Thursday, July 9, 2009

Natural remedy by "clove" from your kitchen

Though Indonesia is the largest producer of cloves, Zanzibar and Madagascar are the major exporters of the spice. Clove trees cover a vast area of these two islands. Madagascar cloves are considered the most superior quality. Clove is actually the dried, unopened, flower bud of a tree called Syzygium aromaticum.

A main ingredient in garam masala, it has emerged an integral part of the aromatic spice blends of Sri Lanka and India. In the US, cloves are used in meats, salads dressings and even in cookies and desserts. And did you know that it adds its rich flavour to ketchups and Worchestershire sauce, being one of the main ingredients? Chinese and German seasoning also depend heavily on cloves. Clove derives its name from the French clou, meaning nail. In Asian literature, it found its first mention during the Han period in China and it was referred to as the 'chicken-tongue spice,' perhaps because of its unusual appearance. From the 8th century onwards, it became one of the major spices in European commerce.

Clove forests were first discovered in Moluccas, Indonesia. Legend has it that whenever a child was born, parents planted a clove tree. Enchanted by its fragrance and beauty, the natives even fought wars to secure exclusive rights to these lands! Today, it is widely used in Aromatherapy treatments. In India, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu are the largest producers of this spice.

Therapeutic benefits of clove

Clove, with eugenol as its main ingredient, is a natural analgesic (painkiller) with antiseptic properties, used by dentists all over the world. Available at all pharmacies over the counter, it is a quick home remedy for toothache. A whole clove or a cotton swab dipped in clove oil can give instant relief from toothache, creating a numb feeling in the affected area. A variety of today's toothpastes use clove oil, which helps prevent tooth decay.

Clove oil can be obtained from its flower buds, leaves and stem. All three kinds have eugenol as its main ingredient, along with eugenyl acetate in smaller proportions.

Clove Lowers blood glucose levels

A study presented at Experimental Biology, New Orleans, provides evidence that consuming a clove or two a day can definitely have a positive impact on your health. Research studies have proved that clove improves insulin function, lowers glucose levels in blood, and reduces cholesterol, especially in patients with Type 2 diabetes.

Due to its anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties, clove oil is also an ideal remedy for acne, warts and scars. It is said to control the spread of Proprionibacterium acnes, the skin bacteria that is the primary cause of acne.

Clove oil is also used in medications as a remedy for bronchitis, common cold, sore throat, cough and fever.
There's no denying that clove is the melting pot of flavours - strong, pungent, slightly sweet and spicy too!

The most penetrating of all spices, powdered or wholesome, it finds extensive use in Indian cuisine -biryanis, sweets, pickles, ketchups, beverages, medicines, cosmetics and perfumes. It can be a wonderful mouth freshener when chewed after a meal.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Peanut butter – A wholesome food

What is Peanut Butter?

Peanut butter has been invented and reinvented many times over the course of history. As an inexpensive source of protein that is simply brimming with nutrition, today, peanut butter remains a favourite with school-going children in the US. It's quick and convenient to prepare (just spread it thick with jam on slices of quick and convenient to prepare (just spread it thick with jam on slices of soft bread) and as long as you don't suffer from nut allergies, it's a healthy, filling choice. Though it isn't popular or widespread in India, there are many reasons why this wholesome and versatile food could be good for us.

Peanut butter is packed with valuable nutrition:

Peanuts, the essential ingredient in peanut butter, are a rich source of Vitamin E. Studies have shown that peanut butter may provide more nutrients that are important and beneficial for elderly people, such as plant protein and fibre, which are essential, especially in a vegetarian diet.

Besides, peanuts and peanut butter are loaded in heart-healthy mono-unsaturated fat and have folate, niacin, thiamin, magnesium and zinc, all of which are thought to benefit health. Nutritionists have long since established that not all fats are bad for us, and not all fats are the same. After consuming peanut butter, it was found that there was a proportionate increase in heart healthy mono and unsaturated fats within the system and a proportionate decrease in the dreaded saturated fats that are responsible for clogging arteries and causing heart attacks.

Studies also established that peanut butter, though rich in these heart-healthy fats, actually aided weight loss, because of its unique property of controlling hunger and regulating the appetite.

In a study conducted by the Foods and Nutrition department at Purdue University, USA, researchers concluded that snacking on peanut butter reduced hunger pangs for as
much as two hours afterward. Participants of the study found peanut butter to be more filling than other more popular snacks and according to Rick Mattes, PhD, who conducted the study, these findings were significant, because they challenged the traditionally prevailing beliefs that all high fat foods necessarily lead to weight gain and are bad for us.

Peanut butter Protects us against many diseases

Another health benefit associated with peanut butter is its property to battle Alzheimer's disease, an illness that slowly robs you of your memory, personality and capability for coherent thought. According to a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, eating natural foods like peanut butter that are rich in Vitamin E reduced the risk of contracting Alzheimer's by a whopping 67%.

A peanut butter sandwich (peanut butter spread thickly over one slice of whole grain bread.can be eaten plain or with jam) can give you 25% of your daily requirement of Vitamin E.

The body is easily able to dip into these reserves, much better than if you were to get this nutrition from a pill. Researchers from the University of Florida have established that peanuts are a rich source of anti¬oxidants that can even rival fruits. According to Steve Talcott, assistant professor of food science and human nutrition at UF's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, peanut butter has as much antioxidant content as a bowl of strawberries.

However, one of the most significant discoveries that reinforces the role of peanut butter as a complete and wholesome health food is its ability to inhibit the grown of cancer cells. Peanut and peanut products were found to contain a substance called phytosterol beta-sitosterol (SIT). SIT may offer protection from colon, prostate and breast cancer.

Always buy fresh peanut butter

Natural peanut butter, where the ingredients can be whisked at home with a honey base and ground to make a fresh spread, is much in demand in the US.
However, this may not be practical as it takes over 500 peanuts to make 12 ounces of the butter and even then, the consistency and taste can never equal the processed peanut butter stocked in supermarkets and specialty stores.

But studies have established that natural or processed, peanut butter packs a nutritional punch like no other! Consumers should be aware however of how some brands of processed peanut butter may contain artery-clogging partially hydrogenated oils, used to keep its texture creamy and soft.

If your peanut butter doesn't separate at room temperature (with a thin layer of oil floating on top, just above the buttery layer), then you can be sure that partially hydrogenated oil has been used.
Alternatively, scan the list of ingredients before you make that purchase!


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Coping with Panic Attack

How to stop a panic attack?

This may surprise you, but one of the best things you can do to decrease the severity of a panic attack is to remind yourself, “I don’t have to absolutely stop this and I can stand these symptoms.” The more you insist that you not have a panic attack or that the symptoms end immediately, the more anxious you actually make yourself. So, by focusing on stopping the attack, you can end up worsening the very symptoms you’re trying to stop! Whether you are a new sufferer or an old sufferer of panic, keep in mind that panic attacks are not going to kill you, they are not going to cause you to have a heart attack, and you can ride these symptoms out. Important coping statements include:

• “This is uncomfortable, but I’ve been through this before. I’ll get through this one too.”
• “I’m not dying. I can ride this out.”
• “This is a nuisance, but not the end of the world.”

Basically, you don’t want to demand that a panic attack must not happen or must stop immediately. In fact, a very effective treatment called interoceptive exposure by teaching the sufferer to bring on panic attacks.

Does Panic attacks hurt us anyway?

Assuming medical causes have been ruled out and your doctor has indicated you are having panic attacks, you can be reassured that panic symptoms are not dangerous. When you are panicking you might notice your heart racing, your arms and legs shaking, increased sweatiness, dizziness, lightheadedness, or nausea. All of these symptoms are uncomfortable and can feel really scary; however, none of them will hurt you in any way. Remember, a panic attack occurs because your “fight-or-flight” system is being activated. The fight-or flight system was designed to protect you. None of the symptoms of a panic attack are going to hurt you or kill you. If you’ve been suffering from panic for a while, another way to know you are not dying is to think back to how many panic attacks you’ve experienced. For some people, this number is in the hundreds. Obviously, if you’ve gone through hundreds of panic attacks and not died before, there is much evidence to suggest you won’t die during this attack. Further, keep in mind that a panic attack is always temporary. The chemicals that produce our emergency response will be broken down, so it is impossible for a panic attack to persist indefinitely. Whereas it is difficult to remember this in the midst of a panic attack, the understanding that panic sensations are temporary and not harmful is a huge part of coping with the problem. The more you learn to think realistically about panic symptoms and respond more helpfully to them, the better you’ll feel.


Panic Attack – What is it? Why it happens?

What is a panic attack?
Each of us has probably felt “panicked” when faced with a crisis, meaning we got really scared or upset. A panic attack is different than just feeling panicky or nervous, however. A panic attack feels like a surge or a wave of fear coming over you. Typically, an attack lasts from a few minutes to half an hour, but the sensations can continue for longer periods. During a panic attack, you experience four or more of the following symptoms at the same time:
#Increased heart rate, pounding heart (palpitations)
#Trembling or shaking
#Shortness of breath or smothering sensations
#Feeling of choking
#Chest pain or discomfort
#Nausea or abdominal distress
#Dizziness or lightheadedness
#Feeling unreal or detached from yourself
#Fear of losing control or going crazy
#Fear of dying
#Numbness or tingling
#Chills or hot flushes

First, it is very important to rule out medical reasons for panic symptoms, such as cardiac, thyroid, or metabolic problems. Once your doctor has confirmed that there is no medical basis for your symptoms, it’s a good bet that you’re having a panic attack. As with other anxiety disorders, your body’s alarm system is over-functioning. A panic attack is like one alarm setting off another until the whole building is screaming. Having a single symptom feels uncomfortable, but when several symptoms happen together all at once, the experience is quite frightening. In addition, the symptoms seem to come out of the blue If you have suffered panic attacks, you may try to escape or avoid situations where you might panic again—work, the mall, restaurants, crowds, driving, being alone—and this can be debilitating. Although nobody likes to endure panic attacks, they are actually more common than you might think.

How does a panic attack happen? – An Example

Although it seems that a panic attack comes out of nowhere, it is more the case of one symptom building on another as we interpret the worst. Let’s look at this example of a woman sitting at her desk at work:

Behavior: Notices her heart is beating a little faster
Thought: “Oh God, what’s happening?”
Symptoms: Heart rate speeds up; breathing becomes shallower
Thoughts: “This is awful. Something must be wrong.”

Behavior: Can’t concentrate on work; looks for a way to escape; tries to gulp air.
Symptoms: Heart races, shortness of breath intensifies; shaking and sweating develop.
Thoughts: “I can’t stand this. I’ve got to make it stop.”

Symptoms: Pounding heart; pronounced shortness of breath; shaking and sweatiness continue; lightheadedness and nausea develop…and so on until she is engaged in a full-blown panic attack.

Once this woman has experienced a panic attack, she can develop a tremendous dread of having the symptoms recur. She often starts looking for and noticing any small changes in her bodily sensations. Becoming preoccupied with harmless body fluctuations can actually increase the chances of having more panic attacks. Negative thinking, shallow chest breathing, and avoiding previously enjoyable or productive activities out of fear of panic can also worsen and prolong problems with panic attacks.

What happens in the body when one experience panic symptoms?

Understanding the physical sensations that occur during a panic attack may be one of the best tools for coping with panic. Although it may be hard to believe, none of the sensations associated with panic is harmful in any way. In fact, these symptoms were originally intended to protect the person from danger. To understand this point, it is helpful to think about our prehistoric ancestors. People living in cave times had one main objective—to stay alive. Survival basically meant being able to fight a predator or escape from one. To achieve this fight or flight goal, our ancestors’ bodies needed to respond quickly and defensively against perceived threats. This response system has been passed on to us, and all the sensations that characterize a panic attack are actually part of what’s known as our “fight-or-flight” ability.

Here are the lists of symptoms and the reason of each symptoms explained:

Increased heart rate - Reason: An accelerated heart rate increases blood flow to the large muscles of the body (e.g., quadriceps, biceps), giving them more oxygen and helping them to prepare for fighting or running away

Shortness of breath, Chest pain, Feeling of choking Reason: Each of these symptoms is related to increased breathing. In the face of danger, our breathing accelerates to deliver more oxygen to the tissues involved in fighting or fleeing. (Think about times when you have run really fast.) One of the side effects is that the chest muscles are working really hard, which can result in chest pain or tightness

Dizziness, Lightheadedness, Feeling unreal, Feeling outside of yourself Reason: These sensations are related to changes associated with the increased breathing rate during fighting or fleeing. As a result of overbreathing, slightly less oxygen reaches the brain. This change is not at all harmful, but it can lead to feeling lightheaded, faint, or confused.

Cold, clammy hands, Numbness, Tingling Reason: Blood leaves the skin, fingers, and toes to keep a person from bleeding to death in the case of a severe cut or other wound. More blood is sent to the large muscle groups for fighting or getting away.

Sweating Reason: This cools the body down. Sweating also makes the body more slippery, which hindered attackers’ ability to grab and harm our cave ancestors.

Nausea or abdominal distress Reason: Less activity is used for digestive processes—most of the body’s energy and resources are being devoted to the large muscle groups for fighting or getting away from danger.

Trembling or shaking Reason: Muscles can feel shaky because they are contracting to prepare for fighting or fleeing a threat.

Hot flushes Reason: Preparing the body for fighting or running away uses a lot of energy, which results in feeling hot.


Monday, May 4, 2009

Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention of Skin cancer

Diagnosis of Skin cancer

Diagnosis is only confirmed with a skin biopsy. Most skin biopsies are done under local anesthesia with an injection. A shave biopsy is good for diagnosing basal cell carcinoma, while not as well for squamous cell carcinoma. A punch biopsy is preferred for diagnosing squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma.

Treatment of cancer of the skin:

Treatment is dependent on type of cancer, location of the cancer, age of the patient. Also based on the fact that the cancer is localized or spread to other organs.

Skin cancers are usually treated with surgery or local excision with adequate margins or by a specialized technique called Moh's surgery.

Topical chemotherapy using 5 fluorouracil or imiquimod cream, cryosurgery and electrosurgery can also be used for cure in early low risk stages.

In the case of disease that has spread (metastasized), further surgical procedures or chemotherapy may be required.

How to prevent skin cancer

Although it is impossible to completely eliminate the possibility of skin cancer, the risk of developing such a cancer can be reduced significantly with the following steps:

Reducing exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation by avoiding sun exposure during the day, (especially from 9 AM to 4 PM), when the sun is highest in the sky, wearing protective clothing (long sleeves and hats) when outdoors, using a broad-spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB radiation with high SPF can go a long way in preventing skin cancers, avoid toxic chemicals, coal, tars and smoking as much as possible, last but not the least, visit a dermatologist for any unusual growth or ulceration.

Skin cancer – Causes and Symptoms
Different Types of Skin Cancer
Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention of Skin Cancer


About This Blog

In this blog the outline of different diseases and their treatment are written, compiling from different medical text books. They are meant for your overall knowledge about the disease and not for any self treatment. Always consult registered medical personnel for the treatment of any ailments.

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