Categories
Herbs & Plants

Scrophularia nodosa

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Botanical Name : Scrophularia nodosa
Family: Scrophulariaceae
Genus: Scrophularia
Species: S. nodosa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Common Names: Figwort, Woodland figwort, and Common figwort, Knotted Figwort.

Habitat : Scrophularia nodosa is native to Europe, incl Britain, south and east from Norway to Spain and temperate Asia to the Yensei region. It grows on damp ground in woods, hedgebanks, by streams etc. An occasional garden weed.

Description:
Scrophularia nodosa is a perennial herbaceous plant. It grows upright, with thick, sharply square, succulent stems up to 150 cm tall from a horizontal rootstock. Its leaves are opposite, ovate at the base and lanceolate at the tip, all having toothed margins. It is in flower from Jun to September, and the seeds ripen from Jul to September. The flowers are in loose cymes in oblong or pyramidal panicles. The individual flowers are globular, with five green sepals encircling green or purple petals, giving way to an egg-shaped seed capsule.

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Cultivation :
Succeeds in most moist to wet soils in full sun or partial shade. Plants are hardy to at least -15°c

Propagation :
Seed – sow spring or 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 seed then it can be sown outdoors in situ in the autumn or the spring. Division in spring. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found it best to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in a cold frame, planting them out once they are well established in the summer.

Edible Uses: Root – cooked. It smells and tastes unpleasant, but has been used in times of famine. There must be some doubts about the edibility of this root.

Medicinal Uses:
Scrophularia nodosa is a plant that supports detoxification of the body and it may be used as a treatment for various kinds of skin disorders. The whole plant is alterative, anodyne, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, mildly purgative and stimulant. It is harvested as the plant comes into flower in the summer and can be dried for later use. A decoction is applied externally to sprains, swellings, burns, inflammations etc, and is said to be useful in treating chronic skin diseases, scrofulous sores and gangrene. The leaves can also be applied fresh or be made into an ointment. Internally, the plant is used in the treatment of chronic skin diseases (such as eczema, psoriasis and pruritis), mastitis, swollen lymph nodes and poor circulation. It should not be prescribed for patients with heart conditions. The root is anthelmintic

Powerful medicines whenever enlarged glands are present including nodosities in the breasts. Figwort is used to cleanse and purify the body. Figwort is used to treat skin diseases such as eczema, acne and psoriasis. It has been called the Scrofula Plant, on account of its value in all cutaneous eruptions, abscesses, wounds, etc., the name of the genus being derived from that of the disease for which it was formerly considered a specific (tuberculosis of the lymph glands in the neck). It has diuretic and anodyne properties. A decoction is made of it for external use and the fresh leaves are also made into an ointment. Of the different kinds of Figwort used, this species is most employed, principally as a fomentation for sprains, swellings, inflammations, wounds and diseased parts, especially in scrofulous sores and gangrene. The leaves simply bruised are employed as an application to burns and swellings. Figwort is used for lingering and congenital illnesses of the lymphatic system and the skin. It has a stimulating and strengthening effect on the bladder and kidneys. The glycosides it contains make it suitable for treating mild heart conditions that call for stimulating the metabolism and eliminating water retention in the body. For this purpose, use figwort as a tea or tincture.

The herb and root have been used to treat cancer of the fleshy parts. The powdered root in water has been used as a tea to treat condyloma. The juice of the root and leaf are applied externally to tumors and cancers. The ointment treats painful tumors, and the fresh poultice may be used for inflamed tumors and glandular indurations. When figwort is used externally, the tea is also given internally as further therapeutic support. In traditional Chinese medicine, Figwort (S. ningpoensis) is a standard remedy. Because of its ability to stimulate the pancreas, it is used in the treatment of diabetes Known as huyen sam or xuan shen, it is also a remedy for fever and sadness, swellings and pain of the throat, furuncles, and to aid digestion.

A decoction of the herb has been successfully used as a cure for the scab in swine. Cattle, as a rule, will refuse to eat the leaves, as they are bitter, acrid and nauseating, producing purging and vomiting if chewed.

Folklore:
The plant was thought, by the doctrine of signatures to be able to cure the throat disease scrofula because of the throat-like shape of its flowers.

Known Hazards: Avoid in patients with ventricular tachycardia (increased heart rate). Lack of toxicological data excludes use during pregnancy .

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/Scrophularia_nodosa
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_FGH.htm
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Scrophularia+nodosa

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Zanthoxylum limonella

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Botanical Name : Zanthoxylum limonella
Family: Rutaceae
Subfamily: Toddalioideae
Genus: Zanthoxylum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Common Names: Badrang , “prickly ash” and “Hercules club”

Habitat :Zanthoxylum limonella is native to the middle latitudes of North America, South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia. (found in India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar, Indo-China, Peninsular Malaysia, Java, the Lesser Sunda Island, Moluccas (Wetar), Sulawesi, the Philippines and southern Papua New Guinea)

Description:
Zanthoxylum limonella is a deciduous, aromatic, medium-sized tree reaching a height of 35 meters . The green young bark is covered with spines while mature bark is grey with straight or ascending prickles of 2 – 3 cm . Small prickles occur on the twigs, and all parts of tree have a characteristic lemon-like smell. The leaves are paripinnate or imparipinnate, 30 – 40 cm long. The leaflets are opposite to sub opposite, ovate to elliptical, 7 – 13 cm long, 3 – 5 cm wide, pellucid dots, the margins entire to glandular crenate. Inflorescense panicles have a terminal or axillary, 8 – 14 cm long. The flowers are white or pale yellow, 2 – 3 mm long, 4 sepals and 4 petals. The male flowers have 4 stamina and 1 rudimentary carpel while female flowers with ovary 1 carpellate. The fruit is a follicle, subglobose, 6 – 7 mm in diameter, with 1 seed per carpel, green turning red when ripe. Seeds are hard and black in colour, 5 mm in diameter.

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Medicinal Uses:
The different parts of Z. limonella have been used in Thai folk medicine. The bark contains febrifugal, sudorific, and diuretic properties, while the essential oil of fruit is used for treatment of dental caries . In India traditional medicine, the bark has been used to treat cardiac, respiratory diseases, tooth infection, stomach infection and rheumatism . The fruits are used as spice and the essential oil extracted from the fruits is known as “Mullilam oil” used as anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, anticholera, diarrhoea, hypocholesterolemic, mosquito repellent and soothing agent for dental caries. The Kanikkars tribe prepare a paste of hard spines prepared by rubbing them against rock with water and apply the extract to the breast of a nursing mother to relief pain and also to increase milk supply. In the Phillippines, the pounded bark mixed with oil is a good formula to treat stomach ache. In addition, the bark decoction is also taken to treat chest pain and chewed bark applied as antidote for snake bites .
The bark and fruit are attributed with stomachic properties. Mullilam oil, an orange-scented, steam-distilled extract from the fruits, is reported to have a variety of medical applications. The methanolic extract of the Zanthoxylum rhetsa Roxb. stem bark, given by oral route to mice at doses of 250 and 500 mg/kg, significantly reduced the abdominal contraction induced by acetic acid and the diarrheal episodes induced by castor oil in mice.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zanthoxylum
file:///C:/Users/COOLE_~1/AppData/Local/Temp/u6em6fky.tmp/2014_13_12_25.pdf
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm

Categories
Fruits & Vegetables Herbs & Plants

Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum)

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Botanical Name: Lycopersicon esculentum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Solanales
Family: Solanaceae
Genus: Solanum
Species: S. lycopersicum

Synonyms :Lycopersicon lycopersicum.

Common Name: Tomato

Habitat: Original habitat is obscure, probably Western S. America, a cultivated form of Lycopersicon cerasiforme

Description:
Lycopersicon esculentum is a ANNUAL growing to 2 m (6ft) by 0.4 m (1ft 4in). The plants typically grow to 1–3 meters (3–10 ft) in height and have a weak stem that often sprawls over the ground and vines over other plants. It is a perennial in its native habitat, although often grown outdoors in temperate climates as an annual. An average common tomato weighs approximately 100 grams (4 oz)
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Tomato plants are dicots, and grow as a series of branching stems, with a terminal bud at the tip that does the actual growing. When that tip eventually stops growing, whether because of pruning or flowering, lateral buds take over and grow into other, fully functional, vines....CLICK & SEE:

Tomato vines are typically pubescent, meaning covered with fine short hairs. These hairs facilitate the vining process, turning into roots wherever the plant is in contact with the ground and moisture, especially if the vine’s connection to its original root has been damaged or severed.

Most tomato plants have compound leaves, and are called regular leaf (RL) plants, but some cultivars have simple leaves known as potato leaf (PL) style because of their resemblance to that particular relative. Of RL plants, there are variations, such as rugose leaves, which are deeply grooved, and variegated, angora leaves, which have additional colors where a genetic mutation causes chlorophyll to be excluded from some portions of the leaves

It is frost tender. It is in flower from Jun to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects, self.The plant is self-fertile.
Cultivation:
Requires a rich well-drained soil in a warm sunny position. The tomato is widely grown throughout the world for its edible fruit. There are many named varieties and over the considerable period of cultivation by humans two distinct types have emerged. These are:- L. esculentum cerasiforme (Dunal.)A.Gray. This is the cherry tomato. Closer to the original species, it produces a large crop of small fruits with a delicious sweetness. L. esculentum esculentum. This is the more commonly grown tomato with much larger fruits. There are a very large number of cultivars with a wide variety of colours and fruit shapes and sizes. Tomato plants are not frost-tolerant and generally need to be started off in a greenhouse in the spring if they are to succeed outdoors in Britain. They also need a hot sunny summer if they are to fruit well. Some varieties have been developed that can be successfully grown outdoors during the summer in temperate climates such as Britain, although good summers are still required in order to get reasonable yields. Varieties have been developed in Eastern Europe that can flower and set fruit at 7°c (this is compared with a temperature requirement of 11 – 13°c in earlier varieties). These varieties could provide a basis for the commercial outdoor cultivation of tomatoes in Britain. Tomatoes grow well with asparagus, parsley, brassicas and stinging nettles. They are also a good companion for gooseberries, helping to keep them free of insect pests. They dislike growing near fennel, kohl-rabi, potatoes and brassicas (this is not a typing error, merely a difference of opinion between different books). This species hybridizes with L. pimpinellifolium (which is called L. esculentum pimpinellifolium by some botanists) but it does not hybridize with L. peruvianum.

Propagation:
Seed – sow early spring in a warm greenhouse. Germination is usually quick and good. Pot up the seedlings into individual pots of fairly rich compost as soon as the first true leaf appears and plant them out after the last expected frosts. Seed can also be sown in situ under a cloche at the end of April, though in a cool summer the results may be disappointing. The seedcoat may carry tomato mosaic virus. However, by sowing the seed 15mm deep the seedcoat will remain below the soil surface when the seed germinates and the disease will be inactivated

Edible Uses:..…Fruit – raw or cooked. It can be used as a savoury vegetable or flavouring in cooked foods, or can be eaten out of hand as a dessert fruit. It is much used in salads and as a flavouring in soups and other cooked foods. A juice made from the fruit is often sold in health food shops. The fruit can also be dried and ground into a powder that can be used as a flavouring and thickening agent in soups, breads, pancakes etc. An edible oil is obtained from the seed. Suitable for culinary purposes. The seed is small and it would be very fiddly to utilize. It is only viable to use the seed as a source of oil if large quantities of the plants are being grown for their fruits and the seed is not wanted.

Medicinal Uses:

Antirheumatic; Cardiac; Homeopathy; Odontalgic; Skin.

The pulped fruit is an extremely beneficial skin-wash for people with oily skin. Sliced fruits are a quick and easy first aid treatment for burns, scalds and sunburn. A decoction of the root is ingested in the treatment of toothache. The skin of tomato fruits is a good source of lycopine, a substance that has been shown to protect people from heart attacks. It seems to be more effective when it is cooked and so can be obtained from food products such as tomato ketchup and tinned tomatoes. Lycopine has also been shown to have a very beneficial effect upon the prostate and is being used increasingly to treat enlarge prostate and the difficulties in urination that accompany this disorder. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant. It is used in the treatment of rheumatism and severe headaches.
Other Uses:
Cosmetic; Insecticide; Oil; Repellent.

The strong aroma of this plant is said to repel insects from nearby plants. A semi-drying oil is obtained from the seed. It can be used in making soap. See the notes above regarding utilization. A spray made from tomato leaves is an effective but very poisonous insecticide. It is especially effective against ants but should be used with great caution because it will also kill beneficial insects and, if ingested, is toxic to humans. The pulp of the fruit is used cosmetically in face-pack

Known Hazards :All green parts of the plant are poisonous.
Plant toxicity:
Leaves, stems, and green unripe fruit of the tomato plant contain small amounts of the toxic alkaloid tomatine. They also contain solanine, a toxic alkaloid found in potato leaves and other plants in the nightshade family. Use of tomato leaves in herbal tea has been responsible for at least one death. However, levels of tomatine in foliage and green fruit are generally too small to be dangerous unless large amounts are consumed, for example, as greens. Small amounts of tomato foliage are sometimes used for flavoring without ill effect, and the green fruit is sometimes used for cooking, particularly as fried green tomatoes. Compared to potatoes the amount of solanine in green or ripe tomatoes is low; however, even in the case of potatoes while solanine poisoning resulting from dosages several times normal human consumption has been demonstrated, actual cases of poisoning resulting from excessive consumption of potatoes that have high concentration of solanine are rare.

Tomato plants can be toxic to dogs if they eat large amounts of the fruit, or chew plant material. Tomatoes have been linked to seven salmonella outbreaks since 1990
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/Tomato
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Lycopersicon+esculentum

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Astragalus gummifer

Botanical Name: Astragalus gummifer
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Astragalus
Species: A. gummifer
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Synonyms: Gum Tragacanth. Syrian Tragacanth. Gum Dragon (known in commerce as Syrian Tragacanth).

Common Names:Tragacanth, Gum tragacanth milkvetch
Habitat: Astragalus gummifer is native to temperate regions of Western Asia centralized in Iraq, Kurdistan, Iran, Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey but also found in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Russia. It finds dry sub-alpine slopes and valleys habitable typically 1200–2600 metres below the tree line in Iraq. The shrub grows in highlands and deserts. The shrub tolerates a pH range between 3.2 and 7.8 and temperatures as low as -5 to -10 Celsius. Standard environment consists of low water supply, full sun, no shade, and well-drained sandy/loamy soil. The plant adheres to a perennial life cycle (living for more than two years) and is an evergreen retaining its leaves throughout all seasons. Plant also known to have symbiotic relationship with soil bacteria, which fix nitrogen used by the plant.

Description:
Astragalus gummifer is an evergreen Shrub growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in). The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, lepidoptera.It can fix Nitrogen. It is a small branching thorny shrub, the stem of which exudes a gum, vertical slits giving flat ribbon-shaped pieces and punctures giving tears; these have a horny appearance, are nearly colourless or faintly yellow, marked with numerous concentric ridges; the flakes break with a short fracture, are odourless and nearly tasteless; soaked in cold water, they swell and form a gelatinous mass 8 or 10 per cent only dissolving. This species is shrubby, with small branches and short woody gray stem surrounded by thorns. The compound leaves are stipulate with elliptical leaflets (pinnae) borne in opposite pairs. The rachis of the leaf is extended into a sharp thorn…...CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation:
Requires a dry well-drained soil in a sunny position. Succeeds in poor soils. Tolerates a pH in the range 3.2 to 7.8. This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the country, it tolerates temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c. Whilst it is likely to tolerate low temperatures it may not be so happy with a wet winter. Plants are intolerant of root disturbance and are best planted in their final positions whilst still small. This plant is a sub-shrub and although it produces woody stems these tend to die back almost to the base each winter. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby. Many members of this genus can be difficult to grow, this may be due partly to a lack of their specific bacterial associations in the soil.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. A period of cold stratification may help stored seed to germinate. Stored seed, and perhaps also fresh seed, should be pre-soaked for 24 hours in hot water before sowing – but make sure that you do not cook the seed. Any seed that does not swell should be carefully pricked with a needle, taking care not to damage the embryo, and re-soaked for a further 24 hours. Germination can be slow and erratic but is usually within 4 – 9 weeks or more at 13°c if the seed is treated or sown fresh. As soon as it is large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter, planting them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.

Edible Uses:
Dried sap containing gum can be extracted from the plants root and stem, and used as a food additive mainly a thickener for salad dressings and sauces. The gum is also an excellent emulsifier and can be used in ice cream to provide its texture.

Part Used: Gummy exudation.

Constituents: The portion soluble in water contains chiefly polyarabinan-trigalaetangeddic acid; the insoluble part is called bassorin. Tragacanth also contains water, traces of starch, cellulose, and nitrogenous substances, yielding about 3 per cent ash.

Medicinal Uses:
The gum obtained from the roots and stem of the plant also bears many medicinal properties and is often referred to as tragacanth gum. The gum acts as a demulcent, which soothes irritated tissues making it helpful in treating burns. The gum acts as an antitumor as well stimulating the immune system in order to treat cancer. The plant also serves as an adaptogen fighting against chronic degenerative diseases by helping the body get to normal stress levels.

Demulcent, but owing to its incomplete solubility is not often used internally. It is much used for the suspension of heavy, insoluble powders to impart consistence to lozenges, being superior to gum arabic, also in making emulsions, mucilago, etc. Mucilage of Tragacanth has been used as anapplication to burns; it is also employed by manufacturers for stiffening calico, crape, etc.

Other Uses:
Tragacanth gum works as a thickening agent for several dyes, dressing fabrics, glues, watercolors, and ink as well as a binding agent in paper making and lozenges. Incense can be derived from the burning of the stems or gum.

Known Hazards: Many members of this genus contain toxic glycosides. All species with edible seedpods can be distinguished by their fleshy round or oval seedpod that looks somewhat like a greengage. A number of species can also accumulate toxic levels of selenium when grown in soils that are relatively rich in that element

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/Astragalus_gummifer
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/t/tragac26.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Astragalus+gummifer

Categories
Ailmemts & Remedies

Pimples

Other Names: Acne,Acne vulgaris, Zit or Spot

Definition;
Pimple is a kind of comedo and one of the many results of excess oil getting trapped in the pores. Some of the varieties are pustules or papules.It is an inflammatory skin condition that causes spots.Spots result from the build up of dead skin cells and grease that block the pores or hair follicles, typically on the face, upper arms, upper back and chest.

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It is not contagious and is nothing to do with not being clean.Hormonal changes, such as those related to puberty, menstruation and pregnancy, can contribute to acne.
Some medicines will also make it worse, including some contraceptive pills and steroids.

Pimples can be treated by various acne medications prescribed by a physician, or purchased at a pharmacy with a wide variety of treatments.

Acne occurs most commonly during adolescence, affecting an estimated 80–90% of teenagers in the Western world. Lower rates are reported in some rural societies.

It is 8th most common disease in the world. People may also be affected before and after puberty. Though it becomes less common in adulthood than in adolescence, nearly half of people in their twenties and thirties continue to have acne. About 4% continue to have difficulties into their forties.

Clasification:
Acne is commonly classified by severity as mild, moderate, or severe. This type of categorization can be an important factor in determining the appropriate treatment regimen. Mild acne is classically defined as open (blackheads) and closed comedones (whiteheads) limited to the face with occasional inflammatory lesions. Acne may be considered to be of moderate severity when a higher number of inflammatory papules and pustules occur on the face compared to mild cases of acne and acne lesions also occur on the trunk of the body. Lastly, severe acne is said to occur when nodules and cysts are the characteristic facial lesions and involvement of the trunk is extensive
Symptoms:
As the pores of the skin become blocked, blackheads develop and small, tender, red spots appear. These can turn into pimples or whiteheads filled with pus.Typical features of acne include seborrhea (increased oil secretion), microcomedones, comedones, papules, pustules, nodules (large papules), and possibly scarring. The appearance of acne varies with skin color. It may result in psychological and social problems.

Some of the large nodules were previously called cysts and the term nodulocystic has been used to describe severe cases of inflammatory acne.

Scars:
Acne scars are the result of inflammation within the dermal layer of skin brought on by acne and are estimated to affect 95% of people with acne vulgaris. The scar is created by an abnormal form of healing following this dermal inflammation. Scarring is most likely to occur with severe nodulocystic acne, but may occur with any form of acne vulgaris. Acne scars are classified based on whether the abnormal healing response following dermal inflammation leads to excess collagen deposition or collagen loss at the site of the acne lesion.

Atrophic acne scars are the most common type of acne scar and have lost collagen from this healing response.  Atrophic scars may be further classified as ice-pick scars, boxcar scars, and rolling scars. Ice pick scars are typically described as narrow (less than 2 mm across), deep scars that extend into the dermis.[19] Rolling scars are wider than ice pick scars (4–5 mm across) and have a wave-like pattern of depth in the skin. Boxcar scars are round or ovoid indented scars with sharp borders and vary in size from 1.5–4 mm across.

Hypertrophic scars are less common and are characterized by increased collagen content after the abnormal healing response. They are described as firm and raised from the skin. Hypertrophic scars remain within the original margins of the wound whereas keloid scars can form scar tissue outside of these borders. Keloid scars from acne usually occur in men and on the trunk of the body rather than the face.

Pigmentation:
Postinflammatory hyper pigmentation (PIH) is usually the result of nodular or cystic acne (the painful ‘bumps’ lying under the skin). They often leave behind an inflamed red mark after the original acne lesion has resolved. PIH occurs more often in people with darker skin color. Pigmented scar is a common but misleading term, as it suggests the color change is permanent. Often, PIH can be avoided by avoiding aggravation of the nodule or cyst. These scars can fade with time. However, untreated scars can last for months, years, or even be permanent if deeper layers of skin are affected. Daily use of SPF 15 or higher sunscreen can minimize pigmentation associated with acne.

Causes:
Inside the pore are sebaceous glands which produce sebum. When the outer layers of skin shed (as they do continuously), the dead skin cells left behind may become ‘glued’ together by the sebum. This causes the blockage in the pore, especially when the skin becomes thicker at puberty. The sebaceous glands produce more sebum which builds up behind the blockage, and this sebum harbours various bacteria including the species Propionibacterium acnes, causing infection and inflammation.

Genetic:
The predisposition for specific individuals to acne is likely explained in part by a genetic component, which has been supported by twin studies as well as studies that have looked at rates of acne among first degree relatives. The genetics of acne susceptibility is likely polygenic, as the disease does not follow classic Mendelian inheritance pattern. There are multiple candidates for genes which are possibly related to acne, including polymorphisms in TNF-alpha, IL-1 alpha, and CYP1A1 among others.

Hormonal:
Hormonal activity, such as menstrual cycles and puberty, may contribute to the formation of acne. During puberty, an increase in sex hormones called androgens cause the follicular glands to grow larger and make more sebum. A similar increase in androgens occurs during pregnancy, also leading to increased sebum production.[25]

Several hormones have been linked to acne including the androgens testosterone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS), as well as insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-I) and growth hormone. Use of anabolic steroids may have a similar effect.

Acne that develops between the ages of 21 and 25 is uncommon. True acne vulgaris in adult women may be due to pregnancy or polycystic ovary syndrome.

Infectious:
Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) is the anaerobic bacterium species that is widely suspected to contribute to the development of acne, but its exact role in this process is not entirely clear. There are specific sub-strains of P. acnes associated with normal skin and others with moderate or severe inflammatory acne. It is unclear whether these undesirable strains evolve on-site or are acquired, or possibly both depending on the person. These strains either have the capability of changing, perpetuating, or adapting to, the abnormal cycle of inflammation, oil production, and inadequate sloughing of acne pores. One particularly virulent strain has been circulating in Europe for at least 87 years. Infection with the parasitic mite Demodex is associated with the development of acne. However, it is unclear if eradication of these mites improves acne.

Lifestyle:
Cigarette smoking is known to increase the risk of developing acne. Additionally, acne severity worsens as the number of cigarettes a person smokes increases. The relationship between diet and acne is unclear as there is no high-quality evidence. However, a high glycemic load diet is associated with worsening acne. There is weak evidence of a positive association between the consumption of milk and a greater rate and severity of acne. Other associations such as chocolate and salt are not supported by the evidence. Chocolate does contain a varying amount of sugar that can lead to a high glycemic load and it can be made with or without milk. There may be a relationship between acne and insulin metabolism and one trial found a relationship between acne and obesity. Vitamin B12 may trigger acneiform eruptions, or exacerbate existing acne, when taken in doses exceeding the recommended daily intake.

Psychological:
While the connection between acne and stress has been debated, research indicates that increased acne severity is associated with high stress levels.

Acne excorie is a type of acne in which a person picks and scratches pimples due to stress.

Diagnosis:
There are multiple scales for grading the severity of acne vulgaris, three of these being:

*Leeds acne grading technique: Counts and categorizes lesions into inflammatory and non-inflammatory (ranges from 0–10.0).
*Cook’s acne grading scale: Uses photographs to grade severity from 0 to 8 (0 being the least severe and 8 being the most severe).
*Pillsbury scale: Simply classifies the severity of the acne from 1 (least severe) to 4 (most severe).

Differential diagnosis:
Similar conditions include rosacea, folliculitis, keratosis pilaris, perioral dermatitis, and angiofibromas among others. Age is one factor that may help a physician distinguish between these disorders. Skin disorders such as perioral dermatitis and keratosis pilaris can mimic acne but tend to occur more frequently in childhood whereas rosacea tends to occur more frequently in older adults. Facial redness triggered by heat or the consumption of alcohol or spicy food is suggestive of rosacea. The presence of comedones can also help health professionals differentiate acne from skin disorders that are similar in appearance

Treatment:
Many different treatments exist for acne including benzoyl peroxide, antibiotics, retinoids, antiseborrheic medications, anti-androgen medications, hormonal treatments, salicylic acid, alpha hydroxy acid, azelaic acid, nicotinamide, and keratolytic soaps. They are believed to work in at least four different ways, including the following: normalizing skin cell shedding and sebum production into the pore to prevent blockage, killing P. acnes, anti-inflammatory effects, and hormonal manipulation.

Commonly used medical treatments include topical therapies such as retinoids, antibiotics, and benzoyl peroxide and systemic therapies including oral retinoids, antibiotics, and hormonal agents. Procedures such as light therapy and laser therapy are not considered to be first-line treatments and typically have an adjunctive role due to their high cost and limited evidence of efficacy
Over-the-counter medications:
Common over-the-counter medications for pimples are benzoyl peroxide and/or salicylic acid and antibacterial agents such as triclosan. Both medications can be found in many creams and gels used to treat acne (acne vulgaris) through topical application. Both medications help skin slough off more easily, which helps to remove bacteria faster. Before applying them the patient needs to wash his or her face with warm water and dry. A cleanser may also be used for that purpose. Acne rosacea is not caused by bacterial infection. It is commonly treated with tretinoin. A regimen of keeping the affected skin area clean plus the regular application of these topical medications is usually enough to keep acne under control, if not at bay altogether. The most common product is a topical treatment of benzoyl peroxide, which has minimal risk apart from minor skin irritation that may present similar as a mild allergy. Recently nicotinamide, applied topically, has been shown to be more effective in treatment of pimples than antibiotics such as clindamycin. Nicotinamide (vitamin B3) is not an antibiotic and has no side-effects typically associated with antibiotics. It has the added advantage of reducing skin hyperpigmentation which results in pimple scars.

Prescription medication:
Severe acne usually indicates the necessity of prescription medication to treat the pimples. Prescription medications used to treat acne and pimples include isotretinoin, which is a retinoid. Historically, antibiotics such as tetracyclines and erythromycin were prescribed. While they were more effective than topical applications of benzoyl peroxide, the bacteria eventually grew resistant to the antibiotics and the treatments became less and less effective. Also, antibiotics had more side effects than topical applications, such as stomach cramps and severe discoloration of teeth. Common antibiotics prescribed by dermatologists include doxycycline and minocycline.  For more severe cases of acne dermatologists might recommend accutane, a retinoid that is the most potent of acne treatments. However, accutane can cause various side effects including vomiting, diarrhea, and birth defects (women).

Hygiene:
Practicing good hygiene, including regularly washing skin areas with neutral cleansers, can reduce the amount of dead skin cells and other external contaminants on the skin that can contribute to the development of pimples. However, it is not always possible to completely prevent pimples, even with good hygiene practices.

Alternative medicine:
Numerous natural products have been investigated for treating people with acne. Low-quality evidence suggests topical application of tea tree oil or bee venom may reduce the total number of skin lesions in those with acne. There is a lack of high-quality evidence for the use of acupuncture, medicine, and cupping therapy for acne.

Perfectly balanced hormones give a person a pimple-free face. One could try to correct internal hormonal levels by exercising aerobically (jog, swim, run, cycle) for 40 minutes a day, preferably in the fresh air. This needs to be balanced with 20 minutes of stretching and yoga with pranayama.

Prognosis:
Acne usually improves around the age of 20 but may persist into adulthood. Permanent physical scarring may occur. There is good evidence to support the idea that acne has a negative psychological impact and worsens mood, lowers self-esteem, and is associated with a higher risk of anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts.

Research:
In 2007, the first genome sequencing of a P. acnes bacteriophage (PA6) was reported. The authors proposed applying this research toward development of bacteriophage therapy as an acne treatment in order to overcome the problems associated with long-term antibiotic therapy, such as bacterial resistance.

A vaccine against inflammatory acne has been tested successfully in mice, but has not yet been proven to be effective in humans. Other workers have voiced concerns related to creating a vaccine designed to neutralize a stable community of normal skin bacteria that is known to protect the skin from colonization by more harmful microorganisms.

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:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acne_vulgaris#Management

Acne


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pimple
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