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Rangan(Ixora coccinea)

Botanical Name :Ixora coccinea
Family: Rubiaceae
Genus: Ixora
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales
Bengali Name :Rangan
Other Names:Jungle Geranium, Flame of the Woods,Santan-pula (Tag.) ,Tangpupo (Bis.) ,Dwarf santan (Engl  and Jungle Flame

Habitat :
Native to tropical south-east Asia, including Southern India and Sri Lanka.. Its name derives from an Indian deity.

Description:
Although there are some 400 species in the genus Ixora, only a handful are commonly cultivated, and the common name, Ixora, is usually used for I. coccinea. I. coccinea is a dense, multi-branched evergreen shrub, commonly 4–6 ft (1.2–2 m) in height, but capable of reaching up to 12 ft (3.6 m) high. It has a rounded form, with a spread that may exceed its height. The glossy, leathery, oblong leaves are about 4 in (10 cm) long, with entire margins, and are carried in opposite pairs or whorled on the stems. Small tubular, scarlet flowers in dense rounded clusters 2-5 in (5–13 cm) across are produced almost all year long. There are numerous named cultivars differing in flower colour (yellow, pink, orange) and plant size. Several popular cultivars are dwarfs, usually staying under 3 ft (1 m) in height. Ixora ‘Nora Grant’ is a popular dwarf and ‘Super King’ is a popular hybrid with much larger flower clusters than the species.
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Blooming Time: Ixoras are compact plants that bloom primarily in summer and intermittently the rest of the year with proper care.

Cultivation: Ixoras do best in at least 4 hours of direct sunlight a day. Pot in a mixture of 2 parts peat moss to 1 part potting soil and 1 part sand or perlite. Keep moist; fertilize every 2 weeks in spring and summer, monthly the rest of the year.

Propagation: Propagated by cutting in spring, preferably with 3 to 4 nodes, with bottom heat. Can also be propagated by seed when produced.

Medicinal Uses:
Parts utilized :Leaves, roots, stems and flowers


Constituents and properties:

Root contains an aromatic acrid oil, tannin, fatty acids.
Leaves yield flavonols kaemferol and quercetin, proanthocyanidins and phenolic acids and ferulic acids.
Flowers contain cyanidin and flaconboids, and a coloring material related to quercitin.
Considered internally sedative, stomachic, tonic, antiseptic, cholagogue and externally astringent and antiseptic

Folkloric:-
Decoction of roots used for nausea, hiccups, and anorexia.
Flowers used for dysentery and leucorrhea.
Poulticed fresh leaves and stems for sprains, eczema, boils and contusions.
Diluted tincture of roots for mouthwash and gargles for sore throat.
Flower decoction for hypertension, amenorrhea and irregular menstruation.
Decoction of leaves for wounds and skin ulcers.
In Bengal, roots are used for dysentery.
Root, ground into pulp, mixed with water and pepper, or as tincture, used for diarrhea and dysentery.
Powdered roots used for sores and chronic ulcers.
In Indo-China, root decoction used to clarify the urine.
In India and Sri Lanka, the fruits are eaten and the flowers used as flavoring.

Studies

• Wound healing: Alcoholic extract of IC showed increase in granuloma tissue weight, tensile strength and glycosaminoglycan content. The prohealing activity was attributed to increased collagen deposition, alignment and maturation.
• Antimicrobial: Extract studies of EC for antimicrobial activity showed the ethyl fraction to be more active than the methanol fraction.
• Antioxidant:
Phytochemical screening showed the flower extract to possess flavonoids, steroids, tannin. IC showed strong reducing power and total antioxidant capacity.
• Pharmacologic evaluation / Electroconvulsive Protective: Evaluation showed that IC has protective property against electroconvulsions, antiinflammatory and hemostatic properties.
Hepatoprotective: Extract of IC flowers showed significant hepatoprotective effect against paracetamol overdose-induced hepatotoxicity in rats.
Chemoprotective: IC flower fraction showed chemoprotective effects on cyclophosphamide-induced toxicity in mice.
• Antinociceptive : Study showed the aqueous leaf extract of IC possesses considerable antinociceptive activity mediated centrally via a dopaminergic mechanism. In addition, the antioxidant activity may play a role in inducing antinociception. The dopaminergic and antioxidative activities may arise from alkaloid and flavonoid constituents, respectively.
Anti-Inflammatory / Anti-mitotic: Lupeol, isolated from the leaves of IC, was shown to have anti-inflammatory activity in carrageenan induced paw edema in rats. Anti-mitotic activity was also noted in a preliminary cytotoxic study.
• Cytotoxic / Antitumor: Study of the active fraction of Ixora coccinea flowers showed greater activity on ascitic tumors than solid tumors. It had no toxicity to normal lymphocytes but was toxic to lymphocytes from leukemic patients.
• Anti-Inflammatory: Study of the aqueous leaf extract of Ixora coccinea showed strong antihistamine and antioxidant activity that can account for its anti-inflammatory potential. In addition, the inhibitionn of prostaglandins and bradykinins may play a role in its antiinflammatory effect.
• Anti-Ulcer: Study of the fresh leaf extract of Ixora coccinea was found to possess potent anti-ulcerogenic property and could be a potential therapeutic agent against ulcer disease.

Other Uses:

Very ornamental plant, increases the beauty of the garden.

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


Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ixora_coccinea
http://www.stuartxchange.org/Santan.html

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Phthalates Cause Inflammation in At-Risk Babies

Researchers have identified a direct link between substances that make plastics more pliable, and inflammation in newborns. They are encouraging limiting the use of the plasticizers.
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Premature babies are exposed to extraordinarily high concentrations of phthalates due to exposure to plastic medical equipment used during neonatal intensive care.

Many of the diseases unique to premature babies, including the lung disorder bronchopulmonary dysplasia and the intestinal ailment necrotizing enterocolitis, are associated with excessive inflammation.

Newswise reports:

“… [There is] direct evidence that the presence of phthalates prolongs the survival of white blood cells, which supports the idea that they are contributing to damage and to inflammation … phthalates encourage cells to produce hydrogen peroxide, which … can kill cells and damage tissues.


You may click to see :-

Health Risks of Phthalates

Resources:
Newswise July 20, 2010
Pediatric Research August 2010; 68(2):134-9

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Remedy for Strokes

Mild electrical stimulation shows promise in reviving stroke-damaged brains:-

Shova Paul, a 55-year-old housewife, was rushed to the emergency unit of a hospital after she was found lying on the floor of the toilet well past midnight. A quick examination and a subsequent brain scan revealed an awake and alert patient unaware of her illness (anosognosia). She had lost senses on the left side of the body (hemiplegia) and the brain image showed tell-tale signs of damage in the movement and language centres (sensorimotor cortex and Broca’s area). While recording the obvious signs of a severe cerebral stroke the doctor could apprehend what was coming: even after the best possible medical care, she wouldn’t be able to move, speak, read, write or comprehend what others were saying.

Now, two years after that incident, Paul leads a hemiplegic’s life. Like countless other hapless stroke survivors, she can’t move on her own, speaks with a slurred accent and has an impaired vision. To regain some control of the damaged muscles and relearn simple chores she undergoes a rehabilitation regime, which includes prolonged physiotherapy and psychological counselling.

Yet the lives of hundreds of thousands of stroke survivors like Paul can be dramatically transformed by a simple, inexpensive technique developed many decades ago, but largely forgotten. According to a new study reported last week, electrical brain stimulation — a procedure that delivers mild electric current to the brain non-invasively — has been shown to help severely affected stroke patients recover their ability to move and speak. In the therapy, known as transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), a mild electrical jolt is passed to the brain through the scalp and skull of the patient — perceived as a slight tingle in the head. “The concept of using therapeutic electricity on excitable tissue such as that of the brain is not new, considering the attempts to cure epileptic disorders with electric catfish as early as in the 11th century (by an Arab physician called Ibn-Sidah),” writes Gottfried Schlaug, the principal investigator of the study which appeared in the journal Archives of Neurology. He also points out that in the late 19th century physicians had used mild electrical stimulation to treat patients with depression. According to Schlaug, a neurologist at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) at Harvard Medical School in Boston, non-invasive brain stimulation using tDCS is “fast re-emerging as an interventional tool to modulate the effects, and possibly treat the symptoms, of several neurological and psychiatric disorders.”

However tDCS should not be confused with its controversial cousin electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), or electro shock, used for the treatment of severe depression. Unlike shock therapy — which is more drastic, giving a giant 600 milliampere (mA) buzz and affecting the entire brain, causing a seizure and memory loss — tDCS is much gentler (2mA) and more selective in the sense that it excites or inhibits brain regions directly underneath the positioned electrode. Moreover, ECT always requires the use of anaesthesia and is more invasive.
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Schlaug and his collaborators at the BIDMC tested tDMC on 20 patients who had suffered a stroke about two-and-a-half years back and still had moderate to severe impairments. Patients performed 60 minutes of routine rehabilitation procedures each day for five days while also receiving a 30-minute session of either active electrical stimulation or a placebo (‘sham’ treatment designed to mimic electrical stimulation). A simple nine volt battery connected to a piece of moistened sponge was used to deliver the mild electrical jolt. Within a week, patients given the real treatment were found to perform better in basic motor tests such as grasping a cup. A brain scan showed that activity in the injured part of the brain increased after the treatment. Schlaug presented the findings of the research at a conference at San Francisco last week.

Although it is not yet clear exactly how tDCS works, Sclaug believes that the electrical stimulation augments recovery in stroke patients by re-establishing communication between the damaged and unaffected halves or hemispheres of the brain. In other words, a stroke creates an imbalance in the normal communication of the brain’s hemispheres such that the unaffected hemisphere becomes functionally dominant and inhibits the damaged hemisphere.

“There is no denying that tDCS has an immense potential for repairing the stroke-damaged brain, but the problem is that it is still in an experimental stage,” says Dr J.N. Roy, a stroke neurologist at the Advanced Medicare Research Institute (AMRI) in Calcutta, who had attended to Paul two years ago. “Unless there is a huge trial involving a large number of patients, and the underlying neurophysiological changes are properly explained, one can’t put it into use in a routine rehab programme,” he adds. In fact, Schlaug’s team is trying to understand better the changes that take place in the brain as patients recover.

Countless neurologists like Roy and patients like Paul around the world are waiting for their results.

Source:Thje Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

You may click to see:-

Science meseum

The Neurostimulation Technology Portal

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Teflon Lawsuit Slides Off DuPont

A federal court has dismissed a group of consolidated cases against chemical and housewares company DuPont. The 22 suits alleged DuPont knew for more than 20 years that cookware containing the company’s non-stick coating, popularly known as Teflon, could make consumers sick, but concealed the evidence.
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The actions alleged that, when heated to normal cooking temperatures, Teflon-coated pans release toxic particles that pose a health risk to consumers. The suits specifically singled out perfluorooctanoic acid, colloquially known as PFOA, as the culprit of the emissions. However, U.S. District Judge Ronald Longstaff found that individual issues differing among the plaintiffs would each require their own inquiry, making the suits improper.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has said that PFOA is likely a cancer-causing agent in humans. An EPA study has shown the chemical to be present in the bloodstream of 90 percent of Americans.

Resources:

Consumer Affairs May 19, 2009
WTOP May 12, 2009
Reading Tea Leaves May 13, 2009

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A/C in Car – Precautions

Do not turn on A/C immediately as soon as you enter the car. Open the windows after you enter your car and turn ON the air-conditioning after a couple of minutes.

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According to a research done, the car dashboard, sofa, air freshener emits Benzene, a Cancer causing toxin (carcinogen – take note of the heated plastic Smell in your car).

In addition to causing cancer, it poisons your bones, causes anemia, and reduces white blood cells. Prolonged exposure will cause Leukemia, increasing the risk of cancer. May also cause miscarriage.

Acceptable Benzene level indoors is 50 mg per sq. ft… A car parked indoors with the windows closed will contain 400-800 mg of Benzene.
If parked outdoors under the sun at a temperature above 60 degrees F, the Benzene level goes up to 2000-4000 mg, 40 times the acceptable level… & the people inside the car will inevitably inhale an excess amount of the toxins.

It is recommended that you open the windows and door to give time for the interior to air out before you enter. Benzene is a toxin that affects your kidney and liver, and is very difficult for your body to expel this toxic stuff.