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 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 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 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 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.


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 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, 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.


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 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.


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 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.


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.


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.

Lycium Fruit

Lycium fruit is used extensively in Chinese herbalism. The fruit are the berries of Lycium chinense and more commonly Lycium barbarum. The roots also have healing properties.

Lycium is a shrub that grows to about 12 ft (4 m) in height. It grows wild on hillsides in the cooler regions of northern China and Tibet. However, it is also grown as a cultivated plant in almost all parts of China and in some other regions of Asia.

Lycium fruit is rich in carotene, vitamins B1 and B12, and vitamin C. The fruit also contains amino acids (the building blocks of proteins), iron, and trace elements essential to the body, including zinc, copper, selenium, calcium, and phosphorus.


Lycopene is a red, fat-soluble pigment found in vegetables, and most commonly found in tomatoes. It is one of a family of pigments called carotenoids.

Carotenoids are naturally occurring pigments responsible for the brightly colored fall leaves and the vivid colors of flowers, fruits, and vegetables. In fruits and vegetables, these pigments range in hue from bright yellow in squash, to orange in carrots, to bright red in tomatoes and peppers.

Although the human body does not produce lycopene, it is readily available through the diet. Minor sources include guava, rosehip, watermelon, and pink grapefruit. However, about 85% of lycopene in the U.S. diet comes from tomatoes and tomato products such as juice, soup, sauce, paste, and ketchup. A diet rich in carotenoid-containing foods is associated with a variety of health benefits.


Lycopodium (Lycopodium clavatum) is a perennial evergreen plant that grows in pastures, woodlands, heaths, and moors of Great Britain, Northern Europe, and North America. It has a slender stem that trails along the ground and vertical branches that grow to 3-4 in (7.5-10 cm).

The plant belongs to the Lycopodiaceae family and is related to mosses and ferns. It is often called club moss. Other names include wolf’s claw, stag horn, witch meal, and vegetable sulfur.

The pale yellow pollen collected from the spores is used to make the homeopathic remedy called lycopodium. The pollen is odorless, water resistant, and highly flammable. For this reason, it used to be a component of fireworks. It was also used to create a coating for pills.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease, which is also known as Lyme borreliosis, is an infection transmitted by the bite of ticks carrying the spiral-shaped bacterium (spirochete) Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb). The disease was named for Old Lyme, Connecticut, the town where it was first diagnosed in 1975, after a puzzling outbreak of arthritis.

The spiral-shaped bacterium was named for its discoverer, Willy Burgdorfer. The effects of this disease can be long-term and disabling, unless it is recognized and treated properly with antibiotics.

Lyme disease is a vector-borne disease, which means it is delivered from one host to another. It is also classified as a zoonosis, which means that it is a disease of animals that can be transmitted to humans under natural conditions.

Lymphatic Drainage

Lymphatic drainage is a therapeutic method that uses massage-like manipulations to stimulate lymph movement. Lymph is the plasma-like fluid that maintains the body’s fluid balance and removes bacteria.

Combined with other techniques of complete decongestive physiotherapy, it is used to treat lymphedema, swelling in the limbs caused by lymph accumulation.


The use of massage and compression techniques to treat swollen arms and legs was pioneered by Alexander Von Winiwarter, a nineteenth-century surgeon from Belgium. These techniques were refined during the 1930s by Danish massage practitioner Emil Vodder into what is now known as manual lymph drainage.


There are several different species of lysimachia (Lythrum salicaria), which is of the Primulae family. The various species are known by a variety of common names, such as willow herb, purple willow herb, long purples, moneywort, rainbows, soldiers, creeping Jenny, and purple and yellow loosestrife.

It is also known through out the world as salicaire, braune, and rother. Other common names include flowering Sally and soldanella, trientalis, and alvet. It has no smell but a slightly bitter taste, with astringent properties.

Lysimachia is a perennial found throughout Europe, Russia, central Asia, Australia, and North America. It is an attractive low-growing plant, with a creeping habit, and deep taproots.


Lysine is an amino acid not produced by the body but essential to the growth of protein molecules in the body. It is necessary for tissue repair and growth, and for producing antibodies, enzymes, and hormones. Lysine is found in other protein sources, such as red meats, chicken, and turkey.

Most individuals have an adequate intake of lysine; however lysine levels may be low in vegetarians and low-fat dieters. Without enough lysine or any other of the eight essential amino acids, the body cannot build protein to sustain muscle tissue.

General use

The body only uses L-lysine to build protein. Since amino acid molecules are asymmetrical, each amino acid exists as both a right- and left-handed form, distinguished as “D” and “L” respectively. As a supplement L-lysine is used to treat the herpes simplex virus, help prevent osteoporosis and cataracts, and boost the immune system.

Macrobiotic diet

A macrobiotic diet is part of a philosophy of life that incorporates the ancient Oriental concept or theory of yin and yang. The diet itself consists mainly of brown rice, other whole grains, and vegetables. It requires foods to be cooked over a flame, rather than by electricity or microwave.


The term macrobiotics comes from two Greek words; macro (great) and bios (life). The macrobiotic diet is believed to have originated in nineteenth century Japan, with the teachings of Sagen Ishizuka, a natural healer.

George Ohsawa (1893–1966), a Japanese teacher and writer, introduced macrobiotics to Europeans in the 1920s. Ohsawa claims to have cured himself of tuberculosis by eating Ishizuka’s diet of brown rice, soup, and vegetables.

Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration (MD) is the progressive deterioration of the macula, the light-sensitive cells of the central retina, at the back of the eye. The retina is the sensitive membrane (soft layer) of the eye that receives the image formed by the lens and is connected with the brain by the optic nerve.

As these macular cells malfunction and die, central vision becomes gray, hazy, or distorted, and eventually is lost. Peripheral (away from the center) vision is unaffected.

Millions of people suffer from MD and it accounts for about 12% of all blindness in the United States. The macula contains the highest concentration of photosensitive cells in the retina. These cells transform light into electrical signals that are sent to the brain for processing into vision. Fine detail vision and critical color vision are located in the macula.


Magnesium is an element (Mg) with an atomic weight of 24.312 and the atomic number 12. In its elemental form, magnesium is a light, silver-white metal. It is a cation, which means that its ion has a positive charge. Of the cations in the human body, magnesium is the fourth-most abundant.

Ninety-nine percent of the body’s magnesium is contained within its cells: about 60% in the bones, 20% in the muscles, 19%–20% in the soft tissue, and 1% circulates in the blood.

Important to both nutrition and medicine, magnesium, like calcium and phosphorus, is considered a major mineral. Magnesium in its carbonate and sulfate forms has been used for centuries as a laxative. The name of the element comes from Magnesia, a city in Greece where large deposits of magnesium carbonate were discovered in ancient times.

Magnetic Therapy

Magnetic therapy is the use of magnets to relieve pain in various areas of the body.


Magnetic therapy dates as far back as the ancient Egyptians. Magnets have long been believed to have healing powers associated with muscle pain and stiffness. Chinese healers as early as 200 B.C. were said to use magnetic lodestones on the body to correct unhealthy imbalances in the flow of qi, or energy.

The ancient Chinese medical text known as The Yellow Emperor’s Canon of Internal Medicine describes this procedure. The Vedas, or ancient Hindu scriptures, also mention the treatment of diseases with lodestones.


Many species of magnolia are used in both Eastern and Western herbalism. The Chinese have used the bark of Magnolia officinalis, called in Chinese hou po since the first century A.D. M. officinalis is a deciduous tree that grows to a height of 75 ft (22 m). It has large leaves surrounding a creamy white fragrant flower.

The pungent aromatic bark is used in healing. Originally native to China where it grows wild in the mountains, M. officinalis is now grown as an ornamental for use in landscaping around the world.

Chinese herbalists also use the bud of Magnolia liliflora in healing. The Chinese name for magnolia flower is xin yi hua. Note that in Chinese herbalism, magnolia bark and magnolia flower are considered different herbs with different properties and uses.


Maitake, Grifola frondosa, is a mushroom found growing wild in Japan and in forests in the eastern part of North America, where it grows on dying or already dead hardwood trees.

The word maitake means “dancing mushroom” in Japanese; the mushroom was given this name because people were supposed to have danced for joy when they found it. It is also called “hen-in-the-woods” and can reach the size of a head of lettuce.

Because maitake comes from the polypores group, it produces a bunch of leaf-like clumps that are intertwined. During Japan’s feudal era, maitake was used as currency; the daimyo, or provincial nobles, would exchange maitake for its weight in silver from the shogun, the military ruler of Japan.


Malaria is a serious infectious disease spread by certain mosquitoes. It is most common in tropical climates. It is characterized by recurrent symptoms of chills, fever, and an enlarged spleen. The disease can be treated with medication, but it often recurs.

Malaria is endemic (occurs frequently in a particular locality) in many third world countries. Isolated, small outbreaks sometimes occur within the boundaries of the United States, with most of the cases reported as having been imported from other locations.

Malaria is a growing problem in the United States. Although only about 1400 new cases were reported in the United States and its territories in 2000, many involved returning travelers. In addition, locally transmitted malaria has occurred in California, Florida, Texas, Michigan, New Jersey, and New York City.