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Satureja douglasii

Botanical Name : Satureja douglasii
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Clinopodium
Species: C. douglasii
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Lamiales

Synonyms: Micromeria douglasii – (Benth.)Benth.,Satureja douglasii – (Benth.)Briq.,Thymus chamissonis – Benth.,Thymus douglasii – Benth.

Common Names :Yerba buena (The plant’s most common name, the same in English and Spanish, is an alternate form of the Spanish hierba buena (meaning “good herb”). The name was bestowed by pioneer Catholic priests of Alta California as they settled an area where the plant is native. It was so abundant there that its name was also applied to the settler’s town adjacent to Mission San Francisco de Asís. In 1846, the town of Yerba Buena was seized by the United States during the Mexican-American War, and its name was changed in 1847 to San Francisco, after a nearby mission. Three years later, the name was applied to a nearby rocky island; today millions of commuters drive through the tunnel on Yerba Buena Island that connects the spans of the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge)

Habitat : Satureja douglasii is  native to California and is also found outside of California, but is confined to western North America.It grows in Coniferous woods.
Yerba Buena is found in woods near coast and coast ranges from Los Angeles to British Columbia. Prefers shade and moisture.

Description:
Satureja douglasii  is a creeping flat low growing   perennial herb that can spread to 3′ but is easily held to 1′. A good ground cover without being aggressive, easy to keep small. The stems grow across the ground not with rhizomes.   Yerba Buena usually grows in shade as an understory plant, usually associated with trees like oaks (Quercus), bays (Umbellularia californica) and madrones (Arbutus menziesii).
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It is hardy to zone 7. It is in flower from April to May. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, requires well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires dry or moist

Cultivation:
Prefers an open position in a well-drained soil. Succeeds in poor soils. Plants grow best and live longer when grown in an open sunny position and a dry sandy soil. A prostate plant, the stems forming roots at the leaf axils wherever they come into contact with the soil. The bruised leaves release a most refreshing lemony scent resembling verbena.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Basal cuttings in early summer. Harvest the shoots with plenty of underground stem when they are about 8 – 10cm above the ground. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer. Division of the rooted prostrate stems in the spring.

Edible Uses:
Edible Uses: Tea.

The dried leaves, steeped in boiling water, make a palatable mint-flavoured tea. The dried leafy spines are used according to other reports

Medicinal Uses
Anthelmintic; Aphrodisiac; Blood purifier; Digestive; Febrifuge; Kidney; Sedative; Tonic.

The whole plant is aphrodisiac, blood purifier, mildly digestive, febrifuge, sedative and tonic. An infusion can be used in the treatment of insomnia, colic, upset stomachs, kidney problems, colds and fevers. A decoction of the plant has been used to get rid of pinworms. The decoction has also been used as an aphrodisiac. A poultice of the warm leaves have been applied to the jaw, or the plant held in the mouth, as a treatment for toothache.

Other Uses
Essential.

The leaves have been placed in clothing as a perfume

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/Yerba_buena
http://www.laspilitas.com/nature-of-california/plants/satureja-douglasii
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Micromeria+chamissonis
http://www.baynatives.com/plants/Satureja-douglasii/

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Viola pedata

Botanical Name : Viola pedata
Family : Violaceae
Genus :  Viola L.
Species : Viola pedata L.
Kingdom : Plantae
Subkingdom : Tracheobionta
Superdivision : Spermatophyta
Division : Magnoliophyta
Class : Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Dilleniidae
Order : Violales

Synonyms:
Viola pedata L.

VIPEC Viola pedata L. var. concolor Holm ex Brainerd
VIPEL Viola pedata L. var. lineariloba DC.
VIPER Viola pedata L. var. ranunculifolia DC.

Common Name :  Viola pedata,   Bird’s Foot Violet, Crowfoot Violet, Pansy Violet

Habitat :Viola pedata  is native to  eastern N. America – New York to Wisconsin and south to Florida and eastern Texas. It grows in dry rocky banks, in open deciduous woods on well-drained soils and on the edges of ditches in acid sandy soils.  Commonly occurs in dryish soils in rocky woods, slopes, glades and roadsides.

Description:
It is a rhizomatous, stemless perennial (to 4″ tall) which typically features variably colored flowers, the most common color forms being bi-colored (upper petals dark purple and lower ones light blue) and uniform light blue. Each flower rests above the foliage atop its own leafless stalk. Blooms in early spring (March to May in St. Louis). Pedata in Latin means foot-like.

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Bird’s foot violet features deeply divided leaves which somewhat resemble a bird’s foot.

Height: 0.25 to 0.5 feet
Spread: 0.25 to 0.5 feet
Bloom Time: March – May   Bloom Data
Bloom Color: Lilac/purple

Cultivation:
Best grown in sandy or gravelly, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates light shade. Good soil drainage is the key to growing this plant well. Does not spread by runners. May self-seed in optimum growing conditions. Considered more difficult to grow than most other violets.
Propagation :
Seed – best sown in the autumn in a cold frame. Sow stored seed in early spring in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. Division in the autumn or just after flowering. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions, though we have found that it is best to pot up smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are growing away well. Plant them out in the summer or the following spring

Edible Uses: Young leaves and flower buds – raw or cooked. When added to soup they thicken it in much the same way as okra. Some caution is advised if the plant has yellow flowers since these can cause diarrhoea if eaten in large quantities. A tea can be made from the leaves. The flowers are candied.

Medicinal  Uses:
A poultice of the leaves has been used to allay the pain of a headache.  An infusion of the plant has been used in the treatment of dysentery, coughs and colds.  A poultice of the crushed root has been applied to boils.  The seeds have been recommended in uric acid gravel.  The plant parts and roots have been used as a mild laxative and to induce vomiting. A decoction of the above ground parts has been used to loosen phlegm in the chest, and for other pulmonary problems.

Other Uses:
Use as very good ground  cover. An infusion of the root has been used to soak corn seeds before planting in order to keep off insects

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://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm
http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/plant.asp?code=G280
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=VIPE

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Strength Training Relieves Neck Pain

 

A new study has found that specific strength training exercises lead to significant prolonged relief of neck muscle pain, while general fitness training results in only a small amount of pain reduction.

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Women are more likely than men to suffer from persistent neck pain, particularly those who engage in repetitive tasks such as working at a computer keyboard.

The team, led by Gisela Sjøgaard and Lars L. Andersen of the National Research Centre for the Working Environment in Copenhagen, Denmark, therefore conducted the study on women.

They conducted a randomised controlled trial for which they recruited 94 women from seven workplaces.

The work tasks performed by the women consisted of assembly line work and office work, with 79 per cent reported using a keyboard for more than 75 per cent of their working time.

The study participants first filled out a questionnaire about their pain and then underwent a clinical exam to confirm a diagnosis of trapezius myalgia, muscle pain in the trapezius muscle, which extends along the back of the neck.

They were assigned to three intervention groups: those who did supervised specific strength training (SST) exercises for the neck and shoulder muscles, those who did high-intensity general fitness training (GFT) on a bicycle ergometer, and a control group that received health counselling but no physical training. Both exercise groups worked out for 20 minutes three times a week for 10 weeks.

The researchers found that while the GFT group showed a small decrease in neck muscle pain only immediately after exercise, the SST group showed a marked decrease in pain over a prolonged training period and with a lasting effect after the training ended.

“Thus specific strength training locally of the neck and shoulder muscles is the most beneficial treatment in women with chronic neck muscle pain,” the authors said.

It was also found that the reduction in pain occurred gradually in the SST group, with trapezius muscle pain gradually decreasing as muscle strength increased.

The researchers said that the marked reduction in pain in the SST group is of major clinical importance.

“Based on the present results, supervised high-intensity dynamic strength training of the painful muscle 3 times a week for 20 minutes should be recommended in the treatment of trapezius myalgia,” they said.

Sources: The Times Of India

Of older moms and Down Syndrome

India‘s urban elite has plenty of DINKs (Double Income, No Kids). These people get married later than their rural counterparts, often after they are financially and professionally independent and secure. They can afford the best, as far as pregnancy, antenatal care and delivery are concerned. Eventually, they limit their families to one or maybe two children for whom they wish to provide the best opportunities in life.

Under these circumstances, the birth of a child with Down’s Syndrome (trisomy 21 or mongolism) becomes an unbearable tragedy.

One in 800 children is born with Down’s Syndrome. Such children have a characteristic mongoloid  appearance at birth itself, irrespective of the parents’ ethnic backgrounds. The head may be smaller than normal with a sloping forehead, upward slanting eyes, a small flattened nose, low set ears, short stumpy fingers, a protuberant abdomen and a tongue which sticks out of a small mouth. Also, the palm shows just two lines instead of the usual three.

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Down’s Syndrome usually occurs spontaneously as a result of an anomaly during early embryonic cell proliferation producing an abnormal chromosome 21. During cell division it may have divided abnormally, producing three parts instead of the normal two. Sometimes a piece from the chromosome may have attached (translocated) itself to another chromosome.

These anomalies are more likely with increased maternal age at the time of the pregnancy. Many doctors and researchers consider the age 35 as the cut off.

The child shows all the typical features of Down’s Syndrome if all the cells contain the abnormal chromosomes. Sometimes the person may be a mosaic, with a mixture of normal and abnormal cells. The appearance may then be atypical.

The risk of recurrence is greater if the condition has arisen as a result of translocation. This is because one of the parents is then likely to be a carrier. The risk is around 3 per cent if the father is the carrier, and 12 per cent if the mother carries the abnormal gene. Also, a mother with a Down’s Syndrome child has a one per cent chance of producing another similarly affected child.

Life is difficult for children suffering from Down’s Syndrome as they often have subnormal intelligence. They may also have abnormalities in other organs like the heart. There may be blocks or malfunction of the gastrointestinal tract with constipation and intestinal bloating. Hearing loss or visual defects may also occur. The chromosomal abnormality causes a decreased immune response, causing frequent infections as the children grow. The incidence of leukaemia is 20 times greater than in the general population. Dementia too sets in during early adult life (around 40). All this means a lifetime of nurturing and extra care.

So does this mean that women should sacrifice education and professional careers for early marriage and childbirth?

Not really, as advances in medical science have made it possible to diagnose Down’s Syndrome during the antenatal period itself.

Ultrasound examination during the first trimester has a detection rate of approximately 95 per cent of all Down’s Syndrome cases. The measurement of nuchal translucency — the size of a collection of fluid at the base of the foetal neck  correlates with the risk of Downs Syndrome. Other markers like the size of the head, the nose, the presence or absence of heart and intestinal defects can be evaluated with a scan. The presence of several abnormal markers may be an indication of Down’s Syndrome.

Moreover, certain blood tests performed on the mother can show abnormal results if the foetus is affected. Of these, the one commonly available in India is the alpha-fetoprotein level which tends to be less than normal in Down’s Syndrome.

To confirm the diagnosis, the chromosomes of the foetus can be examined. This can be done with amniocentesis (an examination of the cells in the amniotic fluid that surrounds the baby in the uterus). The diagnosis takes two weeks.

The cells of the placenta can be also tested during the 10th and 12th weeks of pregnancy by Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS). If a rapid diagnosis is required, Percutaneous Umbilical Blood Sampling (PUBS) can be done after 18 weeks of gestation. Each of these three tests is 98 to 99 per cent accurate in diagnosing Down’s Syndrome. However, all these tests carry a risk of miscarriage.

After birth, Down’s Syndrome is suspected because of the typical appearance of the baby. It is confirmed by karyotyping or checking the baby’s chromosomes to demonstrate the extra chromosome in the cells.

Unfortunately, much of this high-tech diagnosis is out of reach for the average Indian woman. Financial constraints, poor education and lack of facilities are major drawbacks to good antenatal care and prenatal diagnosis.

Source:Thr Telegraph (Kolkata,India)