Tag Archives: Circulatory system

Fight Glaucoma With Leafy Green Vegetables

Think about this the next time you fill your plate with kale or spinach: a study published recently in JAMA Ophthalmology, found that boosting leafy green vegetable intake is associated with a reduced risk of developing glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness.

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Harvard researchers analyzed the dietary information reported by more than 100,000 men and women in two long-term studies, each lasting more than 25 years. Those who ate the most leafy greens had a risk of developing glaucoma that was 20% to 30% lower than that of those who ate the least. What’s the link? Glaucoma causes damage to the optic nerve, through increased pressure from fluid in the eye or impaired blood flow to the optic nerve. Leafy greens are loaded with nitrate, which the body converts to nitric oxide. “Nitric oxide is important for maintaining optimal blood flow, and possibly for keeping eye pressure low” speculates Dr. Jae Hee Kang, the lead author of the study and a Harvard Medical School assistant professor. The study doesn’t prove that leafy greens reduce glaucoma risk; it only shows an association between the two. Eating leafy greens is also linked to lower rates of inflammation, cancer, heart disease, and even macular degeneration.

Sources: Harvard researchers

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Hawthorn

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Botanical Name : Crataegus oxyacantha
Family: Rosaceae
Subfamily:Amygdaloideae
Tribe: Maleae
Subtribe: Malinae
Genus: Crataegus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales
Common Name :Hawthorn

Vernacular names: Eng:Hawthorn,May thom,May blossom
Hindi :Vanasaangli.
Local Name :Pandaakh

 Synonyms:  May. Mayblossom. Quick. Thorn. Whitethorn. Haw. Hazels. Gazels. Halves. Hagthorn. Ladies’ Meat. Bread and Che ese Tree.
(French) L’épine noble
(German) Hagedorn

Habitat:Hawthorn is available in Europe, North Africa, Western Asia

Description:
Hawthorn is a small to midium sized deciduous tree 5 to 15mtr. tall, grows as a hedge plant in Europe but found mostly in temperate regions North America ,Western Asia, India, China and northern Africa.Its flowers are umbrella shaped and clustered white or pink,leaves are glossy green toothed and the berries are bright shiny red. The white coloured flowers are borne in flat-topped  inflorescences termed corymbs  or globular in inflorescences termed umbels and usually contains 5 petals,5 and 18 stamens and have a rancid oder. the fruits are known as pomes, although the seeds and their bony ndocarps are termed pyrenes. The calyx is present. The throns are small with sharp tipped branches that arise either from other branches or from the trunk, and are typically 1-3 cm long.Hawthorn bark or stem has hardwood ,smooth and ash-grey.
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Medicinal Uses:

Part Used: Berries, young stems, leaves and flowers.

Plant Constituents of Hawthorn

Contains:
___________

*Amines
*Amyddalin
*Bioflavonoids
*Coumarin (an anti-coagulant)
*Crataegin (alkaloid contained in the bark)
*Glycosides
*Tannins
*Triterpenoid saponins

Action :
_________

*anti-arrhythmic effects (heart)
*anticoagulant [an agent that prevents the formation of clots in a liquid, as in blood]
*antispasmodic [an agent that relieves or checks spasms or cramps]
*antioxidants [contributing to the oxidation of free radicals which are believed to contribute to premature aging and dementia] that help increase the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart

*astringent [an agent that contracts organic tissue, reducing secretions or discharges]
*cardiac [an agent that stimulates or otherwise affects the heart]
*cardiotonic [an agent that has a tonic effect on the heart]
*diuretic [an agent that secretes or expels urine]
*hypotensive [an agent that lowers blood pressure]
*sedative [a soothing agent that reduces nervousness, distress or irritation]
*tonic [an agent that strengthens or invigorates organs or the entire organism]
*vasodilator [an agent that widens the blood vessels, thus lowering blood pressure]

Hawthorn is a good preventative herb for people with a family history of

*angina pectoris
*arteriosclerosis
*hardening of the arteries
*heart attacks
*high or low blood pressure
*valvular insufficiency
*inflammation of the heart muscle
*irregular pulse

Hawthorn is used for:

Blood Conditions

*inflammation of the blood vessels
*strengthens the walls of blood vessels
*varicose veins

Brain and Nervous System Conditions

*enhances poor memory by improving circulation of blood within the head and increasing the amount of oxygen to the brain, when combined with Ginkgo Biloba
*increases blood flow to the brain

Cardiovascular Conditions

*angina, a disease marked by intense chest pain
*arteriosclerosis
*cardiac curative
*enhances the strength of the heart’s contractions
*heart failure and debility
*heart muscle weakened by age
*helps prevent irregular heartbeats called arrhythmias, which can lead to heart attacks
*helps protect the heart against oxygen deprivation by inhibiting free radical formation which is beneficial in maintaining healthy heart vessels and promoting overall heart health
*improves blood supply to the heart
*improves circulation and increases tolerance for physical exertion
*increases blood flow to the heart and brain
*increases metabolism in the heart muscle
*lowers blood pressure (with extended use)
*lowers cholesterol and the amount of plaque in arteries
*myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle)
*nervous heart problems
*normalizes blood pressure by regulating the action of the heart, not only lowering high blood pressure but also raising blood pressure that is low
*normalizes cardiovascular functions
*normalizes heart action
*palpitations
*rapid heart beat
*reduces blood pressure and stress to the heart muscle
*relaxes and dilates the arteries
*restorative after a heart attack
*stabilizes and strengthens the heartbeat
*strengthens a heart muscle weakened by age
*supports the heart
*weak heart, combined with Rosemary and Rue

Hawthorn Berries are used for:

*congestive heart failure and circulatory disorders
*increasing coronary blood flow
*mild cardiac insufficiency

Gastrointestinal Conditions

*digestive problems, combined with Cactus grandiflorus

Genitourinary Conditions

*helps rid the body of excess salt and water thus supporting weight-loss and weight control programs
*urinary tract infections, combined with Agrimony, Thyme and Golden Rod

Respiratory Tract Conditions

*sore throat

Other Uses:

*an excellent liquor made from Hawthorn berries and brandy
*repels bees and is only pollinated by flies

Hawthorn is best-used long term as the active constituents do not produce rapid results. Benefits develop slowly having a direct effect on the heart itself, especially in cases of heart damage and heart problems associated with liver disease. It is gentle and safe for long-term use with no toxic side effects.

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:

Hawthorn (Crataegus oxyacantha)


http://www.apjtb.com/zz/2012s2/129.pdf
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/h/hawtho09.html

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Capsicum minimum

Botanical Name: Capsicum minimum, Capsicum spp
Family: Solanaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Genus: Capsicum
Species: C. annuum

Synonyms: C.fastigiatum (Bl.), African chillies, chillies, red pepper, bird pepper, capsicum, hot pepper, Tabasco pepper

Common Names: African Pepper, Bird’s Eye Chilli, Bird Pepper, Cocksbur Pepper, Guinea Pepper, Spanish Pepper, Zanzibar Pepper

Habitat :This small erect shrub is indigenous to tropical America and cultivated in South America and Africa.

Description:
It is a perennial plant in its native America but is annual when cultivated outside tropical zones. Growing to a height of 1m or more, its glabrous stem is woody at the bottom and branched near the top. The leaves are ovate to lanceolate, entire and petioled. The drooping, white to yellow flowers grow alone or in pairs or threes between April and September. The ripe fruit, or pepper, is a many-seeded pod with a leathery outside in various shades of red or yellow.

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The single flowers are an off-white (sometimes purplish) color while the stem is densely branched and up to 60 centimetres (24 in) tall. The fruit is a berry and may be green, yellow or red when ripe. While the species can tolerate most climates, Capsicum minimum is especially productive in warm and dry climates.

Constituents: an alkaloid (capsaicin), carotenoids (capsanthine, capsorubin), flavonoids, volatile oil, vitamins A, B and C, steroidal saponins (capsicidons), sugars, fatty acids.

Edible Uses:
The species is a source of popular sweet peppers and hot chilis with numerous varieties cultivated all around the world.
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In British English, the sweet varieties are called red or green peppers and the hot varieties chillies, whereas in Australian and Indian English the name capsicum is commonly used for bell peppers exclusively and chilli is often used to encompass the hotter varieties. Americans call the sweet types “peppers” and the hot ones “chili peppers” or “chilies” (sometimes spelled “chiles”).

Sweet peppers are very often used as a bulking agent in ready-made meals and take-away food, because they are cheap, have a strong flavour, and are colorful. The colorful aspect of peppers increases the visual appeal of the food, making it more appetizing. Foods containing peppers, especially chili peppers, often have a strong aftertaste due to the presence of capsinoids in peppers. Capsaicin, a chemical found in chili peppers, creates a burning sensation once ingested, which can last for several hours after ingestion.

Medicinal Uses:
carminative, spasmolytic, stimulant, diaphoretic; externally as a rubefacient, counter-irritant and antiseptic.
It is used in  flatulent dyspepsia in the absence of inflammation, colic, insufficiency of the peripheral circulation; as a gargle for chronic laryngitis; externally for neuralgia, rheumatic pain and unbroken chilblains.

Capsicum is a good general tonic, specific for the circulatory and digestive system. It regulates blood flow and strengthens the heart, arteries, capillaries and nerves. It improves arterial blood supply to the tissues and toxin removal. It is a strong circulatory stimulant,  appearing to reinforce the action of certain prostaglandins, thereby increasing the flow of blood through all the tissues of the body and producing a diaphoretic effect. Capsaicin is known to mimic the effect of some of the prostaglandins. It desensitizes the sensory nerve endings to pain stimulation by depleting Substance P from the nervous system, which is the basis for its use as a local analgesic, and recent research suggests that cayenne can ease the severe pain of shingles and migraine. It is also used in digestive debility and flatulent dyspepsia in the absence of inflammation. The addition of Capsicum to a prescription will ensure that the other ingredients quickly reach all tissues even where there is poor circulation.

Applied externally it stimulates increased circulation within the subdermal tissues, reducing the need for the body to invoke the inflammatory response. It is therefore of benefit as a rubefacient for neuralgia and rheumatic pains. The ointment also helps to heal unbroken chilblains.

Hot, stimulating Cayenne peppers are like a jump start to a cold car engine on a frosty morning. It brings welcome life into sore muscles and get your heart beating faster, increasing the flow of blood all through the body. The heat of cayenne warms stiff arthritic joints and relaxes away low back pain.  The longer you use it, the better it works. Cayenne works very well for me, I use it every day, sometimes twice a day, for arthritis stiffness, sore muscles, and low back pain. Cayenne infused oil does not burn my skin as much as capsaicin creams. Cayenne salves and oils are my first recommendation to anyone who has problems with pain, however cayenne has many other varied uses that make it one of the most powerful remedies in your kitchen medicine cabinet.

Cayenne for Pain relief  Cayenne pepper extracts are an important part of herbal treatment for muscle pain, fibromyalgia, arthritis, and the nerve pain caused by shingles and sciatica.101 It appears to act by decreasing the concentration of substance P, the primary chemical used by nerve cells to transmit pain signals. It takes repeated use over a period of at least a few weeks to feel this benefit. Cayenne is also rich in salicylates, natural aspirin like compounds, which add to its analgesic nature. 102 Cayenne pepper balms, oils and creams are rubefacients,which means it warms the body by quickly dilating small capillaries, and  increasing circulation,  which reddens, (but does not burn) the skin. This increased circulation is the hallmark of cayenne’s effect on the body, it stimulates the heart, and the lungs as well as increasing blood circulation and warmth throughout the whole system.

Cayenne Pepper Diet: Adding cayenne to your diet plan is a no-brainer. Cayenne, along with other peppers strengthen digestion and lessen the change of bacterial infections from unsanitary food and water. Cayenne peppers also lessen the gas and bloating that comes from eating heavy, greasy foods. Cayenne helps boost your metabolism and induces the body to burn off more fat. Eating more hot spicy foods will help decrease appetite and increase satiety, so you are inclined to eat less. Seasoning with pepper lessens the need for salt and fat in cooking without sacrificing flavor.

Psoriasis Treatment: Capsaicin, the most potent constituent of cayenne, has been shown to be effective in treating the symptoms of psoriasis. Treatment does produce burning sensations, which are normal and decrease with repeated use. If you buy OTC products look for one that contains menthol, it will help relieve the itching as well. A 1999 study found that treatment with capsaicin caused a marked decrease in psoriasis activity and decreased formation of new skin plaques. 103

Heart Health: Cayenne is considered to be a valuable heart tonic. These hot peppers contain capsicum which has been shown to reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Cayenne also helps to increase circulation and keeps the blood flowing smoothly through veins and arteries. Cayenne also is high in antioxidants, rounding out its cardiovascular benefits.

 

Caution: Should not be used in cases of hypertension, gastric hyperacidity, peptic ulceration, or on mucous membranes. The hands should be washed after handling. Prolonged application to the skin can cause dermatitis and blistering, while excessive consumption can lead to gastroenteritis and liver and kidney damage. Only small doses should be used to avoid irritating the stomach or burning the skin. The seeds can be toxic. Therapeutic doses should be avoided during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.

Other Uses:
Some cultivars grown specifically for their aesthetic value include the U.S. National Arboretum’s Black Pearl and the Bolivian Rainbow. Ornamental varieties tend to have unusually coloured fruit and foliage with colors such as black and purple being notable. All are edible, and most (like Royal Black) are hot.

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.purplesage.org.uk/profiles/cayenne.htm
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail122.php
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capsicum_annuum

Cayenne (Capsicum minimum)

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Mentha cervina

Botanical Name : Mentha cervina
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Mentha
Species: M. cervina
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Common Names : Hart’s Pennyroyal

Habitat :Native to  S.W. Europe.Grows in Damp places.

Description:
Mentha cervina is a Perennial, sprawling herb growing up to .3m tall.
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.  It is very closely related to the “real” pennyroyal. It has very fragrant leaves and foliage. Its essential oils are high in pulegone, a natural abortifacient.

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

Cultivation:
Succeeds in most soils and situations so long as the soil is not too dry. Prefers a slightly acid soil. Grows well in heavy clay soils. A sunny position is best for production of essential oils, but it succeeds in partial shade. 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. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. The leaves have a strong peppermint smell. The flowers are very attractive to bees and butterflies. A good companion plant for growing near cabbages and tomatoes, helping to deter 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.

Medicinal Uses:
Antiseptic; Carminative; Febrifuge.

A tea made from the leaves of most mint species 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.

An essential oil is obtained from the whole plant. 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[

Scented Plants
Leaves: Crushed Dried
The leaves have a strong peppermint smell.

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 supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mentha_cervina
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Mentha+cervina
http://www.gardening.eu/plants/Aquatic-plants/Mentha-cervina/3879/
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Mentha+cervina

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Intermittent Claudication

Definition:
Intermittent claudication is a cramping pain felt in the calf, thigh or buttock during walking or other exercise. It is caused by lack of oxygen to the muscles because of a poor blood supply, and is relieved by rest.

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. It is commonly referred to as “intermittent” claudication because it comes and goes with exertion and rest. (In severe claudication, the pain is also felt at rest.)

Symptoms:
The term claudication comes from the Latin for ‘to limp’. The affected person doesn’t normally limp but as they walk, the pain starts to build and they limp to a standstill.

People affected describe intermittent claudication as an aching or cramping pain, accompanied by tightness or fatigue in the leg muscles or buttocks. For some, this pain arises only during strenuous activity; for others (with more severe disease of the arteries) it comes on after walking a few metres. The key factor is that the pain stops within a few minutes of resting

Signs:
One of the hallmarks of arterial claudication is that it occurs intermittently. It disappears after a brief rest and the patient can start walking again until the pain recurs. The following signs are general signs of atherosclerosis of the lower extremity arteries:

*cyanosis
*atrophic changes like loss of hair, shiny skin
*decreased temperature
**redness when limb is returned to a “dependent” position

All the “P”s
*Increase in Pallor
*Decrease in Pulses
*Perishing cold
*Pain
*Paraesthesia
*Paralysis

Causes :
Most commonly, intermittent (or vascular or venous) claudication is due to peripheral arterial disease  (PAD), also known as peripheral vascular disease (PVD), which implies significant atherosclerotic blockages resulting in arterial insufficiency. It is distinct from neurogenic claudication, which is associated with lumbar spinal stenosis. click & see

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In people with PAD the arteries of the extremities – the feet, legs, hands and arms – become hardened or furred up (a process called arteriosclerosis) as cholesterol plaques build up on the inside of the arteries walls. This in turn obstructs blood flow.

When we walk, our muscles demand more oxygen, which is delivered through the circulation of blood. If not enough blood can get through, the muscles don’t receive enough oxygen and we experience pain.

When someone with intermittent claudication rests, the need for additional oxygen disappears and so does the pain

Intermittent claudication is much more common in men than women. It affects up to 10 per cent of people aged over 65 in developed countries. Most of those affected will also have significant disease of the coronary arteries and are at risk of heart attack and stroke.

Risk Factors:
The major risk factors for intermittent claudication include:
•Diabetes
•High cholesterol
•Smoking
•Hypertension
•Lack of physical activity
•High levels of a chemical called homocysteine
•Family history of arterial disease

Treatment:
Exercise can improve symptoms; increased blood flow enhances the creation of collateral vessels to the affected muscle. However, if movement increases claudication then excessive movement is difficult if not impossible.

Pharmacological options exist as well. Medicines that control lipid profile, diabetes and hypertension may increase blood flow to the affected muscles and allow for increased activity levels. Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, beta-blockers, antiplatelet agents (aspirin and clopidogrel), pentoxifylline and cilostazol (selective PDE3 inhibitor) are used for the treatment of intermittent claudication. However, medications will not remove the blockages from the body. Instead, they simply improve blood flow to the affected area.

Catheter based intervention is also an option. Atherectomy, stenting, and angioplasty to remove or push aside the arterial blockages are the most common procedures via catheter based intervention. These procedures can be performed by interventional radiologists, interventional cardiologists, vascular surgeons and thoracic surgeons, among others.

Surgery is the last resort; vascular surgeons can perform either endarterectomies on arterial blockages or perform an arterial bypass. However, open surgery poses a host of risks not present with catheter-based interventions.

Alternative treatment:
Ginkgo biloba extract, an herbal remedy, has been used by people with intermittent claudication. The extract made from the dried leaves of the Gingko tree is thought to improve blood flow, allowing people to walk longer without pain.

However, herbal remedies are not regulated the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and people should consult with their doctors before taking Ginkgo. Furthermore, use of this remedy could interact adversely when taken with Vitamin E and some medications.

Prognosis:
The prognosis with intermittent claudication is generally favorable because the condition often stabilizes or improves in time. Conservative treatment is advised initially.

•Walking (to gain stamina) often helps increase the distance that the patient can walk without symptoms.

•Drugs that are approved for the management of intermittent claudication include pentoxifylline (Trental) and cilostazol (Pletal).

•If medication is inadequate, correction of the narrowing in the affected artery might be suggested. Procedures used to correct the narrowing of arteries include surgery (bypass grafting) and interventional radiology (balloon angioplasty or stents).

When claudication is severe and persistent, these procedures may be required to ultimately relieve the condition and the pain. Not all persons with severe claudication can benefit from these procedures. The potential to benefit depends on the exact location and degree of artery disease and the overall health status of the patient.

Prevention:
A healthy lifestyle is the best method for preventing intermittent claudication. Cigarette smokers should quit smoking. Regular exercise and a healthy diet help reduce the risk of this condition. If necessary, people should work to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Diabetics should strive to manage that condition, obese people should lose weight.

The methods of preventing intermittent claudication are also the means for managing the risks associated with a diagnosis of PAD.

People can learn more about peripheral vascular disease through public education programs like the free Legs for Life screenings held at sites across the nation. The program started the Society of Interventional Radiology features a free ABI testing.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose

Resources:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/intermittentclaudication1.shtml
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intermittent_claudication
http://www.medicinenet.com/claudication/article.htm

http://www.sscfund.org/claudication.html

http://www.downloadheart.us/what-is-intermittent-claudication.html

http://www.latrobe.edu.au/podiatry/vascular/claudication.html

http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/intermittent+claudication

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