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SALICYLATES are a class of drugs or the precursor of a group of drugs. Aspirin and other drugs are derivatives of salicylates. Salicylates have analgesic, antipyretic, and anti-inflammatory properties. Its mechanism of action is unknown, although it is known to cause vasodilation and inhibit the release of prostaglandins.

SALICYLIC ACID is a white crystalline acid derived from phenol. It is used in making aspirin, as a preservative and flavoring agent, and in external treatment of certain skin conditions. Salicylic acid occurs in the form of esters in wintergreen and birch; it has anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antiseptic, and antirheumatic properties. Externally, it can destroy tissue at the site of application, and is used on moles and warts. Large doses are toxic; ingestion of 10 milliliters have resulted in death in children.

SAPONINS , found in licorice root and sarsaparilla, are detergent-like, soapy glycosides that work as cleansing agents in the circulatory system, breaking up calcification around the joints, and eliminating uric acid through the activation of the kidneys and bladder. Saponins reduce elevated serum cholesterol levels in the blood. They destroy red blood cells by hemolysis and are toxic, especially to cold-blooded animals. Saponins yield sapogenins upon hydrolysis.

SARSAPARILLA The tuberous rootstock produces a woody angular stem that trails along the ground, reaching 4 to 12 inches in length. The stems have rigid thorns and bear ovate-oblong, alternate, glossy, dark green leaves. The flowers are green-white and grow in petiolate umbels containing 10 to 20 blossoms. It is found throughout the tropical regions of the Americas. The medicinal part is the rootstock - fresh or dried, collected in the autumn.

Other common names: Honduras sarsaparilla, Red sarsaparilla, Spanish sarsaparilla.

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

SAW PALMETTO (Serenoa serrulata) - Family: Palmaceae

Description: has a large underground trunk that produces palmate, green, white-coated leaves. The fruit is a dark purple-to-black berry which grows in clusters and ripens from October to December.

Common names: dwarf palmetto, fan palm, sabal.

Habitat:: found in swampy areas and along the Atlantic coast of the United States.

Medicinal parts: berries - ripe, partially-dried.

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

SCOPOLETIN is a compound in anise, coriander, tarragon, passion flower, and spice-dill seed. It is reported to be an uterine relaxant.

SEDATIVE - Sedatives commonly function to induce reversible depression of the central nervous system. Examples of this class are phenobarbital, secobarbital sodium, and pentobarbital.

SEROUS membranes (tunica serosa) refers to membranes inside the body which secrete serum as a lubricant. The serous membranes consist of mesothelium lying upon connective tissue layer; they line the external walls of the body cavities and reflect over the surfaces of protruding organs.

SERUM is the clear portion of any animal liquid separated from its more solid elements; especially the clear liquid (blood serum) which separates in the clotting of blood from the clot and the corpuscles.

SESQUITERPENE HYDROCARBONS are terpenes found in plants. They are reported to have bacteriostatic properties.

SESQUITERPENE LACTONES are found in many vegetables, spices, and other plants. They are reported to have cytotoxic and/or antineoplastic activities.

SEX: The most fun you can have without laughing.

SHIN: A device for finding furniture in the dark.

SIALOGOGUE - an agent which stimulates the secretion of saliva.

SIMPLE CARBOHYDRATES are monosaccharides and disaccharides occurring naturally in fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. Some examples of simple carbohydrates are: glucose, galactose, and fructose (all of which are monosaccharides); and sucrose, lactose, and maltose (all of which are disaccharides.)

Simple carbohydrates elevate blood sugar levels rapidly, providing "instant energy" which is quickly utilized and dissipated. Additionally, refined sources of simple carbohydrates, such as candy, contribute only calories to the diet. These "empty calories" are often consumed in place of foods which would provide important nutrients in addition to the energy.

SITOSTEROL is a compound found in many plants. It is commonly extracted from wheat germ oil, corn oil, and other grain or nut oils. In the beta form, it has anticholesterolemic qualities.

SKELETON: What you have left when you take out a person’s insides and take off his outsides.

SKIN is the body's largest organ, making up about 10 percent of normal body weight. It protects the internal organs from the environment. Its cells are continually being replaced as they are lost by wear and tear. The turnover rate of these cells is three to four weeks. The skin consists of a thin outer layer called the epidermis, and a thick inner layer called the dermis. Beneath the dermis is the fatty subcutaneous layer that helps to insulate the body and absorb shocks. A piece of skin the size of a quarter has three feet of blood vessels, twelve feet of nerves, hundreds of nerve endings, 100 sweat glands, 10 hair follicles, 15 sebaceous glands and more than 3 million cells. The most important function of the skin is to protect, acting as the main barrier between the environment and the internal organs of the body, shielding them from injury, harmful rays of sunlight, and invasion from infective agents such as bacteria. In addition to protection the skin is also a sensory organ containing many cells that are sensitive to touch, temperature, pain, pressure and itching. It also plays a role in keeping body temperature constant.

SPECIALIST: A doctor whose patients are expected to confine their ailments to his office hours.

SPLEEN - The spleen, an organ of the lymphatic system, varies in shape and size. It is located in the upper left of the abdominal cavity, in contact with the diaphragm. The spleen removes debris from the blood and breaks down aged red blood cells. A part of the broken-down red blood cell is converted into bilirubin and transported to the liver. The spleen can also act as a blood reservoir with a volume of 350 milliliters.

STACHYDRINE is an alkaloid found in many plants, including alfalfa, citrus, and yarrow. It is toxic in large amounts.

STARCH is a polysaccharide made of glucose linked together. The body must convert starch into glucose which can be utilized for immediate energy or converted to glycogen and stored in the liver for later energy needs. It exists throughout the vegetable kingdom, its chief commercial sources being the cereals and potatoes.

STEARIC ACID is a saturated fatty acid found in animal fats and some vegetable oils. It has many uses, including coating pills, and is an ingredient in ointments and soaps.

STEROIDS comprise a group of compounds with four interlocking carbon rings. Examples of steroids are bile acids, cholesterol, and adrenal hormones. Synthetic steroids are available pharmaceutically; for example, corticosteroid is a synthetically produced adrenal hormone, prescribed for its anti-inflammatory properties. There are many possible side effects of steroids, including poor wound healing and stomach irritation. Long-term use can lead to glaucoma, cataracts, diabetes, think skin, and fragile bones. Any steroid can cause masculinization and high dosages can cause Cushing's syndrome.

STEROLS are a lipid-like subset of steroids. They are found in almost every plant and animal. They include, or are related to, cholesterol, certain vitamins, adrenal hormones, and saponins. Effects on the body are similar to those of steroids.

STIGMASTEROLS are plant sterols found in cacao butter and soybeans. They are important starting materials for the industrial manufacture of synthetic hormones.

STIMULANT - an agent that temporarily increases activity or physiological processes. Stimulants may be classified according to the organ upon which they act; for example, an intestinal stimulant is that which stimulates the intestines.

STOMACH - The stomach is a funnel-shaped organ located under the diaphragm, between the liver and the spleen. The stomach is made up of a number of tissue layers among which is a layer of muscle which acts to move food around. The innermost layer is the mucous membrane, which produces and secretes mucus, hydrochloric acid, and enzymes. The mucus is constantly secreted from the walls of the stomach, thus protecting the stomach from being digested by its own enzymes and acid. The acid kills bacteria which can be mixed with the food. The enzymes secreted require a low pH to function, and are responsible for the digestion of protein. The stomach also produces a substance essential in the absorption of vitamin B-12 (intrinsic factor).

The food enters the stomach by passing through the esophagus into the cardia. It then passes to the fundus, the upper portion of the stomach, from where it passes out of the stomach through the pyloric sphincter which opens to the duodenum. Food can stay in the stomach for long periods of time. The time needed to digest the food depends on its particular characteristics. Bread can be digested in two to three hours; sardines in oil can take eight to nine hours.

STOMACHIC - a substance which excites, strengthens and tones the stomach.

STROKES are one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. Most strokes are the result of the brain cells being damaged in one of two ways: brain cells do not receive enough blood because blood clots block the flow, or excessive pressure from blood pooling in the brain tissue caused by arteries bursting or leaking.

SUCROSE is a sweet crystalline dextrorotatory non-reducing disaccharide that occurs naturally in most land plants and is the simple carbohydrate obtained from sugarcane, sugar beet and other sources. It is hydrolyzed in the intestine by sucrase to glucose and fructose.

SWERTIAMARIN is a xanthone found in centaury and gentian.

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