Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Helianthus annuus

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Botanical Name:Helianthus annuus
Family: Asteraceae
H. annuus

*Helianthus aridus Rydb.
*Helianthus erythrocarpus Bartl.
*Helianthus indicus L.
*Helianthus jaegeri Heiser
*Helianthus lenticularis Douglas
*Helianthus macrocarpus DC. & A.DC.
*Helianthus multiflorus Hook.
*Helianthus ovatus Lehm.
*Helianthus platycephalus Cass.
*Helianthus tubaeformis Nutt.

Common Names: Sunflower, Common sunflower

Habitat :Helianthus annuus is native to Western N. America. An occasional garden escape in Britain. It grows on open dry or moderately moist soils on the plains.
Helianthus annuus is an annual plant.  It has an erect rough-hairy stem, reaching typical heights of 3 metres (9.8 ft). The tallest sunflower on record achieved 9.17 metres (30.1 ft). Sunflower leaves are broad, coarsely toothed, rough and mostly alternate. What is often called the “flower” of the sunflower is actually a “flower head” or pseudanthium of numerous small individual five-petaled flowers (“florets”). The outer flowers, which resemble petals, are called ray flowers. Each “petal” consists of a ligule composed of fused petals of an asymmetrical ray flower. They are sexually sterile and may be yellow, red, orange, or other colors. The flowers in the center of the head are called disk flowers. These mature into fruit (sunflower “seeds”). The disk flowers are arranged spirally. Generally, each floret is oriented toward the next by approximately the golden angle, 137.5°, producing a pattern of interconnecting spirals, where the number of left spirals and the number of right spirals are successive Fibonacci numbers. Typically, there are 34 spirals in one direction and 55 in the other; however, in a very large sunflower head there could be 89 in one direction and 144 in the other. This pattern produces the most efficient packing of seeds mathematically possible within the flower head.. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies.The plant is not self-fertile. It is noted for attracting wildlife…….CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Bloom Color: Orange, Red, Yellow. Main Bloom Time: Early fall, Late summer, Mid summer.

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Foundation, Massing, Seashore, Specimen. An easily grown plant, it succeeds in most soils, including poor soils provided they are deep and well-drained, but it grows best in a deep rich soil. Plants are intolerant of acid or waterlogged conditions. Especially when grown for its edible seed, the plant prefers a sunny position though it also tolerates light shade. Requires a neutral or preferably calcareous soil. As sunflowers have highly efficient root systems, they can be grown in areas which are too dry for many other crops. Established plants are quite drought-resistant except during flowering. The sunflower tolerates an annual precipitation of 20 – 400cm, an average annual temperature in the range of 6 – 28°C and a pH in the range of 4.5 – 8.7. The young growth is extremely attractive to slugs, plants can be totally destroyed by them. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits. The sunflower is a very ornamental plant that is widely grown in gardens and is also a major commercial crop for its edible seed and many other uses. It grows well in Britain, but it does not ripen its seed reliably in this country and so is not suitable for commercial cultivation at the present. It is the state flower of Kansas. Three distinct groups of sunflowers are cultivated:- Giant types grow from 1.8 – 4.2 metres tall with flower heads 30 – 50cm in diameter. The seeds are large, white or gray in colour, sometimes with black stripes, and are the best for culinary purposes, though the oil content is lower than for other types. ‘Grey Stripe’, ‘Hopi Black Dye’, ‘Mammoth Russian’ and ‘Sundak’ are examples of this type. Semi-dwarf types grow from 1.3 – 1.8 m tall, are early maturing and have heads 17 – 23 cm diameter. The seeds are smaller, black, gray or striped, the oil content is also higher. Examples include ‘Pole Star’ and ‘Jupiter’ Dwarf types grow from 0.6 – 1.4 m tall, are early maturing and have heads 14 – 16 cm in diameter.
The seeds are small but the oil content is the highest. Examples include ‘Advance’ and ‘Sunset’. Some forms are being bred for greater cold tolerance and should be more reliable in Britain. Plants tend to grow better in the south and south-west of England. Most forms require a four month frost-free growing season, though some Russian cultivars can mature a crop in 70 days. When plants are grown in cooler latitudes the seed contains higher proportions of polyunsaturated fatty oils. The plant has a strong taproot that can penetrate the soil to depth of 3 metres, it also has a large lateral spread of surface roots. Sunflowers grow badly with potatoes but they do well with cucumbers and corn. A very greedy and vigorous plant, it can inhibit the growth of nearby plants. Plants tend to impoverish the soil if they are grown too often in the same place. A good bee plant, providing large quantities of nectar. The flowers attract beneficial insects such as lacewings and parasitic wasps. These prey on various insect pests, especially aphis. Special Features:Attracts birds, Attractive foliage, North American native, Edible, Naturalizing, Wetlands plant, Attracts butterflies, Suitable for cut flowers, Suitable for dried flowers.

Propagation :
Seed – sow in mid spring in situ. An earlier start can be made by sowing 2 – 3 seeds per pot in a greenhouse in early spring. Use a fairly rich compost. Thin to the strongest seedling, give them an occasional liquid feed to make sure they do not become nutrient deficient and plant them out in late spring or early summer. Seed, harvested at 12% moisture content and stored, will retain its viability for several years

Edible Uses:
Seed – raw or cooked. A delicious nut-like flavour, but very fiddly to extract due to the small size of the seed. Commercially there are machines designed to do this. Rich in fats, the seed can be ground into a powder, made into sunflower butter or used to make seed yoghurt. When mixed with cereal flours, it makes a nutritious bread. Cultivars with up to 50% oil have been developed in Russia. The oil contains between 44 – 72% linoleic acid. The germinated seed is said to be best for seed yoghurt, it is blended with water and left to ferment. The sprouted seed can be eaten raw. A nutritional analysis of the seed is available. Young flower buds – steamed and served like globe artichokes. A mild and pleasant enough flavour, but rather fiddly. Average yields range from 900 – 1,575 kg/ha of seed, however yields of over 3,375 kg/ha have been reported. A high quality edible semi-drying oil is obtained from the seed. It is low in cholesterol, and is said to be equal in quality to olive oil. Used in salads, margarines, or in cooking. The roasted seed is a coffee and drinking chocolate substitute. Another report says the roasted hulls are used. The leaf petioles are boiled and mixed in with other foodstuffs.
Medicinal Uses:
A tea made from the leaves is astringent, diuretic and expectorant, it is used in the treatment of high fevers. The crushed leaves are used as a poultice on sores, swellings, snakebites and spider bites. The leaves are harvested as the plant comes into flower and are dried for later use. A tea made from the flowers is used in the treatment of malaria and lung ailments. The flowering head and seeds are febrifuge, nutritive and stomachic. The seed is also considered to be diuretic and expectorant. It has been used with success in the treatment of many pulmonary complaints. A decoction of the roots has been used as a warm wash on rheumatic aches and pains.
Powdered leaves of the prairie sunflower are said to work well with the healing of sores and swellings.

Other Uses:
Blotting paper; Dye; Fibre; Fuel; Green manure; Herbicide; Kindling; Microscope; Oil; Paper.

An edible semi-drying oil is obtained from the seed. Some varieties contain up to 45% oil. The oil is also used, often mixed with a drying oil such as linseed (Linum usitatissimum) to make soap, candles, varnishes, paint etc, as well as for lighting. The oil is said to be unrivalled as a lubricant. A blotting paper is made from the seed receptacles. A high quality writing paper is made from the inner stalk. The pith of the stems is one of the lightest substances known, having a specific gravity of 0.028. It has a wide range of applications, being used for purposes such as making life-saving appliances and slides for microscopes. The dried stems make an excellent fuel, the ash is rich in potassium. Both the dried stems and the empty seed receptacles are an excellent kindling. A fibre from the stem is used to make paper and a fine quality cloth. A yellow dye is obtained from the flowers. A purple-black dye is obtained from the seed of certain varieties that were grown by the Hopi Indians of S.W. North America. Sunflowers can be grown as a spring-sown green manure, they produce a good bulk of material. Root secretions from the plant can inhibit the growth of nearby plants[

Known Hazards: The growing plant can accumulate nitrates, especially when fed on artificial fertilizers. The pollen or plant extracts may cause allergic reactions.

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.


Ailmemts & Remedies

Peptic Ulcer

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Alternative Names Ulcer – peptic; Ulcer – duodenal or gastric; Duodenal ulcer
Click to see the pictures

A peptic ulcer is erosion in the lining of the stomach or duodenum (the first part of the small intestine). The word “peptic” refers to pepsin, a stomach enzyme that breaks down proteins. If a peptic ulcer is located in the stomach it is called a gastric ulcer.

Small ulcers may not cause any symptoms. Large ulcers can cause serious bleeding. Most ulcers occur in the first layer of the inner lining. A hole that goes all the way through is called a perforation of the intestinal lining. A perforation is a medical emergency.

It is also known as PUD or peptic ulcer disease is an ulcer of an area of the gastrointestinal tract that is usually acidic and thus extremely painful. As much as 80% of ulcers are associated with Helicobacter pylori, a spiral-shaped bacterium that lives in the acidic environment of the stomach, however only 20% of those cases go to a doctor (for it is not a dangerous case if caught in time and can be treated with surgery). Ulcers can also be caused or worsened by drugs such as Aspirin and other NSAIDs. Contrary to general belief, more peptic ulcers arise in the duodenum (first part of the small intestine, just after the stomach) than in the stomach. About 4% of stomach ulcers are caused by a malignant tumor, so multiple biopsies are needed to make sure. Duodenal ulcers are generally benign.

Normally, the lining of the stomach and small intestines have protection against the irritating acids produced in your stomach. For a variety of reasons, the protective mechanisms may become faulty, leading to a breakdown of the lining. This results in inflammation (gastritis ) or an ulcer.

The most common cause of such damage is infection of the stomach with a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori (H.pylori). Most people with peptic ulcers have this organism living in their gastrointestinal (GI) tract. On the other hand, many people have this organism living in their GI tract but they don’t get an ulcer.

Other factors can make it more likely for you to get an ulcer, including:

Using aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen
Drinking alcohol excessively
Smoking cigarettes and using tobacco
In addition, if you have a family history of ulcers or you are blood type O, you are more likely to get a duodenal ulcer. There is also a rare condition called Zolliger-Ellison syndrome in which a tumor in the pancreas secretes a substance that causes ulcers throughout the stomach and duodenum.

Many people believe that stress causes ulcers. It is not clear if this is true. While critically ill patients who are on a breathing machine are at risk of so-called “stress ulceration,” everyday stress at work or home doesn’t appear to cause peptic ulcers.

Abdominal pain is a common symptom but it may not always be present. The abdominal pain from peptic ulcers can differ a lot from person to person. For example, the pain may get better or worse after eating a meal.

Abdominal pain, classically epigastric with severity relating to mealtimes, after around 3 hours of taking a meal (duodenal ulcers are classically relieved by food, while gastric ulcers are exacerbated by it);

Bloating and abdominal fullness

Waterbrash (rush of saliva after an episode of regurgitation to dilute the acid in esophagus)
Nausea, and lots of vomiting
Loss of appetite and weight loss;
Hematemesis (vomiting of blood); this can occur due to bleeding directly from a gastric ulcer, or from damage to the esophagus from severe/continuing vomiting.
Melena (tarry, foul-smelling faeces due to oxidized iron from hemoglobin)
Rarely, an ulcer can lead to a gastric or duodenal perforation. This is extremely painful and requires immediate surgery.
A history of heartburn, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and use of certain forms of medication can raise the suspicion for peptic ulcer. Medicines associated with peptic ulcer include NSAID (non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs) that inhibit cyclooxygenase, and most glucocorticoids (e.g. dexamethasone and prednisolone).

In patients over 45 with more than 2 weeks of the above symptoms, the odds for peptic ulceration are high enough to warrant rapid investigation by EGD (see below).

The timing of the symptoms in relation to the meal may differentiate between gastric and duodenal ulcers: A gastric ulcer would give epigastric pain during the meal, as gastric acid is secreted, or after the meal, as the alkaline duodenal contents reflux into the stomach. Symptoms of duodenal ulcers would manifest mostly before the meal — when acid (production stimulated by hunger) is passed into the duodenum. However, this is not a reliable sign in clinical practice.

Stress and ulcers:
Despite the finding that a bacterial infection is the cause of ulcers in 80% of cases, bacterial infection does not appear to explain all ulcers and researchers continue to look at stress as a possible cause, or at least a complication in the development of ulcers.

An expert panel convened by the Academy of Behavioral Medicine research concluded that ulcers are not purely an infectious disease and that psychological factors do play a significant role. Researchers are examining how stress might promote H. pylori infection. For example, Helicobacter pylori thrives in an acidic environment, and stress has been demonstrated to cause the production of excess stomach acid.

The discovery that Helicobacter pylori is a cause of peptic ulcer has tempted many to conclude that psychological factors are unimportant. But this is dichotomised thinking. There is solid evidence that psychological stress triggers many ulcers and impairs response to treatment, while helicobacter is inadequate as a monocausal explanation as most infected people do not develop ulcers. Psychological stress probably functions most often as a cofactor with H pylori. It may act by stimulating the production of gastric acid or by promoting behavior that causes a risk to health. Unravelling the aetiology of peptic ulcer will make an important contribution to the biopsychosocial model of disease.

A study of peptic ulcer patients in a Thai hospital showed that chronic stress was strongly associated with an increased risk of peptic ulcer, and a combination of chronic stress and irregular mealtimes was a significant risk factor (PMID 12948263).

A study on mice showed that both long-term water-immersion-restraint stress and H. pylori infection were independently associated with the development of peptic ulcers (PMID 12465722).

An esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD), a form of endoscopy, also known as a gastroscopy, is carried out on patients in whom a peptic ulcer is suspected. By direct visual identification, the location and severity of an ulcer can be described. Moreover, if no ulcer is present, EGD can often provide an alternative diagnosis.

The diagnosis of Helicobacter pylori can be by:
Breath testing (does not require EGD);
Direct culture from an EGD biopsy specimen;
Direct detection of urease activity in a biopsy specimen;
Measurement of antibody levels in blood (does not require EGD). It is still somewhat controversial whether a positive antibody without EGD is enough to warrant eradication therapy.
The possibility of other causes of ulcers, notably malignancy (gastric cancer) needs to be kept in mind. This is especially true in ulcers of the greater (large) curvature of the stomach; most are also a consequence of chronic H. pylori infection.

If a peptic ulcer perforates, air will leak from the inside of the gastrointestinal tract (which always contains some air) to the peritoneal cavity (which normally never contains air). This leads to “free gas” within the peritoneal cavity. If the patient stands erect, as when having a chest X-ray, the gas will float to a position underneath the diaphragm. Therefore, gas in the peritoneal cavity, shown on an erect chest X-ray or supine lateral abdominal X-ray, is an omen of perforated peptic ulcer disease.

Exams and Tests :

To diagnose an ulcer, your doctor will order one of the following tests:
An upper GI — a series of x-rays taken after you drink a substance called barium.
An esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) — a special test performed by a gastroenterologist in which a thin tube is inserted through your mouth into the gastrointestinal tract to look at your stomach and small intestines.
During an EGD, the doctor may take a biopsy from the wall of the intestines to test for H. pylori.

Your doctor may also order:

Stool guaiac cards to test for blood in your stool
Hemoglobin test to check for anemia
Treatment :
You should see a doctor if you have symptoms of an ulcer. Treatment often involves a combination of medications to kill the Helicobacter pylori bacteria, reduce acid levels, and protect the GI tract. This combination strategy allows your ulcer to heal and reduces the chance it will come back. Take all of your medications exactly as prescribed.

The medications may include one or more of the following:
Antibiotics to kill Helicobacter pylori
Acid blockers (like cimetidine, ranitidine, or famotidine)
Proton pump inhibitors (such as omeprazole)
Medications that protect the tissue lining (like sucralfate)
Bismuth (may help protect the lining and kill the bacteria)
If a peptic ulcer bleeds a lot, an EGD may be needed to stop the bleeding. If bleeding cannot be stopped using an EGD procedure or the ulcer has caused a perforation, then surgery may be required.

Causes And Treatment Of Peptic Ulcer

Effective Peptic Ulcer Treatments for Quick Pain Relief

Ayurvedic Medicine Help for Peptic Ulcer

Home Remedies for Peptic Ulcer

Symptoms & Treatment of Peptic Ulcer

Homeopathic Treatment Of Peptic Ulcer…………………………………(1)………….(2).……(3)

Peptic ulcers tend to come back if untreated. If you follow the treatment instructions from your doctor and take all of your medications, the Helicobacter pylori infection will be eliminated and you are much less likely to get another ulcer. Your symptoms will also improve if you follow some preventive lifestyle steps.

Possible Complications:
Bleeding internally
Perforation of the intestine and peritonitis
Bowel obstruction
When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call 911 if you:
Suddenly develop sharp abdominal pain.
Have symptoms of shock like fainting, excessive sweating, or confusion.
Are vomiting blood or have blood in your stool (especially if maroon or dark, tarry black)
Have a rigid, hard abdomen that is tender to touch.
Call your doctor if:
You have ulcer symptoms.
You feel dizzy or lightheaded.
Prevention :
Don’t smoke or chew tobacco.
Limit alcohol.
Avoid aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. Try acetaminophen instead.

In Western countries the prevalence of Helicobacter pylori infections roughly matches age (i.e., 20% at age 20, 30% at age 30, 80% at age 80 etc). Prevalence is higher in third world countries. Transmission is by food, contaminated groundwater, and through human saliva (such as from kissing or sharing food utensils.)

According to Mayo Clinic, however, there is no evidence that the infection can be transmitted by kissing.

A minority of cases of Helicobacter infection will eventually lead to an ulcer and a larger proportion of people will get non-specific discomfort, abdominal pain or gastritis.

In 1997, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with other government agencies, academic institutions, and industry, launched a national education campaign to inform health care providers and consumers about the link between H. pylori and ulcers. This campaign reinforced the news that ulcers are a curable infection, and the fact that health can be greatly improved and money saved by disseminating information about H. pylori.

Helicobacter pylori was rediscovered in 1982 by two Australian scientists Robin Warren and Barry Marshall. In their original paper, Warren and Marshall contended that most stomach ulcers and gastritis were caused by colonization with this bacterium, not by stress or spicy food as had been assumed before.

The H. pylori hypothesis was poorly received, so in an act of self-experimentation Marshall drank a petri-dish containing a culture of organisms extracted from a patient and soon developed gastritis. His symptoms disappeared after two weeks, but he took antibiotics to kill the remaining bacteria at the urging of his wife, since halitosis is one of the symptoms of infection. This experiment was published in 1984 in the Australian Medical Journal and is among the most cited articles from the journal.

In 2005, the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine to Dr. Marshall and his long-time collaborator Dr. Warren “for their discovery of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori and its role in gastritis and peptic ulcer disease”. Professor Marshall continues research related to H. pylori and runs a molecular biology lab at UWA in Perth, Western Australia.

John Lykoudis was a general practitioner in Greece who treated patients from peptic ulcer disease with antibiotics long before it was commonly recognized that bacteria were a dominant cause for the disease .

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