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Herbs & Plants

Gnaphalium Obtusifolium

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Botanical NameGnaphalium polycephalum/ Gamochaeta purpurea/Gnaphalium uliginosum /Pseudognaphalium macounii
Family: Asteraceae
Subfamily: Asteroideae
Tribe:     Gnaphalieae
Genus:     Gnaphalium
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms: Indian Posy. Sweet-scented Life Everlasting. Old Field Balsam. Gnaphalium Obtusifolium or Blunt-leaved Everlasting. Gnaphalium Connoideum. Fragrant Everlasting. None-so-Pretty. Catsfoot. Silver Leaf.

Common Names : White Balsam

Habitat:White Balsam is native to  Virginia, Pennsylvania and New England. This plant is common in old fields and pastures throughout the United States and Canada.

Description:
Natural Order, Compositae. This belongs to a genus of woolly herbs, which are peculiar for their downy and tomentose appearance. Their flowers are borne in many compact heads, closely arranged in a large terminal corymb, and all tubular. The species here spoken of is an annual, one to two feet high, the whole plant (stem, leaves, and peduncles) gray with a short and silky wool. Stem erect, branched above. Leaves alternate, three inches long by one-fourth of an inch broad, tapering at the base, sessile, margins a little wavy, smoothish above. Flowers tubular, white, in obovate heads; heads in a terminal and close panicled corymb, of a pretty appearance. Whole plant slightly fragrant. July and August.

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The leaves and yellow flower-heads are used medicinally, though the whole plant is gathered. Its aroma is rather pleasant, its taste slightly bitter and aromatic, and its properties are extracted by water and alcohol. Several other species of the same genus are used indiscriminately with this one, among which may be named G. decurrens, with yellowish-white flowers and decurrent leaves; G. uliginosum, about five inches high, and with the clusters of flower-heads sitting down below the upper leaves; and G. purpureum, branching from the base, with the leaves green above, and the flowers in a wand-like terminal spike.

Medicinal Uses:

Parts Used: Herb, leaves, flowers.
This plant combines relaxing and stimulating properties with a moderate portion of demulcent quality. In cold preparations, its action is mainly expended upon mucous membranes; and as it soothes and strengthens these tissues, it has been pronounced astringent, though it is faintly tonic and not drying. It has been used in sore-mouth, sub-acute coughs, feebleness of the lungs, leucorrhea, catarrh of the bladder, and the latter stages of dysentery. It is really an excellent article in such cases; and though it is too mild to be of use in degenerate conditions, it is useful for its gentle influence. In warm infusion, it promotes mild diaphoresis, and is a popular remedy in recent colds and light fever; and a strong preparation is said to relieve mumps, quinsy, the tenesmus of dysentery, and excessive menstruation. In some respects it acts on the assimilative organs much as avens root does–toning them and abating a tendency to curdy diarrhea. From being at one time over-rated, it has fallen into undeserved neglect. An ounce may be digested in a pint and a half of water till a pint remains, and two fluid ounces of this used once every two hours or oftener. It is sometimes combined with other agents in pulmonary sirups.

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/Gnaphalium
http://www.henriettes-herb.com/eclectic/cook/GNAPHALIUM_POLYCEPHALUM.htm
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/b/balwhi08.html

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News on Health & Science

New Cure for Prostate Cancer

Scientists have developed a potential new treatment for prostate cancer, offering hope to thousands of patients.

It is a monoclonal antibody to a unique tumor marker for prostate cancer, said Pei Xiang Xing, associate professor who heads Burnet Institute‘s Cancer Immunotherapy Lab, Melbourne and led the research team.

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The monoclonal antibody is directed at cancer-producing cells carrying the specific molecule known as PIM-1, which is responsible for cell survival, proliferation and differentiation.

Over-expression of PIM-1 plays a critical role in the development, progression and metastasis of prostate cancer and other cancers such as leukemia. The monoclonal antibody significantly inhibited cancer cell growth when used in laboratory models of prostate cancer.

Xing’s group demonstrated that the monoclonal antibody binds to PIM-1 present in cancer cells and creates a chain of events leading to the death of the cells. In particular, the therapeutic effect was improved by combination of the antibody with other drugs currently used to treat prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is one of the most frequently diagnosed invasive cancers and the third leading cause of death in men worldwide, which claims more than 3,000 lives every year, equal to the number of women who die from breast cancer.

A new strategy to treat prostate cancer is urgently needed as there is no efficient method to treat advanced prostate cancer, said a Burnet release.

Burnet Institute’s director Brendan Crabb described it as “an exciting step in the development of new treatments for patients with prostate cancer with very promising laboratory-test results”.

Sources: The Times Of India

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