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Bergamot

Botanical Name: Monarda citriodora/Citrus aurantium ssp. bergamia
Family :Rutaceae — (rue family)
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales
Genus: Citrus
Species: C. aurantium x C. medica
Other Name : The bergamot orange is unrelated to the herbs of the same name, Monarda didyma and Monarda fistulosa.Citrus bergamia syn C.b. rutaceae syn C. aurantium var. bergamia
The name BERGAMOT is shared by unrelated perennial plants of the Monarda species.
Parts Used: Flowers, ripe fruit peel.

Habitat:Originally Asia. Today also cultivated in the Ivory Coast and Reggio di Calabria in southern Italy. Italian Bergamot is preferred. Extensively cultivated in southern France and Italy for a long time, it is believed the orange blossom as a symbol for marriage originated there.

Description:
A tree of the citrus family which is similar in appearance to Bitter Orange aka Seville Orange (C. aurantium), but with wider leaves and a more aromatic rind on the fruit. Both Neroli oil from the flowers, and Bergamot oil from the rinds, are obtained by distillation.Bergamot grows on small evergreen trees which blossom during the spring.

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Leaves – The bergamot tree has an evergreen and a relatively light-green foliage, close to the one of the lemon tree. (Citrus limon)
Flowers – Flowers are white, star-shaped, and strongly fragrant. Branches are often thorny.
Fruits – The bergamot, or orange bergamot, is a citrus fruit that looks like a slightly flattened and small lemon. Its skin is yellow to orange-yellow. The bergamot is seldom eaten raw, but is rather candied or processed to get the essential oils it contains
Fragrance: Subtle orangey, citrus scent. Somewhat spicy.

Companion plant
Bergamot’s aromatic roots are thought to mask other nearby plants from pests that attack their roots, and so are sometimes grown as a companion in vegetable gardens.

Religious importance
It is believed that this herb is used in the rituals and spells for money and success.


USES:

In food
An essence extracted from the aromatic skin of this sour fruit is used to flavour Earl Grey tea and confectionery. One Italian food manufacturer produces a commercial marmalade using the fruit as its principal ingredient. It is also popular in Greece as a preserve, made with bergamot peel boiled in sugar syrup.

As a scent
Bergamot peel is used in perfumery for its ability to combine with an array of scents to form a bouquet of aromas which complement each other. Approximately one third of all men’s and about half of women’s perfumes contain bergamot essential oil. Bergamot was a component of the original Eau de Cologne developed in 17th century Germany – in 1704 the bergamot was first used to make the now famous “Eau de toilette” from the bergamot fruit by scooping out the pulp and squeezing the peel into sponges. 100 bergamot oranges will yield about 3 ounces of bergamot oil.

Companion plant
Bergamot’s aromatic roots are thought to mask other nearby plants from pests that attack their roots, and so are sometimes grown as a companion in vegetable gardens.

Medicinal Uses:
The strongly acidic fruit of the bitter orange stimulates the digestion and relieves flatulence. An infusion of the fruit is thought to soothe headaches, calm palpitations and lower fevers. The juice helps the body eliminate waste products, and, being rich in vitamin C, helps the immune system ward off infection. If taken to excess, however, its acid content can exacerbate arthritis. In Chinese herbal medicine, the unripe fruit, known as zhi shi, is thought to regulate the quick helping to relieve flatulence and abdominal bloating, and to open the bowels. The distilled flower water is antispasmodic and sedative.

In sunscreens:

In the past psoralen – extracted from bergamot oil – has been used in tanning accelerators and sunscreens. Psoralens penetrate the skin, where they increase the amount of direct DNA damage. This damage is responsible for sunburn and for an increased melanin production.

These substances were known to be photocarcinogenic since 1959, but they were only banned from sunscreens in 1995. These photocarcinogenic substances were banned years after they had caused many cases of malignant melanoma and deaths. Psoralen is now used only in the treatment of certain skin disorders, as part of PUVA therapy.

Witchcraft
Bergamot was said to be used by Italian calabrian wiccas that used the fruit in potions to make women fertile, men impotent, or to get rid of warts or blemishes. Today there is a well-known pagan cult that worship the god given name of the Bergamot. On their talismans is a bergamot orange.

In hoodoo rootwork, bergamot is used to control or command, and for this reason is used in a variety of spells and formulas in which a practitioner might wish to subdue another person.

Bergamot Oil (Citrus bergamia) – A light greenish-yellow liquid with a fresh sweet-fruity, slightly spicy-balsamic undertone. Blends well with lavender, neroli, jasmine, cypress, geranium, lemon, chamomile, juniper, coriander and violet. Contains 0.2-0.5% furocoumarin (as bergaptene). If used straight, it has severe phototoxicity. Avoid sunlight after use on skin. To avoid phototoxicity use in dilutions of less than 1%. Otherwise non-toxic and relatively non-irritating.
Extraction: Cold pressed from the peels.
Country of Origin: Italy

MEDICINAL USES:
*Antiseptic, appetite stimulant.
*Bitter, aromatic; relieves tension; antispasmodic; digestive aid.
*Oil is considered sedative and healing.
*Orange blossom water has been used for infant colic.
*Bergamot oil has been used in douches and baths for vaginal infections.
*Formerly, the dried flowers were used in infusion form as a mild nervous stimulant.

This herb also known as Oswego tea and Bee Balm is good for the treatment of nausea, vomiting, cold and flu. If used in oil form is an effective treatment for Gingivitis, lost appetite, acne, coughs, fevers, tension, stress, and depression.


AROMATHERAPY:

Bergamot oil is considered sedative and healing and used for stress related problems, depression and anxiety. Neroli oil is considered stimulant and aphrodisiac. Both are used for skin conditions.

COSMETIC:
Increases tanning (do NOT apply directly to skin – photosensitivity)
Oil used in perfumery, diffuser (aromatherapy), massage, bath.

CULINARY:

Bergamot oil is used to flavor Earl Grey tea; also hard candy, tobacco, some chewing gum, baked goods and desserts.
Orange blossom water is used in desserts such as blancmange and in pastries.

Toxicology:
In one study, oil of bergamot has been linked to certain phototoxic effects (due to the chemical bergaptene) and blocking the absorption of potassium in the intestines.

Bergamot is also a source of bergamottin which, along with the chemically related compound 6’,7’-dihydroxybergamottin, is believed to be responsible for the grapefruit juice effect in which the consumption of the juice affects the metabolism of a variety of pharmaceutical drugs.

BITTER ORANGE (Citrus aurantium ssp amara): The peel is CONTRAINDICATED with stomach or intestinal ulcers; NOT given to children (possible toxic effects); NOT with ultraviolet or sun therapy (increased photosensitivity).

CAUTION:Because bergamot EO contains bergaptene and bergamotine, it needs to be used with care when applied to the skin. These two chemicals can produce over pigmentation of the skin when exposed to the sun or even just light. Do not apply bergamot oil to skin in greater than .5 to 1% diluted form in a base oil. It increases PHOTOSENSITIVITY.

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://earthnotes.tripod.com/bergamot_h.htm
http://www.wellbeingsonline.com/Aroma-pedia/Bergamot.htm
http://www.ayurveda-herbal-remedy.com/herbal-encyclopedia/ayurveda-encyclopedia-b.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bergamot_orange
http://coolexotics.com/plant-9.html#
http://www.candbsupplies.ca/essentialoils.html

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

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Smoking Doesn’t Make You Happy

If you think that smoking is one of the few pleasures left to you, think again. Going by a study, puffing does not make people happy.

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Researchers at Peninsula Medical School in Britain have found that smokers experience lower average levels of pleasure and life satisfaction compared with non-smokers, the ScienceDaily has reported.

According to lead researcher Dr Iain Lang, “We found no evidence to support the claim that smoking is associated with pleasure, either in people from lower socio-economic groups or in the general population.

“People may feel like they’re getting pleasure when they smoke a cigarette but in fact smokers are likely to be less happy overall — the pleasure they feel from having a smoke comes only because they’re addicted.

The researchers came to the conclusion after looking at the relationship between smoking and psychological wellbeing of a group of around 1,000 people, aged 50 or above.

They used a measure of quality of life called CASP-19 and found that smokers experienced lower average levels of pleasure and life satisfaction compared with non-smokers.

The studies for the research categorised people as never-smokers, ex-smokers and current smokers, and used household wealth as an indicator for socio-economic position.

“These results show smoking doesn’t make you happy — in fact, it is associated with poorer overall quality of life.

“Anyone thinking of giving up smoking should understand that quitting will be better for them in terms of their well-being — as well as their physical health — in the long run,” Dr Lang said.

Click to see also:->

Smokers ‘make their children ill’

Call to end child passive smoking

‘Clear smoking link’ to cot death

Timeline: Smoking and disease

Smoke ban urged for foster 

 Smokers ‘will die 10 years early’

Sources:The Times Of India

Guggul

Botanical Name : Balsamodendron mukul
Family Name: Burseraceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales
Genus: Commiphora
Species: C. wightii
vernacular Name: Sans Guggulu,Hind –Guggul ,Eng –Indian Bdellium tree
Common Name :Commiphora wightii,Guggal, Guggul or Mukul myrrh tree

Habitat:The guggul plant may be found from northern Africa to central Asia, but is most common in northern India. It prefers arid and semi-arid climates and is tolerant of poor soil.

Description:It is a shrub or small tree, reaching a maximum height of 4 m, with thin papery bark. The branches are thorny. The leaves are simple or trifoliate, the leaflets ovate, 1–5 cm long, 0.5–2.5 cm broad, irregularly toothed. It is gynodioecious, with some plants bearing bisexual and male flowers, and others with female flowers. The individual flowers are red to pink, with four small petals.

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Cultivation and uses
Guggul is sought for its gummy resin, which is harvested from the plant’s bark through the process of tapping. In India and Pakistan, guggul is cultivated commercially. The resin of the guggul plant, known as gum guggulu, has a fragrance similar to myrrh and is commonly used in incense and perfumes. It is the same product that was known in Hebrew, ancient Greek and Latin sources as bdellium.

Guggal has been a key component in ancient Indian Ayurvedic system of medicine, and now is widely used in modern medicine for treatment of heart ailments. But Guggal (Commiphora weghtii), as it is locally known, has become so scarce because of its overuse in its two habitats in India where its is found — Gujarat and Rajasthan that the World Conservation Union (IUCN) has enlisted it in its Red Data List of endangered species.

The extract, called gugulipid, guggulipid or guglipid, comes from the guggal or guggul tree and has been used in Ayurvedic medicine, a traditional Hindu medicine, for nearly 3,000 years in India

Guggulipid
Guggulipid, gugulipid or guglipid is the extract extracted from the sap or resin of Guggal tree also known as mukul myrrh tree (Commiphora mukul) it secretes a resinous material called gum guggul.

Guggul Dhoop
Guggul can be purchased in a loosely packed form called Dhoop, an incense from India, which is then burned over hot coals. This produces a fragrant dense smoke. The burning coals which produces the smoke is carried around in different rooms and held in all the corners of the room for a few seconds. This is said to drive away evil spirits as well as remove the evil eye from the home and its family members.

Guggul and gum guggulu are the names given to a yellowish resin produced by the stem of the plant. This resin has been used historically and is also the source of modern extracts of guggul.The greenish resin is harvested in the winter.

This resin has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine, which combined it with other plant products to cleanse and rejuvenate the body, especially the blood vessels and the joints. It was also used for sore throats and digestive complaints.
In Chinese medicine, guggul is known as mo yao and is used to activate blood flow, relieve pain, and speed recovery.

A resin from a related tree, C. myrrha, is the myrrh mentioned in the Bible as one of the gifts the wise men from the East brought to the infant Jesus.
Guggul (also spelled gugul, gugulu, or guggal) is now coming to attention in the United States because of its reputation for lowering cholesterol.
Ayurvedic practitioners probably didn’t even know what cholesterol was, much less care about lowering it. But it appears that the resin they used to cleanse blood vessels may indeed have benefit for Westerners with elevated blood lipids.

Active Ingredients
Guggul contains essential oils, myrcene, Z and E guggulsterones, alpha-camphorene, various other guggulsterones, and makulol.
The Z and E guggulsterones, extracted with ethyl acetate, are the constituents that appear to be responsible for lowering blood lipids.

Medicinal Uses:

1.High triglycerides. 2.Acne vulgaris. 3.Atherosclerosis.4.High cholesterol.5.Osteroarthrities.6.Obesity.
Animal studies suggest that guggulsterones can increase the liver’s ability to bind “bad” LDL cholesterol, thus taking it out of circulation. Animals given guggul extract and a high-fat, plaque-producing diet had lower blood fats and developed less atherosclerosis than animals given the diet alone.

In some of this research, a combination of guggul and garlic worked better than guggul by itself.

In humans, three months of guggul treatment resulted in lower levels of total cholesterol (average 24 percent) and serum triglycerides (average 23 percent reduction) in the majority of patients.

A double-blind trial comparing guggul to the cholesterol-lowering drug clofibrate found that the two treatments were very similar in their ability to lower total cholesterol (11 percent by gugulipid, 10 percent by clofibrate) and triglycerides (17 percent by gugulipid, 22 percent by clofibrate).
HDL (“good”) cholesterol was also altered by gugulipid, increasing in 60 percent of patients, while clofibrate did not have any effect on HDL. Raising HDL and lowering total cholesterol improves the ratio of these blood fats.
Two other placebo-controlled trials in India confirm that guggul can lower total cholesterol and raise HDL.
Guggulsterones are reported to stimulate the thyroid, which might tend to have a beneficial effect on cholesterol for people with underactive thyroid glands.

Guggul also protects the heart: In animals challenged with drugs that damage heart tissue, cardiac enzymes did not change significantly when the experimental animals were pretreated with guggul.
Guggul has also demonstrated anti-inflammatory activity in rats.
Some reports suggest that it helps keep platelets from clumping together to start a blood clot, that it can help break up blood clots (fibrinolytic activity), and that it is an antioxidant.

Dose
The normal dose is one 500-mg tablet, standardized to 25 mg guggulsterones, three times daily.
Measurable changes should be apparent within four weeks for people who will benefit.

Special Precautions

The biggest difficulty in using guggul is said to be finding a reliable standardized product. Quality is quite variable.
Because guggul is reported to stimulate the thyroid, it makes sense to monitor thyroid hormones in people using guggul for long-term treatment.
People with liver problems should use guggul only under the supervision of a physician willing to monitor liver enzymes.
Guggul may not be appropriate for people with chronic diarrhea.

As per Ayurveda:It is vishada, tikta and ushnaveerya; aggravates pitta; sara, kashaya, katu, katu-vipaka, ruksha and (highly) laghu; useful in the union of fracture; aphrodisiac, sukshma; corrects hoarseness; rejuvinating; gastric stimulant, picchila, invigorating; pacifies vitiated kapha and vata; beneficial in the treatment of ulcer, adenitis, obesity, polyuria, urinary calculii, gout, fatigue, rheumatoid arthritis, septic ulcer, oedema, piles, scrofula and worms.

Part Used: Gum

Therapeutic Uses:

Gum: alterative, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic. antispasmodic, anti suppurative, aperient, aphrodisiac, appetizing, astringent. carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, ecbolic, emmenagogue, expectorant; useful in amenorrhoea, anaemia, endometritis, .’ leucorrhoea,. manorrhagia, nervous diseases, rheumatism, scrofulous affections and skin diseases,

Particularly applied in indolent ulcer and bad wounds; specially recommended in the treatment of lipid and urinary disorders, obesity, in marasmus of children and in rheumatoid arthritis;

Inhalation of the fumes of burnt guggul beneficial in chronic bronchitis, acute and chronic nasal catarrh, laryngitis and tuberculosis.

Guggulipid, the ethylacetate extract of the gum, has recently been established, as an effective hypolipidaemic as well as an anti-inflammatory agent in certain types of hypercholesterolaemia.
Adverse Effects

Some people in the clinical trials reported mild digestive upset.
There are no other reports of side effects, although increased thyroid gland activity could presumably lead to complications such as nervousness, weakness, palpitations, or eye problems.

Possible Interactions
No drug interactions have been reported.
In theory, guggul might counteract thyroid-suppressing drugs or increase the effect of thyroid hormones such as Synthroid or Levoxyl. Monitoring of thyroid function is prudent.
No interactions with cholesterol-lowering drugs have been observed, but they might be possible. People who use guggul together with cholesterol medications should be monitored carefully by their physician.

You may click to learn more about Guggul

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.peoplespharmacy.org/archives/herb_library/guggul.asp

http://www.kroger.com/hn/Herb/Guggul.htm#Botany)

http://www.ayurvedakalamandiram.com/herbs.htm#eranda

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commiphora_wightii

 

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