Tag Archives: Sweden

Quinsy-Wort

Botanical Name : Asperula cynanchica
Family: Rubiaceae
Subfamily: Rubioideae
Tribe: Rubieae
Genus: Asperula
Species: A. cynanchica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Synonym:  Squinancy-wort

Common Names :Quinsy-Wort, Squinancywort or Squincywort

Habitat :Quinsy-Wort is native to much of southern and central Europe from Spain and Ireland to Russia.It grows in short grassland or sand dunes on calcareous soils.

Description:
Quinsy-Wort is perennial plant. It is  small, smooth  and 6 to 10 inches high, with very narrow, close-set leaves, four in a whorl, two of each whorl much smaller than the others. The flowers are in loose terminal bunches, the corollas only 1/6 inch in diameter, pink externally and white inside, and are in bloom during June and July.CLICK & SEE THE  PICTURES

Medicinal Uss:
The plant was at one time esteemed as a remedy for quinsy, but it is no longer used in herbal medicine.

Other Uses:
In Sweden, the roots have been used as a red dying agent.

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asperula_cynanchica
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/q/quiwor07.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Asperula+cynanchica

Achilles Tendon Inflammation

Definition :
The Achilles is the tendonous extension of two muscles in the lower leg: gastrocnemius and soleus . In humans, the tendon passes behind the ankle. It is the thickest and strongest tendon in the body. It is about 15 centimetres (6 in) long, and begins near the middle of the calf, but receives fleshy fibers on its anterior surface, almost to its lower end. Gradually becoming contracted below, it is inserted into the middle part of the posterior surface of the calcaneus, a bursa being interposed between the tendon and the upper part of this surface. The tendon spreads out somewhat at its lower end, so that its narrowest part is about 4 centimetres (1.6 in) above its insertion. It is covered by the fascia and the integument, and stands out prominently behind the bone; the gap is filled up with areolar and adipose tissue. Along its lateral side, but superficial to it, is the small saphenous vein. The Achilles’ muscle reflex tests the integrity of the S1 spinal root. The tendon can receive a load stress 3.9 times body weight during walking and 7.7 times body weight when running.
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Although it’s the largest tendon in the body and can withstand immense force, the Achilles is surprisingly vulnerable. And the most common Achilles tendon injuries are Achilles tendinosis and Achilles tendon rupture. Achilles tendinosis is the soreness or stiffness of the tendon, generally due to overuse. Achilles tendinitis (inflammation of the tendon) was thought to be the cause of most tendon pain, until the late 90s when scientists discovered no evidence of inflammation. Partial and full Achilles tendon ruptures are most likely to occur in sports requiring sudden eccentric stretching, such as sprinting. Maffulli et al. suggested that the clinical label of tendinopathy should be given to the combination of tendon pain, swelling and impaired performance. Achilles tendon rupture is a partial or complete break in the tendon; it requires immobilization or surgery. Xanthoma can develop in the Achilles tendon in patients with familial hypercholesterolemia.
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Achilles tendon, which feels like a very painful sudden kick in the back of the ankle and needs urgent repair. Inflammation of the tendon, or Achilles tendonitis, is more common.

Symptoms:
•Mild pain after exercise or running that gradually gets worse
•Localised pain along the tendon during or a few hours after running, which may be quite severe
•Localised tenderness of the tendon about 3cm above the point where it joins the heel bone, especially first thing in the morning
•Stiffness of the lower leg, again particularly first thing in the morning
•Swelling or thickening around the tendon
There are several conditions that can cause similar symptoms, such as inflammation of a heel bursa (or fluid sac) or a partial tear of the tendon. You should see your doctor to confirm what’s causing your symptoms

Causes and risk factors:
To help prevent another attack, it’s important to know what triggers Achilles tendonitis in the first place.

Triggers may include:
•Overuse of the tendon – the result of a natural lack of flexibility in the calf muscles. Ask your coach about exercises specifically to improve calf muscle flexibility, and ensure your running shoes cushion the heel fully
•Starting up too quickly, especially after a long period of rest from sport – always warm up thoroughly
•Rapidly increasing running speeds or mileage – build your activity slowly, by no more than ten per cent a week
•Adding stair climbing or hill running to a training programme too quickly

•Sudden extra exertion, such as a final sprint

•Calf pain

Diagnosis & Tests:
The doctor will perform a physical exam and look for tenderness along the tendon and for pain in the area of the tendon when you stand on your toes.

Imaging studies can also be helpful. X-rays can help diagnose arthritis, and an MRI will show inflammation in the tendon.

Treatment :

Treatment of Achilles tendonitis depends on the severity of the injury and whether you’re a professional sportsperson. Treatment includes:

•Rest, to allow the inflammation to settle. Any sport that aggravates the tendon should be sped for at least a week, although exercise that doesn’t stress the tendon, such as swimming, may be possible
•Regular pain relief with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen
•Steroid injections
•Bandaging and orthotic devices, such as shoe inserts and heel lifts, to take the stress off the tendon
•Physiotherapy to strengthen the weak muscle group in the front of the leg and the upward foot flexors
•Surgery (rarely needed) to remove fibrous tissue and repair tears

According to reports by Hakan Alfredson, M.D., and associates of clinical trials in Sweden, the pain in Achilles tendinopathy arises from the nerves associated with neovascularization and can be effectively treated with 1–4 small injections of a sclerosant. In a cross-over trial, 19 of 20 of his patients were successfully treated with this sclerotherapy.


Prognosis :

Conservative therapy usually helps improve symptoms. However, symptoms may return if activities that cause the pain are not limited, or if the strength and flexibility of the tendon is not maintained.
Depending on the severity of the injury, recovery from an Achilles injury can take up to 12–16 months.

Prevention:
Prevention is very important in this disease. Maintaining strength and flexibility in the muscles of the calf will help reduce the risk of tendinitis. Overusing a weak or tight Achilles tendon makes you more likely to develop tendinitis.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/achilles.shtml
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Achilles_tendon
http://www.umm.edu/ency/article/001072all.htm

Chocolate Protects Against Heart Disease

Numerous studies have shown that cocoa has a protective effect against cardiovascular diseases. The reason for this has now been uncovered by researchers at Linköping University in Sweden. When a group of volunteers devoured a good-sized piece of dark chocolate, it inhibited an enzyme in their bodies that is known to raise blood pressure.

“We have previously shown that green tea inhibits the enzyme ACE, which is involved in the body’s fluid balance and blood pressure regulation. Now we wanted to study the effect of cocoa, since the active substances catechins and procyanidines are related,” says study leader Ingrid Persson.

The researchers recruited 16 healthy volunteer subjects for the study. They were not tobacco users and were not allowed to take any pharmaceuticals for two weeks. During the last two days they were not allowed to eat chocolate or anything containing similar compounds, including many kinds of berries and fruits, nor could they drink coffee, tea, or wine.

When the study took place, everyone in the group – ten men and six women between the ages of 20 and 45 – ate 75 grams of unsweetened chocolate with a cocoa content of 72 percent. To analyze what happened with the ACE enzyme, blood samples were taken in advance and then a half hour, one hour, and three hours afterward.

In the sample taken three hours afterward, there was a significant inhibition of ACE activity. The average was 18 percent lower activity than before the dose of cocoa, fully comparable to the effect of drugs that inhibit ACE and are used as a first-choice treatment for high blood pressure.

When the activities of the enzyme decline, the blood pressure goes down with time. As expected, no such effect was found in the subjects. To show this, the study would have to continue over a longer period.

“Our findings indicate that changes in lifestyle with the help of foods that contain large concentrations of catechins and procyaninides prevent cardiovascular diseases,” she says

Source
:Elements4Health

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Bilberry

Botanical Name :Vaccinium myrtillus
Family: Vacciniaceae/Ericaceae
Genus: Vaccinium
Species: V. myrtillus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales
Synonyms:Whortleberry. Black Whortles. Whinberry. Trackleberry. Huckleberry. Hurts. Bleaberry. Hurtleberry. Airelle. Vaccinium Frondosum. Blueberries.
Common Names:  bilberry, European blueberry, whortleberry, huckleberry

Parts Used:The ripe fruit. The leaves.

Habitat: Vaccinium myrtillus  is native to   Europe, including Britain, from Iceland south and east to Spain, Macedonia, the Caucasus and N. Asia . It grows in heaths, moors and woods on acid soils to 1250 metres.

Description:

Vaccinium myrtillus is a deciduous Shrub. It  grows abundantly in the heathy and mountainous districts, a small branched shrub, with wiry angular branches, rarely over a foot high, bearing globular wax-like flowers and black berries, which are covered when quite ripe with a delicate grey bloom, hence its name in Scotland, ‘Blea-berry,’ from an old North Countryword, ‘blae,’ meaning livid or bluish. The name Bilberry (by some old writers ‘Bulberry’) is derived from the Danish ‘bollebar,’ meaning dark berry. There is a variety with white fruits.
The leathery leaves (in form somewhat like those of the myrtle, hence its specific name) are at first rosy, then yellowish-green, and in autumn turn red and are very ornamental. They have been utilized to adulterate tea.

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Bilberries flourish best on high grounds, being therefore more abundant in the north and west than in the south and east of England: they are absent from the low-lying Cambridgeshire and Suffolk, but on the Surrey hills, where they are called ‘Hurts,’ cover the ground for miles.

The fruit is globular, with a flat top, about the size of a black currant. When eaten raw, they have a slightly acid flavour. When cooked, however, with sugar, they make an excellent preserve. Gerard tells us that ‘the people of Cheshire do eate the black whortles in creame and milke as in these southern parts we eate strawberries.’ On the Continent, they are often employed for colouring wine.

Stewed with a little sugar and lemon peel in an open tart, Bilberries make a very enjoyable dish. Before the War, immense quantities of them were imported annually from Holland, Germany and Scandinavia. They were used mainly by pastrycooks and restaurant-keepers.

Species:
Bilberries include several closely related species of the Vaccinium genus, including:

*Vaccinium myrtillus L. (bilberry)
*Vaccinium uliginosum L. (bog bilberry, bog blueberry, bog whortleberry, bog huckleberry, northern bilberry, ground hurts)
*Vaccinium caespitosum Michx. (dwarf bilberry)
*Vaccinium deliciosum Piper (cascade bilberry)
*Vaccinium membranaceum (mountain bilberry, black mountain huckleberry, black huckleberry, twin-leaved huckleberry)
*Vaccinium ovalifolium (oval-leafed blueberry, oval-leaved bilberry, mountain blueberry, high-bush blueberry).

Edible Uses:
Owing to its rich juice, the Bilberry can be used with the least quantity of sugar in making jam: half a pound of sugar to the pound of berries is sufficient if the preserve is to be eaten soon. The minuteness of the seeds makes them more suitable for jam than currants.

Recipe for Bilberry Jam—
Put 3 lb. of clean, fresh fruit in a preserving pan with 1 1/2 lb. of sugar and about 1 cupful of water and bring to the boil. Then boil rapidly for 40 minutes. Apple juice made from windfalls and peelings, instead of the water, improves this jam. To make apple juice, cover the apples with water, stew down, and strain the juice through thick muslin. Blackberries may also be added to this mixture.

If the jam is to be kept long it must be bottled hot in screw-top jars, or, if tied down in the ordinary way, more sugar must be added.

Bilberry juice yields a clear, dark-blue or purple dye that has been much used in the dyeing of wool and the picking of berries for this purpose, as well as for food, constitutes a summer industry in the ‘Hurts’ districts. Owing to the shortage of the aniline dyestuffs formerly imported from Germany, Bilberries were eagerly bought up at high prices by dye manufacturers during the War, so that in 1917 and 1918 a large proportion of the Bilberry crop was not available for jam-making, as the dyers were scouring the country for the little blue-black berries.

Wild and cultivated harvesting:-
Bilberries are found in very acidic, nutrient-poor soils throughout the temperate and subarctic regions of the world. They are closely related to North American wild and cultivated blueberries and huckleberries in the genus Vaccinium. One characteristic of bilberries is that they produce single or paired berries on the bush instead of clusters, as the blueberry does.

The fruit is smaller than that of the blueberry but with a fuller taste. Bilberries are darker in colour, and usually appear near black with a slight shade of purple. While the blueberry’s fruit pulp is light green, the bilberry’s is red or purple, heavily staining the fingers and lips of consumers eating the raw fruit. The red juice is used by European dentists to show children how to brush their teeth correctly, as any improperly brushed areas will be heavily stained.

Bilberries are extremely difficult to grow and are thus seldom cultivated. Fruits are mostly collected from wild plants growing on publicly accessible lands, notably Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, parts of England, Alpine countries, Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine, Belarus, Romania, Bulgaria, Poland and northern parts of Turkey and Russia. Note that in Austria, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland, it is an everyman’s right to collect bilberries, irrespective of land ownership, with the exception of private gardens. Bilberries can be picked by a berry-picking rake like lingonberries, but are more susceptible to damage. Bilberries are softer and juicier than blueberries, making them difficult to transport. Because of these factors, the bilberry is only available fresh in gourmet stores, where they can cost up to 25 Euro per pound. Frozen bilberries however are available all year round in most of Europe.

In Finland, bilberries are collected from forests. They are eaten fresh or can be made in different jams, and dishes. The famous one is Mustikkapiirakka, bilberry pie

In Ireland, the fruit is known as fraughan, from the Irish fraochán, and is traditionally gathered on the last Sunday in July, known as Fraughan Sunday.

Bilberries were also collected at Lughnassadh in August, the first traditional harvest festival of the year, as celebrated by Gaelic people. The crop of bilberries was said to indicate how well the rest of the crops would fare in their harvests later in the year.

The fruits can be eaten fresh or made into jams, fools, juices or pies. In France and in Italy, they are used as a base for liqueurs and are a popular flavoring for sorbets and other desserts. In Brittany, they are often used as a flavoring for crêpes, and in the Vosges and the Massif Central bilberry tart (tarte aux myrtilles) is a traditional dessert.

Constituents:
Quinic acid is found in the leaves, and a little tannin. Triturated with water they yield a liquid which, filtered and assayed with sulphate of iron, becomes a beautiful green, first of all transparent, then giving a green precipitate.

The fruits contain sugar, etc. Bilberries contains approximately 0.5% by volume of the anthocyanosides, they also contain the vitamins B1 and C, pro-vitamin A, at least 7% by volume is composed of tannins, and assorted plant acids are also seen. The tonic effect of the anthocyanosides on the blood vessels is the beneficial to the human body.

Medicinal Uses:
Often associated with improvement of night vision, bilberries are mentioned in a popular story of World War II RAF pilots consuming bilberry jam to sharpen vision for night missions. However, a recent study by the U.S. Navy found no such effect and origins of the RAF story cannot be found.

Although the effect of bilberry on night vision is controversial, laboratory studies have provided preliminary evidence that bilberry consumption may inhibit or reverse eye disorders such as macular degeneration. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial on 50 patients suffering from senile cataract showed that a combination of bilberry extract and vitamin E administered for 4 months was able to stop lens opacity progress in 97% of the cataracts.

As a deep purple fruit, bilberries contain high levels of anthocyanin pigments, which have been linked experimentally to lowered risk for several diseases, such as those of the heart and cardiovascular system, eyes, diabetes and cancer.

In folk medicine, bilberry leaves were used to treat gastrointestinal ailments, applied topically, or made into infusions. Bilberries are also used as a tonic to prevent some infections and skin diseases.

•Historically, bilberry fruit was used to treat diarrhea, scurvy, and other conditions.

•Today, the fruit is used to treat diarrhea, menstrual cramps, eye problems, varicose veins, venous insufficiency (a condition in which the veins do not efficiently return blood from the legs to the heart), and other circulatory problems.

•Bilberry leaf is used for entirely different conditions, including diabetes.

The leaves can be used in the same way as those of UvaUrsi. The fruits are astringent, and are especially valuable in diarrhoea and dysentery, in the form of syrup. The ancients used them largely, and Dioscorides spoke highly of them. They are also used for discharges, and as antigalactagogues. A decoction of the leaves or bark of the root may be used as a local application to ulcers, and in ulceration of the mouth and throat.

The fruit is helpful in scurvy and urinary complaints, and when bruised with the roots and steeped in gin has diuretic properties valuable in dropsy and gravel. A tea made of the leaves is also a remedy for diabetes if taken for a prolonged period.
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Other Uses …..Dye; Ink…….A green dye is obtained from the leaves and the fruit and is used to colour fabrics. A blue or black dye is obtained from the fruit. This can be used as an ink.
Known Hazards: High tannin content may cause digestive disorders – avoid prolonged use or high doses. Avoid in pregnancy. Avoid if on anticoagulant therapy (e.g. warfarin)

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.herbs2000.com/herbs/herbs_bilberry.htm
http://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/b/bilber37.html
http://www.elements4health.com/bilberry-health-benefits.html

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Vaccinium+myrtillus

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Synthetic Corneas Prove Successful

The collagen-based implants could be an alternative to cadaver corneas. A preliminary test shows that they restored vision as effectively as the latter and did not require anti-rejection drugs.
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An experimental synthetic cornea implanted in 10 patients may be a potential alternative to cadaver corneas for curing vision loss due to corneal inflammation and scarring, researchers said .

Eye surgeons currently use primarily cadaver corneas for transplants, but that requires the use of anti-rejection drugs and presents a risk of infection. Plastic corneas can also be used, but they present other problems and are generally tried only when tissue transplants have failed.

The new artificial corneas use collagen produced in yeast as a scaffolding that allows cells from the recipient to grow into the graft so that it mimics the original tissue. The two-year preliminary test showed that the biosynthetic corneas restored vision as effectively as cadaver corneas, did not require anti-rejection drugs and allowed normal tears to form.

“This is a huge breakthrough,” said Dr. Francis W. Price Jr., founder and president of the board of the Cornea Research Foundation, who was not involved in the research. “It still has to go through additional studies … but it shows a lot of promise.”

An estimated 5 million people worldwide suffer corneal damage from trachoma, an eye infection caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis, and another 1.5 million to 2 million people develop it as a result of ulceration and trauma. In the United States, about 42,000 cadaver cornea transplants are performed each year and another 10,000 corneas are exported to other countries, according to Marianne O’Connor Price, executive director of the Cornea Research Foundation.

“The U.S. is very fortunate that everybody who needs a transplant here is able to get one, but there is definitely a big shortage around the world,” she said. “Even people here could benefit if there was a synthetic cornea that eliminated the chance of rejection.”

The new study, reported Wednesday in the journal Science Translational Medicine, used biosynthetic collagen produced by FibroGen Inc. of San Francisco. A team headed by Dr. May Griffith of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute in Canada molded the collagen into an artificial cornea and demonstrated that it worked in animals.

Dr. Per Fagerholm of Linkoping University in Sweden then implanted the corneas in one eye of each of 10 Swedish patients with central corneal scarring. The researchers found that, after two years, no complications developed and, with the use of contact lenses, vision was as good as with cadaver transplants. Contact lenses are normally used with the latter as well.

The study is the first to show that an artificially fabricated cornea “can integrate into the human eye and stimulate regeneration,” Griffith said.

Griffith said her team was now building a clean room to manufacture more of the corneas and that she hoped to begin larger clinical trials after the first of the year with about 20 to 25 patients.
When implanted with contact lenses that they previously couldn’t tolerate, patients saw as well as a similar group of patients who had received standard corneal transplants.

The study is the first to show that an artificially fabricated cornea “can integrate into the human eye and stimulate regeneration,” Griffith said.

Griffith said her team is building a clean room to manufacture more corneas and hopes to begin larger clinical trials with 20 to 25 patients.

Researchers also are working to create stem-cell treatments that could spur corneal growth.

You may click to see this as well and Synthetic cornea offers hope to thousands

Resource :

Los Angeles Times

The Seattle Times

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