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Herbs & Plants

Copal

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Botanical Name: Protium copal
Common Name: Copal, Pom

Habitat :Protium copal is native to Guatemalan in South America, also grows in several places in Africa

Description:
Copal is a name given to tree resin that is particularly identified with the aromatic resins used by the cultures of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica as ceremonially burned incense and other purposes. More generally, the term copal describes resinous substances in an intermediate stage of polymerization and hardening between “gummier” resins and amber. The word copal is derived from the Nahuatl language word copalli, meaning “incense
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To the pre-Columbian Maya and contemporary Maya peoples it is known in the various Mayan languages as pom (or a close variation thereof), although the word itself has been demonstrated to be a loanword to Mayan from Mixe–Zoquean languages.

Copal is still used by a number of indigenous peoples of Mexico and Central America as an incense and during sweat lodge ceremonies.  It is available in different forms. The hard, amber-like yellow copal is a less expensive version. The white copal, a hard, milky, sticky substance, is a more expensive version of the same resin.

Copal was also grown in East Africa, (the common species there being Hymenaea verrucosa) initially feeding an Indian Ocean demand for incense. By the 18th Century, Europeans found it to be a valuable ingredient in making a good wood varnish. It became widely used in the manufacture of furniture and carriages. By the late 19th and early 20th century varnish manufacturers in England and America were using it on train carriages, greatly swelling its demand.

In 1859 Americans consumed 68 percent of the East African trade, which was controlled through the Sultan of Zanzibar, with Germany receiving 24 percent. The American Civil War and the creation of the Suez Canal led to Germany, India and Hong Kong taking the majority by the end of that century.

East Africa apparently had a higher amount of subfossil copal, which is found one or two meters below living copal trees from roots of trees that may have lived thousands of years earlier. This subfossil copal produces a harder varnish. Subfossil copal is also well-known from New Zealand (Kauri gum), Japan, the Dominican Republic, Colombia and Madagascar. It often has inclusions and is sometimes sold as “young amber”. Copal can be easily distinguished from genuine amber by its lighter citrine colour and its surface getting tacky with a drop of acetone or chloroform

Medicinal Uses:
Chickleros who stayed in the bush for months relied on fresh copal resin to treat painful cavities, a piece of resin was stuffed into the cavity and, in a few days, the tooth broke apart and was easily expelled. The bark is scraped, powdered, and applied to wounds, sores, and infections.  Cut a piece of bark 2.5 cm x 15 cm; boil in 3 cups of water for 10 minutes and drink 1 cup before meals for stomach complaints and intestinal parasites.  It is also used as a remedy for fright and dizziness.

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://belize.com/copal.html
http://www.marc.ucsb.edu/elpilar/features/trail/documents/plants/copal.htm
http://waynesword.palomar.edu/ecoph22.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Copal_with_insects_close-up.jpg

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Ailmemts & Remedies

Giardiasis

Alternative NamesGiardia; Traveler’s diarrhea – giardiasis

Definition:

Giardiasis is an intestinal infection caused by a protozoan and is spread by contaminated water or contact with an infected person.
Giardiasis  or beaver fever in humans is a diarrheal infection of the small intestine by a single-celled organism called Giardia lamblia. Giardiasis occurs worldwide with a prevalence of 20–30% in developing countries. In the USA, 20,000 cases are reported to the CDC annually, but the true annual incidence is estimated at 2 million people. Giardia has a wide range of mammalian hosts besides humans, thus making it very difficult to eradicate. For people with compromised immune systems, such as elderly or AIDS patients, giardiasis can be deadly

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The parasite was first identified in 1681 by Anton von Leeuwenhoek, the ‘father of microbiology’. In 1859 a Bohemian doctor, Vilem Lambl, found giardia in human faeces and from then on it was thought to be a harmless occupant of the intestines. It wasn’t until the 1970s that giardia was given its true status as one of the world’s most common causes of diarrhoeal illness.

Giardia is a type of single-celled organism called a protozoon. It first came to light in the UK as an important cause of diarrhoea among those returning from abroad. It’s a major cause of childhood diarrhoea in developing countries and is also common in Eastern Europe and across the US. However, giardia can be found around the globe and is the most common gut parasite in the

Symptoms:
One reason it can be difficult to control the spread of giardia is that as many as 15 per cent of those carrying the organism have no symptoms. They become a source of the parasite, contaminating the environment without realising it.

However, most people develop a variety of gastrointestinal symptoms like:

*Indigestion
•Abdominal pain
•Watery diarrhoea,
•Gas or bloating
•Headache
•Loss of appetite
•Low-grade fever
•Nausea and stomach cramps
•Swollen or distended abdomen
•Vomiting

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These symptoms can persist for several weeks and, without treatment, can lead to dehydration and weight loss. In developing countries, where people (especially children) may already be malnourished, an infection can prove fatal.

Causes:
People or animals carrying giardia in their intestines pass it out in their faeces. The parasite is then spread through poor hygiene or contaminated soil, food or water (see box below). With a tough outer shell, the parasite can survive for long periods outside a host body. A person only needs to pic1982k up a few giardia cysts for infection to develop.

•Putting something in your mouth that has been contaminated by faeces from an infected person or animal.
•Drinking contaminated water. Public water supplies in the UK are considered to be at low risk as giardia is killed by adequate chlorination.
•Swallowing water during recreation that is contaminated with sewage – for example, in swimming pools, jacuzzis, lakes, rivers or ponds.
•Eating contaminated food. One report found cases linked to the consumption of lettuce.
•Coming in contact with surfaces or objects that have been contaminated by an infected person.

Giardiasis outbreaks can occur in communities in both developed and developing countries where water supplies become contaminated with raw sewage.

It can be contracted by drinking water from lakes or streams where water-dwelling animals such as beavers and muskrats, or domestic animals such as sheep, have caused contamination. It is also spread by direct person-to-person contact, which has caused outbreaks in institutions such as day care centers.

Travelers are at risk for giardiasis throughout the world. Campers and hikers are at risk if they drink untreated water from streams and lakes. Other risk factors include:

•Exposure to a family member with giardiasis
•Institutional (day care or nursing home) exposure
•Unprotected anal sex

Possible Complications:
•Dehydration
•Malabsorption (inadequate absorption of nutrients from the intestinal tract)
•Weight loss

Diagnosis:.
Giardiasis is diagnosed by checking stool samples for the parasite. It can be difficult to find, though, and it’s often necessary to send several samples for analysis.

Tests that may be done include:
•Enteroscopy
•Stool antigen test to check for Giardia
•Stool ova and parasites exam
•String test (rarely performed)
This disease may also affect the results of the following tests:

•D-xylose absorption
•Small bowel tissue biopsy
•Smear of duodenal aspirated fluid

Treatment:
Some people recover completely from giardiasis without specific treatment. For other, the infection persists for weeks or even months. Treatment with antibiotics will shorten the course of the illness and reduce the risk of spread to others. Antibiotic therapy is particularly important for those, such as young children, who are at greater risk.

Steps should also be taken to treat or prevent dehydration, and people with giardiasis should drink plenty of fluids. Severe dehydration may need hospital treatment, with an intravenous drip.

Cure rates are generally greater than 80%. Drug resistance may be a factor in treatment failures, sometimes requiring a change in antibiotic therapy.

In pregnant women, treatment should wait until after delivery, because some drugs used to treat the infection can be harmful to the unborn baby.

Prognosis:
It is common for the infection to go away on its own. However, persistent infections have been reported and need further antibiotic treatment. Some people who have had Giardia infections for a long time continue having symptoms even after the infection has gone.

Prevention:
Good hygiene should help to keep you safe from giardia. Always wash your hands after using the toilet or changing nappies, and before handling food. Don’t share towels.

Don’t swim, or let your children swim, in pools, rivers, lakes or the sea during an episode of diarrhoea, and for at least two weeks after treatment.

When abroad, make sure the water supply is safe, or drink only purified or bottled water. Also avoid ice in drinks, and fruit and salad vegetables washed in tap water.

Avoid exposure to faeces during sexual activity (homosexual men may be at increased risk of infection).

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/giardiasis1.shtml
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giardiasis.
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000288.htm

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http://www.quincymedgroup.com/adam/dochtml/Health%20Illustrated%20Encyclopedia/2/18139.htm
Categories
Ailmemts & Remedies

Erythrasma

Definition:
Erythrasma is a bacterial infection caused by the bacteria Corynebacterium minutissimum. It occurs most often between the third and fourth toes, but it can also frequently be found in the groin, armpits, and under the breasts. Because of it’s color and location, it’s often confused with a fungal infection like jock itch. Erythrasma is more common in the following populations:

CLICK TO SEE.....(01)..…….....(1).……..(2)…….(3)…...(4).

It is prevalent among diabetics, the obese,elderly, and People in warm, moist climates   and is worsened by wearing occlusive clothing.

Symptoms:
The main symptoms are reddish-brown slightly scaly patches with sharp borders. The patches occur in moist areas such as the groin, armpit, and skin folds. They may itch slightly and often look like patches associated with other fungal infections, such as ringworm.

Erythrasmic patches are typically found in intertriginous areas (skin fold areas – e.g. armpit, groin, under breast) – with the toe web-spaces being most commonly involved.

The patient is commonly otherwise asymptomatic.

Causes:
Erythrasma is caused by the bacteria Corynebacterium minutissimum.

Erythrasma is more common in warm climates. You are more likely to develop this condition if you are overweight or have diabetes.

The patches of erythrasma are initially pink, but progress quickly to become brown and scaly (as skin starts to shed).

Diagnosis:
At times, your doctor can diagnose erythrasma based on its typical appearance. But more often, your doctor will need to perform other tests to help make the diagnosis. The best way for your doctor to tell the difference between erythrasma and a fungal infection is to do a Wood’s Lamp examination on the rash. Under the UV light of a Woods Lamp, erythrasma turns a bright coral red, but fungal infections do not.

Other tests that may help include:
*A simple side-room investigation with a Wood’s lamp:It is additionally useful in diagnosing erythrasma. The ultraviolet light of a Wood’s lamp causes the organism to fluoresce a coral red color, differentiating it from fungal infections and other skin conditions.

•Gram Stain: A way to identify bacteria from a sample of the scale. Unfortunately, this bacteria is difficult to get to stick to the slide so it requires a special technique.

•KOH Test: This is a test used to identify fungal elements. This test might be done to confirm that there is no fungus present.

•Skin Biopsy: A sample of tissue is removed and evaluated under a microscope. In erythrasma, the bacteria can be seen in the upper layer of the specimen.

Treatment:
Since this is a bacterial infection, erythrasma is best treated with antibiotics, and fortunately several antibiotics fit the bill.

The following are antibiotics that are typically prescribed for erythrasma:
•Erythromycin 250mg four times a day for 5 days
•Clarithromycin 1gm once
•The antifungal creams miconazole, clotrimazole and econazole, but not ketoconazole
•Topical antibiotics like clindamycin or erythromycin twice a day for 2 weeks

Gently scrubbing the skin patches with antibacterial soap may help them go away.

Prognosis:
Complete recovery is expected following treatment.

Prevention:
These measures may reduce the risk of erythrasma:

•Maintaining good hygiene
•Keeping the skin dry
•Wearing clean, absorbent clothing
•Avoiding excessive heat or moisture
•Maintaining healthy body weight

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/erythrasma1.shtml
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erythrasma
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001470.htm
http://dermatology.about.com/od/infectionbacteria/a/erythrasma.htm

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Fruits & Vegetables Herbs & Plants

Ambarella(Spondias dulcis)

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Botanical Name :Spondias dulcis
Family: Anacardiaceae
Genus: Spondias
Species: S. dulcis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Common Name:- Ambarella,Malay Apple,Golden Apple,Pomme cythere in Trinidad and Tobago, June plum in Jamaica, Juplon in Costa Rica, Jobo Indio in Venezuela, and Caja-manga in Brazil.
Hog Plum in English , In Bengali it is called as  Amra or bilati amra

Vernacular names:-
(Ambarella) (Sinhalese)
ambarella (Dutch)
amra (Bengali)
buah kedondong (Malay)
cajá-manga (Brazilian Portuguese)
cóc (Vietnamese)
Manzana de Oro (Dominican Republic)
évi (Réunion)
Goldpflaume (German)
gway (Burmese)
hevi (Philippines)
hog plum
jobo indio (Español de Venezuela)
June plum (Jamaica)
kedondong (Indonesian)
makok farang (Thai)
manga zi nsende (Kikongo)
mkak  (Khmer)
mokah (Cambodian)
naos (Bislama)
pomarosa (Puerto Rico)
prune Cythère, pomme Cythère (French)
sugar apple (St. Lucia)
wi apple (Hawaii)
Pomcite (Trinidad and Tobago)

Habitat: Native to Melanesia through Polynesia, S. dulcis has been introduced into tropical areas across the world. The species was introduced into Jamaica in 1782, and, among other places, is also cultivated in Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and also from Puerto Rico to Trinidad, and Sucre east, in Venezuela. Although the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) received seeds from Liberia in 1909, S. dulcis has yet to become popular in America.

Description:
This fast growing tree can reach up to 60 ft (18 m) in its native homeland of Melanesia through Polynesia; however, it usually averages out at 30 to 40 ft (9-12 m) in other areas. Spondias dulcis has deciduous, “pinnate leaves, 8 to 24 in (20-60 cm) in length, composed of 9 to 25 glossy, elliptic or obovate-oblong leaflets 2 1.2 to 4 in (6.25-10 cm) long, finely toothed toward the apex” (Morton 1987). The tree produces small, inconspicuous white flowers in terminal panicles, assorted male, female. Its oval fruits, 2 ½ to 3 ½ in (6.25-9 cm) long, are long-stalked and are produced in bunches of 12 or more. Over several weeks, the fruit fall to the ground while still green and hard, turning golden-yellow as they ripen. According to Morton (1987), “some fruits in the South Sea Islands weigh over 1 lb (0.45 kg) each”.

click to see the pictures….…(01)......(1)..…….(2)..…...(3).……..(4)...

Edible Uses:
Spondias dulcis is most commonly used as a food source. Its fruit may be eaten raw; the flesh is crunchy and a little sour. In Indonesia and Malaysia, S. dulcis is eaten with shrimp paste (a thick black salty-sweet sauce, called hayko in Chinese Southern Min dialect). It occurs as an ingredient in rojak. It may also be juiced, and goes then under the name “umbra juice” in Malaysia, or balonglong juice in Singapore.

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Alternative food uses include cooking the fruit into a preserve, similar in consistency to apple butter, sauce flavoring, soups, and stews.

In Fiji, it is used to make jam.

In West Java, its young leaves are used as seasoning for pepes.

In Vietnam it is not considered as a regular “table” fruit, just a snack. It is consumed unripe, like green mangoes, sliced and dipped in a mixture of salt, sugar and fresh chili, or in shrimp paste. Another recipe favored by children is to macerate in liquid, artificially sweetened licorice extract.

In Jamaica it is mostly considered a novelty especially by children. The fruit is peeled and sprinkled with salt. The sourness and saltiness provide amusement. The fruit is also made into a drink sweetened with sugar and spiced with some ginger.

In India & Bangladesh this fruit is used in “Achar” and “Chatni”

The ambarella has suffered by comparison with the mango and by repetition in literature of its inferior quality. However, taken at the proper stage, while still firm, it is relished by many out-of-hand, and it yields a delicious juice for cold beverages. If the crisp sliced flesh is stewed with a little water and sugar and then strained through a wire sieve, it makes a most acceptable product, much like traditional applesauce but with a richer flavor. With the addition of cinnamon or any other spices desired, this sauce can be slowly cooked down to a thick consistency to make a preserve very similar to apple butter. Unripe fruits can be made into jelly, pickles or relishes, or used for flavoring sauces, soups and stews.

Young ambarella leaves are appealingly acid and consumed raw in southeast Asia. In Indonesia, they are steamed and eaten as a vegetable with salted fish and rice, and also used as seasoning for various dishes. They are sometimes cooked with meat to tenderize it.

Food Value Per 100 g of Edible Portion:-
Calories -157.30
Total Solids -14.53-40-35%
Moisture -59.65-85.47%
Protein- 0.50-0.80%
Fat– 0.28-1.79%
Sugar (sucrose)-8.05-10-54%
Acid-0.47%
Crude Fiber- 0.85-3-60%
Ash-0.44-0.65%

Medicinal Uses: In Cambodia, the astringent bark is used with various species of Terminalia as a remedy for diarrhea.

Other Uses: The wood is light-brown and buoyant and in the Society Islands has been used for canoes.

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spondias_dulcis
http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/ambarella_ars.html
http://saintlucianplants.com/cultivated/spondulc/spondulci.html
http://www.tradewindsfruit.com/ambarella.htm

http://www.kew.org/mng/gallery/348.html

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Sapote


Botanical Name
:Diospyros ebenaster Retz.
Family: Ebenaceae
Genus: Diospyros
Species: D. digyna
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales

Other Scientific Names:  Sapote negro Sonn. ,Diospyros sapota Roxb.,Sapota nigra Blanco  ,Diospyros nigra Perr. ,Diospyros nigra Blanco

Common Names :Sapote (Tag.),Zapote (Span.), Sapote negro (Span.),Chocolate fruits (Engl.),Ebony persimmon(Engl.),Chocolate Pudding Fruit and (in Spanish) Zapote Prieto.

Habitat :Native to eastern Mexico and Central America south to Colombia. With time, it reached many parts of the world and now is being grown in the Philippines, Malacca, Maurius, Hawai, Brazil, Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

Description :
Sapote is a tall, smooth tree, 7 to 17 meters high. Leaves are leathery, shiny, thick, oblong to elliptic-oblong,tapered at both ends, glossy, and 10–30 cm (3.9–12 in) long and borne on rather short stalks. Flowers are dioecious, occurring singly in the axils of leaves and measuring from 1 to 1.5 cm long. Calyx is greenish, with broad truncate lobes. Corolla is tubular, lobed and white. Fruits is large, smooth, green, rounded, 9 to 12 cm in diameter, more or less depressed at its apex, enveloped at its base by a persistent calyx. The flesh of the fruit is yellowish, turning nearly black at maturity. Seeds are usually four and about 2 cm long.
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Fruit are tomato-like  with an inedible skin that turns from olive to a deep yellow-green when ripe and an edible pulp that turns from white when unripe to a flavor, color and texture often likened to chocolate pudding when ripe....click & see

Cultivation:

The black sapote is usually grown from seeds, which remain viable for several months in dry storage and germinate in about 30 days after planting in flats. Vegetative propagation is not commonly practiced but the tree has been successfully air-layered and also shield-budded using mature scions.

Black sapote trees are vigorous growers.  These should be spaced 10-12 m apart.  This fruit is a heavy bearer and can bear sizeable crops with very less attention.

The fruit turns a duller colour when ripe and the persistent calyx at the base, which is pressed against the developing fruit, becomes reflexed. At this stage the fruits are still firm. They soften 3-14 days after harvesting, and must be distributed beforehand because soft ripe fruits are difficult to handle.

Individual fruits ripen suddenly and unpredictably within 24 hours. Harvested fruits can be stored for several months at 10 deg. C. When removed from cold storage and placed at tropical room temperature (about 29 deg. C), they will soften within 48 hours.

Black persimmon is a good source of vitamin C, calcium and phosphorus.  It is hardy tree requiring very less care..  It is also heavy bearer.  So  it has a potential for being developed as a new commercial fruit crop.


Edible Uses:

The fruits are eaten when fully ripe and soft. The pulp, which is contained within a thin skin, is soft, sweet, smooth and pale brown in colour. When scooped out and stirred, the colour changes to chocolate brown.

Apart from being eaten fresh, the pulp may be made into a drink by blending with citrus, vanilla, or other flavours. It is also used in ice-cream, cakes and liqueurs.

In the Philippines, fruit is eaten in milk, cooked in pies (with lemon to counteract its mawkishness), or made into ice-cream.

The unripe fruits are inedible, caustic and bitter. These have also been used as fish poison in Philippines and the West Indies.

The wood is yellowish to deep-yellow with black markings near the heart of old trunks; it is compact and suitable for cabinetwork, but is little used.

Medicinal Uses:
Parts used :Fruit, bark, leaves.

Folkloric

*In the Philippines, pounded bark and leaves are used as blistering plaster.
*In Yucatan, decoction of leaves used for fevers.
*Used as remedy for leprosy, ringworm and for itching.

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.stuartxchange.com/Sapote.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diospyros_digyna
http://www.fruitipedia.com/black_sapote%20Diospuros%20digina.htm

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