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Jerusalem artichoke

Botanical Name: Helianthus tuberosus
Family:    Asteraceae
Tribe:    Heliantheae
Genus:    Helianthus
Species:    H. tuberosus
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:    Asterales

Synonym:  Sunflower Artichoke.

Common Names: Jerusalem artichoke, Sunroot, Sunchoke, Earth apple or Topinambour

Habitat: Jerusalem artichoke is  native to eastern North America, and found from eastern Canada and Maine west to North Dakota, and south to northern Florida and Texas. It is also cultivated widely across the temperate zone for its tuber, which is used as a root vegetable.It grows  on rich and damp thickets.

Description:
Jerusalem artichoke is a herbaceous perennial plant growing to 1.5–3 m (4 ft 11 in–9 ft 10 in) tall with opposite leaves on the upper part of the stem but alternate below. The leaves have a rough, hairy texture and the larger leaves on the lower stem are broad ovoid-acute and can be up to 30 cm (12 in) long, and the higher leaves smaller and narrower.

The flowers are yellow and produced in capitate flowerheads, which are 5–10 cm (2.0–3.9 in) in diameter, with 10–20 ray florets.

The tubers are elongated and uneven, typically 7.5–10 cm (3.0–3.9 in) long and 3–5 cm (1.2–2.0 in) thick, and vaguely resembling ginger root in appearance, with a crisp texture when raw. They vary in colour from pale brown to white, red, or purple.

The artichoke contains about 10% protein, no oil, and a surprising lack of starch. However, it is rich in the carbohydrate inulin (76%), which is a polymer of the monosaccharide fructose. Tubers stored for any length of time will convert their inulin into its component fructose. Jerusalem artichokes have an underlying sweet taste because of the fructose, which is about one and a half times sweeter than sucrose.
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Jerusalem artichokes have also been promoted as a healthy choice for type 2 diabetics, because fructose is better tolerated by people who are type 2 diabetic. It has also been reported as a folk remedy for diabetes. Temperature variances have been shown to affect the amount of inulin the Jerusalem artichoke can produce. When not in tropical regions, it has been shown to make less inulin than when it is in a warmer region.

Cultivation:     
A very easily grown plant, it grows best in a loose circumneutral loam but succeeds in most soils and conditions in a sunny position. Plants are more productive when grown in a rich soil. Heavy soils produce the highest yields, but the tubers are easily damaged at harvest-time so lighter well-drained sandy loams are more suitable. Dislikes shade. Likes some lime in the soil. Jerusalem artichoke is reported to tolerate an annual precipitation of 31 to 282cm, an average annual temperature of 6.3 to 26.6°C and a pH in the range of 4.5 to 8.2. Jerusalem artichokes were cultivated as a food plant by the N. American Indians and they are today often grown in temperate areas for their edible tubers. There are some named varieties. The plant is a suitable crop in any soil and climate where corn (Zea mays) will grow. It survives in poor soil and in areas as cold as Alaska. It also tolerates hot to sub-zero temperatures. The first frost kills the stems and leaves, but the tubers can withstand freezing for months. The plants are particularly suited to dry regions and poor soils where they will out-yield potatoes. Tuber production occurs in response to decreasing day-length in late summer. Yields range from 1 – 2kg per square metre. The tubers are very cold-tolerant and can be safely left in the ground in the winter to be harvested as required. They can be attacked by slugs, however, and in sites prone to slug damage it is probably best to harvest the tubers in late autumn and store them over the winter. It is almost impossible to find all the tubers at harvest time, any left in the soil will grow away vigorously in the spring. Plants do not flower in northern Europe. They are sensitive to day-length hours, requiring longer periods of light from seedling to maturation of plant, and shorter periods for tuber formation. They do not grow where day-lengths vary little. The plant is good weed eradicator, it makes so dense a shade that few other plants can compete. The young growth is extremely attractive to slugs, plants can be totally destroyed by them. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits. Plants only produce flowers in Britain after a long hot summer and seed is rarely formed. Grows well with corn. Plants can be invasive.

Propagation:     
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in spring or autumn[200]. Harvest the tubers in late autumn or the winter and either replant the tubers immediately or store them in a cool but frost-free place and plant them out in early spring. Jerusalem artichoke is propagated by tubers, which should be planted as early as possible in the spring when the soil can be satisfactorily worked. Late planting usually reduces tuber yields and size seriously. Whole tubers or pieces about 50 g (2 oz.) should be planted like potatoes and covered to a depth of 10 cm. Pieces larger than 50 g do not increase the yield, though those smaller will decrease it. Deeper planting may delay emergence, weaken the sprouts, and cause the tubers to develop deeper, making harvest more difficult[269]. Basal cuttings in spring. Harvest the shoots when they are about 10 – 15cm long with plenty of underground stem. 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: Coffee;  Sweetener.
Tubers – raw or cooked. The tuber develops a pleasant sweetness during the winter, especially if subjected to frosts, and is then reasonably acceptable raw. Otherwise it is generally best cooked, and can be used in all the ways that potatoes are used. The tubers are rich in inulin, a starch which the body cannot digest, so Jerusalem artichokes provide a bulk of food without many calories. Some people are not very tolerant of inulin, it tends to ferment in their guts and can cause quite severe wind. The tubers are fairly large, up to 10cm long and 6cm in diameter. The tubers bruise easily and lose moisture rapidly so are best left in the ground and harvested as required. The inulin from the roots can be converted into fructose, a sweet substance that is safe for diabetics to use. The roasted tubers are a coffee substitute…....CLICK & SEE 

Medicinal Uses:
Aperient;  Cholagogue;  Diuretic;  Stomachic;  Tonic.

Reported to be aperient, aphrodisiac, cholagogue, diuretic, spermatogenetic, stomachic, and tonic, Jerusalem artichoke is a folk remedy for diabetes and rheumatism.

CLICK & SEE THE MEDICAL PROPERITIES OF  Jerusalem artichoke..>  ...(1).....(2)…
Other Uses:
Biomass.:  The plants are a good source of biomass. The tubers are used in industry to make alcohol etc. The alcohol fermented from the tubers is said to be of better quality than that from sugar beets. A fast-growing plant, Jerusalem artichokes can be grown as a temporary summer screen. Very temporary, it is July before they reach a reasonable height and by October they are dying down.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerusalem_artichoke
http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Helianthus+tuberosus

Indigestion and Heartburn

Definition:
Indigestion — also called dyspepsia or an upset stomach — is a general term that describes discomfort in your upper abdomen.
It is a term that people use to describe a range of different symptoms relating to the stomach and gastro-intestinal system.
Indigestion is not a disease, but rather a collection of symptoms you experience, including bloating, belching and nausea. Although indigestion is common, how you experience indigestion may differ from other people. Symptoms of indigestion might be felt occasionally or as often as daily.

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Fortunately, you may be able to prevent or treat the symptoms of indigestion.

Symptoms:
Most people with indigestion have one or more of the following symptoms:

*Early fullness during a meal. You haven’t eaten much of your meal, but you already feel full and may not be able to finish eating.

*Uncomfortable fullness after a meal. Fullness lasts longer than it should.

*Pain in the upper abdomen. You feel a mild to severe pain in the area between the bottom of your breastbone (sternum) and your navel.

*Burning in the upper abdomen. You feel an uncomfortable heat or burning sensation between the bottom of the breastbone and navel.

Less frequent symptoms that may come along with indigestion include:

*Nausea. You feel like you are about to vomit.

*Bloating. Your stomach feels swollen, tight and uncomfortable.

Sometimes people with indigestion also experience heartburn, but heartburn and indigestion are two separate conditions. Heartburn is a pain or burning feeling in the center of your chest that may radiate into your neck or back after or during eating.

It’s not uncommon for people with severe indigestion to think they’re having a heart attack. The pain may be stabbing, or a generalised soreness.

Some people experience reflux – where acidic stomach contents are regurgitated up into the gullet causing a severe burning sensation. Other symptoms include bloating, wind, belching and nausea. Sometimes the pain of indigestion can be relieved by belching.

Risk Factors:
People of all ages and of both sexes are affected by indigestion. It’s extremely common. An individual’s risk increases with excess alcohol consumption, use of drugs that may irritate the stomach (such as aspirin), other conditions where there is an abnormality in the digestive tract such as an ulcer and emotional problems such as anxiety or depression.

Causes:-
Indigestion has many causes, including:

Diseases: 

*Ulcers
*GERD
*Stomach cancer (rare)
*Gastroparesis (a condition where the stomach doesn’t empty properly; this often occurs in diabetics)
*Stomach infections
*Irritable bowel syndrome
*Chronic pancreatitis
*Thyroid disease

Medications:
*Aspirin and many other painkillers
*Estrogen and oral contraceptives
*Steroid medications
*Certain antibiotics
*Thyroid medicines

Lifestyle:
*Eating too much, eating too fast, eating high-fat foods,eating fried and toomuch spicy food or eating during stressful situations
*Drinking too much alcohol
*Cigarette smoking
*Stress and fatigue
*Swallowing excessive air when eating may increase the symptoms of belching and bloating, which are often associated with indigestion.

Sometimes people have persistent indigestion that is not related to any of these factors. This type of indigestion is called functional, or non-ulcer dyspepsia.

During the middle and later parts of pregnancy, many women have indigestion. This is believed to be caused by a number of pregnancy-related factors including hormones, which relax the muscles of the digestive tract, and the pressure of the growing uterus on the stomach.

Complications:
Although indigestion doesn’t usually have serious complications, it can affect your quality of life by making you feel uncomfortable and causing you to eat less. When indigestion is caused by an underlying condition, that condition could come with complications of its own.

Diagnosis:
If you are experiencing symptoms of indigestion, make an appointment to see your doctor to rule out a more serious condition. Because indigestion is such a broad term, it is helpful to provide your doctor with a precise description of the discomfort you are experiencing. In describing your indigestion symptoms, try to define where in the abdomen the discomfort usually occurs. Simply reporting pain in the stomach is not detailed enough for your doctor to help identify and treat your problem.

First, your doctor must rule out any underlying conditions. Your doctor may perform several blood tests and you may have X-rays of the stomach or small intestine. Your doctor may also use an instrument to look closely at the inside of the stomach, a procedure called an upper endoscopy. An endoscope, a flexible tube that contains a light and a camera to produce images from inside the body, is used in this procedure.

Treatment:
Because indigestion is a symptom rather than a disease, treatment usually depends upon the underlying condition causing the indigestion.

Often, episodes of indigestion go away within hours without medical attention. However, if your indigestion symptoms become worse, you should consult a doctor. Here are some helpful tips to alleviate indigestion:

*Try not to chew with your mouth open, talk while chewing, or eat too fast. This causes you to swallow too much air, which can aggravate indigestion.

*Drink fluids after rather than during meals.

*Avoid late-night eating.

*Try to get little relaxation after meals.

*Avoid toomuch spicy  and fried foods.

*Stop smoking.

*Avoid alcoholic beverages.

*Maintain a healthy weight. Excess pounds put pressure on your abdomen, pushing up your stomach and causing acid to back up into your esophagus.Exercise regularly. With your doctor’s OK, aim for 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week. It can be as simple as a daily walk, though not just after you eat.

*Regular exercise(specially Yoga exercise ) helps you keep off extra weight and promotes better digestion.

*Manage stress. Create a calm environment at mealtime. Practice relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation or yoga. Spend time doing things you enjoy. Get plenty of sleep.

*Eat more fibourous food (vegetable,fruits & nuts) and less meat(specially redmeat)

*Reconsider your medications. With your doctor’s approval, stop or cut back on pain relieving drugs that may irritate your stomach lining. If that’s not an option, be sure to take these medications with food.

*Do not exercise with a full stomach. Rather, exercise before a meal or at least one hour after eating a meal.
Do not lie down right after eating.

*Wait at least three hours after your last meal of the day before going to bed.

*Raise the head of your bed so that your head and chest are higher than your feet. You can do this by placing 6-inch blocks under the bedposts at the head of the bed. Don’t use piles of pillows to achieve the same goal. You will only put your head at an angle that can increase pressure on your stomach and make heartburn worse.

*Go to bed early and  get up early. Try to have atleast 6 hours sound sleep at night.

If indigestion is not relieved after making these changes, your doctor may prescribe medications to alleviate your symptoms.

Alternative  Therapy:
Some people may find relief from indigestion through the following methods, although more research is needed to determine their effectiveness:

*Drinking herbal tea with peppermint.

*Psychological methods, including relaxation techniques, cognitive therapy and hypnotherapy.

*Regular Yoga exercise under a trained Yoga instructor

*You may see herbal products that promise relief from indigestion. But remember, these products often haven’t been proven effective and there’s a risk that comes with taking herbs because they’re not regulated.

*Sometimes proper Homeopathic treatment works very  well.

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.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/guide/indigestion
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/indigestion1.shtml
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/indigestion/DS01141
http://www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/guide/indigestion?page=2
http://heartburnadvice.info/result.php?y=46046424&r=c%3EbHWidoSjeYKvZXS3bXOmMnmv%5Bn9%3E%27f%3Evt%3Cvt%3C61%3C2%3C2%3C57157535%3Ctuzmf2%6061%2Fdtt%3C3%3Cjoufsdptnpt%60bggjmjbuf%604%60e3s%60efsq%3Ccsjehf91%3A%3Ccsjehf91%3A%3C22%3A8816%3C%3A%3A276%3Cdmfbo%3C%3Czbipp%3C%27jqvb%60je%3E3g%3Ag5g%3A62dce451g479c511988e4e7c2%27enybsht%3E53%3Ag54ddg93c6bgcg%3A533f1d723717%3Ad&Keywords=Severe Heartburn&rd=3
http://www.askdrthomas.com/ailments-heartburn-indigestion.html

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Ginger Helps Ease Muscle Pain

For most people, ginger is just an ordinary kitchen spice. However, new research from the University of Georgia has found that it might also be a great natural pain reliever. A group of researchers compared the pain-relieving properties of raw versus cooked ginger in a group of 74 volunteers with muscle pain.
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The subjects consumed capsules containing either raw or cooked ginger, or a placebo for 11 days. On day eight, they were given arm weights to lift to induce muscle inflammation and pain.

The researchers found that ginger reduced pain by 25 percent as compared to placebo. They concluded, “Daily consumption of raw and heat-treated ginger resulted in moderate-to-large reductions in muscle pain following exercise-induced muscle injury.”

Source:to your Health :April 23rd.2010

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Ginger Reduces Pain After Exercise

Ginger may reduce the pain associated with muscle injury after exercising. This could offer athletes a natural pain reliever.

…...CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Both raw and heat-treated ginger reduced pain associated with muscle injury by about 24 percent.

According to NutraIngredients:
“The rhizome of the ginger plant (Zingiber officinale) is a rich source of antioxidants, including gingerols, shogaols, zingerones and other ketone derivatives … ginger’s pain reducing effects are biologically plausible with both in vitro and in vivo animal studies showing an effect of gingerols, shogaols, and zingerones on inflammatory compounds.”

Resources:
NutraIngredients June 3, 2010
The Journal of Pain April 23, 2010; [Epub ahead of print]

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Natural Stress Relieve Remedies

Everyone has some sort of stress in their lives. In today’s world many of us try to juggle a job, family life and much more. Juggling all these things can lead to stress and stress can be horrible to  deal with because it affects every part of your daily life. These natural remedies will help you deal with your stress and make each day just a little bit easier.

Natural Remedy for Stress Relief:-

1.: Laugh!.
Did you know that laughing actually releases a chemical in your body that will help lighten your moods? By being able to laugh about your problems you will be able to get a clear perspective on the issue at hand. Not only that but more than likely you will be laughing with someone else and taking out your problem with a friend will also help relieve your stress. What is the best part about laughing other than it being a stress reliever? It’s also free!

2.: Work-Out..
Working out is a great way to relieve stress. It allows you to get out the tension that is building up in your body and also gives you time to think about the issue more clearly. If you have an over load of stress in your life head over to the gym, out for a run or a walk to clear your head.

3: Snacks in your Refrigerator..
If you have stress you are likely going to want to snack since this happens to many people. Don’t reach for the chocolate candy bars, instead head over to your refrigerator. Celery, cherries and lettuce all contain chemicals in the that will help ease your stress so snack on them anyway you like to help chase that stress away.

4: Baking Soda and Ginger..
Everyone knows that a warm bath can help relieve stress. Take it just a step further and add a ½ cup of both baking soda and ginger. This will help make your bath soothing both in the water texture and the aroma given off by the ginger.

5: Hot Tea
.
A warm drink always has a way of calming and soothing us. Choose a peppermint tea to gain a relaxing feeling that will help relieve your stress. If you don’t have peppermint tea you can always add a peppermint candy to any cup of tea. Sucking on a peppermint candy can also help relieve
stress on the go.

Stress is a natural thing in life. Being able to manage it is important and by using these natural home remedies to relieve stress you will feel better soon!

Source: Mail Online. July 19. 2009.

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