Herbs & Plants

Mentha diemenica

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Botanical Name : Mentha diemenica
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Mentha
Species: M. diemenica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Synonyms : M. gracilis.

Common Name :Maori Mint or Slender Mint.

Habitat :Mentha diemenica occurs in grassland and forest habitats from the Mt Lofty Ranges in South Australia, throughout Victoria and Tasmania, and north to the Blue Mountains of New South Wales.
It grows on moist, usually sunny situations up to the montane zone. Open forests and grasslands, usually on sandy soils.

Mentha diemenica is a perennial plant growing to 0.1 m (0ft 4in) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in).
It is not frost tender. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.It is noted for attracting wildlife.  It is a strongly suckering plant which in cold, dry conditions may become dormant, but when growing vigorously forms a dense ground cover 10-15 cm high.
The dull green, opposite leaves are ovate to lanceolate and 4-12 cm long. They are usually entire, but occasionally obscure teeth are noticed on the leaf margins. Leaves may be sessile or have a short petiole.

Flowers are borne in the upper leaf axils from late spring to summer. Each axil bears one to four flowers, giving two to eight flowers at each node. They are usually mauve or lilac with four small petals each extending 2-3 mm beyond the tubular calyx.

M. diemenica grows well in a slightly damp site in either reasonably heavy shade or full sun. In good conditions in a rockery it may become invasive and thus should be contained in a rock pocket or regularly controlled by removing suckers. It is a desirable plant between drive strips or near stepping stones where its fragrant aroma is noticed when it is trodden on.

Propagation is done from cuttings taken at any time when the plant is growing vigorously, or by division when rooted pieces may be removed and re-established in a new situation. These new plants must be kept moist after transplanting.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Leaves.
Edible Uses: Condiment; Tea.

Leaves – raw or cooked. Used as a flavouring in summer drinks[157]. A herb tea is made from the leaves

Medicinal Uses;
A tea made from the leaves of most mint species has traditionally been used in the treatment of fevers, headaches, digestive disorders and various minor ailments. The leaves are harvested as the plant comes into flower and can be dried for later use. The essential oil in the leaves is antiseptic, though it is toxic in large doses. A decoction of this plant was used occasionally to induce sweating.

Other Uses:
Repellent; Strewing.

An essential oil is obtained from the whole plant. The plant is used as a strewing herb for repelling insects. Rats and mice intensely dislike the smell of mint. The plant was therefore used in homes as a strewing herb and has also been spread in granaries to keep the rodents off the grain.

Known Hazards:   Although no records of toxicity have been seen for this species, large quantities of some members of this genus, especially when taken in the form of the extracted essential oil, can cause abortions so some caution is advised.

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.


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Herbs & Plants


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Botanical Name :Kunzea ericoides
Family: Myrtaceae
Genus: Kunzea
Species: K. ericoides
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Myrtales

Common Names:Kanuka, White tea-tree or Burgan

Habitat :Kanuka (or Manuka as it was mostly known until the 1930s) occurs in Australia and New Zealand. In Australia it occurs in South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

It is widespread particularly in coastal scrub and colonizing land recovering after a fire or reverting to a natural state after being used for agriculture. However it has been recorded growing to altitudes of 2000 metres above sea level. With its small but abundant flowers it can colour a whole hillside white, almost giving the appearance of snow cover. The wood is very hard and although not durable in the ground it is used for wharf piles and tool handles. It is particularly popular as firewood, burning with a great heat.

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In New Zealand, Kanuka can grow up to 30 metres high with a trunk up to one metre across. K?k?riki parakeets (Cyanoramphus) use leaves and bark of kanuka and the related M?nuka tea trees to rid themselves of parasites. Apart from ingesting the material, they also chew it, mix it with preen gland oil and apply it to their feathers. Manuka and K?nuka are superficially similar species and they are often confused with one another -the easiest way to tell the difference between them is to feel the foliage, K?nuka leaves being soft, while Manuka leaves are prickly. K. ericoides may occur in the understory of certain rimu/nothofagus forests in the South Island. Typical associate understory species may include Crown Fern, Blechnum discolor and Cyathodes fasciculata.

Kanuka flowers have a musty, heady scent and smother the tree like a white blanket through summer. They are smaller than the similar manuka, and carried in greater abundance.

Kanuka is also taller than manuka, growing to 10m+. It is a tough coloniser of poor soils and tolerates harsh conditions; excellent for native revegetation projects or shelter planting.

Medicinal Uses:
The Maori people were very adept at using native trees and plants for food and for curing many illnesses that inflicted the people. Originally knowledge of medicinal plants was held exclusively by the tohunga (Maori Doctor) but the Maori could soon realise by the plants that he ordered them to use what special value a plant had for a certain disease. This knowledge was kept alive and passed down by the older women of the tribes who continued to use their old remedies today.

Both manuka and kanuka were used extensively by the Maori and later by the early European settlers as a medicinal plant -alone and in combination with other native plants.

Captain Cook gave manuka the name of “tea tree” and wrote of it… “the leaves were used by many of us as a tea which has a very agreeable bitter taste and flavour when they are recent but loses some of both when they are dried. When the infusion was made strong it proved emetic (induces vomiting) to some in the same manner as ‘green tree”‘. Early settlers gave it the name “tea tree” as they too made a drink of it.

Kunzea Ericoides (kanuka) was also used by Maori people with both plants having similar virtues. The leaves and bark were used in a variety of ways to cure their ailments and illnesses.

A decotion of leaves was drunk for urinary comlaints and as a febrifuge (reduces fever). The leaves were boiled in water and inhaled for head colds. Leaves and bark were boiled together and the warm liquid was rubbed on stiff backs and rheumatic joints. The leaves and young branches were put into many vapour baths. Polack wrote. – – “an infusion of the leaves of this herb is regarded as peculiarly serviceable to persons in a reduced state, whose previous mortalities will not admit of the strictest investigation. It is very astringent ·’. And this from James Neill. – “It is a well known diuretic when drunk in quantity; and I remember hearing of a doctor in Dunedin in the early days, who told a patient who had dropsy to go into the bush, gather a handful of manuka leaves, put them in a quart jug and fill up with boiling water and drink it often. she did this and was cured”.

Young shoots were chewed and swallowed for dysentry.An infusion of the inner bark was taken internally as a sedative and promoted sleep. It was also given as a sedative to an excited person or one in pain. Externally, this was rubbed on the skin to ease pain and was said to help heal fractures. The crushed bark was steeped in boiling water and the water used for inflamations, particularly for women with congestion of the breasts. A decoction of the barks of kanuka and kowhai, mixed with wood ash and dried, was rubbed Into the skin for various skin diseases. For constipation, pieces of the bark were bailed until the waler darkened in colour and the liquid drunk. The inner bark was boiled and the water used as a gargle, mouthwash and for bathing sore eyes.

The emollient whlte gum, called pia manuka, was given to nursing babies and also used to treat scalds and burns- It was also chewed to ease a bad cough and given to children to relieve constipation. Fresh sap was drawn from a length of the trunk and taken as a breath and blood purifier – (Adams)


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.


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Human Organ Transplantation News on Health & Science

Three Kidneys For The Price Of One

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India has the dubious distinction of being the   great organ bazaar, where various human body parts are available for a price. The trade is run by a nexus of skilled medical professionals and cut throat businessmen.


Hypertension, diabetes mellitus, polycystic kidney disease, in-born errors of metabolism, infections or autoimmune diseases can cause the kidneys to fail. Once the filtration rate drops to 20-25 per cent of normal, the patient has fatal end-stage renal disease. To live, the patient has to opt for long term dialysis or a kidney transplant.

According to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), almost 100,000 patients are awaiting a legal kidney transplant.

The donated kidney may come from a deceased donor or a living donor, who may be genetically related or non-related. Earlier, the donor and recipient had to be genetically similar. They needed to have the same blood group and share other minor blood antigens (HLA groups). Now with a technique called plasmapharesis and high doses of the new immunosuppressant regimens (Cedars-Sinai High Dose IVIG therapy), these criteria do not have to be met. This means that now spouses, siblings, friends or even strangers can donate a kidney to each other, even if they have different blood groups.

There is a yawning gap between demand and supply, and this provides a lucrative business opportunity for unscrupulous individuals. There is a nexus between travel agents (medical tourism), brokers and medical professionals. They arrange for financially desperate individuals to sign an affidavit claiming a blood relationship with the recipient. These potential donors are not evaluated medically and psychologically. As the supply falls (sometimes even the poor refuse to sell their kidneys), the brokers resort to illegal activities. Donors are duped or kidnapped and some unsuspecting individuals have their kidneys stolen. Since everyone has two kidneys, the removal of one poses no danger to life.

A typical patient lives 10 to 15 years after a kidney transplant. The quality of life also improves as the patient feels more energetic and has less food and fluid restrictions.

All nations have strict criteria for legal kidney transplants. The person should be less than 60, should not have incapacitating heart or lung disease, incurable terminal infections, cancer or mental illness or be a drug addict, smoker or an alcoholic. But in the black market, money is the only determining factor.

Traditionally, the donor kidney was removed through a large incision. Now, laparoscopy has made the incision smaller and the hospital stay shorter. The recipient’s diseased kidneys are not removed. They are left in situ and the donor kidney is placed in a different location, usually in the iliac fossa, an area in the lower abdomen. The new kidney is connected to different blood vessels, usually the external iliac artery and vein. The ureter from the donor kidney is then connected to the bladder. Instead of two kidneys the recipient now has three.

In most cases, the kidney will start functioning immediately and reach normal levels within 3-7 days. Rejection of the new kidney is prevented by starting immunosuppressive medications immediately. Permutation and combination of tacrolimus, mycophenolate, prednisone, cyclosporine, rapamycin or azathioprine may be used. They have to be continued lifelong.

Despite intensive treatment, 10-25 per cent of the patients reject the new kidney in the first 60 days. If this occurs, adjustments in the medication have to be made. The patient may need to return to dialysis or opt for another transplant. Other complications are severe infections, development of a type of post transplant lymphoma (cancer), bone problems, stomach ulcers, hirsutism, electrolyte imbalances, baldness, obesity and acne. Pre-existing diabetes and hypercholesterolemia may be aggravated.

Transplants provide a new lease of life for the terminally ill. Some patients have lived for 25 years and longer, only to eventually die from unrelated causes. Some athletes have even made a comeback after receiving a transplant.

Transplants provide miracles, but the demand exceeds supply. This is why black marketeering, racketeering and unethical practices flourish. It may be worthwhile to ponder over certain issues:

Have we not failed as a society if the economically underprivileged have to resort to selling parts of their body to survive?

Do people not have the freedom to do as they wish with their bodies?

Instead of exploitation, and the middle man making the money, can organ donors not be given a fair deal financially?

Can they not be provided health insurance to look after them after the surgery?

With no proper laws and controls, are we not in danger of being kidnapped and killed for our organs?

Click to learn more about Kidney Transplantation:->.………….(1).…..(2).……(3)

Live Kisney Donor

National Kidney Foundation:( A to Z Health Guide Item )


Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)