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Asparagus

Asparagus racemosus

Liliaceae

San, Mar, Hin, Mal: Satavari;

Ben: Shatamuli,

Guj: Ekalkanto,

Tel: Pilligadalu, Philithaga

Tam: Ammaikodi, Kilwari,

Kan: Aheruballi, Ori: Manajolo

Importance: Asparagus is a climbing undershrub with widespread applications as diuretic, cooling agent and an excellent safe herbal medicine for ante-natal care. It is useful in nervous disorders, dyspepsia, diarrhoea, tumours, inflammations, vitiated conditions of vata and pitta, burning sensation, hyperdipsia, ophthalmopathy, nephropathy, hepatopathy, strangury, scalding of urine, throat infections, tuberculosis, cough, bronchitis, gleet, gonorrhoea, leucorrhoea, leprosy, epilepsy, fatigue, hyperacidity, colic haemorrhoids, hypertension, abortion, agalactia, cardiac and general debility (Warrier et al, 1993).

Shatavari is described in Rigveda and Atharvaveda. In Ayurvedic classics it is prescribed as a cooling agent and uterine tonic. It is the main ingredient in ayurvedic medicines like shatavari gulam and shatavari ghrtam. Besides quenching thirst, its root juice helps in cooling down the body from summer heat, curing hyper-acidity and peptic ulcer. It contains good amount of mucilage which soothes the inner cavity of stomach. It relieves burning sensation while passing urine and is used in urinary tract infections. It contains an anticancer agent asparagin which is useful against leukaemia. It also contains active antioxytocic saponins which have got antispasmodic effect and specific action on uterine musculature. It is very good relaxant to uterine muscles, especially during pregnancy and is used to prevent abortion and pre-term labour on the place of progesterone preparations. Its powder boiled with milk is generally used to prevent abortion. It increases milk production in cows and buffaloes. Its preparations in milk helps in increasing breast milk in lactating women. Its proper use helps in avoiding excessive blood loss during periods. It clears out infections and abnormalities of uterine cavity and hence it is used to rectify infertility in women. The leaves are used to prepare toilet soaps. The plant has also ornamental value both for indoor and out door decorations (Syamala, 1997).

Distribution: The plant is found wild in tropical and subtropical India including Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It is distributed from mean sea level upto 1500m in the Himalayas from Kashmi r eastwards. The crop is cultivated in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Predesh and northern states in India. However, most of the requirement of the industry is met through wild collections from forests. It is also grown in gardens.

Botany: Satavari, Asparagus racemosus Willd. belongs to the lily family, Liliaceae. Asparagus adscendens Roxb., A. filicinus Lam., A. gonoclados Baker, A. officinalis Linn. and A. sarmentosus Willd. are the other important medicinal plant species of the genus. A. racemosus Willd. is an armed climbing undershrub with woody terete stems and recurved or rarely straight spines. The tuberous succulent roots are 30cm to 100cm or more in length, fascicled at the stem base, smooth tapering at both ends. Young stems are very delicate, brittle and smooth. Leaves are reduced to minute chaffy scales and spines; cladodes triquetrous, curved in tufts of 2-6. Flowers are white fragrant in simple or branched recemes on the naked nodes of the main shoots or in the axils of the thorns. Fruits are globular or obscurely 3-lobed, pulpy berries, purplish black when ripe; seeds with hard and brittle testa.

Agrotechnology: The plant comes up well under a wide range of tropical and subtropical climate. Fertile moist sandy loam soils are ideal for its cultivation though it grows in a wide range of soils. Better root development is observed in soils in increased proportion of sand. However, a decline in the yield of the crop is noticed in soils containing previous year’s residue of the roots. Asparagus plant is best grown from its tuberous roots even though it can be successfully propagated through seeds. Since root tubers are of commercial value seed propagation provides economic advantage to the farmers. Seeds usually start germinating after 40 days and average germination is 70% (Tewari and Misra, 1996).

For the cultivation of the crop, the land is ploughed well with pre-monsoon showers and seed nurseries are raised on seed beds of approximately 1m width, 15cm height and suitable length. Seed nursery should be irrigated regularly and kept weed free. With the onset of monsoon in June-July the main field is ploughed thoroughly and pits of size 30cm cube are dug at a spacing of 60-100cm. Tiwari and Misra (1996) have reported that irrespective of more number of roots and higher fresh weight per plant under wider spacings, the per hectare yields were highest in the closer spacing of 30cm x 30cm. The pit is filled with a mixture of top soil and well decomposed FYM or compost applied at 10 - 15 t/ha and the seedlings are transplanted. Application of N, P2O5 and K2O at 60:30:30 kg/ha increases the root yield. Regular irrigation and weeding are required to realize higher yields. Standards are to be provided for training the plant (Sharma et al, 1992). Few pests and diseases are observed on this crop. Harvesting the crop after two years provided higher root yield than annual harvests in pots as well as in field experiments. Irrigating the field prior to harvest enables easy harvesting of the root tubers. The average yield is 10 - 15 t/ha of fresh root tubers though yields over 60t/ha have been reported.

Properties and activity: Asparagus roots contain protein 22%, fat 6.2%, Carbohydrate 3.2%, Vitamin B 0.36%, Vitamin C 0.04% and traces of Vitamin A. It contains several alkaloids. Alcoholic extract yields asparagin- an anticancer agent. It also contains a number of antioxytocic saponins, viz. Shatavarisn - I to IV (Syamala, 1997). Leaves contain rutin, diosgenin and a flavonoid glycoside identified as quercetin - 3 - glucuronide. Flowers contain quercetin hyperoside and rutin. Fruits contain glycosides of quercetin, rutin and hyperoside while fully ripe fruits contain cyanidin - 3 - galactoside and cyanidin - 3 - glucorhamnoside.

Root is demulcent, diuretic, aphrodisiac, tonic, alterative, antiseptic, antidiarrhoeal, glalctogogue and antispasmodic. Aerial part is spasmolytic, antiarrhythmic and anticancer. Bark is antibacterial and antifungal.... Tropical Medicinal Plants

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Tropical Medicinal Plants

Avens

Geum urbanum. N.O. Rosaceae.

Synonym: Colewort, Herb Bennet.

Habitat: Hedges, woods and shady banks,

Features ? This slender, sparsely branched plant reaches a height of one to two feet. The stem leaves have two leaflets, with one margin-toothed terminal lobe. The root leaves are on long stalks with two small leaflets at the base. The yellow, erect flowers, with naked styles, appear between May and September. The root is short, hard and rough, with light brown rootlets.

Part used ? Herb and root.

Action: Astringent, tonic, antiseptic and stomachic.

The properties of Avens make for success in the treatment of diarrhoea and dysentery. The tonic effect upon the glands of the stomach and alimentary tract point to its helpfulness in dyspepsia. In general debility continued use has had good results. The astringent qualities may also be utilized in cases of relaxed throat Although wineglass-ful doses three or four times daily of the 1 ounce to 1 pint infusion are usually prescribed, Avens may be taken freely, and is, indeed, used by country people in certain districts as a beverage in place of tea or coffee.... Herbal Manual

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Herbal Manual

Encephaloid

A form of cancer which, to the naked eye, resembles the tissue of the brain.... Medical Dictionary

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Medical Dictionary

Hordeum Vulgare

Linn.

Family: Gramineae; Poaceae.

Habitat: Cultivated as food crop in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.

English: Barley

Ayurvedic: Yava, Hayeshtha, Hayapriya, Shuka-dhaanya, Tiksh- nashuka.

Unani: Barley, Jao Shaeer.

Siddha: Yavam. Saambaluppu (ash).

Action: Barley—nutritive and demulcent during convalescence and in cases of bowel inflammation and diarrhoea. Protects immune system.

The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia ofIn- dia recommends barley in urinary disorders, muscular rigidity, chronic sinusitis, cough, asthma, lipid disorder and obesity.

Juice of young barley leaves—7 times richer in vitamin C than oranges, 5 times richer in iron than spinach, 25 times richer in potassium than wheat; high in SOD (superoxide dismutase), an enzyme that slows ageing of cells.

The nutritional quality of the barley depends on beta-glucan fraction of the grain. Beta-glucan-enriched fraction produced cholesterol-lowering effect in hamsters.

Naked barley extracts have been found to selectively inhibit cyclohex- anase activity and may be useful as a therapeutic drug for treating thrombosis and atherosclerosis.

Ethanol extract of young green leaves exhibits antioxidant activity attributed to a flavonoid, 2"-O-glucosyl- isovitexin. It also exhibits antiinflammatory and antiallergic activities. The leaves contain an indole alkaloid, gramine, which exhibits antibacterial properties.

Dosage: Dried fruit—100-200 g. (API Vol. II); dried plant—10-20 g. (API Vol. IV.)... Indian Medicinal Plants

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Indian Medicinal Plants

Micro-organism

A very small, single-celled living organism that cannot usually be seen by the naked eye. The most important micro-organisms in medicine are those that cause disease. This ‘pathogenic’ group, however, forms only a small proportion of the enormous number of known microorganisms. The main pathogenic ones are BACTERIA. Others are fungi and RICKETTSIA. Though not true cells, viruses (see VIRUS) are usually classi?ed as micro-organisms. (See also MICROBIOLOGY.)... Medical Dictionary

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Medical Dictionary

Morbid Anatomy

The study of the structural changes that diseases cause in the body, in particular those which can be seen with the naked eye at POST-MORTEM EXAMINATION.... Medical Dictionary

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Medical Dictionary

Tubercle

The term is used in two distinct senses. As a descriptive term in anatomy, a tubercle means a small elevation or roughness upon a BONE, such as the tubercles of the ribs. In the pathological sense, a tubercle is a small mass, barely visible to the naked eye, formed in some organ as the starting-point of TUBERCULOSIS. The name of tubercle bacillus was originally given to the micro-organism that causes this disease, but was subsequently changed to Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The term ‘tubercular’ should strictly be applied to anything connected with or resembling tubercles or nodules, and the term ‘tuberculous’ to anything pertaining to the disease tuberculosis.... Medical Dictionary

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Medical Dictionary

Villus

One of the minute processes thickly distributed upon the inner surface of the small INTESTINE, giving it, to the naked eye, a velvety appearance, and greatly assisting absorption of digested food. (See also DIGESTION; ABSORPTION; ASSIMILATION.)... Medical Dictionary

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Medical Dictionary

Voyeurism

The regular viewing of people who are naked or part-naked or who are taking part in intimate sexual activities. The voyeur’s subjects are unaware that they are being watched. The voyeur, nearly always a man, usually becomes sexually excited and may induce ORGASM by MASTURBATION.... Medical Dictionary

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Medical Dictionary

Colchicum

Meadow saffron, Naked Ladies. Colchicum autumnal L. German: Herbstzeitlose. French: Tue-chien. Spanish: Villorita. Italian: Colchico florido. Tincture made from the corm collected in early summer. Practitioner use only.

Constituents: colchicine, tannin, gallic acid, flavonoids.

Action: anti-gout, emetic, cathartic. Non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory.

Uses: Relieves inflammation and pain of acute gout but does not increase expulsion of uric acid. Used with an alkaline diuretic. Used with caution, large doses producing nausea, diarrhoea and stomach irritation. Behcet’s syndrome.

Preparations: Liquid extract of the corm, 2-5 drops every 2 hours until relief is felt: then thrice daily for one week.

Tincture Colchicum, BP 1973, dose, 0.5 to 2ml.

POM medicine. ... Bartrams Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine

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Bartrams Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine

Bacteria

Single-celled microorganisms that are invisible to the naked eye. The singular form of the term is bacterium. Abundant in the air, soil, and water, most bacteria are harmless to humans. Some bacteria, such as those that live in the intestine, are beneficial and help to break down food for digestion. Bacteria that cause disease are known as pathogens and are classified by shape into 3 main groups: cocci (spherical); bacilli (rod-shaped); and spirochaetes or spirilla (spiral-shaped). Many bacteria have whip-like threads called flagella, which enable them to move in fluids, and pili, which anchor them to other cells.

Aerobic bacteria require oxygen to grow and multiply; in the body, these are most commonly found on the skin or in the respiratory system. Anaerobic bacteria thrive where there is no oxygen, deep within tissue or wounds. They reproduce by simple division, which can take place every 20 minutes. Some bacteria also produce spores that can survive high temperatures, dry conditions, and lack of nourishment; and some produce poisons (either endotoxins or exotoxins) that are harmful to human cells.

The body’s immune system attacks invading bacteria, but in some cases treatment with antibiotic drugs is necessary and will speed recovery. Superficial inflammation and infected wounds may be treated with antiseptics. Immunity to invading bacterial diseases, such as some types of meningitis, can be acquired by active immunization. (See also infectious disease.)... BMA Medical Dictionary

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BMA Medical Dictionary

Haematuria

Blood in the urine, which may or may not be visible to the naked eye. In small amounts, it may give the urine a smoky appearance.

Almost any urinary tract disorder can cause haematuria. Urinary tract infection is a common cause; prostatitis may be a cause in men. Cysts, kidney tumours, bladder tumours, stones (see calculus, urinary tract), and glomerulonephritis may cause haematuria. Bleeding disorders may also cause the condition.

Blood that is not visible to the naked eye may be detected by a dipstick urine test or microscopic examination. CT scanning, ultrasound scanning, or intravenous urography can help determine the cause. If bladder disease is suspected, cystoscopy is performed.... BMA Medical Dictionary

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BMA Medical Dictionary

Microorganism

A tiny, single-celled living organism.

Most microorganisms are too small to be seen by the naked eye.... BMA Medical Dictionary

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BMA Medical Dictionary

Morbid Anatomy

Also called pathological anatomy, the study of the structural changes that occur in body tissues as a result of disease, especially the changes visible to the naked eye.... BMA Medical Dictionary

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BMA Medical Dictionary

Occult Blood, Faecal

The presence in the faeces of blood that cannot be seen by the naked eye, but can be detected by chemical tests. Such tests are widely used in screening for cancer of the colon (see colon, cancer of). Faecal occult blood may also be a sign of a gastrointestinal disorder such as oesophagitis, gastritis, or stomach cancer; cancer of the intestine (see intestine, cancer of); rectal cancer (see rectum, cancer of); diverticular disease; polyps in the colon; ulcerative colitis; or irritation of the stomach or intestine by drugs such as aspirin. (See also rectal bleeding.)... BMA Medical Dictionary

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BMA Medical Dictionary

Voyeurism

The observation, on a regular basis, of unsuspecting people who may be naked, getting undressed, or engaged in sexual activity, in order to achieve sexual arousal.... BMA Medical Dictionary

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BMA Medical Dictionary

Haematuria

n. the passage of blood in the urine. This may be seen by the naked eye (frank, macroscopic, or visible haematuria) or detected by urine microscopy or urine dipstick (microscopic or nonvisible haematuria) The latter is subclassified into symptomatic nonvisible or asymptomatic nonvisible haematuria. Haematuria is a very important symptom because it is associated with *transitional cell carcinoma, most commonly in the bladder, and kidney cancer. It may also be due to urinary-tract infections, stone disease, or some forms of *glomerulonephritis.... Oxford | Concise Colour Medical Dictionary

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Oxford | Concise Colour Medical Dictionary

Macroscopic

adj. visible to the naked eye. Compare microscopic.... Oxford | Concise Colour Medical Dictionary

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Oxford | Concise Colour Medical Dictionary

Microorganism

(microbe) n. any organism too small to be visible to the naked eye. Microorganisms include *bacteria, some *fungi, *mycoplasmas, *protozoa, *rickettsiae, and *viruses.... Oxford | Concise Colour Medical Dictionary

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Oxford | Concise Colour Medical Dictionary

Microscope

n. an instrument for producing a greatly magnified image of an object, which may be so small as to be invisible to the naked eye. Light or optical microscopes use light as a radiation source for viewing the specimen and combinations of lenses to magnify the image; these are usually an *objective and an *eyepiece. See also electron microscope; operating microscope; ultramicroscope. —microscopical adj. —microscopy n.... Oxford | Concise Colour Medical Dictionary

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Oxford | Concise Colour Medical Dictionary

Occult

adj. not apparent to the naked eye; not easily determined or detected. For example occult blood is blood present in such small quantities that it can only be detected microscopically or by chemical testing. See faecal occult blood test.... Oxford | Concise Colour Medical Dictionary

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Oxford | Concise Colour Medical Dictionary

Deertongue

Carphephorus odoratissimus

FAMILY: Asteraceae (Compositae)

SYNONYMS: Trilisa odoratissima, Liatris odoratissima, Frasera speciosa, hound’s tongue, deer’s tongue, Carolina vanilla, vanilla leaf, wild vanilla, vanilla trilisa, whart’s tongue, liatrix (oleoresin or absolute).

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: A herbaceous perennial plant distinguished by a naked receptacle and feathery pappus, with large, fleshy, dark green leaves, clasped at the base. When fresh, the leaves have little odour but when dried they acquire a vanilla-like odour, largely due to the coumarin that can be seen in crystals on the upper sides of the leaves.

DISTRIBUTION: Native to eastern USA; gathered on the savannah land between North Carolina and Florida.

OTHER SPECIES: There are several species of deertongue native to America, for example blazing star or prairie pine (Liatris squarrosa), and gayfeather (L. spicata). Not to be confused with the common vanilla (Vanilla planifolia) or with the European hound’s tongue (Cynoglossum officinale), all of which have been used in herbal medicine.

HERBAL/FOLK TRADITION: The roots have been used for their diuretic effects, and applied locally for sore throats and gonorrhoea. It has also been used as a tonic in treating malaria. In folklore the plant is associated with contraception and sterility in women.

ACTIONS: Antiseptic, demulcent, diaphoretic, diuretic, febrifuge, stimulant, tonic.

EXTRACTION: Oleoresin by solvent extraction from the dried leaves.

CHARACTERISTICS: A dark green, heavy, viscous liquid with a rich, herbaceous, new-mown hay scent. It blends well with oakmoss, labdanum, lavandin, frankincense, clove, patchouli and oriental-type fragrances.

PRINCIPAL CONSTITUENTS: Mainly coumarin (1.6 per cent), with dihydrotoumarin and terpenes, aldehydes and ketones.

SAFETY DATA: ‘Coumarin has toxic properties including liver injury and haemorrhages.’. (There is also the possibility of dermal irritation and phototoxicity due to the lactones present.)

AROMATHERAPY/HOME: USE None.

OTHER USES: The oleoresin is used as a fixative and fragrance component in soaps, detergents and perfumery work. Used for flavouring tobacco and; also employed for the isolation of coumarin.... The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils

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The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils