Sunday, 24 April 2011
Tuesday, 19 April 2011
By Syed Akbar
We all know that laung or clove is good for teeth. Clove oil helps in fighting tooth decay and gives relief from toothache. But now Indian scientists have come out with a study that tells us that clove (Eugenia caryophyllus) is the best stress buster and keeps away heart problems. Stress is emerging as the major killer in the world and clove is the simplest remedy to the problem. Since stress and heart ailments are related, by taking cloves regularly one will not only beat the stress but also fights heart attacks.
Clove contains a special substance called hydro alcohol and this substance is known to give relief from stress. The scientific team studied the anti-stress effect of hydro-alcoholic extract of clove by evaluating it on cold restraint induced gastric ulcers, sound stress induced biochemical changes and anoxic stress induced convulsions.
As part of the research project the extract from the clove was given orally twice daily to mice. The first dose was of 100 mg/kg while the second dose was of 200 mg/kg. The team used zeetress, a known anti-stress formulation as the standard drug.
The scientific team comprised Anand Kumar Singh, Sunil S Dhamanigi and Mohammed Asad of Krupanidhi College of Pharmacy, Bengaluru. The researchers found that both the doses of clove extract showed good anti-stress effect in all the tested models. The clove extract reduced the development of cold restraint induced gastric ulcers and prevented the biochemical changes induced by sound stress such as increase in plasma levels of aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, alkaline phosphatase, glucose, cholesterol and corticosterone.
"Stress is a common phenomenon that is experienced by every individual. When stress becomes extreme, it is harmful for the body and, hence, needs to be treated. Stress is involved in the pathogenesis of a variety of diseases that includes psychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety, immunosuppression, endocrine disorders including diabetes mellitus, male impotence, cognitive dysfunction, peptic ulcer, hypertension and ulcerative colitis," the study pointed out saying that clove, is one of the natural stress busters.
For the purpose of the study, the team selected albino Wistar rats weighing between 175 and 250 gm and Swiss albino mice weighing 25 to 40 gm. The experiment continued for 14 days. Stress was induced in the mice through chemicals and later clove extract was administered to them.
The team showed that hydro-alcoholic extract of clove possesses significant anti-stress activity. "The effect of clove may be due to its effect on the central nervous system or endocrines and it may also be due to its antioxidant effect as anti-oxidants are known to prevent stress induced damage due to generation of
free radicals," the study said.
The clove gets its medicinal properties mainly because of the presence of volatile oils like eugenol. The team however noted that the exact mechanism by which clove produces its anti-stress activity cannot be explained with the data collected during the study. "We speculated that the antioxidant effect of the clove buds might contribute at least in part to its anti-stress activity," the scientists said.
So, the next time you come across spicy food, do not complain. Ensure that the "spicy food" has a good number of cloves too. This will bust your stress, whether it is work-related or due to domestic problems.
Thursday, 14 April 2011
Monday, 11 April 2011
Hyderabad: Turmeric, a common kitchen ingredient, has been known for its anti-septic properties, and city nutritionists now find out that it also has the natural chemicals that are capable of preventing cataract in people suffering from diabetes.
"It is for the first time we report that turmeric, at the levels that are close to average daily intake, can be effective in preventing diabetic cataract. One of the important observations of this study is that both turmeric and its chemical constituent, curcumin, delay the progression and maturation of cataract, despite elevated levels of glucose. These results thus provide a clue, for the first time, that turmeric or curcumin may act downstream to glucose-mediated changes," says a study by nutrition scientists of the National Institute of Nutrition.
Diabetes and cataract are inter-linked and cataract is more pronounced in people suffering from the disease. At present, the only treatment for cataract is surgery. It has been estimated that a delay in cataract onset by 10 years could reduce the need for cataract surgery by as much as half. The pronounced effect of turmeric may be due to other ingredients besides curcumin. The NIN study gains significance as any strategy that prevents or slows the progression of cataract has a significant health impact.
The joint study by P Suryanarayana, M Saraswat, T Mrudula and others involved feeding Wistar rats a diet including curcumin and turmeric. The turmeric and curcumin rich diet delayed the progression of diabetic cataract in rats. "Although, multiple mechanisms may contribute to these effects, the antioxidant effect of curcumin and turmeric appears to be the predominant mechanism of action," they said.
The NIN scientists selected Wistar rats and diabetes was induced by streptozotocin (a substances that damages insulin producing cells). They monitored the cataract progression due to hyperglycemia (high levels of sugar in blood). At the end of eight weeks, the animals were killed and the crystalline profile in the lens was investigated.
"Although, both curcumin and turmeric did not prevent streptozotocin-induced hyperglycemia, as assessed by blood glucose and insulin levels, slit lamp microscope observations indicated that these supplements delayed the progression and maturation of cataract," they added.
The results indicated that turmeric and curcumin are effective against the development of diabetic cataract in rats. Further, these results imply that ingredients in the study’s dietary sources, such as turmeric, may be explored for anticataractogenic (that works against cataract formation) agents that prevent or delay the development of cataract.
Saturday, 2 April 2011
Hyderabad, March 20: Researchers have found a new cure in red chilli for the cholera pathogen that has developed resistant to a number of available drugs.
Senior researcher Dr NS Basu, who carried out the study in association with a team of Japanese scientists, said the rise in multi-drug resistant Vibrio cholerae strains is a big problem in treatment of patients suffering from severe cholera. Red chilli powder has effectively controlled the multi-drug resistant cholerae strains by inhibiting the virulence of the bacteria. The results are more than 90 per cent successful.
"Our research has shown that capsaicin and other natural substances present in red chilli inhibited the production of cholera toxins different cholera strains regardless of their serogroups and biotypes. Capsaicin dramatically reduced the expression of major virulence-related genes. Regular intake of red chilli may be a good approach to fight against devastating cholera," he pointed out.
Cholera is caused by different strains of Vibrio cholerae bacterium. The strains, O1 and O139 serogroups, produce cholera toxin. These strains have evolved to become more troublesome after attaining resistance to a number of drugs.
"The emergence and spread of multi-drug resistant pathogenic bacteria have created the need for the development of novel therapeutic agents. Inhibiting bacterial virulence factor by natural compounds is a new approach to overcome increased antimicrobial resistance in pathogenic bacteria. Red chilli and one of its active compounds capsaicin is one such natural compound. Since red chilli is a natural compound, the bacteria will not develop resistance against it," Dr Basu said.
Only a few city hospitals have successfully isolated Burkholderia cepacia, while many including corporate hospitals continue to wrongly recognise the superbug as a member of Pseudomonas species. As many hospitals do not have sufficient laboratory facilities to isolate Burkholderia superbug, the International Burkholderia cepacia Working Group has taken up the task of creating awareness among hospital staff about the dangers of this superbug.
City doctors have found colonies of Burkholderia cepacia living in contaminated ventilators, indwelling catheters, nebulisers, chlorhexidine solution, bottled and tap water, nasal sprays and ultrasound gel. The superbug is capable of causing severe health complications including blood poisoning and even death.
According to Dr V Gautam of the International Burkholderia cepacia Working Group, the IBCWG is looking for collegial exchange of information and promotion of co-ordinated approaches to research. "Burkholderia cepacia complex causes bacteraemia and urinary and respiratory tracts infection. It is one of the most anti-microbial-resistant organisms in the clinical laboratory and the infections it cause are quite difficult to treat," he pointed out.
Doctors admit that they have often encountered Burkholderia cepacia in ICUs. "Since the bacteria is generally found in colonies, it does not cause harm to people whose immune system is strong. Patients with weak immunity and those suffering from cystic fibrosis are generally targeted by the bacteria," senior physician Dr M Govardhan said.
Patients admitted to hospitals that do not have good infection control practices fall prey to this bacteria. Stating that in the recent times the major concern is the rapid increase in the numbers of gram negative infections in hospitals without proper sanitation, Dr Annam Ravindra Babu said these bacteria are usually resistant to a lot of known medications.
"Earlier, the bacteria seen in hospitals were mainly Pseudomonas and Acinetobacter. The scenario has gradually changed. Previously sensitive organisms like Klebsiella and E coli, have become resistant to most antibiotics," he added.
According to infectious diseases expert Dr Nutankalva Lavanya, the superbug is capable of spreading from person to person. "Burkholderia cepacia most often causes pneumonia in immune-compromised individuals with a lung disease called cystic fibrosis. These organisms are naturally resistant to many common antibiotics including aminoglycosides and polymyxin B," she said.