ResearchPad - herbs https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Distribution pattern of Tugai forests species diversity and their relationship to environmental factors in an arid area of China]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14501 Ecological restoration of degraded riparian Tugai forests is a key driver to combat desertification in arid regions. Previous studies have focused mainly on changes in groundwater as the underlying mechanisms of Tugai forest’s decline. We evaluated species composition and diversity of Tugai forest and their relationship to groundwater, soil salinity, and soil nutrient. Using 73 quadrats (100 m × 100 m) from 13 transects located perpendicularly to river in the upper reaches of the Tarim River. Eighteen plant species belonging to sixteen genera and eight families were recorded, and the dominant species included Populus euphratica, Phragmites communis, and Tamarix ramosissima. Three P. euphratica stand ages were detected: young stand, mature stand, and old stand. There were significant differences in species diversity, groundwater depth, groundwater salinity, distance from the quadrat to the river channel, soil moisture content, pH, electrical conductivity, total salt, Cl, SO42−, Ca2−, Mg2+, Na+, K+, soil organic carbon, and soil organic matter across the stand ages. Seven species were identified as indicators of the three stand ages. Redundancy analysis indicated that the Tugai forest diversity indices were negatively correlated with groundwater depth, groundwater salinity, and distance from the river, and positively associated with electrical conductivity, total salt, pH, Cl, SO42−, CO32−, soil organic matter, soil organic carbon, and soil moisture content. Plant diversity was the highest at 3–6 m groundwater depth, followed by 0–3 m and then 6–9 m, with the lowest recorded at > 9 m. The appropriate groundwater depth for herbs was about 1–4 m, whereas the depth for trees and shrubs was about 3–6 m. The groundwater depth < 6 m was deemed suitable for the growth of desert riparian forests. This results provide a scientific reference for the ecological restoration and protection for Tugai forests in arid areas.

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<![CDATA[Health-Seeking Behaviour towards Poverty-Related Disease (PRDs): A Qualitative Study of People Living in Camps and on Campuses in Cameroon]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db53ab0ee8fa60bdcdb1

Poverty-Related Diseases (PRDs) emphasize poverty as a ‘breeding-ground’ for a range of diseases. The study presented here starts from the premise that poverty is a general condition that can limit people’s capacity to prevent, mitigate or treat diseases. Using an interpretation of health seeking behaviour (HSB), inspired by the salutogenic approach, we investigated how people deal with PRDs, their ability and strategies put in place to cope. We collected HSB data from two groups of respondents in Cameroon: labourers of the Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC) living in settlements called camps and students of the state universities of Buea and Yaoundé living in settlements we refer to as campuses. By selecting these groups, the study offers a unique view of how different people cope with similar health challenges. We carried out semi-structured interviews with 21 camp dwellers and 21 students in a cross-sectional study. Our findings revealed 1) respondents use multiple resources to cope with PRDs. 2) Respondents’ perceptions of diseases and connection with poverty closely ties to general hygienic conditions of their living environment. 3) Utilisation of health facilities is not strongly dependent on financial resources. 4) Volatile health facilities are a major challenge and reason for people to revert to other health resources. The study brings out the need for organisations (governmental and non-governmental) to strengthen people’s capacities to cope with health situations through better health and housing policies geared at incorporating practices currently used by the people and supporting pro-hygienic initiatives.

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<![CDATA[Flood-Induced Changes in Soil Microbial Functions as Modified by Plant Diversity]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9f9ab0ee8fa60b71232

Flooding frequency is predicted to increase during the next decades, calling for a better understanding of impacts on terrestrial ecosystems and for developing strategies to mitigate potential damage. Plant diversity is expected to buffer flooding effects by providing a broad range of species’ responses. Here we report on the response of soil processes to a severe summer flood in 2013, which affected major parts of central Europe. We compared soil microbial respiration, biomass, nutrient limitation and enzyme activity in a grassland biodiversity experiment in Germany before flooding, one week and three months after the flood. Microbial biomass was reduced in the severely flooded plots at high, but not at low plant functional group richness. Flooding alleviated microbial nitrogen limitation, presumably due the input of nutrient-rich sediments. Further, the activity of soil enzymes including 1,4-β-N-acetylglucosaminidase, phenol oxidase and peroxidase increased with flooding severity, suggesting increased chitin and lignin degradation as a consequence of the input of detritus in sediments. Flooding effects were enhanced at higher plant diversity, indicating that plant diversity temporarily reduces stability of soil processes during flooding. The long-term impacts, however, remain unknown and deserve further investigation.

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<![CDATA[Ellenberg's indicator values support prediction of suitable habitat for pre-diapause larvae of endangered butterfly Euphydryas aurinia]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5dab0ee8fa60be0479

In spite of the great popularity of Ellenberg’s Indicator Values (EIVs) in plant ecology, animal ecologists seldom use EIVs to address ecological questions. In this study we used EIVs to test their potential usefulness for the prediction of suitable habitat for pre-diapause larvae of the endangered butterfly species Euphydryas aurinia. Nine transects crossing grasslands in SW Poland with abundant populations of E. aurinia were designed. We sampled 76 vegetation plots along the transects. In addition, the presence of the larval webs of E. aurinia in sampled plots was also recorded. We then calculated the mean community EIVs of light, nitrogen, soil reaction, moisture and temperature for each sample plots. Generalized linear mixed-effects models (GLMMs) were used to assess which factors determine the local occurrence of larval webs of E. aurinia. We found the larval webs only in 12 plots, while the host plant was present in 39 of the examined plots. The presence of the host plant was the most important predictor in both models including all plots or including only plots with host plants. The other significant predictor was the mean EIV of light, and its importance increased in models considering all plots. We attributed the importance of the EIV of light to the site openness and density of the vegetation layer. A positive relationship between this predictor and the presence of larval webs indicates that sites with looser vegetation, a lower contribution of shrubs and tall herbs and better penetration of photosynthetically active radiation to lower vegetation layers are preferred by E. aurinia for oviposition. Moreover, the significance of EIV of light may be linked with management practices. Many light-demanding species decline after cessation of mowing as a result of litter accumulation and the dominance of tall herbs. An absence of light-demanding species decreases the community’s mean EIV of light and thus indicates the influence of meadow abandonment.

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<![CDATA[Predicting the Potential Distribution of Polygala tenuifolia Willd. under Climate Change in China]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db42ab0ee8fa60bd708e

Global warming has created opportunities and challenges for the survival and development of species. Determining how climate change may impact multiple ecosystem levels and lead to various species adaptations is necessary for both biodiversity conservation and sustainable biological resource utilization. In this study, we employed Maxent to predict changes in the habitat range and altitude of Polygala tenuifolia Willd. under current and future climate scenarios in China. Four representative concentration pathways (RCP2.6, RCP4.5, RCP6.0, and RCP8.5) were modeled for two time periods (2050 and 2070). The model inputs included 732 presence points and nine sets of environmental variables under the current conditions and the four RCPs in 2050 and 2070. The area under the receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) curve (AUC) was used to evaluate model performance. All of the AUCs were greater than 0.80, thereby placing these models in the “very good” category. Using a jackknife analysis, the precipitation in the warmest quarter, annual mean temperature, and altitude were found to be the top three variables that affect the range of P. tenuifolia. Additionally, we found that the predicted highly suitable habitat was in reasonable agreement with its actual distribution. Furthermore, the highly suitable habitat area was slowly reduced over time.

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<![CDATA['Asking the Right Question'. A Comparison of Two Approaches to Gathering Data on 'Herbals' Use in Survey Based Studies]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da7cab0ee8fa60b98e01

Background

Over the last decade academic interest in the prevalence and nature of herbal medicines use by pregnant women has increased significantly. Such data are usually collected by means of an administered questionnaire survey, however a key methodological limitation using this approach is the need to clearly define the scope of ‘herbals’ to be investigated. The majority of published studies in this area neither define ‘herbals’ nor provide a detailed checklist naming specific ‘herbals’ and CAM modalities, which limits inter-study comparison, generalisability and the potential for meta-analyses. The aim of this study was to compare the self-reported use of herbs, herbal medicines and herbal products using two different approaches implemented in succession.

Methods

Cross-sectional questionnaire surveys of women attending for their mid-trimester scan or attending the postnatal unit following live birth at the Royal Aberdeen Maternity Hospital, North-East Scotland. The questionnaire utilised two approaches to collect data on ‘herbals’ use, a single closed yes/no answer to the question “have you used herbs, herbal medicines and herbal products in the last three months”; and a request to tick which of a list of 40 ‘herbals’ they had used in the same time period.

Results

A total of 889 responses were obtained of which 4.3% (38) answered ‘yes’ to herbal use via the closed question. However, using the checklist 39% (350) of respondents reported the use of one or more specific ‘herbals’ (p<0.0001). The 312 respondents who reported ‘no’ to ‘herbals’ use via the closed question but “yes” via the checklist consumed a total of 20 different ‘herbals’ (median 1, interquartile range 1–2, range 1–6).

Conclusions

This study demonstrates that the use of a single closed question asking about the use of ‘herbals’, as frequently reported in published studies, may not yield valid data resulting in a gross underestimation of actual use.

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<![CDATA[Mazus sunhangii (Mazaceae), a New Species Discovered in Central China Appears to Be Highly Endangered]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da5cab0ee8fa60b90357

Mazus sunhangii, a new species of Mazaceae from central China is described and illustrated based on evidence from morphology and molecular phylogeny. This new species is morphologically similar to M. puchellus and M. omeiensis but differs in erect habit, inflorescence position, leaf pattern and corolla color. Phylogenetic analysis based on four chloroplast DNA regions (rbcL, rps16, trnL-F, and psbA-trnH) identified the new species as the independent lineage sister to the other East Asian Mazus species. The new species is known only from a single location in Mt. Shennongjia area in northwest Hubei province, at the elevation of 760 m. The species grows on the limestone cliff, and, because a tourist arterial highway is located along this cliff, its habitat can be easily disturbed or destroyed. We propose that the only known species location is recognized as critical habitat (i.e., as the habitat required to ensure the persistence of a species) and the species listed as Critically Endangered based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List Categories and Criteria B2a.

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<![CDATA[Impacts of 120 years of fertilizer addition on a temperate grassland ecosystem]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db50ab0ee8fa60bdc09d

The widespread application of fertilizers has greatly influenced many processes and properties of agroecosystems, and agricultural fertilization is expected to increase even further in the future. To date, most research on fertilizer impacts has used short-term studies, which may be unrepresentative of long-term responses, thus hindering our capacity to predict long-term impacts. Here, we examined the effects of long-term fertilizer addition on key ecosystem properties in a long-term grassland experiment (Palace Leas Hay Meadow) in which farmyard manure (FYM) and inorganic fertilizer treatments have been applied consistently for 120 years in order to characterize the experimental site more fully and compare ecosystem responses with those observed at other long-term and short-term experiments. FYM inputs increased soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks, hay yield, nutrient availability and acted as a buffer against soil acidification (>pH 5). In contrast, N-containing inorganic fertilizers strongly acidified the soil (<pH 4.5) and increased surface SOC stocks by increasing the C stored in the coarse (2.8 mm-200 μm) and fine (200–50 μm) fractions. Application of N fertilizers also reduced plant species richness and the abundance of forbs and legumes. Overall, our results were broadly consistent with those observed in other very long-term studies (the Park Grass and Steinach Grassland experiments) in that fertilization effects on plant and soil properties appeared to be driven by differences in both nutrient input and changes to soil pH. We also established that the direction of long-term fertilization effects tended to be comparable with short-term experiments, but that their magnitude differed considerably, particularly where ammonium sulphate-induced acidification had occurred. We therefore conclude that short-term studies are unlikely to possess the required timeframe to accurately predict long-term responses, thus necessitating the use of long-term study sites. Such experiments should be strategically established in regions where future fertilizer use is expected to increase rapidly.

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<![CDATA[A Methodology for Cancer Therapeutics by Systems Pharmacology-Based Analysis: A Case Study on Breast Cancer-Related Traditional Chinese Medicines]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da80ab0ee8fa60b9a6ce

Breast cancer is the most common carcinoma in women. Comprehensive therapy on breast cancer including surgical operation, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, endocrinotherapy, etc. could help, but still has serious side effect and resistance against anticancer drugs. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) may avoid these problems, in which traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has been highlighted. In this section, to analyze the mechanism through which TCM act on breast cancer, we have built a virtual model consisting of the construction of database, oral bioavailability prediction, drug-likeness evaluation, target prediction, network construction. The 20 commonly employed herbs for the treatment of breast cancer were used as a database to carry out research. As a result, 150 ingredient compounds were screened out as active molecules for the herbs, with 33 target proteins predicted. Our analysis indicates that these herbs 1) takes a ‘Jun-Chen-Zuo-Shi” as rule of prescription, 2) which function mainly through perturbing three pathways involving the epidermal growth factor receptor, estrogen receptor, and inflammatory pathways, to 3) display the breast cancer-related anti-estrogen, anti-inflammatory, regulation of cell metabolism and proliferation activities. To sum it up, by providing a novel in silico strategy for investigation of the botanical drugs, this work may be of some help for understanding the action mechanisms of herbal medicines and for discovery of new drugs from plants.

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<![CDATA[Quality Assessment of Panax notoginseng from Different Regions through the Analysis of Marker Chemicals, Biological Potency and Ecological Factors]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dab1ab0ee8fa60bab8a0

Panax notoginseng (Burk.) F.H. Chen, called Sanqi in China, is a perennial herb that has been used as a medicinal herb in traditional Chinese medicine for more than 400 years. Because notoginseng is included in many proprietary Chinese medicines, the quality of notoginseng directly affects its efficacy and safety. However, considering the complex and special growth environment requirements of notoginseng, it is insufficient to evaluate its quality based solely on the analysis of marker chemicals. Thus, in this study, we tried to evaluate the quality of notoginseng with integrated indicators: (1) the concentration of five marker chemicals, notoginsenoside R1, ginsenoside Rg1, ginsenoside Re, ginsenoside Rb1 and ginsenoside Rd; (2) the anticoagulant activity (ACA); and (3) twenty-one ecological factors (e.g., longitude, latitude, elevation and soil data). Using these 27 parameters, notoginseng from different regions could be distinguished effectively, indicating a remarkable divergence of quality. A correlation analysis showed that variations of the ecological factors were closely associated with the saponins content and biopotency. For instance, the total nitrogen (TN), alkali hydrolysis nitrogen (AHN) and rapidly available potassium (RAPT) were significantly correlated with ACA, and RAPT was significantly correlated with the content of ginsenoside Rd and notoginsenoside R1. The results demonstrated that the high-quality notoginseng was produced from the emerging regions such as Kunming, Qujing and Honghe, which had higher ACA and saponin content than the notoginseng produced in traditional regions such as Wenshan and Baise.

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<![CDATA[Integrating the effects of latitude and altitude on the spatial differentiation of plant community diversity in a mountainous ecosystem in China]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db50ab0ee8fa60bdc03f

Varying patterns of plant community diversity along geographical gradients are a significant topic in biodiversity research. Here, to explore the integrated effects of latitude and altitude on the plant community diversity in a mountainous ecosystem, we set Guancen Mountain in the northern section, Guandi Mountain in the middle section, and Wulu Mountain in the southern section of the Lvliang Mountains as study areas, and the plant community diversity (basal diameter and height of tree and species diversity indices of shrub and herb) was measured horizontally at different latitude gradients and vertically at different altitude gradients in late July 2015. The results showed that (1) the trees were taller and wider at the middle latitude and higher altitude with a stronger spatial heterogeneity in the structures along the latitudinal and altitudinal gradients. The evergreen tree growth preceded that of the deciduous trees in the higher latitude and lower altitude regions, whereas the deciduous tree growth preceded that of the evergreen trees in the middle latitude and higher altitude regions. (2) Shrubs and herbs tended to grow well in the lower latitude and middle-lower altitude regions. The shrubs had a larger species diversity at lower latitude and lower altitude, but the species diversity of the herbs was not sensitive to the influences of the latitudinal and altitudinal gradients. With the latitude and altitude increasing, perennial herbs tended to grow well at higher latitude and higher altitude, while annual herbs tended to thrive at the middle latitude and lower altitude. In conclusion, environmental deviations caused by latitudinal and altitudinal gradients had great influences on the spatial distributions of the plant community diversity in the Lvliang Mountains.

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<![CDATA[Cultural Understanding of Wounds, Buruli Ulcers and Their Management at the Obom Sub-district of the Ga South Municipality of the Greater Accra Region of Ghana]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da01ab0ee8fa60b740ff

Background

This study was conducted with the aim to understand some of the cultural belief systems in the management of wounds and patients practices that could contaminate wounds at the Obom sub-district of the Ga South Municipality of Ghana.

Methods

This was an ethnographic study using in-depth interviews, Focus Group Discussions and participant observation techniques for data collection. Observations were done on Buruli ulcer patients to document how they integrate local and modern wound management practices in the day-to-day handling of their wounds. Content analysis was done after the data were subjected to thematic coding and representative narratives selected for presentation.

Results

It was usually believed that wounds were caused by charms or spirits and, therefore, required the attention of a native healer. In instances where some patients’ wounds were dressed in the hospital by clinicians whose condition/age/sex contradict the belief of the patient, the affected often redress the wounds later at home. Some of the materials often used for such wound dressing include urine and concoctions made of charcoal and gunpowder with the belief of driving out evil spirits from the wounds.

Conclusion

Clinicians must therefore be aware of these cultural beliefs and take them into consideration when managing Buruli ulcer wounds to prevent redressing at home after clinical treatment. This may go a long way to reduce secondary infections that have been observed in Buruli ulcer wounds.

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<![CDATA[The Polyherbal Wattana Formula Displays Anti-Amyloidogenic Properties by Increasing α-Secretase Activities]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db53ab0ee8fa60bdcde5

Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by the deposition of insoluble amyloid-β peptides produced from the β-amyloid precursor protein (βAPP). Because α-secretase cleavage by ADAM10 and ADAM17 takes place in the middle of Aβ, its activation is considered as a promising anti-AD therapeutic track. Here we establish that the polyherbal Wattana formula (WNF) stimulates sAPPα production in cells of neuronal and non-neuronal origins through an increase of both ADAM10 and ADAM17 catalytic activities with no modification of BACE1 activity and expression. This effect is blocked by specific inhibition or genetic depletion of these disintegrins and we show that WNF up-regulates ADAM10 transcription and ADAM17 maturation. In addition, WNF reduces Aβ40 and Aβ42 generation in human cell lines. Altogether, WNF presents all the characteristics of a potent preventive anti-Alzheimer formula. Importantly, this natural recipe, currently prescribed to patients for the treatment of other symptoms without any secondary effect, can be tested immediately for further clinical studies.

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<![CDATA[The Inhibition of Mast Cell Activation of Radix Paeoniae alba Extraction Identified by TCRP Based and Conventional Cell Function Assay Systems]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daf4ab0ee8fa60bc24a5

Chinese herbs have long been used to treat allergic disease, but recently the development was greatly impeded by the lack of good methods to explore the mechanism of action. Here, we showed the effects of Chinese herb Radix Paeoniae alba were identified and characterized by a mast cell activation assay that involves electronic impedance readouts for dynamic monitoring of cellular responses to produce time-dependent cell responding profiles (TCRPs), and the anti-allergic activities were further confirmed with various conventional molecular and cell biology tools. We found Radix P. alba can dose-dependently inhibit TCPRs, and have anti-allergic function in vitro and in vivo. Radix P. alba suppressed mast cell degranulation not only inhibiting the translocation of granules to the plasma membrane, but also blocking membrane fusion and exocytosis; and that there may be other anti-allergic components in addition to paeoniflorin. Our results suggest that Radix P. alba regulated mast cell activation with multiple targets, and this approach is also suitable for discovering other mast cell degranulation-targeting Chinese herbs and their potential multi-target mechanisms.

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<![CDATA[Dose Dependent Dual Effect of Baicalin and Herb Huang Qin Extract on Angiogenesis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da1aab0ee8fa60b7c7ad

Huang Qin (root of Scutellaria baicalensis) is a widely used herb in different countries for adjuvant therapy of inflammation, diabetes, hypertension, different kinds of cancer and virus related diseases. Baicalin is the main flavonoid in this herb and has been extensively studied for 30 years. The angiogenic effect of herb Huang Qin extract and baicalin was found 13 years ago, however, the results were controversial with pro-angiogenic effect in some studies and anti-angiogenic effect in others. In this paper, the angiogenic effect of baicalin, its aglycone form baicalein and aqueous extract of Huang Qin was studied in chick embryo chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) model. Dose dependent dual effect was found in both aqueous extract and baicalin, but not in baicalein, in which only inhibitory effect was observed. In order to reveal the cellular and molecular mechanism of how baicalin and baicalein affect angiogenesis, cell proliferation and programmed cell death assays were performed in treated CAM. In addition, quantitative PCR array including 84 angiogenesis related genes was used to detect high and low dosage of baicalin and baicalein responsive genes. Low dose baicalin increased cell proliferation in developing blood vessels through upregulation of multiple angiogenic genes expression, but high dose baicalin induced cell death, performing inhibitory effect on angiogenesis. Both high and low dose of baicalein down regulated the expression of multiple angiogenic genes, decreased cell proliferation, and leads to inhibitory effects on angiogenesis.

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<![CDATA[Using Qualitative Methods to Explore Lay Explanatory Models, Health-Seeking Behaviours and Self-Care Practices of Podoconiosis Patients in North-West Ethiopia]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da25ab0ee8fa60b8049b

Background

Podoconiosis (endemic non-filarial elephantiasis) is a chronic, non-infectious disease resulting from exposure of bare feet to red-clay soil in tropical highlands. This study examined lay beliefs about three under-researched aspects of podoconiosis patients’ care: explanatory models, health-seeking behaviours and self-care.

Methods

In-depth interviews and focus group discussions were undertaken with 34 participants (19 male, 15 female) between April-May 2015 at podoconiosis treatment centres across East and West Gojjam regions in north-west Ethiopia.

Results

Explanatory models for podoconiosis included contamination from blood, magic, soil or affected individuals. Belief in heredity or divine punishment often delayed clinic attendance. All participants had tried holy water treatment and some, holy soil. Herbal treatments were considered ineffectual, costly and appeared to promote fluid escape. Motivators for clinic attendance were failure of traditional treatments and severe or disabling symptoms. Patients did not report self-treatment with antibiotics. Self-care was hindered by water being unavailable or expensive and patient fatigue.

Conclusion

A pluralistic approach to podoconiosis self-treatment was discovered. Holy water is widely valued, though some patients prefer holy soil. Priests and traditional healers could help promote self-care and “signpost” patients to clinics. Change in behaviour and improving water access is key to self-care.

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<![CDATA[Screening and Identifying Antioxidative Components in Ginkgo biloba Pollen by DPPH-HPLC-PAD Coupled with HPLC-ESI-MS2]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da19ab0ee8fa60b7c48a

The Ginkgo biloba is one of ancient trees that exists from billions of years ago, its leaf and nut are used as herbs and foods in China, while so far its pollen does not have any application except pollination. In order to evaluate the antioxidant activity of Ginkgo biloba pollen, and rapidly screen its antioxidative components, the 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) scavenging ability, total flavonoid, total phenol, and proanthocyanidin of Ginkgo biloba pollen were determined and compared with those of Ginkgo biloba leaf and nut, and the off-line DPPH-HPLC-PAD and HPLC-ESI-MS2 were applied for screening and identifying the antioxidant flavonoids in Ginkgo biloba pollen. The results showed that the DPPH scavenging ability of Ginkgo biloba pollen was much higher than Ginkgo biloba nut, but lower than Ginkgo biloba leaf, while the total content of flavonoid in Ginkgo biloba pollen was approximately 4.37 times higher than in Ginkgo biloba leaf. Further studies found that the major flavonol aglycone in Ginkgo biloba pollen was kaempferol, which accounted for 96.71% of the total aglycones (includes quercetin, kaempferol and isorhamnetin), and the main flavonoid components in Ginkgo biloba pollen were flavonoid glycosides. Finally, ten antioxidant peaks were screened and identified to be flavonoids (including kaempferol and nine flavonoid glycosides), so flavonoids were likely to be the main antioxidant components in GP, and among them, three novel kaempferol glycosides (peaks 1, 2, and 3) were found in Ginkgo biloba pollen for the first time, which had never been found in Ginkgo biloba.

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<![CDATA[Comparison of three nudge interventions (priming, default option, and perceived variety) to promote vegetable consumption in a self-service buffet setting]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5cab0ee8fa60be0116

Background

Dietary choices in out-of-home eating are key for individual as well as for public health. These dietary choices are caused by a wide array of determinants, one of which is automatic decision-making. Nudging is attracting considerable interest due to its understanding and application of heuristic biases among consumers. The aim of this study is to test and compare three nudges in promoting vegetable consumption among test persons in a food lab-based experiment.

Methods

The initial sample consisted of 88 participants recruited in Copenhagen, Denmark. Each study participant was randomly assigned to one of the three experiments: priming, default and perceived variety. The priming arm of the experiment consisted of creating a leafy environment with green plants and an odour of herbs. In the default arm of the experiment, the salad was pre-portioned into a bowl containing 200g of vegetables. The third experiment divided the pre-mixed salad into each of its components, to increase the visual variety of vegetables, yet not providing an actual increase in items. Each individual was partaking twice thus serving as her/his own control, randomly assigned to start with control or experimental setting.

Results

The default experiment successfully increased the energy intake from vegetables among the study participants (124 kcal vs. 90 kcal in control, p<0.01). Both the priming condition and perceived variety reduced the total energy intake among the study participants (169 kcal, p<0.01 and 124 kcal, p<0.01, respectively), mainly through a decrease in the meat-based meal component.

Conclusions

Considerable progress has been made with regard to understanding the use of nudging in promoting a healthier meal composition, including increasing vegetable intake. This study suggests that the nature of a nudge-based intervention can have different effects, whether it is increasing intake of healthy components, or limiting intake of unhealthy meal components. This work has demonstrated that consumer behaviour can be influenced without restricting or providing incentives for behaviour change. The present findings have promising application to the foodservice sector.

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<![CDATA[Preserving a Comprehensive Vegetation Knowledge Base – An Evaluation of Four Historical Soviet Vegetation Maps of the Western Pamirs (Tajikistan)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da0bab0ee8fa60b77bf0

We edited, redrew, and evaluated four unpublished historical vegetation maps of the Western Pamirs (Tajikistan) by the Soviet geobotanist Okmir E. Agakhanjanz. These maps cover an area of 5,188 km2 and date from 1958 to 1960. The purpose of this article is to make the historic vegetation data available to the scientific community and thus preserve a hitherto non available and up to now neglected or forgotten data source with great potential for studies on vegetation and ecosystem response to global change. The original hand-drawn maps were scanned, georeferenced, and digitized and the corresponding land cover class was assigned to each polygon. The partly differing legends were harmonized and plant names updated. Furthermore, a digital elevation model and generalized additive models were used to calculate response curves of the land cover classes and to explore vegetation-topography relationships quantitatively. In total, 2,216 polygons belonging to 13 major land cover classes were included that are characterized by 252 different plant species. As such, the presented maps provide excellent comparison data for studies on vegetation and ecosystem change in an area that is deemed to be an important water tower in Central Asia.

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<![CDATA[A Negative Relationship between Foliar Carbon Isotope Composition and Mass-Based Nitrogen Concentration on the Eastern Slope of Mount Gongga, China]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da0bab0ee8fa60b77844

Plants adopt ecological strategy to resist environmental changes and increase their resource-use efficiency. The ecological strategy includes changes in physiological traits and leaf morphology, which may result in simultaneous variations in foliar N concentration and the ratio of intercellular CO2 concentration to ambient CO2 concentration (ci/ca). This in turn links to foliar carbon isotope discrimination, and thus, a relationship between foliar N concentration and foliar carbon isotope composition (δ13C) is expected. To understand how plants integrate their structural and physiological resistance to environmental changes, the relationship between foliar N concentration and foliarδ13C has been assessed intensively, especially the correlation between area-based N concentration (Narea) and δ13C.Less effort has been dedicated to the examination of the relationship between mass-based N concentration(Nmass) and δ13C. Studies on the Nmass–δ13C relationship, especially those including a large amount of data and species, will enhance our understanding of leaf economics and benefit ecological modeling. The present study includes an intensive investigation into this relationship by measuring foliar Nmass and δ13C in a large number of plant species grown on the eastern slope of Mount Gongga, China. This study shows that foliar Nmass decreases with increasing δ13C, which is independent of functional group, vegetation type, and altitude. This suggests that a negative correlation between Nmass and δ13C may be a general pattern for plants grown not only on Mount Gongga, but also in other areas.

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