From the physical and social well-being of an individual to the functioning of an ecosystem, health has many different meanings and applications. More than just the absence of disease, health implies a state of well-being. Ever since the origin of life, physical, chemical and biological factors have impacted the health or biological status of living things. And in response life has evolved immune systems, detoxification systems and redundancies to stave off infection, disease, and toxicity. As the world becomes more interconnected, and industrialized, diseases never seen in one part of the globe now threaten to devastate human, wildlife and plant populations, while industrial chemicals now contaminate life in the most remote regions. Maintaining health, whether ecosystem, human or microbial arguably presents one of the greatest challenges of the day. 

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The Role of Botanic Gardens in Conservation of Medicinal Plant Species: A Case Study of Entebbe Bontanic Gardens Last Updated on 2014-10-21 11:20:56 A botanic garden is an institution holding documented collections of living plants for the purposes of scientific research, conservation, display and education. A botanic garden has been defined as a garden containing scientifically ordered and maintained collections of plants, usually documented and labeled, and open to the public for the purposes of recreation, education and research. Medicinal plant species are those that provide people with medicines to prevent diseases, maintain health or cure ailment. Therefore medicinal plants are important in the well being of people yet most people are not aware about these species or their medicinal value. Examples of these plants include Aloe vera, Hydnocarpus kurzii, Azadirachta indica and many others. Medicinal plant species are of great value to mankind and other animals but not much emphasis is laid on their conservation especially... More »
Fenugreek Last Updated on 2014-08-22 15:04:52 Fenugreek Seedlings (Source: Saikat Basu, own work) Scientific Classification Kingdom: Plantae Phylum:  Anthophyta Class:   Dicotyledoneae Order:   Fabales Family:  Fabaceae Genus:   Trigonella Species: Trigonella foenum-graecum Binomial name: Trigonella foenum-graecum L. Fenugreek (Trigonella) is the oldest medicinal plant in the world. Most popular species of this genus is Trigonella foenum-graecum, where the term “foenum-graecum” means ‘Greek hay’ pointing to its use as a forage crop in the past, fenugreek is grown mainly as a spice crop in the recent times. The plant is believed to be native to the Mediterranean region1-6. There are several controversies regarding the origin of the fenugreek plant for which no proper theory as to the... More »
Tetrodotoxin Last Updated on 2014-05-20 15:07:08 Tetrodotoxin (abbreviated as TTX) is a powerful neurotoxin found in a variety of animals and is responsible for upwards of 50 human fatalities a year. Captain James Cook was the first to record TTX poisoning in western literature in 1774 following an incident caused by ingesting fish from the family Tetraodontidae (commonly known as puffer fish). Incidents of poisonings in China due to consumption of puffer fish have been dated as far back as 2000 years. TTX, produced by bacteria or dinoflagellate species, is an alkaloid substance with a guanidinium group (including three nitrogen atoms, blue in Figure 1), a pyrimidine ring (red in Figure 1) and five other ring systems. It is a thermostable non-protein and it is soluble in water.   Figure 1: Molecular Structure of Tetrodotoxin TTX acts on both central and peripheral nervous systems. Also, it... More »
Influenza Virus Last Updated on 2014-05-13 18:03:57 Though the influenza virus has been killing humans for thousands of years, the virus itself was not discovered until the 1930s. Without the knowledge about the origin and transmission of this disease, the 1918 Spanish flu had a terrible impact, infecting about 30%,  and killing about 3%, of the world’s population. To develop vaccines and drugs against viruses, researchers target specific viral components involved in viral entry and viral budding. But with their high mutation rates and ability to evolve rapidly, viruses have the upper hand in the co-evolutionary race against humans. If the 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak is any indication, the next global pandemic (disease spread over a large region) is on its way, and the worst may be yet to come. The question asked every year then, by experts and the common person alike, is when will it strike and... More »
Public Health Statement for DDT, DDE, and DDD Last Updated on 2013-10-01 23:28:36 This article is a verbatim version of the original and is not available for edits or additions by EoE editors or authors. Companion articles on the same topic that are editable may exist within the EoE. September 2002 En Español CAS#: DDT 50-29-3, DDE 72-55-9, DDD 72-54-8 This Public Health Statement is the summary chapter from the Toxicological Profile for DDT, DDE, and DDD. It is one in a series of Public Health Statements about hazardous substances and their health effects. A shorter version, the ToxFAQs™, is also available. This information is important because this substance may harm you. The effects of exposure to any hazardous substance depend on the dose, the duration, how you are exposed, personal traits and habits, and whether other chemicals are present. For more information, call the ATSDR Information Center at 1-888-422-8737. This public health... More »