Manna Tree (Alhagi mannifera)

Botanical Name : Alhagi mannifera
Other Scientific Names:-

Alhagi camelorum Fischer
Alhagi canescens (Regel) Keller & Shap.
Alhagi graecorum Boiss.
Alhagi kirghisorum Schrenk
Alhagi persarum Boiss. & Buhse
Alhagi pseudalhagi Desv.
Alhagi tournefortii Heldr.
Alhagi mannifera Jaub & Spach
Hedysarum alhagi L.
Hedysarum pseudalhagi M. Bieb.

Common Names:-

English :-

camelthorn
camel thorn bush
Caspian manna
Persian manna

French :-
alhagi des Maures

Germany :-
Kameldorn, Manna-
Mannastrauch


Israel:-

manna

India :-
jawasa
bharbhara


Italy:-

lupinella alhagi
manna di Persia


Family  :
Leguminosae /Papilionaceae
Genus : Alhagi
Synonyms : Hedysarum alhagi – Lerche.

Habitat :  N. Africa – Egypt to Turkey.   Waste places, sand dunes etc in Turkey. Cultivated Beds;

Description :The manna tree, or Flowering ash, is a small decidious Shrub, usually 20 or 30 feet high, with a close, round head; the bark is smooth and grayish. The leaves are opposite, unequally pinnated in 3 or 4 pairs; the petioles furrowed; the leaflets petiolate, oblong, acute, serrated, and very hairy, at the base of the midrib on the under side. The flowers are white, in dense, terminal, nodding panicles, and appear with the leaves. Calyx very small and 4-cleft. Corolla divided to the base into linear, drooping segments. Stamens 2; anthers yellow and incumbent. The pericarp is a winged key, not dehiscing (L.). The leaves on the same tree are said to be variable.
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It is hardy to zone 0. It is in flower in July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)It can fix Nitrogen.

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

Cultivation:
Requires a sunny position in a well-drained light or medium soil. Plants are not very hardy in Britain, they can be grown outdoors in the summer but require protection in the winter[1]. 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.

Propagation
Seed – pre-soak the seed for 12 hours in warm water and sow March/April in a warm greenhouse. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a greenhouse for at least the first winter. Plant out into their permanent positions in the summer. Cuttings of young shoots in a frame.

Chemical Composition.—The principal constituent of pure manna is mannite (C6H8[OH]6), 90 per cent, with 11 per cent of sugar and about 0.75 per cent of impurities (Flückiger, Pharmacognosie, 1891, p. 27). Inferior sorts of manna contain mucilage, cane-sugar, laevulose, dextrin (Buignet, 1868; doubted by Flückiger), bitter substances soluble in ether, and fraxin (C16H18O10), a fluorescent glucosid resembling aesculin.

Mannite (mannitol) (C6H8[OH]6, or C6H14O6) may be readily prepared from manna by digesting it in hot alcohol; on cooling, the mannite forms in tufts of silky, quadrangular prisms. C. T. Bonsall’s method consists in dissolving manna in boiling water (3 parts by weight), precipitation of the gum, etc., by lead subacetate, removal of lead with sulphuric acid or hydrogen sulphide, concentration, and pouring the hot solution in cold alcohol (2 parts), from which the mannite is deposited on cooling. Mannite is sweet, odorless, requiring about 6 parts of water to dissolve it, is readily dissolved in boiling alcohol, much less so in cold, deliquesces in the air, and does not dissolve in ether. Its solution possesses a feebly laevo-rotatory polarization. Mannite combines with bases, dissolves lime, reduces gold from its chloride solution, does not reduce Fehling’s solution, forms oxalic and saccharic acids when heated with nitric acid, does not ferment when its solution is mixed with yeast, though it ferments when in contact with old cheese and chalk at 40° C. (104° F.), alcohol, lactic, butyric, acetic, and carbonic acids and hydrogen being produced. Unlike cane-sugar, mannite does not char under the action of sulphuric acid, and does not become, like grape-sugar, brown when heated with alkaline solutions. It fuses at about 165° C. (329° F.), without losing weight, and, on cooling, the colorless solution forms a mass of radiated crystals. At about 200° C. (392° F.), it sublimes partially unchanged, but a large portion of it becomes a sweetish, viscid liquid, mannitan (C6H12O5.. It is also changed into fermentable mannitose (C6H12O6) and mannitic acid (C6H12O7) when in contact with moistened platinum black (Gorup-Besanez). Mannite also exists in Laminaria saccharina, onions, asparagus tops, celery, unripe olives, certain fungi, etc. It has also been procured from beet root, and the juice exuding from apple and pear trees. One or 2 ounces will, it is stated, act as a gentle laxative.

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Manna; Root.

A sweet-tasting manna is exuded from the twigs at flowering time. It is exuded during hot weather according to one report, whilst another says that the twigs themselves are chewed. Root – cooked. A famine food, it is only used in times of need.

Medicinal Actions &  Uses

Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Expectorant; Laxative.

The whole plant is diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant and laxative. An oil from the leaves is used in the treatment of rheumatism. The flowers are used in the treatment of piles.

Manna is nutritive in small doses, and mildly laxative in large ones. It operates without causing any local excitement or uneasiness, and is useful as a laxative for young infants, children, females during pregnancy and immediately after, inflammation of the abdominal viscera, disorders of childhood, hemorrhoids, costiveness, etc. It is accredited with cholagogue properties, and has a somewhat beneficial action upon the respiratory tract. It is commonly added to other purgatives to improve their flavor, as well as to increase the purgative effect. One or 2 ounces may be taken by an adult; 1, 2, or 3 drachms by a child, according to its age. Two or 3 parts of manna to 1 of senna maybe made into a laxative infusion for children. Sometimes manna causes flatulency and griping, which may be obviated by combining it with any grateful warm aromatic.

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?Alhagi+mannifera
http://www.cabicompendium.org/NamesLists/CPC/Full/ALH_MA.htm
http://www.henriettesherbal.com/eclectic/kings/fraxinus-ornu.html
http://www.tiuli.com/flower_info.asp?lng=eng&flower_id=217#405

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