Tag Archives: Greenwich Mean Time

Rhododendron ferrugineum

Botanical Name : Rhododendron ferrugineum
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Rhododendron
Species:R. ferrugineum
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Ericales

Common Names: Alpenrose, Snow-rose, or Rusty-leaved alpenrose

Habitat :Rhododendron ferrugineum is native to Europe.It grows just above the tree line in the Alps, Pyrenees, Jura and northern Apennines on the mountain slopes in open woods or scrub, often dominant in the dwarf shrub zone.

Description:
Rhododendron ferrugineum is an evergreen Shrub growing to 1.5 m (5ft). It produces clusters of pinkish-red, bell-shaped flowers throughout the summer. The undersides of the leaves are covered in rust-brown spots, which give the species its scientific name. This is in contrast to Rhododendron hirsutum, which has no such brown colouring, has hairy edges to the leaves and grows over limestone. Where the two species co-occur (usually on soils of intermediate pH), the hybrid Rhododendron × intermedium may occur; as its name suggests, it is intermediate in form between the two parental species.

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It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower in June, and the seeds ripen in August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.
Cultivation:
Succeeds in a most humus-rich lime-free soils except those of a dry arid nature or those that are heavy or clayey. Prefers a peaty or well-drained sandy loam. Succeeds in sun or shade, the warmer the climate the more shade a plant requires. A pH between 4.5 and 5.5 is ideal. This species grows better in the midlands and north Britain, disliking the hotter conditions in the south. Succeeds in a woodland though, because of its surface-rooting habit, it does not compete well with surface-rooting trees. Plants need to be kept well weeded, they dislike other plants growing over or into their root system, in particular they grow badly with ground cover plants, herbaceous plants and heathers. Plants form a root ball and are very tolerant of being transplanted, even when quite large, so long as the root ball is kept intact. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.
Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the autumn and given artificial light. Alternatively sow the seed in a lightly shaded part of the warm greenhouse in late winter or in a cold greenhouse in April. Surface-sow the seed and do not allow the compost to become dry. Pot up the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and grow on in a greenhouse for at least the first winter. Layering in late July. Takes 15 – 24 months. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, August in a frame. Difficult

Medicinal Uses:
The flowers, leaves and the galls are antirheumatic, diaphoretic and diuretic. It is used in the treatment of certain forms of arthritis and rheumatism, but can cause diarrhoea and vomiting so should only be used with expert supervision. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant. It is used in treating a variety of complaints involving flatulence.

Other Uses:
Plants can be grown as ground cover when spaced about 1 metre apart each way. Some substances in this plant have shown herbicidal activity, though more research needs to be carried out

Known Hazards: The leaves and the galls are poisonous. The pollen of many if not all species of rhododendrons is also probably toxic, being said to cause intoxication when eaten in large quantities.

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/Rhododendron_ferrugineum
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rhododendron+ferrugineum

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How Much Sunshine is needed to Make Enough Vitamin D?

Vitamin D deficiency is quite common, and a growing list of diseases and conditions are being linked with it. Regular sun exposure, without sunscreen, causes your skin to produce vitamin D naturally. But how much sun do you need?

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You’ve probably seen some vague guidelines, recommending “a few minutes every day.” But these recommendations are far too general to be useful. The amount of sun you need to meet your vitamin D requirements varies hugely, depending on your location, your skin type, the time of year, the time of day, and even the atmospheric conditions.

The Vitamin D/UV Calculator
Scientists at the Norwegian Institute for Air Research have devised a calculator that will take all those factors into consideration and estimate how many minutes of exposure you need for your skin to produce 25 mcg (the equivalent of 1,000 International Units) of vitamin D.

It’s not the most user-friendly interface and it is very easy to enter the wrong information. But once you get past the technicalities, it’s very interesting to see how much the answers change when you vary the input.

It is also not written for US cities so you can go to this page to find out latitude and longitude of many cites and enter the numbers manually. The easiest way may be to simply google “altitude of [your town]”. Remember to convert it to kilometers. One kilometer is about 3300 feet.

If your latitude is 39 S, enter -39. If your longitude is 76 W, enter -76.
You’ll also need to enter the time of day you are going out in the sun, expressed as UTC (Greenwich Mean Time). Here is a converter that will convert local time into UTC. The calculator uses a 24 hour clock, so hours from 1 PM to midnight are expressed as 13 to 24.

The calculator also wants to know the thickness of the ozone layer. I suggest just setting this one to medium.

Be sure to click the radio button next to the entries. They are often not automatically selected when you fill in the values.

Keep in mind that the exposure times given are considered enough to maintain healthy vitamin D status. If you are starting out with a vitamin D deficiency, you might need more.

Resources:

Nutrition Data August 10, 2009

CNN October 4, 2009

Times Online October 10, 2009

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Asarum Europeaum, European Ginger

Botanical  Name: Asarum europaeum
Family:Aristolochiaceae
Common Plant Family: Birthwort
Kingdom: Plantae
Genus: Asarum
Species:A. europaeum

Synonym:Hexastylis europaea

Common Name: European Wild Ginger,       Asarabacca,   Hazelwort, and Wild spikenard

Hasbitat:Asarum europaeum has a wide distribution in Europe. It ranges from southern Finland and northern Russia south to southern France, Italy, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republic of Macedonia. It is absent from the British Isles and Scandinavia with the exception of southern Finland, and also from northwestern Germany and the Netherlands. Within Europe, the plant is grown outside of its range in the United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands.The plant grows in open woodland and waterside thickets, especially in beech woodlands.

Description:
.Asarum europaeum (European Ginger)is not a flashy plant, but it always holds its own in the garden.The plant is an evergreen  perennial  one  and has prostrate stems that each bear 2 reniform (i.e. kidney-shaped) leaves with long petioles. The upper surface of the leaves is shiny and they have a pepper-like taste and smell. There are also 2 to 3 stipules present that occur in two rows opposite each other on the stem. the flowers are solitary, terminal and nodding. The flower tube is composed of fused tepals that ends with 3 petal-like projections that are brownish towards their ends and dark purple toward the centre. There are 12 stamens present. The flowers emerge in the late winter and spring.. Unlike American wild ginger, European ginger has glossy, shiny(heart shaped) leaves.Leaves are thick and extra glossy. It grows as a low, slow creeping ground cover that sweeps around other plants, catches the light and reflects it up. The leaves are so shiny, everyone wants to reach down and touch it.
click to see the pictures.>……..(01).......(1).…...(2)……..(3).….……
The stems are 10-15 cm long. The leaves are petiolate and reniform and about 10 cm wide. It occurs mostly in deciduous woodland or coniferous forests, especially in calcareous soils. There are two recognised subspecies other than the type, including A. europaeum ssp. caucasicum, which is confined to the southwestern Alps, and A. europaeum ssp. italicum, which is found in central and northern Italy as well as in the Crna Gora mountains in former Jugoslavia. In former days, it was used in snuff and also medicinally as an emetic and cathartic. It is quite shade-tolerant and is often employed as a ground cover in gardens where little else will grow.
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The newly emerging perennial  leaves are folded tightly in half and are a fresh green colour. The large, flat leaf in front is from last year. About half of the leaves remain on the plant from last season, some in good shape, and some not.

The purplish  brown flowers are usually hidden by the leaves and so are  not considered to be ornamental. Provide a moist soil with a pH in the 5.5 to 6.5 range.

Plant Height: 4-8 inches,
Environment: prefers full shade to partial shade or partial sun; soil should be moist
Bloom Colors: Purple

A handsome groundcover for shaded areas. Prefers rich organic soil that is slightly acidic.
Propagation: Propagation is by division in the spring.

Medicinal Uses:

Asarabacca has a long history of herbal use dating back at least to the time of the ancient Greeks, though it is little used in modern herbalism. The root, leaves and stems are cathartic, diaphoretic, emetic, errhine, sternutatory, stimulant and tonic. The plant has a strong peppery taste and smell. It is used in the treatment of affections of the brain, eyes, throat and mouth. When taken as a snuff, it produces a copious flow of mucous. The root is harvested in the spring and dried for later use. It is to be used with caution considering it’s toxicity. An essential oil in the root contains 50% asarone and is 65% more toxic than peppermint oil. This essential oil is the emetic and expectorant principle of the plant and is of value in the treatment of digestive tract lesions, silicosis, dry pharyngeal and laryngeal catarrh etc.

It has been substituted for Ipecac to produce vomiting. The French use it for this purpose after drinking too much wine. A little sniffed up the nostrils induces violent sneezing and a heavy flow of mucus. This has caused it to be used to remedy headache, drowsiness, giddiness, catarrhs, and other conditions caused by congestion. Asarabacca has been a component in many popular commercial medicinal snuffs.

Asarabacca has been extensively investigated, both chemically and pharmacologically. It is rich in flavonoids. The leaves contain a highly aromatic essential oil that contains constituents that verify the value of extracts as an errhine (for promotion of nasal secretion). Based on human experiments, the expectorant properties of both the roots and the leaves are quite good. In Rumania, human experiments where infusions of asarabacca were administered to people suffering pulmonary insufficiency, the preparations were said to have a beneficial effect on the heart condition, including a diuretic effect. From the types of irritant chemical compound known to be present in this plant, one would expect that catharsis would result from ingestion of extracts prepared from asarabacca. However, it is violent in its action.

Other Uses:....Dye.… A vibrant apple-green dye is obtained from plant. A useful ground cover for a shady position so long as it is not dry, spreading by its roots

Known Hazards: The plant is poisonous in large doses, the toxin is neutralized by drying.

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.aboutgardenplants.com/Asarum_europaeum.shtml
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/fp.php?pid=503939
http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/showimage/10291/

Asarum Europaeum with Glossy Foliage


http://www.piam.com/mms_garden/plants.html
http://web1.msue.msu.edu/imp/modzz/00000156.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asarum_europaeum

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Some Health Quaries & Answers

POT BELLY:-

Q: I have skinny arms and an ugly pot belly. I wish to increase the size of my arms and reduce my stomach.

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A: First you need to attain your ideal body weight. Divide your weight by your height in metre squared and see if it is 25. If it is more you need to lose weight. This can be done by a combination of diet and exercise. You also need about 40 minutes of aerobic exercise like running, jogging and walking everyday. This has to be combined with anaerobic weight training and abdominal crunches. Also, if you have a desk job try to maintain proper posture while sitting. Pull in your stomach and hold it in several times a day. It is not possible to reduce your pot belly alone.

THROAT PAIN:-

Q:
My father had fever and throat pain. He was diagnosed with diphtheria and admitted him in the ICU. Later we learnt that adults don’t get diphtheria.
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A: Diphtheria is rare today because of the routine immunisation of all children with the “triple” vaccine DPT which protects against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough). Immunity has to be reinforced with booster doses until the age of 16 years. Immunity tends to fall over time. This makes older individuals susceptible to infection. Diphtheria can produce heart (myocarditis) and nerve (paralysis) complications. Maybe that is why your father was admitted into the ICU.

BLEEDING DURING PREGNANCY

Q: My sister had bleeding during pregnancy. The doctor diagnosed placenta previa (I don’t know what that is) and did a caesarean section. The baby is premature and very sick. What is this? Will it recur in her next pregnancy?

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A: Placenta previa occurs when the placenta fixes itself near the outlet of the uterus. It occurs once in 200 pregnancies. The bleeding is painless, and can be mild or profuse enough to endanger the life of the mother and the baby. It is diagnosed by an ultrasound scan. Treatment can be bed rest in mild cases or immediate caesarean in severe cases. I think in your sister’s case the doctors had no choice. Premature babies have a lot of complications, most of which can be tackled by a competent neonatologist.

Fortunately placenta previa is not a recurrent condition.

PARALYSED DAD :

Q: My father had a stroke and his left arm and leg are paralysed. I have been advised to take him for physiotherapy, but how is that going to help?

A: Paralysed muscles become stiff and inflexible. This makes changing the position of the limb difficult. The bones and joints may get pulled out of alignment. Walking and balance become difficult. If he remains immobile bed sores may develop.

It is possible to retrain muscles and brain circuits. Muscle strength, power and flexibility will all improve with consistent physiotherapy. It is worth making the effort and taking your father for treatment.

DARK PATCHES:

Q: I have dark itchy patches under my breasts, in my arm pits and the thigh creases. They are very ugly.
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A: These patches are called intertrigo. They occur when there is a reaction between sebum, sweat, detergents and moisture. There may be a secondary bacterial or fungal infection.

You need to bathe twice a day and dry the area well with a soft towel. Check with a dermatologist about the type of infection (if any) which may have occurred. Applying the specific antibacterial or antifungal cream or dusting powder will help.

TREATING BED SORES :-

Q: My grandfather is bedridden and has developed a bed sore. What should we do?
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A: Bed sores can develop in anyone who is bedridden and unable to change his or her position. Prolonged sitting or lying in one position compromises blood supply to the skin and soft tissue of the area. Bedsores can develop quickly, progress rapidly and be difficult to treat.

Small sores may heal on their own if cleaned appropriately. Deep sores need surgical cleaning, dressings and, sometimes, surgical closure with skin grafts.

It is important to try and prevent sores from developing and spreading by changing the person’s position often.

I HAVE TO AVOID MILK

Q: I used to drink a glass of milk in the morning and in the evening. I had stomach cramps, bloating and terrible gas. Recently, after a naturopath told me to avoid milk and milk products there was a vast improvement. I need my tea in the morning though. How can I live without milk? I am 35 years old.
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A: The naturopath has accurately deduced that you have lactose intolerance. His advice to avoid milk is right and you have improved. At your age a tablet containing 1gm of calcium and three eggs a week will probably replace the nutrition you used to get from milk. You can drink black or green tea without milk.

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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Deadly New Form of MRSA Emerges

A deadly strain of the superbug MRSA which can lead to a flesh-eating form of pneumonia has emerged.Research suggests it may be more prevalent among the gay community – the gay San Francisco district of Castro appears to have been hardest hit.
CLICK & SEE...……The new strain can lead to blood poisoning

So far only two cases of the new form of the USA300 strain of the bug have been recorded in the UK.

It is not usually contracted in hospitals, but in the community – often by casual contact.

The new strain is resistant to treatment by many front-line antibiotics.

It causes large boils on the skin, and in severe cases can lead to fatal blood poisoning or necrotising pneumonia, which eats away at the lungs.

Researchers say the bug has so far been 13 times more prevalent in gay men in San Francisco than in other people.

In the Castro district – where more gay people live than anywhere else in the US – about one in 588 people are carrying the bug.

In the general San Francisco community the figure was around one in 3,800.

Sex link

Researcher Dr Binh Diep, from San Francisco General Hospital Medical Centre, said: “These multi-drug resistant infections often affect gay men at body sites in which skin-to-skin contact occurs during sexual activities.

But because the bacteria can be spread by more casual contact, we are also very concerned about a potential spread of this strain into the general population.”

Dr Diep said the best way to avoid transmission was probably to wash thoroughly with soap and water, especially after sexual activities.

The study, reported in Annals of Internal Medicine, was based on a review of medical records from outpatient clinics and medical centres in San Francisco and Boston.

Professor Mark Enright, from Imperial College and St Mary’s Hospital, London, Britain’s leading authority on MRSA, said: “It’s quite surprising that the figures are so high.

“We do know that the USA300 strain is extremely good at spreading between people through skin-to-skin contact.

“The main reservoir for this infection is gay men, drug users, and those involved in contact sports, like wrestling. Having lots of sexual partners and making skin contact with a large number of different people helps the infection to spread.

“In the US it is already moving into the wider community.”

“We do know that the USA300 strain is extremely good at spreading between people through skin-to-skin contact “…..Professor Mark Enright of Imperial College said.

Roger Pebody, of the Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “This is not the new HIV.

“What we are seeing is the emergence of an infection that can be passed on through close skin to skin contact, including sex.

“It is worrying that one in ten of the American cases are resistant to antibiotics, but most cases are treatable.”

MRSA EVOLUTION
The first MRSA strain, resistant to the penicillin substitute methicillin, was discovered in 1961
The USA300 strain was first isolated from a patient in 2001 – it is now the dominant form of Staphylococcus infection in the US
The latest variant of USA300 – FPR3757- is resistant to six major kinds of antibiotics
Even the new variant is treatable with some antibiotics, most importantly vancomycin
However, doctors fear it is close to acquiring resistance to that drug as well .

Sources: BBC NEWS 15TH. JAN’08