Fruits & Vegetables Herbs & Plants Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Garcinia gummi-gutta

Botanical Name: Garcinia gummi-gutta
Family: Clusiaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malpighiales
Genus: Garcinia
Species:G. gummi-gutta

*Cambogia binucao Blanco
*Cambogia gemmi-gutta L.
*Cambogia solitaria Stokes
*Garcinia affinis Wight & Arn.
*Garcinia cambogia (Gaertn.) Desr.
*Garcinia sulcata Stoke

Common Names:Camboge, Garcinia cambogia (a former scientific name), as well as brindleberry, Malabar tamarind, and Kudam puli (pot tamarind)

Habitat:Garcinia gummi-gutta is a tropical species of Garcinia native to Indonesia. It is grown for its fruit in Southeast Asia, coastal Karnataka/Kerala, India, and west and central Africa. It thrives in most moist forests.

Garcinia gummi-gutta is one of several closely related Garcinia species from the plant family Clusiaceae. With thin skin and deep vertical lobes, the fruit of G. gummi-gutta and related species range from about the size of an orange to that of a grapefruit; G. gummi-gutta looks more like a small yellowish, greenish, or sometimes reddish pumpkin. The color can vary considerably. When the rinds are dried and cured in preparation for storage and extraction, they are dark brown or black in color.

Along the west coast of South India, G. gummi-gutta is popularly termed “Malabar tamarind”, and shares culinary uses with the tamarind (Tamarindus indica). The latter is a small and the former a quite large evergreen tree. G. gummi-gutta is also called goraka or, in some areas, simply kattcha puli (souring fruit). It is called uppage in Kannada language and fruits are collected and dried for selling to dealers in Sirsi, Karnataka.

The tree is also cultivated outside its native range, especially in China, Malaysia and the Philippines. The fruit rind is traded in large quantities.

Camboge is an evergreen tree with a rounded crown growing 5 – 20 metres tall. The bole can be around 70cm in diameter. Leaves are simple, opposite, decussate; petiole 5-1.6 cm long, planoconvex or shallowly canaliculate above, slightly sheathing at base; lamina 5-13 x 2-6 cm; variable in shape from narrow elliptic, oblanceolate to obovate, apex usually acute, sometimes obtuse, base cuneate to attenuate, coriaceous or subcoriaceous; secondary nerves not prominent on both sides; tertiary nerves obscure.

Flowers polygamous, in axillary or terminal clusters; calyx cream; petals pink.

Fruit and Seed :Berry, globose, 6-8 grooved, to 5 cm in diameter; many seeded

The plant is harvested from the wild for its edible fruit and gum-resin, that has medicinal and various other uses.


A plant of hot, wet, tropical climates. It grows best in areas where the mean annual temperature is in the range 15 – 30°c and the mean annual rainfall is 1,500 – 4,000mm. Succeeds in both dry or occasionally inundated soils. Seed-grown plants start bearing after 10-12 years whereas grafts from the third year onwards and will attain the stage of full bearing at the age of 12-15 years. There are also reports of off-season bearers, bearing twice annually.
The orange yellow mature fruits either drop from the tree or are harvested manually. The rind is separated for processing immediately after harvest.
G. Gummi-gatta flowers in the dry season. It appears to be pollinated by wind, bees and small weevils of the genus Deleromus (Curculionidae).

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe, though viability can be maintained for 1 – 2 months in moist storage at 20°c. We have no specific information on this species, but the seed of most members of the genus can be slow to germinate, even if sown fresh, often taking 6 months or more.

Edible Uses:
Fruit – raw or cooked. A very sour flavour. Used in curries. The fruit is a green, ovoid berry, turning yellow or red when fully ripe, around 5cm in diameter. The rinds of the ripe fruits are processed and used as a condiment to impart flavour and taste and to improve keeping qualit. The dried seeds yield a protein and fat-rich butter, popularly known as ‘uppage tuppa’. The fruit juice or syrup is used as a coolant and helps to reduce body fat.

Although few high-quality studies have been done to define the composition of the fruit, its phytochemical content includes hydroxycitric acid which is extractable and developed as a dietary supplement. Other compounds identified in the fruit include the polyphenols, luteolin, and kaempferol

Medicinal Uses:
A decoction made from the plant (part not specified) is used in the treatment of rheumatism and bowel complaints. An extract obtained from the mature fruit rind, Hydroxy Citric Acid, is used as a treatment against obesity.

Other Uses:
Agroforestry Uses:
The tree provides good shade for shade-loving crops such as ginger, or it can be grown in association with other field crops, including medicinal plants.
The tree can also be grown as a perennial intercrop with coconut and areca nut. The tree is sometimes grown as an ornamental.

Gamboge, a gum-resin obtained from the plant, is used as a yellow dye, as an illuminant and in varnishes, water colours etc. The wood is used in construction and furniture making.

Known Hazards:
Adverse effects:
Hydroxycitric acid can cause dry mouth, nausea, gastrointestinal discomfort, and headaches.

Drug interactions:
There is potential for Garcinia cambogia to interfere with prescription medications, including those used to treat people with diabetes, asthma, and clotting disorders.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Lippia abyssinica

Botanical Name: Lippia abyssinica
Family: Verbenaceae
Order: Lamiales
Genus: Lippia
Species: L. abyssinica

*Lantana abyssinica Otto & A.Dietr.
*Lantana polycephala R.Br.
*Lippia adoensis Hochst. ex Walp.
*Lippia schimperi Hochst. ex Walp.
*Lippia grandifolia Hochst. ex A.Rich.
*Lippia grandifolia var.

Common Names: Kosearut, Lemon herb, Butter clarifying herb, Gambey tea bush, and Gambia(n) tea bush, although the latter can also apply to Lippia multiflora. Besides the word koseret, in Amharic it is also called kesse or kessie. In Gurage it can be called koseret , Kesenet or Quereret. Said in Tigrinya it is kusay. Kasey, kusaye, or kusaayee are the terms in the Oromo language. In French it is called verveine d’Afrique Brégué Balenté, or Mousso et mâle. German speakers call it Gambia-Teestrauch (Gambia tea shrub). In Sierra Leone it is named a-kimbo and in the Congo it is called ngadi or dutmutzur.

Habitat:Lippia abyssinica is native to Angola, Burundi, Central African Repu, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zaïre.

. It is endemic to Ethiopia but cultivated throughout tropical African countries. The specific epithet abyssinica derives from Latin and means ‘of or from Ethiopia (Abyssinia)

Lippia abyssinica is a species of flowering plant that grows as a 3m tall shrubby herb at 1600-2000m altitude in Ethiopia. It has hairy leaves and small flowers that are purple or pink. Other common names include kosearut, lemon herb, butter clarifying herb, Gambey tea bush, and Gambia(n) tea bush, although the latter can also apply to Lippia multiflora.


Ediblew Uses:
Koseret, specifically the subspecies L. a. var. koseret, is dried and used as an herb in Ethiopian cuisine. The smell is camphorous and minty. Some describe its flavor as being similar to basil, but it is not closely related to that herb (they are merely in the same order, Lamiales). Koseret is closely related to the herb Mexican oregano (not to be confused with oregano), sharing the same genus Lippia. It is commonly used in making the spiced oils niter kibbeh and ye’qimem zeyet and the spice mix afrinj. Koseret along with the other herbs and spices preserve the butter and oil, preventing spoilage for up to 15 years. In these preparations koseret then flavors many common dishes, such as kitfo. In Democratic Republic of the Congo and Republic of the Congo it is eaten as a potherb. In west Africa, notably The Gambia, it is brewed into a tisane as a substitute for tea.

Medicinal Uses:
The plant has also been used as traditional medicine for cough, fever, constipation, and cutaneous conditions such as burns. It also is used as an insecticide and antimicrobial treatment and shows some promising antibacterial properties. Koseret has some antioxidant activity as well.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Kaempferia galanga

Botanical Name: Kaempferia galanga
Family: Zingiberaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Zingiberales
Genus: Kaempferia
Species: K. galanga

Common Names:Kencur, Galangal, Kentjur, Aromatic ginger, Sand ginger, Cutcherry, or Resurrection lily

Habitat: Kaempferia galanga is native to India and distributed in China, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos, Sudan, Nigeria and South Africa.

Galanga is a small, stemless perennial herb growing up to 45cm tall from a rhizomatous rootstock. The thick, rounded leaves usually lay flat in a rosette on the ground.


Gathered from the wild for local use as a food and medicine, the plant is also sometimes cultivated as a spice in the tropics, especially in India, Malaya and China. The plant is also grown as an ornamenta

A plant of the moister tropics with a distinct dry season, it prefers a humid climate and a minimum temperature that seldom falls below about 18°c.
Prefers a rich, moist soil and a position in the shade. Species in this genus generally prefer a position in partial shade, growing best in a moist, well-drained, fertile, humus-rich soil.

Edible Uses:
Kaempferia galanga is used as an herb in cooking in Indonesia, where it is called kencur (‘cekur’ in Malaysia), and especially in Javanese and Balinese cuisines. Beras kencur, which combines dried K. galanga powder with rice flour, is a particularly popular jamu herbal drink. Its leaves are also used in the Malay rice dish, nasi ulam.

The young leaves can be eaten raw, steamed, in curries or cooked with chilli paste and used as a side dish with rice.

The tender young rhizomes are aromatic, They can be eaten raw, steamed, in curries or cooked with chilli paste and used as a side dish with rice. The rhizomes can also be used as a condiment and, when dried, have been used as a substitute for turmeric in curry powder.

Medicinal Uses:
Galanga is a bitter, stimulant herb with a camphoraceous aroma. It is antibacterial, improves the digestion and has diuretic effects.

The root is used internally to treat colds, bronchial complaints, dyspepsia and other gastric complaints, and headaches[238
. It is chewed to treat sore throats and coughs. It is used in traditional medicine for the treatment of high blood pressure and asthma. The roots are an ingredient of a post partum medicine.
Externally, the root is applied as a poultice to wounds, swellings and ulcers, and is also used to treat dandruff and rheumatic joints. It is used as a gargle for sore throats.

The leaves are chewed to treat coughs and sore throat.

Other Uses:
The aromatic, powdered root is used in linen sachets to repel moths from clothes. The aromatic, powdered root is added to body powders and cosmetics

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


Herbs & Plants

Cleome viscosa

Botanical Name: Cleome viscosa
Family: Cleomaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Brassicales
Genus: Cleome
Species: C. viscosa

*Arivela viscosa (L.) Raf.
*Cleome acutifolia Elmer
*Cleome icosandra L.
*Polanisia icosandra (L.) Wight & Arn.
*Polanisia microphylla Eichler
*Polanisia viscosa (L.) Blume
*Sinapistrum viscosum (L.) Moench

Common Names: Tickweed, Asian spiderflower.

(In northern India, the seeds (called Jakhya) are used as a culinary herb, mainly for tempering.)
Yellow spider flower, Cleome, Tickweed • Hindi: Bagra • Urdu: Hulhul • Malayalam: Naivela • Tamil: Naikkaduku • Kannada: Nayibela • Gujarati: Pilitalvani • Telugu: Kukkavaminta • Marathi: Pivala tilavan • Nepali: Hur Hure,Ban Toree,Toree Jhaar

Cleome viscosa is native to all the tropical regions of the earth.It grows on Sandy and freely draining soils in open woodland scrub and on scree slopes in dry areas. It’s considered an invasive species and it is widely distributed in warm and humid habitats across the Americas, Africa and Asia. It is commonly found during the rainy season.

Cleome viscosa is an annual herb that grows up to (10–)30–100(–160) cm. The stem is viscid, more or less hairy with glandular and eglandular hairs. Leaves are digitately compound, with 3-5 leaflets. Leaflets are obovate, elliptic-oblong, very variable in size, often 2-4 cm long, 1.5-2.5 cm broad, middle one largest; petiole up to 5 cm long. Racemes elongated, up to 30 cm long, with corym¬bose flowers at the top and elongated mature fruits below, bracteate. Flowers 10-15 mm across, whitish or yellowish; pedicels 6-20 mm long; bracts foliaceous. Sepals oblong-lanceolate, 3-4 mm long, 1-2 mm wide, glandular-pubescent. Petals 8-15 mm long, 2-4 mm broad, oblong-obovate. Stamens 10-12 (rarely more, up to 20), not exceeding the petals; gynophore absent. Fruit 30-75 mm long, 3-5 mm broad, linear-oblong, erect, obliquely striated, tapering at both ends, glandular-pubescent, slender; style 2-5 mm long; seeds many, 1-1.4 mm in diam., glabrous with longitudinal striations and transverse ridges, dark brown.

The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).


The plant prefers a light fertile soil in a warm dry sunny position with plenty of room to spread. A frost tender plant, it can be grown as a summer annual in Britain.

Edible Uses:
Leaves and young shoots – cooked as a vegetable. A sharp mustard-like flavour. The pungent seed can be pickled or used as a mustard substitute in curries. The seedpods are made into pickles. The juice of the plant is used as a condiment. An oil obtained from the seeds is used for cooking.

Medicinal Uses:
The leaves are diaphoretic, rubefacient and vesicant. They are used as an external application to wounds and ulcers. The juice of the leaves has been used to relieve earache. The seeds are anthelmintic, carminative, rubefacient, stimulant and vesicant. The seed contains 0.1% viscosic acid and 0.04% viscosin. A paste of the root is applied externally in the treatment of earaches.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Tagetes minuta

Botanical Name: Tagetes minuta
Family: Asteraceae
Order: Asterales
Genus: Tagetes
Species:T. minuta

*Tagetes bonariensis Pers.
*Tagetes glandulifera Schrank
*Tagetes glandulosa Schrank ex Link
*Tagetes porophyllum Vell.
*Tagetes tinctoria Hornsch.

Common Names:Huacatay, Mexican marigold, Mint marigold Muster John Henry, Southern marigold, Khakibos, Stinking roger, Wild marigold, and Black mint.

Habitat: Tagetes minuta is native to the southern half of South America. Since Spanish colonization, it has been introduced around the world, and has become naturalized in Europe, Asia, Australasia, North America, and Africa. Tagetes minuta has numerous local names that vary by region, most commonly found in the literature as chinchilla, chiquilla, chilca, zuico, suico, or anisillo. Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Tagetes minuta is an annual plant,growing to 1.2 m (4ft) by 0.6 m (2ft in).
It is in leaf from April to November, in flower in October, and the seeds ripen in November. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects.


Requires a well-drained moderately fertile soil in a sunny position. Grows well in heavy clay soils and in sandy soils. Plants are not very resistant to frosts and need to be grown as half hardy annuals. They also need a long growing season, usually flowering too late in the autumn to set seed in Britain. Removing dead flowers before the seed is formed will extend the flowering season. A very good companion plant, see ‘Other Uses’ below for more details. Plants are prone to slugs, snails and botrytis.

Edible Uses:
The dried leaves are used as an aromatic seasoning for soups and vegetables. They give an apple-like flavour. An essential oil obtained from the distilled plant, harvested when in flower, is used as a flavouring in ice cream, baked goods, soft drinks etc.

Medicinal Uses:
The whole plant is anthelmintic, antispasmodic, aromatic, diaphoretic, diuretic, purgative and stomachic. It is used internally in the treatment of gastritis, indigestion and internal worms. Externally, it is used to treat haemorrhoids and skin infections. The plant is harvested when in flower and dried for later use.

Other Uses:
This plant is widely used in companion planting schemes. Secretions from the roots of growing plants have an insecticidal effect on the soil, effective against nematodes and to some extent against keeled slugs. These secretions are produced about 3 – 4 months after sowing. These root secretions also have a herbicidal effect, inhibiting the growth of certain plants growing nearby. It has been found effective against perennial weeds such as Ranunculus ficaria (Celandine), Aegopodium podagraria Ground elder), Glechoma hederacea (Ground ivy), Agropyron repens (Couch grass) and Convolvulus arvensis (Field bindweed). An essential oil distilled from the leaves and flowering stems, harvested when the plant is forming seeds, is used as an insect repellent. It is also used in perfumery. Dried plants can be hung indoors as an insect repellent.

Known Hazards : This species has an irritant sap that can cause dermatitis in sensitive people.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.