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Rubus caesius

Botanical Name : Rubus caesius
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Rubus
Subgenus: Rubus (formerly Eubatus)
Order: Rosales

Common Name: Dewberry, European dewberry

Habitat :Rubus caesius  is native to Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to Spain, Siberia and W. Asia. It grows on  hedgerows, amongst shrubs and in rough dry meadowland, usually on basic soils.

Description:

Rubus caesius is a deciduous Shrub growing to 0.2 m (0ft 8in) by 1 m (3ft 3in).  It is a small trailing (rather than upright or high-arching) brambles with berries reminiscent of the raspberry, but are usually purple to black instead of red.Sometimesit is considered  as a nuisance weed.
click & see the pictures
Around March and April, the plants start to grow white flowers that develop into small green berries. The tiny green berries grow red and then a deep purple-blue as they ripen. When the berries are ripe, they are tender and difficult to pick in any quantity without squashing them. The plants do not have upright canes like some other Rubus species, but have stems that trail along the ground, putting forth new roots along the length of the stem. The stems are covered with fine spines or stickers. The berries are sweet and, for many, are worth the scratches and stains that come from picking them.

In the winter the leaves often remain on the stems, but may turn dark red. The leaves are sometimes eaten by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including peach blossom moths.

The European dewberry, Rubus caesius, grows more upright like other brambles, but is frequently restricted to coastal communities, especially sand dune systems. Its fruits are a deep, almost black, purple and are coated with a thin layer or ‘dew’ of waxy droplets. Thus, they appear sky-blue (caesius is Latin for pale blue). It is less sought after, because its fruits are small and retain a markedly tart taste even when fully ripe.

Cultivation :
Easily grown in a good well-drained loamy soil in sun or semi-shade. Succeeds on chalky soils. This species is a blackberry with biennial stems, it produces a number of new stems each year from the perennial rootstock, these stems fruit in their second year and then die. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.

Propagation:
Seed – requires stratification and is best sown in early autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed requires one month stratification at about 3°c and is best sown as early as possible in the year. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and grow on in a cold frame. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Tip layering in July. Plant out in autumn. Division in early spring or just before leaf-fall in the autumn.

Edible Uses:The leaves can be used for a tea, and the berries are sweet and edible.
Fruit –  is   eaten raw or cooked. Succulent but not very tasty. A delicious flavour, it is considered to be superior to blackcurrants though the fruit is rather small and consists of just a few drupes. The fruit can be used for making jellies, preserves etc.

Medicinal Uses:
The fruit is commonly used for a treatment for diarrhea and dysentery. Combination of the roots is treatment for coughs and also fevers.

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/Dewberry
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_DE.htm

http://toptropicals.com/pics/garden/m1/Podarki7/Rubus_caesius67MikMak.jpg

http://www.celtnet.org.uk/recipes/ancient/wild-food-entry.php?term=Dewberry

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Torticollis

Alternative Names : Wry neck; Loxia

DEFINITION:
Torticollis is a twisted neck in which the head is tipped to one side, while the chin is turned to the other.It is a stiff neck associated with muscle spasm, classically causing lateral flexion contracture of the cervical spine musculature. The muscles affected are principally those supplied by the spinal accessory nerve.

CLICK  &  SEE THE PICTURES

Symptoms:
•Limited range of motion of the head
•Headache
•Head tremor
•Neck pain
•Shoulder is higher on one side of the body
•Stiffness of neck muscles
•Swelling of the neck muscles (possibly present at birth)

Types of Torticollis:

Temporary Torticollis: This type of wry neck usually disappears after one or two days. It can be caused by:

*swollen lymph nodes
*an ear infection
*a cold
*an injury to the head and neck that causes swelling

Fixed Torticollis:  Fixed torticollis is also called acute torticollis or permanent torticollis. It is usually due to a problem with muscle or bone structure.

Muscular Torticollis:
This is the most common type of fixed torticollis. It is caused by scarring or tight muscles on one side of the neck

Klippel-Feil Syndrome:
This is a congenital form of wry neck. It occurs when the bones in an infant’s neck have formed incorrectly. Children born with this condition may have difficulty with hearing and vision.

Cervical Dystonia:
This rare disorder is sometimes referred to as spasmodic torticollis. It causes neck muscles to contract in spasms. If you have cervical dystonia, your head twists or turns painfully to one side. It may also tilt forward or backward. Cervical dystonia sometimes goes away without treatment. However, there is a risk of recurrence.

This type of wry neck  or Torticollis can happen to anyone. However, it is most commonly diagnosed in middle age. It affects more women than men.

CAUSES:
Torticollis  can be inherited. It can also develop in the womb. This may happen if the fetus’ head is in the wrong position. It can also be caused by damage to the muscles or blood supply to the neck.

Anyone can develop wry neck after a muscle or nervous system injury. However, most of the time, the cause of wry neck is not known. This is called idiopathic torticollis.

DIAGNOSIS:
Evaluation of a child with torticollis begins with history taking to determine circumstances surrounding birth and any possibility of trauma or associated symptoms. Physical examination reveals decreased rotation and bending to the side opposite from the affected muscle. Some say that congenital cases more often involve the right side, but there is not complete agreement about this in published studies. Evaluation should include a thorough neurologic examination, and the possibility of associated conditions such as developmental dysplasia of the hip and clubfoot should be examined. Radiographs of the cervical spine should be obtained to rule out obvious bony abnormality, and MRI should be considered if there is concern about structural problems or other conditions.

Evaluation by an ophthalmologist should be considered in children to ensure that the torticollis is not caused by vision problems (IV cranial nerve palsy, nystagmus-associated “null position,” etc.). Most cases in infants respond well to physical therapy. Other causes should be treated as noted above.

TREATMENT:
Common treatments  might involve a multi-phase process:

1.Low-impact exercise to increase strong form neck stability
2.Manipulation of the neck by a chiropractor, physical therapist, or D.O.†
3.Extended heat application.
4.Repetitive shiatsu massage.

†An Osteopathic Physician (D.O.) may choose to use Cranial techniques to properly position the occipital condyles – thereby relieving compression of cranial nerve XI in children with Torticollis. This is an example of Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment.

Acquired torticollis:
Acquired torticollis occurs because of another problem and usually presents in previously normal children and adults…..

*A self-limiting spontaneously occurring form of torticollis with one or more painful neck muscles is by far the most common (‘stiff neck’) and will pass spontaneously in 1–4 weeks. Usually the sternocleidomastoid muscle or the trapezius muscle is involved. Sometimes draughts, colds or unusual postures are implicated; however in many cases no clear cause is found. These episodes are rarely seen by doctors other than a family physician.

*Trauma to the neck can cause atlantoaxial rotatory subluxation, in which the two vertebrae closest to the skull slide with respect to each other, tearing stabilizing ligaments; this condition is treated with traction to reduce the subluxation, followed by bracing or casting until the ligamentous injury heals.

*Tumors of the skull base (posterior fossa tumors) can compress the nerve supply to the neck and cause torticollis, and these problems must be treated surgically.

*Infections in the posterior pharynx can irritate the nerves supplying the neck muscles and cause torticollis, and these infections may be treated with antibiotics if they are not too severe, but could require surgical debridement in intractable cases.

*Ear infections and surgical removal of the adenoids can cause an entity known as Grisel’s syndrome, a subluxation of the upper cervical joints, mostly the atlantoaxial joint, due to inflammatory laxity of the ligaments caused by an infection. This bridge must either be broken through manipulation of the neck, or surgically resected.

*The use of certain drugs, such as antipsychotics, can cause torticollis.

*Antiemetics – Neuroleptic Class – Phenothiazines

There are many other rare causes of torticollis.

Spasmodic torticollis:
Torticollis with recurrent but transient contraction of the muscles of the neck and esp. of the sternocleidomastoid. “intermittent torticollis . “cervical dystonia”

TREATMENT: Botulinum toxin has been used to inhibit the spastic contractions of the affected muscles.

In animals:.CLICK & SEE
The condition can also occur in animals, usually as a result of an inner ear infection but sometimes as a result of an injury. It is seen largely in domestic rodents and rabbits, but may also appear in dogs and other different animals.

Possible ComplicationsComplications may include:

•Muscle swelling due to constant tension
•Neurological symptoms due to compressed nerve roots

Prognosis:
The condition may be easier to correct in infants and children. If the condition becomes chronic, numbness and tingling may develop as nerve roots become compressed in the neck.

The muscle itself may become large (hypertrophic) due to constant stimulation and exercise.

Botulinum toxin injections often provide substantial relief.

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

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torticollis
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000749.htm
http://www.umm.edu/imagepages/19090.htm

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sternocleidomastoideus.png

http://www.healthline.com/health/torticollis#Causes2

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Depression, loneliness linked to physical ills

CHICAGO: Depression, severe mental illness and loneliness are linked to illnesses such as heart disease and dementia, according to several studies published on Monday.

The exact connections between a dysfunctional mind and a malfunctioning body remains an ongoing question, but at least one of three sets of researchers writing in the Archives of General Psychiatry said several factors may be at work.

Jesse Stewart, formerly of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, found a correlation between depression and hardening of the arteries in his three-year study of 324 men and women who averaged 60 years old.

The arteries of those who were most depressed had narrowed twice as much as those who were least depressed, the study found. Hardening of the arteries can be a precursor to a heart attack or stroke and may occur because of a malfunctioning nervous system in depressed people.

Depression may also upset the body’s regulation of glands that release chemicals governing energy level and growth, and alter the functioning of cells responsible for blood clotting.

Hardening of the arteries leads to an overreaction of the immune system and the resulting inflammation is known to release chemicals that can have effects on behaviour.

In the same journal, a British study of 46,136 severely mentally ill people found those who were younger than 50 were more than three times as likely to die from coronary heart disease and stroke than people not suffering from mental illness.

Mental illness more than doubled the risk of dying from heart disease for people up to age 75.

Source: The Times Of India