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Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Rhus sempervirens

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Botanical Name:Rhus sempervirens
Family:Anacardiaceae
Genus:Sumaker
Division: vascular plants
Class: Dicotyledonous angiosperms
Order:Sapindales

Synonyms: Toxicodendron sempervirens Kuntze, Schmaltzia pachyrrhachis ( Hemsl. ) FA
Habitat :Rhus sempervirens is native to Southern N. America – Texas, New Mexico and Mexico. It grows on dry slopes, rocky hillsides and cliffs, 600 – 2250 metres.
Description:
Rhus sempervirens is an evergreen Shrub growing to 3.5 m (11ft 6in). It is frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan. It is in flower from Jul to August, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by Bees.The plant is not self-fertile.
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Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Cultivation:
We have very little information on the hardiness of this species and do not know if it will succeed outdoors in Britain. It is unlikely to succeed anywhere outside the mildest areas of the country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Succeeds in a well-drained fertile soil in full sun. The young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. Plants have brittle branches and these can be broken off in strong winds. Plants are also susceptible to coral spot fungus. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. Many of the species in this genus are highly toxic and can also cause severe irritation to the skin of some people, whilst other species such as this one are not poisonous. It is relatively simple to distinguish which is which, the poisonous species have axillary panicles and smooth fruits whilst non-poisonous species have compound terminal panicles and fruits covered with acid crimson hairs. The toxic species are sometimes separated into their own genus, Toxicodendron, by some botanists. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Propagation :
Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in hot water (starting at a temperature of 80 – 90c and allowing it to cool) prior to sowing in order to leach out any germination inhibitors[200]. This soak water can be drunk and has a delicious lemon-flavour. The stored seed also needs hot water treatment and can be sown in early spring in a cold frame[200]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame[200]. Root cuttings 4cm long taken in December and potted up vertically in a greenhouse. Good percentage[78, 200]. Suckers in late autumn to winter

Edible Uses:

Fruit – raw or cooked. The fruit is small with very little flesh, but it is produced in fairly large panicles and so is easily harvested. When soaked for 10 – 30 minutes in hot or cold water it makes a very refreshing lemonade-like drink (without any fizz of course). The mixture should not be boiled since this will release tannic acids and make the drink astringent.
Medicinal Uses:
The leaves are used in domestic medicine for relieving asthma. Some caution is advised in the use of the leaves and stems of this plant, see the notes below on toxicity.

Other Uses:
Dye; Mordant; Oil.
An oil is extracted from the seeds. It attains a tallow-like consistency on standing and is used to make candles. These burn brilliantly, though they emit a pungent smoke. The leaves are rich in tannin. They can be collected as they fall in the autumn and used as a brown dye or as a mordant.

Known Hazards:There are some suggestions that the sap of this species can cause a skin rash in susceptible people, but this has not been substantiated. See also notes in ‘Cultivation Details’.
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/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rhus+sempervirens
https://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhus_virens

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Categories
Ailmemts & Remedies

Epstein-Barr infection

Description: The Epstein-Barr virus, also called EBV, is an extremely common virus that infects most people at one time or another during their lifetimes. There are several forms of Epstein–Barr virus infection. Infectious mononucleosis, nasopharyngeal carcinoma, and Burkitt’s lymphoma can all be caused by the Epstein–Barr virus.

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It is best known as the cause of infectious mononucleosis (glandular fever). It is also associated with particular forms of cancer, such as Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Burkitt’s lymphoma, nasopharyngeal carcinoma, and conditions associated with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), such as hairy leukoplakia and central nervous system lymphomas. There is evidence that infection with the virus is associated with a higher risk of certain autoimmune diseases, especially dermatomyositis, systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren’s syndrome, and multiple sclerosis.

Infection with EBV occurs by the oral transfer of saliva and genital secretions.

Most people become infected with EBV and gain adaptive immunity. In the United States, about half of all five-year-old children and 90 to 95 percent of adults have evidence of previous infection. Infants become susceptible to EBV as soon as maternal antibody protection disappears. Many children become infected with EBV, and these infections usually cause no symptoms or are indistinguishable from the other mild, brief illnesses of childhood. In the United States and other developed countries, many people are not infected with EBV in their childhood years. When infection with EBV occurs during adolescence, it causes infectious mononucleosis 35 to 50 percent of the time.

EBV infects B cells of the immune system and epithelial cells. Once the virus’s initial lytic infection is brought under control, EBV latently persists in the individual’s B cells for the rest of the individual’s life.

Symptoms:
Epstein-Barr virus infection generally causes a minor cold-like or flu-like illness, but, in some cases, there may be no symptoms of infection.Initial symptoms of infectious mononucleosis are fever, sore throat, and swollen lymph glands. Sometimes, a swollen spleen or liver involvement may develop. Heart problems or involvement of the central nervous system occurs only rarely, and infectious mononucleosis is almost never fatal. There are no known associations between active EBV infection and problems during pregnancy, such as miscarriages or birth defects. Although the symptoms of infectious mononucleosis usually resolve in 1 or 2 months, EBV remains dormant or latent in a few cells in the throat and blood for the rest of the person’s life. Periodically, the virus can reactivate and is commonly found in the saliva of infected persons. Reactivated and post-latent virus may pass the placental barrier in (also seropositive) pregnant women via macrophages and therefore can infect the fetus. Also re-infection of prior seropositive individuals may occur. In contrast, reactivation in adults usually occurs without symptoms of illness.

EBV also establishes a lifelong dormant infection in some cells of the body’s immune system. A late event in a very few carriers of this virus is the emergence of Burkitt’s lymphoma and nasopharyngeal carcinoma, two rare cancers. EBV appears to play an important role in these malignancies, but is probably not the sole cause of disease.

Most individuals exposed to people with infectious mononucleosis have previously been infected with EBV and are not at risk for infectious mononucleosis. In addition, transmission of EBV requires intimate contact with the saliva (found in the mouth) of an infected person. Transmission of this virus through the air or blood does not normally occur. The incubation period, or the time from infection to appearance of symptoms, ranges from 4 to 6 weeks. Persons with infectious mononucleosis may be able to spread the infection to others for a period of weeks. However, no special precautions or isolation procedures are recommended, since the virus is also found frequently in the saliva of healthy people. In fact, many healthy people can carry and spread the virus intermittently for life. These people are usually the primary reservoir for person-to-person transmission. For this reason, transmission of the virus is almost impossible to prevent.

The clinical diagnosis of infectious mononucleosis is suggested on the basis of the symptoms of fever, sore throat, swollen lymph glands, and the age of the patient. Usually, laboratory tests are needed for confirmation. Serologic results for persons with infectious mononucleosis include an elevated white blood cell count, an increased percentage of certain atypical white blood cells, and a positive reaction to a “mono spot” test.
Causes:
Epstein–Barr can cause infectious mononucleosis, also known as ‘glandular fever’, ‘Mono‘ and ‘Pfeiffer’s disease’. Infectious mononucleosis is caused when a person is first exposed to the virus during or after adolescence. Though once deemed “The Kissing Disease,” recent research has shown that transmission of EBV not only occurs from exchanging saliva, but also from contact with the airborne virus. It is predominantly found in the developing world, and most children in the developing world are found to have already been infected by around 18 months of age. Infection of children can occur when adults mouth feed or pre-chew food before giving it to the child. EBV antibody tests turn up almost universally positive.

Treatment:
There is no specific treatment for infectious mononucleosis, other than treating the symptoms. No antiviral drugs or vaccines are available. Some physicians have prescribed a 5-day course of steroids to control the swelling of the throat and tonsils. The use of steroids has also been reported to decrease the overall length and severity of illness, but these reports have not been published.

It is important to note that symptoms related to infectious mononucleosis caused by EBV infection seldom last for more than 4 months. When such an illness lasts more than 6 months, it is frequently called chronic EBV infection. However, valid laboratory evidence for continued active EBV infection is seldom found in these patients. The illness should be investigated further to determine if it meets the criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome, or CFS. This process includes ruling out other causes of chronic illness or fatigue.

Prognosis:
There is currently no specific cure for an Epstein-Barr virus infection. Treatment includes measures to help relieve symptoms and keep the body as strong as possible until the disease runs its course. This includes rest, medications to ease body aches and fever, and drinking plenty of fluids. People who are in good health can generally recover from an Epstein-Barr virus infection at home with supportive care, such as rest, fluids and pain relievers.

Prevention:
Treatment of most viral diseases begins with preventing the spread of the disease with basic hygiene measures. However, controlling the spread of the Epstein-Barr virus is extremely difficult because it is so common and because it is possible to spread the Epstein-Barr virus even when a person does not appear sick. Many healthy people who have had an Epstein-Barr virus infection continue to carry the virus in their saliva, which means they can spread it to others throughout their lifetimes. However, avoiding contact with another person’s saliva by not sharing drinking glasses or toothbrushes is still a good general disease prevention measure.

Regular exercise with healthy food habits and healthy life style is the best way of prevention.

Research:
As a relatively complex virus, EBV is not yet fully understood. Laboratories around the world continue to study the virus and develop new ways to treat the diseases it causes. One popular way of studying EBV in vitro is to use bacterial artificial chromosomes.  Epstein–Barr virus and its sister virus KSHV can be maintained and manipulated in the laboratory in continual latency. Although many viruses are assumed to have this property during infection of their natural host, they do not have an easily managed system for studying this part of the viral lifecycle. Genomic studies of EBV have been able to explore lytic reactivation and regulation of the latent viral episome.

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/Epstein%E2%80%93Barr_virus
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epstein–Barr_virus_infection
http://www.healthgrades.com/conditions/epstein-barr-virus

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News on Health & Science

Protein Intake Increases Hip Fracture Prevention

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Higher levels of protein intake may lower the risk of hip fractures in seniors, according to a study published in Osteoporosis International.
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A team of researchers from the Institute for Aging Research of Hebrew SeniorLife in Boston enrolled 946 elderly participants in the Framingham Osteoporosis Study, which examined the effects of consuming higher amounts of protein.

The results of the study showed that individuals who had the lowest protein intake were 50 percent more likely to suffer from hip fractures.

While other studies have found that protein intake is associated with an increase in bone mineral density, the researchers from this study stated that a higher intake of protein also builds strong muscles in the legs, which lowers the possibility of falling and suffering a hip fracture.

Marian T. Hannan, lead author and co-director at the Musculoskeletal Research Program at the Institute for Aging Research, stated that “[the] study participants who consumed higher amounts of protein in their diet were significantly less likely to suffer a hip fracture.”

People who wish to add more protein to their daily diet can benefit from consuming fish, leaner meats, dairy products, as well as different types of beans, which are all high sources of protein, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.


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“Since taking (this supplement), I have noticed a big difference in my knees.” —Mark M., Ohio

“(This supplement) has helped my broken hip to feel better very rapidly.” —Martha S., Wyoming

“It really works to rebuild my joints and fingers. I can play the piano again.” —Maria H., New Jersey

“I’m thankful I’ve found a natural alternative. It’s a miracle!” —Joyce L., California

What natural supplement are these folks raving about? It’s a unique formula that strengthens and rejuvenates your joint cartilage while still providing extra-strength pain relief. And it’s quickly making ordinary natural pain solutions obsolete.

Click here to learn more about this joint-building, pain-relieving “miracle”…

Source :Better Health Research. July 22. 2010

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Herbs & Plants

Lemon Thyme

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Botanical Name: Thymus citriodorus
Family:Lamiaceae
Kingdom :Plantae
Division :Magnoliophyta
Class :Magnoliopsida
Order :Lamiales
Genus :Thymus

SynonymsThymus serpyllum var. albus ,   Thymus serpyllum ssp. chamaedrys

Common Names:  Lemon Thyme, Creeping Lemon Thyme, Lemon-Scented Thyme
Habitat:It is not  native to USA but introduced and now grows in Connecticut (CT), Delaware (DE), Maine (ME), Maryland (MD), Massachusetts (MA), Michigan (MI), New Hampshire (NH), New York (NY), Oregon (OR), Pennsylvania (PA), Rhode Island (RI), Vermont (VT), Virginia (VA) and Washington (WA) .

Description: The lemon thyme is generally described as a Perennial Subshrub or Shrub.It is a compact, upright shrub that grows to a height of 8 to 12 inches. The leaves are tiny and heart shaped, ringed with a splash of yellow. As the name implies, lemon thyme has a bit of a citrus tang, but is milder than most other thyme. This makes it a natural choice for seasoning seafood dishes and even sweets. The citrus flavor also helps to lighten fatty dishes.
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Bees are attracted to lemon thyme and it gives honey a good flavor. It grows on dry, well drained soil. It produces dark pink flowers which bloom in late summer and it is the small green leaves that smell strongly of lemon. It is not as hardy as other thymes so may need protecting in winter with a layer of leaf mold or straw. This is a good variety for growing in containers. The dried, scented leaves make a useful, fragrant addition to pot pourri or scented sachets.

Cultivation :
Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Ground cover, Rock garden. Requires a light well-drained preferably calcareous soil in a sunny position. Succeeds in dry soils. Thymes dislike wet conditions, especially in the winter. A layer of gravel on the soil around them will help protect the foliage from wet soils. Plants are hardy to about -15°c. This is a very difficult genus taxonomically, the species hybridize freely with each other and often intergrade into each other. Often cultivated in the herb garden for its leaves, there are some named varieties. The flowers are rich in nectar and are very attractive to honey bees. A good companion for most plants. Special Features:Edible, Fragrant foliage, Not North American native, Suitable for dried flowers.
Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Seed can also be sown in autumn in a greenhouse. Surface sow or barely cover the seed. Germination can be erratic. 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. This species is a hybrid and will not breed true from seed. Division in spring or autumn. 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. Cuttings of young shoots, 5 – 8cm with a heel, May/June in a frame. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 – 8cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Layering.

Edible Uses : Leaves – raw in salads or added as a flavouring to cooked foods. A delicious lemon flavour. If the leaves are to be dried, the plants should be harvested in early and late summer just before the flowers open and the leaves should be dried quickly. An aromatic tea is made from the leaves. It has a pleasant lemon-like flavour and is very refreshing

Its light perfume fills the air as it hangs drying from hooks.Both grilled fish dishes and creamy potato gratins are perfect blank canvases for lemon thyme. This wonderful, aromatic herb is also amazing with chicken.

A sweetly scented, evergreen herb and a cultivated form of wild thyme. It is a popular culinary herb due to its mild citrus flavor and is often used in stuffings, with chicken dishes or added to fruit salads and jellies.

Medicinal Uses: Herbal tea made from thyme is said to help speed recovery from a hangover.
Used to make pediatric oral preparations that are tasty and sweet to relieve an “upset tummy”.  It is also in ointments and in “sleep pillows”.
The natural, volatile oils also work as a digestive aid. These same pungent oils make lemon thyme a favorite in aroma therapy for the treatment of asthma. – Sally’s Place.

The leaves, and especially the essential oil contained in them, are strongly antiseptic, deodorant and disinfectant. The plant can be used fresh at any time of the year, or it can be harvested as it comes into flower and either be distilled for the oil or dried for later use. The leaves contain an antioxidant and regular use of the raw leaves has been shown to increase average life expectancy by about 10%. The essential oil obtained from this plant is thought to be less irritant than other thyme oils .

Other Uses :  The essential oil obtained from the leaves and flowering stems is used in perfumery, as a mouth wash, medicinally etc. The aromatic leaves are dried and used in pot-pourri and herbal pillows. The plant makes an attractive ground cover for a sunny position. They are best spaced about 30cm apart each way[

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://www.piam.com/mms_garden/plants.html
http://www.liketocook.com/50226711/weekend_herb_blogging_lemon_thyme.php
http://www.info-galaxy.com/Herbs/General_Index/Filter/Lemon_Thyme/lemon_thyme.html

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Thymus+x+citriodorus

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News on Health & Science

Effective Treatment for Neuroblastoma

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Experts have claimed that they have discovered an effective treatment for deadly cancer — neuroblastoma — by applying new science with a 40-year-old known drug.

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Michelle Haber, a molecular and cellular biologist in Australia, said laboratory trials with mice genetically programmed to develop neuroblastoma — a solid tumour that spreads rapidly through the body — showed the drug, DFMO, delayed the development of tumours or prevented them forming in the first place.

By combining DFMO with conventional anti-cancer drugs such as cisplatin, that was then used to treat mice with neuroblastoma, the tumours were reduced, took longer to return and some tumours never came back, according to a report published in The Australian.

Haber, executive director of Sydney-based Children’s Cancer Institute Australia for Medical Research, said, “The mice were cured. That’s something you virtually never see in aggressive neuroblastoma.”

Luciano Dalla-Pozza, head of oncology at Children’s Hospital in Sydney welcomed the series of genetic and animal experiments Haber’s team had conducted.

“If the trial was opened now, I’d unhesitantly look at enrolling patients in it,” Dalla-Pozza said.

While roughly 75 per cent of children diagnosed with other cancers survive, only 50 per cent of those diagnosed with neuroblastoma survive. Two-thirds of youngsters get an aggressive form of neuroblastoma that kills more than 80 per cent of them within a year.

Haber said discussions were under way with Sydney Children’s Hospital and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for trials of combination therapy with children who had relapsed from neuroblastoma.
“For me that’s incredibly exciting,” Haber said.

Sources: The Times Of India

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