Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Ferula gummosa

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Botanical Name : Ferula gummosa
Familia: ApiaceaeGalbanum
Subfamily: Apioideae
Genus: Ferula
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales
Tribe: Scandiceae
Subtribes: Ferulinae
Species: Ferula gummosa

Synonyms : Ferula galbaniflua. Bioss.&Buhse.

Common Names: Galbanum
Vernacular names:-
Akan: Prekese
italiano: Galbano

Habitat :Ferula gummosa is native to W. Asia – Central Iran, Turkey and southern Russia. It grows on herbaceous slopes in steppes.

Ferula gummosa is a perennial herb growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 1 m (3ft 3in).
It is in flower from May to June, and the seeds ripen from Jun to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Flies.The plant is self-fertile.

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Succeeds in most soils. Requires a deep fertile soil in a sunny position. This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the country, it tolerates temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c. Another report says that it tolerates temperatures down to at least -15°c and should therefore succeed outdoors in most parts of the country. Plants are intolerant of root disturbance due to their long taproot. They should be planted into their final positions as soon as possible. The flowers have an unpleasant smell.

Seed – best sown as soon as the seed is ripe in a greenhouse in autumn. Otherwise sow in April in a greenhouse. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle. Plant them out into their permanent positions whilst still small because the plants dislike root disturbance. Give the plants a protective mulch for at least their first winter outdoors. Division in autumn. This may be inadvisable due to the plants dislike of root disturbance.
Edible Uses:
Edible Uses: Condiment…….The gum resin obtained from the root is used as a celery-like food flavouring.
Medicinal Uses:
The whole plant, but especially the root, contains the gum resin ‘galbanum‘. This is antispasmodic, carminative, expectorant and stimulant. It is used internally in the treatment of chronic bronchitis, asthma and other chest complaints. It is a digestive stimulant and antispasmodic, reducing flatulence, griping pains and colic. Externally it is used as a plaster for inflammatory swellings, ulcers, boils, wounds and skin complaints.

Other Uses:
The aromatic gum resin ‘Galbanum’ is obtained from wounds made in the stem. It is collected by removing soil from around the top of the root and then cutting a slice off the root and can also be obtained from incisions made in the stem. It is used medicinally and is also an ingredient of incense. It was an important ingredient of the incense used by the Israelites

The whole plant, but especially the root, contains the gum resin “galbanum”. A study of the comparative effects of galbanum gum and two standard binding agents–polyvinylpyrolidone and acacia–on characteristics of acetaminophen and calcium carbonate compacts was made. The Ferula gummosa gum was extracted and its swelling index was determined. Acetaminophen and calcium carbonate granules were prepared using the wet granulation method and were evaluated for their micromeritics and flow properties, while the compacts were evaluated for mechanical properties using the hardness, tensile strength and friability. The drug release from acetaminophen compacts were assessed using dissolution studies. The dry powder of Ferula gummosa gum resin (galbanum) yielded 14% w/w of gum using distilled water as extraction solvent. The swelling index indicates that galbanum gum swelled to about 190% of initial volume in distilled water. Thus galbanum gum has the ability to hydrate and swells in cold water. The bulk and tapped densities and the interspace porosity (void porosity) percent of the granules prepared with different binders showed significant difference. The hardness and tensile strength of acetaminophen and calcium carbonate compacts containing various binders was of the rank order PVP > acacia > galbanum gum (p < 0.05) and the friability percent was of the reverse order (p < 0.05). The ranking for the dissolution rate of tablets containing the different binders was PVP> galbanum gum > acacia. The results of mechanical properties of acetaminophen and calcium carbonate compacts indicate that galbanum gum could be useful to produce tablets with desired mechanical characteristics for specific purposes, and could be used as an alternative substitute binder in pharmaceutical industries.

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.

News on Health & Science

The Little Blood-Sucker Ticks Can Save Lives

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Thousands of people who have had, or are at risk of, a heart attack could be saved by a new drug made from a chemical produced by blood-sucking ticks.

………………………….click & see
The drug, called Variegin, contains a man-made version of an anti-clotting chemical found in ticks from Africa and Central America.

Once the tiny insects have latched on to their human or animal prey, they release the chemical to stop blood from clotting and allow them to feed for longer.

Now a team of scientists from Britain, Singapore and Slovakia have discovered it might also slash the risk of heart attacks by stopping blood clots from forming.
They have developed a drug containing a synthetic form of the blood-thinning chemical that is up to 70 times more powerful than the ‘natural’ form produced by the ticks.
Initial tests show it is not only highly effective as an anticlotting agent, but potentially longer-lasting and safer than some existing drugs.

Every year, around 270,000 people in Britain suffer a heart attack, and coronary disease remains Britain’s biggest killer. About a third of heart attack patients die before reaching hospital, often because they have delayed seeking help.
Heart attacks occur when a clot forms and shuts off the supply of blood to cardiac muscle. Clotting is the body’s natural reaction to injury, designed to stem blood loss. But clots that form when there has been no injury can wreak havoc throughout the body, not just on the heart.
If they reach the brain, they can cause a stroke, or if they restrict blood flow to the lungs, they can cause an often fatal condition called a pulmonary embolism.

Patients who have suffered a heart attack or stroke – or are at high risk of them – are often given anti-clotting drugs to prevent more clots forming.
These work by changing the chemical composition of blood in a way that switches off the clotting process. The best known is Warfarin, a drug that has been around for more than 50 years and was once commonly used as a rat killer.
But patients on Warfarin have to be monitored extremely closely to ensure it does not thin their blood so much that they run the risk of bleeding to death from even the slightest cut. Newer drugs, known as direct thrombin inhibitors, have come on to the market in recent years. Although they have a better safety record than Warfarin, they can also increase the danger of a life-threatening bleed.
Around one in 100 people given a direct thrombin inhibitor suffers bleeding severe enough to kill them – unless they have urgent medical attention such as a transfusion.
If a patient is bleeding heavily or needs surgery, it’s vital that doctors can quickly restore normal clotting. But a drawback of modern anticlotting drugs is that their effects are irreversible.
The researchers behind the tick-saliva medicine have found a way of switching the clotting process back on, by injecting a chemical called protamine sulphate.
Professor Patricia Nuttall, who spearheaded the British arm of the tick project-at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Wallingford, Oxfordshire, says: ‘The problem with direct thrombin inhibitors is once you have used them, you cannot switch them off.
‘Then you might get a patient who suffers excessive bleeding that you cannot control. But in our tests we used protamine sulphate, which stops the drug from binding to thrombin, the enzyme in the blood that makes it clot.’
Researchers hope to begin human clinical trials using the tick-saliva drug in the near future.
Professor Jeremy Pearson, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, says: ‘Scientists often take lessons from nature in the development of new medicines.
‘Our own researchers have worked with snake venom in the past to reveal clues about blood clotting. We look forward to seeing the results of clinical tests with Variegin.’

Source: Mail Online.Sept.8,2009

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Diagnonistic Test

Rapid Detection of Infectious Diseases.

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Only a few minutes and a simple, ready-to-use diagnostic test kit are needed to determine an individual’s infectious disease status.
In about the middle of the 20th century, mass vaccination programs and the widespread availability of antibiotics significantly reduced the threat of infectious diseases in Canada and many other regions of the world. Indeed, a concerted worldwide effort led to eradication of the smallpox virus, the cause of the most serious infectious disease in the western world during the 17th and 18th centuries , and the incidence of other diseases, such as the common childhood ailments measles, mumps, and pertussis, have been reduced by similar vaccination programs . Despite these advances, however, infectious diseases remain the world’s leading cause of premature death, accounting for about 17 million deaths in 1995.

To further control communicable diseases, global efforts must overcome ongoing challenges provided by the evolution of infectious agents. Among the more significant evolutionary changes in the past 25 years are the increased prevalence of antibiotic resistance in infectious bacteria (e.g., methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin resistant enterococci (VRE))  and the emergence of about 30 new infectious agents (e.g., human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and the ebola virus) . Moreover, rapid evolutionary changes create new appearances for some infectious agents (e.g., the influenza virus and HIV), allowing them to circumvent the defensive mechanisms of our immune systems.

Another obstacle for the control of communicable diseases arises when the role of an infectious agent in a disease goes unnoticed. The significance of this point was demonstrated in the 1980s when the bacterium Helicobacter pylori was finally recognized as a causative factor of duodenal ulcers and other gastric diseases . As a result of the H. pylori discovery, many gastric diseases are now effectively treated with antibiotics, and it is possible that new therapeutic directions will be stimulated by a recent proposal, which implicates chronic infections as a cause of several well-Known diseases (e.g., atneroscierosis and Alzheimer’s Disease).

For infectious diseases, an unambiguous diagnosis obtained in a timely fashion is extremely important, not only from a personal viewpoint (i.e., the initiation of an appropriate treatment), but also from a public health perspective (i.e., the prevention of disease transmission from one individual to another).

To a large extent, evidence for the presence of an infectious agent, and thus the diagnosis of infectious disease status, is provided by the results of one or more diagnostic tests. In addition to providing an accurate result, an ideal rapid diagnostic test should be easy to perform while yielding a definite result within a reasonable length of time ([less than]30 min to be considered as a rapid test).

For these reasons, most rapid diagnostic tests for infectious diseases are based on the highly selective, noncovalent interactions between an antibody and an antigen. Antibodies are proteins produced by the immune system in response to the entry of a foreign entity, such as an infectious agent. Because antibodies specifically bind to a distinct site (or epitope) in a protein or another macromolecule (i.e., the antigen) associated with the infectious agent, the unique group of antibodies generated during each infection is an excellent diagnostic marker for disease. This immunoassay approach can be limited by the time required for antibody levels to increase to detectable levels after infection (e.g., antibodies for HIV are detectable on average 25 days post infection).

Immunoassays in various forms (e.g., enzyme immunoassays) are increasingly employed in clinical laboratories; however, the rapid test format is the most recent innovation in an industry undergoing substantial growth. In rapid tests, membrane immobilized antigens are used to capture the antibodies generated against the infectious agent. The specificity of a test towards a particular disease relies on the highly specific antigen-antibody interaction, and the appropriate choice of an antigen captures only the disease specific antibodies on the rapid test membrane. The appropriate antigen can be obtained from the infectious agent, produced by recombinant methods, or mimicked by synthetic peptides.

Antibodies captured by the membrane-immobilized antigen are detected using a colour reagent (e.g., protein A-colloidal gold or anti-human IgG antibodies conjugated to coloured particles), and a positive test typically is signified by the appearance of a coloured dot or line on the test membrane. If no disease antibodies are present in the sample, the colour reagent is not trapped on the membrane, and a negative result is obtained. A control dot or line often is included to verify that the colour reagent is functioning properly. While the rapid test format with visual interpretation provides only a qualitative result, a positive/negative result is sufficient in many diagnostic applications, including infectious disease diagnosis.

An immediate result provided by a rapid test is particularly advantageous when knowledge of a communicable disease is needed quickly (e.g., emergency surgery) or when a patient is apprehensive about the disease and might not make a second visit to a medical facility to receive the test result. The latter is a significant problem; about 30% of patients tested for HIV in publicly funded clinics in the United States during 1995 did not return , and a large cost is incurred by tracking them down to deliver the result of a laboratory test and to arrange a confirmatory test when a positive first result is obtained. The simplicity of the rapid test format allows the test to be used wherever an infectious disease has a high prevalence, or in remote clinical settings where patients must travel significant distances to get to the test centre.

The timeline from the initial idea to sales of an approved rapid diagnostic test is about five years. Over this period, research is undertaken to validate the concept; the optimum parameters are established for the immunoassay in the rapid test format, and in-house evaluation is conducted. The safety and effectiveness of the test is then established by independent clinical trials at several different locations before applications are submitted for regulatory approval by Health Canada and agencies in other countries, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States. In April 1998, Health Canada granted its first approval for a rapid HIV test to MedMira Laboratories Inc.

MedMira is a publicly traded (CDNX: MIR) Canadian medical biotechnology company at the leading edge of rapid diagnostic test development. The company has expanded considerably since the early 1990s when it was established in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley. At present, MedMira has over 45 employees and a corporate office in Toronto, ON. Separate locations for research and manufacturing are located in the Halifax Regional Municipality. In July 1999, MedMira Laboratories received International Organization of Standards ISO9001 registration designed around Health Canada’s ISO 13485 essentials for the manufacture of medical devices, and a system of product manufacturing compliant with the U.S. FDA current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) was established and implemented at MedMira in April 1999.

In addition to the HIV test, which is able to detect HIV-1, HIV-2, and the rare group O variant of HIV-1, MedMira also has developed rapid tests for other infectious agents, including H. pylori, hepatitis B virus (HBV), HCV, and a HIV/HCV combination. The MedMira rapid tests meet the approval requirements in several countries and the approval process is underway in others. For example, the H. pylori test was granted U.S. FDA 510(k) clearance last year, and the U.S. FDA/PMA committee and the Chinese State Drug Administration (SDA) have accepted the MedMira HIV test for review. The MedMira test kits are marketed worldwide.

While the acute effects of infectious diseases are widely known, a connection between infectious agents and cancer has been established for HBV/HCV (liver cancer) , H. pylori (gastric cancer) , and human papillomaviruses (HPV) (cervical cancer) . Currently, rapid tests for infectious diseases identify certain underlying risk factors for cancer, but in the future, rapid test methodology will be available to detect markers associated with other forms of cancer.

Diagnostic tests are an integral part of modern health care. The availability of rapid diagnostic tests demonstrates that the complex interactions between molecules such as antigens and antibodies (and up-to-date science) can be utilized to provide a reliable diagnostic test in a simple format. Ongoing research is needed to keep rapid test methodology current with the evolution of infectious agents, and to expand the rapid test approach to the diagnosis of other diseases. Because of the simple format and reasonable cost, rapid test methodology holds the promise of bringing more efficient and effective diagnostic testing to both developed and undeveloped countries around the world.


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