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Glasses that Change With Eye Power

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A British scientist has designed a unique pair of glasses that can be adjusted by a wearer without any optician’s help, and one million pairs of which will soon be distributed in India.

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Professor Joshua Silver is hopeful that his self-adjusting glasses could enable a billion people in the developing world to receive spectacles for the first time within just over a decade.

Silver, a retired Oxford University physics professor, is even preparing to launch an ambitious scheme in India to distribute one million pairs in a year. He revealed that he came up with the idea in what he describes as a “glimpse of the obvious”, reports the Telegraph.

The adaptive glasses are designed in such a way that they can be “tuned” by the wearer to suit their eyes, and that too without the need for a prescription. In fact, the spectacles can help both short-sighted and long-sighted people.

After 20 years’ of research he has finally come up with a design which can be made cheaply on a large scale. He focussed on the principle that thicker lenses are more powerful than thin ones. Using this principle he designed spectacles that can be adjusted by injecting tiny quantities of fluid.

The tough plastic glasses have thin sacs of liquid in the centre of each lens. They come with small syringes attached to each arm with a dial for the wearer to add or remove fluid from the lens. After adjusting the lenses, the syringes are removed and the spectacles can be worn just like a prescription pair. The invention would provide spectacles for the first time to millions of people in poorer parts of the world, where opticians are in short supply


Sources
: The Times Of India

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Herbs & Plants Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Zedoary

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Botanical Name:Curcuma zedoaria
Family: Zingiberaceae
Genus: Curcuma
Species: C. zedoaria
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Zingiberales

Synonyms:
*Amomum latifolium Lam.
*Amomum latifolium Salisb.
*Amomum zedoaria Christm.
*Costus luteus Blanco
*Curcuma malabarica Velay., Amalraj & Mural.
*Curcuma pallida Lour.
*Curcuma raktakanta Mangaly & M.Sabu
*Curcuma speciosa Link
*Erndlia zerumbet Giseke
*Roscoea lutea (Blanco) Hassk.
*Roscoea nigrociliata Hassk

Common Name : Zedoary
Other Names: wild turmeric
French: zedoaire
German: Zitwer
Italian: zedoaria
Spanish: cedoaria
Indian: amb halad, garndhmul,amb ada(in Bengal),In Telugu called as kacoramu [ kacōramu ] kachoramu.
Indonesian: kentjur

Zedoary is an ancient spice, a close relative to turmeric and native to India and Indonesia. The Arabs introduced it to Europe in the sixth century, where it enjoyed great popularity in the middle ages. Today it is extremely rare in the West, having been replaced by ginger. It is a substitute for arrowroot and used in Indian perfumes and in festive rituals.

Plant Description and Cultivation:
Zedoary grows in tropical and subtropical wet forest regions. It is a rhizome, or underground stem, like turmeric and ginger. The rhizome is large and tuberous with many branches. The leaf shoots are long and fragrant, reaching 1m (3ft) in height. The plant bears yellow flowers with red and green bracts. Pieces of the rhizome are planted, taking two years to mature before it can be harvested..

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It is a perennial herb and member of the genus Curcuma Linn. Zedoary is a rhizome that grows in tropical and subtropical wet forest regions. The fragrant plant bears yellow flowers with red and green bracts and the underground stem section is large and tuberous with numerous branches. The leaf shoots of the zedoary are long and can reach 1 metre (3 feet) in height.

The edible root of zedoary has a white interior and a fragrance reminiscent of mango, however its flavour is more similar to ginger, except with a very bitter aftertaste. In Indonesia it is ground to a powder and added to curry pastes, whereas in India it tends to be used fresh or pickled.

Spice Description:
Zedoary is a rhizome with a thin brown skin and a bright orange, hard interior. It’s smell is similar to turmeric and mango. Because of the mango-like fragrance, zedoary is called amb halad in many Indian languages (amb means mango). It is sold as a powder (kentjur in Chinese shops), or dried and sliced with a gray surface with a yellow to gray-white interior. There are two types of zedoary sold in Indian markets   Curcuma zedoaria or ‘round’ which is small and fat like ginger, and Curcuma zerumbet, or ‘long’ which is long and slender like turmeric.
Bouquet: musky a gingerlike with camphorous undertones
Flavour: warm and ginger-like, slightly camphorous, with a bitter aftertaste.

Preparation and Storage:
Dried zedoary is ground to a powder in a pestle and mortar. Store in airtight containers..

Culinary Uses:
In the Indian kitchen zedoary is usually used fresh or pickled. It is used as a dried spice more in Indonesia where it is often used as an ingredient in curry powder, especially for seafood dishes. It may be pounded with turmeric or ginger to make a spice paste for lamb or chicken curries.

Attributed Medicinal Properties & other uses:
Zedoary is valued for its ability to purify the blood. It is an antiseptic and a paste applied locally to cuts and wounds helps healing. It is used as an aid to digestion and to relieve flatulence and colic. The starch, shoti, is easily digested and nutritious so is widely used as part of an Eastern regimen for the sick or for the very young.

Useful in flatulent colic and debility of the digestive organs, though it is rarely employed, as ginger gives the same, or better results. It is highly valued for its ability to purify the blood.  Like turmeric, Zedoary is an antiseptic and a paste applied locally to cuts and wounds helps healing.  It is used as an ingredient in bitter tincture of Zedoary, antiperiodic pills (with and without aloes) bitter tincture, antiperiodic tincture (with and without aloes). Zedoary is also rich in starch and is given to babies and invalids in India.  It is combined with pepper, cinnamon and honey and used to treat colds.   It is used in Indian perfumes called ittars as well as in some drinks.  A paste of a little zedoary and cream makes a good face mask and keeps the skin clear and shining.  An ingredient in Swedish bitters.  The rhizome is used in China to treat certain types of tumors.  In Chinese trials, zedoary has reduced cervical cancer, and increased the cancer-killing effects of radiotherapy chemotherapy.

Zedoary is also used in some traditional eastern medicines where it is reputed to be an aid to digestion, a relief for colic and an agent for purifying the blood.

The essential oil produced from the dried roots of Curcuma zedoaria is used in perfumery and soap fabrication, as well as an ingredient in bitter tonics.

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.theepicentre.com/Spices/zedoary.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zedoary

http://www.motherherbs.com/curcuma-zedoaria.html
http://www.hiwtc.com/photo/products/20/03/79/37924.jpg
http://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Curcuma_zedoaria
http://www.kaboodle.com/reviews/curcuma-zedoaria-zedoary-root-ginger-rhizome-sets

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_UZ.htm http://saludbio.com/imagen/curcuma-zedoaria-rosc

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Joint pain? It could be fluorosis

The next time you suffer from a persistent backache or an irritating stiff joint, don’t attribute it to long hours spent at the computer. It could well be the result of fluorosis, a disease thought to affect people in rural India with no access to safe drinking water. It’s time to include it in the long list of urban lifestyle diseases.

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While fluoride-rich water is perceived as a major cause for fluorosis, in reality, 50% of fluoride entry into the body is through food. Whether it’s a plate of chaat-papri, liberally sprinkled with black salt, canned fruit juices, black tea, masala powders or Hajmola tablets—all are equally responsible for increasing fluoride content in the body. Of course, regular consumption over a sustained period and the body’s immune system determine how badly the fluoride affects the system.

“Patients come to me with complaints of back-ache, joint pains, fatigue and low energy levels. When I test their drinking water, it’s perfect. But on testing their blood and urine samples, I find high fluoride content. Further examination reveals consumption of food rich in fluoride,” says Dr A K Susheela, executive director, Fluorosis Research and Rural Development Foundation (FRRDF). Since its setting up in 1997, number of urban patients, she says, has doubled.

A recent UNICEF study conducted in smaller towns and rural areas revealed that 66 million are afflicted by fluorosis in India. Out of this, nearly 6 million are children between 6-14 years. The disease is widespread—19 states and 203 districts are affected —but efforts to prevent it are negligible. Unfortunately, no study has been conducted in cities on the numbers affected through food.

“It’s necessary to first diagnose the disease. But no hospital is interested in buying the testing equipment. It costs only Rs one lakh. Is that too much for any hospital?” asks Susheela.

Till two years back, Bijoy De, an MNC executive, suffered from fluorosis symptoms—extreme fatigue, constant back and joint pains. When he visited Susheela, his haemoglobin level was 11. “I travel constantly and had little control over what I ate. On the advice of my doctor, I changed my food habits. Within 3-4 months, my haemoglobin level shot up to 13.”

Similarly, Kanpur-based Ratish Bajpai was constantly fatigued and had regular back pain. On testing, the blood serum level was eight times above normal, while the fluoride level in urine was 20 times higher. ” I had no idea about fluorosis. I vaguely knew it was something to do with water,” he says.

And that’s the level of awareness of most urban Indians—thanks to lack of knowledge among doctors and unavailability of fluorosis testing centres. Only two centres in the country, AIIMS and FRRDF, are equipped to test fluorosis. “As most doctors aren’t trained for the disease, it goes largely undiagnosed or misdiagnosed,” says Dr V B Bhasin, senior orthopaedic surgeon, Gangaram Hospital. In fact, many end up being treated for arthritis as the symptoms for both diseases are the same. In the past few years, Bhasin has had patients complaining of stiff joints and backaches.

When no other treatment works, he sends them for fluoride testing and most end up being positive. Affirms Dr P K Dave, chairman, Rockland Hospital, and a senior orthopaedic doctor, “In most cases, complaints of back pain have been traced to a high fluoride content in the body.”

Interestingly, fluorosis manifests itself slowly. The good news is that it can be easily prevented in the early stages. However, in the advanced stage, called skeletal fluorosis—when the vertebrae partially fuses and moving joints becomes difficult— there’s no cure.

“That’s why,” suggests Susheela, “it’s important not to ignore joint pains and backaches. It’s advisable to do a fluoride test whenever a backache or joint pain persists.”

Thankfully, awareness levels are rising, though slowly.

Source:The Times Of India