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""A traditional belief in Iranian culture indicates that parental consumption of chicory leaves (Chicorium intybus L.) affects the gender of newborns. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of aqueous extract of chicory on offspring sex ratio in rat. All rats in experimental groups 1 and 2 were i.p. injected with either 1.0 or 0.7?g/kg body weight (LD50 = 2.244?g/kg) of an aqueous extract of chicory leaves for 30 days at 72?h intervals. The control rats were injected with distilled water in the same manner. After the 8th injection, blood pH, and Na+, K+, Ca2+ and Mg2+ serum levels, were measured in all groups. On day 30, all the rats were mated within and between groups. The results revealed that in comparison with the control group, there were significant increases (p the administration of chicory leaf extract has a significant effect on the sex ratio of the rat offspring. Copyright ? 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. ""Angiogenesis, the growth of new blood vessels from preexisting vasculature, plays an important role in physiological and pathological processes such as embryonic development and wound healing. This study investigated the effects of methanol extracts of Stewartia koreana leaves (SKE) on angiogenesis. Stewartia koreana significantly promoted the proliferation and migration of human umbilical vein endothelial cells in a dose-dependent manner. The SKE induced endothelial cell proliferation in the range of 50 ?g/mL without cytotoxicity. Treatment of HUVECs resulted in the activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinases that was correlated with endothelial cell proliferation and migration. SKE also stimulated angiogenesis in a chick chorioallantoic membrane assay, demonstrating promotion of new blood vessel formation in vivo. Local administration of SKE onto skin punched wounds resulted in increased von Willebrand Factor antigen, indicating that it stimulated neovasculization in the wound region. The results suggest that Stewartia koreana extracts may potentially be useful for the development of agents to accelerate vascular wound healing or to promote the growth of collateral blood vessels in ischemic tissues. Copyright ? 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. ""Comfrey (Symphytum officinale L.) root is traditionally used for the topical treatment of contusions, strains and sprains. Besides allantoin and rosmarinic acid, which are discussed as pharmacologically active principles, the drug contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) known for their hepatotoxic, carcinogenic and mutagenic properties. The topical herbal medicinal products Kytta-Salbe? f and Kytta-Plasma? f contain a PA-free liquid extract from comfrey root as active substance.