Categories
Herbs & Plants

Veronicastrum virginicum

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Botanical Name : Veronicastrum virginicum
Family: Plantaginaceae
Genus: Veronicastrum
Species: V. virginicum
Kingdom: Plantae

Synonyms : Leptandra virginica (L.) Nutt., Veronica virginica L

Common Names : Culver’s root, Culver’s-root, Culverpsyic, Culver’s physic,Bowman’s root,Blackroot;

Habitat :Veronicastrum virginicum is  native to the United States.It grows in  Eastern N. America – Ontario to Manitoba, south to Massachusetts, Alabama and Texas. It is frequently found in wet to wet-mesic prairies and sometimes moist upland sites  on Meadows, rich woods, thickets and prairies

Description;
Veronicastrum virginicum is an erect perennial herb that grows 80-200 cm in height. The leaves are serrated and arranged in whorls of 3-7 around the stem. The inflorescence is erect with slender and spike-like racemes. The stamens are crowded and protrude in a brush-like fashion perpendicular to the raceme . The corollas are white and are roughly 2 mm. in length. These plants flower from mid-summer to early fall.

You may click to see  pictures of  Veronicastrum virginicum

It is hardy to zone 3. It is in flower from July to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. The plant is self-fertile.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires moist soil.

Cultivation:
Easily grown in a moderately fertile moisture retentive well drained soil. Prefers cool summers. Prefers a sunny position[188]. Hardy to at least -20°c. Some named forms have been selected for their ornamental value.

Propagation:
Seed – sow autumn in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. If you have sufficient quantity the seed can be sown outdoors in situ in the autumn or the spring. Division in autumn or spring. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is best to pot up smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are growing away well. Plant them out in the summer or the following spring.

Medicinal Uses:
Cathartic; Cholagogue; Emetic; Hepatic; Laxative; Tonic.

Native Americans used this plant as a remedy for several ailments including as a laxative,(A tea made from the roots is strongly laxative. The roots are harvested in the autumn and should be stored for at least a year before use.) treatment for fainting and treating kidney stones.  The root was used as a blood cleanser. It was used for ceremonial purification to cleanse the body by inducing vomiting by drinking tea made from the plant’s dried root.  The fresh root is a violent cathartic and possibly emetic, the dried root is milder in its action, but less certain. The root also gently excites the liver and increases the flow of bile. An infusion has been used in the treatment of diarrhea, coughs, chills and fevers, and also to ease the pain of backaches. A tea made from the roots is strongly laxative.

Other Uses: It is cultivated as a garden flower in the Eastern United States.
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/Veronicastrum_virginicum
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Veronicastrum+virginicum
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm

Categories
News on Health & Science

Secrets of a Woman’s Wrinkles With Age

The dream of retaining youthful looks into old age came a step closer yesterday after scientists announced that they had identified the key genes involved in ageing skin. Using data generated by the human genome project – the international effort to decode human DNA – researchers have found 1,500 separate genes that govern how long people stay free from wrinkles.
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The team – led by scientists working for cosmetics giant Procter & Gamble – also believe they have identified the eight major causes of ageing skin.
Despite decades of research and billions of pounds of funding, the cosmetics industry has struggled to develop creams and lotions that reverse ageing.
The best that most of the expensive anti-ageing creams can do is smooth over wrinkles or plump up the skin

Out of the 20,000 to 25,000 known human genes, they have found around 1,500 that play a key role in ageing skin.
‘The human genome project has made it possible for us to analyse ageing right down to the hundreds of genetic changes that happen in our skin as we get older,’ Dr Tiesman said.
Skin ages in eight separate ways, each one controlled by its own group of genes, he added.

Whether you grow old gracefully like Cliff Richard – or wrinkled like Keith Richards – depends partly on your lifestyle and partly on these genes.
Dr Tiesman and his research team believe one of the most important factors is hydration – the way that skin collects and retains its moisture, using molecules that bind water into skin.
As skin gets older, the genes that control this process become less active and skin can retain less moisture, leading to wrinkles.
Dr Tiesman found that up to 700 genes could be involved.
Another ‘ageing pathway’ involves collagen – the protein that gives skin its underlying structure.

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Why skin deteriorates with age: As people get older, the genes that degrade collagen can become overactive, leading to more wrinkles
As people age, the genes that degrade collagen can become overactive, leading to more wrinkles. The team has found 40 genes involved in the collapse of collagen. Inflammation was found to involve about 400 genes, while another group of genes influence how the skin reacts to sunlight.
The skin’s response to ‘free radicals‘ – the molecules that can damage a cell’s damage – is also crucial to how it ages.
By narrowing down the DNA involved with skin ageing, researchers hope to create drugs and creams which can stimulate some genes and suppress others to restore youthful looks.
Professor Anthea Tinker, who studies the social aspect of ageing at King’s College London, said: ‘Older people care about their appearance just as much as any other age group and they are an important and growing market.’
Most anti-ageing creams don’t stand up to scientific scrutiny. However, a reliable clinical trial published earlier this year showed that Boots No7 Protect and Perfect range actually worked.
Manchester University scientists found that a fifth of people who used the cream for six months saw improvement in their skin. The cream appeared to trigger the production of a protein called fibrillin-1, which makes skin more elastic.

Source:http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1200689/Secrets-womans-wrinkles-revealed-scientists-discover-genes-linked-eternal-youth.html#ixzz0LqDc4UJ8

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Categories
Diagnonistic Test

Colonoscopy

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Definition:
A colonoscopy (koh-luh-NAH-skuh-pee) allows a doctor to look inside the entire large intestine. The procedure enables the physician to see things such as inflamed tissue, abnormal growths, and ulcers. It is most often used to look for early signs of cancer in the colon and rectum. It is also used to look for causes of unexplained changes in bowel habits and to evaluate symptoms like abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, and weight loss.

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What is the colon?
The colon, or large bowel, is the last portion of your digestive tract, or gastrointestinal tract. The colon is a hollow tube that starts at the end of the small intestine and ends at the rectum and anus. The colon is about 5 feet long, and its main function is to store unabsorbed food waste and absorb water and other body fluids before the waste is eliminated as stool.

Preparation for Colonscopy test
You will be given instructions in advance that will explain what you need to do to prepare for your colonoscopy. Your colon must be completely empty for the colonoscopy to be thorough and safe. To prepare for the procedure you will have to follow a liquid diet for 1 to 3 days beforehand. The liquid diet should be clear and not contain food colorings, and may include

*fat-free bouillon or broth
*strained fruit juice
*water
*plain coffee
*plain tea
*diet soda
*gelatin
Thorough cleansing of the bowel is necessary before a colonoscopy. You will likely be asked to take a laxative the night before the procedure. In some cases you may be asked to give yourself an enema. An enema is performed by inserting a bottle with water and sometimes a mild soap in your anus to clean out the bowels. Be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions you have or medications you take on a regular basis such as

*aspirin
*arthritis medications
*blood thinners
*diabetes medication
*vitamins that contain iron

The medical staff will also want to know if you have heart disease, lung disease, or any medical condition that may need special attention. You must also arrange for someone to take you home afterward, because you will not be allowed to drive after being sedated.

Procedure
For the colonoscopy, you will lie on your left side on the examining table. You will be given pain medication and a moderate sedative to keep you comfortable and help you relax during the exam. The doctor and a nurse will monitor your vital signs, look for any signs of discomfort, and make adjustments as needed.

The doctor will then insert a long, flexible, lighted tube into your rectum and slowly guide it into your colon. The tube is called a colonoscope (koh-LON-oh-skope). The scope transmits an image of the inside of the colon onto a video screen so the doctor can carefully examine the lining of the colon. The scope bends so the doctor can move it around the curves of your colon.

You may be asked to change positions at times so the doctor can more easily move the scope to better see the different parts of your colon. The scope blows air into your colon and inflates it, which helps give the doctor a better view. Most patients do not remember the procedure afterwards.

The doctor can remove most abnormal growths in your colon, like a polyp, which is a growth in the lining of the bowel. Polyps are removed using tiny tools passed through the scope. Most polyps are not cancerous, but they could turn into cancer. Just looking at a polyp is not enough to tell if it is cancerous. The polyps are sent to a lab for testing. By identifying and removing polyps, a colonoscopy likely prevents most cancers from forming.

The doctor can also remove tissue samples to test in the lab for diseases of the colon (biopsy). In addition, if any bleeding occurs in the colon, the doctor can pass a laser, heater probe, electrical probe, or special medicines through the scope to stop the bleeding. The tissue removal and treatments to stop bleeding usually do not cause pain. In many cases, a colonoscopy allows for accurate diagnosis and treatment of colon abnormalities without the need for a major operation.

During the procedure you may feel mild cramping. You can reduce the cramping by taking several slow, deep breaths. When the doctor has finished, the colonoscope is slowly withdrawn while the lining of your bowel is carefully examined. Bleeding and puncture of the colon are possible but uncommon complications of a colonoscopy.

A colonoscopy usually takes 30 to 60 minutes. The sedative and pain medicine should keep you from feeling much discomfort during the exam. You may feel some cramping or the sensation of having gas after the procedure is completed, but it usually stops within an hour. You will need to remain at the colonoscopy facility for 1 to 2 hours so the sedative can wear off.

Rarely, some people experience severe abdominal pain, fever, bloody bowel movements, dizziness, or weakness afterward. If you have any of these side effects, contact your physician immediately. Read your discharge instructions carefully. Medications such as blood-thinners may need to be stopped for a short time after having your colonoscopy, especially if a biopsy was performed or polyps were removed. Full recovery by the next day is normal and expected and you may return to your regular activities.

For More Information
American College of Gastroenterology
P.O. Box 342260
Bethesda, MD 20827–2260
Phone: 301–263–9000
Fax: 301–263–9025
Email: info@acg.gi.org
Internet: www.acg.gi.org

International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders
P.O. Box 170864
Milwaukee, WI 53217–8076
Phone: 1–888–964–2001 or 414–964–1799
Fax: 414–964–7176
Email: iffgd@iffgd.org
Internet: www.iffgd.org

National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse
2 Information Way
Bethesda, MD 20892–3570
Phone: 1–800–891–5389
TTY: 1–866–569–1162
Fax: 703–738–4929
Email: nddic@info.niddk.nih.gov
Internet: www.digestive.niddk.nih.gov

Sources: http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/colonoscopy/index.htm,  http://healthtopics.hcf.com.au/Colonoscopy.aspx

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