"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Coltsfoot - Spring is sprung

A welcome sign of the spring. Often confused with the Dandelion, flowers appear from the overwintered rhizomes before the leaves, which appear in summer the size of small rhubarb leaves - resulting in a Roman descriptive name of filius ante patrem (son before father).

Appearing before bees are out and about, it is pollinated by hover flies and is a widely used anti-tussive or cough remedy (which is what Tussilago means).

Herbal teas are variously made of the dried leaves and flowers which are said to contain the flavonoids , rutin and carotene, taraxanthin, arnidiol and faradiol, tannin, inulin, sitosterol (closely related to cholesterol), and zinc.Use as a hebal remedy is restricted in Australia and New Zealand because it contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids (senkirkine , senecionine) which are known to be hepatotoxic and have been shown to cause liver damage in rats. Known cases of human liver damage have been the result of persistent (6-12 months) and large dosages of herbal teas. There has also been a report of foetal death due to dietary consumption of herbal products containing pyrrolizidine alkaloids which result in Hepatic veno-occlusive disease, (VOD), a very specific form of hepatotoxic pathology.

A widespread plant and common in waste places in UK and Europe. Listed as an invasive weed in several Eastern US states, Alabama, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Tennessee and also in Oregon.

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