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Herbs & Plants

Erythroxylum catuaba

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Botanical Name :Erythroxylum catuaba
Family: Erythroxylaceae
Genus:   Erythroxylum
Species:   catuaba

Other Species:  Erythroxylum vacciniifolium, Trichilia catigua, Juniperus brasiliensis, Eriotheca candolleana, Anemopaegma mirandum

Common Names: Catuaba, cataguá, chuchuhuasha, tatuaba, pau de reposta, caramuru, piratançara, angelim-rosa, catiguá
Part Used: Bark, root

Habitat :Erythroxylum catuaba  grows in the northern part of Brazil in Amazonas, Para, Pernambuco, Bahia, Maranhao, and Alagoas.

Description:
Erythroxylum catuaba is a vigorous-growing, small tree that produces yellow and orange flowers and small, dark yellow, oval-shaped, inedible fruit.  This catuaba tree belongs to the family Erythroxylaceae, whose principal genus, Erythroxylum, contains several species that are sources of cocaine. Catuaba, however, contains none of the active cocaine alkaloids.

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Constituents:  some varieties of catuaba contain yohimbine. the antibacterial constituent of the herb is cinchonain. also contained are fatty acids, phytosterols, and antioxidant flavonoids.

The chemical constituents found in catuaba include alkaloids, tannins, aromatic oils and fatty resins, phytosterols, cyclolignans, sequiterpenes, and flavonoids. One Brazilian researcher documented (in 1958) that catuaba contained the alkaloid yohimbine (but it was unclear which species of tree he was studying). A mixture of flavalignans, including cinchonain (also found in quinine bark), was isolated from the bark of Trichilia catigua and reported to have antibacterial and anticancerous properties

Medicinal Uses:
* Aphrodisiac * Fatigue * Libido
Properties: * Antibacterial * Antioxidant * Aphrodisiac * Immunostimulant * Vasodilator

Catuaba is the most famous of the Brazilian aphrodisiac plants, noted for it’s ability to strengthen erections.  Catuaba is an aphrodisiac that is useful in the treatment of impotence and prostatitis, and has been studied for possible benefits as a protective against opportunistic infection in HIV/AIDS. 1,4 In 2002, a Brazilian company was awarded a patent for an HIV prevention formula based on an extract of the herb, although research is still in progress.

While no clinical research has validated the traditional use of catuaba as an aphrodisiac, it continues to be used widely for its ability to enhance sexual drive and increase libido in both men and women. In the last several years, its popularity has grown in the North American herbal market, with various products (especially libido formulas) now available in health food stores. Catuaba is also showing up in other formulas for depression, stress and nervous disorders. (The jury’s still out as to which species is being sold, however!) Interested consumers should seek a reputable manufacturer and product – with a verified plant source and botanical species for the herbal ingredient being sold.

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.rain-tree.com/catuaba.htm#.Uaihd77D92Y
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail420.php

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News on Health & Science

If You’re in Pain, Think UTI

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Pain while passing urine, a desire to urinate every few minutes, an inability to pass urine despite the urge, high-coloured, cloudy urine, abdominal pain, high fever, shivering and vomiting — a few or all of these are symptoms of an infection somewhere along the urinary tract. In the elderly, the only symptom may be a change in mental status. In men, the pain may be felt in the rectal area. In children, after a period of dryness, bedwetting may recur. In babies, the temperature can fall instead of rise, and there may be jaundice. Almost 25 per cent of visits to a physician is due to this very common infection.
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Urinary tract infection (UTI) affects all age groups and both sexes. It is much more common in women, because of the shorter urethra, its proximity to the anus, pregnancy (when the uterus obstructs the free flow of urine) and minor trauma during sexual intercourse. Thirty five per cent of women have one episode of UTI before the age of 30. Men tend to develop UTI if their prostrate gland is enlarged as this obstructs the flow of urine. In both sexes kidney stones, structural abnormalities of the urinary tract, diabetes or lack of immunity (HIV, cancer medication) can increase susceptibility to infection. Pregnant women can develop asymptomatic UTI with bacteria detected in their urine on routine examination. This condition, called “asymptomatic bactinuria” of pregnancy, needs to be treated.
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Physicians suspect that UTI exists based on the symptoms. A routine urine examination shows abnormalities like pus cells or blood in the urine. A culture can be done to determine the organism responsible so that the appropriate antibiotic can be administered.

Untreated patients of UTI can sometimes recover spontaneously without treatment in a few months. But the infection can also enter the blood stream, causing potentially fatal septicaemia. The kidneys may become scarred, too. This leads to high blood pressure and kidney failure. During pregnancy, recurrent or chronic UTI or asymptomatic UTI compromises the placental blood supply. This affects the baby’s nutrition, leading to low birth weight and sometimes causing the mother to go into premature labour.

There are several regimens for treating UTI. Depending on the organism and antibiotic, in adult women a three-day course is usually sufficient for mild infection. In most cases and in the case of men, however, a 7-10 or 14-day course is required. Oral medication is usually sufficient. If the infection has affected the kidney, hospitalisation and intravenous medication may be required. It is important to follow the doctor’s instructions and complete the course of antibiotics even if you are symptomatically better. In women, if the symptoms do not respond and there is also white discharge, there may be an underlying pelvic infection. In men, non-responsiveness to treatment may be due to unrecognised prostatitis.

One of the ways to prevent UTI is to drink plenty of water. The urine becomes dilute and the bladder gets flushed regularly. An adult needs around 2.5 litres of water a day. In hot, humid climates and in people who exercise vigorously the requirement may go up to 4-6 litres a day. Also, drink a glass of water before going to bed. Empty the bladder before and after intercourse. Drink a glass of water after intercourse.

A few studies have shown that cranberry juice (available in India, Hindi name karaunda) and blueberry juice (not available) helps reduce the frequency and duration of UTI. This is because the juice contains vitamin C which acidifies the urine. It also contains natural chemicals that make the bladder wall slippery and prevent bacteria from sticking to it and initiating an infection. Other citrus juices and tablets of vitamin C are effective but not as efficient. A tablespoon of home-made curd taken on an empty stomach first thing in the morning naturally repopulates the intestines with “good lactobacillus”. This decreases the likelihood of the growth of disease-causing bacteria in the rectum, from where they can enter the urethra.

The pelvic muscles become lax after childbirth. This increases the possibility of the bladder and uterus descending downwards while straining. “Accidents” with leakage of urine and urgency can also occur.

All these increase the chances of infection. Keegles exercises should be done regularly soon after childbirth. Also while passing urine, consciously stop and start. This tones the pelvic muscles.

Women tend to lean forward while urinating. This position is inefficient as it increases the angle between the bladder and the urethra, creating an obstruction to the flow of urine. Women should consciously lean backwards. Also, when the area is being washed after urination or passing motion, wash from front to back. This decreases the likelihood of contamination of the urethra with rectal bacteria

Source: The Telegraph ( Kolkata, India)

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Health Problems & Solutions

Not to Get Pregnant

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I have done something wrong,” said the young woman. No, it was not theft or murder she was confessing to but unprotected sex. An unguarded passionate moment with her boyfriend had made her pregnant. She was terrified of the stigma — the boyfriend was still a student, there was no way they could get married right away.
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This is quite a common scenario in urban as well as rural India. Women increasingly face the problems of unplanned and unwanted pregnancies. It’s most important that they know how to take care of themselves, married or single.

First, women need to be in control of their bodies, especially when it comes to sexual intercourse, pregnancy and childbirth. Many safe women-oriented contraceptive methods are available.

Women become pregnant only on certain days of the month. The ovum or egg of a fertile woman is released 14 days before her next period. The egg survives 12 to 24 hours after release and the sperm for up to 72 hours. Couples may refrain from intercourse on these days if they wish to avoid pregnancy. This method, however, is not reliable as many women do not menstruate with clockwork precision.

Women may use contraceptive creams containing nonoxynol-9 in the vagina. These substances increase the effectiveness of the safe period. They are effective for about an hour. But they do not suit everyone and may cause vaginal irritation or allergic reactions. They are available in pharmacies without a prescription.

Diaphragms can be inserted prior to intercourse. These come in various sizes and need to be combined with a spermicide. An initial medical examination is needed to confirm the size. The device has to be left in the vagina for eight to 12 hours after intercourse but should be removed within 24 hours.

Women can also opt for an intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD), popularly known as a “copper T”. These need to be inserted by a medical professional. They can work for three, five or 10 years, depending on the type and manufacturer’s recommendations. Imported devices can be purchased from the pharmacy. Also, free IUCDs are distributed by the government.

“Depo” injections of long-acting progesterone are available
. A woman needs to have an injection every 12 weeks. They can cause weight gain, irregular cycles, breakthrough bleeding or spotting. The irregular periods can raise the spectre of an unwanted pregnancy.

Oral contraceptive pills (OCP) prevent pregnancy if taken regularly.
There are combination pills containing estrogen and progesterone with different trade names. They are also provided free by the government (Mala D). The active ingredient is given for 21 days. Then there is a pill-free interval of seven days after which the next lot needs to be started. Sometimes placebo pills are administered during the pill-free period. They prevent pregnancy as well as regularise the cycle. They do not increase the risk of cancer.

Breast feeding women can opt for “progesterone only” pills. These are taken without a pill-free interval.

There’s a new contraceptive in the market — a plastic ring impregnated with estrogen and progesterone. The ring needs to be inserted in the vagina and left there for three weeks followed by a one week ring-free interval. A woman can purchase and insert the ring herself. An advantage of this over the pill is that the question of forgetting the latter does not arise.

Condoms can be used by the male partner. These have to be used from the beginning to the end of intercourse, and can be combined with a spermicidal cream.

Casual sex and multiple partners can result in sexually transmitted diseases. Some like Hepatitis B and HIV can eventually be fatal. Only condoms can prevent these diseases.

Even if you have had unplanned and unprotected sex, you can use emergency contraception (morning after) pills. Although theoretically these pills should be dispensed only by prescription, in many places they are available over the counter (OTC). The tablet should be taken after intercourse as soon as possible. It is 80 per cent effective if taken within 72 hours.

The morning after pill contains either progesterone or a combination of estrogen and progesterone in higher doses than in the 21 or 28-day packs of OCPs. An alternative is to take four low-dose or two “standard-dose” OCPs, and then take an equal dose 12 hours later.

If an unwanted pregnancy occurs, do not buy medicine OTC or rush to an unqualified quack out of shame or fear. Medical abortion pills are available and effective. They work up to the 49th day after the last period.

The last two are stopgap emergency measures. They are not to be considered regular methods of contraception. They are detrimental to health if repeatedly used.

Source : The Teleghraph ( Kolkata, India)

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Healthy Tips

Having Sex Twice A Week Reduces Chance of Heart Attack

Men who have sex at least twice a week can almost halve their risk of heart disease, according to new research.
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It shows men who indulge in regular lovemaking are up to 45 percent less likely to develop life-threatening heart conditions. The study, of over 1,000 men, did not examine whether women benefit too.

The researchers who carried out the investigation are calling for doctors to screen men for sexual activity when assessing their risk of heart disease.

Resources:
The Telegraph January 8, 2010
American Journal of Cardiology January 15, 2010, Volume 105, Issue 2, Pages 192-197

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Categories
Health Problems & Solutions

Some Health Quaries & Answers

 

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A: The manufacturers of Today claim 89 to 91 per cent efficiency, if used correctly. It is a spermicide — that is, it kills any sperm that comes into contact with it. It has to be inserted prior to intercourse and left inside for a minimum of six hours. Independent consumer surveys have placed the efficiency at around 65 per cent. The effectiveness increases to 99 per cent if used with condoms.

Invasive thymoma
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Q: I had a cough. When a chest X-ray was taken, I was found to have “invasive thymoma”. What is that?

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A: The thymus is a gland situated in front of the chest. It usually involutes and disappears after puberty. However, it can persist and grow, forming a “thymoma”. This can present at any age but is commoner after the age of 50. It causes no symptoms in a third of the people (as in your case) and is picked up only during a routine X-ray. As it is situated close to the heart, lungs and large blood vessels in the chest, it can penetrate and invade these structures forming an “invasive thymoma”.Treatment involves surgery radiation and chemotherapy. Take your doctor’s advice and go to a tertiary care hospital that specialises in cancer treatment.

Gay matter
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Q: My cousin is a homosexual. Is there any medication that can be given to him?

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A: The reason for sexual orientation is still tentative and not proven. It is probably the result of a combination of genetic, hormonal and environmental factors. There have been some articles recently in biology journals speculating that sexual orientation depends on whether the person has a preponderance of male or female receptor pheromones. This is genetic. Sexual orientation is established in early childhood. This gives credence to the genetic theory. There is no scientific evidence that abnormal parenting, sexual abuse or other adverse life event influences sexual orientation. Being “gay” is not due to a chemical imbalance in the brain. There is no medication to change it.

Always tearful…click & see
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Q: My mother has tears rolling out of her left eye all the time. Please help.

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A: There is a small opening in the lower eye lid near the bridge of the nose which leads into the lachrymal (tear) duct and also opens into the nose. The opening near the eye lid seems to have become blocked . This is commoner in women after menopause and can occur for a variety of reasons. An ophthalmologist can determine if it is due to an infection or if debris has blocked it. Medical treatment for the infection involves massage, drops and ointments. If these do not work, surgery may be required.

Lump near genitalia
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Q: I have a lump on the right side of my penis. It hurts when I stand up but I cannot feel it when I lie down….click & see

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A: It sounds like you have inguinal hernia. Since it disappears when you lie down, it means the hernia is still reducible and has not become obstructed. You need to see a surgeon to have it corrected. It is not a tumour or cancer.

Source: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)