Herbs & Plants

Azima tetracantha

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Botanical Name :Azima tetracantha
Family: Salvadoraceae
Genus: Azima
Species: A. tetracantha
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Brassicales
Synonyms: Azima spinosissima Engl. (1894).,Monetia barlerioides L’Her.
Common Names:Kanta-gur-kamal, Kantangur, Kundali
Vernacular names : Bee sting bush, fire thorn, needle bush (En). Mdunga ndewe, mswaki ndume, mpilipili tawa (Sw).

Habitat : Azima tetracantha occurs naturally in central, eastern and southern Africa as well as in the Indian Ocean islands, and extends through Arabia to tropical Asia.

Dioecious, erect shrub up to 90 cm tall with (1–)2 spines 0.5–5 cm long in each leaf axil, sometimes scandent with stems up to 8 m long; branchlets terete or quadrangular, glabrous to densely hairy. Leaves decussately opposite, simple and entire; stipules absent or rudimentary; petiole short; blade elliptical-oblong to ovate-oblong or orbicular, 1.5–5.5 cm × 0.5–4.5 cm, base rounded or somewhat narrowed, apex mucronate, pinnately veined with one pair of lateral veins from near the base. Inflorescence an axillary, sometimes terminal spike or cyme up to 3 cm long or flowers solitary; bracts ovate, often with long and spinous mucro. Flowers unisexual, regular, 4-merous, usually sessile; calyx campanulate, 2–4 mm long, with triangular lobes; petals linear-oblong to oblong, greenish to yellowish, the upper part reflexed over the calyx, 2–5 mm long; male flowers with stamens inserted at the base of the rudimentary ovary, exserted; female flowers with staminodes and superior ovary, up to 4.5 mm long with a broad sessile stigma. Fruit a globose berry, 0.5–1 cm in diameter, 1–2-seeded, green turning white, with persistent stigma. Seeds disk-like, brown to black.

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Azima comprises about 4 species in mainland Africa, Madagascar and Asia and is characterized by long axillary spines. Over the range of its distribution Azima tetracantha varies considerably, yet it is an easily recognizable and distinct species. In southern Africa the male plants lack spines, or have poorly developed ones, while female specimens have long spines.

Cultivation & Propagation: A few specialist nurseries in the United States offer seeds of Azima tetracantha for sale for ornamental purposes. Multiplication through cuttings is possible.

The South African Department of Agriculture considers Azima tetracantha an indicator of bush encroachment. Land users in certain areas are required to control the species to prevent deterioration and maintain the productivity of pastoral land. Overgrazing is the main reason for encroachment.
When used as a hedge or barrier plant, it needs to be pruned regularly to keep a compact shape.

Genetic resources
Azima tetracantha is a common, widespread pioneer and thus there is no immediate risk of overharvesting for human use.

The use of Azima tetracantha appears to be limited and only occasional in Africa. As all parts contain glucosinolates, further research on medicinal applications is warranted.
Edible Uses: The fruit is edible. Azima tetracantha is browsed by livestock. It is planted as live fence in Bangalore (India). In Malaysia pickled leaves are used as an appetizer and against colds.

Medicinal Uses:
In East Africa the pounded roots of Azima tetracantha are applied directly to snakebites and an infusion is taken orally as a treatment for them, while in Zimbabwe a mixture of roots and leaves is used similarly. The Bajun people of the Kenyan coast use a root decoction to treat stomach disorders. In Madagascar an infusion of the leaves is used to treat venereal diseases. In the Cape Province of South Africa the juice of the berries is applied directly into the ear to treat earache and the dried root is ground, put in cold water and given to cows to facilitate difficult parturition. The Zulu people of South Africa apply the sap of the plant directly to treat toothache and bleeding gums after tooth extraction and also as a disinfectant. In India and Sri Lanka the root, root bark and leaves are added to food as a remedy for rheumatism. The plant is considered diuretic and is also used to treat dropsy, dyspepsia, chronic diarrhoea and as a stimulant tonic. In western India juice of the leaves is applied as eardrops against earache and crushed leaves are placed on painful teeth.

Other Uses:The plant is promoted as an ornamental in the United States.

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.


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Positive thinking

Maintaining the Flow

A strong and fluid energy field is the key that unlocks the doors of self-healing and peace of mind.

The essence of all being is energy. Our physical and ethereal selves depend on the unrestricted flow of life energy that is the source of wholeness and wellness. Though the channels through which this energy flows are open systems and influenced by factors outside of our control, we ultimately choose what impact these will have in our lives. It is up to us to identify and clear blockages in the energy field to ensure that flow is maintained. A healthy, grounded individual absorbs some portion of the energy emitted by other people and the environment, but this does not interrupt the continuous stream of balanced energy sustaining them. The same individual copes constructively with stress and upset, and they are not subject to the stagnation that frequently goes hand in hand with negativity. When we keep the energy in and around our bodies flowing harmoniously, we are naturally healthy, vibrant, and peaceful.

Life energy flows through us like a swift stream when there is nothing to obstruct it, but various forces such as trauma, downbeat vibrations, and disappointments act like stones that impede the current. If we allow these to pile up, our life energy is thrown off its course or blocked entirely, causing illness, restlessness, and a lack of vigor. If, however, we take the time to clear these forces away, we rob them of the power to impact our lives. When we cultivate simple yet affirmative habits such as taking regular cleansing baths, practicing meditation and breathing exercises, smudging, and self-shielding, we protect ourselves from outside influences that might otherwise impede our energy flow. Likewise, we lessen the impact of inner influences when we clear our auras of unwanted attachments and divest ourselves of blocked emotions.

A strong and fluid energy field is the key that unlocks the doors of self-healing and peace of mind. Your awareness of the flow of energy sustaining you empowers you to take charge of your own well-being by taking steps to unblock, correct, and enhance that flow. Fear will likely be the culprit when you cannot identify the source of stagnation—you may simply be afraid to let go of what is obstructing the flow. Letting go can be challenging, but the exuberance you will feel when the flow is restored will be a welcome and blessed reward.

Source : Daily Om

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Healthy Tips News on Health & Science

Fish-Eating Moms’ Diet Affects Kids, Study Shows

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Since the current guidelines on fish consumption were issued, Dr. Emily Oken, a physician and assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, has led studies to examine the sum effect of eating fish.

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One of those was published in May in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Researchers asked 341 pregnant women in Massachusetts about their diet and tested their blood mercury levels during the second trimester. Then, when their children were 3, they were tested in a range of thinking and movement tasks.

Children of mothers who ate more than two servings of fish per week had higher scores than kids of non-fish-eating moms, even when other influences of early childhood development, such as birth weight and breast-feeding duration, were factored out. No measurable benefit was seen in kids born to women who ate fewer than two servings of fish per week, which corresponds to the current FDA/EPA advice.

The improvements in kids were even more striking in kids of moms with lower mercury levels, suggesting that choosing low-mercury fish is key. Researchers did ask about broad categories of fish, but, Oken says, it’s a big uncertainty in this kind of research. “We don’t really know a lot of detail about the kind of fish that women are eating.”

On the flip side, children of mothers with the highest mercury levels in their blood scored poorly, and if their moms ate less fish, the detriments were greater.

In short, Oken was able to demonstrate both the benefits of fish eating and the risks of mercury intake. When both fish and mercury are taken together, Oken’s study suggests that the good may outweigh the bad, at least in the fish-eating habits of her subjects.

Sources: The Times Of India

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Healthy Tips

Top 10 Foods Your Body Needs

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What do a guava, cabbage and a weed have in common? They’re all foods you should be eating. Here’s why you should add the following 10 fruits, vegetables and plants to your diet.


1. Guava is a slightly pear-shaped tropical fruit known for its sweet, acidic flavor and yellow or pink color. It contains such cancer-fighting agents as lycopene, known for warding off prostate cancer. And with 688 mg of potassium and 9 grams of fiber, this fruit is a must for anyone’s diet.

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2.Goji Berry   resemble raisins, taste sweet and sour, and are red in color. Eating them can help protect the liver, improve sexual function and increase circulation. They also have the highest Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) rating (a method of measuring antioxidant levels in food) of any fruit, according to researchers at Tufts University.

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3. Dried plums,
also known as prunes, are somewhat infamous for their high fiber content. However, don’t forget that they also include high amounts of neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acids which fight the “superoxide anion radical,” known to cause structural damage to cells, one of the primary causes of cancer.

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4. Pomegranate juice has been consumed for decades in the Middle East as a popular juice beverage; now it’s becoming popular in the United States. Just 4 oz. a day provides 50 percent of your daily vitamin C needs.

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5. Cabbage is a leafy, green vegetable. Its benefits: a healthy supply of nutrients including sulforaphane, a chemical which increases your body’s production of enzymes that combat cell-damaging free radicals and reduce the risk of cancer.

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6. Beets are a root known
for their dark red coloring and are surprisingly sweet for a vegetable. It is one of the best sources of both folate and betaine, which help to lower your blood levels of homocysteine. That’s good news because homocysteine can damage arteries and increase the risk of heart disease.

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7. Swiss chard is a slightly bitter and salty vegetable. It contains huge amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin, plant chemicals known as carotenoids that protect the retinas from age-related damage.

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8. Purslane
is a broad-leaved weed. It features the highest amount of heart-healthy omega-3 fats of any edible plant and has 10 to 20 times more melatonin than any other fruit or vegetable.

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9. Cinnamon is a common spice most of us think of when we make cake or cookies – but don’t overlook a pinch or two on your oatmeal or in your coffee. Cinnamon’s health benefits include controlling your blood sugar and lowering triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol. Active ingredients include methylhydroxychalcone polymers, which increase your cells’ ability to metabolize up to 20 times.

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10. Pumpkin seeds are too-frequently tossed away during the traditional October pumpkin carving. That’s a mistake, because just 1 ounce contains 150 mg of magnesium. Pumpkin seeds are also high in zinc and phytosterols, shown to lower cholesterol and defend against cancer.

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Medicinal Properties: Catarrh, demulcent, diuretic and anthelmintic.
Uses in Folklore: Pumpkin seeds have been a popular folk remedy for expelling worms and treating urinary complaints. Recent research has shown that pumpkin seeds have anti-tumor properties, in particular, for treating an enlarged prostate. Pumpkin contains the active components resin, fatty oils, proteins, glycoside curcurbitin, vitamins and minerals


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Ailmemts & Remedies News on Health & Science

Heart under attack

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We all want to have a healthy life, free of disease, worry and medical bills. The stats tell a different story though: the cardiac epidemic, say doctors, is just a heartbeat away. But half the battle against heart disease is won with the right lifestyle and a balanced outlook. When it’s dil da mamla , it’s never too late to get started. Here are 10 steps to give your heart a chance.

Eat right – Eat in moderation and a variety of foods. Dr K K Aggarwal, president, Heartcare Foundation of India, advises, “Have food of all seven colours and six tastes (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent).” Have less of fast-food and takeouts. By cooking for yourself at home or packing a lunch tiffin for work, you exercise greater control over ingredients, cooking methods and smaller portion sizes. Look out for transfats in fried food and snacks that raise coronary heart disease risk. Go for nuts and fruits that are high in antioxidant compounds which help fight cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Eat the right food at fixed times and make the last meal of the day small and early, say, 8 pm. Also, have less of meat, poultry and milk products, oil and butter, more of cereals, fruits and vegetables; keep a check on salt intake.

No smoking, less alcohol – Studies have shown that both active and passive smokers are at risk of developing heart disease and lung cancer. So smokers, please stub it out completely. Moderate alcohol intake is said to be good for the heart according to certain studies, but too much raises risk of high BP and stroke. “Moderate quantity means 1-2 drinks a day,” says Dr Praveen Chandra, director, Cardiac Cath Lab & Acute MI Services, Max Heart & Vascular Institute, Delhi.

Watch your waistline – Try and maintain body weight proportionate to your height. One measure of body fat is Body Mass Index (BMI), determined by dividing body weight with square of height. A BMI of 25+ is considered overweight and 30+ is obese. But a study reported in The Lancet journal last year said your waist-to-hip ratio, determined by dividing your waist measurement by your hip measurement, is more effective at predicting cardiovascular risk than using BMI. For women, the ratio should not be more than 0.8, and for men 0.95. Use the measuring tape more than the weighing scale.

Also, check whether you are an “apple” or a “pear”. Apple-shaped people tend to store excess body fat in their abdomen. Excess abdominal fat is thought to increase resistance to insulin, thereby increasing the risk of diabetes which, in turn, raises cholesterol and heart disease risk.

Control blood sugar -Diabetes is one of the biggest lifestyle diseases in India now and a leading cause of heart disease. Keep a check on your blood sugar levels over the last three months, more so if you have a family history of diabetes. Chandra says, “Diabetics should follow strict diet control and go in for regular check-ups because some patients can develop hidden heart disease.”

See your doc –
With younger people getting heart trouble, check-ups should start early. Says Dr Chandra, “Diabetics and those over the age of 40 should have annual check-ups, as also those over 20 who have a family history of heart disease, diabetes and blood pressure.” By 35, the check-ups should be once in two years for those without any health issues. Blood pressure should be kept in check. Ideally, a healthy BP is 140/80; for diabetics it’s 130/80.

Have fun – Many a laugh keeps heart disease away, according to scientists. Laughing may reduce BP if practised often enough, by helping you get rid of all that anger and frustration which makes you stressed. A hostile attitude has been linked to a higher incidence of cardiac events, and cynical distrust has been associated with accelerated progression of carotid artery disease. Socialise more: lonely people are at a greater risk of heart problems.

Stressed? Time for timeout – Try this out: Close the door of your room, then sit in a comfortable position and breathe in and out slowly. Relaxation methods, yoga, and stress-management techniques are essential for preventing cardiovascular disease. Meditation decreases electrical changes associated with poor circulation to the heart and has also been shown to lower cholesterol. Don’t miss your annual holidays.

Be aware –
Dr S Padmavati, chief consultant in cardiology, National Heart Institute, Delhi, says, “In the West, there is awareness about heart disease, its symptoms and treatment. But it is not so in India and that makes recovery difficult in many cases.” It’s important to know the warning signs of a heart attack so that you can seek medical help in case of an emergency. Watch out for these signs — an uncomfortable pressure, fullness, aching, squeezing, burning pain or tightness in the centre of your chest that lasts for two minutes or longer, chest pain that increases in intensity, sweating, dizziness or fainting, nausea, vomiting or a feeling of severe indigestion, shortness of breath, unexplained weakness or fatigue, rapid or irregular pulse.

Get moving – All of us cannot be marathon runners. But “30-40 minutes of brisk walking four to five times a week is required,” says Chandra. That can reduce the risk of heart disease by 20%. So walk, play with the kids or dance to your favourite CD. You can also do jogging, biking, gymming, swimming, etc. If you don’t have time for these, then try climbing stairs instead of taking the lift, or get down at the previous bus stop and walk to work/home. As a bonus, it can do wonders for your looks!

Get more sleep – Too little sleep may increase your risk of developing high BP. Sleep allows the heart to slow down and blood pressure to drop for a significant part of the day. Try to get 6-8 hours of undisturbed sleep.

Bottomline: You can’t defy death but you can certainly have a healthier, even longer, life. Just listen to your heart.

Source:The Times Of India