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Vicia cracca

Botanical Name: Vicia cracca
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Genus: Vicia
Species: V. cracca
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Common Names:Tufted Vetch, Bird vetch, Cow vetch, Blue vetch, Boreal vetch, Vetch, Tufted

Habitat :Vicia cracca is native to Europe and Asia. It occurs on other continents as an introduced species, including North America, where it is a common weed. It often occurs in disturbed habitats, including old-fields and roadside ditches.

Description:
Vicia cracca is a perennial climber growing to 1.8 m (6ft). It sends out sending out noose-like branched tendrils from the tips of its leaves when it contacts another plant and securely fastens itself. This can cause “strangling” of smaller plants. An individual plant may reach a length (or height) of 2 m with a white taproot, which may extend up to 1 m. The leaves are 3–8 cm long, pinnate, with 8–12 pairs of leaflets, each leaflet 5–10 mm long.

The plant is fast-growing and flowers prolifically, sending out 10 to 40 flowered one-sided racemes cascading pea-flower shaped purple to violet flowers from the leaf axil during its late spring to late summer flowering period. The flowers are mostly visited by bumblebees; when the flowers drop off and tiny bright green seed pods 10–20 mm long, start to form. Cow vetch is very similar to hairy vetch (Vicia villosa), but is distinguished from the latter by its smooth stem.

The seed pods are 2 cm long and contain 6 to 8 seeds. They resemble those of a very small pea. The tiny seeds within are ripe when the pods have turned black. Unripened seeds are swollen and have a green tint to them, but they unswell when they become ripe. The seed pods vary from light brown to dark brown with black spots.

It is in flower from May to August, and the seeds ripen from Jul to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies.The plant is self-fertile.
It can  fix nitrogen   …..CLICK & SEE  THE PICTURES

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.
Cultivation:
Succeeds in any well-drained soil in a sunny position if the soil is reliably moist throughout the growing season, otherwise it is best grown in semi-shade. This species has occasionally been cultivated as a food plant, but yields are too low to make it very worthwhile. 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.

Propagation : Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water and then sow in situ in spring or autumn.
Edible Uses: Seed – cooked. They are boiled or roasted. Leaves and young stems – cooked. Used as a potherb. The leaves are a tea substitute.

Medicinal Uses: The cooked plant is used as a galactogogue.

Other Uses : Cow vetch is widely used as a forage crop for cattle, and is beneficial to other plants because, like other leguminous plants, it enriches the soil in which it grows by its nitrogen-fixing properties. Cow vetch is also much appreciated by bees and butterflies as a source of nectar. The plant may also be used to curb erosion.

Owners of pet birds such as budgerigars often use cow vetch as a nutritious food; the birds are especially fond of the seeds but may also eat the foliage.

Its utility as a cover crop and source of green manure has encouraged the introduction and naturalisation of cow vetch far beyond its native range. In North America the plant is naturalised from southern Canada to northern South Carolina; it is considered an invasive weed in some areas and its sale may be regulated.

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/Vicia_cracca
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Vicia+cracca

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

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Lavatera arborea

Botanical Name: Lavatera arborea
Family: Malvaceae
Genus: Lavatera
Species: L. arborea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malvales

Common Names: Malva arborea, or, more recently as Malva eriocalyx, The tree mallow

Habitat:  Lavatera arborea is native to the coasts of western Europe and the Mediterranean region, from the British Isles south to Algeria and Libya, and east to Greece.It tolerates sea water to varying degrees, at up to 100% sea water in its natural habitat, excreting salt through glands on its leaves. This salt tolerance can be a competitive advantage over inland plant species in coastal areas. Its level of salinity tolerance is thought to be improved by soil with higher phosphate content, making guano enrichment particularly beneficial
Description:
Lavatera arborea is a shrubby annual, biennial or perennial plant growing to 0.5–2 m (rarely 3 m) tall. The leaves are orbicular, 8–18 cm diameter, palmately lobed with five to nine lobes, and a coarsely serrated margin. The flowers are 3–4 cm diameter, dark pink to purple and grow in fasciculate axillary clusters of two to seven. It grows mainly on exposed coastal locations, often on small islands, only rarely any distance inland….CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Although long considered a species of Lavatera, genetic and morphological analysis by Martin Forbes Ray, reported in 1998, suggested it was better placed in the genus Malva, in which it was named Malva dendromorpha M.F.Ray. However the earlier name Malva arborea L. (Webb & Berthol.) was validly published and has priority over Malva dendromorpha.

Cultivation:
An easily grown plant, succeeding in any ordinary garden soil in sun or partial shade. Prefers a light well-drained moderately fertile soil in full sun. A soil that is too rich encourages foliar growth at the expense of flowering. Tolerates maritime exposure. Plants are very fast-growing and often flower in their first year from seed. They flower so freely in their second year that they normally die afterwards, though they sometimes perennate. When well sited, this species usually self-sows freely. There are some named forms developed for their ornamental value.

Propagation:
Seed – sow late summer in situ[200]. The seed should germinate within 4 weeks.

Edible Uses: Young leaves – raw or cooked. A mild flavour, but the leaves are dry and hairy and not that agreeable in quantity on their own[K]. They can be used as part of a chopped mixed salad.
Medicineal Uses:
The leaves of the species are used in herbal medicine to treat sprains, by steeping them in hot water and applying the poultice to the affected area. It is theorised that lighthouse keepers may have spread the plant to some British islands for use as a poultice and to treat burns, an occupational hazard. Thought to have been used as an alternative to toilet paper. The seeds are edible and are known in Jersey as “petit pains”, or “little breads”.
Other Uses:
Tree mallow was considered a nutritive animal food in Britain in the 19th century, and is still sometimes used as animal fodder in Europe.

Lavatera arborea has long been cultivated in British gardens, as described in the 1835 self-published book British Phaenogamous Botany, which used the then-common name Sea Tree-mallow: “This species is frequently met with in gardens, where, if it is allowed to scatter its seeds, it will spring up for many successive years, and often attain a large size. The young plants will, as Sir J. E. Smith observes, now and then survive one or more mild Winters; but having once blossomed it perishes.”

While sometimes detrimental to seabird habitat, management of tree mallow (both planting and thinning) has been successfully employed to shelter nesting sites of the threatened roseate tern, which requires more coverage than common terns to impede predation.

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/Lavatera_arborea
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Lavatera+arborea
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/m/mallow07.html

Ingrown Nails

Onychocryptosis, commonly known as ingrown nails (unguis incarnatus) or ingrowing nails, is a common form of nail disease. It is a painful condition in which the nail grows or cuts into one or both sides of the nail bed. While ingrown nails can occur in both the nails of the hand and feet, they occur most commonly with toenails.

Ingrown nail

Causes
Causes include:

  1. poor maintenance, like cutting the nail too short, rounded off at the tip or peeled off at the edges (versus being cut straight across), is likely to cause ingrowth;
  2. ill-fitting shoes, like those that are too narrow or too short, can cause bunching of the toes in the developmental stages of the foot (frequently in the under 21s), causing the nail to curl and dig into the skin;
  3. trauma to the nail plate or toe, such as can occur by stubbing the toenail, dropping things on the toe and ‘going through the end of your shoes’ in sports, can cause the flesh to become injured and the nail to grow irregularly and press into the flesh;
  4. predisposition, like abnormally shaped nail beds, nail deformities caused by diseases, and a genetic susceptibility to nail problems can mean a tendency to ingrowth.

Symptoms:
Symptoms of an ingrown nail include pain along the margins of the nail (caused by hypergranulation that occurs around the aforementioned region), worsening of pain when wearing shoes or other tight articles, and sensitivity to pressure of any kind, even that of light bedding. Bumping of an affected toe with objects can produce sharp, even excruciating, pain as the tissue is punctured further by the ingrown nail. By the very nature of the condition, ingrown nails become easily infected unless special care is taken to treat the condition early on and keep the area as clean as possible. Signs of infection include redness and swelling of the area around the nail, drainage of pus and watery discharge tinged with blood. The main symptom is swelling at the base of the nail on whichever side (if not both sides) the ingrowing nail is forming.
Chronically ingrown toenail (that twice had failed wedge resections on both sides)
Treatment:

Treatment of ingrown nails ranges from soaking the afflicted area to surgery. The appropriate method is dictated by the severity of the condition. In nearly all cases, drainage of blood or watery discharge should mean a trip to the doctor, usually a podiatrist, a specialist trained explicitly to treat these conditions. Most practitioners agree that trying to outwait the condition is nearly always fruitless, as well as agonizing.
Alternative Medication:   Because of the possibility of serious complications, a physician should be consulted for treatment of severe and/or infected ingrown nails. Alternative treatments for treating ingrown nail include:

Ayurveda. Ayurvedic principles state that persons whose constitutions are dominated by vata and kapha have stronger nails and are prone to ingrown nails. Ingrown nails are treated with warm water soaks followed by application of a solution of equal parts tea tree and neem oils under the nails.

Herbal therapy. When an ingrown nail is forming, the toe should be soaked for 15-30 minutes in five drops each of hypericum and calendula tinctures diluted in 1/2 pint of warm water. Afterward, the toe should be wrapped in linen, placing it between the fold and the nail.

Homeopathy. Preparations of Hepar sulph or Silica in 6c potency may be taken every 12 hours for two weeks, to reduce the inflammation around the nail.

Hydrotherapy. To treat ingrown nail, the patient should soak the foot in hot, soapy water for 20 minutes, trim the nail square, wrap the toe in a hot compress, and cover it with a dry cloth overnight. In the morning, the patient should trim the nail into a U shape and place a bit of cotton between the nail and the fold. The cotton should be kept in place until the nail grows out.

Massage. If an ingrown nail is developing the patient should push the skin away from the nail. Repeated massage of the overgrown lateral nail folds can reduce pain and separate the fold away from the nail.

Home care:
In mild cases (not including the severe cases in the photos above), doctors recommend daily soaking of the afflicted digit in a mixture of warm water and Epsom salts and applying an over-the-counter antiseptic. This might allow the nail to grow out so it may be trimmed properly and the flesh to heal. A simple yet extremely painful procedure for mild ingrowth (i.e., where infection is absent) requires small scissors to trim the nail completely along the nail margin down to the lateral base. This hopefully allows the embedded piece of nail to be pushed back and out from the toe tissue. Note that infection may be somewhat difficult to prevent in cleaning and treating ingrown nails owing to the warm, dark, and damp environment in shoes. Peroxide is immediately effective to help clean minor infections but iodine is more effective in the long term as it continues to prevent bacterial growth even after it is dry. [N.B.: Iodine should not be used on deep wounds. In such cases a physician or podiatrist should be consulted.] Also, bandages can help keep out bacteria but one should never apply any of the new types of spray-on bandages to ingrown nails that show any discharge – preventing drainage will likely cause intense swelling and pain.

It is also advisable to walk around barefoot so that air has a chance to circulate. Infections often become more painful when they are not exposed to air because bacteria grows more quickly in warmer conditions eg. when the foot is impacted tightly in a shoe.

These home remedies are, in serious cases, ineffective:
when the flesh is far too swollen and infected, it will not allow for these procedures to work. Thus, these more severe cases, such as when the area around the nail becomes infected or the nail will not grow back properly, must be treated by a professional and the patient should avoid repeated attempts at this type of ‘bathroom surgery.

Phenolisation:
Following injection of a local anaesthetic at the basis of the toenail and perhaps application of a tourniquet, the surgeon will remove (ablate) the edge of the nail growing into the flesh and destroy the matrix area with phenol to permanently and selectively ablate the matrix that is manufacturing the ingrown portion of the nail (i.e., the nail margin). This is known as a partial matrixectomy, phenolisation, phenol avulsion or partial nail avulsion with matrix phenolisation. Also, any infection is surgically drained. After this date, other suggestions on aftercare will be made, such as salt water bathing of the digit in question. The point of the procedure is that the nail does not grow back where the matrix has been cauterized and so the chances of further ingrowth are very low. The nail is slightly (usually one millimeter or so) narrower than prior to the procedure and is barely noticeable one year later. The surgery is advantageous because it can be performed in the doctor’s office under local anesthesia with minimal pain following the intervention. Also, there is no visible scar on the surgery site and a nominal chance of recurrence. The procedure will fail in about 2 to 3 times out of a hundred.

Wedge Resection
Partial removal of the nail or an offending piece of nail. More complex than a complete nail avulsion (removal).

Here, the digit is first injected with a common local anesthetic. When the area is numb, the physician will perform an onychotomy in which the nail along the edge that is growing into the skin is cut away (ablated) and the offending piece of nail is pulled out. Any infection is surgically drained. This process is referred to as a “wedge resection” or simple surgical ablation and is non-permanent (i.e., the nail will re-grow from the matrix). The entire procedure may be performed in a physician’s office and takes approximately thirty to forty-five minutes depending on the extent of the problem. The patient is allowed to go home immediately and the recovery time is anywhere from a few days to a week barring any complications such as infection. As a followup, a physician may prescribe an oral or topical antibiotic or a special soak to be used for approximately a week after the surgery……....click  & see 
A resected wedge from the left side of the left big toe, shown to scale.

It should be noted that some physicians will not perform a complete nail avulsion (removal) under any but the most extreme circumstances. In most cases, these physicians will remove both sides of a toenail (even if one side is not currently ingrown) and coat the nail matrix on both of those sides with a chemical or acid (usually phenol) to prevent re-growth. This leaves the majority of the nail intact, but ensures that the problem of ingrowth will not re-occur.

Disadvantages: If the nail matrix is not coated with the applicable chemical or acid (phenol) and is allowed to re-grow, this method is prone to failure. Also, the underlying condition can still become symptomatic as the nail grows out over the course of up to a year: the nail matrix might be manufacturing a nail that is simply too curved, thick, wide or otherwise irregular to allow for normal growth. Furthermore, the flesh can be injured very easily by concussion, tight socks, quick twisting motions while walking or just the fact the nail is growing wrongly (likely too wide). This hypersensitivity to continued injury can mean chronic ingrowth; the solution is nearly always edge avulsion by the highly successful phenolisation.

CO2 Laser surgery

Following injection of a local anaesthetic at the basis of the toe and perhaps application of a small tourniquet, the surgeon will remove (ablate) the edge of the nail growing into the flesh and cauterize the matrix area by laser photocoagulation. This too is known as a partial matrixectomy or partial nail avulsion. Here too, the point of the procedure is that the nail does NOT grow back where the matrix has been cauterized and so the chances of further ingrowth is very low. The nail is slightly (usually one millimeter or so) narrower than prior to the procedure. Disadvantages: sutures are usually necessary, post-operative pain due to the wound and scar.
…………………………….Post-surgery toe with removed nail shard

Nail Avulsion (Removal)

While in some similar cases patients may wish to have the offending nail completely temporarily removed( Avulsion) , this procedure is not recommended by nail experts because the postoperative period is long and painful. Furthermore, complete removal of whole nail does not always prevent recurrences.In case of recurrence in spite of complete removal, and if the patient never feels any pain before inflammation occurs, the condition is more likely to be onychia which is often confused for an ingrown or ingrowing nail (onychocryptosis).

Complete removal of whole nail is a simple procedure. Here, anaesthetic is injected, the nail is removed quickly and painlessly and the patient can leave immediately. The entire procedure can be performed in around 10 minutes and is much less complex than a “wedge resection” as above. Note that the nail will grow back. However, in most cases it will cause further problems as it can become ingrown very easily as the nail grows outward. It can become easily injured by concussion and in some cases grows back too thick, too wide or deformed. This procedure can thus result in chronic ingrown nails and is therefore considered a generally unsuccessful solution, especially considering the pain involved.

Accordingly, in some cases as determined by a doctor, the nail matrix is coated with a chemical (usually phenol) so none of the nail will ever grow back. This is known as a permanent or full nail avulsion , or full matrixectomy, phenolisation, or full phenol avulsion . As can be seen in the images below, the nail-less toe looks much like a normal toe and fake nails or nail varnish can still be applied to the area.


If left untreated:

If an ingrown nail is left untreated, there exists a high risk of dangerous infection. When the skin around the nail gets infected, it begins to swell up and put even more pressure against the nail. Ingrown nails can produce a spear shaped wedge of nail on the lateral side of the toe which will progressively become more embedded into the toe tissue as the nail grows forward. In the worst case, the swelling will begin putting sideways pressure on the nail, causing it to grow at a slant. This will cause both sides of the nail to eventually become ingrown and swollen. Eventually the swollen parts of the skin will begin to harden and fold over the nail. An untreated ingrown toenail will cause a person to walk with a limp, which over a long period of time may cause further pain and injury to the foot, leg and back owing to improper distribution of weight. Other non-direct effects of seriously ingrown nails include lack of exercise, constant and unrelenting pain and pressure, the spread of infection, loss of appetite, inability to move around, and psychological effects (like anxiety, stress and feelings of despair). Amputation of the toe, foot or leg may be the final outcome if the infection is left untreated long enough for gangrene to set in. An untreated infection may also lead to a condition known as osteomyelitis, where the infection spreads to the bone of the infected digit. Once in the bone, the infection is more difficult to remove and may require the intravenous treatment of antibiotics. One should always consult a doctor when infection is present.

Prevention:
The most common place for ingrown nails is in the big toe but ingrowth can occur on any nail. Ingrown nails can be avoided by cutting nails straight across; nails should not be cut along a curve, nor should they be cut too short. Footwear which is too small, either in size or width, or those with too shallow a ‘toe box’ will exacerbate any underlying problem with a toenail.

Ingrown toe nails can be caused by injury, commonly concussion where the flesh is pressed against the nail causing a small cut that swells. Also, injury to the nail can cause it to grow abnormally, making it thicker or wider than normal or even bulged or crooked. Stubbing the toenail, dropping things on the toe and ‘going through the end of your shoes’ in sports are common injuries to the digits. Injuries to the toes can be prevented by wearing shoes most of the time, especially when working or playing.

One myth is that a V should be cut in the end of the ingrown nail; this myth is untrue. The reasoning of the myth is that if one cuts a V in the nail, the edge of the nail will grow together as the nail grows out. This does not happen – the shape of the nail is determined by the growing area at the base of the toe and not by the end of the nail. {(fACT: http://www.footphysicians.com/footankleinfo/ingrown-toenail.htm DATE: September 21, 2007}}

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://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_g2603/is_0004/ai_2603000454
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ingrown_nail