A paan a day
Suffering from bad breath or troubled by cavity-fostering germs' Forget mouthwashes; try a local remedy instead — betel leaf with a pinch of spices. Researchers at the J.A.V. University, Jodhpur, have found that chewing a betel leaf with cardamom and clove buds can kill up to 85 per cent of germs present in the mouth. The traditional paan, laced with lime and with added ingredients like areca nut and catechu, on the other hand, kills only 30 per cent of the oral microbial population. When chewed alone, betel leaves, clove and cardamom reduced the germ count by around 50, 70 and 77 per cent, respectively. Grown in many countries right from East Africa to Polynesia, betel leaf (Piper betle) is a popular stimulant, antiseptic and aphrodisiac.
‘Athlete gene’ in north Indians
A gene associated with certain athletic abilities appears to be as common in north Indians as it is in European Caucasians, says a new study that bolsters support for the idea that poor nutrition and inadequate training may explain India’s poor ranking in global events. The study by Lucknow researchers, based on only 125 people, shows that four out of five north Indians have a copy of the gene called ACTN-3 that makes a protein found in fast-acting muscles such as the leg, thigh and arm muscles used in sprinting and weight-lifting. “This so-called athlete gene is not essential for life. It’s found in some people and is absent in others,” said Himangshu Goel, a medical genetics researcher at the Sanjay Gandhi Institute of Postgraduate Medical Sciences, Lucknow.