Herbs & Plants

Agastache mexicana

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Botanical Name : Agastache mexicana
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Agastache
Species: A. mexicana
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Common Names: Mexican Giant Hyssop

Habitat : Agastache mexicana is native to southern North America . The leaves are lanceolate or oval-lanceolate

Agastache mexicana    is a nice bushy perennial  plant 2’-3’ tall & only 1’ wide .
It is hardy to zone 7. It is in flower in August, and the seeds ripen in September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.The plant is self-fertile.It is noted for attracting wildlife.


The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and requires well-drained soil.The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils..It cannot grow in the shade.It requires dry or moist soil.

Prefers a warm sunny sheltered position and a well-drained soil. Succeeds in most soils. Although given a hardiness rating of 9 in  (which means that a plant is not very frost-tolerant), this species is thriving in a sunny bed at Kew Botanical Gardens and so should be hardy to at least zone 7[K]. Another report says that it withstands temperatures down to about -40°c when dormant. Yet another report says that it should succeed outdoors in the milder and drier counties, but that it is not very long-lived. The flowers are very attractive to bees.

Seed – sow spring in a greenhouse and only just cover the seed. The seed usually germinates in 1 – 3 months at 13°c[133]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first year. Plant out in late spring or early summer[K]. Division in spring. Fairly simple, if large divisions are used it is possible to plant them straight out into their permanent positions. Basal cuttings of young shoots in spring. Harvest the young shoots when they are about 10 – 15cm tall and pot them up in a lightly shaded position in a greenhouse. They should root within 3 weeks and can be planted out in the summer or following spring.

Edible Uses : The highly aromatic young leaves are used as a flavouring in salads and cooked foods. The young leaves are used to make a herbal tea.

Medicinal Uses
Intensely lemon-scented leaves; used in tea and as medicine in Mexico where it is considered an important aid to digestion.  It relieves flatulence, indigestion and dyspepsia, and improves appetite, and is often recommended for children. It is popular for weight control, anorexia, and central nervous system disorders.  Taken with cognac, it is an excellent sudorific, and helps to lower a fever.

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.


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News on Health & Science

Is Red Meat’s Bad Name Justified?

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The news for red meat seems to be getting worse and worse.


In December, a survey of more than 494,000 people by the National Institutes of Health found that men who ate more than 5 ounces of red meat each day and women who ate more than 3 ounces had a 51% greater risk of esophageal cancer, 61% of liver cancer and 24% of colorectal cancer than those who ate less than an ounce of red meat daily

In October 2007, the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research, two charities that fund research on the effects of diet and activity on cancer risk, declared that the evidence linking red meat consumption and colorectal cancer was “convincing.”

And though previous reports for breast cancer have been contradictory overall, findings published in July from a Harvard study of more than 39,000 young nurses suggested that the risk of getting breast cancer before menopause goes up for every extra daily serving of red meat a woman ate as a teenager, a time period that had not been studied before.

Add the numerous studies linking red meat to other cancers, cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and even Alzheimer’s disease, and it sounds like the hamburger you had for lunch might as well have been laced with rat poison.

In fact, there is a place for red meat in a healthful diet, scientists say, but they recommend choosing smaller portions of lean cuts and cooking them well but not at high temperatures.

The question is which meat components are responsible for the observed health risks. Scientists have several theories, though none seems to tell the whole story.

Red meat can contain a lot of saturated fats and cholesterol, known contributors to cardiovascular disease. “We know that dementia is strongly related to vascular disease, so it’s likely we’ll find a relationship there as well,” says Dr. Walter Willett, chair of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Contributing factors
Meat from commercially raised livestock also contains a high amount of omega-6 fats, which have been associated with poor cardiovascular health, but a low amount of omega-3 fats, which may be protective.

Another potential culprit is the iron in meat. Iron is essential for health, but iron from meat comes in a different form than that from vegetables and legumes, one that is absorbed whether the body needs it or not. “This type of iron can cause oxidative damage to all the components of the cell — the protein, lipid, DNA, RNA,” says Al Tappel, professor emeritus of food science at UC Davis.

Many of the studies that found an association between meat consumption and health risks did not differentiate between unprocessed meat, such as a steak, and processed or cured meats such as salami, bacon, pepperoni, bologna and hot dogs. Chemicals in processed meats may account for some of the cancer risk.

Finally, high-temperature cooking methods, such as grilling over charcoal, can cause the formation of known carcinogens such as heterocyclic amines, or HCAs, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs.

Mary Young, a registered dietitian from the Centennial, Colo.-based National Cattlemen’s Beef Assn., says that a study it commissioned on the science of red meat reached a very different conclusion (the study has not yet been published). “Red meat does not cause cancer,” she says. “Beef is really one of the most underappreciated nutrient-rich foods out there” — rich in protein and eight other nutrients, including B vitamins and zinc.

Some scientists, too, think that the risk of red meat has been overplayed. “The proof is not as strong as some people would like to think,” says Iowa State University animal science professor Don Beitz. “Cancer is such a multifactorial [problem]. I don’t see how one can just pin it on certain pollutants or nutrients.”

Rock-hard conclusions require carefully controlled, long-term, well-defined studies of many people. Each one of these requirements can be difficult to meet, so scientists rely heavily on epidemiological studies in which the normal habits of large numbers of people are tracked, often pooling the results of multiple studies.

But unlike lab rats, humans don’t live in a perfectly controlled environment, which makes it difficult to determine if it’s meat or something else in the diet or environment that leads to an observed cancer risk. Also, some studies ask people to recall what they ate years ago, and many studies don’t even define red meat the same way.

Even when a correlation between meat consumption and illness is found, the effect can be significant but small. In the December 2007 study, for example, high meat consumption resulted in only a 50% increased risk of developing esophageal cancer — by way of comparison, smoking can increase a person’s risk of developing lung cancer by 1,000% or more.

But to dismiss all risks because of inconsistencies in the research is unreasonable, Willett says. “That’s exactly the same argument used by cigarette manufacturers to say that smoking is not harmful. . . . The perfect study will never be done. The next best thing will be epidemiology.”

Scientists generally agree that lean red meat has a place in a healthful diet — in moderation. Studies showing increased cancer risks have mostly focused on high meat intake; the greatest risk increases are for those eating far more than the USDA-recommended limit of 18 ounces per week.

“One approach is to treat red and processed meat as a treat and not a regular staple,” said Dr. Michael J. Thun, vice president of epidemiology and surveillance research at the American Cancer Society

Moderation, it appears, is not the American way. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in 2006 the average American consumed 95 pounds of beef and 64 pounds of pork — about 7 ounces of red meat a day.

To sidestep some health concerns without giving up steak, some consumers have turned to grass-fed beef, which studies have shown to contain a heart-healthier ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids.

Meanwhile, scientists are looking to make beef more healthful via selective breeding.

The amount of specific nutrients in steaks from two animals of the same breed can vary by a factor of two or three, Beitz says. He and others in a group of researchers known as the National Beef Cattle Evaluation Consortium hope to find genetic markers for a host of nutrients, including omega-3 and other beneficial fats, zinc and vitamins B6 and B12. The research, sponsored by Pfizer Animal Science, would help animal breeders look at animals’ genetic profiles to select ones with the best nutritional composition.

“In a way, we’re trying to allow people to indulge themselves to a greater extent than to moderate,” said James Reecy, an Iowa State geneticist also involved in the project.

The same technique could be used to limit the unhealthy components of meat as well, such as specific saturated fats. Cattle breeders have already begun doing this, Reecy says.

Willett isn’t convinced that these efforts will eradicate the health risks that come from consuming red meat. “You may make it healthier in one way, but you’re unlikely to fix all the problems at the same time,” he says.

Click to see:->Red Meat Does and Doesnot

Sources:Los Angles Times

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Healthy Tips

Burn Those Calories

Sweet offerings...
In the festive seasons everyone is busy eating sweets, fried foods and other delicacies. Often after the festive spirit dies down, people become tired and sick. Too much stress and not the proper foods can cause one to get under the weather. Here are some tips on how to beat the blues.

Drink a lot of of water as this keeps the body hydrated and gives you more energy.

Stick with your regular exercise plan as much as you can.

Instead of sitting and watching television all the time, try to take a brisk walk around the neighbourhood looking at the decorations or dance to your favourite music.

Avoid overindulgence. Stay away from the buffet table and eat a meal before you go to become fuller. Also if you drink alcohol, limit your intake to prevent extra calories.

Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables! When you have to take a dish, make it a healthy one.

If you  are looking for some simple advice to keep you from gaining calories, here are a few suggestions.


Burn calories: If you  are going to be eating a huge meal, cut down on the treats ahead of time and start working out beforehand.
Snacking before the big meal. Eat plenty of vegetables and less of the chips.

Keep the food in the kitchen, the temptation won’t be as strong because you  wll be caught up in conversation elsewhere. Families tend to linger long at the dinner table, and if the foods in sight, it’s easier to keep eating.

If you are craving for the leftover kheer, wait for 10 minutes and let your body digest itself, your desire will most likely pass.
Limit the booze and drink more water. Alcohol stimulates your appetite and lowers your ability to resist temptation.

Stick to only one glass of wine or bottle of beer. Have a glass of water next along side of your beverage. For every sip you take of your alcohol, take a sip of water. The water will make you fuller faster so you won’t take in so much alcohol or crave more food.
After the dinner is over and done, it’s time to get physical. Plan a walk with your family. Avoid collecting calories, and burn them off instead.

Source:The Times Of India

News on Health & Science

Eat your greens to cut cancer risk

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New research is strengthening evidence that following mom’s admonition to eat your vegetables may be some of the best health advice around.


A large study of 500,000 American retirees has found that just one extra serving of fruit or vegetables a day may reduce the risk of developing head and neck cancer.

Numerous studies have demonstrated that diet plays a role in cancer. Cancer experts now believe that up to two-thirds of all cancers come from lifestyle factors such as smoking, diet and lack of exercise.

“It may not sound like news that vegetables protect from cancer, but there is actually some controversy in the literature. It is important that we do these large studies,” said Alan Kristal, associate head of the cancer prevention program at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

Researchers at the National Cancer Institute queried men and women aged 50 and older about their diets, then followed participants for five years to record all diagnoses of head and neck cancer, which is the sixth-leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide.

Tobacco and alcohol use increase the risk of head and neck cancers, which affect the mouth, nose, sinuses and throat.
The study found eating six servings of fruit and vegetables per day per 1,000 calories cut the risk of head and neck cancer by 29% compared to eating one and a half servings.

The typical adult consumes around 2,000 calories a day. “Increasing consumption by just one serving of fruit or vegetables per 1,000 calories per day was associated with a 6% reduction in head and neck cancer risk, said Neal Freedman, cancer prevention fellow at the NCI.

A second study of food consumption in more than 183,000 residents of California and Hawaii found that a diet high in flavonols might help reduce pancreatic cancer risk, especially in smokers. Flavonols are common in plant-based foods but are found in highest concentrations in onions, apples, berries, kale and broccoli.

Source:The Times Of India