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Sow thistle

Botanical Name :Sonchus oleraceus Linn.
Family:Asteraceae/ Compositae
Tribe: Cichorieae
Genus: Sonchus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales
Synonyms :Hare’s Thistle. Hare’s Lettuce.
Scientific names :  Sonchus oleraceus Linn.,Hieracium oleracerum Linn. ,Lactuca oleracerea Linn.
Common names :Gagatang (Ig.),Common sowthistle (Engl.),Milkweed (Engl.) ,Milk thistle (Engl.) ,Smooth sow thistle (Engl.) ,Swinles (Engl.) ,Sow thistle (Engl.)

Habitat :Found in the Benguet subprovinces, Rizal and Laguna provinces in Luzon. In waster places, along trails, old gardens, on talus slopes at altitudes of 1,200 to 2,000 meters

Description:
Sow thistle is an herb, erect, annual, milky, hairy or slightly glandular, growing 40 to 80 cm high. Leaves are oblong to lanceolate, 10 to 20 cm long, coarsely and lyrately lobed; the lobes somewhat reflexed and toothed, the terminal ones large, the lateral pointing downwards, and those of the stem clasping at the base. Heads are peduncled, about 1 cm long. Bracts are smooth, thin and green. Flowers are numerous and yellow. Achenes are nearly 3 mm long, compressed, ribbed and rough.

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It has hollow thick, branched stems full of milky juice, and thin, oblong leaves, more or less cut into (pinnatifid) with irregular, prickly teeth on the margins. The upper leaves are much simpler in form than the lower ones, clasping the stem at their bases.

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The flowers are a pale yellow, and when withered, the involucres close over them in a conical form. The seed vessels are crowned with a tuft of hairs, or pappus, like most of this large family of Compositae.

Edible Uses:
The young leaves are still in some parts of the Continent employed as an ingredient in salads It used in former times to be mingled with other pot herbs, and was occasionally employed in soups; the smoothest variety is said to be excellent boiled like spinach.

Constituents:
* Contains fixed oil with stearic and palmitic acids, ceryl-alcohol, invert sugar, choline, tartaric acid.
* Milky juice contains oxydase, coautchoue, mannite, l-inosite, etc.
* Phytochemicals of aqueous extracts yielded sugar reducers, phenolic compounds, tannins, flavonoids and coumarins.
* Study yielded four sesquiterpene glycosides – sonchusides A, B, C and D together with five known glycosides – glucozaluzanin C, macrocliniside A, crepidiaside A and picrisides A and C.

Medicinal Uses:
Parts used: Stem, leaves, gum, juice.

Folkloric:-
* Brownish gum formed by the evaporation of the common sow thistle, when taken internally in a dose of two to four grains, acts as a “powerful hydragogue cathartic” with strong effects on the liver, duodenum and colon. Its effects resemble elaterium, producing large and watery discharges, thus an effective agent in ascites and hydrothorax. However, it may cause griping like senna and produce tenemus like aloes. To counteract that effect, the gum is administered with manna, aniseed, and carbonate of magnesia, or with stimulants and aromatics

* Infusion of leaves and roots used by the natives of Bengal as tonic and febrifuge.

*In Indochina, stems used as sedative and tonic.

*In Italy, used as a laxative and diuretic.

*Juice of the plant used for cleaning and healing ulcers.

*In Brazilian folk medicine, used as a general tonic.

Studies
• Antidepressant: Study of S oleraceus extracts in mice showed evidence of an antidepressant-like effect comparable to that of amitriptyline (10mg/K p.o.).

• Antinociceptive: Extracts of SO markedly demonstrated antinociceptive action in mice, supporting previous claims of traditional use. At 300 mg/kg, it had a stronger antinociceptive effect than indomethacin (5 mg/kg) and morphine (10 mg/kg).

• Anxiolytic: Study of extract of aerial parts showed anxiolytic effects in mice similar to clonazepam (0.5 mg/kg).

• Phytochemicals / Low Toxicity: Study of aqueous extracts showed phenolic compounds, tannins, flavonoids and coumarins. Toxicity test on Artemia salina indicated low toxicity.

• Antioxidant / Cytotoxicity: Study of SO extracts showed concentration-dependent antioxidant activity. The methanol extracts yielded the greatest the most phenolic and flavonoid contents. Cytotoxicity activity showed the ethanol extract had the best activity against the growth of stomach cancer cell.

• Anti-Quorum Sensing / Antimicrobial: A study of 14 ethanolic extracts of different parts of 8 plants for antimicrobial and antiquorum sensing activity showed Sonchus oleraceus and Laurus nobilis to have superior activity against Chromobacterium violaceum. Quorum sensing is involved in microbial pathogenesis, and its inhibition may be a way of controlling bacterial infections with the advantage of reducing risks of resistance development.

Other Uses:
Its chief use nowadays is as food for rabbits. There is no green food they devour more eagerly, and all keepers of rabbits in hutches should provide them with a plentiful supply. Pigs are also particularly fond of the succulent leaves and stems of the Sow-Thistle.

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://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/sowthi71.html
http://www.stuartxchange.com/Gagatang.html
http://www.plantsystematics.org/imgs/kcn2/r/Asteraceae_Sonchus_oleraceus_33896.html

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Fistula

Definition:
In medicine, a fistula (pl. fistulas or fistulae) is an abnormal connection or passageway between two epithelium-lined organs or vessels that normally do not connect.Fistulas can develop in various parts of the body. The following list is sorted by the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems.

The intestinal tract (or bowel) ends with the rectum. The last part of the rectum is a section about 1 1/2 inches long, known as the anal canal. It ends with the anus — the opening to the outside of the body. There are several common problems, including hemorrhoids, that can occur in the area from the rectum to the anus. While almost everyone has heard of hemorrhoids, the other conditions are not so well known.

Anal Fissure
An anal fissure is a small tear or cut which lines the anus that can cause extreme pain and are normally associated with bleeding. Some anal fissures, however, may not bleed and are known as dry fissures.Anal fissures occur in the tissue that lines anal canal, called anoderm, which contains a large amount of sensory nerves. This is the reason for the extreme pain associated with rectal fissures.

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Duodeno Biliary Fistula

Anorectal fistulas:

Fissures are normally cause by constipation and pressure in the area. However, it is also common to get an anal fissure from diarrhea, inflammation in the area and childbirth.Fissures can cause itching, pain and severe bleeding but are easily treatable.

Most people have experienced a tear or fissure at the corner of the mouth that can occur in cold weather or when yawning. Similarly, an anal fissure is a small tear in the lining of the anus, frequently caused by constipation. A hard, dry bowel movement results in a break in the tissue. However, fissures can also occur with severe bouts of diarrhea or inflammation. This results in the anus becoming dry and irritated, causing it to tear. Injury to the anal area during childbirth and abuse of laxatives may be other causes.

A fissure can be quite painful during and immediately following bowel movements. This is because the anus and anal canal are ringed with muscles to control the passage of stool and to keep the anus tightly closed at other times. When those muscles expand, it stretches the fissure open. There may also be bleeding or itching with an anal fissure.

Diagnosis
A simple visual examination of the anus and surrounding tissue usually reveals the fissure. It is quite tender when examined by the physician. Fissures are most often located in the middle posterior (back) section of the anus.

Treatment
More than half of all fissures heal either by themselves or with non-surgical treatment. Stool softeners can help reduce pain during bowel movements. Antibiotics may be used for a short time. Special medicated creams may also be used, especially if the fissure has become ulcerated or infected. It is important to keep the anus and area between the buttocks clean and dry. After bathing, the patient should gently pat dry with a soft towel. Applying talcum powder is frequently recommended. Sitz baths may help relieve discomfort and promote healing. A sitz bath is soaking the anal area in plain warm — not hot — water for 15-20 minutes several times a day.

If the fissure is not responding to treatment, the physician re-examines the patient. There are conditions, such as muscle spasm or scarring, that could interfere with the healing process. Fissures that do not heal can be corrected with surgery. It is a minor operation that is usually done on an outpatient basis. The surgeon removes the fissure and any underlying scar tissue. Cutting a small portion of the anal muscle prevents spasm. This helps the area to heal and rarely interferes with the control of bowel movements. Complete healing takes place in a few weeks. However, the pain often disappears after a few days.

Over 90% of the patients who need surgery for fissures have no further problems. Patients can help avoid the return of fissures by drinking at least eight glasses of water a day, and maintaining adequate fiber in the diet. This prevents constipation, which is the cause of most fissures.

Anal Abscess and Fistula

An abscess is a localized pocket of pus caused by infection from bacteria. It can occur in any part of the body. When bacteria seep into the underlying tissues in the anal canal, an abscess may develop. Certain conditions, such as Crohn’s disease (chronic inflammatory bowel disease), can increase the risk of abscess in and around the anal canal. Patients with conditions that reduce the body’s immunity, such as cancer or AIDS, are also more likely to develop anal abscesses.

An abscess causes tenderness, swelling, and pain. These symptoms clear when the abscess is drained. The patient may also complain of fever, chills, and general weakness or fatigue.

A fistula is a tiny channel or tract that develops in the presence of inflammation and infection. It may or may not be associated with an abscess, but like abscesses, certain illnesses such as Crohn’s disease can cause fistulas to develop. The channel usually runs from the rectum to an opening in the skin around the anus. However, sometimes the fistula opening develops elsewhere. For example, in women with Crohn’s disease or obstetric injuries, the fistula could open into the vagina or bladder.

Since fistulas are infected channels, there is usually some drainage. Often a draining fistula is not painful, but it can irritate the skin around it. An abscess and fistula often occur together. If the opening of the fistula seals over before the fistula is cured, an abscess may develop behind it.

Diagnosis
Diagnosis of an abscess is usually made on examination of the area. If it is near the anus, there is always pain, and often redness and swelling. The physician will look for an opening in the skin (a sign that a fistula has developed), and try to determine the depth and direction of the channel or tract of the fistula. However, signs of fistula and abscess may not be present on the skin’s surface around the anus. In this case, the physician uses an instrument called an anoscope to see inside the anal canal and lower rectum.

Whenever the physician finds an abscess, and especially a fistula, further tests are needed to be sure Crohn’s disease is not present. Blood tests, x-rays, and a colonoscopy (a lighted, flexible scope exam of the bowel or colon) are often required.

Treatment for Anal Abscess
An abscess must be surgically opened to promote drainage and relieve pressure. This is often done in the physician’s office under local anesthesia. However, patients with a large or deep abscess, or those who have other conditions, such as diabetes, may be admitted to the hospital for the procedure.

Antibiotics cannot take the place of draining an abscess. Antibiotics are carried by the bloodstream but do not reach the pus within the abscess. However, they are usually prescribed along with surgical drainage, especially if the patient has other serious diseases, such as diabetes or those associated with reduced immunity.

Treatment for Anal Fistula
Treatment of anal fistula often varies, depending on whether Crohn’s disease is present. Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammation of the bowel, including the small and large intestine. As noted, the physician will often do tests to see if this disease is present. If it is, then prolonged treatment with a variety of medications, including antibiotics, is usually undertaken. Often these medications will cure the infection and heal the fistula.

If Crohn’s disease is not present, it still may be worthwhile to try a course of antibiotics. If these do not work, surgery is usually very effective. The surgeon opens the fistula channel so that healing occurs from the inside out. Most of the time, fistula surgery is done on an outpatient basis or with a short hospital stay. Following surgery, there may be mild to moderate discomfort for a few days, but patients usually have a short recovery period.

Summary

Bleeding, pain, or drainage from the anus can occur with several illnesses, so a physician should always be consulted. Often the diagnosis is anal fissure, abscess, or fistula. These are problems that are usually easy to diagnose and correct. A variety of treatments, including surgery, are available to correct these conditions. Working together with the physician usually assures a good outcome.

Click to see Ayurvedic medication for Fistula…..………….(1)…...(2)

Homeopathic medication for Fistula.…………………(1).(2).…..(3)

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/Fistula
http://www.gicare.com/pated/ecdgs38.htm
http://www.amoils.com/anal-fissures.html?gclid=CIrF-J37wJQCFQS7sgodkFJSTg

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Milk Thistle

Botanical Name: Silybum marianum
Family: N.O. Compositae,Asteraceae
Subfamily: Lactucoideae
Tribe: Cynareae
Genus: Silybum
Species: S. marianum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonym-:Marian Thistle.  Carduus lactifolius. Carduus marianus. Centaurea dalmatica. Mariana lactea.
Common Names-:- Cardus marianus,  Milk thistle,  Blessed milkthistle,   Marian thistle, Mary thistle, Saint Mary‘s thistle, Mediterranean milk thistle, Variegated thistle and Scotch thistle,  Mary thistle, holy thistle. Milk thistle is sometimes called silymarin, which is actually a mixture of the herb’s active components, including silybinin (also called silibinin or silybin).

Latin Name-:-Silybum marianum

Habitat : Milk Thistle is native to  S. Europe, N. Africa and W. Asia. Naturalized in Britain.  It grows on  waste places, usually close to the sea, especially if the ground is dry and rocky.  .

Parts Used-: Whole herb, root, leaves, seeds and hull.

Description: Members of this genus grow as annual or biennial plants. The erect stem is tall, branched and furrowed but not spiny. The large, alternate leaves are waxy-lobed, toothed and thorny, as in other genera of thistle. The lower leaves are cauline (attached to the stem without petiole). The upper leaves have a clasping base. They have large, disc-shaped pink-to-purple, rarely white, solitary flower heads at the end of the stem. The flowers consist of tubular florets. The phyllaries under the flowers occur in many rows, with the outer row with spine-tipped lobes and apical spines. The fruit is a black achene with a white pappus

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Only two species are currently classified in this genus:

Silybum eburneum Coss. & Dur., known as the Silver Milk Thistle, Elephant Thistle, or Ivory Thistle
Silybum eburneum Coss. & Dur. var. hispanicum
Silybum marianum (L.) Gaertner, the Blessed Milk Thistle, which has a large number of other common names, such as Variegated Thistle.
The two species hybridise naturally, the hybrid being known as Silybum × gonzaloi Cantó , Sánchez Mata & Rivas Mart. (S. eburneum var. hispanicum x S. marianum)

A number of other plants have been classified in this genus in the past but have since been relocated elsewhere in the light of additional research.

S. marianum is by far the more widely known species. It is believed to give some remedy for liver diseases (e.g. viral hepatitis) and an extract, silymarin, is used in medicine. The adverse effect of the medicinal use of milk thistle is loose stools.

This handsome plant is not unworthy of a place in our gardens and shrubberies and was formerly frequently cultivated. The stalks, like those of most of our larger Thistles, may be eaten, and are palatable and nutritious. The leaves also may be eaten as a salad when young. Bryant, in his Flora Dietetica, writes of it: ‘The young shoots in the spring, cut close to the root with part of the stalk on, is one of the best boiling salads that is eaten, and surpasses the finest cabbage. They were sometimes baked in pies. The roots may be eaten like those of Salsify.’ In some districts the leaves are called ‘Pig Leaves,’ probably because pigs like them, and the seeds are a favourite food of goldfinches.

The common statement that this bird lines its nest with thistledown is scarcely accurate, the substance being in most cases the down of Colt’s-foot (Tussilago), or the cotton down from the willow, both of which are procurable at the building season, whereas thistledown is at that time immature.

Westmacott, writing in 1694, says of this Thistle: ‘It is a Friend to the Liver and Blood: the prickles cut off, they were formerly used to be boiled in the Spring and eaten with other herbs; but as the World decays, so doth the Use of good old things and others more delicate and less virtuous brought in.’

The heads of this Thistle formerly were eaten, boiled, treated like those of the Artichoke.

There is a tradition that the milk-white veins of the leaves originated in the milk of the Virgin which once fell upon a plant of Thistle, hence it was called Our Lady’s Thistle, and the Latin name of the species has the same derivation.
Cultivation:
Succeeds in any well-drained fertile garden soil. Prefers a calcareous soil and a sunny position. Hardy to about -15°c. The blessed thistle is a very ornamental plant that was formerly cultivated as a vegetable crop. Young plants are prone to damage from snails and slugs. Plants will often self sow freely.

Propagation:
Seed – if sown in situ during March or April, the plant will usually flower in the summer and complete its life cycle in one growing season. The seed can also be sown from May to August when the plant will normally wait until the following year to flower and thus behave as a biennial. The best edible roots should be produced from a May/June sowing, whilst sowing the seed in the spring as well as the summer should ensure a supply of edible leaves all year round.

Edible Uses :
Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves; Oil; Oil; Root; Stem.
Edible Uses: Coffee; Oil; Oil.

Root – raw or cooked. A mild flavour and somewhat mucilaginous texture. When boiled, the roots resemble salsify (Tragopogon hispanicus). Leaves – raw or cooked. The very sharp leaf-spines must be removed first, which is quite a fiddly operation. The leaves are quite thick and have a mild flavour when young, at this time they are quite an acceptable ingredient of mixed salads, though they can become bitter in hot dry weather. When cooked they make an acceptable spinach substitute. It is possible to have leaves available all year round from successional sowings. Flower buds – cooked. A globe artichoke substitute, they are used before the flowers open. The flavour is mild and acceptable, but the buds are quite small and even more fiddly to use than globe artichokes. Stems – raw or cooked. They are best peeled and can be soaked to reduce the bitterness. Palatable and nutritious, they can be used like asparagus or rhubarb or added to salads. They are best used in spring when they are young. A good quality oil is obtained from the seeds. The roasted seed is a coffee substitute

HEALTH BENEFITS:

The seeds of this plant are used nowadays for the same purpose as Blessed Thistle, and on this point John Evelyn wrote: ‘Disarmed of its prickles and boiled, it is worthy of esteem, and thought to be a great breeder of milk and proper diet for women who are nurses.’

It is in popular use in Germany for curing jaundice and kindred biliary derangements. It also acts as a demulcent in catarrh and pleurisy. The decoction when applied externally is said to have proved beneficial in cases of cancer.

Gerard wrote of the Milk Thistle that:
‘the root if borne about one doth expel melancholy and remove all diseases connected therewith. . . . My opinion is that this is the best remedy that grows against all melancholy diseases,’
which was another way of saying that it had good action on the liver. He also tells us:
‘Dioscorides affirmed that the seeds being drunke are a remedy for infants that have their sinews drawn together, and for those that be bitten of serpents:’and we find in a record of old Saxon remedies that ‘this wort if hung upon a man’s neck it setteth snakes to flight.’ The seeds were also formerly thought to cure hydrophobia.
Culpepper considered the Milk Thistle to be as efficient as Carduus benedictus for agues, and preventing and curing the infection of the plague, and also for removal of obstructions of the liver and spleen. He recommends the infusion of the fresh root and seeds, not only as good against jaundice, also for breaking and expelling stone and being good for dropsy when taken internally, but in addition, to be applied externally, with cloths, to the liver. With other writers, he recommends the young, tender plant (after removing the prickles) to be boiled and eaten in the spring as a blood cleanser.
A tincture is prepared by homoeopathists for medicinal use from equal parts of the root and the seeds with the hull attached.

It is said that the empirical nostrum, antiglaireux, of Count Mattaei, is prepared from this species of Thistle.

Thistles in general, according to Culpepper, are under the dominion of Jupiter.
Milk thistles have been reported to have protective effects on the liver and to improve its function. They are typically used to treat liver cirrhosis, chronic hepatitis (liver inflammation), and gallbladder disorders. The active compound in Milk thistle credited with this effect is “silymarin”, and is typically administered in amount ranging from 200-500mg per day (common Milk Thistle supplements have an 80% standardized extract of silymarin). Increasing research is being carried out into its possible medical uses and the mechanisms of such effects. However, a previous literature review using only studies with both double-blind and placebo protocols concluded that milk thistle and its derivatives “does not seem to significantly influence the course of patients with alcoholic and/or hepatitis B or C liver diseases.”

Medicinal Uses:
Silymarin is poorly soluble in water, so aqueous preparations such as teas are ineffective, except for use as supportive treatment in gallbladder disorders because of cholagogic and spasmolytic effects. The drug is best administered parenterally because of poor absorption of silymarin from the gastrointestinal tract. The drug must be concentrated for oral use.   Silymarin’s hepatoprotective effects may be explained by its altering of the outer liver cell membrane structure, as to disallow entrance of toxins into the cell.  This alteration involves silymarin’s ability to block the toxin’s binding sites, thus hindering uptake by the cell.  Hepatoprotection by silymarin can also be attributed to its antioxidant properties by scavenging prooxidant free radicals and increasing intracellular concentration of glutathione, a substance required for detoxicating reactions in liver cells.

Silymarin’s mechanisms offer many types of therapeutic benefit in cirrhosis with the main benefit being hepatoprotection. Use of milk thistle, however, is inadvisable in decompensated cirrhosis.  In patients with acute viral hepatitis, silymarin shortened treatement time and showed improvement in serum levels of bilirubin, AST and ALT.

Treatment claims also include:

1.Lowering cholesterol levels
2.Reducing insulin resistance in people with type 2 diabetes who also have cirrhosis
3.Reducing the growth of cancer cells in breast, cervical, and prostate cancers.

4.Milk thistle is also used in many products claiming to reduce the effects of a hangover.

5.Milk thistle can also be found as an ingredient in some energy drinks like the AriZona Beverage Company Green Tea energy drink and Rockstar Energy Drink.


How It Is Used:

Milk thistle is a flowering herb. Silymarin, which can be extracted from the seeds (fruit), is believed to be the biologically active part of the herb. The seeds are used to prepare capsules containing powdered herb or seed; extracts; and infusions (strong teas).

What the Science Says:
There have been some studies of milk thistle on liver disease in humans, but these have been small. Some promising data have been reported, but study results at this time are mixed.
Although some studies conducted outside the United States support claims of oral milk thistle to improve liver function, there have been flaws in study design and reporting. To date, there is no conclusive evidence to prove its claimed uses.
NCCAM is supporting a phase II research study to better understand the use of milk thistle for chronic hepatitis C. With the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, NCCAM is planning further studies of milk thistle for chronic hepatitis C and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (liver disease that occurs in people who drink little or no alcohol).
The National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Nursing Research are also studying milk thistle, for cancer prevention and to treat complications in HIV patients.

Other Uses:
Green manure; Oil; Oil..……A good green manure plant, producing a lot of bulk for incorporation into the soil.

Known Hazards  : When grown on nitrogen rich soils, especially those that have been fed with chemical fertilizers, this plant can concentrate nitrates in the leaves. Nitrates are implicated in stomach cancers. Diabetics should monitor blood glucose when using. Avoid if decompensated liver cirrhosis. Possible headaches, nausea, irritability and minor gastrointestinal upset

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/Milk_Thistle
http://nccam.nih.gov/health/milkthistle/
http://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/t/thistl11.html#mil

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm

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