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Gastroparesis

Definition:
Gastroparesis (gastro-, “stomach” + -paresis, “partial paralysis”), also called delayed gastric emptying, is a medical condition consisting of a paresis (partial paralysis) of the stomach, resulting in food remaining in the stomach for an abnormally long time. Normally, the stomach contracts to move food down into the small intestine for additional digestion. The vagus nerve controls these contractions. Gastroparesis may occur when the vagus nerve is damaged and the muscles of the stomach and intestines do not properly function. Food then moves slowly or stops moving through the digestive tract….CLICK & SEE

YOU MAY CLICK & SEEOur Digestive System and How It Works 
Symptoms:
The most common symptoms of gastroparesis are the following:
*Chronic nausea (93%)
*Vomiting (especially of undigested food) (68-84%)
*Abdominal pain (46-90%)
*A feeling of fullness after eating just a few bites (60-86%)

Other symptoms include the following:
*Palpitations
*Heartburn
*Abdominal bloating
*Erratic blood glucose levels
*Lack of appetite
*Gastroesophageal reflux
*Spasms of the stomach wall
*Weight loss and malnutrition

Morning nausea may also indicate gastroparesis. Vomiting may not occur in all cases, as sufferers may adjust their diets to include only small amounts of food.

Symptoms may be aggravated by eating greasy or rich foods, large quantities of foods with fiber—such as raw fruits and vegetables—or drinking beverages high in fat or carbonation. Symptoms may be mild or severe, and they can occur frequently in some people and less often in others. The symptoms of gastroparesis may also vary in intensity over time in the same individual. Sometimes gastroparesis is difficult to diagnose because people experience a range of symptoms similar to those of other diseases.

Causes:
Transient gastroparesis may arise in acute illness of any kind, as a consequence of certain cancer treatments or other drugs which affect digestive action, or due to abnormal eating patterns.

It is frequently caused by autonomic neuropathy. This may occur in people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. In fact, diabetes mellitus has been named as the most common cause of gastroparesis, as high levels of blood glucose may affect chemical changes in the nerves.The vagus nerve becomes damaged by years of high blood glucose or insufficient transport of glucose into cells resulting in gastroparesis. Other possible causes include anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, which may also damage the vagus nerve. Gastroparesis has also been associated with connective tissue diseases such as scleroderma and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, and neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease. It may also occur as part of a mitochondrial disease.

Chronic gastroparesis can be caused by other types of damage to the vagus nerve, such as abdominal surgery.  Heavy cigarette smoking is also a plausible cause since smoking causes damage to the stomach lining.

Idiopathic gastroparesis (gastroparesis with no known cause) accounts for a third of all chronic cases; it is thought that many of these cases are due to an autoimmune response triggered by an acute viral infection. “Stomach flu”, mononucleosis, and other ailments have been anecdotally linked to the onset of the condition, but no systematic study has proven a link.

Gastroparesis sufferers are disproportionately female. One possible explanation for this finding is that women have an inherently slower stomach emptying time than men.A hormonal link has been suggested, as gastroparesis symptoms tend to worsen the week before menstruation when progesterone levels are highest. Neither theory has been proven definitively.

Gastroparesis can also be connected to hypochlorhydria and be caused by chloride, sodium and/or zinc deficiency, as these minerals are needed for the stomach to produce adequate levels of gastric acid (HCL) in order to properly empty itself of a meal.

Other identifiable causes of gastroparesis include intestinal surgery and nervous system diseases such as Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis. For reasons that are not very clear, gastroparesis is more commonly found in women than in men.

Complications:
The complications of gastroparesis can include

*severe dehydration due to persistent vomiting

*gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which is GER that occurs more than twice a week for a few weeks; GERD can lead to esophagitis— irritation of the esophagus

*bezoars, which can cause nausea, vomiting, obstruction, or interfere with absorption of some medications in pill form

*difficulty managing blood glucose levels in people with diabetes

*malnutrition due to poor absorption of nutrients or a low calorie intake

*decreased quality of life, including work absences due to severe symptoms

Diagnosis:
Gastroparesis is diagnosed through a physical exam, medical history, blood tests, tests to rule out blockage or structural problems in the GI tract, and gastric emptying tests. Tests may also identify a nutritional disorder or underlying disease. To rule out any blockage or other structural problems, the doctor may perform one or more of the following tests:

*Upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy. This procedure involves using an endoscope—a small, flexible tube with a light—to see the upper GI tract, which includes the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum—the first part of the small intestine. The test is performed at a hospital or outpatient center by a gastroenterologist—a doctor who specializes in digestive diseases. The endoscope is carefully fed down the esophagus and into the stomach and duodenum. A small camera mounted on the endoscope transmits a video image to a monitor, allowing close examination of the intestinal lining. A person may receive a liquid anesthetic that is gargled or sprayed on the back of the throat. An intravenous (IV) needle is placed in a vein in the arm if general anesthesia is given. The test may show blockage or large bezoars—solid collections of food, mucus, vegetable fiber, hair, or other material that cannot be digested in the stomach—that are sometimes softened, dissolved, or broken up during an upper GI endoscopy.

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Calluna

Botanical Name :Calluna vulgaris
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Calluna
Salisb.
Species: C. vulgaris
Kingdom: Plantae
clade: Angiosperms
clade: Eudicots
clade: Asterids
Order: Ericales

Common Name:Common Heather, ling, or simply heather

Habitat :Calluna is found widely in Europe and Asia Minor on acidic soils in open sunny situations and in moderate shade. It is the dominant plant in most heathland and moorland in Europe, and in some bog vegetation and acidic pine and oak woodland. It is tolerant of grazing and regenerates following occasional burning, and is often managed in nature reserves and grouse moors by sheep or cattle grazing, and also by light burning.

Description:
It is a low-growing perennial shrub growing to 20 to 50 centimetres (7.9 to 20 in) tall, or rarely to 1 metre (39 in) and taller.Primary flower color  is red  that  blooms during late summer to fall. Zones 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
CLICK  &  SEE  THE  PICTURES

Cultivation:
Despised until the 19th century for its associations with the most rugged rural poverty, heather’s growth in popularity may be paralleled with the vogue for alpine plants. It is a very popular ornamental plant in gardens and for landscaping, in lime-free areas where it will thrive, but has defeated many a gardener on less acid soil. There are many named cultivars, selected for variation in flower colour and for different foliage colour and growing habits.

Different cultivars have flower colours ranging from white, through pink and a wide range of purples, and including reds. The flowering season with different cultivars extends from late July to November in the northern hemisphere. The flowers may turn brown but still remain on the plants over winter, and this can lead to interesting decorative effects.

Cultivars with ornamental foliage are usually selected for reddish and golden leaf colour. A few forms can be silvery grey. Many of the ornamental foliage forms change colour with the onset of winter weather, usually increasing in intensity of colour. Some forms are grown for distinctive young spring foliage.

The plant was introduced to New Zealand and has become an invasive weed in some areas, notably the Tongariro National Park on the North Island and the Wilderness Reserve (Te Anau) on the South Island, overgrowing native plants. Heather beetles have been released to stop the heather, with preliminary trials successful to date.

Cultivars include ‘Beoley Crimson’ (Crimson red), ‘Boskoop’ (light purple), ‘Cuprea’ (copper), ‘Firefly’ (deep mauve),‘Long White’ (white).

Medicinal Uses:
It was used in baths for easing joint and muscle pain, and taken for urinary infections and to ease sleep. An infusion of the dried flowers helped to decrease nervousness, sleeplessness and the pains of rheumatism.  It was also recommended as a bath for babies who were failing to thrive. Today, heather makes a useful urinary antiseptic when taken internally due to the arbutin it contains, and can be taken for cystitis, urethritis and prostatitis.  It has a mild diuretic action, reducing fluid retention and hastening elimination of toxins via the kidneys.  It makes a good cleansing remedy for gout and arthritis as well as skin problems such as acne.  It has a mildly sedative action and can easy anxiety, muscle tension and insomnia.  A hot poultice of heather tips is a traditional remedy for chilblains.

Other Uses:
Hummingbirds & Butterflies, Fragrant, Borders, Rock Gardens, Showy Flowers
Heather is an important food source for various sheep and deer which can graze the tips of the plants when snow covers low-growing vegetation. Willow Grouse and Red Grouse feed on the young shoots and seeds of this plant. Both adult and larva of the Heather Beetle Lochmaea suturalis feed on it, and can cause extensive mortality in some instances. The larvae of a number of Lepidoptera species also feed on the plant.

Formerly heather was used to dye wool yellow and to tan leather. With malt heather is an ingredient in gruit, a mixture of flavourings used in the brewing of heather-beer during the Middle Ages before the use of hops. Thomas Pennant wrote in A Tour in Scotland (1769) that on the Scottish island of Islay “ale is frequently made of the young tops of heath, mixing two thirds of that plant with one of malt, sometimes adding hops”. The use of heather in the brewing of modern heather beer is carefully regulated. By law[specify] the heather must be cleaned carefully before brewing, as the undersides of the leaves may contain a dusting of an ergot-like fungus, which is a hallucinogenic intoxicant.[citation needed]

Heather honey is a highly valued product in moorland and heathland areas, with many beehives being moved there in late summer. Not always as valued as it is today, and dismissed as mel improbum by Dioscurides. Heather honey has a characteristic strong taste, and an unusual texture, for it is thixotropic, being a jelly until stirred, when it becomes a syrup like other honey, but then sets again to a jelly. This makes the extraction of the honey from the comb difficult, and it is therefore often sold as comb honey.

White heather is regarded in Scotland as being lucky, a tradition brought from Balmoral to England by Queen Victoria. and sprigs of it are often sold as a charm and worked into bridal bouquets.

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/Calluna
http://www.americanmeadows.com/heather-lady-in-red
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_FGH.htm

http://www.types-of-flowers.org/heather.html

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Artichoke

Botanical Name:Cynara Scolymus
Family:Asteraceae
Tribe:Cynareae
Genus:Cynara
Species: C. scolymus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:Asterales

Common Name : Artichoke, Globe Artichoke

Habitat: Artichoke native to the Mediterranean region. Both wild forms and cultivated varieties (cultivars) exist.

Description:  The Globe Artichoke (Cynara scolymus) is a perennial thistle originating in southern Europe around the Mediterranean. It grows to 1.5-2 m tall, with arching, deeply lobed, silvery glaucous-green leaves 50  to 80 cm long. The flowers develop in a large head from an edible bud about 8 to 15 cm diameter with numerous triangular scales; the individual florets are purple. The edible portion of the buds consists primarily of the fleshy lower portions of the involucral bracts and the base, known as the “heart”; the mass of inedible immature florets in the center of the bud are called the “choke.”

.click to see the pictures…....(01)...(1)…....(2).……...(3).…..…(4)..…....(5)..…...

A globe artichoke is a partially edible perennial thistle originating in southern Europe around the Mediterranean.

Artichoke may also refer to:

Jerusalem artichoke, a species of sunflower
Chinese artichoke, a species of woundwort
Project ARTICHOKE, a CIA operation
PH Artichoke, a designer Light fixture

Artichoke, Cardoon

Cultivation:
Globe Artichokes were first cultivated at Naples around the middle of the 9th century, and are said to have been introduced to France by Catherine de’ Medici, Dutch introduced artichokes to England, where they were growing in Henry VIII’s garden at Newhall in 1530. They were introduced to the United States in the 19th century, to Louisiana by French immigrants and to California by Spanish immigrants. The name has originated from ardi shauki , which is Arabic for ground-thorn, through the Italian, articiocco.

An artichoke flower.Today, the Globe Artichoke cultivation is concentrated in the contries bordering the Mediterranean basin. The main producers are Italy, Spain, and France. In the United States, California provides nearly 100% of the U.S. crop, and approximately 80 percent of that is grown in Monterey County; there, Castroville proclaims itself to be “The Artichoke Center of the World”. The cultivar ‘Green Globe‘ is virtually the only kind grown commercially in the U.S.

Artichokes can be produced from seeds or from perennials. Perennials produce the edible flower only during the second and subsequent year, while varieties from seeds can be annual. Commercial culture is limited to warm areas in USDA hardiness zone 7 and above. It requires good soil, regular watering and feeding plus frost protection in winter. Rooted suckers can be planted each year so that mature specimens can be disposed of after a few years, as each individual plant only lives a few years. The peak season for artichoke harvesting is the spring, but they continue to be harvested throughout the summer, with another peak period in mid autumn.

When harvesting, if they are cut from the ground so as to leave an inch or two of stem, artichokes possess good keeping qualities, frequently remaining quite fresh for two weeks or longer under average retail conditions.

The recently introduced hybrid cultivar ‘Imperial Star’ has been bred to produce in the first year without such measures. An even newer cultivar, ‘Northern Star’, is said to be able to overwinter in more northerly climates, and readily survive sub-zero temperatures. A second generation of new hybrid cultivars were bred during the last decade, much more homogeneous and stable than the former and more suitable for professional growers.

Apart from food use, the Globe Artichoke is also an attractive plant for its bright floral display, sometimes grown in herbaceous borders for its bold foliage and large purple flowerheads.

Varieties
Traditionally, globe artichoke has been grown by vegetative propagation of suckers, although seed planted cultivars has been introduced in the latest years.

Traditional cultivars (Vegetative multiplication):
Green color, large size: Camus de Bretagne, Castel, Blanc Hyerois (France), Green globe (USA).
Green color, medium size: Blanca de Tudela (Spain), Argentina, Española (Chile), Blanc d’Oran (Algeria), Sakiz, Bayrampsha (Turkey).
Purple color, large size: Romanesco, C3 (Italy).
Purple color, medium size: Violet de Provence (France), Brindisino, Catanese (Italy), Violet d’Algerie (Algeria), Baladi (Egypt).
Spined: Spinoso sardo (Italy), Criolla (Peru).
Varieties multipled by seeds:

Edible  Uses:

Cooking
Whole Globe Artichokes are prepared for cooking by removing all but 5-10 mm or so of the stem, and (optionally) cutting away about a quarter of each scale with scissors. This removes the thorns that can interfere with handling the leaves when eating. Then, the artichoke is boiled or steamed until tender, about 15-45 minutes. If boiling, salt can be added to the water, if desired. It may be preferable not to cover the pot while the artichokes are boiled, so that the acids will boil out into the air. Covered artichokes can turn brown due to the acids and chlorophyll oxidation.

The leaves are often removed and eaten one at a time, sometimes dipped in butter, mayonnaise, aioli, or other sauces.


Tea

Artichokes can also be made into an herbal tea; artichoke tea is produced as a commercial product in the Dalat region of Vietnam.photo.

Liquor
Artichoke is the primary flavor of the Italian liquor Cynar.

Medical uses:
The total antioxidant capacity of artichoke flower heads is one of the highest reported for vegetables. Cynarine is a chemical constituent in Cynara. The majority of the cynarine found in artichoke is located in the pulp of the leaves, though dried leaves and stems of artichoke also contain it. It inhibits taste receptors, making water (and other foods and drinks) seem sweet.

Studies have shown artichoke to aid digestion, liver function and gallbladder function, and raise the ratio of HDL to LDL. This reduces cholesterol levels, which diminishes the risk for arteriosclerosis and coronary heart disease. Aqueous extracts from artichoke leaves have also been shown to reduce cholesterol by inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase and having a hypolipidemic influence, lowering blood cholesterol. Artichoke contains the bioactive agents apigenin and luteolin. C. scolymus also seems to have a bifidogenic effect on beneficial gut bacteria. Its effect in arresting pathogenic bacteria may be attributed to the notable presence of phenolic compounds. Both are higher in the baby anzio artichoke (Cyrnara scolymus). Artichoke leaf extract has proved helpful for patients with functional dyspepsia, and may ameliorate symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome

Artichoke leaves contain a wide number of active constituents, including cynarin,1,3 dicaffeoylquinic acid, 3-caffeoylquinic acid, and scolymoside. The choleretic (bile stimulating) action of the plant has been well documented.In an un controll clinical trial it is observed that 320 -640 mg of stadardized artichoke extract taken three times per day can reduce nausea,abdominal pain, constipation,and flatulence .

The standard extract has been used to treat high cholesterol and triglycerides.

Studies have shown that blood cholesterol levels dropped after eating artichoke.  An anticholesterol drug called cynara is derived from this plant.  In 1940, a study in Japan showed that artichoke not only reduced cholesterol but it also increased bile production by the liver and worked as a good diuretic.  This make artichoke useful for gallbladder problems, nausea, indigestion, and abdominal distension.     It has been found that globe artichoke contains the extract cymarin, which is similar to silymarin.  Researchers discovered that this extract promotes liver regeneration and causes hyperaemia.  It was also found that an artichoke extract caused dyspeptic symptoms to disappear.  The researchers interpreted the reduction in cholinesterase levels to mean that the extract effected fatty degeneration of the liver.  In 1969 a team of French researchers patented an artichoke extract as a treatment for kidney and liver ailments.   Although the leaves are particularly effective, all parts of the plant are bitter.  A Mediterranean home recipe uses fresh artichoke leaf juice mixed with wine or water as a liver tonic.  It is also taken during the early stages of late-onset diabetes.  It is a good food for diabetics, since it significantly lowers blood sugar.  In France it has been used to treat rheumatic conditions.

Ethnomedical Uses
Dried or fresh leaves and/or stems of Cynara are used as a choleretic (to increase bile production), to treat gallstones, and as a tonic for convalescence.

Cynarin is the principal active constituent in Cynara; research in 2005 found that cynarin causes an increase in bile flow.

You may click to learn more about Artichoke

Known Hazards: Can cause allergic reactions (dermatitis) due to lactones. . Use with caution in cases of biliary obstruction. May hinder breast feeding (lactation)

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/Artichoke
http://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/a/artic066.html
http://www.prevention.com/cda/vendorarticle/artichoke/HN2038002/health/herb.

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Cynara+scolymus

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

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Your Son Is Defiant, Has Temper Tantrums

Attention deficit hyperactive disorder or ADHD is erroneously considered to be a 20th century phenomenon affecting mainly children from developed nations. Actually, it was first described in 1845 by a psychiatrist in a boy called “fidgety Philip”. Today, the worldwide incidence is 3-5 per cent, irrespective of nationality. In referral paediatric clinics, it is as high as 15.5 per cent. The average age at diagnosis is eight years with a 6:1 male-to-female ratio.

.CLICK & SEE

Children who have the hyperactive impulsive type of ADHD are unbearably fidgety, restless and impatient, always running, jumping, climbing and blurting out inappropriate comments. They often receive corporal punishment from frustrated parents and teachers. Others, with the inattentive type of ADHD, are dreamy and bored, with difficulty in paying attention, learning something new or completing a task. Homework becomes a particular problem, with assignments forgotten, books misplaced and the final unsatisfactorily completed task full of erasures and errors.

Around 40 per cent of children with ADHD (especially boys) are argumentative, defiant, stubborn, non-compliant and belligerent. They lie, steal, fight, bully others, have temper tantrums and engage in vandalism. Eventually, as teenagers, they may gravitate towards drugs and alcohol.

To make a diagnosis of ADHD:

* The symptoms should have set in before the age of seven years and have lasted for at least six months

* They should cause difficulties in the child’s life, in school, at play, at home, in the community and in social settings

* The changes should not have been precipitated by a sudden traumatic event like the death of a parent

* There should be no diagnosed medical ailments like seizures, middle ear infections or a learning disability to explain the symptoms.

Society often finds fault with the parents of children with ADHD. They are criticised for faulty nurturing and lack of parental discipline. But parents are actually helpless, as ADHD has a genetic and neurobiologic basis. Scans have shown that the frontal lobes, temporal grey matter, caudate nucleus and cerebellum of the brains of these children are 34 per cent smaller than normal in volume. Also, the brain has lower levels of a signal-processing chemical called dopamine.

The exact reason for these changes is not known. However,

* ADHD runs in families. About 25 per cent of the close relatives of ADHD children also have similar disorders as opposed to 5 per cent in the general population

* Women who smoke and drink during pregnancy have a higher incidence of children with ADHD

* High blood lead levels have been demonstrated in some children with ADHD. This, however, is not a consistent finding

* A sugar high has been blamed for some of the symptoms. This is a label for the increased level of activity following the ingestion of highly refined sugars or carbohydrates, which enter the bloodstream rapidly and produce fluctuations in blood glucose levels. This is particularly true if (as in the case of cola drinks) the food also contains caffeine (a stimulant) and food additives. Diet restrictions reducing the quantities of such food help in some cases.

Children with ADHD hate change in any form. They need a scheduled, regimented life with the same routine  every day. All their belongings should also be organised and kept in specific places. With structured care, these children show a great deal of improvement and are able to integrate into society. About 30 to 70 per cent of children with ADHD continue to have symptoms in adult life. Academic excellence — a prelude to higher studies and a good job — may remain elusive. This is aggravated by poor social skills. They remain easily distracted, hyperactive and impulsive and have difficulty with deadlines, prioritisation and social engagements. Decision-making is an almost insurmountable hurdle. They also have problems holding down a steady job. Many are able to function on computers and are intelligent enough to do programming and other jobs which do not require social interaction. Around 80 per cent need to continue to live with parents or siblings.

Some children do not improve despite psychotherapy and a structured environment. They require medication with mental stimulants like methylphenidate and atmoxetine. They do well if they take their medication, which may need to be continued into adult life.

Competition is fierce in India, for education, jobs, promotions and success. Reservations and capitation fees are a way of life. In this scenario, parents may find it difficult to cope with a hyperactive, inattentive, disobedient and impulsive child who does not conform to social norms.

It is often difficult for the parents to accept that their child has ADHD. They feel depressed and guilty, even though it is not their fault. And despite all folklore to the contrary, an arranged marriage to an unsuspecting spouse does not cure the problem.

Source:The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)