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Equisetum arvense

Botanical Name ; Equisetum arvense
Family: Equisetaceae
Genus: Equisetum
Species: E. arvense
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pteridophytes
Class: Equisetopsida
Order: Equisetales

Synonyms:
*Allosites arvense Brogn.
*Equisetum arvense fo. arcticum (Rupr.) M. Broun
*Equisetum arvense fo. boreale (Bong.) Klinge
*Equisetum arvense fo. campestre (Schultz) Klinge
*Equisetum arvense fo. ramulosum (Rupr.) Klinge ex Scoggan
*Equisetum arvense subsp. boreale (Bong.) Á. Löve
*Equisetum arvense subsp. ramulosum (Rupr.) W.F. Rapp
*Equisetum arvense var. arcticum Rupr.
*Equisetum arvense var. campestre (Schultz) Rupr.
*Equisetum arvense var. ramulosum Rupr.
*Equisetum boreale Bong.
*Equisetum calderi B. Boivin
*Equisetum campestre Schultz
*Equisetum saxicola Suksd.

Common Names: Field horsetail or Common horsetail

Habitat : Equisetum arvense is native to Arctic and temperate regions of Europe, including Britain, N. America and Asia. It grows on open fields, arable land, waste places, hedgerows and roadsides, usually on moist soils.

Description:
Equisetum species – horsetail family are Creeping, perenial, Branching rootstocks, rooted at the nodes. The Arial stems may be annual or Perennial, are cylindrical, fluted, simple or with whorled branches at the jointed nodes. The internodes are usually hollow. The Surfaces of the stems are covered with Silica. The Cones are terminal. Equisetum avense is a Perennial from creeping rhizomes, often forming large colonies; to 2 1/2 ft. Stems hollow, riged, jointed. Sterile stems green, with whorled branches ar nodes; leaves reduced to brownish, papery, toothed sheath around node; sheath with fewer then 14 teeth. Fertile stems brownish to whitish, with large “cone” at tip, formed by spore-producing scales; cone produced in early spring.

The sterile stems are 10–90 cm tall and 3–5 mm diameter, with jointed segments around 2–5 cm long with whorls of side shoots at the segment joints; the side shoots have a diameter of about 1 mm. Some stems can have as many as 20 segments. The fertile stems are succulent-textured, off-white, 10–25 cm tall and 3–5 mm diameter, with 4–8 whorls of brown scale leaves, and an apical brown spore cone 10–40 mm long and 4–9 mm broad.

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It has a very high diploid number of 216 (108 pairs of chromosomes).

The specific name arvense is derived from the Latin arvensis, meaning “from the meadow, field or grassland.”

Cultivation:
Prefers poor dusty ground. This rather contradicts another report which says that the presence of this plant indicates underground water. Prefers a moist but well-drained fertile soil with a pH between 6.5 and 7.5. A very cold-hardy species tolerating temperatures down to about -30°c. Plants have a deep and penetrating root system and can be invasive. If grown in the garden they are best kept in bounds by planting them in a large container which can be sunk into the ground.

Propagation :
Spores – best collected as soon as they are ripe in the spring and surface-sown immediately on a sterile compost. Keep moist and pot up as soon as the plants are large enough to handle. Very difficult. Division. The plants usually spread very freely when well sited and should not really need any assistance.
Edible Uses:
Strobil (the fertile shoots in spring) – cooked and used as an asparagus substitute. They should be used when young but even so it is probably best to change the water, perhaps 3 – 4 times. One report says that they can be eaten raw, they are peeled and the shoot tip is discarded. It is said to be a very tedious operation and they should not be eaten raw in any quantity, see the notes above on toxicity. Some native tribes liked to eat the young vegetative shoots, picked before they had branched out, and would often collect them in great quantity then hold a feast to eat them. The leaf sheaths were peeled off and the stems eaten raw – they were said to be ‘nothing but juice’. Roots – raw. The tuberous growths on the rhizomes are used in the spring. The black nodules attached to the roots are edible. It takes considerable effort to collect these nodules so it is normally only done in times of desperation. However, native peoples would sometimes raid the underground caches of roots collected by lemmings and other rodents in order to obtain these nodules. A further report says that the peeled stems, base of the plant, root and tubers were eaten raw by the N. American Indians, the report went on to say that this may be inadvisable.

Medicinal Uses:
Horsetails have an unusual chemistry compared to most other plants. They are rich in silica, contain several alkaloids (including nicotine) and various minerals. Horsetail is very astringent and makes an excellent clotting agent, staunching wounds, stopping nosebleeds and reducing the coughing up of blood. It helps speed the repair of damaged connective tissue, improving its strength and elasticity. The plant is anodyne, antihaemorrhagic, antiseptic, astringent, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, galactogogue, haemostatic and vulnerary. The green infertile stems are used, they are most active when fresh but can also be harvested in late summer and dried for later use. Sometimes the ashes of the plant are used. The plant is a useful diuretic when taken internally and is used in the treatment of kidney and bladder problems, cystitis, urethritis, prostate disease and internal bleeding, proving especially useful when there is bleeding in the urinary tract. A decoction applied externally will stop the bleeding of wounds and promote healing. It is especially effective on nose bleeds. A decoction of the herb added to a bath benefits slow-healing sprains and fractures, as well as certain irritable skin conditions such as eczema. The plant contains equisetic acid, which is thought to be identical to aconitic acid. This substance is a potent heart and nerve sedative that is a dangerous poison when taken in high doses. This plant contains irritant substances and should only be used for short periods of time. It is also best only used under the supervision of a qualified practitioner. A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh plant. It is used in the treatment of cystitis and other complaints of the urinary system . The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Equisetum arvense for urinary tract infections, kidney & bladder stones, wounds & burns.

Other  Uses:     Dye; Fungicide; Liquid feed; Musical; Paper; Polish; Sandpaper; Scourer.

 

The stems contain 10% silica and are used for scouring metal and as a fine sandpaper. They can also be used as a polish for brass, hardwood etc. The infused stem is an effective fungicide against mildew, mint rust and blackspot on roses. It also makes a good liquid feed. A light pink dye is obtained from the stem. It is yellow-gray according to another report. The plant has been used for making whistles.

Equisetum is used in biodynamic farming (preparation BD 508) in particular to reduce the effects of excessive water around plants (such as fungal growth). The high silica content of the plant reduces the impact of moisture.

Known Hazards:
Large quantities of the plant can be toxic. This is because it contains the enzyme thiaminase, a substance that can rob the body of the vitamin B complex. In small quantities this enzyme will do no harm to people eating an adequate diet that is rich in vitamin B, though large quantities can cause severe health problems. The enzyme is destroyed by heat or thorough drying, so cooking the plant will remove the thiaminase. The plant also contains equisetic acid – see the notes on medicinal uses for more information. Avoid in patients with oedema due to heart failure or impaired kidney function
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/Equisetum_arvense
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Equisetum+arvense

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Foods for for healthy hair & scalf

Salmon : It contains vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. This omega-3 fatty acid is very much essential to keep your scalp and hair shaft very well hydrated. As healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp, get in more omega-3 fatty acids in your diet.

Beef :If you don’t have cholesterol problems, then you must consume this meat at least twice a day. This food has all the possible nutrients that your hair needs for its up keep. The presence of protein, vitamin B, iron, zinc and other vital minerals will help to maintain the health of your scalp and hair.Though it is rich in nutrients, the consumption of beef should be minimum to avoid other health problems.

Prunes: Including prunes in your diet can help to improve your hair texture as well as proper bowl movements. As it is rich in iron, it helps prevent hair loss, dull hair, thin hair, and discoloration of your hair.

Green tea : The presence of polyphenols helps in keeping your scalp healthy. If your scalp is healthy, then the overall health of your hair improves, as it helps to keep your hair shiny and dandruff free. To treat your dandruff problem with this miraculous tea. Wash your hair with green tea or apply it on your scalp which will help to kill your dandruff worries.

Carrots: Carrots not only help to sharpen your vision but also to maintain the health of your hair due to the presence of vitamin A. Existence of vitamin A helps in formation of sebum oil in the scalp. Sebum is a very important element which helps to keep the scalp and hair very well moisturized. A moisturized scalp means healthy hair.

Eggs: Eggs are rich in biotin and vitamin B. These two nutrients are very important for the health and maintenance of your hair. Biotin is a star element, which helps to keep your hair shiny and lustrous. Biotin is also present in many shampoos and conditioners and is one of the important elements needed for hair health.

Dark green leafy vegetables: Include lots of dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, broccoli and lettuces in your diet. All these dark green leafy vegetables are an excellent source of vitamin A and Vitamin C. Both these vitamins help in the formation of sebum, which is a natural hair conditioner and hence moisturizes your skin and scalp.

Brown rice:  Brown rice has some protein, vitamins and fiber. Besides giving you healthy hair and scalp, it also keeps you from over eating as it keeps you full for a longer time. Hence, switch to brown rice now to maintain your hair as well as your body.

Oysters: Hair loss or dandruff is due to low level of hormone androgen production. Include oysters in your diet as they are rich in zinc, which further helps in the production of androgen and hence fights against hair fall and dandruff. Besides, it also helps your locks retain shine and health.

Walnuts : Walnuts are one of the best nuts for your hair nourishment and maintenance. As they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, biotin, vitamin E and copper they protect your hair against damage from the sun by being a shield when you venture out; they also prevent hair loss and help keep your hair lustrous and rich in color.

Cottage cheese: Besides it being low-fat, cottage cheese is also rich in calcium and protein. Include this healthy cheese for breakfast if your goal is to get rid of dull hair and shed some extra kilos at the same time.

Green peas: Green peas are a well balanced food available for healthy hair. They are loaded with all types of minerals and vitamins like zinc, iron and vitamin B, which help in maintaining the health of your hair and scalp.

Lentils: If you really want healthy hair and scalp, then include lentils in your diet at least 3-4 times a week, because, Lentils are rich in folic acid. Presence of folic acid helps in providing the requisite amount of oxygen to your scalp and skin, which further promotes hair growth and cell renewal.

Bell peppers: Include all colors of bell peppers in your diet as they are a great source of vitamin C. Vitamin C guarantees efficient transition of oxygen to hair follicles. Besides, it also helps in the formation of collagen and promotes hair growth and prevents hair breakage.

Whole grains; Whole grains are rich in nutrients and fibers. This promotes hair growth and makes it a super food for healthy hair. Besides, it also aids good digestion and prevents ailments like diabetes, obesity and constipation.

Sweet potatoes: Sweet potatoes are loaded with beta-carotene, which when consumed gets converted to vitamin A. Vitamin A prevents dull scalp and hair and promotes growth and proper circulation of oxygen to the hair follicle.

Blueberries: This super fruit is loaded with vitamin C, which helps in oxygen circulation to the scalp and hair follicles, and prevents hair breakage.

Bacon: Though it is an enemy if you want to kick some calories, but if you want healthy hair then you should consume not more than 4 ounces. It is loaded with all healthy hair promoting nutrients like vitamin B, zinc and protein.

Shrimps: Shrimps are not only delicious but also a great doctor for your dull hair and scalp. Shrimps are loaded with vitamin B12, iron and zinc, all of which prevent hair loss and promote growth and maintenance.

Pumpkin seeds:  Pumpkin seeds are a perfect hair rejuvenating snack. They’re good for overall health, as they are loaded with protein, omega-6 fatty acids, zinc and iron.

Resource:
The Times Of India, Feb22,2013

Hair Colouring

Grey Hair & Wrinkles

Grey Hair & Wrinkles (Photo credit: Bunches and Bits {Karina})

As we grow older several changes take place in our body, some visible, others not so visible. The most obvious one is the hair — and moustache in the case of men — turning grey from jet black. Unfortunately, nowadays it is not just senior citizens who are greying but also those in their twenties or early thirties. Twenty years ago, 18 per cent of adults under the age of 30 had started to grey. According to a recent report, that figure is now close to 32 per cent. Hair care brands have come up with a new mnemonic for grey haired over stressed twenty something — GHOSTS. The first grey hair stresses out GHOSTS even more as the current job market prizes youth — or at least looking youthful — over experience.

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The age at which one starts to grey is determined genetically. At that age the hair cells stop producing the colouring pigment melanin. This makes the shaft of the hair transparent. Light reflects off it, giving it its white appearance. Not all hairs stop producing melanin simultaneously. The mixed white and normal black makes the hair appear grey.

People who are exposed constantly to pollution and UV rays can get grey hair even before their genetically determined age to grey. The poisonous chemicals in tobacco kill the melanocytes, making smokers go grey before their non-smoking peers. Deficiency of vitamin B12 can also cause premature greying, as can a a peculiar type of anaemia called pernicious anaemia. Thyroid malfunction can also turn hair grey.

Grey hair has been cosmetically unacceptable for centuries. People used all kinds of natural dyes such as henna, indigo, walnut, curry leaves, gooseberries, tea, coffee, hibiscus flowers and arecanut either alone or in combination to colour grey hair. These natural products are used even today. Most, if used consistently, produce a dark brown colour. They are popular as they are inexpensive, can be applied at home, and are considered safe. But some people are allergic to even herbal products.

Hair can also be dyed with commercially available colouring agents. Temporary colours last a single wash. They can be funky colours like pink, blue or green but dark hair will not take these unless it is bleached first. Repeated use of these dyes without proper conditioning can, however, make hair brittle and lustreless.

Permanent hair colouring is the one usually used to disguise grey hair. It is a two-step process. First the hair is lightened using an agent like hydrogen peroxide or ammonia. Then the dye is applied and fixed. The colouring lasts until the hair grows out. This can be anything between 4 to 6 weeks.

Some people are allergic to hair dyes. Redness, itching, burning or skin rashes can occur either immediately or within 48 hours. To prevent this, before applying a dye for the first time, or switching brands, do a patch test. Take a small quantity of dye and apply it to the skin [usually on the inside of the elbow] for a day to see if there is any reaction. Sometimes a person can turn allergic to a product that they have been using safely for many years.

If hair is being coloured at home, it is important to follow the instructions on the package implicitly. Before using the dye, apply Vaseline to the hairline and ears. This will prevent the skin from staining. Always use gloves to apply the colour. Leave it on the hair for the time specified. Then wash it off with water. Apply a conditioner and leave it on for 7-9 minutes. Shampoo the next day.

Most shampoos (particularly the anti-dandruff ones) are harsh and unsuitable for regular use on coloured hair. Special colour safe shampoos and conditioners should be used to preserve the health of hair and minimise fading.

Hair that has been damaged by excessive and improper exposure to chemicals becomes dry, rough and fragile. The only solution is to stop using chemicals and cut off the damaged bit.

Hair colour should also not be used to darken facial hair because its texture is different and also because using traditional hair dyes so close to the nose can be distressing because of the odour of ammonia and other chemicals. The best thing to use is a range of colouring products labelled “just for men”.

How to delay greying:
*Avoid stress
*Don’t smoke
*Avoid too much exposure to ultraviolet rays
*Exercise regularly
*Eat at least 4-5 helpings of fruit and vegetables a day.
*Take care of your stomach &  liver function
*Try to avoid pollution

You may click to see :

*Grey Hair – Why & How to Treat it

*Experts Uncover Cause of Greyness

*Going gray? Hair ‘Bleaches Itself as People Age’

*Why does hair turn grey?

*What Causes Grey Hair
Source :The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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Keeping & Maintaining Beautiful Hair

Three main things are needed for a good-looking head of hair – haute hair – good health, the right attention to cleanliness, and caution when using cosmetic treatments.

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1. Adequate Diet
Hair growth depends on an adequate diet. A widespread diet problem which causes loss of hair is iron deficiency Anaemia. The cause is too little iron in blood, brought on by a diet containing too little meat, eggs, cereals or peas and beans. Fresh fruits and vegetables are also needed to provide vitamin C, which enables the body to absorb iron.

2. Cutting the hair
Although cutting the hair is not essential to its well-being, it is easier to keep the scalp clean if the hair is kept reasonably short. Regular cutting does not make the hair grow strong or faster.

3. How hair can be damaged
Although scalp hair is hardy, and can withstand a lot of abuse, it can be damaged by too much or inexpertly applied perming, dyeing – Blonde to Brunette, bleaching and massage. The amount of beautying the hair can take varies from person to person. Occasionally the scalp is allergic to the dye and becomes inflamed and swollen. To prevent this occuring, the dye should be tested by applying it to a small area on the arm. If a patch of inflammation has developed, the dye must not be used on the hair.

Most people who bleach their hair do so with hydrogen peroxide. If the peroxide is repeatedly applied, it may make the hair brittle. Hair SOS If this happens the hair may turn rough, develop split ends, or become thinned or shortened.

Now, How to Maintain Good Hair?
Maintaining your hair is very easy. But in order to have sleek, beautiful hair you must be quite dedicated. These few steps will enhance your entire look immensely.

1. Brush hair regularly to loosen dead skin cells and help brush out old hair styling creams/sprays. This also stimulates the scalp and helps to promote healthy hair growth.

2.Wash hair with good-quality shampoo and conditioner chosen specifically for your hair type. (The most gentle you can find for your hair, as this will prevent over-drying.)

3. Towel-dry hair, squeezing hair between the towel. Do NOT rub the hair, this can weaken the follicle and make the hair brittle and dull. The cuticle of the hair will not lie flat, so it will not be smooth or shiny.

4.A “tiny” amount of olive oil or a similar oil can be used to give hair shine and to condition it. Beware of going overboard — too much will make hair look like an oil slick.

5. Get a haircut to suit your face shape. If in doubt as to what would suit you best, ask your hairdresser.

6.Frizz-control serum can be used in small quantities to tame frizzies, but make sure you do not use too much, and wash once a week with a deep-cleanse shampoo to avoid build-up which will leave hair looking dull and flaky.

7.Once a week, massage hair and scalp with coconut oil, wrap in gladwrap or a showercap, and leave overnight. In the morning, rinse well with water, and shampoo and condition as normal.

8.If you have dry hair, massage your head with your scalp nightly, for 5 minutes. This, like brushing, stimulates the oil glands to produce the amounts of natural serum needed to have glossy, moisturised hair.

9.Don’t wash your hair too often, for this will dry out your hair.

10. Putting too much heat in your hair can cause damage to the hair shaft and hair.

11. When brushing or combing hair, be gentle. Combing too roughly will cause your hair to break off each time you brush or comb.

12. Use some type of hair conditioner or oil creames to your hair, this will avoid dullness and dry looking hair.

13. Give yourself a hot oil treatment at leasts twice a month to maintain healthy shiny hair.

14.When blowdrying your hair, put a oil or cream in it before you blow your hair to prevent the damages from the heat of the blow dryer onto your hair.

CARE FOR THE FOLLOWING:-
1. Straightening and blowdrying your hair too often can damage your hair, so make sure you use a heat protectant spray first.
2.Also, try to have days off (eg, on the weekend) where you do not heat-style your hair. Use a ceramic straightner when possible.
3.If you have coloured hair, put hair wax in it before swimming in chlorinated water or the sea. This will prevent it drying out too much, and from fading.

4.Try to give your hair a break a few times a week, and do not heat-style. Instead, experiment with up-dos — a simple ponytail or chignon looks clean and requires very few hair products. You could also just keep your hair down and wear a headband.
You may click to see:->

How to Have and Maintain Beautiful Hair
Natural Hair Loss Remedies

Hair Loss Help and Advice

How You Can Treat Hair Loss
Resources:
http://free-beauty-tips.glam.com/hairroutine.html
http://www.wikihow.com/Maintain-Good-Hair

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Three Green Beauty Alternatives

You can go “green” with beauty products by lessening your use of the ones that use harmful ingredients. Here are a couple of organic beauty alternatives:


No-Hair-Washing : You don’t need to shampoo your hair every day. In fact, when you aren’t torturing your hair with product, it produces a natural oil that gives it a unique sheen and softness, and according to studies, it might even reduce the amount of ozone you breathe in.

Natural Deodorant : Store-bought deodorants and anti-perspirants contain harsh chemicals. Instead, try baking soda. Sprinkle a bit on a damp washcloth and apply it on your underarms; it should neutralize the smell and keep you cool all day!

Homemade Facials: Honey, oatmeal, bananas and other household materials can make you a homemade facial treatment!

Click to see:->Proper Use of Cosmetic Clays

Sources: Hello World June 24, 2008

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