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Ficus carica

Botanical Name: Ficus carica
Family:    Moraceae
Tribe:    Ficeae
Genus:    Ficus
Subgenus:Ficus
Species:    F. carica
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:    Rosales

Common Name : Common fig  or simply  Fig

Habitat: Ficus carica is  native to the Middle East and western Asia, it has been sought out and cultivated since ancient times, and is now widely grown throughout the temperate world, both for its fruit and as an ornamental plant.

Description:
Ficus carica is a gynodioecious (functionally dioecious),deciduous tree or large shrub, growing to a height of  10.00 to 20.00 feet and Spread  10.00 to 20.00 feet with smooth white bark. Its fragrant leaves are 12–25 centimetres (4.7–9.8 in) long and 10–18 centimetres (3.9–7.1 in) across, and deeply lobed with three or five lobes. The complex inflorescence consists of a hollow fleshy structure called the syconium, which is lined with numerous unisexual flowers. The flower itself is not visible outwardly, as it blooms inside the infructescence. Although commonly referred to as a fruit, the fig is actually the infructescence or scion of the tree, known as a false fruit or multiple fruit, in which the flowers and seeds are borne. It is a hollow-ended stem containing many flowers. The small orifice (ostiole) visible on the middle of the fruit is a narrow passage, which allows the specialized fig wasp Blastophaga psenes to enter the fruit and pollinate the flower, whereafter the fruit grows seeds.  Fig pollination and fig fruit.

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Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: Green
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Flower: Insignificant
Fruit: Showy, Edible

The edible fruit consists of the mature syconium containing numerous one-seeded fruits (druplets). The fruit is 3–5 centimetres (1.2–2.0 in) long, with a green skin, sometimes ripening towards purple or brown. Ficus carica has milky sap (laticifer). The sap of the fig’s green parts is an irritant to human skin.

Cultivation:
The common fig is grown for its edible fruit throughout the temperate world. It is also grown as an ornamental tree, and the cultivar ‘Brown Turkey’ has gained the Royal Horticultural Society‘s Award of Garden Merit.

Figs can be found in continental climates with hot summers as far north as Hungary and Moravia, and can be harvested up to four times per year. Thousands of cultivars, most named, have been developed as human migration brought the fig to many places outside its natural range.

Two crops of figs are potentially produced each year. The first or breba crop develops in the spring on last year’s shoot growth. In contrast, the main fig crop develops on the current year’s shoot growth and ripens in the late summer or fall. The main crop is generally superior in both quantity and quality to the breba crop. However, some cultivars produce good breba crops (e.g., ‘Black Mission’, ‘Croisic’, and ‘Ventura’).

There are basically three types of edible figs:
*Persistent (or common) figs have all female flowers that do not need pollination for fruiting; the fruit can develop through parthenocarpic means. This is a popular horticulture fig for home gardeners. Dottato (Kadota), Black Mission, Brown Turkey, Brunswick, and Celeste are some representative cultivars.

*Caducous (or Smyrna) figs require cross pollination by the fig wasp with pollen from caprifigs for the fruit to mature. If not pollinated the immature fruits drop. Some cultivars are Smyrne (Lob Incir in Turkey) – (Calimyrna in the Great Central Valley USA), Marabout, Inchàrio, and Zidi.

*Intermediate (or San Pedro) figs set an unpollinated breba crop, but need pollination for the later main crop. Examples are Lampeira, King, and San Pedro.
The fig likes dry sunny sites, the soil dry or drained. Excessive growth has to be limited to promote the fruiting. It thrives in both sandy and rocky soil. As the sun is really important it is better to avoid shades. Some varieties are more adapted to harsh and wet climates.

Propagation:
Figs plants are easy to propagate through several methods. Propagation using seeds is not the preferred method since vegetative methods exist that are quicker and more reliable, that is, they do not yield the inedible caprifigs. However, those desiring to can plant seeds of dried figs with moist sphagnum moss or other media in a zip lock bag and expect germination in a few weeks to several months. The tiny plants can be transplanted out little by little once the leaves open, and despite the tiny initial size can grow to 1 foot (30 cm) or more within one year from planting seeds.

Edible Uses:
Figs can be eaten fresh or dried, and used in jam-making. Most commercial production is in dried or otherwise processed forms, since the ripe fruit does not transport well, and once picked does not keep well. The widely produced fig newton or fig roll is a biscuit (cookie) with a filling made from figs.

Nutrition value and phytochemicals:
Dried figs are a rich source (> 20% of the Daily Value, DV) of dietary fiber and the essential mineral, manganese, while vitamin K and numerous other minerals are in moderate content (USDA, right table).

Figs contain diverse phytochemicals, including polyphenols such as gallic acid, chlorogenic acid, syringic acid, (+)-catechin, (?)-epicatechin and rutin

Medicinal Uses:
Ficus carica L. (Moraceae), its wide variety of chemical constituents, its use in traditional medicine as remedies for many health problems, and its biological activities. The plant has been used traditionally to treat various ailments such as gastric problems, inflammation, and cancer. Phytochemical studies on the leaves and fruits of the plant have shown that they are rich in phenolics, organic acids, and volatile compounds. However, there is little information on the phytochemicals present in the stem and root. Reports on the biological activities of the plant are mainly on its crude extracts which have been proven to possess many biological activities. Some of the most interesting therapeutic effects include anticancer, hepatoprotective, hypoglycemic, hypolipidemic, and antimicrobial activities. Thus, studies related to identification of the bioactive compounds and correlating them to their biological activities are very useful for further research to explore the potential of F. carica as a source of therapeutic agents.

Figs are used for their mild, laxative action, and are employed in the preparation of laxative confections and syrups, usually with senna and carminatives. It is considered that the laxative property resides in the saccharine juice of the fresh fruit and in the dried fruit is probably due to the indigestible seeds and skin. The three preparations of Fig of the British Pharmacopoeia are Syrup of Figs, a mild laxative, suitable for administration to children; Aromatie Syrup of Figs, Elixir of Figs, or Sweet Essence of Figs, an excellent laxative for children and delicate persons, is compounded of compound tincture of rhubarb, liquid extract of senna, compound spirit of orange, liquid extract of cascara and Syrup of Figs. The Compound Syrup of Figs is a stronger preparation, composed of liquid extract of senna, syrup of rhubarb and Syrup of Figs, and is more suitable for adults.

Figs are demulcent as well as nutritive. Demulcent decoctions are prepared from them and employed in the treatment of catarrhal affections of the nose and throat.

Roasted and split into two portions, the soft pulpy interior of Figs may be applied as emolient poultices to gumboils, dental abscesses and other circumscribed maturating tumours. They were used by Hezekiah as a remedy for boils 2,400 years ago (Isaiah xxxviii. 21).

The milky juice of the freshly-broken stalk of a Fig has been found to remove warts on the body. When applied, a slightly inflamed area appears round the wart, which then shrivels and falls off. The milky juice of the stems and leaves is very acrid and has been used in some countries for raising blisters.

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/Common_fig
http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=c944
http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2013/974256/
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/f/figcom12.html

Ear Health

Waxy ears:
One of the most common complaints seen by GPs is a blocked ear, usually caused by wax that has been pushed into the ear by a cotton bud.
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As well as the blocked sensation, waxy ears can reduce hearing, cause a ringing sound (tinnitus) and, occasionally, pain.
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There’s no need to clean your ears with a cotton bud. The ear has its own internal cleaning mechanism. Fats and oils in the ear canal trap any particles and transport them out of the ear as wax. This falls out of the ear without us noticing.

When we try to clean the ear, this wax gets pushed back and compacted. There’s also no need to dry ears with a towel, cotton buds or tissue paper. Let them dry naturally or gently use a hair-drier on low heat.

Olive oil can help to soften the wax and enable it to come out. Apply two drops in each ear twice a day. Wax-softening drops can also be bought from a pharmacist.

Sometimes, the wax needs to be syringed out by a GP or practice nurse.

Itchy ears:-
These can be irritating, and when ears are affected with eczema or psoriasis they can cause constant discomfort. But scratching or poking damages the ear’s sensitive lining, allowing infection in, called otitis externa.

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The immune system normally responds to harmful substances such as bacteria, viruses and toxins by producing symptoms such as runny nose and congestion, post-nasal drip and sore throat, and itchy ears and eyes. An allergic reaction can produce the same symptoms in response to substances that are generally harmless, like dust, dander or pollen. The sensitized immune system produces antibodies to these allergens, which cause chemicals called histamines to be released into the bloodstream, causing itching, swelling of affected tissues, mucus production, hives, rashes, and other symptoms. Symptoms vary in severity from person to person.

This can also happen when ears gets waterlogged through swimming. The ear canal swells, becoming narrow and painful. Hearing becomes a problem and discharge often appears.

Treatment requires antibiotic drops and strong painkillers. In severe cases, the ear needs to be cleaned by an ear specialist.

Piercing:-
Anything that damages the skin can allow infection in. This is often the case with ear piercing, especially when the skin isn’t cared for properly during or after the piercing. Follow care advice carefully.
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Many people are allergic to certain inexpensive metals, such as nickel, which can make the outside of the ear swell and feel uncomfortable.

Sunburn:-
The tops of the ears are exposed to the sun and sensitive to its harmful UV rays. Skin cancer affects ears, too.

Make sure you apply suncream and wear a hat that keeps your ears in the shade.

You may click to see :Herbal Remedies For Ear Infections

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.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/ears1.shtml
http://www.qualityhealth.com/health-encyclopedia/multimedia/foreign-object-ear
http://www.urgentcarect.com/Services.aspx
http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2007/08/01/health/adam/19316Allergysymptoms.html
http://thebeautybrains.com/2009/11/15/what-should-i-do-about-my-ear-infection/

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Wild Indigo (Baptisia lactea)

Botanical Name : Baptisia lactea
Family :               Leguminosae
Genus : Baptisia
Synonyms : Baptisia alba macrophylla – (Larisey.)Isely., Baptisia leucanthaTorr.&A.Gray.

Habitat: Range South-eastern N. America .   Sandy pine woods, prairies and river banks.

Description:
It is a Perennial  upright bushy plant with attractive foliage. White blossoms are arranged in long erect plumes. Seed heads turn a deep indigo color providing winter interest.

Upright bushy plants with attractive foliage. White blossoms are arranged in long erect plumes. Seed heads turn a deep indigo color providing winter interest.

Height: 2-4′

Color: Flowers white with purple splotches

Flowering Time: June

Habitat: Moderate light. Mesic to moist soils.

Rate of Spread: Slow Propagation:

Seed: Collect Sept.-Oct. Clean seeds to avoid insect damage. 3-month stratification, scarification increases germination. Darker seeds germinate better than yellow seeds. Plant spring.

Vegetative: Division in fall, but difficult. Transplant seedlings at two years in spring.

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Miscellaneous: Formerly Baptisia leucantha
It is hardy to zone 5. It is in flower in May. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)It can fix Nitrogen.
The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid and neutral soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires moist soil.

Cultivation :
Prefers a deep, well-drained neutral to slightly acid soil in full sun[188, 200]. Grows freely in a loamy soil[1]. Plants are hardy to about -20°c. Some modern works treat this species as a variety of B. alba, naming it Baptisia alba macrophylla. Somewhat shy flowering in British gardens. Plants have a very deep root system and dislike root disturbance, they should be left alone once they are established. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby.

Propagation:

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed should be pre-soaked for 24 hours in warm water and then sown in a cold frame in late winter or early spring. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer or following spring. Division in spring[188]. Larger divisions can be planted straight into their permanent positions whilst smaller clumps are best potted up and kept in a cold frame until they are growing away well.

Medicinal Actions &  Uses
Cathartic; Emetic; Laxative.

Known Hazards : The plant is potentially toxic.

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://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Baptisia+lactea
http://www.webresults.net/gardener/index.htm
http://www.inhs.illinois.edu/animals_plants/plants/ilgallery/ThePlants/BGenera/BapLac/BapLac.htmlhttp://www.stonesiloprairie.com/catalog/i74.html

http://www.inhs.illinois.edu/animals_plants/plants/ilgallery/ThePlants/BGenera/BapLac/BapLac.html

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Going for Gold

Gold shimmers, attracts and has always been relatively expensive. This led people to believe that it must have mystical curative properties. Gold therapy was popular. It was given for arthritis, psoriasis, asthma and sexually transmitted diseases in the form of orally administered gold salts. It was and is still used in several ancient systems of medicine.Gold therapy is effective in rheumatoid arthritis

Eventually, as scientific evidence-based medicine gained popularity, the use of gold fell into disrepute. It did not work in all forms of arthritis. It had no effect on some of the other diseases mentioned. In fact, unless the dosage was carefully controlled, gold accumulated in the body and produced itching, skin pigmentation, pneumonia, jaundice and kidney failure. Today, however, the use of gold has resurged and it is effective when used in rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Some 10 million Indians, 70 per cent of whom are women between the ages 30 and 50, are affected by RA. The disease strikes suddenly; an active person unexpectedly develops excruciating pain and is unable to move. The joints are affected symmetrically on both sides of the body, with the smaller ones in the hands and feet affected first. There is redness, swelling and pain. The person often has other vague accompanying symptoms like low-grade fever, loss of weight, tiredness and some nodular swellings under the skin.

For some strange reason, in these individuals, the immune system goes haywire. The white blood cells (responsible for attacking foreign particles like disease-causing bacteria and viruses) focus on the synovial membrane lining the joints instead. The synovium responds by becoming inflamed and thickened. It damages, distorts and destroys the bone and cartilage. Eventually, the joint loses its shape, becomes misaligned and may be destroyed.

A viral or bacterial infection may precipitate the arthritis. There may be a familial predisposition. Some of these individuals carry the HLA DR4 gene. The precipitating factors are not consistent. The disease probably occurs in genetically predisposed individuals when the correct mix of environmental and lifestyle factors occur. In most people no cause can be found.

RA cannot be confirmed on the basis of a single blood test. The diagnosis is suspected based on the clinical features. Blood tests showing anaemia, a high ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate), a positive rheumatoid factor and positive anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP) antibodies help support the diagnosis.

The diagnosis has to be differentiated from osteoarthritis (OA), a distinctly different disease which occurs asymmetrically in the large joints of older individuals. The treatment of OA is also quite different.

Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis is a challenge. Before the advent of newer medication the disease eventually left its sufferers crippled and confined to wheelchairs. The disease itself tends to wax and wane inexplicably, with many exacerbations and remissions, requiring a lifetime of pain and mobility management. Today, a holistic approach has been found to work best. Rest is advocated during the exacerbations. Activity is graded and slowly increased during periods of remission. In addition to traditional physiotherapy, yoga and Tai-Chi exercises help to keep the joints supple and mobile.

External applications of capsaicin-containing ointments provide efficacious counter irritation (Capsaicin is a chemical found in green peppers or capsicum). This can be combined with alternating heat and cold therapy. Splints can be used to keep the joints aligned and reduce pain.

Effective medication is now available. This belongs to several groups, like the non steroidal anti inflammatory agents (NSAIDs), disease modifying anti rheumatic drugs (DMARDs), steroids, immunosuppressive drugs and “newer” medication like leflunomide. The drugs take a minimum of two weeks to act. Dosages have to be slowly increased to the maximum permissible and tolerated level before adding new medicines and switching drugs.

Gold compounds do slow the progression of RA. They are usually given in increasing weekly increments keeping a tab on the total quantity administered. This means that the maximum permissible amount (1gm) is not exceeded. The dose then has to be tapered. A careful watch has to be kept for serious side effects like bone marrow suppression, kidney and renal failure.

Unfortunately, gold is being widely unethically advertised and administered to unsuspecting patients for the treatment of all kinds of arthritis and even to curb the vague aches and pains of ageing. These “health supplements” contain unregulated quantities of the metal in capsules or as a thick syrup. Sometimes extra gold is added for the wealthy. The presence of the gold maybe disguised and called by derivatives of the Latin name “aurium” or the Hindi “sona”.

Eventually slow undiagnosed fatal toxicity or reactions with other medication can occur.

Check all medication before using it. Do not “go for gold” without asking your doctor.

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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Female Sterility

As you know, the union of sperm and ovum and the implantation of the foetus in the wall of the uterus leads to pregnancy. For its proper development, the foetus needs adequate and correct nourishment – provided through the mother’s umbilical chord. The mother therefore should be free from disease during the entire period of pregnancy – through conception and gestation. Sterility in females is thus a result of either the impairment of the ovary, uterus, fallopian tubes, or hormones controlling the functions of these organs as well as diseases suffered by the would-be mother…..CLICK & SEE

Defects in the genital organs may be structural (organic) or functional. To correct the organic defects, surgical measures have to be taken. Functional defects of the organs, termed bandbyatva in Ayurveda and caused by the simultaneous aggravation of all the three doshas, can be successfully treated by Ayurvedic medicines.

Herbal Remedies

Phala ghrita

Very effective in the treatment of this condition. Mixed with milk, it is given to the patient in a dose of two teaspoonfuls twice daily on an empty stomach. Vanga Bhasma is the medicine of choice for the treatment of this condition – given to the patient in a dose of 0.125 gm. twice daily, mixed with honey. Shilajeet is one of the most effective drugs for the cure of sterility. In a dose of one teaspoonful, twice daily.

Bala (Sida cordifolia)

Used both locally and internally. The root of this plant is boiled in oil and milk. It is used with lukewarm water as a douche. Nis brings about a change in the mucous membrane of the genital tract that aids the effective combination of ovum and sperm in the uterus. This medicated oil is also used internally in a dose of one teaspoonful in the morning with a cup of milk.

Banyan Roots :..

The tender roots of the banyan tree are one of the valuable remedies found beneficial in the treatment of female sterility where there are no organic defects or congenital deformities. The roots should be dried in the shade and finely powdered. About 20gms of powder should be mixed with milk, which should be five times the weight of the powder, and taken at night – for three consecutive nights after the monthly periods are over.

 

Jambul Leaves :

An infusion of the fresh tender leaves of the jambul tree is an excellent remedy in such cases. The infusion can be prepared by pouring 250ml of boiling water over 20gms of fresh jambul leaves and allowing it to steep for two hour. The infusion can be taken with either two-teaspoonfuls of honey or 200 ml of buttermilk.

Winter Cherry :…...CLICK & SEE

This herb is another valuable and helpful remedy. The herb should be powdered and six grams of this powder should be taken with one cup of milk for five to six nights after menstruation.

Certain nutrients, especially vitamins C & E and zinc, when supplemented into the diet have been found helpful in some cases of sterility.

Healing Options :

Ayurvedic Supplements: 1. Vita-ex Gold 2.Supari Pak 3. Shilajeet 4. Sundari Kalp Forte

Diet: Alkaline and pungent food should not be taken by person suffering from sterility. They should be given fruits and sweet things in large quantity.

Lifestyle : The bowels should be cleansed by a warm-water enema during the period of fasting and afterwards when necessary. Excessive fat often results in sterility. In such cases weight should be reduced of diet and through exercise.

Yoga : Cobra (Bhujanga Asana) 2.Vajrasana

Home Remedies

Infertility Secrets

Natural advice to cure Female Sterility

Herbal remedy

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:Allayurveda.com

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