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Herbs & Plants

Spathodea

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Botanical Name : Spathodea campanulata
Family: Bignoniaceae
Tribe: Tecomeae
Genus: Spathodea
Species: S. campanulata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Synonym(s): Spathodea nilotica Seem.

Common Names : Fountain Tree, African Tulip Tree, Pichkari or Nandi Flame
(Cantonese) : neerukayi mara
(English) : African tulip tree, flame of the forest, fountain tree, Nandi flame, Nile flame, squirt tree, tulip tree, Uganda flame
(French) : immortel éntranger
(Hindi) : rugtoora
(Luganda) : kifabakazi
(Malay) : panchut-panchut
(Sinhala) : kudaella gaha, kudulu
(Spanish) : amapola, espatodea, mampolo, tulipán africano
(Swahili) : kibobakasi, kifabakazi
(Tamil) : patadi
(Trade name) : flame of the forest, Nandi flame

Habitat :Spathodea campanulata  is native to Angola, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia
Exotic : Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, India, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Sri Lanka, Zanzibar

It grows naturally in Africa in secondary forests in the high forest zone and in deciduous, transition, and savannah forests. It colonizes even heavily eroded sites, though form and growth rate suffer considerably on difficult sites.

The species is found throughout tropical Africa and is widely grown as an ornamental.

Description:
Spathodea campanulata is medium sized, reaching a height of 10-35 m, deciduous, with a round, heavy crown of dense, dark foliage, sometimes somewhat flattened; young bark pale, grey-brown and smooth but turns grey-black, scaly and cracked vertically and horizontally with age. The opposite imparipinnate leaves are exstipulate. Each leaf consists of 5-7 pairs of opposite leaflets and a terminal one. The leaflets are oblong-elliptic, about 1 cm long and 0.5 cm broad, entire, broadly acuminate, unequal at the base, dark green on top and light green on the underside; there are glandular swellings at the base of the lamina (usually a pair); the midrib and nerves are yellow, raised and very slightly pubescent; the venation is reticulate; the short, thick petiole is about 0.7 cm long; there are conspicuous lenticels on the rachis; rachis base is swollen. Flowers large, red, hermaphrodite, orange inside; calyx green, about 1 cm long and split on the posterior side, ribbed and tomentellous; petals 5, each about 1.5 cm long; stamens 4 with orange filaments; style extruding with a 2-lipped stigma; flower buds curved and contain a red sap. A yellow-flowered variety has been reported. Fruit upstanding, dark brown, cigar-shaped, woody pod, 15-25 cm long and split on the ground into 2 boat-shaped valves, releasing many flat-winged seeds; 1-4 pods usually develop from 1 flower cluster; seeds thin, flat and surrounded by a filmy wing. The generic name comes from the Greek word ‘spathe’ (blade), from the shape of the corolla. The specific name means pertaining to a Campanula, a name coined in 1542 by Fuchs for the type of corolla with a broad rounded base and a gradually expanded tube corresponding to the sound bow of a church bell.

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The flower bud is ampule-shaped and contains water. These buds are often used by children who play with its ability to squirt the water. The sap sometimes stains yellow on fingers and clothes. The open flowers are cup-shaped and hold rain and dew, making them attractive to many species of birds. In Neotropical gardens and parks, their nectar is popular with many hummingbirds, such as the Black-throated Mango (Anthracothorax nigricollis), the Black Jacobin (Florisuga fusca), or the Gilded Hummingbird (Hylocharis chrysura). The wood of the tree is soft and is used for nesting by many hole-building birds such as barbets. It was discovered way back in 1787 on the Gold Coast of Africa

Propagation :
Natural reproduction takes place on bare ground, in grass, and under weeds and brush. Seeds may be collected by harvesting the pods after they turn brown and allowing them to air-dry until they split open. The germinating seeds are fragile and should be covered by a thin film of peat or sand and should not be exposed to hard rain. Vegetative reproduction is easily carried out with cuttings or root suckers.

Medicinal Uses:
The bark has laxative and antiseptic properties, and the seeds, flowers and roots are used as medicine. The bark is chewed and sprayed over swollen cheeks. The bark may also be boiled in water used for bathing newly born babies to heal body rashes.

Edible Uses: The seeds are edible and used in many parts of Africa.

Other Uses:  Timber: In its original habitat, the soft, light brownish-white wood is used for carving and making drums.This tree is  recommended as a shade tree for parks and yards; it has been used for coffee shade.Spathodea  campanulata helps rehabilitate disturbed lands through its quick invasion and rapid growth. Ornamental:Spathodea campanulata has been planted as an ornamental throughout the tropics. The flowers bloom with great profusion, and the trees can be seen from great distances. It is not browsed by domestic animals and is popular as a decorative tree for avenues. Boundary or barrier or support: The species, either planted or growing naturally, is frequently used for living fence posts.

Known Hazards: The hard central portion of the fruit is used to kill animals.

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.worldagroforestrycentre.org/sea/products/afdbases/af/asp/SpeciesInfo.asp?SpID=1539
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:African_Tulip_Tree_(Spathodea_campanulata)_at_Secunderabad_W_IMG_6626.jpg

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Anger Slows Down Healing Process

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The adage that laughter is the best medicine has been backed by an unusual investigation which says that people who seethe with anger take longer to recover from injury.

Previous studies have linked ill tempered behaviour, whether brow-beating or road rage, with higher incidence of coronary heart disease, hypertension and stroke, especially among men.

But the new study, published on Wednesday in the British journal Brain, Behaviour, Immunity, is the first controlled experiment that directly measures the impact of ire on the healing process.

Researchers at the University of Ohio inflicted minor burns on the forearms of 98 volunteers who were then monitored over eight days to see how quickly the skin repaired itself.

The subjects had each taken a battery of psychological tests beforehand to assess how easily and often they felt and expressed wrath, and were then ranked on an “anger scale”.

Persons who took certain pharmaceutical drugs, smoked cigarettes or drank excessive quantities of caffeine-laden coffee were excluded, along with individuals who were extremely over- or under-weight.

The results were startlingly clear: individuals who had trouble controlling expressions of anger were four times likelier to need more than four days for their wounds to heal, compared with counterparts who could master their anger.

But the researchers were also surprised to find that anger has its nuances, too.

Subjects described as showing “anger out” (regular outbursts of aggression or hostility) or “anger in” (repressed rage) healed almost as quickly as individuals who ranked low on all anger scales.

Only those who tried but failed to hold in their feelings of upset and distemper took longer to heal.

This same group also showed a higher secretion of the stress hormone cortisol, which could at least partly explain the difference in healing time, the study noted.

Earlier research has shown a clear link between cortisol and anger. Hostile men who yelled at spouses during marital spats secreted more of the endocrine modulator within minutes, as did teachers experiencing high levels of stress in the classroom.

High levels of cortisol appears to decrease the production at the point of injury of two cytokines crucial to the repair process, suggests the study.

Cytokines are proteins released by immune-system cells. They act as signallers to generate a wider immune response. “The ability to regulate the expression of one’s anger has a clinically relevant impact on wound healing,” concludes lead author Jean-Philippe Gouin, a psychologist at the University of Ohio. “Those who has low anger control secreted more cortisol following exposition to this stressor. This individual difference in the response to the blistering was related to longer healing,” Gouin added.

Anger-control therapy could help patients recovering from surgery or injury heal more quickly, the paper says.

Click to see also:->

Laughter, the best medicine

Laugh loudly and get rid of many illness

Sources: The Times Of India

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News on Health & Science

Improve Lifestyle to Avoid High BP

High blood pressure toll to boom within 20 years.

Unhealthy lifestyle might bring a boom in high blood pressure, with the sufferers exceeding a billion within 20 years, a new study has found. One in four adults suffer from high blood pressure which increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and death.

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Lifestyle factors, such as physical inactivity, a salt-rich diet with high fatty foods, and alcohol and tobacco use could see the problem spreading from developed to developing economies, like India and China.

According to The Lancet medical journal, the number of BP patients may rise to 1.56 billion by 2025, up from 972 million in 2000. Another editorial has claimed that the rise in BP is due to poor observance of medication by patients.

“Many patients still believe that hypertension is a disease that can be cured, and stop or reduce medication when blood pressure levels fall. Physicians need to convey the message that hypertension is the first, and easily measurable, irreversible sign that many organs in the body are under attack,” the editorial was quoted, as saying.

“Perhaps this message will make people think more carefully about the consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle and give preventative measures a real chance,” it said.

Currently, a person in the Western world has a greater than 90 per cent lifetime risk of developing high blood pressure or hypertension.

Dr Isabel Lee, of The Stroke Association insisted that many strokes can be prevented by the control of high BP. “Every five minutes someone in the UK has a stroke — that’s 150,000 every year. Yet, over 40 per cent of these strokes could be prevented by the control of high blood pressure. Whilst it is important to get your blood pressure measured regularly, it is equally important that people who are prescribed blood pressure medication continue to take it even once their blood pressure is back under control,” Lee said.

“GPs need to ensure that patients are made fully aware of the importance of continuing with their blood pressure medication. People can also take additional steps to help improve their lifestyles and reduce their risk of high blood pressure by stopping smoking, having a healthy diet and exercising regularly,” she said.

Source: The Times Of India