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Herbs & Plants

Bidens frondosa

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Botanical Name : Bidens frondosa
Family : Asteraceae
Genus : Bidens L.
Kingdom : Plantae
Subkingdom :Tracheobionta
Superdivision : Spermatophyta
Division : Magnoliophyta
Class : Magnoliopsida
Subclass :  Asteridae
Order : Asterales
Species : Bidens frondosa L.

Common Names :Bur Marigold, Devil’s Bootjack, Devil‘s pitchfork,Beggars Tick  Pitchfork Weed, and Sticktight.

Habitat :Native to U.S. Wet ground, ditches, pond margins, streambanks, waste ground, roadsides, railroads

Description:
Bidens frondosa  is an annual herb. It looks similar to a Dahlia plant, up to 2 m tall, usually with reddish stems. Its flowers are yellow, produced in early autumn, followed by numerous seeds with hooked barbs that attach onto passing animals’ fur or clothing or sometimes even skin which allow the seeds to be dispersed widely.

Stems – From fibrous roots, stout, erect, herbaceous, to +/-2m tall, branching, 4-angled (the angles rounded), fluted, essentially glabrous but with a few antrorse hairs in upper portions, typically purple.

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LeavesOpposite, petiolate, trifoliolate. Petiole to +/-5cm long, with an adaxial groove (groove curly pubescent within), the rest of the petiole glabrous or with very sparse short pubescence. Lateral leaflets with petiolules to 5-6mm long, basally oblique. Terminal leaflet with petiolule to 2.5cm long, larger than lateral leaflets, sometimes unequally divided. All leaflets serrate, acuminate, puberulent above, pubescent below, to +10cm long, 4cm broad, light green below, deep dull green above.

Flowers:Bloom during August  to October

Medicinal Uses:
Used in palpitation of the heart, cough, and uterine derangement.  Roots or seeds are also used as an expectorant in throat irritation.  Bidens frondosa in infusion has cured several cases of croup, even where they have been considered beyond aid. A strong infusion of the plant, sweetened with honey, was administered to the children, warm, in doses of a tablespoonful or more every 10 or 15 minutes, until it vomited. A quantity of mucous and membranous shreds were ejected, followed by immediate relief; the children passed into a sleep, from which they awakened perfectly well. In a few hours after the emetic operation of the warm infusion, it acted as a cathartic. The leaves from which the infusion was made, were, at the same time placed in a piece of flannel with some brandy added to them, and laid over the chest and throat. This plan is also beneficial in colds, acute bronchial and laryngeal attach from exposure to cold, etc. An infusion of the seeds formed into a syrup with honey, is useful in whooping-cough.

For urethritis and cystitis that has had several closely spaced occurrences, with antibiotics helping briefly but with the irritation returning shortly after the finish of the regimen try several days of the tea or tincture.  If the pain goes away, continue the tea for a few more days to finish up the membrane healing.  Bidens is also an excellent herb for benign prostatic hypertrophy, usually decreasing the membrane irritability both in the urinary tract and the rectum, and often, over a few weeks of use, noticeably shrinking the prostate and giving its connective tissue better tone.  For this purpose, it combines well with equal parts of white sage.

For elevated uric acid in the blood and a history of gout or urate kidney gravel, Bidens will increase the efficiency of the kidney’s excretion of uric acid from the blood; it will also act as a diuretic to dilute the urine.  It has no effect on the production of uric acid by the body.  Since the mechanism for stimulating the excretion is different from that of Shepherd’s Purse, the two can be combined for increased effects. The herb is active against staph infections, and can be used as a wash, sitz bath, and eyewash.  Its astringency helps take away the inflammation and pain as well. Its astringency and anti-inflammatory effects on the mucus membranes help act as a tonic and preventative for gastritis and ulcers, and diarrhea and ulcerative colitis.  For respiratory infections or irritated membranes due to shouting, smoking, or dust, the tea or tincture acts to soothe the membranes, increase mucus secretions and expectoration, and decrease edema and swelling.  For some asthma aggravated or induced by infection, it may be enough to turn the problem around.  The tea will often help hay fever and sinus headaches from allergies, infections or pollution. For mucus discharges, use the tea two or three times a day for a week.  This includes cloudy urine, vaginal discharges, mucus colitis, mucoid conjunctivitis, and chronic throat and nasal discharges.

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://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Horticulture/Bidens_frondosa
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=BIFR
http://www.missouriplants.com/Yellowopp/Bidens_frondosa_page.html

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News on Health & Science

Gene ‘linked to higher gout risk’

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A reason why millions worldwide fall prey to the painful joint condition gout may have been uncovered.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
..Gout can be disfiguring and painful

A rise in UK gout cases has been blamed on increasingly unhealthy lifestyles.

However, genetic analysis of more than 12,000 people, published in the journal Nature Genetics, has found that a gene variant may also raise the risk.

Researchers at the MRC Human Genetics Unit, in Edinburgh, said the gene, and the protein it controls, might one day be targeted by new gout drugs.

In a healthy body, uric acid, a waste product found in the blood, is removed by the kidneys and passes out of the body in urine.

However, in some people the kidney cannot get rid of it properly and it builds up in the blood, forming crystals in the joints, leading to inflammation, stiffness and pain.

Various food types have been blamed, with the consensus that diets rich in refined sugars, protein and alcohol increase the risk.

Many thousands of people have a diet which appears to increase the risk of gout, but far fewer actually develop the illness.

Now scientists at the MRC Human Genetics Unit may have worked out why that is.

The gene variation they found, in the SLC2A gene, appears to make it harder for the body to remove uric acid from the blood.

Testing and treatment

Professor Alan Wright, who led the research, said: “The gene is a key player in determining the efficiency of uric acid transport across the membranes of the kidney.”

His colleague Harry Campbell said: “Some people will have higher or lower risk of gout depending on the form of the gene they inherited.

“This discovery may allow better diagnostic tools for gout to be developed.”

At the moment, drug treatment for patients is limited.

Although gout is a disease more usually found in a historical textbook, it is estimated that one million people in the UK suffer from it in some form.

Professor Stuart Ralston, from the British Society for Rheumatology, said that he often came across patients whose lifestyles did not fit the traditional view of over-consumption.

“Until recently you would associate gout with boozing and rich food, but there are plenty of other patients who are quite abstemious. This might be a genetic marker for gout risk.

“What is exciting is that it could be a target for new gout drugs.”

Dr Andrew Bamji, president of the British Society for Rheumatology, said that the research supported a recent study which suggested that too many sugary soft drinks could trigger gout.

He said: “It appears that this gene also plays a role in the control of levels of fructose sugar in the body, which would explain the finding that soft drinks were linked to attacks.”

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Sources:BBC NEWS: 10Th.March.’08