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Arca shell

Other Names: Arca noae or the Noah’s Ark shell
Family: Arcidae
Genus: Arca
Species: A. noae
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Bivalvia
Order: Arcoida

Common Names: Cockle shell or Wa Leng Zi in mandarin,

Distribution & availablity: Arca noae or Ark shell is found in the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas. It used to be common in the Adriatic but in 1949/50 there was a sudden unexplained, catastrophic decline in numbers. Since then populations have been creeping back upwards and in 2002, densities of up to 13 individuals per square metre (11 square feet) were recorded but, because of lack of records, it is unclear whether a return to prior population levels had been reached.
Description:
The shell of Arca noae grows to about 10 cm (4 in) in length. It is shortened at the anterior end and elongated posteriorly. It is irregularly striped in brown and white and has fine sculptured ribs running from the umbones to the margin. The hinge is long and straight and the shell is attached strongly to the substrate by byssal threads. There are pallial eyes on the edges of the mantle, especially at the posterior end. There are 42 to 48 radial ribs outside.

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They are characterized by boat-shaped shells with long, straight hinge lines bearing many small, interlocking teeth. The shells are usually coated with a thick, sometimes hairy periostracum (outer organic shell layer). Many of these clams have rows of simple eyes along the mantle margins. Most of the 200 or so known species are found in tropical seas, with only a few species occurring in temperate areas. Ark shells are slow-moving or sedentary.It lives shallowly buried in sands and silts.

Biology:
In the lower part of the intertidal zone in the Adriatic, Arca noae often grows in association with Modiolus barbatus.The shells are often heavily encrusted with epibionts. Water is drawn into the shell mainly at the posterior end. Plankton and fine organic particles are filtered out as the water passes over the gills and inedible particles are rejected at the same time. Its shell contains a large amount of calcium carbonate and a small amount of calcium phosphate. Besides, it also contains aluminum silicate and inorganic elements, such as chlorine, chromium, copper, iron, potassium, manganese, sodium, nickel, phosphorus, sulfur, silicon, strontium, and zinc. And it has a specific enrichment capacity of nuclide manganese.

Collection & Uses:
Arca noae is fished commercially in the Adriatic Sea, either by divers gathering individual shells by hand or from boats using specially adapted rakes which are pulled along the seabed. The shellfish are then sold in local markets. In China it is produced around the coastal areas and captured all year round for medicinal purpose. And the subsequent steps are to clean, slightly boil in boiling water, remove the meat, and finally dried in sun. Medicinally it is used broken and raw or calcined.

Medicinal Uses:
Modern pharmacology reveals that its ability of reducing gastric ulcer pain comes from calcium carbonate, which can neutralize stomach acid.

Ark shell, clam shells (Hai Ge Ke), and pumice (Fu Hai Shi) have quite similar medicinal uses in traditional Chinese medicine. However, it doesn’t mean that they are interchangeable. On the contrary, they need to be well distinguished clinically for proper uses.

All of the three are of salty in flavor and have the common function of eliminating phlegm, softening hardness and dissipating binds. As a result, all of them can be used to treat phlegm-fire stagnation induced scrofula, subcutaneous nodule, goiter and tumor; clam shell and pumice stone can also treat cough and asthma accompanied with thick yellow sputum that is caused by lung heat and phlegm-fire since both of them is capable of clearing lung and eliminating phlegm; clam shell and ark shell are also good at treating stomach discomfort and acid reflux since they can neutralize acidity and relieve pain.

And they do have their own advantage respectively on healing properties. Clam shell is still capable of inducing diuresis to alleviate edema. So it is often used for the treatment of edema and difficult urination; pumice stone can treat bloody stranguria and urolithiasis by inducing diuresis; ark shell removes blood stasis and disperses phlegm. Hence, it treats mass in the abdomen and hepatosplenomegaly.

Sample ark shell recipes on herbal remedies:   The Chinese Pharmacopoeia says that it is salty in flavor and neutral in nature. It covers meridians of lung, stomach, and liver. Crucial functions are dissolving phlegm, dispersing blood stasis, resolving hard lump, relieving hyperacidity, and stopping pain. Prime ark shell uses and indications include substantial amounts of lingering phlegm, difficulty coughing up thick, sticky mucus, goiter and tumor, scrofula, abdominal mass, stomachache, and acid regurgitation. Recommended dosage is from 9 to 15 grams in decoction. And please keep in mind to decoct it before other ingredients.

1) Han Hua Wan from Zheng Zhi Zhun Sheng (The Level-line of Patterns and Treatment). It is formulated with Hai Zao (Sargassum Seaweed), Kun Bu (Kombu), etc. to treat scrofula, goiter and tumor;

2) Wa Long Zi Wan from Wan Shi Jia Chao Fang (Wan’s Heirloom Prescriptions). It is fried, processed with vinegar, and used alone to cure abdominal mass and eliminate phlegm;

3) Wa Leng Zi Wan from Nu Ke Zhi Zhang (Full Knowledge of Gynecology). It is formulated with Xiang Fu (Cyperus), Tao Ren (Peach Seed), Mu Dan Pi (Tree Peony), Chuan Xiong (lovage), Da Huang (rhubarb), and Hong Hua (Safflower) to heal pain and no blood flow during menstruation. Lower abdomen is hard and full when pressed and it is kind of excess pain.

Clinical research of ark shells:  50 cases of burns and scalds, including second degree, have been treated with the combination of ark shell and vegetable oil at the ratio of 1:1. The oil was directly applied to the wounds and wall of them were cured. – Si Chuan Yi Xue (Sichuan Medicine), 1982; 1:44.

Ark shell side effects and contraindications:
Generally ark shell causes no adverse reaction when it is used in the treatments a variety of diseases like gastric and duodenal ulcers. But there were individual cases reported with facial swelling, blood in the urine, cloudy urine, recurrent urinary tract infections and others. Ben Cao Yong Fa Yan Jiu (Studies of The Uses of Drugs in Chinese Materia Medica) says that it shouldn’t be used in the patients with no blood stasis and sputum retention.

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arca_noae
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/34878/ark-shell

Ark Shell (Wa Leng Zi)

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Yoga Has Greater Positive Effect on Anxiety than Other Forms of Exercise

Yoga has a greater positive effect on a person’s mood and anxiety level than walking and other forms of exercise, which may be due to higher levels of the brain chemical GABA.
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Yoga has been shown to increase the level of gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, a chemical in the brain that helps to regulate nerve activity. GABA activity is reduced in people with mood and anxiety disorders, and drugs that increase GABA activity are commonly prescribed to improve mood and decrease anxiety.

Tying all of these observations together, the study by Chris Streeter and colleagues demonstrates that increased GABA levels measured after a session of yoga postures are associated with improved mood and decreased anxiety. Their findings establish a new link between yoga, higher levels of GABA in the thalamus, and improvements in mood and anxiety based on psychological assessments. The authors suggest that the practice of yoga stimulates specific brain areas, thereby giving rise to changes in endogenous antidepressant neurotransmitters such as GABA.

“This is important work that establishes some objective bases for the effects that highly trained practitioners of yoga therapy throughout the world see on a daily basis. What is important now is that these findings are further investigated in long-term studies to establish just how sustainable such changes can be in the search for safe non-drug treatments for depression,” says Kim A. Jobst, Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

Source: Elements4Health

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Bhumiamla / Phyllanthus niruri

Botanical Name:Phyllanthus niruri
Family:Phyllanthaceae
Genus:Phyllanthus
Species:P. niruri
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:Malpighiales

Common names : Chanca Piedra in Spanish, Bhumyamalaki in Ayurveda, and Quebra-Pedra in Portuguese, Keezha Nelli  in Tamil, Nela Nelli  in Kannada,Keezhar Nelli in Malayalam and Nela Usiri in Telugu. It has many other common names in assorted languages, including dukong anak, dukong-dukong anak, amin buah, rami buah, turi hutan, bhuiaonla, and Meniran (in Indonesia).

Habitat : Common in central and southern India extending to Sri Lanka.
Historical aspects:
Charaka mentions the plant. In ayurveda the expressed juice of the fresh plant is given for a sluggish liver and also for chronic liver diseases. It is commonly and widely used for dysentery and intestinal colic. Phyllanthus niruri, also called “stonebreaker” due to its strong roots, is native to South America. The plant is dried into an extract that acts as a diuretic and an astringent.

Description:  The annual herb is 30-60cm high, quite glabrous, stem often branched at the base, angular. Leaves numerous subsessile distichous often imbricating, elliptic oblong obtuse.Stem is angular with numerous distichous, elliptic-oblong leaves. Stipules present, very acute. Flowers yellowish, very numerous, axillary, the male flowers 1-3, female flowers are solitary pistillate flower borne axillary. Fruits capsule, very small, globose, smooth, seeds 3-gonous, longitudinally ribbed on the back. Seed to seed cycle occurs in two or four weeks. The flowering time in Indian conditions is July to August.

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Pharmacognoy:
It is safe lipotropic drug and its primary action is on the liver. Blumberg showed in inhibition of DNA polymerase of Hepatitis b virus and a viral-agglutinating activity. The characteristics have been well studied.

Phytochemistry
:
In the aerial parts, three crystalline lignans including phyllanthine and hypophyllanthine have been found. Five flavonoids have been identified, quercetin, astralgin, quercitrin, and rutin. Four leucodelphinidine alkaloids were separated from the leaves and stems one of then being and enantiomorph of securinine.

Medicinal Uses:
A clinical study with Phyllanthus niruri, indicated that it may reduce the levels of urinary calcium.  A subsequent study of 150 patients over a 6-month period indicated that an extract of this herb reduces the incidence of stone formation, and concluded, “Regular self-administration of P. niruri after extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy for renal stones results in an increased stone-free rate that appears statistically significant for lower caliceal location. Its efficacy and the absolute lack of side effects make this therapy suitable to improve overall outcomes after extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy for lower pole stones.”  A more recent rat study found that Phyllanthus niruri has been shown to interfere with many stages of stone formation, reducing crystals aggregation, modifying their structure and composition as well as altering the interaction of the crystals with tubular cells leading to reduced subsequent endocytosis.”

Ayurvedic properties :
Guna: Laghu, Ruksha.
Rasa
: Tikta, kashaya.
Veerya: Sheeta.Vipaka: Katu.
Dosha: Kaphapittaghna
karma: Kasaswasahara, Dahaprashamana, Rochana, Yakrutottejaka, kandughna.

Safety:
With the formulation and dosage used no adverse reactions have been reprted.

Cinical Usage:
The fresh root is used for the treatment of viral hepatitis.the plant is also used as a diuretic in oedema.it is also used to increase appetite and locally to relieve inflammations.

Healing Options:
Phyllanthus has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for over 2,000 years and has a wide number of traditional uses.

This includes employing the whole plant for jaundice, gonorrhea, frequent menstruation, and diabetes and using it topically as a poultice for skin ulcers, sores, swelling, and itchiness

CHANCA PIEDRA (Phyllanthus niruri) is a composite name, “chanca” meaning “to break” in Quechua and “piedra” meaning “stone” in Spanish. It is the popular name given to several small shrub-like plants in the Phyllanthus genus (botanical family Euphorbiaceae), including Phyllanthus niruri, and Phyllanthus stipulatis. These two species have the same medicinal effects and look identical, except for their seeds, by which the botanist can tell them apart. A third species, Phyllanthus amarus, has been considered identical (perhaps not a different species at all) to Phyllanthus niruri. These species of Phyllanthus have been proven in scientific research to have antihepatotoxic, antispasmodic, antiviral, bactericidal, febrifugal, and hypoglycemic activity.*

Liver Disorders/ Jaundice :
The herb stimulates the liver and is useful in liver and spleen disorders. It can be used in jaundice and enlargement of liver. The leaf should be administered with black salt and ginger every morning for 10 days in the treatment of such disorders.

Loss of Appetite:
Its root, leaves, fruits, milky juice is very useful in Loss of appetite . It is a major component of many popular liver tonics which increase Appetite & locally to relieve inflammations.

Oedema:
The plant is also used as a diuretic in oedema. Powdered leaves & roots – pulverized & made into poultice with rice-water useful in oedematous swelling and ulcers.

Formulation and Dosage:
Juice: 10-20 ml b.i.d
Herb powder: 3-6 gms b.i.d

Ayurvedic supplements made from Bhumiamla:
Livgood
Livrol Syrup
Arogyavardhini Bati

Liver Tonic Livogod
Herbal Liver Tonic for cirrhosis,alcholic ilver and jaundice

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/Phyllanthus_niruri
allayurveda.com

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