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Herbs & Plants

Gentians

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Botanical Name: Gentiana lutea
Family: Gentianaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Gentianales
Genus: Gentiana L.

Common Name:  Great yellow gentian

Habitat:This is a cosmopolitan genus, occurring in alpine habitats of temperate regions of Asia, Europe and the Americas. Some species also occur in northwest Africa, eastern Australia and New Zealand. They consist of annual, biennial and perennial plants. Some are evergreen, others are not.

The Gentians are an extensive group of plants, numbering about 400 species, distributed throughout all climates, though mostly in temperate regions and high mountains, being rare in the Arctic. In South America and New Zealand, the prevailing colour of the flower is red, in Europe blue (yellow and white being of rarer occurrence).

Gentiana is a genus of flowering plants belonging to the Gentian family (Gentianaceae), tribe Gentianeae and monophyletic subtribe Gentianinae.

The name of the genus is derived from Gentius, an ancient King of Illyria (180-167 B.C.), who, according to Pliny and Dioscorides, discovered the medicinal value of these plants. During the Middle Ages, Gentian was commonly employed as an antidote to poison. Tragus, in 1552, mentions it as a means of diluting wounds.

Descriptions:
Gentians have opposite leaves that are sometimes arranged in a basal rosette, and trumpet-shaped flowers that are usually deep blue or azure, but may vary from white, creamy and yellow to red. Many species also show considerable polymorphism with respect to flower color. Typically, blue-flowered species predominate in the Northern Hemisphere, with red-flowered species dominant in the Andes (where bird pollination is probably more heavily favored by natural selection). White-flowered species are scattered throughout the range of the genus but dominate in New Zealand. All gentian species have terminal tubular flowers and most are pentamerous, i.e. with 5 corolla lobes (petals), and 5 sepals, but 4-7 in some species. The style is rather short or absent. The corolla shows folds (= plicae) between the lobes. The ovary is mostly sessile and has nectary glands.

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Gentians are fully hardy and like full sun or partial shade, and neutral to acid soil that is rich in humus and well drained. They are popular in rock gardens.

Species:-
Gentiana acaulis (‘Stemless Gentian’)
Gentiana affinis (‘Pleated Gentian’)
Gentiana alba (‘Plain Gentian’)
Gentiana algida (‘Whitish Gentian’)
Gentiana alpina (‘Alpine Gentian’)
Gentiana altaica (‘Altai Gentian’)
Gentiana amarella (‘Autumn Dwarf Gentian’)
Gentiana amoena
Gentiana andrewsii (‘Closed bottle Gentian’)
Gentiana angustifolia
Gentiana asclepiadea (‘Willow Gentian’)
Gentiana austromontana (‘Appalachian Gentian’)
Gentiana autumnalis (‘Pinebarren Gentian’)
Gentiana bavarica (‘Bavarian Gentian’)
Gentiana bellidifolia
Gentiana boryi
Gentiana brachyphylla
Gentiana bulleyana
Gentiana burseri
Gentiana cachemirica
Gentiana calycosa (‘Rainier Pleated Gentian‘)
Gentiana catesbaei (‘Elliott’s Gentian’)
Gentiana cephalantha
Gentiana cerina
Gentiana clausa (‘Bottled Gentian’)
Gentiana clusii (‘Trumpet Gentian‘)
Gentiana crassicaulis
Gentiana crinita (‘Fringed Gentian’)
Gentiana cruciata (‘Cross Gentian’)
Gentiana dahurica
Gentiana decora (‘Showy Gentian’)
Gentiana decumbens
Gentiana dendrologii
Gentiana depressa
Gentiana dinarica
Gentiana douglasiana (‘Swamp Gentian’)
Gentiana elwesii
Gentiana farreri
Gentiana fetisowii
Gentiana flavida (‘Pale Gentian’)
Gentiana freyniana
Gentiana frigida
Gentiana froelichii
Gentiana fremontii (‘Moss Gentian’)
Gentiana gelida
Gentiana gilvo-striata
Gentiana glauca (‘Pale Gentian’)
Gentiana gracilipes
Gentiana grombczewskii
Gentiana heterosepala (‘Autumn Gentian’)
Gentiana hexaphylla
Gentiana kesselringii
Gentiana kurroo
Gentiana lawrencii
Gentiana lhassica
Gentiana linearis (‘Narrowleaf Gentian’)
Gentiana loderi
Gentiana lutea (‘Great Yellow Gentian‘)
Gentiana macrophylla (‘Bigleaf Gentian’)
Gentiana makinoi
Gentiana microdonta
Gentiana newberryi (‘Newberry’s Gentian’)
Gentiana nipponica
Gentiana nivalis (‘Snow Gentian’)

Gentiana nubigena
Gentiana nutans (‘Tundra Gentian’)
Gentiana ochroleuca
Gentiana olivieri
Gentiana ornata
Gentiana pannonica (‘Brown Gentian’)
Gentiana paradoxa
Gentiana parryi (‘Parry’s Gentian’)
Gentiana patula
Gentiana pennelliana (‘Wiregrass Gentian’)
Gentiana phyllocalyx
Gentiana platypetala (‘Broadpetal Gentian’)
Gentiana plurisetosa (‘Bristly Gentian’)
Gentiana pneumonanthe (‘Marsh Gentian’)
Gentiana prolata
Gentiana prostrata (‘Pygmy Gentian’)
Gentiana przewalskii
Gentiana pterocalyx
Gentiana puberulenta (‘Downy Gentian’)
Gentiana pumila
Gentiana punctata (‘Spotted Gentian’)
Gentiana purpurea (‘Purple Gentian’)
Gentiana pyrenaica
Gentiana quadrifolia
Gentiana rigescens
Gentiana rostanii
Gentiana rubricaulis (‘Closed Gentian’)
Gentiana saponaria (‘Harvestbells Gentian’)
Gentiana saxosa
Gentiana scabra
Gentiana scarlatina
Gentiana sceptrum (‘King’s scepter Gentian’)
Gentiana septemfida (‘Crested Gentian’)
Gentiana setigera (‘Mendocino Gentian’)
Gentiana setulifolia
Gentiana sikkimensis
Gentiana sikokiana
Gentiana sino-ornata
Gentiana siphonantha
Gentiana speciosa
Gentiana squarrosa
Gentiana stictantha
Gentiana stragulata
Gentiana straminea
Gentiana tenuifolia
Gentiana terglouensis (‘Triglav Gentian’)
Gentiana ternifolia
Gentiana tianshanica (‘Tienshan Gentian’)
Gentiana trichotoma
Gentiana triflora
Gentiana trinervis
Gentiana tubiflora
Gentiana utriculosa (‘Bladder Gentian’)
Gentiana veitchiorum
Gentiana venusta
Gentiana verna (‘Spring Gentian’)
Gentiana villosa (‘Striped Gentian’)
Gentiana waltonii
Gentiana wutaiensis
Gentiana yakushimensis
Gentiana zollingeri

Click to learn more about Genetians:->..……..(1)(2)

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 is an easily grown species, succeeding in most good garden soils, though it prefers a light loamy soil and lime-free conditions. It grows well in a pocket of soil amongst paving stones, so long as there is a gritty substrate. Plants dislike growing under the drip from trees. A very ornamental plant, there are many named varieties. It is a rare and protected species in the wild. Plants are intolerant of root disturbance.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe 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 early summer after the plant has flowered. Dig up the entire plant, divide it into 2 – 3 fair-sized clumps with a spade or knife, and replant immediately. Cuttings of basal shoots in late spring or early summer. It is best to pot them up in a cold frame until well rooted, and then plant them out into their permanent positions.

Medicinal Uses:
An infusion of the whole plant is used externally to lighten freckles. This species is one of several species that are the source of the medicinal gentian root, 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

Click for:-> Gentian species with medicinal properties

Complete Gentian information from Drugs.com
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/Gentian
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Gentiana+acaulis

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Acupunture News on Health & Science

Acupuncture Helps Back Pain

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Acupuncture provided twice as many patients relief from lower back pain as did conventional drug and exercise therapy, which German researchers said on Monday might point to a “superplacebo” effect.

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In a study of 1,162 adults with chronic lower back pain, 48% of those in a group who underwent between 10 and 15 treatments with traditional Chinese “verum” acupuncture reported at least one-third less pain and an improvement in functional ability, with lasting benefits.

That compared to 27% of those reporting relief in the group undergoing drug and exercise therapy.

In verum acupuncture, 14 to 20 needles are inserted up to 1-1/2 inches deep at “medians” and other prescribed locations until the patient is said to experience a numbing sensation, called Qi.

A third group of patients underwent ‘sham’ acupuncture, where needles are inserted randomly and less deeply around the painful area while avoiding medians. Of these, 44% reported relief from their back pain — more patients than conventional therapy and only slightly fewer than traditional acupuncture. Between 70% and 85% of people complain of back pain at some point in their lives, according to the study

Source:The Times Of India

Categories
Ayurvedic

Herbal Remedies For Cats & Dogs

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Just like humans, domesticated animals like dogs and cats are affected by the health hazards of modern living. Pollution, poor nutrition, stress and unhealthy lifestyles can lead to a variety of illnesses and conditions that are very similar to those experienced by humans.

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These days, emotional and psychological problems like depression, anxiety, ADHD and behavioral problems are just as prevalent in pets as they are in their owners. Similarly, physical ailments such as diabetes, arthritis, chronic fatigue, digestive disorders, cystitis, kidney and liver disease, skin disorders, obesity, thyroid dysfunction and other problems are becoming more and more common in domesticated animals.

Many, if not most of these conditions can be prevented by helping your pets to live a healthier lifestyle. For pets already suffering from existing conditions, a combination of lifestyle changes and natural medicine can work wonders!

While it has its place, conventional medicine for animals and ‘modern technology’ have failed our pets in many ways.

According to pet expert and author CJ Puotinen, most holistic veterinarians and animal health care professions list annual vaccinations and commercial pet foods as the major contributory cause in the rising rates of chronic illness in pets today.

Similarly, Juliette de Bairacli Levy, respected author and renowned animal breeder, points out that contrary to the belief that mass vaccination and antibiotic use will contribute to a decrease in disease, the opposite has in fact proved true. Like their human counterparts, today’s pets are becoming more and more vulnerable to chronic disease and ill health.

This has led many veterinarians to search for alternatives and to espouse more holistic methods of keeping our pets healthy.

Do herbal and homeopathic remedies work
on pets?

“In the wild, animals instinctively seek out healing herbs to help them when they are ill or undernourished. In fact, Asclepius, the ancient Greek god of medicine, respected dogs very highly for their ability to seek out and eat medicinal herbs in the wild. This ability is shared by other animals, including cats. We are coming to realize that nature often has the answers – but animals have always known this! Natural medicine can help your pet just as it can help you. While there is always a place for conventional veterinary medicine, natural medicine can compliment conventional veterinary care and in many cases cure your pets just as well – without the side effects and damage to health that can accompany synthetic drugs and antibiotics. I have applied the same care and research that have gone into our Native Remedies range for adults and children to the development of pet-friendly, safe and effective natural remedies for animals. As always, all remedies are formulated to the highest therapeutic standards and manufactured under strict pharmaceutical conditions for your peace of mind and the well being of your pets. ” Michele Carelse, Clinical Psychologist.

“When a veterinary surgeon practices the use of homeopathic medicine and is asked why he does so, he may give one of several answers. The simple answer would be that the results are good, an emphatic answer would be that homeopathic treatment has no unpleasant or dangerous side effects, while still achieving successful results.

The PetAlive Homeopathic range has been formulated with this knowledge and is specifically designed to treat your pet in a holistic and natural manner.”

Source:www.nativeremedies.com

Categories
Healthy Tips

Healthy Foods

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Eating healthy may be virtuous, but it just doesn’t seem like that much fun.

Truth is, most of us prefer the taste of french fries over that of oat bran. A glass of Burgundy sounds more tantalizing than a cup of wheat grass juice. And while a nice piece of fruit is no punishment, chocolate is exceedingly more tempting.

The good news:
Not all of those seemingly unhealthy choices actually are.

Cheese fries may never be a part of your recommended diet, but Russet potatoes alone are nothing to fear. In fact, they’re full of disease-fighting antioxidants. Eating the whole box of chocolates still isn’t a good idea. A square a day, however, may help prevent cancer and stave off weight gain.

If you’re confused, we’re not surprised. There’s never been more information available on how to eat right. Books, food labels, Web sites–fast food restaurants even provide nutritional information for their meals. But it’s hard to draw any simple conclusions from it all. Are carbs good or bad? How many calories are too many? What causes cancer now?

No wonder dieticians say people tend to see healthy choices as too much trouble.

“We are in such a hurry, we’re so busy multitasking that eating is no longer a solo event,” says David Grotto, spokesperson for the Chicago-based American Dietetic Association. “It’s an inconvenience. We have hunger, and we need to squash it. We need to wolf down some food. You’re lucky if you remember what you ate the day before.”

A recent ACNielsen study of how habits of eating and drinking outside the home develop offers a glimpse into what’s going on. About 82 percent of consumers acknowledged that individuals are the most responsible for weight gain in the U.S. population. Only 6 percent place the biggest blame on fast food joints and 2 percent on food companies. Of those surveyed, 18 percent said the main factor leading to weight gain is that modern life is too easy for people to make an effort to be healthy.

Elisa Zied, author of So What Can I Eat?! and a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, says people are frustrated by the conflicting research studies and news reports about what can harm or benefit them. Typically, they just want practical advice on what to eat.

They’re also unknowingly making bad choices. Most people know that soda and candy contain a lot of sugar. But they don’t always realize that low-fat flavored yogurt, salad dressing and Chinese food (think chicken with broccoli), can too. Because of the new obsession with lowering our intake of trans fats, which food labels must now list, some people are consuming more saturated fats, she says.

Deepak Varma, senior vice president of customized research for ACNielsen, says consumers fall into “autopilot” mode, not really thinking about what they’re buying or eating until they have a moment of truth in the form of a medical checkup or wanting to get in shape for an upcoming marriage.

People also get in the habit of having larger portions because they want to get good value for their money, he says.

Unfortunately, there is no cure all when it comes to waking up and taking control of your health. Grotto, who is writing a book about making friends with food, suggests viewing meals as both sources of sustenance and enjoyable experiences.

To make that process a little easier, we asked dieticians to recommend a number of foods with surprising health benefits. Chocolate and bruschetta, anyone?

Once you incorporate these tips into your eating habits, try tackling more challenging ones. Jennifer Nelson, director of clinical dietetics at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., says another way we can start to change is by asking restaurants for more healthy options and smaller portion sizes. Define value by the quality of your food, not its “supersize.”

“Small indiscretions can create bigger health issues,” Nelson says. “The good news is that small attempts, the more we chip away at it–we can get big results, too.”

Nine Surprisingly Healthy Foods

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be complicated–or feel depriving. It can be as simple as seeking out foods packed with nutrients, as long as you stick to moderate portions and don’t pile on the extras. Here, a group of experts pinpoint foods you might have thought were bad, but can benefit your body.

Chocolate

Milk or dark, whatever your pleasure, registered dietician David Grotto says chocolate is a diet essential. The enjoyment that comes with eating this indulgence has been known to reduce the stress hormone cortisone, which can play a role in weight gain, he says. Higher in flavonoids than its milkier sister, dark chocolate may reduce high blood pressure and improve cholesterol. But new research shows milk chocolate may do a better job of boosting brain function. Moderation, of course, is the key. “Having maybe a religious experience with a one-inch square of chocolate is reasonable,” Grotto says.

Oils

Everyone knows olive, safflower and canola oils are low in saturated fats. But a lesser known fact is that they’re good sources of Vitamin E, which most people don’t get enough of in their diets. A fat soluble vitamin, it works as an antioxidant and may lower LDL, or bad cholesterol, protect against heart disease and promote healthy skin, says registered dietician and American Dietetic Association spokesperson Elisa Zied. Olive oil, however, packs about 120 calories per tablespoon. Zied recommends limiting consumption to no more than five to six teaspoons per day.

Potatoes

As Americans have grown carb-conscious, the potato has taken a mashing. But registered dietician and American Dietetic Association spokesman David Grotto says nutrient-rich spuds are worth another look. In a 2004 United States Department of Agriculture study of the antioxidant levels in more than 100 different foods, the Russet potato ranked No. 17. Red, purple-skinned and sweet potatoes also are high in carotenoids, which protect against lung cancer and help fight heart disease and diabetes.

Nuts and Nut Butters

Nuts tend to get demonized because they’re high in fat, but they’re chock full of health benefits. High in monounsaturated fat, nuts are great sources of protein. Walnuts, with their omega-3 fatty acids, can be good for the heart. According to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, women who ate meals with almonds stayed fuller longer. Sprinkle them on cereal, or dunk an apple in 1 to 2 tablespoons of peanut butter. But try to avoid the kind slathered with salt.

Coffee

The studies just keep pouring in on the benefits of drinking coffee. Higher consumption has been linked to decreasing the risk of type 2 diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. It’s also been shown to stop headaches and preventing cavities. Adding sugar and whole milk complicates matters, though skim milk can be a vehicle for calcium and Vitamin D. Black, however, is usually best, says registered dietician Elisa Zied.

Bruschetta

Loaded with tomatoes, onions, garlic and olive oil, bruschetta is a smart choice for an appetizer, says registered dietician Elisa Zied. Tomatoes are a great source of lycopene, an antioxidant that can protect against cancer, heart disease and even macular degeneration.

Spices

More than just a way to ramp up flavor, spices have potential health benefits. Large doses of cinnamon may help lower blood glucose after you eat a meal, says Roger Clemens, DrPH, a spokesman for the Chicago-based Institute of Food Technologists. Turmeric, an ingredient in curry, has also been reported to play a role in pain relief for arthritis patients. “We may learn from other cultures that the combination of food they’ve been consuming would be more healthful,” Clemens says. “We should be willing to learn from each other.”

Tea

Instead of grabbing a cola at lunch, why not choose instead a flavored tea? Studies suggest that many types of tea, including black, green, white or oolong, may help prevent cancer and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease. The longer you steep your tea, the more benefits. As with coffee, try to avoid the extras.

Soups

Soup is a good source of fluids and is considered a low energy density food, which can help with weight loss. Just a cup can sneak more antioxidant-packed vegetables into your diet. It also can go a long way toward filling you up and reducing your calorie intake during a meal. For best results, stick to broth-based varieties and watch the sodium. Registered dietician Elisa Zied recommends sticking within a range of 400 to 500 milligrams of sodium for one cup.

Source:MSN Health & Fitness