Tag Archives: Boswellia serrata

Viburnum lentago

Botanical Name : Viburnum lentago
Family: Adoxaceae
Genus: Viburnum
Species:V. lentago
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Dipsacales

Synonyms: Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Hedge;

Common Names: Nannyberry, Sheepberry, or Sweet viburnum

Habitat :Viburnum lentago is native to northern N. AmericaNew Brunswick to Saskatchewan, south to Virginia and Nebraska It grows on rich soils along woodland borders, edges of streams etc, it is also found on rocky hillsides etc.

Description:
Viburnum lentago is a large shrub or small tree growing upwards to 30 ft (9 m) tall with a trunk up to ~10 inches (25 cm) diameter and a short trunk, round-topped head, pendulous, flexible branches. The bark is reddish- to grayish-brown, and broken into small scales. The twigs are pale green and covered with rusty down at first, later becoming dark reddish brown, sometimes glaucous, smooth, tough, flexible, and produce an offensive odor when crushed or bruised. The winter buds are light red, covered with pale scurfy down, protected by a pair of opposing scales. Flower-bearing buds are ~3/4 in (2 cm) long, obovate, long pointed; other terminal buds are acute, ~1/3 to 1/2 in (10–15 mm) long, while lateral buds are much smaller. The bud scales enlarge with the growing shoot and often become leaf-like.

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Like all viburnums, the leaves are arranged in opposite pairs on the twigs; they are oval, ~2 – 4 in (5–10 cm) long and ~3/4 in – 2 in (2–5 cm) broad, wedge-shaped, rounded or subcordate at base, with an acuminate apex and a finely serrated margin, and a winged petiole. They open from the bud involute, bronze green and shining, hairy and downy; when full grown are bright green and shining above, pale green and marked with tiny black dots beneath. In autumn they turn a deep red, or red and orange.

The flowers are small, 5–6 mm diameter, with five whitish petals, arranged in large round terminal cymes 5–12 cm diameter; flowering is in late spring. The calyx is tubular, equally five-toothed, persistent; the corolla is equally five-lobed, imbricate in the bud, cream-white, one-quarter of an inch across; lobes acute, and slightly erose. There are five stamens, inserted on the base of the corolla, alternate with its lobes, exserted; filaments slender; anthers bright yellow, oblong, introrse, versatile, two-celled; cells opening longitudinally. The pistil has a one-celled inferior ovary, the style thick, short, light green, and the stigma broad; there is one ovule in each cell. The fruit is a small round blue-black drupe, 8–16 mm long on a reddish stem; it is thick skinned, sweet and rather juicy, and edible. The stone is oblong oval, flattened.

The roots are fibrous, wood is ill-smelling. It grows in wet soil along the borders of the forest, often found in fence corners and along roadsides. The wood is dark orange brown, heavy, hard, close-grained, with a density of 0.7303
Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Border, Massing, Screen, Specimen. An easily grown plant, it succeeds in most soils but is ill-adapted for poor soils and for dry situations. It prefers a deep rich loamy soil in sun or semi-shade. Best if given shade from the early morning sun in spring. A very hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to about -30°c. A fast-growing but short-lived species in the wild. It readily sprouts from the roots and forms thickets, a habit that is undesirable in small gardens. The plants grow well, but do not usually fruit well in Britain. This is probably because they are self-incompatible and need to grow close to a genetically distinct plant in the same species in order to produce fruit and fertile seed. Special Features:North American native, Attracts butterflies, Attractive flowers or blooms.
Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Germination can be slow, sometimes taking more than 18 months. If the seed is harvested ‘green’ (when it has fully developed but before it has fully ripened) and sown immediately in a cold frame, it should germinate in the spring[80]. Stored seed will require 2 months warm then 3 months cold stratification and can still take 18 months to germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame or greenhouse. Plant out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of soft-wood, early summer in a frame[200]. Pot up into individual pots once they start to root and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 – 8 cm long with a heel if possible, July/August in a frame[78, 113]. Plant them into individual pots as soon as they start to root. These cuttings can be difficult to overwinter, it is best to keep them in a greenhouse or cold frame until the following spring before planting them out. Cuttings of mature wood, winter in a frame. They should root in early spring – pot them up when large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer if sufficient new growth is made, otherwise keep them in a cold frame for the next winter and then plant them out in the spring. Layering of current seasons growth in July/August. Takes 15 months

Edible Uses:
Fruit – raw or cooked. It can also be dried for winter use. The fruit is variable in size and quality, the best being about 15mm long, pulpy, very sweet, somewhat juicy and pleasant tasting but with a thick skin and a single large seed. The fruit is said to be best after a frost but it is sometimes dry.

Medicinal Uses:
The bark is antispasmodic. A decoction of the roots has been used to treat irregular menstruation and the spitting of blood. An infusion of the leaves has been used in the treatment of measles. An infusion of the leaves has been drunk, or a poultice of leaves applied, in the treatment of dysuria.

Other Uses:
Hedge; Hedge; Wood.

The plant is grown as a hedge in N. America. Wood – heavy, hard, close grained, malodorous. Of no commercial value due to the small size of the trees.

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/Viburnum_lentago
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Viburnum+lentago

Boswellia thurifera

Botanical Name :Boswellia thurifera
Family: Burseraceae
Genus: Boswellia
Species: B. serrata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Common Names:   Boswellia (Frankincense) , Olibanum, Indian Frankincense, Arabic Frankincense, and Salai guggal

Habitat: Boswellia thurifera  is native to  Arabia, East Africa (particularly Oman, Socotra, Somalia)

Description:
Frankincense is tapped from the small drought-hardy Boswellia trees by slashing the bark, which is called striping, and allowing the exuded resin to bleed out and harden. These hardened resins are called tears. There are several species and varieties of frankincense trees, each producing a slightly different type of resin. Differences in soil and climate create even more diversity of the resin, even within the same species.

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Boswellia Sacra trees are considered unusual for their ability to grow in environments so unforgiving that they sometimes grow out of almost solid rock. Attachment to the rock is accomplished by a bulbous disk-like swelling of the trunk. This feature is slight or absent in trees grown in rocky soil or gravel. The tears from trees growing on rock are considered superior for their more fragrant aroma.

The trees start producing resin when they are about eight to 10 years old. Tapping is done two to three times a year with the final taps producing the best tears due to their higher aromatic terpene, sesquiterpene and diterpene content. Generally speaking, the more opaque resins are the best quality. Fine resin is produced in Yemen and along the northern coast of Somalia, from which the Roman Catholic Church draws its supplies.

Recent studies have indicated that frankincense tree populations are declining, partly due to over-exploitation. Heavily tapped trees produce seeds that germinate at only 16% while seeds of trees that had not been tapped germinate at more than 80%. In addition, burning, grazing, and attacks by the longhorn beetle have reduced the tree population.[4] Conversion (clearing) of frankincense woodlands to agriculture is also a major threat

Quality:
Frankincense comes in many types, and its quality is based on color, purity, aroma, age, and shape. Silver and Hojari are generally considered the highest grades of frankincense. The Omanis themselves generally consider Silver to be a better grade than Hojari, though most Western connoisseurs think that it should be the other way round.[citation needed] This may be due to climatic conditions with the Hojari smelling best in the relatively cold, damp climate of Europe and North America, whereas Silver may well be more suited to the hot dry conditions of Arabia.
click to see Frankincense
Local market information in Oman suggests that the term Hojari encompasses a broad range of high-end frankincense including Silver. Resin value is determined not only by fragrance but also by color and clump size, with lighter color and larger clumps being more highly prized. The most valuable Hojari frankincense locally available in Oman is even more expensive than Somalia’s Maydi frankincense derived from B. frereana (see below). The vast majority of this ultra-high-end B. sacra frankincense is purchased by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said the ruler of Oman, and is notoriously difficult for western buyers to correctly identify and purchase.

Currently, there are two dissertations which may enable the identification of a few Olibanum species according to their specific secondary metabolism products

Chemical constituents:
These are some of the chemical compounds present in frankincense:

*”acid resin (56 per cent), soluble in alcohol and having the formula C20H32O4″

*gum (similar to gum arabic) 30–36%

*3-acetyl-beta-boswellic acid (Boswellia sacra)

*alpha-boswellic acid (Boswellia sacra)

*4-O-methyl-glucuronic acid (Boswellia sacra)

*incensole acetate

*phellandrene

Medicinal Uses:
Frankincense is used in perfumery and aromatherapy. The essential oil is obtained by steam distillation of the dry resin. Some of the smell of the frankincense smoke are products of pyrolysis.

Frankincense is used in many Christian churches including the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Catholic churches. According to the gospel of Matthew 2:11, gold, frankincense, and myrrh were among the gifts to Jesus by the biblical magi “from out of the East.” The Judaic, Christian and Islamic faiths have used frankincense mixed with oils to anoint newborn infants and individuals.

Conversely, the growth of Christianity depressed the market for frankincense during the 4th century AD. Desertification made the caravan routes across the Rub’ al Khali or “Empty Quarter” of the Arabian Peninsula more difficult. Additionally, increased raiding by the nomadic Parthians in the Near East caused the frankincense trade to dry up after A.D. 300.
click to see Boswellia sacra tree, from which frankincense is derived, growing inside Biosphere 2

Traditional medicine:
Frankincense resin is edible and is used in traditional medicines in Asia for digestion and healthy skin. For internal consumption, it is recommended that frankincense be translucent, with no black or brown impurities. It is often light yellow with a (very) slight greenish tint. It is often chewed like gum, but it is stickier.

In Ayurvedic medicine Indian frankincense (Boswellia serrata), commonly referred to as “dhoop,” has been used for hundreds of years for treating arthritis, healing wounds, strengthening the female hormone system and purifying the air. The use of frankincense in Ayurveda is called “dhoopan”. In Indian culture, it is suggested that burning frankincense daily in the house brings good health

Frankincense essential oil:
The essential oil of frankincense is produced by steam distillation of the tree resin. The oil’s chemical components are 75% monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, monoterpenoles, sesquiterpenols, and ketones. It has a good balsamic sweet fragrance, while the Indian frankincense oil has a very fresh smell. Contrary to recent claims, steam or hydro distilled frankincense oil does not contain any boswellic acid as these components (triterpenoids) are non-volatile and too large to come over in the steam distillation process. The chemistry of the essential oil is mainly monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes with small amounts of diterpenoid components being the upper limit in terms of molecular weight.
click to see Olibanum resin.
Perfume:
Olibanum is characterized by a balsamic-spicy, slightly lemon, fragrance of incense, with a conifer-like undertone. It is used in the perfume, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries.

Medical Research:
For therapy trials in ulcerative colitis, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis there are only isolated reports and pilot studies from which there is not yet sufficient evidence of safety and efficacy. Similarly, the long-term effects and side effects of taking frankincense has not yet been scientifically investigated. Nonetheless, several preliminary studies have been published.
click to see the picture of  FrankinsenceEssOil
A 2008 study reported that frankincense smoke was a psychoactive drug that relieves depression and anxiety in mice. The researchers found that the chemical compound incensole acetate was responsible for the effects.

In a different study, an enriched extract of “Indian Frankincense” (usually Boswellia serrata) was used in a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study of patients with osteoarthritis. Patients receiving the extract showed significant improvement in their arthritis in as little as seven days. The compound caused no major adverse effects and, according to the study authors, is safe for human consumption and long-term use.

In a study published in 2009, it was reported that “Frankincense oil appears to distinguish cancerous from normal bladder cells and suppress cancer cell viability.”

A 2012 study in healthy volunteers determined that exposure to 11-keto-?-boswellic acid (KBA), a lead boswellic acid in the novel solubilized frankincense extract Boswelan, is increased when taken with food. However, simulations based on a two-compartment pharmacokinetic model with single first-order absorption phase proposed that the observed food interaction loses its relevance for the simulated repeated-dose scenario.

In a 2012 study, researchers found that the “behavioral effect [of insensole actetate] was concomitant to reduced serum corticosterone levels, dose-dependent down-regulation of corticotropin releasing factor and up-regulation of brain derived neurotrophic factor transcripts IV and VI expression in the hippocampus. These data suggest that IA modulates the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis and influences hippocampal gene expression, leading to beneficial behavioral effects supporting its potential as a novel treatment of depressive-like disorders

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:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankincense
http://unitproj.library.ucla.edu/biomed/spice/index.cfm?displayID=28
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail25.php

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Boswellia serrata

Botanical name : Boswellia serrata
Family: Burseraceae
Genus: Boswellia
Species: B. serrata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Common Name : Salai guggal,Shallaki. (Boswellia serrata is Indian frankincense or Salai referred to in Sanskrit as shallaki.)

Habitat :Boswellia serrata  is native to India & Pakisthan.It  is a species characteristic of the tropical dry deciduous forests and occurs in very dry teak forests or in dry mixed deciduous forests in association with species such as Terminalia spp., Anogeissus latifolia and Acacia leucophloea. It is characteristically found on the slopes and ridges of hills, as well as on flat terrain, attaining a larger size on fertile soils. It is resistant to drought and resists fire better than other species in its zone of occurrence. The tree is also frost hardy and serves as a nurse tree for other species.

Description:
Boswellia serrata is a moderate-sized to large, deciduous tree with a light, spreading crown and somewhat drooping branches. It usually has a short bole, 3-5 m in length, sometimes longer if grown in a fully stocked forest. Ordinarily, it attains a girth of 1.2-1.8 m and a height of 9-15 m. Bark is very thin, greyish-green, ashy or reddish with a chlorophyll layer beneath the thin outer layer, which peels off in thin, papery flakes. Leaves alternate, exstipulate, imparipinnate, 20-45 cm in length, crowded towards the ends of the branches; leaflets 17-31 cm, opposite, 2.5-8 cm x 0.8-1.5 cm, basal pairs often smallest, sessile, lanceolate, ovate-lanceolate, crenate, very variable in size. Flowers white, in stout racemes, 10-20 cm long, shorter than the leaves, crowded towards the ends of branches, but not terminal. Calyx persistent, pubescent outside, 5 to 7-toothed; teeth small, deltoid. Petals 5-7 erect, free, 0.5 cm long. Fruits 1.3 cm long, trigonous, with three valves and three heart-shaped, 1-seeded pyrenes, winged, along with the margins. The specific name, serrata, comes from serra (a saw) referring to the toothed leaf-margins.

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Medicinal Uses:
Properties:.
Shallaki has potent analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects that can reduce the pain and inflammation of joints. The salai guggal gum is used as a diaphoretic and astringent. Other products: B. serrata has been recorded in West Bengal as a new lac host.
Shallaki or Boswellia serrata is an herbal extract well known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-atherosclerotic and anti-arthritic activities. Shallaki is effective in the treatment of the common ailments

* Rheumatoid arthritis (In Ayurvedic medicine Indian frankincense (Boswellia serrata) has been used for hundreds of years for treating arthritis.)

* Osteoarthritis (Extracts of Boswellia serrata have been clinically studied for osteoarthritis and joint function, particularly for osteoarthritis of the knee.)

* Cervical spondylosis

* Ankylosing spondylitis

* Lumbar spine

Rheumatic Disorders :

Boswellia (Boswelya, Salai Guggul) is an Ayurvedic herb that contains anti-inflammatory triterpenoids called boswellic acid. Boswellic acids are effective in anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic agents, for both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, soft tissue rheumatism, and low back pain.

Boswellia has a beneficial effect by suppressing the growth of the inflamed tissue, as well as preventing the breakdown of the surrounding connective tissue.

Boswellia Serrata’s anti-inflammatory properties can help to reduce aching and stiffness, especially when associated with low back pain. Although research indicates that boswellia is best taken orally for this purpose, creams appear to be soothing as well.

Inflammatory bowel :
Boswellia may improve symptoms of ulcerative colitis, including abdominal pains, loose stools, and mucus and blood in the stools.

Boswellia may also be beneficial in asthmatics and may also reduce fluid retention associated with brain tumours. This fluid build-up is associated with the action of certain inflammatory chemicals (leukotrienes). Boswellia inhibits the production of these chemicals. Reduction of fluid retention around brain tumours has a beneficial effect on reducing the associated brain damage.

Boswellia gum has been also used for the treatment of diabetes, skin and blood diseases, fever, cardiovascular disorders, neurological disorders, dysentery, diseases of the testes, and myriad of other disorders.

Positive effects of Boswellia in some chronic inflammatory diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, bronchial asthma, osteoarthritis, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease have been reported. A Boswellia extract marketed under the name Wokvel has undergone human efficacy, comparative, pharmacokinetic studies.Some see Boswellia serrata as a promising alternative to NSAIDs, warranting further investigation in pharmacological studies and clinical trials.

Boswellia serrata is used in the manufacture of the supposed anti-wrinkle agent “Boswelox“, which has been criticised as being ineffective.

Topical Application:
Boswellia serrata has been recently developed for topical use in a patent-pending formula in Sano Relief Gel.

Potential for anti-cancer activity:
Boswellic acid, an extract from Boswellia serrata, has been studied for anti-neoplastic activity, especially in experimental primary and secondary brain tumors, indicating potential efficacy from in vitro and limited clinical research. Boswellic acid is also undergoing an early-stage clinical trial at the Cleveland Clinic.[12]

Research on Boswellia serrata:
Shallaki has anti-Inflammatory and anti-arthritic property that can reduce the pain and inflammation of the joints of the body. efficacy and tolerability of Boswellia serrata extract in the treatment of osteoarthritis of knee – a randomized double blind placebo controlled study by Kimmatkar N, Thawani N, et al. at MS Orthopaedics, Indira Gandhi Medical College, Nagpur, India, Phytomedicine 2003 Jan; 10 (1) ; 3-7

Active constituents:
Boswellic acid and other pentacyclic triterpene acids are present. Beta-boswellic acid is the major constituent.

Mechanism of action:
Animal studies performed in India show ingestion of a defatted alcoholic extract of Boswellia decreased polymorphonuclear leukocyte infiltration and migration, decreased primary antibody synthesis and almost totally inhibited the classical complement pathway.

Other Uses:
Fodder: It is not readily browsed by cattle, although in India, it is considered a substitute fodder for buffaloes. Fuel: The wood is a good fuel. Charcoal made from it is particularly favoured for iron smelting. Fibre: B. serrata has recently come into prominence as a raw material for pulp paper and newsprint. Experiments show that writing and printing papers of suitable strength can be prepared when 25-40% long-fibred bamboo pulp is mixed in the finish. The bark can also be used for cordage. Timber: It is used in cheap furniture, ammunition boxes, mica boxes, packing cases, cement barrels, well construction, water pipes, matches, plywood and veneers. Gum or resin: The tree yields a yellowish-green gum-oleoresin known as ‘salai guggal’ from wounds in the bark. This gum has an agreeable scent when burnt. A mature tree yields about 1-1.5 kg of gum a year. It is said to be a good substitute for imported Canada balsam. It is also tapped for resin called ‘lobal’, which is used as incense.

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:
http://www.allayurveda.com/herb_month_may2009.asp
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boswellia_serrata
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/sea/products/afdbases/af/asp/SpeciesInfo.asp?SpID=353

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Some Health Quaries & Answers

Paranoid uncle:

Q: My uncle has started to suspect that everyone is against him. It started with his job where he felt he was being victimised. He then decided that the rest of his family (wife and children) is poisoning him. He has also become involved with a woman in his office, who encourages his beliefs and wants to cut all of us out of his life.

………………....CLICK & SEE

A: It sounds like your uncle is slowly becoming paranoid, suffering from delusions and maybe becoming schizophrenic as well. This is very difficult to treat as he will suspect that the medication is poison as well.

The “other woman” may be mildly schizophrenic herself. People with these illnesses tend to gravitate together. She may have an ulterior motive for encouraging your uncle’s beliefs. You could try to speak to him and try to encourage him to see a psychiatrist.

Preventing pimples
Q: I have pimples on the back below the neck. It looks ugly when I wear low-necked outfits. I have tried prickly heat powder to no avail.
…………………
A: Pimples or acne on the back of the neck can be itchy and leave disfiguring dark scars. It is aggravated by dandruff. Anti dandruff shampoos will help. Also, do not use powder. Talc blocks the pores and makes the pimples worse. Try to use soap with the correct TFC (total fat content) and TCC (tricholorohexidine) like Neko. If applied using a loofah, it kills the skin bacteria that aggravate acne.

Relief from arthritis
Q: I have arthritis and I have been prescribed capsules containing chondroitin sulphate. Will it help?

………………….

A: Chondroitin sulphate is a natural ingredient found in joint cartilage. The question of whether it actually reaches damaged cartilage and repairs it is not proven. Many people who take it feel that it does reduce the symptoms of arthritis. It has to be taken for 3-6 months before its effects are seen. It needs to be taken 2-3 times a day or as recommended. It is relatively expensive. It is often combined with NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and physiotherapy. It is difficult to say exactly which of these three ingredients plays the maximum role in reducing the arthritis.

[

Pop a pill daily
Q: I have mild hypertension and have been prescribed 2.5 mg of amlodipin once a day. I check my BP myself with an electronic machine. Whenever I find it is normal I stop the tablet. I take it again only if I have a headache or the reading is high. Is this all right?

2.5 mg of amlodipin>.…..

A:
Once hypertension has been diagnosed and the treatment started, you have to take the medication every day at the same time, as this particular drug acts for 24 hours. Once you start the treatment the blood pressure will get controlled. Even if you stop the tablets the BP (blood pressure) will remain under control for 2-3 days before it starts to rise again. Therefore, you can’t start and stop medication based on headaches and BP readings. Unlike diabetes where the sugars are controlled on a day-to-day basis, in BP the control is usually monthly. Take the tablets regularly as prescribed to prevent unnoticed elevations in the BP.

Try surgery :
Q: I have an umbilical hernia and the doctor told me that as it is small I can leave it alone. I am 47 years old.

………………..

A: Umbilical hernia is a generic term and can be used for a defect exactly at the umbilicus, or above (paraumbilical). Intestines or other contents from the abdomen can pass through the defect. As long as the contents pass freely there is no problem. However the contents can get stuck as they pass outwards. This compromises the blood supply to that area and it can even be fatal.You are young and healthy. It is probably better to have surgery while there are no risk factors.

Brittle-boned babe :
Q: My daughter who is 18 years old has weak bones and cannot do any work or lift weights. What can I do?

……………………

A: An 18 year old should not have weak bones unless there is an underlying kidney, intestinal, blood or bone disease. You need to get the diagnosis sorted out first. Remove the cause and the disease will be cured.

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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Pseudogout

Definition:
Pseudogout is a form of arthritis that occurs when a particular type of calcium crystal accumulates in the joints. As more of these crystals are deposited in the affected joint, they can cause a reaction that leads to severe pain and swelling. The swelling can be either short-term or long-term and occurs most frequently in the knee, although it can also affect the wrist, shoulder, ankle, elbow, or hand. The pain caused by pseudogout is sometimes so excruciating that it can incapacitate someone for days.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

It is a type of arthritis that, as the name implies, can cause symptoms similar to gout, but in reaction to a different type of crystal deposit.

As its name suggests, the symptoms of pseudogout are similar to those of gout (see “Gout“). Pseudogout can also resemble osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. A correct diagnosis is vital, as untreated pseudogout can lead to joint degeneration and osteoarthritis. Pseudogout is most common in the elderly, occurring in about 3% of people in their 60s and as many as half of people in their 90s.

Causes:
The cause of this condition is unknown. Because risk increases significantly with age, it is possible that the physical and chemical changes that accompany aging increase susceptibility to pseudogout.

Pseudogout develops when deposits of calcium pyrophosphate crystals accumulate in a joint. Crystals deposit first in the cartilage and can damage the cartilage. The crystals also can cause a reaction with inflammation that leads to joint pain and swelling. In most cases it is not known why the crystals form, although crystal deposits clearly increase with age. Because the condition sometimes runs in families, genetic factors are suspected of contributing to the disorder as can a severely underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), excess iron storage (hemochromatosis), low magnesium levels in blood, an overactive parathyroid gland, and other causes of excessive calcium in the blood (hypercalcemia).

CLICK TO SEE THE PICTURES.>..(1).…...(2).……....(3).……….

Pseudogout also can be triggered by joint injury, such as joint surgery or a sprain, or the stress of a medical illness. If the underlying condition causing pseudogout can be identified and treated, it may be possible to prevent future attacks. Frequently, however, there is no identifiable trigger; in those cases there is no way to prevent pseudogout from recurring.


Who gets pseudogou

The calcium crystal deposits seen in pseudogout affect about 3 percent of people in their 60s and as many as 50 percent of people in their 90s. Any kind of insult to the joint can trigger the release of the calcium crystals, inducing a painful inflammatory response. Attacks of pseudogout also can develop following joint surgery or other surgery. However, not everyone will experience severe attacks.

Symptoms:
* pain, swelling, and stiffness around a single joint
* occasionally, more then one joint affected at a time
* fever, usually low-grade

Diagnosis:

It may be difficult to diagnose pseudogout because it shares so many symptoms with gout, infection, and other causes of joint inflammation. In fact, pseudogout often occurs in people with other joint problems, such as osteoarthritis. Therefore, even when pseudogout is correctly identified, it is important to investigate whether there are other conditions present as well.

Diagnosis is to be done on the basis of symptoms and medical tests. The physician will use a needle to take fluid from a swollen or painful joint to determine whether calcium pyrophosphate crystals are present.This is done with a needle, after applying a numbing medication to the joint.This joint fluid is then analyzed for evidence of calcium crystals, inflammation, or infection. Your doctor may also order tests for other conditions that can trigger pseudogout, including tests of calcium and thyroid function.

An X-ray of the joint may be taken to determine whether calcium-containing deposits are present, creating a condition known as chondrocalcinosis. Other potential causes of symptoms, such as gout, rheumatoid arthritis, or infection, must be ruled out. Pseudogout often is present in people who have osteoarthritis.

Treatment:
To combat joint pain and swelling, your doctor may prescribe NSAIDs such as indomethacin and naproxen, or may give you glucocorticoid injections to keep the swelling down (see “Corticosteroid injections”). Your doctor may also remove fluid from the inflamed joint, a procedure called aspiration, as this may help to ease the pressure and inflammation.

The combination of joint aspiration and medication usually eliminates symptoms within a few days, although the doctor may also recommend treatment with oral corticosteroids over a short period of time. Daily use of a low-dose NSAID or colchicine, a medicine that is also used in the treatment of gout, may help to prevent further attacks. Unfortunately, there is no treatment available that can dissolve the calcium crystal deposits, although the joint degeneration that often goes along with pseudogout may be slowed by treatments that decrease joint swelling. Occasionally, people with recurrent or chronic pseudogout may develop osteoarthritis. In this case, surgery (such as joint replacement) may be the only effective treatment.


Prevention:

It is not known how to prevent pseudogout. If the condition has developed because of some other medical conditions, such as hemochromatosis (too much iron stored in the body), or parathyroid problems, treatment of that condition may prevent progression of other features of that potentially dangerous illness and may, in some cases, slow the development of pseudogout.

You may click to see:->Pseudogout – 10 Things You Should Know

Points to Remember:
When a patient complains of joint pain, physicians often do not consider pseudogout because it can be confused with gout and other types of arthritis. Diagnosis is confirmed by microscopic identification of calcium pyrophosphate crystals. Anti-inflammatory agents can help lessen symptoms but there is currently no way to eliminate the crystals themselves.
The rheumatologist’s role in the treatment of pseudogout

Rheumatologists are actively engaged in research into the causes of pseudogout to better prevent and treat this form of arthritis. Because people with pseudogout tend to be older and more susceptible to side effects from anti-inflammatory medications, they benefit from seeing rheumatologists, who offer valuable expertise in using such drugs.

Rheumatologists are experts at diagnosing pseudogout and direct a team approach to the chronic, degenerative consequences of crystal deposits. This is important because the patient may need advice about surgery or may require additional information and support from physical and occupational therapists and nurses.
To find a rheumatologist

For a listing of rheumatologists in your area, click here.
For more information

The American College of Rheumatology has compiled this list to give you a starting point for your own additional research. The ACR does not endorse or maintain these Web sites, and is not responsible for any information or claims provided on them. It is always best to talk with your rheumatologist for more information and before making any decisions about your care.

The Arthritis Foundation
www.arthritis.org

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases Information Clearinghouse
www.niams.nih.gov

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://www.rheumatology.org/public/factsheets/pseudogout_new.asp
http://www.everydayhealth.com/publicsite/index.aspx?puid=a2579e6f-f790-4eed-ad5e-e59719b4bff6&p=2

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