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Herbs & Plants

Hedera nepalensis

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Botanical Name : Hedera nepalensis
Family: Araliaceae
Subfamily: Aralioideae
Genus: Hedera
Species: Hedera nepalensis
Varieties: H. n. var. nepalensis – H. n. var. sinensis

Common Names: Himalayan ivy, Nepal Ivy

Habitat :Hedera nepalensis is native to E. Asia – Himalayas. It grows on moist stones and tree stems at elevations of 1600 – 3000 metres in Nepal.
(It is primarily native to forested areas, roadsides and rocky slopes in Nepal and Bhutan but may also be found in Afghanistan, India, China, and Southeast Asia.)

Description:
Hedera nepalensis is an evergreen perennial Climber growing to 15 m (49ft) by 5 m (16ft) at a medium rate with gray-green foliage. It is primarily grown in cultivation as a climbing vine or trailing ground cover. As a vine, it climbs by aerial roots and may, over time, grow upwards to a height of 50-100’ in wild areas, but is more often seen much shorter (10-50’) in cultivated areas. As a ground cover, it typically grows to 6-9″ tall but spreads over time to 50’ or more unless trimmed shorter……CLICK &  SEE  THE  PICTURES
It is in leaf 12-Jan. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, lepidoptera.It is noted for attracting wildlife.

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay and nutritionally poor soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.

It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist or wet soil and can tolerate drought. It can tolerate atmospheric pollution.
Cultivation:
Ivy is a very easily grown plant that dislikes waterlogged, very dry or very acid soils but otherwise succeeds in all soil types. It grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers some lime in the soil. Tolerates very dense shade, though it may not flower in such a position. This species is not hardy in all parts of Britain, tolerating temperatures down to about -5 to -10°c. Ivy is a rampant climbing plant, clinging by means of aerial roots and often trailing on the ground in woods and hedges. It is of benefit rather than harm when growing on a wall because it keeps the wall dry and acts as an insulation. It does not damage the structure of a wall. Similarly, it does not harm large trees when climbing into them, though it can shade out smaller and ailing trees. It is not a parasitic plant, but instead obtains all its nutrient from the sun and the soil. This species is notably resistant to honey fungus.
Propagation:
Seed – remove the flesh, which inhibits germination, and sow the seed in spring in a cold frame.  Four weeks cold stratification will improve germination. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a shady position in a frame. Good percentage. Cuttings of mature wood, 12cm long, November in a cold frame. Layering. Plants often do this naturally.
Medicinal Uses:
Cathartic; Diaphoretic; Skin; Stimulant.
The leaves and the berries are said to be cathartic, diaphoretic and stimulant. A decoction of the plant is used to treat skin diseases

Known Hazards : Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, the following notes are for the closely related Hedera helix and quite possibly are relavent here. The plant is said to be poisonous in large doses although the leaves are eaten with impunity by various mammals without any noticeable harmful affects. The leaves and fruits contain the saponic glycoside hederagenin which, if ingested, can cause breathing difficulties and coma. The sap can cause dermatitis with blistering and inflammation. This is apparently due to the presence of polyacetylene compounds.
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://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?taxonid=276621&chr=12
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Hedera+nepalensis

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hedera_nepalensis

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Statins May Raise Stroke Risk in Some

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People who have had a type of stroke caused by bleeding in the brain should avoid taking cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins, U.S. researchers said
. The drugs increase the risk of a second stroke in these patients.

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It was especially true of people who had strokes in one of their brain’s four lobes, which have a greater chance of recurrence than strokes that occur deep in the brain.

People who have a stroke in one of their lobes have a 22 percent risk of a second stroke when they take statins, compared with a 14 percent risk among those not taking a statin.

According to Reuters:
“The researchers said it is not clear how statins increase the bleeding risk in these patients. It may be having low cholesterol increases the risk of bleeding in the brain, or it may be that statins affect clotting factors in the blood that increase the risk of a brain hemorrhage in these patients.”


Resources:

Reuters January 10, 2011
Archives of Neurology January 10, 2011

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Herbs & Plants

Allemanda cathartica

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Botanical Name :Allemanda cathartica Linn
Family: Apocynaceae
Genus: Allamanda
Species: A. cathartica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Syn.:  Allamanda cathartica Linn, Allamanda hendersonii Bull, Allamanda augustifolia Pohl

Common Names: :Golden trumpet, Harkakra, Campenilla, The cup of gold, Willow leaved Allamanda, Haladilu, Kolaambi, Jaharisontakka,.Kampanero (Tag.),Campanilla (Span., Tag.) Kampanero (Tag.) ,Kampanilya (Tag.) ,Kompanaria (Tag.), Yellow allamanda (Engl.) ,Yellow bell (Engl.) ,Golden trumpet (Engl.)  Cherries jubilee allamanda (Engl.) Huang ying (Chin.)

Local names: Campanilla (Sp., Tag.); kampanero (Tag.); kompanaria (Tag.); golden trumpet (Engl.).

Habitat :Native from Brazil.   Allemanda cathartica  was introduced from tropical America and is now cultivated for ornamental purposes. It is occasionally semi-established in thickets near dwellings or settlements.

Description:
This plant is a smooth or somewhat hairy shrub 2 to 4 meters in height. The leaves grow in whorls of three or four, though the uppermost ones may be scattered, and are lanceolate or oblanceolate, 8 to 12 centimeters long, 2.5 to 4 centimeters wide, and pointed at both ends. The yellow flowers are shortly stalked. The calyx-teeth are green, somewhat spreading, lanceolate, and 1 to 1.5 centimeters long. The corolla is about 7 centimeters long; the slender part os the tube being 3 centimeters long; the tube is then inflated up to 2 centimeters in diameter; the lobes are ovate or oblong-ovate, spreading, rounded, and about 2 centimeters long.
Its large flowers are very fragrant. This South American plant is thought to blossom best in full sunshine, and well drained soil.
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Constituents: Phytochemical studies revealed the main constituents to be alkaloids, flavonoids, saponins and carbohydrates.
The whole plant is reported to be poisonous.Contains allamandin, a toxic iridoid lactone.As the name implies, the leaves, roots and flowers may be used in preparing a powerful cathartic. Milky sap is considered antibacterial, possibly anticancer.

Medicinal Uses:
Parts utilized: Leaves and bark.

Purgative, cathartic with hydrogogue effect, healing, diuretic.
In the Philippines, whole plant is considered poisonous.

Folkloric
*The plant draws its name from Allamand, who made the plant known a century and a half ago, who used a cathartic infusion of the leaves for colic.
*Infusion of leaves in moderate doses is an excellent cathartic; in considerable doses, it is purgative and a violent emetic.
*The bark and latex in small doses are considered cathartic; in large doses, poisonous.
*Decoction of the bark is a hydragogue; infusion of leaves is cathartic.
*Decoction of leaves in small doses used as antidote for poisoning.
*Extract of leaves used for colic and as laxative; in large doses causes diarrhea and vomiting.
*In Trinidad, used for treating malaria and jaundice.
*In Guiana, the latex is used as a purgative and employed for colics.
*In Surinam, the plant is used as a cathartic.

This plant is cited in Flora Brasiliensis by Carl Friedrich Philipp von Martius.It is mainly used to treat malaria.

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.

Studies
:
• Purgative Effect: Findings suggest AC leaf extracts can elicit a purgative effect by increasing intestinal motility, in part, via muscarinic receptor activaton.
Wound Healing: The study of aqueous extract showed significant wound healing activity in wound models studies with decrease epithelialisation time, high skin breaking strength, and increase in granulation tissue weight and hydroxyproliing content. The Allamanda leaf extract possesses better wound healing activity than the Laurus nobilis.
• Reversible Antifertility Effect: The study on the oral administration of aqueous leaf extract of AC showed reversible suppression of fertility in male mice – organ weight,, testosterone levels, sperm parameters among others – without detectable toxic effects.
• Antidermatophytic: Plumeride, an active principle isolated from the leaves of AC showed strong fungitoxicity against some dermatophytes causing dermatomycosis to both humans and animals.
• Purgative Effect : Study showed the aqueous extract of leaves of Ac could produce a purgative effect by increasing intestinal motility, partly through muscarinic receptor activation.
Anti-Proliferative / Cytotoxic: Study evaluated the anti-proliferative effect of A. blanchetti and A. schottii on K562 leukemic cells. Results showed both plants exhibited cytostatic and cytotoxic activity, the most active were located in the roots.
• Antimicrobial: Study of leaf extract of A. cathartic showed antimicrobial activity – the chloroform extract showed significant activity against Shigella dysenteriae, moderate activity against B subtilis, P aeruginosa and a niger.
Bioactive Iridoids / Cytotoxic: Study of ethanol extract of A cathartica and H fallax isolated a weakly cytotoxic isoplumericin and plumericin.

Resources:
http://www.bpi.da.gov.ph/Publications/mp/pdf/c/campanilla.pdf
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allamanda_cathartica
http://www.stuartxchange.org/Kampanilya.html
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Added Salt Increases Hypertension

Health experts are urging people to avoid food with high salt content because it may lead to health problems like hypertension and  strokes.

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Dr. Ken Flegel, Dr. Peter Magner and the CMAJ editorial team write that added salt in diets is unnecessary. They insist that customers must be vigilant, read food labels, and demand low salt food in stores and restaurants.

“Of the estimated one billion people living with hypertension, about 30 per cent can attribute it to excess salt intake,” write the authors. According to them, populations, such as the Yanomami Indians in South America, with very low levels of salt intake do not have hypertension.

In contrast, Japan, with a salt intake of 15 g per person, has high rates of hypertension and the highest stroke rates in the industrialized world. The authors recommend a maximum daily intake of 2.8 g for active young people, and 2.2 for older adults.

“The correct default should be no added salt in food we purchase, leaving those who still wish to do so free to indulge at their own risk,” they conclude.

Sources: The Times Of India

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Lower Your Blood Pressure With Vitamin C

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A study has linked high blood levels of vitamin C with lower blood pressure in young women.

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The study involved almost 250 women. They entered the trial when they were 8 to 11 years old, and over a 10-year period, their plasma levels of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and blood pressure were monitored. Both their systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings, were found to be inversely associated with ascorbic acid levels.

Previous research had already linked high plasma levels of vitamin C with lower blood pressure among middle-age and older adults.

Sources:
Reuters December 30, 2008
Nutrition Journal December 17, 2008; 7:35

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