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Herbs & Plants

Salsola Kali

Botanical Name: Salsola Kali
Family: Chenopodiaceae
Genus: Salsola
Species: S. kali
Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Caryophyllales

Common Names: Prickly Glasswort, Russian thistle, Prickly saltwort or Prickly Russian thistle,

Habitat: Salsola Kali is native to Russia and Siberia. It grows in Coastal Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to N. Africa, Asia and N. AmericaIt is found in disturbed areas such as roadsides, trails, abandoned fields, along streams and lakes, and over-grazed ranges and pastures. (Non-saline sandy beaches, avoiding acid soils. It is usually found on dry soils)

Edible Uses:
Young leaves and stems – raw or cooked. An excellent food with a crunchy tender texture. The leaves can be used as a spinach substitute or added in small quantities to salads. Seed – cooked. It can be ground into a meal and used as a gruel, thickener in soups etc or added to cereal flours when making bread etc[85]. The seed is small and hard to collect any quantity.
Description:
The Prickly Glasswort (Salsola Kali, Linn.) has a thick, round, brittle stem, with few, rigid leaves of a bluish-green colour and small, yellow flowers.
Prevalence in the semi-desert range of western states is due to its drought tolerance and long-distance method of seed dispersal…….CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
Mature plants grow 31-152 cm high and are bushy, dense annuals. Young plants have stems with red or purple stripes. The 1.3 – 6.4 cm long leaves are alternate, thread-like, cylindrical or awl-shaped with pointed tips. The flowers are solitary, small and greenish to white in color and lack petals. Papery spine-tipped bracts are present at the base of each flower. Russian thistle typically blooms from July to October. However, this plant is indeterminate and continues to flower and produce seed until temperatures drop below -3.9° C.

Medicinal Uses:
Cathartic; Diuretic; Emmenagogue; Stimulant; Vermifuge.

The juice of the fresh plant is an excellent diuretic. The seedpods can also be used. Salsolin, one of the constituents of the plant, has been used to regulate the blood pressure. It is said to resemble papaverine in its effect on vasoconstriction and hydrastine in its effect on the smooth muscles of the uterus. Reported to be cathartic, diuretic, emmenagogue, stimulant, and vermifuge, the plant is a folk remedy for dropsy and excrescences.

The juice of the fresh plant was said to be an excellent diuretic, the twisted seed-vessels having the same virtue and being given in infusion.

Other Uses:
Biomass; Cleanser; Potash.

The ashes of the burnt plant are used for making glass and soap. At one time large quantities of the ashes were imported into Britain for this purpose, but nowadays a chemical process using salt is employed. The ashes can also be used as a cleaner for fabrics. As a low-water-use plant, germinating quickly on minimally disturbed soils, and relatively free of diseases and parasites, this has been suggested as a fuel source for arid lands. Yields of around 3 tonnes per hectare of plant material have been achieved.
Known Hazards: The plant contains up to 5% oxalic acid, so it should only be used in moderation. Oxalic acid can lock up certain of the nutrients in food and, if eaten in excess, can lead to nutritional deficiencies. It is, however, perfectly safe in small amounts and its acid taste adds a nice flavour to salads. Cooking the plant will reduce the quantity of oxalic acid. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones and hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition
Resources:
http://wiki.bugwood.org/Salsola_kali
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salsola_kali
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Salsola+kali

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Ailmemts & Remedies Pediatric

Oral thrush

Alternative Names: Candidiasis – oral; Oral thrush; Fungal infection – mouth; Candide – oral

Definition:
Oral thurs  is an infection of yeast fungi of the genus Candida on the mucous membranes of the mouth and tongue. It is frequently caused by Candida albicans, or less commonly by Candida glabrata or Candida tropicalis. Oral thrush may refer to candidiasis in the mouths of babies, while if occurring in the mouth or throat of adults it may also be termed candidosis or moniliasis…

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Although oral thrush can affect anyone, it’s more likely to occur in babies and people who wear dentures, use inhaled corticosteroids or have compromised immune systems. Oral thrush is a minor problem if you’re healthy, but if you have a weakened immune system, symptoms of oral thrush may be more severe and difficult to control.

Symtoms:
Signs and symptoms of oral infection by Candida species may not be immediately noticeable but can develop suddenly and may persist for a long time. The infection usually appears as thick white or cream-colored deposits on mucosal membranes such as the tongue, inner cheeks, gums, tonsils, and palate. The infected mucosa may appear inflamed (red and possibly slightly raised) and sometimes have a cottage cheese-like appearance. The lesions can be painful and will become tender and often bleed if rubbed or scraped. Cracking at the corners of the mouth, a cottony-like sensation inside the mouth, and even temporary loss of taste can occur.

In more severe cases, the infection can spread down the esophagus and cause difficulty swallowing – this is referred to as Esophageal candidiasis. Thrush does not usually cause a fever unless the infection has spread beyond the esophagus to other body parts, such as the lungs (systemic candidiasis).

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In addition to the distinctive lesions, infants can become irritable and may have trouble feeding. The infection can be communicated during breast-feeding to and from the breast and the infant’s mouth repeatedly

Causes:
Thrush is caused by forms of a fungus called Candida. A small amount of this fungus lives in your mouth most of the time. It is usually kept in check by your immune system and other types of germs that also normally live in your mouth.

However, when your immune system is weaker, the fungus can grow, leading to sores (lesions) in your mouth and on your tongue. The following can increase your chances of getting thrush:

•Taking steroid medications
•Having an HIV infection or AIDS
•Receiving chemotherapy for cancer or drugs to suppress your immune system following an organ transplant
•Being very old or very young
•Being in poor health
Thrush is commonly seen in infants. It is not considered abnormal in infants unless it lasts longer than a couple of weeks.

Candida can also cause yeast infections in the vagina.

People who have diabetes and had high blood sugar levels are more likely to get thrush in the mouth (oral thrush), because the extra sugar in your saliva acts like food for Candida.

Taking high doses of antibiotics or taking antibiotics for a long time also increases the risk of oral thrush. Antibiotics kill some of the healthy bacteria that help keep Candida from growing too much.

People with poorly fitting dentures are also more likely to get thrush.

Risk Factors:
*Newborn babies.

*Diabetics with poorly controlled diabetes.

*As a side effect of medication, most commonly having taken antibiotics. Inhaled corticosteroids for treatment of lung conditions (e.g., asthma or COPD) may also result in oral candidiasis: the risk may be reduced by regularly rinsing the mouth with water after taking the medication.

*People with an immune deficiency (e.g. as a result of AIDS/HIV or chemotherapy treatment).

*Women undergoing hormonal changes, like pregnancy or those on birth control pills.

*Denture users.

*Tongue piercing

Complications:
Oral thrush is seldom a problem for healthy children and adults, although the infection may return even after it’s been treated. For people with compromised immune systems, however, thrush can be more serious.

If you have HIV, you may have especially severe symptoms in your mouth or esophagus, which can make eating painful and difficult. If the infection spreads to the intestines, it becomes difficult to receive adequate nutrition. In addition, thrush is more likely to spread to other parts of the body if you have cancer or other conditions that weaken the immune system. In that case, the areas most likely to be affected include the digestive tract, lungs and liver.

Diagnosis;
Oral thrush can usually be diagnosed simply by looking at the lesions, but sometimes a small sample is examined under a microscope to confirm the diagnosis.

In older children or adolescents who have no other identified risk factors, an underlying medical condition may be the cause of oral thrush. If your doctor suspects that to be the case, your doctor will perform a physical exam as well as recommend certain blood tests to help find the source of the problem.

If thrush is in your esophagus
Thrush that extends into the esophagus can be serious. To help diagnose this condition, your doctor may ask you to have one or more of the following tests:

*Throat culture. In this procedure, the back of your throat is swabbed with sterile cotton and the tissue sample cultured on a special medium to help determine which bacteria or fungi, if any, are causing your symptoms.

*Endoscopic examination. In this procedure, your doctor examines your esophagus, stomach and the upper part of your small intestine (duodenum), using a lighted, flexible tube with a camera on the tip (endoscope).

Treatment:
For thrush in infants, treatment is often NOT necessary. It generally gets better on its own within 2 weeks.

If you develop a mild case of thrush after taking antibiotics, eating yogurt or taking over-the-counter acidophilus capsules can help.

Use a soft toothbrush and rinse your mouth with a diluted 3% hydrogen peroxide solution several times a day.

Good control of blood sugar levels in persons with diabetes may be all that is needed to clear a thrush infection.

Your doctor may prescribe an antifungal mouthwash (nystatin) or lozenges (clotrimazole) to suck on if you have a severe case of thrush or a weakened immune system. These products are usually used for 5 – 10 days. If they don’t work, other medication may be prescribed.

If the infection has spread throughout your body or you have HIV/AIDS, stronger medications may be used, such as fluconazole (Diflucan) or ketoconazole (Nizoral).

Prognosis:
Thrush in infants may be painful, but is rarely serious. Because of discomfort, it can interfere with eating. If it does not resolve on its own within 2 weeks, call your pediatrician.

In adults, thrush that occurs in the mouth can be cured. However, the long-term outlook is dependent on your immune status and the cause of the immune deficit.

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.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000626.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oral_candidiasis
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/oralthrush2.shtml
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/oral-thrush/DS00408

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/imagepages/17284.htm

http://www.clivir.com/lessons/show/yeast-infection-in-mouth-and-throat.html

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Ailmemts & Remedies Featured

Fungus on Skin

The word fungus conjures up visions of mold and dirty, damp unhygienic surroundings. Many of us may cringe at the thought of developing a fungal infection. But these infections are common and most people suffer from several attacks during the course of a lifetime.
Click to see the picture
In babies, small curd-like white patches can form in the mouth. These are difficult to remove. If scraped off, a raw red area is exposed. This is commonly called “thrush” and is caused by a fungal specie called candida. It may occur if the child is bottle fed, uses a pacifier or has recently had a course of antibiotics. It may make the child irritable while feeding.

Oral thrush may occur in adults too if they have ill-fitting dentures, suffer from diabetes, have had a course of antibiotics, consumed steroids, are on anti-cancer drugs, are smokers, or are immuno compromised as a result of medicines or HIV infection.

In adults as well as children, oral thrush can be treated with applications of anti-fungal medication like clotrimazole two or three times a day. Dentures must be cleaned regularly. Feeding bottles and artificial nipples should ideally not be used. If thrush has occurred, they must be rinsed with a solution of equal parts of vinegar and water and air dried prior to sterilisation.

Candida and some bacteria like lactobacillus normally live in perfect harmony in the vagina. The lactobacillus produces acid, which prevents the overgrowth of candida. If this balance is disrupted, candida can overgrow, resulting in infection. Imbalance occurs as a result of diabetes, pregnancy, hormonal tablets, antibiotics, steroids or immuno suppression. Frequent douching or using “feminine hygiene sprays” may also lead to infection. Vaginal fungal infections owing to candida affect almost all women. It causes redness, an uncontrollable itch and an odourless white discharge.
You may click to see :Natural solutions for Candida Albicans: Candida diet
Treatment involves the application of creams or insertion of vaginal tablets for one, three or six days. Sometimes oral medicines have to be taken. The bacteria-fungus balance in the vagina can be restored by eating lactobacillus. This is found in homemade curd. A tablespoon a day usually restores the balance.

Men can develop candida infection on the foreskin, especially if they are diabetic. The skin is itchy and may develop fissures. Topical anti-fungal creams work well.

Men are also prone to developing “jock itch” (or dhobi’s itch), an infection of the groin area where the skin is usually warm and moist. Infection is precipitated by wearing tight undergarments, or not changing sweaty exercise clothes promptly. Treatment involves bathing regularly, wearing loose-fitting clothes and application of anti-fungal creams.

The warm moist areas between the toes may also develop a fungal infection called Tinea pedis or athlete’s foot. It causes itching, burning, cracking and at times blisters. It occurs with wearing damp socks and tight airless shoes, especially of a non-porous material like plastic.

To prevent Tinea pedis, the feet need to be aired and socks changed regularly. Once infection has developed, the feet should be soaked in equal quantities of water and vinegar for 10 minutes a day. After wiping them dry, an anti-fungal cream needs to be applied. The infection may take two to four weeks to clear up.

The warm and moist areas of the inner thighs, genitalia, armpits, under the breasts, and waist may also develop fungal infection and become red, itchy, oozy and sore. This is common in overweight individuals and those with diabetes. Treatment is by bathing regularly and keeping the area dry. Talcum powder aggravates the problem. Instead, the area should be patted dry after a bath and a combination of a “diaper rash” cream containing zinc oxide and an anti-fungal medication must be applied.

Toe nails and fingernails can also get infected by fungus. The nail then hurts, breaks easily and becomes discoloured. This occurs if the nails are constantly exposed to moisture or are immersed in water, if non-absorbent socks or shoes are used, or if the person has diabetes. Treatment is with applications and medications for one and a half to six months. Soaking the feet in a solution of one part vinegar and two parts water for 10 minutes daily and then applying Vicks VapoRub has anecdotally been shown to be effective.

The outer layers of the skin can develop scaly white patches of Tinea versicolor infection. Moist climates, sweating, humidity and hormonal changes have been blamed for this. The infection responds well to Selinium sulphide (Selsun) or Ketoconazole (Nizral) shampoo.

Ringworm causes round, hairless patches on the scalp and skin. They are contagious and spread by contact with infected humans or animals. Medicines have to be taken for six weeks. Topical agents are not effective.

Source : The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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News on Health & Science

Total Cure for Fungal Infections Found

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Fungal infections can be deadly as fungus germs have developed resistance to drug treatment. But now researchers have found a way to make  drugs more effective in clearing all fungal infections.
.
Led by Toronto University professor Leah Cowen, an international team has discovered that the fungal pathogen or germ called Candida albicans, resists drug treatment because of an associated protein called heat shock protein 90 or Hsp90.

Candida albicans can cause from superficial infections such as yeast infections to life-threatening infections in the bloodstream.

These fungal infections can be deadly for people with compromised immune systems, such as AIDS patients or those undergoing treatment for cancer or organ transplantation.

Doctors say Candida albicans are the fourth leading cause of hospital acquired infectious diseases.

But the researchers have now found a way to fight fungal infections by knock out its associate protein, a Toronto University statement said Friday.

The researchers say that compromising Hsp90 protein makes the fungal-fighting drugs (known as echinocandins) more effective in killing fungal germs or Candida albicans.

“Our results suggest that interfering with Hsp90 function provides a powerful and much-needed strategy to render existing antifungal drugs more effective in the treatment of life-threatening fungal infections,” the statement quoted Cowen as saying.

The researchers discovered that impairing the function of germs’ protein Hsp90 by using potent drugs or genetic techniques made the fungus much more prone to killing by echinocandins.

They said this strategy was found effective in both lab experiments and mouse models.

The researchers said treating patients with a drug that inhibits Hsp90 along with an echinocandin will have major benefits for people with life-threatening fungal disease.

Source:
The study was published  in the journal PLoS Pathogens.

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Ailmemts & Remedies

Candidiasis

Definition: CLICK FOR PICTURE

Candidiasis is an infection caused by a species of the yeast Candida, usually Candida albicans. This is a common cause of vaginal infections in women. Also, Candida may cause mouth infections in people with reduced immune function, or in patients taking certain antibiotics. Candida can be found in virtually all normal people but causes problems in only a fraction. In recent years, however, several serious categories of candidiasis have become more common, due to overuse of antibiotics, the rise of AIDS, the increase in organ transplantations, and the use of invasive devices (catheters, artificial joints and valves)-all of which increase a patient’s susceptibility to infection.

Description:

Vaginal candidiasis..  CLICK FOR PICTURE

Over one million women in the United States develop vaginal yeast infections each year. It is not life-threatening, but it can be uncomfortable and frustrating.

Causes & Symptoms:
Most women with vaginal candidiasis experience severe vaginal itching. They also have a discharge that often looks like cottage cheese and has a sweet or bread-like odor. The vulva and vagina can be red, swollen, and painful. Sexual intercourse can also be painful.

Diagnosis
Often clinical appearance gives a strong suggestion about the diagnosis. Generally, a clinician will take a sample of the vaginal discharge or swab an area of oral plaque, and then inspect this material under a microscope. Under the microscope, it is possible to see characteristic forms of yeasts at various stages in the lifecycle.

Fungal blood cultures should be taken for patients suspected of having deep organ candidiasis. Tissue biopsy may be needed for a definitive diagnosis.

Treatment:
In most cases, vaginal candidiasis can be treated successfully with a variety of over-the-counter antifungal creams or suppositories. These include Monistat, Gyne-Lotrimin, and Mycelex. However, infections often recur. If a women has frequent recurrences, she should consult her doctor about prescription drugs such as Vagistat-1, Diflucan, and others.

Alternative treatment
Home remedies for vaginal candidiasis include vinegar douches or insertion of a paste made from Lactobacillus acidophilus powder into the vagina. In theory, these remedies will make the vagina more acidic and therefore less hospitable to the growth of Candida. Fresh garlic (Allium sativum) is believed to have antifungal action, so incorporating it into the diet or inserting a gauze-wrapped, peeled garlic clove into the vagina may be helpful. The insert should be changed twice daily. Some women report success with these remedies; they should try a conventional treatment if an alternative remedy isn’t effective.

Herbal Treatment:
Coral calcium with trace minerals, maitake mushroom, garlic extract, pau d’arco, una de gato extract, quercetin.

Quik Tip: Una de gato or Cat’s Claw is widely considered to be the world’s most powerful natural medicine, having been used for everything from arthritis and cancer to heart disease, overweight – and zits.

Oral candidiasis: > CLICK FOR PICTURE

Sign & Symptoms:
Whitish patches can appear on the tongue, inside of the cheeks, or the palate. Oral candidiasis typically occurs in people with abnormal immune systems. These can include people undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, people taking immunosuppressive drugs to protect transplanted organs, or people with HIV infection.

Treatment:
This is usually treated with prescription lozenges or mouthwashes. Some of the most-used prescriptions are nystatin mouthwashes (Nilstat or Nitrostat) and clotrimazole lozenges.

Deep organ candidiasis:-

Sign & Symptoms:
Anything that weakens the body’s natural barrier against colonizing organisms-including stomach surgery, burns, nasogastric tubes, and catheters-can predispose a person for deep organ candidiasis. Rising numbers of AIDS patients, organ transplant recipients, and other individuals whose immune systems are compromised help account for the dramatic increase in deep organ candidiasis in recent years. Patients with granulocytopenia (deficiency of white blood cells) are particularly at risk for deep organ candidiasis.

Treatment:
This is usually treated with prescription lozenges or mouthwashes. Some of the most-used prescriptions are nystatin mouthwashes (Nilstat or Nitrostat) and clotrimazole lozenges.

Prognosis:-

Vaginal candidiasis
Although most cases of vaginal candidiasis are cured reliably, these infections can recur. To limit recurrences, women may need to take a prescription anti-fungal drug such as terconazole (sold as Terazol) or take other anti-fungal drugs on a preventive basis.

Oral candidiasis
These infections can also recur, sometimes because the infecting Candida develops resistance to one drug. Therefore, a physician may need to prescribe a different drug.

Deep organ candidiasis
The prognosis depends on the category of disease as well as on the condition of the patient when the infection strikes. Patients who are already suffering from a serious underlying disease are more susceptible to deep organ candidiasis that speads throughout the body.

Prevention
Because Candida is part of the normal group of microorganisms that co-exist with all people, it is impossible to avoid contact with it. Good vaginal hygiene and good oral hygiene might reduce problems, but they are not guarantees against candidiasis.

Because hospital-acquired (nosocomial) deep organ candidiasis is on the rise, people need to be made aware of it. Patients should be sure that catheters are properly maintained and used for the shortest possible time length. The frequency, length, and scope of courses of antibiotic treatment should also be cut back.

Sources:http://www.healthatoz.com/healthatoz/Atoz/clients/haz/general/custom/default.jsp

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