Medicine

Opium poppy: Seeds of Trade

Britain ruled India not for nothing. They exploited the abundant natural resources as well its simple folks. They earned huge profits by exporting tea, opium and cotton to Europe. They employed the Indians like Africans as labors in many of their colonies overseas where there was a shortage of labor for cultivation. Opium obtained from poppies grown in the fertile valley of Ganges in Bihar was considered of high quality because of its high alkaloid morphine. It was traditionally grown in this region since the times of Mughals who were heavy users of it and many of their princes are… Read More »Opium poppy: Seeds of Trade

Chitosan: A multi utility chemical

There are many chemical products which find use in different unconnected areas. For example Carboxy Methyl Cellulose (CMC) which is used in ice creams as well as viscosifier in drilling fluids. Similarly Linseed oils are used in Drilling fluids as well as ice cream. In this article we are talking of another multiutility chemical which has found uses in diverse fields. It is a versatile chemical and called Chitosan. It is derived from Chitin which is obtained from the shells of prawns. Many groups of amide are reduced selectively to amine groups to tailor made the required chemical. Application of… Read More »Chitosan: A multi utility chemical

Assam Tea

I first went to Silchar in 1987 in connection with my job posting there. It is a border district of Assam with Bangladesh. It is in the Barak valley and very poorly connected to rest of India. Most of outside people who go there are from Defense, Government employees and tea garden managers who are entitled to airfare from Kolkata. Air journey reduces the tiring circuitous journey by train through upper Assam which takes at least 2 days. It takes about an hour and for most of its flight, airplane flies over Bangladesh. I boarded a flight from Kolkata which… Read More »Assam Tea

Garlic Vine

In our colony at Dehradun, on the boundary of a park a vine has spread itself. On the intervals of few days, it bears profuse beautiful purple flowers in bunches. The morning sunlight passes through the delicate newly opened buds giving them a slightly reddish hue. The bunches over the gate seem as if someone has decorated the place. I took many pictures and was very pleased to post them on the FaceBook expecting a few likes and comments from friends. Then I began searching Google for the name of this vine and after some efforts narrowed down my search… Read More »Garlic Vine

Animals take drugs when in grief

Man’s penchant for getting drunk is much older than keeping himself clean. I mean the use of alcohol and other substances obtained from plants which give high is much older than the invention of soap for cleaning the body. But it is not only the humans who feel the need to get a high but many animals also are similar. Johann Hari, who is the author of book “Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs” has spent 25 years observing the behaviour of animals when they are alarmed or in grief. He began his research… Read More »Animals take drugs when in grief

Giloye or Tinospora cordifolia: A wonderful Herbal Vine!!

Giloye as its called in India is a vine. Its scientific name is “Tinospora cordifolia”. Common names are Heart-leaved moon seed, guduchi. It is an herbaceous vine of the family Menispermaceae indigenous to the tropical areas of Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka. If you happen to see a Giloye vine climbed on a tree and claiming the branches, you will think that ropes are entwined over the branches. No leaves. But these are beautiful ripe fruits on it. Most of the time it shows no leaves. Usually it entwines the trees and creeps up. It grows up abundantly in… Read More »Giloye or Tinospora cordifolia: A wonderful Herbal Vine!!

Spying on the leaders

It was when Russia was USSR and soviet state was pushing hard to become at par with US. A top erstwhile spy told that Russian Soviet dictator Stalin, used to spy on the visiting world leaders like Mao to know their hidden personality traits. They even used scientific methods for this. Soviets used to analyze the excreta for Potassium and Amino acid tryptophan to know the state of mind of the leaders. Tryptophan is used by animals for synthesis of proteins essential for growth. Studies indicate that it acts as an antidepressant. For example, if they detected high levels of… Read More »Spying on the leaders

Nobel Prizes: USA far ahead in tally

There is no doubt that USA laps up the talent from all over the world. US leads the tally of Nobel prize winners which were introduced in 1901 and Economics prize introduced in 1968. Since then 585 Nobel prizes have been awarded to 922 winners out of which only 49 are women. Youngest and oldest Youngest person to receive the Nobel is Malala Yousafzai who received it at the age of 17 years in 2014. Although she belongs to Pakistan, her country may hardly be happy over her winning it. Oldest Nobel laureate is Leonid Hurwicz of US who received… Read More »Nobel Prizes: USA far ahead in tally

DNA Decoding Sheds Light on Neanderthal Life

DNA decoding is a powerful technique. It is a molecular level investigation tool about the life. It has helped the life scientists to say with confidence that at the molecular level, all life is identical to 99.9%. The remaining 0.1 % is all which is responsible for the vivid diversity of life. According to one report, Neanderthals, our distant cousins, used natural drugs to alleviate the pain and diseases. 50000 years ago, they were depending on the natural cures. The ancient fossil of jaw had been studied genetically and it has been found that genetic material collected from the plaque… Read More »DNA Decoding Sheds Light on Neanderthal Life

Plants used for Medicinal Purposes

The different parts of many plants have been used since ancient times for medicinal purposes. History records many such observations. The first plant is Caesalpinia pulcherrima  plant. It is commonly seen in India. The studies note, contains compounds that have powerful antiviral benefits, especially effective against human herpes viruses and adenoviruses, which cause the common cold. Caesalpinia pulcherrima prevents these viruses from replicating. Other recent studies demonstrate that extracts from the flower, stem, leaf, fruit, root, and seed of Caesalpinia pulcherrima are also effective against wheezing, bronchitis, malarial infection, tuberculosis, other bacteria, fungi, and some parasites.’ (Counter, 2006) It is… Read More »Plants used for Medicinal Purposes