Categories
Herbs & Plants

Cistus creticus

[amazon_link asins=’B00VT3O9PO,B00WMZ8G20′ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’finmeacur-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’300a268a-0ca8-11e7-a457-0b1cc838e97c’]

Botanical Name : Cistus creticus
Family: Cistaceae
Genus: Cistus
Species:C. creticus
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Malvales

Synonyms : Cistus incanus auct, Cistus polymorphus, Cistus villosus creticus.

Common Names : Pink Rock-Rose, Hoary Rock-Rose, Rock Rose, Cretan rockrose

Habitat :Cistus creticus is native to southern Europe and the area around the eastern Mediterranean, but is naturalized in other areas of the world, such as California. It grows on amongst the scrub and in bushy places on rocks, dry hills etc to 1000 metres.
Description:
Cistus creticus is a compact and bushy, evergreen shrub, growin.g to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 1 m (3ft 3in). It is in leaf 12-Jan. It is in flower in June, and the seeds ripen in August.The colours of the flowers can vary from rose pink to purple. It prefers a well-drained soil and does best in full sun. All cistus do best if pruned after flowering which will retain shape and provide healthy young growth for next years flowers. The seeds were collected at 2000m if that is relevant. This plant is the source of the resin labdanum – used in perfumes as a replacement for ambergris! Few seeds collected.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.The plant is self-fertile.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Cultivation:
Requires a sunny position in a dry or moist well-drained light sandy soil. Withstands drought once it is established. Tolerates maritime exposure. Plants are hardy to about -15°c, but they require protection in severe winters. Plants are somewhat hardier when grown in poor soils. This is usually a short-lived plant in cultivation, it probably exhausts itself by its very free-flowering habit. Plants often self-sow when growing in a suitable position. Dislikes pruning or root disturbance. Plants should be pot grown and then planted out in their final positions whilst still small. Individual flowers only last one day but there is a long succession of them. A polymorphic species, some forms do not yield much gum. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. This species is notably resistant to honey fungus. The flowers are very attractive to bees. The leaves, which exude a balsamic resin, are especially fragrant on warm sunny days.
Propagation:
Seed – gather when ripe and store dry. Surface sow in late winter in a greenhouse. The seed usually germinates in 1 – 4 weeks at 20°c. Prick out the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle into individual pots. Grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter and plant them out the in the following spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. The seed stores for at least 3 years. Cuttings of softish to half-ripe wood, 8cm long with a heel or at a node, June/August in a frame. Roots are formed within 3 weeks. High percentage. Cuttings of almost mature wood, 8 – 12cm with a heel or at a node, September/October in a frame. High percentage. Lift and pot up in the spring, plant out when a good root system has formed. Layering in spring.

Edible Uses: Condiment; Tea.

The leaves are used as a tea substitute. The oleo-resin obtained from the leaves and stems is used as a commercial food flavouring in baked goods, ice cream, chewing gum etc.
Medicinal Uses:
This plant is an aromatic, expectorant, stimulant herb that controls bleeding and has antibiotic effects. It is used internally in the treatment of catarrh and diarrhoea and as an emmenagogue. The leaves are harvested in late spring and early summer and can be dried for later use, or the resin extracted from them.

Other Uses :
Resin.

The glandular hairs on the leaves yield the oleo-resin ‘ladanum’, used medicinally and in soaps, perfumery, fumigation etc. This resin is an acceptable substitute for ambergris (which is obtained from the sperm whale) and so is important in perfume manufacture. The resin is collected by dragging a type of rake through the plant, the resin adhering to the teeth of the rake, or by boiling the twigs and skimming off the resin[64, 89]. Most resin is produced at the hottest time of the year.  There is a mauve-flowered variety of this species that is the most prolific producer of the resin

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/Cistus_creticus
http://www.plant-world-seeds.com/store/view_seed_item/4551
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Cistus+creticus

Advertisements
Categories
Ailmemts & Remedies

Hot Flashes

Definition:
Hot flashes are sudden feelings of warmth, which are usually most intense over the face, neck and chest. Your skin may redden, as if you’re blushing. Hot flashes can also cause profuse sweating and may leave you chilled…..CLICK & SEE

Although other hormonal conditions can cause them, hot flashes most commonly are due to menopause — the time when a woman’s menstrual periods stop. In fact, hot flashes are the most common symptom of the menopausal transition.

Hot flashes are due to a reduction of FSH and reduced levels of estradiol. They are a form of flushing, a symptom which may have several other causes, but which is often caused by the changing hormone levels that are characteristic of menopause. They are typically experienced as a feeling of intense heat with sweating and rapid heartbeat, and may typically last from two to thirty minutes for each occurrence.

How often hot flashes occur varies from woman to woman, but usually the range is from one or two a day to one an hour. There are a variety of treatments for particularly bothersome hot flashes.
Symptoms:
Hot flashes, a common symptom of menopause and perimenopause, are typically experienced as a feeling of intense heat with sweating and rapid heartbeat, and may typically last from two to thirty minutes for each occurrence, ending just as rapidly as they began. The sensation of heat usually begins in the face or chest, although it may appear elsewhere such as the back of the neck, and it can spread throughout the whole body. Some women feel as if they are going to faint. In addition to being an internal sensation, the surface of the skin, especially on the face, becomes hot to the touch. This is the origin of the alternative term “hot flush”, since the sensation of heat is often accompanied by visible reddening of the face. Excessive flushing can lead to rosacea.

The symptoms of hot flashes are as follows:

*A sudden feeling of warmth spreading through the upper body and face
*A flushed appearance with red, blotchy skin
*Rapid heartbeat
*Perspiration, mostly on your upper body
*Feeling chilled as the hot flash subsides

Hot flashes vary in frequency — you may have few or many in a day — and each hot flash usually subsides in a few minutes. They’re particularly common at night. Most women who experience hot flashes have them for more than a year, but they usually stop on their own within four to five years.

The hot-flash event may be repeated a few times each week or every few minutes throughout the day. Hot flashes may begin to appear several years before menopause starts and last for years afterwards. Some women undergoing menopause never have hot flashes. Others have mild or infrequent flashes. The worst sufferers experience dozens of hot flashes each day. In addition, hot flashes are often more frequent and more intense during hot weather or in an overheated room, the surrounding heat apparently making the hot flashes themselves both more likely to occur, and more severe.

Severe hot flashes can make it difficult to get a full night’s sleep (often characterized as insomnia), which in turn can affect mood, impair concentration, and cause other physical problems. When hot flashes occur at night, they are called “night sweats”. As estrogen is typically lowest at night, some women get night sweats without having any hot flashes during the daytime.

Types:
Some menopausal women may experience both standard hot flashes and a second type sometimes referred to as “slow hot flashes” or “ember flashes”. The standard hot flash comes on rapidly, sometimes reaching maximum intensity in as little as a minute. It lasts at full intensity for only a few minutes before gradually fading.

Slow “ember” flashes appear almost as quickly but are less intense and last for around half an hour. Women who experience them may undergo them year round, rather than primarily in the summer, and ember flashes may linger for years after the more intense hot flashes have passed.
Young women:
If hot flashes occur at other times in a young woman’s menstrual cycle, then it might be a symptom of a problem with her pituitary gland; seeing a doctor is highly recommended. In younger women who are surgically menopausal, hot flashes are generally more intense than in older women, and they may last until natural age at menopause.

Men:
Hot flashes in men could have various causes. It can be a sign of low testosterone. Another is andropause, or “male menopause”. Men with prostate cancer or testicular cancer can also have hot flashes, especially those who are undergoing hormone therapy with antiandrogens, also known as androgen antagonists, which reduce testosterone to castrate levels. There are also other ailments and even dietary changes which can cause it. Men who are castrated can also get hot flashes

Causes:
The exact cause of hot flashes isn’t known, but it’s likely related to several factors. Research on hot flashes is mostly focused on treatment options. The exact cause and pathogenesis, or causes of vasomotor symptoms (VMS)—the clinical name for hot flashes—has not yet been fully studied. There is hints at reduced levels of estrogen as the primary cause of hot flashes. There are indications that hot flashes may be due to a change in the hypothalamus’s control of temperature regulation.

Diagnosis:
The doctor can usually diagnose hot flashes based on a description of symptoms. To confirm the cause of hot flashes, the doctor may suggest blood tests to check whether the patient is in menopausal transition or other causes.

Treatment:
Hormone replacement therapy:(HRT)……..CLICK & SEE
Hormone replacement therapy may relieve many of the symptoms of menopause. However, oral HRT may increase the risk of breast cancer, stroke, and dementia and has other potentially serious short-term and long-term risks. Since the incidence of cardiovascular disease in women has shown a rise that matches the increase in the number of post menopausal women, recent studies have examined the benefits and side effects of oral versus transdermal application of different estrogens and found that transdermal applications of estradiol may give the vascular benefits lowering the incidences of cardiovascular events with less adverse side effects than oral preparations.

Women who experience troublesome hot flashes are advised by some to try alternatives to hormonal therapies as the first line of treatment. If a woman chooses hormones, they suggest she take the lowest dose that alleviates her symptoms for as short a time as possible. The US Endocrine Society concluded that women taking hormone replacement therapy for 5 years or more experienced overall benefits in their symptoms including relief of hot flashes and symptoms of urogenital atrophy and prevention of fractures and diabetes.

When estrogen as estradiol is used transdermally as a patch, gel, or pessary with micronized progesterone this may avoid the serious side effects associated with oral estradiol HRT since this avoids first pass metabolism (Phase I drug metabolism). Women taking bioidentical estrogen, orally or transdermally, who have a uterus must still take a progestin or micronized progesterone to lower the risk of endometrial cancer. A French study of 80,391 postmenopausal women followed for several years concluded that estrogen in combination with micronized progesterone is not associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. The natural, plant-derived progesterone creams sold over the counter contain too little progesterone to be effective. Wild yam (Dioscorea villosa) extract creams are not effective since the natural progesterone present in the extract is not bioavailable.

Selective estrogen receptor modulators:
SERMs are a category of drugs that act selectively as agonists or antagonists on the estrogen receptors throughout the body. Tamoxifen, a drug used in the treatment of some types of breast cancer and which can cause hot flashes as a side effect, RAD1901, under development by Radius Health, Raloxifene and the soy-derived Femarelle (DT56a) are examples of SERMs. Menerba, a botanically derived selective estrogen receptor beta agonist currently under development by Bionovo, works like a SERM, but only activates on the estrogen receptor beta.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors:
SSRIs are a class of pharmaceuticals that are most commonly used in the treatment of depression. They have been found as efficient in alleviating hot flashes. On 28 June 2013 FDA approved Brisdelle (low-dose paroxetine mesylate) for the treatment of moderate-to-severe vasomotor symptoms (e.g. hot flashes and night sweats) associated with menopause. Paroxetine became the first and only non-hormonal therapy for menopausal hot flashes approved by FDA.

Isoflavones:
Isoflavones are commonly found in legumes such as soy and red clover. The two soy isoflavones implicated[who?] in relieving menopausal symptoms are genistein and daidzein, and are also known as phytoestrogens. The half life of these molecules is about eight hours, which might explain why some studies have not consistently shown effectiveness of soy products for menopausal symptoms. Although red clover (Trifolium pratense) contains isoflavones similar to soy, the effectiveness of this herb for menopausal symptoms at relatively low concentrations points to a different mechanism of action.

Other phytoestrogens:
It is believed[who?] that dietary changes that include a higher consumption of phytoestrogens from sources such as soy, red clover, ginseng, and yam may relieve hot flashes.

Ginseng: Very few studies exist on the effect of ginseng for relief of menopausal symptoms. In a large double-blinded randomized controlled trial, reduction in hot flashes was not statistically significant but showed a strong trend towards improvement. Lack of statistical significance suggests future research, but does not meet the scientific bar for ginseng to be deemed effective.
Flaxseed: There have also been several clinical trials using flaxse Flaxseed is the richest source of lignans, which is one of three major classes of phytoestrogen. Lignans are thought to have estrogen agonist and antagonist effects as well as antioxidant properties. Flaxseed and its lignans may have potent anti-estrogenic effects on estrogen receptor positive breast cancer and may have benefits in breast cancer prevention efforts. One recent study done in France, looked at four types of lignans, including that found in flaxseed (Secoisolariciresinol) in a prospective cohort study to see if intake predicted breast cancer incidence. The authors report lowered risk of breast cancer among over 58,000 postmenopausal women who had the third highest quartile of lignan intake. There have been a few small pilot studies that have tested the effect of flaxseed on hot flashes. Currently there is a large study sponsored by the National Cancer Institute that is ongoing, but not accepting any new participants. The rationale for the study is that estrogen can relieve the symptoms of menopause, but can also cause the growth of breast cancer cells. Flaxseed may reduce the number of hot flashes and improve mood and quality of life in postmenopausal women not receiving estrogen therapy.

lLife style changes:
According to the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) there are foods and some unhealthy lifestyle habits that can aggravate or trigger hot flashes such as: hot/spicy foods, alcohol, or caffeine. Further, for women who are overweight or obese, a gradual weight loss can have potential benefits for menopausal symptom reduction.

Acupuncture:
Acupuncture has been suggested to reduce incidence of hot flashes in women with breast cancer and men with prostate cancer, but the quality of evidence is low.

Yoga:
Doing Yoga with Pranayama, meditation, slow, deep breathing or other stress-reducing techniques is the best way to get read of the symptoms.
Prevention:
If the hot flashes are mild, one may be able to manage them with lifestyle changes by following these tips:

*Keeping cool. Slight increases in the body’s core temperature can trigger hot flashes. It is adviced to dress in layers so that one can remove clothing at the time feeling warm.One can open windows or use a fan or air conditioner. Lower the room temperature, if possible. If one feels a hot flash coming on, sip a cold drink or water.

*Avoid : Hot and spicy foods, caffeinated beverages,smoking and alcohol can trigger hot flashes. So they are to be avoided as much as possible.

*Lose weight. If  one  is overweight or obese, losing weight might help to ease one’s hot flashes.
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/Hot_flash
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hot-flashes/basics/definition/con-20034883

Categories
Healthy Tips

Menopause

[amazon_link asins=’B075MK25DQ,0553386727,B010FX50GA,0062447289,0446614955,B0053X8WDQ,B00860XNOQ,0848746759,B0039UT7DE’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’finmeacur-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’863e1c53-db55-11e7-935a-6df99deeb177′]

Menopause or climacteric was considered the end   for many women. Their reproductive years were over Numerous pregnancies, hard work and a poor diet took their toll, and only a few women lived into their sixties or seventies.

click & see

This, however, is no longer true. Life expectancy of women in India has increased. This has spawned a whole new generation of  who spend almost half their life after menopause.

Regular menstruation and reproduction is controlled by the pituitary gland and involves periodic release of eggs from the ovaries. It is mediated by pituitary and ovarian hormones released in the correct proportions.

During menopause, the levels of the pituitary hormones, LH (luteinising hormone) and FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) rise while the levels of the ovarian hormones, oestrogen and progesterone fall. Eggs are no longer released and the woman ceases to menstruate or be fertile.

Menopause is defined as the cessation of menstruation for a year. It usually occurs between the ages of 41 and 55 years. Menopause often occurs when the woman is already finding life difficult as her children have grown up and left the house and her husband is busy with his career.

Some women sail blissfully through menopause without missing a beat, whereas in others the altered hormone levels makes them symptomatic. Extraneous social factors often aggravate the symptoms.

Typically they complain of   hot flushes.  This is a sensation of heat and burning which starts in the chest, progresses upwards and lasts a few minutes. It is followed by drenching sweats or chills. The flushes may occur several times a day or just a few times a month. They cause sleep disturbances, irritability, mood swings, headaches and memory loss. The result is the stereotyped unreasonable, ill-tempered postmenopausal woman.

click & see

The hormonal changes slow down the metabolism and weight may slowly creep upwards. The skin may also become thin and dry producing itching. Libido may be altered. Vaginal dryness may make sex painful and unpleasant.

Some of the symptoms of menopause may be mimicked by other medical conditions such as thyroid or pituitary malfunctions, or simply weight gain that seems to be a common feature during middle age.

Absence of menstruation may be due to pregnancy. Approaching menopause is heralded by changing menstrual patterns in an older woman.

During the time of menopause :

* Have a complete gynaecological evaluation including a pap smear for cervical cancer.

* Have a baseline mammogram. If it is normal, repeat it every three years. In the interim, perform breast self examinations once a month

* Rule out other medical problems like hypertension, diabetes and lipid abnormalities.

Once menopause has set in:

* Keep yourself busy. Develop new interests, have a hobby, learn something new.

* Weight should be maintained within normal limits. BMI (Body Mass Index — weight in kg divided by height in metre squared) should be as close to 25 as possible. The waist should be 34 inches or less.

* Prevent osteoporosis by doing 45 minutes of aerobic exercises like jogging or fast walking every day. Calcium supplements are also needed as diet is often deficient. A bone density test can be done to determine if alendrolate or raloxifene is needed in addition to calcium.

* Keep the muscles strong by doing muscle strengthening exercises using a “baby” dumbbell weighing ½ to 1 kg. Strong muscles help to maintain balance and prevent falls and injuries.

* Maintain flexibility with regular stretches and yoga.

*To tackle hot flushes, dress in cotton and other natural fabrics. Drink plenty of water. Avoid alcohol as it aggravates hot flushes.

* Creams containing oestrogen (Premarin Evalon) are safe and can be applied locally in the vagina to overcome dryness, itching and pain during intercourse. They should not be used if there is undiagnosed post menopausal vaginal bleeding.

HRT (hormone replacement therapy) was very popular and widely prescribed. It was assumed that by tackling the deficiency of oestrogen with tablets, all the symptoms and ill effects of menopause would disappear. HRT does help in women who have severe hot flushes. But it should not be continued for more than six months because after that, the risks and side effects may out weigh the benefits.

The symptoms of menopause are apparently less among Japanese and Chinese women. Although this may be cultural, it has been attributed to the consumption of soya, which contains the plant oestrogens called phytoestrogens. Soya is now one of the natural products recommended to control the symptoms of menopause. Soya products can be consumed as chunks, nuggets, flakes, flour, tofu or milk.

Natural supplements with extracts of black cohosh, ginseng and other herbal products are also believed to be beneficial. But they should be taken only after consulting a physician.

Menopause is inevitable but it can be tackled.

Source:The Telegraph (Kolkata,India)