Categories
Herbs & Plants

Saussurea costus

[amazon_link asins=’B01MSC8ZBW,B006RJWELG,B06ZZV3QK1,B00Y96C9D2,B01LG155EC,B00BODV48O,B0008AMLPE’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’finmeacur-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’7b9e0a6f-862b-11e7-9173-95cea07bfd8b’]

Botanical Name : Saussurea costus
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cynareae
Genus: Saussurea
Species: S. costus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms: Saussurea lappa. (Decne.)Schultz-Bip

Common Name: Costus or Kuth. It has a large number of names in other languages, including kustha in Sanskrit; kust or qust in Arabic and Persian; kut, kur, and pachak in Hindi and Bengali, kostum, gostham, and potchuk in Tamil; upaleta and kur in Gujarati; kot or kust in Punjabi; changala in Telugu; sepuddy in Malayalam; kostha in Kannada; kuth or postkhai in Kashmiri; and koshet in Hebrew

Habitat : Saussurea costus is native to South & Eeastern Asia – Himalayas. It grows casually in irrigated areas, 2000 – 3300 metres from Pakistan to Himachel Pradesh. Usually found in moist shady situations in Kashmir, sometimes forming the undergrowth in birch forests.

Description:
Saussurea costus is a tall perennial herb, well known as a medicinal plant. Stems up to 2 m tall, or more. Lower leaves are long-stalked, pinnate, 30-40 cm long, with a trianglular terminal leaflet, up to 30 cm long. Upper leaves are smaller, up to 30 cm long, stem-clasping. All leaves are irregularly toothed. There is a rounded cluster of a few purple flower-heads at the top of the stem. The flower-heads look like balls covered with purple bracts. It is in flower from Jul to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects….…CLICK TO SEE THE PICTURES 

Cultivation :
Succeeds in most soils in a sunny well-drained position. Cultivated as a medicinal plant and for its use in perfumery in the Himalayas. The dried root has something of the mossy smell of violets when fresh, becoming fur-like or even unpleasantly goat-like with age. Most of the roots are exported to China and Japan and the plant forms quite a large article of commerce in Kashmir, the trade being controlled by the State. Wild plants have been greatly over-collected and the plant has been placed on the CITES I list of endangered species – it is now illegal to dig them up for export.

Propagation:
Seed – we have no information for this species but suggest sowing the seed in a cold frame in the spring. Surface sow, or only just cover the seed, and make sure that the compost does not dry out. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring after the last expected frosts. Division in spring might be possible.

Edible Uses:... Condiment……The aromatic root is sometimes used as a spice. It has a characteristic penetrating odour reminiscent of violet, orris and vetiver.
Medicinal Uses:

Anodyne; Antibacterial; Antispasmodic; Aphrodisiac; Carminative; Emmenagogue; Skin; Stimulant; Tonic; Vermifuge.

Costus is used in the Ayurvedic and Unani Tibb traditions in India for its tonic, stimulant, and antiseptic properties. The root is commonly taken, with other herbs, for respiratory system problems such as bronchitis, asthma, and coughs.

It is commonly used medicinal herb in China and is considered to be one of their 50 fundamental herbs. It is also used in Ayurvedic medicine where it is valued mainly for its tonic, stimulant and antiseptic properties. It is said to be aphrodisiac and to be able to prevent the hair turning grey. The root is anodyne, antibacterial, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, carminative, skin, stimulant, stomachic, tonic and vermifuge. It is used internally in the treatment of abdominal distension and pain, chest pains due to liver problems and jaundice, gall bladder pain, constipation associated with energy stagnation, and asthma. The root is harvested in the autumn or spring and either dried for later use or decocted for the essential oil. It is normally used with other herbs. The root is also used in Tibetan medicine where it is considered to have an acrid, sweet and bitter taste with a neutral potency. It is used in the treatment of swelling and fullness of the stomach, blockage and irregular menses, pulmonary disorders, difficulty in swallowing and rotting/wasting of muscle tissues. An oil from the root is very beneficial in the treatment of rheumatism. It is also used to treat cholera.

Other Uses:
Essential; Hair; Incense.

An essential oil obtained from the roots is used medicinally, in perfumery, incenses and as a hair rinse when it is said to darken grey hair. It has a strong lingering scent. The smell is at first like violets, but as it ages it can become more fur-like or eventually become unpleasantly goat-like. The roots are cut into lengths about 8cm long and then dried before being exported. Smaller pieces of the root are ground into a powder and then used to make incense sticks. The longer clean pieces are cut into very thin slices and then burnt at shrines or used as a tonic in hot baths.

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:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saussurea_costus
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Saussurea+costus
http://www.flowersofindia.net/catalog/slides/Costus.html
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm

Categories
News on Health & Science

Abnormal height that matters

[amazon_link asins=’0062316257,B00LKJHUAI,B00VITGFEW,3527322817,B01MYMBNAC,B01LAKCQPU,B0024NP59C,B010OSUL9W,B000GFJJKQ’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’finmeacur-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’da45d8ff-2a20-11e7-95c6-2371cb07fd8a’]

[amazon_link asins=’7565605786,B00CYRUAWA,B006SWUWHU,B00CYRUENA,B011MRXTPW,B06Y65Z3B9,B014K78AFA,B06XKC5JLX,B06XZ6WR6Q’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’finmeacur-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’4227799f-24c5-11e7-8b4f-5555dfa8c549′]

Doctors may have found an answer to hormonal problems. Structural changes in protein clumps could be the culprit for this abnormality in height.

A fourteen year boy or girl might get a height of  six feet few inches though  his parents are of average height. CLICK & SEE

We call Gigantism  which is a condition that leads to excessive growth — occurs when the pituitary or thyroid gland release excess hormones. But a study published recently in the Journal of Biological Chemistry implies that there may be a remedy — over time — for such hormone disorders. CLICK & SEE

Scientists have known for a while that many critical life processes controlled by the hormones are affected even when their production by glands is normal. This usually happens because the hormones are not released when they are needed.

Hormones regulate processes that are crucial for healthy functioning. Many of these hormones — including insulin, glucagon and the growth hormone — are protein or peptide molecules that are synthesised by the body and stored in cells known as secretory granules in clumps called amyloids. These amyloids are released into the blood stream as and when required by the body. For example, insulin, which plays an important role in sugar metabolism, is released from the pancreatic cells in response to glucose levels in the blood stream. CLICK & SEE

Scientists have now discovered that the problem lies in the structural changes that take place in these amyloids.  “The structure or shape of a protein could be crucial for its efficient storage and secretion. Therefore, in most cases, structure governs the function of a protein,”

The group studied the role played by the structure of a peptide hormone called somatostatin-14 (SST14), which is involved in several functions of the human body, the most well known of which is countering a excessive growth hormone secretion, thus regulating human growth. Other important functions include controlling gastric acid secretion and insulin and glucagon secretion in the pancreas. A deficiency of this hormone can lead to gigantism and pituitary adenoma or non-cancerous tumours in the pituitary gland.

The researchers who carried out studies on a lab rat found that the structure of SST-14, which is stored in an amyloid form, could change in abnormal cases. And this happened when a particular chemical bond (disulphide bond) which kept it stable was disturbed. This caused the protein to take on a different structure, resulting in faster amyloid formations. These amyloids, however, do not release the somatostatin hormone readily.

The scientists, who hope to study this in bigger animals in the future, are now figuring out whether these results are applicable to other hormones too.

It shows that the difference between people who have abnormal growth hormone releases and those who don’t may lie in their somatostatin structure. This may help pharmaceutical companies hone their strategy for attacking this disorder,

Now, if experts can create long-acting somatostatin outside the human body, it can be used to treat dwarfism and pituitary deficient newborns too. Besides, this type of somatostatin can also be used to repair body tissue.”

Sources : The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

Categories
Health Alert News on Health & Science

An Increase in Leptin Could Promote Colorectal Cancer

While researchers have known that obesity increases the risk for the development of colon cancer, the underlying molecular mechanisms have remained unclear.
…CLICK & SEE
Now, for the first time, researchers have found that an increase in leptin, a cytokine that is normally increased in obese or overweight individuals, may promote colorectal neoplasms by activating colorectal cancer stem cells.

Cancer stem cells constitute a small subfraction of tumor cells that are characterized by long lifespan and capacity for self-renewal, and are responsible for tumor development, resistance to treatments and cancer recurrence. In colon cancer, leptin is able to increase the growth, survival, and resistance to certain chemotherapy treatments in this key cell population.

Leptin, a fat tissue-derived pluripotent cytokine regulating appetite and energy balance in the brain, also controls many physiological and pathological processes in peripheral organs, including carcinogenesis.

Colon cancer has increased in developed countries, possibly due to sedentary lifestyles and high caloric diets. Prior research has linked obesity to colorectal cancer risk by .4-1.0 fold in men and up to 2.0 fold in premenopausal women.

“Since targeting cancer stem cells may be a translationally relevant strategy to improve clinical outcomes, interfering with leptin signaling by targeting leptin receptors might become a novel attractive option for colorectal cancer treatment, particularly in obese patients,” says senior author of the study, Eva Surmacz.

“It is important to consider that cancer stem cells have been identified in several human malignancies,” says Monica Bartucci, study co-author. “Understanding how cancer stem cells interact with a tumor environment, including hormones like leptin, is likely to have significant implications for treatment management of different cancer types in human patients. We hope, in collaboration with Dr. Surmacz, not only to test the effects of leptin antagonist compounds on colon cancer stem cells but also to study the results of leptin stimulation on cancer stem cells isolated in other cancer tissues.”

Source: Elements4Health

Enhanced by Zemanta
Categories
Healthy Tips News on Health & Science

Vitamin D may Help Fight Crohn’s Disease

[amazon_link asins=’B00GB85JR4,B004U3Y8OM,B00PHD94W0,B00JGCBGZQ,B004XLRTUQ,B0032BH76O,B01L83X3X8,B004TBXGS4,B0179785OO’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’finmeacur-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’e142205c-402e-11e7-9676-7379c10d22e6′]

A new study has discovered that nutritional supplements with vitamin D could help fight Crohn’s disease,  which is a chronic form of inflammatory bowel disease.

CLICK & SEE

Researchers from McGill University found a link that ties vitamin D to Crohn’s disease, according to a report published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

It was noted that people who live in northern countries where they receive less sunlight are more prone to developing Crohn’s disease. Initial research was conducted to determine the nutritional supplement’s affect on cancer, however, when scientists determined the results kept pointing the immune system, they decided to look at other options.

The researchers were quick to point out that siblings of victims of Crohn’s disease that haven’t noticed symptoms yet should consider looking at their vitamin D levels as it may be a way to treat the ailment before it starts.

“This discovery is exciting, since it shows how an over-the-counter supplement such as Vitamin D could help people defend themselves against Crohn’s disease,” said researcher Marc J. Servan. “We have identified a new treatment avenue for people with Crohn’s disease or other inflammatory bowel diseases.”

Source:Better Health Research:Jan.27.2010

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
Categories
News on Health & Science

Blueberry Leaves Can Halt Hepatitis C Virus

A chemical in blueberry leaves halts reproduction of the hepatitis C virus (HCV), which infects 200 million people worldwide and can  eventually lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer.
…………………..blueberry plant.jpg-0..blueberry13
Currently, there is no vaccine for HCV, and though a combination drug regimen can clear HCV infection, this treatment is only about 60 percent effective and poses risks of severe side effects.

Hiroaki Kataoka and colleagues at the University of Miyazaki (U-M) in Japan believed that since HCV is localised in the liver and can take 20 years or more to develop into disease, a dietary supplement might help slow or stop disease progression.

So they screened nearly 300 different agricultural products for potential compounds that suppress HCV replication and uncovered a strong candidate in the leaves of rabbit-eye blueberry (native to the southeastern US).

They purified the compound and identified it as proanthocyandin (a polyphenol similar to the beneficial chemicals found in grapes and wine).

While proanthocyandin can be harmful, Kataoka and colleagues noted its effective concentration against HCV was 100 times less than the toxic threshold, said a U-M statement.

Similar chemicals are found in many edible plants, suggesting it should be safe as a dietary supplement. Researchers now hope to explore the detailed mechanisms of how this chemical stops HCV replication.

These findings appeared in Friday’s edition of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Source: The Times Of India

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]