The following are health and medical definitions of terms that appear in the ginseng (eleutherococcus and panax sp.) - oral article.
Abnormal: Outside the expected norm, or uncharacteristic of a particular patient.
Allergic reaction: The hypersensitive response of the immune system of an allergic individual to a substance.
Allergy: A misguided reaction to foreign substances by the immune system, the body system of defense against foreign invaders, particularly pathogens (the agents of infection). The allergic reaction is misguided in that these foreign substances are usually harmless. The substances that trigger allergy are called allergen. Examples include pollens, dust mite, molds, danders, and certain foods. People prone to allergies are said to be allergic or atopic.
Alprazolam: A benzodiazepine sedative that causes dose-related depression of the central nervous system. Alprazolam is useful in treating anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, and muscle spasms. The brand name is Xanax. A generic version is available.
Amitriptyline: An antidepressant medication. In some patients with depression, abnormal levels of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters may relate to the depression. Amitriptyline elevates mood by raising the level of neurotransmitters in brain tissue. Amitriptyline is also a sedative that is useful for depressed patients with insomnia, restlessness, and nervousness. It is sometimes used to treat fibromyalgia and symptoms related to chronic pain. Brand names are Elavil and Endep. A generic version is available.
Anti-: Prefix generally meaning "against, opposite or opposing, and contrary." In medicine, anti- often connotes "counteracting or effective against" as in antibacterial, anti-infective, and antiviral. Sometimes medical terms containing anti- take on new meanings as has occurred with antibiotic and antibody. As a prefix, anti- may be shortened to ant- as in antacid. "Anti" is the Greek word for "against."
Antihistamines: Drugs that combat the histamine released during an allergic reaction by blocking the action of the histamine on the tissue. Antihistamines do not stop the formation of histamine nor do they stop the conflict between the IgE and antigen. Therefore, antihistamines do not stop the allergic reaction but protect tissues from some of its effects. Antihistamines frequently cause mouth dryness and sleepiness. Newer "non sedating" antihistamines are generally thought to be somewhat less effective. Antihistamine side effects that very occasionally occur include urine retention in males and fast heart rate.
Arthritis: Inflammation of a joint. When joints are inflamed they can develop stiffness, warmth, swelling, redness and pain. There are over 100 types of arthritis. (see osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, lupus, gout, pseudogout).
Aspirin: Once the Bayer trademark for acetylsalicylic acid, now the common name for this anti-inflammatory pain reliever.
Blood pressure: The blood pressure is the pressure of the blood within the arteries. It is produced primarily by the contraction of the heart muscle. It's measurement is recorded by two numbers. The first (systolic pressure) is measured after the heart contracts and is highest. The second (diastolic pressure) is measured before the heart contracts and lowest. A blood pressure cuff is used to measure the pressure. Elevation of blood pressure is called "hypertension".
Breast milk: Milk from the breast. Human milk contains a balance of nutrients that closely matches infant requirements for brain development, growth and a healthy immune system. Human milk also contains immunologic agents and other compounds that act against viruses, bacteria, and parasites. Since an infant's immune system is not fully developed until age 2, human milk provides a distinct advantage over formula.
Breathing: The process of respiration, during which air is inhaled into the lungs through the mouth or nose due to muscle contraction and then exhaled due to muscle relaxation.
Caffeine: A stimulant compound found naturally in coffee, tea, cocoa (chocolate), and kola nuts (cola) and added to soft drinks, foods, and medicines. Caffeine can cause anxiety, insomnia, nervousness, and hypertension. Caffeine is a diuretic and increases urination. It can decrease a person's ability to lose weight because it stimulates insulin secretion, which reduces blood sugar, which increases hunger. Caffeine can help to relieve headaches, so a number of over-the-counter and prescription pain relievers include it as an ingredient, usually with aspirin or another analgesic.
Cancer: An abnormal growth of cells which tend to proliferate in an uncontrolled way and, in some cases, to metastasize (spread).
Common cold: A contagious viral upper respiratory tract infection. The common cold can be caused by many different types of viruses, and the body can never build up resistance to all of them. For this reason, colds are a frequent and recurring problem. Going out into cold weather has no effect on causing a cold. Antibiotics do not cure or shorten the duration of the illness.
Diabetes: Refers to diabetes mellitus or, less often, to diabetes insipidus. Diabetes mellitus and diabetes insipidus share the name "diabetes" because they are both conditions characterized by excessive urination (polyuria).
Dizziness: Painless head discomfort with many possible causes including disturbances of vision, the brain, balance (vestibular) system of the inner ear, and gastrointestinal system. Dizziness is a medically indistinct term which laypersons use to describe a variety of conditions ranging from lightheadedness, unsteadiness to vertigo.
Drain: A device for removing fluid from a cavity or wound. A drain is typically a tube or wick. As a verb, to allow fluid to be released from a confined area.
Dysfunction: Difficult function or abnormal function.
Endometriosis: The presence of tissue that normally grows inside the uterus (womb) in an abnormal anatomical location. Endometriosis is very common and may not produce symptoms, or it may lead to painful menstruation. It has also been associated with infertility. Endometriosis occurs most commonly within the Fallopian tubes and on the outside of the tubes and ovaries, the outer surface of the uterus and intestines, and anywhere on the surface of the pelvic cavity. It can also be found, less often, on the surface of the liver, in old surgery scars or, very rarely, in the lung or brain.
Ephedra: A medicinal herb, known scientifically as Ephedra sinica and Ephedra equisetina, also known as mahuang and herbal ecstasy. Ephedra comes from the dried rhizome and root of the plant.
Erectile dysfunction: A consistent inability to sustain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse. Commonly known as impotence. Medically, the term erectile dysfunction is used to properly differentiate this form of impotence from other problems that interfere with sexual intercourse, such as disease, injury, drug side effects, or a disorder that impairs the nerve supply or the blood flow to the penis. Other forms of impotence include lack of sexual desire and problems with ejaculation and orgasm. Erectile dysfunction is treatable in all age groups, and treatment includes using medication (notably Viagra) and penile implants. Abbreviated ED.
Estrogen: A female steroid hormone that is produced by the ovaries and, in lesser amounts, by the adrenal cortex, placenta, and male testes. Estrogen helps control and guide sexual development, including the physical changes associated with puberty. It also influences the course of ovulation in the monthly menstrual cycle, lactation after pregnancy, aspects of mood, and the aging process. Production of estrogen changes naturally over the female lifespan, reaching adult levels with the onset of puberty (menarche) and decreasing in middle age until the onset of menopause. Estrogen deficiency can lead to lack of menstruation (amenorrhea), persistent difficulties associated with menopause (such as mood swings and vaginal dryness), and osteoporosis in older age. In cases of estrogen deficiency, natural and synthetic estrogen preparations may be prescribed. Estrogen is also a component of many oral contraceptives. An overabundance of estrogen in men causes development of female secondary sexual characteristics (feminization), such as enlargement of breast tissue.
FDA: Food and Drug Administration.
Fibroids: Fibroids are common, benign tumors of smooth muscle in the uterus (womb). Uterine fibroids are the most common reason for performing a hysterectomy. Fibroids do not produce symptoms in all women, but may lead to prolonged or heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pressure or pain, and rarely to infertility. In addition to hysterectomy, less invasive surgical procedures have been employed to remove uterine fibroids. Fibroids can be detected by radiologic testing, such as ultrasound, CAT scan, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Flu: Short for influenza. The flu is caused by viruses that infect the respiratory tract which are divided into three types, designated A, B, and C. Most people who get the flu recover completely in 1 to 2 weeks, but some people develop serious and potentially life-threatening medical complications, such as pneumonia. Much of the illness and death caused by influenza can be prevented by annual influenza vaccination.
Flush: (1) A redness of the skin, typically over the cheeks or neck. A flush is usually temporary and brought on by excitement, exercise, fever, or embarrassment. Flushing is an involuntary (uncontrollable) response of the nervous system leading to widening of the capillaries of the involved skin. Also referred to as a blush (or, as a verb, to blush). Flushing may also be caused by medications or other substances that cause widening of the capillaries, such as niacin. (2) Flush also means to wash out a wound or body area.
Garlic: A perennial herb of the lily family cultivated for its pungent, edible bulbs. Garlic has been used with the intention of lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. Preliminary studies suggest that garlic consumption may reduce the risk of developing several types of cancer, especially cancers of the gastrointestinal tract.
Generic: 1. The chemical name of a drug. 2. A term referring to the chemical makeup of a drug rather than to the advertised brand name under which the drug may be sold. 3.A term referring to any drug marketed under its chemical name without advertising.
Ginger: Ginger, the rhizome of the plant Zingiber officinale, has been used as medicine in Asian, Indian, and Arabic herbal traditions since ancient times. In China, for example, ginger has been used to help digestion and treat stomach upset, diarrhea, and nausea for more than 2,000 years. Today, health care professionals may recommend ginger to help prevent or treat nausea and vomiting from motion sickness, pregnancy, and cancer chemotherapy. It is also used as a digestive aid for mild stomach upset, to reduce pain of osteoarthritis, and may even be used in heart disease or cancer.
Ginseng: Ginseng has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Today, ginseng" refers to both American (Panax quinquefolius) and Asian or Korean ginseng (Panax ginseng). These plants have a similar chemical makeup and contain steroid-like components, ginsenosides, which are believed to be the active ingredients. On the other hand, Siberian ginseng or Eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus), on the other hand, is a completely unrelated plant and without the active ginsenosides.
Headache: A pain in the head with the pain being above the eyes or the ears, behind the head (occipital), or in the back of the upper neck. Headache, like chest pain or back ache, has many causes.
Heart: The muscle that pumps blood received from veins into arteries throughout the body. The heart is positioned in the chest behind the sternum (breastbone); in front of the trachea, esophagus, and aorta; and above the diaphragm. A normal heart is about the size of a closed fist and weighs about 298 grams or 10.5 ounces. It is cone-shaped, with the point of the cone pointing down to the left. Two-thirds of the heart lies in the left side of the chest, with the balance in the right side of the chest. The heart is composed of specialized cardiac muscle, and it is four-chambered, with a right atrium and ventricle, and an anatomically separate left atrium and ventricle. The blood flows from the systemic veins into the right atrium, thence to the right ventricle, from which it is pumped to the lungs and then returned into the left atrium, thence to the left ventricle, from which it is driven into the systemic arteries. The heart is thus functionally composed of two hearts: the right heart and the left heart. The right heart consists of the right atrium, which receives deoxygenated blood from the body, and the right ventricle, which pumps the deoxygenated blood to the lungs under low pressure; and the left heart, which consists of the left atrium, which receives oxygenated blood from the lung, and the left ventricle, which pumps the oxygenated blood out to the body under high pressure.
Heart attack: The death of heart muscle due to the loss of blood supply. The loss of blood supply is usually caused by a complete blockage of a coronary artery, one of the arteries that supplies blood to the heart muscle. Death of the heart muscle, in turn, causes chest pain and electrical instability of the heart muscle tissue.
Heart disease: Any disorder that affects the heart. Sometimes the term "heart disease" is used narrowly and incorrectly as a synonym for coronary artery disease. Heart disease is synonymous with cardiac disease but not with cardiovascular disease which is any disease of the heart or blood vessels. Among the many types of heart disease, see, for example: Angina; Arrhythmia; Congenital heart disease; Coronary artery disease (CAD); Dilated cardiomyopathy; Heart attack (myocardial infarction); Heart failure; Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy; Mitral regurgitation; Mitral valve prolapse; and Pulmonary stenosis.
Heparin: An anticoagulant (anti-clotting) medication. Heparin is useful in preventing thromboembolic complications (clots that travel from their site of origin through the blood stream to clog up another vessel). Heparin is also used in the early treatment of blood clots in the lungs (pulmonary embolisms).
Herbal: 1. An adjective, referring to herbs, as in an herbal tea.
Herpes: A family of viruses. Herpes also refers to infection with one of the human herpesviruses, especially herpes simplex types 1 and 2.
Immune: Protected against infection, usually by the presence of antibodies.
Immune system: A complex system that is responsible for distinguishing a person from everything foreign to him or her and for protecting his or her body against infections and foreign substances.
Insulin: A natural hormone made by the pancreas that controls the level of the sugar glucose in the blood. Insulin permits cells to use glucose for energy. Cells cannot utilize glucose without insulin.
Itching: An uncomfortable sensation in the skin that feels as if something is crawling on the skin and makes the person want to scratch the affected area. Itching is medically known as pruritis; something that is itchy is pruritic.
Laboratory: A place for doing tests and research procedures, and for preparing chemicals and some medications. Also known as lab.
Liver: The largest solid organ in the body, situated in the upper part of the abdomen on the right side. The liver has a multitude of important and complex functions, including to manufacture proteins, including albumin (to help maintain the volume of blood) and blood clotting factors; to synthesize, store, and process fats, including fatty acids (used for energy) and cholesterol; to metabolize and store carbohydrates (used as the source for the sugar in blood); to form and secrete bile that contains bile acids to aid in the intestinal absorption of fats and the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K; to eliminate, by metabolizing or secreting, the potentially harmful biochemical products produced by the body, such as bilirubin, from the breakdown of old red blood cells and ammonia from the breakdown of proteins; and to detoxify, by metabolizing and/or secreting, drugs, alcohol, and environmental toxins.
Liver disease: Liver disease refers to any disorder of the liver. The liver is a large organ in the upper right abdomen that aids in digestion and removes waste products from the blood.
Low blood pressure: Any blood pressure that is below the normal expected for an individual in a given environment. Low blood pressure is also referred to as hypotension.
Lupus: A chronic inflammatory disease that is caused by autoimmunity. Patients with lupus have in their blood unusual antibodies that are targeted against their own body tissues. Lupus can cause disease of the skin, heart, lungs, kidneys, joints, and nervous system. The first symptom is a red (or dark), scaly rash on the nose and cheeks, often called a butterfly rash because of its distinctive shape. As inflammation continues, scar tissue may form, including keloid scarring in patients prone to keloid formation. The cause of lupus is unknown, although heredity, viruses, ultraviolet light, and drugs may all play a role. Lupus is more common in women than in men, and although it occurs in all ethnic groups, it is most common in people of African descent. Diagnosis is made through observation of symptoms, and through testing of the blood for signs of autoimmune activity. Early treatment is essential to prevent progression of the disease. A rheumatologist can provide treatment for lupus, and this treatment has two objectives: treating the difficult symptoms of the disease and treating the underlying autoimmune activity. It may include use of steroids and other anti-inflammatory agents, antidepressants and/or mood stabilizers, intravenous immunoglobulin, and, in cases in which lupus involves the internal organs, chemotherapy. See also lupus, discoid; lupus erythematosis, systemic.
Mouth: 1. The upper opening of the digestive tract, beginning with the lips and containing the teeth, gums, and tongue. Foodstuffs are broken down mechanically in the mouth by chewing and saliva is added as a lubricant. Saliva contains amylase, an enzyme that digests starch. 2. Any opening or aperture in the body. The mouth in both senses of the word is also called the os, the Latin word for an opening, or mouth. The o in os is pronounced as in hope. The genitive form of os is oris from which comes the word oral.
Multiple sclerosis: A disease that is characterized by loss of myelin (demyelinization). Abbreviated MS. Myelin, the coating of nerve fibers, is composed of lipids (fats) and protein. It serves as insulation and permits efficient nerve fiber conduction. In MS, demyelinization usually affects white matter in the brain, but sometimes it extends into the gray matter. When myelin is damaged, nerve fiber conduction is faulty or absent, and nerve cell death may occur. Impaired bodily functions or altered sensations associated with those demyelinated nerve fibers give rise to the symptoms of MS, which range from numbness to paralysis and blindness. People with MS experience attacks of symptoms that may last days, months, or longer. For many patients, the disease is progressive and leads to disablement, although some cases enter long, perhaps even permanent, remission. The cause of MS is unknown, although viral activity is suspected. Most patients are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40. Until recently, treatment had focused on preventing attacks. Steroids, interferon, and medications to treat specific symptoms (such as fatigue, depression, and vertigo) are standard, along with lifestyle changes to avoid stress and other triggers. New treatment options involve immune system modulation or support.
Muscle: Muscle is the tissue of the body which primarily functions as a source of power. There are three types of muscle in the body. Muscle which is responsible for moving extremities and external areas of the body is called "skeletal muscle." Heart muscle is called "cardiac muscle." Muscle that is in the walls of arteries and bowel is called "smooth muscle."
Narcotic: 1. A drug that causes insensibility or stupor. A narcotic induces narcosis, from the Greek "narke" for "numbness or torpor."
Organ: A relatively independent part of the body that carries out one or more special functions. Examples of organs include the eyes, ears, heart, lungs, and liver.
Pain: An unpleasant sensation that can range from mild, localized discomfort to agony. Pain has both physical and emotional components. The physical part of pain results from nerve stimulation. Pain may be contained to a discrete area, as in an injury, or it can be more diffuse, as in disorders like fibromyalgia. Pain is mediated by specific nerve fibers that carry the pain impulses to the brain where their conscious appreciation may be modified by many factors.
Pharmacist: A professional who fills prescriptions and, in the case of a compounding pharmacist, makes them. Pharmacists are very familiar with medication ingredients, interactions, and cautions.
Poison: Any substance that can cause severe organ damage or death if ingested, breathed in, or absorbed through the skin. Many substances that normally cause no problems, including water and most vitamins, can be poisonous if taken in excessive quantity. Poison treatment depends on the 'substance.
Poison control center: A special information center set up to inform people about how to respond to potential poisoning. These centers maintain databases of poisons and appropriate emergency treatment. Local poison control centers should be listed with other community-service numbers in the front of the telephone book, and they can also be reached immediately through any telephone operator.
Pregnancy: The state of carrying a developing embryo or fetus within the female body. This condition can be indicated by positive results on an over-the-counter urine test, and confirmed through a blood test, ultrasound, detection of fetal heartbeat, or an X-ray. Pregnancy lasts for about nine months, measured from the date of the woman's last menstrual period (LMP). It is conventionally divided into three trimesters, each roughly three months long.
Prescription: A physician's order for the preparation and administration of a drug or device for a patient. A prescription has several parts. They include the superscription or heading with the symbol "R" or "Rx", which stands for the word recipe (meaning, in Latin, to take); the inscription, which contains the names and quantities of the ingredients; the subscription or directions for compounding the drug; and the signature which is often preceded by the sign "s" standing for signa (Latin for mark), giving the directions to be marked on the container.
Psychiatric: Pertaining to or within the purview of psychiatry, the medical specialty concerned with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of mental illness.
Rash: Breaking out (eruption) of the skin. A rash can be caused by an underlying medical condition, hormonal cycles, allergies, or contact with irritating substances. Treatment depends on the underlying cause of the rash. Medically, a rash is referred to as an exanthem.
Rejection: In transplantation biology, when the body's immune system attacks transplanted cells, tissues, or organs. For example, a transplanted kidney may be rejected.
Rheumatoid arthritis: An autoimmune disease characterized by chronic inflammation of joints. Rheumatoid disease can also involve inflammation of tissues in other areas of the body, such as the lungs, heart, and eyes. Because it can affect multiple organs of the body, rheumatoid arthritis is referred to as a systemic illness. Although rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic illness, patients may experience long periods without symptoms. Also known as rheumatoid disease.
Schizophrenia: One of several brain diseases whose symptoms may include loss of personality (flat affect), agitation, catatonia, confusion, psychosis, unusual behavior, and social withdrawal. The illness usually begins in early adulthood. The cause of schizophrenia is not known, but there appear to be both genetic (inherited) and environmental components to the disease. Schizophrenia is not caused by abuse or poor parenting practices. Treatment involves use of neuroleptic medication and supportive interpersonal therapy. The prognosis is fairly good, with two-thirds of those diagnosed recovering significantly.
Seizure: Uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain, which may produce a physical convulsion, minor physical signs, thought disturbances, or a combination of symptoms.
Sleep: The body's rest cycle.
Stomach: The digestive organ that is located in the upper abdomen, under the ribs. The upper part of the stomach connects to the esophagus, and the lower part leads into the small intestine. When food enters the stomach, muscles in the stomach wall create a rippling motion (peristalsis) that mixes and mashes the food. At the same time, juices made by glands in the lining of the stomach help digest the food. After about 3 hours, the food becomes a liquid and moves into the small intestine, where digestion continues.
Stress: In a medical or biological context stress is a physical, mental, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension. Stresses can be external (from the environment, psychological, or social situations) or internal (illness, or from a medical procedure). Stress can initiate the "fight or flight" response, a complex reaction of neurologic and endocrinologic systems.
Stroke: The sudden death of brain cells due to lack of oxygen, caused by blockage of blood flow or rupture of an artery to the brain. Sudden loss of speech, weakness, or paralysis of one side of the body can be symptoms. A suspected stroke can be confirmed by scanning the brain with special X-ray tests, such as CAT scans. The death rate and level of disability resulting from strokes can be dramatically reduced by immediate and appropriate medical care. Prevention involves minimizing risk factors, such as controlling high blood pressure and diabetes. Abbreviated CVA. Also known as cerebrovascular accident.
Transplant: The grafting of a tissue from one place to another, just as in botany a bud from one plant might be grafted onto the stem of another. The transplanting of tissue can be from one part of the patient to another (autologous transplantation), as in the case of a skin graft using the patient's own skin; or from one patient to another (allogenic transplantation), as in the case of transplanting a donor kidney into a recipient.
Uterine fibroids: Uterine fibroids are benign tumors of the uterus (the womb). They are the single most common indication for hysterectomy.
Virus: A microorganism that is smaller than a bacterium that cannot grow or reproduce apart from a living cell. A virus invades living cells and uses their chemical machinery to keep itself alive and to replicate itself. It may reproduce with fidelity or with errors (mutations); this ability to mutate is responsible for the ability of some viruses to change slightly in each infected person, making treatment difficult. Viruses cause many common human infections and are also responsible for a number of rare diseases. Examples of viral illnesses range from the common cold, which can be caused by one of the rhinoviruses, to AIDS, which is caused by HIV. Viruses may contain either DNA or RNA as their genetic material. Herpes simplex virus and the hepatitis B virus are DNA viruses. RNA viruses have an enzyme called reverse transcriptase that permits the usual sequence of DNA-to-RNA to be reversed so that the virus can make a DNA version of itself.
Warfarin: An anticoagulant drug (brand names: Coumarin, Panwarfin, Sofarin) taken to prevent the blood from clotting and to treat blood clots and overly thick blood. Warfarin is also used to reduce the risk of clots causing strokes or heart attacks.
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