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Calluna

Botanical Name :Calluna vulgaris
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Calluna
Salisb.
Species: C. vulgaris
Kingdom: Plantae
clade: Angiosperms
clade: Eudicots
clade: Asterids
Order: Ericales

Common Name:Common Heather, ling, or simply heather

Habitat :Calluna is found widely in Europe and Asia Minor on acidic soils in open sunny situations and in moderate shade. It is the dominant plant in most heathland and moorland in Europe, and in some bog vegetation and acidic pine and oak woodland. It is tolerant of grazing and regenerates following occasional burning, and is often managed in nature reserves and grouse moors by sheep or cattle grazing, and also by light burning.

Description:
It is a low-growing perennial shrub growing to 20 to 50 centimetres (7.9 to 20 in) tall, or rarely to 1 metre (39 in) and taller.Primary flower color  is red  that  blooms during late summer to fall. Zones 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
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Cultivation:
Despised until the 19th century for its associations with the most rugged rural poverty, heather’s growth in popularity may be paralleled with the vogue for alpine plants. It is a very popular ornamental plant in gardens and for landscaping, in lime-free areas where it will thrive, but has defeated many a gardener on less acid soil. There are many named cultivars, selected for variation in flower colour and for different foliage colour and growing habits.

Different cultivars have flower colours ranging from white, through pink and a wide range of purples, and including reds. The flowering season with different cultivars extends from late July to November in the northern hemisphere. The flowers may turn brown but still remain on the plants over winter, and this can lead to interesting decorative effects.

Cultivars with ornamental foliage are usually selected for reddish and golden leaf colour. A few forms can be silvery grey. Many of the ornamental foliage forms change colour with the onset of winter weather, usually increasing in intensity of colour. Some forms are grown for distinctive young spring foliage.

The plant was introduced to New Zealand and has become an invasive weed in some areas, notably the Tongariro National Park on the North Island and the Wilderness Reserve (Te Anau) on the South Island, overgrowing native plants. Heather beetles have been released to stop the heather, with preliminary trials successful to date.

Cultivars include ‘Beoley Crimson’ (Crimson red), ‘Boskoop’ (light purple), ‘Cuprea’ (copper), ‘Firefly’ (deep mauve),‘Long White’ (white).

Medicinal Uses:
It was used in baths for easing joint and muscle pain, and taken for urinary infections and to ease sleep. An infusion of the dried flowers helped to decrease nervousness, sleeplessness and the pains of rheumatism.  It was also recommended as a bath for babies who were failing to thrive. Today, heather makes a useful urinary antiseptic when taken internally due to the arbutin it contains, and can be taken for cystitis, urethritis and prostatitis.  It has a mild diuretic action, reducing fluid retention and hastening elimination of toxins via the kidneys.  It makes a good cleansing remedy for gout and arthritis as well as skin problems such as acne.  It has a mildly sedative action and can easy anxiety, muscle tension and insomnia.  A hot poultice of heather tips is a traditional remedy for chilblains.

Other Uses:
Hummingbirds & Butterflies, Fragrant, Borders, Rock Gardens, Showy Flowers
Heather is an important food source for various sheep and deer which can graze the tips of the plants when snow covers low-growing vegetation. Willow Grouse and Red Grouse feed on the young shoots and seeds of this plant. Both adult and larva of the Heather Beetle Lochmaea suturalis feed on it, and can cause extensive mortality in some instances. The larvae of a number of Lepidoptera species also feed on the plant.

Formerly heather was used to dye wool yellow and to tan leather. With malt heather is an ingredient in gruit, a mixture of flavourings used in the brewing of heather-beer during the Middle Ages before the use of hops. Thomas Pennant wrote in A Tour in Scotland (1769) that on the Scottish island of Islay “ale is frequently made of the young tops of heath, mixing two thirds of that plant with one of malt, sometimes adding hops”. The use of heather in the brewing of modern heather beer is carefully regulated. By law[specify] the heather must be cleaned carefully before brewing, as the undersides of the leaves may contain a dusting of an ergot-like fungus, which is a hallucinogenic intoxicant.[citation needed]

Heather honey is a highly valued product in moorland and heathland areas, with many beehives being moved there in late summer. Not always as valued as it is today, and dismissed as mel improbum by Dioscurides. Heather honey has a characteristic strong taste, and an unusual texture, for it is thixotropic, being a jelly until stirred, when it becomes a syrup like other honey, but then sets again to a jelly. This makes the extraction of the honey from the comb difficult, and it is therefore often sold as comb honey.

White heather is regarded in Scotland as being lucky, a tradition brought from Balmoral to England by Queen Victoria. and sprigs of it are often sold as a charm and worked into bridal bouquets.

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/Calluna
http://www.americanmeadows.com/heather-lady-in-red
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_FGH.htm

http://www.types-of-flowers.org/heather.html

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Calliopsis

Botanical Name :Coreopsis tinctoria
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Coreopsis
Species: C. tinctoria
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Common Name :Calliopsis ,:Plains coreopsis, golden tickseed

Habitat :Calliopsis is common to much of the United States, especially the Great Plains and southern states .

Description:
Calliopsis is an annual forb. The small, slender seeds germinate in fall (overwintering as a low rosette) or early spring. Growing quickly, plants attain heights of 12 to 40 inches (30–100 cm). Leaves are pinnately-divided, glabrous and tending to thin at the top of the plant where numerous 1- to 1.5-inch (2.5-to 4-cm) flowers sit atop slender stems. Flowers are brilliant yellow with maroon or brown centers of various sizes. Flowering typically occurs in mid-summer.

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Cultivation:
Plains coreopsis grows well in many types of soil, but seems to prefer sandy or well-drained soils. Although somewhat drought-tolerant, naturally growing plants are usually found in areas with regular rainfall. It is often grows in disturbed areas such as roadsides or cultivated fields. Preferring full sun, it will also grow in partial shade.

Because of its easy growing habits and bright, showy flowers such as Roulettte (tiger stripes of gold on a deep mahogany ground), Plains coreopsis is increasingly used for landscape beautification and in flower gardens.

Medicinal Uses:
Native Americans chewed the leaves for toothache, and applied a poultice of them to skin sores and bruises.  The powdered root in warm water was used as a wash for sore eyes.  A tea made of the root was used for stomachache, diarrhea, and fever. This plant is an effective astringent and hemostatic, with its effects lasting the length of the intestinal tract and therefore of use in dysentery and general intestinal inflammations.  It may be used as a systemic hemostatic; when drunk after a sprain or major bruise or hematoma will help stabilize the injury and facilitate quicker healing.  The tea will also lessen menstrual flow.  A few leaves in a little water or a weak tea is a soothing eyewash.

Other Uses:This plant is used mainly for landscape beautification.  It has potential for use in cultivated, garden situations, in naturalized prairie or meadow plantings, and along roadsides.

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.

Sources:
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plains_coreopsis
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=COTI3&photoID=coti3_004_ahp.tif

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The Label All Milk Drinkers Should Look Out For Information on rBGH or rBST (Unless You Like CANCER)

A few years ago, a number of U.S. states tried to ban “rbGH-free” claims on dairy. Monsanto, which owned rbGH at the time, helped found a group called AFACT, which supported the bans. AFACT was unsuccessful in most states, but it looked like they might win in Ohio, where the fight went to the courts.

Recently, however, the Ohio court came to its decision. First, they ruled that milk in Ohio can still bear an “rbGH-free” label as long as it also bears the disclaimer stating that, “[t]he FDA has determined that no significant difference has been shown between milk derived from rbST-supplemented and non-rbST-supplemented cows.”

But there’s more important news out of Ohio — the court also challenged the FDA’s finding that there is “no measurable compositional difference” between milk from rbGH-treated cows and milk from untreated cows. This FDA finding has been the major roadblock to rbGH regulation, and the court struck it down.

According to La Vida Locavore:
“The court … [cited] three reasons why the milk differs: 1. Increased levels of the hormone IGF-1, 2. A period of milk with lower nutritional quality during each lactation, and 3. Increased somatic cell counts (i.e. more pus in the milk).”

You may click to see:

Information on rBGH or rBST – aka Posilac – Eli Lilly’s Genetically Engineered Bovine Growth Hormone

‘Hormone-free’ milk spurs labeling debate

Miller on the Milk Wars

Monsanto news, articles and information

ACT NOW: Email Kansas Gov. Sebelius — No Growth Hormones in Milk!

Source: La Vida Locavore September 30, 2010

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Burns and Scalds

Scalding caused by a radiator explosion. Pictu...Image via Wikipedia

Definition:
Burns are injuries to tissues caused by heat, friction, electricity, radiation, or chemicals. Scalds are a type of burn caused by a hot liquid or steam....CLICK & SEE
Description:
Burns are classified according to how seriously tissue has been damaged. The following system is used:

* A first degree burn causes redness and swelling in the outermost layers of the skin.
* A second degree burn involves redness, swelling, and blistering. The damage may extend to deeper layers of the skin.
* A third degree burn destroys the entire depth of the skin. It can also damage fat, muscle, organs, or bone beneath the skin. Significant scarring is common, and death can occur in the most severe cases.

The severity of a burn is also judged by how much area it covers. Health workers express this factor in a unit known as body surface area (BSA). For example, a person with burns on one arm and hand is said to have about a 10 percent BSA burn. A burn covering one leg and foot is classified as about a 20 percent BSA burn.


Causes :

Burns may be caused in a variety of ways. In every case, the burn results from the death of skin tissue and, in some cases, underlying tissue. Burns caused by hot objects result from the death of cells caused by heat. In many cases, contact with a very hot object can damage tissue extensively. The contact may last for no more than a second or so, but the damage still occurs.

In other cases, cells are killed by heat produced by some physical event. For example, a rope burn is caused by friction between the rope and a person’s body. The rope itself is not hot, but the heat produced by friction is sufficient to cause a burn.

Chemicals can also cause burns. The chemicals attack and destroy cells in skin tissue. They produce an effect very similar to that of a heat burn.

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Symptoms:
The major signs of a burn are redness, swelling, and pain in the affected area. A severe burn will also blister. The skin may also peel, appear white or charred (blackened), or feel numb. A burn may also trigger a headache and fever. The most serious burns may cause shock. The symptoms of shock include faintness, weakness, rapid pulse and breathing, pale and clammy skin, and bluish lips and fingernails.
Burns and Scalds: Words to Know

Burns and Scalds: Words to Know

BSA:
A unit used in the treatment of burns to express the amount of the total body surface area covered by the burn.
Debridement:
The surgical removal of dead skin.
Scald:
A burn caused by a hot liquid or steam.
Shock:
A life-threatening condition that results from low blood volume due to loss of blood or other fluids.
Skin graft:
A surgical procedure in which dead skin is removed and replaced by healthy skin, usually taken from the patient’s own body.
Thermal burns:
Burns caused by hot objects.

Diagnosis:

Most burn cases are easily diagnosed. Patients know that they have touched a hot object, spilled a chemical on themselves, or been hit by steam. Doctors can confirm that a burn has occurred by conducting a physical examination.
Treatment:
The form of treatment used for a burn depends on how serious it is. Minor burns can usually be treated at home or in a doctor’s office. A minor burn is defined as a first or second degree burn that covers less than 15 percent of an adult’s body or 10 percent of a child’s body.

Moderate burns should be treated in a hospital. Moderate burns are first or second degree burns that cover more of a patient’s body or a third degree burn that covers less than 10 percent of BSA.

The most severe burns should be treated in special burn-treatment facilities. These burns are third degree burns that cover more than 10 percent of BSA. Specialized equipment and methods are used to treat these burns.

Thermal Burn Treatment:
Thermal burns are burns caused by heat, hot liquids, steam, fire, or other hot objects. The first objective in treating thermal burns is to cool the burned area. Cool water, but not very cold water or ice, should be used for the cooling process. Minor burns can also be cleaned with soap and water.

A burn victim receiving debridement treatment, or removal of dead skin, for severe burns.

Blisters should not be broken. If the skin is broken, the burned area should be covered with an antibacterial ointment and covered with a bandage to prevent infection. Aspirin, acetaminophen (pronounced uh-see-tuh-MIN-uh-fuhn, trade name Tylenol), or ibuprofen (pronounced i-byoo-PRO-fuhn, trade names Advil, Motrin) can be used to ease pain and relieve inflammation. However, children should not take aspirin due to the risk of contracting Reye’s syndrome (see Reye’s syndrome entry). If signs of infection appear, the patient should see a doctor.

More serious burns may require another approach. A burn may be so severe that it causes life-threatening symptoms. The patient may stop breathing or go into shock. In such cases, the first goal of treatment is to save the patient’s life, not treat the burns. The patient may require mouth-to-mouth resuscitation or artificial respiration.

There are three classifications of burns based on how deeply the skin has been damaged: first degree, second degree, and third degree.

Specialized treatment for severe burn cases may also include:

* Installation of a breathing tube if the patient’s airways or lungs have been damaged
* Administration of fluids through an intravenous tube
* Immunization with tetanus vaccine to prevent infection
* Covering the burned area with antibiotic ointments and bandages
* Debridement, or removal of dead tissue
* Removal of scars as healing occurs in order to improve blood flow
* Physical and occupational therapy to keep burn areas flexible and prevent scarring

Sometimes skin tissue is damaged so badly that it cannot heal properly. In that case, a skin graft may be required. In a skin graft, a doctor removes a section of healthy skin from an area of the patient’s body that has not been burned. The tissue scarred by the burn is also removed. The healthy tissue is then put into place where the damaged tissue was removed. Over a period of time, the healthy tissue begins to grow and replace the damaged tissue.

Chemical Burn Treatment:
The first step in treating a chemical burn is to remove the material causing the burn. If the material is a dry powder, it can be brushed off. If the material is a liquid, it can be flushed away with water. If the chemical that caused the burn is known, it may be neutralized with some other chemical. For example, if the burn is caused by an acid, a weak base can be used to neutralize the acid. The burned area can then be covered with a clean gauze and, if necessary, treated further by a doctor.
Electrical Burn Treatment

As with severe thermal burns, the first step in treating electrical burns usually involves saving the patient’s life. An electrical charge large enough to burn the skin may also produce life-threatening symptoms. The source of electricity must be removed and life support treatment provided to the patient. When the patient’s condition is stable, the burn can be covered with a clean gauze and medical treatment sought.

Alternative Treatment:
Serious burns should always be treated by a modern medical doctor. Less serious burns may benefit from a variety of alternative treatments. Some herbs that can be used to treat burns include aloe, oil of St. John’s wort, calendula (pronounced KUH-len-juh-luh), comfrey, and tea tree oil. Supplementing one’s diet with vitamins C and E and the mineral zinc may help a wound to heal faster.

Prognosis:
The prognosis for burns depends on many factors. These factors include the degree of the burn, the amount of skin affected by the burn, what parts of the body were affected, and any additional complications that might have developed.

In general, minor burns heal in five to ten days with few or no complications or scarring. Moderate burns heal in ten to fourteen days and may leave scarring. Major burns take more than fourteen days to heal and can leave significant scarring or, in the most severe cases, can be fatal.

Prevention:
Most thermal burns are caused by fires in the home. Every family member should be aware of basic safety rules that can reduce the risk of such fires. The single most important safety device is a smoke detector. The installation of smoke detectors throughout a house can greatly reduce the chance that injuries will result if a fire breaks out. Children should also be taught not to play with matches, lighters, fireworks, gasoline, cleaning fluids, or other materials that could burn them.

Burns from scalding water can be prevented by monitoring the temperature in the home hot water heater. That temperature should never be set higher than about 120°F (49°C). Taking care when working in the kitchen can also prevent scalds. For instance, be cautious when removing the tops from pans of hot foods and when uncovering foods heated in a microwave oven.

Sunburns can be prevented by limiting the time spent in the sun each day. The use of sunscreens can also reduce exposure to the ultraviolet radiation that causes sunburns.

Electrical burns can be prevented by covering unused electrical outlets with safety plugs. Electrical cords should also be kept out of the reach of infants who may chew on them. People should seek shelter indoors during thunderstorms in order to avoid being struck by lightning or coming in contact with fallen electrical wires.

Chemical burns may be prevented by wearing protective clothing, including gloves and eyeshields. Individuals should also be familiar with the chemicals they handle and know which ones are likely to pose a risk for burns.

For More Information:

Books
Munster, Andrew M., and Glorya Hale. Severe Burns: A Family Guide to Medical and Emotional Recovery. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993.
Organizations

American Burn Association. 625 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 1530, Chicago, IL 60611. http://www.ameriburn.org.

Shriners Hospitals for Children. 2900 Rocky Point Drive, Tampa, FL 33607–1435. (813) 281–0300. http://www.shriners.org.
Web sites

“Cool the Burn: A Site for Children Touched by a Burn.” [Online] http://www.cooltheburn.com (accessed on October 11, 1999).

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Sources: http://www.faqs.org/health/Sick-V1/Burns-and-Scalds.html

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Have Chocolate To Cut Eclampsia Risk in Pregnancy

Watching a pregnant woman in convulsions is one of most frightening sights. Yet, it happens in one in 1,000 pregnancies in India and is a well-known complication of pregnancy known as eclampsia or toxemia of pregnancy. The early warning signs of eclampsia are elevated blood pressure, protein in the urine and swelling of the arms and feet — a state called pre-eclampsia.

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And this occurs in nearly one in 25 pregnant women. One of the major reasons to make regular visits to the doctor during pregnancy is to have the blood pressure and urine checked, especially in the third trimester, to make sure these complications do not occur.

Scientists are unclear as to the causes of pre-eclampsia or eclampsia but they suspect that placental chemicals cause constriction of the small arteries of the mother’s body. The constriction of vessels causes blood pressure elevation, fits, and damage to the kidneys. Nearly 5% of mothers who develop eclampsia die from the complications.

The treatment for eclampsia are magnesium sulfate and valium, but the treatment for pre-eclampsia are few: bed-rest and in severe cases, an early delivery of the baby. For years, scientists have been searching for ways to prevent pre-eclampsia; however, to date there have been no good therapies.

A recent study from Yale University conducted by Elizabeth Triche and published in the journal Epidemiology found a simple and rather pleasant way to decrease the risk of pre-eclampsia in pregnant women. Triche studied nearly 2,000 pregnant women and recorded their chocolate intake during the first and third trimester of pregnancy and their blood chocolate levels at pregnancy (chemical in chocolate called theobromine).

Her findings were remarkable. In the first trimester, the women who had greater than five servings of chocolate per week had a 19% lower incidence of pre-eclampsia than the women who had less than one serving of chocolate. For the third trimester, the mothers who ate more chocolate had a 40% lower incidence of pre-eclampsia. Also, mothers who had high levels of theobromine, the chocolate ingredient, had a 70% lower incidence of pre-eclampsia.

Though the sample size of this study was not sufficient to make some of these findings statistically significant, and one study is not enough to prove a cause-effect relationship, the trends were impressive.

Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is known to have over 600 beneficial compounds especially related to cardiovascular health. Given that few preventive measures exist for pre-eclampsia — it’s nice to know that one chocolate bar per day can make a huge difference for the mother and the baby. All medicine isn’t bitter!

You may click to see:->

Chocolate may reduce pregnancy complications

Eating chocolate during pregnancy can help prevent pre-eclampsia in babies

Could eating chocolate save your baby’s life?

Sources: The Times Of India