Common Names:Stevia, Candyleaf, Sweetleaf, Sweet leaf, or Sugarleaf
Habitat:Stevia rebaudiana is native to South America – Brazil, Paraguay. It grows on infertile, sandy acid soils with shallow water tables. This is normally in areas like the edge of mashes and grassland communities.
Description: Stevia Rebaudiana is a sub-tropical plant and prefers a climate where the mean temperature is 75° F. and is always semi-humid. It thrives where it rains approximately 55″ each year. S. Rebaudiana is a herbaceous perennial shrub native to the highlands of Paraguay and sections of Argentina and Brazil that are situated along the 25th Degree Line, South Latitude.
In the wild, Stevia grows to 2 feet in height while cultivated varieties grow to three feet. A spindly, many-branched plant with an interesting root system. Fine roots spread out on the surface of the soil, while a thicker part of the root grows deep into the soil. The stems are hairy, wand-like and covered with leaves. Leaves are opposite and toothed, fibrous and dark green. Flowers are white, tubular and bisexual. While the plant itself is not aromatic, the leaves are sweet to the taste and dry leaves are sweeter.
It is frost tender. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.
Stevia was discovered in 1887 by the South American Natural Scientist, Antonio Bertoni. There are approximately 80 wild species in North America and another 200 species are native to South America. However, only Stevia Rebaudiana (and another species, now extinct) possesses the natural sweetness we look for. Some of the other species, while still very sweet, have a taste reminiscent of a well-known artificial sweetener. Cultivation:
Prefers a sandy soil, requiring a warm sunny position. It is a short day plant, growing up to 0.6 meters in the wild and flowering from January to March in the southern hemisphere. Flowering under short day conditions should occur 54-104 days following transplanting, depending on the daylength sensitivity of the cultivar. The natural climate is semi-humid subtropical with temperature extremes from 21 to 43 C, averaging 24 C. Stevia grows in areas with up to 1375mm of rain a year. Plants are not very frost resistant, but can be grown as half-hardy annuals in Britain, starting them off in a greenhouse and planting them out after the last expected frosts.
Seed – sow spring in a warm greenhouse and only just cover the seed. Make sure the compost does not dry out. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots and grow them on fast, planting them out after the last expected frosts. It could be worthwhile giving them some protection such as a cloche or cold frame for a few weeks after planting them out until they are growing away well. Edible Uses:
Used primarily as a sweetener in teas and coffee and contains little, if any, calories. In maney countries, it is used commercially to sweeten sodas and other beverages for the calorie conscious public. Stevia does not break down when heated, so it can be used in baking or cooking without problems. However, it does not crystallize or caramelize like sugar; so meringues and flans are not in the Stevia cooking list. Stevia products currently on the market include: Stevia leaves – whole leaves. Stevia, Cut and Sifted – the leaves are cut into smaller pieces and sifted to ensure that twigs and extraneous matter are not included.
Leaves are eaten -raw or cooked. A very sweet liquorice-like flavour. The leaves contain ‘stevioside’, a substance that is 300 times sweeter than sucrose. Other reports say that they contain ‘estevin’ a substance that, weight for weight, is 150 times sweeter than sugar. The dried leaves can be ground and used as a sweetener or soaked in water and the liquid used in making preserves. The powdered leaves are also added to herb teas. The leaves are sometimes chewed by those wishing to reduce their sugar intake. The leaves can also be cooked and eaten as a vegetable.
Stevia has been used by the native South Americans to treat diabetes, because of its ability to lower the blood sugar level. They also use it to treat high blood pressure. Paraguayan Matto Grosso Indian tribes use stevia as an oral contraceptive. The women drink a daily decoction in water of powdered leaves and stems to achieve this purpose. This activity of the plant remains a controversial issue. The suggestion is that the antifertility effect is due to certain flavonoids and their monoglycosides, and not to stevioside.
The Guarani Tribe of Paraguay, the Mestizos and other natives refer to Stevia as Caa-he-e and they have used the herb to sweeten their bitter beverages (mate´ for example) since pre-Columbian times.
Known Hazards : May cause dizziness, headache, flatulence, nausea & muscle pain. Caution with diabetic patients. May increase blood pressure lowering effects of allopathic medicine. 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.
Other Names: Arca noae or the Noah’s Ark shell Family: Arcidae Genus: Arca Species: A. noae Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Mollusca Class: Bivalvia Order: Arcoida
Common Names: Cockle shell or Wa Leng Zi in mandarin,
Distribution & availablity: Arca noae or Ark shell is found in the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas. It used to be common in the Adriatic but in 1949/50 there was a sudden unexplained, catastrophic decline in numbers. Since then populations have been creeping back upwards and in 2002, densities of up to 13 individuals per square metre (11 square feet) were recorded but, because of lack of records, it is unclear whether a return to prior population levels had been reached. Description:
The shell of Arca noae grows to about 10 cm (4 in) in length. It is shortened at the anterior end and elongated posteriorly. It is irregularly striped in brown and white and has fine sculptured ribs running from the umbones to the margin. The hinge is long and straight and the shell is attached strongly to the substrate by byssal threads. There are pallial eyes on the edges of the mantle, especially at the posterior end. There are 42 to 48 radial ribs outside.
They are characterized by boat-shaped shells with long, straight hinge lines bearing many small, interlocking teeth. The shells are usually coated with a thick, sometimes hairy periostracum (outer organic shell layer). Many of these clams have rows of simple eyes along the mantle margins. Most of the 200 or so known species are found in tropical seas, with only a few species occurring in temperate areas. Ark shells are slow-moving or sedentary.It lives shallowly buried in sands and silts.
In the lower part of the intertidal zone in the Adriatic, Arca noae often grows in association with Modiolus barbatus.The shells are often heavily encrusted with epibionts. Water is drawn into the shell mainly at the posterior end. Plankton and fine organic particles are filtered out as the water passes over the gills and inedible particles are rejected at the same time. Its shell contains a large amount of calcium carbonate and a small amount of calcium phosphate. Besides, it also contains aluminum silicate and inorganic elements, such as chlorine, chromium, copper, iron, potassium, manganese, sodium, nickel, phosphorus, sulfur, silicon, strontium, and zinc. And it has a specific enrichment capacity of nuclide manganese.
Collection & Uses:
Arca noae is fished commercially in the Adriatic Sea, either by divers gathering individual shells by hand or from boats using specially adapted rakes which are pulled along the seabed. The shellfish are then sold in local markets. In China it is produced around the coastal areas and captured all year round for medicinal purpose. And the subsequent steps are to clean, slightly boil in boiling water, remove the meat, and finally dried in sun. Medicinally it is used broken and raw or calcined.
Modern pharmacology reveals that its ability of reducing gastric ulcer pain comes from calcium carbonate, which can neutralize stomach acid.
Ark shell, clam shells (Hai Ge Ke), and pumice (Fu Hai Shi) have quite similar medicinal uses in traditional Chinese medicine. However, it doesn’t mean that they are interchangeable. On the contrary, they need to be well distinguished clinically for proper uses.
All of the three are of salty in flavor and have the common function of eliminating phlegm, softening hardness and dissipating binds. As a result, all of them can be used to treat phlegm-fire stagnation induced scrofula, subcutaneous nodule, goiter and tumor; clam shell and pumice stone can also treat cough and asthma accompanied with thick yellow sputum that is caused by lung heat and phlegm-fire since both of them is capable of clearing lung and eliminating phlegm; clam shell and ark shell are also good at treating stomach discomfort and acid reflux since they can neutralize acidity and relieve pain.
And they do have their own advantage respectively on healing properties. Clam shell is still capable of inducing diuresis to alleviate edema. So it is often used for the treatment of edema and difficult urination; pumice stone can treat bloody stranguria and urolithiasis by inducing diuresis; ark shell removes blood stasis and disperses phlegm. Hence, it treats mass in the abdomen and hepatosplenomegaly.
Sample ark shell recipes on herbal remedies: The Chinese Pharmacopoeia says that it is salty in flavor and neutral in nature. It covers meridians of lung, stomach, and liver. Crucial functions are dissolving phlegm, dispersing blood stasis, resolving hard lump, relieving hyperacidity, and stopping pain. Prime ark shell uses and indications include substantial amounts of lingering phlegm, difficulty coughing up thick, sticky mucus, goiter and tumor, scrofula, abdominal mass, stomachache, and acid regurgitation. Recommended dosage is from 9 to 15 grams in decoction. And please keep in mind to decoct it before other ingredients.
1) Han Hua Wan from Zheng Zhi Zhun Sheng (The Level-line of Patterns and Treatment). It is formulated with Hai Zao (Sargassum Seaweed), Kun Bu (Kombu), etc. to treat scrofula, goiter and tumor;
2) Wa Long Zi Wan from Wan Shi Jia Chao Fang (Wan’s Heirloom Prescriptions). It is fried, processed with vinegar, and used alone to cure abdominal mass and eliminate phlegm;
3) Wa Leng Zi Wan from Nu Ke Zhi Zhang (Full Knowledge of Gynecology). It is formulated with Xiang Fu (Cyperus), Tao Ren (Peach Seed), Mu Dan Pi (Tree Peony), Chuan Xiong (lovage), Da Huang (rhubarb), and Hong Hua (Safflower) to heal pain and no blood flow during menstruation. Lower abdomen is hard and full when pressed and it is kind of excess pain.
Clinical research of ark shells: 50 cases of burns and scalds, including second degree, have been treated with the combination of ark shell and vegetable oil at the ratio of 1:1. The oil was directly applied to the wounds and wall of them were cured. – Si Chuan Yi Xue (Sichuan Medicine), 1982; 1:44.
Ark shell side effects and contraindications:
Generally ark shell causes no adverse reaction when it is used in the treatments a variety of diseases like gastric and duodenal ulcers. But there were individual cases reported with facial swelling, blood in the urine, cloudy urine, recurrent urinary tract infections and others. Ben Cao Yong Fa Yan Jiu (Studies of The Uses of Drugs in Chinese Materia Medica) says that it shouldn’t be used in the patients with no blood stasis and sputum retention.
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:
Gestational diabetes (or gestational diabetes mellitus, GDM) is a condition in which women without previously diagnosed diabetes exhibit high blood glucose levels during pregnancy (especially during their third trimester). Gestational diabetes is caused when insulin receptors do not function properly. This is likely due to pregnancy-related factors such as the presence of human placental lactogen that interferes with susceptible insulin receptors. This in turn causes inappropriately elevated blood sugar levels.
Gestational diabetes generally has few symptoms and it is most commonly diagnosed by screening during pregnancy. Diagnostic tests detect inappropriately high levels of glucose in blood samples. Gestational diabetes affects 3-10% of pregnancies, depending on the population studied.
As with diabetes mellitus in pregnancy in general, babies born to mothers with untreated gestational diabetes are typically at increased risk of problems such as being large for gestational age (which may lead to delivery complications), low blood sugar, and jaundice. If untreated, it can also cause seizures or stillbirth. Gestational diabetes is a treatable condition and women who have adequate control of glucose levels can effectively decrease these risks. The food plan is often the first recommended target for strategic management of GDM.
Clasifications: There are two subtypes of gestational diabetes: Type A1: abnormal oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), but normal blood glucose levels during fasting and two hours after meals; diet modification is sufficient to control glucose levels
Type A2: abnormal OGTT compounded by abnormal glucose levels during fasting and/or after meals; additional therapy with insulin or other medications is required
Approximately 7% of all pregnancies are complicated by GDM, resulting in more than 200,000 cases annually. The prevalence may range from 1 to 14% of all pregnancies, depending on the population studied and the diagnostic tests employed.
Because gestational diabetes does not cause much symptoms, the patient need to be tested for the condition. This is usually done between the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy. It is surprised if your test shows a high blood sugar level and is important for the patient to be tested for gestational diabetes, because high blood sugar can cause problems for both the pregnent woman and the baby.Sometimes, a pregnant woman has been living with diabetes without knowing it. If she has the symptoms of diabetes and that may include:
Pregnancy causes most women to urinate more often and to feel more hungry, so having these symptoms doesn’t always mean that a woman has diabetes.Doctor should be consulted wheather these symptoms are for diabetes and then he can suggest for the test of diabetes.
Since diabetes interferes with the body’s ability to fight infections, the pregnant woman may experience frequent infections in areas such as the bladder, vagina and skin. White blood cells defend the body against bacteria, but these cells aren’t able to function normally when a person has a high blood sugar. A woman with gestational diabetes may also complain of a yeast infection in the vagina or on the skin. Yeast cells are normally present in the vaginal area in small amounts. The vaginal secretions and urine contain more glucose when a woman has gestational diabetes. The yeast cells use the glucose as food, which causes the cells to multiply. With the body’s immune system compromised by the high level of glucose in the blood, this increase in yeast cells turns into a yeast infection.
*High Blood Sugar:
Since a woman may not have any noticeable symptoms of gestational diabetes and symptoms can mimic regular pregnancy symptoms, screening for this condition is part of prenatal care for at-risk women between weeks 24 and 28 of pregnancy. The doctor will initially order a blood test called a glucose challenge test. If the glucose challenge test indicates a high blood sugar level, the doctor may order a glucose tolerance test to confirm the diagnosis of gestational diabetes. Both tests involve drinking a sweet glucose solution and having your blood drawn after a prescribed amount of time.
Almost all women have some degree of impaired glucose intolerance as a result of hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy. That means that their blood sugar may be higher than normal, but not high enough to have diabetes. During the later part of pregnancy (the third trimester), these hormonal changes place pregnant woman at risk for gestational diabetes.
During pregnancy, increased levels of certain hormones made in the placenta (the organ that connects the baby by the umbilical cord to the uterus) help shift nutrients from the mother to the developing fetus. Other hormones are produced by the placenta to help prevent the mother from developing low blood sugar.
They work by resisting the actions of insulin.
Over the course of the pregnancy, these hormones lead to progressive impaired glucose intolerance (higher blood sugar levels). To try to decrease blood sugar levels, the body makes more insulin to get glucose into cells to be used for energy.
Usually, the mother’s pancreas is able to produce more insulin (about three times the normal amount) to overcome the effect of the pregnancy hormones on blood sugar levels. If, however, the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin, blood sugar levels will rise, resulting in gestational diabetes.
Any woman can develop gestational diabetes, but some women are at greater risk. Risk factors for gestational diabetes include:
*Age greater than 25. Women older than age 25 are more likely to develop gestational diabetes. *Family or personal health history. the risk of developing gestational diabetes increases if the woman has prediabetes — slightly elevated blood sugar that may be a precursor to type 2 diabetes — or if a close family member, such as a parent or sibling, has type 2 diabetes.the woman is also more likely to develop gestational diabetes if she had it during a previous pregnancy, if the woman delivered a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds (4.1 kilograms), or if she had an unexplained stillbirth. *Excess weight.You’re more likely to develop gestational diabetes if you’re significantly overweight with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. *Race factor. For reasons that aren’t clear, women who are black, Hispanic, American Indian or Asian are more likely to develop gestational diabetes.
Most women who have gestational diabetes deliver healthy babies. However, gestational diabetes that’s not carefully managed can lead to uncontrolled blood
sugar levels and cause problems for patient and the baby, including an increased likelihood of needing a C-section to deliver.
Complications that may affect the baby are: 1.Excessive birth weight. Extra glucose in your bloodstream crosses the placenta, which triggers your baby’s pancreas to make extra insulin. This can cause the baby to grow too large (macrosomia). Very large babies — those that weigh 9 pounds or more — are more likely to become wedged in the birth canal, sustain birth injuries or require a C-section birth.
2.Early (preterm) birth and respiratory distress syndrome. A mother’s high blood sugar may increase her risk of early labor and delivering her baby before its due date. Or her doctor may recommend early delivery because the baby is large.
3.Babies born early may experience respiratory distress syndrome — a condition that makes breathing difficult. Babies with this syndrome may need help breathing until their lungs mature and become stronger. Babies of mothers with gestational diabetes may experience respiratory distress syndrome even if they’re not born early.
4.Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).Sometimes babies of mothers with gestational diabetes develop low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) shortly after birth because their own insulin production is high. Severe episodes of hypoglycemia may provoke seizures in the baby. Prompt feedings and sometimes an intravenous glucose solution can return the baby’s blood sugar level to normal.
5.Type 2 diabetes later in life. Babies of mothers who have gestational diabetes have a higher risk of developing obesity and type 2 diabetes later in life.
Untreated gestational diabetes can result in a baby’s death either before or shortly after birth.
Complications that may affect the patient are: 1.High blood pressure and preeclampsia. Gestational diabetes raises your risk of high blood pressure, as well as, preeclampsia — a serious complication of pregnancy that causes high blood pressure and other symptoms that can threaten the lives of both mother and baby.
2.Future diabetes. If the pregnent woman has gestational diabetes, she is more likely to get it again during a future pregnancy and also more likely to develop type 2 diabetes as she gets older. However, making healthy lifestyle choices such as eating healthy foods and exercising can help reduce the risk of future type 2 diabetes.Of those women with a history of gestational diabetes who reach their ideal body weight after delivery, fewer than 1 in 4 eventually develops type 2 diabetes.
Gestational diabetes usually starts halfway through the pregnancy. All pregnant women should receive an oral glucose tolerance test between the 24th and 28th week of pregnancy to screen for the condition. Women who have risk factors for gestational diabetes may have this test earlier in the pregnancy.
Once the pregnent woman is diagnosed with gestational diabetes, she can see how well she is doing by testing the glucose level at home. The most common way involves pricking her finger and putting a drop of the blood on a machine that will give her the glucose reading.
The goals of treatment are to keep blood sugar (glucose) levels within normal limits during the pregnancy, and to make sure that the growing baby is healthy.
Watching the baby:
1.The health care provider should closely check both the patient and the baby throughout the pregnancy. Fetal monitoring will check the size and health of the fetus.
2.A nonstress test is a very simple, painless test for the patient and the baby.
3.A machine that hears and displays the baby’s heartbeat (electronic fetal monitor) is placed on the abdomen.
The health care provider can compare the pattern of the baby’s heartbeat to movements and find out whether the baby is doing well.
Diet and exercise:
The best way to improve the pregnent woman’s diet is by eating a variety of healthy foods.She should learn how to read food labels, and check them when making food decisions.The doctor or dietitian should advice the diet chart and that should be strictly followed during pregnancy.
In general, when the pregnent woman has gestational diabetes the diet should:
*Be moderate in fat and protein.
#Provide carbohydrates through foods that include fruits, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates (such as bread, cereal, pasta, and rice)
Be low in foods that contain a lot of sugar, such as soft drinks, fruit juices, and pastries.
#If managing the diet does not control blood sugar (glucose) levels, she may be prescribed diabetes medicine by mouth or insulin therapy.
Most women who develop gestational diabetes will not need diabetes medicines or insulin, but some will.
Theoretically, smoking cessation may decrease the risk of gestational diabetes among smokers.Physical exercise has not been found to have a significant effect of primary prevention of gestational diabetes in randomized controlled trials. It may be effective as tertiary prevention for women who have already developed the condition. 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.
The young woman who walked in for a consultation had a scarf wound around her neck. “I came to show you this,” she said, taking it off. There was a dark patch on the back of her neck with ridges and bumps, the skin raised and velvety. “I have already tried fairness creams,” she said. “They only make it worse.” CLICK & SEE The diagnosis was easy. She had a peculiar skin lesion known as acanthosis nigricans.
The cosmetically disfiguring and aesthetically displeasing lesions usually occur on the neck (where they are clearly visible), armpit, groin, knees or elbows, in short areas with skin folds. Very rarely, it can be found on the fingers or around the lips or in the nipple area. It can occur at any age and in both men and women. It is seen in children and even in babies. The lesions appear gradually and do not itch or pain. This means that they remain unnoticed until they have spread over a large area. Initially it looks like dirt so people try to scrub it off, damaging the skin in the process. Others try to camouflage it unsuccessfully with talcum powder and make up.
Nearly 20 per cent of the population has acanthosis nigricans and the numbers are rising rapidly because obesity is the commonest risk factor. More and more people are becoming overweight in India and the world.
An inactive lifestyle causes weight gain and these two factors together cause relative insulin resistance, which results in elevated glucose levels, an abnormal lipid profile and high blood pressure. These changes are grouped together as the “metabolic syndrome X”. Acanthosis nigricans is one of the early markers of this syndrome. The American diabetic association classified it as a risk factor for the development of diabetes in 2000. In children and adolescents, symptoms of syndrome X or frank diabetes begin to appear within two years of the appearance of acanthosis nigricans.
The disease can also be hereditary and in typical inherited acanthosis nigricans, skin lesions are confined to one half of the body. They spread and increase till a certain age and then remain stationery or regress. In other families the lesions, though present in almost all family members, are not really hereditary. The biggest difference is that they are present on both sides of the body. The family usually has an inactive lifestyle, members are obese and go on to develop diabetes.
Medications can also cause these skin changes as a side effect. The most common offenders are hormones — like oral contraceptive pills (OCP), hormone replacement therapy (HRT), insulin, pituitary extract, growth hormone or systemic corticosteroids. Unfortunately, pituitary extract or steroids may be added to unregulated “natural herbal supplements” or “tonics” so the person may not even know that he or she is ingesting such substances. Sulpha drugs (antibiotic)and nicotinic acid (for high cholesterol) can also cause these.
Certain types of acanthosis nigricans are peculiar to women. It is associated with the polycystic ovary syndrome and appears at adolescence. Such girls are obese and have irregular periods and facial hair.
If you develop acanthosis nigricans, it is worthwhile consulting a physician. Although you may be obese, and that is the commonest cause of these skin changes, some investigations and tests need to be done. This is because the skin changes can (though this is rare) be associated with cancer, particularly in the abdomen. It can appear before any other obvious sign of a tumour. It can also be a part of the spectrum of autoimmune diseases like systemic lupus erythematosus, scleroderma, Sjögren syndrome, or Hashimoto thyroiditis.
There really is no specific treatment for the skin changes in acanthosis nigricans. The disease itself is harmless. The main danger lies in the complications associated with obesity and insulin resistance. Tackling the underlying problem makes the skin lesions fade. Here is what you can do to tackle it:
• If it is due to medication or health supplements, stop taking them.
• Reduce your weight with diet and exercise. Try to reach your ideal body weight (height in meter squared multiplied by 23).
• Eat more protein, fresh fruits and vegetables. Starches and sugars provide empty calories and aggravate insulin resistance.
• Sweat trapped in the folds can make the lesions malodorous. Bathe twice a day with a medicated soap like Neko if that is the case.
Obesity is a growing problem in every corner of the world.
The World Health Organization projects that five years from now, in 2015, the number of overweight adults will increase to 2.3 billion, up from just 1.6 billion five years ago. click & see
The Global Post lists the world’s top ten fattest countries, as measured by the percentage of the population with a BMI index of more than 25. Most are island nations, but the United States is also on the list.
1.Nauru: 95 percent of the population
Nauruans historically engaged in fattening ceremonies, where young women were kept inside and fed to excess. That legacy, plus the more recent transition to Western-style meals, has been devastating.
4. Tonga: All three of these island nations weigh in at a 92 percent overweight population.
5.Niue: 84 percent
6.Samoa: 83 percent
7.Palau: 81 percent
8.United States: 79 percent
9.Kiribati: 77 percent
10.Dominica: 76 percent
Other overweight nations include Kuwait and Argentina (75 percent), Mexico (73 percent), Australia (71 percent), Egypt and Greece (70 percent), Belarus (67 percent) and the United Kingdom (66 percent).