson said at the OSDD meeting last week.

In the drug discovery process, scientists will have to look for “vulnerabilities” in MTB pathways that can be exploited to design a new drug. Researchers say that one of the biggest challenges will be to find compounds that act exclusively on MTB. “We’ll need to find a vulnerability exclusive to MTB that leaves the human system alone,” said Bharadwaj.

Brahmachari himself has ventured to suggest that the effort could lead to a new candidate drug ready for clinical trials within two years. If that happens, said Brahmachari, the OSDD will invite five drug companies to invest four per cent of drug development costs, while the CSIR will provide the remainder 80 per cent. Each company would then get an opportunity to produce inexpensive generic versions of the drug.

If the OSDD does indeed deliver a new and effective drug for TB, it might trigger a paradigm change in drug research.

Source: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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