December 23, 2007

Bearberry

Generic Name: Bearberry (Uva-Ursi) (Not applicable.)
Brand Name: Generics only. No brands available.
Bearberry is used for:
Aiding in urination and preventing the growth of bacteria in the urinary tract.It has also been used in women as a menstrual remedy. It may also be used as an astringent and may have other uses. Check with your pharmacist for more details regarding the particular brand you use.
Bearberry is an herbal product. It works by killing bacteria in the urinary tract.
Do NOT use Bearberry if:
* you are allergic to any ingredient in Bearberry
* you have stomach irritation or kidney disease
* you are pregnant or breast-feeding

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.
Before using Bearberry :
Some medical conditions may interact with Bearberry . Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:
* if you are planning to become pregnant
* if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
* if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Bearberry . However, no specific interactions are known at this time.
This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Bearberry may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.
How to use Bearberry :
Use Bearberry as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.
* Dosing depends on the use and the source of the product.
* Use as directed on the package, unless instructed otherwise by your doctor.
* If you miss taking a dose of Bearberry for 1 or more days, there is no cause for concern. If your doctor recommended that you take it, try to remember your dose every day.
Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Bearberry .
Important safety information:
* Your urine may turn a greenish color while you are taking bearberry. This is normal and should not be cause for alarm. If your doctor orders a urine sample while you are taking bearberry, be sure to tell your doctor and the lab technicians why your urine may be green.
* Check with your doctor before you begin taking any new medicine, either prescription or over-the-counter, including vitamin C (ascorbic acid).
* This product has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as safe and effective for any medical condition. The long-term safety of herbal products is not known. Before using any alternative medicine, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
* Use Bearberry with caution in CHILDREN.
* PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Do not use this product if you are pregnant. Do not breast-feed while you are taking this product.
Possible side effects of Bearberry :
All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:
Green urine; nausea; stomach discomfort.
Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); dizziness; irregular heartbeat; muscle cramps; ringing in the ears; seizures; slightly bluish, grayish, slate-like, or dark purple discoloration of the skin; vomiting.
This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions or need medical advice about side effects, contact your doctor or health care provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088) or at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.
If OVERDOSE is suspected: Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center (http://www.aapcc.org/findyour.htm), or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include loss of consciousness; ringing in the ears; seizures; vomiting.
Proper storage of Bearberry :
Store at room temperature away from heat, moisture, and light unless otherwise directed on the package label. Do not store in the bathroom. Most herbal products are not in childproof containers. Keep Bearberry out of the reach of children and away from pets.
General information:
* If you have any questions about Bearberry , please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
* Bearberry is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
* If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
This information is a summary only. It does not contain all information about Bearberry . If you have questions about the medicine you are taking or would like more information, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider. (drugs.com)

December 12, 2007

Barbados Cherry Food Uses

Barbados cherries are eaten out-of-hand, mainly by children. For dessert use, they are delicious merely stewed with whatever amount of sugar is desired to modify the acidity of the particular type available. The seeds must be separated from the pulp in the mouth and returned by spoon to the dish. Many may feel that the nuisance is compensated for by the pleasure of enjoying the flavorful pulp and juice. Other-wise, the cooked fruits must be strained to remove the seeds and the resulting sauce or puree can be utilized as a topping on cake, pudding, ice cream or sliced bananas, or used in other culinary products. Commercially prepared puree may be dried or frozen for future use. The fresh juice will prevent darkening of bananas sliced for fruit cups or salads. It can be used for gelatin desserts, punch or sherbet, and has been added as an ascorbic acid supplement to other fruit juices. The juice was dried and powdered commercially in Puerto Rico for a decade until the cost of production caused the factory to be closed down.
The fruits may be made into sirup or, with added pectin, excellent jelly, jam, and other preserves. Cooking causes the bright-red color to change to brownish-red. The pasteurization process in the canning of the juice changes the color to orange-red or yellow, and packing in tin cans brings on further color deterioration. Enamel-lined cans preserve the color better.

Wine made from Barbados cherries in Hawaii was found to retain 60% of the ascorbic acid.
Food Value Per 100 g of Edible Portion*

Calories
59
Moisture
81.9-91.10 g
Protein
0.68-1.8 g
Ether Extract
0.19-0.09 g
Fiber
0.60-1.2 g
Fat
0.18-0.1 g
Carbohydrates
6.98-14.0 g
Ash
0.77-0.82 g
Calcium
8.2-34.6 mg
Phosphorus
16.2-37.5 mg
Iron
0.17-1.11 mg
Carotene
0.003-0.408 mg
(Vitamin A)
408-1000 I.U.
Thiamine
0.024-0.040 mg
Riboflavin
0.038-0.079 mg
Niacin
0.34-0.526 mg
Ascorbic Acid**

*According to analyses made in Hawaii, Guatemala, and elsewhere.
**According to analyses at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology of fruits grown in Barbados: 4,500 mg (green), 3,300 mg (medium-ripe), 2,000 mg (very ripe). The ascorbic acid level of unripe fruits can range up to 4,676 mg and such ratings are exceeded only by the fruits (rose hips) of Rosa rugosa Thunb., which may have as much as 6,977 mg/100 g. This constituent varies as much as 25% with the clone, the locale, cultural methods and degree of exposure to sunlight during developmental stages and after harvesting. At INCAP (Instituto de Nutricion de Central America and Panama), in Guatemala assays in 1950-1955 showed distressingly low levels–an average of 17 mg/100 g, whereas fruits sent to INCAP by air and in dry ice from Florida were analyzed and contained 1,420 mg/100 g. In field experiments, treatment of young fruits on the tree with 200 ppm gibberellic acid has brought about a marked increase in the ascorbic acid content of the mature fruits.
The ascorbic acid is not totally destroyed by heat, for the jelly may contain 499-1,900 mg/100 g. Of the total ascorbic acid in Barbados cherry juice, 0.18% is in the bound form. Other constituents include dextrose, levulose, and a little sucrose.
Harmful Effects
Physicians in Curacao report that children often require treatment for intestinal inflammation and obstruction caused by eating quantities of the entire fruits, including seeds, from the wild Barbados cherries which abound on the island.
People who pick Barbados cherries without gloves and long sleeves may suffer skin irritation from contact with the minute stinging hairs on the leaves and petioles.
Other Uses
Bark: The bark of the tree contains 20-25% tannin and has been utilized in the leather industry.
Wood: The wood is surprisingly hard and heavy. Trials have demonstrated that it refuses to ignite even when treated with flammable fluid unless perfectly dry.
Medicinal Uses: The fruits are considered beneficial to patients with liver ailments, diarrhea and dysentery, as well as those with coughs or colds. The juice may be gargled to relieve sore throat. (hort.purdue.edu)

Nutritional Benefits of Bananas

Because of their impressive potassium content, bananas are highly recommended by doctors for patients whose potassium is low. One large banana, about 9 inches in length, packs 602 mg of potassium and only carries 140 calories. That same large banana even has 2 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber. No wonder the banana was considered an important food to boost the health of malnourished children! Those reducing sodium in their diets can't go wrong with a banana with its mere 2 mgs of sodium. For the carbohydrate counters there are 36 grams of carbs in a large banana.
Vitamins and minerals are abundant in the banana, offering 123 I.U. of vitamin A for the large size. A full range of B vitamins are present with .07 mg of Thiamine, .15 mg of Riboflavin, .82 mg Niacin, .88 mg vitamin B6, and 29 mcg of Folic Acid. There are even 13.8 mg of vitamin C. On the mineral scale Calcium counts in at 9.2 mg, Magnesium 44.1 mg, with trace amounts of iron and zinc.

Putting all of the nutritional figures together clearly shows the banana is among the healthiest of fruits. The plantain, when cooked, rates slightly higher on the nutritional scale in vitamins and minerals but similar to the banana in protein and fiber content.
MEDICINAL USES OF BANANAS
Anaemia: High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of haemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anaemia.
Blood Pressure: This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it the perfect food for helping to beat blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruits ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.
Brain Power: 200 students at an English school were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.
Constipation: High in fibre, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.
Depression: According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.
Hangovers: One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.
Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body so if you suffer from heart-burn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.
Morning Sickness: Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.
Mosquito bites: Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.
Nerves: Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.
Overweight and at work? Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and crisps. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods such as bananas every two hours to keep levels steady.
PMS: Forget the pills eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Bananas can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer, trypotophan.
Smoking: Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking, as the high levels of Vitamin C, A1, B6, B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.
Stress: Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalise the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your bodies water-balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be re-balanced with the help of a high-potassium banana snack.
Strokes: According to research in The New England Journal of Medicine eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%!
Temperature control: Many other cultures see bananas as a cooling fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In Thailand, for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.
Ulcers: The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronic ulcer cases. It also neutralises over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.
Warts: Those keen on natural alternatives swear that, if you want to kill off a wart, take a piece of banana skin and place it on the wart, with the yellow side out. Carefully hold the skin in place with a plaster or surgical tape! (banana.com)

December 10, 2007

The Natural Benefits And Curative Properties Of Bael Fruit

The bael tree is one of the most useful medicinal plants of India. Its medicinal properties have been described in the ancient medical treatise in Sanskrit, Charaka Samhita. All the parts of this tree including stem, bark, root, leaves and fruit at all stages of maturity has medicinal virtues and has been used as traditional medicine for a long time.
The fruit is of considerably medicinal value when it just begins to ripen. The ripe fruit is aromatic, astringent which helps construction of skin, coolant and laxative. The unripe or half-ripe fruit is astringent, digestive stomachic which improves appetite and antiscorbutic, i.e. which helps to fight scurvy caused due to vitamin C deficiency.

Constipation
Ripe bael fruit is regarded as best of all laxatives. It cleans and tones up the intestines. Its regular use for two or three months helps evacuate even the old accumulated faecal matter from the bowels. For best results, it should be taken in the form of sherbat, which is prepared from the pulp of the ripe fruit. After breaking the shell, the seeds are first removed, and contents are then taken out with a spoon and passed through a sieve. Milk and little sugar may be added to make it more palatable. The pulp of the ripe fruit can also be taken from the spoon without the addition of milk or sugar. About 60 grams of the fruit will suffice for an adult.
Diarrhea and Dysentery
The unripe or half ripe fruit is perhaps, the most effective food remedy for chronic diarrhea and dysentery where there is no fever. Best results are obtained by the use of dried bael or its powder. The bael fruit, when it is still green, is sliced and dried in the sun. The dried bael slices are reduced into powder and preserved in air-tight bottles. The unripe bael can also be baked and taken with jaggery or brown sugar.
The fruit appears to have little effect in acute dysentery when there is definite sensation to defecate but instead of significant amount of faeces, blood and mucus alone are passed. The powdered drug is specially recommended in this condition. Its beneficial effect its, however, most evident when the condition has become sub-acute or chronic. After the use of the fruit in these conditions, the blood gradually disappears and the stool assume a more feculent and solid form. The mucus also disappears after continued use for some time. It is also a valuable remedy for chronic dysenteric conditions characterized by alternate diarrhea and constipation.
Peptic Ulcer
An infusion of bael leaves is regarded as an effective food remedy for peptic ulcer. The leaves are soaked overnight in water. This water is strained and taken as a drink in the morning. The pain and discomfort are relieved when this treatment is continued for a few weeks. Bael leaves are rich in tannins which reduce inflammation and help healing of ulcers. The bael fruit taken in the form of beverage has also great viscous content. This substance forms a coating on the stomach mucosa and thus helps in the healing of ulcers.
Respiratory Affections
A medicated oil prepared from bael leaves gives relief from recurrent colds and respiratory affections. The juice extracted from bael leaves is mixed with equal quantity of sesame oil and heated thoroughly. A few seeds of black pepper and half a teaspoonful of black cumin are added to the hot oil. It is then removed from the fire and stored for use when necessary. A teaspoonful of this oil should be massaged into the scalp before a head bath. Its regular use builds up resistance against colds and coughs.
A common practice in south India is to give the juice of bael leaves to bring relief from wheezing and respiratory spasm. The leaf juice, mixed in warm water with a little pepper, is give as a drink.