Tag Archives: Research

Removing unwanted hair


Earlier it was only women who were concerned about excessive body hair and its removal. They visited the friendly neighbourhood parlour to get their eyebrows shaped and moustaches removed. Times have changed; now both men and women want to get rid of unwanted hair – from face, arms, legs, chest and back. A hairy torso (male or female) is no longer considered attractive!

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In men excessive body hair is often, paradoxically, paired with male pattern baldness. This excessive hair not only looks cosmetically unappealing but can result in excessive sweating, and infections in the hair follicles.
Excessive hair growth in women is usually familial or due to obesity. Such women may have hair in areas such as the face, chin and back.

Women produce both male and female hormones. If the balance is disturbed, and more male hormones are secreted then the woman can become very hairy. This can occur during the teens or in later life. It may be due to polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), congenital adrenal hyperplasia, if excessive steroids are administered or produced in the body as in Cushing’s syndrome, with some anti depressants and medications like danazole. In rare cases, it may be due to male hormone secreting tumours. If the hirsuitism is accompanied by deepening of the voice, loss of scalp hair and acne, it is called virilisation.

Shaving is a time tested method to remove hair from the arms, legs, axilla [armpits] and face. Shaving facial hair does not make it grow back thicker, coarser or faster. Apply shaving gel or foam first to soften the hair. Poor technique can cause ingrown hair.

A few unwanted hairs can be plucked using tweezers but it is painful. Pulling in the direction opposite to hair growth can cause ingrown hair and scarring. Apply ice immediately to the tweezed area to reduce swelling and redness.

Hair removing creams are available OTC (over the counter). The chemicals dissolve the hair shaft. Allergy can develop to the chemicals so it needs to be tested on a small area first. It can burn the skin if it is left on for too long.

Hot or cold wax can be used to remove hair. This can be done professionally in a salon or at home. It is messy and painful. Infection and burns can occur. It should be avoided if acne creams are also being used.

Twisting thread and then pulling the hair out is called threading. It is a technique done in parlours. It can cause pain.

Laser treatments have become very popular in recent times. Beauty parlours and spas offer such treatments. Only a licensed pro-fessional should do it. A physician should be available on the premises to tackle any side effects. Lasers suitable for Indian skin need to be used. The sittings need to be scheduled at the correct intervals 8-10 weeks apart. It does not get rid of unwanted hair permanently. After repeated sittings, hair growth is reduced by upto 80 per cent. It can cause scarring, keloid formation and pigment changes. That is why it should be tried on a small area first.

Hair can be removed permanently with electrolysis. A professional uses a needle to apply an electric current in the hair follicle. There may be tingling and pain. The process is slow and time consuming but is permanent. It can cause pigment changes. Several sittings spaced out over a period of months are required.

Resources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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Prunus besseyi

Botanical Name : Prunus besseyi
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Prunus
Subgenus: Prunus
Species: P. pumila
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Synonyms:    Prunus pumila besseyi. (Bailey.)Gleason.

Common Names: Western Sand Cherry

Habitat : Prunus besseyi is native to Central N. America – Manitoba and Minnesota to Kansas and Utah. It grows on sandy hills, open plains, rocky slopes or shores.

Description:
Prunus besseyi is a deciduous Shrub growing to 1.2 m (4ft) at a medium rate.
It is in flower in May. Bloom Color: White. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Rounded.

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The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Specimen. Thrives in a well-drained moisture-retentive loamy soil, doing well on limestone. Prefers some lime in the soil but is likely to become chlorotic if too much lime is present. Succeeds in sun or partial shade though it fruits better in a sunny position. Established plants are drought resistant. A very hardy plant, probably tolerating temperatures down to about -50°c when it is fully dormant. It is cultivated for its edible fruit in warmer climes than Britain, there are some named varieties. It flowers very well in this country but does not usually produce much fruit. Another report says that it sometimes fruits abundantly in Britain. The cultivar ‘Black Beauty’ crops well and has small black sweet fruits. ‘Hansens’ has large fruits with a good flavour. Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged. Plants are inclined to sucker and can produce dense thickets. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus. Special Features:Attracts birds, North American native, All or parts of this plant are poisonous, Fragrant flowers, Blooms are very showy.
Propagation:
Seed – requires 2 – 3 months cold stratification and is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible. Protect the seed from mice etc. The seed can be rather slow, sometimes taking 18 months to germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Grow them on in a greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July/August in a frame. Softwood cuttings from strongly growing plants in spring to early summer in a frame. Division of suckers in the dormant season. They can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. Layering in spring.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Fruit; Seed.Edible Uses:

Fruit – raw or cooked. A sweetish flavour, the fruit can also be dried for later use. It makes a rather astringent but tasty jelly.The fruit is a reasonable size, up to 18mm in diameter, and contains one large seed. Seed – raw or cooked. Do not eat the seed if it is too bitter – see the notes above on toxicity.
Medicinal Uses:
Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, all members of the genus contain amygdalin and prunasin, substances which break down in water to form hydrocyanic acid (cyanide or prussic acid). In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being.
Other Uses:
Dye; Rootstock.

A green dye can be obtained from the leaves. A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit. The plant can be used as a rootstock for plums. It produces mostly dwarf trees that are poorly anchored. Prone to severe suckering. Compatible with most prunes, it is incompatible with damsons and Victoria plums. Resistant to ‘Crown Gall’. Trees on this rootstock are productive and very cold hardy. Cuttings are often easy to root but seedlings vary widely
Known Hazards: Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus where most, if not all members of the genus produce hydrogen cyanide, a poison that gives almonds their characteristic flavour. This toxin is found mainly in the leaves and seed and is readily detected by its bitter taste. It is usually present in too small a quantity to do any harm but any very bitter seed or fruit should not be eaten. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.

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/Prunus_pumila
http://www.pfaf.org/User/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Prunus+besseyi

Claytonia virginica

Botanical Name: Claytonia virginica
Family: Montiaceae
Genus: Claytonia
Species:C. virginica
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Synonyms: Claytonia grandiflora.

Common Names: Virginia springbeauty, Eastern spring beauty, or Fairy spud,Spring Beauty, Hammond’s claytonia, Yellow Virginia springbeauty

Habitat:
Claytonia virginica is native to Eastern N. America – Quebec to Texas. A garden escape, locally naturalized in Britain. It grows in rich woods, thickets and clearings. Wetlands, seeps, moist woods, riparian hardwood forests, copses, bluffs, ravines and prairies from sea level to 1000 metres.

Description:
Claytonia virginica is a perennial plant, overwintering through a corm. It is a trailing plant growing to 5–40 cm long. The leaves are slender lanceolate, 3–14 cm long and 0.5–1.3 cm broad, with a 6–20 cm long petiole.

The flowers are 0.7–1.4 cm diameter with five pale pink or white (rarely yellow) petals, and reflect UV light. It has a raceme inflorescence, in which its flowers branch off of the shoot. The individual flowers bloom for three days, although the five stamens on each flower are only active for a single day. Flowering occurs between March and May depending on part of its range and weather. The seeds are between 0.2-0.3 cm in diameter and a shiny black. The seeds are released from the capsule fruit when it breaks open. Elaiosomes are present on the seeds and allow for ant dispersal.

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It is also a polyploid, having 2n between 12 and 191 chromosomes. The largest number of chromosomes was observed in New York City.

It is in flower from Mar to April, and the seeds ripen in May. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist soil.
Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Rock garden, Woodland garden. Prefers a damp peaty soil and a position in full sun. Another report says that it requires some shade[188]. Requires a lime-free soil. Special Features:North American native, Naturalizing, Wetlands plant.

Propagation:
Seed – surface sow on a peat based compost in spring in a cold frame. Germination usually takes place within 2 – 4 weeks at 10°c. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the cold frame for at least their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer after the last expected frosts. Division of offsets in spring or autumn.

Edible Uses:
Root – raw or cooked. Rich in starch, it has a pleasant nutty flavour. A radish-like flavour when raw, it tastes like a cross between a potato and a chestnut when cooked. The root is rich in vitamins A and C. The globose tuber is up to 20cm in diameter.Algonquin people cooked them like potatoes. Spring beauty corms along with the entire above ground portion of the plant are safe for human consumption. Leaves and flowering stems – raw or cooked. Added to salads or used as greens. The leaves are often available in the winter.

Medicinal Uses:
This plant has been used medicinally by the Iroquois, who would give a cold infusion or decoction of the powdered roots to children suffering from convulsions. They would also eat the raw roots, believing that they permanently prevented conception.A cold infusion or decoction of the powdered roots has been given to children with convulsions.

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/Claytonia_virginica
http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Claytonia+virginica

Bai Zhu

Botanical Name :Atractylodes macrocephala
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cynareae
Genus: Atractylodes
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Parts Used : The rhizomes are collected in November when the lower leaves begin withering. They are stripped of the small roots and sun-dried or heat-dried.

Common Name : Bai Zhu

Habitats: E. Asia – China, Japan and Korea.   Pastures and waste ground. Grassland and forests at elevations of 600 – 2800 metres.

Descriptiopn :
Bai Zhu  is a  Perennial herbaceous plant, 40-60 cm. high. Stems cylindrical, much-branched in the upper part. Leaves alternate, toothed, the lower 3-lobed with long petiole, the upper entire, short-petioled. Inflorescence in terminal head; flowers small, lilac, all tubulous. Achene globose, with a coma of hairs.
It is hardy to zone 6. It is in flower from Jul to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required)
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The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil.The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils..It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade.It requires moist

Cultivation :
Succeeds in any well-drained soil in sun or partial shade. This species is probably hardy in most of Britain, it tolerates temperatures down to at least -15°c. Widely cultivated in China for its use as a medicinal herb. This species is dioecious. Both male and female plants need to be grown if seed is required.

Propagation :
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame and only just cover the seed. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and plant them out into their permanent positions in the following spring or early summer.

Chemical composition: The rhizomes contain essential oil 1.5%, atractylol, atractylon; glucoside, inulin, vitamin A, potassium atractylate.

Medicinal Uses:
Antibacterial;  DiureticSedativeStomachic;  Tonic.

Bai Zhu is widely used in traditional Chinese medicine. The root contains an essential oil, glucoside and inulin. It is a bitter-sweet tonic herb that acts mainly upon the digestive system and strengthens the spleen. The root is antibacterial, diuretic, hypoglycaemic, sedative, stomachic and tonic. It is used in the treatment of poor appetite, dyspepsia, abdominal distension, chronic diarrhoea, oedema and spontaneous sweating. It is often used in conjunction with other herbs such as Codonopsis tangshen and Glycyrrhiza uralensis. Combined with Baical skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis) it is used to prevent miscarriage. The roots are harvested in the autumn and baked for use in tonics

It has traditionally been used as a tonic for the digestive system, building qi and strengthening the spleen.  The rhizome has a sweet, pungent taste, and is used to relieve fluid retention, excessive sweating, and digestive problems such as diarrhea and vomiting.  It is also used in the treatment of poor appetite, dyspepsia, abdominal distension, and edema. It is often used in conjunction with other herbs such as Codonopsis tangshen and Glycyrrhiza uralensis. Combined with Baical skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis) it is used to prevent miscarriage.

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://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Atractylodes+macrocephala
http://sulwhasoo-sulwhasoo.blogspot.com/2010/12/update-history-of-whoo-chung-line.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atractylodes

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The ‘Other’ Sweetener That’s Made from Sugar, but is Closer to DDT

Researchers recently investigated sucralose (Splenda) to see if it could reduce hunger and keep blood sugar steady.  They found that it could not.

The researchers hoped to find that sucralose could cause the intestine to produce a hormone that reduces blood sugar and decreases appetite, which prior study had indicated might be a possibility. But the effect did not occur when it was ingested orally — hunger remained the same and the blood sugar remained the same.

According to FYI Living:

“Worse, other research has shown that artificial sweeteners might contribute to weight gain … [when the] sweet taste is not accompanied by the calories (energy) our brain expects it to be, the complex systems our bodies have to regulate energy balance may be thrown off kilter.  The result is that a diet high in artificial sweeteners may possibly, over time, cause people to seek out more calories from other sources”.

Resources:
*FYI Living March 10, 2011
*European Journal of Clinical Nutrition April 2011; 65(4):508-13

 

Posted By Dr. Mercola | April 26 2011

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