Wednesday, 20 October 2010

The wonders of Triphala: Three-herb therapy for irritable bowel syndrome

By Syed Akbar
Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS for short is indeed a great health nuisance. IBS is characterized by abdominal cramps, diarrhoea, constipation, and often lack of control over one’s bowels. It causes lot of trouble particularly when one is travelling. It is medically yet not known what actually causes irritable bowel syndrome. But Ayurveda has a unique herbal formulation of three plants which greatly reduces the discomfort and the problems associated with IBS.
Triphala, heralded by Ayurveda experts as a great herbal formulation, is the best natural remedy for IBS. Triphala as the name suggests is a combination of three herbs or fruits. In Ayurvedic contest Triphala meansa combination of Emblica officinalis, Terminalia bellirica and Terminalia chebula. Regular intake of Triphala either in powder form or in tablets or capsules readily available in market will solve the problem of IBS to a great extent. But as is the case with any herbal formulation, Triphala takes sufficiently long time to act on the digestive system to give the much-needed results. One has to continue the dosage for a reasonable time to get rid of IBS.
Besides IBS, Triphala has been found to a good blood purifier and as a laxative. It promotes good colon health, reduces weight, fights ulcers and prevents cancerous growths. Triphala controls gas formation in the digestive system and solves the problem of flatulence associated with IBS. Ayurvedic doctors prescribe Triphala for hypertension too.
Quick Remedies
Students who are dull in studies may try Triphala formulations to sharpen their memory. Regular intake of a teaspoon of Triphala powder acts on the brain stimulates the nervous system and increases one’s memory power.
Triphala tea is often prescribed by Ayurvedic doctors as a general body toner to improve one’s health. Triphala tea powder is available in the market. Follow the guidelines of the manufacturer while preparing the Triphala tea at home.
Those suffering from dental decay and cavities may try Triphala mouth wash. Take a little quantity of Triphala powder, mix it with warm water and gargle it as a mouth wash.
Ayurveda practitioners prescribe Triphala powder (teaspoon) or tablets twice daily for IBS patients. It has to be taken after the meal.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Parkinson's disease: Take coffee to put off parkinson's

By Syed Akbar
With Parkinson's disease increasingly posing a major challenge to researchers and health planners world wide, the World Parkinson Congress comes out with good news. Take coffee regularly and avoid
or delay Parkinson's disease. Caffeine present in coffee plays a crucial role in people, who are genetically or otherwise susceptible to Parkinson's.
One can now find out whether one's genetic make-up helps in preventing the onset of Parkinson's when he or she becomes old. If their genetic set up carries a particular version of gene called GRIN2A,
they can benefit the most from sipping coffee.
Scientists at the World Parkinson Congress, which concluded early this week in  Scotland, reported that the genetic makeup of a person with Parkinson’s may determine how well he or she will respond to drugs
such as caffeine. This is one of the first genome wide association studies that looked at genetic and environmental interactions.
The investigators scanned the complete genetic code or genome of 4000 people, about half of whom had Parkinson’s disease, for nearly a million markers. They then collected data on the amount of caffeinated
coffee the subjects drank over their lifetimes.
Studies have shown that caffeine may decrease a person’s risk of developing Parkinson’s. Preliminary findings from this new study suggest that subjects who carry a version of the gene GRIN2A benefited the most from coffee.
According to Dr Haydeh Payami, an investigator at New York State Department of Health, the new findings may help researchers identify patients, who are likely to respond to drugs that target the same
physiological pathways as caffeine. Such drugs are currently being investigated as new treatments for Parkinson’s.
Concurring with the research finding, Dr Margaret Sutherland of National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, USA, said "the next challenge will be to validate that the coffee and GRIN2A
association can be replicated in a larger group of patients."
Dr Kieran Breen, Director of Research and Development at Parkinson’s UK, is hopeful that new drugs, without caffeine’s stimulant and diuretic effects, will prove helpful to patients.
"The new results suggest the possibility of screening patients for their genetic makeup to determine if they are likely to benefit from drugs that target the brain cells affected by caffeine. Such screening could be
done at the outset of clinical trials, and could also become part of routine practice," said Dr Haydeh Payami.
Parkinson’s disease attacks parts of the brain that are needed to control movement. Common symptoms include involuntary shaking, slow movement, stiff muscles and impaired balance, all which worsen as the
disease progresses.  A drug called L-dopa can control symptoms, but causes troubling side effects and does not slow progression of the disease, the researchers said.

Calotropis: Milk weed is good natural expectorant

By Syed Akbar
Calotropis procera, commonly called milk weed, is recognised as a wonder herb in Unani and Ayurveda systems of medicine. This medicinal herb grows in waste lands and is often neglected as a useless weed.
But Indian systems of medicine regard Calotropis procera, also known as swallow-wort, as the herb that heals a number of health problems ranging from simple cough to bowel discomfort and from eczema to elephantiasis. This herb is known as "aak" among Unani doctors.
Calotropis procera also finds a mention as "mandara" or "surya patra" in ancient Ayurvedic texts. Other traditional systems of medicine like homoeopathy also use Calotropis as a herbal prescription.
Generally, only the root of Calotropis procera is used in medical formulations. The latex (milky secretion from which it derives the name milk weed) is poisonous. In no case the latex should be used as medicine. Extreme care has to be observed while using Calotropis formulations at home. It's always better to purchase readily available Calotropis root powder from a good herbal store (dawasaaz), instead of preparing the formulation at home.
Home remedies
The dried and powdered roots of Calotropis may be consumed in small quantities as a general health booster. Unani and Ayurveda doctors regard it as a natural health tonic.
The root powder, when consumed in a small quantity, helps in removal of worms in the stomach and intestines, cleans the bowel system of all harmful parasites and keeps the disgestive system in a good condition. 
The root powder of Calotropis procera is also considered good for skin problems including leprosy and filariasis.
Practitioners of traditional medical system often prescribe powder of dried leaves as a natural snuff to trigger sneezing in case of cold. Unlike the snuff obtained from tobacco, Calotropis snuff does not make
one addicted to it. This special snuff may be purchased from a noted herbal store.

Bryophyllum: Miracle leaf plant heals wounds naturally

By Syed Akbar
Bryophyllum is a wonderful plant with reproductive leaves. New plants emerge from the leaves unlike the conventional method of plants growing from seeds or suckers. The plant is propagated mainly through vegetative methods. Since ancient times Bryophyllum has been used in folk medicines.
Though it is not a native of India, it was introduced into the country by Europeans as an ornamental plant. Gradually it started finding its use in Indian traditional systems of medicine like Ayurveda, Unani and Homoeopathy.
Bryophyllum is also called Never Die or Resurrection plant. Its leaf has been hailed as "Miracle Leaf". Bryophyllum leaves are used for treatment of problems related to skin and blood circulation, though it is also used to keep blood sugar level under check and control inflammation.
A recent study by the department of pharmacology, University of KwaZulu- Natal, Durban, has found that the aqueous extract of Bryophyllum leaf can act as a pain-killer. "Bryophyllum leaf aqueous extract possesses
antinociceptive (reduces sensitivity to pain), anti-inflammatory (reduces inflammation) and hypoglycaemic (brings down high blood sugar levels) properties," the study pointed out.
Other medicinal properties attributed to Bryophyllum include its ability to fight microbes, fungi, allergy, tumours, ulcers, bacteria, viruses and insects. It is also regarded as a natural sedative.
Home Remedies
If you are suffering from a nagging injury, take a fresh Bryophyllum leaf, wash it properly, crush it and apply on the wound. The wound-healing property of Bryophyllum not only cures the injury but also reduces swelling.
Bryophyllum leaf is prescribed often by herbalists to treat pain caused by rheumatism. Apply crushed leaf on knee joints and gently tie with a gauze. Its analgesic properties bring down the pain level to a large extent, giving you the much-needed relief.
Extracts of Bryophyllum available in the market are often prescribed for kidney stones. Such extracts are also recommended for degenerative neck disease where a patient experiences pain in neck and shoulders. Take a fresh leaf, wash it properly and extract its juice. Take a few drops of this juice twice every day. Repeat this for a few days.
If a wound develops pus, application of Bryophyllum extract will remove the pus and cleans the wound naturally before healing it. It also checks excessive bleeding.