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Saturday, June 13, 2009

What is Chiropractic ?

The best known and most widely used alternative therapy in the United States today, chiropractic focuses on the manipulation of the spine and other joints to help treat a variety of problems involving bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, and tendons.

Chiropractors primarily use their hands to apply pressure to a joint or group of joints. (In fact, the name "chiropractic" is derived from Greek words meaning "done by hand.") This treatment is known as an "adjustment" or a "manipulation." The aim of using manipulation is to provide relief for pain or stiffness, and to improve posture as well as the function of nerves, joints, and muscles.

Spinal manipulation has been practiced for thousands of years; there are records of it from ancient Egypt and China. The birth of modern chiropractic, however, is often cited as September 18, 1895, the date that Daniel David ("D. D.") Palmer, a grocer and apprentice of magnetic healing in Davenport, Iowa, reportedly restored hearing to a man who had been deaf for 17 years, simply by adjusting misaligned vertebrae.

In the years that followed, Palmer founded the first chiropractic school and refined his discipline, becoming convinced that pinched nerves caused by misalignments of the vertebrae were responsible for nearly all disease. His work remains the foundation of many aspects of chiropractic today.

How Does It Work ?

Chiropractic takes a structural, nutritional, and emotional approach to health care. The chiropractor aims to gently restore the natural and delicate balance that exists in all healthy individuals.

To do this, a chiropractor locates vertebrae that do not move properly, particularly along the spine. These areas are called subluxations and they can cause inflammation and eventually pain and dysfunction in nerves, joints, and muscles. Chiropractors treat subluxations by adjusting the bones (and their associated muscles and joints) gently with their hands. When misalignments are corrected, according to chiropractic theory, the integrity of the nervous system is restored, ensuring optimal function.

What You Can Expect

After reviewing your medical history, the chiropractor will discuss your general health with you and conduct a thorough physical examination, which will include orthopedic and neurological evaluations. The session might include a review of past X rays or you may be asked to have new ones taken. The course of treatment will probably include a series of adjustments to help realign your spine, neck, or other problem areas.

The chiropractor may ask you to lie down on a padded massage-type table for spinal adjustments or you may be seated on a stool or in a special chair that provides access to your back. You may be treated fully clothed or asked to undress and wear a hospital gown.

Before doing any manipulation, the chiropractor should explain exactly what the process involves. Typically, chiropractic is performed using very little force, although techniques vary. As the chiropractor applies pressure to your spine, you may hear (and feel) a popping sound, like a knuckle cracking. You should not feel any serious discomfort from the adjustment, however. If you do, it is important to let the chiropractor know immediately. Many patients find the experience relaxing. Most describe feeling less pain, reduced tension, and more flexibility in the areas that were adjusted.

Some chiropractors (called "straight" chiropractors) adhere strictly to D.D. Palmer's theories, using only spinal adjustments to treat problems. Others (known as "mixers") combine spinal adjustments with adjunct therapies such as massage, heat or ice treatments, rehabilitative exercises, acupuncture, cranial manipulation, and nutritional counseling.

An initial visit usually lasts at least an hour. Subsequent visits may only take 10 to 30 minutes. Sometimes one session with a chiropractor is all that is required to relieve pain. An average course of treatment for an acute problem involves three to five visits a week for two weeks.

Chiropractors generally have working relationships with M.D.s and D.O.s (doctors of osteopathy) and will refer you to one--often an internist or a neurologist--if your condition persists and further testing or treatment appears necessary.

Health Benefits

Chiropractic has been shown to be a particularly useful treatment for the relief of acute (or temporary) low back pain. In 1994, the United States Agency for Health Care Policy and Research recommended chiropractic manipulation as a safe initial form of treatment for acute low back pain in adults. The agency urged most patients to try conservative treatment such as chiropractic before opting for more aggressive measures such as drugs and surgery.

Chiropractic care can also ease pain in the mid-back, neck, and joints of the arms, hands, and legs. Although scientific research has not provided conclusive proof of its effectiveness, many people report that chiropractic provides relief from the pain of migraine and other headaches, muscle spasms, and nerve inflammation that can cause numbness and tingling.

How To Choose a Practitioner

Chiropractors are licensed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and must pass a certification exam with the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners. A Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) usually has a bachelor's degree, four to five years of graduate study in chiropractic care, as well as clinical training. Many health insurance policies cover chiropractic.


1. If you have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, sciatica, or osteoporosis, have your chiropractor consult with your primary care physician prior to treatment (certain kinds of spinal manipulations could make these conditions worse).

2. If your back pain is accompanied by a fever, it's important to consult your primary care doctor, or have your chiropractor do so, to rule out conditions that need medical attention.

What is Sun Stroke ?

[Extracted from]

Sunstroke is a life-threatening condition in which the body's heat-regulating system fails, due to exposure to high temperatures.

Sunstroke can occur when the body's mechanisms to rid itself of excess heat are overwhelmed by a very hot or humid environment, or strenuous physical activity.

People particularly susceptible to sunstroke are young children, the elderly, individuals not used to physical activity and concomitant excessive sun exposure (such as overseas visitors walking in the mountains in Africa), people suffering from certain chronic medical conditions, and those involved in certain sporting activities.

Symptoms of sunstroke include elevated body temperature; hot, dry skin; hyperventilation; mental confusion; and eventual unconsciousness.

The primary treatment goal for sunstroke is to lower the elevated body temperature rapidly in a controlled fashion.
Sunstroke can be prevented by drinking plenty of water and avoiding overtaxing the body in hot weather and while exercising.

Alternative names


What is sunstroke ?

(heatstroke) is an acute, life-threatening condition in which the body's heat-regulating system fails, due to prolonged exposure to high temperatures, excessive production of heat or commonly a combination of the two. The body is unable to lose heat adequately in order to return to its normal temperature. Body temperature rises to very high levels, which can damage major organs.

Sunstroke can be preceded by heat exhaustion, when excess loss of fluids and salt in sweat results in marked weakness. Heat exhaustion becomes sunstroke when your body can no longer maintain a normal body temperature.

Heat exhaustion may be accompanied by heat cramps :
sudden painful muscle spasms in the arms or legs, and sometimes the abdomen.

What causes sunstroke ?

In a hot environment, your body rids itself of excess heat through increasing blood flow to the skin, sweating and breathing out warmed air. These mechanisms can sometimes be overwhelmed, however, leading to heat-related symptoms, which, if left untreated, can lead to sunstroke.

When blood temperature rises above its normal range, a control centre in the brain (the hypothalamus) signals the circulatory system to increase blood flow and enlarge the blood vessels, particularly those in the skin. As more blood flows through the enlarged vessels, excess heat from the blood passes into the cooler air. If this is not sufficient to cool the blood, the sweat glands begin to produce sweat, which cools the skin as it evaporates. If the air temperature is very high, however, the blood may not cool down enough as it circulates through the skin. Also, when you lose too much fluid, the blood volume decreases, and body temperature increases. If the body continues to generate heat faster than you can lose it, the core temperature (central body temperature) may rise to dangerous levels, causing heat exhaustion or sunstroke.

Sunstroke usually occurs after exposure to high temperatures, for example from working in an extremely hot environment, especially one to which you are unused; exercising too strenuously, particularly in summer; or when you have a high fever associated with illness. Humid weather also renders the cooling mechanism of sweating less effective. Overdressing, overeating and drinking too much alcohol can be contributing factors.

The primary cause of symptoms is loss of sodium and chloride (which make up salt), rather than the amount of water.

Who gets sunstroke and who is at risk ?

Anyone exposed to high temperatures is at risk of sunstroke, but the following groups are at particularly high risk and must take special precautions to avoid hot, poorly ventilated places and exertion in hot weather :

- Young children

- Elderly people

People with certain chronic conditions such as :

- Arteriosclerosis and congestive heart failure

- Diabetes mellitus

- Alcoholism

Skin disorders that may impede heat loss such as ectodermal dysplasia, congenital absence of the sweat glands, or severe scleroderma.

People taking certain medications that may interfere with temperature regulation. Some such medications include :

- gastrointestinal drugs containing atropine (e.g. Donnatal); antidepressants or antipsychotics (e.g. Thorazine, Haldol, Prozac); antihistamines (e.g. Benadryl); certain cardiovascular medications including betablockers (e.g. Blocadren) and diuretics (e.g. Diuril); and Parkinson's disease medications.

People taking part in certain types of sporting activities, such as long-distance running or cycling.

People known to be susceptible to the effects of extreme heat.

Symptoms and signs of sunstroke

Symptoms of sunstroke may include :

- Hot, dry skin

- No sweating (usually)

- Skin is first flushed, then pale or purple

- Hyperventilation (rapid, shallow breathing)

- Rapid, bounding pulse (alternates between a higher intensity than normal, then disappears quickly)

- Body temperature rises rapidly to 40°C or higher

- Headache

- Muscle cramps

- Dilated pupils

- Signs of mental disorder may include incoherent speech, disorientation, confusion, aggressive speech or behaviour, agitation and hallucinations.

- Lethargy or stupor (reactions become extremely slow and sluggish)

- Convulsions

- Loss of consciousness

Symptoms of heat exhaustion may include :

- Weakness and fatigue

- Tense or aching muscles

- Nausea and vomiting

- Pale, clammy skin

- Weak, rapid pulse

- Confusion

- Normal body temperature (usually)

- Heat cramps

- Heavy sweating

- Dizziness or lightheadedness

- Fainting

- Dark yellow or orange urine

- Headache

- Diarrhoea

How is sunstroke diagnosed ?

The doctor will review your symptoms and take blood pressure and temperature readings. Rectal temperature is used rather than temperature in the mouth. He or she may also take a sample of your blood and urine for testing.

How is sunstroke treated ?

Treatment of heat-related illness depends on its severity.

Emergency treatment of sunstroke

Heat stroke is a medical emergency. If you think someone has sunstroke, call an ambulance or take the person to hospital immediately. The primary treatment goal is to lower the elevated body temperature as quickly as possible. So, while you're waiting for medical help, give first aid as follows :

a) Remove the person's clothing and immerse the body in a cold water bath. If this is not possible, cover the body with a wet sheet or towels, sponge down the body with cool water or rub the limbs with ice-cubes. If your water supply is limited, cooling the head and neck becomes the priority. Place ice packs (if available) at the neck, armpits and groin. Fan the person with a newspaper, towel or electric fan to increase air flow and evaporation.

b) After the bath, move the person to a cool place.

c) Elevate the feet to direct blood back toward the head.

d) Massage the extremities (arms and legs) to encourage the return of cool blood to the brain and the core of the body.

e) If the person is conscious, encourage him or her to sip water or a soft drink. If the mental state is impaired, it may be impossible to get the person to drink. Continue with external cooling in the hope that the person will recover sufficiently to begin drinking.

f) While cooling the body down, take the person's temperature rectally every 10 minutes and do not allow it to fall below 38.5°C. Only immerse the person in a cold bath until their temperature falls to 39.4°C. If you don't have a thermometer, continue with first aid until the body feels cool to the touch. Resume cooling if the body starts to heat up again.

Hospital care for sunstroke

More careful control measures are used in hospital, with better temperature measurement and regulation. Core temperature is monitored continuously to avoid hypothermia. Blood tests are used to determine salt and electrolyte levels and fluid therapy is started to correct imbalances.

Careful observation for signs of fluid and salt imbalances, and complications such as kidney failure, will be required for several weeks after the initial episode. Temperature changes may be expected for several weeks following the episode.
Treatment of heat exhaustion and heat cramps

Heat exhaustion and cramps can usually be resolved with home treatment. Have the person lie down in a cool place, loosen or remove clothing and sponge the body with cold water, or apply wet towels or ice packs.

You can also fan them to increase cooling through evaporation. Offer a cool salty drink, for example a teaspoon of salt dissolved in a litre of water, sipped slowly over an hour. You can add a tablespoon of sugar or a sweet drink powder as an energy boost. If the person is elderly or cannot keep the salty liquid down, he or she should be taken to hospital.

Heat cramps can be relieved by stretching and massage. Firm pressure on the cramped muscles and warm towels may help. Drinking a salty solution, as recommended for heat exhaustion, should keep cramps from recurring.

Anyone who has had heat exhaustion or cramps should rest for 24 hours afterwards.

What is the outcome of sunstroke ?

Heat exhaustion is not life-threatening unless it is ignored, but sunstroke can be fatal if not properly treated. Once the cooling mechanism fails, the core temperature rises rapidly and death can occur in as little as 30 minutes. Some people die up to several weeks after the initial acute episode, as a result of complications such as kidney failure or heart failure. Sunstroke kills over 10% of its victims. Sunstroke may also cause permanent damage to organs such as the liver.

Can sunstroke be prevented ?

The following guidelines can help prevent heat-related illness, including sunstroke :

1) Drink plenty of water whenever you spend a lot of time in the sun or a hot environment, and before, during and after exercise. Don't wait until you feel thirsty to drink, and drink more than you need to satisfy your thirst - particularly if you've been sweating.

2) Rest during the hottest part of the day.

3) Take time to get used to a new climate, or the start of the hot season, before being very active or staying in the sun. Your temperature regulation system will become more efficient as it becomes accustomed to the heat.

4) If you are an endurance runner or cyclist you should train in hot conditions if you know that you will race in these conditions. This allows your body to start to get used to the heat. Take care to drink adequate fluids while training and don’t overdo it when you first start acclimatising.

5) Limit exposure to the sun.

6) Wear a hat or cap, preferably one with a wide brim, especially if working in the sun - the head is particularly sensitive to heat.

7) Wear light-coloured, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in hot weather. Cotton is best, as it allows air to pass through and sweat to evaporate.

8) Open windows, or use a fan to improve indoor air circulation.

9) Eat light, small meals, and limit alcohol intake in hot weather. Avoid alcohol before, during, and immediately after exercise. Alcohol causes you to lose more fluid than you consume.

10) Limit vigorous activity during hot or humid weather, especially during the middle of the day.

11) If you have to exercise in the heat, maintain a pace that allows your body to adapt to the hot weather: start with short workouts and increase them gradually over at least two weeks. Try to schedule vigorous exercise during cooler morning or evening hours. Rest in the shade for five to ten minutes every half hour, and reduce your pace if you start to feel symptoms of exhaustion.

Ask your doctor whether any medications you are taking may interfere with your body's temperature regulation. (See: Who gets sunstroke and who is at risk.) If you use any of these medications, be especially careful to limit exertion and drink enough water in hot weather.

Be able to recognise the danger signs of heat-related illness. Remember that symptoms can develop over several days or suddenly during strenuous activity.

Heat oedema and prickly heat are two conditions that signal that your body is under heat stress. Heat oedema is swelling of the hands and feet when blood vessels expand and cause fluid to pool under the skin. You may first notice this when your shoes or rings feel too tight. Prickly heat is an irritating rash caused by sweat pore blockage, usually under clothes. This may happen if you dress too warmly or wear clothing that doesn't "breathe". These conditions are not harmful, but indicate that you need to cool down to avoid a more serious heat-related illness.
When to call the doctor

Sunstroke is a medical emergency. Seek immediate medical help if you or someone else develops any of the following heat-related symptoms :

- Confusion

- Extreme fatigue

- Agitation

- Intense muscle aches, feverishness or nausea

- Convulsions or loss of consciousness

Saturday, June 6, 2009

What is a Parrotfish ?

[Extracted from]

Parrotfish are some of the most beautiful and interesting of the reef fish inhabiting tropical island waters around the world. These 1 to 4 feet (30 to 120 centimeters) beauties have bright and vibrant colors ranging from greens, blues, yellows to reds and have many variations of bicolor, spotted, striped and mosaic designs.

Coloration varies from male, female and juvenile. As with many species, the males display the brightest colors while the females maintain a more drab appearance. The parrotfish inhabiting the Greek islands are the only exception, where the females express the brightest colors.

The reason they got the name parrotfish is because of their parrot-like beak, rather than their vibrant parrot-like coloring. Parrotfish teeth fuse into a solid plate that allows them to chomp and crunch sea grass and seaweed. The sound of grinding is audible while they eat.

The seaweed these reef fish eat grows on coral so they ingest much of the coral as well. This accounts for their vibrant coloring. Parrotfish have special teeth in the back of their throat that grinds up the coral, which is digested and released as puffs of white powdery sand.

The seaweed that grows on the coral can block the vital, life giving sun so the parrotfish play an important roll in keeping the coral reefs alive and healthy. In the Caribbean particularly, the parrotfish are preserving the coral from an overgrowth of seaweed.

Parrotfish have a built in protective mechanism that allows them to sleep without being vulnerable to attacking predators. They create and surround themselves with a mucus cocoon that scientists believe masks their scent. Scientists also suspect that this transparent “goo” blocks invading germs and parasites.

There are over 90 known varieties of parrotfish, most with unique characteristics. Many are capable of changing color as they mature. Parrotfish schools travel in harems of females with a dominant male for protection and fertilization. Female parrotfish have the ability to transform themselves into males and if the male is lost, a female parrotfish will change her sex and color to take on the role of dominant male and fertilizing the eggs.

In the continental United States, parrotfish meat is rarely eaten but in other regions of the world, it is often considered a delicacy. In the Polynesian islands, parrotfish were once considered a meal only worthy to be served to a king. In the Caribbean, parrotfish are easily caught and are considered a special delicacy. With the growing dependence on parrotfish to preserve the Caribbean coral reefs, ecologists and statesmen alike are considering putting them under protection.

What is a Hammer Toe ?

[Extracted from]

One of the strongest arguments for properly fitted shoes is a condition known as hammer toe. Hammer toe occurs when pressure or trauma to a toe's knuckle causes the entire digit to bend downward. The muscles surrounding the toe joints contract, leading to intense pain and a raised area prone to callous and corn formation. Some cases of hammer toe are classified as flexible, because the toe can be stretched back into normal shape. Other cases are classified as rigid, meaning the muscles have become so atrophied that normal movement is impossible.

Although any toe is susceptible to the deforming effects of hammer toe, it is primarily seen in the second toe. For many people, this second toe is actually longer than the 'big toe' used for informal shoe fittings. If the shoe's toe compartment does not allow at least 1/2 inch of space in front of the longest toe, the pressure can lead to hammer toe. Shoes that narrow towards the front can also create trauma to the second toe, and high heels only intensify the problems of hammer toe.

There is also evidence of some genetic predisposition towards hammer toe formation. Other cases of hammer toe may be caused by physical trauma, such as a misplaced kick or stubbing accident. Nerve damage to the foot area may also cause an involuntary contraction of individual toes. Hammer toe can seriously affect a sufferer's walking gait, but many people learn to compensate.

There are various treatments for hammer toe, ranging from manipulation of the toe itself to surgical correction. A podiatrist may recommend a change in footwear to give the toes more room to flex. Over-the-counter treatments of hammer toe often include adhesive gel pads and shoe inserts to reduce the friction between the affected toe and the upper portion of the shoe. Surgery may be considered if the toe becomes inflexible and atrophied to the point of constant pain.

What is Septoplasty ?

The Importance of Nasal Breathing

The importance of effective nasal airway breathing cannot be over emphasized. By the time inspired air passes through the nose and reaches the lungs, it has been properly warmed, humidified, and cleaned. The physiologic cleaning and filtering function of the nose is important for proper pulmonary function and overall good health. Absence of good nasal breathing on a continual basis or on an episodic basis gives rise to a host of medical problems and conditions. The importance of consistent nasal breathing often times is more than apparent for those individuals who have had successful corrective nasal septoplasty.

Causes of Chronic Nasal Obstruction

Nasal airway obstruction is a very common problem for many throughout the United States. There are multiple causes of chronic nasal obstruction. There are both temporary and acute causes, as well as chronic and persistent causes of obstruction. Chronic nasal obstruction can persist for weeks and months and sometimes even throughout ones lifetime. The following is a list of some of the more important causes of chronic nasal airway obstruction: nasoseptal deviation, refractory turbinate (nasal mucosa) enlargement, chronic allergic rhinitis, chronic vasomotor rhinitis, nasal polyposis, chronic sinusitis, congenital choanal atresia (congenitally obstructed nasal passage), nasal valve collapse, adenoid tonsil enlargement, chronic adenoiditis, and outer nasal deformity due to trauma or surgery.

A simple evaluation by an experienced otolaryngologist is generally satisfactory to obtain the specific cause of the nasal obstruction. Most structural abnormalities can be remedied with medical or interventional surgical treatment.

What Causes a Deviated Septum ?

Two common reasons for internal nasal obstruction due to nasoseptal deviation are nasal trauma and cartilaginous growth abnormalities. Nasal trauma is probably the most common cause for septal deviation. In the past several decades, there has been an increase of young adult participation in contact sports such as skateboarding, snowboarding, skiing, bicycling, etc. This has given rise to an increase in trauma to the nose, increase in nasal fracture, and subsequently an increase in nasoseptal deviation and crookedness. Essentially this results in nasal obstruction and turbulent nasal airflow that is of a chronic nature. Simple trauma from birth delivery can also cause internal nasoseptal airway obstruction persistent in adulthood. Since the outer portion of the nose is intimately connected with the nasal septum, simple nasal trauma and nasal fractures can cause nasoseptal deflection and nasal airway obstruction.

Secondly, a very common cause of septal deviation is unusual nasoseptal growth pattern. Sometimes the septum grows crooked due to the confined space. This overgrowth can lead toward buckling and bending of the cartilaginous and bony septum.

Manifestations of Nasoseptal Deviation

A significantly crooked nasal septum induces turbulent airflow. Sometimes, airflow is completely absent and there is no nasal airway patency. Decreased nasal breathing compromises ones sense of smell. The ability to perform the normal physiologic functions of the nose is significantly impeded, as the air flowing into the nose is “processed” so that air delivered to the lungs is humidified, warmed, and filtered and cleaned. Diminished nasal breathing compromises this process and compromises ones health.

Epistaxis (bloody nose) is a common manifestation of nasal airway compromise. The increase in air turbulence and nasal dryness lends itself more towards nasal bleeding. Correction of the septal deviation tends to decrease the epistaxis tendency. Additionally, alterations in nasal airflow currents can cause crusting, irritation, and metabolic changes to the normal mucosa, as well as normal mucosal functioning.

Nasoseptal deviation can also impinge on the sinus drainage (doorways), which can sometimes lead to sinus obstruction and/or recurrent or chronic sinusitis. By straightening the septum, improvement of nasal sinus drainage and ventilation can be achieved, which often times improves chronic sinusitis. Nonetheless, septoplasty can play an important role in the battle against chronic sinusitis.

Nasal obstruction and a deviated septum contribute to snoring and obstructive sleep apnea, as well as related sleep disordered breathing problems. With the alleviation of upper airway nasal obstruction via nasal septoplasty, snoring and sleep apnea can be significantly improved in many individuals.

The Nasal Septoplasty Procedure

Septoplasty is generally performed on an outpatient basis with IV sedation or general anesthesia. The procedure takes approximately 30 minutes. A small incision is created inside the nose and cartilage and bone is inspected and specifically treated appropriately. Bony spurs are trimmed or removed if present. The cartilage is morselized and straightened back to its original position. Bone is also manipulated to the center to achieve reasonable straightening and better nasal airflow.

Sometimes small splints are placed internally to support the septum. These are removed simply in a few days time. Packing is not required.

Concurrent Surgery

Nasal septoplasty is commonly performed with other procedures. The most common procedures include turbinate reductive surgery for additional improvement in nasal breathing; also endoscopic sinus surgery is quite common to achieve improvement for chronic sinusitis. Reconstructive or cosmetic rhinoplasty is often performed at the same time as septoplasty depending on each individual’s needs.

Nasal Septoplasty Recovery

After septoplasty individuals will go home the same day. There is mild discomfort to the nasal area for 24 to 36 hours afterward. Oral pain medications are generally effective in reducing postoperative discomfort. Ice packs are placed around the nose and cheek area for alleviation of the mild discomfort. Individuals are able to resume reasonable activities after three to four days and can go back to work after five to seven days. Nasal irrigations and nasal supplemental steroid sprays are used continuously until the healing process is complete.

What is Burdock Roots ?

[Extracted from Wikipedia]

Burdock is any of a group of biennial thistles in the genus Arctium, family Asteraceae. Native to the Old World, several species have been widely introduced worldwide.

Plants of the genus Arctium have dark green leaves that can grow up to 18" (45 cm) long. They are generally large, coarse and ovate, with the lower ones being heart-shaped. They are woolly underneath. The leafstalks are generally hollow. Arctium species generally flower from July through to October.

The prickly heads of these plants are noted for easily catching on to fur and clothing (being the inspiration for Velcro), thus providing an excellent mechanism for seed dispersal. Burrs cause local irritation and can possibly cause intestinal hairballs in pets. However, most animals avoid ingesting these plants.

A large number of species have been placed in genus Arctium at one time or another, but most of them are now classified in the related genus Cousinia. The precise limits between Arctium and Cousinia are hard to define; there is an exact correlation between their molecular phylogeny. The burdocks are sometimes confused with the cockleburs (genus Xanthium) and rhubarb (genus Rheum).

The roots of burdock, among other plants, are eaten by the larva of the Ghost Moth (Hepialus humuli). The plant is used as a food plant by other Lepidoptera including Brown-tail, Coleophora paripennella, Coleophora peribenanderi, The Gothic, Lime-speck Pug and Scalloped Hazel.

The green, above-ground portions may cause contact dermatitis in humans due to the lactones the plant produces.

The taproot of young burdock plants can be harvested and eaten as a root vegetable. While generally out of favour in modern European cuisine, it remains popular in Asia, particularly in Japan where A. lappa (Greater burdock) is called gobō (牛蒡 or ゴボウ). Plants are cultivated for their slender roots, which can grow about 01 metre long and 02 cm across. Burdock root is very crisp and has a sweet, mild, and pungent flavour with a little muddy harshness that can be reduced by soaking julienne/shredded roots in water for five to ten minutes. Immature flower stalks may also be harvested in late spring, before flowers appear; the taste resembles that of artichoke, to which the burdock is related. A popular Japanese dish is kinpira gobō (金平牛蒡), julienned or shredded burdock root and carrot, braised with soy sauce, sugar, mirin and/or sake, and sesame oil; another is burdock makizushi (sushi filled with pickled burdock root; the burdock root is often artificially coloured orange to resemble a carrot). In the second half of the 20th century, burdock achieved international recognition for its culinary use due to the increasing popularity of the macrobiotic diet, which advocates its consumption. It also contains a fair amount of gobō dietary fiber (GDF, 6g per 100g), calcium, potassium, amino acids,[3] and is also low calorie. It also contains polyphenols that causes darkened surface and muddy harshness by formation of tannin-iron complexes though the harshness shows excellent harmonization with pork in miso soup (tonjiru) and Japanese-style pilaf (takikomi gohan).

Dandelion and burdock is a soft drink that has long been popular in the United Kingdom. Burdock is believed to be a galactagogue, a substance that increases lactation.

Italian Americans are known to use the peeled stems of the burdock. Referred to as "cardune", these stems are prepared in a battered frittata, a common dish on a Saint Joseph's Day table.

Traditional medicine

Folk herbalists consider dried burdock to be a diuretic, diaphoretic, and a blood purifying agent. The seeds of A. lappa are used in traditional Chinese medicine, under the name niu pang zi (Chinese: 牛蒡子. Some dictionaries list the Chinese as just 牛蒡 niúbàng).

Burdock is a traditional medicinal herb that is used for many ailments. Burdock root oil extract, also called Bur oil, is popular in Europe as a scalp treatment applied to improve hair strength, shine and body, help reverse scalp conditions such as dandruff, and combat hair loss. Modern studies[citation needed] indicate that Burdock root oil extract is rich in phytosterols and essential fatty acids (including rare long-chain EFAs), the nutrients required to maintain a healthy scalp and promote natural hair growth. It combines an immediate relieving effect with nutritional support of normal functions of sebaceous glands and hair follicles According to some European herbalists, combining Burdock root oil with a Nettle root oil and massaging these two oils into the scalp every day has a greater effect than Bur oil alone.

Burdock has been used for centuries as a blood purifier clearing the bloodstream of some toxins, and as a diuretic (helping rid the body of excess water by increasing urine output), and as a topical remedy for skin problems such as acne, eczema, rosacea and psoriasis.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Everyone should eat less rice !

[This is an article sent by a friend. I hope readers will read it and start to consume it less from henceforth]

The human body was never meant to consume rice! You see, our genes have hardly changed in more than 30,000 years. However, our food choices and lifestyle have changed dramatically. The caveman would hardly recognise our food or way of life.

Caveman food was never cooked as fire was not yet tamed. Thus, he ate only those foods that you can eat without treatment with or by fire. He ate fruits, vegetables, fish (sushi anyone?), eggs, nuts and meat. Yes, even meat! You can even eat meat raw if you were starving in the forest. You have the necessary enzymes to digest meat.

However, rice, like wheat and corn, cannot be eaten raw. It must be cooked. Even if you were starving in the desert, you cannot eat rice in the raw form. This is because we do not have the system of enzymes to break rice down. You were never meant to eat rice. To make matters worse, you not only eat rice, but also make it the bulk of your food.

In some parts of Asia , rice forms up to 85% of the plate. Even if you take rice, keep it to a minimum. Remember, it is only for your tongue - not your body. Actually, rice and other grains like wheat and corn are actually worse than sugar. There are many reasons:

Rice becomes sugar - lots of it !

This is a fact that no nutritionist can deny: rice is chemically no different from sugar. One bowl of cooked rice is the caloric equal of 10 teaspoons of sugar. This does not matter whether it is white, brown or herbal rice. Brown rice is richer in fibre, some B vitamins and minerals but it is still the caloric equal of 10 teaspoons of sugar. To get the same 10 teaspoons of sugar, you need to consume lots of kangkong-10 bowls of it.

Rice is digested to become sugar.

Rice cannot be digested before it is thoroughly cooked. However, when thoroughly cooked, it becomes sugar and spikes circulating blood sugar within half an hour-almost as quickly as it would if you took a sugar candy. Rice is very low in the 'rainbow of anti-oxidants. '

This complete anti-oxidant rainbow is necessary for the effective and safe utilisation of sugar. Fruits come with a sugar called fructose. However, they are not empty calories as the fruit is packed with a whole host of other nutrients that help its proper assimilation and digestion.

Rice has no fibre.

The fibre of the kangkong fills you up long before your blood sugar spikes. This is because the fibre bulks and fills up your stomach. Since white rice has no fibre, you end up eating lots of 'calorie dense' food before you get filled up. Brown rice has more fibre but still the same amount of sugar.

Rice is tasteless-sugar is sweet.

There is only so much that you can eat at one sitting. How many teaspoons of sugar can you eat before you feel like throwing up? Could you imagine eating 10 teaspoons of sugar in one seating?

Rice is always the main part of the meal.

waterWhile sugar may fill your dessert or sweeten your coffee, it will never be the main part of any meal. You could eat maybe two to three teaspoons of sugar at one meal. However, you could easily eat the equal value of two to three bowls (20-30 teaspoons) of sugar in one meal. I am always amused when I see someone eat sometimes five bowls of rice (equals 50 teaspoons of sugar) and then asks for tea tarik kurang manis!

There is no real 'built in' mechanism for us to prevent overeating of rice:

How much kangkong can you eat ?
How much fried chicken can you eat ?
How much steamed fish can you eat ?

Think about that !

In one seating, you cannot take lots of chicken, fish or cucumber, but you can take lots of rice. Eating rice causes you to eat more salt. As rice is tasteless, you tend to consume more salt-another villain when it comes to high blood pressure. You tend to take more curry that has salt to help flavor rice. We also tend to consume more ketchup and soy sauce which are also rich in salt.

Eating rice causes you to drink less water.

The more rice you eat, the less water you will drink as there is no mechanism to prevent the overeating of rice. Rice, wheat and corn come hidden in our daily food. As rice is tasteless, it tends to end up in other foods that substitute rice like rice flour, noodles and bread. We tend to eat the hidden forms which still get digested into sugar.

Rice, even when cooked, is difficult to digest.

Can't eat raw rice? Try eating rice half cooked. Contrary to popular belief, rice is very difficult to digest. It is 'heavy stuff'. If you have problems with digestion, try skipping
rice for a few days. You will be amazed at how the problem will just go away.

Rice prevents the absorption of several vitamins and minerals.

Rice when taken in bulk will reduce the absorption of vital nutrients like zinc, iron and the B vitamins.

Are you a rice addict ? Going rice-less may not be easy but you can go rice-less. Eating less rice could be lot easier than you think. Here are some strategies that you can pursue in your quest to eat less rice:

Eat less rice-cut your rice by half.

salmon-steaksBarry Sears, author of the Zone Diet, advises 'eating rice like spice'. Instead, increase your fruits and vegetables. Take more lean meats and fish. You can even take more eggs and nuts.

Have 'riceless' meals.

Take no rice or wheat at say, breakfast. Go for eggs instead.

Go on 'riceless' days.

Go 'western' once a week.

Take no rice and breads for one day every week.

That can't be too difficult. Appreciate the richness of your food. Go for taste, colours and smells. Make eating a culinary delight. Enjoy your food in the original flavours.

Avoid the salt shaker or ketchup. You will automatically eat less rice.

Eat your fruit dessert before your meals. The fibre rich fruits will 'bulk up' in your stomach. Thus, you will eat less rice and more fruits.

It's your life. Decide what you want to eat ! But eat less rice !