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Herbs & Plants

Ammi visnaga

Botanical Name: Ammi visnaga
Family:Apiaceae
Genus:Ammi
Species:A. visnaga
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:Apiales

Synonyms : Ammi dilatatum. Apium visnaga. Carum visnaga. Daucus visnaga.

Common names : Bisnaga, Toothpickweed, and Khella.

Habitat: Ammi visnaga is native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa, but it can be found throughout the world as an introduced species.It grows in fields and sandy places.
Description:
Ammi visnaga is an annual or biennial herb growing from a taproot erect to a maximum height near 80 centimeters. Leaves are up to 20 centimeters long and generally oval to triangular in shape but dissected into many small linear to lance-shaped segments. The inflorescence is a compound umbel of white flowers similar to those of other Apiaceae species. The fruit is a compressed oval-shaped body less than 3 millimeters long. This and other Ammi species are sources of khellin, a diuretic extract.

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It is in flower from Jul to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.

Cultivation:
Prefers a well-drained soil in a sunny position, succeeding in ordinary garden soil. Tolerates a pH in the range 6.8 to 8.3. This species is not fully winter-hardy in the colder areas of Britain, though it should be possible to grow it as a spring-sown annual. This plant is sold as toothpicks in Egyptian markets.

Propagation: Seed – sow spring in situ. ( Sow under cover Feb-March in a seed tray, module or guttering. Sow direct March-May and/or August-September.)
Edible Uses: Leaves are chewed raw for their pleasant aromatic flavour

Chemical constituents:
Khellin, a chemical obtained from Ammi visnaga gives rose red color with KOH (solid) or NaOH & 2-3 drops of water, was used at one time as a smooth muscle relaxant, but its use is limited due to adverse side effects. Amiodarone and cromoglycate are derivates of khellin that are frequently used in modern medicine.

The chemical visnagin, which is found in A. visnaga, has biological activity in animal models as a vasodilator and reduces blood pressure by inhibiting calcium influx into the cell.
Medicinal Uses:
Antiarrhythmic; Antiasthmatic; Antispasmodic; Diuretic; Lithontripic; Vasodilator.

Visnaga is an effective muscle relaxant and has been used for centuries to alleviate the excruciating pain of kidney stones. Modern research has confirmed the validity of this traditional use. Visnagin contains khellin, from which particularly safe pharmaceutical drugs for the treatment of asthma have been made. The seeds are diuretic and lithontripic. They contain a fatty oil that includes the substance ‘khellin’. This has been shown to be of benefit in the treatment of asthma. Taken internally, the seeds have a strongly antispasmodic action on the smaller bronchial muscles, they also dilate the bronchial, urinary and blood vessels without affecting blood pressure. The affect last for about 6 hours and the plant has practically no side effects. The seeds are used in the treatment of asthma, angina, coronary arteriosclerosis and kidney stones. By relaxing the muscles of the urethra, visnaga reduces the pain caused by trapped kidney stones and helps ease the stone down into the bladder. The seeds are harvested in late summer before they have fully ripened and are dried for later use.
In Egypt, a tea made from the fruit of this species has been used as an herbal remedy for kidney stones. Laborarory rat studies show that the extract slows the buildup of calcium oxalate crystals in the kidneys and acts as a diuretic.
This plant and its components have shown effects in dilating the coronary arteries. Its mechanism of action may be very similar to the calcium channel-blocking drugs. The New England Journal of Medicine writes “The high proportion of favorable results, together with the striking degree of improvement frequently observed, has led us to the conclusion that Khellin, properly used, is a safe and effective drug for the treatment of angina pectoris.” As little as 30 milligrams of Khellin per day appear to offer as good a result, with fewer side effects. Rather than use the isolated compound “Khellin,” Khella extracts standardized for khellin content (typically 12 percent) are the preferred form.

A daily dose of such an extract would be 250 to 300 milligrams. Khella appears to work very well with hawthorn extracts. An aromatic herb which dilates the bronchial, urinary and blood vessels without affecting blood pressure.

Visnaga is a traditional Egyptian remedy for kidney stones. By relaxing the muscles of the ureter, visnaga reduces the pain caused by the trapped stone and helps ease the stone down into the bladder. Following research into its antispasmodic properties, visnaga is now given for asthma and is safe even for children to take. Although it does not always relieve acute asthma attacks, it do3es help to prevent their recurrence. It is an effective remedy for various respiratory problems, including bronchitis, emphysema, and whooping cough. In Andalusia in Spain, the largest and best quality visnaga were employed to clean the teeth. Khella is the source of amiodarone one of the key anti-arrhythmia medications. The usual recommendation calls for pouring boiling water over about a quarter-teaspoon of powdered khella fruits. Steep for five minutes and drink the tea after straining.

Its active constituent is khellin, a bronchiodilator and antispasmodic that makes it useful for asthma sufferers It’s best used to prevent asthma rather than to counter an attack and can be taken on a daily basis with no contraindications. Because khella builds up in the blood, its use can be decreased after a period of time. Khella is safer than ma huang (ephedra) for asthma sufferers because it’s nonstimulating and nonenervating. Unlike ma huang, it doesn’t rob the body, especially the adrenals, of energy.

Spasmolytic action of khellin and visnagin (both furanochromones) is indicated for treatment of asthma and coronary arteriosclerosis.
An extract from khella (Ammi visnaga) is so far the only herb found to be useful in vitili. Khellin, the active constituent, appears to work like psoralen drugs?it stimulates repigmentation of the skin by increasing sensitivity of remaining pigment-containing cells (melanocytes) to sunlight. Studies have used 120-160 mg of khellin per day. Khellin must be used with caution, as it can cause side effects such as nausea and insomnia.

Another use is for vitiligo (an extract from ammi visnaga appears to stimulate repigmentation of the skin by increasing sensitivity of remaining pigment containing cells, melanocytes to sunlight)

Other Uses: The fruiting pedicel is used as a toothpick whilst the seeds have been used as a tooth cleaner

Known Hazards : Skin contact with the sap is said to cause photo-sensitivity and/or dermatitis in some people. Avoid during pregnancy and lactation. Avoid if on warfarin or other blood thinning medication. Prolonged use may lead to: constipation, appetite loss, headaches, vertigo, nausea and vomiting.

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ammi_visnaga
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Ammi+visnaga
http://www.sarahraven.com/flowers/plants/cut_flower_seedlings/ammi_visnaga.htm

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

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Herbs & Plants

Bidens frondosa

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Botanical Name : Bidens frondosa
Family : Asteraceae
Genus : Bidens L.
Kingdom : Plantae
Subkingdom :Tracheobionta
Superdivision : Spermatophyta
Division : Magnoliophyta
Class : Magnoliopsida
Subclass :  Asteridae
Order : Asterales
Species : Bidens frondosa L.

Common Names :Bur Marigold, Devil’s Bootjack, Devil‘s pitchfork,Beggars Tick  Pitchfork Weed, and Sticktight.

Habitat :Native to U.S. Wet ground, ditches, pond margins, streambanks, waste ground, roadsides, railroads

Description:
Bidens frondosa  is an annual herb. It looks similar to a Dahlia plant, up to 2 m tall, usually with reddish stems. Its flowers are yellow, produced in early autumn, followed by numerous seeds with hooked barbs that attach onto passing animals’ fur or clothing or sometimes even skin which allow the seeds to be dispersed widely.

Stems – From fibrous roots, stout, erect, herbaceous, to +/-2m tall, branching, 4-angled (the angles rounded), fluted, essentially glabrous but with a few antrorse hairs in upper portions, typically purple.

click to see the pictures…>...(01)...(1).…...(2).…...(3).……..(4)…….(5)...

LeavesOpposite, petiolate, trifoliolate. Petiole to +/-5cm long, with an adaxial groove (groove curly pubescent within), the rest of the petiole glabrous or with very sparse short pubescence. Lateral leaflets with petiolules to 5-6mm long, basally oblique. Terminal leaflet with petiolule to 2.5cm long, larger than lateral leaflets, sometimes unequally divided. All leaflets serrate, acuminate, puberulent above, pubescent below, to +10cm long, 4cm broad, light green below, deep dull green above.

Flowers:Bloom during August  to October

Medicinal Uses:
Used in palpitation of the heart, cough, and uterine derangement.  Roots or seeds are also used as an expectorant in throat irritation.  Bidens frondosa in infusion has cured several cases of croup, even where they have been considered beyond aid. A strong infusion of the plant, sweetened with honey, was administered to the children, warm, in doses of a tablespoonful or more every 10 or 15 minutes, until it vomited. A quantity of mucous and membranous shreds were ejected, followed by immediate relief; the children passed into a sleep, from which they awakened perfectly well. In a few hours after the emetic operation of the warm infusion, it acted as a cathartic. The leaves from which the infusion was made, were, at the same time placed in a piece of flannel with some brandy added to them, and laid over the chest and throat. This plan is also beneficial in colds, acute bronchial and laryngeal attach from exposure to cold, etc. An infusion of the seeds formed into a syrup with honey, is useful in whooping-cough.

For urethritis and cystitis that has had several closely spaced occurrences, with antibiotics helping briefly but with the irritation returning shortly after the finish of the regimen try several days of the tea or tincture.  If the pain goes away, continue the tea for a few more days to finish up the membrane healing.  Bidens is also an excellent herb for benign prostatic hypertrophy, usually decreasing the membrane irritability both in the urinary tract and the rectum, and often, over a few weeks of use, noticeably shrinking the prostate and giving its connective tissue better tone.  For this purpose, it combines well with equal parts of white sage.

For elevated uric acid in the blood and a history of gout or urate kidney gravel, Bidens will increase the efficiency of the kidney’s excretion of uric acid from the blood; it will also act as a diuretic to dilute the urine.  It has no effect on the production of uric acid by the body.  Since the mechanism for stimulating the excretion is different from that of Shepherd’s Purse, the two can be combined for increased effects. The herb is active against staph infections, and can be used as a wash, sitz bath, and eyewash.  Its astringency helps take away the inflammation and pain as well. Its astringency and anti-inflammatory effects on the mucus membranes help act as a tonic and preventative for gastritis and ulcers, and diarrhea and ulcerative colitis.  For respiratory infections or irritated membranes due to shouting, smoking, or dust, the tea or tincture acts to soothe the membranes, increase mucus secretions and expectoration, and decrease edema and swelling.  For some asthma aggravated or induced by infection, it may be enough to turn the problem around.  The tea will often help hay fever and sinus headaches from allergies, infections or pollution. For mucus discharges, use the tea two or three times a day for a week.  This includes cloudy urine, vaginal discharges, mucus colitis, mucoid conjunctivitis, and chronic throat and nasal discharges.

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.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm
http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Horticulture/Bidens_frondosa
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=BIFR
http://www.missouriplants.com/Yellowopp/Bidens_frondosa_page.html

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Soda, OJ May Increase Risk of Gout

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According to a new study  drinking too much soda or fruit juice will increase the risk of developing gout, a painful form of arthritis.

Women who drank two cans or more of non-diet soda a day, or 12 ounces or more of orange juice a day, were more than twice as likely to develop gout. Women who drank just one soda or 6-ounce glass of juice per day were at 74 percent and 41 percent greater risk, respectively.

CNN reports:
“The culprit appears to be fructose … [F]ructose increases levels of the chemical uric acid, which causes gout. When uric acid levels in the body get too high, the acid hardens into sharp crystals that are deposited in joints.”

You may click to see :
Soft Drinks Linked to Pancreatic Cancer Risk

Resources:
CNN November 10, 2010
Journal of the American Medical Association November 10, 2010; [Epub ahead of print]

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Vitamin C Intake May Lower Risk of Gout in Men

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 Men with a higher intake of vitamin C appear less likely to develop gout, a painful type of arthritis, according to a study.
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Gout is the most common type of inflammatory arthritis in men… The identification of risk factors for gout… is an important first step in the prevention and management of this common and excruciatingly painful condition,” wrote the study’s authors.

Hyon K Choi, then of University of British Columbia, Vancouver, and now of Boston University School of Medicine, and colleagues examined the relationship between vitamin C intake and gout in 46,994 men between 1986 and 2006.

Every four years, the men completed a dietary questionnaire, and their vitamin C intake through food and supplements was computed. Every two years, participants reported whether they had been diagnosed with or developed symptoms of gout.

During 20-year follow-up, 1,317 men developed gout. Compared with men who had a vitamin C intake of less than 250mg per day, the relative risk of gout was 17% lower for those with a daily intake of 500 to 999 mg, 34% lower for those with an intake of 1,000 to 1,499mg per day and 45% lower for those with an intake of 1,500mg per day or higher.

Vitamin C may affect re-absorption of uric acid by the kidneys, increase the speed at which the kidneys work or protect against inflammation, all of which may reduce gout risk, a Boston University statement quoted the authors as saying.

Sources:These findings were published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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News on Health & Science

Gene ‘linked to higher gout risk’

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A reason why millions worldwide fall prey to the painful joint condition gout may have been uncovered.

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..Gout can be disfiguring and painful

A rise in UK gout cases has been blamed on increasingly unhealthy lifestyles.

However, genetic analysis of more than 12,000 people, published in the journal Nature Genetics, has found that a gene variant may also raise the risk.

Researchers at the MRC Human Genetics Unit, in Edinburgh, said the gene, and the protein it controls, might one day be targeted by new gout drugs.

In a healthy body, uric acid, a waste product found in the blood, is removed by the kidneys and passes out of the body in urine.

However, in some people the kidney cannot get rid of it properly and it builds up in the blood, forming crystals in the joints, leading to inflammation, stiffness and pain.

Various food types have been blamed, with the consensus that diets rich in refined sugars, protein and alcohol increase the risk.

Many thousands of people have a diet which appears to increase the risk of gout, but far fewer actually develop the illness.

Now scientists at the MRC Human Genetics Unit may have worked out why that is.

The gene variation they found, in the SLC2A gene, appears to make it harder for the body to remove uric acid from the blood.

Testing and treatment

Professor Alan Wright, who led the research, said: “The gene is a key player in determining the efficiency of uric acid transport across the membranes of the kidney.”

His colleague Harry Campbell said: “Some people will have higher or lower risk of gout depending on the form of the gene they inherited.

“This discovery may allow better diagnostic tools for gout to be developed.”

At the moment, drug treatment for patients is limited.

Although gout is a disease more usually found in a historical textbook, it is estimated that one million people in the UK suffer from it in some form.

Professor Stuart Ralston, from the British Society for Rheumatology, said that he often came across patients whose lifestyles did not fit the traditional view of over-consumption.

“Until recently you would associate gout with boozing and rich food, but there are plenty of other patients who are quite abstemious. This might be a genetic marker for gout risk.

“What is exciting is that it could be a target for new gout drugs.”

Dr Andrew Bamji, president of the British Society for Rheumatology, said that the research supported a recent study which suggested that too many sugary soft drinks could trigger gout.

He said: “It appears that this gene also plays a role in the control of levels of fructose sugar in the body, which would explain the finding that soft drinks were linked to attacks.”

Click to learn more about:->

What is Gout

Gout surge blamed on sweet drinks

Lower gout risk for coffee lovers

Gout treatments ‘remain unproven’

Sources:BBC NEWS: 10Th.March.’08