Hyssop

Hyssop

Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) is a member of the Lamiaceae or mint family. This aromatic evergreen, classified by botanists as a sub-shrub, should not be confused with several distinct species of plants also called hyssop, including giant hyssop, hedge hyssop, prairie hyssop, or wild hyssop.

Hyssop is native to southern Europe and Asia. The London surgeon and apothecary John Gerard, author of the Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes, brought hyssop to England in 1597.

The attractive herb soon became a component in many ornamental knot gardens. The sun-loving hyssop has naturalized throughout North America, and grows wild in chalky soil and on dry and rocky slopes in the Mediterranean.

Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia
Hypoglycemia

The condition called hypoglycemia is literally translated as low blood sugar. Hypoglycemia occurs when blood sugar (or blood glucose) concentrations fall below a level necessary to properly support the body’s need for energy and stability throughout its cells.

Carbohydrates are the main dietary source of the glucose that is manufactured in the liver and absorbed into the bloodstream to fuel the body’s cells and organs. Glucose concentration is controlled by hormones, primarily insulin and glucagon. Glucose concentration is also controlled by epinephrine (adrenalin) and norepinephrine, as well as growth hormone.

If these regulators are not working properly, levels of blood sugar can become either excessive (as in hyperglycemia) or inadequate (as in hypoglycemia). If a person has a blood sugar level of 50 mg/dl or less, he or she is considered hypoglycemic, although glucose levels vary widely from one person to another.

Hypoglycemia can occur in several ways.

Hypothermia

Hypothermia

The sustained loss of body heat resulting in low body temperature. Hypothermia occurs with extended exposure to cold external temperatures. Cool, wet conditions may also result in hypothermia.

The key symptom of mild hypothermia, in which body temperature is no lower than 95ºF, is intense shivering. Attempt to warm the person getting him or her into a warm location, removing wet clothing and wrapping in warm blankets, and offering warm fluids to drink.

When body temperature drops below 95ºF in moderate hypothermia, the body loses the ability to shiver and the rate of heat loss increases. hearth rate slows, blood pressure drops, and metabolism slows.

Indigestion

Indigestion
Indigestion

Indigestion, which is sometimes called dyspepsia, is a general term covering a group of nonspecific symptoms in the digestive tract. It is often described as a feeling of fullness, bloating, nausea, heartburn, or gassy discomfort in the chest or abdomen. The symptoms develop during meals or shortly afterward. In most cases, indigestion is a minor problem that often clears up without professional treatment.

Indigestion or dyspepsia is a widespread condition, estimated to occur in 25% of the adult population of the United States. Most people with indigestion do not feel sick enough to see a doctor; nonetheless, it is a common reason for office visits. About 3% of visits to primary care doctors are for indigestion.

Causes and symptoms

Physical causes

The symptoms associated with indigestion have a variety of possible physical causes, ranging from commonplace food items to serious systemic disorders:
Diet. Milk, milk products, alcoholic beverages, tea, and coffee cause indigestion in some people because they stimulate the stomach’s production of acid.

Impetigo

Impetigo
Impetigo

Impetigo is a contagious bacterial infection of the skin. It primarily afflicts children and the elderly. Ecthyma is a more severe form of impetigo with sores affecting a deeper layer of the skin. It often leaves scarring and discoloration of the skin.

The first sign of impetigo is a clear, fluid-filled bump, called a vesicle, which appears on the skin. The vesicle soon dries out and develops a scab-like, honey-colored crust, which breaks open and leaks fluid. These vesicles usually appear grouped closely together, and they may spread out and cover a large area of the skin.

Impetigo often affects the area around the nose and mouth; however, it can spread to anywhere on the skin, but especially the arms and legs, as well as the diaper areas of infants. The condition called ecthyma is a form of impetigo in which the sores that develop are larger, filled with pus, and covered with brownish-black scabs that may lead to scarring. Impetigo infections most commonly occur during warmer weather.

Impotence

Impotence
Impotence

Impotence, also known as erectile dysfunction, is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection long enough to engage in sexual intercourse.

Under normal circumstances, when a man is sexually stimulated, his brain sends a message down the spinal cord and into the nerves of the penis. The nerve endings in the penis release chemical messengers, called neurotransmitters, that signal the arteries that supply blood to the corpora cavernosa (the two spongy rods of tissue that span the length of the penis) to relax and fill with blood.

As they expand, the corpora cavernosa close off other veins that would normally drain blood from the penis. As the penis becomes engorged with blood, it enlarges and stiffens, causing an erection. Problems with blood vessels, nerves, or tissues of the penis can interfere with an erection.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is the general name for ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. The disease is characterized by swelling, ulcerations, and loss of function of the intestines.

The primary problem in IBD is inflammation, as the name suggests. Inflammation is a process that often occurs to fight off foreign invaders in the body, including viruses, bacteria, and fungi. In response to such organisms, the body’s immune system begins to produce a variety of cells and chemicals intended to stop the invasion.

These immune cells and chemicals, however, also have direct effects on the body’s tissues, resulting in heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. No one knows what starts the cycle of inflammation in IBD, but the result is a swollen, boggy intestine.


Infections

Infections
Infections

An infection is a condition in which viruses, bacteria, fungi, or parasites enter the body and cause a state of disease. Such invaders are called pathogens. They damage cells of the body by adhering to and damaging the cell walls, releasing toxic substances or causing allergic reactions.

The body has a set series of responses to infection, which mostly involve body chemicals, body tissues, and the immune system. It was recently reported that infection is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States and kills more people than cancer and heart disease combined.

Pathogens are everywhere in a person’s daily environment: They may enter the body through breathing, ingested food or water, sexual contact, open wounds, or contact with contaminated objects. Having entered the body, pathogens begin to reproduce.

Influenza

Kid with influenza
Kid with influenza

Usually referred to as the flu or grippe, influenza is a highly infectious respiratory disease. Its name comes from the Italian word for “influence,” because people in eighteenth-century Europe thought that the disease was caused by the influence of bad weather. We now know that flu is caused by a virus.

When the influenza virus is inhaled, it attacks cells in the upper respiratory tract, causing such typical flu symptoms as fatigue, fever and chills, a hacking cough, and body aches. Although the stomach or intestinal “flu” is commonly blamed for stomach upsets and diarrhea, the influenza virus affects humans less often than is commonly believed.

Influenza is considerably more debilitating than the common cold. Influenza outbreaks occur suddenly, and infection spreads rapidly. The annual death toll attributable to influenza and its complications averages 20,000 in the United States alone. In the 1918-1919 Spanish flu pandemic, the death toll reached a staggering 20–40 million worldwide. Approximately 500,000 of these fatalities occurred in North America.

Ingrown Nail

Ingrown Nail
Ingrown Nail

Ingrown nail refers to the condition in which the edge of a nail cuts into the adjacent skin fold, causing pain, redness, and swelling.

Ingrown nail (onychocryptosis) occurs when the nail plate (the horny covering) grows into and cuts the skin alongside the nail (lateral nail fold). Ingrown toenails make up 3–5% of all foot problems. Most cases of ingrown nail occur in men between the ages of 10–30 years.

In this age group, males are affected twice as often as females. In older adults, the incidence is equal. There are three major types of ingrown nail: subcutaneous ingrown nail, in which the nail grows under the skin; over-curvature of the nail plate; and hypertrophy (overgrowth) of the lateral nail fold.

Insomnia

Insomnia
Insomnia

Insomnia is the inability to obtain an adequate amount or quality of sleep. The difficulty can be in falling asleep, remaining asleep, or both. People with insomnia do not feel refreshed when they wake up. Insomnia is a common symptom affecting millions of people that may be caused by many conditions, diseases, or circumstances.

According to a 1999 American Medical Association (AMA) report, approximately 30% of adults in the United States suffer occasionally from insomnia and 10% experience chronic insomnia.

Sleep is essential for mental and physical restoration. It is a cycle with two separate states: rapid eye movement (REM), the stage in which most dreaming occurs; and non-REM (NREM).

Insulin Resistance


Insulin resistance is a condition in which cells, particularly those of muscle, fat, and liver tissue, display “resistance” to insulin by failing to take up and utilize glucose for energy and metabolism (insulin normally promotes take up and utilization of blood glucose from the blood stream).

In its early stages, the condition is asymptomatic, but may develop into Type II Diabetes. Although there are several established risk factors, the underlying cause is unknown.

It has been estimated that 30 to 33 million Americans are insulin resistant, and the number appears to be increasing.

Iodine

Iodine
Iodine

Iodine is a trace mineral required for human life. Humans require iodine for proper physical and mental development. It impacts cell respiration, metabolism of energy and nutrients, functioning of nerves and muscles, differentiation of the fetus, growth and repair of tissues, and the condition of skin, hair, teeth, and nails.

Iodine is also needed for the production of thyroid hormones. The thyroid (a small gland in the front of the neck), which contains 80% of the body’s iodine pool, converts iodine into the thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). These hormones are released into the bloodstream, controlling the body’s metabolism.

General use

As established by the National Research Council’s Food and Nutrition Board, the revised 1989 Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for iodine is 40 mcg for infants, increasing to 150 mcg for adults and children age 11 and older. The RDA for pregnant and lactating women increases to 175 and 200 mcg respectively.

Ipecac

Ipecac (Cephalis ipecacuanha)
Ipecac (Cephalis ipecacuanha)

There are two categories of ipecac preparations— a syrup used in standard medical practice and a homeopathic remedy. They are given for different purposes. The medicinal effects of ipecac were recognized centuries ago by the Portuguese who settled in South America.

They found a plant that can make people vomit and appropriately named it Cephalis ipecacuanha, meaning sick-making plant. Nowadays, ipecac is used to treat a variety of conditions. Its most widely accepted use is to induce vomiting in cases of accidental poisoning.

When ipecac is swallowed, a substance in it called cephaeline irritates the stomach and causes vomiting. Syrup of ipecac is now considered the safest drug to treat poisoning and is often the most effective.

Ipriflavone

Ipriflavone
Ipriflavone

Ipriflavone (IP), also called ipraflavone, is a massproduced synthetic derivative of genistein (genistin) or daidzein. Genistein and daidzein are unique plant compounds called isoflavones, which are primarily found in soy products. Isoflavones belong to a larger category known as flavonoids, which are natural plant components that have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergy, and anticancer properties.

Although most soy isoflavones are classified as plant estrogens (phytoestrogens), ipriflavone does not have estrogenic activity, and does not activate any estrogen receptors in the body. However, it may prevent or treat bone loss—osteoporosis—associated with menopause (the cessation of menstruation) and aging.

Ipriflavone contains three carbon rings. Its chemical names are:
  • 7-isopropoxyisoflavone
  • 7-isopropoxy-3-phenyl-4H-1-benzopyran-4-one
  • 7-(1-methylethoxy)-3-phenyl-4H-1-benzopyran-4-one
  • 7-isopropoxy-3-phenylchromone

Iridology

Iridology
Iridology

Iridology, also called iris analysis or iris diagnosis, is the study of the iris (the colored part of the eye). Iris “readings” are made by iridologists to assess a person’s health picture (physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual) and guide them to take measures to improve their health.

The basic concept of iridology has existed for centuries. The medical school of the University of Salerno in Italy offered training in iris diagnosis. A book published by Philippus Meyers in 1670, called Chiromatica medica, noted that signs in the iris indicate diseases.

Dr. Ignatz von Peczely, however, is generally considered the father of iridology, with the date of his discovery given as 1861. Von Peczely was a Hungarian physician. As a child, he accidentally broke an owl’s leg. He observed that a black line formed in the owl’s lower iris at the time of the injury.

Iron

Iron

Iron is a mineral that the human body uses to produce the red blood cells (hemoglobin) that carry oxygen throughout the body. It is also stored in myoglobin, an oxygen-carrying protein in the muscles that fuels cell growth.

Iron is abundant in red meats, vegetables, and other foods, and a well-balanced diet can usually provide an adequate supply of the mineral. But when there is insufficient iron from dietary sources, or as a result of blood loss in the body, the amount of hemoglobin in the bloodstream is reduced and oxygen cannot be efficiently transported to tissues and organs throughout the body.

The resulting condition is known as iron-deficiency anemia, and is characterized by fatigue, shortness of breath, pale skin, concentration problems, dizziness, a weakened immune system, and energy loss.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome


Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common intestinal condition characterized by abdominal pain and cramps; changes in bowel movements (diarrhea, constipation, or both); gassiness; bloating; nausea; and other symptoms.

There is no recognized cure for IBS. Much about the condition remains unknown or poorly understood; however, dietary changes, drugs, and psychological treatment are often able to eliminate or substantially reduce its symptoms.

IBS is the name people use today for a condition that was once called colitis, spastic colon, nervous colon, spastic bowel, and functional bowel disorder. Some of these names reflected the now-outdated belief that IBS is a purely psychological disorder and a product of the patient’s imagination.

Ischemia

Ischemia
Ischemia

Ischemia is an insufficient supply of oxygenated blood to an organ, usually due to a blocked artery.

Myocardial ischemia is an intermediate condition in coronary artery disease during which the heart tissue is slowly or suddenly starved of oxygen and other nutrients. Eventually, the affected heart tissue will die.

When blood flow is completely blocked to the heart, ischemia can lead to a heart attack. Ischemia can be silent or symptomatic. According to the American Heart Association, up to four million Americans may have silent ischemia and be at high risk of having a heart attack with no warning.

Itching

Itching
Itching

Itching is an intense, distracting irritation or tickling sensation that may be felt all over the skin’s surface or confined to just one area. The medical term for itching is pruritus.

Itching leads most people instinctively to scratch the affected area. Different people can tolerate different amounts of itching, and anyone’s threshold of tolerance can be changed due to stress, emotions, and other factors.

In general, itching is more severe if the skin is warm, and if there are few distractions. This is why people tend to notice itching more at night.

Jaundice

Jaundice

Jaundice is a condition in which a person’s skin and the whites of the eyes are discolored yellow due to an increased level of bile pigments in the blood resulting from liver disease. Jaundice is sometimes called icterus, from a Greek word for “the condition.”

In order to understand jaundice, it is useful to know about the role of the liver in producing bile. The most important function of the liver is the metabolic processing of chemical waste products like cholesterol, and excreting them into the intestines as bile.

The liver is the premier chemical factory in the body—most incoming and outgoing chemicals pass through it. It is the first stop for all nutrients, toxins, and drugs absorbed by the digestive tract.

Jet lag

Jet lag
Jet lag

Jet lag is a condition marked by fatigue, insomnia, and irritability that is caused by air travel through changing time zones. It is commonplace: a 2002 study of international business travelers (IBTs) found that jet lag was one of the most common health problems reported, affecting as many as 74% of IBTs.

Living organisms are accustomed to periods of night and day alternating at set intervals. Most of the human body’s regulating hormones follow this cycle, known as circadian rhythm.

The word circadian comes from the Latin, circa, meaning about, and dies, meaning day. These cycles are not exactly 24 hours long, hence the “circa.” Each chemical has its own cycle of highs and lows, interacting with and influencing the other cycles.

Jock itch

Jock itch
Jock itch

Also known as tinea cruris, jock itch is a growth of fungus in the warm, moist area of the groin.

Fungal infections are named for the affected part of the body. Cruris is derived from the Latin word for leg, hence Tinea cruris, for the fungal rash affecting the area where the leg joins the pelvis. Fungi seem to thrive in dark moist places.

Jock itch has been found most often in males, especially those who wear athletic equipment and frequently use public showers and locker rooms. It is also thought that some fungal infections may be spread by towels that may be inadequately cleansed between gym/spa users, but this has not been clearly documented.

Jojoba Oil

Jojoba shrub
Jojoba shrub

Jojoba (pronounced ho-ho-ba) oil is a vegetable oil obtained from the crushed bean of the jojoba shrub (Simmondsia chinenis). The jojoba shrub is native to the Sonoran Desert of northwestern Mexico and neighboring regions in Arizona and southern California. It grows in dense stands throughout that region.

The woody evergreen shrub may reach 15 ft (4.5 m) in height. Jojoba has flat gray-green leathery leaves and a deep root system that make it well adapted to desert heat and drought. It has a life span of 100–200 years, depending on environmental conditions.

Jojoba grows best in areas with 10–18 in (25–45 cm) of annual rainfall where temperatures seldom fall below 25°F (-4°C) for more than a few hours at night. It can grow on many types of soils, including porous rocks, in slightly acid to alkaline soils, and on mountain slopes or in valleys.

Journal Therapy

Journal Therapy

Journal therapy is the purposeful and intentional use of a written record of one’s own thoughts or feelings to further psychological healing and personal growth. It is often used as an adjunct to many psychotherapy and recovery programs.

Healthcare practitioners maintain that written expression fills a very important role in the therapeutic process by providing a mechanism of emotional expression in circumstances in which interpersonal expression is not possible or viable.

Origins

People have kept journals and diaries to record dreams, memories, and thoughts since ancient times. Emotional expression has also long held a central role in the study and practice of psychology.

Juice Therapies

Juice Therapies
Juice therapies

Juice therapy involves the consumption of the juice of raw fruit or vegetables. A person may drink juice preventively to stay healthy, to treat a medical condition like cancer, or to produce a certain outcome, such as strengthening the immune system.

Three widely practiced juice therapies differ primarily in the amount of time that a person is involved in the therapy and whether other items are included in the person’s diet.

For some people, adding fresh juice to their daily meal plan is sufficient. Others will embark on a juice fast for several days to cleanse their systems. Juice is also a major component of the so-called Gerson therapy diet that is used to treat cancer. This therapy usually starts with a stay of three to eight weeks in a clinic. Then therapy continues at home and may continue for years.

Juniper

Juniper (Juniperus communis)
Juniper (Juniperus communis)

Juniper (Juniperus communis) is an evergreen shrub found on mountains and heaths throughout Europe, Southwest Asia, and North America. The tree grows to a height of 6-25 ft (2-8 m) and has stiff, pointed needles that grow to 0.4 in (1 cm) long. The female bears cones that produce small round bluish-black berries, which take three years to fully mature.

Juniper belongs to the pine family (Cupressaceae). Juniper has diuretic, antiseptic, stomachic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antirheumatic properties. The tree’s therapeutic properties stem from a volatile oil found in the berries. This oil contains terpenes, flavonoid glycosides, tannins, sugar, tar, and resin.

Terpinen-4-ol (a diuretic compound of the oil) stimulates the kidneys, increasing their filtration rate. The flavonoid amentoflavone exhibits antiviral properties. Test tube studies show that another constituent of juniper, desoxypodophyllotoxins, may act to inhibit the herpes simplex virus.

Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) refers to a number of different conditions, all of which strike children, and all of which have immune-mediated joint inflammation as their major manifestation.

JRA is also known as juvenile idiopathic arthritis or JIA. The European League Against Rheumatism, or EULAR, refers to the disorder as juvenile chronic arthritis, or JCA.

The skeletal system of the body is made up of different types of strong, fibrous tissue known as connective tissue. Bone, cartilage, ligaments, and tendons are all forms of connective tissue that have different compositions, and thus different characteristics.

Kaposi’s Sarcoma

Kaposi’s Sarcoma
Kaposi’s Sarcoma

Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS), also called multiple idiopathic hemorrhagic sarcoma, is a neoplastic disease associated especially with AIDS, usually affecting the skin and mucous membranes.

Causes and symptoms

Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) is caused by herpesvirus 8. Malignant cells are found in the tissues under the skin or mucous membranes that line the mouth, nose, and anus. KS causes red or purple patches on the skin and/or mucous membranes and spread to other organs, such as the lungs, liver, or intestinal tract. KS is seen in three forms:
  • indolent
  • lymphadenopathic
  • AIDS-related

Kava kava

Kava kava (Piper methysticum)
Kava kava (Piper methysticum)

Kava kava (Piper methysticum) is a tropical shrub that grows throughout the Pacific Islands. Kava kava belongs to the pepper family (Piperaceae) and is also known as kava, asava pepper, or intoxicating pepper.

It grows to an average height of 6 ft (1.83 m) and has large heart-shaped leaves that can grow to 10 in (25.4 cm) wide. A related species is Piper sanctum, a native plant of Mexico that is used as a stimulant.

Kava kava has been used as a medicinal herb for hundreds of years and used by Pacific Islanders to treat rheumatism, asthma, worms, obesity, headaches, fungal infections, leprosy, gonorrhea, vaginal infections, urinary infections, menstrual problems, migraine headaches, and insomnia.

Kegel Exercises

Kegel exercise
Kegel exercise

Kegel exercises (Kegels) are exercises designed to strengthen the muscles of the lower pelvic girdle, or pelvic floor—the pubococcygeal (PC) muscles. The PC muscles support the bladder, urethra, and urethral sphincter—the muscle group at the neck of the bladder that acts as a spigot for controlling urine flow into the urethra—and the vagina, uterus, and rectum.

Anything that puts pressure on the abdomen can weaken or damage these pelvic muscles. Such conditions include pregnancy, childbirth, excess weight, hormonal changes, and aging.

Kegel exercises enable the PC muscles to better withstand increases in intra-abdominal pressure (pressure inside the abdomen). They make the bladder, urethra, and vagina more resilient, and improve bladder control and sexual relations.

Kelley-Gonzalez diet

Kelley-Gonzalez diet
Kelley-Gonzalez diet

The Kelley-Gonzalez diet consists of large amounts of raw fruits, juices, raw and steamed vegetables, cereals, and nuts. When combined with massive quantities of dietary supplements and freeze-dried pancreatic enzymes, together with a “detoxification” process involving coffee enemas, it is said to slow the growth of cancer tumors.

Origins

The Kelley-Gonzalez regimen is based on a belief that enzymes from the pancreas are capable, like chemotherapy, of killing cancer cells. The use of pancreatic enzymes to treat cancer was first proposed in 1906 by John Beard, a Scottish embryologist. This idea received some attention at the time but was largely abandoned after Beard died in 1923.

During the 1960s, the concept was resurrected by William Donald Kelley, a controversial dentist from Grapevine, Texas. Kelley wrote a book titled One Answer to Cancer that outlined his five-pronged approach:
  • Nutritional therapy: Beef pancreatic enzymes combined with numerous other dietary supplements.
  • Diet: A carefully individualized diet, ranging all the way from vegetarian to all-meat.
  • Detoxification: As few as three or as many as 52 weeks of enemas and laxative purging.
  • Neurological stimulation: Various manipulations including chiropractic, osteopathic, mandibular, and physiotherapeutic.
  • Spiritual therapy: Prayer and Bible reading.

Kelp

Kelp
Kelp

Kelp (Fucus vesiculosus) is a type of brown sea-weed, moderate in size, that grows in regions with cold coastlines, including those of the northwestern United States and northern Europe.

There are several varieties of kelp: true kelp, which thrives in cool seas; giant kelp, and bladder kelp, which grow in the North Pacific. Giant kelp is so named because it grows to 213 ft (65 m). Kelp anchors itself to rocky surfaces via tentacle-like roots. From these roots grows a slender stalk with long, leaf-like blades.

Kelp belongs to the Fucaceae family. Other names for Fucus vesiculosus are kelpware, black-tang, bladderfucus, cutweed, and bladderwrack. The main constituents of kelp include phenolic compounds, mucopolysaccharides, algin, polar lipids, and glycosyl ester diglycerides. Kelp also contains protein, carbohydrates, and essential fatty acids.

Kidney Infections

Kidney infection

Kidney infection is a general term used to describe infection of the kidney by bacteria, fungi, or viruses. The infecting microbe may have invaded the kidney from the urinary bladder or from the bloodstream. The disease is characterized by fever, chills, back pain, and, often, the symptoms associated with bladder infection.

As the principle part of the urinary system, the kidneys process the fluid component of blood (called plasma) to maintain appropriate water volume and concentrations of chemicals. The waste product formed from this process is called urine.

Urine travels from the kidney, through tubes called ureters, to the urinary bladder, and is eliminated from the body through a tube called the urethra. The kidneys and ureters comprise the upper urinary tract, and the bladder and urethra comprise the lower urinary tract.

Kidney stones

Kidney stones
Kidney stones

Kidney stones are solid accumulations of material that form in the tubal system of the kidney. Kidney stones cause problems when they block the flow of urine through or out of the kidney. When the stones move through the ureter, they cause severe pain.

Urine is formed by the kidneys. Blood flows into the kidneys, and nephrons (specialized tubes) within the kidneys allow a certain amount of fluid from the blood, and certain substances dissolved in that fluid, to flow out of the body as urine.

Sometimes, a problem causes the dissolved substances to become solid again. Tiny crystals may form in the urine, meet, and cling together to create a larger solid mass called a kidney stone.

Kirlian photography

Kirlian photography
Kirlian photography

Kirlian photography creates a photographic image by placing the object or body part to be photographed on film or photographic paper and exposing it to an electromagnetic field.

Although experiments with photographing objects exposed to an electrical field are known to have been carried out as early as the 1890s, Kirlian photography is generally said to have originated with the work of a pair of Soviet scientists, Semyon and Valentina Kirlian, beginning around 1939.

Over the next several decades at Kazakh State University, the Kirlians developed electrophotographic techniques that used neither a lens nor a camera. By the 1960s, their work had attracted public attention in the Soviet Union.

Knee pain

Knee pain
Knee pain

Knee pain refers to any aching or burning pain in the knee joint. Knee pain can be a symptom of numerous conditions and diseases, including knee stress, osteoarthritis, injury, gout, infection, and bursitis.

Knee pain is very common. Each year, millions of Americans visit the doctor for knee pain. It is the most frequent reason for visits to an orthopedist (bone and joint surgeon).

To understand the various causes of knee pain, it is important to know how the knee functions. The knee refers to the joint where the femur (thigh bone) meets the tibia (largest lower leg bone). In front of this joint lies the patella (knee cap).

Kneipp Wellness

Kneipp wellness
Kneipp wellness

Kneipp wellness is a holistic system for overall health developed by Sebastian Kneipp, a nineteenth-century Bavarian priest. His approach included aspects of hydrotherapy, herbalism, and aerobic exercise.

Sebastian Kneipp was born to a poor family in Stephansreid, Bavaria, on May 17, 1821. He initially took up his father’s trade of weaving, but longed to become a priest.

With help from a sympathetic clergyman, he was admitted to high school as a mature student, but after five years of intensive studies, Kneipp became seriously ill with pulmonary tuberculosis.

Kola nut

Kola nut
Kola nut

The kola nut, or bitter cola, (Cola vera, Cola acuminata, Cola nitida) is a seed part from a tree from the Sterculiaceae family. The trees are native to Central and Western Africa, but are now found in the West Indies and Brazil, where they were introduced by African slaves. All three species are used as a stimulant and are prepared in the same manner.

The kola tree grows to approximately 40 ft (12 m) in height, and has white to yellow flowers with spots that range from red to purple. The kola tree’s leaves are 6–8 in long (15–20 cm) and the tree bears fruit that is shaped like a star. Inside the fruit, about a dozen round or square seeds can be found in a white seed shell.

General use

Kola nut, which contains high amounts of caffeine, helps combat fatigue and is most commonly used as a central nervous system stimulant that focuses on the cerebrospinal centers.

Kombucha

Kombucha tea
Kombucha tea

Kombucha is a fermented beverage prepared from a mushroom (Fungus japonicus). Known as kombucha tea, the drink is touted for its health-promoting properties. It is also called Manchurian mushroom tea, Manchurian fungus tea, Kwassan, combucha tea, and champagne of life.

During fermentation and preparation, the kombucha membrane becomes a tough gelatinous cover composed of several different yeasts (one-celled fungi) and certain nontoxic bacteria derived from the air, similar to a sourdough bread starter.

When the fungus is fermented in a mixture containing water, black or green tea, sugar, and vinegar (or other fermentation source), the microorganisms combine into a complex fermenting culture.

Kudzu

Kudzu
Kudzu

Kudzu, whose botanical name is Pueraria lobata, is a member of the Fabaceae legume family. It is also known as Ge-gen, kudzu vine, mile-a-minute vine, foot-a-night vine, and the vine-that-ate-the-South.

The latter names refer to this vine’s property of rapid growth. This perennial trails, climbs, and winds its rough vines around tree poles and anything else it touches.

It grows in shady areas, mountain areas, fields, roadsides and forests in China, Japan, and the southern United States, more so in the latter because when imported, its native insects did not tag along. Kudzu was first seen in the United States as an ornamental plant at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition.

Lachesis

Bushmaster snake, Lachesis mutus
Bushmaster snake, Lachesis mutus

Not all products used in alternative healing come from plants. Lachesis is the venom of the bushmaster snake, Lachesis mutus. It is used in homeopathic medicine.

L. mutus is a tropical snake that lives in the jungles of Central and South America, growing to a length of 12 feet (3.6 m). It is the largest poisonous pit viper in the Western hemisphere, and second in size in the world only to the king cobra. L. mutus is related to the familiar North American rattlesnake.

A large bushmaster can have fangs more than 1 in (2.5 cm) long. Its venom is deadly and kills rapidly by inhibiting nervous impulses or slowly by interfering with blood clotting and accelerating the destruction of red blood cells. The bushmaster is also called the surucucu (sometimes spelled surukuku).

Labyrinth Walking

Labyrinth Walking
Labyrinth Walking

A labyrinth is a patterned path, often circular in form, used as a walking meditation or spiritual practice. A labyrinth’s walkway is arranged in such a way that the participant moves back and forth across the circular form through a series of curves, ending at the labyrinths’s heart or center.

It is unicursal, which means that it has only one entrance and leads in only one direction. Although the word maze is often used as a synonym for labyrinth, mazes are multicursal in design; the user has to make choices at many points along the path. Mazes often have more than one entrance, and usually contain many wrong turns and dead ends.

The English word labyrinth is derived from the Greek word labyrinthos, which in turn may come from labrys, the word for the double-headed axe associated with the Minoan culture on the island of Crete that was at its height around 1650 B.C. According to the Greek historian Herodotus (c. 450 B.C.), King Minos of Crete asked an Athenian architect and inventor named Daedalus to build a house with winding passages for the Minotaur, a monster that his queen had borne after having intercourse with a bull.

Lacto-ovo Vegetarianism

Lacto-ovo vegetarian menu
Lacto-ovo vegetarian menu

Lacto-ovo vegetarians are people who do not eat meat, but do include dairy products (lacto) and eggs (ovo) in their diets.

The term vegetarian was coined in 1847 by the founders of the Vegetarian Society of Great Britain, although vegetarianism as a way of life has existed for thousands of years. The founders of the Vegetarian Society were lacto-ovo vegetarians.

One of the central ideas that has motivated vegetarians is that food choices should not require the death or suffering of animals. Thus, many vegetarians avoid meat but eat dairy products and eggs (on the grounds that store-bought eggs are unfertilized).

Laryngitis

Laryngitis
Laryngitis

Laryngitis is caused by inflammation of the larynx, often resulting in a temporary loss of voice.

When air is breathed in, it passes through the nose and the nasopharynx or through the mouth and the oropharynx. These are both connected to the larynx, a tube made of cartilage. The vocal cords, responsible for setting up the vibrations necessary for speech, are located within the larynx.

The air continues down the larynx to the trachea. The trachea then splits into two branches, the left and right bronchi (bronchial tubes). These bronchi branch into smaller air tubes that run within the lungs, leading to the small air sacs of the lungs (alveoli).

Lazy Eye

Lazy eye
Lazy eye

Lazy eye, or amblyopia, is an eye condition in which disuse causes reduced vision in an otherwise healthy eye. The affected eye is called the lazy eye.

This vision defect occurs in 2–3% of American children. If not corrected before age eight, amblyopia will cause significant loss of stereoscopic vision, the ability to perceive three-dimensional depth.

In some children, one eye functions better than the other. When a child begins to depend on the stronger eye, the weaker eye can become progressively weaker. Eventually, the weaker eye grows “lazy” from disuse.