Friday, February 28, 2014

Takip-kuhol (Centella asiatica) - a Panacean home remedy

Dr Abe V Rotor


Takip kuhol which means literally the operculum of gastropods or snails, grows wild, often as weeds in the garden and field where the soil is moderately damp.  It is easy to raise it in pots such as this sample (At home, QC)

Takip kuhol is a highly regarded plant of many uses; in fact it has a panacean reputation in folk medicine. Ask an herbolario, a bona fide housewife, or a village elderly. And they would say, "Takip kuhol lang ang kailangan diyan." (All you need is Centella asiatica, the scientific name of the plant.) 


Of course they are talking about common ailments, referring to ordinary colds, fever, flu, skin infection, sore throat, boil (pigsa), headache, constipation, blows and bruises.  The herbal may be prepared as decoction (boiled) or fresh.  It may be toasted and served as tea or infusion.*  For external use, the leaves are crushed and applied as ointment or liniment with vaseline or coconut oil. 

In a research conducted, takip-kuhol leaf extract was found to be an antibacterial agent against three common infectious bacteria, which explains the efficacy on the plant against infectious diseases which these bacteria cause.
  • Escherichia coli, a type of bacteria that lives in our intestines. Most types of E. coli are harmless. However, some types can make us sick and cause diarrhea
  • Staphylococcus aureus, a bacterium  frequently found in the human respiratory tract and on the skin. 
  • Salmonella enterica. Salmonellosis is an infection with bacteria called Salmonella. Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps
Pure extract of Takip-kohol leaves is effective against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Salmonella enteritidis. Boiled extract is not as effective, especially against E coli. 

Panacea is often referred to as cure-all, which is mythological, Panacea being the Greek goddess of healing. There is no single remedy for all ailments. As a caution, takip kuhol should not be used as a prescription to serious ailments and diseases, specially those that require medical attention.~ 

Botany of Takip-kuhol
Family: Apiaceae
Scientific name: Centella asiaticaa (Linn) Urb
Synonym: Hydrocotyle asiaticaa Linn
Other common names: Gotu kola, hydrocotyle, Indian pennywort
 Illustrated life cycle of Centella asiatica;  plant in bloom (Acknowledgement: Wikipedia)

Traditional Use:  Crushed leaves aare commonly consumed by Sri Lankanss as salad or hot beb\verage.  More rewcntly the herb acquired a conssiderable reputation as an aphrodisiacv, a agent that stimulates sexual vitality.

Phytochemicals: ALKALOIDS, ALKALOID CHLORIDES, ASIAtICOSIDE, BRAHMINOSIDE, BRAMOSIDE, CALCIUM, DEXTROSE, Fe2O3,  MADECASSOSIDE, MUCILAGE, PECTIN, P2O5, RESIN, SAPONIN, TANNIN, VELLARINE, VITAMIN B

Other properties/actions: Hypotensive, longevity promoter, sclerotic, stimulant, tonic, treatment for abscesses, dysentery, fevers, headaches, high blood pressure, jaundice, leprosy, mental troubles, nervous disorders, rheumatism, skin eruptions, ulcer.

Plant Description:  Slended, creeping plant with stems that root at nodes.  Leaves are rounded to kidney- or heart-shaped at the base.  Flowers are 3 sessile.  Fruits are minute, ovoid, white or green and reticulate. 

             -  Reference: Rotor AV, De Castro D and RM Del Rosario, Philippine Herbs to Increase Sexual Vitality


*Infusion is the process of extracting chemical compounds or flavors from plant material in a solvent such as water, oil or alcohol, by allowing the material to remain suspended in the solvent over time (a process often called steeping). An infusion is also the name for the resultant liquid. The process of infusion is distinct fromdecoction, which involves boiling the plant material, or percolation, in which the water passes through the material as in a coffeemakerWikipedia 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Brewing into wine, child into man

Dr Abe V Rotor

   Jared, 4, listens to the sparkling of newly brewed wine; cellar of basi in jars undergoing ageing.

He can hear deeper and keener,
things we take for granted;
innocence hones what has dulled
us, and had long wanted.

Wonder what he hears in a jar 
of wine in deep slumber,
ageing into its fullest prime,
to the pride of the brewer.   

What matters most to a young hand 
more than his presence,
but the brewing in him into man
of the finest essence.  ~


  

Fallowing

Dr Abe V Rotor 
                           The earth in summer Courtesy of Nilo Manalunsong, NFA

Lifeless it seems, scorched in the summer sun,
      it cracks, it heaves, it sighs;
the earth fallows, after the harvest is done.
      it stirs, it talks, it cries.  

And the world is still, nothing moves around,
      abandoned and alone,
the herons and the mayas to faraway bound,
      frogs are still as stone. 

Then they croak, herald the habagat season,
      and the end of strife,
the earth wakes to the rain for good reason:
      rebirth, the cycle of life.  ~


  

I reach for the stars

Dr Abe V Rotor


      If by light years I am touched by the stars, 
I'm but a visitor just passing;
let me in spirit travel and pay in return, 
            to share my own world's blessing.~

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A Valley of Life and Death


Mural and Poem by Dr Abe V Rotor

A valley of death, so stories go,
     for the old and the young, too;
and who would dare this fateful
     place but a lonely soul?

A valley of tears with barren shed,
     evil on nature its final bed, 
with a sprig of promised peace
     and temporary ease.

A valley of life of verdant green,
     once a full blooming scene;
life of the river down the sea,
     a world of wonder and free.  

A valley of promise, heed its call,
     words in the pulpit and hall,        
and in make believe by painting, 
     not at all worth praising.

A valley of suffering takes its toll;
     blind and deaf, the prayerful
waits for the angels to be sent   
     to this valley of death. ~   

Original title, "Dirge over a Watershed Mural." The wall mural is found at St Paul University Quezon City along Aurora Blvd.  It needs restor

Don't waste food, don't!

Dr Abe V Rotor
 
Excessive serving leads to food waste. If not, obesity.  Or both. 

Don't throw away food left on the table. Please don't.

• Food is Santa Gracia (holy grace) as old folks reverently call it.

• Food waste could otherwise go to millions who have not enough to eat.

• Food waste breeds pest and disease, sickens the air.

• Anything that goes to waste draws down the economy.

• Waste widens inequity in resources.


Here are some things to do with food leftovers.

1. Sinagag - fried rice mix with bits of bacon, ham, fried egg, fish, and the like.
2. Torta - tidbits like those mentioned in scramble egg. Include veggies like carrot and onion.
3. Pickle – excess veggies and fruits plus vinegar, sugar and salt, and spices. Good for carrot, bell pepper, cucumber, green papaya, yam (sinkamas), others.
4. Paksiw – if not consumed is fried, makes a new menu.
5. Daing – fish in season is dried, cooked with gata’ (coconut milk).
6. Suka – fruit vinegar from overripe pineapple, banana, others, but not tomato and kamias.
7. Pudding – bread not consumed on time is also made into pizza bread- bread crumbs, garlic bread.
8. Sopas – Grind bones, shrimp head for soup and broth. Bulalo for whole bone.
9. Pastillas – milk pDescription: Italicowder not consumed on time, also grated hardened cheese.
10. Veggie and fruit peelings – for animal feeds, composting. Include solids from brewing (coffee) and juicing fruits. Ultimately, inevitable food waste is collected for feeds in poultry and piggery.

Food waste also emanates from carelessness in handling, food preparation and serving. Much is also lost due to lack of proper processing, transport and storage facilities. Estimated loss in postharvest alone runs from 10 to 37 percent of actual harvest of crops.

In "Give us this day our daily bread..." in the Lord's Prayer, us here is regarded as thanksgiving and remembering the millions people around the world who may not have the food they need.

I believe in the wisdom of the old folk who reminds us of the value of food. They have experienced hunger during war, drought, flood, crop failure, pestilence - even in normal times. They have not lost sight of the presence ofSanta Gracia.

Yes, children there is a Santa Gracia . ~

Home, Sweet Home with Nature, AVR


Saturday, February 15, 2014

Let us save the dying trees

Dr Abe V Rotor

The effect of intermittent flooding is evident;
we can even see the usual depth of flood. Water
logging occurs after a sudden downpour and
may last from a few hours to several days.

Floodwater deposits pollutants from oil to
toxic metals. As the tree
 struggles to survive,
termites and fungi set in, the same way we suffer
of secondary infection and complications when
our health is poor.


Wound that does not heal easily invades the whole system.
Here it has reached both roots and branches, predisposing
the tree to insects and rot. A gust of wind is enough to break
the tree at its weakest point.

Death comes slowly as the roots fail to absorb nutrients
for the leaves to use in photosynthesis. The tree actually
starves to death, a process we may not readily notice until
the tree defoliates and fails to produce new shoots. There's
one sign though at the threshold of death which is universal
to all organisms: reproduction. The tree profusely bear
flowers, fruits, and principally seeds. It's nature's way of
preserving the species.


This tree is virtually without foothold; it will
certainly topple down. The pith is severely
damage and new cells cannot replace it fast
enough. But what precipitates death is that
the wood of a tree is the conducting vessel
of food and water. If it fails, the tree, like any
organism that is starved, will certainly die.

It had been a long struggle it seems until this tree
succumbed. Pruned branch shows the cambium
layer trying to heal the wound the same way our
wound heals and later covered with scar. Untimely
and 
too much pruning may deprive a tree from

manufacturing enough food. The same principle
applies that when a tree is felled, no amount of
new shoots will revive the remaining stump.

It's hauntingly sad to see a tree skeleton. Against
the sky we see a cross we ourselves made. It is no
different from the one we make to profess your faith.
For faith 
in God and in his Creation - Nature is one.
And the sin we 
committed in the death of trees is
mainly a sin of omission. It is simply 
because we seem
to lack compassion - that sensitivity 
for other living
things, which we define on a 
higher level of our
culture as reverence.
Reverence for life.

These are camphor trees at the University of Santo Tomas facing the consequences of environmental degradation and climate change. There are many trees in the metropolis facing this grave threat. Efforts to save the trees are a great concern for every one of us. 
What can we do to save the trees?

On Christmas, plant trees to celebrate the Season. Don't cut trees to make Christmas Trees. Instead, simply decorate a standing tree, with care not to injure it.

A potted tree seedling or sapling may be decorated in lieu of an artificial Christmas Tree. At the end of the season, plant it as an expression of thanksgiving for the Season.

Never use trees to post advertisements, announcements, campaign posters. Injury 
from nails and other materials retards growth, predisposes trees to termites and fungi, and may lead to their early demise.

Don't build fire near a tree, more so at its base. Never cook food under the tree. Keep barbecue stand at a distance.

Don't dump garbage near and at the base of trees. Never do composting beside a tree, or at the base of its trunk. Composting builds heat and emits poisonous gases of ammonia and sulfur which are deleterious specially to the roots.

Before pruning, transplanting, spraying a tree, and the like, consult an expert or an agriculturist in your area.


Never carve a message on the trunk with a knife. There are better ways of expressing your affection such as planting a tree together with your loved one. A tree of love will certainly last long.~

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Silence of the Pond

 Painting and Poem by Abe V Rotor

The Silence of the Pond, AVR Circa 1989


Here true silence lies,
not eerie, not deafening,
for silence is communion
of self and surrounding.

Here true silence lies,
leaves quiver in the breeze,
ripples gently rise and fade,
buzz the honey bees.

Here true silence lies,
in the rhythm of the sky,
the rainbow a huge harp,
music all, they sing or cry.

Here true silence lies:
the sound of the pond,
not in its depth or breadth;
the trees by their bond.

Here true silence lies,
beyond the audible,
in magic waves in the air,
and the perceptible.

Here true silence lies,
giving in is acceptance,
the root of humility,
courage at any instance.

Here true silence lies,
when the heart longs, yet sings;
thoughts not to reason, but flies
from the confines of living.

Here true silence lies,
sweet memories an art
in the silence of a pond,
throbbing in the heart. ~

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Exploring the wide, wide world of art

Dr Abe V Rotor 
Composite painting on Reviving the Spirit of Nationalism by a student artist. 

Student artists at work. Inter-school painting competition, University of Santo Tomas, Manila 2013


Art spans through epochs and ages - from the early Homo sapiens and possibly, the Neanderthals, to Van Gogh and Picasso - it is universal, timeless, yet evolving;

Art in fossils, art in totem poles, pyramids and ziggurats, etched on rocks, cast in metals – they are emissaries of history, and part of history themselves that speak of culture.

Prehistoric paintings in the caves of Lascaux, France, usher the birth of human art, the dawn of man's consciousness of the world outside the confines of darkness;

Stone age man expressing his genius in inventions, his triumphs over beasts, his skills yet his reverence to a god - the primordial art of living towards the making of a society;

The Renaissance bloomed in the fifteenth century through the Greco-Roman model, surviving the Dark Ages and imbibing part of it, that make culture varied and rich;

We are astonished by the art of Michelangelo, Raphael, and Da Vinci, as they were astonished by the art of lost civilizations - Egyptian, Babylonian, Persian, Greco-Roman;

The latter could have learned their art from prototype cultures, and from cultures on the other side of the globe – the Aztecs, Chinese, Indians, prior to their colonization.

Exploration brought two worlds together, the East and West - the latter as masters of peaceful cultures, under a prototype globalization version of a master-slave relationship;

Art flourished and the lethargic schools of Classicism and Romanticism opened up; movements followed one after another – Realism to Impressionism to Expressionism;

On to Abstract Art which dominates today in various ultra-modern schools like surrealism, yet art continues to cling to its roots, making alive its ethnic and indigenous origin;

Modern tools, electronics and computers, have brought in a new face of art in all fields, challenging the true meaning of fine art, of music conservatory, of classics;

Art in advertisement, art in high rise, art in cinema, art in malls, art in athletics, fashion, body language, cars, drones, war, etc. – make us wonder what is art and what is not;


Crisis in art to fundamentalists and critics on their pedestals, revolution to avant-garde, futuristic in the computer, money in business, boom in media and communication art;

Art, where art thou heading for? When millions have not enough food, education, homes, in the midst of affluence, yet not enough sanity, not enough hope to live for?

Revolution in art in reverse: the bypassed involved, the gifted challenged, the uninvolved touched in their lives – for art’s meaning is to live with meaning. ~

 
Top, Futurism: Death by Genetic Engineering by AVR; Stop Nuclear Development, Love Life by a 12 year old summer art workshop participant.  

Fusion - Path of Evolution

Fusion - Path of Evolution
Dr Abe V Rotor


Sargassum fish cleverly intertwined and camouflaged, exhibiting combined  characteristics of plant, animal, and protist, the natural landscape under the sea, notwithstanding.   Paintings in acrylic on glass by the author, c. 2003

Evolution is when the simple becomes complex,
     and the complex into intricate;
yet the intricate to complex, reverting into simple,
     when fail the process to replicate.

Evolution is when an alga and a fungus join 
    as one organism - the lichen; 
coral a plant-animal union born in ancient seas,
    survival of both foe and friend.    

Evolution is forward and backward through time,
     simultaneous, spontaneous;
a explosion of diversity of all kinds imagined,
     in chains, webs, and continuous. 

Evolution is untrodden, unguided, by chance
     in a million possibilities beyond
the eye or lens, and probing mind and will,
     in the depth of sea, or just around. 

Evolution is de-volution, shrinking, thinning -
     extinction by nature and by man - 
plant-animal fusing, moneran-protist pooling;
     prelude to a living world gone. ~

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Ten things to see under a microscope (Basic Microscopy for Kids)

Dr Abe V Rotor

Summer Workshop for kids conducted by the author. Lagro QC 2013]

You can't see what is inside a mega mall, 
     but things for granted and so small;  

You can't see a movie or a telenobela,
     but the living world of minutiae;

You can't see Superman and Godzilla,
     but their minuscule Vorticella;

You can't see the beginning and end of time,
    but in between, a moment divine.

You can't see where all the wealth and money 
     come from, but another story.  

You can't see the winning number of a game,
     but a narrow path to fame.

You can't see the source of love and devotion,
     but the beginning of true union.

You can't see Pasteur, Koch and Fleming,
     but their little disciple striving.    

You can't see miracles and great missions,
     but their humble manifestations. 

You can't see God as you would at the Sistine,  
     but His image in every thing. ~   

Oxygen bubbles cling on filamentous green alga, by-product of photosynthesis.  Oxygen is either dissolved in water for fish, or released into the air for land animals, including man. Chlorophyll (green pigment of plants, algae and some monerans like BGA) catches the light energy of the sun, and with CO2, produces food and oxygen which are important to life.  This process is known as photosynthesis.  
    

 Yeast cells actively divide in sugar substrate in fermentation resulting in the production of ethanol or wine, and CO2 as byproduct. When used in baking, the CO2 is trapped in the dough and causes it to rise and form leavened bread. Yeast (Saccharomyces) reproduces rapidly by vegetative means - budding.  Note newly formed buds, and young buds still clinging on mother cells. 

 Protozoans are agents of decomposition, and live on organic debris.  In the process they convert it into detritus or organic matter and ultimately to its elemental composition which the next generation of plants and other life forms utilize. Protozoans or protists are one-celled organisms, having organelles which function like organs of higher animals. Protozoans live in colonies and in association with other living things as symbionts, commensals, and for the pathogenic forms, parasites.