Cinnamodendron corticosum

 Botanical Name : Cinnamodendron corticosum
Family: Canellaceae
Genus: Cinnamodendron
Species: C. corticosum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Canellales

Synonyms: Red Canella. Mountain Cinnamon.

Part Used: Dried bark. 

Habitat: Cinnamodendron corticosum is native to Jamaica.

Description:
Cinnamodendron corticosum is a species of flowering plant.The bark is pungent like Winter’s Bark, but a much paler brown colour, resembling canella bark, but without its chalky white inner surface. It has a ferruginous grey-brown colour, darker externally, with scars of the nearly circular subereous warts smooth and finely striated on the inner surface. Like canella bark in odour and pungent taste but is not bitter.

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Constituents & Medicinal Uses :
Volatile oil and tannic acid, it may be distinguished from canella bark by its decoction becoming blackened by a persalt of iron, can be used for the same diseases as Winter’s Bark. In South America it is much used for diarrhoea, etc.
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.
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinnamodendron_corticosum
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/w/winfal26.html

Drimys winteri

Botanical Name: Drimys winteri
Family: Winteraceae
Genus: Drimys
Species: D. winteri
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Canellales

Synonyms: True Winter’s Bark. Winter’s Cinnamon. Wintera aromatica. Wintera. Drimys aromatica. Murray. non (R.Br.)Muell. Wintera aromatica. Murray. non (R.Br.)Muell.

Common Names: Winter’s Bark, Canelo

Habitat: Drimys winteri is native to the Magellanic and Valdivian temperate rain forests of Chile and Argentina, where it is a dominant tree in the coastal evergreen forests. Boggy sites by streams etc in rich soils. It is found below 1,200 m (3,937 ft) between latitude 32° south and Cape Horn at latitude 56°. In its southernmost natural range it can tolerate temperatures down to ?20 °C (?4 °F).

Description:
Drimys winteri is an evergreen Shrub growing to 7.5 m (24ft) by 6 m (19ft) at a medium rate. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Jan to June. The leaves are lanceolate, glossy green above, whitish below and can measure up to 20 cm (8 in). The flowers  are white with a yellow center, and comprise a great number of petals and stamens. The fruit is a bluish berry. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)

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The bark is green and wrinkled, that of the branches smooth and green, erect and scarred, leaves alternate, oblong, obtuse, with a midrib veinless, glabrous and finely dotted underside. Flowers small on terminal peduncles, approximately one-flowered, simple. Fruits up to six obovate, baccate, and many seeded. The bark is the official part and is found in small carved pieces 1/4 inch thick, dull yellow grey externally. Both Canella and Cinnamodendron are found in its transverse section, exhibiting radiating white lines at the end of the last rays, diverging towards the circumference; odour aromatic with a warm pungent taste.
Cultivation:
Requires a light lime-free soil in semi-shade. Tolerates chalk in the soil. Requires a deep moist soil. Dislikes dry conditions. Prefers a warm sandy loam with some shelter. Fairly wind resistant. Another report says that the plant resents severe wind-chill. Succeeds against a wall at Kew and it thrives in an open position in S.W. England. Tolerates temperatures down to about -10°c. This species is less hardy than D. lanceolata but it usually recovers from damage. Another report says that it is hardier than D. lanceolata. A very ornamental plant. The sub-species D. winteri andina. Reiche. is a slow growing dwarf form seldom exceeding 1 metre in height. It usually commences flowering when about 30cm tall. A polymorphic species. The flowers have a delicate fragrance of jasmine, whilst the bark has a powerful aromatic smell. This plant was a symbol of peace to the indigenous Indian tribes of S. America in much the same way as an olive branch was used in Greece. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus.
Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a greenhouse. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow on the plants for at least their first winter in a cold frame. Plant them out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Layering in March/April. Takes 12 months. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 10 – 15 cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Approximately 60% take. Cuttings of mature wood of the current year’s growth with a heel of older wood, November in a cold frame

Edible Uses : The aromatic pungent bark is powdered and used as a pepper substitute in Brazil, Chile and Argentina. It is rich in vitamin C.

Part Used: The Bark.

Constituents: An inodorous acrid resin, pale yellow volatile oil, tannic acid, oxide of iron, colouring matter and various salts.

Medicinal Uses:

Antidandruff; Antiscorbutic; Aromatic; Febrifuge; Parasiticide; Skin; Stimulant; Stomachic.

The bark is a pungent bitter tonic herb that relieves indigestion. It is antiscorbutic, aromatic, febrifuge, skin, stimulant and stomachic. An infusion of the bark is used in the treatment of indigestion, colic, dandruff and scurvy. It is also used as a parasiticide. The bark is harvested in the autumn and winter and is dried for later use.

Other Uses:
Essential; Parasiticide; Wood.

Canelo wood is reddish in color and heavy, with a very beautiful grain. It is used for furniture and music instruments. The wood is not durable outdoors because continuous rainfalls damage it. The wood is not good for making bonfires because it gives off a spicy smoke.The powerfully aromatic bark contains resinous matter and 0.64% of aromatic essential oil.

The bark is gray, thick and soft and is used as a pepper replacement in Argentina and Chile. The peppery compound in canelo is polygodial.

Known Hazards  : The sap of this plant can cause serious inflammation if it comes into contact with the eyes

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.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drimys_winteri
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/w/winbar25.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Drimys+winteri

Salyx nigra

Botanical Name: Salyx nigra
Family: Salicaceae
Genus: Salix
Species: S. nigra
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malpighiales

Synonym: Pussy Willow.

Common Name : Black willow

Habitat : Salyx nigra is native to eastern North America (New York and Pennsylvania), from New Brunswick and southern Ontario west to Minnesota, and south to northern Florida and Texas. It is typically found along streams and in swamps.

Description:
Salyx nigra is a medium-sized deciduous tree, the largest North American species of willow, growing to 10–30 m (33–98 ft) tall, exceptionally up to 45 m (148 ft), with a trunk 50–80 centimetres (20–31 in) diameter. (Largest example: According to the National Register of Big Trees, the largest black willow tree in the US is in Hennepin, Minnesota. Its height is 63 feet (19 m), circumference is 32 feet (9.8 m) and spread is 73 feet (22 m).The Marlboro Tree, located in Marlboro Township, New Jersey is certified by the State of New Jersey as the largest known example of this tree in the state. It is about 152 years old and measures 76 feet (23 m) in height and 19.7 feet (6.0 m) in circumference. Five grown people must hold hands to fully encircle the tree)

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The bark is dark brown to blackish, becoming fissured in older trees, and frequently forking near the base. The shoots are slender and variable in color from green to brown, yellow or purplish; they are (like the related European Salix fragilis) brittle at the base, snapping evenly at the branch junction if bent sharply. The foliage buds are 2–4 millimetres (0.079–0.157 in) long, with a single, pointed reddish-brown bud scale. The leaves are alternate, long, thin, 5–15 centimetres (2.0–5.9 in) long and 0.5–2 centimetres (0.20–0.79 in) broad, usually somewhat falcate, dark, shiny green on both sides or with a lighter green underside, with a finely serrated margin, a short petiole and a pair of small stipules. It is dioecious, with small, greenish yellow to yellow flowers borne on catkins 2.5–7.5 centimetres (0.98–2.95 in) long in early spring at the same time as the new leaves appear. The fruit is a 5 millimetres (0.20 in) capsule which splits open when mature to release the numerous minute, down-covered seeds. The leaves turn a lemon yellow in the fall.

Salix gooddingii (Goodding’s willow) is sometimes included in S. nigra as a variety, as S. nigra var. vallicola Dudley; when included, this extends the species’ range to western North America. However, the two are usually treated as distinct species.

Another name occasionally used for black willow is “swamp willow”, not to be confused with Salix myrtilloides (swamp willow).
Cultivation:
Succeeds in most soils, including wet, ill-drained or intermittently flooded soils, but prefers a damp, heavy soil in a sunny position. Rarely thrives on chalk. A fast-growing but relatively short-lived species, it can reach 15 metres tall within 10 years from seed in the wild. Twigs tend to break off easily in storms, these will then often root and grow into new trees. A good bee plant, providing an early source of nectar. Trees are impatient of root disturbance and should be moved regularly before being planted in their permanent positions, which is best done whilst the plants are young. The root system is rather aggressive and can cause problems with drains. Plants should not be grown within 10 metres of buildings. Closely related to Salix caroliniana, hybridising with that species where their ranges overlap. This species is also likely to hybridize freely with other members of this genus. Although the flowers are produced in catkins early in the year, they are pollinated by bees and other insects rather than by the wind. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus. Seedlings are very fast-growing, they can reach 1.2 metres tall in their first year. Plants are used commercially for papermaking. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required. Special Features:Attractive foliage, North American native, Grows submerged, Naturalizing, Wetlands plant, Attracts butterflies, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.
Propagation:
Seed – must be surface sown as soon as it is ripe in late spring. It has a very short viability, perhaps as little as a few days. Cuttings of mature wood of the current year’s growth, November to February in a sheltered outdoor bed or planted straight into their permanent position and given a good weed-suppressing mulch. Very easy. Plant into their permanent positions in the autumn. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, June to August in a frame. Very easy.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Inner bark; Leaves.
Edible Uses:

Inner bark – raw or cooked. It can be dried, ground into a powder and then added to cereal flour for use in making bread etc. A very bitter flavour, it is a famine food that is only used when all else fails. Young shoots – raw or cooked. They are not very palatable
Constituents: The bark contains tannin and about 1 per cent of Salinigrin, a white crystalline glucoside soluble in water and alcohol.

Medicinal Uses: An aphrodisiac sedative, tonic. The bark has been prescribed in gonorrhoea and to relieve ovarian pain; a liquid extract is prepared and used in mixture with other sedatives. Largely used in the treatment of nocturnal emissions.

Black willow roots are very bitter, and have been used as a substitute for quinine in the past. Ethnobotanical uses of black willow by various Native American tribes include basketry, and treatment of fever, headache, and coughs. The bark of the tree contains salicylic acid, a chemical compound similar to aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid).

Other Uses:
Basketry; Charcoal; Hair; Paper; Soil stabilization; Tannin; Wood.

The young stems are very flexible and are used in basket and furniture making. The twigs can be split in half lengthways, sun-dried and used as the foundation of coiled basketry. The plant is usually coppiced annually when grown for basket making, though it is possible to coppice it every two years if thick poles are required as uprights. A fibre obtained from the stems is used in making paper. The stems are harvested in spring or summer, the leaves are removed and the stems steamed until the fibres can be stripped. The fibres are cooked for 2 hours with lye and then beaten with mallets or put through a blender. The paper is red/brown in colour. The trees are often used in erosion control, their roots forming dense networks that stabilize stream banks. The bark is a good source of tannin. A decoction or infusion of the bark can be used as a hair wash to make the hair grow. Wood – not durable, light, soft and weak but does not splinter, warp or check. The wood is tough and fairly strong according to another report. It weighs 27lb per cubic foot. Used where strength is not important, for artificial limbs, barn floors etc. A good charcoal is also obtained from the wood
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 provi

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salix_nigra
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/w/wilbla21.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Salix+nigra

Mentha crispa (Supermint)

Botanical Name : Mentha crispa
Family: Lamiaceae
Subfamily: Nepetoideae
Tribe: Mentheae
Genus: Mentha
Species: M. spicata
Kingdom: Plantae

Common Names: Spearmint or spear mint

Habitat : Mentha crispa is native to much of Europe and Asia (Middle East, Himalayas, China etc.), and naturalized in parts of northern and western Africa, North and South America, as well as various oceanic islands.

Description:
Mentha crispa is a herbaceous, rhizomatous, perennial plant growing 30–100 cm tall, with variably hairless to hairy stems and foliage, and a wide-spreading fleshy underground rhizome. The leaves are 5–9 cm long and 1.5–3 cm broad, with a serrated margin.It is broad, sharply-toothed, woolly beneath, is a avariety of M. aquatica. It is sometimes found in Britain in gardens and has quite a different odour to that of the common Wild Water Mint. The stem is square-shaped, a trademark of the mint family of herbs. Spearmint produces flowers in slender spikes, each flower pink or white, 2.5–3 mm long, and broad.

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Hybrids involving spearmint include Mentha × piperita (peppermint; hybrid with Mentha aquatica), Mentha × gracilis (ginger mint, syn. M. cardiaca; hybrid with Mentha arvensis), and Mentha × villosa (large apple mint, hybrid with Mentha suaveolens).

The name ‘spear’ mint derives from the pointed leaf tip

Cultivation: Mentha crispa or Spearmint grows well in nearly all temperate climates. Gardeners often grow it in pots or planters due to its invasive, spreading rhizomes. The plant prefers partial shade, but can flourish in full sun to mostly shade. Spearmint is best suited to loamy soils with abundant organic material.

Edible Uses: Spearmint leaves can be used fresh, dried, or frozen. They can also be preserved in salt, sugar, sugar syrup, alcohol, or oil. The leaves lose their aromatic appeal after the plant flowers. It can be dried by cutting just before, or right (at peak) as the flowers open, about one-half to three-quarters the way down the stalk (leaving smaller shoots room to grow). Some dispute exists as to what drying method works best; some prefer different materials (such as plastic or cloth) and different lighting conditions (such as darkness or sunlight).

Tea: The cultivar Mentha spicata ‘Nana’, the nana mint of Morocco, possesses a clear, pungent, but mild aroma, and is an essential ingredient of Touareg tea.

Spearmint is an ingredient in several mixed drinks, such as the mojito and mint julep. Sweet tea, iced and flavored with spearmint, is a summer tradition in the Southern United States.

Medicinal Uses: As a medicinal plant, spearmint is steeped as tea for the treatment of stomach ache. Spearmint has been studied for antifungal activity; its essential oil was found to have some antifungal activity, although less than oregano. Its essential oil did not show any evidence of mutagenicity in the Ames test. It can have a calming effect when used for insomnia or massages.

CLICK & SEE : Efficacy of the Mentha crispa in the treatment of women with Trichomonas vaginalis infection.

Other Uses: Spearmint is often cultivated for its aromatic and carminative oil, referred to as oil of spearmint. The most abundant compound in spearmint oil is R-(–)-carvone, which gives spearmint its distinctive smell. Spearmint oil also contains significant amounts of limonene, dihydrocarvone, and 1,8-cineol. Unlike peppermint oil, oil of spearmint contains minimal amounts of menthol and menthone. It is used as a flavoring for toothpaste and confectionery, and is sometimes added to shampoos and soaps.

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.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spearmint
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/m/mints-39.html

Living healthy for 100 years

 

Living to be a 100 years old with sound health & mind is a very real possibility for many many people in the near future. After all, in present days there are sprightly 80 year olds running businesses, managing their finances and living independently (with a very little help from friends and relatives)!

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Health is the only key to a long and happy life. The only effort to maintain a healthy life allalong is to start when one is young, before disease sets in as one gain age.
A great deal of research has gone into understanding aging, as the world’s population is getting older. In one study, senior citizens were divided into three groups. The first group did an hour of aerobic activity (such as running, jogging, walking or cycling) a day combined with weight training with weights of 1-2 kilos. The second group did only little flexing and stretching exercises. The third continued with their usual sedentary life. After a period of six months, the first group was found to not only have gained muscle but also developed a positive outlook on life and become mentally strengthy & sharper. There was no noticeable difference in groups two and three. Uniformly though, they had lost muscle mass and “slowed down” mentally and physically.

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After research and several studies, 10,000 steps a day was declared a magic figure to maintain health. It works out to about five miles a day. Most people actually walk only 3,500 steps a day. The new smartphones, some watches and pedometers are able to track daily activity accurately. The other way is to get up every hour and walk for a minute. This can be added to, or alternated with, stair climbing – a 1,000 calorie per hour activity. Swimming, walking, jogging and running use about 300 calories per hour depending on the intensity, the distance covered and the speed.

Our body requires a certain amount of energy to stay alive even if we sleep all day. This can be calculated as the weight in kilos multiplied by 2.2 multiplied by 11. It works out to around 1,500 calories for a 60-kilo adult. 1,500 calories a day is a “restricted diet.” It is barely enough to enjoy a good meal or indulge even occasionally in tasty, high calorie snacks. To be able to eat more and enjoy it, you need to increase activity. Then the calories utilised in the activity can be added to the total daily consumption.

Every decade the metabolic rate falls by five per cent in men and three per cent in women. Muscles atrophy and become insidiously replaced by fat if they are not used, and with increasing age. Muscle, even at rest, consumes more energy than fat. This lowers the metabolic rate. It also reduces strength and affects balance. Weight training needs to be done. A litre bottle can be filled with water and held in each hand and the traditional school drill should be done using this. This consists of five up and down and side-to-side movements with the arms. Gradually work up to twenty repetitions of each circuit.

Mental activity like puzzles, Sudoku and learning verses by heart alone will not keep the brain sharp, it will only marginally delay the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia. It has to be combined with an hour of physical activity a day, preferably outdoors in the sunshine. Even walking up and down a portico or around a block of flats is all right.

It is proved that a person who does regular Yoga exercise with Pranayama & Meditation, with moderate & control diet keeps and maintains long healthy life.

The effect of an hour’s effort today and everyday will make a hundred fold difference in a lifetime. The other fact – one is never too old to start.

It is modern days recommendation that the busiest person should do work out daily …one should consider it as a daily routine as one needs to sleep,get up in the morning,go to toilet, brushing teeth etc. There is a saying that persons who skip daily exercise or physical workout with the excuse they do not afford any time to do exercise will have to spent more time IN BED  when they suffer from different kind of diseases.

In the conclusion it can be said : PHYSICAL EXERCISE IS THE ONLY WAY TO KEEP ONE PERSON HEALTHY & FIT WITH  LONG LIFE
Click & learn : My 2015 Exercise Recommendations and Update by Dr. Mercola

Resources: Health article from The Telegraph (kolkata, India)

Rumex acetus

Botanical Name: Rumex acetus
Family: Polygonaceae
Genus: Rumex
Species: R. acetosa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Synonyms: Acetosa hastulata Raf. Acetosa hastifolia Schur. Acetosa angustata Raf.

Common Names: Sorrel , Common sorrel , Garden sorrel

Other Names: Spinach dock and Narrow-leaved dock

Habitat : Rumex acetosa occurs in grassland habitats throughout Europe from the northern Mediterranean coast to the north of Scandinavia and in parts of Central Asia. It occurs as an introduced species in parts of North America.It grows in meadows, by streams and in open places in woodland. Often found as a weed of acid soils

Description:
Sorrel is a slender herbaceous perennial plant about 60 centimetres (24 in) high by 0.3 m (1ft in), with roots that run deep into the ground, as well as juicy stems and edible, arrow-shaped (sagittate) leaves. The leaves, when consumed raw, taste like a sour green apple candy. The lower leaves are 7 to 15 centimetres (2.8 to 5.9 in) in length with long petioles and a membranous ocrea formed of fused, sheathing stipules. The upper ones are sessile, and frequently become crimson. It has whorled spikes of reddish-green flowers, which bloom in early summer, becoming purplish. The species is dioecious, with stamens and pistils on different plants.

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It is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from May to June, and the seeds ripen from Jun to August. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by Wind.The plant is not self-fertile. It is noted for attracting wildlife.

The leaves are eaten by the larvae of several species of Lepidoptera (butterfly and moth) including the blood-vein moth.
Cultivation:
A very easily grown and tolerant plant, it succeeds in most soils, preferring a moist moderately fertile well-drained soil in a sunny position. Shade tolerant. Established plants are tolerant of considerable neglect, surviving even in dense weed growth. Sorrel has been used since ancient times as a food and medicinal plant. It is still occasionally cultivated for its edible leaves, there are some named varieties. The plant stops producing leaves when it flowers in the summer, regrowing after the seed has set. Plants also usually die down in the winter. Cutting down the flowering stem will encourage the growth of fresh young leaves. ‘Blonde de Lyon’ has large, only slightly acid leaves and is much less likely to flower than the type. This means that the leaves of this cultivar are often available all through the summer and are often also produced throughout the winter, especially if the winter is mild. A food plant for the caterpillars of many species of butterfly, it is a good plant to grow in the spring meadow. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.
Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in situ. Leaves can be harvested within 8 weeks from sowing. Division in spring. Division is very simple at almost any time of the year, though the plants establish more rapidly in the spring. Use a sharp spade or knife to divide the rootstock, ensuring that there is at least one growth bud on each section of root. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found it best to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in a cold frame, planting them out once they are well established in the summer.
Edible Uses :
Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves; Root; Seed.
Edible Uses: Curdling agent.

Leaves – raw or cooked. They make a thirst-quenching on their own, or can be added to salads, used as a potherb or pureed and used in soups. A delicious lemon-like flavour, liked by most people who try them, they can be rather overpowering in quantity and are more generally used as a flavouring in mixed salads. The leaves can also be dried for later use. The leaves can be available all through the winter, especially in mild weather or if a little protection is given to the plants. The leaves should be used sparingly in the diet, see the notes on toxicity above. Flowers – cooked as a vegetable or used as a garnish. Root – cooked. It is dried, ground into a powder and made into noodles. Seed – raw or cooked. Ground into a powder and mixed with other flours to make bread. The seed is easy to harvest, but is rather small and fiddly to use. The juice of the leaves can be used as a curdling agent for milks.

Medicinal Uses:

Anthelmintic; Antiscorbutic; Astringent; Depurative; Diuretic; Febrifuge; Homeopathy; Laxative; Refrigerant; Stomachic.

The fresh or dried leaves are astringent, diuretic, laxative and refrigerant. They are used to make a cooling drink in the treatment of fevers and are especially useful in the treatment of scurvy. The leaf juice, mixed with fumitory, has been used as a cure for itchy skin and ringworm. An infusion of the root is astringent, diuretic and haemostatic. It has been used in the treatment of jaundice, gravel and kidney stones. Both the roots and the seeds have been used to stem haemorrhages. A paste of the root is applied to set dislocated bones. The plant is depurative and stomachic. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant. It is used in the treatment of spasms and skin ailments.

Other Uses:
Cleanser; Dye; Polish.

Dark green to brown and dark grey dyes can be obtained from the roots, they do not need a mordant. A grey-blue dye is obtained from the leaves and stems. An infusion of the stems is used as a polish for bamboo and wicker furniture and also for silver. The juice of the plant removes stains from linen and also ink stains (but not ball-point ink) from white material. It is sometimes sold as ‘essential salt of lemon

Known Hazards : Rumex acetus plants can contain quite high levels of oxalic acid, which is what gives the leaves of many members of this genus an acid-lemon flavour. Perfectly alright in small quantities, the leaves should not be eaten in large amounts since the oxalic acid can lock-up other nutrients in the food, especially calcium, thus causing mineral deficiencies. The oxalic acid content will be reduced if the plant is cooked. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition

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.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sorrel
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/d/docks-15.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rumex+acetosa

 

Vitis vinifera

Botanical Name: Vitis vinifera
Family: Vitaceae
Genus: Vitis
Species: V. vinifera
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Vitales

Synonym: Grape Vine.

Common Name: Grape, Wine grape, Purpleleaf Grape, Common grape vine {The name vine is derived from viere (to twist), and has reference to the twining habits of the plant which is a very ancient one; in the Scriptures the vine is frequently mentioned from the time of Noah onward. Wine is recorded as an almost universal drink throughout the world from very early times. The vine is a very longlived plant. Pliny speaks of one 600 years old, and some existent in Burgundy are said to be 400 and over.}
Parts Used: Fruit, leaves, juice.

Habitat: Vitis vinifera is native to the Mediterranean region, central Europe, and southwestern Asia, from Morocco and Portugal north to southern Germany and east to northern Iran. There are currently between 5000 and 10,000 varieties of Vitis vinifera grapes though only a few are of commercial significance for wine and table grape production. It grows in riversides and damp woods. Grows on the banks of the Thames at Kew in Britain

Description:
Vitis vinifera is a deciduous Climber growing to 35 yards (32 m) tall, with flaky bark. The leaves are alternate, palmately lobed, 5–20 cm (2.0–7.9 in) long and broad. The fruit is a berry, known as a grape; in the wild species it is 6 mm (0.24 in) diameter and ripens dark purple to blackish with a pale wax bloom; in cultivated plants it is usually much larger, up to 3 cm (1.2 in) long, and can be green, red, or purple (black). The species typically occurs in humid forests and streamsides.

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Bloom Color: Yellow. Main Bloom Time: Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Irregular or sprawling, Spreading or horizontal, Variable spread. It is not frost tender. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.
Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Arbor. Prefers a deep rich moist well-drained moderately fertile loam. Grows best in a calcareous soil, but dislikes excessively chalky soils. Prefers a pH in the range 6.5 to 7 but tolerates a range from 4.3 to 8.6. Succeeds in sun or partial shade though a warm sunny sheltered position is required for the fruit to ripen. Very commonly grown in the temperate zones of the world for its edible fruit, there are many named varieties, some of which have been developed for their use as a dried fruit, others for dessert use and others for wine. Good and regular crops are a bit problematical in Britain, grapes are on the northern most limits of their range in this country and the British summer often does not provide enough heat to properly ripen the fruit. Late frosts can also damage young growth in spring, though dormant shoots are very hardy, tolerating temperatures down to about -20°c. Nonetheless, there are a number of commercial vineyards in Britain (usually producing wine grapes) and, given a suitably sunny and sheltered position, good dessert grapes can also be grown. In general it is best to grow the dessert varieties against the shelter of a south or west facing wall. There are a number of varieties that have been bred to cope with cooler summers. Grapes are very susceptible to attacks by phylloxera, this disease is especially prevalent in some areas of Europe and it almost destroyed the grape industry. However, American species of grapes that are resistant to phylloxera are now used as rootstocks and this allows grapes to be grown in areas where the disease is common. Britain is free of the disease at the present (1989) and grapes are usually grown on their own roots. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus. The flowers are intensely fragrant. Grapes grow well in the company of hyssop, chives, basil and charlock. They grow badly with radishes, both the grapes and the radishes developing an off taste. Plants climb by means of tendrils. Any pruning should be carried out in winter when the plants are dormant otherwise they bleed profusely. The cultivated grape is thought to have been derived from V. vinifera sylvestris. (Gmel.)Hegi. This form has dioecious flowers and produces small black grapes. Special Features:Attractive foliage, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.
Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Six weeks cold stratification improves the germination rate, and so stored seed is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is obtained. Germination should take place in the first spring, but sometimes takes another 12 months. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter. Plant out in early summer. Cuttings of mature wood of the current seasons growth, December/January in a frame. These cuttings can be of wood 15 – 30cm long or they can be of short sections of the stem about 5cm long with just one bud at the top of the section. In this case a thin, narrow strip of the bark about 3cm long is removed from the bottom half of the side of the stem. This will encourage callusing and the formation of roots. Due to the size of these cuttings they need to be kept in a more protected environment than the longer cuttings. Layering

Edible Uses :
Edible Parts: Flowers; Fruit; Leaves; Oil.
Edible Uses: Oil.

Fruit – raw or dried for winter use. The dried fruits are the raisins, sultanas and currants of commerce, different varieties producing the different types of dried fruit. A fully ripened fresh fruit is sweet, juicy and delicious. The fruit juice can be concentrated and used as a sweetener. This fruit is widely used in making wine. Leaves – cooked. Young leaves are wrapped around other foods and then baked, they impart a pleasant flavour. Young tendrils – raw or cooked. The flower clusters are used as a vegetable. An edible oil similar to sunflower oil is obtained from the seed. It needs to be refined before it can be eaten. A polyunsaturated oil, it is suitable for mayonnaise and cooking, especially frying. Sap – raw. Used as a drink, it has a sweet taste. The sap can be harvested in spring and early summer, though it should not be taken in quantity or it will weaken the plant. The roasted seed is a coffee substitute. Cream of tartar, also known as potassium bitartrate, a crystalline salt, is extracted from the residue of pressed grapes, and from the sediment of wine barrels. It is used in making baking powder

Constituents: The leaves gathered in June contain a mixture of cane sugar and glucose, tartaric acid, potassium bi-tartrate, quercetine, quercitrin, tannin, amidon, malic acid, gum, inosite, an uncrystallizable fermentable sugar and oxalate of calcium; gathered in the autumn they contain much more quercetine and less trace of quercitrin.

The ripe fruit juice termed ‘must’ contains sugar, gum, malic acid, potassium bi-tartrate and inorganic salts; when fermented this forms the wine of commerce.

The dried ripe fruit commonly called raisins, contain dextrose and potassium acid tartrate.

The seeds contain tannin and a fixed oil.

The juice of the unripe fruit, ‘Verjuice,’ contains malic, citric, tartaric, racemic and tannic acids, potassium bi-tartrate, sulphate of potash and lime.

Medicinal Uses:
Analgesic; Antiinflammatory; Astringent; Bach; Demulcent; Diuretic; Hepatic; Laxative; Lithontripic; Miscellany; Skin;
Stomachic.

Grapes are a nourishing and slightly laxative fruit that can support the body through illness, especially of the gastro-intestinal tract and liver. Because the nutrient content of grapes is close to that of blood plasma, grape fasts are recommended for detoxification. Analgesic. The fresh fruit is antilithic, constructive, cooling, diuretic and strengthening. A period of time on a diet based entirely on the fruit is especially recommended in the treatment of torpid liver or sluggish biliary function. The fruit is also helpful in the treatment of varicose veins, haemorrhoids and capillary fragility. The dried fruit is demulcent, cooling, mildly expectorant, laxative and stomachic. It has a slight effect in easing coughs. The leaves, especially red leaves, are anti-inflammatory and astringent. A decoction is used in the treatment of threatened abortion, internal and external bleeding, cholera, dropsy, diarrhoea and nausea. It is also used as a wash for mouth ulcers and as douche for treating vaginal discharge. Red grape leaves are also helpful in the treatment of varicose veins, haemorrhoids and capillary fragility. The leaves are harvested in early summer and used fresh or dried. The seed is anti-inflammatory and astringent. The sap of young branches is diuretic. It is used as a remedy for skin diseases and is also an excellent lotion for the eyes. The tendrils are astringent and a decoction is used in the treatment of diarrhoea. The plant is used in Bach flower remedies – the keywords for prescribing it are ‘Dominating’, ‘Inflexible’ and ‘Ambitious’.

Other Uses :
Dye; Miscellany; Oil.

A yellow dye is obtained from the fresh or dried leaves. An oil from the seed is used for lighting and as an ingredient in soaps, paints etc. Cream of tartar, extracted from the residue of pressed grapes, is used in making fluxes for soldering. Especially when growing in hotter countries than Britain, the stems of very old vines attain a good size and have been used to supply a very durable timber.

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.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitis_vinifera
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/v/vine–09.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Vitis+vinifera

Veronica officinalis

Botanical Name: Veronica officinalis
Family: Plantaginaceae/Scrophulariaceae
Genus: Veronica
Species: V. officinalis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Common Names: Heath speedwell, Common gypsyweed, Common speedwell, or Paul’s betony

Habitat: Veronica officinalis is native to Europe, Eastern North America (Maryland) , and western Asia. It grows in heaths, moors, grassland, dry hedgebanks and coppices, often on dry soils

Description:
Veronica officinalis is a herbaceous perennial plant with hairy green stems 10–50 cm long that cover the ground in mats and send up short vertical shoots which bear soft violet flowers. The leaves are 1.5–5 cm long and 1–3 cm broad, and they are opposite, shortly stalked, generally about an inch long, oval and attenuated into their foot-stalks, their margins finely toothed. It flowers from May until August.The flowers are in dense, axillary, manyflowered racemes, 1 1/2 to 6 inches long, the individual flowers nearly stalkless on the main flower-stalk, their corollas only 1/6 inch across, pale blue with dark blue stripes and bearing two stamens with a very long style. The capsule is inversely heart-shaped and notched, longer than the oblong, narrow sepals. The plant is of a dull green and is generally slightly hairy, having short hairs, sometimes smooth.CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
Cultivation:
Easily grown in a moderately fertile moisture retentive well drained soil. Prefers cool summers. Thrives in light shade or in open sunny positions.

Propagation :
Seed – sow autumn in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. If you have sufficient quantity, the seed can be sown in situ in the autumn or the spring. Division in autumn or spring. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is best to pot up smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are growing away well. Plant them out in the summer or the following spring.

The fresh herb is faintly aromatic. After drying, it is inodorous. It has a bitterish, warm, and somewhat astringent taste.

Constituents: Enz found a bitter principle, soluble in water and alcohol, but scarcely so in ether, and precipitated by the salts of lead, but not by tannic acid; an acrid principle; red colouring matter, a variety of tannic acid, producing a green colour with ferric salts; a crystallizable, fatty acid, with malic, tartaric, citric, acetic and lactic acids; mannite; a soft, dark green bitter resin.

Mayer, of New York (in 1863), found evidences of an alkaloid and of a saponaceous principle. Vintilesco (1910) found a glucoside both in this species and in Veronica chamaedrys.

Edible Uses: A bitter tangy tea is made from the fresh flowering herb or the dried leaves. The dried leaves can be added to tea blends.

Medicinal Uses:

Alterative; Antipruritic; Antirheumatic; Astringent; Diuretic; Expectorant; Stomachic; Tonic.

This species of Veronica retained a place among our recognized remedies until a comparatively late period, and is still employed in herbal medicine.
Its leaves possess astringency and bitterness.

The leaves and roots are alterative, astringent, mildly diuretic, mildly expectorant, stomachic and tonic. They have been employed in the treatment of pectoral and nephritic complaints, haemorrhages, skin diseases and the treatment of wounds, though the plant is considered to be obsolete in modern herbalism. The leaves are harvested in the summer and dried for later use .

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.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veronica_officinalis
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/specom75.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Veronica+officinalis

Dicentra Canadensis

Botanical Name: Dicentra Canadensis
Family: Papaveraceae
Subfamily: Fumarioideae
Tribe: Fumarieae
Genus: Dicentra
Species: D. canadensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ranunculales

Synonyms: Turkey Pea. Squirrel Corn. Staggerweed. Bleeding Heart. Shone Corydalis. Corydalis. Corydalis Canadensis (Goldie). Bicuculla Canadensis (Millsp.).
Common Name: Squirrel corn
Habitat:Dicentra Canadensis is native to Eastern N. America – S. Quebec, Minnesota, N. Carolina, Tennessee. It grows in rich woods. Deciduous woods, often among rock outcrops, in rich loam soils from sea level to 1500 metres.
Description:
Dicentra canadensis is a perennial plant, growing 6 to 10 inches high, with a tuberous root, flowering in early spring (often in March) having from six to nineteen nodding, greenish-white, purple-tinged flowers, the root or tuber small and round. It should be collected only when the plant is in flower and it is in flower in May. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) The tubers are tawny yellow-coloured, the colour being a distinctive character. The plant must not be confounded with Corydalis (Dicentra) Cuccularia (Dutchman’s Breeches), which flowers at the same time and very much resembles it (though smaller), except in the root, the rind of which is black with a white inside, and when dried, turns brownish-yellow, and under the microscope is full of pores. It has also a peculiar faint odour, the taste at first slightly bitter, then followed by a penetrating taste, which influences the bowels and increases the saliva; the differences in the colour after drying may be caused by the age of the root. Under the microscope, it is porous, spongy, resinous, with a glistening fracture. Another Corydalis also somewhat like Turkey Corn is C. Formosa, the fresh root of which is darkish yellow throughout and has a fracture much resembling honeycomb. The true Turkey Corn is much used by American eclectic practitioners. It is slightly bitter in taste and almost odourless. Tannic acid and all vegetable astringents are incompatible with preparations containing Turkey Corn, or with its alkaloid, Corydalin..
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES :

Cultivation: Easily grown in a rich light soil, preferably neutral to slightly acid. Prefers light shade and a sheltered position according to one report whilst another says that it prefers heavier shade. Grows well in a sheltered corner of the rock garden. The seed is very difficult to harvest, it ripens and falls from the plant very quickly. This species is closely related to D. cucullaria. After fruit set, the bulblets of Dicentra canadensis remain dormant until autumn, when stored starch is converted to sugar. At this time also, flower buds and leaf primordia are produced below ground; these then remain dormant until spring. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.
Propagation : Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed should be sown in early spring. Germination usually takes place within 1 – 6 months at 15°c. Two weeks warm stratification at 18°c followed by six weeks at 2°c can shorten up the germination time. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in early spring. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring. Root cuttings 7 – 10cm long in sandy soil in a cold frame
Edible Uses: The root is known to be edible.

Part Used: Dried tubers.
Constituents: The amount of alkaloids in the dried tubers is about 5 per cent; they have been found to contain corydalin, fumaric acid, yellow bitter extractive, an acrid resin and starch. The constituents of the drug have not been exactly determined, but several species of the closely allied genus Corydalis have been carefully studied and C. tuberosa, cava and bulbosa have been found to yield the following alkaloids: Corycavine, Bulbocapnine and Corydine; Corydaline is a tertiary base, Corycavine is a difficult soluble base; Bulbocapnine is present in largest amount and was originally called Corydaline. Corydine is a strong base found in the mother liquor of Bulbocapnine and several amorphous unnamed bases have been found in it. All these alkaloids have narcotic action. Protopine, first isolated from opium, has been found in several species of Dicentra and in C. vernyim, ambigua and tuberosa.

Medicinal Uses:

Alterative; Diuretic; Tonic; VD.

The dried tubers are alterative, diuretic and tonic. The tubers are useful in the treatment of chronic cutaneous affections, syphilis, scrofula and some menstrual complaints. Turkey Corn is often combined with other remedies, such as Stillingia, Burdock or Prickly Ash.

Known Hazards : The plant is potentially poisonous and can also cause skin rashes.

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.
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dicentra_canadensis
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/t/turkey29.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Dicentra+canadensis

Astragalus gummifer

 Botanical Name: Astragalus gummifer
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Astragalus
Species: A. gummifer
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Synonyms: Gum Tragacanth. Syrian Tragacanth. Gum Dragon (known in commerce as Syrian Tragacanth).

Common Names:Tragacanth, Gum tragacanth milkvetch
Habitat: Astragalus gummifer is native to temperate regions of Western Asia centralized in Iraq, Kurdistan, Iran, Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey but also found in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Russia. It finds dry sub-alpine slopes and valleys habitable typically 1200–2600 metres below the tree line in Iraq. The shrub grows in highlands and deserts. The shrub tolerates a pH range between 3.2 and 7.8 and temperatures as low as -5 to -10 Celsius. Standard environment consists of low water supply, full sun, no shade, and well-drained sandy/loamy soil. The plant adheres to a perennial life cycle (living for more than two years) and is an evergreen retaining its leaves throughout all seasons. Plant also known to have symbiotic relationship with soil bacteria, which fix nitrogen used by the plant.

Description:
Astragalus gummifer is an evergreen Shrub growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in). The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, lepidoptera.It can fix Nitrogen. It is a small branching thorny shrub, the stem of which exudes a gum, vertical slits giving flat ribbon-shaped pieces and punctures giving tears; these have a horny appearance, are nearly colourless or faintly yellow, marked with numerous concentric ridges; the flakes break with a short fracture, are odourless and nearly tasteless; soaked in cold water, they swell and form a gelatinous mass 8 or 10 per cent only dissolving. This species is shrubby, with small branches and short woody gray stem surrounded by thorns. The compound leaves are stipulate with elliptical leaflets (pinnae) borne in opposite pairs. The rachis of the leaf is extended into a sharp thorn…...CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation:
Requires a dry well-drained soil in a sunny position. Succeeds in poor soils. Tolerates a pH in the range 3.2 to 7.8. This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the country, it tolerates temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c. Whilst it is likely to tolerate low temperatures it may not be so happy with a wet winter. Plants are intolerant of root disturbance and are best planted in their final positions whilst still small. This plant is a sub-shrub and although it produces woody stems these tend to die back almost to the base each winter. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby. Many members of this genus can be difficult to grow, this may be due partly to a lack of their specific bacterial associations in the soil.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. A period of cold stratification may help stored seed to germinate. Stored seed, and perhaps also fresh seed, should be pre-soaked for 24 hours in hot water before sowing – but make sure that you do not cook the seed. Any seed that does not swell should be carefully pricked with a needle, taking care not to damage the embryo, and re-soaked for a further 24 hours. Germination can be slow and erratic but is usually within 4 – 9 weeks or more at 13°c if the seed is treated or sown fresh. As soon as it is large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter, planting them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.

Edible Uses:
Dried sap containing gum can be extracted from the plants root and stem, and used as a food additive mainly a thickener for salad dressings and sauces. The gum is also an excellent emulsifier and can be used in ice cream to provide its texture.

Part Used: Gummy exudation.

Constituents: The portion soluble in water contains chiefly polyarabinan-trigalaetangeddic acid; the insoluble part is called bassorin. Tragacanth also contains water, traces of starch, cellulose, and nitrogenous substances, yielding about 3 per cent ash.

Medicinal Uses:
The gum obtained from the roots and stem of the plant also bears many medicinal properties and is often referred to as tragacanth gum. The gum acts as a demulcent, which soothes irritated tissues making it helpful in treating burns. The gum acts as an antitumor as well stimulating the immune system in order to treat cancer. The plant also serves as an adaptogen fighting against chronic degenerative diseases by helping the body get to normal stress levels.

Demulcent, but owing to its incomplete solubility is not often used internally. It is much used for the suspension of heavy, insoluble powders to impart consistence to lozenges, being superior to gum arabic, also in making emulsions, mucilago, etc. Mucilage of Tragacanth has been used as anapplication to burns; it is also employed by manufacturers for stiffening calico, crape, etc.

Other Uses:
Tragacanth gum works as a thickening agent for several dyes, dressing fabrics, glues, watercolors, and ink as well as a binding agent in paper making and lozenges. Incense can be derived from the burning of the stems or gum.

Known Hazards: Many members of this genus contain toxic glycosides. All species with edible seedpods can be distinguished by their fleshy round or oval seedpod that looks somewhat like a greengage. A number of species can also accumulate toxic levels of selenium when grown in soils that are relatively rich in that element

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

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astragalus_gummifer
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/t/tragac26.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Astragalus+gummifer