Iridology

Iridology, also called iris analysis or iris diagnosis, is the study of the iris (the colored part of the eye). Iris “readings” are made by iridologists to assess a person’s health picture (physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual) and guide them to take measures to improve their health.

The basic concept of iridology has existed for centuries. The medical school of the University of Salerno in Italy offered training in iris diagnosis. A book published by Philippus Meyers in 1670, called Chiromatica medica, noted that signs in the iris indicate diseases.

Dr. Ignatz von Peczely, however, is generally considered the father of iridology, with the date of his discovery given as 1861. Von Peczely was a Hungarian physician. As a child, he accidentally broke an owl’s leg. He observed that a black line formed in the owl’s lower iris at the time of the injury.

Iron

Iron is a mineral that the human body uses to produce the red blood cells (hemoglobin) that carry oxygen throughout the body. It is also stored in myoglobin, an oxygen-carrying protein in the muscles that fuels cell growth.

Iron is abundant in red meats, vegetables, and other foods, and a well-balanced diet can usually provide an adequate supply of the mineral. But when there is insufficient iron from dietary sources, or as a result of blood loss in the body, the amount of hemoglobin in the bloodstream is reduced and oxygen cannot be efficiently transported to tissues and organs throughout the body.

The resulting condition is known as iron-deficiency anemia, and is characterized by fatigue, shortness of breath, pale skin, concentration problems, dizziness, a weakened immune system, and energy loss.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common intestinal condition characterized by abdominal pain and cramps; changes in bowel movements (diarrhea, constipation, or both); gassiness; bloating; nausea; and other symptoms.

There is no recognized cure for IBS. Much about the condition remains unknown or poorly understood; however, dietary changes, drugs, and psychological treatment are often able to eliminate or substantially reduce its symptoms.

IBS is the name people use today for a condition that was once called colitis, spastic colon, nervous colon, spastic bowel, and functional bowel disorder. Some of these names reflected the now-outdated belief that IBS is a purely psychological disorder and a product of the patient’s imagination.

Ischemia

Ischemia is an insufficient supply of oxygenated blood to an organ, usually due to a blocked artery.

Myocardial ischemia is an intermediate condition in coronary artery disease during which the heart tissue is slowly or suddenly starved of oxygen and other nutrients. Eventually, the affected heart tissue will die.

When blood flow is completely blocked to the heart, ischemia can lead to a heart attack. Ischemia can be silent or symptomatic. According to the American Heart Association, up to four million Americans may have silent ischemia and be at high risk of having a heart attack with no warning.

Itching

Itching is an intense, distracting irritation or tickling sensation that may be felt all over the skin’s surface or confined to just one area. The medical term for itching is pruritus.

Itching leads most people instinctively to scratch the affected area. Different people can tolerate different amounts of itching, and anyone’s threshold of tolerance can be changed due to stress, emotions, and other factors.

In general, itching is more severe if the skin is warm, and if there are few distractions. This is why people tend to notice itching more at night.

Jaundice

Jaundice is a condition in which a person’s skin and the whites of the eyes are discolored yellow due to an increased level of bile pigments in the blood resulting from liver disease. Jaundice is sometimes called icterus, from a Greek word for “the condition.”

In order to understand jaundice, it is useful to know about the role of the liver in producing bile. The most important function of the liver is the metabolic processing of chemical waste products like cholesterol, and excreting them into the intestines as bile.

The liver is the premier chemical factory in the body—most incoming and outgoing chemicals pass through it. It is the first stop for all nutrients, toxins, and drugs absorbed by the digestive tract.

Jet lag

Jet lag is a condition marked by fatigue, insomnia, and irritability that is caused by air travel through changing time zones. It is commonplace: a 2002 study of international business travelers (IBTs) found that jet lag was one of the most common health problems reported, affecting as many as 74% of IBTs.

Living organisms are accustomed to periods of night and day alternating at set intervals. Most of the human body’s regulating hormones follow this cycle, known as circadian rhythm.

The word circadian comes from the Latin, circa, meaning about, and dies, meaning day. These cycles are not exactly 24 hours long, hence the “circa.” Each chemical has its own cycle of highs and lows, interacting with and influencing the other cycles.

Jock itch

Also known as tinea cruris, jock itch is a growth of fungus in the warm, moist area of the groin.

Fungal infections are named for the affected part of the body. Cruris is derived from the Latin word for leg, hence Tinea cruris, for the fungal rash affecting the area where the leg joins the pelvis. Fungi seem to thrive in dark moist places.

Jock itch has been found most often in males, especially those who wear athletic equipment and frequently use public showers and locker rooms. It is also thought that some fungal infections may be spread by towels that may be inadequately cleansed between gym/spa users, but this has not been clearly documented.

Fungal infections can invade or spread to various other areas of the body, and are named for the affected body part. For example, Tinea capitis is a fungal infection of the head, usually resulting in red, itchy areas that destroy the hair in the affected area.

Jojoba Oil

Jojoba (pronounced ho-ho-ba) oil is a vegetable oil obtained from the crushed bean of the jojoba shrub (Simmondsia chinenis). The jojoba shrub is native to the Sonoran Desert of northwestern Mexico and neighboring regions in Arizona and southern California. It grows in dense stands throughout that region.

The woody evergreen shrub may reach 15 ft (4.5 m) in height. Jojoba has flat gray-green leathery leaves and a deep root system that make it well adapted to desert heat and drought. It has a life span of 100–200 years, depending on environmental conditions.

Jojoba grows best in areas with 10–18 in (25–45 cm) of annual rainfall where temperatures seldom fall below 25°F (-4°C) for more than a few hours at night. It can grow on many types of soils, including porous rocks, in slightly acid to alkaline soils, and on mountain slopes or in valleys.

Journal Therapy

Journal therapy is the purposeful and intentional use of a written record of one’s own thoughts or feelings to further psychological healing and personal growth. It is often used as an adjunct to many psychotherapy and re covery programs.

Healthcare practitioners maintain that written expression fills a very important role in the therapeutic process by providing a mechanism of emotional expression in circumstances in which interpersonal expression is not possible or viable.

Origins

People have kept journals and diaries to record dreams, memories, and thoughts since ancient times. Emotional expression has also long held a central role in the study and practice of psychology.

Juice Therapies

Juice therapy involves the consumption of the juice of raw fruit or vegetables. A person may drink juice preventively to stay healthy, to treat a medical condition like cancer, or to produce a certain outcome, such as strengthening the immune system.

Three widely practiced juice therapies differ primarily in the amount of time that a person is involved in the therapy and whether other items are included in the person’s diet.

For some people, adding fresh juice to their daily meal plan is sufficient. Others will embark on a juice fast for several days to cleanse their systems. Juice is also a major component of the so-called Gerson therapy diet that is used to treat cancer. This therapy usually starts with a stay of three to eight weeks in a clinic. Then therapy continues at home and may continue for years.

Juniper

Juniper (Juniperus communis) is an evergreen shrub found on mountains and heaths throughout Europe, Southwest Asia, and North America. The tree grows to a height of 6-25 ft (2-8 m) and has stiff, pointed needles that grow to 0.4 in (1 cm) long. The female bears cones that produce small round bluish-black berries, which take three years to fully mature.

Juniper belongs to the pine family (Cupressaceae). Juniper has diuretic, antiseptic, stomachic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antirheumatic properties. The tree’s therapeutic properties stem from a volatile oil found in the berries. This oil contains terpenes, flavonoid glycosides, tannins, sugar, tar, and resin.

Terpinen-4-ol (a diuretic compound of the oil) stimulates the kidneys, increasing their filtration rate. The flavonoid amentoflavone exhibits antiviral properties. Test tube studies show that another constituent of juniper, desoxypodophyllotoxins, may act to inhibit the herpes simplex virus.

Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) refers to a number of different conditions, all of which strike children, and all of which have immune-mediated joint inflammation as their major manifestation.

JRA is also known as juvenile idiopathic arthritis or JIA. The European League Against Rheumatism, or EULAR, refers to the disorder as juvenile chronic arthritis, or JCA.

The skeletal system of the body is made up of different types of strong, fibrous tissue known as connective tissue. Bone, cartilage, ligaments, and tendons are all forms of connective tissue that have different compositions, and thus different characteristics.

Kaposi’s Sarcoma

Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS), also called multiple idiopathic hemorrhagic sarcoma, is a neoplastic disease associated especially with AIDS, usually affecting the skin and mucous membranes.

Causes and symptoms

Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) is caused by herpesvirus 8. Malignant cells are found in the tissues under the skin or mucous membranes that line the mouth, nose, and anus. KS causes red or purple patches on the skin and/or mucous membranes and spread to other organs, such as the lungs, liver, or intestinal tract. KS is seen in three forms:
  • indolent
  • lymphadenopathic
  • AIDS-related

Kava kava

Kava kava (Piper methysticum) is a tropical shrub that grows throughout the Pacific Islands. Kava kava belongs to the pepper family (Piperaceae) and is also known as kava, asava pepper, or intoxicating pepper.

It grows to an average height of 6 ft (1.83 m) and has large heart-shaped leaves that can grow to 10 in (25.4 cm) wide. A related species is Piper sanctum, a native plant of Mexico that is used as a stimulant.

Kava kava has been used as a medicinal herb for hundreds of years and used by Pacific Islanders to treat rheumatism, asthma, worms, obesity, headaches, fungal infections, leprosy, gonorrhea, vaginal infections, urinary infections, menstrual problems, migraine headaches, and insomnia.

Kegel Exercises

Kegel exercises (Kegels) are exercises designed to strengthen the muscles of the lower pelvic girdle, or pelvic floor—the pubococcygeal (PC) muscles. The PC muscles support the bladder, urethra, and urethral sphincter—the muscle group at the neck of the bladder that acts as a spigot for controlling urine flow into the urethra—and the vagina, uterus, and rectum.

Anything that puts pressure on the abdomen can weaken or damage these pelvic muscles. Such conditions include pregnancy, childbirth, excess weight, hormonal changes, and aging.

Kegel exercises enable the PC muscles to better withstand increases in intra-abdominal pressure (pressure inside the abdomen). They make the bladder, urethra, and vagina more resilient, and improve bladder control and sexual relations.

Kelley-Gonzalez diet

The Kelley-Gonzalez diet consists of large amounts of raw fruits, juices, raw and steamed vegetables, cereals, and nuts. When combined with massive quantities of dietary supplements and freeze-dried pancreatic enzymes, together with a “detoxification” process involving coffee enemas, it is said to slow the growth of cancer tumors.

Origins

The Kelley-Gonzalez regimen is based on a belief that enzymes from the pancreas are capable, like chemotherapy, of killing cancer cells. The use of pancreatic enzymes to treat cancer was first proposed in 1906 by John Beard, a Scottish embryologist. This idea received some attention at the time but was largely abandoned after Beard died in 1923.

During the 1960s, the concept was resurrected by William Donald Kelley, a controversial dentist from Grapevine, Texas. Kelley wrote a book titled One Answer to Cancer that outlined his five-pronged approach:

Kelp

Kelp (Fucus vesiculosus) is a type of brown sea-weed, moderate in size, that grows in regions with cold coastlines, including those of the northwestern United States and northern Europe.

There are several varieties of kelp: true kelp, which thrives in cool seas; giant kelp, and bladder kelp, which grow in the North Pacific. Giant kelp is so named because it grows to 213 ft (65 m). Kelp anchors itself to rocky surfaces via tentacle-like roots. From these roots grows a slender stalk with long, leaf-like blades.

Kelp belongs to the Fucaceae family. Other names for Fucus vesiculosus are kelpware, black-tang, bladderfucus, cutweed, and bladderwrack. The main constituents of kelp include phenolic compounds, mucopolysaccharides, algin, polar lipids, and glycosyl ester diglycerides. Kelp also contains protein, carbohydrates, and essential fatty acids.

Kidney Infections

Kidney infection is a general term used to describe infection of the kidney by bacteria, fungi, or viruses. The infecting microbe may have invaded the kidney from the urinary bladder or from the bloodstream. The disease is characterized by fever, chills, back pain, and, often, the symptoms associated with bladder infection.

As the principle part of the urinary system, the kidneys process the fluid component of blood (called plasma) to maintain appropriate water volume and concentrations of chemicals. The waste product formed from this process is called urine.

Urine travels from the kidney, through tubes called ureters, to the urinary bladder, and is eliminated from the body through a tube called the urethra. The kidneys and ureters comprise the upper urinary tract, and the bladder and urethra comprise the lower urinary tract.

Kidney stones

Kidney stones are solid accumulations of material that form in the tubal system of the kidney. Kidney stones cause problems when they block the flow of urine through or out of the kidney. When the stones move through the ureter, they cause severe pain.

Urine is formed by the kidneys. Blood flows into the kidneys, and nephrons (specialized tubes) within the kidneys allow a certain amount of fluid from the blood, and certain substances dissolved in that fluid, to flow out of the body as urine.

Sometimes, a problem causes the dissolved substances to become solid again. Tiny crystals may form in the urine, meet, and cling together to create a larger solid mass called a kidney stone.

Kirlian photography

Kirlian photography creates a photographic image by placing the object or body part to be photographed on film or photographic paper and exposing it to an electromagnetic field.

Although experiments with photographing objects exposed to an electrical field are known to have been carried out as early as the 1890s, Kirlian photography is generally said to have originated with the work of a pair of Soviet scientists, Semyon and Valentina Kirlian, beginning around 1939.

Over the next several decades at Kazakh State University, the Kirlians developed electrophotographic techniques that used neither a lens nor a camera. By the 1960s, their work had attracted public attention in the Soviet Union.

Knee pain

Knee pain refers to any aching or burning pain in the knee joint. Knee pain can be a symptom of numerous conditions and diseases, including knee stress, osteoarthritis, injury, gout, infection, and bursitis.

Knee pain is very common. Each year, millions of Americans visit the doctor for knee pain. It is the most frequent reason for visits to an orthopedist (bone and joint surgeon).

To understand the various causes of knee pain, it is important to know how the knee functions. The knee refers to the joint where the femur (thigh bone) meets the tibia (largest lower leg bone). In front of this joint lies the patella (knee cap).

Kneipp Wellness

Kneipp wellness is a holistic system for overall health developed by Sebastian Kneipp, a nineteenth-century Bavarian priest. His approach included aspects of hydrotherapy, herbalism, and aerobic exercise.

Sebastian Kneipp was born to a poor family in Stephansreid, Bavaria, on May 17, 1821. He initially took up his father’s trade of weaving, but longed to become a priest.

With help from a sympathetic clergyman, he was admitted to high school as a mature student, but after five years of intensive studies, Kneipp became seriously ill with pulmonary tuberculosis.

At that time, the disease was usually fatal, but Kneipp came across an eighteenth-century book about hydrotherapy that inspired him during the winter of 1849 to immerse himself several times a week in the icy Danube River.

Kola nut

The kola nut, or bitter cola, (Cola vera, Cola acuminata, Cola nitida) is a seed part from a tree from the Sterculiaceae family. The trees are native to Central and Western Africa, but are now found in the West Indies and Brazil, where they were introduced by African slaves. All three species are used as a stimulant and are prepared in the same manner.

The kola tree grows to approximately 40 ft (12 m) in height, and has white to yellow flowers with spots that range from red to purple. The kola tree’s leaves are 6–8 in long (15–20 cm) and the tree bears fruit that is shaped like a star. Inside the fruit, about a dozen round or square seeds can be found in a white seed shell.

General use

Kola nut, which contains high amounts of caffeine, helps combat fatigue and is most commonly used as a central nervous system stimulant that focuses on the cerebrospinal centers.

Kombucha

Kombucha is a fermented beverage prepared from a mushroom (Fungus japonicus). Known as kombucha tea, the drink is touted for its health-promoting properties. It is also called Manchurian mushroom tea, Manchurian fungus tea, Kwassan, combucha tea, and champagne of life.

During fermentation and preparation, the kombucha membrane becomes a tough gelatinous cover composed of several different yeasts (one-celled fungi) and certain nontoxic bacteria derived from the air, similar to a sourdough bread starter.

When the fungus is fermented in a mixture containing water, black or green tea, sugar, and vinegar (or other fermentation source), the microorganisms combine into a complex fermenting culture.

Kudzu

Kudzu, whose botanical name is Pueraria lobata, is a member of the Fabaceae legume family. It is also known as Ge-gen, kudzu vine, mile-a-minute vine, foot-a-night vine, and the vine-that-ate-the-South.

The latter names refer to this vine’s property of rapid growth. This perennial trails, climbs, and winds its rough vines around tree poles and anything else it touches.

It grows in shady areas, mountain areas, fields, roadsides and forests in China, Japan, and the southern United States, more so in the latter because when imported, its native insects did not tag along. Kudzu was first seen in the United States as an ornamental plant at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition.

Labyrinth Walking

A labyrinth is a patterned path, often circular in form, used as a walking meditation or spiritual practice. A labyrinth’s walkway is arranged in such a way that the participant moves back and forth across the circular form through a series of curves, ending at the labyrinths’s heart or center.

It is unicursal, which means that it has only one entrance and leads in only one direction. Although the word maze is often used as a synonym for labyrinth, mazes are multicursal in design; the user has to make choices at many points along the path. Mazes often have more than one entrance, and usually contain many wrong turns and dead ends.

The English word labyrinth is derived from the Greek word labyrinthos, which in turn may come from labrys, the word for the double-headed axe associated with the Minoan culture on the island of Crete that was at its height around 1650 B.C. According to the Greek historian Herodotus (c. 450 B.C.), King Minos of Crete asked an Athenian architect and inventor named Daedalus to build a house with winding passages for the Minotaur, a monster that his queen had borne after having intercourse with a bull.

Lachesis

Not all products used in alternative healing come from plants. Lachesis is the venom of the bushmaster snake, Lachesis mutus. It is used in homeopathic medicine.

L. mutus is a tropical snake that lives in the jungles of Central and South America, growing to a length of 12 feet (3.6 m). It is the largest poisonous pit viper in the Western hemisphere, and second in size in the world only to the king cobra. L. mutus is related to the familiar North American rattlesnake.

A large bushmaster can have fangs more than 1 in (2.5 cm) long. Its venom is deadly and kills rapidly by inhibiting nervous impulses or slowly by interfering with blood clotting and accelerating the destruction of red blood cells. The bushmaster is also called the surucucu (sometimes spelled surukuku).

Lacto-ovo Vegetarianism

Lacto-ovo vegetarians are people who do not eat meat, but do include dairy products (lacto) and eggs (ovo) in their diets.

The term vegetarian was coined in 1847 by the founders of the Vegetarian Society of Great Britain, although vegetarianism as a way of life has existed for thousands of years. The founders of the Vegetarian Society were lacto-ovo vegetarians.

One of the central ideas that has motivated vegetarians is that food choices should not require the death or suffering of animals. Thus, many vegetarians avoid meat but eat dairy products and eggs (on the grounds that store-bought eggs are unfertilized).

Laryngitis

Laryngitis is caused by inflammation of the larynx, often resulting in a temporary loss of voice.

When air is breathed in, it passes through the nose and the nasopharynx or through the mouth and the oropharynx. These are both connected to the larynx, a tube made of cartilage. The vocal cords, responsible for setting up the vibrations necessary for speech, are located within the larynx.

The air continues down the larynx to the trachea. The trachea then splits into two branches, the left and right bronchi (bronchial tubes). These bronchi branch into smaller air tubes that run within the lungs, leading to the small air sacs of the lungs (alveoli).

Lavender

Lavender is a hardy perennial in the Lamiaciae, or mint, family. The herb is a Mediterranean native. There are many species of lavendula which vary somewhat in appearance and aromatic quality.

English lavender, L. augustifolia, also known as true lavender, is commercially valuable in the perfume industry and is a mainstay of English country gardens.

French lavender, L.stoechas, is the species most probably used in Roman times as a scenting agent in washing water. The species L. officinalis is the official species used in medicinal preparations, though all lavenders have medicinal properties in varying degrees.

Lazy Eye

Lazy eye, or amblyopia, is an eye condition in which disuse causes reduced vision in an otherwise healthy eye. The affected eye is called the lazy eye.

This vision defect occurs in 2–3% of American children. If not corrected before age eight, amblyopia will cause significant loss of stereoscopic vision, the ability to perceive three-dimensional depth.

In some children, one eye functions better than the other. When a child begins to depend on the stronger eye, the weaker eye can become progressively weaker. Eventually, the weaker eye grows “lazy” from disuse.

Lead Poisoning


Lead poisoning occurs when a person swallows, absorbs, or inhales lead in any form. The result can be damaging to the brain, nerves, and many other parts of the body. Acute lead poisoning, which is somewhat rare, occurs when a relatively large amount of lead is taken into the body over a short period of time.

Chronic lead poisoning — a common problem in children — occurs when small amounts of lead are taken in over a longer period. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines childhood lead poisoning as a whole-blood lead concentration equal to or greater than 10 micrograms/dL.

Learning Disorders

Learning disorders are academic difficulties experienced by children and adults of average to above-average intelligence. People with learning disorders have difficulty with reading, writing, mathematics, or a combination of the three. These difficulties significantly interfere with academic achievement or daily living.

Learning disorders, or disabilities, affect approximately 2 million children between the ages of six and 17 (5% of public school children), although some experts think the figure may be as high as 15%. These children have specific impairments in acquiring, retaining, and processing information.

Standardized tests place them well below their IQ range in their area of difficulty. The three main types of learning disorders are reading disorders, mathematics disorders, and disorders of written expression. The male: female ratio for learning disorders is about 5: 1.

Lecithin

Lecithin was discovered in 1850 by Maurice Gobley, who isolated it in egg yolks and identified it as the substance that allowed oil and water to mix. The name is derived from the Greek word lekithos, which means “yolk of egg.”

Lecithin is a naturally occurring fatty substance found in several foods including soybeans, whole grains and egg yolks. It is often used as an emulsification agent in processed foods. It can be taken in various forms as a nutritional supplement, often derived from soybeans.

The body breaks lecithin down into its component parts: choline, phosphate, glycerol and fatty acids. The body’s highest concentration of lecithin is found in the vital organs, where it makes up about 30% of the dry weight of the brain and nearly two-thirds of the fat in the liver.

Ledum

Ledum is an evergreen shrub, Ledum palustre. This plant grows wild in Canada, northern Europe, and the cooler regions of North America as far south as Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, reaching a height of 1–6 ft (0.3–2 m).

It has narrow, dark, aromatic leaves with hairy or wooly undersides. The leaves, either dried or fresh, are used primarily in homeopathic healing, but have also been used in Native American and Russian folk medicine.

During the American Revolution when the British imposed a tax on imported tea, the American colonists used ledum as a tea substitute. Other names for ledum include marsh tea, Labrador tea, wild rosemary, James’s tea, and ledum latifolium.

Lemon Balm

Lemon balm is a citrus-scented, aromatic herb. It is a perennial member of the Lamiaceae (formerly Labiatae), or mint, family and has proven benefit to the nervous system. This lovely Mediterranean native, dedicated to the goddess Diana, is bushy and bright. Greeks used lemon balm medicinally over 2,000 years ago.

Honey bees swarm to the plant. This attraction inspired the generic name, melissa, the Greek word for honeybee. Romans introduced lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) to Great Britain where it became a favorite cottage garden herb. The plant has been naturalized in North America.

Lemon balm grows in bushy clumps to 2 ft (0.6 m) tall and branches to 18 in (45.7 cm). It thrives in full sun or partial shade in moist, fertile soil from the mountains to the sea.

Lemongrass

Resembling a gigantic weed, lemongrass is an aromatic tropical plant with long, slender blades that can grow to a height of 5 ft (1.5 m). Believed to have a wide range of therapeutic effects, the herb has been used for centuries in South America and India and has also become popular in the United States.

Aside from folk medicine, lemongrass is a favorite ingredient in Thai cuisine and dishes that boast a tangy, Asian flavor. While there are several species of lemongrass, Cymbopogon citratus is the variety most often recommended for medicinal purposes.

Native to Southeast Asia, lemongrass can also be found growing in India, South America, Africa, Australia, and the United States. Only the fresh or dried leaves of lemongrass, and the essential oil derived from them, are used as a drug. Cymbopogon citratus , which belongs to the Poaceae family of plants, is also referred to as West Indian lemongrass.

Leukemia

Leukemia is a cancer that starts in the organs that make blood, namely the bone marrow and the lymph system. Depending on specific characteristics, leukemia can be divided into two broad types: acute and chronic.

Acute leukemias are the rapidly progressing leukemias, while the chronic leukemias progress more slowly. The vast majority of childhood leukemias are of the acute form.

The cells that make up blood are produced in the bone marrow and the lymph system. The bone marrow is the spongy tissue found in the large bones of the body. The lymph system includes the spleen (an organ in the upper abdomen), the thymus (a small organ beneath the breastbone), and the tonsils (an organ in the throat).

Lice infestation

Lice infestation
Lice infestation
A lice infestation, or pediculosis, is caused by parasites living on human skin. Lice are tiny, wingless insects with sucking mouthparts that feed on human blood and lay eggs on body hair or in clothing. Lice bites can cause intense itching.

There are three related species of human lice that live on different parts of the body:
  • Head lice, Pediculus humanus capitis
  • Body lice, Pediculosis humanus corpus
  • Pubic lice, Phthirus pubis, commonly called “crab” lice

Pediculosis capitis is an infestation of head lice. A body lice infestation is called pediculosis corporis. Pediculosis palpebrarum or Phthiriasis palpebrarum, caused by crab lice, is an infestation of the eyebrows and eyelashes.

Licorice

Licorice, Glycyrrhiza glabra, is a purple and white flowering perennial, native of the Mediterranean region and central and southwest Asia. It is cultivated widely for the sweet taproot that grows to a depth of four ft (1.2 m). Licorice is a hardy plant that thrives in full sun or partial shade and prefers rich, moist soil.

It may grow to a height of 3-7 ft (1-2 m). The wrinkled, brown root has yellow interior flesh and is covered with a tangle of rootlets branching from the stolons. The aerial parts of the plant are erect and branching with round stems that become somewhat angular near the top.

The leaves are alternate, odd, and pinnate, dividing into as many as eight pairs of oblong leaflets. Licorice blossoms in late summer. The sweet-pea like flowers grow in clusters forming in the angle where the stem joins the branch. The maroon colored seed pods are about 1-2 in (3-5 cm) long and contain one to six kidney-shaped seeds.

Light therapy

light therapy
Light therapy, or phototherapy, is the administration of doses of bright light in order to treat a variety of sleep and mood disorders. It is most commonly used to re-regulate the body’s internal clock and/or relieve depression.

Origins

Light, both natural and artificial, has been prescribed throughout the ages for healing purposes. Sunlight has been used medicinally since the time of the ancient Greeks; Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, prescribed exposure to sunlight for a number of illnesses.

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, bright light and fresh air were frequently prescribed for a number of mood and stress related disorders. In fact, prior to World War II, hospitals were regularly built with solariums, or sun rooms, in which patients could spend time recuperating in the sunlight.

Linoleic acid


Linoleic acid is a colorless to straw-colored liquid polyunsaturated fatty acid (C18H32O2) of the omega-6 series. Linoleic and another fatty acid, gamma-linolenic, or gamolenic, produce compounds called prostaglandins.

Prostaglandins are substances that are found in every cell, are needed for the body’s overall health maintenance, and must be replenished constantly. Linoleic acid is an essential fatty acid, which means that the body cannot produce it, so it must be obtained in the diet.

Lobelia

Lobelia inflata, also known as Indian tobacco, wild tobacco, pukeweed, emetic weed, asthma weed and gag-root, is native to North America and can commonly be found growing wild over much of the United States.

Lobelia derives its name from Matthias de Lobel, a sixteenth-century Flemish botanist. The erect stem reaches a height of between 6 in (15 cm) and several feet. The many small blue flowers appear in midsummer and are visible through late fall. The stem is hairy, and the plant contains a milk-like sap.

Worldwide, there are more than 200 species of lobelia, growing predominantly in the temperate and tropical zones. Some species found at high elevations in mountainous areas of Asia and Africa may achieve a height of up to 15 ft (5.5 m). At the other end of the size spectrum, the dwarf lobelia (Lobelia erina) is sometimes cultivated as a small ornamental or hanging plant.

Lomatium

The name lomatium generally refers to Lomatium dissectum, one of the numerous species and varieties of the Lomatium genus that is native to western North America.

Lomatium is a member of the Apiaceae (carrot) family and grows in the northwestern United States and south-western Canada. Like many wild plants that have attracted the attention of commercial interests, lomatium is presently threatened with extinction over parts of its range.

In the wild, lomatium grows in rocky soil and reaches a height of 3 ft (0.9 m). The entire lomatium plant is edible, and numerous Native American groups regarded the lomatium plant as a food source and medicinal remedy.

Lomilomi

Lomilomi literally means “to break up into small pieces with the fingers.” It is a type of healing massage that is traditionally practiced in the Hawaiian islands.

This form of massage involves both physical and spiritual ritual components. Lomilomi originated in the South Pacific and is practiced mainly in the Hawaiian islands, although lomilomi practitioners can also be found in Australia, California, and a few other places in the United States.

When Captain Cook and other European explorers disembarked on the islands of Polynesia, the indigenous people healed their aches and pains with therapeutic massage.

Lou Gehrig’s Disease

Lou Gehrig’s Disease
Lou Gehrig’s Disease

Lou Gehrig’s disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), is a neurodegenerative disease of unknown cause that breaks down tissues in the nervous system and affects the nerves responsible for movement. Its common name comes from the professional baseball player whose career was ended because of it.

Description

Lou Gehrig’s disease is a disease of the motor neurons, those nerve cells reaching from the brain to the spinal cord (upper motor neurons) and the spinal cord to the peripheral nerves (lower motor neurons) that control muscle movement.

Low Back Pain

Low back pain (LBP) is a common complaint—second only to cold and flu as a reason why patients seek care from their family doctor. It may be a limited musculoskeletal symptom or caused by a variety of diseases and disorders that affect or extend from the lumbar spine.

Low back pain is sometimes accompanied by sciatica, which is pain that involves the sciatic nerve and is felt in the lower back, the buttocks, the backs and sides of the thighs, and possibly the calves. More serious causes of LBP may be accompanied by fever, night pain that awakens a person from sleep, loss of bladder or bowel control, numbness, burning urination, swelling or sharp pain.

Low back pain is a symptom that affects 80% of the general United States population at some point in life with sufficient severity to cause absence from work. As mentioned, it is the second most common reason for visits to primary care doctors, and is estimated to cost the American economy $75 billion every year.

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is a disease in which the cells of the lung tissues grow uncontrollably and form tumors. It is the leading cause of death from cancer among both men and women in the United States.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimated that in 1998, at least 172,000 new cases of lung cancer were diagnosed, and that lung cancer accounted for 28% of all cancer deaths, or approximately 160,000 people.

In 2002, the ACS reported that more than 150,000 Americans die from the disease every year. Only 15 percent of people with lung cancer will live five years.

Lutein

Found in certain fruits and vegetables as well as egg yolks, lutein is a nutrient with a number of potentially beneficial effects. It is a member of the carotenoid family, a group of chemicals related to vitamin A.

While betacarotene, the precursor of vitamin A, may be the most familiar carotenoid, there are almost 600 others whose effects have yet to be extensively studied. Aside from lutein, these include alpha-carotene, lycopene, zeaxanthin, and beta-cryptoxanthin.

In the plant world, carotenoids like lutein help to give color to sweet potatoes, carrots, and other fruits and vegetables. In people, lutein and zeaxanthin make up most of the pigment in the center of the retina, where vision sensitivity is greatest.