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Herbs & Plants

Artemisia caruifolia

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Botanical Name : Artemisia caruifolia
Family :
Asteraceae or Compositae
Subfamily:
Asteroideae
Tribe:
Anthemideae
Genus:
Artemisia
Kingdom:
Plantae
Order:
Asterales

Habitat : Artemisia caruifolia is native to E. Asia – China, Japan, Himalayas. It grows on moist river banks, floodlands, waysides, outer forest margins, canyons and coastal beaches from low elevations up to 4600 metres.
Description:
Herbs, annual or biennial, 30-150 cm, much branched, glabrous. Basal and lowermost stem leaves usually withering before anthesis. Middle stem leaves: petiole 5-10 mm; leaf blade oblong, oblong-ovate, or elliptic, 5-15 × 2-5.5 cm, abaxially green, 2- or 3-pinnatisect; segments 4-6 pairs, pectinate or lanceolate; lobules pectinate, acutely or acuminately serrate; rachis serrate. Uppermost leaves and leaflike bracts 1(or 2)-pinnatisect and pectinatisect. Synflorescence a moderately broad panicle. Capitula many; peduncle slender, 2-6 mm, nodding. Involucre hemispheric, 3.5-7 mm in diam.; phyllaries oblong, radiately spreading or not, scarious margin yellow. Marginal female florets 10-20; corolla ca. 1.5 mm. Disk florets 30-40, bisexual; corolla yellowish, ca. 1.8 mm. Achenes oblong or ellipsoid, ca. 1 mm. Fl. and fr. Jun-Sep….CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation:
The plant can be easily grown in a well-drained circumneutral or slightly alkaline loamy soil, preferring a sunny position. Established plants are drought tolerant. Plants are longer lived, more hardy and more aromatic when they are grown in a poor dry soil. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation:
Seed – surface sow from late winter to early summer in a greenhouse. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Division in spring or autumn.

Edible Uses: …..Young plants – cooked in the spring. They are also used as a flavouring for tea

Medicinal Uses:
The whole plant is depurative, febrifuge, stomachic, tonic and vermifuge. It contains abrotanine which is antiphlogistic and antifebrile. The plant is said to prevent malaria, or to drive away mosquitoes. It inhibits the maturation of malaria parasites in the body. It is also used in the treatment of low-grade fevers, tidal fever, summer heat stroke, chronic diarrhoea, phthisis, purulent scabies and intestinal troubles. A decction of the root is used in the treatment of asthma. This plant can be used interchangeably with Artemisia annua. The medicinal virtues of that plant are as follows:- Qing Ho, better known in the West as sweet wormwood, is a traditional Chinese herbal medicine. An aromatic anti-bacterial plant, recent research has shown that it destroys malarial parasites, lowers fevers and checks bleeding. It is often used in the Tropics as an affordable and effective anti-malarial. The leaves are antiperiodic, antiseptic, digestive, febrifuge. An infusion of the leaves is used internally to treat fevers, colds, diarrhoea etc. Externally, the leaves are poulticed onto nose bleeds, boils and abscesses. The leaves are harvested in the summer, before the plant comes into flower, and are dried for later use. The plant contains artemisinin, this substance has proved to be a dramatically effective anti-malarial. Clinical trials have shown it to be 90% effective and more successful than standard drugs. In a trial of 2000 patients, all were cured of the disease. The seeds are used in the treatment of flatulence, indigestion and night sweats.

Other Uses : The plant can be used as an insecticides.

Known Hazards: Although no reports of toxicity have been seen for this species, skin contact with some members of this genus can cause dermatitis or other allergic reactions in some people.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Resources:
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Artemisia+caruifolia
http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=242420542

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artemisia_(genus)

 

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Ailmemts & Remedies

Foot order or Smelly foot

English: Grown male right foot (angle 1)
English: Grown male right foot (angle 1) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Description:
Our foot sometimes gives out an unpleasant smell which is very much embarrassing.         ( medical term bromohidrosis)

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It is a type of body odor that affects the feet of humans.The quality of foot odor is often reported as a thick smell. Some describe the smell like that of malt vinegar. However, it can also be ammonia-like. Brevibacteria are considered a major cause of foot odor because they ingest dead skin on the feet and, in the process, convert amino acid methionine into methanethiol, which has a sulfuric aroma. The dead skin that fuels this process is especially common on the soles and between the toes. The brevibacteria is also what gives cheeses such as Limburger, Bel Paese, Port du Salut, Pálpusztai and Munster their characteristic pungency.

Propionic acid (propanoic acid) is also present in many foot sweat samples. This acid is a breakdown product of amino acids by Propionibacteria, which thrive in the ducts of adolescent and adult sebaceous glands. The similarity in chemical structures between propionic acid and acetic acid, which share many physical characteristics such as odor, may account for foot odors identified as being vinegar-like. Isovaleric acid (3-methyl butanoic acid) is the other source of foot odor and is a result of actions of the bacteria Staphylococcus epidermidis which is also present in several strong cheese types.

Other implicated micro-organisms include Micrococcaceae, Corynebacterium and Pityrosporum.

Bart Knols, of Wageningen Agricultural University, the Netherlands, received an “IG Nobel” prize in 2006 for showing that the female malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae “is attracted equally to the smell of limburger cheese and to the smell of human feet”. Fredros Okumu, of Ifakara Health Institute in Tanzania, received grants in 2009 and 2011 to develop mosquito attractants and traps to combat malaria. He uses a blend of eight chemicals, which is four times more effective than an actual human.

Causes;
The feet and hands contain more sweat glands than any other part of the body, with roughly 3,000 glands per square inch. Smelly feet are not only embarrassing, but can be physically uncomfortable as well.

Feet smell for two reasons: 1) shoe wear, and 2) sweating of the feet. The interaction between the perspiration and the bacteria that thrive in shoes and socks generates the odor.

Smelly feet or excessive sweating can also be caused by an inherited condition, called hyperhidrosis, which primarily affects men. Stress, some medications, fluid intake, and hormonal changes also can increase the amount of perspiration our bodies produce.

The main cause is foot sweat. Sweat itself is odorless, but it creates a beneficial environment for certain bacteria to grow and produce bad-smelling substances. These bacteria are naturally present on our skin as part of the human flora. Therefore, more smell is created with factors causing more sweating, such as wearing shoes and/or socks with inadequate air ventilation for many hours. Hair on the feet, especially on the toes, may contribute to the odor’s intensity by adding increased surface area in which the bacteria can thrive.

Given that socks directly contact the feet, their composition can have an impact on foot odor. Polyester and nylon are common materials used to make socks, but provide less ventilation than cotton or wool do when used for the same purpose. Wearing polyester or nylon socks may increase perspiration and therefore may intensify foot odor.[1] Because socks absorb varying amounts of perspiration from feet, wearing shoes without socks may increase the amount of perspiration contacting feet and thereby increase bacterial activities that cause odor

Treatments:
The best home remedy for foot odor is to soak feet in strong black tea for 30 minutes a day for a week. The acid in the tea kills the bacteria and closes the pores, keeping your feet dry longer. Use two tea bags per pint of water. Boil for 15 minutes, then add two quarts of cool water. Soak your feet in the cool solution. Alternately, you can soak your feet in a solution of one part vinegar and two parts water.

Persistent foot odor can indicate a low-grade infection or a severe case of hereditary sweating. In these cases, a prescription ointment may be required to treat the problem.

Treating Excessive Sweating:
A form of electrolysis, called iontophoresis, has been shown to reduce excessive sweating of the feet. However, it is more difficult to administer. In the worst cases of hyperhidrosis, a surgeon can cut the nerve that controls sweating. Recent advances in technology have made this surgery much safer, but may increase sweating in other areas of the body.

Prevention:
Methods of extinguishment may be used even before onset of the odor as prevention. However, a very effective and cheap way to prevent foot odor is with sodium bicarbonate (a mildly basic white salt also known as baking soda, bread soda, cooking soda, bicarbonate of soda, sodium bicarb, bicarb soda, or simply bicarb). Sodium bicarbonate

will create a hostile environment unsuitable for the bacteria responsible for the bad smell. Four pinches of it on each foot everyday are usually enough (two inside the sock and two on the insole of the shoe). Sometimes it might take one or two days before the shoes completely lose their old smell. Washing your feet and applying the sodium bicarbonate daily are also potentially useful solutions.

While there are a number of other remedies, sodium bicarbonate, if bought in a supermarket, costs approximately 20 times less than common odor-eaters or odor-killer powders.

Swabbing feet twice daily with isopropyl alcohol, found at your local drug store, for two weeks is a cheap and highly effective cure. One can also periodically remove their footwear, to reduce foot moisture and thereby reduce bacterial spawn.

Some types of powders and activated charcoal insoles, such as odor eaters, have been developed to prevent foot odor by keeping the feet dry. Special cedarsoles can be recommended for this purpose because of their antibacterial characteristics. Hygiene is considered important in avoiding odor, as is avoidance of synthetic shoes/socks, and rotation of the pairs of shoes worn

In general, smelly feet can be controlled with a few preventive measures:

•Always wear socks with closed shoes.
•Avoid wearing nylon socks or plastic shoes. Instead, wear shoes made of leather, canvas, mesh, or other materials that let your feet breathe.
•Bathe feet daily in lukewarm water, using a mild soap. Dry thoroughly.
•Change socks and shoes at least once a day.
•Check for fungal infections between toes and on the bottoms of your feet. If any redness or dry, patchy skin is observed, get treatment right away.
•Don’t wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row. If you frequently wear athletic shoes, alternate pairs so that the shoes can dry out. Give your shoes at least 24 hours to air out between wearings; if the odor doesn’t go away, discard the shoes.
•Dust your feet frequently with a nonmedicated baby powder or foot powder. Applying antibacterial ointment also may help.
•Practice good foot hygiene to keep bacteria levels at a minimum.
•Wear thick, soft socks to help draw moisture away from the feet. Cotton and other absorbent materials are best.

Extinguishment:

Once foot odor has begun, it can be extinguished, or at least alleviated, by either aromatic deodorants that neutralise the odor by their own smell, or by absorbers of the odor itself.

Among the earliest foot deodorants were aromatic herbs such as allspice, which nineteenth-century Russian soldiers would put in their boots.

Odor absorbers include activated charcoal foot insert wafers, such as Innofresh footwear odor absorbers.

General Tips: To tackle this problem, wash your feet with an antibacterial soap such as Neko and use a fresh pair of cotton socks daily. You can also apply deodorant to the soles of your feet. The best thing would be to buy another pair of work shoes and alternate wearing the two pairs so that the shoes have time to dry out.

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/Foot_odor
http://www.wolfpodiatry.com/library/1932/SmellyFeetandFootOdor.html

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Stop Dengue in its Tracks

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Dengue fever is caused by the Aedes egypti mosquito. Culex and Anophelesmosquitoes (which cause diseases like malaria and filaria) are nocturnal — that is, they emerge and bite at night. They can be effectively kept at bay by using mosquito nets while sleeping at night. Aedes egypti, however, is a daytime urban insect. It cannot live above 1,220m or fly more than a hundred metres. It is easily identifiable — its body is striped like that of a tiger. It lives in houses and breeds in stagnant water. This could be in flower vases, old tyres, upturned bottle caps, and even water that collects on leaves and plants.

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Eradication of their breeding grounds is, therefore, a Herculean task, which cannot be achieved by the government alone. Citizens need to do their bit, awaken their civic sense and keep their neighbourhood garbage free. At home, flower vases, water cooler trays, and all sorts of open containers — including broken mugs and bottle caps — should be emptied.

The government often uses frogs or sprays of insecticides to reduce the population of Aedes egypti in populated areas. The sprays need to be used every eight to 10 days to interrupt the cycle of virus transmission. Also, people must leave their doors and windows open so that the insecticide can penetrate indoors, into the nooks and crannies where the mosquitoes rest. We often close all openings to prevent the “harmful chemicals” from entering inside. This negates the effects of spraying.

Once an infected mosquito bites, there is an asymptomatic incubation period of five to six days. After this, dengue sets in abruptly with headache and high fever. There is pain behind the eyes and on moving the eyes. Severe body ache makes it difficult for the person to move, giving dengue the nickname “back breaking” fever. There may be rashes on the skin and inside the mouth. There may also be bleeding into the conjunctiva of the eyes, making them appear blood shot.

After three or four days, the temperature returns to normal. But this is only a temporary respite; the fever returns a few days later with all the previous symptoms but in a milder form. Dengue is, therefore, also called “saddle back” fever.

Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment for dengue. There is no vaccination (as yet) to prevent infection or specific antiviral medication to combat the condition. Affected persons have to ride out the disease with supportive treatment, hoping for the best. Treatment is symptomatic with paracetamol for lowering the fever and fluids for hydration. Aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents like brufen must be avoided. Blood transfusions may have to be given if there is bleeding and shock.

The first attack of dengue usually takes a few weeks to completely recover from. Overall, the disease has a five per cent mortality. It is especially dangerous in children. The dangerous form, called dengue haemorrhagic fever, which is accompanied by shock and bleeding, occurs with subsequent infections with the virus, especially if they are of a different “serotype”.

Humans are infective during the first three days when the virus is multiplying in the blood. During this period, it’s important they lie inside a mosquito net all day and night. This is to prevent them from infecting other members of the household.

The diagnosis is made by excluding other causes of fever. Blood tests may show a low white cell count and platelets. There are, however, some confirmatory tests, like complement fixation, Elisa and an increasing number of antibodies.

Dengue is a self-limited disease. The severity of the symptoms depends on the serotype of the virus, immunological status of the host and, to some extent, genetics.

Herbal products — such as fresh leaves and extracts of neem and tulasi — are being investigated for their anti viral and immune boosting properties. The results are not conclusive. Claims and counterclaims about the efficacy of herbal products are difficult to evaluate. Double blind control studies have not yet been done to prove or disprove their efficacy.

One can prevent mosquito bites to a certain extent by wearing long-sleeved clothing, sleeping inside a mosquito net, and using mosquito meshes for windows and doors. Water should not be allowed to stagnate in containers in and around residential areas. Adding a handful of rock salt or pouring kerosene into stagnant water prevents mosquitoes from breeding.

Remember, no vaccine or specific treatment exists — the only way to escape dengue is to prevent being stung by these pesky insects.

Source: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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New Clue to Fighting Dengue Fever

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[amazon_link asins=’B01MT7D0P5,B00R8JDGUC,B00BDSRB6Y,B00A51A3E2,B004KU2DVU,B001UDUR9U,B003AW1OM8,B0010ZC106,B002DF1Y50′ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’finmeacur-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’4edae4b7-2bc1-11e7-a469-91c97557bbf1′]New clues into how the body fights off the tropical disease Dengue fever could help in the search for a vaccine.

The research, published in Science, also explains why those who recover from the virus have much worse symptoms if they catch it again.

Dengue fever is a viral infection spread by a mosquito bite. It is a major cause of illness worldwide, and cases are on the rise.

There is currently no licensed vaccine or drug treatment.

The researchers, based in the UK and Thailand, took blood samples from infected volunteers.

They found antibodies produced in response to the virus do not do a very effective job.

Rather than neutralising the virus, they actually help it infect more cells, springing into action when a person is infected a second time by a different strain of the virus.

Key information

This phenomenon accounts for why a second bout of dengue fever can be more severe and dangerous.

DENGUE FEVER
*Dengue fever is prevalent in sub-tropical and tropical regions including South East Asia and South America

*It is a major cause of illness worldwide, causing about 100 million episodes of feverish illness a year

*Symptoms include high fever, aching in the joints and vomiting

*Complications can rarely prove fatal

*There are four major strains of the virus

It also provides new insight into how to design a vaccine for dengue fever.

The authors of the Science paper say vaccines that steer clear of a key viral protein involved in the immune response should be the most effective.

Professor Gavin Screaton, head of the Department of Medicine at Imperial College London, led the study.

He said: “Our new research gives us some key information about what is and what is not likely to work when trying to combat the dengue virus.

“We hope that our findings will bring scientists one step closer to creating an effective vaccine.”

Professor Screaton said one of the major challenges was developing a vaccine for a virus that has four very different strains.

“The need for vaccines is enormous but the challenge is that in this case you need to hit four bugs all at once down a single needle,” he added.

Source
: BBC NEWS: May 6. 2010

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Dengue Virus Growth Protein Identified

A TEM micrograph showing Dengue virus virions ...
Image via Wikipedia

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By silencing genes one by one, scientists have identified dozens of proteins that help the dengue fever virus to grow and spread among  mosquitoes and humans. The research paves the way to potentially prevent or treat the disease, which infects millions worldwide every year.

Dengue is a mosquito-borne illness that can cause debilitating sickness and death. “Dengue is a nasty disease, and right now, there is no treatment for it and no way to prevent it,” said Mariano Garcia-Blanco, professor of molecular genetics and microbiology at Duke University Medical Centre (DUMC) and study co-author.

“But if we can find a weakness in the virus, we can design a strategy to fight it. This study has helped us identify some gaps in dengue’s armour,” he said.

Almost half the people in the world are vulnerable to the dengue virus, says the World Health Organisation. Public health officials are worried because dengue appears to be popping up in places where it has rarely appeared before. It may be fuelled by global warming.

Garcia-Blanco, used RNA interference (RNAi) to unlock dengue’s secrets. RNA interference is a normal biological process cells use to turn gene expression on or off depending upon which gene products, or proteins, are needed at any given moment.

“That very same system proved to be the perfect investigative tool for our study,” said Garcia-Blanco.

Garcia-Blanco and colleagues in Duke’s RNAi facility were able to knock down gene function in fruit fly cells infected with a strain of the dengue virus known as DENV-2.

Silencing one gene at a time allowed researchers to pinpoint which genes, or host factors, were essential to viral growth and which ones were not.

They used fruit flies as a model because the genetic tools needed for the same work in mosquitoes have not been developed as yet. The process yielded 116 host factors that appeared to be important for successful dengue infection in fruit flies.

In testing several of these host factors in mosquitoes at Johns Hopkins University, researchers subsequently discovered that at least one – and possibly a second – was necessary for dengue infection to occur in the insects, said a DUMC release.

Sources: The Times Of India

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