Thursday, November 19, 2009

Royal Family of Fruits

The Durian according to legend...

In the early 15th Century, famed navigator Zheng He, of the Ming Dynasty, set out from China with a crew of sailors, on a mission to explore Southeast Asia. Homesick and restless, the sailors were an unmotivated group, and Zheng He was eagerly searching for some spark to keep the journey going.
One day, while exploring on land, Zheng He came upon a pile of spiky, egg-shaped fruit laying under several towering trees. The captain quickly ordered some of his crew to gather the fruits and sample them for edibility. After just one taste, the crew was hooked. The fruit was said to be indescribably delicious, and everyone on the boat indulged. The crew`s spirits were lifted and they began to forget about returning home altogether. Instead, they longed to stay close to the trees bearing the tasty fruits.
Asked to name the new discovery, Zheng He gave it the title Durian. This word is pronounced "liu lian" in Mandarin the exact sound as the Mandarin word meaning "desire to stay in a particular place" or "reluctance to leave."
To this day, the Durian is widely admired for its heavenly flavor and its plethora of medicinal properties. In fact, in its native lands, the Durian is known as the reigning King of Fruits.
The benefits of Zheng He`s discovery have been observed over the last 600 years. Traditional Chinese medicine incorporates the eating of the Durian fruit to hasten a women`s recovery after pregnancy and to strengthen and improve the health of vital organs. The fruit is also said to replenish the vital breath known as qi and to improve the positive energy yang in one`s body. That yang is matched by none other than the reigning Queen of Fruits the Mangosteen completing the legendary pairing.

The Mangosteen, according to legend...

It has been said that on a royal appointment in Asia, Queen Victoria, of England, sampled the Mangosteen fruit for the first time. Upon returning to her homeland, the memory of that encounter lasted in the mind of Her Majesty, and she craved another taste of the delectable fruit. Though she ordered her subjects to retrieve more, all of their efforts came up short and no Mangosteens arrived to her throne unspoiled.
Known for her relentlessness, Queen Victoria put a bounty on the Mangosteen: anyone who could deliver fresh Mangosteen would be rewarded with 100 pounds a handsome sum, for the era. Despite the best efforts of multiple British subjects, no one succeeded. Try as she might, the Queen increased the reward: anyone delivering fresh Mangosteen would be knighted by the Queen herself.
Still her wish was unfulfilled. Yet it is with that quest in mind that the Western World was introduced to the Mangosteen, which earned the title as the Queen of Fruits after Victoria`s regal efforts.
In its native lands, the Mangosteen has earned that moniker because of its remarkable ability to reduce heat in one`s body and, therefore, offer medicinal benefits. In fact, Chinese medicine considers the Mangosteen beneficial for a sore throat, sore eyes and restoring the health of anyone suffering from an illness or lack of nutrition. Its protein and fat are also known to be extremely nourishing to the body.
The Mangosteen`s cooling property acts as the yin counteracting the yang of the warming Durian so that the two perfectly match and enhance each other. Incomplete on their own, the combination of the Durian and the Mangosteen creates the ultimate "marriage" of the King and Queen of Fruit. This perfect pairing of two of the world`s most renowned fruits, alongside two of the world`s celebrated super fruits, the Acai Berry and the Blueberry, delivers the optimum flavorful and nutritional balance.

The Açaí

The fruit, a small, round, black-purple drupe about 1 inch (25 mm) in diameter, similar in appearance and size to a grape but with less pulp, is produced in branched panicles of 500 to 900 fruits.
Two crops of fruit are produced each year. The fruit has a single large seed about 0.25–0.40 inches (7–10 mm) in diameter. The exocarp of the ripe fruits is a deep purple color, or green, depending on the kind of açaí and its maturity. The mesocarp is pulpy and thin, with a consistent thickness of 1 mm or less. It surrounds the voluminous and hard endocarp, which contains a seed with a diminutive embryo and abundant endosperm.[citation needed] The seed makes up about 80% of the fruit (Schauss, 2006c).
The berries are harvested as food. In a study of three traditional Caboclo populations in the Amazon region of Brazil, açaí palm was described as the most important plant species because the fruit makes up such a major component of diet (up to 42% of the total food intake by weight) and is economically valuable in the region.

The Blueberry

Blueberries, also known as bilberries, whortleberries and hurtleberries, are named for their velvety, deep-blue color, of course. These luscious berries are one of the few fruits native to North America.
Native Americans used the berries, leaves, and roots for medicinal purposes. The fruit was used as a fabric dye and combined with meat into a nutritious dried jerky.
The shrub is of the genus Vaccinium, from the Latin vacca for cow since cows love them, a fact first noted by Captain James Cook in the late 1700s.
Blueberries are often confused with huckleberries, which are of the Gaylussacia genus.
Blueberries used to be picked by hand until the invention of the blueberry rake by Abijah Tabbutt of Maine in 1822, so it’s no wonder that Maine’s state berry is the blueberry.
The most popular variety of blueberry is Vaccinium corymbosum, known as the “highbush” blueberry. The wild “lowbush” varieties are a favorite of those who like to pick their own in the wild.


Thursday, November 5, 2009 | Winter Blues: How to Cope With Seasonal Depression, Cold Weather Blues, and Sadness →

Q: What do you suggest to beat the “Winter Blues?”. Winter begins the mood swings, the hibernation effect and the lack of everything. I try really hard to be upbeat and positive but I slowly fall into the abyss…
A. These days if you mention “Winter Blues,” it is surprising if the result is not a conversation about Seasonal Affective Disorder (acronym “SAD”) or the use of full spectrum illumination to combat the lessening of light that we experience in the winter months. SAD is a legitimate mood disorder and should be treated accordingly. However, as your query intimates, there is more to the “winter blues” than the seasonal variation of light to the pineal gland.
The question hints at a process, from mood swings to a slow teetering toward the “abyss,” the “lack of everything.” What you are describing is an uncomfortable, yet common, experience that most people, regardless of gender, have at some point in their lives, if not every winter.
In days before these, people lived closer to Nature. Their bodies discerned the dawn and drew homeward at dusk. One could argue that there is nothing wrong – you have unconsciously taken notice of seasonal change and have gone about the millennia old habit of preparing for the rightful descent of spirit and body into the coming winter. This “winterizing of the soul” is generally characterized by an upheaval in mood as one swings from resistance to acceptance of the coming darkness and the introspection that it brings.
What is profoundly different in our day and age, however, is the way that darkness is perceived. From autumn on, the chilling and darkening of days becomes more profound until the winter solstice, on or about December 21. For thousands of years, cultures the world over feted the winter solstice as the moment of the sun’s return, the turning of the wintry tide. Though it is weak, light is reborn from the darkness to our natural and psychic worlds. It is on the increase at the very moment when we mark the beginning of our winter. Thus the innate darkness of winter is finite.
All of Nature must at some point rest and fall fallow. In our relentlessly stimulating world we must produce, improve and carry on regardless of season or the natural signals that our bodies might otherwise give us. You mention that you try to remain upbeat and positive but that slowly these good intentions give way. Striving to resist the inturning of the season can be an exhausting and sometimes futile undertaking. A psychic “winter” can occur anytime during the year or a life. During these seasons it is often wise to work with the environment instead of against it. This is a time to be dormant, not asleep. Take stock, watch, gain power from the seed ideas and plans that you are germinating. One cannot live a meaningful life without taking time to ponder it first. Thus the gradual slowing of activity and thought during any winter season is necessary.
To many, darkness either of day or the mind is frightening. We are enculturated to seek light, to shed light, to have a bright idea. An abyss, an unknown dark place of great depth, would seem a frightening prospect. But what if you did look there, in the place of lacking, what would you see or feel? What would it be like to sit with it, even for a few minutes a day, to wait for an image – anything that you could hold in your mind or write on paper? What would you find there? The name of a friend you would like to contact? An unresolved question? Or the stifling presence of the understanding that there are more desirable paths that you would like to take in life?
Guidance can be found by peering into the darkness to find the light, the thought, the project, the vision that can enlighten your own individual path. The abyss can be a fertile place indeed but one must sit with it to hear its secrets – your secrets. Indeed it is not a lack of everything but an unfathomable richness, if only one can wait and hear – look deeper into the darkness. Thus the darkness, the mystery of life can be fruitful.
So how do you beat the winter blues? Perhaps if you can’t beat ‘em, you might join ‘em. By taking cues from nature we can more comfortably traverse the seasons of our lives. In the autumn we can acknowledge the going to ground, the rightful descent of nature and ourselves, put things to rest, enjoy the quietude of good friends, hobbies, and the inward work of each unique life.
As the shadows beckon, wonder at each day what the darkness can tell you, take a clue for your day from that whisper. Look to the solstice, the day when the tide turns.
As the sun grows, sweep away the residue of the past year, of ideas and relationships that no longer energize you (you may remember it called “spring cleaning”). Turn your mind to new concepts and projects and how you will go about them.
By using, instead of denying, the cycle of the seasonal year you can set the pace for tending your own life and works. Let your mood shift with the autumn light, rest and restore in the winter. Set foot to path again come spring and paint the bold strokes of your life during the long days of summer. And when winter again comes knocking? Remember it is within the radiant darkness that the illumination to ease those winter blues can be found.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What is the optimal implementation of bright light therapy for seasonal affective disorder (SAD)?

The first issue to address when considering light therapy is to identify those patients most likely to benefit from this particular modality. Whereas many patients with mood disorders will report some worsening of symptoms in fall and winter, a clear onset in that period with complete remission in the spring and summer months is the SAD phenotype that is most likely to respond to light. Patients with more chronic forms of depression or incomplete summer remission are less likely to have a robust response, although they may benefit to some extent (Lam et al, J Affect Disord 2001;63:123-32). For patients with true SAD, atypical symptoms such as carbohydrate craving and hypersomnia predict a robust response, whereas melancholic symptoms such as insomnia and weight loss are generally less responsive to light (Terman et al, Am J Psychiatry 1996; 153:1423-9).

It is then important to choose an appropriate light therapy unit and to implement a standardized regimen that has been well tested. Patients should use commercially available units specifically designed to treat SAD, because homemade units may not have the appropriate brightness and/or ultraviolet filtration to ensure safety. The dose of light that has proved to be the most beneficial is 5000 lux hours per day, which could take the form of, for example, 10 000 lux for one half-hour each morning. Most studies indicate that early morning treatment (before 8 am) is optimal. It is now well established that the therapeutic effect of light is mediated through the eye, although patients should not stare at the units directly. The typical treatment regimen involves sitting comfortably in a quiet setting about 16 inches (41 cm) from the unit, which is usually set on a table at an angle. Patients can read or have breakfast as they use the light. It is important that light therapy be used consistently on a day-to-day basis including weekends. Light therapy differs from standard antidepressant medication in having a more rapid therapeutic effect, usually within the first several days of treatment. Given this fact, and some variability in the timing of the onset of symptoms from year to year, light therapy is usually implemented as symptoms begin to emerge, rather than as a preventive treatment. Treatment is typically continued through the fall and winter period and discontinued at the time of natural remission
in the spring and summer.

Light therapy should not be used in patients taking photosensitizing medications or with significant retinal pathology. For other ophthalmologic conditions, consultation with an ophthalmologist may be needed. Light therapy is generally well tolerated, with headache, nausea and agitation being the most common side effects. Some patients will not be able to tolerate light therapy because of agitation. In these cases, temporarily decreasing the duration of therapy and/or increasing the distance from the light may be considered. As with other effective antidepressants, hypomania can be induced on occasion in individuals with a bipolar diathesis. There have been case reports of possible ocular damage with bright light treatment, although longer term follow-up studies have not shown ocular damage with light (Gallin et al, Am J Ophthalmol 1995;119:202-10). Notwithstanding, ophthalmologic assessment every 2–3 years may be helpful in this regard, particularly in individuals at greater risk for ocular disease.


Friday, August 21, 2009

SAD: Do you need to lighten up your living spaces?

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as winter depression or winter blues, is a mood disorder in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year experience depressive symptoms in the winter or, less frequently, in the summer repeatedly, year after year. In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. SAD is not a unique mood disorder, but is "a specifier of major depression"

The US National Library of Medicine notes that "some people experience a serious mood change when the seasons change. They may sleep too much, have little energy, and crave sweets and starchy foods. They may also feel depressed. Though symptoms can be severe, they usually clear up. The condition in the summer is often referred to as Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder, and can also include heightened anxiety. There are many different treatments for classic (winter-based) seasonal affective disorder, including light therapies using full spectrum lights, anti-depression medication, ionized-air administration, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and carefully timed supplementation of the hormone melatonin.

What causes SAD?
Your heartbeat, blood pressure, hormones, breathing and other bodily functions rise and fall in a 24-hour pattern called circadian rhythm. For some people, decreased exposure to sunlight throws off their circadian rhythm and can lead to symptoms associated with SAD.

It's not clear why some people get seasonal depression and others don't. But scientists believe that reduced daylight may boost the body's production of melatonin. Melatonin is a sleep-related hormone that may cause symptoms of depression.

What are the symptoms?
Common symptoms of SAD include:

* Symptoms of depression, such as fatigue, low self-esteem, loss of interest in normal activities and withdrawal from family and friends
* Weight gain and cravings for carbohydrates, especially sweets and starchy foods
* Oversleeping or trouble waking up in the morning

A doctor may diagnose SAD if these mood changes have occurred during late autumn and winter for at least three years, with normal or high mood during the spring and summer.

Because the symptoms are similar, SAD is sometimes mistaken for low thyroid (hypothyroidism), low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), a viral infection, severe depression or bipolar disorder.

How is SAD treated?
First, talk with your doctor or mental health specialist about your symptoms. If he or she finds that you may have SAD, proper treatment can be suggested.

If you have mild symptoms that don't disrupt your life, getting more exposure to light may improve your mood. Try to spend an hour or so outside on sunny days, or arrange your office or home so that you are seated near a window during the daytime.

If your symptoms are more severe, you may need bright light treatment (phototherapy). For this, you sit in front of a special light box each morning for half an hour or longer. The light box emits bright white light that is about 10 times stronger than regular lights.

Phototherapy is highly effective for most people with SAD. If it doesn't completely ease your symptoms, your doctor may suggest the addition of counseling or antidepressant medication.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Advantages of Colon Cleansing

Colon cleansing is a natural way of removing toxic elements from within your congested colon. This process further helps to maintain fluid and electrolytes balance in the body. This natural therapy is free from chemical and medical hangover. However, natural colonic cleansing is a complicated procedure, it is now accepted by many people to prevent chronic abdominal diseases with ease. Although this natural colonic cleansing is a complicated treatment still it is 100% natural and safe.

Other advantages of Natural Colon Cleansing are as follows:

• Provides instant energy

• Clear and soft skin

• Enhances concentration

• Aids in the absorption of vitamins and minerals from foods

• Causes fat loss

• Flushes out blocked fecal matter

• Improves your digestion

• Promotes skin renewal

• Prolong life span

Home made colonic cleansing supplements are successful in preventing chronic troubles and maintain the overall health of an individual's colon. For example, a nutritious diet incorporating fresh fruits and green vegetables provide vitamins and minerals that are necessary for our body. Eat less spicy and oily food that leads to an upset stomach. Intake of sufficient water helps to flush wastes and other toxins out of your body. Water hydrates the body and promotes a glowing, young looking skin.

This natural therapy is now accepted as the most effective method for detoxifying your body to avoid abdominal diseases to live a healthy life. Natural Colon cleansing therapy is suitable for all types of skin and also prevents skin related problems. However, people are advised to consult their doctors or physicians to prevent side effects of natural cleansers used in natural colon cleansing.

Article Source:

Monday, July 27, 2009

Influenza A (H1N1) Swine Flu

Signs and symptoms

Signs and symptoms of the new Influenza A (H1N1) virus are similar to the symptoms of seasonal flu and can include:

* fever (a temperature ≥38 °C)
* cough
* sore throat
* runny or stuffy nose
* body aches
* headache
* chills
* fatigue.

Some people also experience diarrhoea and vomiting.

Also, like seasonal flu:

* the worst symptoms usually last about five days, but coughing can last up to two to three weeks
* some very young children, people with some long-term medical conditions, pregnant women, and older people, can get very sick
* in rare instances severe illness and death can occur.

The World Health Organization says it will be difficult to tell the difference between seasonal flu and non-seasonal influenza A (H1N1). Most people will experience a mild to moderate illness and will be able to manage the symptoms at home.

How does it spread?

The new influenza A (H1N1) virus spreads from person-to-person, in the same way that seasonal influenza viruses spread.

The main form of transmission is through the coughs or sneezes of an infected person. Infected droplets are released into the air and breathed in by others. However, these droplets do not remain in the air long and generally only affect people within two metres.

It is also possible to get influenza by touching contaminated surfaces, and then touching your nose, mouth or eyes.

The new influenza A (H1N1) virus is not spread through eating properly-cooked pork or handling pork products. Water chlorination also makes it very unlikely that people will get this virus from drinking water or swimming in chlorinated pools.

How infectious is it?

Because this virus is new, people have no immunity to it so it will spread more quickly and widely than the seasonal flu. The pandemic situation could mean lots of people become sick at the same time and this could have a big impact on our day-to-day lives, and place considerable pressure on the health services.

Experts aren’t yet sure how long people who have the new Influenza A (H1N1) virus are infectious and able to pass the virus to others. It appears they could be infectious from a day before they experience symptoms until about seven days after they first experience them.

Children, especially younger children, may be infectious for longer periods. However early use of antiviral medicines, such as Tamiflu, can reduce this infectious period.

Protecting and caring for yourself and others

Many people will be sick during a flu pandemic, and it may be difficult to get medical or nursing care. You must be prepared to take care of yourself and others at home.

View more information on how to protect and care for yourself and others in this section:

* Protecting yourself and others
* What to do if you have the flu
* Caring for someone with the flu
* Treatment
* When to seek medical advice
* What happens in the 'Manage it' phase and what does that mean for me?

Be prepared

Many people will be sick during a flu pandemic, and it may be difficult to get medical or nursing care. You must be prepared to take care of yourself and others at home.

So you don’t need to make trips out in public while you are sick, have at least a week's supply of:

* alcohol-based hand rubs
* paracetamol or ibuprofen
* tissues
* food
* medical supplies.

Make sure you have contact details for friends/family/neighbours easily available so that you can call them if you need help.

Think about:

* who will look after your extended family if they become sick
* organizing child care if schools and day care facilities close
* whether or not you can work from home
* who could deliver groceries or meals to sick family members if they need them.

For further information, visit

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

10 Quick Headache Cures

1. Drink iced coffee

Both ice and caffeine are vasoconstrictors, meaning they'll help the throbbing vessels in your head shrink down and may provide fast relief. (Sometimes people who drink caffeinated beverages regularly get a withdrawal headache when they drink less than their usual amount, so this remedy can be especially helpful to those folks, too!)

2. Remove your head gear

If you're wearing a hat, headband, helmet, ponytail holder -- even goggles or sunglasses -- try taking them off (when it's safe to do so, of course). Tight accessories can cause something called external compression headaches, which are more common in people who have migraines. Simply removing the offending gear is the best remedy.

3. Try acupressure and massage

Applying pressure to the acupressure point in the webbing between your thumb and index finger may be helpful in easing the pain of a headache. Gently pressing the back of your neck with three fingers on each side can also help provide relief.

4. Grab an ice pack

Applying an ice pack to the back of your neck has been shown to ease the pain of a migraine.

5. Drink some water

A common symptom of dehydration is a headache. Drinking water can often provide the only relief you need.

6. Get some sleep

Lying down in a dark, quiet room is the best remedy for many migraine patients. Noise, bright lights, and odors can make a migraine episode much worse.

7. Practice relaxation

Meditation, yoga, and biofeedback can help to ease tension headaches and prevent headaches triggered by stress. (One quick trick is to relax your jaw and take a few deep breaths. A clenched jaw can be a headache trigger!)

8. Try aromatherapy

Some studies have shown that peppermint oil may be as powerful as over-the-counter pain relievers in the treatment of tension headaches. Try dabbing a little on your temples and the back of your neck. (Eucalyptus oil is another popular remedy, but studies have found it less effective.)

9. Take over-the-counter (OTC) drugs

Aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and naproxen can all be helpful in treating a headache, especially when taken early. (Read labels carefully: Many OTC medications have "migraine" versions that are suprisingly no different in their formulations. Don't pay extra for different packaging when you may already have these drugs at home.)

10. Get a prescription

Prescription headache medications usually fall into three classes: abortive drugs, which are used to stop a headache once it begins; preventive drugs, which are used to prevent a headache from happening; pain relievers, which are used to minimize the pain of a headache but do not actually stop it. (Pain relievers are often all that is needed for tension headaches.)