31 May 2009

Curry leaves Fights Tooth Decay

The curry leaf tree (Murraya Koenigii spreng – a green leafy vegetable) is grown all over India and other countries for its aromatic leaves which are used daily as an ingredient in Indian cuisine.

The fresh curry leaves contain 2.6% volatile essential oils (containing sesquiterpenes and monoterpenes) and the essential oils in the curry leaves are sufficiently soluble in water.

They contain 21000mug total carotene, 7100mug beta carotene, 93.9mug total folic acid, 0.21mg riboflavin, 0.93mg iron, 830mg calcium, 57mg phosphorus and 0.20mg zinc per 100g.

The cold extract of curry leaves (10g of cut fresh curry leaves in 200ml of distilled water) has a pH of 6.3 to 6.4. (unpublished personal observations). Chlorophyll has been proposed as an anticariogenic agent and it also helps to reduce halitosis8.

We have observed that holding curry leaves in the mouth for 5 to 7 minutes is helpful in reducing halitosis and that the terpenes have been found to reduce airborne chemicals and bacteria.

In addition to the presence of EO, the curry leaves contain chlorophyll, beta carotene and folic acid, riboflavin, calcium and zinc and all these can act on the oral tissues and help in keeping up good oral health. Chewing 2 to 4 fresh curry leaves with 10 to 15mls water in the mouth, swishing for 5 to 7 minutes and rinsing the mouth out with water can be of help in keeping good oral hygiene and as the curry leaf is a green leafy vegetable it will be safe and cheap to use as mouthwash.


23 May 2009

Eat Indian curry to lose weight

Eating lots of curry may help you lose weight, research suggests.

Scientists believe that haldi, or turmeric, which is used in most Indian meals, has an active ingredient that can help fight obesity.

A meal that includes haldi will lead to less weight gain than one without the yellow powder.

This is because haldi contains a plant-based chemical called curcumin which suppresses the growth of fat tissue in mice and human cell cultures, according to a study by Tufts University in Boston, published in the Journal of Nutrition.

Curcumin is also easily absorbed by the body, the researchers said, after experiments on mice.

"Weight gain is the result of the growth and expansion of fat tissue, which cannot happen unless new blood vessels form, a process known as angiogenesis," said senior study author Mohsen Meydani of the Jean Mayer U.S. Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts.

"Based on our data, curcumin appears to suppress angiogenic activity in the fat tissue of mice fed high fat diets," he said in a statement.

In particular, turmeric is effective when added to a high-fat meal, suggesting it could help fight obesity.

Researchers gave one set of mice high-fat diets and another set the same food with 500mg of curcumin added to each meal.

After 12 weeks, the mice which were fed curcumin weighed less than those which did not eat it.

The next step will be to perform clinical trials on humans, said the researchers.


16 May 2009

Soybeans Grow Where Nuclear Waste Glows

Photo: Soybeans growing near the Chernobyl nuclear reactor.

Soy crops are so tough they can flourish in the contaminated soil around Chernobyl and produce healthy offspring.

If scientists can understand how plants survive in ultra-hostile environments, it will help them engineer super hearty plants to withstand drought conditions or grow on marginal cropland.

“The fact that plants were able to adapt to the area of the world’s largest nuclear accident, is very encouraging,” says Martin Hajduch, a plant biotechnology expert at the Slovak Academy of Sciences and coauthor of the study in the Journal of Proteome Research. “So we were interested to know how plants can do such a job.”

Hajduch’s team built and harvested seeds from a garden near the village of Chistogalovka, which is roughly five kilometers from the ruined nuclear power plant. They analyzed the seeds with all sorts of modern proteomics tricks, going a step beyond the narrowly-focused studies that other scientists have done.

Biologists have been studying the effects of radiation on plants for decades, and they have identified a handful of proteins that seem to protect crops from genetic damage, but this is the first time that anyone has taken a snapshot of everything that’s going on inside of Chernobyl-grown vegetables.

The Slovak scientists started by freezing each seed with liquid nitrogen and crushing it to extract a mix of proteins. Then they sorted those molecules in an electrified block of gel, and identified each one with a mass spectrometer. As a reference, they did the same thing to seeds from a garden 100 kilometers from the disaster area.

Hajduch learned that the contaminated plants make a lot of changes to defend themselves, adjusting the levels of dozens of proteins that also guard against disease, heavy metals, and salt. All of that makes sense, but the biggest difference between plants from the wasteland and the controls was somewhat surprising. The levels of hundreds of proteins that are known for their ability to shuttle other proteins around — or lock them up in storage — had been lowered.

As a result of those adjustments, the levels of Cesium-137 in the beans was remarkably low. The plants are healthy and fertile, but definitely not safe to eat. Hajduch says that he will complete a study of their progeny soon, but he wouldn’t want to make them into tofu.


Biotech Career | Pharmacy Career | Biotech Jobs | Chemistry Career | Jobs India