Tag Archives: Cough

Mouse-ear Hawkweed(Pilosella officinarum)

Botanical Name : Pilosella officinarum
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Pilosella
Species: P. officinarum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms: Hieracium pilosella L

Common Names :Mouse-ear Hawkweed
*Catalan: Pelosella
*Danish: Håret Høgeurt
*Czech: Jest?ábník chlupá?ek
*French: Epervière piloselle, Piloselle, Oreille de souris, Piloselle de rat, Herbe à l’épervier, Veluette.
*German: Kleines Habichtskraut
*Finnish: Huopakeltano
*Hungarian: Ezüstös hölgymál
*Dutch: Muizenoor
*Norwegian: Hårsveve
*Polish: Jastrz?biec kosmaczek
*Swedish: Gråfibbla

Habitat : Mouse-ear Hawkweed   is native to  Temperate and subarctic Europe, including Britain, to W. Asia.  It grows on the  upland pastures, meadows, heaths, banks, on walls etc, usually on dry soil. It is also found as a weed of lawns. .

Description:
It produces single, citrus-colored inflorescences. It is an allelopathic plant. Like most hawkweed species, it shows tremendous variation and is a complex of several dozens subspecies and hundreds of varieties and forms.

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It is a hispid (hairy) perennial plant, with a basal rosette of leaves. The whole plant, with the exception of the flower parts, is covered in glandular hairs, usually whitish, sometimes reddish on the stem. The rosette leaves are entire, acute to blunt, and range from 1-12 cm long and 0.5-2 cm broad. Their underside is tomentose (covered with hair). The flowering stem (scape) is generally between 5 cm to 50 cm tall, and sprouts from the centre of the basal rosette. The flowerheads are borne singly on the scape and are a pale lemon-yellow colour, with the outermost ligules having a reddish underside. It flowers from May until August.

The plant favours dry, sunny areas. It grows well on sandy and similarly less fertile ground types. It produces stolons are which generate a new rosette at their extremity, each rosette has the possibility of developing into a new clone forming dense mats in open space. It also propagates by seeds.

Cultivation:
Succeeds in a sunny position in any well-drained soil. Prefers a well-drained to dry poor soil in sun or partial shade. A common lawn plant, it is also a good bee and butterfly plant[108, 200]. It grows well on the top of dry walls. A strongly stoloniferous plant, it can be very invasive.
Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame and only just cover the seed. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. If you have sufficient seed it can be sown outdoors in situ in the spring or autumn. Division in spring or autumn. Very easy, 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.

Constituents: The Mouse-ear Hawkweed contains umbelliferone, a compound similar to coumarin and a known antibiotic against brucellosis, as well as a frequent active compound in sunscreen lotions. The plant is also a potent diuretic.

Medicinal Uses:
Mouse-ear hawkweed relaxes the muscles of the bronchial tubes, stimulates the cough reflex and reduces the production of mucus.  It is used for respiratory problems where there is a lot of mucus being formed, with soreness and possibly even the coughing of blood.  It is considered a specific in cases of whooping cough.  It may also be found beneficial in bronchitis or bronchitic asthma.  The astringency and the diuretic action also help to counter the production of mucus, sometimes throughout the respiratory system.  The herb is used to control heavy menstrual bleeding and to ease the coughing up of blood.  Externally it may be used as a poultice to aid wound-healing or specifically to treat hernias and fractures.  A powder made from it was used to stem nosebleeds.  The tea is an occasional home remedy for fever and diarrhea.

The herb is also taken in the treatment of enteritis, influenza, pyelitis and cystitis. It is occasionally used externally in the treatment of small wounds and cuts.The plant is harvested in May and June whilst in flower and can be used fresh or dried.

 

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/Hieracium_pilosella
http://www.pbase.com/image/45418756
http://luirig.altervista.org/naturaitaliana/viewpics.php?title=Pilosella+officinarum
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Pilosella+officinarum

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Pleurisy

Alternative Name :Pleuritis

Definition:
Pleurisy  is an inflammation of the pleura,  the lining of the pleural cavity surrounding the lungs. Among other things, infections are the most common cause of pleurisy.

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The inflamed pleural layers rub against each other every time the lungs expand to breathe in air. This can cause severe sharp pain with inhalation (also called pleuritic chest pain).

Symptoms:
The main symptom of pleurisy is a sharp or stabbing pain in the chest that gets worse with deep breathing, coughing, sneezing or laughing. The pain may stay in one place, or it may spread to the shoulder or back. Sometimes it becomes a fairly constant dull ache.

Depending on its cause, pleurisy may be accompanied by other symptoms:

*Chest pain when you inhale and exhale (between breaths, you feel almost no pain)
*Shortness of breath
*Dry cough
*Fever and chills
*Rapid, shallow breathing
*Unexplained weight loss
*Sore throat followed by pain and swelling in the joints
*Diarrhea
*Ventricular tachycardia
*Erectile dysfunction
*Vomiting blood
*Vaginal discharge
*Loss of appetite

The sharp, fleeting pain in your chest that pleurisy causes is made worse by coughing, sneezing, moving and breathing, especially deep breathing. In some cases, pain may extend from your chest to your shoulder. You may find relief from pain when you hold your breath or when you apply pressure over the painful area.

When an accumulation of fluids (pleural effusion) is associated with pleurisy, the pain usually disappears because the fluid serves as a lubricant. However, if enough fluid accumulates, it puts pressure on your lungs, compressing and interfering with their normal function, causing shortness of breath. If the fluid becomes infected, the signs and symptoms of dry cough, fever and chills may appear. An infected pleural effusion is called an empyema.

Causes:
Viral infection is the most common cause of pleurisy. However, many different conditions can cause pleurisy:

*Pneumothorax
*Bacterial infections like pneumonia and tuberculosis
*Autoimmune disorders like systemic lupus erythematosus (or drug-induced lupus erythematosus) and rheumatoid arthritis
*Lung cancer and lymphoma
*Other lung diseases like Cystic Fibrosis, sarcoidosis, asbestosis, lymphangioleiomyomatosis, and mesothelioma
*Pulmonary embolism, a blood clot in the blood vessels that go into the lungs
*Inflammatory bowel disease
*Familial Mediterranean fever, an inherited condition that often causes fever and swelling in the abdomen or lung
*Infection from a fungus or parasite
*Heart surgery, especially coronary artery bypass grafting
*High blood pressure
*Chest injuries
*Aortic dissection
*Can occur with no illness or infection
*Some cases of pleurisy are idiopathic, meaning the cause cannot be determined.

Complications:
*Breathing difficulty
*Collapsed lung due to thoracentesis
*Complications from the original illness

Diagnosis:
Tests to diagnose the underlying cause of  symptoms may include:

*Medical history and physical exam. Doctor will ask detailed questions about your medical history, including other health problems, medications and your recent signs and symptoms. Your doctor may want to examine your chest with a stethoscope. If he or she hears a “snow crunching” sound over the area of your pain, that may be enough to diagnose pleurisy. You may even be able to feel the crunching with your hand. This sign isn’t always present with pleurisy, however.

*Blood tests. A blood test may tell your doctor if you have an infection and, if so, what type of infection you have. Other blood tests also may detect an autoimmune disorder, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, in which the initial sign is pleurisy.

Doctor may also order imaging tests or diagnostic procedures.

Imaging tests
Imaging tests to diagnose the underlying cause of pleurisy may include:

*Chest X-ray. A chest X-ray may show an area of inflammation in your lungs that indicates pneumonia. Sometimes doctors want a special type of chest X-ray in which you lie on your side where the pleurisy is to see if there’s any fluid that doesn’t appear on a standard chest X-ray. This type of X-ray is called a decubitus chest X-ray.

*Computerized tomography (CT) scan. Your doctor will want to investigate any unexplained abnormality seen on chest X-rays with additional imaging, usually beginning with a computerized tomography (CT) scan. In a CT scan, a computer translates information from X-rays into images of thin sections (slices) of your chest, producing more-detailed images.

*Ultrasound. This imaging method uses high-frequency sound waves to produce precise images of structures within your body. Your doctor may use ultrasound to determine whether you have a pleural effusion.

*Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) . Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), also called nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) scanning, uses powerful magnets to show pleural effusions and tumors.

*Arterial blood gas :In arterial blood gas sampling, a small amount of blood is taken from an artery, usually in the wrist. The blood is then checked for oxygen and carbon dioxide levels. This test shows how well the lungs are taking in oxygen.

 

Diagnostic procedures :-
In some cases,  doctor may remove fluid and tissue from the pleural space for testing. Procedures may include:

*Thoracentesis. To remove fluid for laboratory analysis, your doctor may suggest a procedure called thoracentesis. In this procedure, your doctor first injects a local anesthetic between your ribs to the area where fluid was seen on your imaging studies. Next your doctor then inserts a needle through your chest wall between your ribs to remove fluid for laboratory analysis. If only a small amount of fluid is present, your doctor may insert the needle with the help of ultrasound guidance over the site of the fluid.

*Pleural biopsy. If tuberculosis or lung cancer is a suspected cause of your condition,  doctor may perform thoracentesis with pleural biopsy — removal of a sample of tissue to be examined in a pathology laboratory. The biopsy needle has a small hook on the end that lifts away a small piece of tissue. Your doctor may use ultrasound guidance for this procedure as well.

*Thoracoscopy. This procedure, performed while you’re under a general anesthetic, allows a surgeon to see inside your chest and obtain a sample of pleural tissue. First, the surgeon makes one or more small incisions between your ribs. A tube with a tiny video camera is then inserted into your chest cavity – a procedure sometimes called video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS). Tools designed for this type of surgery allow your surgeon to cut away tissue for testing.
Treatment:
Treatment has several goals:

*Remove the fluid, air, or blood from the pleural space
*Relieve symptoms
*Treat the underlying condition

Procedures:
If large amounts of fluid, air, or blood are not removed from the pleural space, they may put pressure on the lung and cause it to collapse.

The surgical procedures used to drain fluid, air, or blood from the pleural space are as follows:

*During thoracentesis, a needle or a thin, hollow, plastic tube is inserted through the ribs in the back of the chest into the chest wall. A syringe is attached to draw fluid out of the chest. This procedure can remove more than 6 cups (1.5 litres) of fluid at a time.

*When larger amounts of fluid must be removed, a chest tube may be inserted through the chest wall. The doctor injects a local painkiller into the area of the chest wall outside where the fluid is. A plastic tube is then inserted into the chest between two ribs. The tube is connected to a box that suctions the fluid out. A chest x-ray is taken to check the tube’s position.

*A chest tube also is used to drain blood and air from the pleural space. This can take several days. The tube is left in place, and the patient usually stays in the hospital during this time.

*Sometimes the fluid contains thick pus or blood clots, or it may have formed a hard skin or peel. This makes it harder to drain the fluid. To help break up the pus or blood clots, the doctor may use the chest tube to put certain medicines into the pleural space. These medicines are called fibrinolytics. If the pus or blood clots still do not drain out, surgery may be necessary.

Medications:
A couple of medications are used to relieve pleurisy symptoms:

*Paracetamol (acetaminophen) or anti-inflammatory agents to control pain and decrease inflammation. Only indomethacin (brand name Indocin) has been studied with respect to relief of pleurisy.

*Codeine-based cough syrups to control a cough

There may be a role for the use of corticosteroids (for tuberculous pleurisy), tacrolimus (Prograf) and methotrexate (Trexall, Rheumatrex) in the treatment of pleurisy. Further studies are needed.

Alternative Treatmewnt:
A number of alternative or complementary medicines are being investigated for their anti-inflammatory properties, and their use in pleurisy. At this time, clinical trials of these compounds have not been performed.

Extracts from the Brazilian folk remedy Wilbrandia ebracteata (“Taiuia”) have been shown to reduce inflammation in the pleural cavity of mice.  The extract is thought to inhibit the same enzyme, cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), as the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Similarly, an extract from the roots of the Brazilian Petiveria alliacea plant reduced inflammation in a rat model of pleurisy.  The extract also reduced pain sensations in the rats. An aqueous extract from Solidago chilensis has been shown to reduce inflammation in a mouse model of pleurisy

Lifestyle changes:
The following may be helpful in the management of pleurisy:

*Lie on your painful side. This may actually lessen your pain.

*Take OTC medicines such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) as needed to relieve pain and inflammation.

*Breathing deeply and coughing to clear mucus as the pain eases. Otherwise, pneumonia may develop.

*Get plenty of rest. Even when you start to feel better, be careful not to overdo it.

Prognosis:
Pleurisy and other disorders of the pleura can be serious, depending on what caused the inflammation in the pleura.

If the condition that caused the pleurisy or other pleural disorders isn’t too serious and is diagnosed and treated early, one usually can expect a full recovery.

Prevention:
Early treatment of bacterial respiratory infections can prevent pleurisy.

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pleurisy
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/pleurisy/DS00244
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001371.htm
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/pleurisy.shtml

http://www.webmd.com/lung/understanding-pleurisy-basics

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/pleurisy/pleurisy_whatare.html

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Glehnia littoralis

Botanical Name :Glehnia littoralis
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Glehnia
Species: G. littoralis
Order: Apiales
Kingdom : Plantae
Subkingdom : Tracheobionta
Superdivision : Spermatophyta
Division : Magnoliophyta
Class : Magnoliopsida
Subclass : Rosidae

Common Name :Beach silvertop, American silvertop, Bei Sha Shen,Shan hu cai (in Chinese) and Peter von Glehn (in Russian)

Habitat :It is native to eastern Asia, particularly eastern China, Japan, and far-eastern Russia, and western North America from Alaska to northern California.

Description:
It is a long-taprooted plant forming a basal patch of leaves, with each leaf made up of several rounded, lobular segments. It reaches a maximum height exceeding half a meter and its erect stem is topped with an umbel of carrotlike white flowers.

click & see the pictures

Named after Peter von Glehn, a Russian botanist (this plant also grows in Asia), this spreading perennial is confined to beaches and coastal dunes. Its small white flowers are arranged in compact umbels. Its pinnately compound leaves have fleshy leaflets with distinct veins, some with lobes. Its fruits (seen in the pictures) are borne in clusters, each with wing-like ribs. It has a long taproot. Look for it in the dunes of Netarts Spit.

Medicinal uses:
This supplement is used in traditional Chinese medicine as an expectorant and to treat bronchitis and whooping cough. Its mechanism of action is unknown, but animal models reveal analgesic properties. It is reported that glehnia root can hemolyze blood cells, stimulate myocardial contractility, and exert antibacterial effects. Various extracts from glehnia root display analgesic effects in a mouse study utilizing acetic acid-induced writhing tests. Concentrations of 10-50 mg/kg polyacetylene and 80-100 mg/kg coumarin fractions are necessary to elicit analgesia. The roots improve functioning of the liver and kidneys; treat lung diseases, coughs including hacking cough, fever, chest pain.  It is especially effective in treating joint pain and muscle pain, both of acute injuries and in chronic conditions like rheumatoid or osteo arthritis. It can be topically applied and taken internally.   In Japan, Hamaboufuu is an important plant in traditional folk medicine. One ancient use is as an annual tonic. On the day of the Japanese New Year, Japanese people drink a medicinal alcoholic beverage called Toso. The drink contains several medicinal herbs of which Hamaboufuu is one. Drinking it on the New Year’s day is said to insure health in the coming year. It is registered in the Japanese Herbal Medicines Codex.

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.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glehnia_littoralis
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=GLLI
http://www.netartsbaytoday.org/html/white_flowers.html

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Indian chickweed


Botanical Name :
Stellaria media
Family:
Caryophyllaceae
Genus:    
Stellaria
Species:    
S. media
Kingdom:  
 Plantae
Order:
Caryophyllales

Other Names: Addre’s mouth, Chickweed, Indian chickweed, tongue grass, satin flower, star chickweed, starwort, starweed, stitchwort, winterweed, tongue-grass

Parts Used:dried herb

Habitat : Chickweed grows  in many areas across the globe, especially in fields, at the side of the road, in waste areas and so on. The scape has the average length of 7 inches and is covered with round-shaped leaves. The plant is characterized by white flowers of compact size.In both Europe and North America this plant is common in gardens, fields, and disturbed grounds. Control is difficult due to the heavy seed sets. Common Chickweed is very competitive with small grains, and can produce up to 80% yield losses among barley

Description:
Chickweed is an annual or biennial weed found in abundance all over the world in gardens, fields, lawns, waste places, and along roadsides. The usually creeping, brittle stems grow from 4 to 12 inches long and bear opposite, entire, ovate leaves. The small white flowers can be found blooming all year long in terminal, leafy cymes or solitary in the leaf axils.Chickweed is a plant with a lifespan of 1-2 years.

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Chemical Constituents:
The active constituents are largely unknown. Chickweed contains relatively high amounts of vitamins and flavonoids, which may explain some of its effect. Although some older information suggests a possible benefit for chickweed in rheumatic conditions, this has not been validated in clinical practice.

Edible Uses:
There is some data on the fact that chickweed was used as a food supplement.Chickweed is still used today as a salad herb or may be cooked as a vegetable. It is one of the ingredients of the symbolic dish consumed in the Japanese spring-time festival, Nanakusa-no-sekku.

Medicinal Uses:
Chickweed is reputed to treat a wide spectrum of conditions in folk medicine, ranging from asthma and indigestion to skin disorders. Traditional Chinese herbalists use chickweed internally as a tea to treat nosebleeds.

Being a widely-used medication in herbal medicine, this herb is known for its ability to have a positive impact on the digestive system, respiratory system and even skin. In China this plant was applied in form of a hot drink to cure nose bleeding. The plant was extensively used to treat stomachaches, digestion problems, coughs, bronchitis, various inflammations and so on. Until recently it has been considered a universal remedy for almost every disease.

It’s applications have traditionally included: bronchitis, pleurisy, coughs, colds, hoarseness, rheumatism, inflammation, or weakness of the bowels and stomach, lungs, bronchial tubes.

Chickweed had been used for externallly for: skin diseases, boils, scalds, burns, inflamed or sore eyes, erysipelas, tumors, piles, cancer, swollen testes, ulcerated throat and mouth, and all kinds of wounds.

External application of chickweed is known to produce healing effect on skin sores of different types, as well as reduce inflammations locally (especially those related to throat diseases). Chickweed was even used to treat cancer.

Chickweed is used for boosting metabolism, healing inflammations, producing an expectorative effect and giving a relief from cough and respiratory diseases.

Severe skin problems like eczema and minor sores like insect bites are also regarded as cases of chickweed application. Stomach and bowel dysfunction, swollen testes, sore-throat, and various types of wounds are effectively treated by applying chickweed.

Chickweed may be useful for:
Used externally for:
Cuts, Wounds, itching and skin irritation; Skin diseases, boils, scalds, burns, inflamed or sore eyes.

Internally:
Rheumatism

Other indications include:
* Eczema
*Insect stings and bites
*Traditionally used for all cases of bronchitis, pleurisy, coughs, colds, hoarseness, rheumatism, inflammation, weakness of the bowels and stomach, lungs, bronchial tubes, and any other forms of internal inflammation.

*Crushed, fresh leaves many be used as a poultice for inflammation and indolent ulcers with most beneficial results. A poultice of Chickweed enclosed in muslin is a sure remedy for a carbuncle or an external abscess. The water in which the Chickweed is boiled should also be used to bathe the affected part.

Also said to regulate the thyroid gland.

Dosage:
Although formerly used as a tea, chickweed’s main use today is as a cream applied liberally several times each day to rashes and inflammatory skin conditions (e.g., eczema) to ease itching and inflammation. As a tincture, 1-5 ml per day can be taken.

Known Hazards:  S. media contains plant chemicals known as saponins, which can be toxic when consumed in large quantities. Chickweed has been known to cause saponin poisoning in cattle. However, as the animal must consume several kilos of chickweed in order to reach a toxic level, such deaths are rare.

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.wildcrafted.com.au/Botanicals/Chickweed.html
http://www.holisticonline.com/herbal-med/_Herbs/h45.htm
http://www.oshims.com/herb-directory/c/chickweed

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stellaria_media

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Is this Causing Your Chronic Cough?

Vitamin B-12 deficiency is a known cause of central and peripheral nervous system damage. It has been implicated in sensory neuropathy and autonomic nervous system dysfunction — which can in turn have a role in chronic, unexplained coughs.

A recent study showed that vitamin B-12 deficiency patients had a higher prevalence of laryngeal hyperresponsiveness. After being given B-12 supplements, their symptoms and laryngeal, bronchial, and cough thresholds significantly improved.

According to the study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition:

“This study suggests that [vitamin B-12 deficiency] may contribute to chronic cough by favoring sensory neuropathy as indicated by laryngeal hyperresponsiveness and increased NGF expression in pharyngeal biopsies of [vitamin B-12 deficiency] patients. [Vitamin B-12 deficiency] should be considered among factors that sustain chronic cough, particularly when cough triggers cannot be identified.”

Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition January 19, 2001; 93(3): 542-548

Posted By Dr. Mercola | March 12 2011

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