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Blepharis edulis

Botanical Name : Blepharis edulis / Blepharis persica
Family: Acanthaceae
Genus: Blepharis
Species: B. edulis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Sanskrit name : Sunishannaka, Uttagana

English Name: Rohida Tree

Hindi Name: Uttanjan

Habitat : It is found in India, Pakistan and Iran.In Thar desert and also in Africa

Description :
Blepharis edulis is a small, grey-pubescent or nearly glabrous perennial herb found in the Thar desert and in Africa...…CLICK & SEE…….………………………………….Click to see the picture

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The stem is rigid and leaves are four in each node. The flowers are blue, in strobilate inflorescence. The capsules are 2-seeded. Blepharin was identified from the seeds. The seeds are considered aphrodisiac, and are also resolvent and diuretic.

Medicinal Uses:
Part Used: Seeds
The seeds of this plant are used for various medicinal purposes in India.

Click to see :
*Medicinal Uses of Uttanjan(Blepharis edulis )

*Investigation Of Aphrodisiac Potential Of Blepharis
edulis Linn.
:

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/Blepharis_edulis
http://www.la-medicca.com/raw-herbs-blepharis-edulis.html
http://www.eco-planet.com/Herbsandplants/Blepharis%20edulis.htm

All Wound Up

Our body wants to eat, sleep and work at specific times. Scientists now know what makes the biological clock tick, writes T.V. Jayan

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All living organisms — humans are no exception — are controlled by a master clock. This biological timepiece, located in the brain, aligns an organism’s biological, behavioural and physiological activities with the day and night cycle. Its tick tock wakes us up in the morning, reminds us to eat at regular intervals and tells us when to go to bed.

But what sets this internal timekeeping, known as the circadian rhythm, has remained a mystery for long. This, despite scientists having had clues about its existence for more than a century.

The puzzle is slowly unfolding, thanks to advances in modern biology that offer a better insight into genes and their workings. Scientists now know the exact location of the master pacemaker and how is it regulated.

Research has also shown the circadian rhythm shares a reciprocal relationship with metabolism. In other words, while the circadian rhythm can influence metabolic activity, food intake can also modulate the functioning of the biological clock.

The mechanism by which feeding modulates the components of the clock machinery was discovered last month by a team of researchers led by Gad Asher of the University of Geneva. The paper, which appeared in the latest issue of Cell, shows that a protein called PARP-1 is at play here. The scientists found that mice that lack the gene that secretes PARP-1 fail to give the correct food intake cues to the circadian clock, thereby disrupting the synchronisation.

“This is an important finding,” says Raga Krishnakumar, a University of California San Francisco University researcher who, together with her former mentor W. Lee Kraus, showed early this year that PARP-1 is a multi-faceted protein that also regulates the expression of another protein which plays a vital role in aging, apart from helping contain DNA damage.

Scientists believe disruptions in the synchronisation between the circadian rhythm and metabolism play a key role in triggering many disorders that plague the modern world such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

The master clock occupies a tiny area in the hypothalamus region of the brain. Called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), this brain region — the size of a grain of rice — contains a cluster of nearly 20,000 neurons. These neurons, in response to light signals received from the retina, send signals to other parts of the brain as well as the rest of the body to control a host of bodily functions such as sleep, metabolism, body temperature and hormone production.

As per the cues received through these neurons from the master clock, the cellular clocks in the tissues in different body organs are reset on a daily basis. The operation of these cellular clocks is controlled by the co-ordinated action of a limited number of core clock genes.

The year 1994 was a watershed year in research on the circadian rhythm. American Japanese scientist Joseph Takahashi, working at Northwestern University in the US, discovered the genetic basis for the mammalian circadian clock. The gene his team discovered was named CLOCK in 1997. Subsequently, scientists discovered several other genes associated with the timekeeping function such as BMAL1, PER and CRY, which are also involved in the working of the main SCN clock machinery as well as subsidiary clocks in other parts of the body.

The cues received from the master clock are important. Based on them, various genes in the cells change their expression rhythmically over a 24-hour period. It times the production of various body chemicals such as enzymes and hormones so that the body can function in an optimal fashion.

In the normal course, the body follows the master clock in setting its physiological and psychological conditions for optimal performance. While the 24-hour solar cycle is the main cue for resetting the master clock — just like a wall-mounted clock resets after a 24-hour cycle — there are other time cues as well: food intake, social activity, temperature and so on. “Unlike geophysical time, the biological clock does not follow an exact 24-hour cycle on its own. Various external and internal time cues that it receives play a vital role in bringing the periodicity close to 24 hours,” says Vijay Kumar Sharma of the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore, who has been studying the circadian rhythm for years.

However , modern society often imposes deviations from the regular work-rest cycle. “Basically, mammals including humans are diurnal (active during the day rather than at night). Whatever be the external compulsions (night shifts or partying late), the inner mechanisms of the body follow a diurnal pattern,” says Sharma. “It is bound to be out of sync if we deviate from the routine.”

“A major consequence of modern lifestyle is the disruption of the circadian rhythm. This leads to a number of pathological conditions, including sleep disturbances, depression, metabolic disorders and cancer. Studies reveal the risk of breast cancer is significantly higher in industrialised societies, and that the risk increases as developing countries become more and more westernised. Moreover, a moderate increase in the incidence of breast cancer is reported in women working nightshifts,” says Sourabh Sahar, a researcher working on the circadian rhythm at the University of California, Irvine.

Need more proof that the body has a mind of its own?

Source: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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5 Mind-Blowing Benefits of Exercise

U.S. News & World Report reveals five ways that exercise can enhance your brainpower and mood:

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1.It reverses the detrimental effects of stress. Exercise boosts levels of soothing brain chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Exercise may actually work on a cellular level to reverse stress’s toll on your aging process.

2.It lifts depression. Sustained, sweat-inducing activity can reduce symptoms of depression about as effectively as antidepressants.

3.It improves learning. Exercise increases the level of brain chemicals called growth factors that help make new brain cells.

4.It builds self-esteem and improves body image. Even simply seeing fitness improvements, like running a faster mile or lifting more weight, can improve your self-esteem and body image.

5.It leaves you feeling euphoric. High-intensity exercise can leave you with a feeling of euphoria. Try running, biking, or swimming as fast as you can for 30 to 40 seconds and then reduce your speed to a gentle pace for five minutes before sprinting again.

Further, a new study by researchers at Northwestern University‘s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago have revealed impressive insights into why exercise is so good for your brain. In short, it appears that exercise lowers the activity of bone-morphogenetic protein or BMP, which slows the production of new brain cells.

At the same time, exercise increases Noggin, a brain protein that acts as a BMP antagonist.

According to NYTimes.com:

“The more Noggin in your brain, the less BMP activity exists and the more stem cell divisions and neurogenesis [production of new brain cells] you experience.”

Resources:
U.S. News & World Report June 30, 2010
NYTimes.com July 7, 2010

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Learn Music, Get Smart

Training in music while still young effects changes in the brain that enhance one’s speech and sound abilities.
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Practitioners of music therapy, like most members of the listening public, vouch for the healing qualities of music. Music soothes a stressed mind, elevates the soul, and helps cope with illnesses. What if it also improves intelligence? Can we say that learning the violin or piano would make you smarter? We could debate the meaning of “intelligence”, but many neuroscientists and psychologists are now beginning to answer the question in the affirmative.

In a review paper published last week in Nature, Nina Kraus and Bharath Chandrasekaran, both of the School of Communication at Northwestern University near Chicago, claim that training in music changes the brain significantly. And that these changes would help specifically in skills like speech processing, and generally in many areas that involve the processing of sound. Musicians get better at remembering things, have better motor skills, and can also pay attention better in a sea of noise. “Music training improves auditory skills that are not exclusively related to music,” write the authors.

Music is a sophisticated art form that invokes several skills even to listen. From an auditory point of view, it has three aspects: pitch, timing and timbre. Timing is at the heart of rhythm, and timbre is involved in the quality of sound. At a deeper level, it involves a complex organisation of sound. Great musicians and highly sophisticated listeners, particularly of classical music, would often point to deep cultural facets as well.

Learning music would call into play basic skills as well higher cognitive abilities. Musical training is a complex task that involves several brain areas. At a basic level, it requires the ability to identify pitch, the frequency of a note. Even the most basic learner needs to tune the instrument first. This isn’t easy, and many people simply can’t identify the pitch of a note easily, no matter how hard they try. Good musicians need to have a great sense of timing. They also need to distinguish timbre, which actually conveys the richness of sound (while pitch is the basic frequency, timbre is the fine structure of a note). The ability to identify these three basic features needs considerable training.

A long history of training in music shows up in the brain structure. The brains of musicians show more grey matter in areas that are important for playing a specific instrument. In physiological terms, this change results in increased activation of neurons (brain cells) when exposed to sound. For example, the strength of activation when exposed to the sound of an instrument depends on the length of training on that instrument. What this shows, and Kraus and Chandrasekaran argue, is that the changes were acquired through training and are not innate differences in the brain.

Areas in the brain that get developed through musical training are involved in at least three faculties: sound processing, visual processing and motor control. This is why learning to perform music is different from listening, no matter how deep. “Listening to music does not involve motor control,” says Vinod Menon, professor at the department of psychiatry and behavioural sciences, Stanford University. Menon’s lab studies, among other things, show the brain processes music and also the similarities and differences between music and speech processing in the brain.

Language and music seem to be two different subjects, but there are many similarities between them. At a fundamental level, both involve the processing of sound. Some of the finer skills that musicians have are transferred easily to the processing of speech, which also uses attributes like pitch and timbre to convey information. “Musicians would be able to detect easily fine distinctions in speech like irony or sarcasm,” says T.S. Sridhar, professor of molecular medicine at St Johns Medical College, Bangalore. Sridhar has experience of working in auditory physiology.

This skill could translate to being able to identify emotions in speech much better than in the case of non-musicians. Musical training uses a high working memory, an ability that is extremely useful in language. It also involves paying close attention to sound, which also translates to a skill in language: the ability to listen carefully to a stream of sound amidst a sea of noise. Many experiments have shown that neurons in the brains of musicians indeed show a higher response when exposed to the sound of language when compared to non-musicians.

Since the strength of such response is dependent on the length of training, it always helps to start early. Kraus and Chandrasekaran argue that seven years is the best age to start. This in turn raises another question: can one get the benefits of musical training — in terms of translatable skills — when training in later life? Says Kraus, who is Hugh Knowles Professor of communication sciences, neurobiology and physiology and otolaryngology at Northwestern University, “There is evidence that the nervous system, and in particular the auditory system, continues to change throughout the life times of human and non-human animals. An important area for future research is to determine specifically the effects of musical experience — begun later in life — on the nervous system.”

So performers, play on, be it for your brain or your heart. As a commentary on the Nature article argues, music could be taught and learned for its own sake and not merely to improve the brain.

Source The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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New Protein May Benefit Prostate Cancer Patients

Men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer and need to have a gland surgically removed may suffer some temporary nerve damage. Complications of this major nerve could lead to more health concerns, including the killing of healthy cells in the penis, as well as erectile dysfunction.

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However, researchers have discovered a protein that could speed up recovery of this complication. Using rats, the team of investigators administered sonic hedgehog, the beneficial protein, into the animals, using a gel that contains a high amount of nutrient.

The team of investigators discovered that the nerve regenerated twice as fast compared to if it healed on its own. This could lead to further research that may also help in treating peripheral nerves in the face that were damaged from certain types of cancer.

Successful studies may lead to improving male patients’ lives after surgery “because men are being diagnosed at a younger age and live longer due to improved cancer therapies,” said Carol Podlasek, assistant professor of urology at Northwestern University’s Feinburg School of Medicine.

These results may benefit prostate cancer patients for a more effective, natural treatment for the illness, as a recent report states. Other non-surgical procedures for these health complications have not been successful for the majority of experimental trial participants.

How many trips a night do you make to the bathroom?

If you have prostate problems, you understand this question all too well. Can anything improve your frequent, painful urination? These guys found something that works:

“Since taking (this natural remedy), I have gone several nights without getting up to go to the bathroom.” —Walter B., California

“I used to get up eight times a night to pee. So far, I’m down to four times a night. This is a vast improvement.” —Ed B., Oklahoma

“I have reduced the night trips to one in my seven-hour sleep period.” —Robert S., Montana

“I no longer get up four to five times a night to go to the bathroom, and I no longer have a sense of an urge to go.” —Ronald R., Louisiana

You may click to find out What secret do these meThey discovered a breakthrough solution for optimum prostate health. Will it work for you, too? n share?

Source :Better Health Research. July 19.2010

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