Tag Archives: DNA repair

Rubus canadensis

 

Botanical Name : Rubus canadensis
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Rubus
Species:R. canadensis
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Rosales

Synonyms:
*Rubus amnicola Blanch.
*Rubus argutus var. randii (L.H.Bailey) L.H.Bailey
*Rubus besseyi L.H.Bailey
*Rubus canadensis var. imus L.H.Bailey
*Rubus canadensis var. millspaughii (Britton) Blanch.
*Rubus forestalis L.H.Bailey
*Rubus illustris L.H.Bailey
*Rubus irregularis L.H.Bailey
*Rubus laetabilis L.H.Bailey
*Rubus millspaughii Britton
*Rubus orariu] Blanch.
*Rubus pergratus Blanch.
*Rubus pergratus Edees & A.Newton
*Rubus pergratus var. terrae-novae Fernald
*Rubus randii (L.H.Bailey) Rydb.
*Rubus suberectus Hook.
*Rubus villosus var. randii L.H.Bailey
*Selnorition canadensis (L.) Raf. ex B.D.Jacks.
*Rubus invisus (L.H.Bailey) L.H.Bailey
*Rubus jactus L.H.Bailey
*Rubus macdanielsii L.H.Bailey
*Rubus masseyi L.H.Bailey
*Rubus redundans L.H.Bailey
*Rubus sanfordii L.H.Bailey
*Rubus terraltanus L.H.Bailey
Common Names:American Dewberry, Smooth blackberry, Canadian blackberry, Thornless blackberry and Smooth highbush blackberr

Habitat : Rubus canadensis is native to central and eastern Canada (from Newfoundland to Ontario) and the eastern United States (New England, the Great Lakes region, and the Appalachian Mountains.It grows on thickets, woods and clearings.

Description:
Rubus canadensis is a deciduous rhizomatous shrub forms thickets up to 2 to 3 meters (7-10 feet) tall. The leaves are alternately arranged, each measuring 10 to 20 centimeters (4-8 inches) long. The inflorescence is a cluster of up to 25 flowers. The fruit is an aggregate of many small drupes, each of which contains a tiny nutlet. The plant reproduces by seed, by sprouting up from the rhizome, and by layering. The stems can grow one meter (40 inches) in height in under two months.
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It is in flower in July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Apomictic.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 moist soil.
Cultivation:
Easily grown in a good well-drained loamy soil in sun or semi-shade. This species is a blackberry with biennial stems, it produces a number of new stems each year from the perennial rootstock, these stems fruit in their second year and then die. The stems are free from prickles. The plant produces apomictic flowers, these produce fruit and viable seed without fertilization, each seedling is a genetic copy of the parent. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.
Propagation:
Seed – requires stratification and is best sown in early autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed requires one month stratification at about 3°c and is best sown as early as possible in the year. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and grow on in a cold frame. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Tip layering in July. Plant out in autumn. Division in early spring or just before leaf-fall in the autumn.

Edible Uses:
Fruit – raw or cooked in pies, jams etc. Sweet, juicy and richly flavoured, it is generally preferred to most other species of blackberries. The fruit can be pressed into cakes and then dried for later use. The fruit can be up to 25mm long.
Medicinal Uses:
Astringent.
The stems and the fruit have been used in the treatment of dysentery. A decoction of the root has been used in the treatment of dysentery.

Other Uses:…Dye…..A purple to dull blue dye is obtained from the fruit.

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=Rubus+canadensis
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubus_canadensis

American ginseng

 

Botanical Name: Panax quinquefolius
Family: Araliaceae ( ivy family)
Subfamily: Aralioideae
Genus: Panax
Species: P. quinquefolius
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales

Synonyms: Aralia quinquefolia. Five Fingers. Tartar Root. Red Berry. Man’s Health

Common Name: American  ginseng

Habitat :American ginseng is native to eastern North America, though it is also cultivated in places such as China,Korea and Japan. The plant grows in rich woods throughout eastern and central North America, especially along the mountains from Quebec and Ontario, south to Georgia.
Description:
American ginseng is a smooth herbaceous perennial herb, with a large, fleshy, very slow-growing root, 2 to 3 inches in length (occasionally twice this size) and from 1/2 to 1 inch in thickness. Its main portion is spindle-shaped and heavily annulated (ringed growth), with a roundish summit, often with a slight terminal, projecting point. At the lower end of this straight portion, there is a narrower continuation, turned obliquely outward in the opposite direction and a very small branch is occasionally borne in the fork between the two. Some small rootlets exist upon the lower portion. The colour ranges from a pale yellow to a brownish colour. It has a mucilaginous sweetness, approaching that of liquorice, accompanied with some degree of bitterness and a slight aromatic warmth, with little or no smell. The stem is simple and erect, about a foot high, bearing three leaves, each divided into five finely-toothed leaflets, and a single, terminal umbel, with a few small, yellowish flowers. The fruit is a cluster of bright red berrles….CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation: On account of the growing scarcity of the American Ginseng plant, experiments have been made by the State of Pennsylvania to determine whether it can be grown profitably, resulting in the conclusion that in five years, starting with seeds and one year plants (or sooner if a start were made with older plants), an acre of ground would yield a profit of 1,500 dollars, without allowance for rental, but many precautions are necessary for success. The cultivated plants produced larger roots than those of the wild plant.

In 1912 it was estimated that the acreage of cultivated Ginseng in the United States was about 150 acres, and it is calculated that to supply China with twenty million dollars’ worth of dry root would require the American growers to plant 1,000 acres annually for five years, before this estimated annual supply could be sold. The cultivation of Ginseng would therefore appear to offer a rich field to American agriculture. It presents, however, considerable difficulty, owing to the great care and special methods required and to the fact that it is a very slow-growing crop, so that rapid returns can hardly be anticipated, and it is doubtful if its cultivation can be carried on profitably except by specialists in the crop. None the less, the percentage returns for the industrious, patient and painstaking farmer are large, and the demand for a fine article for export is not at all likely to be exceeded by the supply.

Part Used: The Root.

Chemical Constituents: Like Panax ginseng, American ginseng contains dammarane-type ginsenosides, or saponins, as the major biologically active constituents. Dammarane-type ginsenosides include two classifications: 20(S)-protopanaxadiol (PPD) and 20(S)-protopanaxatriol (PPT). American ginseng contains high levels of Rb1, Rd (PPD classification), and Re (PPT classification) ginsenosides—higher than that of P. ginseng in one study.

A large amount of starch and gum, some resin, a very small amount of volatile oil and the peculiar sweetish body, Panaquilon. This occurs as a yellow powder, precipitating with water a white, amorphous substance, which has been called Panacon.

Medicinal uses:
American ginseng or Panax quinquefolius is commonly used as Chinese or herbal medicine. In Western medicine, it is considered a mild stomachic tonic and stimulant, useful in loss of appetite and in digestive affections that arise from mental and nervous exhaustion.

A tincture has been prepared from the genuine Chinese or American root, dried and coarsely powdered, covered with five times its weight of alcohol and allowed to stand, well-stoppered, in a dark, cool place, being shaken twice a day. The tincture, poured off and filtered, has a clear, light-lemon colour, an odour like the root and a taste at first bitter, then dulcamarous and an acid reaction.

There is no evidence that American ginseng is effective in those infected with the common cold. The effect of preventive use is not clear. When used preventively it makes no difference on the rate of infections. It also appears to have no effect on how bad the infections are. There is tentative evidence that it may lessen the length of sickness when used preventively.

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Cautions: : Individuals requiring anti-coagulant therapy such as warfarin should avoid use of American ginseng. Not recommended for individuals with impaired liver or renal function. It is not recommended in those who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Other adverse effects include: headaches, anxiety, trouble sleeping and an upset stomach.

Recent studies have shown that through the many cultivated procedures that American ginseng is grown, fungal molds, pesticides, and various metals and residues have contaminated the crop. Though these contaminating effects are not considerably substantial, they do pose health concerns that lead to neurological problems, intoxication, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

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:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_ginseng
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/g/ginsen15.html

Zinc Deficiency is a Global Concern

Experts say as many as 2 billion people around the world have diets deficient in zinc, and studies are raising concerns about the health implications this holds for infectious disease, immune function, DNA damage and cancer.

……………….zinc
Zinc is essential to protecting against oxidative stress and helping DNA repair. One new study has found DNA damage in humans caused by only minor zinc deficiency.

Zinc deficiency is quite common in the developing world. Even in the United States, about 12 percent of the population is probably at risk for zinc deficiency, and perhaps as many as 40 percent of the elderly. Many or most people have never been tested for zinc status, but existing tests are so poor it might not make much difference if they had been.

Source: Science Daily September 17, 2009

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Jet Lag to be History

Scripps Research scientists say that they have determined the molecular structure of a plant photolyase protein, which is very similar  to the two proteins that control the circadian clock in humans and other mammals, moving a step closer to making jet lag history.

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The researchers claim that their study has even enabled them to test how structural changes affect the function of such proteins.

“The plant photolyase structure provides a much better model to use to study how the cryptochrome proteins in the human clock function than we have ever had before,” says Dr. Kenichi Hitomi, a postdoctoral research fellow at Scripps Research.

“It’s like knowing for the first time where the engine is in a car. When you know what the most important parts of the protein are, then you can begin to figure out how it functions,” the researchers added.

Dr. Elizabeth Getzoff, professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and member of The Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology at Scripps Research, says that understanding how these proteins work may be helpful in fixing the clock when needed.

“In addition to decoding how the clock works, a long-term goal is to develop a drug to help people who can’t reset their clock when they need to, like people who work night shifts or travel long distances. Having the three-dimensional protein is a great step forward in both of those pursuits,” she says.

Working in collaboration with researchers from Scripps Research and from other institutions, including two universities in Japan, Hitomi studied Arabidopsis thaliana, a plant native to Europe and Asia that has one of the smallest genomes of all plants.

The researchers point out that just like all other plants, this plant also contains proteins known as photolyases, which use blue light to repair DNA damage induced by ultraviolet light.

They say that humans and mammals possess a homologous protein known as cryptochrome that modulates the circadian clock.

Getzoff says: “This is an amazing, and very puzzling, family of proteins, because they do one thing in plants and quite a different thing in mammals, yet these cousins all have the same structure and need the same cofactor, or chemical compound, to become activated.”

Hitomi adds: “All of these proteins were probably originally responses to sunlight. Sunlight causes DNA damage, so plants need to repair this damage, and they also need to respond to sunlight and seasons for growth and flowering. The human clock is set by exposure to sunlight, but also by when we eat, sleep and exercise.”

Hitomi and his colleagues set about producing proteins from the Arabidopsis thaliana genes that produce two related photolyase enzymes. These genes had been cloned earlier in the laboratory of co-author Dr Takeshi Todo of Kyoto University.

The researchers moved the gene from the plant into E coli bacteria to produce a lot of the protein, and later crystallized it to determine the atomic structure by using X-ray diffraction.

The researchers then produced a variety of mutant proteins in order to test the functional structure of the enzymes.

“We can now look at things that are the same and different between human and mouse cryptochromes and plant photolyases. Our results provide a detailed, comparative framework for biological investigations of both of these proteins and their functions,” says Hitomi.

He believes that his team’s findings may form the basis of drugs that can ease jet lag and regulate drug metabolism, as well as help better understand some fascinating circadian clock disorders that have been found in mice and man.

The study has been published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Sources:The Times Of India

Grandma’s Remedy for Cancer

Indian scientists have found the exact mechanism by which curcumin, the active ingredient of turmeric, helps prevent cancer.

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From a swollen thumb to a bruise to food poisoning, good old grandma has often had a single remedy: a dash of turmeric. Indian researchers have now found that this dietary supplement plays a positive role in taming cancers too.

The ubiquitous spice of the typical Indian kitchen has of late been a subject of much curiosity among medical researchers because of its well-known wound healing and anti-inflammatory properties.

Researchers stumbled upon the anti-cancer potential of curcumin, the active ingredient of turmeric, recently. Since then, a number of research groups all over the world have been engaged in animal studies to prove curcumin’s efficacy.

Reported in the latest issue of Carcinogenesis, the work by a team of Indian medical scientists led by Girish Maru of the Advanced Centre for Treatment, Research and Education in Cancer (ACTREC), Mumbai, is one of first studies on the subject.

More importantly, the Mumbai scientists were able to unravel the exact mechanism behind curcumin’s action. They found that curcumin not only inhibits the enzymes that directly help a cancer-causing agent to damage the DNA but also increases the availability of yet another set of enzymes that helps the body fight the carcinogenic compound.

For their studies the ACTREC researchers used the carcinogen benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P), a compound commonly found in cigarette smoke and wood smoke and that is implicated in lung cancer. They fed mice with curcumin for 16 days. Then the animals were given a relatively high quantity of B[a]P enough to induce DNA damage that can lead to tumour growth.

Subsequent studies on how the carcinogen interacted with various sets of enzymes inside the animals gave interesting results. The mice fed with curcumin had much depleted levels of cancer-promoting enzymes compared with the control group. Also, they showed higher levels of friendly enzymes such as glutathione S-transferase, indicating increased detoxification of B[a]P.

But is the quantity of turmeric, which one consumes through food, enough to have a protective effect against cancers? Scientists do not think so.

Though very potent, the levels of curcumin in turmeric are as low as 0.01 per cent. Moreover, curcumin uptake by the human body is relatively low. However, scientists are trying to increase curcumin uptake by the human body. For instance, they have already found that adding one part of piperine, the compound responsible for black pepper’s pungency, to 20 parts of curcumin can increase the uptake by several hundred-fold.

You may click to see also:->

Turmeric helps fight Alzheimer’s

Killing Cancer, the Haldi(Turmeric) Way

Curcumin and its metabolite, Aß oligomer, Neuroinflammation, aging

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)