Herbs & Plants

Fragaria chiloensis

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Botanical Name: Fragaria chiloensis
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Fragaria
Species: F. chiloensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales
Synonyms : F. cuneifolia.

Common Name: Beach Strawberry, Pacific beach strawberry, Sandwich beach strawberry, Chilean strawberry, or coastal strawberry,

Habitat : Fragaria chiloensis occurs from S. America to N. America and also Hawai?i. Migratory birds are thought to have dispersed F. chiloensis from the Pacific coast of North America to the mountains of Hawai?i, Chile, and Argentina. It grow well in 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. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

Fragaria chiloensis is a perennial evergreen plant growing to 15–30 centimetres (5.9–11.8 in) tall, with glossy green trifoliate leaves, each leaflet around 5 centimetres (2.0 in) long. The flowers are white, produced in spring and early summer. The fruit is edible, red on the surface, white inside.
It is not frost tender. It is in flower from Apr to May, and the seeds ripen from Jun to July. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is not self-fertile.

Prefers a fertile, well-drained, moisture retentive soil in a sunny position. Tolerates semi-shade though fruit production will be reduced. Grows best near the coast. Plants like a mulch of pine or spruce leaves. Cultivated for its edible fruit in the Andes. This species, along with F. virginiana, is probably a parent of the cultivated strawberries. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Seed – sow early spring in a greenhouse. The seed can take 4 weeks or more to germinate. The seedlings are very small and slow-growing at first, but then grow rapidly. Prick them out into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out during the summer. Division of runners, preferably done in July/August in order to allow the plants to become established for the following years crop. They can also be moved in the following spring if required, though should not then be allowed to fruit in their first year. The runners can be planted out direct into their permanent positions.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Fruit. and as Tea…….Fruit – raw or cooked. Large, sweet and succulent with a delicate flavour. A delicious treat. The berries can be used to make jams, preserves etc. A tea can be made from the leaves.
Medicinal Uses:

Antiseptic; Astringent; Emmenagogue; Galactogogue; Odontalgic.

The plant is antiseptic, astringent, emmenagogue, galactogogue and odontalgic. It has been used to regulate the menstrual cycle. A poultice of the chewed leaves has been used to treat burns.

Other Uses :   Plants spread by means of runners and can be grown as a ground cover[
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.




A Stretch to Open up the Hips and Thighs

This is a great stretch for loosening up the outside of your hips and thighs. It you’re not limber enough to hold your foot, you can hook a strap or a towel around it to help you reach it.
STEP-1. Lying on your back, bend your right knee into your chest. Keep your left leg extended straight out on the floor in front of you. Straighten your right leg, holding the outer edge of your right food with your left hand or using a strap. Press the thumb of your right hand to the top of your right thigh where it meets your torso.

STEP-2. Without allowing your right hip to roll completely off the floor (as you would in a lying spinal twist), move your right leg across your body to the left side until you feel a gentle stretch running from your outer right hip down the outside of your right thigh. Continue to press the right side of your buttock toward the floor (it’s OK if it lifts a few inches). Pause for three to six full breaths. Lower your leg and repeat on the other side.

Source: Los Angeles Times

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News on Health & Science

Daily Exercise Cuts Heart Risk in Diabetics

Patients with type 2 diabetesshould do at least two-and-a-half hours per week of moderate-intensity or one-and-a-half hours per weekof vigorous-intensity aerobic exercises, plus some weight training, to reduce their cardiovascular risk, researchers suggest.
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“Given the observed increases in type 2 diabetes in adults over the last few decades in developed countries, and the increasing numbers of overweight and obese individuals throughout the world, we must look at ways to reduce the cardiovascular complications of diabetes, and exercise is one of those ways,” said Thomas H. Marwick, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine and director of the Centre of Clinical Research Excellence in Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disease at the University of Queensland School of Medicine in Brisbane, Australia.

According to an American Heart Association scientific statement, diet and exercise can prevent or slow the development of type 2 diabetes and produce clinically significant improvements in blood sugar control and cardiovascular risk factors in people with the condition.

To improve cardiovascular risk, type 2 diabetes patients should get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise or 90 min/week of vigorous-intensity exercise, or some combination of the two.

Patients should exercise on at least three non-consecutive days each week to maximize benefits. Individual sessions should be at least 10 minutes each or longer.

Resistance training should be encouraged, and should be moderate to high-intensity 2-4 sets of 8-10 repetitions at a weight that can’t be lifted more than 8-10 times, with 1-2-minute rest periods between sets.

Exercise counseling is needed to assess and adjust levels of physical activity and provide motivation and support. Telephone counselling is economical, practical and effective.

Source:The statement was published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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Bacteria, Man’s New Ally Against Mosquito

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The research, described in Friday’s issue of Science, illustrates a new strategy of biological warfare against this species of mosquitoes that transmits viruses that cause dengue fever and chikungunya, among other infections.

…….Biological War-

The scientists at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, have shown that mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia live an average of only 27 days in contrast to the average longevity of 61 days for those not infected with the bacteria…..CLICK & SEE

Female mosquitoes infected with the bacteria transmit it to their offspring. “This may allow a small seed population of infected mosquitoes to grow into large numbers over time,” Scott ’Neill, the research team leader, told The Telegraph.

The shortened lives of the infected mosquitoes reduce their opportunity to spread disease-causing viruses. Most viruses transmitted by mosquitoes require about two weeks to incubate inside the insects before they are ready to be spread through bites. Mosquitoes whose life spans have been slashed by half won’t have enough time to spread the infection.

The vertical transmission of Wolbachia from female mosquitoes to offspring will be the key to successful spread of the infected mosquitoes, ’Neill said.

Experiments by ’Neill and his colleagues showed that 99 per cent of larvae from a group of infected females carried the infection.

But the experiments were done in closed environments and scientists are yet to develop an effective mechanism to introduce such infected mosquitoes in the wild.

“Modelling studies suggest that if we can infect about 0.4 per cent of mosquitoes, the infected population will establish itself,” ’Neill said.

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)


Fighting Melanoma in the Mirror

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Skin self-exams are the most direct method for detecting potentially deadly melanoma, though the benefits remain unproved. Moles that are smaller than a pencil eraser are rarely cancerous.

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90 percent of melanoma growths are curable if caught early and removed; untreated, survival rates are worse than for lung cancer. When it comes to melanoma, vanity may be a virtue. The most direct method for detecting this deadly skin cancer is to face a mirror, clothes off, and check for suspicious moles from head to toe.

Melanoma is the biggest no-brainer for screening,” said Myles Cockburn, a preventive medicine expert at the University of Southern California. “You’re looking right at the tumor.”

Moles at least the size of a pencil eraser are of greatest concern, since smaller spots are rarely cancerous, said Dr. David Polsky, a dermatologist at New York University School of Medicine. “To get hung up on the real small stuff is missing the bigger picture,” he said.

But changes to the color, size or shape of any mole may be an early indication of trouble, especially for someone who has a family history of melanoma or lots of unusual moles.

And while sun-drenched areas on the head or legs are likely sites for other forms of skin cancer, melanoma can develop anywhere on the body.

About 90 percent of melanoma growths are curable if caught early and surgically removed, putting the impetus on people at home to look for cancerous spots. When growths are left unchecked, the chances of surviving the disease for long are worse than for lung or colon cancer.

But in the push to make everyone better skin cancer detectives, tough obstacles — and questions — remain.

To locate the first signs of danger requires studious attention, and few people seem willing to bother. Nine to 18 percent of Americans regularly examine their own skin for melanoma, surveys show. Dermatologists, typically the first responders for skin cancer, may be quicker to schedule a Botox appointment than to verify a patient’s concern about changing moles, research shows.

Furthermore, there is no proof so far that such screening will ultimately help save any of the estimated 8,400 lives lost to melanoma each year in the United States.

“It’s still an open question,” said Dr. Marianne Berwick, a melanoma specialist at the University of New Mexico who led the largest and most rigorous investigation so far on skin self-exams. That study found that fastidious skin watchers had no better chance of surviving cancer after five years than those who did not check for moles. Two decades of follow-up have failed to show any improvement, she said.

The stakes are high. The chance of surviving melanoma turns sharply for the worse once the tumors have spread beyond their original site on the skin, making it critical to find changes early.

“There’s no really good proven therapy for advanced disease,” said Dr. Martin Weinstock, a professor of dermatology at Brown University Medical School.

Researchers have tested various treatments, including chemotherapy, radiation and the drug interferon, which show only modest effects against the later stages of melanoma. Newer drugs and vaccines are undergoing testing now. But the main reasons that melanoma survival rates have improved at all over the past 30 years are earlier detection and better screening.

Yet in the rush to get the cancer out fast, experts say they are noticing a relaxing of standards in diagnosing melanoma. Doctors these days are more likely to take out any suspicious mole out of fear of missing a cancerous one, and possibly getting sued for a missed diagnosis, these experts say.

A separate study conducted by Dr. Berwick found that 40 percent of the melanomas detected in 1988 would not have been considered cancerous 10 years earlier.

This could mean that surgeons are removing a fair share of lesions that aren’t melanoma, though even pathologists examining the same skin biopsy samples often disagree on whether the diagnosis is melanoma. At the same time, doctors who aren’t trained in spotting may be leaving harder-to-detect, slow-growing tumors behind.

“Unless you’re specifically trained as a clinician to do a skin exam, you can’t necessarily do a good one,” said Dr. Cockburn of U.S.C.

Nonetheless, like many doctors, Dr. Cockburn still believes that the odds can improve by teaching “your average Joe” to look for melanoma spots, a view shared by the American Cancer Society and other medical groups.

Enlisting the help of a spouse or partner may make it easier to track evolving moles on the body. A camera may also help. One study found that people who took photos of their skin improved their chances of detecting possible melanomas by 12 percent.

The only downside to home screening is in creating a nation of skin cancer hypochondriacs who further tilt the balance to unnecessary operations, experts warn.

But in this age of plastic surgery, the chance to overcome a deadly, but treatable, cancer is worth the risk, Dr. Cockburn said. “With the amount of stuff that gets chopped off these days,” he said, “I don’t really think there’s a problem.”

The New York Times:Oct.19.’08

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