Monthly Archives: December 2011

Valeriana wallichii

Botanical Name :Valeriana wallichii
Family: Valerianaceae
Genus: Valeriana
Species: V. wallichii
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Dipsacales

Common Names: All-heal, Amantilla, Baldrian, Great wild, Valerian phu,Indian Valerian,Valeriana leschenauitic, Valeriana brunoniana

Habitat : Valeriana wallichii is an extremely polymorphous complex of sub-species with natural populations dispersed throughout temperate and sub-polar Eurasian zones.  It is native to India (Himalayas).It grows in the Northwest Himalayas in places like Astore (Northern Pakistan) and forests in the region.

The species is common in damp woods, ditches, and along streams in Europe, and is cultivated as a medicinal plant, especially in Belgium, England, eastern Europe, France, Germany, India, the Netherlands, the Russian Federation, and the United States of America.

Description:
Valeriana wallichii, is a rhizome herb of the genus Valeriana and the family Valerianaceae also called Indian Valerian or Tagar-Ganthoda, not to be confused with Ganthoda or the Long Pepper.

Medicinal Uses:
It is an herb useful in Ayurvedic medicine used as a analeptic, antispasmodic, carminative, sedative, stimulant, stomachic, and nervine. It is useful in diseases of eye, blood and livers. It is used as a remedy for hysteria, hypochondriasis, nervous unrest and emotional stress. Also useful in clearing voice and acts as stimulant in advance stage of fever and nervous disorder. The paste of roots mashed in water is applied on forehead to alleviate the pain. Externally, the paste of its roots is applied in wounds for better healing.

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/Valeriana_wallichii

http://www.motherherbs.com/valeriana-wallichi.html

http://www.pharmainfo.net/reviews/valeriana-wallichii-traditional-medicinal-plant-india

http://www.helpfulhealthtips.com/valeriana-wallichii-information-uses-and-benefits/

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Xysmalobium undulatum

Botanical Name :Xysmalobium undulatum
Family: Apocynaceae
Subfamily: Asclepiadoideae
Tribe: Asclepiadeae
Subtribe: Asclepiadinae
Genus: Xysmalobium
Species: Xysmalobium undulatum

Common Names: Uzara,cream cups (Eng.); bitterwortel (Afr.)

Habitat : Xysmalobium undulatum grows in the grassland and savanna of South Africa in Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the North-West Provinces.

Description:
Pachycarpus schinzianus is a rough-textured, erect perennial herb 0.3 to 0.6 m tall that resprouts from an underground rootstock.
The leaves are simple, large, lanceolate and leathery, with rough hairs. They are up to 100 mm long, with wavy margins usually with a red or maroon edge.The flowers are large, cup-shaped , with recurved upper tips and are carried in clusters of about four on the tips of the branches. The flowers are cream-coloured to yellowish to pink. The corona always has a maroon blotch on the channelled inside.

The plants contain thick milky latex which is secreted wherever a plant is damaged; it contains a glycoside that is extremely bitter (hence the common name). Xysmalobium undulatum  blooms from September to February and is common throughout the grasslands of the highveld. The fruit is an inflated follicle which is usually solitary as a result of abortion after fertilization; it is spindle-shaped, 50–70 mm long, contains 5–7 lateral wings and is hairless. The fruit contains many brown seeds.

The seeds contain a tuft of hairs called a coma. It forms a parachute-like structure at the tip of the seed and is instrumental in the wind-dispersal syndrome exhibited by these plants.

Medicinal Uses;
Xysmalobium undulatum  is widely used in remedies for many ailments. The Manyika tribe uses it as a remedy against syphilis and to aid conception. Powdered root is a Dutch remedy for haemorrhoids. Concoctions of the roots have been used to treat dropsy, dysentery and even snakebite. The milky latex is rubbed on animal skins before they are set out to dry to prevent dogs from tearing them. Crushed leaves are also rubbed on the legs to repel dogs.

The rootstock is mixed with the pounded root of Xysmalobium undulatum to make Uzara medicine, which is used for diarrhoea, dysentery and to soothe after-birth cramps. It is also used as a tonic for the cardiovascular system. All parts are extremely bitter and are used in various decoctions and infusions as an emetic, diuretic and purgative. Zulu people use the roots for indigestion, malaria and other fevers (including typhoid fever). Xhosas use infusions of the root for colic and abdominal troubles and sniff the dried pounded roots to relieve headaches.

Browsed plants are frequently encountered in the wild. However, experiments have shown the plants to be poisonous to sheep and guinea-pigs, which died within one to two days after consuming the plants.

The native inhabitants of South Africa have long used the root of the xysmalobium undulatum plant to treat digestive complaints.   In the early 1900s it was first introduced as an antidiarrheal herband in Europe and now it is also commonly recommended for digestive cramps and irritable bowel syndrome today because of its spasmolytic effect.

The dried root of 2-3 year old plants is used internally for acute diarrhea by inhibiting the intestinal peristalsis..  With a rational treatment, xysmalobium undulatum stops diarrhea, pains and vomiting.  It is also used for afterbirth cramps, dysentery, stomach cramps, colic, edema, headaches, indigestion, and dysmenorrhea. Externally, xysmalobium undulatum root can be used in a poultice for treating sores and wounds.  The powdered root is snuffed by the Zulus for a sedative effect.

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.plantzafrica.com/plantnop/pachycarpschinz.htm

http://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Xysmalobium_undulatum

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

http://members.fortunecity.com/coldhardyplants/hardiness/xysmalobium_undulatum.htm

http://www.plantzafrica.com/plantnop/pachycarpschinz.htm

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Usnea

Botanical Name :Usnea barbata
Family: Parmeliaceae
Genus: Usnea
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Ascomycota
Class: Lecanoromycetes
Order: Lecanorales
Common Names : Old Man’s Beard, Beard Lichen, or Treemoss.

Habitat ;Usnea grows all over the world. Like other lichens it is a symbiosis of a fungus and an alga. The fungus belongs to the division Ascomycota, while the alga is a member of the division Chlorophyta.

Description;
Usnea looks very similar to Spanish moss, so much so that the latter plant’s Latin name is derived from it (Tillandsia usneoides, the ‘Usnea-like Tillandsia‘).

Usnea is a lichen; a combination of an algae and a fungus growing together. Also known as Old Man’s beard, it grows in little hair-like tufts, with the green algae covering the white string like fungus. The best way to identify Usnea is to pull a string apart and look for this white thread.

This plant grows profusely in wet climates, like the Pacific Northwest, sometimes this  tufts up to a foot long.

There are several species, some of them are:

*Usnea barbata
*Usnea dasypoga
*Usnea florida
*Usnea hirta
*Usnea rubicunda
*Usnea rubiginea
*Usnea scabrida
*Usnea subfloridana

The species Usnea longissima was renamed Dolichousnea longissima in 2004.

Medicinal Uses:
UsesUsnea has been used medicinally for at least 1000 years. Usnic acid (C18H16O7), a potent antibiotic and antifungal agent is found in most species. This, combined with the hairlike structure of the lichen, means that Usnea lent itself well to treating surface wounds when sterile gauze and modern antibiotics were unavailable. It is also edible and high in vitamin C.

In modern American herbal medicine, Usnea is primarily used in lung and upper respiratory tract infections, and urinary tract infections. There are no human clinical trials to either support or refute either practice, although in vitro research does strongly support Usnea’s antimicrobial properties.

Usnea also has shown usefulness in the treatment of difficult to treat fish infections in aquariums and ponds; in part due to the Usnic Acid for digestive internal infections or external infections, and as well for gill infections/stress due to Mucilage which is also contained in Usnea.

Usnea was one ingredient in a product called Lipokinetix, promoted to induce weight loss via increase in metabolic rate. Lipokinetix has been the topic of an FDA warning in the USA, due to potential hepatotoxicity, although it is unclear yet if any toxicity would be attributable to the Usnea. Lipokinetix also contained PPA, caffeine, yohimbine and diiodothyronine. There is reason to believe that usnic acid, in high concentrations, could possess some toxicity. The National Toxicology Program is currently evaluating the issue.

There is no formal scientific information on the safety or efficacy of oral use of Usnea, although its long history of use strongly suggests value.

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/Usnea

http://www.susunweed.com/An_Article_wisewoman3d.htm

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Pelargonium sidoides

Botanical Name : Pelargonium sidoides
Family: Geraniaceae
Genus: Pelargonium
Species: P. sidoides
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Geraniales

Common Names :Umckaloabo, South African Geranium,Kalwerbossie, Rabassam

Habitat : Pelargonium sidoides is   native to South Africa.The plant  has a wide distribution. It occurs throughout the eastern Cape, Lesotho, Free State and southern and south-western Gauteng in the Republic of South Africa. It usually grows in short grassland and sometimes with occasional shrubs and trees on stony soil varying from sand to clay-loam, shale or basalt. P. sidoides is found at altitudes ranging from near sea level to 2300m in Lesotho. It is found in areas which receive rainfall in summer (November to March) varying from 200 – 800mm per annum.

Description:
Pelargonium sidoides forms a rosette-like plant with crowded leaves. It is very similar to some forms of P. reniforme, but is easily distinguished by its blackish, rather than pink petals. The long-stalked leaves are mildly aromatic, heart-shaped and velvety. The distinctive dark, reddish-purple (almost black) flowers are present almost throughout the year, but occur mostly from late spring to summer (October – January) with a peak in midsummer (December). The genus name Pelargonium is derived from the Greek word Pelargos which means stork. This refers to the rostrum of the schizocarp (seed capsule) which resembles the bill of a stork. The species name sidoides reflects the resemblance of the foliage to that of a European plant, Sida rhombifolia.

 

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Cultivation:
Pelargonium sidoides is an evergreen in cultivation, but it probably dies back in nature during droughts and in winter (May to August). The system of thickened underground root-like branches is a special adaptation which enables the plant to survive grass fires which occur almost annually over much of its range.

The plant  can be planted in rockeries in full sun. It is also an excellent pot plant. It is utilized for a variety of folk-medicinal purposes resulting in the colloguial name ‘Rabassam’

Medicinal Uses:

Studies have suggested that extracts from the plant could be used in treating acute bronchitis, acute non-GABHS tonsillopharyngitis (sore throat) in children, and the common cold.

A 2008 systematic review of these findings by the Cochrane Collaboration concluded that extracts of the plant might be effective in treating adults for acute rhinosinusitis and the common cold in adults, but they noted that this conclusion is not certain. They also wrote that it might be effective in relieving the symptoms of acute bronchitis in adults and children, and also the symptoms of sinusitis in adults.

A 2009 systematic review concluded “There is encouraging evidence from currently available data that P. sidoides is effective compared to placebo for patients with acute bronchitis.”

It has been shown to be antimycobacterial with significant antibacterial properties against multi-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strains. Gallic acid and its methyl ester present in large amounts in P. sidoides and in its active extracts, were identified as the prominent immunomodulatory principle.

The Pelargonium sidoides extract EPs 7630 is an approved drug for the treatment of acute bronchitis in Germany. Determination of virus-induced cytopathogenic effects and virus titres revealed that EPs 7630 at concentrations up to 100 g/ml interfered with replication of seasonal influenza A virus strains (H1N1, H3N2), respiratory syncytial virus, human coronavirus, parainfluenza virus, and coxsackie virus but did not affect replication of highly pathogenic avian influenza A virus (H5N1), adenovirus, or rhinovirus.

“Pelargonium sidoides extract modulates the production of secretory immunoglobulin A in saliva, both interleukin-15 and interleukin-6 in serum, and interleukin-15 in the nasal mucosa. Secretory immunoglobulin A levels were increased, while levels of IL-15 and IL-6 were decreased. Based on this evidence, we suggest that this herbal medicine can exert a strong modulating influence on the immune response associated with the upper airway mucosa.”

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of 200 patients concluded “EPs 7630 was shown to be efficacious and safe in the treatment of acute bronchitis in children and adolescents outside the strict indication for antibiotics with patients treated with EPs 7630 perceiving a more favorable course of the disease and a good tolerability as compared with placebo.

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.

Resourcs:

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

http://www.plantzafrica.com/plantnop/pelargsidoid.htm

Umbrella-leaf

Botanical Name: Diphylleia cymosa
Family: Berberidaceae
Genus: Diphylleia
Species: D. cymosa
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Ranunculales

Common Name: Umbrella-leaf

Habitat :  Umbrella-leaf  is native of United States.(Eastern N. AmericaVirginia to Georgia.)It is Very rare in the wild, growing in rich woods in mountains, thriving by streams.

Description:
Umbrella-leaf  is a perennial plant,  growing to 0.7 m (2ft 4in) by 0.3 m (1ft).
It is hardy to zone 7. It  blooms in the late spring ( from May to July). The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)

The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils.The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils..It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland).It requires moist soil.    It is endemic to the deciduous forests of the southeast United States.

Cultivation:
Prefers a moist humus-rich soil and semi-shade, growing well in a woodland garden. The leaves are very large and can be up to 60cm across.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. The seed is very slow to germinate, usually taking a year or more. Sow stored seed as soon as possible in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in spring.

Medicinal Uses:
Antiseptic;  Cancer;  DiaphoreticDiuretic.

A tea made from the roots is antiseptic, diaphoretic and diuretic. An infusion has been used in the treatment of smallpox.The root tea was used by the Cherokees to induce sweating. This is a very rare plant in the wild, so little research has been carried out into its medicinal virtues. However, it is believed that the root might contain podophyllin, an effective anti-cancer agent

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.

Resourcs:

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

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Diphylleia+cymosa

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