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Herbs & Plants

Plantain Fruit

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Botanical Name :Musa paradisiaca,Musa sapientum
Family:
Musaceae
Genus:
Musa
Species:
M. × paradisiaca
Kingdom:
Plantae
Order:
Zingiberales

Synonym: Bananas.

Common Names : Banana, pisang, plantain.
(
Musa × paradisiaca is the accepted name for the hybrid between Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana. Most cultivated bananas and plantains are triploid cultivars either of this hybrid or of M. acuminata alone. Linnaeus originally used the name M. paradisiaca only for plantains or cooking bananas, but the modern usage includes hybrid cultivars used both for cooking and as dessert bananas. Linnaeus’s name for dessert bananas, Musa sapientum, is thus a synonym of Musa × paradisiaca.)

Habitat : Musa paradisiaca is a tropical fruit known as Plantain belongs to the genus Musa, which contains about forty species, widely distributed throughout the tropics of the Old World and in some cases introduced into the New World.

Description:
Banana is a tropical tree-like herb, with large leaves of which the overlapping bases form the so-called false trunk. Fully grown, the stem reaches a height of 10 – to 30 feet.
From the center of the crown spring the flowers. Only female flowers develop into a banana fruit that vary in length from about 4 – 12 inches. The average weight of a bunch is about 25 lbs.

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Each banana plant bears fruit only once.
The propagation is through shoots from the rhizomes, since most of the seeds species are sterile.

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The unripe fruit of banana, rich in starch, is cooked as food or dried and ground into flour. The fruit of the plantain (cooking banana) is larger, coarser and less sweet than the kinds that are eaten raw.
On ripening of the fruit, the starch turns into sugar.
Although the banana family is of more interest for its nutrient than its medical properties, it has some value in traditional medicine.

Parts Used: Fruit, unripe and ripe, Juice.

Edible Uses:
Plantains often reach a considerable size. The hardly-ripe fruit is eaten (whole or cut into slices) roasted, baked, boiled, fried, as an ingredient of soups and stews, and in general as potatoes are used, possessing, like the potato, only a slight or negative flavour and no sweetness. They are also dried and ground into flour as meal, Banana meal forming an important food-stuff, to which the following constituents have been assigned: Water 10.62, albuminoids 3.55, fat 1.15, carbohydrates 81.67 (more than 2/3 starch), fibre 1.15, phosphates 0.26, other salts, 1.60. The sugar is chiefly cane-sugar.

In East Africa and elsewhere an intoxicating drink is prepared from the fruit. The rootstock which bears the leaves is, just before the flowering period, soft and full of starch, and is sometimes used as food in Abyssinia, and the young shoots of several species are cooked and eaten.

Click to see : Cooking plantain :

Medicinal Uses:
The Banana family is of more interest for its nutrient than for its medicinal properties. Banana root has some employment as an anthelmintic and has been reported useful in reducing bronchocele.

The use of Plantain juice as an antidote for snake-bite in the East has been reported in recent years by the Lancet, an alleged cure at Colombo (reported in the Lancet, April 1, 1916), and again, in the same year, at Serampore:
‘A servant of the Principal of the Government Weaving College was bitten by a venomous snake in the foot. The Principal applied a ligature eight inches above the bitten part and then cut it with a lancet and applied permanganate of potash, making the wound bleed freely. He then extracted some juice from a plantain tree and gave the patient about a cupful to drink. After drinking the plantain juice the man seemed to recover a little, and the wound was washed. He was made to walk up and down, and in the morning, when the ligature was removed, the man was declared cured.’ – Lancet, June 10, 1916.

The BASTARD PLANTAIN (Heliconia Biha) belongs to a genus containing thirty species, natives of tropical America. Although it belongs to the same order as the Banana, and has very large leaves, 6 to 8 feet long and 18 inches wide, it has quite different fruit, namely, small succulent berries, each containing three hard, rugged seeds, and is not employed economically.

The red protecting leaves of the bud are used against heavy menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia).
Other applications are against: diarrhea, dysentery, migraine, hypertension, asthma and jaundice.

Other Uses:
The leaves cut into strips are plaited to form mats and bags; they are also largely used for packing and the finer ones for cigarette papers. The mature leaves of several species yield a valuable fibre, the best of which is ‘Manila hemp.’ The leaves are cut into pieces and used as plates in Asiatic countries.

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/Musa_%C3%97_paradisiaca
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/p/plafru51.html
http://www.tropilab.com/banana.html

 

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Aspirin ‘Helps Protect Against Bowel Cancer’

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A daily aspirin tablet may help prevent bowel cancer, a study suggests.

Oxford University found it cut cases by a quarter and deaths by more than a third in a review of 14,000 patients.

Aspirins are already widely used to help protect people against strokes and heart problems, although many healthy middle-aged people do not take them because of the risk of side-effects.

But researchers said their findings – published by the Lancet – “tipped the balance” in favour of taking them.

They followed up four study groups over a period of 20 years to identify the impact of regular small doses of of the drug – the tablets given for medical reasons are often a quarter of a strength of those used to treat headaches.

They found it reduced the risk of the incidence of bowel cancer by 24% and of dying from the disease by 35%.

And even though regular aspirin use can have side-effects, the researchers said it was still worthwhile as on such low doses these tended to be relatively minor, such as bruising or nose bleeds.

One in 20 people in the UK develops bowel cancer over their lifetime, making it the third most common cancer. About 16,000 people die each year as a result of it.

The findings build on previous research on the issue, and come after the government announced earlier this month it was looking to start a new screening programme for bowel cancer for 55-year-olds.

Lead researcher Professor Peter Rothwell said the screening would provide the perfect opportunity for doctors to discuss with their patients about whether to take aspirin.
He said:-“To date, for healthy middle-aged people it has been a fine balance as to whether to take aspirins, but this tips it in my view.

“There is a small benefit for vascular disease and now we know a big benefit for this cancer. In the future, I am sure it will be shown that aspirin helps prevent other cancers too.”

‘Talk to GP

He added those with a high risk of bowel cancer, including the obese and those with a family history of the disease, should give aspirin treatment a particular consideration.

Mark Flannagan, chief executive of Beating Bowel Cancer, said they were “very positive” findings and giving aspirin alongside the new screening programme should be looked at.

But he added: “Anyone considering starting a course of medication should first consult their GP.”

You may click to see :Bowel cancer risk gene pinpointed

Source : BBC News

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Backs Chest Compressions in Resuscitation

 

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Concentrating on chest compressions rather than mouth-to-mouth when giving emergency resuscitation can produce better results, says research published in The Lancet.

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A study of 3,000 patients found that chest compressions alone increased chances of survival by more than 22%.

But training in how to give both chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth breaths is the best option, experts say.

The UK Resuscitation Council is due to produce new CPR guidelines next week.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a combination of chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth breaths, given in a life-threatening emergency like a cardiac arrest or heart attack.

The study, compiled by doctors from the Medical University of Vienna in Austria, looked at the survival rates of people treated by untrained members of the public taking instructions from the emergency services over the phone.

Dr Peter Nagele, from the department of anaesthesiology, critical care and pain therapy at the Medical University of Vienna, said that if untrained bystanders avoided mouth-to-mouth breaths during CPR, they were more likely to perform uninterrupted chest compressions.

That then increased the probability of CPR being successful.

Different techniques

The research in The Lancet involved two analyses.

The first used data from three randomised trials involving more than 3,000 patients.

It showed that chest-compression-only CPR was associated with a slightly improved chance of survival compared with standard CPR (14% v 12%).

In the second analysis of seven observational studies, researchers found no difference between the two CPR techniques.

The study authors maintain that continuous, uninterrupted chest compressions are vital for successful CPR.

Dr Jas Soar, chair of the Resuscitation Council from Southmead Hospital in Bristol, said: “Any CPR is better than no CPR. If you witness a cardiac arrest, dial 999 immediately. Those trained in CPR should follow existing guidance of 30 chest compressions followed by two rescue breaths.

“Those not trained should start compressions and follow instructions until an expert arrives,” Dr Soar said.

Dr Meng Aw-Yong, medical adviser at St John Ambulance, acknowledged that rescue breaths could be off-putting.

“The current advice is that if you’re unwilling or unable to do full CPR then chest compressions are better than nothing.

“The best solution, however, is for people to get trained in how to carry out chest compressions and rescue breaths so they can be the difference between a life lost and a life saved,” he said.

The British Heart Foundation says that being able to do CPR more than doubles the chances of survival.

Claire O’Neill, community resuscitation programme lead at the BHF, said: “For someone who is untrained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, doing both chest compressions and rescue breaths really can be difficult.

“We also know that uninterrupted chest compressions are very important for increasing the chance of survival. So being directed to focus solely on chest compressions could make people more willing to attempt resuscitation, which could ultimately save lives,” she said.

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Source : BBC News

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Clean Living ‘Slows Cell Ageing’

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Taking more exercise and eating the right foods may help increase levels of an enzyme vital for guarding against age-related cell damage, work suggests.
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Among 24 men asked to adopt healthy lifestyle changes for a US study in The Lancet Oncology, levels of telomerase increased by 29% on average.

Telomerase repairs and lengthens telomeres, which cap and protect the ends of chromosomes housing DNA.

As people age, telomeres shorten and cells become more susceptible to dying.

It is the damage and death of cells that causes ageing and disease in people.

Several factors such as smoking, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle are associated with shorter-than-average telomeres.

Professor Dean Ornish, from the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in California, and his team wanted to find out if improvements in diet and lifestyle might have the opposite effect.

They asked 30 men, all with low-risk prostate cancers, to take part in a three-month trial of comprehensive lifestyle changes.

These consisted of a diet high in fruit and vegetables, supplements of vitamins and fish oils, an exercise regimen and classes in stress management, relaxation techniques and breathing exercises.

Telomerase activity was measured at the beginning of the trial and again at the end.

Among the 24 men who had sufficient data for analysis, blood levels of telomerase increased by 29% on average.

Increases in telomerase activity were linked with decreases in “bad” LDL cholesterol and decreases in one measure of stress – intrusive thoughts.

The researchers say it is too early to tell if the boost in telomerase levels will translate to a change in telomere length.

But there is evidence to suggest that telomere shortness and low telomerase activity might be important risk factors for cancer and cardiovascular disease.

“This might be a powerful motivator for many people to beneficially change their diet and lifestyle,” they told The Lancet Oncology.

Professor Tim Spector, from King’s College London, who has been researching ageing and telomeres, said: “This work builds on what we already know.

“Lifestyle can affect your telomeres. It would be interesting to find out whether it is diet, stress or both that is important.”

“This might be a powerful motivator for many people to beneficially change their diet and lifestyle ”

The study authors

Source: BBC NEWS:15th. Sept. ’08

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Paracetamol Ups Asthma Risk in Kids

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Infants who have been given the common pain reliever paracetamol may have a higher risk of developing asthma and eczema by the time they are 6 or 7, a large study covering children in 31 countries has found.

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The findings were published in the journal Lancet together with two other studies, which found that runny noses and wheezing early on in life may be strong predictors of asthma.

In one study, researchers pored through data provided by parents of more than 205,000 children and found paracetamol use in the first year of life was associated with a 46% higher risk of asthma by the time the children were 6 or 7 compared to those never exposed to the drug. It is used to relieve fever, minor aches and pain, and is used in a liquid suspension for children.

Medium use of paracetamol in the past 12 months increased asthma risk by 61%, while high dosages of once a month or more in the past year raised the risk by over three times. Medium use was defined as once per year or more, but less than once a month.

Suspicions of a possible link between paracetamol and asthma emerged when experts observed an increased use of the drug to a simultaneous rise in asthma prevalence worldwide.

Some experts think antioxidants, which stop unstable molecules known as free radicals from doing too much damage, can lower the risk of cancer, heart disease and other ailments. “Paracetamol can reduce antioxidant levels and… can give oxidative stress in the lungs and cause asthma,” one of the researchers, Richard Beasley at the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand, said.

Sources: The Times Of India

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