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Herbs & Plants

Sandalwood (Santalum album)

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Botanical Name :Santalum album
Family: Santalaceae
Genus: Santalum
Species: S. album
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Santalales

Common Name: Indian sandalwood or sandalwood

Habitat :Santalum album is native to semi-arid areas of the Indian subcontinent. It is now planted in India, China, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Northwestern Australia.It occurs from coastal dry forests up to 700 m elevation. It normally grows in sandy or stony red soils, but a wide range of soil types are inhabited. This habitat has a temperature range from 0 to 38°C and annual rainfall between 500 and 3000 mm.

Description:
Santalum album is a hemiparasitic  evergreen tree and the height  is between 4 and 9 metres. They may live to one hundred years of age. The tree is variable in habit, usually upright to sprawling, and may intertwine with other species. The plant parasitises the roots of other tree species, with a haustorium adaptation on its own roots, but without major detriment to its hosts. An individual will form a non-obligate relationship with a number of other plants. Up to 300 species (including its own) can host the tree’s development – supplying macronutrients phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium, and shade – especially during early phases of development. It may propagate itself through wood suckering during its early development, establishing small stands. The reddish or brown bark can be almost black and is smooth in young trees, becoming cracked with a red reveal. The heartwood is pale green to white as the common name indicates. The leaves are thin, opposite and ovate to lanceolate in shape. Glabrous surface is shiny and bright green, with a glaucous pale reverse. Fruit is produced after three years, viable seeds after five. These seeds are distributed by birds.
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True sandalwoods:
Sandalwoods are medium-sized hemiparasitic trees, and part of the same botanical family as European mistletoe. Notable members of this group are Indian sandalwood (Santalum album) and Australian sandalwood (Santalum spicatum); others in the genus also have fragrant wood. These are found in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Australia, Indonesia, Hawaii, and other Pacific Islands.

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*Santalum album, or Indian sandalwood, is a threatened species. It is indigenous to South India, and grows in the Western Ghats and a few other mountain ranges like the Kalrayan and Shevaroy Hills. Although sandalwood trees in India and Nepal are government-owned and their harvest is controlled, many trees are illegally cut down. Sandalwood oil prices have risen to $2,000 per kg recently. Sandalwood from the Mysore region of Karnataka (formerly Mysore), and marayoor forest in kerala, Southern India is high quality. New plantations were created with international aid in Tamil Nadu for economic exploitation. In Kununurra in Western Australia, Indian sandalwood (Santalum album) is grown on a large scale.click to see

*Santalum ellipticum, S. freycinetianum, and S. paniculatum, the Hawaiian sandalwood (?iliahi), were also used and considered high quality. These three species were exploited between 1790 and 1825 before the supply of trees ran out (a fourth species, S. haleakalae, occurs only in subalpine areas and was never exported). Although S. freycinetianum and S. paniculatum are relatively common today, they have not regained their former abundance or size, and S. ellipticum remains rare.

*Santalum spicatum (Australian sandalwood) is used by aromatherapists and perfumers. The concentration differs considerably from other Santalum species. In the 1840s, sandalwood was Western Australia’s biggest export earner. Oil was distilled for the first time in 1875, and by the turn of the century there was intermittent production of Australian sandalwood oil. However in the late 1990s WA Sandalwood oil enjoyed a revival and by 2009 had peaked at more than 20,000kg per year – much of which went to the fragrance industries in Europe. By 2011 WA Sandalwood oil whilst reducing in overall volume had a significant amount of its production heading to the chewing tobacco industry in India alongside Indian Sandalwood – the chewing tobacco market being the largest market for both oils in 2012.

Edible Uses:
Australian Aboriginals eat the seed kernels, nuts, and fruit of local sandalwoods, such as quandong (Santalum acuminatum).

Medicinal Uses:
* Acne * Air Fresheners * Aphrodisiac * Aromatherapy * Ayurvedic * Bronchitis * Deodorants/Perfumes * Insect Repellent * Sleep/Insomnia
Properties: * Anodyne * Antifungal * Antispasmodic * AntiViral * Aphrodisiac * Aromatic * Astringent * Carminative * Diuretic * Expectorant * Sedative
Parts Used: Heartwood
Constituents:  santalol

Sandalwood oil has been widely used in folk medicine for treatment of common colds, bronchitis, skin disorders, heart ailments, general weakness, fever, infection of the urinary tract, inflammation of the mouth and pharynx, liver and gallbladder complaints and other maladies. Recently, the in vivo anti-hyperglycemic and antioxidant potentials of ?-santalol and sandalwood oil were demonstrated in Swiss Albino mice. Additionally, different in vitro and in vivo parts of the plant have been shown to possess antimicrobial  and antioxidant properties, possibly attributed to sesquiterpenoids, shikimic acid

Sandalwood oil is one of the few fragrances that is equally popular among men and women. It’s uplifting scent has been considered an aphrodisiac since ancient times. It aromatherapy it is often used to treat depression and emotional sexual dysfunction. A mild yang oil, it is emollient, tonic and sedative, making sandalwood one of the most useful oils for the skin. Sanalwood oil is classic choice for dry and dehydrated skin. It relieves itching and inflammation, and as a mild astringent can also profit those with  oily skin as well In Ayurvedic medicine sandalwood oil is prescribed as a tonic, to treat ulcers and abscesses, and to treat mucus discharge.

Sandalwood essential oil was popular in medicine up to 1920-1930, mostly as a urogenital (internal) and skin (external) antiseptic. Its main component beta-santalol (~90%) has antimicrobial properties. It is used in aromatherapy and to prepare soaps. Due to this antimicrobial activity, it can be used to clear skin from blackheads and spots, but it must always be properly diluted with a carrier oil. Because of its strength, sandalwood oil should never be applied to the skin without being diluted in a carrier oil.

Sandalwood is a classic for bladder infections. It is taken to help the passing of stones, in kidney inflammations, and prostatitis. The oil is cooling to the body and useful for fevers and infections when used as a massage. The scent is calming, and helps focus the mind away from distracting chatter and creating the right mood for meditation.. Sandalwood has been used internally for chronic bronchitis and to treat gonorrhea and the urethral discharge that results. Simmer one teaspoon of the wood per cup of water for 20 minutes, and take up to two cups a day in quarter-cup doses. The alcohol tincture is 20-40 drops, 4 times a day, not with meals. In Ayurvedic medicine, a paste of the wood is used to soothe rashes and itchy skin. For nosebleeds, the oil can be smeared up into the nose using a finger saturated with the oil.

In Chinese medicine, sandalwood is held to be useful for chest and abdominal pain. It is also used to treat vomiting, gonorrhea, choleraic difficulties and skin complaints. Promotes the movement of qi and alleviates pain: for pain associated with stagnant qi in the chest and abdomen. Contraindicated in cases of yin deficiency with heat signs. The oil also stimulates the spleen, promotes white blood cell production and strengthens the immune system against infection. Very useful for chronic bronchitis, laryngitis, sore throat, hiccups and dry coughs.

Emotionally, sandalwood is profoundly seductive, dispelling anxiety and depression. It casts out cynicism and obsessional attitudes, especially strong ties with the past, effecting a cure in cases of sexual dysfunction. It comforts and helps the dying to make peace with the world. It is used to awaken the power of kundalini and to connect that energy with the highest enlightenment. About the erotic quality of the oil, scientists have discovered a connection. Sandalwood smells similar to light concentrations of androsterone, a substance very similar in chemical structure to the male hormone testosterone and is released in men?s underarm perspiration.

Other Uses:
Sandalwood essential oil provides perfumes with a striking wood base note. Sandalwood smells somewhat like other wood scents, except it has a bright and fresh edge with few natural analogues. When used in smaller proportions in a perfume, it is an excellent fixative to enhance the head space[clarification needed] of other fragrances.
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Sandalwood oil in India is widely used in the cosmetic industry. The main source of true sandalwood, S. album, is a protected species, and demand for it cannot be met. Many species of plants are traded as “sandalwood”. Within the genus Santalum alone, there are more than nineteen species. Traders will often accept oil from closely related species, such as various species in the genus Santalum, as well as from unrelated plants such as West Indian Sandalwood (Amyris balsamifera) in the family Rutaceae or bastard sandalwood (Myoporum sandwicense, Myoporaceae). However, most woods from these alternative sources will lose their aroma within a few months or years.
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Isobornyl cyclohexanol is a synthetic fragrance chemical produced as an alternative to the natural product.

In Technology:
Due to its low fluorescence and optimal refractive index, sandalwood oil is often employed as an immersion oil within ultraviolet and fluorescence microscopy.

Sandalwood is most important in many religions functions :
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In Hinduism:
Sandalwood paste is integral to rituals and ceremonies, to mark religious utensils and to decorate the icons of the deities. It is also distributed to devotees, who apply it to the forehead or the neck and chest. Preparation of the paste is a duty fit only for the pure, and is therefore entrusted in temples and during ceremonies only to priests.

In Buddhism:
Sandalwood is considered to be of the padma (lotus) group and attributed to Amitabha Buddha. Sandalwood scent is believed to transform one’s desires and maintain a person’s alertness while in meditation. Sandalwood is also one of the more popular scents used when offering incense to the Buddha.

In Islamism:
In sufi tradition sandalwood paste is applied on the sufi’s grave by the disciples as a mark of devotion. It is practiced particularly among the Indian subcontinent sufi disciples. In some places sandalwood powder is burnt in Dargah for fragrance. In some parts of India during the Milad un Nabi in the early 19th century, the residents applied sandalwood paste on the decorated Buraq and the symbols of footprints of the Prophet Mohammed. In some places of India during the epidemic it was common among the South Indian devotees of Abdul-Qadir Gilani (also known as pir anay pir) to prepare his imprint of a hand with sandalwood paste and parade along the bylines, which they believed would cause the epidemic to vanish and the sick to be healed. Among the Tamil culture irrespective of religious identity, sandal wood paste and powder is applied on the graves of Sufi’s as a mark of devotion and respect.

In Chinese and Japanese religions:
Sandalwood, along with agarwood, is the most commonly used incense material by the Chinese and Japanese in worship and various ceremonies.

In Zoroastrianism:
Zoroastrians offer sandalwood twigs to the firekeeping priests who offer the sandalwood to the fire which keep the fire burning. Sandalwood is offered to all of the three grades of fire in the Fire temple, including the Atash Dadgahs. Sandalwood is not offered to the divo, a homemade lamp. Often, money is offered to the mobad (for religious expenditures) along with the sandalwood. Sandalwood is called sukhar in the Zoroastrian community. The sandalwood in the fire temple is often more expensive to buy than at a Zoroastrian store. It is often a source of income for the fire temple.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santalum_album
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail53.php
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandalwood

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

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Categories
News on Health & Science

Hi-tech ‘Trojan Horse’ Can Kill Cancer Cells

Australian researchers are set to begin human trials of a tiny nano-cell that acts as a “Trojan horse” against cancer cells; a breakthrough they say may curb the need for debilitating chemotherapy.

The technology could eventually allow cancer sufferers to receive treatment as outpatients, rather than being hospitalised for lengthy bouts of chemotherapy, according to the researchers.

Himanshu Brahmbhatt from Sydney-based biotechnology company EnGeneIC said the research — outlined in the journal Nature Biotechnology — had the potential to reduce the side-effects of cancer treatment and make it cheaper.

Brahmbhatt said the technology allowed medics to target cancer cells without damaging healthy tissue, a major problem with existing chemotherapy treatments.

“Essentially you need to get the drug directly inside the cancer cell and not slug the body,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

While researchers have been working on using nano-cells against cancer for at least five years, Brahmbhatt said the latest version had proved 100% effective treating cancers in mice which were resistant to conventional chemotherapy.

The cells were loaded with anti-cancer medications and deployed in “waves” to combat cancers, he said.

“The first wave of Trojan horses goes in there and disables the resistance mechanisms inside the cancer cell,” he said.

“Interestingly, these cancer cells are totally receptive to repeated waves of these Trojan horses.

“We can send in these nano-cells again and again and each time we can load them up with different types of armaments against cancer.”

The cells will be tested on long-term cancer patients at three Melbourne hospitals later this year.

Brahmbhatt said the nano-cells used less drugs than conventional treatments, making them cheaper to administer.

The targeted treatment also means they have less side-effects than chemotherapy, he said.

“(Cancer treatment) effectively can change to literally an outpatient therapy, where the patient simply comes in once or twice a week,” Brahmbhatt said.

“You can receive the treatment in a very short period of time and you can go about your normal life and not have any of these horrific toxic side effects.”

Source: The Times Of India

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Categories
News on Health & Science

Green Tea Reduce Stroke Risk

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According to researcher Professor Colin Binns, of the School of Public Health at Curtin University in Western Australia, the study shows that people who drink at least one cup of green tea a day reduce their risk of ischemic stroke, reports ABC Online.

“We can say if you are going to drink a beverage, then tea is the healthier option,” said Binns. “We believe other kinds of tea are half as effective as green tea in reducing risk,” he added. The findings have been published in the journal Stroke.

Source:
The Times Of India

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Categories
Ailmemts & Remedies

Lactose Intolerance

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Definition
Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest significant quantities of lactose. Lactose is a sugar found in milk and other dairy products like ice cream,milk shake,chocolate,cheese etc.

People sometimes confuse lactose intolerance with cow  as milk intolerance because the symptoms are often the same. However, lactose intolerance and cow’s milk intolerance are not related. Being intolerant to cow  as milk is an allergic reaction triggered by the immune system. Lactose intolerance is a problem caused by the digestive system.

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Causes
Lactose intolerance is caused by an inadequate amount of the digestive enzyme lactase. Lactase breaks down the sugar lactose into sugars the blood stream can more easily absorb. Without enough lactase to digest the lactose eaten, lactose ferments in the colon (large intestine) and causes symptoms.Lactose intolerance is caused by a shortage of the enzyme lactase, which is produced by the cells that line the small intestine. Lactase breaks down milk sugar into two simpler forms of sugar called glucose and galactose, which are then absorbed into the bloodstream. Not all people deficient in lactase have the symptoms commonly associated with lactose intolerance, but those who do are said to have lactose intolerance.

Some people are born with the inability to make the enzyme lactase. Others develop the intolerance over time.

Causes of lactose intolerance include:
Some causes of lactose intolerance are well known. Primary lactase deficiency is a condition that develops over time. After about age 2 the body begins to produce less lactase, though most people will not notice symptoms until they are much older.

Secondary lactase deficiency occurs when injury to the small intestine or certain digestive diseases reduce the amount of lactase a person produces. These diseases include celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and Crohn’s disease.

Researchers have identified a genetic link for lactose intolerance. Some people are born with a likelihood of developing primary lactase deficiency because it has been passed to them genetically (inherited from their parents). This discovery may be useful in developing a diagnostic test to identify people with the condition.

Other common causes are:
Aging (lactase decreases as people age)
Gastroenteritis (or infection in the intestinal tract)
Nontropical and tropical sprue
Cystic fibrosis
Ulcerative colitis
Immunoglobulin deficiencies

Risk Factors
A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition.

Race: Black, Asian, or Native American
Ethnicity: Mediterranean or Jewish

Symptoms:
Symptoms of lactose intolerance generally begin within two hours of consuming milk or other dairy products. The severity of symptoms depends on how much lactase your body produces and how much lactose you eat.
People who do not have enough lactase to digest the amount of lactose they consume may feel very uncomfortable when they digest milk products. Common symptoms, which range from mild to severe, include nausea, cramps, bloating, gas, and diarrhea.. The severity of symptoms depends on many factors, including the amount of lactose a person can tolerate and a person’s age, ethnicity, and digestion rate.

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Symptoms include:
Nausea
Cramping
Bloating
Abdominal rumbling sounds
Gas
Diarrhea
Loose stools

Diagnosis:
Lactose intolerance can be hard to diagnose based on symptoms alone. People sometimes think they suffer from lactose intolerance because they have the symptoms associated with the disorder, not knowing other conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome can cause similar symptoms. A doctor can use tests to diagnose lactose intolerance but may first recommend eliminating cow’s milk from the diet to see if the symptoms go away.

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history and perform a physical exam. Often the doctor will recommend a two-week trial period of eating no milk or milk products. If symptoms subside, you will be asked to consume milk products again. If milk causes symptoms to recur, you will be diagnosed with lactose intolerance.

Your doctor may also order some tests, which may include:

Lactose Tolerance Test   measures the amount of glucose (simple sugar that is created from lactose) absorbed two hours after drinking a high-lactose liquid. This tells how well the body is digesting lactose.

Hydrogen Breath Test   measures how much hydrogen is exhaled after drinking a high-lactose liquid

Stool Acidity Test (for infants and small children)   measures lactic acid in the stool

Biopsy of the Small Intestine   removing and testing a sample of tissue to confirm lactase deficiency (only performed in rare cases)

Treatment:
Lactose intolerance is easy to treat. No treatment can improve the body’s ability to produce lactase, but symptoms can be controlled through diet.
Young children and infants with lactase deficiency should not consume lactose-containing formulas or foods until they are able to tolerate lactose digestion. Most older children and adults do not have to avoid lactose completely, but people differ in the amounts and types of foods they can handle. For example, one person may have symptoms after drinking a small glass of milk, while another can drink one glass but not two. Others may be able to manage ice cream and aged cheeses, such as cheddar and Swiss, but not other dairy products. People can also tolerate more lactose by having smaller amounts of it at one time. The level of dietary control needed with lactose intolerance depends on how much lactose a person’s body can handle.

For those who react to very small amounts of lactose or have trouble limiting their intake of foods that contain it, the lactase enzyme is available without a prescription to help people digest foods that contain lactose. The tablets are taken with the first bite of dairy food. Lactase enzyme is also available as a liquid. Adding a few drops of the enzyme makes lactose more digestible for people with lactose intolerance.

Lactose-reduced milk and other products are available at most supermarkets. The milk contains all of the nutrients found in regular milk and remains fresh for about the same length of time, or longer if it is super-pasteurized.


Currently there is no way to increase the body’s production of lactase, so treatment focuses on managing symptoms.

Treatments include:

Dietary Changes
And Dietary changes include:
Keep a food diary of what you eat and what the reaction is. Discuss the findings with your doctor or a dietitian.
Make gradual changes to your diet and record the results.
Try eating a smaller portion before giving up on a dairy product. Dairy products made from milk include:
Ice cream
Sherbet
Cream
Butter
Cheese
Yogurt
Aged cheese and yogurt may be easier to tolerate than other dairy products.
Try milk that is modified so it contains less lactose.
Ask a dietitian for help choosing substitutes for dairy products or recommending supplements to ensure that you eat enough calcium.
Non-dairy foods rich in calcium include:
Salmon
Sardines
Oysters
Collard greens
Broccoli
Read product labels because other foods containing lactose include:
Breads
Baked goods
Processed cereals
Instant potatoes and soups
Margarine
Non-kosher lunchmeats
Salad dressings
Candies
Pancake mixes
Frozen dinners
Other words that indicate lactose are:
Whey
Curds
Dry milk solids
Nonfat dry milk
Milk by-products

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Be aware that some medications may contain small amounts of lactose.

Medications
The doctor may recommend lactase enzymes if you can tolerate only small quantities of lactose. The enzyme supplements come in liquid and chewable form. A few drops of the liquid added to milk allowed to sit overnight can decrease the amount of lactose in the milk by 70-90%. Tablets are chewed or swallowed prior to eating foods that contain lactose.

Ayurvedic answers to lactose intolerance

Can Homeopathy cure lactose intolerance

Prevention
There are no guidelines for preventing lactose intolerance.

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.

RESOURCES:
http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/lactoseintolerance/index.htm and
http://www.beliefnet.com/healthandhealing/getcontent.aspx?cid=11717

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