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Informatiom about endoscopy and endoscopic techniques, about the spice and medical herb cayenne, and a list of other herbs used to treat digestive problems.


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About endoscopy and endoscopes

An endoscope is a tube-like instrument a doctor can use to look into body areas and perfrom treatments, either by inserting it through a natural body opening or through a small opening made for this purpose. Endoscopy is the act of inspection and treatment inside the body with the use of an endoscope, and by 2014 endoscopy can be performed inside all body areas. Endoscopes can be flexible and even made to bend in several directions so that they follow the natural paths of channels inside the body or they can be rigid, which means that the channels inside the body must be be made to streighten more or less during insertion. Eventually one will also be able to make endoscopes that can creep like a worm inhrough channels in the body.

An endoscope consists of a tubular part, and a base containing an eyepiece, illumination lamp, controle handles and a connection to power supply and possible also a computer. Through the tube there is a channel to lead water, air or gas into the body, a channel to let out gas or fluid, a channel to insert thin instruments and a fiber to lead light to illuminate the inner area one works on. At the end of the tube, there is a small digital camera.

Typical tasks performed with an endoscope are: Inspecting and taking pictures of the inside of an area, pumping up an inner area with air, gas or water to get a better view, flushing an inside cavity in the body, instiling medicines, doing simple surgical work, taking specimens and doing all kind of measurements. The connection to a computer and a screen, makes it possible to record everything seen and to show everything for all in the room at the screen.

Before endoscopy, the inside cavity must often be cleaned out for content. By endoscopy, one must provide that the patient does not feel any pain and is relaxed. Often this can be achieved simply by instructing the patient to relax and working very cautiously. Usually the patient will be given some relaxing medication, pain-killing medicine, deeper sedation or even general anesthesia. The reason for giving deeper sedation or general anesthesia is not usually to take away pain, but to hinder the patient from remembering the procedure and telling others about it. General anesthesia is especially often used when a child or teen is examined endoscopically through the intimate body openings.

These are some common types of endoscopy performed:

Rectoscopy or proctoscopy is the examination and treatment inside the rectal cavity through an inserted rigid instrument. Often the instrument is simply a hollow disposable tube, and illumination and magnification is done with external lamps and optical devices.

Sigmoidoscopy is the examination of the rectum and terminal part of the colon, the colon sigmoidum. The instrument used is often also here just a hollow tube, but often one uses a 50 cm long endoscope that can be actively flexed, and with channels to let in and out gas and fluid, to insert other instruments and to take specimens.

Colonoscopy is the examination and treatment of the colon in all its length, and even the terminal part of the small intestine can be included in the exam. One uses a flexible endoscope of the same kind as the flexible sigmoidoscopes, but it is much longer.

Cystoscopy is an exam and treatment of the urethra and bladder with a rigid or flexible endoscope with several channels. Whith special endoscopes one can go all the way up to each kidney, a procedure called uretheroscopy.

Arthroscopy is examination and surgical treatments inside a joint by means of an endoscope. The joint can be in the knee, shoulder, elbow, hip or anywhere else.

Laparoscopy is the examination and treatment inside the stomach area with an endoscope which has been inserted through a hole made in the abdominal wall.

Rhinoscopy is endoscopic handlings in the nasal cavity.

Bronchoscopy is endoscopic handlings in the airpipe, that is the trakea and the bronks.

By aesophagoscopy one inserts an endoscope down the throut towards the stomach.

Endoscopes are not only used in medicine. Steadily more endoscopes are used to inspect the inside of mashines to see if something is wrong, for example to inspect the inside of a car motor or other car parts.

More about colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy - what are these Exams

By these examinations the doctor inserts a tube-like instrument through the rectal opening to look inside the terminal part of the digestive tract. By sigmoidoscopy the instrument is only inserted up inside the last part of the colon, the Colon sigmoidum. By colonoscopy the instrument is advanced through most of or all parts of the colon, and sometimes even a little way up into the small intestine. The doctor can do several actions through that instrument:

- He can look into and inspect the anus and the colon.
- He can take pictures and viedos from the inside.
- He can pump up the colon with air or gas to be able to look better or as a part of a treatmnet.
- He can take small speciments of tissue ffom inner lining of the intestine.
- He can remove small polyps or tumors.


A colonoscope is a long flexible, tube-like instrument with a tip that can be bent in several directions so that it can be negotiated through sharp curvatures in the intestine. It is possible to perform both sigmoidoscopies and colonoscopies with that intsrument.

A sigmoidoscope can can be constructed just like the colonoscope, but it is shorter and therefore more practical to handle. A sigmpidoscope can also be rigid. A rigid sigmoidosocpe can be an advanced optical instrument just like a colonoscope, but can also be only a hollow tube.

A colonoscope and an advanced sigmoidoscope have a tube-like part that the doctor inserts and a larger base with an eyepiece, a handle, controle buttons and connections to a computer and to sources or pumps for gas or air..

The imaging capabilities is either made possible with a camnera at the tip or by optical fibers to conduct the image back. The instrument also has fibers to lead light from the base to illuminate the intestinal inside and an internal channel to be used for specimen taking.

Preparation and anesthesia during sigmoidoscopy and colonoscop

The area that shall be examined must be clean. For a sigmoidosocpy a small enama to clean out the terminal part of the colon and to stimulate a bowel movement is often used for this purpose.

For a colonoscopy the patient usually has to stop eating at least24 hours before the examination and also often he is requred to take a laxative to ease the passage of all intestinal content some hours before the exam. Sometimes also a larger enama is admistered.

If these examinations are done in a gentle manner, and the patient feels comfortable, no anesthesia is strictly necessary, except some oral pain-killing medication, or some relaxing medication, and a numbing gel in the rectal opening.

For a colonoscopy doctors prefere however usually to sedate the patient so that he is sleeping. The most frequent reason mentioned in professional medical litterature for anesthesia used during these procedures is to hinder the patient from remembering the procedure and not to hinder pain.

Most often the patient is sedated with a anesthetics given through a tube into the blood-stream - intravenous sedation. One generally uses a so high dosis however that the patient shall not remmeber anything or very little after the exam, but still the patient sometimes do remember a lot, regardless of the dosis.

Sometimes heavier sedation is used. By heavy sedation, the patient do not any longer have any controle of his or her body reflexes, and all vitals must be monitored all the time. Heavy sedation is mostly used on small children and sometimes on teenagers. This degree of anesthesia implies heavier risk and more dicomfort after the procedure

Sometimes even general anesthesia is used. General anesthesia will most often be used when the colonoscopy contains manipulations that could give great pain or that necessiatates the patient to be absolutly still-laying, or the patient asks for this to be done. Also here an objective is to hinder the patient from remembering the procedure. Some institutions use general anesthesia as a standard for children and teenagers. By general anesthesia, the patient do not manage to breath properly or has medication to paralyze the breathing. Therefore the patient is usually intubeted and is given artificial respiration.

General anesthesia is also mostly used on the youngest patients. But this method implies heavier risks and the risks are heaviest on the youngest patients that most often are subjected to this type of anesthesia and on elderly of weak patients. Also the discomfort after heavy anesthesia tend to be heavy. The use of heavy anesthesia during colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy will in most cases give more discomfort afterwards that if the procedure had been performed in a careful fashion without heavy anesthesia. The objective to use heavy anesthesia during these procedure seems primary to controle the patient, to hinder memory, and to hinder the patient from telling details from the procedure to other persons.

How the exam is performed

The position of the patient vary considerably for these exams. A common position is letting the patient lay on the side with the knees flexed towards the breast. During the exam the patient may be shifted to a position of lying on the back.

For a rigid sigmoidoscopy the patient sometimes lies at his stomach with spread legs or with the legs flexed downwards, or even have the legs in stirrups while lying at the back.

The lubricating and numbing gel is then inserted through the rectal opening and let some time to have its effect.

Then the scope is inserted through the anus and gradually advanced until it reaches the destination. During the advancement the intestine is inflated to ease passage and give a better view.

Inside the anus and colon, the doctor will look at every corner as it is advanced.. He may also insert a very thin probe through the scope to take out small specimens.

Then the scope is gradually taken out again. During this process the doctor inspects the intestine even more thooroughly and takes specimens if necessary.

It is also possible to clip loose polyps and small tumors with equipment inserted through the scope.

If it is necessary to do such surgical acts during the exam, the anesthesia may be deepened to hinder the patient from feeling pain.

Use of endoscopies for preventive health controle of healthy children and adults without symptoms

For some time already sigmoidoscopy or full colonoscopy with regular intervals has been commonly done on persons over 50 years old to detect early signs of canser or any other disease in the lower digestive tract for persons over 50 years, usually done under sedation so that the person is unconscious.

How much this is recoomended varies however from area to area in the world and between institutions providing medical care. Full colonoscopy under sedation gives a risk that might not be worth the benefit. But with modern endoscopic techiques done in a gentle way, sedation is not necessary. The sedation is more for the benefit of the staff than the patient.

Steadily more societies around the world have also begun to subject children at specific ages to a battery of endoscopic examinations at specific ages, especially around age 6-8, 11-13 and 15-17. The exact age when the child is called in tend to vary with the development speed of the child. Usually these are done under deep sedation or general anesthesia.

The most common endoscopies done during these ordeals are cystoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy and inspection through the esophagus down into the upper digestive tract. During the ordeals one also tend to perform ultrasound exams of the genitals, pelvic area, breast area, stomach area, jaws and the major joints, and even x-ray pictures of the joints.

In at least some of these areas one places electronic chips into the body of the child so that authorities in the community can surveil the wherabout and status of the child around the clock by wireless communication. This is usually done whithout telling neither the kid, nor the parents about it.

There is little information about these examination programs to the general population, and the parents usually get to know about it when the child is called in.

Both the anesthesia given and the endscopies themselves carry a risk for the child, and it is doubtful if these programs are of the best interest of the child and the families. Also the secret placement of surveillance chips is clearly unethical. The main reason for these programs seems to be surveillance, controle, research and harvesting of tissue for the benefit of others than the kid.

With modern endoscopic techiques deep sedation or general anesthesia is not necessary by simple endoscopies. By carrying out these programs only with simple relaxing and analgesic measures and only performing moderately intrusive endoscopies, and without electronic chipping, these programs might be beneficial.

About cayenne or cayenne pepper - Capsicum annuum.

Botannical facts

Cayenne (Capsicum annuum) is a pepper plant belonging to the nightshade family (Solanacea) related to paprica, jalapenos and other bell peppers.The plant is shrubby, 2-6 feet high and is grows for many years. The fruit is a red or yellow elongated bell fruit, often found in pairs with each fruit in the pair having its own stalk (peduncle).

Cayenne grows wild in India, but related species are found in Middle America and Africa. They are often called chili peppers. In India it is an old cultivated plant, but the cultivation of the plant has spread to many warm regions since the 15th century.

Production and preparation

The bell of the fruit is dried and ground to a fine red powder that is used as a spice and in herbal medicines. The dried bells may also be used in cooking whole or cut in greater bits.

Effective constituents and their basic reactions

Cayenne contains the recin-like substance capsaicin. This substance increases the local secretion of neurotransmittors and tissue hormones. These hormones then causes the medical effects of cayenne, for example stimulation of many tissue processes. However, if the amount of capsaicin is too great, there will be a depletion of these hormones, and the reactions will decrease after a sudden burts.

Medical effects

Cayenne stimulates the development, growth and regeneration of body tissues. Therefore it is useful by most conditions where tissues are injured or eroded and conditions where tissues have not developed and grown to its normal level. The stimulation of tissue regeneration is useful for digestive problems like hemorrhoids.

Cayenne stimulates and moderates the function of the digestive system, and helps to take away symptoms related to weak intestinal work. It stimulates both the secretion of digestive juices and the mechanical actions in the intestines. One of these actions is an increased production of saliva in the mouth.

Because it makes the digestion work more effectively it alleviate bloating and over-filling of the digestive system. It also alleviates digestive cramps and pain from digestive cramps.

Rubbed on the skin, it stimulate the nerve endings in the skin so that a lot of local reactions occur in the local tissue, for example stimulation of the local blood circulation. These ractions can be used to alleviate rheumatic conditions in the local area or pain from such conditions.

When rubbed on the skin, it can first cause a stitching pain, and later the tissue on the spot gets numbed.

Gargled in water, cayenne is an effective treatment against soar trout. This is also due to the local stimulation of a lot of tissue reactions.

An excessive consume of cayenne can cause irritation in the digetive system. Such reactions will stop when the consume is reduced.

Cayenne also stimulate the work of the heart and the functions of the circulatory system.

Cayenne decreases the stickiness of platelets in the blood. Thus it reduces the clogging of blood vessels and the chance of getting trombosis.

Traditional medical uses

Traditionally cayenne has been used as a remedy to stimulate the blood circulation, to stimulate the digestive functions, to relieve digestive cramps and bloating.

Uses in modern herbal drugs: In modern herbal drugs it is used to stimulate the digestive functions and to relieve digestive cramps and bloating. One further uses it to improve the work and condition of the circulatory system. It is also used to stimulate tissue growth and development, and tissue regeneration after injury in most organ systems.

Uses in cooking

Cayenne is a very strong peppery spice. It is extensively used to give dishes a hot taste and aroma. The spice is very strong, and only small amounts are usually necessary. It is either used as a powder, as the whole dried bells or as greater dried pieces

Some other ingredients used in the presented products and their effect on the digestive system

Horse chesnut - Stimulates the function of the veins and reduces inflammation, thus helping emptying and shrinking of hemorrhoids.

Psyllium Husk Powder - A bulking and lubricating agent.

Senna - Promotes regular and rhytmic bowel contractions.

Fennel Seed - A carminative herb, high in Vitamin A and C. Also helpful for stomach acid. Fennel helps rid the intestinal tract of mucus.

Peppermint - Tonifying for the gastrointestinal tract. Aids in the process of digestion and increases the flow of bile. Bile is stored in the gallbladder and released as needed for the digestion and breakdown of fats. Bile also transports toxins for elimination via the intestine. Soothes the colon.

Papaya - Provides enzymes helping digest the food.

Rose Hips - Astringent herb affecting the colon by controlling elimination and intestinal leakage. Soothes the colon.

Buckthorn Bark - Supports regular tone and muscular activity to the bowel.

Oregon Grape Root - Skin and colon cleanse. Stimulates the secretion of bile. Soothes the colon.

Celery - Naturally helps control water balance. Aids in the elimination of carbon dioxide from the body. Good source of minerals; magnesium, iron, calcium and potassium

Milk-Free Acidophilus - Provides friendly bacteria that controls harmful bacteria along the lining of the colon. Aids digestion.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is nutritional in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. This notice is required by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act