Herbs & Plants

Maytenus ilicifolia

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Botanical Name : Maytenus ilicifolia
Family: Celastraceae
Subfamily: Celastroideae
Genus: Maytenus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Celastrales

Synonyms: Celastrus ilicinus, Gymnosporia ilicina, Maytenus ilicina
Common Names: Espinheira santa, cancerosa, cangorosa, maiteno, limaosinho
Habitat :Maytenus ilicifolia is native to Central and South America, Southeast Asia, Micronesia and Australasia, the Indian Ocean and Africa. They grow in a very wide variety of climates,
from tropical to subpolar.
Espinheira santa is a small, shrubby evergreen tree growing to 5 m in height with leaves and berries that resemble holly. It is native to many parts of South America and southern Brazil and it  is even found in city landscapes for its attractive, holly-like appearance. With over 200 species of Maytenus distributed in temperate and tropical regions throughout South America and the
West Indies, there are many Maytenus species that are indigenous to the Amazon region which have been used medicinally by indigenous tribes. It is even found in city landscapes for its
attractive, holly-like appearance….....CLICK  &   SEE  THE  PICTURES

Chemical Constituents:
Espinheira santa is a source for a group of well known chemicals (found in the leaf, bark and roots of the tree) called maytansinoids. These chemicals represent a class of substances which
have been studied since the early 1970’s for their antitumorous and anticancerous activities and are today, being developed into chemotherapy drugs. A different class of chemicals found in
espinheira santa – triterpene chemicals called cangorins – have also evidenced significant antitumorous, antileukemic, and anticancerous properties.

The main plant chemicals in espinheira santa include: atropcangorosin, cangoaronin, cangorins A thru J, cangorinine, cangorosin A & B, celastrol, dispermol, dispermone, friedelan,
friedelin, friedelinol, friedoolean, friedooleanan, ilicifolin, ilicifolinoside A thru C, kaempferol trisaccharides, kaempferol disaccharides, maitenine, maytanbutine, maytanprine, maytansine,
maytenin, maytenoic acid, maytenoquinone, pristimeriin, pristimerin, quercetin trisaccharides, quercitrin, salaspermic acid, tingenol, and tingenone

Medicinal Uses:
Leaf infusions and leaf powder in capsules or tablets are currently being used for ulcers, as an antacid, as a laxative, as a colic remedy, to eliminate toxins through the kidneys and skin, to
support kidneys, support adrenal glands, support digestive functions, and as an adjunctive therapy for cancer.

Espinheira santa is widely sold in Brazilian stores and pharmacies today for stomach ulcers and cancer. With its popularity and beneficial results in South America, as well as its recent
western research, espinheira santa is slowly becoming more popular and well known in the United States. Leaf infusions and/or leaf powder in capsules or tablets are currently being used for  ulcers, as an antacid, as a laxative, as a colic remedy, to eliminate toxins through the kidneys and skin, to support kidneys, support adrenal glands, support digestive functions, and as an adjunctive therapy for cancer.

Main Preparation Method: decoction or capsules
Main Actions (in order): anticancerous, antacid, antiulcerous, menstrual stimulant, detoxifier

Main Uses:
*For cancer (melanoma, carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, lymphoma, leukemia)
*For stomach disorders (ulcers, acid reflux, gastritis, dyspepsia, indigestion, and to tone, balance, and strengthen the gastric tract)
as a menstrual stimulant and for estrogen hormonal balancing during menopause
*For adrenal exhaustion and to support adrenal function
*For detoxification (skin, blood, kidney, stomach, adrenals)

Research suggests that water extracts of espinheira santa may have estrogenic effects and reduce fertility in females. Women seeking treatment for infertility, attempting to get pregnant, or  those with estrogen positive cancers should not use this plant.

Drug Interactions: One study with mice injected with a water extract of leaves recorded barbiturate potentiation activity. However the same study notes no potentiation activity when
administered to mice orally.
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.


Healthy Tips

Daily Dose of Baking Soda Can Save Kidney

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A daily dose baking soda or sodium bicarbonate, used in baking, cleaning, acid indigestion, sunburn and more slows the decline of kidney function in some patients with advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD), a new study has found.

“This cheap and simple strategy also improves patients’ nutritional status, and has the potential of translating into significant economic, quality of life, and clinical outcome benefits,” comments Magdi Yaqoob, of the Royal London Hospital (RLH), who led the study.

Researchers studied 134 patients with advanced CKD and low bicarbonate levels, also called metabolic acidosis. One group received a small daily dose of sodium bicarbonate in tablet form, in addition to their usual care.

For this group, the rate of decline in kidney function was greatly reduced — about two-thirds slower than in patients. “In fact, in patients taking sodium bicarbonate, the rate of decline in kidney function was similar to the normal age-related decline,” says Yaqoob.

Rapid progression of kidney disease occurred in just nine percent of patients taking sodium bicarbonate, compared to 45 percent of the other group. Patients taking sodium bicarbonate were also less likely to develop end-stage renal disease (ESRD) requiring dialysis.

Patients taking sodium bicarbonate also had improvement in several measures of nutrition. Although their sodium levels went up, this didn’t lead to any problems with increased blood pressure.

Low bicarbonate levels are common in patients with CKD and can lead to a wide range of other problems. “This is the first randomised controlled study of its kind,” says Yaqoob.

“A simple remedy like sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), when used appropriately, can be very effective,” he adds, according to an RLH release.

These findings were published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN).

Source: The Times Of India

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News on Health & Science

The Long and Short of it


Scientists have discovered genes that influence height but are yet to explain the gap between the tallest and shortest of people:

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A meeting between two ordinary men in a remote locale in Mongolia hit the headlines all over the world in July last year. But neither Bao Xishun, 56, nor He Pingping, 19, holds a position of eminence. Nor are they film or sports celebrities. The encounter grabbed world attention because of the two men’s contrasting statures. While Xishun, at 2.36m, is the world’s tallest living man, the 74-cm Pingping claims he is the shortest.

Modern science may not be able to explain the yawning gap between the heights of these two men — both hailing from Inner Mongolia — but it has gained some genetic insight into the varying stature of billions of others who fall between Xishun and Pingping in terms of height.

For nearly a century, scientists have believed that genes handed down from parents are responsible for 90 per cent of the normal variation in human height in a population. And it is not just one gene but probably a few hundred that contribute towards making a person tall or short. But until last year, scientists were clueless about their location on the human genome, which consists of more than 3 billion DNA base pairs.

In September 2007, researchers from both sides of the Atlantic, while foraging through DNA from 35,000 people, stumbled upon a difference in a gene called HMGA2, which plays a decisive role in making people taller or shorter, albeit marginally. They found that if a person had two copies of a longer variant of HMGA2, he or she would be 1cm taller than one who has two shorter versions of it.

The HMGA2 gene thus became the first reliable genetic link to human height. Later, scientists zeroed in on yet another gene, GDF5, which makes for an average height difference of 0.4cm.

What made the discovery of such genes possible is what scientists call genome-wide association studies. This is a relatively new way of identifying genes involved in human diseases. Made possible by advances in genetics and sophistication in scientific tools, this method searches the genome for small variations, called single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). The tools are so advanced that researchers can search for hundreds or thousands of SNPs simultaneously. Such studies pinpoint genes that may contribute to a person’s risk of developing a certain disease or those associated with a trait such as height or eye colour.

If 2007 saw a beginning in understanding the role played by genes in deciding how tall a person will be, 2008 has so far proved to be a watershed. The same consortium of scientists who discovered the HMGA2 and GDF5 genes, now split into two groups, recently discovered 40 more genetic locations. Combined, they may be able to explain a height difference of up to 6cm, or 5 per cent of the population variation in height.

The number and variety of genetic regions discovered so far show that height is determined not just by a few genes operating in the long bones, notes Thomas Frayling of Peninsula Medical School in the UK. Frayling is the lead author of the one of the two studies that appeared in Nature Genetics last month.

Joel Hirschhorn, a paediatric endocrinologist at Broad Institute in the US, who led the other study, says that the new findings account for only a small fraction of the variation in height among people and that there is a lot more to discover. “This is much more than we had even last year. But we are not close to predicting adult height,” Hirschhorn told Knowhow.

The study of genes involved in determining adult height stems from more than sheer curiosity. By identifying which genes affect normal growth, it is easy to understand the processes that lead to abnormal growth, the scientists say. “There appears to be a definite correlation between height and some diseases,” says Michael Weedon, a colleague of Frayling. Weedon was not only part of the original team that discovered the HMGA2 gene but was also instrumental in the latest discovery of 20 new genetic locations linked to height. For instance, there is a strong association between shortness and a slightly increased risk of conditions such as heart disease. Similarly, tall people are more prone to certain cancers and, possibly, osteoporosis.

A predominant factor that determines one’s height may be heredity, but diet too has a role to play. In fact, improved nutrition means that each generation gets successively taller, as has been shown by a recent study on Indians.

That said, Indians still have some catching up to do: an average Indian man (165.3cm) is two centimetres shorter than an average Czech woman who stands 167.3cm tall.

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

Therapetic treatment

The Healing Power of Magnets

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Magnets have been used for their healing properties since ancient times, and now a new study has found that they can reduce swelling when applied immediately after an inflammatory injury.

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In their initial study, researchers from the University of Virginia set out to investigate the effect of magnetic therapy on microcirculation, which is blood flow through tiny blood vessels.

They placed magnets of 70 milliTesla (mT) field strength, which is about 10 times the strength of the common refrigerator magnet, near rats’ blood vessels and found that they dilated constricted blood vessels, and constricted vessels that were dilated. The results suggested that the magnetic filed could relax blood vessels and increase blood flow.

In the more recent study, the researchers used magnets on rats’ paws that had been treated with inflammatory agents to simulate tissue injury. The magnets significantly reduced swelling in the rats’ paws by up to 50 percent when applied immediately after the injury.

Dilation of blood vessels is a major cause of swelling, and it’s thought that the magnets worked by limiting blood flow.

Muscle bruising and joint sprains are the most common injuries worldwide, and since injuries that don’t swell heal faster, the magnet therapy could have widespread applications.

The researchers envisioned using magnets in place of ice packs and compression to treat injuries in high school, college, and professional sports teams, as well as among retirement communities.

Click to learn  more about magnet healing………..(1)..……(2).…….(3)
Science Daily January 3, 2008
American Journal of Physiology: Heart and Circulatory Physiology November 2, 2007