Monday, April 19, 2010

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)

Melissa officinalis
Lemon balm is a perennial herb from the mint family. The leaves, which have a mild lemon aroma, are used to make medicine. Lemon balm is used alone or as part of various multi-herb combination products.
Properties:
Lemon Balm is edible and medicinal. Fresh leaves can be added to salad or used in egg dishes and can be used to make sauces for fish, poultry and pork. Dried or fresh the whole plant is used to make cool refreshing drinks or warm relaxing teas. Used in alternative medicine the leaves and young flowering shoots are antibacterial, antispasmodic, antiviral, carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, emmenagogue, febrifuge, sedative, and tonic. Balm contains a volatile oil citral and citronella which is strongly antispasmodic and aids in calming nerves, relieving menstrual cramps, insomnia, depression, hyperthyroidism, upset stomach, and colic in babies. Leaf tea is good for fevers, colds, and headache. Fresh crushed leaves are applied to wounds and insect bites. The essential oils in the fresh plant, particularly citronella make it a most effective insect repellent when crushed and rubbed on skin or clothes. Research has shown that the plant contains polyphenols, it can help significantly in the treatment of cold sores and combat the herpes simplex virus. Added to bath it relieves muscle tension and soothes irritated skin. The oil is often added to skin preparations and perfumes. TheLemon balm is used for digestive problems, including upset stomach, bloating, intestinal gas (flatulence), vomiting, and colic; for pain, including menstrual cramps, headache and toothache; and for mental disorders, including hysteria and melancholia.essential oil is used in aromatherapy and is very pleasant used in potpourris.
Many people believe lemon balm has calming effects so they take it for anxiety, sleep problems, and restlessness. Lemon balm is also used for Alzheimer's disease, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), an autoimmune disease involving the thyroid (Graves' disease), swollen airways, rapid heartbeat due to nervousness, high blood pressure, sores, tumors, and insect bites.
Lemon Balm can help significantly in the treatment of cold sores and combat the herpes simplex virus. Added to bath it relieves muscle tension and soothes irritated skin. The oil is often added to skin preparations and perfumes. The essential oil (which is quite expensive and often adulterated with lemon or lemongrass) is used in aromatherapy and is very pleasant used in potpourris.
How does it work?
Lemon balm contains chemicals that seem to have a sedative, calming effect. It might also reduce the growth of some viruses.
Recipes:
Breakfast tea: 2 tsp. chopped leaves added to 1 cup boiling water steep 5 to 10 min. strain add honey and, or lemon.
Cold highnooner: 2 tbsp. per cup of cold water, let stand for 6 to 8 hours. Strain, add ice peppermint sprig and sweeten to taste.
Article by Deb Jackson & Karen Bergeron

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Kids are taught to share their toys and snacks. Unfortunately, they also share things you’d rather have them keep to themselves — germs. Getting sick is part of growing up, but there are ways to prevent infection and illness. “The best protection is immunization against vaccine-preventable illnesses, good old hand washing, and covering coughs and sneezes,” says Lisa M. Asta, MD, an associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of California-San Francisco, who practices in Walnut Creek, Calif.

Chickenpox

Getting the chickenpox used to be an expected part of childhood, but not for kids today. A vaccine against the highly contagious varicella zoster virus is now available, making the blistery, itchy rash practically a thing of the past. Dr. Asta says the vaccine protects against 90 to 95 percent of all chickenpox infections. “Children who get chickenpox after being vaccinated generally have a milder illness,” she says. Scratching can infect the skin, so apply calamine lotion to help relieve itchiness.

Fifth Disease

f your child has cold-like symptoms, then develops a rash that looks like his cheeks were slapped, he may have fifth disease. This illness generally affects kids between 5 and 15 years old and is caused by parvovirus B19, says Kimberly Parker, RN, MSN, clinical program manager for illnesses prevention at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. The rash can spread to the trunk and limbs. In most kids, it’s a mild illness and doesn’t require treatment.

Measles

Although relatively rare in the United States thanks to vaccines, measles still affects 10 million people worldwide. The illness is a viral respiratory infection that causes fever, a hacking cough, and a total body rash. Measles can be serious and even fatal. The only way to prevent it is by vaccinating your child with the measles-mumps-rubella immunization (MMR). It’s given in two doses and is sometimes combined with the varicella (chickenpox) vaccine.

Mumps
he MMR vaccine also protects against the mumps, a viral infection that causes headache, loss of appetite, and fever. The most well-known sign of mumps is swollen, painful salivary glands. Mumps is usually not serious inkids, but in some cases, serious complications can occur. Before the introduction of the vaccine in 1967, mumps was a common childhood illness in the United States, causing more than 200,000 cases a year. That number is now less than 1,000 cases annually.

Rubella

MMR also protects against rubella, or German measles. “Rubella is a mild viral infection for children with fever and rash,” says Asta. However, the infection poses a real risk to unborn children. “If a woman who has not been immunized against rubella contracts the infection in early pregnancy, the fetus is at risk for severe congenital defects,” she says. Women who are not immune and are contemplating motherhood should consider getting a rubella virus vaccine at least a month before conception.

Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease

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Ringworm

Despite its name, ringworm is not caused by a worm — it’s a fungal infection. It causes a ring-shaped, itchy rash that can affect the scalp and nails, too. Asta says it is important to get a correct diagnosis, so the right medications are used. “Your pediatrician may be able to recommend an over-the-counter treatment,” she says. Ringworm is very common and contagious, so get it treated and make sure your kids aren’t sharing towels.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is spread to people through bites from infected ticks. One distinctive sign is a bull’s-eye-shaped rash; however, not everyone gets this. Flu-like symptoms occur in early stages. Parker says that, when diagnosed early, the illness is usually successfully treated with antibiotics.Lyme disease is most common in the Northeast and upper Midwest. Using insect repellent with 20 to 30 percent DEET is good protection, but consult your child’s doctor first.
Head Lice
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