Categories
Herbs & Plants

Viola pedata

Botanical Name : Viola pedata
Family : Violaceae
Genus :  Viola L.
Species : Viola pedata L.
Kingdom : Plantae
Subkingdom : Tracheobionta
Superdivision : Spermatophyta
Division : Magnoliophyta
Class : Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Dilleniidae
Order : Violales

Synonyms:
Viola pedata L.

VIPEC Viola pedata L. var. concolor Holm ex Brainerd
VIPEL Viola pedata L. var. lineariloba DC.
VIPER Viola pedata L. var. ranunculifolia DC.

Common Name :  Viola pedata,   Bird’s Foot Violet, Crowfoot Violet, Pansy Violet

Habitat :Viola pedata  is native to  eastern N. America – New York to Wisconsin and south to Florida and eastern Texas. It grows in dry rocky banks, in open deciduous woods on well-drained soils and on the edges of ditches in acid sandy soils.  Commonly occurs in dryish soils in rocky woods, slopes, glades and roadsides.

Description:
It is a rhizomatous, stemless perennial (to 4″ tall) which typically features variably colored flowers, the most common color forms being bi-colored (upper petals dark purple and lower ones light blue) and uniform light blue. Each flower rests above the foliage atop its own leafless stalk. Blooms in early spring (March to May in St. Louis). Pedata in Latin means foot-like.

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Bird’s foot violet features deeply divided leaves which somewhat resemble a bird’s foot.

Height: 0.25 to 0.5 feet
Spread: 0.25 to 0.5 feet
Bloom Time: March – May   Bloom Data
Bloom Color: Lilac/purple

Cultivation:
Best grown in sandy or gravelly, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates light shade. Good soil drainage is the key to growing this plant well. Does not spread by runners. May self-seed in optimum growing conditions. Considered more difficult to grow than most other violets.
Propagation :
Seed – best sown in the autumn in a cold frame. Sow stored seed in early spring in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. Division in the autumn or just after flowering. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions, though we have found that it is best to pot up smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are growing away well. Plant them out in the summer or the following spring

Edible Uses: Young leaves and flower buds – raw or cooked. When added to soup they thicken it in much the same way as okra. Some caution is advised if the plant has yellow flowers since these can cause diarrhoea if eaten in large quantities. A tea can be made from the leaves. The flowers are candied.

Medicinal  Uses:
A poultice of the leaves has been used to allay the pain of a headache.  An infusion of the plant has been used in the treatment of dysentery, coughs and colds.  A poultice of the crushed root has been applied to boils.  The seeds have been recommended in uric acid gravel.  The plant parts and roots have been used as a mild laxative and to induce vomiting. A decoction of the above ground parts has been used to loosen phlegm in the chest, and for other pulmonary problems.

Other Uses:
Use as very good ground  cover. An infusion of the root has been used to soak corn seeds before planting in order to keep off insects

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://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm
http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/plant.asp?code=G280
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=VIPE

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Categories
News on Health & Science

Simple and New Solution for Athletic Injuries

Pittsburgh Steelers Hines Ward and Troy Polamalu used their own blood in an innovative injury treatment before winning the Super Bowl. Major league pitchers, professional soccer players and hundreds of recreational athletes have also undergone the procedure, which is called platelet-rich plasma therapy.
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Experts in sports medicine say that it could eventually improve the treatment of stubborn injuries like tennis elbow and knee tendonitis.

The technique involves injecting portions of a patient’s blood directly into the injured area, which catalyzes the body’s instincts to repair muscle, bone and other tissue. It even appears to help regenerate ligament and tendon fibers, which could shorten rehabilitation time and possibly eliminate the need for surgery.

Sources: New York Times February 16, 2009

Categories
Meditation

Learn Healthy Breathing

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The Right Breath:You already know how to breathe, right? You do it every moment, every day, without even thinking about. Chances are, though, your breathing technique is not as healthy as you might think.

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Most of us breathe too shallowly, too quickly. Our lungs and heart would greatly prefer longer, slower, deeper breaths. This is true for general health, and it is also true for managing stress. Deep breathing helps dissipate the fight-or-flight reaction so many of us experience when we’re stressed. It sends a signal to your brain to slow down, which results in hormonal and physiological changes that slow heart rate and lower blood pressure.

You might be surprised that there are lots of big books written on breathing method. That’s because proper breathing technique is crucial for everyone from athletes to people with asthma to yoga experts. But for us regular folk, there are only a few things you need to keep in mind:

  • In general, inhale slowly and deeply through the nose. A healthy inhale takes about five seconds.
  • In general, exhale slowly through the mouth. Empty your lungs completely. Good breathers focus more on thorough exhalation than on inhalation.
  • Engage your diaphragm for good breathing. The diaphragm is the sheet of muscle along the top of your abdomen that pulls your lungs down to draw in air, and then pushes your lungs up to expel carbon dioxide. With a good inhalation, your lungs puff up as your diaphragm drops. With a good exhale, your diaphragm rises. If you don’t feel this muscle moving, deepen your breaths even more.
  • Work toward breathing just six or eight deep breaths per minute. Most of us breathe more than 20 times a minute.

Breathe Away Anxiety

Proper breathing is particularly important during moments of great anxiety. At times like these, many people resort to chest breathing — the type of big, desperate inhales and exhales that make you rapidly puff up and deflate your chest, says Michael Crabtree, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at Washington & Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania, and a licensed clinical psychologist.

To regain healthy breathing during periods of anxiety, he says, lie on the floor and place your hand on your chest. Using your hand as a gauge, try to reduce the amount of chest movement, while continuing to breathe normally. You don’t want your chest to move; you want the other parts of your body to take over the breathing — using your diaphragm instead of the big chest inhales and exhales. Do this for five minutes.

Be aware that chest breathing still has a purpose, but only in times of extreme emotional arousal or physical challenge. “Most Americans use chest breathing because of developing instincts from fight-or-flight conditions,” he says. It is in those types of physically dangerous situations that it is still necessary — not for everyday stress or anxiety. Proper breathing is particularly important during moments of great anxiety. At times like these, many people resort to chest breathing — the type of big, desperate inhales and exhales that make you rapidly puff up and deflate your chest, says Michael Crabtree, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at Washington & Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania, and a licensed clinical psychologist.

To regain healthy breathing during periods of anxiety, he says, lie on the floor and place your hand on your chest. Using your hand as a gauge, try to reduce the amount of chest movement, while continuing to breathe normally. You don’t want your chest to move; you want the other parts of your body to take over the breathing — using your diaphragm instead of the big chest inhales and exhales. Do this for five minutes.

Be aware that chest breathing still has a purpose, but only in times of extreme emotional arousal or physical challenge. “Most Americans use chest breathing because of developing instincts from fight-or-flight conditions,” he says. It is in those types of physically dangerous situations that it is still necessary — not for everyday stress or anxiety.

Source:Reader’s Digest