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Ammi visnaga

Botanical Name: Ammi visnaga
Family:Apiaceae
Genus:Ammi
Species:A. visnaga
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:Apiales

Synonyms : Ammi dilatatum. Apium visnaga. Carum visnaga. Daucus visnaga.

Common names : Bisnaga, Toothpickweed, and Khella.

Habitat: Ammi visnaga is native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa, but it can be found throughout the world as an introduced species.It grows in fields and sandy places.
Description:
Ammi visnaga is an annual or biennial herb growing from a taproot erect to a maximum height near 80 centimeters. Leaves are up to 20 centimeters long and generally oval to triangular in shape but dissected into many small linear to lance-shaped segments. The inflorescence is a compound umbel of white flowers similar to those of other Apiaceae species. The fruit is a compressed oval-shaped body less than 3 millimeters long. This and other Ammi species are sources of khellin, a diuretic extract.

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It is in flower from Jul to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.

Cultivation:
Prefers a well-drained soil in a sunny position, succeeding in ordinary garden soil. Tolerates a pH in the range 6.8 to 8.3. This species is not fully winter-hardy in the colder areas of Britain, though it should be possible to grow it as a spring-sown annual. This plant is sold as toothpicks in Egyptian markets.

Propagation: Seed – sow spring in situ. ( Sow under cover Feb-March in a seed tray, module or guttering. Sow direct March-May and/or August-September.)
Edible Uses: Leaves are chewed raw for their pleasant aromatic flavour

Chemical constituents:
Khellin, a chemical obtained from Ammi visnaga gives rose red color with KOH (solid) or NaOH & 2-3 drops of water, was used at one time as a smooth muscle relaxant, but its use is limited due to adverse side effects. Amiodarone and cromoglycate are derivates of khellin that are frequently used in modern medicine.

The chemical visnagin, which is found in A. visnaga, has biological activity in animal models as a vasodilator and reduces blood pressure by inhibiting calcium influx into the cell.
Medicinal Uses:
Antiarrhythmic; Antiasthmatic; Antispasmodic; Diuretic; Lithontripic; Vasodilator.

Visnaga is an effective muscle relaxant and has been used for centuries to alleviate the excruciating pain of kidney stones. Modern research has confirmed the validity of this traditional use. Visnagin contains khellin, from which particularly safe pharmaceutical drugs for the treatment of asthma have been made. The seeds are diuretic and lithontripic. They contain a fatty oil that includes the substance ‘khellin’. This has been shown to be of benefit in the treatment of asthma. Taken internally, the seeds have a strongly antispasmodic action on the smaller bronchial muscles, they also dilate the bronchial, urinary and blood vessels without affecting blood pressure. The affect last for about 6 hours and the plant has practically no side effects. The seeds are used in the treatment of asthma, angina, coronary arteriosclerosis and kidney stones. By relaxing the muscles of the urethra, visnaga reduces the pain caused by trapped kidney stones and helps ease the stone down into the bladder. The seeds are harvested in late summer before they have fully ripened and are dried for later use.
In Egypt, a tea made from the fruit of this species has been used as an herbal remedy for kidney stones. Laborarory rat studies show that the extract slows the buildup of calcium oxalate crystals in the kidneys and acts as a diuretic.
This plant and its components have shown effects in dilating the coronary arteries. Its mechanism of action may be very similar to the calcium channel-blocking drugs. The New England Journal of Medicine writes “The high proportion of favorable results, together with the striking degree of improvement frequently observed, has led us to the conclusion that Khellin, properly used, is a safe and effective drug for the treatment of angina pectoris.” As little as 30 milligrams of Khellin per day appear to offer as good a result, with fewer side effects. Rather than use the isolated compound “Khellin,” Khella extracts standardized for khellin content (typically 12 percent) are the preferred form.

A daily dose of such an extract would be 250 to 300 milligrams. Khella appears to work very well with hawthorn extracts. An aromatic herb which dilates the bronchial, urinary and blood vessels without affecting blood pressure.

Visnaga is a traditional Egyptian remedy for kidney stones. By relaxing the muscles of the ureter, visnaga reduces the pain caused by the trapped stone and helps ease the stone down into the bladder. Following research into its antispasmodic properties, visnaga is now given for asthma and is safe even for children to take. Although it does not always relieve acute asthma attacks, it do3es help to prevent their recurrence. It is an effective remedy for various respiratory problems, including bronchitis, emphysema, and whooping cough. In Andalusia in Spain, the largest and best quality visnaga were employed to clean the teeth. Khella is the source of amiodarone one of the key anti-arrhythmia medications. The usual recommendation calls for pouring boiling water over about a quarter-teaspoon of powdered khella fruits. Steep for five minutes and drink the tea after straining.

Its active constituent is khellin, a bronchiodilator and antispasmodic that makes it useful for asthma sufferers It’s best used to prevent asthma rather than to counter an attack and can be taken on a daily basis with no contraindications. Because khella builds up in the blood, its use can be decreased after a period of time. Khella is safer than ma huang (ephedra) for asthma sufferers because it’s nonstimulating and nonenervating. Unlike ma huang, it doesn’t rob the body, especially the adrenals, of energy.

Spasmolytic action of khellin and visnagin (both furanochromones) is indicated for treatment of asthma and coronary arteriosclerosis.
An extract from khella (Ammi visnaga) is so far the only herb found to be useful in vitili. Khellin, the active constituent, appears to work like psoralen drugs?it stimulates repigmentation of the skin by increasing sensitivity of remaining pigment-containing cells (melanocytes) to sunlight. Studies have used 120-160 mg of khellin per day. Khellin must be used with caution, as it can cause side effects such as nausea and insomnia.

Another use is for vitiligo (an extract from ammi visnaga appears to stimulate repigmentation of the skin by increasing sensitivity of remaining pigment containing cells, melanocytes to sunlight)

Other Uses: The fruiting pedicel is used as a toothpick whilst the seeds have been used as a tooth cleaner

Known Hazards : Skin contact with the sap is said to cause photo-sensitivity and/or dermatitis in some people. Avoid during pregnancy and lactation. Avoid if on warfarin or other blood thinning medication. Prolonged use may lead to: constipation, appetite loss, headaches, vertigo, nausea and vomiting.

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ammi_visnaga
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Ammi+visnaga
http://www.sarahraven.com/flowers/plants/cut_flower_seedlings/ammi_visnaga.htm

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

Parents Take Notice: Your Teen Could Be Using Prescription Drugs

Just when you thought you had covered the bases with your teenager about drugs and alcohol, you are hit with a new trend in drug abuse: prescription drug abuse. Unfortunately, prescription drug abuse is on the rise among our youth. Data from the 2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows the second most popular category of drug use after marijuana is the non-medical use of prescription drugs.Always remember, taking prescription drugs without a doctor’s approval and supervision can be a dangerous  even deadly    decision.

What can you do to prevent prescription drug abuse?

Once again, the answer is simple: Talk to your kids. Let them know that you oppose all illicit drug use   including prescription and OTC drug use. Monitor their behavior by randomly checking up on them to make sure they are where they say they are. Know their friends and their friends   families.

Also, itâs time for you to take inventory in your own home. Keep your prescription medications out of reach. They should not be in a place where your kids or their friends can find them. Put them in a safe place where only you have access. Move your OTC medications to a safe place as well. Just as you do for alcohol, make a note of the levels in each bottle.

Monitor the Web sites that your child visits on the Internet.
Some teens actually order medications via Web sites (or “pill mills”) that are not monitored by the FDA. These sites are sometimes in countries outside of the United States. Be sure to review the history trail on your computer and carefully track where your teen is making purchases on the Web especially if you allow them access to your credit card, or if they have their own card.

What are the signs of abuse?
The symptoms are pretty obvious: slurred speech, staggering walk, sweating, nausea, vomiting, numbness of extremities, dilated pupils, drowsiness, dizziness. If your teen shows these signs of drug abuse, ask questions immediately — then talk calmly with them about the risks of abuse. Also check your mail and your Internet history to make sure your child isn’t ordering medications over the Internet. There are Internet pharmacies that will sell to just about anyone.

What can you say to your teens?
If your teen shows these signs of drug abuse, ask questions immediately — then talk calmly with them about the risks of abuse. Make it a rule that they should never take prescription drugs unless you or their physician prescribes them. Visit the Action Guide for Parents for more information on how to start the conversation.

Always remember Parents can make a difference. Your kid may be mad now, but they will thank you later.

For more information and resources on this topic visit:
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
NIDA InfoFax

Source:The New York Times

Allergies

Symptoms

Red, itchy, or puffy eyes, sometimes with allergic shiners — dark circles around the eyes.
Sneezing.
Swollen nasal passages.
Runny nose with a clear discharge.
Irritated throat.
Fatigue

What It Is

Allergic rhinitis is the medical term for the nasal symptoms caused by allergies to a variety of airborne particles. The condition can be an occasional inconvenience or a problem so severe that it interferes with almost every aspect of daily life. If you notice symptoms in warm weather, you may have seasonal allergies, commonly called hay fever, triggered by tree or grass pollen in spring and by ragweed in the fall. If you have symptoms year-round — called perennial allergies — the most likely culprits are mites in household dust, mold, or animal dander. You may be allergic to one or more of these irritants. For either type of allergy, the symptoms are the same. People with allergic rhinitis may have a decreased resistance to colds, flu, sinus infections, and other respiratory illnesses.

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What Causes It

When bacteria, viruses, or other substances enter the body, the immune system sets out to destroy those that can cause illness, but ignores such harmless particles as pollen. In some individuals, however, the immune system can’t tell the difference between threatening and benign material. As a result, innocuous particles can trigger the release of a naturally occurring substance called histamine and other inflammatory compounds in the area where the irritant entered the body — the nose, throat, or eyes.
No one knows why the immune system overreacts this way, but some experts think that poor nutrition and pollutants in the air may weaken the system. Allergic rhinitis also runs in some families.

How Supplements Can Help

For seasonal allergies, take all supplements in the list below from early spring through the first frost. In place of prescription or over-the-counter drugs, try quercetin. Whereas drugs simply block the effect of histamine, this flavonoid inhibits its release — without any side effects. Combining it with the herb nettle can combat sneezing, itching, and swollen nasal passages.
Vitamin A and vitamin C support the immune system; vitamin C, the main antioxidant in the cells of the respiratory passages, may also have anti-inflammatory and antihistamine effects. The B vitamin pantothenic acid may reduce nasal congestion. You may want to take these three nutrients during allergy season, even if you opt for traditional drugs for specific symptom relief.

And, for severe cases of hay fever, ephedra (Ma huang) may be useful because it opens the respiratory passages. You can use ephedra with quercetin and nettle, but not with prescription or over-the-counter antihistamines or decongestants.

What Else You Can Do

Stay indoors with the windows closed when pollen counts are high. Use an air-conditioner even in the car and clean the filter regularly.
Eliminate carpets and use furniture slipcovers that can be washed. Encase mattresses and pillows in allergy-proof covers and wash bedding weekly in very hot water. Dust mites collect in these areas.
Clean damp areas to prevent the growth of mold.
Certain herbs are natural antihistamines. Try sipping teas made from anise, ginger, or peppermint singly or in combination. Ginger and peppermint also have a decongestant effect. Drink up to four cups a day as needed to reduce symptoms.
Wash bedding in very hot water (130?F) to kill the dust mites that accumulate and trigger allergic reactions or add eucalyptus oil to a warm-water wash. Mix 2 ounces oil with 1 ounce liquid dishwashing detergent (otherwise the oil will separate from the water). In the washer presoak the bedding in this mixture for half an hour; then put in your usual laundry detergent and run the laundry cycle as you normally do.

Supplement Recommendations:-

1. Quercetin:-Dosage: 500 mg twice a day.
Comments: Use 20 minutes before meals; often sold with vitamin C.

2.Nettle:- Dosage: 250 mg 3 times a day on an empty stomach.
Comments: Standardized to contain at least 1% plant silica.

3.Vitamin A:-Dosage: 10,000 IU a day.
Comments: Women who are pregnant or considering pregnancy should not exceed 5,000 IU a day.

4.Vitamin C:-Dosage: 1,000 mg 3 times a day.
Comments: Reduce dose if diarrhea develops.

5.Pantothenic Acid:- Dosage: 500 mg 3 times a day.
Comments: Take with meals.

6.Ephedra:- Dosage: 130 mg standardized extract 3 times a day.
Comments: May cause insomnia.

Ayurvedic treatment may sometimes cure Allergy permanently.

Homeremedies are helpful for curing several Allergies.

Homeopathic sometimes plays a good role in curing Allergy.
Help taken from: Your Guide to Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbs

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