Long-Term Effects From E Coli Poisoning

An episode of moderate to severe E. coli poisoning can leave its victims with increased risk for serious health problems. That’s the message from a new study published in the British Medical Journal. One of the commonest symptoms of an E. coli infection is gastroenteritis, an irritation of the stomach and small intestine which results in severe diarrhea. People who developed gastroenteritis from E. coli contamination in their water supply were found to have an increased risk of hypertension (high blood pressure), kidney problems, and heart disease.

The research drew on findings of the Walkerton Health Study, a large-scale follow-up of an outbreak of E. coli in the drinking water of a town in Western Ontario, Canada. In 2000, heavy rains caused animal wastes from a farm to pollute a shallow well that was part of the city’s water supply. The well water was not adequately treated with chlorine, and water contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 and Campylobacter bacteria flowed into the community water supply, exposing thousands of people. More than 2300 people suffered gastrointestinal illness. Over 750 were seen in emergency care, and 65 required hospitalization. There were 27 cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome, the most serious complication of E. coli infection, in which the bacteria attack the kidneys. Seven people died.

At the time of the outbreak, infectious disease researchers suspected that severe E. coli infections had long-term consequences. A research team convinced the Canadian government to fund a multi-year follow-up study to evaluate the health consequences for the victims of the outbreak. The Walkerton Health Study is a milestone in public health, the first large-scale study of the long-term health effects of E. coli infection.

Researchers offered the follow-up free of charge, and almost 2000 Walkerton adults took part. Of these, 54 percent had suffered acute gastroenteritis. For eight years after the outbreak they completed a health survey, and had physical examinations and laboratory testing. Researchers looked for occurrences of hypertension, kidney problems, and cardiovascular diseases.

Over the eight-year follow-up, people who had suffered acute gastroenteritis had significantly higher rates of disease. A third more of them showed high blood pressure than their uninfected counterparts. Their risk of kidney problems as 3.4 times as high, and their risk of heart attack and stroke was twice as high.

This study confirms that an E. coli infection is not only dangerous at the time of the acute infection, but also carries severe long term-health risks. Anyone suffering an E. coli infection with severe diarrhea should be evaluated medically and followed long-term with a view to reducing possible long-term injury to blood vessels and kidneys.

If you or a loved one have suffered a serious E. coli infection and you believe that improper food handling or other negligence contributed to your illness, you should talk with an experienced food safety attorney to determine whether you may have a claim.

Natural Treatment For Mouth Ulcers – Matching Your Symptoms

The natural treatment for mouth ulcers can be highly effective with homeopathic medicines. Many people don’t understand what a mouth ulcer is, so before we get started on the treatment, lets look at what they really are.

Ulcers are excavations of the surface of the skin. More simply put, they are craters. So tissue that has been eaten away, if you like. This is more destructive than what people often call mouth ulcers, which are pimples, or mountains on the surface of the skin.

The pimples can be extremely painful, but for the purposes of this article, we are discussing the craters.

As already mentions, ulcers are destructive and mouth ulcers are no exception. One of the most common and highly effective homeopathic medicines for ulcers is Mercurius. This is made from mercury, which has a highly destructive reputation in the health of anyone, when the levels are excessive.

I consider that anyone who has amalgum (about 50% mercury) fillings in their teeth, or has ever had a vaccine (which contain mercury), will have high levels of mercury in their body. Too high for good health.

By administering the same poison back, but in an energetic (homeopathic) form, the poison is often eliminated. But, as with all homeopathic medicines, your individual symptoms are more important than the theory behind the problem.

If Mercurius is the most appropriate natural treatment for mouth ulcers for you, then you should have some of it’s symptoms.

The strong keynote symptoms include:

  • symptoms which are worse at night
  • mouth ulcers which are intolerant of both heat and cold (narrow tolerance band)
  • your tongue is imprinted with your teeth at the edges, indicating it is slightly swollen
  • you have excess saliva which is slimy
  • your breath is offensive
  • you have a history of many and frequent antibiotics
  • your gums are frequently inflamed, you have a history of gingivitis

This medicine is as useful for the natural treatment for animals with mouth ulcers as it it for humans.

Acid Reflux In Throat – What Causes It And How To Prevent It

Acid reflux in throat is a very irritating and uncomfortable disorder that affects millions of people on a daily basis. Fortunately, there is a way to prevent it from occurring that doesn’t require prescription or over-the-counter medication. Most people are not even aware of what are the factors that triggers this to happen, so let’s first cover the causes and then how we can prevent it from occurring.

What Causes It?

What happens is food and stomach acid backs up into the esophagus because the LES (Lower Esophageal Sphincter) muscle malfunctions. The lining in the esophagus is not able to withstand the caustic effects of gastric juices thus causing the burning sensation most sufferers experience. The “reflux” of the stomach acids can be so severe that it can back up all the way into the throat. If this occurs on a consistent basis it can lead to sore throat and voice problems.

Symptoms of acid reflux in throat can include such things as excessive phlegm or mucous build-up in the throat, choking or wheezing, a lump in the throat feeling. Typically, these symptoms occur first thing in the morning but also can occur at anytime. Sometimes, because of these symptoms, people are not aware that this is a result of acid reflux and so therefore this is referred to as silent or atypical reflux.

How To Prevent It?

One way to help prevent it from occurring is to sleep with your head or bed in a raised position. You can purchase a wedge pillow or try using something like books or blocks to raise your mattress. This will help keep the stomach acid from “refluxing” up into the esophagus and throat by using gravity. Another way that has helped many sufferers is to sleep on your left side. Studies have shown that sleeping on your left instead of your right side helps to reduce acid reflux at night.

Eat your final meal at least two to three hours before you go to bed and make sure you don’t stuff yourself. This will help give your digestive system time to completely digest the smaller portion of food you consumed. Avoid foods that you know will trigger your symptoms to occur and no midnight snacks. Try not to drink any alcoholic beverages or smoke before going to bed since studies have shown that these things can trigger your symptoms to occur.

Some of these suggestions may work better than others for you, so try each one to see which ones work. The best approach is to try one or more of these suggestions at a time and keep a journal to see which ones help to prevent acid reflux in throat from occurring.

Acid Reflux – Diet and Foods to Avoid

Acid Reflux

The muscle lining the lower esophagus (the tube carrying food from the throat to the stomach) opens for passage of food and liquid to stomach and otherwise remains closed so as to prevent stomach acid reflux from reaching the esophagus. When this muscle with such specialized function for some reasons gets weakened, stomach acid is pushed back into esophagus causing symptoms like heartburn, chest pain and regurgitation. If the stomach juice gets into the respiratory tract, cough, hoarse throat and respiratory problems can occur. This problem of weakening of the esophageal muscle known as Gastro-esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is caused due to various factors including certain kinds of food.

Diet

The diet to prevent or control acid reflux constitutes basic foods like cereals, fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy products. Some individuals may not tolerate the citric acid present in foods like tomato and orange and for them use of a vitamin C supplement is recommended. The recommended food groups for controlling acid reflux include all kinds of vegetables, fruits like apple, banana, melon and berries and low fat or fat free milk and yogurt. In fact, the diet should be free from fats and oils and fish, meat, chicken, bread, grains, soups, sweets and desserts in the diet should have low fat content. Among beverages, herbal non-mint decaffeinated tea is recommended besides plenty of water and fruit juices without citrus.

What to Avoid

The esophageal muscles are weakened by nicotine and so avoid tobacco. Hard candy and chewing gum should be avoided as they involve swallowing more air leading to burping and reflux. Whole milk, chocolate, fast foods and oily, creamed, fried or fatty foods aggravate the reflux condition and hence need to be avoided. Taking caffeinated or citrus foods and drinks should also be limited as they irritate the esophagus inflammation. Cream-based soups, carbonated beverages and foods like sausage and bacon need to be kept out of the acid influx preventive diet.

Shedding Light on Lupus

Lupus is a disease that attacks thousands of Americans yearly. Most of its victims are women of childbearing age.

“Lupus occurs more frequently in women than it does in men, though it isn’t clear why. Four types of lupus exist – systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), discoid lupus erythematosus, drug-induced lupus erythematosus and neonatal lupus. Of these, SLE is the most common and serious form of lupus,” said the Mayo Clinic.

The cause of SLE is unknown. Some say lupus is triggered by medication or a virus that lies dormant in the body until it is activated by sunlight, physical or mental stress, streptococcal or viral infections, pregnancy or certain chemicals.

“Lupus is an autoimmune disease, which means that instead of just attacking foreign substances, such as bacteria and viruses, your immune system also turns against healthy tissue. This leads to inflammation and damage to various parts of the body, including the joints, skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, blood vessels and brain,” explained the Mayo Clinic.

The symptoms of SLE vary and include the following: non-deforming arthritis (pain and stiffness in the joints, especially the hands and feet), facial erythema (a butterfly-shaped rash that spreads across the nose and cheeks), sensitivity to light, oral or nasopharyngeal ulcerations, Raynaud’s phenomenon (fingers or toes that turn white or blue when exposed to cold or during stressful periods), shortness of breath, chest pain, anxiety, depression and memory loss.

“Drug-induced lupus results from the long-term use of certain prescription drugs. Although many medications can potentially trigger lupus, examples of drugs most clearly linked with the disease include the antipsychotic chlorpromazine, high blood pressure medications such as hydralazine, the tuberculosis drug isoniazid and the heart medication procainamide, among others. It usually takes several months or years of therapy with these drugs before symptoms appear, and even then, only a small percentage of people will ever develop lupus,” revealed the Mayo Clinic.

Untreated, the inflammation caused by lupus can affect many parts of the body, damaging the blood vessels, kidneys, lungs, heart and bones.

About 50 percent of patients develop cardiopulmonary abnormalities like pericarditis and dyspnea (shortness of breath). Other complications are myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle), endocarditis (inflammation of the valves or lining membrane of the heart) and pneumonitis (inflammation of the lungs). Lupus can also affect the central nervous system and lead to emotional instability, psychoses, irritability and depression.

There is no way to prevent lupus but many drugs can relieve its symptoms. Treatment depends on the signs and symptoms. See a good doctor who will explain the advantages and risks of these drugs.

To strengthen your body, take Immunitril – your first line of defense in maintaining a healthy immune system. For details, visit http://www.bodestore.com/immunitril.html.

Stop Fibromyalgia Swelling

If you suffer from fibromyalgia you most likely have one of the most common symptoms, fibromyalgia swelling. Swelling and inflammation very often are the first symptoms a person notices when there is a fibromyalgia diagnosis. Fibromyalgia swelling can sometimes be hard to recognize since it often takes on the appearance of arthritis. The swelling can occur at anytime and just about any place on your body. It can last a short period of time, or indefinitely. Let’s take a closer look to better understand fibromyalgia swelling.

Diagnosing swelling due to fibromyalgia can often be tricky. Many doctors will misdiagnose it as arthritis. However, there is one key difference between the two. Arthritis affects the joints where swelling and inflammation due to fibromyalgia does not. Swelling from fibromyalgia is not in the joints and can also at times resemble edema. Most people who experience this swelling also report that their skin in the swollen areas will turn red, but not always.

Fibromyalgia swelling can occur just about anywhere on the body, but is most often found on the hands and the feet. Many sufferers do report that the swelling from the feet will often extend upward to their lower legs. Some people even report that the swelling will just be on some of their toes. The swelling can appear and disappear without warning, lasting just a few hours, to days or weeks at a time. Some sufferers even report that their feet will swell so large that they cannot even get into a pair of shoes. If you experience this swelling there are some proactive things you can do that may help.

Some people believe that the Swelling and inflammation due to fibromyalgia can be directly linked to stress. Therefore, if you suffer from this swelling you will want to do everything you can to avoid or greatly reduce stress in your life. Getting plenty of rest may also be helpful.

You have just learned how fibromyalgia swelling can be very common for those suffering from this disease. Even though there is no definite cause or cure for the swelling, there is some hope that lifestyle changes can help control it. Making sure your lifestyle includes rest, relaxation and low levels of stress can keep swelling from reoccurring.

Heart Disease and Poor Dental Hygiene

Could the health of your teeth and gums affect your heart? It seems like it couldn’t be possible, but more and more doctors are convinced that there is a relationship between poor dental hygiene and heart disease. It is suggested that inflamed, bleeding gums allow bacteria in the mouth to enter the bloodstream and cause problems in the heart. Once in the blood, the bacteria attach themselves to fatty plaques that are responsible for Coronary Heart Disease (CHD). These plaques are the ones that will clot together, hasten atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), and cause heart attacks or strokes. So proper flossing and brushing of your teeth may have an added purpose – that of protecting your heart.

Healthy gums are firm, light pink, and very elastic. If you have reddened or inflamed gum tissue, or bleeding gums after brushing or after you eat hard foods, or your gums are sensitive to the touch, or bad breath especially when you first get up in the morning – seek professional-dental help. Gum disease if left to go to long will develop toxins which spread the infection and begin to dissolve the gum and bone tissue causing the teeth to loosen and eventually to fall out.

It is believed that anaerobic bacteria are the culprits in destroying gums and the underlying bone. If the infection is not stopped before the bacteria travel into the blood system, then the heart may become infected. These bacteria have been found clumped together in the fatty plaque found in heart arteries.

This can be explained by the third stage of atherosclerosis which is an inflammatory response of the immune system. The body’s own defensive system reacts against the invading bacteria. The arteries constrict complicating blood flow and increasing the risk of blood clots which may lead to a heart attack. So it seems possible that invading bacteria could encourage CHD.

Other heart illnesses such as infective endocarditis (a serious infection of the lining of the heart) can occur. The symptoms of this disease are: always tired, constant or near constant headaches, a mild fever that can last for months, night sweats and cold chills, and possibly dark lines may develop under the fingernails.

Gum disease if left unchecked can also cause problems in other parts of the body. So it is important to have dental exams every six months.

And to:

• Brush your teeth twice a day. Bad brushing technique can actually make gum disease worse. It’s best to make a circular motion with your toothbrush, which helps the bristles clear out any debris in the gaps between the teeth and gums.

• Floss at least once a day. Ask your dentist to show you how to floss properly if you have any doubts on how to do it.

• If your dentist recommends it – use antiseptic mouthwash and toothpaste.

• Get regular checkups and cleanings every six months. Some people may need to make them more frequently – ask your dentist.

• Eat healthy foods – a good balanced diet with adequate vitamins and nutrients will build up your immune system. In this way your body can fight off infection and heal better.

• Stop smoking – the American Academy of Periodontology points out that smoking may be one of the most significant risk factors for gum disease.

In summary, the jury is still out on the topic of gum disease and its relationship to heart disease. But the feeling in the medical community is that it is very possible that the bacteria causing gum disease do in fact infect the heart system, since the same bacteria have been found clumped together in the fatty plaque found in the heart arteries. In any case, the proper care of your teeth and gums (and your smile) are simple things to do. And if what the dentists and medical researchers think does prove to be true, your heart will be that much better off for your efforts.

Basic ECG interpretation

Only a real health professional can interpret an electrocardiogram or ECG result. However, enough knowledge on ECG can help you make basic interpretations. Below is how health professionals interpret electrocardiography waves:

The first small spike you will see is called the P wave. It represents the contraction of the atria or the upper chambers of the heart.

The space between the P wave and another wave called the R wave is known as the PR interval. This represents the time between the electrical signal of atria contraction and the signal of ventricle contraction.

The R wave (represented by tall spikes) is in between a small dip called the Q wave and another small dip called the S wave. Together, the QRS complex (Q, R, and S waves) demonstrates the activation of the left and right ventricles of the heart.

On the other hand, the T wave represents the resetting (or repolarization) of electrically charged cells in the ventricles. This resetting occurs during the contraction of the ventricles, masking the signals so they will not appear on the waveform. When resetting finishes, the entire cycle repeats.

Similar to that of the PR interval, the waveform from the end of the QRS complex to the starting point of the T wave is called the ST segment. The waveform from the starting point of the QRS complex to the end of the T wave is called the QT interval.

When reading the ECG, the height of the waves denotes electrical signal strength and the overlap of the opposing signals. The space between the waves represents the time it takes for the signal to pass through your heart.

By comparing your heart’s electrical signal pattern to that of the normal signal pattern through the use of the ECG, health professionals can easily identify heart problems.

What Are the Signs of a Heart Attack?

A heart attack, or Myocardial Infarction, occurs when blood supply to a portion of the heart muscle is interrupted and the muscle tissue begins to die, or necrose, because of a lack of oxygen. Blood supply is usually interrupted in a heart attack by a small clot forming in one of the coronary arteries feeding the heart muscle. The clot usually forms at a very narrow spot caused by cholesterol plaque buildup.

High cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, or a family history of coronary artery disease or heart attacks all put you at higher risk for a heart attack of your own.

Classically, the signs of a heart attack include chest pain. The pain can be mild to severe and is often a pressure sensation like, “an elephant”, sitting on your chest. The pain can instead be sharp, dull, burning, or feel like indigestion or heartburn. Doctors consider any of these feelings or sensations as heart related “pain” even though some people don’t think a pressure is a pain. It is very important that you understand that any one of the sensations described could be caused by a heart attack or the condition that can lead to a heart attack called angina pectoris. Angina pectoris, or simply angina, is the “pain” of the heart muscle that is starving for oxygen due to decrease blood flow. Tissue that is starved for oxygen begins to hurt. Think about the pain that occurs if you put a tight rubber band around your finger. Well, when the lack of oxygen (called ischemia) occurs in the heart muscle, the pain is called angina.

Heart attacks are often accompanied by one or several other illness-like conditions that we call Associated Cardiac Signs and Symptoms. These happen as a result of the pain or the impaired function of the heart muscle. With a lack of blood and oxygen getting to a portion of the heart muscle, that portion cannot function efficiently.

Associated signs and symptoms often include one or more of the following:

Shortness of breath

Sweating – clamminess to dripping wet

Nausea and sometimes vomiting

Lightheadedness or almost fainting

Marked weakness

Sometimes people will feel palpitations, or a fluttering in the chest along with the pain. Often the pain will radiate to the shoulder, the back, the jaw or down the arm. The arm can ache, feel numb, heavy, or tingly. This radiation of “pain” can be on one side – the left, right, or both! This is something that many people tend to confuse and they will ignore the radiation of pain if it’s down the right arm. This can be a very costly, if not deadly mistake!

Remember, heart attack is still the number one medical killer of men and women in the United States.

It is also important to remember that some conditions like diabetes can mask the pain and eliminate it all together. Therefore, in those patients, feeling extra weak and having some of the associated symptoms mentioned above may be the only clue that a heart attack is in progress.

We have a saying in the ER: “Time is myocardium!”

This means that the quicker you get the proper care for your heart attack, the less heart muscle will be damaged and the better the outcome. This can mean the difference between having a mild heart attack with only minimal problems, to having a major one associated with severe, debilitating side effects for the rest of your life. It can also mean the difference between surviving a major heart attack and dying from one.

If you or someone you know is having any of the above-mentioned signs or symptoms, you should call 911.

Ebola Epidemic: Causes, Symptoms and Precautionary Measures

The Ebola virus disease (EVD) that has wreaked havoc across Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia is considered “a severe, often fatal illness in humans” by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

It weakens the immune system and causes bleeding inside and outside the body. In fact, it puts even health workers at risk if they are properly protected.

Previously known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, Ebola was first reported way back in 1976 in Nzara, Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo.

What Causes Ebola

It is believed that the fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family living in tropical rainforests are the natural hosts of the EVD. This deadly virus is transmitted to people from wild animals as well as through other infected humans. It was passed on to humans by coming in close contact with the secretions, sweat, blood and other bodily fluids of EVD infected humans and various infected animals which include fruit bats, porcupines, chimpanzees, gorillas and monkeys found either sick or dead in and around tropical rainforests. Other ways to getting infected with Ebola is by touching contaminated needles.

It’s also true that Ebola is less contagious than other diseases; it is transmitted by bodily fluids, not by air, water or mosquitoes. In other words, Ebola doesn’t spread by just being in proximity with someone infected. It’s not like the flu. As mentioned above, there has to be direct contact with the bodily fluids. In recent times, most of the cases reported have occurred in people who were nursing their infected family members and also those who prepared an EVD infected dead body for burial.

Signs and symptoms

At first, Ebola may feel like normal flu or any illness. But symptoms begin to appear few days after getting infected. These symptoms include fever, joints and muscle pain, acute weakness, stomach pain, lack of appetite, sore throat and headache.

As the situation aggravates and the Ebola infection worsens; the patient begins to experience diarrhea, vomiting, impaired liver function, rashes and worse of all internal and external bleeding.

Some patients may also experience red eyes, chest pain, hiccups, trouble in breathing and swallowing.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Several tests are conducted to diagnose Ebola such as serum neutralization test, antigen detection test, electron microscopy and so on. There is no vaccine available to cure Ebola virus. Infected patients generally experience dehydration often. They require intensive care and need to be given oral rehydration solutions (ORS) containing electrolytes that helps treat dehydration in EVD patients.

Hope of Vaccine

There is no proven vaccine to cure Ebola. But many doses of an experimental Ebola vaccine have been developed at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, Canada. The WHO has approved using the untested vaccine, calling it ethical to use it at such times.

As Dr. Marie-PauleKieny, an assistant director-general at WHO said in a press conference, “If there are drugs that can save lives… shouldn’t we use them to save lives?” But she added, “(It is) very important to not give false hope to anybody that Ebola can be treated now. This is absolutely not the case.”

Preventive Measures

Prevention is always better than cure. During the break out of epidemics, it becomes all the more necessary to take preventive measures seriously. The WHO has urged for strong measures to be taken to curb the outbreak, else the virus can spread from Africa to other regions as well.

Restricting the movement of Ebola infected animals from farms to other areas may help curb the spread of the virus.

Avoid getting in close contact with EVD infected patients. Take good care of patients or any infected member of family but make sure you use gloves and other protective equipment so that you end up getting infected with Ebola. Wash your hands after visiting patients in hospital.

Taking precautions with air purifiers

Ebola is a warning sign of the delicate state of Africa’s health and sanitation systems that have seen slow development due to chronic poverty, illiteracy, neglect, ignorance about health measures afflicting the region. As result, the fragile health system is unable to cope up adequately with epidemic outbreaks. The hospitals and health workers are under-equipped and under-staffed to handle such emergencies.

Though the Ebola virus is not airborne or does not spread through water either, the outbreak of the epidemic does reiterate the need to keep our environment safe and healthy and to take adequate precautionary measures.

Airborne pathogens or allergens often cause inflammation in the nose, throat, sinuses and the lungs. These airborne pollutants could be viruses, bacteria, pollen, dust mites, smoke, and molds that affect health and weaken immune system.Many common infections can spread by airborne transmission at least in some cases including Anthrax (inhalational), Chickenpox, Influenza, Measles, Smallpox and Tuberculosis.Personal air purifiers emit healthy negative ions that help remove airborne pollutants away from your personal space providing you with cleaner and healthier air.

Air purifiers act as a preventive guard against airborne pathogens. Whether you are going to the supermarket or traveling; use travel air purifier to keep yourself safe from any virus or pollutants.

Growing Hair Products – Do They Really Work As They Say?

There are many growing hair products on the market these days that make some pretty crazy claims. They claim they can stop, or even reverse, your hair loss and give you a full head of hair in weeks. This may seem a little to good to be true. In fact, it is in just about every case. The claims made by the products are backed up by little to no testing, and if they do cause hair growth, it is only temporary.

Let me tell you this right now, no over to counter hair growth product is going to give you the results you want. If it were really that easy, then you would not see the 57% of men who suffer from male pattern baldness with bald heads. The truth is that, most of the time, baldness is genetic, so no growing hair products can fix it. Learning about the genetics of hair loss can help understand the whole situation better and even show you real solutions that will really work.

The main reason for hair loss is a drop in DHT production levels. DHT is something your body makes that keeps hair follicles strong and encourages them to produce hair. If your body stops making DHT, you will start losing hair. No growing hair products can increase your level of DHT and this is why they do not work.

That does not mean that all hope is lost! A great replacement for DHT is Vitamin E. You can find Vitamin E in most nuts and seeds. Vitamin E works much like DHT does and can increase strength in your hair follicles. The two food items get Vitamin E from are peanut butter and sunflower seeds. They work really Great!

Calamus Root Used For Indigestion, Bronchitis, Endurance, Colic, Gas and More

Calamus

Latin Name: Acorus calamus

Botanical Family: Araceae (arum family)

Acorus is Latin for “aromatic plant,” and calamus means “reed.” Flag comes from the Middle English word flagge, meaning “reed.” Indeed, these highly aromatic reeds were quite sought after in weaving chair seats, ropes, mats, and baskets. This is also the famous “calamus root,” used for pain relief in the folktale classic from the Deep South, Uncle Remus.

Sweet flag, muskrat root, beewort, sweetgrass, sweet root, sweet cane, flagroot, and sweetrush are some of the many regional names. Our native Calamus, A. calamus, is a distinctive member of the arum family, Araceae, which has about two thousand species worldwide that primarily live in wet regions. Its close relatives are jack-in-the-pulpit, green dragon, arrow arum, golden club, and skunk cabbage in the Northeast. When calamus is not in bloom it resembles blue flag, and like the latter it has been a highly valued root medicine among Eastern Woodland Indians and other tribes throughout its broad range for a long time.

The arum family, Araceae, includes more than 115 genera, and many of its species are cultivated ornamentals from the tropics. The native perennial Calamus is found in wetlands, often standing in water along streams and riverbanks across southern Canada from James Bay to Nova Scotia, south to North Carolina, and west to Texas and the Oregon coast. Its long, sword-like leaves are pale glossy green, with a stiff midrib running the entire length. The plants may grow up to five feet tall.

Mature stalks may produce halfway up an outward-jutting club-like spadix (a fleshy cylindrical bloom structure) between May and August that bears tiny clusters of yellowish-green flowers. These ripen into small gelatinous berries that quickly dry up and disappear. All plant parts are fragrant when brushed or bruised, especially the highly aromatic underground rootstalks so prized in Native American medicines.

The long, creeping rootstocks, with many tiny rootlets along their lower half, are usually dug from sand or wet mud, where these plants grow in dense colonies. Old colonies of Calamus can take over an entire eco-niche in low, wet pasture or marsh areas, crowding out almost all other plants. Transplanted into the garden, it becomes a delightful, slow-growing ornamental.

Traditional uses:

Some observers speculate that native peoples carried these valuable roots with them, establishing new stands of Calamus near their settlements as they moved and traded. The plant was so valuable to American Indians, possessing countless medicinal and spiritual qualities, that it was a primary trade commodity.

The roots are warm, aromatic, pungent, and bitter, and much better infused in water than in wine or spirits, as they resist the latter. Indian children were especially fond of calamus root, and would chew on a small piece, which was excellent to relieve colic, upset stomach, even toothaches. Calamus root was an early export from the colonies, being much sought after in England and China

The Cheyenne called calamus wi’ukh is e’evo (bitter medicine), and they traded with the Sioux to obtain the plant. They tied a small piece of calamus root on their children’s necklaces, dresses, or blankets to keep away the night spirits and bless their dreams. Men and women in many different tribes wore the long leaf blades as garlands and to adorn their hair. The Great Lakes tribes used calamus extensively. Small pieces of the root were chewed and held in the mouth to numb toothaches and other mouth problems, and to treat stomach aches, other digestive problems, sore throats, and colds Infusions of calamus root were also drunk to treat these same problems. Calamus water was often sprinkled on sacred items and throughout dwellings while prayers for renewal were offered.

The Hudson Bay Cree called calamus pow-e-men-arctic meaning “fire or bitter pepper root”. The Penobscot and Nanticoke called it muskrat root, and early in the twentieth century it was noted that calamus was perhaps the most important herb in Penobscot pharmacology. A Penobscot legend told that a plague of sickness was sweeping the Indians away and no one knew how to cure the people. Then one night a man was visited by a muskrat in a dream. The muskrat told him that he was a root and where to find him. The man awoke, sought the muskrat root, made a medicine of it, and cured the people of the plague. Sections of the dried root were cut up, strung together, and hung up for the preservation of nearly every house. Stan Neptune, a contemporary Penobscot artist, wood carver, and historian, recalls the importance of eating muskrat in winter, after the animals have been feeding on Calamus root and their meat tastes “like sweet medicine”.

Gladys Tantaquidgeon, a Mohegan medicine woman, noted that the Delaware and other Eastern Algonquians made a Calamus tea that was used to treat coughs, colds, and suppressed menses. Calamus was combined with sassafras root for intestinal pains among the Delaware and other Eastern Algonquians. She described the practice of Eastern Algonquian people carrying a piece of muskrat root as a disease preventive, to chew in case of sudden illness, and just to ensure good health. Gladys also recorded the muskrat root as one of eleven botanicals steeped together for a spring tonic. The Connecticut Mohegan also used small pieces of calamus root to treat rheumatism and colds. From talisman to sophisticated compounds, Calamus continues to be a most valued health aid.

The Pawnee name is kahtsha itu (medicine lying in water), and they have songs about the calamus in their mystery ceremonies, as these plants were considered to have mystic powers. The long blades were used ceremonially for garlands and attached to important objects to bring good luck and power. The Osage called this pexe boao’ka (flat herb), and the Omaha and Ponca called it makan-ninida; the roots were chewed to treat diabetes, especially among the Dakotas. Potawatomi powdered the root as a styptic.

Calamus is found worldwide, mainly in the northern latitudes, and has an ancient history of uses. The unpeeled, dried rhizome was officially listed in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia from 1820 to 1916 and in the National Formulary from 1936 to 1950. Doctors prescribed it for indigestion, stomach ailments, and gas, and as a general tonic.

Modern uses:

Extracts and bitters made from calamus root continue to be taken to relieve stomach cramps and indigestion. Calamus has long been valued as a flavouring agent and tonic, especially in aromatic bitters, and as a stimulant and carminative. Calamus continues to be a very valuable addition to many American Indian healing formulas, ceremonies, and health care practices, and is still used, alone, in essential ways of healing from tribe to tribe. Many American Indian traditional singers carry the dried root to chew on in order to improve their singing.

Calamus is an important component in Chinese, Ayurvedic, and Western herbalism. The rhizome, or root, is a valued remedy for digestion and a tonic for the nervous system. It stimulates the appetite, relieves gas and colic, and is formulated in tinctures and decoctions as well as powders. The aromatic qualities make the leaves a valuable insect repellent.

Cautions:

Some Asian varieties have been labelled as unsafe because they have been associated with tumours found in some laboratory rats. The carcinogenic agent is considered to be asarone, a constituent in the volatile oil. Apparently this is not present in the American species.

Growth needs and propagation:

In the wild, Calamus can form dense, intertwining mats in shallow water. Spring or fall is a good time to dig and gather the outer root tips, three to six inches long. Place them about two inches deep in garden soil. The young sprouts can grow rapidly, sending out many white hairy roots. These plants are handsome garden additions, since their foliage is striking.

Companions:

Calamus grows well in the company of blue flag, cardinal flower, goldthread, and jack-in-the-pulpit. It will also grow fairly well with other moist-ground-loving herbs.

Tennis Shoulder Exercises – How to Eliminate Your Shoulder Pain and Get Back to the Game

Are you suffering from tennis shoulder? Exercises have been developed to specifically address injuries and pain resulting from playing tennis. Of course prevention is always better than treatment. This article will explain how proper exercise can help ease your pain and prevent further tennis injuries.

Tennis shoulder is the common name for rotator cuff tendonitis, or inflammation of of the shoulder. It is also associated with impingement, the condition that arises when shoulder muscles and tendons are repeatedly crushed between the bones of the shoulder.

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that more or less hold the shoulder together and help with movement. It is a complex set of muscles that is unfortunately very prone to injury. If these muscles become injured, pain and swelling usually are the result.

The rotator cuff is particularly prone to injuries from sports involving repetitive, powerful, overhead movements. Tennis is a prime example. For tennis players, it is very common to injure the rotator cuff during a power serve or swing. A painful shoulder not only effects your game but also just about everything in your daily life.

Therefore, working on proper tennis shoulder exercises is not only important for recovery but is also the key to preventing injury in the first place. Physical therapists have developed specific, targeted exercises for shoulder pain therapy. These same exercises help build strength, increase flexibility, and extend your range of mobility. For the most part, these exercises can be done at home, on your own, without any special equipment or expensive doctor visits.

One example of a simple exercise that you do right now is a standing doorway chest press. The basic idea is to stand in an open doorway with your forearms resting on the door frame, fingers pointing up. Keep your forearms flat against the door frame or wall and slowly ease yourself forward into the open doorway. You will feel tension in your shoulder, chest, and upper back. Go as far as is comfortable, hold it for a few seconds, and then slowly use your arms to press yourself back out of the doorway. Repeat this several times.

This is only one example. Using these tennis shoulder exercises, many people have successfully reduced or completely eliminated their shoulder pain. They have also used these exercises to keep their shoulders strong so that they can stay in the game.

How To Manage Shoulder Dystocia During Birth

Shoulder Dystocia is a type of complication that may occur during delivery. Sometimes during the course of a normal vaginal delivery, the head of the baby is delivered but the shoulders get stuck behind the mother’s pubic bone and the baby cannot be delivered promptly. This condition is termed as a shoulder dystocia. This article talks about the various ways in which a shoulder dystocia can be managed during birth.

Ways To Resolve Shoulder Dystocia

There are many different maneuvers that can be tried to resolve a shoulder dystocia. However, before getting into any of these maneuvers, it is important to perform the following tasks:

· Summon another obstetrician to stand by and also make sure additional nurses and medical personnel are present for assistance.

· Make sure someone is keeping a note of how much time has passed since the delivery of the baby’s head.

· Have neonatal and pediatric experts on stand by in case there is any fetal injury during birth or if the baby needs to be resuscitated after birth.

· Have an anesthetic on-the-ready in case surgery needs to be performed.

Once the above tasks are taken care of, the following procedures may be used to resolve the shoulder dystocia.

1. The McRoberts Maneuver:

This is usually the first maneuver that is used when a shoulder dystocia occurs. This maneuver requires flexing the mother’s legs sharply onto her abdomen. What this essentially means is that the obstetrician maneuvers the maternal legs so that the knees are as close to the chest as possible. Once this is done, the maternal pelvis gets enlarged as the sacrum gets flattened. This extra space created in the pelvic outlet is usually enough to free the stuck shoulder so that the baby is delivered easily. The McRoberts Maneuver is also known as the Legs Maneuver.

2. Suprapubic Pressure:

A shoulder dystocia occurs because the anterior shoulder of the baby is stuck behind the mother’s pelvic bone. To free the shoulder, the obstetrician may use manual pressure. This type of pressure is called the suprapubic pressure. Here’s how it is typically applied:

  • The obstetrician places his fist on the mother’s abdomen slightly above the pubic bone.
  • The stuck fetal shoulder is then pushed in either direction so that it assumes an oblique orientation position instead of the anterior-posterior position that is usually responsible for the shoulder dystocia in the first place. As the entrapped shoulder is now aligned obliquely to the pelvic bone, it can then be delivered easily.

When using this maneuver, it is imperative that the pressure applied is suprapubically so that the impacted shoulder can be freed from beneath the maternal pelvic bone. If fundal pressure is applied, the shoulder will only get stuck further under the pelvic bone and the shoulder dystocia will not be resolved properly.

In as many as 55% to 60% of all shoulder dystocia cases, simply using the McRoberts Maneuver in combination with applying Suprapubic Pressure is all that is required by the obstetrician to free the impacted shoulder and resolve shoulder dystocia during birth.

Using the McRoberts maneuver along with applying suprapubic pressure does not involve any kind of direct fetal manipulation. Therefore, both these procedures are considered to be extremely safe for the baby. However, if the maternal legs and thighs are flexed too forcefully, there is a danger of some degree of injury to the mother.

3. Woods Screw Maneuver:

While the first two maneuvers mentioned above simply require repositioning the mother and applying external pressure, the Woods Screw maneuver requires internal manipulation. In this procedure, the obstetrician reaches into the birth canal with their hands and tries to rotate the posterior shoulder of the baby much like rotating a corkscrew. The front surface of the posterior shoulder is where the pressure is applied, which helps to release the stuck anterior shoulder and the baby can then be delivered.

4. Rubin’s Maneuver:

This maneuver can be called a variation of the Woods Screw maneuver. In this procedure, pressure is applied on the posterior surface of the baby’s posterior shoulder as opposed to the anterior surface. This pressure, when applied while rotating the baby’s shoulders, helps to orient the baby in the oblique position thereby reducing the distance between both the shoulders, which in turn helps to deliver the stuck baby.

5. Posterior Arm Sweep Maneuver:

In this maneuver, the posterior arm and shoulder of the baby are delivered manually. The obstetrician reaches into the birth canal and locates the posterior arm of the fetus. The arm is then swept across the chest of the fetus and is pulled out of the birth canal. This is known as delivering the posterior fetal arm. Once this maneuver is carried out, the stuck anterior shoulder can be rotated and freed easily, thereby delivering the baby in due course.

While the posterior arm sweep maneuver is quite effective, a significant risk during the maneuver is that of causing a humeral fracture, which is a fracture to the upper bone of the baby’s arm. However, a humeral fracture is not as bad as it sounds and in almost all cases heals up completely. Thus, if other maneuvers fail to resolve the shoulder dystocia during birth, then the posterior arm sweep maneuver should be used in spite of the added risk of a humeral fracture.

NOTE: A procedure known as an Episiotomy (surgical incision) may have to be carried out for successful resolution of shoulder dystocia. If internal manipulation and rotation maneuvers such as Woods screw, Rubin’s etc have to be performed to release the dystocia, there may not always be enough room for the obstetrician to put his hands inside the birth canal. Thus, to make some space to allow the hands to enter the vaginal canal, an episiotomy may be performed. Do note that an episiotomy on its own cannot resolve shoulder dystocia, but merely aids the other maneuvers.

Most shoulder dystocia cases can be managed by using any of the above 5 maneuvers. Do make sure that more than 30 seconds have not passed on any one maneuver. If a particular maneuver does not work within 30 seconds, it is advisable to move on to the next. However, even after trying all these maneuvers if the shoulder dystocia still persists, it may be time to perform the following rescue maneuvers.

6. Zavanelli Maneuver:

This maneuver should only be used when all others fail and for a severe shoulder dystocia. In the Zavanelli maneuver, the obstetrician aims to push the delivered head of the baby back through the birthing canal into the maternal pelvis. As soon as the head is successfully pushed back into the pelvis, an emergency cesarean section is carried out and the baby is delivered surgically.

Although the Zavanelli maneuver has been reported to be very successful in releasing extreme cases of shoulder dystocia, it should only be used in an absolute worst case scenario as it is known to cause both maternal and fetal injury.

7. Symphysiotomy:

A symphysiotomy refers to a surgical procedure wherein the maternal symphysis (the pubic bone and ligaments) is cut by the obstetrician. This helps to cut out a space that is about 2 cm to 3 cm wide. The pelvis is thus widened and the baby can be delivered.

After a symphysiotomy the mother’s bladder continues to drain for five days. She has to lie on her side for at least 3 days of the five, and the mother’s knees may even be tied together to ensure that the position is maintained. The urinary tract can also get damaged after this procedure. Thus, as is evident, a symphysiotomy is very tough on the mother and is thus hardly ever performed in the US.

8. Fetal Clavicle Fracture:

Another procedure that is sometimes used to resolve a shoulder dystocia is the intentional fracturing of the fetal clavicle bone. Direct upward pressure is applied to the clavicle bone of the fetus in order to fracture it so that the distance between the two fetal shoulders is reduced, thereby freeing the impacted shoulder and enabling delivery of the baby.

However, it is not easy to fracture the clavicle because it is a very strong bone. Most documented cases of resolving shoulder dystocia in this manner involve fetuses that have already died but have to be removed from the maternal pelvis for the safety of the mother.

A shoulder dystocia can thus be managed and resolved during birth by using any of the professional medical maneuvers detailed herein.

The Benefits of Cerebral Palsy Foundation

Cerebral palsy is one of the serious body impairment that is caused by injury on the part of the brain responsible for muscle tone and body movement. This is a congenital defect that mostly affects new born infants. The signs and symptoms are inability to move some of the major muscle groups in the body, inability to walk, poor swallowing and sucking reflex.

This type of body condition is irreversible. This is never curable however the signs and symptoms can be treated. There are plenty of treatments available today, like medications, physical training and treatment, brain surgery and implants and many more. Nonetheless, huge amount of money is needed to undergo these treatments.

Usually, the family which has a member with cerebral palsy belongs to class C or class D. this is because of the inadequate nutritional supplements and weak immune system of the mother during pregnancy. They do not have much money for their kid to undergo expensive treatments.

They should not worry about the treatment’s cost because there are numerous foundations today. These foundations will serve as aid to those who need financial support. They give away grants to the family who needs it. These grants are usually given every year. Aside from that, the programs and services will always remain the same.

These foundations are building securities to ensure that the financial support for every family who needs it is equal and enough for the treatments. They provide investments capital for those families who has a patient suffering from cerebral palsy.

Cerebral palsy foundation has plenty of donors. Most of these donors comes from the people on the higher echelon of living and earn ample money for them. These donors are also benefiting from donating. The benefits are forever. Aside from the gifts that are given to all the minor and major donors, they will also receive discounts to their tax due every month. This is why most of the people love donating funds to some of the foundation available.

There are plenty of foundation sources. Magazines, newspapers and journals are the most common sources of foundation. Internet can also be a great help. With plenty of search engines available online, finding the best cerebral foundation online is never a difficulty.

Give your child a little comfort, which he truly deserves.