Iceland Moss

Iceland Moss

Iceland moss (Cetraria islandica) is a lichen (a moss-like plant) that grows on the ground in mountains, forests, and arctic areas. In addition to Iceland, the lichen is found in Scandinavia, Great Britain, North America, Russia, and other areas in the Northern Hemisphere. Iceland moss also grows in Antarctica.

The plant’s thallus (shoot) curls from 1–4 in (2.5–10 cm) tall. The dried thallus is used as an herbal remedy. Iceland moss is also known as Iceland lichen, cetraria, fucus, muscus, and eryrngo-leaved (spiny-leaf) liverwort.

General use

Iceland moss is rich in calcium, iodine, potassium, phosphorous, and vitamins. The lichen is a bitter-tasting plant that is said to smell like seaweed when it is wet. Despite these unappetizing characteristics, Iceland moss has long been used in Scandinavia and Europe as a food source and a remedy for numerous conditions.

Ignatia


Ignatia is a homeopathic remedy that is derived from the bean of a small tree that is native to the Philippine Islands and China. The tree belongs to the Loganiaceae family, and has long, twining, smooth branches.

On the branches grows a fruit that is the size and shape of a pear. Inside the fruit are almond-shaped seeds, or beans, that have a fine, downy covering and are blackish gray or clear brown in color.

The Latin name is Ignatius amara, amara being the Latin work for bitter. The bean was named after St. Ignatius Loyola, a Spanish Jesuit who was responsible for bringing the beans to Europe from the Philippines in the seventeenth century.

Infant Massage

Infant Massage
Infant Massage

Infant massage refers to massage therapy as specifically applied to infants. In most cases, oil or lotion is used as it would be on an adult subject by a trained and licensed massage therapist. Medical professionals caring for infants might also use massage techniques on infants born prematurely, on those with motor or gastrointestinal problems, or on those who have been exposed to cocaine in utero.

The practice of massaging infants dates back to ancient times, particularly in Asian and Pacific Island cultures; that is, massage was a component of the baby’s regular bath routine among the Maoris and Hawaiians. Touch in these cultures is considered healthful both physically and spiritually.

In the West, however, infant massage has received more attention in recent years in conjunction with the popularity of natural childbirth and midwife-assisted births. Dr. Frédéric Leboyer, a French physician who was one of the leaders of the natural childbirth movement, helped to popularize infant massage through his photo-journalistic book on the Indian art of baby massage.

Infertility

Infertility

Infertility is the failure of a couple to conceive a pregnancy after trying to do so for at least one full year. In primary infertility, pregnancy has never occurred. In secondary infertility, one or both members of the couple have previously conceived, but are unable to conceive again after a full year of trying.

Approximately 20% of couples struggle with infertility at any given time. Infertility has increased as a problem over the last 30 years. Some studies blame this increase on social phenomena, including the tendency for marriage and starting a family to occur at a later age. For women, fertility decreases with increasing age:
  • Infertility in married women ages 16–20 = 4.5%.
  • Infertility in married women ages 35–40 = 31.8%.
  • Infertility in married women over the age of 40 = 70%.

Presently, individuals often have several sexual partners before they marry and try to have children. This increase in numbers of sexual partners has led to an increase in sexually transmitted diseases.

Hiccups

Hiccups

Hiccups are the result of an involuntary, spasmodic contraction of the diaphragm followed by the closing of the throat.

Virtually everyone experiences hiccups, but they rarely last long or require a doctor’s care. Occasionally, a bout of hiccups will last longer than two days, earning it the name “persistent hiccups.” Very few people will experience intractable hiccups, in which hiccups last longer than one month.

A hiccup involves the coordinated action of the diaphragm and the muscles that close off the windpipe (trachea). The diaphragm is a dome-shaped muscle separating the chest and abdomen. It is normally responsible for expanding the chest cavity for inhalation.

High-fiber Diet

High-fiber Diet
High-fiber Diet

Fiber is the material that gives plants texture and support. Dietary fiber is found in many plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and whole grains. Although fiber is primarily made up of carbohydrates, it does not have a lot of calories and usually is not broken down by the body for energy. Fiber is sometimes called roughage.

There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fiber, as the name implies, does not dissolve in water because it contains high amounts of cellulose. Insoluble fiber is found in grain brans, fruit pulp, and vegetable peels or skins. Soluble fiber is the type of fiber that dissolves in water. It can be found in a variety of such fruits, grains, and vegetables as apples, oatmeal and oat bran, rye flour and dried beans.

Although the two types of fiber share some common characteristics such as being partially digested in the stomach and intestines and being low in calories, each type has its own specific health benefits. Insoluble fiber speeds up the movement of foods through the digestive system and adds bulk to the stools; it helps to treat constipation or diarrhea and prevents colon cancer.

High Sensitivity C-reactive Protein Test

C-reactive Protein
C-reactive Protein

The high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) test is a blood assay used to estimate an individual’s risk for heart disease and stroke. The test also measures the presence of inflammation or infection.

In the late twentieth century, the primary methods of measuring a person’s risk of heart disease included traditional factors such as age, family history of heart disease or stroke, past heart disease, smoking, obesity, and tests that measured lipids in the bloodstream, including low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Low-density lipoproteins (“bad” cholesterol) were previously considered the gold standard in risk factor prediction.

In the 1990s and early twenty-first century, several new tests came into widespread use. These tests are considered better predictors of heart disease risk. They include blood tests to measure the levels of homocysteine, lipoprotein(a), fibrinogen, and highly sensitive C-reactive protein. They are called emerging or nontraditional risk factors.