Monthly Archives: October 2010

Tagor (Tabermontana Divaricata)

Botanical Name:Tabermontana divaricata
Family:Apocynaceae
Other Names:Crepe Jasmine, Coffee Rose
Sanskrit Synonyms: Nandeevriksha, Khsirika, Ksheeri, Vishnupriya
Bengali Name :Tagor
English: East Indian rosebay
Hindi: Chameli, Chandini, Tagar
Malayalam: Nandyarvattam, Nandyarvartham

Habitat :-Tabermontana divaricata is native to tropical areas of India and is widely grown for its ornamental value in frost free areas around the world.

Description:-
An evergreen, much branched shrub grows up to 2.5 meters in height. Leaves simple, opposite, elliptic-lanceolate, covered with cuticle; flowers white fragrant, in axillary or terminal cymes; fruits follicles, ribbed and curved, orange or bright red colored; seeds dull brown, enclosed in the pulpy aril. Reproduction usually by vegetative manner.

CLICK TO SEE THE PICTURES..>..….(1)……...(2)……..(3).……..

Medicinal uses:

Parts use: Root, Flowers, Latex.

As per Ayurveda the medicina   Properities of Tabermontana divaricata are as  follows:
Rasa-Katu, Tikta
Guna-Lakh
Virya-Seeta

Plant pacifies vitiated vata, pitta, diseases of the eye, headache, skin diseases, bleeding disorder, itching, and arthritis.
Modern medicinal Views:-
Tabernaemontana divaricata a common garden plant in tropical countries has been used as a traditional medicine. However, no recent review articles of T. divaricata, particularly discussing its pharmacological properties, are available. This review presents the ethnobotany and ethnopharmacology of T. divaricata as well as its potential therapeutic benefits especially of the alkaloidal and non-alkaloidal constituents. Included, are the characteristics of 66 alkaloids isolated and identified from T. divaricata. Non-alkaloids including the enzymes, pyrolytic oil, hydrocarbons, terpenoid and phenolic acids are also documented. Chemotaxonomic aspects of each alkaloid as well as information regarding the pharmacology of crude extracts and individual alkaloids from T. divaricata have been assembled and appraised. The beneficial properties of T. divaricata are antioxidant, anti-infection, anti-tumour action, analgesia and the enhancement of cholinergic activity in both peripheral and central nervous systems. The augmentation of cholinergic function may be of therapeutic benefit for many neurodegenerative diseases, particularly myasthenia gravis and Alzheimer’s disease.
Plants are well known as a major source of modem medicines. From ancient times, humans have utilized plants for the treatment or prevention of diseases, leading to the dawn of traditional medicine. Tabernaemontana is one of the genera that is used in Chinese, Ayurvedic and Thai traditional medicine for the treatment of fever, pain and dysentery (1,2). Tabernaemontana plants are widely distributed in Thailand. Species found in Thailand are T. bufalina, T. crispa, T. divaricata, T. pandacaqui, T. pauciflora and T. rostrata (3-5). One of the most interesting species is Tabernaemontana divaricata (L.) R. Br. Ex Roem. & Schult. (synonym: Ervatamia coronaria, Ervatamia microphylla, Ervatamia divaricata, T. coronaria). Growing evidence suggests that this plant has medicinal benefits and its extracts could possibly be used as pharmacological interventions in various diseases. In this review, information regarding ethnobotany, ethnopharmacology and therapeutic benefits of T. divaricata is discussed.

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.floridata.com/ref/t/tabe_div.cfm

http://enchantingkerala.org/ayurveda/ayurvedic-medicinal-plants/nandyarvattam.php

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3867/is_4_127/ai_n32054983/

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Rangan(Ixora coccinea)

Botanical Name :Ixora coccinea
Family: Rubiaceae
Genus: Ixora
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales
Bengali Name :Rangan
Other Names:Jungle Geranium, Flame of the Woods,Santan-pula (Tag.) ,Tangpupo (Bis.) ,Dwarf santan (Engl  and Jungle Flame

Habitat :
Native to tropical south-east Asia, including Southern India and Sri Lanka.. Its name derives from an Indian deity.

Description:
Although there are some 400 species in the genus Ixora, only a handful are commonly cultivated, and the common name, Ixora, is usually used for I. coccinea. I. coccinea is a dense, multi-branched evergreen shrub, commonly 4–6 ft (1.2–2 m) in height, but capable of reaching up to 12 ft (3.6 m) high. It has a rounded form, with a spread that may exceed its height. The glossy, leathery, oblong leaves are about 4 in (10 cm) long, with entire margins, and are carried in opposite pairs or whorled on the stems. Small tubular, scarlet flowers in dense rounded clusters 2-5 in (5–13 cm) across are produced almost all year long. There are numerous named cultivars differing in flower colour (yellow, pink, orange) and plant size. Several popular cultivars are dwarfs, usually staying under 3 ft (1 m) in height. Ixora ‘Nora Grant’ is a popular dwarf and ‘Super King’ is a popular hybrid with much larger flower clusters than the species.
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Blooming Time: Ixoras are compact plants that bloom primarily in summer and intermittently the rest of the year with proper care.

Cultivation: Ixoras do best in at least 4 hours of direct sunlight a day. Pot in a mixture of 2 parts peat moss to 1 part potting soil and 1 part sand or perlite. Keep moist; fertilize every 2 weeks in spring and summer, monthly the rest of the year.

Propagation: Propagated by cutting in spring, preferably with 3 to 4 nodes, with bottom heat. Can also be propagated by seed when produced.

Medicinal Uses:
Parts utilized :Leaves, roots, stems and flowers


Constituents and properties:

Root contains an aromatic acrid oil, tannin, fatty acids.
Leaves yield flavonols kaemferol and quercetin, proanthocyanidins and phenolic acids and ferulic acids.
Flowers contain cyanidin and flaconboids, and a coloring material related to quercitin.
Considered internally sedative, stomachic, tonic, antiseptic, cholagogue and externally astringent and antiseptic

Folkloric:-
Decoction of roots used for nausea, hiccups, and anorexia.
Flowers used for dysentery and leucorrhea.
Poulticed fresh leaves and stems for sprains, eczema, boils and contusions.
Diluted tincture of roots for mouthwash and gargles for sore throat.
Flower decoction for hypertension, amenorrhea and irregular menstruation.
Decoction of leaves for wounds and skin ulcers.
In Bengal, roots are used for dysentery.
Root, ground into pulp, mixed with water and pepper, or as tincture, used for diarrhea and dysentery.
Powdered roots used for sores and chronic ulcers.
In Indo-China, root decoction used to clarify the urine.
In India and Sri Lanka, the fruits are eaten and the flowers used as flavoring.

Studies

• Wound healing: Alcoholic extract of IC showed increase in granuloma tissue weight, tensile strength and glycosaminoglycan content. The prohealing activity was attributed to increased collagen deposition, alignment and maturation.
• Antimicrobial: Extract studies of EC for antimicrobial activity showed the ethyl fraction to be more active than the methanol fraction.
• Antioxidant:
Phytochemical screening showed the flower extract to possess flavonoids, steroids, tannin. IC showed strong reducing power and total antioxidant capacity.
• Pharmacologic evaluation / Electroconvulsive Protective: Evaluation showed that IC has protective property against electroconvulsions, antiinflammatory and hemostatic properties.
Hepatoprotective: Extract of IC flowers showed significant hepatoprotective effect against paracetamol overdose-induced hepatotoxicity in rats.
Chemoprotective: IC flower fraction showed chemoprotective effects on cyclophosphamide-induced toxicity in mice.
• Antinociceptive : Study showed the aqueous leaf extract of IC possesses considerable antinociceptive activity mediated centrally via a dopaminergic mechanism. In addition, the antioxidant activity may play a role in inducing antinociception. The dopaminergic and antioxidative activities may arise from alkaloid and flavonoid constituents, respectively.
Anti-Inflammatory / Anti-mitotic: Lupeol, isolated from the leaves of IC, was shown to have anti-inflammatory activity in carrageenan induced paw edema in rats. Anti-mitotic activity was also noted in a preliminary cytotoxic study.
• Cytotoxic / Antitumor: Study of the active fraction of Ixora coccinea flowers showed greater activity on ascitic tumors than solid tumors. It had no toxicity to normal lymphocytes but was toxic to lymphocytes from leukemic patients.
• Anti-Inflammatory: Study of the aqueous leaf extract of Ixora coccinea showed strong antihistamine and antioxidant activity that can account for its anti-inflammatory potential. In addition, the inhibitionn of prostaglandins and bradykinins may play a role in its antiinflammatory effect.
• Anti-Ulcer: Study of the fresh leaf extract of Ixora coccinea was found to possess potent anti-ulcerogenic property and could be a potential therapeutic agent against ulcer disease.

Other Uses:

Very ornamental plant, increases the beauty of the garden.

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/Ixora_coccinea

http://www.stuartxchange.org/Santan.html

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Samanea saman


Botanical Name
:Samanea saman
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Albizia
Species: A. saman
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Rosidae
Order: Fabales
Synonyms:
-
Unlike some other Ingeae, its taxonomy was always rather straightforward. Though it has a lot of junior synonyms, it was little confused with other species and unlike some others of its genus has just one homonym:

*Acacia propinqua A.Rich.
*Acacia propinqua Pedley is a synonym of Acacia mimula
*Albizzia saman (Jacq.) Merr. (orth.var)
*Calliandra saman (Jacq.) Griseb.
*Enterolobium sama (Jacq.) Prain
*Feuilleea saman (Jacq.) Kuntze
*Inga cinerea Willd.
*Inga salutaris Kunth
*Inga saman (Jacq.) Willd.
*Mimosa pubifera Poir.
*Mimosa saman Jacq.
*Pithecellobium cinereum Benth.
*Pithecellobium saman (Jacq.) Benth.
*Pithecellobium saman var. saman (Jacq.) Benth.
*Pithecolobium saman (Jacq.) Benth.
*Samanea saman (Jacq.) Merr.
*Zygia saman (Jacq.) A.Lyons

Other Names:-
Albizia saman is a well-known tree, rivalled perhaps only by Lebbeck and Pink Siris among its genus. It is well-attested in many languages and has numerous local names in its native range. Most names that originated in Europe (where the tree hardly grows at all) are some variety of “Rain Tree”. The original name, Saman – known in many languages and used for the specific name – derives from zamang, meaning “Mimosoideae tree” in some Cariban languages of northern Venezuela[5].

The name Rain Tree was coined in tropical India, especially Bengal. Its origin is the moisture that collects on the ground under the tree, largely the honeydew-like discharge of cicadas feeding on the leaves.

*English: Saman, Rain Tree, Monkey Pod, Giant Thibet, Inga Saman, Cow Tamarind, East Indian Walnut.
*Grenada: Coco Tamarind. Guyana: French Tamarind
*Spanish: cenízaro, acacia preta, árbol de lluvia (“rain tree”), genízaro.
*Cuba: algarrobo. Central America: carreto, cenicero, dormilon, zarza. Colombia and Venezuela: campano, saman. Venezuela: carabeli, couji, lara, urero, zaman.
*German: Regenbaum (“rain tree”)
*Sanskrit: Shiriesch
*Telugu: Nidra Ganneru
*Marathi: Shiriesch
*Tamil: Thoongu moonji maram (“Tree with a sleeping face”)
*French: arbre à (la) pluie (“rain tree”)
*Haitian Creole: guannegoul(e)
*Hindi: Vilaiti Siris
*Bengali:Belati Siris or Shirish
*Kannada: Bhagaya mara
*Jamaica: goango, guango
*Javanese: trembesi
*Khmer ampil barang (“French tamarind”)
*Malagasy: bonara(mbaza), kily vazaha, madiromany, mampihe, mampohehy
*Malay/Indonesian: Pukul Lima (“5 o’clock tree”, in Malaysia), ki hujan (“rain tree”)
*Portuguese: chorona
*Sinhalese: mara
*Sundanese: ki hujan (“rain tree”)
*Vietnamese: cây m?a (rain tree)
*Thai: dsha:m-dshu-ri: Jamjuree

In the Caribbean region, it is occasionally called marsave. As an introduced plant on Fiji, it is called vaivai (ni vavalagi), from vaivai “watery” (in allusion to the tree’s “rain”) + vavalagi “foreign”.

Habitat : Native to the Neotropics. Its range extends from Mexico south to Peru and Brazil, but it has been widely introduced to South and Southeast Asia, as well as the Pacific Islands, including Hawaii. . It is often placed in the genus Samanea, which by yet other authors is subsumed in Albizia entirely.

Description:
Large umbraculiform tree to as much as 60 m tall, the crown to 80 m broad, covering 1/5 hectare, trunk to 1.5 m DBH, unarmed, with gray rough furrowed bark. Leaves alternate, evergreen, bipinnate, 25–40 cm long, with 2–6 pairs of pinnae, each of which bears 6–16 paired stalkless leaflets, with a glandular dot between each pair. Flower heads clustered near the end of twigs, each cluster on a green hairy stalk 7–10 cm long, with many small tubular pinkish-green flowers, calyx and corolla 5-toothed. The many stamen united to form a tube near their bases, seed pods oblong, flat, arcuate, black, 20–30 cm long, with a raised border, each with several oblong reddish-brown seeds ca one cm long. The leaves fold in rainy weather and in the evening, hence the name Rain Tree and 5 o’clock Tree.Several lineages of this tree are available e.g. with reddish pink and creamish golden colored flowers.
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Click to see the pictures of  Samanea saman
Cultivation
Easily propagated from seeds and cuttings. Young specimens transplant easily.

Chemical Constituents:-
Per 100 g, the green leaf is reported to contain 47.8 g H2O, 10.2 g protein, 2.1 g fat, 22.2 g insoluble carbohydrate, 15.7 g fiber, and 2.0 g ash. On an oven-dry basis, the leaves contain ca 3.2% N. Gohl, 1981 tabulates as follows:   As % of dry matter

Medicinal Uses:
Folk Medicine :
According to Hartwell (1967–1971), the root decoction is used in hot baths for stomach cancer in Venezuela. Rain tree is a folk remedy for colds, diarrhea, headache, intestinal ailments, and stomachache (Duke and Wain, 1981). The alcholic extract of the leaves inhibits Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Perry, 1980). The alkaloid fraction of the leaves is effective on the CNS and PNS. In Colombia, the fruit decoction is used as a CNS-sedative. The leaf infusion is used as a laxative (Garcia-Barriga, 1975). In the West Indies, seeds are chewed for sore throat (Ayensu, 1981).

Other Uses:

With a checkerd nomenclature, under Enterolobium in the Wealth of India, Pithecellobium in Common Trees of Puerto Rico, and Samanea in Woody Plants of Ghana, the rain tree is apparently widely traveled. Perhaps one of its most important uses in Latin America is as a shade tree, especially in parks, pastures, and roadsides. Improved growth, nutritive quality, protein content, and yield have been demonstrated by Axonopus compressus, a tropical forage grass, grown under Samanea. “The benefit by association was presumptively attributed to nitrogen made available in the soil by excretion or decomposition of the leguminous nodules.” (Allen and Allen, 1981). The tree house in Walt Disney’s “Swiss Family Robinson” was built in a rain tree 60 m tall with a canopy 80 m in diameter. Simon Bolivar is said to have encamped his entire liberation army under the “saman de guerra” near Maracay, Venezuela. In Malagasy, it is grown as shade tree for cacao, coffee, patchouly, and vanilla. In Indonesia, it is recommended for nutmeg but not for tea. In Uganda, it is considered good for coffee, bad for tea. According to NAS (1980a), “Grass grows right up to the trunk because this species’ leaflets fold together at night and in wet weather, allowing the rain to fall through.” Like Acacia, Ceratonia, Prosopis, and Tamarindus, this produces copious pods with a sweet pulp, attractive to children and animals alike. Pods can be ground up and converted to fodder or for that matter alcohol as an energy source. A lemon-like beverage can be made from the pulp. The wood is soft, lightweight (spec. grav. 0.44; 720–880 kg/m3) of medium to coarse texture, fairly strong, takes a beautiful finish but is often cross-grained and difficult to work. It is used for furniture, general construction, and interior trim, for boxes and crates, panelling, plywood, and veneer. Central American oxcart wheels are made from cross sections of trunks. It is used for boat building in Hawaii, where it is also famous for making “monkeypod” bowls. Shavings from the wood are used for making hats in the Philippines. The tree yields a gum of inferior quality which could be used as a poor man’s substitute for gum arabic. Like most other mimosaceous trees, this is an important honey plant. Rain tree is one host of the lac insect, which, however, produces a poor quality lac, reddish and rather brittle (C.S.I.R., 1948–1976).

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/Albizia_saman

http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/duke_energy/Samanea_saman.html

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Lung Taste Receptors Discovery May Improve Asthma Treatment

Researchers have discovered that bitter taste receptors are not just located in the mouth but also in human lungs. What they learned about the role of the receptors could revolutionize the treatment of asthma and other obstructive lung diseases.

You may click to see :Sensory Transducers :

The ability to taste isn’t limited to the mouth, and researchers say that discovery might one day lead to better treatments for diseases such as asthma.

“The detection of functioning taste receptors on smooth muscle of the bronchus in the lungs was so unexpected that we were at first quite skeptical ourselves,” says the study’s senior author, Stephen B. Liggett.

Dr. Liggett, a pulmonologist, says his team found the taste receptors by accident, during an earlier, unrelated study of human lung muscle receptors that regulate airway contraction and relaxation. The airways are the pathways that move air in and out of the lungs, one of several critical steps in the process of delivering oxygen to cells throughout the body. In asthma, the smooth muscle airways contract or tighten, impeding the flow of air, causing wheezing and shortness of breath.

The taste receptors in the lungs are the same as those on the tongue. The tongue’s receptors are clustered in taste buds, which send signals to the brain. The researchers say that in the lung, the taste receptors are not clustered in buds and do not send signals to the brain, yet they respond to substances that have a bitter taste.

For the current study, Dr. Liggett’s team exposed bitter-tasting compounds to human and mouse airways, individual airway smooth muscle cells, and to mice with asthma. The findings are published online in Nature Medicine.

Most plant-based poisons are bitter, so the researchers thought the purpose of the lung’s taste receptors was similar to those in the tongue – to warn against poisons. “I initially thought the bitter-taste receptors in the lungs would prompt a ‘fight or flight’ response to a noxious inhalant, causing chest tightness and coughing so you would leave the toxic environment, but that’s not what we found,” says Dr. Liggett.

There are thousands of compounds that activate the body’s bitter taste receptors but are not toxic in appropriate doses. Many are synthetic agents, developed for different purposes, and others come from natural origins, such as certain vegetables, flowers, berries and trees.

The researchers tested a few standard bitter substances known to activate these receptors. “It turns out that the bitter compounds worked the opposite way from what we thought,” says Dr. Liggett. “They all opened the airway more profoundly than any known drug that we have for treatment of asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).” Dr. Liggett says this observation could have implications for new therapies.

Dr. Liggett cautions that eating bitter tasting foods or compounds would not help in the treatment of asthma.

Another paradoxical aspect of their discovery is the unexpected role that the mineral calcium plays when the lung’s taste receptors are activated. The study’s principal author, Deepak A. Deshpande, is an expert in how calcium controls muscles. “We always assumed that increased calcium in the smooth muscle cell caused it to contract, but we found that bitter compounds increase calcium and cause relaxation of airway muscle in a unique way,” says Dr. Deshpande. “It appears that these taste receptors are wired to a special pool of calcium that is right at the edge of these cells,” he says.

Resources:

Elements4Health

centredaily.com

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Putush Phul (Lantana camara)


Botanical Name
: Lantana camara
Family: Verbenaceae
Genus: Lantana
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales
Species: L. camara
Common names:Lantana   yellow sage   red sage
English: Coronitas
Bengali Name: Putush phool

Habitat : The native range of Lantana camara includes Mexico, Central America, the Greater Antilles, The Bahamas, Colombia, and Venezuela. It is believed to be indigenous to the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas in the United States.[6] It has become naturalized in tropical and warm regions worldwide. In the Kenyan highlands it grows in many areas that receive even minimal amounts of rainfall. It can be seen in the wild and along footpaths, deserted fields, and farms. West Indian Lantana has been naturalized in the United States, particularly in the Atlantic coastal plains, from Florida to Georgia, where the climate is close to its native climate, with high heat and humidity.

Description:
Common lantana is a rugged evergreen shrub from the tropics. The species will grow to 6 ft (1.8 m) high and may spread to 8 ft (2.4 m) in width with some varieties able to clamber vinelike up supports to greater heights with the help of support.. Stems and leaves are covered with rough hairs and emit an unpleasant aroma when crushed (smells like cat pee). The small flowers are held in clusters (called umbels) that are typically 1-2 in (2.5-5.1 cm) across. In the tropics lantana is a non-stop bloomer. Where it is killed to the ground by frost the lantana blooms in summer and fall. Flower color ranges from white to yellow, orange to red, pink to rose in unlimited combinations, in addition the flowers usually change in color as they age. A lantana may look orange from a distance but the flowerhead is examined at close range it consists of individual white, yellow and red flowers that blend when viewed from afar. Flowers are often found in such colors as pink, yellow, purple, orange, red or various.

click to see the pictures…..(01).....(1).…....(2)….(3)..…(4)......(5)..…(6).....

•Leaves: ovate, 5 to 9 cm long, pointed at the tip and rounded at the base and toothed in the margins  and a textured surface..
•Flowers: pink, orange, yellow, white, lilac and other shades, according to the variety and borne in stalked heads which are 2 to 3.5 cm in diameter. Calyx small. Corolla tube slender, the limb spreading, 6 to 7 mm wide, and divided into unequal lobes. Stamens 4, in 2 pairs, included. Ovary 2-celled, 2-ovuled.
•Fruits: Sweet tasting drupaceous fruit; purple or black, fleshy ovoid, and about 5 mm long.

Cultivation:
Lantana is very easy to grow and will adapt to most soil types. Too much water and fertilizer will reduce bloom
Light: Sun, part shade.

Moisture: Well drained soil is preferred. Lantana is very drought resistant. .
Hardiness: USDA Zones 8-11. Lantana is happy in both humid and dry heat. This tropical plant is killed back to the ground at 28 ºF (-2.2 ºC) but will grow back from the roots when warm weather returns.

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Propagation:
By seed or cuttings taken in the summertime. Lantana hybrids and named selections are propagated by cuttings.

Constituents
:-
Leaves: volatile oil, 0.2%.
Dried flowers: volatile oil, 0.07% – caryophyllene-like bicyclic terpene, 80%, l,a-phellandrene, 10-12%.
Bark: Lantanine, 0.08%.

Parts utilized and preparation of medicines:-
•Leaves, bark, roots, flowering tops.
•May be collected throughout the year.
•Sun-dry.

Characteristics and Pharmacological Effects
•Root: sweet and bitter tasting, refrigerant, antifebrile.
•Leaves: minty tasting, cooling natured, antiphlogistic, anti-dermatoses.
•Flowers: sweet tasting, mildly cooling, hemostatic.

Medicinal uses:
•Influenza, cough, mumps, incessant high fever, malaria, cervical lymph node tuberculosis: use 30 to 60 gms dried roots or 60 to 120 gms fresh roots in decoction.
•Fever: Take decoction of bark or infusion of leaves and flowering tops as tea.
•Hemoptysis, pulmonary tuberculosis: use 6 to 9 gms dried flowers in decoction.
•Dermatitis, eczema, pruritus: use fresh stems and leaves.
•Rheumatism – Spread oil on leaves, warm over low flame and apply on affected part.
•Sprains, wounds, contusions: Use pounded fresh leaves applied as poultice.

Other Uses:
In warm winter zones use lantana and its cultivars in mixed beds and borders. Lantana will add vibrant long-lasting color to shrub groupings. This is a fast growing shrub that is quick to flower so gardeners in cold climates can enjoy this tropical plant as an annual. Lantana tolerates salt spray and can be used in beach plantings. Lantana makes an excellent container plant and several smaller sized cultivars are offered just for this use.

There are more than a 100 Lantana species and many of these are showing up in garden centers in one form or another. If you live in Zone 8-12 look for lantana varieties and hybrids at your garden center that are better behaved than the species – avoid digging naturalized lantana from the wild for your garden to avoid furthering its spread. Choose selected garden varieties instead.

Another lantana species that is also a popular garden plant is the weeping or trailing lantana Lantana montevidensis which is low growing trailing species that is particularly nice for hanging containers and groundcover.

Some communities have found alternate uses for West Indian Lantana, as it is difficult to eradicate. Some household furniture, such as tables and chairs are made from the stalks, or the small branches are bundled together to make brooms.

West Indian Lantana has become popular in gardens for its hardy nature. It is not affected by pests or disease, has low water requirements, and is tolerant of extreme heat. It is a favorite species of butterflies, and used in butterfly gardens in the United States. Wild species may have short, hooked prickles. Lantana cultivars favored as ornamentals tend to have small herbaceous stems.

Toxicity:
West Indian Lantana has been reported to make animals ill after ingestion. The pentacyclic triterpenoids its foliage contains cause hepatotoxicity and photosensitivity in grazing animals such as sheep, goats, bovines, and horses. Livestock foraging on the plant has led to widespread losses in the United States, South Africa, India, Mexico, and Australia. The berries are edible when ripe though like many fruit are mildly poisonous to humans and livestock if eaten while still green.

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.plantoftheweek.org/week067.shtml

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

http://www.crescentbloom.com/plants/specimen/LA/Lantana%20camara.htm

http://www.filipinoherbshealingwonders.filipinovegetarianrecipe.com/kantutay.htm

Nagkeshor (Couroupita guianensis)

Botanical Name : Couroupita guianensis
Family: Lecythidaceae
Genus: Couroupita
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:
Ericales
Species: C. guianensis
Common Names
: Ayahuma, Cannonball Tree.(The Cannonball Tree was given its species name Couroupita guianensis by the French botanist J.F. Aublet in 1755.), boskalebas, coco de mono, abricó de macaco, castanha de macaco, cuia de macaco, macacarecuia, sala tree, kanonenkugelbaum.
Indian Name s:Nagkeshor,Shiv Kamal,Nagalingam tree,

Habitat : Native to tropical northern South America and to the southern Caribbean. In India it has been growing for the past two or three thousand years at least, as attested by textual records; hence it is possible that it is native to India also.


Description:

A large deciduous tropical tree 90′ tall and indigenous to the Amazon rainforest.  The leaves, up to 6″ long, are simple with serrate margin; it flowers in racemes; the yellow, reddish and pink flowers are stunning fragrant.  These are large 3″ to 5″ waxy aromatic smelling, pink and dark-red flowers, growing directly on the bark of the trunk (cauliflory).
Pollination is done by bees and bats.  The tree bears, also directly on the trunk and main branches, large globose woody fruits; they look like big rusty cannonballs hanging in clusters, like balls on a string.  The fruit contains small seeds in a white, unpleasant smelling edible jelly, which are exposed when the upper half of the fruit goes off like a cover.
The long dangling fruity branches give the tree an unkempt appearance.  The hard shells are used to make containers and utensils.
Click to see the picture..

Flower

The “Cannonball Tree” is so called because of its brown cannon-ball-like fruits. The majority of these trees outside their natural environment have been planted as a botanical curiosity, as they grow very large, distinctive flowers. Its flowers are orange, scarlet and pink in color, and form large bunches measuring up to 3m in length. They produce large spherical and woody fruits ranging from 15 to 24cm in diameter, containing up to 200 or 300 seeds apiece.

Flowers and pollinationClick to see the picture
Cannonball Tree flowers do not have nectar, so these flowers are mainly visited by bees in search of pollen; outside the native range of habitat, carpenter bees are considered to be the principal pollinators. Both the fruit and the flower grow from stalks which sprout from the trunk of the tree. Cannonball Tree flowers are found on thick tangled extrusions that grow on the trunk of the tree; these are found just below the foliage branches. The extrusions however, can range from two to six feet in length. The flowers are attached to an upwardly bent, white fleshy disk. The flowers have six petals, which are large, orange-red, and strongly perfumed. In pollination, fertile stamens can be found in a ring around reduced style and stamens. The sterile pollen is located in the anthers. As a bee enters to pollinate the flower, its back rubs against the ring with fertile pollen; this allows the bee to carry the fertile pollen to another flower. The differences in the pollen was noticed by French botanist Antoine Porteau in 1825. The differences in the pollen are as follows: the pollen of the ring stamens is fertile, while the hood pollen is sterile.

Propagation

Seeds.
Due to recalcitrant nature of the seeds, they have a short viable life, can not be dried well and can not withstand low temperatures.

Fruits and dispersal…..Click to see the picture.
The tree gets its common name from the large, spherical fruits it produces. The fruit falls from the tree and cracks open when it hits the ground when mature, often causing the sound of a small explosion. The fruit emits an unpleasant aroma when exposed to the air. Individual seeds within the “ball” are coated with hair, which is thought to protect the seed when it is ingested and may also help in the passage of the seed through the intestines. Like coconut palms, the trees should not be planted near paths or near traffic-filled areas, as the heavy nut is known to fall without notice.

Religious Significance in Asia
The trees are grown extensively in Shiva temples in India. In Hindi it is called Shiv Kamal. It is called the Nagalingam tree in Tamil. In Bengali, it is called Nagkeshar. The flowers are called Shivalinga flowers in Hindi; Nagalinga Pushpa in Kannada; Nagamalli flowers or Mallikarjuna flowers in Telugu. Hindus revere it as a sacred tree because the petals of the flower resemble the hood of the Naga, a sacred snake, protecting a Shiva Lingam, the stigma.

In Sri Lanka, Thailand and other Buddhist countries the tree is often planted at Buddhist temples. It is here mistaken as the Sala tree, Shorea robusta, the tree under which the Buddha passed away and under which the previous Buddha Vessabhu attained enlightenment.


Medicinal Uses

The fruit pulp, bark and flowers are used for medicinal applications and have  antibiotic, antifungal, antiseptic and analgesic qualities. The trees are used to cure colds and stomach aches. Juice made from the leaves is used to cure skin diseases, and shamans of South America have even used tree parts for treating malaria. The inside of the fruit can disinfect wounds and young leaves ease toothache.

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/Couroupita_guianensis

http://www.tropilab.com/couroupita.html

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Thevetia peruviana (Kolke ful)

Botanical Name :Thevetia    peruviana
Family: Apocynaceae
Genus: Thevetia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales
Species: T. peruviana
Common Names:Kolkeful(Bengal), Mexican oleander, Yellow Oleander, Lucky Nut

Habitat :Thevetia peruviana is a plant probably native to Mexico and Central America and a close relative to Nerium oleander.

Description:
It is an evergreen tropical shrub or small tree that bears yellow or orange-yellow, trumpet like flowers and its fruit is deep red/black in color encasing a large seed that bears some resemblance to a Chinese “lucky nut.”

YOU MAY CLICK TO SEE THE PICTURE>...(01).………….Yellow Oleander (Thevetia peruviana) leaves & flowers……...leaves & flower buds…….tree trunk.……...leaves & flowers

It contains a milky sap containing a compound called thevetin that is used as a heart stimulant but in its natural form is extremely poisonous, as are all parts of the plants, especially the seeds. Its leaves are long, lance shaped and green in colour. Leaves are covered in waxy coating to reduce water loss (typical of oleanders). Its stem is green turning silver/gray as it ages.

Cultivation & Propagation:

*Exposure: part, full, or reflected sun; revels in heat
*Water: ample is best
*Soil: improved garden soil with good drainage

Maintenance: low; periodic pruning and litter cleanup; training when young to tree if desired

Can be grown as shrub or tree outside in warmer climates but in frost prone areas best brought back inside for winter. Will tolerate most kinds of soil as long as they are well drained and is situated in full sun in a sheltered area. Useful as a landscaping plant in warmer climates as it does not need much maintenance.


Propagation:

Propagate by seed in spring (clean seed coat in a glass containing 10% bleach 90% warm water for 2-3min; after wash seed and soak in warm water for 24h). Can also propagate from cuttings in spring-early summer with hardwood cuttings. For both use a seed/cutting compost that contains perlite.


Medicinal Uses:

The toxins are cardenolides called Thevetin A and Thevetin B (Cerebroside), others include peruvoside, neriifolin, thevetoxin and ruvoside. These cardenolides are not destroyed by drying or heating and they are very similar to digoxin from Digitalis purpurea. They produce gastric and cardiotoxic effects. Antidotes for treatment include atropine and Digoxin antibodies and treatment may include oral administration of activate charcoal.

These toxins have also been experimented for use in pest control.

You may click to see :
Oleander (Nerium oleander, Thevetia peruviana)

Other Uses:
This plant is used for land scaping for it’s luxuriant tropical effect’ ,long-lasting color , against hot walls, patios, entryways


Toxicity:

These plants are toxic to most vertebrates as they contain cardiac glycosides. Many cases of intentional and accidental poisoning of humans are known. A few bird species are however known to feed on them without any ill effects. These include the Asian Koel, Red-whiskered Bulbul, White-browed Bulbul, Red-vented Bulbul, Brahminy Myna, Common Myna and Common Grey Hornbill.

Click to see : Toxicity of Thevetia peruviana

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/Thevetia_peruviana

http://ag.arizona.edu/pima/gardening/aridplants/Thevetia_peruviana.html

http://www.desert-tropicals.com/Plants/Apocynaceae/Thevetia_peruviana.html

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Aspirin ‘Helps Protect Against Bowel Cancer’


A daily aspirin tablet may help prevent bowel cancer, a study suggests.


Oxford University found it cut cases by a quarter and deaths by more than a third in a review of 14,000 patients.

Aspirins are already widely used to help protect people against strokes and heart problems, although many healthy middle-aged people do not take them because of the risk of side-effects.

But researchers said their findings – published by the Lancet – “tipped the balance” in favour of taking them.

They followed up four study groups over a period of 20 years to identify the impact of regular small doses of of the drug – the tablets given for medical reasons are often a quarter of a strength of those used to treat headaches.

They found it reduced the risk of the incidence of bowel cancer by 24% and of dying from the disease by 35%.

And even though regular aspirin use can have side-effects, the researchers said it was still worthwhile as on such low doses these tended to be relatively minor, such as bruising or nose bleeds.

One in 20 people in the UK develops bowel cancer over their lifetime, making it the third most common cancer. About 16,000 people die each year as a result of it.

The findings build on previous research on the issue, and come after the government announced earlier this month it was looking to start a new screening programme for bowel cancer for 55-year-olds.

Lead researcher Professor Peter Rothwell said the screening would provide the perfect opportunity for doctors to discuss with their patients about whether to take aspirin.
He said:-“To date, for healthy middle-aged people it has been a fine balance as to whether to take aspirins, but this tips it in my view.

“There is a small benefit for vascular disease and now we know a big benefit for this cancer. In the future, I am sure it will be shown that aspirin helps prevent other cancers too.”

‘Talk to GP

He added those with a high risk of bowel cancer, including the obese and those with a family history of the disease, should give aspirin treatment a particular consideration.

Mark Flannagan, chief executive of Beating Bowel Cancer, said they were “very positive” findings and giving aspirin alongside the new screening programme should be looked at.

But he added: “Anyone considering starting a course of medication should first consult their GP.”

You may click to see :Bowel cancer risk gene pinpointed

Source : BBC News

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Quisqualis indica(Madhobilata)

Botanical Name :Quisqualis indica
Family: Combretaceae
Genus: Quisqualis
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Myrtales
Species: Q. indica
Common Names : Madhumalati,Madhobilata, Chinese honeysuckle, Rangoon Creeper, Drunken sailor
Other names : Quiscual (in Spanish), Niyog-niyogan (in Filipino), Madhu Malti or Madhumalti (in Hindi) and Radha Manoharam (in Telugu).

Habitat :Quisqualis indica is native of Asia. It is found in many other parts of the world either as a cultivated ornamental or run wild.It is found in thickets or secondary forests of the Philippines, India and Malaysia. It has since been cultivated and naturalized in tropical areas.

Description:
The Rangoon Creeper is a ligneous vine that can reach from 2.5 meters to up to 8 meters. The leaves are elliptical with an acuminate tip and a rounded base. They grow from 7 to 15 centimeters and their arrangement is opposite. The flowers are fragrant and tubular and their color varies from white to pink to red. The 30 to 35 mm long fruit is ellipsoidal and has five prominent wings. The fruit tastes like almonds when mature. The niyog-niyogan is usually dispersed by water.

click & see the pictures
You may click to see more pictures

Cultivation:
You may click to see :How to Grow this Plant:http://www.backyardgardener.com/plantname/pda_0858.html

Propagation: Seed, often water-dispersed. “It spreads by root suckers as well as by seed”


Medicinal Uses:

The plant is mainly used for traditional medicine. Decoctions of the root, seed or fruit can be used as antihelmintic to expel parasitic worms or for alleviating diarrhea. Fruit decoction can also be used for gargling. The fruits are also used to combat nephritis. Leaves can be used to relieve pain caused by fever. The roots are used to treat rheumatism.

The seeds of this and related species, Q. fructus and Q. chinensis, contain the chemical quisqualic acid, which is an agonist for the AMPA receptor, a kind of glutamate receptor in the brain. The chemical is linked to excitotoxicity (cell death)

You may click to see :
Fragrance Use of Quisqualis Indica :

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.hear.org/pier/species/quisqualis_indica.htm

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

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_SLoOMOyPVLw/SAydBaRfpuI/AAAAAAAABJw/08DJCCwpqMY/s1600-h/madhava+lata.bmp

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Kanchan (Bauhinia acuminata)

Botanical Name :Bauhinia acuminata
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Caesalpinioideae
Genus: Bauhinia
Tribe: Cercideae
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Fabales
Species: B. acuminata
Common names :Dwarf White Bauhinia, White Orchid-tree and Snowy Orchid-tree
Indian Name :Kanchan

Habitat : Native to tropical southeastern Asia. The exact native range is obscure due to extensive cultivation, but probably from Malaysia, Indonesia (Java, Borneo, Kalimantan, Lesser Sunda Islands), and the Philippines.
.

Description:
Semi-deciduous large shrub or small tree with white butterfly-like flowers, everblooming (Flower season: Spring through fall). Drought tolerant. Bauhinia acuminata is very sensitive to cold wind; while similar looking Bauhinia racemosa (with pointed petals) is hardier species. Pea shaped pod with 4 to 6 seeds.

click to see the pictures…...(01)....(1).…..(2)...…(3)......(4).…....(5)......………….
Bauhinia acuminata is a species of flowering shrub. It grows two to three meters tall. Like the other Bauhinia species, the leaves are bilobed, shaped like an ox hoof; they are 6 to 15 centimeters long and broad, with the apical cleft up to 5 cm deep; the petiole is 1.5 to 4 centimeters long. The flowers are fragrant, 8 to 12 centimeters in diameter, with five white petals, ten yellow-tipped stamens and a green stigma. The fruit is a pod 7.5 to 15 centimeters long and 1.5 to 1.8 centimeters broad.

It is widely cultivated throughout the tropics as an ornamental plant. It may be found as an escape from cultivation in some areas, and has become naturalised on the Cape York Peninsula, Australia.

Propagation :From woody stem cuttings. & By air layering.

Seeds collection:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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/Bauhinia_acuminata

http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/54414/

http://toptropicals.com/catalog/uid/bauhinia_acuminata.htm

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