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Fragaria iinumae

Botanical Name : Fragaria iinumae
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Fragaria
Species: F. iinumae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Common Name : Strawberry

Habitat : Fragaria iinumae is native to Japan and eastern Russia. It grows in moist sunny situations in alpine and sub-alpine regions of N. and C. Japan

Description:
Fragaria iinumae is a perennial plant growing to 0.3 m (1ft). It is in flower from Apr to May, and the seeds ripen from Jun to July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects...CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

In Japan it was first discovered on Mount N?g?haku and the name N?g? Fragaria was given.

All strawberries have a base haploid count of 7 chromosomes. Fragaria iinumae is diploid, having 2 pairs of these chromosomes for a total of 14 chromosomes.

Cultivation & Propagation:
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Seed – sow early spring in a greenhouse. The seed can take 4 weeks or more to germinate. The seedlings are very small and slow-growing at first, but then grow rapidly. Prick them out into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out during the summer. Division of runners, preferably done in July/August in order to allow the plants to become established for the following years crop. They can also be moved in the following spring if required, though should not then be allowed to fruit in their first year. The runners can be planted out direct into their permanent positions.

Edible Uses :
Edible Parts: Fruit; Leaves.
Edible Uses: …..Fruit eaten raw. Young plants – cooked. Added to soups or used as a potherb.

Medicinal Uses: Not known

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fragaria_iinumae
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Fragaria+iinumae

Garlic ‘Remedy for Hypertension’

Garlic may be useful in addition to medication to treat high blood pressure, a study suggests.
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Australian doctors enrolled 50 patients in a trial to see if garlic supplements could help those whose blood pressure was high, despite medication.

Those given four capsules of garlic extract a day had lower blood pressure than those on placebo, they report in scientific journal Maturitas.

The British Heart Foundation said more research was needed.

Garlic has long been though to be good for the heart.

Garlic supplements have previously been shown to lower cholesterol and reduce high blood pressure in those with untreated hypertension.

In the latest study, researchers from the University of Adelaide, Australia, looked at the effects of four capsules a day of a supplement known as aged garlic for 12 weeks.

They found systolic blood pressure was around 10mmHg lower in the group given garlic compared with those given a placebo.

Researcher Karin Ried said: “Garlic supplements have been associated with a blood pressure lowering effect of clinical significance in patients with untreated hypertension.

“Our trial, however, is the first to assess the effect, tolerability and acceptability of aged garlic extract as an additional treatment to existing antihypertensive medication in patients with treated, but uncontrolled, hypertension.”

Experts say garlic supplements should only be used after seeking medical advice, as garlic can thin the blood or interact with some medicines.

Ellen Mason, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said using garlic for medicinal purposes dates back thousands of years, but it is essential that scientific research proves that garlic can help conditions such as raised blood pressure.

She said: “This study demonstrated a slight blood pressure reduction after using aged garlic supplements but it’s not significant enough or in a large enough group of people to currently recommend it instead of medication.

“It’s a concern that so many people in the UK have poorly controlled blood pressure, with an increased risk of stroke and heart disease as a consequence. So enjoy garlic as part of your diet but don’t stop taking your blood pressure medication.”

You may click to see :
Why garlic is good for the heart

Raw garlic tackles cancer


Source
: BBC News

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Garlic Tales

Scientists are continuously trying to unvail  the secrets of the garlic, to zero in on what makes the herb so beneficial.

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A herb that is a part of almost every Indian kitchen continues to make news. Garlic, or Allium sativum, one of the oldest medicinal herbs known to human beings, is now in laboratories, while scientists look at what makes it so beneficial.

Indeed, garlic seems to possess near-magical health properties. Yet science has not found it an easy herb to understand. Despite tall claims from practitioners of alternative medicine, no one clearly knows how good garlic is and why it is considered to be so beneficial. But now scientists are rapidly unravelling its secrets.

Over the years, people with varying backgrounds have claimed that the bulb is good for controlling blood pressure and reducing cholesterol. It is supposed to have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiviral, antioxidant and anticoagulant properties, apart from a few other benefits. There is now good evidence that most of these claims are true. And scientists have recently discovered new properties as well: it can reduce blood sugar levels, and is thus good for controlling diabetes. Yet conventional wisdom is not always right: it may not, after all, reduce cholesterol.

While evidence on the utility mounts, scientists are also beginning to understand why. For example, garlic’s antioxidant properties have been a mystery to scientists. It has been known to be a powerful antioxidant (a compound that destroys damaging free radicals); in fact a bit too powerful for comfort. It has a compound called allicin that is an antioxidant, but its structure could not explain its power. Till now, that is.

Derek Pratt, professor of chemistry at Queen’s University in Canada, has found out why garlic is so powerful.

A compound akin to allicin is found in other plants of the family alliaceae — such as shallots, onions and leeks. However, none of these plants has garlic’s beneficial powers. This is because the allicin found in garlic breaks down into another compound called sulphenic acid, which rapidly cleans up free radicals in its path. Without this breakdown, allicin cannot be so effective an antioxidant.

“This compound is the most powerful antioxidant known to us,” says Pratt, who published his results last week in the journal Angewandte Chemie.

While its efficacy in dealing with free radicals is now beyond doubt, garlic is probably not so effective in reducing bad cholesterol, the Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL). Several studies on its effect on blood cholesterol led to conflicting results, but one in Stanford University more than a year ago was probably the most conclusive. This six-month-long study found no correlation between consumption of garlic and reduction of LDL. “We are convinced now that garlic does not reduce bad cholesterol,” Christopher Gardner, the Stanford professor who led the research, had told Knowhow soon after publishing the results of the study.

But that does not mean it is not useful in treating high cholesterol. Its antioxidant properties are useful in treating cardiovascular diseases in general, and even for treating high cholesterol. This is because garlic suppresses the oxidation of LDL in the blood. LDL is called bad cholesterol because it sticks to the artery walls and clogs the arteries. However, it is not LDL that actually does the damage but oxidised LDL. Several studies have shown that garlic suppresses oxidation of LDL and thus prevents the formation of plaques in the arteries. It makes bad cholesterol not so bad.

“Garlic does reduce LDL oxidation,” stresses Khalid Rahman, reader in the physiological biochemistry at Liverpool University in the UK, who has conducted several lab and clinical studies on the herb.

There is increasing evidence that it can lower blood pressure, particularly when BP is elevated only mildly. A recent meta-analysis (analysis of all published literature) by scientists at the University of Adelaide showed that it does lower blood pressure. However, the scientists also warn that the evidence is not strong enough to use garlic as the only means of therapy.

These results are from clinical studies, which mean that they have been done on people. The results are equally encouraging in pre-clinical studies done in the laboratory. There, the herb has been shown to be anti-inflammatory and anticoagulant. It may be able to help dissolve clots and improve blood circulation. A few months ago, Japanese scientists (at the RIKEN and other institutions) showed that it could lower blood glucose levels in rats.

The list of beneficial properties is actually lengthening every day, but the topic is not without its controversy either.

This is because there are some studies showing that garlic had no effect on lowering blood pressure or reducing cholesterol, while some others showed that it did do so. This variability, fortunately, is not hard to explain. Scientists explain this contradiction through differences in the duration of the trials, and also on the variability in the properties of garlic. “The factors influencing a clinical study with garlic are difficult to control,” says Pratt.

Although we know that it is beneficial, not all kinds of garlic may act in the same manner. “In my view there is a group of people who are non-responders to garlic, like to any other medication,” says Rahman.

However, garlic has caught the attention of hundreds of scientists throughout the world. We will learn more about this wonder herb in the coming years.

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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The unconquered enemy

We humans think of ourselves as intelligent and rational. We have successfully evolved, subdued the lower animal species and conquered the world. We could not be more wrong.

The simple, single-celled bacterium has been around longer than we have, and has effectively survived the ice age, floods, drought and the chemical onslaught of antibiotics.

The medical community thought that it had finally conquered bacteria and infectious diseases after Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in 1928. Doctors couldn’t have been more naive.

Bacteria have offensive, defensive, stealth fighter and commando manoeuvres that no human army can match. They hide in areas like pus, thick layers of skin, bone and cartilage that antibiotics can’t penetrate. They adapt and change faster than a speeding bullet. They are not bound by narrow-minded considerations like race or ethnicity; they join forces enthusiastically with bacteria of other species. When all else fails they copulate, and during the process, exchange genetic material that provides resistance to antibiotics.

Immunisation is a powerful weapon that boosts the body’s own defence mechanism

Unfortunately, human beings are collaborating in this warfare, unwittingly aiding bacterial victory. Fifty per cent of the total antibiotic production is used for animals. Farmers rearing cows, sheep, goats, chicken and fish often use animal feed fortified with antibiotics to keep their livestock healthy. Sometimes the antibiotics are administered as regular supplements. These antibiotics contaminate the environment. The sub-optimal quantities administered to the animals aren’t enough to kill all the targeted bacteria. Genetic mutations occur and resistant bacteria emerge. These eventually find their way into the human community. Treatment with the antibiotic recommended for that particular infection will then fail, requiring more potent and expensive drugs.

Sometimes doctors may be at fault. They may fail to calculate the correct dosage, particularly in case of children where it is based on the body weight. Sometimes the dosage intervals may be incorrect and the next dose is administered later than required, after the drug has been totally eliminated from the body. Also, in the absence of investigations, the chosen antibiotic may be inappropriate for that particular infection. Instructions to patients may be incomplete, without specifications on whether it is to be taken before or after food, as food may help or impede absorption.

Surgery or ICU admissions raise the spectre of post operative infection, although this should not be the case if proper sterilisation techniques are followed. To prevent this, antibiotics are administered prophylactically prior to, during and after surgery. This aids the development of resistance, as the targeted organism may not be the same as the infecting one.

Often patients, too, have unrealistic expectations. They are not willing to accept the fact that antibiotics do not work against viral infections. They find it difficult to follow a “wait and watch” policy. They fail to realise that it is antipyretics (like paracetemol) and not ad hoc doses of antibiotics that reduce fever. They tend to “doctor shop” till they find someone who will prescribe the antibiotics they want.

Diseases that compromise host immunity allow bacteria to gain a foothold and thrive. In such a scenario, higher and longer doses of antibiotics have to be used. Some of these diseases, like diabetes, can be controlled with a little effort, diet control and exercise.

Our drug control policy is somewhat lax. Pharmacies freely dispense unprescribed schedule H antibiotics in irrational combinations OTC (over the counter). Although this is illegal, their activities cannot be faulted, as “supply meets demand.”

As educated responsible citizens, we should not self medicate and perpetuate this menace. Immunisation is a powerful weapon that boosts the body’s own defence mechanisms. As soon as the invading bacteria launch an attack, the sentries and foot soldiers (white blood cells and immunoglobulins) sound the alarm, engulf and annihilate the bacteria. Immunisation is available against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), H. influenzae (meningitis, ear infections, bronchitis), Pneumococcus (pneumonia, ear infections, meningitis), Meningococcus (meningitis) and typhoid.

Researchers are trying to discover newer and stronger antibiotics to combat the menace of bacterial resistance. They cost crores to discover and test before they can be finally used. We therefore need to conserve and use what we already have. Once the rate of discovery ceases to keep pace with the mutation in the bacteria, we have lost the battle to the microbes.

So, I strongly believe that people should rely more on alternative therapy like yoga,meditation,herbal medications etc. for maintaining a good health unless there is any medical emergency .

Source:The Telegraph(Kolkata,India)