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Herbs & Plants

Aristolochia contorta

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Botanical Name : Aristolochia contorta
Family: Aristolochiaceae
Subfamily: Aristolochioideae
Genus: Aristolochia
Species : Aristolochia contorta
Order: Piperales

Synonyms : A. nipponica.

Common Name: Ma Dou Ling

Habitat : E. Asia – China, Japan, Korea, Manchuria. .-Aug. Grows in edges of mountain woods.

Description:
Aristolochia contorta is a  perennial  herb, growing to 1.5 m (5ft). It is in flower from May to July, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Flies.

…...CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

The shrub  has  stout elongated rhizomes. Stem slender, glabrous. Leaves alternate, cordate or broadly ovate-cordate, 4-10 cm long, 3.5-8 cm wide, acute or obtuse at tip, cordate at base, entire, petioles 1-7 cm long.(CLICK & SEE) Peduncles axillary, 1-4 cm long, with prominent bracts at base. Flowers few in axils, fascicled, the pedicels 1-4 cm long; the calyx tubular, inflated and globose at base, loosely pilose inside; the limb dilated, obliquely truncate, narrowly deltoid, long-acuminate to a filiform point; stamens 6, ovary inferior. Fruit a capsule,globose, 3 cm in diameter, 6 valved. Jul.-Aug……...CLICK & SEE

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil.The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils..It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade.It requires moist soil.

Cultivation:
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in many parts of this country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Prefers a well-drained loamy soil, rich in organic matter, in sun or semi-shade. Succeeds in ordinary garden soil. Most species in this genus have malodorous flowers that are pollinated by flies.

Propagation
Seed – best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the autumn. Pre-soak stored seed for 48 hours in hand-hot water and surface sow in a greenhouse. Germination usually takes place within 1 – 3 months at 20°c. Stored seed germinates better if it is given 3 months cold stratification at 5°c. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer after the last expected frosts. Division in autumn. Root cuttings in winter.

Edible Uses :
Edible Parts: Leaves.

Medicinal Uses;
Antiasthmatic;  Antiseptic;  Antitussive;  Cancer;  Expectorant;  Sedative.

The fruit and its capsule are antiasthmatic, antiseptic, antitussive and expectorant. A decoction of the fruit is used in the treatment of cancer, coughs, inflammation of the respiratory organs, haemorrhoids and hypertension. It is also used to resolve phlegm and lower blood pressure. It has an antibacterial action, effective against Staphylococcus aureus, Pneumococci, bacillus dysentericae etc. The root contains aristolochic acid. This has anti-cancer properties and can be used in conjunction with chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Aristolochic acid can also be used in the treatment of acute and serious infections such as TB, hepatitis, liver cirrhosis and infantile pneumonia. It also increases the cellular immunity and phagocytosis function of the phagocytic cells. Aristolochic acid is said to be too toxic for clinical use. The root is used as a purgative in the treatment of rabies and also has sedative properties.

A decoction of the fruit is used in the treatment of cancer, coughs, inflammation of the respiratory organs, hemorrhoids and hypertension. It is also used to resolve phlegm and lower blood pressure. It has an antibacterial action, effective against Staphylococcus aureus, Pneumococci, bacillus dysentericae etc. The root contains aristolochic acid. This has anti-cancer properties and can be used in conjunction with chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Aristolochic acid can also be used in the treatment of acute and serious infections such as TB, hepatitis, liver cirrhosis and infantile pneumonia. It also increases the cellular immunity and phagocytosis function of the phagocytic cells. Aristolochic acid is said to be too toxic for clinical use. The root is used as a purgative in the treatment of rabies and also has sedative properties.

Known Hazards:  No specific details for this species is found but most members of this genus have poisonous roots and stems. The plant contains aristolochic acid, this has received rather mixed reports on its toxicity. According to one report aristolochic acid stimulates white blood cell activity and speeds the healing of wounds, but is also carcinogenic and damaging to the kidneys. Another report says that it is an active antitumour agent but is too toxic for clinical use. Another report says that aristolochic acid has anti-cancer properties and can be used in conjunction with chemotherapy and radiotherapy and that it also increases the cellular immunity and phagocytosis function of the phagocytic cells.

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.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Aristolochia+contorta
http://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Aristolochia_contorta
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm

http://www.wpro.who.int/internet/files/pub/97/33.pdf

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News on Health & Science

Daylight Could Help Fight Obesity

A new study, conducted by researchers at The University of Nottingham, has suggested that daylight could help  TO CONTROL YOUR WEIGHT.
UNDER DAYLIGHT
Previous studies have revealed that the activity of calorie-burning ‘brown fat’, also known as brown adipose tissue (BAT), is reduced with obesity. Therefore, promoting BAT function could prevent or reduce obesity in some people.

Now, the new study has shown — for the first time — that daylight is a major factor in controlling BAT activity.

“Our research has suggested a previously unknown mechanism for controlling BAT function in humans and this could potentially lead to new treatments for the prevention or reversal of obesity,” said study’s lead author Michael Symonds, Professor of Developmental Physiology in the School of Clincal Sciences at the university.

Winter was traditionally a time of the year that was accompanied with increased thermal demands and thus energy expenditure, but the body’s requirements for BAT has been reduced in recent times by central heating plus global warming.

BAT is capable of producing up to 300 times more heat per unit mass compared with all other tissues.

The researchers studied well over 3500 patients. The presence of BAT was documented and correlated with monthly changes in daylight and ambient temperature.

Their results showed that BAT was more common in females and that changes in BAT activity were more closely associated with day light than ambient temperature.

BAT is activated by the cold and is unique in being able to produce very large amounts of heat — but little is known about the main factors that regulate the amount of BAT in our bodies.

“Our research demonstrates a very strong seasonal variation in the presence of BAT. The study focused on the impact of daylight and ambient temperature, as these are two key factors in determining BAT function in small mammals. Our exciting new findings may help us find novel interventions aimed at promoting BAT activity particularly in the winter,” Symonds said.

The study has been published in the journal Diabetes.

Source: The times Of India

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Featured

Lung Disease, Heart Attacks Linked

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Patients with a deadly lung disease are three times as likely to experience severe coronary events – including heart attacks – than their normal counterparts, according to a recent study.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

The study is based on an analysis of cardiovascular disease risk in nearly 1,000 patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and more than 3,500 matched controls.

IPF is a disorder characterised by progressive scarring (fibrosis) and deterioration of the lungs.

“If you look at them over time, people with IPF have roughly a three-fold increased risk of acute coronary syndrome, which is a greater increase than you get from smoking,” said Richard B. Hubbard, professor of epidemiology at University of Nottingham and co-author of the study.

Hubbard and colleagues analysed data from the computerised records of the Britain’s Health Improvement Network for 920 patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and 3,593 control subjects without IPF for diagnoses of coronary events and disease incidence.

In addition to having a markedly increased risk of heart problems, patients with IPF were 23 percent more likely to have angina, had a 60 percent higher risk of stroke, and a three-fold increased risk of deep vein thrombosis, according to Hubbard.

Notably, those with IPF were more than twice as likely as control subjects to have been prescribed amiodarone, a medication used for irregular heartbeats that has also been implicated as a cause of fibrotic lung disease.

This research could have serious implications for the 60,000 people with IPF who currently live in the US and the 21,000 people who receive this diagnosis for the first time each year, according to a Nottingham release.

Unfortunately, medical knowledge about IPF is limited. “We know that genetic factors play some role in IPF because it clusters in families in about 10 percent of cases,” said Hubbard.

The study was published in the December issue of American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Sources: The Times Of India

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Categories
Ailmemts & Remedies

Coeliac Disease

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What is Coeliac Disease?

Coeliac disease is a gut disorder which can strike at any age……..CLICK & SEE

Coeliac disease is caused by gluten, a protein that is found in wheat, and other similar proteins that are found in rye and barley.

In some people these proteins cause damage to the tiny projections – or villi – that line the small intestine.

Villi play a significant role in the digestion process.

However, when damaged they become inflamed.

This renders them unable to absorb food properly, and can lead to diarrhoea and malnutrition.

What are the symptoms?

In small children with Coeliac disease can cause chronic diarrhoea, distension of the abdomen and muscle wasting.

Infants with the disease are likely to be poor feeders, fail to put on weight in the normal way and fail to thrive.

Adults suffer from chronic diarrhoea, weight loss, weakness, fatigue, breathlessness and anaemia.

Are there any complications?

What complications can occur?

Women with untreated gluten sensitivity can experience infertility, but this is restored when they stop eating gluten.

People with the disorder are also at heightened risk of the brittle bone disease osteoporosis.

More severe damage than usual, including narrowing of the intestine, and even the development of a special form of cancer can rarely occur.

These complications are very uncommon, especially if the condition is well treated.

Is it linked to any other condition?

People with a condition called dermatitis herpetiformis are almost gluten sensitive.

This condition causes an itchy, blistering skin eruption affecting the knees, elbows, buttocks and back.

How is Coeliac disease diagnosed?

A blood test can now help doctors to tell if somebody is likely to have the condition.

However, the only way to confirm a diagnosis is to remove a small piece of tissue from the intestine for analysis in the laboratory.

How can it be controlled?

The only way to keep the symptoms under control is to eat a diet completely free of gluten and related proteins.

Once this is done, people with coeliac disease find that their symptoms quickly disappear and that they are able to lead an active and healthy life without any problems.

What foods are safe to eat?

Food that is completely free of gluten includes fruit, vegetables, fresh meat, fish, cheese, eggs, and milk.

Foods that contain wheat, barley, and rye should be avoided and replaced with rice and corn flour, for example.

These include bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries, puddings and pies, which are all usually made with flour containing gluten.

Wheat flour is also widely used in many processed foods.

Click to learn more about Coeliac Diseases……..(1)..…..(2).….(3)…….(4)

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

Sources:BBC NEWS:6th.March.’03

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Hookworms May Harbour Asthma Cure

 Blood-sucking parasitic worms are being studied as a potential treatment for asthma and other allergic diseases. People with asthma and hay fever are being purposely infected with hookworms to test whether the parasites can control the allergic reactions that cause the conditions……….CLICK & SEE

British researchers believe that hookworm infestations could be induced under medical supervision to reduce symptoms, or the worms could help the development of new drugs.

They also say that worm treatments might not only work for allergies, but also more serious auto-immune disorders such as type-1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis (MS).

Evidence from the early 1970s suggests that people infected with the tropical hookworm do not suffer allergies.

Studies in New Guinea, where hookworms are common, have suggested that the worms protect themselves in the human body by dampening down the immune system. At the same time, they appear to prevent over-active immune responses linked to allergies and auto-immune diseases.

Now, Dr David Pritchard, from the University of Nottingham, is leading a team to determine if the worms can be harnessed to fight these conditions.

Two small safety trials have already been completed and early preparations are in progress for a study of asthma patients.

“Many of the people who were given a placebo have now requested worms. And the people with worms, many of them have decided to keep them for the next hay fever season,” Times Online quoted Dr Pritchard, as saying.

Source:The Times Of India