Monthly Archives: January 2010

Basil Thyme (Acinos arvensis )

Botanical Name:Acinos arvensis
Family: Lamiaceae
Subfamily: Nepetoideae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales
Genus: Acinos
Species: A. arvensis
Class: Magnoliopsida

Synonyms :  Acinos thymoides – Moench., Calamintha acinos – (L.)Clairv., Satureja acinos – (L.)Scheele.
Common Names: Basil Thyme, Mother of Thyme, Spring Savory

Habitat: Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia to the Mediterranean and east to W. Asia.  Dry sunny banks and in fields on chalky, gravelly and sandy soils .Ground Cover; Cultivated Beds;

Approximately 3500 species in 220 genera, distributed worldwide, but mostly in the Mediterranean region and SW Asia. China has 807 species in 96 genera.

Description;
Herbs,(Forb/herb ) sometimes subshrubs or shrubs , annual or perennial , usually aromatic . Stems and branches usually 4-angled. Leaves opposite, rarely whorled or alternate, simple to pinnately dissected or compound , without stipules. Inflorescences generally compound, sometimes flowers solitary and axillary ; verticillasters 2- to many flowered, subtended by leaves or bracts. Flowers bisexual , zygomorphic, rarely subactinomorphic, bracteolate or not. Calyx persistent , 5-toothed, 2-lipped; upper lip 3-toothed or entire (deciduous in Scutellaria) ; lower lip 2- or 4-toothed; tube sometimes hairy annulate inside. Corolla limb usually 2-lipped; upper lip 2-lobed and lower 3-lobed, rarely upper lip entire and lower 4-lobed, also rarely limb (4- or) 5-lobed; tube hairy annulate inside. Stamens epipetalous , 4 or 2, free , rarely filaments connate , sometimes one staminodial; anther 1- or 2-celled, usually dehiscing longitudinally; disc persistent. Ovary superior, 2-celled and each cell 2-ovuled and style subterminal , or ovary 4-parted and each lobe 1-ovuled and style gynobasic (from bases of ovary lobes) with 2-cleft apex. Fruit usually 4 dry nutlets . Seeds with or without endosperm.Flowers: Bloom Period: June. • Flower Color: blue-violet

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It is hardy to zone 4 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from July to August, and the seeds ripen from August to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees. The plant is self-fertile.

Cultivation:
The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, requires well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soil. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires dry or moist soil.

Succeeds in any well-drained soil, though it prefers a light well-drained dry soil in full sun. Prefers sandy and alkaline growing conditions. Dislikes shade. A very hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to at least -15°c. A short-lived perennial, but the plants usually self-sow when they are growing in a suitable position.

Propagation:-
Seed – sow early spring in a cold frame. If you have sufficient seed then you could try sowing in situ in April or May. Germination should take place within a month. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. Division in spring. Basal cuttings in late spring. Very easy.

Edible Uses;-
Edible Parts: Leaves.

Edible Uses: Condiment.

The flowering tops are used as a flavouring and in salads. Said to be similar to thyme in odour but milder and more pleasant. The plant is only faintly aromatic and does not really make a very good substitute for thyme.

Medicinal Action &  Uses:-
Diuretic; Odontalgic; Rubefacient; Stomachic.

Basil thyme was a great favourite of the ancient herbalists, though it is little used medicinally at present. The herb is diuretic, odontalgic, rubefacient and stomachic. The essential oil has been applied externally as a rubefacient, whilst one drop of it put into a decayed tooth is said to alleviate the pain. The plant has also been added to bath water, especially for children, and is said to be a strengthener and nerve soother. The flowering plant is harvested in the summer and is normally used fresh in infusions.

A stimulant, diuretic herb that benefits the digestive system and irritates the tissues, causing a temporary improvement in local blood supply.  Basil thyme was a great favorite of the ancient herbalists, though it is little used medicinally at present. The essential oil has been applied externally as a rubefacient, whilst one drop of it put into a decayed tooth is said to alleviate the pain. The plant has also been added to bath water, especially for children, and is said to be a strengthener and nerve soother.  Internally used for shortness of breath, melancholy, and improving the digestion.  Externally, oil was once distilled to treat bruises, toothache, sciatica, and neuralgia.

Other Uses
Ground cover.

The plant makes a good ground cover.

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

Fesources;
http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Acinos+arvensis
http://wisplants.uwsp.edu/scripts/detail.asp?SpCode=ACIARV
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Acinos_arvensis
http://zipcodezoo.com/Plants/A/Acinos_arvensis/
http://www.henriettesherbal.com/pictures/p01/pages/acinos-arvensis-1.htm

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm

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Alpine Calamint(Acinos alpinus)

Botanical Name:Acinos alpinus
Family : Labiatae/Lamiaceae
Synonyms :Calamintha alpina – (L.)Lam., Satureja alpina – (L.)Scheele.,Thymus alpinus (L.)
Common Name:Rock thyme,Alpine Calamint,
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales
Genus: Acinos
Species: A. alpinus

Habitat: The plant originates from the mountains of Central & Southern Europe.In Italy, rock thyme can be found in most areas whose altitude is between 900 and 2600 meters above sea level. It is found in open fields, rock fissures, and areas with little fertile soil. Dry sunny habitats in mountains and rocky places.

Description:-
Rock thyme is a Perennial herbaceous plant averaging between 40 and 50 centimeters in height. The flowers are hermaphroditic; that is, they have both male and female reproductive systems. According to the Raunkiær system of categorizing life forms, rock thyme is considered to be a chamaephyte, specifically a chamaephyte sufruticosos.
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The plant has a woody, fuzz-covered stem. Its leaves grow in symmetrical pairs and are connected to the stem by a thin petiole. Their shapes range from ovoid to lanceolates of 5 to 15 millimeters in length.

The flowers consist of whorled inflorescences, consisting of clusters of 3 to 8 flowers. They range from 15 to 20 mm in length, and are generally violet in  color. Depending on altitude, rock thyme flowers between May and August. Its fruit is schizo-carpal ( splits into four equal portions upon reaching maturity).The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)

It is anchored to the ground by a taproot and a network of smaller secondary roots.There are two subspecies of rock thyme: A. alpinus meriodionalis, with smaller flowers; and A. alpinus majoranifolius, which grows in smaller bunches.

Cultivation :
Succeeds in almost any well-drained soil, doing well in a hot dry soil.

Propagation:-
Seed – sow early spring in a cold frame. If you have sufficient seed then you could try sowing in situ in April or May. Germination should take place within a month. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. Division in spring. Basal cuttings in late spring.

Edible Uses
Edible Uses: Condiment; Tea.

The leaves are used as a flavouring in cooked dishes and also as a tea substitute.

Medicinal Action & Uses

Diaphoretic, febrifuge.
Rock thyme is sometimes used in pharmacology for its diaphoretic and antipyretic properties. In addition, it can be brewed and served as tea.

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

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acinos_alpinus
http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Acinos+alpinus

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How to Lick Bad Breath Fast — as Easy as 1, 2, 3…

Bad breath is often a symptom of dry mouth — a condition known as “xerostomia.”  Other symptoms of this problem include saliva that seems thick, sores or split skin at the corners of your mouth, and difficulty speaking and swallowing,.
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Most   xerostomia is related to medication. More than 400 drugs can affect the salivary glands. These include drugs for urinary incontinence, allergies, high blood pressure, depression, diarrhea and Parkinson’s disease. Also, some over-the-counter medications often cause dry mouth.

Tobacco, alcohol, drinks with caffeine, snoring and breathing with your mouth open can aggravate dry mouth.

There are ways to improve saliva flow. You can also sip water regularly, try over-the-counter saliva substitutes, avoid breathing through your mouth, and use a humidifier in your bedroom.

If you have dry mouth, you have to pay greater attention to your teeth. Brush your teeth with an extra-soft toothbrush after every meal and at bedtime. If brushing hurts, soften the bristles in warm water. Floss your teeth gently every day.

Source: Live Science December 23, 2009

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The Hidden Benefits of Exercise

Regular workouts may help fight off colds and flu, reduce the risk of certain cancers and chronic diseases, and slow the process of aging.
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A growing body of research is showing that regular exercise can boost your body’s immune system, increasing the circulation of natural killer cells that fight off viruses and bacteria.

Regular exercise has also been shown to combat the ongoing damage done to cells, tissues and organs that underlies many chronic conditions.

Studies have found exercise can lower blood pressure, reduce bad cholesterol, and cut the incidence of Type 2 diabetes.

Medical experts say inactivity poses as great a health risk as smoking, contributing to heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, cancer, depression, arthritis and osteoporosis.

Source: Wall Street Journal January 5, 2010

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Japanese Chaff Flower(Achyranthes japonica)

Botanical Name :Achyranthes japonica
Family : Amaranthaceae
Synonyms: Achyranthes bidentata japonica – Miq.
Common names:Japanese chaff-flower
Genus : Achyranthes

Habitat : E. Asia – China, Japan(Honshu, Kyushu, Ryukyu Islands, Shikoku), Korea.  Woody areas in lowlands and hills

Description:
Perennial growing to 1m.It is Forb/herb.
It is hardy to zone 0. It is in flower from July to September, and the seeds ripen from September to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES.

The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils. The plant prefers acid and neutral soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.

Cultivation :-
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain. However, judging by the plants native range, it is likely to succeed outdoors at least in the milder areas of the country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Prefers a rich, sandy, slightly acid soil in partial shade.

Propagation:-
Seed – sow late spring in a greenhouse. Germination should be fairly rapid, prick out the seedlings into individual pots of fairly rich soil when they are large enough to handle. It is probably wise to grow this plant on in the greenhouse for its first winter, planting it out into its permanent position in late spring after the last expected frosts.

Medicinal Action &  Uses:-
Abortifacient; Analgesic; Antiinflammatory; Antispasmodic; Contraceptive; Diuretic; Hypotensive; Uterine tonic.

The root of the plant is used in Korea to treat oedema, rheumatism, delayed menses and as a contraceptive and abortifacient. The root contains triterpenoid saponins and has been shown to have analgesic, antiallergic, antiinflammatory, antispasmodic, diuretic, hypotensive and uterine stimulant properties. In addition, it contains protocatechuic acid, which has antioxidant properties, and also inhibits the aggregation of platelets.

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

Other Uses
Two insect-moulting hormones are found in the seeds. This may have a practical application as an insecticide afterward.

Resources:
http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Achyranthes+japonica
http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/taxon.pl?414337
http://www.gardenguides.com/taxonomy/japanese-chaff-flower-achyranthes-japonica/
http://www.mygarden.net.au/name_detail/acjah/18343/1
http://www.mitomori.co.jp/hanazukan2/hana2.4.437inoko.html

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