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Mentha citrata

Botanical Name :Mentha citrata
Family:    Lamiaceae
Genus:    Mentha
Species:M. citrata
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:    Lamiales

Synonym: Mentha odorata.

Common Names: Bergamot mint, Eau-de-cologne Mint, Horsemint, Lemon Mint, Lime Mint, Orange Mint, Pineapple Mint, Su Nanesi, Water Mint, Wild Water Mint, Yerba Buena

Habitat : :Mentha citrata is found in wet places in Staffordshireand Wales, though very rarely, but is often cultivated in gardens.It is found  on the sides of ditches, roadsides etc in S. England.

Description:
Mentha citrata is a perennial herb, growing to a height of about a feet.The whole plant is smooth, dotted with yellow glands and is of a dark green colour, generally tinged with purple, especially the margins of the leaves, which are finelly toothed. There are very conspicuous lines of yellow glands on the purple calyx.It blooms during August to October.

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This Mint has a very pleasant, aromatic, lemon-like odour, somewhat resembling that of the Bergamot Orange, or that of the Oswego Tea (Monarda didyma), also called Bergamot, and its leaves like those of the latter can be employed in pot pourri.

Cultivation & Propagation: A natural hybrid, M. aquatica x M. spicata found in moist soils on the sides of ditches, roadsides etc in S. England.

Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Germination is usually fairly quick. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. Mentha species are very prone to hybridisation and so the seed cannot be relied on to breed true. Even without hybridisation, seedlings will not be uniform and so the content of medicinal oils etc will vary. When growing plants with a particular aroma it is best to propagate them by division. Division can be easily carried out at almost any time of the year, though it is probably best done in the spring or autumn to allow the plant to establish more quickly. Virtually any part of the root is capable of growing into a new plant. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. However, for maximum increase it is possible to divide the roots up into sections no more than 3cm long and pot these up in light shade in a cold frame. They will quickly become established and can be planted out in the summer.

Edible Uses:
Leaves – raw or cooked. Used as a flavouring in salads or cooked foods. A very pungent flavour, the leaves of the true eau-de-cologne mint are too aromatic for most tastes, though the cultivar “Basil” has an excellent flavour and makes a very good substitute for basil in pesto. A herb tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves.

Medicinal Uses:
Mentha citrata or Eau de Cologne mint, like many other members of this genus, is often used as a domestic herbal remedy, being valued especially for its antiseptic properties and its beneficial effect on the digestion. Like other members of the genus, it is best not used by pregnant women because large doses can cause an abortion. The leaves and flowering plant are anodyne, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, cholagogue, diaphoretic, refrigerant, stomachic, tonic, vasodilator. A tea made from the leaves has traditionally been used in the treatment of fevers, headaches, digestive disorders and various minor ailments. The medicinal uses of this herb are more akin to lavender (Lavandula spp) than the mints. It is used to treat infertility, rapid heartbeat, nervous exhaustion etc. The leaves are harvested as the plant comes into flower and can be dried for later use. The essential oil in the leaves is antiseptic, though it is toxic in large doses.

A tea made from the fresh or dried leaves has traditionally been used:

*For stomach aches, nausea, parasites and other digestive disorders

*For nerves and sick stomach

*For fevers and headaches.

Other Uses: An essential oil obtained from the whole plant is a source of lavender oil which is used in perfumery. It is also used in oral hygiene preparations, toiletries etc. Formerly used as a strewing herb, the plant repels insects, rats etc. Rats and mice intensely dislike the smell of mint. The plant was therefore used in homes as a strewing herb and has also been spread in granaries to keep the rodents off the grain.

Known Hazards:  Although no specific mention has been seen for this sub-species, it should be noted that, in large quantities, the closely allied M. x piperita vulgaris can cause abortions, especially when used in the form of the extracted essential oil, so it should not be used by pregnant women.

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.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/m/mints-39.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mentha_citrata#Description
http://www.naturalmedicinalherbs.net/herbs/m/mentha-x-piperita-citrata=eau-de-cologne-mint.php

Stutter and Stammer

“Honey should be applied to a baby’s tongue soon after birth. The child then goes on to develop sweet speech with no stammering.”

This was the practice a century ago. Medically, the honey did nothing to prevent stammering. But if it was contaminated with bacteria, it did cause fatal botulinium poisoning with flaccid paralysis in a significant percentage of children.
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Around 10 million people in India stammer. The speech disorder affects 3-5 per cent of children, of which one per cent continues to stammer into adult life. About 80 per cent of the affected children are boys, and first-born males are more likely to be affected. Around 65 per cent of them have a family history of stammering. In most cases, it is the father who stammers or has rapid staccato speech.

Speech is a complex process. A person decides what he or she wants to say, and electro chemical signals are triggered in the brain’s speech area. These signals have to reach the muscle groups in the pharynx, larynx and tongue. If the speed of the thought and the release of the chemicals are not perfectly co-ordinated, stammering occurs. Words or syllables are repeated or prolonged, speech suddenly stops and no sound emerges. The speech becomes blocked in spasms, resulting in repetitive sounds or no sound at all. Even in normal people, emotions can trigger such a condition. In those who stammer, anxiety anticipation of stammering, and embarrassment can trigger tics and spasms of the facial muscles as well.

Children start to stammer before the age of five. It may first become evident when they start school. Many recover spontaneously, while others require treatment. If the stammering continues beyond the age of seven, it is likely to persist into adult life.

Many famous people like Winston Churchill stammered. It didn’t prevent them from scaling great heights. In most cases, however, the sufferer fails to achieve his or her potential. Such people fail in job interviews and viva voce presentations, as stress worsens the stammer. Society often pokes fun at these individuals. In films too comedians are often shown to stammer. As a result, these otherwise intelligent and sensitive people become withdrawn and isolated.

When in contact with a person who stammers:

• Try not to show your embarrassment or look away. Do not reassure them just wait patiently and they will complete what they want to say

• Do not try to complete their sentences for them

• Maintain eye contact

• Many of those who stammer find answering the phone an ordeal. So if the phone rings and there is silence, wait till the person is able to speak.

Stammering is not due to tongue-tie, so surgery does not help. Since it is aggravated by stress, and the affected individuals appear distressed, antiaxiolytic medications like alpraxolam and valium, tranquillisers and antidepressants were initially tried. But they were not very useful. In short, there is no magic pill to cure stammering.

If a child’s stammer lasts more than six months, causes psychological problems in school, or continues beyond the age of five, it needs to be evaluated.

Children cannot voluntarily control stammering. Ridicule, asking him or her to speak slowly, or forcing him or her to repeat the words wont help. The only way parents can help is by providing a relaxed and supportive environment where the child is allowed to speak without feeling self-conscious.

Speech therapists can work with people who stammer, and by using a variety of techniques, can improve the speech. They can also help improve communication skills and create self awareness and confidence. Newer auditory feedback devices and computer assisted speech training can also be tried out. Many people do not have access to speech therapists and are forced to handle their child’s stammering as best they can.

A person may stammer while talking but not while singing. Asking him or her to formulate thoughts in the mind and then speak in a singsong way often helps. Speaking slowly, syllable by syllable instead of complete words, gets rid of the repetitive “th th th” sounds. Asking the person to follow the speech of the therapist or parent also helps. Sometimes using a gesture as the stammer sets in takes the concentration away from the speech and the stammer disappears.

UNIVERSAL TIPS  :-

• Sing the words

• Visualise the words in your head first

• Take a deep breath before speaking

• Speak slowly and break up the words into smaller components

• Speaking loudly or in a whisper makes stammering less obvious

If your child stammers, encourage him or her to do physical activity. This gives confidence which helps the anxiety and depression caused by stammering. Yoga calms the mind and corrects faulty breathing. It also improves speech in those who stammer.

Source: The Telegraph ( Kolkata, India)

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Increase Your Happiness … by Limiting Your Choices

This headline certainly sounds paradoxical. But while all the choices available to you nowadays may offer more freedom than ever before, they may also exact quite a cost on your psyche, according to psychologist Barry Schwartz in this compelling video.

Schwartz, the author of The Paradox of Choice, believes, rightly, that the “freedom of choice” provided by limitless options escalates expectations, and therefore introduces indecision and unhappiness into the equation.

He believes happiness may be easier than you think; that by simply limiting your choices and options, you can increase your level of happiness.

Live Science Magazine takes a less complex look at happiness, offering these simple keys to give your mood a much needed boost:

Give it away

After performing good deeds, people are happier and feel their life has more purpose. It only takes $5 spent on others to make you happier on a given day, according to a recent study. And selfless acts can also help your marriage become a more enjoyable experience.

Ponder this

A 2005 study that tracked mood changes in dialysis patients found they were in a good mood most of the time, despite having their blood cleaned three times a week. However, healthy patients envisioned a miserable life when asked to imagine adhering to such a demanding schedule.

As Winston Churchill said,

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

Work out

Consistent exercise can help people battling depression. Exercise improves your state of mind in part by affecting your body’s levels of two chemicals: cortisol and endorphins.

Cortisol, which is produced in response to stress, increases blood pressure and blood sugar, weakens your immune response and can lead to organ inflammation and damage. But working out burns cortisol, restoring your body’s normal levels. Exercise can also cause your brain to release endorphins, your body’s natural pain relievers.

Live long

If you still find yourself down in the dumps, just give it some time. A study of 2 million people from 80 nations found that depression is most common among adults in their mid-40’s. But with age, humans are more inclined to filter out the negatives while focusing on what they enjoy.

Sources:
TED.com August 13, 2008
Live Science August 22, 2008

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