Categories
Herbs & Plants

Veronica beccabunga

Botanical Name: Veronica beccabunga
Family:    Plantaginaceae
Genus:    Veronica
Species:    V. beccabunga
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:    Lamiales

Synonyms:  Water Pimpernel. Becky Leaves. Cow Cress. Horse Cress. Housewell. Grass. Limewort. Brooklembe. Limpwort. Wall-ink. Water-Pumpy. Well-ink.

Common NamesBrooklime, European speedwell

Habitat:  Brooklime is found in all parts of Great Britain, being very common and generally distributed, occurring as far north as the Shetlands, and in the Highlands ascending up to 2,800 feet. It is found in Ireland and the Channel Islands.

Description:
Veronica beccabunga is a perennial plant  growing to 0.6 m (2ft).  It grows abundantly in shallow streams, ditches, the margins of ponds, etc., flourishing in the same situations as Water Cress and Water Mint, throwing out stout, succulent, hollow stems that root and creep along the ground at the base, giving off roots at intervals, and then ascend, bearing pairs of short, stalked, oval-oblong leaves, smooth, about 1 1/2 inch long, slightly toothed on their margin and thick and leathery in texture. The whole plant is very smooth and shiny in appearance, turning blackish in drying. The flowers are rather numerous, in lax, axillary racemes, 2 to 4 inches long, given off in pairs, whereas in Germander, Speedwell, only one flower stem rises from each pair of leaves. They begin to open in May and continue in succession through the greater part of the summer, though are at their best in May and June. The corollas are bright blue, with darker veins and a white eye, the petals oval and unequal. Occasionally a pink form is found. …CLICK  &  SEE  THE  PICTURES

The flower is adapted for cross-fertilization in the same manner as Veronica chamaedrys, the stamens and style projecting from the flower and forming an alighting place for insects. The petals are wide open in the sun but only partly expanded in dull weather. The flowers are much visited by insects, especially by a fly, Syritta pipians. The Honey Bee is also a visitor and some other small wild bees. Two species of beetle and the larva of a moth, Athalia annulata, feed on the leaves. The capsule is round, flat notched and swollen and contains winged, smooth seeds.

The specific name of this plant seems to be derived from the German name, Bachbunge bach, signifying a brook, and bunge, a bunch. Another source given for the specific name is from the Flemish beckpunge meaning ‘mouth smart,’ a name suggested by the pungency of its leaves, which were formerly eaten in salads. Dr. Prior tells us that the name Brooklime is in old writers Broklempe or Lympe, from its growing in the lime or mud of brooks, the Anglo-Saxon word lime, coming from the Latin limus, a word that from mud used in the rude buildings of Anglo-Saxon times, has come to be applied to the calcareous stone of which mortar is now made.

Cultivation:     
Easily grown in a moderately fertile wet soil, growing best in water up to 15cm deep. Prefers cool summers. Plants do not demand high light levels. A good bee plant.

Propagation:  
Seed – sow autumn in a cold frame. 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, the seed can be sown in situ in the spring or the autumn. Division at almost any time in the growing season. Very easy, even a small part of the plant will root if put in water.

Edible Uses:   Leaves – raw or cooked. They can be added to salads, mixed with water cress or cooked with other strongly flavoured greens[9, 183]. A pungent flavour, although the leaves are wholesome they are not very palatable

Part Used in medicine: The whole Herb.

Constituents:  Tannin and a special bitter principle, a pungent volatile oil and some sulphur.

Medicinal  Uses:  Alterative, Diuretic. The leaves and young stems were once in favour as an antiscorbutic, and even now the young shoots are sometimes eaten in spring with those of Watercress, the two plants being generally found growing together. As a green vegetable, Brooklime isalso wholesome, but not very palatable.

In earlier days the leaves were applied to wounds, though their styptic qualities appear to be slight. They are sometimes bruised and put on burns.

The juice, with that of scurvy-grass and Seville oranges, formed the ‘spring juices’ once valued as an antiscorbutic.

The plant has always been a popular simple for scrofulous affections, especially of the skin. An infusion of the leaves is recommended for impurity of the blood, an ounce of them being infused in a pint of boiling water.

In the fourteenth century, Brooklime was used for many complaints, including swellings, gout, etc

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/Veronica_beccabunga
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/b/brookl69.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Veronica+beccabunga

Categories
Ailmemts & Remedies

Indigestion and Heartburn

Definition:
Indigestion — also called dyspepsia or an upset stomach — is a general term that describes discomfort in your upper abdomen.
It is a term that people use to describe a range of different symptoms relating to the stomach and gastro-intestinal system.
Indigestion is not a disease, but rather a collection of symptoms you experience, including bloating, belching and nausea. Although indigestion is common, how you experience indigestion may differ from other people. Symptoms of indigestion might be felt occasionally or as often as daily.

click to see the pictures

Fortunately, you may be able to prevent or treat the symptoms of indigestion.

Symptoms:
Most people with indigestion have one or more of the following symptoms:

*Early fullness during a meal. You haven’t eaten much of your meal, but you already feel full and may not be able to finish eating.

*Uncomfortable fullness after a meal. Fullness lasts longer than it should.

*Pain in the upper abdomen. You feel a mild to severe pain in the area between the bottom of your breastbone (sternum) and your navel.

*Burning in the upper abdomen. You feel an uncomfortable heat or burning sensation between the bottom of the breastbone and navel.

Less frequent symptoms that may come along with indigestion include:

*Nausea. You feel like you are about to vomit.

*Bloating. Your stomach feels swollen, tight and uncomfortable.

Sometimes people with indigestion also experience heartburn, but heartburn and indigestion are two separate conditions. Heartburn is a pain or burning feeling in the center of your chest that may radiate into your neck or back after or during eating.

It’s not uncommon for people with severe indigestion to think they’re having a heart attack. The pain may be stabbing, or a generalised soreness.

Some people experience reflux – where acidic stomach contents are regurgitated up into the gullet causing a severe burning sensation. Other symptoms include bloating, wind, belching and nausea. Sometimes the pain of indigestion can be relieved by belching.

Risk Factors:
People of all ages and of both sexes are affected by indigestion. It’s extremely common. An individual’s risk increases with excess alcohol consumption, use of drugs that may irritate the stomach (such as aspirin), other conditions where there is an abnormality in the digestive tract such as an ulcer and emotional problems such as anxiety or depression.

Causes:-
Indigestion has many causes, including:

Diseases: 

*Ulcers
*GERD
*Stomach cancer (rare)
*Gastroparesis (a condition where the stomach doesn’t empty properly; this often occurs in diabetics)
*Stomach infections
*Irritable bowel syndrome
*Chronic pancreatitis
*Thyroid disease

Medications:
*Aspirin and many other painkillers
*Estrogen and oral contraceptives
*Steroid medications
*Certain antibiotics
*Thyroid medicines

Lifestyle:
*Eating too much, eating too fast, eating high-fat foods,eating fried and toomuch spicy food or eating during stressful situations
*Drinking too much alcohol
*Cigarette smoking
*Stress and fatigue
*Swallowing excessive air when eating may increase the symptoms of belching and bloating, which are often associated with indigestion.

Sometimes people have persistent indigestion that is not related to any of these factors. This type of indigestion is called functional, or non-ulcer dyspepsia.

During the middle and later parts of pregnancy, many women have indigestion. This is believed to be caused by a number of pregnancy-related factors including hormones, which relax the muscles of the digestive tract, and the pressure of the growing uterus on the stomach.

Complications:
Although indigestion doesn’t usually have serious complications, it can affect your quality of life by making you feel uncomfortable and causing you to eat less. When indigestion is caused by an underlying condition, that condition could come with complications of its own.

Diagnosis:
If you are experiencing symptoms of indigestion, make an appointment to see your doctor to rule out a more serious condition. Because indigestion is such a broad term, it is helpful to provide your doctor with a precise description of the discomfort you are experiencing. In describing your indigestion symptoms, try to define where in the abdomen the discomfort usually occurs. Simply reporting pain in the stomach is not detailed enough for your doctor to help identify and treat your problem.

First, your doctor must rule out any underlying conditions. Your doctor may perform several blood tests and you may have X-rays of the stomach or small intestine. Your doctor may also use an instrument to look closely at the inside of the stomach, a procedure called an upper endoscopy. An endoscope, a flexible tube that contains a light and a camera to produce images from inside the body, is used in this procedure.

Treatment:
Because indigestion is a symptom rather than a disease, treatment usually depends upon the underlying condition causing the indigestion.

Often, episodes of indigestion go away within hours without medical attention. However, if your indigestion symptoms become worse, you should consult a doctor. Here are some helpful tips to alleviate indigestion:

*Try not to chew with your mouth open, talk while chewing, or eat too fast. This causes you to swallow too much air, which can aggravate indigestion.

*Drink fluids after rather than during meals.

*Avoid late-night eating.

*Try to get little relaxation after meals.

*Avoid toomuch spicy  and fried foods.

*Stop smoking.

*Avoid alcoholic beverages.

*Maintain a healthy weight. Excess pounds put pressure on your abdomen, pushing up your stomach and causing acid to back up into your esophagus.Exercise regularly. With your doctor’s OK, aim for 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week. It can be as simple as a daily walk, though not just after you eat.

*Regular exercise(specially Yoga exercise ) helps you keep off extra weight and promotes better digestion.

*Manage stress. Create a calm environment at mealtime. Practice relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation or yoga. Spend time doing things you enjoy. Get plenty of sleep.

*Eat more fibourous food (vegetable,fruits & nuts) and less meat(specially redmeat)

*Reconsider your medications. With your doctor’s approval, stop or cut back on pain relieving drugs that may irritate your stomach lining. If that’s not an option, be sure to take these medications with food.

*Do not exercise with a full stomach. Rather, exercise before a meal or at least one hour after eating a meal.
Do not lie down right after eating.

*Wait at least three hours after your last meal of the day before going to bed.

*Raise the head of your bed so that your head and chest are higher than your feet. You can do this by placing 6-inch blocks under the bedposts at the head of the bed. Don’t use piles of pillows to achieve the same goal. You will only put your head at an angle that can increase pressure on your stomach and make heartburn worse.

*Go to bed early and  get up early. Try to have atleast 6 hours sound sleep at night.

If indigestion is not relieved after making these changes, your doctor may prescribe medications to alleviate your symptoms.

Alternative  Therapy:
Some people may find relief from indigestion through the following methods, although more research is needed to determine their effectiveness:

*Drinking herbal tea with peppermint.

*Psychological methods, including relaxation techniques, cognitive therapy and hypnotherapy.

*Regular Yoga exercise under a trained Yoga instructor

*You may see herbal products that promise relief from indigestion. But remember, these products often haven’t been proven effective and there’s a risk that comes with taking herbs because they’re not regulated.

*Sometimes proper Homeopathic treatment works very  well.

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.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/guide/indigestion
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/indigestion1.shtml
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/indigestion/DS01141
http://www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/guide/indigestion?page=2
http://heartburnadvice.info/result.php?y=46046424&r=c%3EbHWidoSjeYKvZXS3bXOmMnmv%5Bn9%3E%27f%3Evt%3Cvt%3C61%3C2%3C2%3C57157535%3Ctuzmf2%6061%2Fdtt%3C3%3Cjoufsdptnpt%60bggjmjbuf%604%60e3s%60efsq%3Ccsjehf91%3A%3Ccsjehf91%3A%3C22%3A8816%3C%3A%3A276%3Cdmfbo%3C%3Czbipp%3C%27jqvb%60je%3E3g%3Ag5g%3A62dce451g479c511988e4e7c2%27enybsht%3E53%3Ag54ddg93c6bgcg%3A533f1d723717%3Ad&Keywords=Severe Heartburn&rd=3
http://www.askdrthomas.com/ailments-heartburn-indigestion.html

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Categories
News on Health & Science

Mercury Cancels Brain Benefits of Fish Oil

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A long-term dietary study untangles the effects on brain development of two well-known but contrary exposures – beneficial oil and toxic methyl mercury – that accompany a fish-rich diet.

 CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Prenatal mercury exposure from a mother’s fish-rich diet can reduce the beneficial effects fish oil has on brain development, report an international group of researchers. The babies exposed in the womb to higher methyl mercury levels scored lower on skills tests as infants and toddlers than those exposed to lower levels of the pollutant.

Of five nutrients tested, only the benefits of the fish oil DHA were affected by the mercury. The extent to which methyl mercury interferes with fish oil’s brain benefits is uncertain.

Environmental Health News reports:

“The beneficial effects of eating fish during pregnancy on a baby’s brain development are relatively well accepted. However, some fish can contain high levels of mercury ... Government agency advisories suggest women of childbearing years eat fish with low mercury levels as well as limit consumption of fish that contain high levels.”


Resources:

Environmental Health News January 3, 2011
Environmental Research October 18, 2010

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Categories
Herbs & Plants

Calophyllum inophyllum

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Botanical Name : Calophyllum inophyllum
Family: Clusiaceae
Subfamily: Kielmeyeroideae
Genus: Calophyllum
Tribe: Calophylleae
Species: C. inophyllum  
Kingdom:
Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Malpighiales

Common Names:-
In Sanskrit this tree is known as punnaga. In Tamil it is known as pinnai and is often found on coastal Tamil Nadu. In Malayalam, the tree is called as “Punnagam” or “Punna” and the fruit is called as Punnakka. Bats are known to feed on the fruits. In the Maldives it is known as funa, a name derived from Sanskrit. Several of the Maldive Islands are named Funadhoo in reference to this tree.

In English this tree is also often called Ballnut or, confusingly, “Alexandrian Laurel” (it is not a laurel nor native to Alexandria and not to be confused with the small shrub Danae racemosa also known as Alexandrian laurel).

In Tahiti it is called ?ati or tamanu  tree. Several species of the tree grow wild in the tropical climes in the Pacific. In Hawai?i, the tree and nuts are called kamani in Fiji the name is dilo, while it is fetau in both Samoa and Niu?, and in Tonga it is feta?u or tamanu. In Vanuatu, the natives call the oil nambagura.


Habitat :
It is native from East Africa, southern coastal India to Malesia and Australia.


Description:

Calophyllum inophyllum is a large evergreen. Nowadays it is widely cultivated in all tropical regions of the world, including several Pacific Islands. Because of its decorative leaves, fragrant flowers and spreading crown, it is best known as an ornamental plant.

It is a low-branching and slow-growing tree with a broad and irregular crown. It usually reaches 8 to 20 metres (26 to 66 ft) in height. The flower is 25 millimetres (0.98 in) wide and occurs in racemose or paniculate inflorescences consisting of 4 to 15 flowers. Flowering can occur year-round, but usually two distinct flowering periods are observed, in late spring and in late autumn. The fruit (the ballnut) is a round, green drupe reaching 2 to 4 centimetres (0.79 to 1.6 in) in diameter and having a single large seed. When ripe, the fruit is wrinkled and its color varies from yellow to brownish-red.

You may click to see the pictures.(1)……(2).(3)…..(4)

This tree often grows in coastal regions as well as nearby lowland forests. However it has also been cultivated successfully in inland areas at moderate altitudes. It tolerates varied kinds of soil, coastal sand, clay or even degraded soil.

Medicinal Uses:

Common Uses:Calophyllum inophyllum fruit oil is used in  Abrasions/Cuts * Acne * Burns/SunBurn * Deodorants/Perfumes * Eczema * Facial and Skin care * Fungus Infections * Herpes * Insect Bites/Rashes * Neuralgia * Psoriasis * Rheumatoid Arthritis * Scabies *
Properties:  Anti-inflammatory* Deodorant* Emollient* Skin tonic* Vulnerary*

Pacific islanders apply Tamanu nut oil to scrapes, cuts, burns, insect bites and stings, acne and acne scars, psoriasis, diabetic sores, anal fissures, sunburn, dry or scaly skin, blisters, eczema, diaper rash and herpes sores–and even to reduce foot and body odor! It takes 100 kilograms of Tamanu nuts, the amount that one tree produces annually, to yield just 5 kilograms of cold pressed oil, which puts the somewhat the high cost of this spectacular nut oil into perspective.

Tamanu oil fades stretch marks with incredible results. It also works miracles on scar tissue, making scars look less unsightly. Can be used directly on the skin or mixed within formulations.

Other Uses
Besides being a popular ornamental plant, its wood is hard and strong and has been used in construction or boatbuilding. Traditional Pacific Islanders used Calophyllum wood to construct the keel of their canoes while the boat sides were made from breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) wood. The seeds yield a thick, dark green oil for medicinal use or hair grease. Active ingredients in the oil are believed to regenerate tissue, so is sought after by cosmetics manufacturers as an ingredient in skin cremes. The nuts should be well dried before cracking, after which the oil-laden kernel should be further dried. The first neoflavone isolated in 1951 from natural sources was calophyllolide from Calophyllum inophyllum seeds.

The fatty acid methyl ester of Calophyllum inophyllum seed oil meets all of the major biodiesel requirements in the United States (ASTM D 6751-02, ASTM PS 121-99), Germany (DIN V 51606) and European Union (EN 14214). The average oil yield is 11.7 kg-oil/tree or 4680 kg-oil/hectare

The tree is regarded as sacred in some Pacific islands because of its excellent growth in sandy soil as shade tree and many uses.

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/Calophyllum_inophyllum
http://www.hear.org/starr/images/species/?q=calophyllum+inophyllum&o=plants
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail285.php

Categories
Featured

High-Protein Diet ‘Reduces Pimples’

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In what could finally put an end to the debate over whether what one eats affects pimples, a new study has revealed that a high-protein diet can reduce acne by 50%.

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A team at RMIT University in Australia has carried out the study and found that a high protein-based, low-GI diet could have a dramatic effect on acne symptoms, the ‘Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology‘ reported.

Lead researcher Dr Robyn Smith said: “Diet has long been thought to be the cause of acne with chocolate most often named as a culprit, but I was surprised how little scientific research had been done in this area.

“My research found that a low-GI diet significantly reduced acne lesion counts when compared with the conventional high-carb, high-GI Western diet.

“A diet designed to fight acne should contain minimally refined carbohydrate-based foods and include a wide variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, lean meats, fish and seafood.”

In fact, the researchers came to the conclusion after conducting what they claim was the first randomised controlled trial on diet and acne in more than 40 years. The experiment involved 43 teenage boys on two different diets over 12 weeks.

One group followed the typical western teen diet of refined and highly processed carbohydrate foods while the other group ate a more natural diet higher in protein and low-GI foods such as wholegrain bread, pasta and legumes.

“Those on the low-GI diet reduced facial acne by 50%, and showed improvements in their self-esteem and overall wellbeing,” Smith said.

Sources: The Times Of India