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Salvia Divinorum

Botanical Name : Salvia Divinorum
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Salvia
Species:S. divinorum
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Common Names: Sage of the diviners, Ska maría pastora, Seer’s sage, Yerba de la pastora and just Salvia

Habitat : Salvia divinorum is endemic to the Sierra Mazateca in the state of Oaxaca in Mexico, growing in the primary or secondary cloud forest and tropical evergreen forest at elevations from 300 to 1,830 metres (980 to 6,000 ft). Its most common habitat is black soil along stream banks where small trees and bushes provide an environment of low light and high humidity.

Description:
Salvia divinorum has large green ovate (often also dentate) leaves, with a yellow undertone that reach 10 to 30 cm (4 to 12 in) long. The leaves have no hairs on either surface, and little or no petiole. The plant grows to well over 1 metre (3 ft) in height, on hollow square stems which tend to break or trail on the ground, with the plant rooting quite readily at the nodes and internodes.

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The flowers, which bloom only rarely, grow in whorls on a 30-centimetre (12 in) inflorescence, with about six flowers to each whorl. The 3-centimetre (1.2 in) flowers are white, curved and covered with hairs, and held in a small violet calyx that is covered in hairs and glands. When it does bloom in its native habitat, it does so from September to May.

Blooms occur when the day length becomes shorter than 12 hours (beginning in mid-October in some places), necessitating a shade cloth in urban environments with exposure to light pollution (HPS)

Early authors erred in describing the flowers as having blue corollas, based on Epling and Játiva‘s description. The first plant material they received was dried, so they based the flower color on an erroneous description by Hofmann and Wasson, who didn’t realize that their “blue flowers, crowned with a white dome” were in fact violet calyces with unopened white corollas.

Seeds: Salvia seeds are very rare because the plant does not often produce them. This is because salvia wild genetics are scarce. Most of todays salvia divinorum plants are propogated in the wild. This is why over the past few decades they have stopped producing seeds. ..CLICK  & SEE 

Cultivation:
Propagation by cuttings:-
Salvia divinorum is usually propagated through vegetative reproduction. Small cuttings, between two and eight inches long, cut off of the mother plant just below a node, will usually root in plain tap water within two or three weeks

Medicinal uses:
Traditional Mazatec healers have used Salvia divinorum to treat medical and psychiatric conditions conceptualized according to their traditional framework. Some of the conditions for which they use the herb are easily recognizable to Western medical practitioners (e.g colds, sore throats, constipation and diarrhea) and some are not, e.g. ‘fat lambs belly’ which is said to be due to a ‘stone’ put in the victims belly by means of evil witchcraft. Some alternative healers and herbalists are exploring possible uses for Salvia. The problems in objectively evaluating such efforts and ‘sorting the wheat from the chaff’ are considerable. There are no accepted uses for Salvia divinorum in standard medical practice at this time. A medical exploration of some possible uses suggested by Mazatec healing practice is in order in such areas as cough suppression (use to treat colds), and treatment of congestive heart failure and ascites (is ‘fat lamb’s belly’ ascites?). Some other areas for exploration include Salvia aided psychotherapy (there is anecdotal material supporting its usefulness in resolving pathological grief), use of salvinorin as a brief acting general or dissociative anesthetic agent, use to provide pain relief, use in easing both the physical and mental suffering of terminal patients as part of hospice care, and a possible antidepressant effect.

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/Salvia_divinorum
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_RST.htm

http://www.bcseeds.com/salvia-seeds-salvia-divinorum-seeds-p-158.html

Hunger for Air

Breathing is an involuntary action, coordinated by respiratory centres deep in the brain. It is not really possible to die by voluntarily holding one’s breath, as without practice and training, apnoea (not breathing) cannot be sustained for more than 1-2 minutes. This is because “breath holding” results in accumulation of carbon dioxide in the blood and a drop in the blood pH. The respiratory centre in the brain is automatically stimulated. Breathing sets in.

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Sleep apnoea (cessation of breathing during sleep) can occur in adults, usually middle-aged overweight males with a thick neck. It can occur in all ages and both sexes, especially if the tonsils or adenoids are enlarged, there is a deviated nasal septum or GERD (gastro esophageal reflux disease). Sleep apnoea can cause high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, and daytime drowsiness. Academic performance and decision making at work can suffer. There may be daytime lapses in concentration, which can cause accidents.

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Mild cases of sleep apnoea respond to weight loss and exercise. Severe cases may require CPAP (Continuous Positive Airways Pressure), or surgery.

Reactive Airways Disease or name bronchial asthma is a condition where the smaller airways in the lungs constrict when exposed to many triggers. These may be a viral or bacterial infection, pollen, food, or odours in the air. As the breathing pipes become smaller, the outflow of air is obstructed and there is whistling sound with each breath. The person may start coughing vigorously or panic as they feel the air supply is being cut off.

This can be tackled with nebulisers, inhalers and rotahalers. These devices deliver dilating medication directly to the breathing pipes. The effect is almost instantaneous and there are practically no side effects.

Our airways are designed to filter out dust and other harmful particles. Unfortunately our inbuilt air purification system can only filter out particles of 2·5 µm (PM2 ) in diameter. The smaller – found around us both indoors and out – can enter the lungs. Indoor pollution comes from the use of solid fuels, such as coal, wood, or charcoal (even when it is only used to heat water), burning rubbish and waste, particularly plastic. Cigarette smoke harms the smoker and the polluting particles secondarily affect others in the environment. Agarbattis release many polluting chemicals as do mosquito repelling coils, mats and liquids.

Industrialisation and urbanisation have? resulted in fossil fuels being used in factories and for transport. Smoke from factories is sent high into the sky through industrial chimneys, but that just means that the particles spread over a wider area. The petrol and diesel vehicles on the road also emit particulate material and harmful gases. Seven million deaths occur annually because of air pollution alone. Pregnant women and children are particularly vulnerable. Constant exposure to a polluted environment affects long-term growth and cognitive ability in children. If we keep polluting the environment like this, our IQ levels will be affected.
Eventually, constant exposure to pollutants over many years can also result in COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) with breathlessness with the slightest activity. This too is treated with nebulisers and inhalers.

• We all breathe but this does not mean we breathe correctly. Lungs need regular breathing exercises and correction of faulty breathing techniques. Yoga corrects the technique.

• Exercise early in morning when pollution is less or indoors in a gym.

• Keep indoor plants in your home. They reduce particulate matter and pollutants.

Source: The Telegraph (India, Kolkata)

Equisetum variegatum

Botanical Name : Equisetum variegatum
Family: Equisetaceae
Genus: Equisetum
Species: E. variegatum
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pteridophyta
Class: Equisetopsida
Order: Equisetales

Common Name : Variegated scouringrush, Alaskan scouringrush, Variegated horsetail or Variegated scouring rush

Habitat : Equisetum variegatum is native to Arctic and temperate regions of Europe, including Britain, N. America, central and northern Asia. It grows on dunes, river banks, wet ground on mountains etc, to 480 metres.

Description:
Equisetum variegatum is a perennial plant. It is a variable species with several ecotypes, some of which are distinct subspecies. The stems can grow to 40 cm (occasionally 80 cm) in height but are often much smaller. Some forms have prostrate stems that creep along the ground while other forms grow more erect. The stems are dark blue-green, slender and rough to the touch. They may be unbranched or have branches growing from the base. The stem nodes are covered with a sheath that is marked with a black band and has dark teeth with white edges. The stems are tipped with a small cone, 3-4 mm across, which is usually green with a black, bluntly-pointed tip.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 2. The seeds ripen from Jul to August.

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Summery : Equisetum species – horsetail family are Creeping, perenial, Branching rootstocks, rooted at the nodes. The Arial stems may be annual or Perennial, are cylindrical, fluted, simple or with whorled branches at the jointed nodes. The internodes are usually hollow. The Surfaces of the stems are covered with Silica. The Cones are terminal.

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Leaves and stems:
The sterile stem is green and has no branches. The “leaves” are reduced to a sheath that surrounds the stem. At the top of the sheath is a narrow black band and 3 to 12 teeth that are black/brown with distinct white edges. The teeth persist all season. The stem is evergreen and persists through the winter. The central cavity is ¼ to 1/3 the diameter of the stem….CLICK & SEE

Fruit:
Fertile stems are like the sterile stems but with a ½-inch cone at the tip of the stem. Cones have a sharply pointed tip, mature in late summer or may over-winter and release spores the following spring…..CLICK & SEE

Cultivation:
Prefers a moist but well-drained fertile soil with a pH between 6.5 and 7.5. A very cold-hardy species tolerating temperatures down to about -30°c. Plants have a deep and penetrating root system and can be invasive. If grown in the garden they are best kept in bounds by planting them in a large container which can be sunk into the ground.

Propagation:
Spores – best collected as soon as they are ripe in the spring and surface-sown immediately on a sterile compost. Keep moist and pot up as soon as the plants are large enough to handle. Very difficult. Division. The plants usually spread very freely when well sited and should not really need any assistance.

Medicinal Uses:
Horsetails have an unusual chemistry compared to most other plants. They are rich in silica, contain several alkaloids (including nicotine) and various minerals. Horsetail is very astringent and makes an excellent clotting agent, staunching wounds, stopping nosebleeds and reducing the coughing up of blood. It helps speed the repair of damaged connective tissue, improving its strength and elasticity. The plant has been used in the treatment of sore eyes.

Other Uses:
The stems contain 10% silica and are used for scouring metal and as a fine sandpaper. They can also be used as a polish for brass, hardwood etc. The infused stem is an effective fungicide against mildew, mint rust and blackspot on roses. It also makes a good liquid feed.

Known Hazards : Large quantities of the plant can be toxic. This is because it contains the enzyme thiaminase. a substance that can rob the body of the vitamin B complex. In small quantities this enzyme will do no harm to people eating an adequate diet that is rich in vitamin B, though large quantities can cause severe health problems. The enzyme is destroyed by heat or thorough drying, so cooking the plant will remove the thiaminase. The plant also contains equisetic acid – see the notes on medicinal uses for more information.

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/Equisetum_variegatum
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Equisetum+variegatum
https://www.minnesotawildflowers.info/fern/variegated-scouring-rush

Epididymitis


Definition:-
Epididymitis is a medical condition in which there is inflammation of the epididymis (a curved structure at the back of the testicle in which sperm matures and is stored). This condition may be mildly to very painful, and the scrotum (sac containing the testicles) may become red, warm and swollen. It may be acute (of sudden onset) or rarely chronic.
…..Click to see the picture..

click to see the pictures

1: Epididymis

2: Head of epididymis
3: Lobules of epididymis
4: Body of epididymis
5: Tail of epididymis
6: Duct of epididymis
7: Deferent duct (ductus deferens or vas
Epididymitis is the most frequent cause of sudden scrotal pain. In contrast with men who have testicular torsion, the cremaster reflex (elevation of the testicle in response to stroking the upper inner thigh) is not altered. If the diagnosis is not entirely clear from the patient’s history and physical examination, a Doppler ultrasound scan can confirm increased flow of blood to the affected epididymis.

Infection is the most common cause.
In sexually active men, Chlamydia trachomatis is the most frequent causative microbe, followed by E. coli and Neisseria gonorrhoeae. In children, it may follow an infection in another part of the body (for example, a viral illness), or there may be an associated urinary tract anomaly. Another cause is sterile reflux of urine through the ejaculatory ducts. Antibiotics may be needed to control a component of infection. Treatment otherwise comprises pain killers or anti-inflammatory drugs and bed rest if necessary, and symptom control by resting the scrotum in a supported position.
Males of any age can get epididymitis, but it’s most common in men between the ages of 20 and 39.

Classification
Epididymitis can be classified into acute and chronic.

Acute Epididymis:>-click & see    .Swelling in a patient with epididymitis

1. Ductus Deferens
2. Epididymis
3. Testicle

Chronic epididymitis..>.click & see
Chronic epididymitis is epididymitis which ensues for more than six weeks. Chronic epididymitis is characterised by inflammation even when there is no infection present. Tests are needed to distinguish chronic epididymitis from a range of other disorders that can cause constant scrotal pain. These include testicular cancer, enlarged scrotal veins (varicocele) or a cyst within the epididymis. As well, the nerves in the scrotal area are connected to those of the abdomen, sometimes causing pain similar to a hernia (see referred pain). This condition can develop even without the presence of the previously described known causes.

Typically, a second, longer round of treatment is used. It is believed that the hypersensitivity of certain structures, including nerves and muscles, may cause or contribute to chronic epididymitis. A procedure called a cord block is a last measure. This consists of an injection into the nerve that traces along the epididymis. The injection is a compound of several medications including a steroid, pain killers, and a high dose of an anti-inflammatory. This treatment can quell the pain for 2–3 months in ideal conditions. Some patients may only experience an even shorter duration of 2–3 days, while the fortunate ones in rare occasions are never bothered again. This procedure would of course have to be repeated when necessary, until the problem goes away completely, or until the routine is simply too bothersome. As a last resort, a patient may then decide to have the epididymis completely removed.

Symptoms:
Epididymitis symptoms depend on the cause. They can include:

#A tender, swollen, red or warm scrotum
#Testicle pain and tenderness, usually on one side — the pain may get worse when you have a bowel movement
#Painful urination or an urgent or frequent need to urinate
#Painful intercourse or ejaculation
#Chills and a fever
#A lump on the testicle
#Enlarged lymph nodes in the groin (inguinal nodes)
#Pain or discomfort in the lower abdomen or pelvic area
#Discharge from the penis
#Blood in the semen

Causes:-
#Infection is the most common cause of epididymitis. The bacteria in the urethra back-track through the urinary and reproductive structures to the epididymis. There can be associated urethritis (inflammation of the urethra). Rarely, the infection reaches the epididymis via the bloodstream.

In sexually active men, Chlamydia trachomatis is responsible for two-thirds of cases, followed by Neisseria gonorrhoeae and E. coli (or other bacteria that cause urinary tract infection). Particularly among men over age 35 in whom the cause is E. coli, epididymitis is commonly due to urinary tract obstruction. Less common microbes include Ureaplasma, Mycobacterium, and cytomegalovirus, or Cryptococcus in patients with HIV infection. E. coli is more common in boys before puberty, the elderly and homosexual men.

#Other infections. Boys, older men and homosexual men are more likely to have epididymitis caused by a non-sexually transmitted bacterial infection. For men and boys who’ve had urinary tract infections or prostate infections, bacteria may spread from the infected site to the epididymis. Rarely, epididymitis is caused by a fungal infection.

#Non-infectious causes are also possible
. Reflux of sterile urine (urine without bacteria) through the ejaculatory ducts may cause inflammation with obstruction. In children, it may be a response following an infection with enterovirus, adenovirus or Mycoplasma pneumoniae.

#The heart medication amiodarone. In some cases, this anti-arrhythmic medication causes inflammation of the epididymis. Epididymitis caused by amiodarone is treated by temporarily discontinuing the drug or reducing the dose.

#Tuberculosis. In some cases, tuberculosis can cause epididymitis.

#Urine in the epididymis. Known as chemical epididymitis, this occurs when urine flows backward into the epididymis. It may occur with heavy lifting or straining.

Epididymitis can also be caused by genito-urinary surgery, including prostatectomy and urinary catheterization. Congestive epididymitis is a long-term complication of vasectomy. Chemical epididymitis may also result from drugs such as amiodarone.

Diagnosis:-
Epididymitis can be hard to distinguish from testicular torsion. Both can occur at the same time. A urologist may need to be consulted.

Epididymitis usually has a gradual onset. On physical examination, the testicle is usually found to be in its normal vertical position, of equal size compared to its counterpart, and not high-riding. Typical findings are redness, warmth and swelling of the scrotum, with tenderness behind the testicle, away from the middle (this is the normal position of the epididymis relative to the testicle). The cremasteric reflex (if it was normal before) remains normal. This is a useful sign to distinguish it from testicular torsion. If there is pain relieved by elevation of the testicle, this is called Prehn’s sign, which is however non-specific.

Analysis of the urine may or may not be normal. Before the advent of sophisticated medical imaging techniques, surgical exploration was the standard of care. Nowadays, color Doppler ultrasound is the preferred test. It can demonstrate increased blood flow (also compared to the normal side), as opposed to testicular torsion. Nuclear testicular blood flow testing is rarely used.

Additional tests may be necessary to identify underlying causes. In younger children, a urinary tract anomaly is frequently found. In sexually active men, tests for sexually transmitted diseases may be done. These may include microscopy and culture of a first void urine sample, Gram stain and culture of fluid or a swab from the urethra, nuclear acid amplification tests (to amplify and detect microbial DNA or other nucleic acids) or tests for syphilis and HIV.

Treatment:-
Antibiotics are used if an infection is suspected. Fluoroquinolones are no longer recommended for sexually transmitted infections, because of the resistance of Neisseria gonorrhoeae . A cephalosporin (such as ceftriaxone) combined with doxycycline is an alternative. Azithromycin can be used for susceptible strains.

For cases caused by enteric organisms (such as E. coli), ofloxacin or levofloxacin are recommended.

In children, quinolones and doxycycline are best avoided. Since bacteria that cause urinary tract infections are often the cause of epididymitis in children, co-trimoxazole or suited penicillins (for example, cephalexin) can be used. If there is a sexually transmitted disease, the partner should also be treated.

Household remedies such as elevation of the scrotum and cold compresses applied regularly to the scrotum may relieve the pain. Painkillers or anti-inflammatory drugs are often necessary. Hospitalisation is indicated for severe cases, and check-ups can ensure the infection has cleared up. Surgery is rarely necessary, except, for example, in those rare instances where an abscess forms.

Home Remedies & Change of Lifestyle:-
Having epididymitis usually means you’re experiencing considerable pain and discomfort. To ease your symptoms, you may  try  the advices:

#Rest in bed. Depending on the severity of your discomfort, you may want to stay in bed one or two days.

#Elevate your scrotum. While lying down, place a folded towel under your scrotum.

#Wear an athletic supporter. A supporter provides better support than boxers do for the scrotum.

#Apply cold packs to your scrotum. Wrap the pack in a thin towel and remove the cold pack every 30 minutes or so to avoid damaging your skin.

#Don’t have sex until your infection has cleared up. Ask your doctor when you can have sex again.

Risk factors:-

Sexually transmitted epididymitis
Several factors increase your risk of getting epididymitis caused by an STD, including:

#High-risk sexual behaviors, such as having multiple sex partners, having sex with a partner with an STD and having sex without a condom.

#Personal history of an STD. You’re at increased risk of an infection that causes epididymitis if you’ve had an STD in the past.
Non-STD infections:-
Several things increase your risk of epididymitis caused by an infection other than an STD, including:

#Past prostate or urinary tract infections. Chronic urinary tract infections or prostate infections are linked to bacterial infections that can cause epididymitis.

#An uncircumcised penis or an anatomical abnormality of the urinary tract. These conditions increase your risk of epididymitis caused by a bacterial infection.

#Medical procedures that affect the urinary tract. Procedures such as surgery or having a urinary catheter or scope inserted into the penis can introduce bacteria into the genital-urinary tract, leading to infection.

#Prostate enlargement. Having an enlarged prostate that obstructs bladder function and causes urine to remain in the bladder puts you at higher risk of bladder infections, which increases the risk of epididymitis.

Epididymitis may eventually cause:

#Scrotal abscess, when infected tissue fills with pus

#Chronic epididymitis, which can occur when untreated acute epididymitis leads to recurrent episodes

#Shrinkage of the affected testicle (atrophy)

#Reduced fertility, but this is rare

If the condition spreads from your epididymis to your testicle, the resulting condition is known as epididymo-orchitis. Signs, symptoms and treatment options are basically the same as they are for epididymitis.

Prevention:-
If your epididymitis was caused by an STD, your partner also will need treatment. If your partner doesn’t get treatment, you may contract the STD again. Safer sexual practices, such as monogamous sex and condom use, help protect against STDs that can cause epididymitis.

If you have recurrent urninary tract infections or other risk factors for epididymitis, your doctor may discuss with you other ways to prevent epididymitis from recurring.

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epididymitis
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/epididymitis/DS00603

 

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Beat The Bugs

Swine flu cases may have been steadily decreasing over the summer – but experts are expecting a surge in new cases in the next few months.
……..CLICK & SEE
The main reason is that cooler weather means more of us group together indoors and so are more likely to pass on viruses to one another.

Once released into the air via coughs and sneezes, some viruses can live for several hours on surfaces such as tables, doorknobs and desks, which is why keeping hands clean is so important.

Antibacterial washes and wipes will kill some viruses and are great for protecting surfaces against potential sources of tummy bugs.

According to Professor Wendy Barclay, chair of Influenza Virology at Imperial College London, there are some basic steps people can take to protect themselves from swine flu and other seasonal flu, coughs and colds.

Top tips for preventing swine flu:-
*KEEP YOUR HANDS CLEAN: Wash them thoroughly and frequently – especially before eating or preparing food – and rinse under clean running water to remove any infected mucous.

*DRY YOUR HANDS AFTER WASHING: Wet hands are more likely to pick up and spread germs.

*KEEP HANDS AWAY FROM THE FACE: If someone sneezes and then opens a door, the next person to touch the handle will come into direct contact with the virus. So, do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth until you’ve washed your hands.

*SNEEZE INTO A TISSUE- THEN BIN IT: Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze and then dispose of the tissue carefully. Don’t leave it hanging around or re-use it several times.

AVOID OVER-USE OF HAND GELS: Don’t rush out and buy dozens of hand gels to use on the move. They’re useful in situations where there are no washrooms. But if you have access to soap and water at the end of a journey, use that as it is just as effective.

KEEP SURFACES CLEAN: Proprietary sprays are fine, but a mild solution of washing-up liquid and water works equally well.
OPEN A WINDOW: Humidifiers and air purifiers may be effective, but they are still not fully tested against the swine flu virus. One of the most efficient ways to clear the air and dilute the virus is simply to open a window.
LOOK AFTER YOURSELF: The body’s own immune system offers the best protection from illness. Eating a good and varied diet, drinking plenty of water and taking regular exercise are the best ways to stay healthy and avoid getting the disease in the first place. Plus, if you or your family do succumb to swine flu, being in good health will help everyone to shrug it off quickly and without complications.

GADGET UPDATE
Your keyboard harbours more germs than some loos. Cyber Clean can get rid of the dirt and kills up to 80% of germs. Press the gooey substance into the keyboard and remove to lift off grime. £7.95, www.boysstuff. co.uk

Source: mail Online 20th. Sept. 2009

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