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Health & Fitness

Coffee, a Must After Workout

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Drinking coffee after a workout can help refuel muscles and recover quickly from rigorous exercising.

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Glycogen, the muscle’s primary fuel source during exercise, is replenished more rapidly when athletes ingest both carbohydrate and caffeine after rigorous exercise, thus improving their performance.

The researchers found that athletes who ingested caffeine with carbohydrate had 66pct more glycogen in their muscles four hours after finishing intense, glycogen-depleting exercise, compared to when they consumed carbohydrate alone.

“If you have 66% more fuel for the next day’s training or competition, there is absolutely no question you will go farther or faster,” said Dr. Hawley, the study’s senior author.

Despite coffee, caffeine is also present in common foods and beverages, including, tea, chocolate and cola drinks.

The study involved seven well-trained endurance cyclists, wherein they were asked to ride a cycle ergometer until exhaustion, and then consume a low-carbohydrate dinner before going home.

The study was conducted in four sessions. This exercise reduced the athletes’ muscle glycogen stores prior to the experimental trial.

The athletes did not eat again until the next day for the second session, when they again cycled until exhaustion. The participants were given a drink that contained carbohydrate alone or carbohydrate plus caffeine and rested in the laboratory for four hours. Both the processes were repeated 7-10 days later.

The researchers found that one hour after exercise, muscle glycogen levels had been refilled to the same extent whether or not the athlete had the drink containing carbohydrate and caffeine or carbohydrate only.

However, four hours after exercise, the drink containing caffeine resulted in 66 pct higher glycogen levels compared to the carbohydrate-only drink and caffeinated drink resulted in higher levels of blood glucose and plasma insulin.

Several signalling proteins believed to play a role in glucose transport into the muscle also elevated to a greater extent after the athletes ingested the carbohydrate-plus-caffeine drink, compared to the carbohydrate-only drink.

But the researchers warned that athletes who want to incorporate caffeine into their workouts should experiment during training sessions well in advance of an important competition to find out what works for them.

Source: The Times Of India

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News on Health & Science

Coffee Can Lower Stroke Risk for Women

Women who enjoy drinking coffee may be lowering their risk of suffering a stroke, a new study suggests.
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Women who drank five to seven cups of coffee a week were 12% less likely to have a stroke than were those who downed just one cup a month, the study among 83,000 American women revealed.

The survey was carried out over a 24-year period by Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health in Boston and the findings published in the March issue of the journal Circulation.

According to the German experts on stroke prevention in Berlin, the benefit does not appear to come from caffeine. Those who drank tea and other caffeinated drinks did not experience the same reduction in stroke risk, said Martin Grond of the German Stroke Society.

It seems the positive health effects of coffee-drinking come from antioxidants in the beverage which lower inflammation and improve blood vessel function.

Taking into consideration factors such as cigarette and alcohol consumption, researchers found that healthy women who drank two to three cups of normal caffeinated coffee a day had, on average, a 19% lower risk for any kind of stroke than did women who drank less than one cup a month. Drinking four or more cups a day lowered the risk by 20%.

At the same time, the study confirmed that the beneficial effects of coffee only apply to otherwise healthy people. Those with complaints such insomnia, anxiety, high blood pressure and cardiac complications should be aware that coffee consumption was likely to worsen their condition, said Grond.

Sources: The Times Of India

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Herbs & Plants

Rhamnus purshiana (Cascara Sagrada)

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Bnical Name :Rhamnus cathartica
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Rosales
Family: Rhamnaceae
Genus: Rhamnus
Subgenus: Frangula

Synonyms : Cervispina cathartica (L.) Moench,  Frangula purshiana, Rhamnus purshianus

Common Name: Cascara Buckthorn, Cascara, Bearberry, and in the Chinook Jargon, Chittam or Chitticum; Common Buckthorn

Habitat: Cascara sagrada is native to  Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to N. Africa and W. Asia.  It grows in fen peat, scrub, hedges, ash and oak woods, on calcareous often dry soils.
Parts Used:Dried aged bark

Description:

Cascara sagrada is a small deciduous tree that grows from 15-20 feet in height. It has pubescent stems covered with reddish-brown bark and often gray lichen. The tree bears dark green elliptic to oblong-ovate leaves with prominent veins and toothed margins. The leaves are rounded at the base and have somewhat hairy undersides. Short-stemmed clusters of small, greenish-white flowers grow from the upper leaf axils; they eventually produce black, pea-sized drupes that are poisonous.

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The bark is brownish to silver-grey with light splotching. The leaves are deciduous, alternate, clustered near the ends of twigs; they are oval, 5–15 cm long and 2–5 cm broad with a 0.6–2 cm petiole, dark shiny green on top, fuzzy and paler green below. The flowers are tiny, 4–5 mm diameter, with five greenish yellow petals; the flowering season is brief, disappearing by early summer. The fruit is a berry 6–10 mm diameter, bright red at first, quickly maturing deep purple or black, and containing three seeds.

It grows in moist, acidic soils in the shady side of clearings or in the marginal forest understory, near the edges of mixed deciduous-coniferous forests. It typically grows as a second-generation tree after alders have colonized a barren plot of land.

Cultivation:
Succeeds in any reasonably good soil. Prefers a dry or moist calcareous soil in sun or light dappled shade. This species is hardy to at least -15°c. Plants regenerate well after cutting or burning but young plants are rather prone to frost damage when grown in an exposed position. Plants are resistant to cattle grazing but young plants can be damaged by rabbits. Plants have a very shallow root system. This species often bears the aecidospore stage of ‘crown rust’ of oats so it should not be grown near cereals. The species in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. A good bee plant and a main food plant for the brimstone butterfly. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Propagation :
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed will require 1 – 2 months stratification at 5°c and should be sown as early in the year as possible in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle, and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Cuttings of mature wood of the current year’s growth, autumn in a frame. Layering in early spring.

Medicinal Uses:Constipation, Colon Disorders, Liver Problems, Poor Digestion, Colitis, Hemorrhoids, Skin Problems.
The dried, aged bark of this tree has been used continually for at least 1,000 years by both native and immigrant Americans as a laxative natural medicine, commercially called “Cascara Sagrada“, but old timers call it “chitticum bark”.

Cascara is a very effective laxative, containing hydroxymethyl anthraquinones that cause peristalsis of the large intestine, emodin and other rhamnoid glycosides. It has been used as such by many First Nations groups. For example, Cascara bark tea was drunk as a laxative by Nuxalk, Coast Salish, Nuu-chah-hulth, and Kwakwakawakw, and a decoction of the inner bark and water was used as a remedy for dysentery. The bark is often aged before use so it will be less likely to cause nausea. First introduced to Europe in 1877, about 3 million pounds of the bark is harvested annually for use in commercial laxatives.  Squaxin used a Cascara infusion to wash sores–sometimes people chewed the bark and then spit it on sores. The bark has also been used to treat heart strain, internal strains, and biliousness. Skagit people burn the bark and mix the charcoal with grease to rub on swellings, and also have employed the bark in a green dye for mountain goat wool. Makah eat the fresh berries in July and August. Internally used for chronic constipation, colitis, digestive complaints, hemorrhoids, liver problems, and jaundice.  It is a medium-strength laxative and somewhat weaker than Rhubarb root and Senna leaf.   Externally used to deter nail biting.

Cascara Sagrada means “sacred bark” in Spanish. The much more pertinent name chitticum means “shit come” in Chinook Jargon; chittam comes from the Chinook Jargon phrase chittam stick = “laxative tree” which is similarly from the English word “shit”.

The bark is harvested mostly from wild trees; over-harvesting in the middle 1900s eliminated mature trees near many settled areas. Once stripped from the tree, the bark is aged for about 1 year to make its effect milder. Fresh cut, dried bark causes vomiting and violent diarrhea.

Short term side effects of Cascara Sagrada herb:
A medline search did not reveal any significant short term cascara sagrada side effects as long as it is not used for more than a week or two at a time without a break. It is best to avoid cascara sagrada if you have a chronic intestinal condition such as ulcerative colitis, or diverticular disease.

Long term cascara sagrada side effects:
When cascara sagrada or other anthraquinone containing plants are used for prolonged periods, potentially serious side effects can occur. These cascara sagrada side effects may include cramping in the abdomen and loss of body fluids. Dark pigmentation in the colon can occur and this is called melanosis coli.

Cascara Sagrada Research Update:
Colon cleansing regimens. A clinical study in 1200 patients.
Gastrointest Radiol. 1982;7(4):383-9
The purgative effect of bisacodyl, anthraquinone glycosides ( Cascara sagrada ), and sodium picosulfate, alone or in combination with a saline purge and a tap water enema, was studied in 1200 patients. The cleansing effect was scored with regard to retained fecal residue evident on double-contrast studies of the colon. The combination of a contact laxative and a saline purge produced good cleansing effect in 52%-80% of the patients. With an additional tap water enema given 1 hour before the colon examination, however, 96% of the colons were clean. The taste and the effects of the cleansing systems were tolerated favorably by more than 90% of the patients. However, 17% reported restriction in work capacity on the day of bowel cleansing.

Other Uses:
Dye; Hedge; Hedge; Wood.

A green dye is obtained from the immature fruit. Mixed with gum arabic and limewater, it makes a green pigment used in watercolour painting. Yellow, orange and brownish dyes can also be obtained. The colours are rich but fugitive. A yellow dye is obtained from the bark. It has been used to colour paper and maps. Often grown as an informal hedge, it is also amenable to trimming. Wood – hard, handsome with a marble-like grain. Used for small turnery.

Known Hazards: The fruit is purgative but not seriously poisonous. Other parts of the plant may also be poisonous. Adverse effects: Diarrhoea, weakness. Urine may turn dark yellow or red which is harmless. Possible body potassium loss if used for more than 10 consecutive days

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/Rhamnus_purshiana
http://www.raysahelian.com/cascarasagrada.html
http://www.springboard4health.com/notebook/herbs_cascara_sagrada.html

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rhamnus+cathartica

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Ailmemts & Remedies

Endometriosis

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Many women suffer from the pain and heavy bleeding of endometriosis. In the past, they often were told their complaints were “just cramps” or “all in your head”. Today, doctors take this condition more seriously, but conventional medicine offers little to ease its symptoms.

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Symptoms

*Intense menstrual cramps that begin before your period starts and reach their peak after it ends.
*Abnormally heavy menstrual bleeding, often with large clots.
*Nausea and vomiting just before a menstrual period.
*Sharp pain during sexual intercourse at any time of the month.
*Diarrhea, constipation, or pain during bowel movements.
*Blood in the stool or urine during menstrual period.
*Infertility.

When to Call Your Doctor

If you have any of the above symptoms.
Reminder: If you have a medical condition, talk to your doctor before taking supplements.

What It Is

In endometriosis, bits of the uterine lining (endometrium) migrate out of the uterus and embed themselves in other abdominal tissues, often the ovaries, uterine ligaments, or intestines. Each month, as estrogen and other hormones cause the lining of the uterus to thicken with blood, the wayward cells also expand. The uterine tissues then slough off normally. But the stray cells have nowhere to release the blood they’ve amassed, leading to cysts, scarring, or adhesions (fibrous tissue that binds parts of the body that are normally not attached to each other). Although not all women with endometriosis have symptoms, the condition can cause severe pain. Endometriosis is a leading cause of female infertility.

What Causes It

No one knows why endometriosis develops, but speculation abounds. According to the reflux menstruation theory, menstrual blood travels backward through the fallopian tubes, funneling endometrial cells into other abdominal areas where they seed and grow. Another hypothesis suggests that endometriosis is congenital — meaning that some endometrial cells have been outside the uterus since birth. Still another idea is that endometriosis is caused by a faulty immune system, which neglects to destroy the out-of-place cells.

How Supplements Can Help

All of the supplements listed can be used together and with any medications prescribed by your doctor. Begin by taking the traditional combination of chasteberry and dong quai. These herbs aid in correcting the hormonal imbalances that can intensify the pain of endometriosis. They also relax the uterus, as does wild yam. In addition, take a lipotropic combination, which stimulates the liver to clear excess estrogen from the body. Use these supplements throughout your menstrual cycle for best results. If menstrual cramps are painful, take the high doses of calcium and magnesium listed, but only during your period. These minerals help to lower the body’s production of prostaglandins, substances made by endometrial cells that cause menstrual cramps.

What Else You Can Do

Eat soy products, which contain phytoestrogens (plant estrogens) that may offset the effect of estrogen on symptoms of endometriosis.
Exercise. In several studies, it has been shown to suppress symptoms and may actually prevent endometriosis.

Supplement Recommendations

Chasteberry
Dong Quai
Wild Yam
Lipotropic Combination
Calcium/Magnesium
Vitamin C
Vitamin E
Flaxseed Oil
Evening Primrose Oil

Chasteberry
Dosage: 225 mg standardized extract 3 times a day.
Comments: Also called vitex. Should contain 0.5% agnuside.

Dong Quai
Dosage: 200 mg, or 30 drops tincture, 3 times a day.
Comments: Standardized to contain 0.8%-1.1% ligustilide.

Wild Yam
Dosage: 500 mg twice a day.
Comments: Take with food to minimize stomach upset.

Lipotropic Combination
Dosage: 1 or 2 pills 3 times a day.
Comments: Should contain milk thistle, choline, inositol, methionine, dandelion, and other ingredients.

Calcium/Magnesium
Dosage: 500 mg calcium 4 times a day; 500 mg magnesium twice a day.
Comments: Use this dose only during menstruation.

Vitamin C
Dosage: 1,000 mg 3 times a day.
Comments: Reduce dose if diarrhea develops.

Vitamin E
Dosage: 400 IU twice a day.
Comments: Check with your doctor if taking anticoagulant drugs.

Flaxseed Oil
Dosage: 1 tbsp. (14 grams) a day.
Comments: Can be mixed with food; take in the morning.

Evening Primrose Oil
Dosage: 1,000 mg 3 times a day.
Comments: Can substitute 1,000 mg borage oil once a day.

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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.

Source:Your Guide to Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbs(Reader’s Digest)

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Healthy Tips

Hot and Cold compress

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Hot and Cold compress is very good treatment for treating different kinds of pain in different parts of body.

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Let us see  what Is a Compress?
Hot and cold compresses can either be store-bought or homemade—which one  we choose is simply a matter of convenience. A cold compresses can be anything from gel packs that are placed in the freezer, to ice-wrapped in a clean cloth or a plain old bag of frozen corn. Heat compresses  can be applied in many kinds or forms such as hot water, hot towel heating pads, deep heating rubs, microwavable gel packs and ultrasound.

Hot compress is the application of heat to any part of the body to relieve certain kinds of pain.  All of these tools can help in applying hot compress to  affected part of our body. On the other hand  cold compress  can also relieve pain. Cold compress can reduce both swelling and pain in the affected area of the body. In cases such as pulled muscles and strains cold compress is very useful.

The Hot Compress
A hot compress is normally recommended for chronic conditions such as tight muscles, menstrual cramps and arthritic pain. A  hot compress provides “heat therapy” which helps to reduce muscle spasms and is applied as often as needed. But heat therapy is only applied to the affected area for short periods of time—usually no more than 20 minutes.

Two Compresses, One Injury
There are times when it is necessary to use both hot and cold compression on a single soft-tissue injury. The most important thing to remember about any soft-tissue injury is that in order for it to heal, swelling must be relieved.  Cold compress will help reduce the pain and inflammation associated with soft-tissue injuries and should be utilized for the first 72 hours after the injury occurs. A heat compress is then applied after 72 hours (only if swelling has subsided) to promote blood flow and induce proper healing.

Both of these treatments can only offer short term relief but it is very helpful for people who are experiencing different kind of pain. Sometimes pains can occur many times and these treatments can eliminate the pain quickly. Continuous application of hot and cold compress can increase blood circulation that can result in good health. The required time for this hot and cold compress is only 20 minutes, but it can be used more often if needed until swelling and pain diminish.

Hot and cold compresses can both shock the tissues and the blood vessels on the affected area due to sudden change of temperature. The affected part will be flooded by more white blood cells to fight the infection. But in this process, the circulation of the blood’s red cells in the affected area is blocked by the white blood cells. As  we all know, red blood cells carry oxygen that is needed for the normal functioning of each cell. In this case, accumulation of spasms spread through the other parts of the body especially through the leg area. The application of hot and cold compresses can increase blood circulations that carry the oxygen. The hot and cold sensation relaxes the nerves that can trigger the pain signal to the brain.

Hot and cold compresses are both very beneficial if they are used properly on the affected area. It is better to always consult a doctor to accompany the treatment with medication for faster treatment of any pain. Hot and cold are both needed for the body to maintain its normal functions. Homeostasis inside the body is maintained by the equilibrium of hot and cold temperature.

 Warnings
It is important to note that hot and cold compression should never be used on open wounds, nor should either type of compression be used by individuals with circulatory problems without a doctor’s consent. Heating pads should never be used “hot,” despite their name. A pad that is simply warm to the touch should be sufficient. It is also important to remember never to fall asleep while using a heating pad, because serious burns can occur.   Hot and cold compresses should never be applied directly to the skin. A physician should be notified if swelling persists or if there is no sign of reduced inflammation after 72 hours.

Resources:
http://www.ehow.com/about_5542216_hot-cold-compresses.html

Hot and Cold Compression Therapy

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