Aspirin not only prevents pain but also promotes recovery

According to a new study published online in PNAS, aspirin has a dual role in acting on pain. Not only does it prevent inflammation and pain but also hastens the end of inflammation.

According to the study, the drug kills cyclooxygenase, thus preventing production of the prostaglandins that cause inflammation and pain and also prompts the enzyme to generate another compound that hastens the end of inflammation, returning the affected cells to homeostatic health.  Edward A. Dennis said that aspirin causes the cyclooxygenase to make a small amount of a related product called 15-HETE and during infection and inflammation, the 15-HETE can be converted by a second enzyme into lipoxin, which is known to help reverse inflammation and cause its resolution – a good thing.

Aspirin not only prevents pain but also promotes recovery

The researchers found that macrophages contain the biochemical tools to not just initiate inflammation, a natural part of the immune response, but also to promote recovery from inflammation by releasing 15-HETE and converting it into lipoxin as the inflammation progresses.

Here are some other amazing facts about aspirin you should know:

1. It is the most widely used drug: Aspirin, chemically known as acetylsalicylic acid, is truly a boon to the medical world. This wonder drug was first brought to the pharmaceutical industry in the year 1899, when it was introduced for the treatment of rheumatic fever and gout. Since then it is the most extensively used therapeutic chemical and is still the first choice of treatment for minor pains and fever.

2. Most people take the drug without even realising it:  Most people don’t realise that they are actually taking an aspirin because it is not only found as a single ingredient but is also present in combination with other prescribed and over-the-counter drugs. Most drugs containing aspirin have it labelled as ASA or spelled out as acetylsalicylic acid.

3. It is used for relieving more than 50 symptoms: The role of aspirin in treatment of various conditions has been studied. Aspirin is most commonly used for symptoms like heartburn, fever, arthritis, stomach ache, sleep disorders, migraine headaches and symptoms of common cold.

4. Aspirin could benefit 11 different cancers: Aspirin has a significant ability to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. A new aspirin drug showed to curb the growth of cancer cells including that of colon, pancreatic, lung, prostate, breast and leukemia.

Source: The health site

Why eating with your hands is good for health

Most Indians eat with their hands. But today as we adopt more traditions of the western world, it is common to see people using spoons and forks to eat. But did you know that eating with your hands has a number of health benefits? Here are the top 4 reasons you should start eating with your hands.

Why eating with your hands is good for health

Keeps all your vital life energies in balance: According to Ayurvedic texts, we are all made up of five main pranas or life energies and these five elements correspond to each finger on our hand (your thumb indicates fire, index finger correlates with air, middle finger indicates sky, ring finger stands for earth and little finger indicates water). An imbalance of any one of these elements can lead to diseases. When we eat with our hands we usually join our fingers and thumb to eat, this is actually a mudra that is a form of mudra vigyan, or the study of mudras and their healing power on the body. Therefore when we eat we are putting together all the five elements and energizing the food we eat so it helps us become healthy and keep all our pranas in balance.

Improves digestion: Touch is one of the most strong and often used sensation in the body. When we touch our food with our hands, the brain signals our stomach that we are about to eat. This in turn, readies the stomach to digest the food it will receive, aiding in better digestion.

Promotes mindful eating: Eating with your hands requires you to pay attention to what you are eating. You often need to look at the food and focus on what you are putting into your mouth. Also known as mindful eating, this practice is much more healthier than eating with a fork and spoon that can be done mechanically. Mindful eating has a large number of benefits for your health and one of the most important benefits is the fact that it improves the assimilation of nutrients from the food you eat, enhances digestion and makes you healthier.

Protects your mouth from getting burnt: Your hands also act as a very effective temperature sensor. When you touch food it is easy for you to gauge how hot it actually is, and you are less likely to put food that is too hot into your mouth – effectively preventing you from scalding your tongue.

Source: the health

Why sitting is the new smoking

Why sitting is the new smoking

If we estimate the exact time we spend sitting, it comes to around to about 10-12 hours per day. This includes driving, sitting at your workplace, relaxing at home and other such activities. Thought to be as bad for your health as smoking, the number of hours you spend sitting directly affects your health{1}. So much so, that in her book Don’t Lose Out, Work Out, Rujuta Diwekar mentions that sitting predisposes you to a variety of diseases like diabetes, heart disease, high levels of cholesterol and an overall sluggish system.

Sit at your own risk!

Sitting for long hours can lead to certain disorders like chronic fatigue syndrome accompanied by anemia, insomnia, digestive problems, lethargy, etc. Apart from that, it may also give rise to inactivity stress syndrome –a condition where a person suffers from stress without doing any work. Also read how sitting can lead to excessive accumulation of fat around your hips.

At the work place, a sedentary lifestyle is accompanied with bad dietary habits like eating junk food, irregular eating habits or eating on the run and drinking unhealthy beverages like tea, coffee or soft drinks. This completely upsets your normal metabolic function which may lead to conditions like acidity, constipation, ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome.

Can lead to spinal problems

The way you sit or your posture can be one of the causes for spinal problems or common pains along the neck, shoulders and lower back. Bad posture or sitting the wrong way can lead to muscle strain and eventually severe back problems. Apart from that, you could also suffer from muscle and bone loss as well. This problem is no more unique to the elderly, experts have found that even in teenagers; continuous sitting can be a reason for muscle pain and bone loss. Read more about yoga asanas to strengthen your spine.

Another major ill effect of sitting is obesity. Sitting is known to lead to accumulation of belly fat, thereby increasing the amount of bad cholesterol in your body. This in turn leads to diabetes and heart problems.

Tips to keep the ill-effects of sitting at bay:

While watching TV, take a short walk during the commercial breaks. Alternatively you can choose to finish some work between your regular TV shows. While at work, take short walks either around your office or outside. This will not only help you relax and refresh your mind but will keep you fit as well.

Make your food habits healthier. Avoid eating junk food and try some healthy snack options instead.
Practice relaxing and stretching exercises like yoga, which can be done while sitting at home or even in the office. Read more about yoga poses you can practice at your workplace.

Source: The health site

Medicines for cough and cold

Medicines for cough and coldHaving cough and cold is probably one of the most annoying conditions to have. But you don’t have to necessarily suffer through it. There are medicines that can help you deal with the symptoms and infection, if any.

For colds:

Colds are most often caused due to a viral infection and one is usually affected when their immune system is weak. Cold spreads easily from one person to another; it is not uncommon to see many people suffering from one simultaneously. According to Dr Pradip Shah, consultant, Fortis, Mulund, ‘In case of a cold, a patient usually is advised enough rest and to drink a lot of fluids. Apart from that they can try steam inhalation as this will help unblock their nose and chest making breathing easy. If the discomfort is very severe, one can opt for OTC (over-the-counter) nasal saline sprays or decongestant nasal sprays. In some cases, a cold may lead to sinusitis ( a condition where the lining of the sinuses – spaces present above your eyebrows, below your eyes and on either side of your nose – gets infected and becomes inflamed. This leads to collection of fluid in those areas causing pain and discomfort). Here patient is usually prescribed pain killers, antibiotics (if the cause of the sinusitis is due to a bacterial infection) and anti-inflammatory agents such as fluticasone.’

For a cough: Cough is a condition that is most often triggered either by an infectious agent or an allergen and is divided into two main types – wet or productive cough and dry cough. Easily discernible from each other a wet and a dry cough do require specific treatments.

For dry cough: According to Dr Pradip Shah, ‘A dry cough brought on due to allergies is usually treated with antihistamines. These drugs help in controlling the allergic reaction in the body and lead to relief in cough.’ Apart from that a person with a dry cough will be most likely prescribed a cough syrup to help soothe his/her throat and to help suppress their cough reflex.

According to Dr Mehul Thakkar, pulmonologist practicing at various hospitals in Mumbai, ‘Though finding the root cause of the cough is a key to treating it completely, certain home remedies and OTC medication can give some symptomatic relief. Steam inhalation moistens the airways and helps relieve a sore and irritated throat. Other remedies include using lozenges to soothe the throat and OTC cough syrups specifically formulated to treat a dry cough. In cases where the cough is due to an infection or allergy, one may be prescribed antibiotics and anti-histamines respectively to relieve the associated symptoms. If the patient’s condition worsens it may be necessary to use a nebulizer, which is a method to help the patient breath easily by dilating the bronchioles.’

Antihistamines work by blocking the combination of histamines (compounds produced by the body in response to an allergic reaction) with their receptors in the body. By doing so they prevent the body from launching an attack on an allergen. Although these pills are highly effective in stopping an allergic reaction they do have certain side effects{3} like drowsiness, stomach aches, dizziness, confusion, muscle weakness, tremors. These drugs are also contraindicated in cases where a person is required to perform activities requiring alertness, in a pregnant or lactating woman, in children below 12 years, in people suffering from prostate enlargement, glaucoma, heart disease and peptic ulcers as the drug can increase the severity of symptoms. People who have consumed alcohol should also avoid antihistamines since they further the sedative effect of alcohol. And finally, antihistamines should be avoided in cases where the person is already taking other sedative drugs.

Bronchodilators are specifically used for asthmatics and in those people who have severe chest congestion that prevents them from breathing effectively. They work by helping the muscles around your airways to relax and help ease breathing. Bronchodilators can cause dryness in the mouth and throat, irritation in the throat and mouth (after using inhalers), nervousness, restlessness and trembling.

Productive cough: In the case of productive cough, an expectorant cough syrup works well to relieve the symptoms by reducing congestion due to mucus in the lungs. In addition, the cause of the cough is treated. According to Dr Pradip Shah, ‘If a productive cough is due to a bacterial infection then a patient is usually prescribed antibiotics. On further examination if one is diagnosed with pneumonia or tuberculosis then he/she will be prescribed pneumonia or TBspecificmedication and drugs to fight the infection.’

Cough caused due to asthma: ‘In the case of people with asthma, a cough is usually because they are unable to breathe. Therefore for such patients a doctor will normally prescribe bronchodilators and corticosteroids. Both these drugs help the person breathe more easily and prevent the onset of another asthmatic attack,’ says Dr Shah.

Source: the health site

Heal mouth ulcers naturally with honey


Mouth ulcers are really painful and can even affect your eating and talking ability. Most of the times they go away on their own but if they are totally ruining your daily life, try this effective home remedy for ulcers – honey.

We all know that honey is anti-bacterial in nature. But it does not work like an antibiotic drug. Honey’s anti-bacterial property is attributed to its highly hygroscopic nature. This means that it has a special property of absorbing water molecules or retaining moisture from the environment. As a result, bacteria that might have caused infection, resulting in ulcers, get killed due to dehydration. Apart from that, it also has a high sugar content which is detrimental to the growth of microbes. It helps in reduction of scarring of the ulcer and stimulates the process of new tissue growth. This, along with its anti-microbial property makes sure that your mouth ulcer heals quickly.

Tip to use honey for ulcers: Dab a little honey onto the area having the mouth ulcer. Alternatively, you can mix a little turmeric with honey and make a paste to apply it directly on the affected area. Here’s another effective remedy for your ulcer: Chew tulsi leaves to get rid of mouth ulcers.
Source: the health site

Good health tip: Use methi seeds to banish dandruff


Methi or fenugreek seeds and leaves alike are common additions to an Indian diet. But this tiny brown seed is not simply a condiment. Packed with amazing health benefits, right from being able to increase the production of breast milk to helping in digestion, methi seeds have a number of health benefits. Packed with proteins, fibre, vitamin C, niacin, potassium, iron and alkaloids, methi contains a compound diosgenin which has oestrogen-like properties, as well as steroidal saponins. Known as a common natural method to delay the graying of hair, methi is the perfect antidote against stubborn hair related conditions like dandruff.

A potent anti-bacterial and anti fungal agent, methi helps to get rid of dandruff permanently and prevents it from recurring. Apart from that, methi also helps keep your hair shiny and conditioned due to the nourishing activity it has on your scalp.

Here is how you can use methi to beat dandruff:

Soak methi seeds in some water overnight (the amount of methi seeds you take depends on the thickness and length of your hair). After they have been soaked for at least eight hours, grind them to make a paste. Now apply this paste on your scalp and leave it in for half an hour. Next, wash your hair and scalp well with reetha or soapnut powder.

To keep dandruff at bay, you can also choose to use methi leaves instead of methi seeds. Crush the leaves and apply this on your hair half-an-hour before you wash your hair. Practice this regularly and you should see the results in about one month.

Source: the health site

Can curd help treat acidity?


Acidity is a common problem that affects everyone at some point in life. And many of you must have heard that curd is a good solution for dealing with recurring bouts of acidity and heart burn. Let’s find out if actually holds any truth.

Acidity is caused when the stomach starts overproducing gastric acids that instead of helping in digestion of food cause problems like heartburn, burning sensation in the stomach and belching. Now, if you’re suffering from these symptoms, consuming something spicy and hard to digest can exert stress on your digestive system, increasing your acidity and reflux symptoms.

Curd is a dairy product obtained by coagulation of milk. Milk has a high amount of calcium in it that prevents build up of acid by eliminating the excess amount, making it an efficient home remedy for acidity. Other nutrients present in curd are easily digestible. Additionally, curd also helps in absorbing nutrients from other foods you eat, promoting healthy digestion. Curd contains probiotics, useful bacteria that help digestion. A study even showed that curd may cure infection caused by the bacteria Helicobacter Pylori, the most common cause of acidity due to stomach infection.

Source: the health site

Revealed – how a father’s drinking habits can affect his son


Do you regularly drink to excess? Even before conception, a son’s vulnerability for alcohol use disorders could be shaped by a father who chronically drinks to excess, a significant study indicates. ‘It is possible for alcohol to modify the dad’s otherwise normal genes and influence consumption in his sons, but surprisingly not his daughters,’ said senior investigator Gregg Homanics, a professor at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in the US.

In lab settings, male mice that were chronically exposed to alcohol before breeding had male offspring that were less likely to consume alcohol and were more sensitive to its effects. Previous human studies indicate that alcoholism can run in families, particularly father to son, but to date only a few gene variants have been associated with ‘Alcohol Use Disorder’ and they account for only a small fraction of the risk of inheriting the problem, Homanics said.

‘We examined whether a father’s exposure to alcohol could alter expression of the genes he passed down to his children,’ Homanics added. For the study, researchers chronically exposed male mice over five weeks to intermittent ethanol vapour, leading to blood alcohol levels slightly higher than the legal limit for human drivers. Then, they mated them to females who had not been exposed to alcohol.

Compared to those of ethanol-free sires, adult male offspring of ethanol-exposed mice consumed less alcohol when it was made available and were less likely to choose to drink it over water. The researchers plan to examine other drinking models such as binge drinking, identify how alcohol modifies the genes and explore why female offspring appear unaffected.

Source: health site