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Gentiana andrewsii

Botanical Name: Gentiana andrewsii
Family: Gentianaceae
Genus: Gentiana
Species: G. andrewsii
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Common Name : Closed Bottle Gentian, Dakota gentian, Bottle gentian, Closed gentian

Habitat ; Gentiana andrewsii is native to Eastern N. America – Quebec to Manitoba, Georgia and Nebraska. It grows on meadows, damp prairies and low thickets.

Description:
Gentiana andrewsii is a herbaceous perennial flowering plant, growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in). It blooms in late summer (August–October). The flowers are 2 to 4 cm long, typically a rich blue color and bottle shaped with closed mouths. The flowers are clustered at the top of the plant or in the axis of the top leaves. The stems are 30 to 60 cm long, lax in habit, producing sprawling plants with upturned ends ending with clusters of bee pollinated flowers. The foliage is hairless with a glossy sheen to it. Plants are fed upon by ground hogs and scale insects. This species can hybridize with Gentiana alba, producing upright growing plants with white flowers with blue edges. This gentian is considered a threatened species in the USA states of New York and Maryland……...CLICK  &  SEE  THE  PICTURES 

The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bumblebees, butterflies.

Cultivation:
In general, gentians require a moist well-drained soil in a sheltered position, a certain minimum of atmospheric humidity, high light intensity but a site where temperatures are not too high. They are therefore more difficult to grow in areas with hot summers and in such a region they appreciate some protection from the strongest sunlight. Most species will grow well in the rock garden. This species is fairly easy to grow, succeeding in most humus-rich soils. It tolerates more shade (but not full shade) than most members of the genus, growing well in a woodland garden. Plants are intolerant of root disturbance. A moisture loving plant, preferring to grow with full exposure to the sun but with plenty of underground moisture in the summer, it grows better in the north and west of Britain.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown in early January in a light position in a cold frame. It can also be sown in late winter or early spring but the seed germinates best if given a period of cold stratification and quickly loses viability when stored, with older seed germinating slowly and erratically. It is advantageous to keep the seed at about 10°c for a few days after sowing, to enable the seed to imbibe moisture. Following this with a period of at least 5 – 6 weeks with temperatures falling to between 0 and -5°c will usually produce reasonable germination. It is best to use clay pots, since plastic ones do not drain so freely and the moister conditions encourage the growth of moss, which will prevent germination of the seed. The seed should be surface-sown, or only covered with a very light dressing of compost. The seed requires dark for germination, so the pots should be covered with something like newspaper or be kept in the dark. Pot up the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. The seedlings grow on very slowly, taking 2 – 7 years to reach flowering size. When the plants are of sufficient size, place them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Division in March. Most members of this genus have either a single tap-root, or a compact root system united in a single root head, and are thus unsuitable for division. Cuttings of basal shoots in late spring

Medicinal Uses:
The root is said to be an antidote to snakebites. An infusion of the roots has been used as a wash and also taken internally in the treatment of pain and headaches. An infusion of the roots has been used as drops for sore eyes. This N. American species has medicinal properties practically identical with the European gentians. The following notes are based on the general uses of G. lutea which is the most commonly used species in the West. Gentian root has a long history of use as a herbal bitter in the treatment of digestive disorders and is an ingredient of many proprietary medicines. It contains some of the most bitter compounds known and is used as a scientific basis for measuring bitterness. It is especially useful in states of exhaustion from chronic disease and in all cases of debility, weakness of the digestive system and lack of appetite. It is one of the best strengtheners of the human system, stimulating the liver, gall bladder and digestive system, and is an excellent tonic to combine with a purgative in order to prevent its debilitating effects. The root is anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, bitter tonic, cholagogue, emmenagogue, febrifuge, refrigerant, stomachic. It is taken internally in the treatment of liver complaints, indigestion, gastric infections and anorexia. It should not be prescribed for patients with gastric or duodenal ulcers. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. It is quite likely that the roots of plants that have not flowered are the richest in medicinal properties.

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/Gentiana_andrewsii
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Gentiana+andrewsii

Blackstonia perfoliata

Botanical Name: Blackstonia perfoliata
Family: Gentianaceae
Genus: Blackstonia
Species: B. perfoliata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Synonyms : Chlora perfoliata.

Common Name : Yellow Wort

Habitat : Blackstonia perfoliata is native to Europe, including Britain, south from Holland and Germany east to Morocco and W. Asia. It grows on the alcareous grassland and on dunes.

Description:
Blackstonia perfoliata is an annual flowering plant. It grows from ten to fifty centimetres, (four to twenty inches), tall with stiff, branching stems. The leaves are glaucous, opposite and entire, the upper ones perfoliate, being united at the base. It bears terminal cymes of bright yellow, stalked flowers, one to one and a half centimetres across. The calyx is deeply divided into 6-10 linear lobes or sepals, spirally arranged, free or nearly free from each other at the base and shorter than the corolla. The petals number six to ten and form a short tube. There are six to ten adherent stamens and a two-lobed stigma. It is in flower from Jun to October . The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Self.The plant is self-fertile. CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES : 

Cultivation:
A native plant, we do not have any details on its cultivation but it should succeed in a summer meadow or in a sunny position in a well drained soil. It prefers calcareous soils in the wild.

Propagation :
Seed – sow early spring in seed pots in a cold frame and plant out as soon as the plants are large enough to handle. When well sited, the plant should self-sow. If you have sufficient seed it should be possible to sow the seed in situ in the spring.

Medicinal Uses: Not known
Other Uses:..…Dye……A yellow dye is obtained from the plant extract

 

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackstonia_perfoliata
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Blackstonia+perfoliata

Psoriatic arthritis

Other Names: Arthritis psoriatica,Arthropathic psoriasis or Psoriatic arthropathy

Definition:
Psoriatic arthritis is a form of arthritis that affects some people who have psoriasis — a condition that features red patches of skin topped with silvery scales. Most people develop psoriasis first and are later diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, but the joint problems can sometimes begin before skin lesions appear.

Joint pain, stiffness and swelling are the main symptoms of psoriatic arthritis. They can affect any part of your body, including your fingertips and spine, and can range from relatively mild to severe. In both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, disease flares may alternate with periods of remission.

It is a type of inflammatory arthritis that will develop in up to 30 percent of people who have the chronic skin condition psoriasis. Psoriatic arthritis is classified as a seronegative spondyloarthropathy and therefore occurs more commonly in patients with tissue type HLA-B27.

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No cure for psoriatic arthritis exists, so the focus is on controlling symptoms and preventing damage to the joints. Without treatment, psoriatic arthritis may be disabling.

Classification:
There are five main types of psoriatic arthritis:

*Asymmetric: This type affects around 70% of patients and is generally mild. This type does not occur in the same joints on both sides of the body and usually only involves fewer than 3 joints.

*Symmetric: This type accounts for around 25% of cases, and affects joints on both sides of the body simultaneously. This type is most similar to rheumatoid arthritis and is disabling in around 50% of all cases.

*Arthritis mutilans (M07.1): Affects less than 5% of patients and is a severe, deforming and destructive arthritis. This condition can progress over months or years causing severe joint damage. Arthritis mutilans has also been called chronic absorptive arthritis, and may be seen in rheumatoid arthritis as well.

*Spondylitis (M07.2): This type is characterised by stiffness of the spine or neck, but can also affect the hands and feet, in a similar fashion to symmetric arthritis.

*Distal interphalangeal predominant (M07.0): This type of psoriatic arthritis is found in about 5% of patients, and is characterised by inflammation and stiffness in the joints nearest to the ends of the fingers and toes. Nail changes are often marked.

Symptoms:
*Pain, swelling, or stiffness in one or more joints is commonly present.

*Asymmetrical oligoarthritis (70%) (Involvement of the distal interphalangeal joints (DIP) is a characteristic feature).

*Sacroiliitis/spondylitis (40%)

*Symmetrical seronegative arthritis (15%)

*Distal interphalangeal joint arthritis (15%)

*Hand joints involved in psoriasis are proximal interphalangeal (PIP) + distal interphalangeal (DIP) + metacarpophalangeal (MCP) + wrist
Joints that are red or warm to the touch.

*Sausage-like swelling in the fingers or toes, known as dactylitis.

*Pain in and around the feet and ankles, especially tendinitis in the Achilles tendon or plantar fasciitis in the sole of the foot.

*Changes to the nails, such as pitting or separation from the nail bed.

*Pain in the area of the sacrum (the lower back, above the tailbone).

*Along with the above noted pain and inflammation, there is extreme exhaustion that does not go away with adequate rest. The exhaustion may last for days or weeks without abatement. Psoriatic arthritis may remain mild, or may progress to more destructive joint disease. Periods of active disease, or flares, will typically alternate with periods of remission. In severe forms, psoriatic arthritis may progress to arthritis mutilans which on X-ray gives pencil in cup appearance.

*Because prolonged inflammation can lead to joint damage, early diagnosis and treatment to slow or prevent joint damage is recommended.

*Scaly skin lesions are seen over extensor surfaces (scalp, natal cleft and umbilicus).

*The nail changes are pitting, onycholysis, sub–ungual hyperkeratosis and horizontal ridging.

Causes:
Psoriatic arthritis occurs when the body’s immune system begins to attack healthy cells and tissue. The abnormal immune response causes inflammation in your joints as well as overproduction of skin cells.

It’s not entirely clear why the immune system turns on healthy tissue, but it seems likely that both genetic and environmental factors play a role. Many people with psoriatic arthritis have a family history of either psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. Researchers have discovered certain genetic markers that appear to be associated with psoriatic arthritis.

Physical trauma or something in the environment — such as a viral or bacterial infection — may trigger psoriatic arthritis in people with an inherited tendency.

Diagnosis:
There is no definitive test to diagnose psoriatic arthritis. Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis may closely resemble other diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis. A rheumatologist (a doctor specializing in diseases affecting the joints) may use physical examinations, health history, blood tests and x-rays to accurately diagnose psoriatic arthritis.

Factors that contribute to a diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis include:

*Psoriasis in the patient, or a family history of psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis.

*A negative test result for Rheumatoid factor, a blood factor associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

*Arthritis symptoms in the distal Interphalangeal articulations of hand (the joints closest to the tips of the fingers). This is not typical of rheumatoid arthritis.

*Ridging or pitting of fingernails or toenails (onycholysis), which is associated with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

*Radiologic images indicating joint change.

*Other symptoms that are more typical of psoriatic arthritis than other forms of arthritis include inflammation in the Achilles tendon (at the back of the heel) or the Plantar fascia (bottom of the feet), and dactylitis (sausage-like swelling of the fingers or toes)

During the exam,the doctor may ask for the following tests:

Imaging tests:

*X-rays. Plain X-rays can help pinpoint changes in the joints that occur in psoriatic arthritis but not in other arthritic conditions.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MRI utilizes radio waves and a strong magnetic field to produce very detailed images of both hard and soft tissues in your body. This type of imaging test may be used to check for problems with the tendons and ligaments in your feet and lower back.
Laboratory tests:

*Rheumatoid factor (RF). RF is an antibody that’s often present in the blood of people with rheumatoid arthritis, but it’s not usually in the blood of people with psoriatic arthritis. For that reason, this test can help your doctor distinguish between the two conditions.

*Joint fluid test. Using a long needle, your doctor can remove a small sample of fluid from one of your affected joints — often the knee. Uric acid crystals in your joint fluid may indicate that you have gout rather than psoriatic arthritis.

Treatments:
The underlying process in psoriatic arthritis is inflammation; therefore, treatments are directed at reducing and controlling inflammation. Milder cases of psoriatic arthitis may be treated with NSAIDS alone; however, there is a trend toward earlier use of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs or biological response modifiers to prevent irreversible joint destruction.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs:
Typically the medications first prescribed for psoriatic arthritis are NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and naproxen followed by more potent NSAIDs like diclofenac, indomethacin, and etodolac. NSAIDs can irritate the stomach and intestine, and long-term use can lead to gastrointestinal bleeding. Other potential adverse effects include damage to the kidneys and cardiovascular system.

Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs:
These are used in persistent symptomatic cases without exacerbation. Rather than just reducing pain and inflammation, this class of drugs helps limit the amount of joint damage that occurs in psoriatic arthritis. Most DMARDs act slowly and may take weeks or even months to take full effect. Drugs such as methotrexate or leflunomide are commonly prescribed; other DMARDS used to treat psoriatic arthritis include cyclosporin, azathioprine, and sulfasalazine. These immunosuppressant drugs can also reduce psoriasis skin symptoms but can lead to liver and kidney problems and an increased risk of serious infection.

Biological response modifiers:
Recently, a new class of therapeutics called biological response modifiers or biologics has been developed using recombinant DNA technology. Biologic medications are derived from living cells cultured in a laboratory. Unlike traditional DMARDS that affect the entire immune system, biologics target specific parts of the immune system. They are given by injection or intravenous (IV) infusion.

Biologics prescribed for psoriatic arthritis are TNF-(alfa) inhibitors, including infliximab, etanercept, golimumab, certolizumab pegol and adalimumab, as well as the IL-12/IL-23 inhibitor ustekinumab.

Biologics may increase the risk of minor and serious infections. More rarely, they may be associated with nervous system disorders, blood disorders or certain types of cancer.

Other treatments:
Retinoid etretinate 30mg/day is effective for both arthritis and skin lesions. Photochemotherapy with methoxy psoralen and long wave ultraviolet light (PUVA) are used for severe skin lesions. Doctors may use joint injections with corticosteroids in cases where one joint is severely affected. In psoriatic arthritis patients with severe joint damage orthopedic surgery may be implemented to correct joint destruction, usually with use of a joint replacement. Surgery is effective for pain alleviation, correcting joint disfigurement, and reinforcing joint usefulness and strength.

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Lifestyle and home remedies

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Prognosis:
Seventy percent of people who develop psoriatic arthritis first show signs of psoriasis on the skin, 15 percent develop skin psoriasis and arthritis at the same time, and 15 percent develop skin psoriasis following the onset of psoriatic arthritis.

Psoriatic arthritis can develop in people who have any level severity of psoriatic skin disease from mild to very severe.

Psoriatic arthritis tends to appear about 10 years after the first signs of psoriasis. For the majority of people this is between the ages of 30 and 55, but the disease can also affect children. The onset of psoriatic arthritis symptoms before symptoms of skin psoriasis is more common in children than adults.

More than 80% of patients with psoriatic arthritis will have psoriatic nail lesions characterized by nail pitting, separation of the nail from the underlying nail bed, ridging and cracking, or more extremely, loss of the nail itself (onycholysis).

Men and women are equally affected by this condition. Like psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis is more common among Caucasians than Africans or Asians

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psoriatic_arthritis
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/psoriatic-arthritis/basics/tests-diagnosis/con-20015006
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/psoriatic-arthritis/basics/causes/con-20015006
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/psoriatic-arthritis/basics/definition/CON-20015006

Swertia Radiata

Botanical Name : Swertia radiata
Family: Gentianaceae
Genus: Frasera
Species: F. speciosa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Synonims:Frasera speciosa

Common Name :Cebadilla,Monument plant, Elkweed, and Deer’s ears.Green Gentian

Habitat : It is native to the western United States, where it grows in mountain forests, woodlands, and meadows. the northwestern United States, where it grows in open areas in mountain habitat.

Description:
It is a perennial herb growing from a woody base surrounded by rosettes of large leaves that measure up to 50 centimeters long by 15 wide. It produces a single erect stem which can reach two meters in height. The stem bears whorls of lance-shaped, pointed leaves smaller than those at the base. The plant is monocarpic, growing for several years and only flowering once before it dies. Flowering is synchronized among plants in a given area, with widespread, picturesque blooms occurring periodically. The inflorescence is a tall, erect panicle with flowers densely clustered at the top and then spread out in interrupted clusters below. Each flower has a calyx of four pointed sepals and a corolla of four pointed lobes each one to two centimeters long. The corolla is yellow-green with purple spots and each lobe has two fringed nectary pits at the base. There are four stamens tipped with large anthers and a central ovary.

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Cultivation: Requires a moist but well-drained position and a stony peaty soil. Requires an acidic soil. A very ornamental plant.

Propagation: Seed – sow spring in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in late winter

Edible Uses:  Root. It has been reported that the N. American Indians ate the fleshy root of this plant, but caution is advised since the roots of closely related plants are used medicinally as emetics and cathartics. See the notes above on toxicity.

Medicinal Uses;
An infusion of the dried, powdered leaves, or the root, has been used in the treatment of diarrhea. A cooled decoction of the roots has been used in the treatment of asthma, colds, digestive complaints etc. An infusion of the plant has been used as a contraceptive.  Primarily a medicine for the digestive tract.  Similar to Gentian in its effect, it is more energetic and irritating.  A stimulant to stomach and small intestinal secretions and contractions, it makes a bitter tonic especially useful for the elderly. The dried root is powdered, 6-8 tablespoons added to a pint of brandy and it is steeped for at least a week; a tablespoon is taken before meals.  A pinch of the powder in sweetened water has a similar effect.  One-half to one teaspoon of the root powder boiled in water will act as a laxative-cathartic.  More than a teaspoon can act as an irritant to the large intestine, and in any respect, Cebadilla should be used as a laxative only occasionally.  The root can also serve as a fungicide for athlete’s foot and the like.  Sometimes effective as a tincture for ringworm, but care should be taken when used on children it can irritate the skin.  In New Mexico the powdered root is melted in lard and applied on the scalp to kill lice or rubbed on the legs to kill scabies.

Other Uses:…..Parasiticide...….The root, when ground into a powder and then mixed with oil, has been used as a parasiticide in order to kill lice.

Known Hazards :  When used medicinally, large doses of the powdered root have proved fatal.

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/Frasera_speciosa
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm
http://www.worldbotanical.com/swertia.htm

http://www.yosemitehikes.com/wildflowers/monument-plant/monument-plant.htm

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Frasera+speciosa

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