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ECHIMIDINE is an alkaloid found in comfrey. High levels of echimidine can be toxic.

ECHINACEA is a perennial plant which produces a stout, bristly, hairy stem 2 to 3 feet in height. The leaves are linear, lanceolate, and grow 3 to 8 inches long; they are rough, hairy, and 3-nerved. The upper leaves are sessile, and the lower leaves grow on long petioles. A single large flower blooms from July to October; it is white-rose to pale purple in color, with a conical disk and 12 to 20 large, spreading rays. It grows in the prairie region of the United States, west of Ohio.

Other common names: Black sampson, Purple coneflower, Sampson root.

For more information see the HERBS section of the Nutrition Notebook.

ECHINACIN is a commercial extract from species of echinacea, and is a strong antagonist of hyaluronidase. Echinacin prevents both the spread of hyaluronidase and the absorption of the materials they carry.

ECHINACOSIDE , found in echinacea, is a bacteriostatic principle and plant acid.

EDEMA is the abnormal swelling of any body part due to excess fluid retention. This increase in extracellular fluid volume may occur in a localized area, or become generalized throughout the body.

ELECTROLYTES are molecules that dissociate into cations and anions when fused or in solution and thus become capable of conducting electricity. The major cations in body fluids are sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium; the most important anions are bicarbonate, chloride, phosphate, and sulfate.

The type and concentration of electrolytes contained in a particular body fluid can vary according to the location and function of the fluid. For example, sodium is the most common cation in extracellular fluid, while chloride is the most common anion. In intracellular fluid, potassium is the most common cation and phosphate is the most common anion.

Electrolytes function by controlling the flow of water through cell membranes. Waters moves from an area of low electrolyte concentration on one side of a cell membrane to an area of high electrolyte concentration on the other side of the membrane. This process is known as osmosis.

EMMENAGOGUE - an agent which stimulates menstrual flow.

EMODIN is an anthraquinone found in cascara sagrada, rhubarb, and other plants. Emodin is cathartic; it stimulates the cathartic action by irritation of the intestinal walls. This differs from anthraquinone glycosides, which are absorbed into the bloodstream and stimulate the appropriate nerves.

EMOLLIENT - a skin dressing or soothing ointment.

ENCEPHALITIS is an inflammation of the brain.

ENCEPHALOPATHY refers to any degenerative brain disease.

ENZYMES - Enzymes are proteinaceous substances that act as organic catalysts that are needed to speed up the specific chemical reactions that take place in all the organs and tissues of the body. We need the enzymes to speed up these reactions, because without them the reactions would not normally take place. They help to move a chemical reaction along without exerting a lot of effort; therefore saving your body a tremendous amount of energy. Enzymes are made up primarily from the amino acids or proteins we derive from a healthy diet every day. That is why adequate protein intake is always important to keep the enzyme levels in the intestinal tract and elsewhere at optimum concentrations.

EPINEPHRINE - A hormone secreted by the Adrenal Medulla and released mainly in response to Hypoglycemia. It dilates arteries, is a potent stimulator of the sympathetic nervous system, is a powerful vassosuppressor, increases heart activity, dilates the bronchi by relaxing bronchial muscles, increases the level of glucose in the blood by stimulating the liver to release it and to increase the amount of fatty acid in the blood and slow the activity of the gastrointestinal tract.

EPITHELIAL cells form the epithelium, the layer of cells forming the epidermis of the skin and the surface layer of mucous and serous membranes. The cells rest on a basement membrane and lie closely approximated to each other with little intercellular material between them. The epithelium may be simple, consisting of a single layer, or it may be stratified, consisting of several layers. Epithelium serves the general function of protection, absorption, secretion and specialized functions such as movement of substances through ducts, production of germ cells and reception of stimuli.

ERYTHEMA is a capillary congestion which gives rise to reddened skin.

ERYTHEMA MULTIFORME - A skin disease characterized by papular or vesicular lesions and reddening or discoloration of the skin, usually in concentric zones around the lesions.

ERYTHEMA NODOSUM - A skin condition characterized by small, tender, reddened nodules under the skin (as over the shin bones, but under the skin), often accompanied by fever an temporary arthritic pains.

ESOPHAGUS is found behind the trachea and the heart. It begins at the pharynx and passes through the diaphragm to the stomach. It is a muscular tube which lacks cartilage. The main function of the esophagus is to pass food from the mouth to the stomach.

ESTROGEN , the female hormone, is a generic term for estrus-producing steroid compounds which are formed by the ovaries, placenta, testes, and adrenal cortex. They can also be isolated from plants or produced synthetically. Besides stimulation of secondary sexual characteristics, they exert systemic effects, such as growth and maturation of long bones. Estrogens are used therapeutically in any disorder attributable to estrogen deficiency, to prevent or stop lactation, to suppress ovulation, and to ameliorate carcinoma of the breast and of the prostate. Estrone and estradiol, both estrogens, induce the growth of female genital organs and stimulate the changes characteristic of the estrus cycle.

ESTRUS is that stage of the sexual cycle in female animals characterized by the willingness to copulate. Estrus is stimulated by estrogens and is suppressed by progesterones.

EXOCRINE refers to secretion that is external, either to mucous membranes or the skin. It is the opposite of endocrine.

EXPECTORANT - an agent which stimulates the outflow of mucus from the lungs and bronchials.

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