Categories
Herbs & Plants

Indian Almond (Terminalia catappa)

Botanical Name :Terminalia catappa
Family: Combretaceae
Genus: Terminalia
Species: T. catappa
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Myrtales

Common Names:Desi Badam, Bengal almond, Singapore almond , Ebelebo, Malabar almond, Indian almond, Tropical almond, Sea almond, Beach Almond, Talisay tree, Umbrella tree, Abrofo Nkatie (Akan),

Habitat :The tree has been spread widely by humans and the native range is uncertain. It has long been naturalised in a broad belt extending from Africa to Northern Australia and New Guinea through Southeast Asia and Micronesia into the Indian Subcontinent.

Description:
Terminalia catappa is a large tropical tree in the Leadwood tree family, Combretaceae.It grows to 35 metres (115 ft) tall, with an upright, symmetrical crown and horizontal branches. The Terminalia catappa has corky, light fruit that is dispersed by water. The nut within the fruit is edible when fully ripe,tasting almost like almond. As the tree gets older, its crown becomes more flattened to form a spreading, vase shape. Its branches are distinctively arranged in tiers. The leaves are large, 15–25 centimetres (5.9–9.8 in) long and 10–14 centimetres (3.9–5.5 in) broad, ovoid, glossy dark green and leathery. They are dry-season deciduous; before falling, they turn pinkish-reddish or yellow-brown, due to pigments such as violaxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin.

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The flowers are monoecious, with distinct male and female flowers on the same tree. Both are 1 centimetre (0.39 in) in diameter, white to greenish, inconspicuous with no petals; they are produced on axillary or terminal spikes. The fruit is a drupe 5–7 centimetres (2.0–2.8 in) long and 3–5.5 centimetres (1.2–2.2 in) broad, green at first, then yellow and finally red when ripe, containing a single seed

Cultivation:Terminalia catappa  is grown in tropical countries all over the world.

Edible Uses:
The fruit is edible, tasting slightly acidic.

Chemical Constituents:
The leaves contain several flavonoids (like kaempferol or quercetin), several tannins (such as punicalin, punicalagin or tercatin), saponines and phytosterols. Due to this chemical richness, the leaves (and also the bark) are used in different traditional medicines for various purposes. For instances, in Taiwan fallen leaves are used as a herb to treat liver diseases. In Suriname, a tea made from the leaves is prescribed against dysentery and diarrhea. It is also thought that the leaves contain agents for prevention of cancers (although they have no demonstrated anticarcinogenic properties) and antioxidant as well as anticlastogenic characteristics.

Medicinal Uses;
Extracts from the leaves and bark of the plant have proven anticarcinogenic, anti-HIV and hepatoprotective properties (liver regenerating effects), including anti-diabetic effects.  The leaves and bark have been used traditionally in the South Pacific, for fungal related conditions.  It may be potentially beneficial for overall immune support, liver detoxification and antioxidant support.  The leaves contain agents for chemo-prevention of cancer and probably have anticarciogenic potential.  They also have a anticlastogenic effect (a process which causes breaks in chromosomes) due to their antioxidant properties. The kernel of Indian almond has shown aphrodisiac activity; it can probably be used in treatment of some forms of sexual inadequacies (premature ejaculation). Ethanol extract of the leaves shown potential in the treatment of sickle cell disorders. It appears as an anti-sickling agent for those that suffer from sickle cell.  It has been shown to be of benefit for microbial balancing.; as an aid to lowering high blood pressure and stress; as a treatment for some forms of liver disorders; as an aid in reducing the effect of several heart conditions .  In Asia it has long been known that the leaves of contain a toxic, secondary metabolite, which has antibacterial properties.
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From other countries: the leaves, bark and fruits are used for dysentery in Southeast Asia; dressing for rheumatic joints in Indonesia and India; the fruits and bark are a remedy for coughs in Samoa) and  asthma in Mexico; the fruits treat leprosy and  headaches in India and motion sickness in Mexico; the leaves eliminate intestinal parasites in the Philippines and treat eye problems, rheumatism and wounds in Samoa while they’re used to  stop bleeding during teeth extraction in Mexico; fallen leaves are used to treat liver diseases in Taiwan, and young leaves for colic in South America; the juice of the leaves is used for scabies, skin diseases and leprosy in India and Pakistan; the bark is a remedy for throat and mouth problems, stomach upsets and diarrhea in Samoa and for fever and dysentery in Brazil.

Other Uses:
The wood is red, solid and has high water resistance; it has been utilized in Polynesia for making canoes. In Tamil, almond is known “Nattuvadumai”.
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Keeping the leaves in an aquarium is said to lower the pH and heavy metal content of the water. It has been utilized in this way by Betta breeders in Thailand for many years. It’s also believed that it helps prevent fungus forming on the eggs of the fish.. Local hobbyists also use it for conditioning the betta’s water for breeding and hardening of the scales.
Terminalia catappa is widely grown in tropical regions of the world as an ornamental tree, grown for the deep shade its large leaves provide.

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.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terminalia_catappa

http://www.backyardnature.net/yucatan/almond-t.htm

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Categories
News on Health & Science

Gene Therapy Cures Form of ‘Bubble Boy Disease’

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Gene therapy seems to have cured eight of 10 children who had potentially fatal “bubble boy disease,” according to a study that followed  their progress for about four years after treatment.

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The eight patients were no longer on medication for the rare disease, which cripples the body’s defenses against infection. The successful treatment is reported in Thursday’s issue of the New England Journal of Medicine and offers hope for treating other diseases with a gene therapy approach.

Bubble boy disease is formally called severe combined immunodeficiency, or SCID. This genetic disorder is diagnosed in about 40 to 100 babies each year in the United States. The nickname comes from the experience of a Houston boy, David Vetter, who became famous for living behind plastic barriers to protect him from germs. He died in 1984 at age 12.

He had the most common form of SCID. Recent studies found that gene therapy produced impressive results for that form of the disease, but also carried a risk of leukemia.

The new study involved a different, less common form of SCID _ and one that holds a key position in medical history. In 1990 it became the first illness to be treated by gene therapy, according to the US government. Two Ohio girls improved but continued to take medication.

This form of SCID arises in babies with a genetic defect that leaves them deficient of an enzyme called adenosine deaminase. Patients can be treated with twice-weekly shots of the enzyme or a bone marrow transplant, but the medicine is expensive and marrow transplants don’t always work.

Gene therapy for the new study was performed in Italy and Israel. Researchers removed marrow cells from the patients, equipped the cells with working copies of the gene for the enzyme, and injected the cells back into the patients. In most cases, that was done before age 2.

The journal article reports the outcome two to eight years later, with an average of four years. All 10 patients were still alive, but two needed further treatment. None showed signs of leukemia or other health problems from the therapy, the researchers said.

Dr Donald Kohn, a SCID expert at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles and the University of Southern California, said scientists are trying to understand why gene therapy produces a leukemia risk with the most common form of SCID but not the enzyme-related form.

The new findings are good news for the idea of using gene therapy to treat some other blood cell disorders, including sickle cell disease, said Kohn, who didn’t participate in the new study.

Sources: The Times Of India

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Categories
Pediatric

How To Prevent Diaper Rash

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It has been said that if there were no diapers, there would be no diaper rashes. Even with meticulous care, all infants will occasionally develop an irritated bottom. Preventing the rash is a parent’s goal, but if an infant does get one, home treatment will usually keep the irritation from turning into more than just a nuisance.

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Diaper rashes are actually caused by a combination of factors. First and foremost, the area under a diaper is warm, moist, and poorly ventilated, conditions ideal for the development of a rash. Second, the infant’s outermost layer of skin is soft and thin, making it highly susceptible to injury from bacteria, fungi, and the chemicals found in urine and stool. Third, the sequence of wetting and drying makes the skin more susceptible to the constant rubbing of a diaper against the skin. Add other conditions, such as skin or food allergy, diarrhea, and the use of medications (antibiotics, for example) it’s a wonder that a baby’s bottom is not always irritated.

Remember, diapers are used to keep urine and stool off the infant’s clothes and environment. Since all babies must wear diapers, the best any parent or caregiver can do is to try to prevent a rash from developing. Parents usually discover through trial and error just which diapering routines or products work best for their infant.

Here are some suggestions that will help:

· Never leave a baby alone on the changing table or any surface above the floor. Even a newborn can make a sudden turn and fall. Keep all supplies together in one place so the infant is always attended.

· Make sure the baby is always clean and dry. Promptly change the infant whenever the diaper is wet or soiled and gently clean the area with a soft washcloth. Do not over clean as scrubbing only damages the skin. Avoid harsh soaps – water alone is probably all that is needed. Gently pat the diaper area with a soft towel and leave the area exposed to air for a few minutes before putting on a new diaper. When the skin is completely dry, apply a light diaper cream containing zinc oxide. Although these white creams are not totally necessary, they do create a barrier so that stool and urine will not irritate the skin.

 

  • Choose diapers that have sufficient absorbency to keep the baby dry longer. Some of the new disposable diapers have chemicals that draw moisture away from the skin. These diapers absorb tremendous amounts of fluids – I recently took my 17-month old granddaughter swimming and her diaper weighed more than her when we got out of the pool! Change brands if a particular disposable diapers irritates the child.

  • Keep diapers and outer clothing fitting loose. The tighter the diaper and clothes, the less air gets to the baby’s skin.

  • Talcum powders should not be used. If babies inhale the powder, it can irritate the lungs and cause pneumonia. Cornstarch based powders may be less dangerous, but are not necessary since the new disposable diapers have a smooth inner lining.

Additional measures parents can take once a rash appears include:

 

  • Remove the diapers whenever possible. Fresh air is a great healer and without urine and stool touching the skin, the rash might clear up on its own. To keep any mess to a minimum, place the child diaperless on a surface that is easily washed or lay the baby down on soft towels with a waterproof sheet underneath. When the weather is nice, a few minutes’ exposure to sunshine may be helpful.

  • Disposable diapers can be altered to breathe easier by snipping the elastic bands around the legs in several places. Tearing holes in the plastic liner of the disposable diaper will also help allow more air in.

  • The diapers should be changed even more frequently than before. Until the rash is better, wake the baby up at least once during the night to change a wet diaper.

  • Instead of wiping the baby’s skin with a washcloth, use a running stream of plain water from the sink or a squeeze bottle. A cotton ball dipped in baby oil will gently remove any remaining diaper cream or stool from the irritated skin. Pat the area thoroughly dry before applying a new layer of diaper cream so that the medication does not seal in any moisture.

  • Avoid baby wipes since they contain alcohol, perfumes, and other chemicals that will irritate already inflamed skin. Sometimes the less applied to the baby’s skin the better off the infant will be!

  • Sometimes a diaper rash is caused by a yeast infection. This type of irritation is usually bright red, covers a large area, and is surrounded by red dots. Yeast diaper rashes are frequently seen following bouts of diarrhea or after a child has been on antibiotics. An over-the-counter antiyeast medication, such as MonostatR may be helpful, or see the child’s pediatrician for a prescription cream.

Most diaper rashes can be treated at home and usually clear up in three to five days. However, if the baby’s bottom becomes raw, bleeds, develops blisters or open sores, spreads beyond the diaper area, or causes enough discomfort to interfere with sleep, call the child’s physician for additional advice and help.

While diaper rashes are very common, parents still get upset and when their child’s bottom becomes red and irritated. Neighbors and relatives occasionally make parents feel guilty by reporting that their children never had a diaper rash! Parents should not blame themselves or their baby sitter when their infant develops a diaper rash. It is definitely not a reflection of poor hygiene or lack of care. True, diaper rashes are unsightly and worry parents, but given an infant’s tender skin,they are almost unavoidable!

Click to see also :->Diaper Rash Myths

Sources:KidsGrowth.Com

Categories
Ailmemts & Remedies

Sickle Cell ‘Causes Daily Pain’

Daily pain from sickle cell disease may be far more common – and severe – than previously thought, research suggests.Virginia Commonwealth University researchers asked 232 sickle cell patients to keep diaries.
.The sickle cell has a distinctive shape

The Annals of Internal Medicine study found many experienced daily pain – but many tried to cope with it at home, rather than seeking medical help.

Previous research has assumed that, if patients did not seek help, then they were not in pain.

Sickle cell disease is caused by a mutation in a red blood cell gene that changes smooth, round blood cells into a sickle-shaped or C-shaped cells that are stiff and sticky and tend to clot in blood vessels.

When they get stuck in small blood vessels, the sickle cells block blood flow to the limbs and organs and can cause pain, serious infections, and organ damage, especially in the lungs, kidneys, spleen and brain.

Pain can be both acute – in which case it is known as a crisis – and long-lasting.

In the current study, over half of the sickle cell disease patients completing up to six months of pain diaries reported having pain on a majority of days. Almost one-third had pain nearly every day.

“This study could change the way people view the pain of the disease

Dr Wally Smith of Virginia Commonwealth University says

Daily phenomenon:

Researcher Dr Wally Smith said: “The major finding of our study was that pain in sickle cell disease is a daily phenomenon and that patients are at home mostly struggling with their pain rather than coming into the hospital or emergency department.

“I believe that this study could change the way people view the pain of the disease.

“We need more drugs to prevent the underlying processes that cause pain in this disease.

“And we need better treatments to reduce the chronic pain and suffering that these patients go through.”

Dr Alison Streetly, a medical advisor to the Sickle Cell Society and director of the NHS Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia Screening Programme, welcomed the study, and hoped it would help to raise awareness.

She said: “There is a tendency to underestimate the serious impact sickle cell can have on people’s lives.

“Many people with the condition are living with pain on a regular basis, but managing it on their own.

“It is important that the NHS takes it seriously.”

Dr Phil Darbyshire, a consultant paediatric haematologist at Birmingham’s Children’s Hospital, said the findings echoed anecdotal evidence from patients.

However, he said there were big differences between the US and UK health systems, and so extrapolating from the American experience was not necessarily appropriate.

“In general terms this study adds weight to efforts we are all making to improve health provision for people with sickle cell disease and suggests that much of these efforts should go to supporting people in their own homes trying to control symptoms better to allow people to work and as far as possible lead normal lives.”

Sources: BBC NEWS: 25th. Jan’08