Tag Archives: Ebola virus disease

Pueraria mirifica

Botanical Name : Pueraria mirifica
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Genus: Pueraria
Species: P. mirifica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Common Name :Kwao Krua, Khao Krua Kao, or Kwao Kreu Kao (white root) and Kwao Krua Dang (red root Butea Superba),

Habitat :Pueraria mirifica  is a native herb abundant in the jungles of the north Thailand and Burma.

Description:
The Pueraria mirifica plant is found only in Thailand. Even though there have been reports of findings of plants in the same family of “Pueraria” in Asian countries, these plant are of different species and possess different qualities from Pueraria mirifica. From the study, there are nine species [as many as thirteen have now been reported] of Pueraria in Thailand. This article discussing the efficacy and safety study of Pueraria mirifica refers only to Pueraria candollei var. mirifica from central part of the country. Pueraria mirifica is a climbing plant, usually grows in a mountainous area by tiding with trees. There are three small leaves on each branch and purple blooms on the top. The tubers on its root are round, and stay underground. When cut, white liquid like skim milk would come out. The Shape and size of Pueraria mirifica are diverse up to the environment in which it exists. Active ingredients are found at the roots from which extracts are made.
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History:
Arimuttama was the old capital of the Pookham City of Myanmar. They had a sacred Buddhist precinct and one-day the sacred Buddhist precinct was broken down. The Buddhist monks found this ingredient that was inscribed on the palm leaf and placed it in the sacred Buddhist precinct.

To take the tuberous root of Pueraria with big leaves, pound and blend with cow’s milk. The benefits of this medicine is to support memory, talk big, and be able to remember three books of the astrology, make the skin smooth like six year old kid, live more than 1,000 years and parasite diseases are not able to be of trouble

There are 4 varieties of kwao krua that are considered beneficial and can be used for medicinal, food supplementary and cosmetic purposes. They are White Kwao Krua (Pueraria mirifica), Red Kwao Krua (Butea superba), Black Kwao Krua and Dull Grey Kwao Krua. Local communities in Thailand have used Pueraria mirifica for well over one hundred years, specifically for its supposed rejuvenating qualities

Uses:
Pueraria mirifica, also known as ‘white kwao krua’, is a natural tuberous herbal root and contains high levels of natural phytoestrogens including miroestrol, deoxymiroestrol, daidzein, genistin, genistein, B-Sitosterol, stigmasterol, coumestrol, pueraria, campesterol, mirificoumestan, kwakhurin, and mirificine.

Some cosmetic products and herbal supplements claim various health benefits of the extracts of Pueraria mirifica including increasing appetite, enlarging breasts, improving hair growth, and other rejuvenating effects; however, there is no scientific evidence to support any these claims.   The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has taken action against manufacturers who make such fraudulent claims

Medicinal Uses:
Preliminary data from a clinical trial conducted in Thailand to study the beneficial effect of Pueraria mirifica supplement have recently been obtained. Eight female subjects who were having menopausal symptoms received Pueraria mirifica in the form of capsule once daily at the dose of 200 mg for 4 months followed by the dose of 100 mg, for 8 months. Improvement of menopausal symptoms was observed in 5 out of 8 subjects throughout the study period. Physical examinations and biochemical studies revealed that all subjects were healthy. The dietary supplement dose of Pueraria mirifica recommended by the physician for its estrogenic effect in this case is 100 mg per day.

A series of studies involving breast cell lines and the activity of Pueraria mirifica in vitro have been performed by the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Phramongkutklao College of Medicine, Bangkok, Thailand. These studies have shown that Pueraria mirifica root extract (Smith Naturals Co Ltd., Bangkok) has potent anti-estrogenic properties against aggressive cell cancer lines in vitro, especially the proliferative estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer lines (T47-D, MCF-7, and ZR-75-1) obtained from the MD Anderson Cancer Institute (Texas) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Tectorigenin, an isoflavone present in kudzu, demonstrated antiproliferative activity against human cancer (HL-60) cells. The proposed mechanisms are induction of differentiation in the cells and a reduction in the expression of Bcl-2, an antiapoptotic protein. In addition, isoflavones in Pueraria mirifica are thought to be involved in alleviating symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats in perimenopausal women and affect cognitive function in postmenopausal women. The isoflavones present in kudzu root extract are also thought to suppress alcohol intake and alcohol withdrawal symptoms in mice although the mechanism is unclear. The anti-inflammatory property of kudzu is attributed to its ability to decrease Prostaglandin E2 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha release, both of which are involved in inflammatory process. The flowers of Pueraria thunbergiana exhibit protective effects against ethanol-induced apoptosis in human neuroblastoma cells by inhibiting the expression of a protease, caspase-3 that is responsible for proteolytic cleavage of many proteins.

Herbal Breast Enlargement by Pueraria mirifica. In 90% of women, the phytoestrogen from Pueraria herbal will induce the increasing of the cell turgidity but not cell multiplication or proliferation.

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:
Siam Natural ‘Kwao Krua Kao’ (Pueraria mirifica)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pueraria_mirifica
http://www.paradisemoon.com/herbal/kwao_krua.htm
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_IJK.htm

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Marburg virus

Definition:
Marburg virus or simply Marburg is the common name for the genus of viruses Marburgvirus, which contains one species, Lake Victoria marburgvirus. The virus causes the disease Marburg Hemorrhagic Fever (MHF), also referred to as Marburg Virus Disease, and previously also known as green monkey disease due to its primate origin. Marburg originated in Central and East Africa, and infects both human and nonhuman primates. The Marburg Virus is in the same taxonomic family as Ebola, and both are identical structurally although they elicit different antibodies.

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Ebola virus and Marburg virus live in animal hosts, and humans can contract the viruses from infected animals. After the initial transmission, the viruses can spread from person to person through contact with body fluids or contaminated needles.

Marburg virus is a severe and highly contagious form of haemorrhagic fever caused by a virus from the same family – the filoviruses – as Ebola haemorrhagic fever (EHF), although it’s not as deadly as its cousin.

No drug has been approved to treat Ebola virus or Marburg virus. People diagnosed with Ebola or Marburg virus receive supportive care and treatment for complications. Scientists are coming closer to developing vaccines for these deadly diseases.

The virus was first discovered in 1967, during simultaneous outbreaks at laboratories in the former Yugoslavia and Frankfurt and Marburg, Germany. Since 1967 sporadic small outbreaks have been reported but in 2004-5 a major outbreak in Angola led to more than 140 deaths from the Marburg virus.

Symptoms:
During the incubation period, which lasts between five and ten days, no symptoms are apparent.

You may click to see:Marburg Virus Pictures from CDC

Signs and symptoms typically begin abruptly within five to 10 days of infection. Early signs and symptoms include:

*Fever
*Severe headache
*Joint and muscle aches
*Chills
*Sore throat
*Weakness

Over time, symptoms become increasingly severe and may include:

*Nausea and vomiting
*Diarrhea (may be bloody)
*Red eyes
*Raised rash
*Chest pain and cough
*Stomach pain
*Severe weight loss
*Bleeding from the nose, mouth, rectum, eyes and ears

The disease can then become increasingly damaging, causing:

•Jaundice
•Delirium
•Liver failure
•Extensive haemorrhage from multiple sites, which can give rise to bloody diarrhoea and vomiting of blood (known as heamatemesis)

Many people infected with the virus die, usually from haemorrhagic shock or liver failure. In areas where medical support is poor, the death rate can be much higher. The infection can be difficult to diagnose, because many of the initial signs are similar to those of other infectious diseases, such as malaria or typhoid fever.

Causes:
The virus appears to be rare and only found in Africa where cases have occurred in Uganda, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Angola. In the natural habitat the reservoir of the virus is the Egyptian fruit bat, which is found in Africa, but how the virus jumps from animals to humans is not known. Some people have developed the disease after visiting caves where the bats are found.

Transmission from animals to humans:
The virus can be transmitted to humans by exposure to an infected animal’s bodily fluids. Examples include:

*Blood. Butchering or eating infected animals can spread the viruses. Scientists who have operated on infected animals as part of their research have also contracted the virus.

*Waste products. Tourists in certain African caves and some underground mine workers have been infected with the Marburg virus, possibly through contact with the feces or urine of infected bats.

Transmission from person to person :
Infected people typically don’t become contagious until they develop symptoms. Family members are often infected as they care for sick relatives or prepare the dead for burial.

Once a human is infected they can pass the virus on to others through their body fluids, most commonly blood but also faeces, saliva and vomit. The virus may also possibly be spread via aerosols of tiny infected droplets produced when patients cough and splutter. However, the research suggests that sick humans don’t usually generate sufficient volumes of infectious aerosols to pose a significant hazard to those around them.

Medical personnel can be infected if they don’t use protective gear such as surgical masks and latex gloves. Medical centers in Africa are often so poor that they must reuse needles and syringes. Some of the worst Ebola epidemics have occurred because contaminated injection equipment wasn’t sterilized between uses.

There’s no evidence that Ebola virus or Marburg virus can be spread via insect bites.

Risk Factors:
For most people — including international travelers — the risk of getting Ebola or Marburg hemorrhagic fever is low. The risk increases if you:

*Travel to Africa. You’re at increased risk if you visit or work in areas where Ebola virus or Marburg virus outbreaks have occurred in the past.

*Conduct animal research. People are more likely to contract the Ebola or Marburg virus if they conduct animal research with monkeys imported from Africa or the Philippines.

*Provide medical or personal care. Family members are often infected as they care for sick relatives. Medical personnel also can be infected if they don’t use protective gear such as surgical masks and latex gloves.Prepare people for burial. The bodies of people who have died of Ebola or Marburg hemorrhagic fever are still contagious. Helping prepare these bodies for burial can increase your risk of developing the disease yourself.

Complications:
Both Ebola and Marburg hemorrhagic fevers lead to death for a high percentage of people who are affected. As the illness progresses, it can cause:

*Multiple organ failure
*Severe bleeding
*Jaundice
*Delirium
*Seizures
*Coma
*Shock

One reason the viruses are so deadly is that they interfere with the immune system’s ability to mount a defense. But scientists don’t understand why some people recover from Ebola and Marburg and others don’t.

For people who survive, recovery is slow. It may take months to regain weight and strength, and the viruses remain in the body for many weeks. People may experience:

*Hair loss
*Sensory changes
*Liver inflammation (hepatitis)
*Weakness
*Fatigue
*Headaches
*Eye inflammation
*Testicular inflammation

Diagnosis:
Ebola and Marburg hemorrhagic fevers are difficult to diagnose because many of the early signs and symptoms resemble those of other infectious diseases, such as typhoid and malaria. But if doctors suspect that you have been exposed to Ebola virus or Marburg virus, they use laboratory tests that can identify the viruses within a few days.

Most people with Ebola or Marburg hemorrhagic fever have high concentrations of the virus in their blood. Blood tests known as enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (PCR) can detect specific genes or the virus or antibodies to them.

It is similar to Ebola using the Enzyme-Linked ImmunoSorbent Assay (ELISA) test. Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) technique has been successfully used for detection of Marburg virus. PCR detection for Marburg virus by Hänninen 2001

Treatment :
There is no cure for Marburg disease as there is no specific antiviral therapy indicated for treating Marburg, and hospital care is usually supportive in nature. Hypotension and shock may require early administration of vasopressors and haemodynamic monitoring with attention to fluid and electrolyte balance, circulatory volume, and blood pressure. Viral haemorrhagic fever (VHF) patients tend to respond poorly to fluid infusions and may develop pulmonary edema.

Prognosis:
If a patient survives, recovery is usually prompt and complete, though it may be prolonged in some cases, with inflammation or secondary infection of various organs, including: orchitis (testicles), hepatitis (liver), transverse myelitis (spinal cord), uveitis (eyes), and parotitis (salivary glands) Recovered patients often have little or no memory of being sick, though only 40-60% survive.

Prevention:
Strict hygiene measures help to prevent spread when an outbreak occurs, and an experimental vaccine is currently being tested.

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/marburg_virus.shtml
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/ebola-virus/DS00996
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marburg_virus
http://hardinmd.lib.uiowa.edu/cdc/275.html

http://hardinmd.lib.uiowa.edu/cdc/6562.html

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The Vitamin D Solution

A press release by the publisher Penguin declares the release of Dr. Michael F. Holick’s latest book about the remarkable health benefits of vitamin D.

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“What do obesity, heart disease, depression, diabetes, and fibromyalgia have in common?

The answer is vitamin D deficiency,” the press release states.

“More than 200 million Americans lack this essential vitamin. In the landmark book The Vitamin D Solution, Dr. Michael F. Holick identifies the causes of vitamin D deficiency, outlines why it is essential to your health, and provides a 3-step program to attain optimal levels of Vitamin D.

Increasing levels of vitamin D can treat, prevent, and even reverse a remarkable number of daily ailments, from high blood pressure to back pain. It can lessen the symptoms of chronic conditions such as diabetes and arthritis, and actually prevent infectious diseases, including H1N1 and cancer. Dr. Holick also credits vitamin D with improving infertility, weight control, memory and mood.”

Source: Eurekalert April 1, 2010

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Dittany Of Crete (Origanum dictamnus )

 

Botanical Name : Origanum dictamnus
Family: Lamiaceae
Synonyms : Amaracus dictamnus – (L.)Benth.
Other Names :Origanum dictamnus , Dittany of Crete or Cretan  Dittany
Kingdom:
Plantae
Order: Lamiales
Genus: Origanum
Species:
O. dictamnus

Habitat : S. Europe – Crete.  Shady rocks in dry places in high mountains. It grows wild on the mountainsides and gorges of the Greek island of Crete, Greece.

Description:
It  is a tender perennial plant that grows 20–30 cm high. It is a healing, therapeutic and aromatic plant
It is hardy to zone 7. It is in flower from June to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.

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Origanum dictamnus is a many branched plant with discoid to ovate grey-green leaves that are sited in pairs opposite each other. The slender arching stems and lanate leaves are covered in a velvety white down and are 13–25 mm in size.

The flowers are pale pink to purple and have a deep lilac corolla with many deep pink coloured overlapping bracts. The colourful flowers forming a cascade of elongated clusters are in bloom in the summer months. The flowers are hermaphrodite meaning they have both male and female organs and are pollinated by bees attracted to their scent and bright colour.

Said to symbolize love and to be an aphrodisiac, only the most ardent young lovers scrambled on mountainsides and the deep gorges of Crete gathering bunches of the pink blooms to present as love tokens. There are numerous deaths reported throughout the centuries by collectors of this magical herb.

Even in recent times the collection of Dittany of Crete was a very dangerous occupation for the men who risked life and limb to climb precarious rock faces where the plant grows wild in the mountains of Crete. They were named Erondades (love seekers) and were considered very passionate men to go to such dangerous lengths to collect the herb.

Dittany of Crete has always been highly prized and is gathered while in bloom in the summer months and is exported for use in pharmaceuticals, perfumery and to flavour drinks such as vermouth and absinthe.

In Ancient Greece it is believed, that Hippocrates prescribed plant cures to aid all manner of ailments and considered Dittany of Crete useful for stomach aches and complaints of the digestive system and as a poultice for healing wounds.

The Greek philosopher Aristotle in his work The History of Animals (612a4) wrote:

“Wild goats in Crete are said, when wounded by arrow, to go in search of dittany, which is supposed to have the property of ejecting arrows in the body.”

The Greek scholar and philosopher Theophrastus agreed with Aristotle about the healing properties of Dittany of Crete. In his work Enquiry into Plants he notes that Dittany was peculiar to Crete, and that it was:

“Said to be true, that, if goats eat it when they have been shot, it rids them of the arrow” (9.16.1).

Other scholars of Ancient Greece and later have made reference to Dittany but probably referred to Dictamnus albus known as False Dittany or White Dittany.

Today the wild naturally grown Dittany of Crete is classed as “rare” and is protected by European law so that it does not become extinct. The cultivation now centres on Embaros and the surrounding villages, south of Heraklion, Crete and is used to make herbal tea and for use in natural beauty products.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soil. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires dry or moist soil.

Cultivation :
Requires a rather dry, warm, well-drained soil, but is not fussy as to soil type, thriving on chalk . Prefers slightly alkaline conditions. This species is not fully hardy in Britain according to one report  whilst another says that it is hardy to zone 7, which means that it can succeed outdoors in most parts of the country. It is, however, very susceptible to winter wet and so is more commonly grown under cover in this country. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation:
Seed – sow early spring in a greenhouse at 10 – 13°c and only just cover the seed. Germination usually takes place within 2 weeks. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer. The seed can also be sown in situ in late spring. Division in March or October. Very easy, larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer. Basal cuttings of young barren shoots in June. Very easy. Harvest the shoots with plenty of underground stem when they are about 8 – 10cm above the ground. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.

Edible Uses:-
Edible Parts: Leaves.

Edible Uses: Condiment; Tea.

The leaves are used for flavouring salads and vermouth. A pleasant aromatic flavour, especially when mixed with parsley, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper. The flowering tops are dried and brewed into a herb tea.

Medicinal Actions & Uses:-
Antirheumatic; Oxytoxic; Stomachic; Vulnerary.

The flowering plant has been used as an antirheumatic, oxytocic, stomachic and vulnerary, though these uses appear to be obsolete in modern herbalism.

As a medicinal plant, the herb has been utilized to heal wounds, soothe pain, and ease childbirth. The root has been used in a salve to treat sciatica, and the juice was consumed in wine to cure snake bite.  In addition, it has been used as a remedy against gastric or stomach ailments and rheumatism.

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.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Origanum+dictamnus
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origanum_dictamnus
http://www.desert-tropicals.com/Plants/Lamiaceae/Origanum_dictamnus.html
http://www.arkive.org/dittany-of-crete/origanum-dictamnus/image-G18858.html

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_DE.htm

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Stretch of Imagination

Experts now say that stretching before exercise may actually harm you. ……Lenny Bernstein reports

It’s been a long, hard day at the office, and you need a good workout to blow off all that stress. But before you hit the free weights, the stationary bike or the elliptical machine, you spend 10 minutes carefully stretching all those stiff muscles, just as every coach, trainer and physical therapist has advised for as long as you can remember.

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Now the question is why ?

There’s no evidence that you’ll prevent injury. In fact, some people believe you’re more likely to cause one.

“There is not sufficient evidence to endorse or discontinue routine stretching before or after exercise to prevent injury among competitive or recreational athletes,” concluded the National Center for Injury Prevention Control, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in a 2004 study that may be the most thorough look at the research on stretching.

Research and anecdotal information attribute many benefits to stretching: reduced muscle tension, improved circulation, pain reduction and management. Perhaps most important, stretching helps us maintain range of motion as we age, allowing older people to continue with the activities of daily living.

The question is whether “static stretching” — the most common type, which involves holding a muscle in one position for a defined period of time — has been misinterpreted, or oversold, as a preventive for what ails you.

“People believe all kinds of amazing things, and it changes every 10-15 years,” said William Meller, a physician and associate professor of evolutionary medicine at the University of California at Santa Barbara. The merits of stretching are “not based on any science. It’s spread by coaches, trainers and all kinds of people.”

According to Julie Gilchrist, a medical epidemiologist who helped conduct the CDC study, “it’s probably important that we maintain some norm of flexibility throughout our life spans, but I don’t think anyone has really defined what that (norm) is.

“Our belief is there are probably people who would benefit from stretching. But then the question is who should stretch, when to stretch,” how much to stretch and, most important, what benefits can be expected.

Even for the elderly, “we don’t have the kinds of controlled intervention studies that we need to make a definitive statement about the benefits of doing flexibility exercises,” said Chhanda Dutta, chief of the clinical gerontology branch at the National Institute on Aging.

Similarly, coaches wouldn’t dream of putting athletes on a field, even for practice, without a battery of stretches that help them take the pounding and awkward landings of contact sports.

“As a coach, if I didn’t do that and somebody got hurt, I would probably have a tough time sleeping at night,” said Paul Foringer, a football coach at a high school in Gaithersburg, Maryland. “It’s kind of common sense. If you take something that’s taut and tough and you yank it, you’re going to tear it.”

But that’s not what studies show. “Stretching was not significantly associated with a reduction in total injuries,” said the CDC study, “and similar findings were seen in the subgroup analyses.”

In static stretching, “you’re taking the muscle to the point where it naturally wants to go, and then you’re taking it a little bit farther,” said Meller. That produces microscopic tears of muscle fibres and does nothing to prevent injury, he said. It also may weaken the muscle slightly, increase the possibility of injury and inhibit performance, according to him and the CDC study.

For those who want to stretch, it should be done after a warm-up or at the end of an exercise routine because warm muscles are more pliable.

Research indicates that warming up before exercise is more valuable than stretching. Specifically, Meller said, you should spend three to five minutes gently putting your body through the actions you’re about to perform, slowly increasing the intensity. If you’re going to play tennis, he said, swing forehands, backhands and serves, and run forward, backward and laterally before you hit the first ball.

Source: The Washington Post

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