Tag Archives: Fungi

Lichen planus

Definition:
Lichen planus is a chronic mucocutaneous disease that affects the skin, tongue, and oral mucosa. The disease presents itself in the form of papules, lesions, or rashes. Lichen planus does not involve lichens; the name refers to the appearance of affected skin. It is sometimes associated with certain medications and diseases, but is basically of unknown cause.
..You may click to see the pictures:-
Atrophic lichen planus.

Lichen planus 1

Lichen planus 2
About one in 50 people may develop the condition, which most commonly affects those between the ages of 30 and 60, and women slightly more often than men. It’s rare for children or older people to be troubled by lichen planus, though not impossible.

Classification:-
Lichen planus may be divided into the following types:

Configuration
——————-
*Annular lichen planus
*Linear lichen planus

Morphology of lesion
——————————-
*Hypertrophic lichen planus
*Atrophic lichen planus
*Vesiculobullous lichen planus
*Ulcerative lichen planus
*Follicular lichen planus
*Actinic lichen planus
*Lichen planus pigmentosus

Site of involvement
—————————-
*Lichen planus of the palms and soles (Palmoplantar lichen planus)
*Mucosal lichen planus
*Lichen planus of the nails
*Lichen planus of the scalp ( leading to cicatricial alopecia)
*Inverse lichen planus

Special forms
———————
*Drug-induced lichen planus
*Lupus erythematosus-lichen planus overlap syndrome
*Lichen planus pemphigoides
*Keratosis lichenoides chronica
*Lichenoid reaction of graft-versus-host disease
*Lichenoid keratosis
*Lichenoid dermatitis

Symptoms:
The onset of the rash is usually gradual, often first appearing on the flexor surface of the limbs (i.e. the wrists or back of knees).

After a few days the rash becomes more widespread, and it may continue to spread for several weeks. LP may also affect the genitalia and the mucous membranes (including the mouth, larynx, tonsils, conjunctivae of the eye, the bladder, vulva and vagina, throughout the gastrointestinal tract and around the anus.)

The spots of lichen planus are flat topped and pink-purple in colour, and usually measure between 3mm and 5mm. Their surface is shiny and reflects light. They may appear in groups or along the line of an injury where the skin has been knocked or scratched.

Affected skin may become raised or hypertrophic, or thin (atrophic). Hypertrophic lesions are particularly itchy.

When looked at closely, irregular white streaks can be seen. These help to identify the spots as lichen planus and are called Wickham’s striae. The spots of lichen planus can be found in the skin creases of the wrists, elbows and ankles, and in the lower back and genital areas.

The Wickham’s striae often appear in the mouth too, on the cheeks and the gums where the white milky streaks are more easily seen and create a lacy, net-like appearance. Mouth ulcers develop, causing soreness that’s made worse by hot or spicy food.

Lichen planus can affect the scalp where it destroys the hair follicles causing patches of hair loss. Nails may be affected and become thin and damaged, forming a lengthways groove along the nail.

Causes:
The cause of oral lichen planus is unknown. The lesions that appear are the result of inflammation controlled by specific white blood cells called T lymphocytes. Normally, these cells are active at the site of disease or injury.

Doctors and researchers don’t know what prompts T lymphocytes to be activated in oral lichen planus. However, certain diseases, medical conditions or other factors may act as triggers of the inflammatory disorder in some people.

It is not contagious  and does not involve any known pathogen. Some lichen planus-type rashes (known as lichenoid reactions) occur as allergic reactions to medications for high blood pressure, heart disease and arthritis, in such cases termed drug-induced lichenoid reactions. These lichenoid reactions are referred to as lichenoid mucositis (of the mucosa) or dermatitis (of the skin). Lichen planus has been reported as a complication of chronic hepatitis C virus infection and can be a sign of chronic graft-versus-host disease of the skin (Lichenoid reaction of graft-versus-host disease). It has been suggested that true lichen planus may respond to stress, where lesions may present on the mucosa or skin during times of stress in those with the disease. Lichen planus affects women more than men (at a ratio of 3:2), and occurs most often in middle-aged adults. The involvement of the mucous membranes is seen frequently and usually is asymptomatic, but occasionally, LP can be complicated by extensive painful erosions. Lichen planus in children is rare. In unpublished clinical observation, lichen planus appears to be associated with hypothyroidism in 3 young females.

Allergic reactions to amalgam fillings may contribute to the oral lesions very similar to lichen planus, and a systematic review found that many of the lesions resolved after the fillings were replaced.

Lichen planus can be part of Grinspan’s syndrome.

Complications:

Cancer
Oral lichen planus may increase the risk of oral cancers, particularly a type known as squamous cell carcinoma. Take the following steps for cancer screening and prevention.

*Get oral cancer screenings annually or as directed by your doctor.

*If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. Talk to your doctor to see if you should avoid alcohol completely.

*If you use any tobacco products, quit. Talk to your doctor if you need assistance ending a tobacco habit.

Esophageal problems
Lichen planus lesions in the esophagus may result in a narrowing of the esophagus or the formation of tightened, ring-like bands in the esophagus that can make swallowing difficult.

Treatment:
Care of OLP is within the scope of Oral medicine speciality. Currently there is no cure for lichen planus but there are certain types of medicines used to reduce the effects of the inflammation. Lichen planus may go into a dormant state after treatment. There are also reports that lichen planus can flare up years after it is considered cured.

Medicines used to treat lichen planus include:

*Oral and topical steroids.
*Oral retinoids
*immunosuppressant medications
*hydroxychloroquine
*tacrolimus
*dapsone

Non-drug treatments:

*UVB NarrowBand Phototherapy
*Aloe vera
*Purslane

Lifestyle and home remedies:-

In addition to regular medical and dental treatment, self-care measures may help improve your oral lichen planus symptoms or help prevent recurring episodes of severe symptoms. These include:

*Practicing good oral hygiene. Keep your mouth clean to reduce your symptoms and help prevent infection. Gently brush and floss your teeth daily. See your dentist twice a year for checkups and cleanings.

*Adjust your diet. Cut out spicy or acidic foods if they seem to trigger or worsen your symptoms.

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/lichenplanus1.shtml
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/oral-lichen-planus/DS00784/DSECTION
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lichen_planus
http://www.lichenplanus.com/app/lichen+planus.asp
http://www.uveitis.org/medical/articles/case/lichenplanus.html

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Fomes fomentarius

Botanical Name : Fomes fomentarius
Family: Polyporaceae
Genus: Fomes
Species: F. fomentarius
Kingdom: Fungi
Phylum: Basidiomycota
Class: Agaricomycetes
Order: Polyporales

Common Names:  Amadou,Tinder Fungus, Hoof Fungus, Tinder Polypore or Ice Man Fungus

Habitat : Fomes fomentarius is a species of fungal plant pathogen found in Europe, Asia, Africa and North America. It grows on the side of various species of tree, which it infects through broken bark, causing rot. The species typically continues to live on trees long after they have died, changing from a parasite to a detritivore.

F. fomentarius has a circumboreal distribution, being found in both northern and southern Africa, throughout Asia and into eastern North America, and throughout Europe, and is frequently encountered. The optimal temperature for the species’s growth is between 27 and 30 °C (81 and 86 °F) and the maximum is between 34 and 38 °C (93 and 100 °F). F. fomentarius typically grows alone, but multiple fruit bodies can sometimes be found upon the same host trunk. The species most typically grows upon hardwoods. In northern areas, it is most common on birch, while, in the south, beech is more typical. In the Mediterranean, oak is the typical host. The species has also been known to grow upon maple, cherry, hickory, lime tree, poplar, willow, alder, hornbeam, sycamore, and even, exceptionally, softwoods, such as conifers

Description:
Fomes fomentarius is a tough perennial polypore that usually becomes hoof-shaped with age; it is found on standing and fallen hardwoods.

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Fomes fomentarius has a fruit body of between 5 and 45 centimetres (2.0 and 18 in) across, 3 and 25 cm (1.2 and 9.8 in) wide and 2 and 25 cm (0.8 and 9.8 in) thick, which attaches broadly to the tree on which the fungus is growing. While typically shaped like a horse’s hoof, it can also be more bracket-like with an umbonate attachment to the substrate. The species typically has broad, concentric ridges, with a blunt and rounded margin. The flesh is hard and fibrous, and a cinnamon brown colour. The upper surface is tough, bumpy, hard and woody, varying in colour, usually a light brown or grey. The margin is whitish during periods of growth. The hard crust is from 1 to 2 mm (0.04 to 0.08 in) thick, and covers the tough flesh. The underside has round pores of a cream colour when new, maturing to brown, though they darken when handled. The pores are circular, and there are 2–3 per millimetre. The tubes are 2 to 7 mm (0.08 to 0.28 in) long and a rusty brown colour.


The colouration and size of the fruit body can vary based on where the specimen has grown. Silvery-white, greyish and nearly black specimens have been known. The darkest fruit bodies were previously classified as Fomes nigricans, but this is now recognised as a synonym of Fomes fomentarius. The colour is typically lighter at lower latitudes and altitudes, as well as on fruit bodies in the Northern Hemisphere that grow on the south side of trees. However, studies have concluded that there is no reliable way to differentiate varieties; instead, the phenotypic differences can “be attributed either to different ecotypes or to interactions between the genotype and its environment”

Ecology: Parasitic and saprobic on the wood of hardwoods (especially birches and beech); causing a white rot; growing alone or gregariously; perennial; fairly widely distributed in northern and north-temperate North America

Cap: Up to about 20 cm across; shell-shaped to hoof-shaped; with a dull, woody upper surface that is zoned with gray and brownish gray.

Pore Surface: Brownish; 2-5 round pores per mm; tube layers indistinct, brown, becoming stuffed with whitish material.

Stem: Absent.

Flesh: Brownish; thin; hard.

Microscopic features:
The spores are lemon-yellow in colour, and oblong-ellipsoid in shape. They measure 15–20 by 5–7 ?m. The species has a trimitic hyphal structure (meaning that it has generative, skeletal and binding hyphae), with generative hyphae (hyphae that are relatively undifferentiated and can develop reproductive structures) with clamp connections.

Similar species:
Fomes fomentarius can easily be confused with Phellinus igniarius, species from the genus Ganoderma and Fomitopsis pinicola. An easy way to differentiate F. fomentarius is by adding a drop of potassium hydroxide onto a small piece of the fruit body from the upper surface. The solution will turn a dark blood red if the specimen is F. fomentarius, due to the presence of the chemical fomentariol.

Amadou:
Amadou is a spongy, flammable substance prepared from bracket fungi. The species generally used is Fomes fomentarius (formerly Ungulina fomentaria or Polyporus fomentarius) which in English is also called horse’s hoof fungus or tinder fungus. The amadou layer can be found on top of the fungus just below the outer skin and above the pores. It is used as tinder (especially after being pounded flat, and boiled or soaked in a solution of nitre) and also used when smouldering as a portable firelighter.

It is also used in fly fishing for drying out artificial flies. It is sometimes also used to form a felt-like fabric used in the making of hats and other items. It has great water-absorbing abilities. Amadou for dry flies can be prepared by soaking the amadou layer in washing soda for a week beating it gently from time to time. After that it has to be dried and when dry it has to be pounded with a blunt object to soften it up and flatten it out.

Amadou was a precious resource to ancient people, allowing them to start a fire by catching sparks from flint struck against iron pyrites. Remarkable evidence for this is provided by the discovery of the 5000-year-old remains of “Ötzi the Iceman“, who carried it on a cross-alpine excursion before his murder and subsequent ice-entombment.

Medicinal Uses:
Amadou has been used for arresting hemorrhages, being applied with pressure to the affected part; and for treating ingrown toenails, by inserting between the nail and flesh.  Way back in history someone discovered that the upper sterile part of the basidiocarps could be used both as a blood-stopping agent and as a leather substitute. If the sterile part of the basidiocarp is removed and shredded properly it will make a brown cottony like material.  If this material is placed over bleeding wounds the blood is immediately soaked up and rapidly coagulates  in contact with oxygen over a large surface, and the bleeding successively terminates.

Other Uses:
Though inedible, F. fomentarius has traditionally seen use as the main ingredient of amadou, a material used primarily as tinder, but also used to make clothing and other items. The 5,000-year-old Ötzi the Iceman carried four pieces of F. fomentarius, concluded to be for use as tinder. It also has medicinal and other uses. The species is both a pest and useful in timber production.

A cap made from amadou

The species is not considered edible; the flesh has an acrid taste, with a slightly fruity smell. The fungus has economic significance as it removes any timber value of infected trees. As Fomes fomentarius infects trees through damaged bark, it will often infect trees already weakened from beech bark disease. However, it is too weakly parasitic to infect healthy trees, and so can be regarded merely as an aspect of the ecosystem, with the important and useful role of decomposing unusable timber

The species Amadou is well known for its uses in making fire. This species, as well as others, such as Phellinus igniarius, can be used to make amadou, a tinder. Amadou is produced from the flesh of the fruit bodies. The young fruit bodies are soaked in water before being cut into strips, and are then beaten and stretched, separating the fibres. The resulting material is referred to as “red amadou”. The addition of gunpowder or nitre produced an even more potent tinder. The flesh was further used to produce clothing, including caps, gloves and breeches. Amadou was used medicinally by dentists, who used it to dry teeth, and surgeons, who used it as a styptic. It is still used today in fly fishing for drying the flies. Other items of clothing and even picture frames and ornaments have been known to be made from the fungus in Europe, particularly Bohemia. The fungus is known to have been used as a firestarter in Hedeby, and it is known that the fungus was used as early as 3000 BCE. When found, the 5,000-year-old Ötzi the Iceman was carrying four pieces of F. fomentarius fruit body. Chemical tests led to the conclusion that he carried it for use as tinder.

 

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.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amadou
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fomes_fomentarius
http://www.mushroomexpert.com/fomes_fomentarius.html

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