Monthly Archives: April 2010

A Pose to Build Strong Abs

With this pose, you’ll build strong abdominal muscles that will support your lower back. Your legs will need to be very flexible, so you might have to keep your knee bent for a while. In this pose, it’s more important to straighten your back than to fully straighten your leg.

Sit cross-legged on a padded surface or a mat. Bring your right knee toward your chest and hold the sole of your right foot with both hands. Inhale, sit up tall and move your knee toward your chest without rounding your back or collapsing forward. Pause for a few breaths while feeling a stretch in the back of your right thigh.

Continue to keep your chest and back lifted as you slowly straighten your right leg as far as you can. Balance on your buttocks, drawing your shoulder blades down and into your chest (don’t let your shoulders rise up toward your ears). Hold this pose for three to six breaths, keeping your breath relaxed. Release your leg and repeat on the other side.

Source: Los Angeles Times

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Pick the Right Veg’ for Health

Obvious choices of fruit and vegetables are not necessarily the healthiest, say researchers.

According to US experts, making simple swaps like eating sweet potatoes instead of carrots and papaya rather than oranges could make a difference.

Foods, like raspberries, watercress and kale, are richer in phytonutrients which may help prevent disease, they told a US meeting.

UK nutritionists said a balanced diet is essential to good health.

The British Nutrition Foundation warned that relying on eating a few select food types to boost health was ill-advised and said there was no such thing as a “superfood”.

Experts recommend five portions a day of fruit and veg in a healthy diet.

Plant foods are known to contain “phytonutrient” chemicals that can protect the heart and arteries and prevent cancers.

But the most popular varieties may not be the best, according to US researchers.

They analysed data from US health surveys of people’s dietary habits to look at the most common sources of phytonutrients.

They found that for 10 of the 14 phytonutrients studied, a single food type accounted for two-thirds or more of an individual’s consumption, regardless of how much fruit and veg they ate overall.

Carrots were the most common source of beta-carotene, oranges and orange juice the most common source of beta-cryptoxanthin, spinach the most common source of lutein/zeaxanthin, strawberries the most common source of ellagic acid and mustard the biggest provider of isothiocyanates.

However, for each of these phytonutrients there was a richer food source available.

Richer foods:-

Switching from carrots to sweet potatoes would nearly double beta-carotene intake, say the researchers.

Similarly papaya contains 15 times more beta-cryptoxanthin than oranges, while kale has three times more lutein/zeaxanthin than spinach.

Raspberries have three times more ellagic acid than strawberries and one cup of watercress contains as much isothiocyanate as four teaspoonfuls of mustard.

Study leader Keith Randolph, who is a technology strategist for the supplement company Nutrilite, said: “These data highlight the importance of not only the quantity but also the significant impact the quality and variety of the fruits and vegetables you eat can have on your health.”

Dr Emma Williams of the British Nutrition Foundation said: “They are right that some foods are richer sources of phytonutrients.

“But at the end of the day, to be healthy you need to make sure you have a varied and balanced diet.

“No one food can give you everything you need.”

The findings were presented at the 2010 Experimental Biology conference in Anaheim, California.

Source
: BBC NEWS: April 27. 2010

http://www.healthyreader.com/2008/05/13/12-most-contaminated-fruits-and-vegetables/

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Vitamin K2 May Reduce Cancer Risk

People who have the highest intakes of vitamin K2, not vitamin K1, may significantly lower their risk of cancer and cancer mortality, according to results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study.

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After analyzing data from over 24,000 participants who were followed for over 10 years, those who had the highest intakes of vitamin K2 were 14 percent less likely to develop cancer and 28 percent less likely to die of cancer compared to those with the lowest intakes.

A separate study by researchers at the Mayo Clinic also revealed impressive anti-cancer effects from vitamin K. Those with the highest dietary vitamin K intakes had a 45 percent lower risk of developing Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system, than those with the lowest.

Resources:
NutraIngredients March 30, 2010
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition May 2010

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Bush Groundsel ( Baccharis halimifolia)

Botanical Name : Baccharis halimifolia
Family : Compositae/ Asteraceae
Genus : Baccharis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales
Tribe: Astereae
Species: B. halimifolia

Common Name: Groundsel tree; Salt marsh elder; Sea myrtle,groundsel bush, consumption weed, cotton-seed tree, groundsel tree or silverling,Eastern Baccharis,

Habitat :  Eastern N. America – Massachusetts to Florida and Texas.. Open woods, thickets and borders of marshes near the coast, often in saline soils.

Description:
It is a fall flowering evergreen perennial plant of the genus Baccharis which is commonly found in the southeastern United States, although it may be found as far north as Maine. It is typically found in coastal plains and wet areas. It is dioecious — male and female flowers are found on separate plants. Shrub growing to 3.5m by 3.5m at a medium rate.

Height: 5 to 12 feet
Width: 5 to 7 feet
Texture: Medium
Form: Multi-stemmed, irregular, open, airy shrub; can become leggy
Flower/Fruit: Female plant is covered with cottony fruit that persists into early winter .

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Foliage: Alternate, simple leaves; 1 to 3″; coarsely toothed; bright green to gray-green; non-showy fall color .


Leaf: Alternate, semi-evergreen, variable in shape, obovate to narrowly oblong, some nearly diamond-shaped, 1 to 2 1/2 inches long, upper half of leaf with a few coarse teeth, leaves from upper crown and near ends of twig often lacking teeth, shiny green above, may be sticky, paler beneath.


Flower: Dioecious; both male and female flowers occur in terminal, branched clusters and appear as feathery white tufts (some purple), about 1/4 to 1/2 inch long, appearing in late summer.


Fruit: A small achene tipped with long feathery white bristles (dandelion like), ripen in early fall and often in great abundance giving the plant a silvery look.

Twig: Slender, green and angled, may be sticky.


Bark: Gray, reddish brown, developing furrows and flat-topped ridges.

It is hardy to zone 5. It is in flower in October. 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 Insects. The plant is not self-fertile.
The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) 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 and saline soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires dry or moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.

Cultivation :
Succeeds in a sunny position in any well-drained soil, from heavy clays to pure sands. Tolerates saline conditions and dry soils. A useful shrub for coastal situations, resisting maritime exposure. Plants are hardy to about -15°c. A fast-growing plant, it is very tolerant of pruning and can be cut right back to the base if required. The presence of this plant growing wild was supposed to indicate areas where oil might be found. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Propagation:
Seed – no pre-treatment is required. Surface sow in pots a cold frame in the spring, do not let the compost dry out. Germination usually takes place within 1 – 2 weeks. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the cold frame for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Very easy. Cuttings of mature wood of the current seasons growth, November in a frame. Easy

Medicinal Actions & Uses
Demulcent.
The plant is used as a palliative and demulcent in consumption and cough.

Other Uses:
Fuel; Hedge; Soil stabilization.
A good fast-growing hedge for exposed maritime conditions. It retains its leaves into the new year but is rather bare in late winter. Plants have an extensive root system and can be grown on sand or thin coastal soils in order to bind the soil. Resinous secretions on the leaves and wood make this a useful fuel. It is a fairly small plant though and would not be a very productive source.

Known Hazards: The plant is potentially toxic to livestck.

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://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/factsheets/shrubs/baccharis_halimifolia.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baccharis_halimifolia

http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Baccharis+halimifolia

http://www.cnr.vt.edu/DENDRO/dendrology/syllabus2/factsheet.cfm?ID=482

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Prevention is Better Than Cure

Latest Cancer Info…

AFTER YEARS OF TELLING PEOPLE CHEMOTHERAPY IS THE ONLY WAY TO COMBAT CANCER, JOHNS HOPKINS IS FINALLY STARTING TO TELL YOU THERE IS AN ALTERNATIVE WAY…

Cancer Update from Johns Hopkins:-

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1. Every person has cancer cells in the body. These cancer cells do not show up in the standard tests until they have multiplied to a few billion. When doctors tell cancer patients that there are no more cancer cells in their bodies after treatment, it just means the tests are unable to detect the cancer cells because they have not reached the detectable size.

2. Cancer cells occur between 6 to more than 10 times in a person’s lifetime.

3. When the person’s immune system is strong the cancer cells will be destroyed and prevented from multiplying and forming tumors.


4. When a person has cancer it indicates the person has multiple nutritional deficiencies. These could be due to genetic, environmental, food and lifestyle factors.

5. To overcome the multiple nutritional deficiencies, changing diet and including supplements will strengthen the immune system.

6. Chemotherapy involves poisoning the rapidly-growing cancer cells and also destroys rapidly-growing healthy cells in the bone marrow, gastro-intestinal tract etc., and can cause organ damage, like liver, kidneys, heart, lungs etc.

7. Radiation while destroying cancer cells also burns, scars and damages healthy cells, tissues and organs.

8. Initial treatment with chemotherapy and radiation will often reduce tumor size. However prolonged use of chemotherapy and radiation do not result in more tumor destruction.

9. When the body has too much toxic burden from chemotherapy and radiation the immune system is either compromised or destroyed, hence the person can succumb to various kinds of infections and complications.

10. Chemotherapy and radiation can cause cancer cells to mutate and become resistant and difficult to destroy. Surgery can also cause cancer cells to spread to other sites.

11. An effective way to battle cancer is to starve the cancer cells by not feeding it with the foods it needs to multiply.

WHAT CANCER CELLS FEED ON:-

a. Sugar is a cancer-feeder. By cutting off sugar it cuts off one important food supply to the cancer cells. Sugar substitutes like NutraSweet, Equal,Spoonful, etc are made with Aspartame and it is harmful. A better natural substitute would be Manuka honey or molasses but only in very small amounts. Table salt has a chemical added to make it white in colour. Better alternative is Bragg’s aminos or sea salt.

b. Milk causes the body to produce mucus, especially in the gastro-intestinal tract. Cancer feeds on mucus. By cutting off milk and substituting with unsweetened soy milk, cancer cells are being starved.

c. Cancer cells thrive in an acid environment. A meat-based diet is acidic and it is best to eat fish, and a little chicken rather than beef or pork. Meat also contains livestock antibiotics, growth hormones and parasites, which are all harmful, especially to people with cancer.

d. A diet made of 80% fresh vegetables and juice, whole grains, seeds, nuts and a little fruits help put the body into an alkaline environment
. About 20% can be from cooked food including beans. Fresh vegetable juices provide live enzymes that are easily absorbed and reach down to cellular levels within 15 minutes to nourish and enhance growth of healthy cells.

To obtain live enzymes for building healthy cells try and drink fresh vegetable juice (most vegetables including bean sprouts) and eat some raw vegetables 2 or 3 times a day. Enzymes are destroyed at temperatures of 104 degrees F (40 degrees C).

e. Avoid coffee, tea, and chocolate, which have high caffeine.
Green tea is a better alternative and has cancer-fighting properties. Water–best to drink purified water, or filtered, to avoid known toxins and heavy metals in tap water. Distilled water is acidic, avoid it.

12. Meat protein is difficult to digest and requires a lot of digestive enzymes. Undigested meat remaining in the intestines become putrified and leads to more toxic buildup.

13. Cancer cell walls have a tough protein covering. By refraining from or eating less meat it frees more enzymes to attack the protein walls of cancer cells and allows the body’s killer cells to destroy the cancer cells.

14. Some supplements build up the immune system (IP6, Flor-ssence, Essiac, anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals, EFAs etc.) to enable the body’s own killer cells to destroy cancer cells. Other supplements like vitamin E are known to cause apoptosis, or programmed cell death, the body’s normal method of disposing of damaged, unwanted, or unneeded cells.

15. Cancer is a disease of the mind, body, and spirit. A proactive and positive spirit will help the cancer warrior be a survivor. Anger, unforgiveness and bitterness put the body into a stressful and acidic environment. Learn to have a loving and forgiving spirit. Learn to relax and enjoy life.

16. Cancer cells cannot thrive in an oxygenated environment.  Exercising daily, and deep breathing help to get more oxygen down to the cellular level. Oxygen therapy is another means employed to destroy cancer cells.

Source:Medical Journal

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‘Hot’ Substance in Chilli Peppers Key to Reduce Pain

Studying chilli peppers is helping scientists create a new type of painkiller which could stop pain at its source.
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Capsaicin causes the burning sensation in chilli peppers

A team at the University of Texas says a substance similar to capsaicin, which makes chilli peppers hot, is found in the human body at sites of pain.

And blocking the production of this substance can stop chronic pain, the team found.

They report their findings in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Capsaicin is the primary ingredient in hot chilli peppers which causes a burning sensation.

It does this by binding to receptors present on the cells inside the body.

Similarly, when the body is injured, it releases capsaicin-like substances – fatty acids called oxidized linoleic acid metabolites or OLAMs – and these, via receptors, cause pain, the researchers have found.

Blocking pain
Dr Kenneth Hargreaves, senior researcher at the Dental School at the University of Texas, and his team next set out to see if they could block these newly discovered pain pathways.

Lab work on mice showed that by knocking out a gene for the receptors, there was no sensitivity to capsaicin.

Armed with this knowledge they set about making drugs to do the same.

Dr Hargreaves said: “This is a major breakthrough in understanding the mechanisms of pain and how to more effectively treat it.

“We have discovered a family of endogenous capsaicin-like molecules that are naturally released during injury, and now we understand how to block these mechanisms with a new class of non-addictive therapies.”

Ultimately, he hopes the drugs will be able to treat different types of chronic pain, including that associated with cancer and inflammatory diseases such as arthritis and fibromyalgia.

Source:BBC NEWS:April 27. 2010

You may also click to see:->
‘Immune jab’ blocks chronic pain
Cup of mint tea ‘can kill pain’
Pain ‘linked with low vitamin D’
Back to nature for pain relief

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Chinese Azalea(Rhododendron molle)

Botanical Name : Rhododendron molle
Family : Ericaceae
Genus :
Rhododendron
Synonyms: Azalea mollis – Blume.,Azalea sinensis – Lodd.,Rhododendron sinense – (Lodd.)Sw.
Common Name: Chinese Azalea ,

Habitat : Range E. Asia – China.  Grows amongst coarse grasses and shrubs, also in thin pine woods.Woodland Garden; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge;

Pinus forests, thickets on mountain slopes, exposed grassy hillsides, ridges; near sea level to 2500 m. Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Sichuan, Yunnan, Zhejiang.

Description:

A decidious  Shrubs, 0.5–2 m tall; branches densely gray-white-pubescent, also sparsely setose when young. Petiole 2–6 mm, puberulent and ± setose; leaf blade papery, oblong to oblong-lanceolate, 5–11 × 1.5–3.5 cm; base cuneate; margin ciliate; apex obtuse and mucronate; abaxial surface densely gray-white-pubescent, yellow-brown setose along midrib; adaxial surface sparsely to densely puberulent when young. Inflorescence terminal, racemose-umbellate: flowers opening before or with the leaves; many-flowered. Pedicel 1–2.5 cm, pubescent and sparsely setose; calyx lobes small, rounded, pubescent and setose-ciliate; corolla broadly funnelform, yellow or golden yellow, with dark red flecks on lobes, ca. 4.5 × 5–6 cm; tube cylindric, tapering towards base, ca. 26 mm wide, outer surface puberulent; lobes 5, elliptic or ovate-oblong, ca. 2.8 cm, puberulent on outer surface; stamens 5, unequal; filaments flat, puberulent below; ovary conical, ca. 4 mm, densely gray-white-pubescent, also sparsely setose; style to 6 cm, glabrous. Capsule conical-cylindric, 5-ribbed, 25–35 mm, puberulent and sparsely setose. Fl. Mar–May, fr. Jul–Aug.

CLICK TO SEE THE PICTURES..>..(1)....(2).(3)…(4)..…...(5)...(6)..…..(7).

It is hardy to zone 7. It is in flower in May. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid soils and can grow in very acid soil. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland). It requires moist soil.


Cultivation :

Succeeds in a most humus-rich lime-free soils except those of a dry arid nature or those that are heavy or clayey. Prefers a peaty or well-drained sandy loam[1]. Succeeds in sun or shade, though it prefers a shady position. A pH between 4.5 and 5.5 is ideal[1]. Succeeds in a woodland though, because of its surface-rooting habit, it does not compete well with surface-rooting trees. Plants need to be kept well weeded, they dislike other plants growing over or into their root system, in particular they grow badly with ground cover plants, herbaceous plants and heathers. Plants form a root ball and are very tolerant of being transplanted, even when quite large, so long as the root ball is kept intact. A very ornamental plant, it is the parent of many cultivars. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.

Propagation:

Seed – best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the autumn and given artificial light. Alternatively sow the seed in a lightly shaded part of the warm greenhouse in late winter or in a cold greenhouse in April. Surface-sow the seed and do not allow the compost to become dry. Pot up the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and grow on in a greenhouse for at least the first winter. Layering in late July. Takes 15 – 24 months. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, August in a frame. Difficult

Medicinal Actions & Uses
Anaesthetic; Analgesic; Sedative.

The flowers are analgesic, anaesthetic and sedative. They are applied externally in the treatment of arthritis, caries, itch, maggots and traumatic injuries.  The root is used in the treatment of arthritis, rheumatism and traumatic injuries.

Other Uses

Insecticide.

The powdered flowers have a mild insecticidal effect.

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Cultivars
There are some named forms for this species, but these have been developed for their ornamental value and not for their other uses. Unless you particularly require the special characteristics of any of these cultivars, we would generally recommend that you grow the natural species for its useful properties. We have, therefore, not listed the cultivars in this database

Known Hazards: The plant is very toxic. The pollen of many if not all species of rhododendrons is also probably toxic, being said to cause intoxication when eaten in large quantities.

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://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Rhododendron+molle

http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/BCP/Rhododendron_molle

http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=200016492

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Vitamin K May Protect You From Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

Individuals who are worried that they may be at risk for developing Non-Hogkin lymphoma may want to consider ingesting more vitamin K supplements, as a new study is suggesting that the medication may lower the risk of developing the disease.

According to researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, patients who had a higher daily intake of vitamin K had a dramatically lower risk of developing Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which affects the immune system and is the most common hematologic malignancy in the U.S.

“These results are provocative, since they are the first work we have done on the connection between vitamin K and Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and this is a fairly strong protective effect,” said the study’s lead investigator, Dr. James Cerhan.

Individuals can ensure that they are getting a healthy dietary intake of vitamin K by eating leaf lettuce, spinach, vegetable oils and fruits. However, the researchers point out that one of the most common ways to incorporate the vitamin is to take nutritional supplements

You may click to see :->Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays an important role in blood clotting.

Source: Better Health Research. April 22nd. 2010

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Sago Cycad (Cycas revoluta)

Botanical Name : Cycas revoluta
Family: Cycadaceae
Genus: Cycas
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Cycadophyta
Class: Cycadopsida
Order: Cycadales
Species: C. revoluta

Habitat : E. Asia – China, Japan. Found mainly on the sea shore in S. Japan. Thickets on hillsides on islands, sparse forests on mainland at elevations of 100 – 500 metres in Fujian, China

Description:
Cycas revoluta (sago cycad), is an attractive plant native to southern Japan. Though often known by the common name of king sago palm, or just sago palm, it is not a palm at all, but a cycad.

click & see the pictures.
This very symmetrical plant supports a crown of shiny, dark green leaves on a thick shaggy trunk that is typically about 20 cm (7.9 in) in diameter, sometimes wider. The trunk is very low to subterranean in young plants, but lengthens above ground with age. It can grow into very old specimens with 6–7 m (over 20 feet) of trunk; however, the plant is very slow-growing and requires about 50–100 years to achieve this height. Trunks can branch multiple times, thus producing multiple heads of leaves.

The leaves are a deep semiglossy green and about 50–150 cm (20–59 in) long when the plants are of a reproductive age. They grow out into a feather-like rosette to 1 m (3.3 ft) in diameter. The crowded, stiff, narrow leaflets are 8–18 cm (3.1–7.1 in) long and have strongly recurved or revolute edges. The basal leaflets become more like spines. The petiole or stems of the Sago Cycad are 6–10 cm (2.4–3.9 in) long and have small protective barbs that must be avoided.

Cultivation :
Requires a strong loam with sharp sand and good drainage. Succeeds in dry soils. Requires a sunny position. Although it is the hardiest cycad, this species is not fully hardy in Britain but can tolerate occasional lows to about -5°c so long as the crown is protected and so is worthwhile trying outdoors in a sheltered position in the mildest areas of the country. Alternatively, it can be given greenhouse or conservatory protection over the winter and be placed outdoors in the summer. Plants are very slow growing. This plant is often used as a food source in its native range but recent research has shown that it can cause chronic nervous disorders if it is not treated properly. Overall its use is not to be recommended, especially since it is becoming rare in the wild. The plants produce special upward growing roots where nitrogen is produced in symbiosis with algae. Dioecious, male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Cycas revoluta is one of the most widely cultivated cycads, grown outdoors in warm temperate and subtropical regions, or under glass in colder areas. It grows best in sandy, well-drained soil, preferably with some organic matter. It needs good drainage or it will rot. It is fairly drought-tolerant and grows well in full sun or outdoor shade, but needs bright light when grown indoors. The leaves can bleach somewhat if moved from indoors to full sun outdoors.

Propagation:
Cycas revoluta is either by seed or by removal of basal offsets. As with other cycads, it is dioecious, with the males bearing cones and the females bearing groups of megasporophylls. Pollination can be done naturally by insects or artificially.
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Seed – best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe, 2cm deep in individual pots which are then sealed in plastic bags to keep them moist until germination takes place. Germinates in 1 – 3 months at 25°c. Pre-soak stored seed for 24 hours in warm water then treat as above. Division of suckers in the spring.

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Seed; Stem.
Seed – raw or cooked. They can be dried and ground into a powder then mixed with brown rice and fermented into ‘date miso’ or ‘sotetsu miso’. Caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. The heart or pith of the trunk is sliced and eaten baked or powdered. A toxic principal must first be removed. A starch can be extracted from this pith and is used for making dumplings. It is very sustaining.

You may click see : How  Sago  starch is extracted from the pith of sago palm stems and make edible.

Medicinal Actions & Uses

Astringent; Cancer; Diuretic; Emmenagogue; Expectorant; Tonic.

The leaves are used in the treatment of cancer and hepatoma. The terminal shoot is astringent and diuretic. The seed is emmenagogue, expectorant and tonic. It is used in the treatment of rheumatism. Substances extracted from the seeds are used to inhibit the growth of malignant tumours.

Other Uses:
Of all the cycads, the Sago Palm is the most popular in horticulture. It is seen in almost all botanical gardens, in both temperate and tropical locations. In many areas of the world, it is heavily promoted commercially as a landscape plant. It is also quite popular as a bonsai plant. First described in the late 1700s, it is native to various areas of southern Japan and is thus tolerant of mild to somewhat cold temperatures, provided the ground is dry. Frond damage can occur at temperatures below -10 °C or 15 degrees F and there are several healthy plants that have been grown with little protection as far north as Nashville Tennessee and Newport News Virginia, both are in zone 7b… The cycad revoluta usually defoliates in this temperate climate, but it usually will flush (or grow) several new leaves by April. It does however require hot summers with mean temperatures of 30 to 35 °C (86 to 95 F) for successful growth, making outdoor growing impossible in colder places such as northern Europe or the Northeast US, even where winter temperatures are not too cold. One disadvantage of its domestic use is that it is poisonous to animals and humans. One skin breaking scrape can lead to a hospital visit.

Known Hazards :  The plants contain alkaloids of carcinogens and also an amino-acid that causes chronic nervous disorders. Regular consumption of the plant leads to severe health problems and death. This toxic principle can be removed if the food is properly prepared but consumption of the plant still cannot be recommended because its use often means the death of the plant and it is becoming rare in the wild.

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://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Cycas+revoluta

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cycas_revoluta

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Great Masterwort(Astrantia major )

Botanical Name : Astrantia major
Family :              Umbelliferae/Apiaceae
Genus  : Astrantia
Synonyms : Astrantia biebersteinii – Trautv.  Astrantia carinthiaca – Hoppe. ex Mart.&Koch.,  Astrantia carniolica – Hort. non Wulfen.,Astrantia trifida – Hoffm.Great_Masterwort
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales
Species: A. major

Habitat : C. and E. Europe. Naturalized in Britain.  Moist woodlands and the banks of streams.Woodland Garden; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge.

Description:
Perennial growing to 0.8m by 0.5m.
It is hardy to zone 6. It is in flower from May to July, and the seeds ripen from August to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Beetles, insects. The plant is self-fertile.

click to see the pictures....(1).……....(2).……..…(3)..……...(4)..……….

 

Masterwort produces many small, ivory flowers that are flushed pink and bloom continuously throughout the summer and fall, wafting a sweet scent. Like Queen Anne’s lace, each masterwort blossom is an umbel of tiny flowers, framed by a collar of papery bracts.

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

Cultivation:
Prefers a fertile moisture-retentive soil. Succeeds in most well-drained soils in full sun or part shade. Succeeds in an open woodland and along the sides of streams so long as the soil is well above the water level. Plants are hardy to at least -17°c. Plants spread by means of underground runners. There are some named varieties, selected for their ornamental value. The flowers are sometimes dried and used for winter decoration.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Sow stored seed as early in the year as you can obtain it. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. If you have sufficient seed then it can be sown in situ either as soon as it is ripe or in the following spring. Division in spring. Large clumps can be planted out straight into their permanent positions. Smaller clumps are best potted up and kept in a cold frame until they are growing away well and can then be planted out in the summer.

Cultivars
There are some named forms for this species, but these have been developed for their ornamental value and not for their other uses. Unless you particularly require the special characteristics of any of these cultivars, we would generally recommend that you grow the natural species for its useful properties. We have, therefore, not listed the cultivars in this database

Medicinal Actions &  Uses:

Diuretic; Purgative.
A decoction of the root is purgative. The root is harvested in summer to early autumn and can be dried for later use. An infusion of the whole plant is a gentle diuretic.

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://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Astrantia+major

http://www.finegardening.com/plantguide/astrantia-major-masterwort.aspx

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Masterwort

http://www.heronswood.com/perennials_perennials-a_astrantia/astrantia-major-sunningdale-variegated/

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