Tag Archives: Fungus

Ilex vomitoria

Botanical Name : Ilex vomitoria
Family: Aquifoliaceae
Genus: Ilex
Species: I. vomitoria
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Aquifoliales

Common Names: Yaupon or Yaupon holl (The word yaupon was derived from its Catawban name, yopún, which is a diminutive form of the word yop, meaning “tree”. )

The ceremony included vomiting, and Europeans incorrectly believed that it was Ilex vomitoria that caused it (hence the Latin name). The active ingredients, like those of the related yerba mate and guayusa plants, are actually caffeine and theobromine, and the vomiting either was learned or resulted from the great quantities in which they drank the beverage coupled with fasting. Others believe the Europeans improperly assumed the black drink to be the tea made from Ilex vomitoria when it was likely an entirely different drink made from various roots and herbs and did have emetic properties.

Habitat : Ilex vomitoria is native to North America from Maryland south to Florida and west to Oklahoma and Texas. A disjunct population occurs in the Mexican state of Chiapas. It generally occurs in coastal areas in well-drained sandy soils, and can be found on the upper edges of brackish and salt marshes, sandy hammocks, coastal sand dunes, inner-dune depressions, sandhills, maritime forests, nontidal forested wetlands, well-drained forests and pine flatwoods.

Description:
Yaupon holly is an evergreen shrub or small tree reaching 5–9 meters tall, with smooth, light gray bark and slender, hairy shoots. The leaves are alternate, ovate to elliptical with a rounded apex and crenate or coarsely serrated margin, 1-4.5 cm long and 1–2 cm broad, glossy dark green above, slightly paler below. The flowers are 5–5.5 mm diameter, with a white four-lobed corolla. The fruit is a small round, shiny, and red (occasionally yellow) drupe 4–6 mm diameter containing four pits, which are dispersed by birds eating the fruit. The species may be distinguished from the similar Ilex cassine by its smaller leaves with a rounded, not acute apex.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES :

Cultivation:
Succeeds in most soils so long as they are not water-logged. This species is not fully hardy in Britain, the plants are incapable of withstanding our hardest winters. A slow-growing species in the wild, often forming dense thickets from root suckers. The leaves remain on the plant for 2 – 3 years, falling just before the appearance of new leaves in the spring. Flowers are produced on the current year’s growth. Resents root disturbance, especially as the plants get older. It is best to place the plants into their permanent positions as soon as possible, perhaps giving some winter protection for their first year or two. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame. It can take 18 months to germinate. Stored seed generally requires two winters and a summer before it will germinate and should be sown as soon as possible in a cold frame. Scarification, followed by a warm stratification and then a cold stratification may speed up the germination time[78, 80]. The seedlings are rather slow-growing. Pot them up into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame for their first year. It is possible to plant them out into a nursery bed in late spring of the following year, but they should not be left here for more than two years since they do not like being transplanted. Alternatively, grow them on in their pots for a second season and then plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Give them a good mulch and some protection for their first winter outdoors. Cuttings of almost ripe wood with a heel, August in a shaded position in a cold frame. Leave for 12 months before potting up. Layering in October. Takes 2 years
Edible Uses: Native Americans used the leaves and stems to brew a tea, commonly thought to be called asi or black drink for male-only purification and unity rituals.

A mildly stimulating beverage containing caffeine is made from the dried and roasted leaves. The tea is stimulating and intoxicating. The leaves are first steeped in cold and then in boiling water. They are also used to flavour ice cream and soft drinks.

In 2013 a company in Cat Spring, Texas began selling yaupon tea online for people interested in the local food movement. Other companies have opened in Florida and Georgia

Medicinal Uses: A decoction of the leaves is emetic. The plant was used ritually by several N. American Indian tribes. The leaves were toasted over a fire and then boiled for several hours. The resulting thick black liquid was then drunk and this was followed by immediate vomiting. This was often used a a purification rite prior to hunting.

Other Uses: Ornamental
Ilex vomitoria is a common landscape plant in the Southeastern United States. The most common cultivars are slow-growing shrubs popular for their dense, evergreen foliage and their adaptability to pruning into hedges of various shapes. These include:

* ‘Folsom Weeping’ — weeping cultivar
* ‘Grey’s Littleleaf’/’Grey’s Weeping’ — weeping cultivar
* ‘Nana’/’Compacta’ — dwarf female clone usually remaining below 1 m in height.
* ‘Pride of Houston’ — female clone similar to type but featuring improvements in form, fruiting, and foliage.
* ‘Schilling’s Dwarf’/’Stokes Dwarf’ — dwarf male clone that grows no more than 0.6 m tall and 1.2 m wide.
* ‘Will Flemming’ — male clone featuring a columnar growth habit.

This species is occasionally used for hedging in the southern states of America. Wood – hard, heavy, strong, close grained. It weighs 46lb per cubic foot. Too small for commercial exploitation, the wood is used locally for turnery, inlay work, woodenware etc.

Known Hazards:
Although no specific reports of toxicity have been seen for this species, the fruits of at least some members of this genus contain saponins and are slightly toxic. They can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and stupor if eaten in quantity. The fruit is poisonous.

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/Ilex_vomitoria
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_UZ.htm
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Ilex+vomitoria

Corallorhiza odontorhiza

Botanical Name : Corallorhiza odontorhiza
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily:Epidendroideae
Tribe: Maxillarieae
Subtribe: Corallorhizinae
Genus: Corallorhiza
Species: C. odontorhiza
KingdomPlantae
Order: Asparagales

Synonyms–:  Dragon’s Claw. Coral Root. Chicken Toe.

Common names:   Fall coral-root or Small-flowered coral-root

Habitat:Corallorhiza odontorhiza is  Indigenous to the United States, from Maine to Carolina westward.  It grows in rich woods at the roots of trees.
Description:
Corallorhiza odontorhiza is aperennial  parasitic plant, growing to 0.4 m (1ft 4in). It is in flower from Jul to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Flies……CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

It  has been used by the herbalists for centuries.It is singular and leafless, with muchbranched and toothed coral-like root-stocks, the root being a collection of fleshy, articulated tubers, the scape about 14 inches high, fleshy, smooth, striate, with a few long purplish-brown long sheaths, the flowers, 10 to 20, greenish brown in colour, on a long spike, blooming from July to October, with a large, reflexed, ribbed, oblong capsule.

The root is the official part; it is small and dark, with a strong nitrous smell and a slightly bitter mucilaginous astringent taste, the fracture is short and presents under the microscope a frosted granular appearance.

Cultivation:           
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in many parts of this country. It is a parasitic plant, growing at the roots of trees. We would suggest that it is best grown in a humus rich soil in light woodland. Orchids are, in general, shallow-rooting plants of well-drained low-fertility soils. Their symbiotic relationship with a fungus in the soil allows them to obtain sufficient nutrients and be able to compete successfully with other plants. They are very sensitive to the addition of fertilizers or fungicides since these can harm the symbiotic fungus and thus kill the orchid.

Propagation  :     
Seed – we have no information on this species but, like all members of the orchid family, the seed of this species is extremely simple, it has a minute embryo surrounded by a single layer of protective cells. It contains very little food reserves and depends upon a symbiotic relationship with a species of soil-dwelling fungus. The fungal hyphae invade the seed and enter the cells of the embryo. The orchid soon begins to digest the fungal tissue and this acts as a food supply for the plant until it is able to obtain nutrients from decaying material in the soil. Surface sow the seed, preferably as soon as it is ripe, in the greenhouse and do not allow the compost to dry out. It is best to use some of the soil that is growing around established plants in order to introduce the fungus, or to sow the seed around a plant of the same species and allow the seedlings to grow on until they are large enough to move. Division in autumn. Make sure that you keep plenty of soil with each plant. It is also said to be possible to transplant orchids after they have flowered but whilst they are still in leaf. Grow on for at least the first year before potting up and do not plant out until the plants are 2 – 4 years old. Division of offsets

Part Used   in medicines:—The root.
Medicinal Uses:

Diaphoretic;  Febrifuge;  Sedative.

The root is diaphoretic, febrifuge and sedative. It is one of the most certain, quick and powerful diaphoretics, but it is a scarce plant and therefore a very expensive medicine to obtain.

It is one of the most certain, quick and powerful diaphoretics, but its scarcity and high price prevents it being more generally used. It promotes perspiration without producing any excitement in the system, so is of value in pleurisy, typhus fever and other inflammatory diseases. In addition to being a powerful diaphoretic, its action has a sedative effect. It has been found efficacious inacute erysipelas, cramps, nightsweats, flatulence and hectic fevers generally, and combines tonic, sedative, diaphoretic and febrifuge properties without weakening the patient, its valuable properties being most marked in low stages of fever.

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/Corallorhiza_odontorhiza
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Corallorhiza+odontorhiza
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/c/crawl116.html

Zea Mays

Botanical Name: Zea Mays
Family: Poaceae
Subfamily: Panicoideae
Tribe: Andropogoneae
Genus: Zea
SpeciesZ. mays
Subspecies: Z. mays subsp. mays
KingdomPlantae
Order: Poales

Synonym:  Maize.

Common Name:  Corn

Habitat: Zea Mays or maize is native to South America; also cultivated in other parts of America, in the West Indian Islands, Australia, Africa, India, etc., and now in France and many other countries in the world.

Description:
Zea Mays is a monoecious plant. Male flowers in terminal racemes; spikelets, two-flowered glumes nearly equal, herbaceous, terminating in two sharp points; females, axillary in the sheaths of the leaves. The spikes or ears proceed from the stalls at various distances from the ground, and are closely enveloped in several thin leaves, forming a sheath called the husk; the ears consist of a cylindrical substance, a pith called the cob; on this the seeds are ranged in eight rows, each row having thirty or more seeds. From the eyes or germs of the seeds proceed individual filaments of a silky appearance and bright green colour; these hang from the point of the husk and are called ‘the silk.’ The use of these filaments or stigmata is to receive the farina which drops from the flowers, and without which the flowers would produce no seed. As soon as this has been effected, the tops and ‘the silk’ dry up. The maize grains are of varying colour – usually yellow, but often ranging to black.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

A coarse annual, culms 60-80 cm high, straight, internodes cylindrical in the upper part, alternately grooved on the lower part with a bud in the groove. The stem is filled with pith. Leaf-blades broad. Has separate staminate (male) and pistillate (female) inflorescences. The staminate inflorescence is a tassel borne at the apex, the pistillate flowers occur as spikes (cobs) rising from axils of the lower leaves. The ovary develops a long style or silk which extends from the cob and receives the pollen from the tassel.

Cultivation :
Requires a warm position a well drained soil and ample moisture in the growing season[16, 33]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 to 6.8[200]. Requires a rich soil if it is to do well[201]. Corn is widely cultivated for its edible seed, especially in tropical and warm temperate zones of the world[200], there are many named varieties. Unfortunately, the plant is not frost tolerant and so needs to be started off under glass in Britain if a reasonable crop is to be grown. There are five main types:- Sweetcorn is of fairly recent development. It has very sweet, soft-skinned grains that can be eaten raw or cooked before they are fully ripe. Cultivars have been developed that can produce a worthwhile crop even in the more northerly latitudes of Britain if a suitable warm sunny sheltered site is chosen K. Popcorn is a primitive form with hard-skinned grains. When roasted, these grains ‘explode’ to form the popular snack ‘popcorn’. Waxy corn is used mainly in the Far East. It has a tapioca-like starch. Flint corn, which shrinks on drying, can have white, yellow, purple, red or blue-black grains. It is not so sweet and also takes longer to mature so is a problematic crop in Britain. There are many other uses for this plant as detailed below. Dent corn has mostly white to yellow grains. This and Flint corn are widely grown for oils, cornflour, cereals and silage crops. Corn grows well with early potatoes, legumes, dill, cucurbits and sunflowers, it dislikes growing with tomatoes.
Propagation:
Seed – sow April in individual pots in a greenhouse. Grow on quickly and plant out after the last expected frosts. A direct outdoor sowing, especially of some of the less sweet varieties, can be tried in May.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Oil; Oil; Pollen; Seed; Stem.
Edible Uses: Coffee; Oil; Oil.

Seed – raw or cooked. Corn is one of the most commonly grown foods in the world. The seed can be eaten raw or cooked before it is fully ripe and there are varieties especially developed for this purpose (the sweet corns) that have very sweet seeds and are delicious. The mature seed can be dried and used whole or ground into a flour. It has a very mild flavour and is used especially as a thickening agent in foods such as custards. The starch is often extracted from the grain and used in making confectionery, noodles etc. The dried seed of certain varieties can be heated in an oven when they burst to make ‘Popcorn’. The seed can also be sprouted and used in making uncooked breads and cereals. A nutritional analysis is available. The fresh succulent ‘silks’ (the flowering parts of the cob) can also be eaten. An edible oil is obtained from the seed, it is an all-purpose culinary oil that is frequently used as a food in salads and for cooking purposes. The pollen is used as an ingredient of soups. Rich in protein, it is harvested by tapping the flowering heads over a flat surface such as a bowl. Harvesting the pollen will actually help to improve fertilisation of the seeds. The roasted seed is a coffee substitute. The pith of the stem is chewed like sugar cane and is sometimes made into a syrup

Composition:
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Seed (Fresh weight)

*361 Calories per 100g
*Water : 10.6%
*Protein: 9.4g; Fat: 4.3g; Carbohydrate: 74.4g; Fibre: 1.8g; Ash: 1.3g;
*Minerals – Calcium: 9mg; Phosphorus: 290mg; Iron: 2.5mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 0mg; Zinc: 0mg;
*Vitamins – A: 140mg; Thiamine (B1): 0.43mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0.1mg; Niacin: 1.9mg; B6: 0mg; C: 0mg;

Part Used in Medicines:  The Seeds.

Constituents:  Starch, sugar, fat, salts, water, yellow oil, maizenic acid, azotized matter, gluten, dextrine, glucose, cellulose, silica, phosphates of lime and magnesia, soluble salts of potassa and soda.

Medicinal    Uses: 

A decoction of the leaves and roots is used in the treatment of strangury, dysuria and gravel. The corn silks are cholagogue, demulcent, diuretic, lithontripic, mildly stimulant and vasodilator. They also act to reduce blood sugar levels and so are used in the treatment of diabetes mellitus as well as cystitis, gonorrhoea, gout etc. The silks are harvested before pollination occurs and are best used when fresh because they tend to lose their diuretic effect when stored and also become purgative.  A decoction of the cob is used in the treatment of nose bleeds and menorrhagia. The seed is diuretic and a mild stimulant. It is a good emollient poultice for ulcers, swellings and rheumatic pains, and is widely used in the treatment of cancer, tumours and warts. It contains the cell-proliferant and wound-healing substance allantoin, which is widely used in herbal medicine (especially from the herb comfrey, Symphytum officinale) to speed the healing process. The plant is said to have anticancer properties and is experimentally hypoglycaemic and hypotensive.

Other Uses:
Adhesive; Fuel; Oil; Oil; Packing; Paper.

A glue is made from the starch in the seed. This starch is also used in cosmetics and the manufacture of glucose. A semi-drying oil is obtained from the seed. It has many industrial uses, in the manufacture of linoleum, paints, varnishes, soaps etc. The corn spathes are used in the production of paper, straw hats and small articles such as little baskets. A fibre obtained from the stems and seed husks is used for making paper. They are harvested in late summer after the seed has been harvested, they are cut into usable pieces and soaked in clear water for 24 hours. They are then cooked for 2 hours in soda ash and then beaten in a ball mill for 1½ hours in a ball mill. The fibres make a light greenish cream paper. Be careful not to overcook the fibre otherwise it will produce a sticky pulp that is very hard to form into paper. The dried cobs are used as a fuel. The pith of the stems is used as a packing material
In addition to use as a human food, the seed head and whole plant are used forage and silage, an important source of feed for livestock. Corn has become an increasingly important biofuel, both in the form of corn oil (used as bio-diesel) and ethanol (an alcohol fermented and distilled from the processed kernels), which is blended with petroleum-based gasoline in various proportions for use as fuel.

With Although grown in temperate and tropical countries worldwide, the U.S. alone produces more than one third of the global total of dried corn (316.2 metric tons), with China, Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina also producing significant amounts. Corn production increased by 42% worldwide over the past decade, associated with the increased demand and prices for corn as biofuel.

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/Maize
http://media.eol.org/pages/1115259/overview
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/c/corni103.html
http://www.fao.org/ag/agp/AGPC/doc/Gbase/data/pf000342.htm

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Zea+mays

Onychomycosis

Definition:
Onychomycosis (also known as “dermatophytic onychomycosis,” “ringworm of the nail,” and “tinea unguium”) means fungal infection of the nail.  It is the most common disease of the nails and constitutes about a half of all nail abnormalities.

Click to see the picture

This condition may affect toenails or fingernails, but toenail infections are particularly common. The prevalence of onychomycosis is about 6-8% in the adult population.

Clasification:
There are four classic types of onychomycosis:

*Distal subungual onychomycosis is the most common form of tinea unguium, and is usually caused by Trichophyton rubrum, which invades the nail bed and the underside of the nail plate.

Click to see the picture

*White superficial onychomycosis (WSO) is caused by fungal invasion of the superficial layers of the nail plate to form “white islands” on the plate. It accounts for only 10 percent of onychomycosis cases. In some cases, WSO is a misdiagnosis of “keratin granulations” which are not a fungus, but a reaction to nail polish that can cause the nails to have a chalky white appearance. A laboratory test should be performed to confirm.

*Proximal subungual onychomycosis is fungal penetration of the newly formed nail plate through the proximal nail fold. It is the least common form of tinea unguium in healthy people, but is found more commonly when the patient is immunocompromised.

*Candidal onychomycosis is Candida species invasion of the fingernails, usually occurring in persons who frequently immerse their hands in water. This normally requires the prior damage of the nail by infection or trauma.

Symptoms:
The nail plate can have a thickened, yellow-brown , or cloudy appearance. The nails can become rough and crumbly  , or can separate from the nail bed. This thickening, discolouration and disfigurement are clearly visible.There is usually no pain or other bodily symptoms, unless the disease is severe.

Dermatophytids are fungus-free skin lesions that sometimes form as a result of a fungus infection in another part of the body. This could take the form of a rash or itch in an area of the body that is not infected with the fungus. Dermatophytids can be thought of as an allergic reaction to the fungus. People with onychomycosis may experience significant psychosocial problems due to the appearance of the nail. This is particularly increased when fingernails are affected.

The effects of onychomycosis aren’t simply cosmetic. A thickened nail may limit usual activities. It may press on the inside of footwear, for example, causing discomfort and pain. This in turn can cause problems when walking, and reduce mobility.

Causes:
Onychomycosis is caused by 3 main classes of organisms: dermatophytes (fungi that infect hair, skin, and nails and feed on nail tissue), yeasts, and nondermatophyte molds. All 3 classes cause the same symptoms, so the appearance of the infection does not reveal which class is responsible for the infection. Dermatophytes (including Epidermophyton, Microsporum, and Trichophyton species) are, by far, the most common causes of onychomycosis worldwide. Yeasts cause 8% of cases, and nondermatophyte molds cause 2% of onychomycosis cases.

•The dermatophyte Trichophyton rubrum is the most common fungus causing distal lateral subungual onychomycosis (DLSO) and proximal subungual onychomycosis (PSO).

•The dermatophyte Trichophyton mentagrophytes commonly causes white superficial onychomycosis (WSO), and more rarely, WSO can be caused by species of nondermatophyte molds.

•The yeast Candida albicans is the most common cause of chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis (disease of mucous membrane and regular skin) of the nail.

Risk Factors:
Risk factors for onychomycosis include family history, advancing age, poor health, trauma, living in a warm climate, participation in fitness activities, immunosuppression (can occur from HIV or certain drugs), bathing in communal showers (such as at a gym), and wearing shoes that cover the toes completely and don’t let in any airflow.

People with diabetes are at greater risk, as are those whose immune system is suppressed.

It’s possible to reduce your risk of onychomycosis by practising good nail care. This reduces the risk of other nail and foot-related problems, too.

Click to see more

Diagnosis:
Onychomycosis (OM) can be identified by its appearance. However, other conditions and infections can cause problems in the nails that look like onychomycosis. OM must be confirmed by laboratory tests before beginning treatment, because treatment is long, expensive, and does have some risks.

•A sample of the nail can be examined under a microscope to detect fungi. See Anatomy of the Nail for information on the parts of the nail.

•The nails must be clipped and cleaned with an alcohol swab to remove bacteria and dirt.

•If the doctor suspects distal lateral subungual onychomycosis (DLSO), a sample (specimen) should be taken from the nail bed to be examined. The sample should be taken from a site closest to the cuticle, where the concentration of fungi is the greatest.

•If proximal subungual onychomycosis (PSO) is suspected, the sample is taken from the underlying nail bed close to the lunula.

•A piece of the nail surface is taken for examination if white superficial onychomycosis (WSO) is suspected.

•To detect candidal onychomycosis, the doctor should take a sample from the affected nail bed edges closest to the cuticle and sides of the nail.

•In the laboratory, the sample may be treated with a solution made from 20% potassium hydroxide (KOH) in dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) to rule out the presence of fungi. The specimen may also be treated with dyes (a process called staining) to make it easier to see the fungi through the microscope.

•If fungi are present in the infected nail, they can be seen through a microscope, but the exact type (species) cannot be determined by simply looking through a microscope. To identify what exactly is causing onychomycosis, a technique called culturing is used. Using a fungal culture to identify the particular fungus is important because regular therapy may not work on nondermatophyte molds.

…#The infected nail is scraped or clipped.

…#The scrapings or clippings are crushed and put into containers. Any fungus in the samples can grow in the laboratory in these special containers.

…#The species of fungus can be identified from the cultures grown in the lab.

Click to see the pictures

Treatment:
Medications
In the past, medicines used to treat onychomycosis (OM) were not very effective. OM is difficult to treat because nails grow slowly and receive very little blood supply. However, recent advances in treatment options, including oral (taken by mouth) and topical (applied on the skin or nail surface) medications, have been made. Newer oral medicines have revolutionized treatment of onychomycosis. However, the rate of recurrence is high, even with newer medicines. Treatment is expensive, has certain risks, and recurrence is possible.

•Topical antifungals are medicines applied to the skin and nail area that kill fungus.

…#These topical agents should only be used if less than half the nail is involved or if the person with onychomycosis cannot take the oral medicines. Medicines include amorolfine (approved for use outside the United States), ciclopirox olamine (Penlac, which is applied like nail polish), sodium pyrithione, bifonazole/urea (available outside the United States), propylene glycol-urea-lactic acid, imidazoles, such as ketoconazole (Nizoral Cream), and allylamines, such as terbinafine (Lamisil Cream).

…#Topical treatments are limited because they cannot penetrate the nail deeply enough, so they are generally unable to cure onychomycosis. Topical medicines may be useful as additional therapy in combination with oral medicines.

•Newer oral medicines are available. These antifungal medicines are more effective because they go through the body to penetrate the nail plate within days of starting therapy.

…#Newer oral antifungal drugs terbinafine (Lamisil Tablets) and itraconazole (Sporanox Capsules) have replaced older therapies, such as griseofulvin, in the treatment of onychomycosis. They offer shorter treatment periods (oral antifungal medications usually are administered over a 3-month period), higher cure rates, and fewer side effects. These medications are fairly safe, with few contraindications (conditions that make taking the medicine inadvisable), but they should not be taken by patients with liver disease or heart failure. Before prescribing one of these medications, doctors often order a blood test to make sure the liver is functioning properly. Common side effects include nausea and stomach pain.

…#Fluconazole (Diflucan) is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treatment of onychomycosis, but it may be an alternative to itraconazole and terbinafine.

•To decrease the side effects and duration of oral therapy, topical and surgical treatments may be combined with oral antifungal management.
Surgery

Surgical approaches to onychomycosis treatment include surgically or chemically removing the nail (nail avulsion or matrixectomy).

•Removing the nail plate (fingernail or toenail) is not effective treatment on its own. This procedure should be considered an adjunctive (additional) treatment combined with oral therapy.

•A combination of oral, topical, and surgical therapy can increase the effectiveness of treatment and reduce the cost of ongoing treatments.

Research:
Most drug development activities are focused on the discovery of new antifungals and novel delivery methods to promote access of existing antifungal drugs into the infected nail plate. Active clinical trials investigating onychomycosis:

Phase III
*A topical treatment, AN2690, is being developed by Anacor Pharmaceuticals.  It is active against Trichophyton species.

*A medicinal nail lacquer, MycoVa from Apricus Biosciences,[40] contains terbinafine as the active ingredient and a permeation enhancer DDAIP which facilitates the delivery of the drug into the nail bed where the fungus resides.

*A comparison of delivery methods for itraconzole

*Safety and tolerability of topical terbinafine

*Laser-based treatments

*Topical IDP-108

*Bifonazole cream application after nail ablation with urea paste

Phase II
*Posaconazole, taken orally.

*A topical treatment, NB-002, is being developed by NanoBio Corporation. It has completed Phase II trials

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onychomycosis
http://www.emedicinehealth.com/onychomycosis/page7_em.htm
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/onychomycosis1.shtml

http://www.aafp.org/afp/2001/0215/p663.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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