25 January 2006

Ethnopharmacology: Medicinal plants of India with anti-diabetic potential

I recently experienced a first person account of how by eating the leaf of a medicinal plant on a daily basis, the person was able to lower his blood sugar levels. Some research on Ethnopharmacology produced this snippet from a published paper.

Since ancient times, plants have been an exemplary source of medicine. Ayurveda and other Indian literature mention the use of plants in treatment of various human ailments. India has about 45,000 plant species and among them, several thousands have been claimed to possess medicinal properties. Research conducted in last few decades on plants mentioned in ancient literature or used traditionally for diabetes have shown anti-diabetic property. The present paper reviews 45 such plants and their products (active, natural principles and crude extracts) that have been mentioned/used in the Indian traditional system of medicine and have shown experimental or clinical anti-diabetic activity. Indian plants which are most effective and the most commonly studied in relation to diabetes and their complications are: Allium cepa, Allium sativum, Aloe vera, Cajanus cajan, Coccinia indica, Caesalpinia bonducella, Ficus bengalenesis, Gymnema sylvestre, Momordica charantia, Ocimum sanctum, Pterocarpus marsupium, Swertia chirayita, Syzigium cumini, Tinospora cordifolia and Trigonella foenum graecum. Among these we have evaluated M. charantia, Eugenia jambolana, Mucuna pruriens, T. cordifolia, T. foenum graecum, O. sanctum, P. marsupium, Murraya koeingii and Brassica juncea. All plants have shown varying degree of hypoglycemic and anti-hyperglycemic activity

The abstract is provided courtesy of
Authors: Grover J.K.1; Yadav S.; Vats V.
Source: Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Volume 81, Number 1, June 2002, pp. 81-100(20)
Publisher:Elsevier Science

20 January 2006

The Hydrogen Economy

The Hydrogen Economy is here

Hydrogen Economy

Quite a debate rages the world over about the Hydrogen economy and its potential to wean a ever oil hungry world away from the depths of assured depletion. As I was browsing the web, I encountered some very interesting articles, including some on India's attempts to jump ahead in the race. Intersting read all of them. I list them in no particular order

India's initiative
First Hydrogen Station in India
India's Villages powered by Hydrogen
Hydrogen Forecast
Stanford Initiative
Hydrogen Auto Show

Guilt Mail with some substance

Thanks to G for this titbit....even though it was a chain mail, I gleamed the metaphorical information from it without succumbing to 'guilt mail'.

If we reduce the population of Earth to a small town with 100 people whilst still keeping the proportions, it will look like this:

57 Asians
21 Europeans
14 Americans (northern and southern)
8 Africans

52 women
48 men

70 colored-skins
30 whites

89 heterosexuals
11 homosexuals

6 people will own 59% of the whole world wealth and all of them will be from the USA

80 will have bad life conditions

70 will be illiterate

50 will be under-fed

1 will die

2 will be born

1 will have a computer

1 (only one) will have higher education

If you look at the world from this point of view, you will see how big the need for solidarity, understanding, patience and education there is.

Think about this.

1) If this morning you've woken up healthy, you are happier than 1 million people that will not survive till next week.

2) If you never survived a war, the loneliness of the jail cell, the agony of torture, or faced hunger, you are happier than 500 million people in this world.

3) If you can enter into a church, mosque or temple without fear of jail or death, you are happier than 3 million people in this world.

4) If there is food in your refridgerator, have shoes and clothes to wear, have a bed and a roof, you are richer than 75% of the people in this world.

5) If you have a bank account, money in your wallet and some coins in the money-box, you belong to the 8% of people in the world, who are well-to-do.

Does put things in perspective, doesn't it ? Next time you crib about missing out on the iPod, think again.

19 January 2006

Retrospective Series: Part 8: The Trekkie

Its winter, so the hikes are down to a bare minimum. In spring, summer and fall, we make it a point to hike more frequently. The woods in this part of the country are amazing for trekkies. Although devoid of exotic creatures that might scare say someone trekking in the amazon jungles, they do make up for that with enough bugs that seem to have a particular penchant for my blood. No amount of deet seems to make any difference, while my wife hikes along, blissfully untouched by the nasty bugs. I console myself thinking, it must be the sweetness of my blood.. ahem.

This trek fever is nothing new. I remember the time when devoid of the internet, summer holidays were filled with loads of free time and nothing much to do. One such ... Read more

17 January 2006

Cross country :Indian subcontinent.style.

I have been following these two american girls through their journey from Sikkim to the Southern tip. Pretty bold initiative considering that I haven't heard of many Indians who could take time off on such an endeavour.

Lindsay's Blog
Katie's Blog

16 January 2006

Introspection... good even outside the world of computer science

I copy a snippet of my response to a debate that Atanu has initiated on his blog. If you haven't been there, it's here.

Ok, I agree that there are a lot of traits in Indian voters which should lead one to conclude what Atanu suggests.... BUT, how can we change that ?

1) India has a large population of under literate , pseudo literate or illiterate folks that outnumber the rational, literate or logical reasoning driven individuals.
2) Our democracy is based on a linear system where every person's vote counts as one and hence a crook standing for election, in a district with 70% illiteracy can muscle his way into an elected position.
3) Any person once elected, can be "chosen" as a minister, prime minister, whatever.

Some Remedies
1) Lets not do this one man one vote business. Let us add weightage to votes.
2) The weightage must be applied based on a large number of factors. Monetary background of a person should NOT be one of them. Education definitely should be. I leave the other parameters open for debate.
3) Now coming to the elected personnel themselves, just because one got elected, doesn't make you eligible to be "prime minister", you have to have certain weightage yourselves, including the weightage of the people who voted for you to garner your own index to reach different power positions.
4) Politicans cannot change constituencies with their own will and fancy. They have to run from their native or adopted constituency with proof of residence.

It is quite complex, I know, but the incentive for an aspiring politician to improve his power position would be make sure that his constituents grow in their own weightage and he in turn grows closer to a ministerial chair.

My two cents,

The Machinist

Saw the movie 'The Machinist' on DVD. WOW... this is a movie that will change you. Guilt as it is known to you will reach an extreme breaking point. Seriously, it takes guilt to the ends of reason. Christian Bale does an amazing portrayal, wow and how did he manage to lose so much weight. Man, some actors take their roles, damn seriously. Hats off to the director Brad Anderson. The movie details are here.

11 January 2006

Attention Deficiency

You see, one of the problems with attention deficiency is that, a 24 hour day seems insufficient for all the exploration that the world around us provides. Jumping from browsing about the features of the new intel based iMac, the philosophical traditions of the Buddhist community, the latest political whirlwind doing the rounds in India, visiting that site about bangalore pot holes to see if they are fixing them, checking my email to see if there was anything from amazon.com, jumping back to my design document... Phew, where was I, oh yeah I was on the design document and that is when it hit me ! I seriously ought to see Sidney Friedman. Now Sidney is the quintessential shrink from MASH. That reminds me, I need to complete my review of the latest MASH episodes on NetFlix, oh did I change the subscription schedule ? Oh wonder what is next in the queue... hold on, did I finish that design document ? I have to send it to the team before noon. Did I have lunch ? My stomach is growling, let me check my lunch tote. Ah, of course I did not have my lunch, no wonder I was feeling a little down, probably because of the lower sugar levels. Lunch is done, something is nagging me, can't put a finger to it, hmmm, oh I did not drink any water. Got to get up and go to the fountain to fill the bottle, hmmm, may be in a few minutes. Hey, when did I start writing a new post for the blog...must have been between the lunch and the "staying-a-few-more-minutes-to-grab-some-water" moment. Oh that reminds me, I got to make a phone call...

10 January 2006

My blog in French

I have decided to start publishing my blogs in two languages...english and French.
Try the French version here.

02 January 2006

Happy New Year: 2006

Happy New Year everybody ! This year feels different, I can already tell. There is something about it. I can tell. The reason I can tell is because I made my digit countable resolutions at least a week in advance and would you believe it...even started observing them before the new year was born. How atypical of me ! So I can tell. If it were any different, and I had behaved like I usually do, like missing all of my resolutions on the first day of the new year, then I would be thinking; "Ah, another typical year".

Someone loaded my brain with an urban myth when I was in middle school saying "What thou doest on New Year's day, thou shalt do all year round.". So I would desperately try to study something, do some homework, on New Year's day so that I could put at least the studying part of my life on auto pilot. If only.

At least I don't believe in it anymore, but my wife still does and she enticed me into cooking breakfast on New Year's day hoping that I would make it for the rest of the year. Hmmm, interesting experiment. Results are awaited.

Trainspotting & Of Mice and Men

Saw Trainspotting the other weekend. Black comedy really, what with all the junkies and stuff... took some getting used to. Really wierd about the Trainspotting name though, because the only time I saw them going to a train station was when they were planning a hike to the mountain.

Of Mice and Men starring Gary Sinise and John Malkovich was different as a movie goes too. Mental retardation in the period depicted must have been a very hard endurance. Both actors played their parts very well.