Thursday 17 October 2013

The magic of methi for your hair and skin


The magic of methi for your hair and skin

by Kriti Saraswat

Methi or fenugreek is widely used in Indian cooking to add a distinct flavour in various dishes. Not only does this green-leafed wonder have various health benefits like controlling diabetes, reducing cholesterol levels, and aiding digestion, it also comes in handy as a beauty tool. It can help solve everyday hair and skin problems in an expensive way. The reason it is so good for our hair and skin is because it has a compound with oestrogen-like properties called diosgenin. It is also rich in proteins, vitamin C, iron, fibre, etc. Here's how to use it in home-made packs. (Read: 15 health benefits of methi)

To get rid of dandruff

Methi can help reduce dandruff. In order to make a paste out of it, soak a handful of its seeds overnight in water and then grind to a coarse paste in the morning. Now apply this mixture on your scalp and leave it for a few hours. Then wash your hair with a mild shampoo or shikakai.

Another variation to this paste is to heat mustard oil with a few leaves of henna in it. Then strain it. Once it cools down, add the methi paste to the oil and apply on the scalp. Keep it for half-an-hour before washing your hair.

To reduce itchiness on scalp

Methi can help reduce the itchiness and small bumps on the scalp which are a result of heat or dryness. In order to counter these, soak fenugreek seeds overnight in water. In the morning, strain the water and rinse your hair with this solution.

You can even use other ingredients in addition to methi seeds to get relief from itchiness. First, chop and grind some tulsi leaves and then mix sesame oil (til ka tel) in it. Heat this on a low flame and add a few fenugreek seeds to it. Once they start to crackle, turn off the gas. Apply the solution only once you've let it cool and strained it.

To control hair fall

Hair fall can be detrimental to one's personality and self-esteem. In order to control it, make a paste of curd (dahi) and methi seeds. You can grind them before you mix them in curd and then apply on your scalp. Do keep it for about 30 minutes and then shampoo your hair. (Read: Home remedies for hair loss that actually work)

To lighten acne scars

Your pimples have disappeared but have left pesky scars on your face. In order to lighten them, boil a few seeds of methi in water for 15 minutes and allow it to cool. Strain the seeds and apply the liquid on the scars with a cotton ball. Follow this ritual at least for a week to see results.

To get rid of burn marks

Burn marks are tough to get rid of but methi can help fade them over time. First, make a paste but grinding seeds soaked overnight. Apply this mixture on the marks and let it dry completely. Now wash the area with water and continue its use on a regular basis.

To prevent pimples

Methi can prevent the eruption of pimples as well as help treat blackheads. For this, instead of the seeds, use the methi leaves. Grind them with a little water to make a paste. Now apply it on your face at night. Wash it the next morning with lukewarm water. if your skin is prone to acne, it is best to use this paste regularly to keep pimples at bay. (Read: Why do we have acne)

Remember, home remedies take time to show any effect. Using them just once will not show any marked improvements. So use them on a regular basis. 

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Tuesday 15 October 2013

Singer Avril Lavigne


Los Angeles:

Singer Avril Lavigne, who loves traditional Christmas songs, is keen to make a record on the theme of the festival.

"I'm definitely going to keep working. There's lots of stuff I'd like to try, like a Christmas album. I would have to do covers though. I love really traditional Christmas songs," quoted Lavigne as saying.

Meanwhile, she will release her self-titled album Nov 4. She worked on it with her husband and singer Chad Kroeger of Nickelback band.

"I mean it! Even if this one isn't called 'Best Damn Thing'. I think it's because we spent such a long time writing it. It's really diverse," she said.


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Sunday 13 October 2013

5 home remedies for mouth ulcers


5 home remedies for mouth ulcers

by Anusuya Suresh
Mouth ulcers can be quite painful and depending on their specific location in the oral cavity, often interfere with your ability to eat and speak. Often, these ulcers put in an appearance at times of extreme stress and the discomfort they cause only adds to your misery. Sometimes, such an ulcer indicates the deficiency of certain vital nutrients and therefore, taking multivitamin supplements can be useful; however, it can take a few days for the effects to start showing. In such situations, it is possible to find relief faster by using a few of these home remedies.

Remedies to Reduce Pain

If the mouth ulcer is causing a lot of pain, gently rub a small ice cube over the spot or rinse your mouth with ice-cold water. This won't make the ulcer disappear, but it can help reduce the pain. Similarly, you could also chew on a clove bud (lavang) and direct the juice so generated to the area where the ulcer is located. The mild anaesthetic effect of the clove will reduce the pain you feel. To prevent the ulcerated area from getting infected, make it a point to rinse your mouth with a little salt water.


The leaves of the tulsi plant have amazing medicinal properties and one of the important actions of tulsi is as an adaptogen – a substance that aids the body to adapt to stress. Chew a few leaves of tulsi along with some water about three to four times every day. This will help the ulcers go away faster and also have a preventive action against their recurrence. (Read: Top 10 health benefits of tulsi)


Honey is a natural humectant – that is, it helps to retain moisture and prevent dehydration. It also helps reduce scarring and hastens the process of new tissue growth. This, along with its anti-microbial effect ensures faster healing of the mouth ulcer. You can either dab a little honey onto the mouth ulcer or mix in a little turmeric to make a paste that can be applied to the affected area. 

Poppy Seeds

Poppy seeds – khus-khus in Hindi – are said to have a cooling effect on the body. According to Ayurveda, too much heat in the body manifests as mouth ulcers and therefore, poppy seeds are a good remedy to overcome this problem. To make this palatable, mix in a little dry coconut and sugar candy; to make it delicious, make a paayasam by grinding coconut and poppy seeds and cooking this mix in a solution of jaggery garnished with cardamom, cashewnuts and raisins.


Dry coconut, coconut oil and coconut water are the three products of the coconut tree that are very useful in treating mouth ulcers. Drinking tender coconut water helps to cool the body down. Applying a little coconut oil directly onto the mouth ulcer or chewing some coconut (fresh or dry) helps to reduce pain and inflammation and this helps the ulcers heal faster. (Read: The coconut controversy – is it really all bad?)


Called Mulethi in Hindi, Yashtimadhu in Sanskrit and Adhimadhuram in Tamil, licorice has several medicinal properties. Scientific studies have found that it contains ingredients with marked anti-inflammatory properties which are responsible for its action against painful mouth ulcers. Mulethi is available as stem pieces as well as in powder form. Rub the stem with a little water on a grinding stone and apply the paste to the ulcerated area. Or, if you buy the licorice powder, disperse it in some honey or medicinal quality glycerin and apply to the mouth ulcer. You can also mix a little licorice powder with turmeric into a glass of warm milk and drink three or four times in a day for good results.

Other Cooling Agents

In keeping with the logic that mouth ulcers are due to excess body heat, other substances with cooling properties can help get rid of them. For example, you could apply a little ghee directly to the ulcerated area, or drink a glass of butter milk two or three times everyday. Castor oil also has wonderful cooling property; apply a little oil to your scalp and the soles of the feet, allow the oil to soak in for a few hours and then wash with warm water using shikakai and reetha paste.

Mouth ulcers left untreated generally go away in a week or so; with these home remedies, you can expect faster relief. However, if you notice an ulcer in the mouth that is persistently present although it does not cause you any pain, do not neglect it or try to treat it with home remedies beyond a few days. Make it a point to see a doctor soon because often, a painless mouth ulcer is one of the earliest signs of oral cancer. (Read: Oral cancer: Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment)

For more articles on diseases and conditions, check out our diseases & conditions section and for videos, check out our YouTube Channel.


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‘Fire In The Blood’: A real story of man versus pharmaceutical companies


'Fire In The Blood': A real story of man versus pharmaceutical companies

by Editorial Team

Have you ever though of how you would feel if your loved one was dying of a preventable disease, that had a cure and whose medications were widely available, but you had no access to them — because you were poor? Well, that is the kind of heart rending reality that millions lived with in developing nations. They fought against AIDS without any arms simply because they did not have the money. Would you be interested to know how a drastic change was brought about? You should probably watch 'Fire in The Blood'. 

Normally, we overlook a documentary, when we are lookign for cinematic entertainment. It would be a mistake, a big mistake, to miss 'Fire In The Blood' because we would rather have a good time watching 'Grand Masti' or 'Chennai Express' at a theatre near us.

'Fire In The Blood' is not entertainment. It's much more. It's not a feature film. But the issue it deals with – how the criminal racket allegedly enforced by large pharmaceutical companies to block life saving drugs from third world countries, mainly Africa, touches all our lives.

We could be one of the victims, and we don't even know it!

Indeed director Dylan Mohan Gray – God bless the vistas of visionary velocity that he breaks open in this jolting expose – takes us into a journey through a drama that beats the fictionalised flamboyance of fantasy films by a fabulous margin. There are the specifically-targeted villains and the greed motivated pharmaceutical companies, shown almost as drug cartels operating to stop the process of healing and saving lives of the poor.

The film's premise is appalling in its ramifications. As Gray's tale of avarice and drug-deprived deaths in Africa unfolds, we become shocked witnesses to the abysmal immorality that has gripped all large businesses in the world.

Money doesn't only make the world go round, it flattens every moral consideration. And let's face it, medicines and drugs are a business proposition. To see how pharmaceutical companies ruthlessly operate in non-developed under privileged areas to deny rather than save lives is a process that this film explores and exposes with meticulously researched material and the authoritative voices of people who care about what happens to the poor.

Because the film (I refuse to give it the genre-limiting name of a 'documentary') goes into an area of global concern that has never before been dealt with on film, the narrative does get top heavy with information at times. Bear with it. Deal with the situation that the film so shockingly exposes: that the medicines we so blindly trust to heal us and make us healthy are often used to blackmail and mock mortality.

The singular concern of Gray's film establishes the enormity of the wrongdoers' death-inducing syndicate early in the narrative. The unlikely heroes show up later. They are an Indian pharmaceutical company Cipla and vocal activists which went that extra mile to counter the damage done by the greedy global players in the business.

'Fire In The Blood' is an important treatise on the troubled diseased times we live in when the healers become the destroyers and medicines are turned into malicious money-making agents of destruction.

Very frequently in the course of the narration I was conscious of how little we know about the world that controls our daily lives. It's an intrinsically contaminated world that we live in, a world devoid of heroes and acts of heroism, a world governed by greed. 'Fire In The Blood' opens up that world to show us the festering innards of a wounded civilisation.

Some of the world's most high profile spokespersons like Desmond Tutu, Zackie Achmat and Bill Clinton give their voices to make a cogent powerful impact on us. William Hurt's wry cynical saddened narration certainly adds a valuable dimension to the frightening poignancy of the narration.

Watching 'Fire In The Blood' is not a a breezy experience. It make us sit up, think hard and reconsider the quality of our lives. In other words, it does everything cinema is supposed to, but seldom does.

Who is Hamied?

Also called the modern day Robin Hood, Dr. Yusuf K. Hamied, is the chairman of the Indian drug giant Cipla Ltd. He is the man who took the first step in the fight towards providing people medication, regardless of their ability to pay. His aim was to conquer AIDS in developing nations and to give patients life saving medicines, regardless of their economic status. Regarded as a God in Africa – where he brought a world wind of change in the availability of medicines – he was able to help people live with AIDS instead of considering it a death knell. According to Hamied, he did not want to profit from a disease that was eating away at people and more importantly, the very fabric of society.

Dr. Yusuf K. Hamied, chairman of the Indian drug giant Cipla Ltd. took the decision not to profit from ARVs (Anti Retroviral drugs), and brought down the cost of providing these medicines to patients from a whopping $12,000 to a meagre $ 100 per year. Even though this sum was still very large for people in developing countries, it was easy for organisations to help bridge the gap. The next step was to beat the monopoly created by companies who had patented certain generic drugs. Cipla then proceeded to make a one of its kind combination drug called Triomune that combined three drugs in one. This was a big achievement in itself since the three constituent drugs were patented by three different companies.  Another break through was the production of another combination drug caller Duovir –N. Cipla also produced generic versions of many antiretroviral drugs that were now much more cheaper.

All-in- all, Cipla made life saving drugs more accessible to the poor and needy especially in the third world countries. When Dr Hamied said that he would make a cocktail of drugs for AIDS patients, that would cost $1 per day, the industry scoffed at his pipe dreams, but today he has not only fulfilled his promise he has done one better by making these drugs available for less than 20 cents. Dr Hameid has now provided over six million people in developing countries treatment at a fraction of the cost, saving countless lives.

With inputs from IANS

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iPosture – the dangers of using a smartphone or tablet


iPosture – the dangers of using a smartphone or tablet

by Agencies

Handheld gadgets like smartphones and tabs are a major cause of iPosture a condition that is caused due to hunching over tech devices causing severe backpain.  In fact, Dr Nikhil Arbatti, consultant minimally invasive and endoscopic spine surgeon, Asian Heart Institute, Mumbai, says, 'Problems of the musculoskeletal were more commonly seen in the older age group before due to aging, but nowadays due to the work culture, sedentary lifestyle, obesity, not enough physical activity, smoking and various other medical reasons, problems of back and neck pain are more predominantly seen in the young population. Atleast 40-50 per cent of the young generation suffer from back or neck pain before they reach 40.'
What's iPosture?
The term is used to describe the stooped body shape adopted by those texting, emailing or playing games on their iPad or smartphone. According to a health survey conducted recently,  84 per cent of 18-24 year olds have admitted to suffering back pain in the last 12 months. (Lower back pain – why you shouldn't ignore it)

What it revealed?

Over 55 per cent spent an average of 6.64 hours a day in front of a computer screen A typical 18-24 year old spends 8.83 hours a day in front of a screen 66 per cent of this younger age group agree they either slouch or hunch in front of their PC.

What's causing it?

Orthopaedic specialist and joint replacement surgeon from Jupiter hospital, Dr Ashish Phadnis, says, 'We as are seeing an alarming rise in the number of patients with back pain and neck pain related to workplace ergonomics, use of laptops, touchscreens  and iPads. On an average I see at least three to four patients daily with these issues,  the symptoms can vary from a diffuse dull ache to a sharp pain in the back, neck and shoulder region, stiffness of the various joints, lack of flexibility and a poor posture are the effects seen over a period of time. More and more people are using  smartphones, tablets as they are engrossed in their work they do not pay attention to the neck which is flexed, shoulders which are stooping and a bent lower back. People tend to work in these postures for long hours, on top of it all after they come home, they resort to the same devices for social networking or recreational purposes.  This affects people across all ages especially  about 25 to 55, which is the population who are exposed to these gadgets devices and are also less involved in physical activity as compared to other age groups.' (Which of these five technology-related problems do you have?)

Why it is a cause of concern?

If ignored, it could result in severe disc degeneration, which may require surgery. Also they may cause muscle weakness and sometimes nerve damage.


Be aware of your posture, avoid hunching. Frequent stretching can also help. Make sure tech devices are  at the eye level. The mouse should not be far away from the person. Don't work continuously for more than an hour. After every hour, stand and stretch your back, neck, arms and legs. Phones should be at an arm's length  and if you have to use the phone for a long time then use a headset. (Is your workplace making you ill?)

Content source: DNA/Melissa DCosta

For more articles on diseases and conditions, check out our diseases & conditions section and for videos, check out our YouTube Channel. 

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Saturday 12 October 2013

Plants vs Zombies 2 Game Officially Released for Android


Plants vs Zombies 2 Game Officially Released for Android

by Ponmalar S
Tech Stumps - Tech News | Blogging | Internet |

Plants vs Zombies is a popular action strategy video game developed by PopCap Games. They released a latest version of Plants vs Zombies 2 for Android devices in Australia and New Zealand last week. Now this game is available for all Android users globally. This is a sequel of first Plants vs Zombies game and you can play this game free in your tablets and smartphones.

Plants vs Zombies 2 game lets you join Crazy Dave on a crazy adventure where you'll meet, greet and defeat legions of zombies from the dawn of time to the end of days. You have to destroy the zombies with an army of powerful new plants, supercharge them with Plant Food and power up your defenses with amazing new ways to protect your brain.

Plants vs Zombies 2 Game features:

• Meet powerful new plants that will defend your lawn through time
• Go toe-to-missing-toe with dozens of new zombies
• Supercharge your floral friends with healthy doses of Plant Food
• Fire up amazing Finger Powers to pinch, flick and zap zombies
• Defeat brain-teasing challenges that will test your zombie-zapping skills
• Gather keys to play valuable side missions
• Collect coins to purchase potent power-ups
• Earn stars to take you to new worlds
• Connect to Game Services to unlock achievements and compete against friends on the leaderboards
• Look out! Zombie chickens!

Download Plants vs Zombies 2 for Android
Download Plants vs Zombies 2 for iOS
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Tuesday 8 October 2013

If you could design your own child, what characteristics would you choose?


If you could design your own child, what characteristics would you choose?

by Nirmalya Dutta

Imagine a world where you could choose what your baby would look like. Would you want him to have green eyes like Hrithik or a musculature like John Abraham? How about the ability to sprint like Usain Bolt or box like Floyd Mayweather? Also how about making sure that he/she will have a longer lifespan, not suffer from cancer and will have no congenital defects?

Designers babies may sound like something out of a utopian novel like Brave New World or sci-fi flick Gattaca but it could soon be our reality. About 10 days ago when the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) granted a patent to the firm 23andMe for a process called gamete (egg or sperm) donor selection. This essentially means that this would allow parents to choose genetic traits like eye colour in children born from donor eggs or sperm.

The reality sounds scarily similar to  Gattaca where the entire society was driven by eugenics (the practice of improving genetic quality in human beings). Children were given the best hereditary characteristics and the entire society was divided between valids (genetically-modified people) and the invalids (people born naturally). The valids always had better options – professionally or otherwise – and the invalids with their susceptibility to disease are relegated to menial jobs.

Understandably, medical ethicists are alarmed beyond measure. A comment by them in the journal Genetics in Medicine reads, 'What 23andMe is claiming is a method by which prospective donors of ova and/or sperm may be selected so as to increase the likelihood of producing a human baby with characteristics desired by the prospective parents.' (Assisted Reproductive Technology – the ugly truth)

Shopping for genetic traits

The parents could actually pick on computer the desirable characteristics they wanted in their baby from the genomic data of the egg or sperm provider. Characteristics on the shopping list include height, eye colour, muscle development, personality traits and genetic susceptibility to certain types of cancer and other diseases. A figure attached to the patent application would allow prospective parents to indicate whether 'I prefer a child with' : 'longest expected life span' , 'least expected life cost of health care,' or 'least expected cumulative duration of hospitalisation,' they said.

There are also more interesting options like '0% likely endurance athlete and '100% likely sprinter' though of course the company has stated it can't guarantee the outcome and it would merely boost the chances of a child having those perceived desirable traits. Commentators are particularly aghast at parents having the ability to choose what characteristics they want that have nothing to do with the child's health. . 'At no stage during the examination of the patent application did the patent office examine or question whether techniques for facilitating the 'design' of future human babies were appropriate subject matter for a patent,' they wrote. The USPTO said it did not comment on issued patents.

23andMe said the patent, applied for more than five years ago, was for a tool dubbed Family Traits Inheritance Calculator that offered 'an engaging way for you and your partner to see what kind of traits your child might inherit from you' — from eye colour to whether the child will be able to perceive bitter taste or be lactose intolerant.

'At the time 23andMe filed the patent, there was consideration that the technology could have potential applications for fertility clinics, so language specific to the fertility treatment process was included ,' it said. 'The company never pursued the concepts discussed in the patent beyond our Family Traits Inheritance Calculator, nor do we have any plans to do so.'

Pros of Family Traits Inheritance Calculator

We would all love to live in a world where our children (even those born via assisted reproduction) resemble us. 23andMe allows people who can't conceive to do that. Also there's absolutely no argument against getting rid of congenital diseases in children or even giving them longer lifespans. It's simply not fair that certain children have some ailments that others don't.

Cons of the Family Traits Inheritance Calculator

What has medical ethicists particularly riled is this seems almost like playing god. You can get rid of undesirable characteristics and only promote the desirable ones. This will essentially mean that some children will have more enhanced characteristics than others which would give them a better chance at life. Of course, we do have a society which is unfair. A child born in a rich, well-off family will simply have more chances of living a higher quality of life than a child born in a poorer family. But assuming this procedure is expensive, we could have a society where the rich can buy the desirable characteristics in their children. Essentially it's like gambling with a loaded dice, getting rid of the genetic lottery all together. No matter how hard or long I practice, I will never run like Usain Bolt. I just don't have the genetic make-up for it, but a parent being able to buy that characteristic for his child is a scary thought indeed.

The final word

In Gattaca, the lead character Vincent is an invalid. He has a life expectancy of 30 years, myopia, congenital heart defect and has a higher chance of developing mental disorders. On the other hand, his brother who has been genetically chosen has all desirable characteristics but Vincent manages to beat him in a swimming race through sheer will power and determination. This lets him believe that he can do anything a valid person can and he lives his dream of going into space. There's no gene for will power, drive and determination (not one we're aware of anyway) and you just can't buy that for your child.

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