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Herbs & Plants

Karanj

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Botanical Name:Pongamia glabra
Family : Fabaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Fabales
Genus: Pongamia
Species: P. pinnata

Other Name:Pongamia pinnata, Indian Beech Tree, Honge Tree, Pongam Tree, Panigrahi

Habitat : Originated in India and is found throughout Asia.

Description:
It is a deciduous legume tree that grows to about 15-25 meters in height with a large canopy which spreads equally wide. The leaves are a soft, shiny burgundy in early summer and mature to a glossy, deep green as the season progresses. Small clusters of white, purple, and pink flowers blossom on their branches throughout the year, maturing into brown seed pods. The tree is well suited to intense heat and sunlight and its dense network of lateral roots and its thick, long taproot make it drought tolerant. The dense shade it provides slows the evaporation of surface water and its root nodules promote nitrogen fixation, a symbiotic process by which gaseous nitrogen (N3) from the air into NH3+ (a form of nitrogen available to the plant). Withstanding temperatures slightly below 0°C to 50°C and annual rainfall of 50–250 cm, the tree grows wild on sandy and rocky soils, including oolitic limestone, but will grow in most soil types, even with its roots in salt water…

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Constituents:Seeds contain 27% bitter and dark (sherry) coloured fixed oil (pongamia oil). The oil contains toxic flavonoids including 1.25% karanjin and 0.85% pongamol alkaloid, resin, mucilage and sugar.

Uses:
Known by many names (Indian Beech, Pongam, Honge, Ponge, and Karanj among other) it is a tree that is well-adapted to arid zones and has many traditional uses. It is often used for landscaping purposes as a windbreak or for shade due to the large canopy and showy fragrant flowers. The bark can be used to make twine or rope and it also yields a black gum that is used to treat wounds caused by poisonous fish. The flowers are used by gardeners as compost for plants requiring rich nutrients. Juices from the plant, as well as the oil, are antiseptic and resistant to pests. In addition the Pongam tree has the rare property of producing seeds of 25-35% lipid content. The seed oil is an important asset of this tree having been used as lamp oil, in soap making, and as a lubricant for thousands of years. This oil is rapidly gaining popularity as a source of feedstock for bio-diesel production.

Medicinal Uses: .Seed extract is used for Skin problems, in tanning, Shops, infestation of grains, piscidal, insecticidal, nematicidal and bactericidal activity.

According to Ayurveda, Karanj is anthelmintic, alexipharmic and useful in diseases of eye, vagina, skin. The oil has been used to treat tumours, wounds, ulcers, itching, enlargement of spleen and abdomen, urinary discharges. It also reputed to cure biliousness, piles, head pains, leucoderma, skin diseases and wounds.

The fruits and sprouts are used in folk remedies for abdominal tumors in India, the seeds for keloid tumors in Sri Lanka, and a powder derived from the plant for tumors in Vietnam. In sanskritic India, seeds were used for skin ailments. Today the oil is used as a liniment for rheumatism. Leaves are active against Micrococcus; their juice is used for colds, coughs, diarrhea, dyspepsia, flatulence, gonorrhea, and leprosy. Roots are used for cleaning gums, teeth, and ulcers. Bark is used internally for bleeding piles. Juices from the plant, as well as the oil, are antiseptic. It is said to be an excellent remedy for itch, herpes, and pityriasis versicolor. Powdered seeds are valued as a febrifuge, tonic and in bronchitis and whooping cough. Flowers are used for diabetes. Bark has been used for beriberi. Juice of the root is used for cleansing foul ulcers and closing fistulous sores. Young shoots have been recommended for rheumatism. Ayurvedic medicine described the root and bark as alexipharmic, anthelmintic, and useful in abdominal enlargement, ascites, biliousness, diseases of the eye, skin, and vagina, itch, piles, splenomegaly, tumors, ulcers, and wounds; the sprouts, considered alexeteric, anthelmintic, apertif, and stomachic, for inflammation, piles and skin diseases; the leaves, anthelmintic, digestive, and laxative, for inflammations, piles and wounds; the flowers for biliousness and diabetes; the fruit and seed for keratitis, piles, urinary discharges, and diseases of the brain, eye, head, and skin, the oil for biliousness, eye ailments, itch, leucoderma, rheumatism, skin diseases, worms, and wounds. Yunani use the ash to strengthen the teeth, the seed, carminative and depurative, for chest complaints, chronic fevers, earache, hydrocele, and lumbago; the oil, styptic and vermifuge, for fever, hepatalgia, leprosy, lumbago, piles, scabies, and ulcers.

Cautions: Generally non-toxic and non-sensitizing. Use well diluted. Avoid during pregnancy.

Research Efforts:
The seed oil has been found to be useful in diesel generators and, along with Jatropha, it is being explored in hundreds of projects throughout India and the third world as feedstock for biodiesel. It is especially attractive because it grows naturally through much of arid India, having very deep roots to reach water, and is one of the few crops well-suited to commercialization by India’s large population of rural poor. Several unelectrified villages have recently used Honge oil, simple processing techniques, and diesel generators to create their own grid systems to run water pumps and electric lighting.

In 2003 the Himalayan Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy as part of its Biofuel Rural Development Initiative started a campaign of education and public awareness to rural farmers about Pongamia in two Indian states. One of the Himalayan Institute’s partners developed a consistently high yield scion that reduced the time it takes to mature from 10 years to as little as three. To help the farmers in the transition from traditional crops to the Pongamia tree the Indian government has contributed over $30 million in low-interest loans and donated 4.5 million KG of rice to sustain impoverished drought-stricken farmers until the trees begin to produce income. Since the project began in 2003 over 20 million trees have been planted and 45,000 farmers are now involved.

In 2006 the Himalayan Institute began looking at locations in Africa to transplant the Pongamia tree into. Initially they began in Uganda but due to the lack of infrastructure and growing desertification the project has been growing very slowly. They have also begun a project in the Kumbo region of Cameroon where conditions are better. There has been some suggestions that the Pongamia tree could be grown all the way across the continent as a way to prevent the encroachment of the Sahara.

The University of Queensland node of the Center for Excellence in Legume Research, under the directorship of Proffessor Peter Gresshoff, in conjunction with Pacific Renewable Energy are currently working on Pongamia Pinnata for commercial use for the production of Biofuel. Projects are currently focussed on understanding aspects of Pongamia including root biology, grafting, salinity tolerance, and the genetics of the oil production pathways.
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Oil from Karanj tree can be the best option of bio fuel

Known Hazards:   All parts of the plant are toxic and will induce nausea and vomiting if eaten, the fruits and sprouts, along with the seeds.

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.bicco.com/herb_photo.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pongamia_pinnata
http://www.newdirectionsaromatics.com/karanj-seed-essential-oil-p-266.html

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_OPQ.htm

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News on Health & Science

The Promise and Power of RNA

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People whose bodies make an unusually active form of a certain protein tend to have dangerously high levels of cholesterol. Those with an inactive form of the protein have low cholesterol and a low risk of heart attacks.

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Needless to say, pharmaceutical companies would love to find a drug that can attach itself to the protein and block its activity. That might be difficult for this protein, which is called PCSK9. But a powerful new approach, called RNA interference, may surmount that obstacle. Instead of mopping up a protein after it has been produced, as a conventional drug would do, RNA interference turns off the faucet, halting production of a protein by silencing the gene that contains its recipe.

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In monkeys, a single injection of a drug to induce RNA interference against PCSK9 lowered levels of bad cholesterol by about 60%, an effect that lasted up to three weeks. Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, the biotechnology company that developed the drug, hopes to begin testing it in people next year.

The drug is a practical application of scientific discoveries that are showing that RNA, once considered a mere messenger boy for DNA, actually helps to run the show. The classic, protein-making genes are still there on the double helix, but RNA seems to play a powerful role in how genes function.

“This is potentially the biggest change in our understanding of biology since the discovery of the double helix,” said John Mattick, a professor of molecular biology at the University of Queensland in Australia. And the practical impact may be enormous.

RNA interference, or RNAi, discovered only about 10 years ago, is attracting huge interest for its seeming ability to knock out disease-causing genes. There are already at least six RNAi drugs being tested in people, for illnesses including cancer and an eye disease. And while there are still huge challenges to surmount, that number could easily double in the coming year.

You may click to see more articles for better knowledge…………….(1).…….(2).….…(3)

Sources: The Times Of India

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Categories
Suppliments our body needs

Quercetin

Definition:Quercetin belongs to a group of plant pigments called flavonoids that are largely responsible for the colors of many fruits, flowers, and vegetables. Flavonoids, such as quercetin, provide many health-promoting benefits. They act as antihistamines (which are useful in reducing allergy symptoms) and help reduce inflammation associated with various forms of arthritis. Quercetin also works as an antioxidant by scavenging damaging particles in the body known as free radicals. These particles occur naturally in the body but can damage cell membranes, interact with genetic material, and possibly contribute to the aging process as well as the development of a number of conditions including heart disease and cancer. Antioxidants such as quercetin can neutralize free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause.

Quercetin is a phytochemical that is part of the coloring found in the skins of apples and red onions. It has been isolated and is sold as a dietary supplement.

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Apples are an excellent source of quercetin…………image of quercetin.png

Quercetin is a flavonoid and, to be more specific, a flavonol. It is the aglycone form of a number of other flavonoid glycosides, such as rutin and quercitrin, found in citrus fruit, buckwheat and onions. Quercetin forms the glycosides quercitrin and rutin together with rhamnose and rutinose, respectively.

Occurrence:
Quercetin is a naturally-occurring polar auxin transport inhibitor.

Foods rich in quercetin include capers (1800mg/kg), lovage (1700mg/kg), apples (440mg/kg), tea (Camellia sinensis), onions, especially in red onions (higher concentrations of quercetin occur in the outermost rings), red grapes, citrus fruits, broccoli and other leafy green vegetables, cherries, and a number of berries including raspberry, bog whortleberry (158 mg/kg, fresh weight), lingonberry (cultivated 74mg/kg, wild 146 mg/kg), cranberry (cultivated 83 mg/kg, wild 121 mg/kg), chokeberry (89 mg/kg), sweet rowan (85 mg/kg), rowanberry (63 mg/kg), sea buckthorn berry (62 mg/kg), crowberry (cultivated 53mg/kg, wild 56 mg/kg), and the fruit of the prickly pear cactus. A recent study found that organically grown tomatoes had 79% more quercetin than “conventionally grown”.

A study by the University of Queensland, Australia, has also indicated the presence of quercetin in varieties of honey, including honey derived from eucalyptus and tea tree flower

Where To Find Quercetin:
To get more quercetin, you can increase your intake of apples and red onions, which will improve your diet. If you need more therapeutic impact, quercetin is available in health food stores and online.

Medicinal properties:
Quercetin is found to be the most active of the flavonoids in studies, and many medicinal plants owe much of their activity to their high quercetin content. Quercetin has demonstrated significant anti-inflammatory activity because of direct inhibition of several initial processes of inflammation. For example, it inhibits both the manufacture and release of histamine and other allergic/inflammatory mediators. In addition, it exerts potent antioxidant activity and vitamin C-sparing action.

Quercetin’s anti-histamine action may help to relieve allergic symptoms and asthma symptoms. The anti-inflammatory properties may help to reduce pain from disorders such as arthritis. Men who are concerned about prostate problems would also benefit from quercetin. Quercetin may also help reduce symptoms like fatigue, depression and anxiety.

Quercetin also shows anti-tumour properties. A study in the British Journal of Cancer showed that, when treated with a combination of quercetin and ultrasound at 20 kHz for 1 minute duration, skin and prostate cancers show a 90% mortality within 48 hours with no visible mortality of normal cells. Note that ultrasound also promotes topical absorption by up to 1,000 times making the use of topical quercetin and ultrasound wands an interesting proposition.

Recent studies have supported that quercetin can help men with chronic prostatitis, and both men and women with interstitial cystitis, possibly because of its action as a mast cell inhibitor.

Quercetin is a powerful antioxidant. It is also a natural anti-histamine, and anti-inflammatory. Research shows that quercetin may help to prevent cancer, especially prostate cancer.

Quercetin may have positive effects in combating or helping to prevent cancer, prostatitis, heart disease, cataracts, allergies/inflammations, and respiratory diseases such as bronchitis and asthma[citation needed]. It also has been claimed to have antidepressant properties, however any claim of quercetin action against neurological diseases should be treated with skepticism due to the fact that quercitin is a neurotoxin in vitIt also may be found in dietary supplements.

An 8-year study found that three flavonols — kaempferol, quercetin, and myricetin — were associated with a reduced risk of pancreatic cancer of 23 percent.

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>Quercetin Reduces Blood Pressure in Hypertensive Subjects.

>>Quercetin Research by Ray Sahelian, M.D., Benefit of Quercetin

Drug interactions:
Quercetin is contraindicated with antibiotics; it may interact with fluoroquinolones (a type of medicinal antibiotic), as quercetin competitively binds to bacterial DNA gyrase. Whether this inhibits or enhances the effect of fluoroquinolones is not entirely clear.

Quercetin is also a potent inhibitor of CYP3A4, an enzyme that breaks down most drugs in the body. As such, quercetin would be expected to increase serum levels, and therefore effects, of drugs metabolized by this enzyme

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quercetin
http://nutrition.about.com/od/phytochemicals/p/quercetinprofil.htm

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