Monthly Archives: July 2012

Delphinium ajacis

Botanical Name : Delphinium ajacis
Family :Ranunculaceae

Synonyms : Rocket larkspur

Common Name :Rocket Larkspur

Habitat : Delphinium ajacis is native to southern europe

Description:
Delphinium ajacis is an occasional garden annual flowering plant  grows about 1 meter but gets little recline with age.
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Leaves are alternate, petiolate below to sessile above, with 3-5 deeply divided lobes, typically pubescent. Ultimate divisions linear to linear-oblong, entire (ciliate-margined), to 2.5mm broad. Petioles to 9cm below.

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Flowers are Sepals deep blue-purple,(sometimes whitish to pinkish or mottled in cultivation), the most showy portion of the flower, spurred. Spur to -2cm long, dense pubescent. Petals 4, united, covering other floral organs(stamens and carpel), spurred. Stamens many, included. Filaments white, sparse pubescent, 5-6mm long, expanded at base. Anthers yellow, 1.1mm long. Ovary dense pubescent, 3-4mm long, conic.Flowering  time is July – August.

Fruit is a follicle to 2cm long, one per flower, variously pubescent. (All other native members of the genus have 3 follicles per flower).

Medicinal Uses:
Larkspur formerly had a reputation for its ability to consolidate and heal wounds, while the juice from the leaves is considered to be a remedy for piles and an infusion of the flowers and leaves has been used as a remedy for colicky children. However, the whole plant is very poisonous and it should not be used internally without the guidance of an expert.  Externally, it can be used as a parasiticide. A tincture of the seed is applied externally to kill lice in the hair.

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.missouriplants.com/Bluealt/Delphinium_ajacis_page.html

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

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/delphinium+ajacis

http://www.wildflowerinformation.org/Wildflower.asp?ID=86

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Lipid profile or Lipid panel

Definition:
A complete cholesterol test — also called a lipid panel or lipid profile: — It is a blood test that can measure the amount of cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood. A cholesterol test can help determine your risk of atherosclerosis, the buildup of plaques in your arteries that can lead to narrowed or blocked arteries throughout your body. High cholesterol levels usually don’t cause and signs or symptoms, so a cholesterol test is an important tool. High cholesterol levels are a significant risk factor for heart disease.

An extended lipid profile may include very low-density lipoprotein. This is used to identify hyperlipidemia (various disturbances of cholesterol and triglyceride levels), many forms of which are recognized risk factors for cardiovascular disease and sometimes pancreatitis.

It is recommended that healthy adults with no other risk factors for heart disease be tested with a fasting lipid profile once every five years. Individuals may also be screened using only a cholesterol test and not a full lipid profile. However, if the cholesterol test result is high, there may be the need to have follow-up testing with a lipid profile.

 

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If there are other risk factors or the individual has had a high cholesterol level in the past, regular testing is needed and the individual should have a full lipid profile.

For children and adolescents at low risk, lipid testing is usually not ordered routinely. However, screening with a lipid profile is recommended for children and youths who are at an increased risk of developing heart disease as adults. Some of the risk factors are similar to those in adults and include a family history of heart disease or health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension), or being overweight. High-risk children should have their first lipid profile between 2 and 10 years old, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Children younger than 2 years old are too young to be tested.

A total cholesterol reading can be used to assess an individual’s risk for heart disease, however, it should not be relied upon as the only indicator. The individual components that make up total cholesterol reading –- LDL, HDL, and VLDL –- are also important in measuring risk.

For instance, one’s total cholesterol may be high, but this may be due to very high good (HDL) cholesterol levels –- which can actually help prevent heart disease. So, while a high total cholesterol level may help give an indication that that there is a problem with cholesterol levels, the components that make up total cholesterol should also be measured.

The “lipid profile” is a popular component of master health check ups.There is no ideal age for the first evaluation. Elevated levels have been found in children as young as two if there is a history of adults in the family having elevated lipids or early heart attacks. Genetic studies have consistently shown changes in the Apolipoprotein E (APOE) locus in affected families. But for this gene to express itself, environmental factors like diet, obesity and inactivity also play a part.

If there is no such family history, lipids should be evaluated for the first time at the age of 20. If the results are “desirable”, the next reading can be taken after five years. In an older person (over 45 in men and 55 in women) the values need to be checked every year.

The blood should be taken after a nine-hour fast (water can be consumed). There should be no fever, infection, inflammation or pregnancy as these can alter the values.

Everyone has fat deposits under the skin, where it serves as insulation against heat and cold. Cholesterol is a fat that is produced by the liver and is essential for normal metabolism. It is not soluble in blood, it is transported through the body by LDL (low density lipoproteins), HDL (high density lipoproteins) and VLDL (very low density lipoproteins). Of these HDL is a “good” lipid as it transports excess cholesterol to the liver for excretion. VLDL and LDL transport cholesterol from the liver back into the blood.

As long as blood cholesterol remains in the normal range, the blood circulates freely. When levels are elevated, it precipitates in the blood vessels, forming obstructive deposits called plaques. This eventually leads to high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes.

TGL or triglycerides are different from cholesterol. They are derived from food when the calorie intake is greater than the requirement. It combines with cholesterol and gets deposited in the blood vessels.

A person with elevated lipids may develop a yellow deposit of cholesterol under the skin, usually around the eyelids. They may also have a crease on the earlobes.

A fat deposit (lipoma) can appear as a painless mobile lump just under the skin anywhere in the body. When multiple, it is a hereditary condition called multiple lipomatosis. These are not markers for elevated lipids. The lumps are not cancerous but may be cosmetically unacceptable. They do not respond to the lipid lowering medications and need to be surgically removed.

An elevated lipid profile can often be reversed by changes in lifestyle. Quit smoking immediately and drink in moderation only — two drinks a day for men and one for women. The much publicised cardio protective actions of alcohol are outweighed by the other problems of regular drinking.

Try to achieve ideal body weight and bring down the BMI (body mass index, which is found by dividing the weight by the height in metre squared) to 23. This can only be achieved with a combination of diet and exercise. Try to stop snacking, especially on fried items and “ready to eat” snacks. Increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables to 4-6 helpings a day. Walnuts, almonds and fish are rich in protective omega -3 fatty acids and Pufa (poly unsaturated fatty acids). Oats contains dietary fibre. Lower oil consumption to 300ml per month per family member. Try to use olive oil. If that is not practical or feasible, use a mixture of equal quantities of rice bran oil, sesame oil, mustard oil and groundnut oil.

Exercise aerobically (walking, running, jogging or swimming) for 60 minutes a day. This need not be done at one stretch but can be split into as many as six 10-minute sessions.

If lipids are still elevated after 3-6 months despite these interventions, speak to your physician about regular medication.

The “statin” group of drugs are very effective. They lower cholesterol, prevent its deposition and stabilise the plaques in the blood vessels. They can be combined with other drugs like ezetimibe (which limit the absorption of cholesterol), or bile acid binding resins, or niacin or fibrates. Natural supplements of fish oil or pure omega-3 fatty acid capsules also help. Lipid lowering medications are usually well tolerated and very effective.

Resources:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cholesterol-test/MY00500

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

http://www.telegraphindia.com/1120730/jsp/knowhow/story_15788559.jsp

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Larix laricina

Botanical Name : Larix laricina
Family: Pinaceae
Genus: Larix
Species: L. laricina
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales

Synonyms:Larix americana.

Common Name :Tamarack

Habitat:  Larix laricina is native to Northern N. America – Alaska to Labrador, south to West Virginia. It  often forms pure forests in the south of its range in swamps and wet soils sometimes also on dry plateau or slopes in the north of its range.

Description:
Larix laricina is a small to medium-size deciduous coniferous tree reaching 10–20 metres (33–66 ft) tall, with a trunk up to 60 centimetres (24 in) diameter.The tamarack is not an evergreen. The bark is tight and flaky, pink, but under flaking bark it can appear reddish. The leaves are needle-like, 2–3 cm (0.8–1.2 in) short, light blue-green, turning bright yellow before they fall in the autumn, leaving the pale pinkish-brown shoots bare until the next spring. The needles are produced spirally on long shoots and in dense clusters on long woody spur shoots. The cones are the smallest of any larch, only 1–2.3 cm (0.4–0.9 in) long, with 12-25 seed scales; they are bright red, turning brown and opening to release the seeds when mature, 4–6 months after pollination.

Flowering and fruiting:
Tamarack is monoecious. Male and female flowers are small, solitary, and appear with the needles. Male flowers are yellow and are borne mainly on 1- or 2-year-old branchlets. Female flowers are reddish and are borne most commonly on 2- to 4-year-old branchlets but may also appear on branchlets 5 or more years old. Cones usually are produced on young growth of vigorous trees. On open-grown trees, cones are borne on all parts of the crown. Ripe cones are brown, oblong-ovoid, and 13 to 19 mm (½ to ¾ in) long.

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Key characteristics:

*The needles are normally borne on a short shoot in groups of 10–20 needles.
*The Larch is deciduous and the needles turn yellow in autumn.
*The seed cones are small, less than 2 cm (0.8 in) long, with lustrous brown scales.
*Larch are commonly found in swamps, bogs, and other low-land areas.

 

Cultivation:  
Prefers an open airy position in a light or gravelly well-drained soil. Plants are intolerant of shade. Tolerates acid and infertile soils and waterlogged soils. Succeeds on rocky hill or mountain sides and slopes. A north or east aspect is more suitable than west or south. This species is very cold-hardy when fully dormant, but the trees can be excited into premature growth in Britain by mild spells during the winter and they are then very subject to damage by late frosts and cold winds. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. Planted for forestry in Europe, they are not suitable for this purpose in Britain. Growth is normally slow in this country with average height increases of less than 30cm per year. The trees are generally not long-lived. Planting them in boggy soil may improve growth rates. Open ground plants, 1 year x 1 year are the best for planting out, do not use container grown plants with spiralled roots. Plants transplant well, even when coming into growth in the spring. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus.

Propagation :    
Seed – sow late winter in pots in a cold frame. One months cold stratification helps germination. It is best to give the seedlings light shade for the first year[78]. As soon as they are large enough to handle, prick out the seedlings into individual pots. Although only a few centimetres tall, they can be planted out into their permanent positions in the summer providing you give them an effective weed-excluding mulch and preferably some winter protection for their first year. Otherwise grow them on in the cold frame for their first winter and plant them out in early summer of the following year. The seed remains viable for 3 years If you are growing larger quantities of plants, you can sow the seed in an outdoor seedbed in late winter. Grow on the seedlings in the seedbed for a couple of years until they are ready to go into their permanent positions then plant them out during the winter.

 

Edible Uses  :     
Edible Parts: Leaves.
Edible Uses: Tea.

The young shoots are used as an emergency food. A tea is made from the roots. A tea is made from the branches and needles.

Medicinal Uses:

Alterative;  Astringent;  Disinfectant;  Diuretic;  Expectorant;  Laxative;  Poultice;  Salve;  Tonic.

Tamarack was employed medicinally by a number of native North American Indian tribes who used it to treat a variety of complaints. It is little used in modern herbalism. A tea made from the bark is alterative, diuretic, laxative and tonic. It is used in the treatment of jaundice, anaemia, rheumatism, colds and skin ailments. It is gargled in the treatment of sore throats and applied as a poultice to sores, swellings and burns. A tea made from the leaves is astringent. It is used in the treatment of piles, diarrhoea etc. An infusion of the buds and bark is used as an expectorant. The needles and inner bark are disinfectant and laxative. A tea is used in the treatment of coughs. A poultice made from the warm, boiled inner bark is applied to wounds to draw out infections, to burns, frostbite and deep cuts. The resin is chewed as a cure for indigestion. It has also been used in the treatment of kidney and lung disorders, and as a dressing for ulcers and burns.

Other Uses :
Disinfectant;  Fibre;  Resin;  Tannin;  Wood.

Resin is extracted by tapping the trunk. It is obtained from near the centre of the trunk, one properly made borehole can be used for 20 – 30 years. The resin has a wide range of uses including wood preservatives, medicinal etc. The hole is made in the spring and the resin extracted in the autumn. The roots have been used as a sewing material in canoes and to make durable bags. The bark contains tannin. Wood – very strong, heavy, hard, durable even in water. It weighs 39lb per cubic foot and is used for telegraph poles, fence posts etc. The roots are often curved by as much as 90° and are used by builders of small ships.

The wood is tough and durable, but also flexible in thin strips, and was used by the Algonquian people for making snowshoes and other products where toughness was required. The natural crooks located in the stumps and roots are also preferred for creating knees in wooden boats. Tamarack poles were used in corduroy roads because of their resistance to rot. Currently, the wood is used principally for pulpwood, but also for posts, poles, rough lumber, and fuelwood. Wildlife use the tree for food and nesting.

Guitar luthier Mark Blanchard has named one of his models the tamarack.
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It is also grown as an ornamental tree in gardens in cold regions, and is a favorite tree for bonsai. Tamarack Trees were used before 1917 in Alberta to mark the North East Corner of Sections surveyed within Townships. They were used by the surveyors because at that time the very rot resistant wood was readily available in the bush and was light to carry.

According to ‘Aboriginal Plant Use in Canada’s Northwest Boreal Forest’, the inner bark has also been used as a poultice to treat cuts, infected wounds, frostbite, boils and hemorrhoids. The outer bark and roots are also said to have been used with another plant as a treatment for arthritis, cold and general aches and pains.

Tamarack is the Territorial tree of Northwest Territories. It is mentioned in the Ernest Hemingway short story ‘The Battler’ from In Our Time. A proposed national wildlife refuge has been given the name Hackmatack in honor of an alternate Algonquin name of the species.

Known Hazards : Sawdust from the wood has been known to cause dermatitis in some people.

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/Larix_laricina

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Larix+laricina

Stachys byzantina

Botanical Name : Stachys byzantina
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Stachys
Species: S. byzantina
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Synonym : Stachys lanata or Stachys olympica.

Common Name :Lamb’s Ear

Habitat :Stachys byzantina is  native to Turkey, Armenia, and Iran. It is cultivated over much of the temperate world as an ornamental plant, and is naturalised in some locations as an escape from gardens.

Description:
Stachys byzantina is a perennial herbs usually densely covered with gray or silver-white, silky-lanate hairs. They are named lambs ears because of the curved shape and white, soft, fur like hair coating. Flowering stems are erect, often branched, and tend to be 4-angled, growing 40–80 cm tall. The leaves are thick and somewhat wrinkled, densely covered on both sides with gray-silver colored, silky-lanate hairs, the under sides more silver-white in color than the top surfaces. The leaves arranged oppositely on the stems and 5 to 10 cm long. Leaf petioles semiamplexicaul (the bases wrapping half way around the stem) with the basal leafs having blades oblong-elliptic in shape, measuring 10 cm long and 2.5 cm wide (though variation exists in cultivated forms), The leaf margins are crenulate but covered with dense hairs, the leaf apexes attenuate, gradually narrowing to a rounded point. The flowering spikes are 10–22 cm long, producing verticillasters that each have many flowers and are crowded together over most of the length on the spike-like stem. The leaves produced on the flowering stems are greatly reduced in size and subsessile, the lower ones slightly longer than the interscholastic and the upper ones shorter than the verticillasters. Leaf bracteoles linear to linear-lanceolate in shape and 6 mm long. The flowers have no pedicels (sessile) and the calyx is tubular-campanulate in shape, being slightly curved and 1.2 cm long. The calyx is glabrous except for the inside surface of the teeth, having 10-veins with the accessory veins inconspicuous. The 2–3 mm long calyx teeth are ovate-triangular in shape and are subequal or the posterior teeth larger, with rigid apices. Corollas with some darker purple tinted veins inside, 1.2 cm long with silky-lanate hairs but bases glabrous. The corolla tubes are about 6 mm long with the upper lip ovate in shape with entire margins; the lower lips are subpatent with the middle lobe broadly ovate in shape, lateral lobes oblong. The stamen filaments are densely villous from the base to the middle. Styles much exserted past the corolla. Immature nutlets without hairs, brown in color and oblong in shape.

 

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Lamb’s Ear flowers in late spring and early summer, plants produce tall spike-like stems with a few reduced leaves. The flowers are small and either white or pink. The plants tend to be evergreen but can “die” back during cold winters and regenerate new growth from the crowns. In warmer climates they may grow year-round, but suffer where it’s hot and humid. They are easy to grow, preferring partial shade to full sunlight and well-drained soils not rich in nitrogen.

Cultivated over much of the temperate parts of the world and naturalized in some locations as an escapee from gardens.

Lamb’s Ear is a commonly grown plant for children’s gardens or used as an edging plant, in Brazil is also used as a edible herb, called Lambari, as they are easy to grow and the thick felt like leaves are fun to touch. It has sometimes been used as a medicinal plant. A number of cultivars exist including white flowering forms, plants with shorter habit and plants that do not bloom as much.

*Big Ears‘ – leaves very large, up to 25 cm long.
*Cotton Ball’ – a sterile cultivar that does not produce flowering stems. Asexually propagated.
*Primrose Heron’ – leaves yellow in spring; flowers pink
*Sheila Macqueen’ – sterile; low-growing; leaves large.
*Silky Fleece’ – grows 25 cm tall with lilac-plum flowers, produce smaller white-woolly foliage. Seed propagated.
*Silver Carpet’ – sterile; leaves grey. Asexually propagated.
*Striped Phantom’ – leaves variegated.

Medicinal Uses:
Stachys byzantina makes a natural bandage and dressing to staunch bleeding.

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.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm

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

http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/factsheets/groundcover/stachys_byzantina.html

Polygonum persicaria

Botanical Name : Polygonum persicaria
Family: Polygonaceae
Genus: Persicaria
Species: P. maculosa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Synonyms : Polygonum maculata, Persicaria maculosa.Polygonum ruderalis, Polygonum ruderalis, Polygonum vulgaris, Polygonum dubium, Polygonum fusiforme, Polygonum minus and Polygonum puritanorum.

Common Names :Persicaria, Redleg, Lady’s-thumb, Spotted Ladysthumb, Gambetta, and Adam’s Plaster

Habitat :Polygonum persicaria is native to Europe, it is an invasive species in the Great Lakes region where it was first spotted in 1843. Grows in roadside and damp places.

Description:
Polygonum persicaria is an annual/ perennial plant.It grows up to 1 m high, and has narrow, lancet-shaped leaves 8–10 cm long. The leaves often have a brown or black spot. The white, pink or red flowers are in dense panicles and flower from early summer to late autumn and the seeds ripen from Aug to October.It is hardy to zone 5.

It is native to Europe and Asia, where it can be mistaken for Polygonum minus, but P. minus has narrower leaves, usually less than 1 cm wide, while its ear is slimmer.The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Self.The plant is self-fertile.

It has been introduced to North America and is naturalised in all mainland states, being found along roadsides, riverbanks, and on fallow ground. In the USA, it is very similar to Pennsylvania smartweed, but Redshank has a fringe of hairs at the top of the ocrea, something which Pennsylvania smartweed lacks.

Cultivation:      
Succeeds in an ordinary garden soil but prefers a moisture retentive not too fertile soil in sun or part shade. Repays generous treatment. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits.

Propagation:   
Seed – sow spring in situ.

 Edible Uses  
Edible Parts: Leaves;  Seed.
Edible Uses:

Leaves and young shoots – raw or cooked. They contain about 1.9% fat, 5.4% pectin, 3.2% sugars, 27.6% cellulose, 1% tannin. Seed – raw or cooked. It is rather small and fiddly to utilize.

Medicinal Uses:
Astringent;  Diuretic;  Lithontripic;  Poultice;  Rubefacient;  Vermifuge.

The leaves are astringent, diuretic, rubefacient and vermifuge. An infusion has been used as a treatment for gravel and stomach pains. A decoction of the plant, mixed with flour, has been used as a poultice to help relieve pain. A decoction of the plant has been used as a foot and leg soak in the treatment of rheumatism. The crushed leaves have been rubbed on poison ivy rash.

The Anglo-Saxons used Polygonum persicaria as a remedy for sore eyes and ears.  They called it Untrodden to Pieces, perhaps because it was so hardy and though that it survived even being stepped upon or otherwise crushed.

Other Uses  
Dye.

A yellow dye is obtained from the plant when alum is used as a mordant.

Known Hazards: Although no specific mention has been made for this species, there have been reports that some members of this genus can cause photosensitivity in susceptible people. Many species also contain oxalic acid (the distinctive lemony flavour of sorrel) – whilst not toxic this substance can bind up other minerals making them unavailable to the body and leading to mineral deficiency. Having said that, a number of common foods such as sorrel and rhubarb contain oxalic acid and the leaves of most members of this genus are nutritious and beneficial to eat in moderate quantities. Cooking the leaves will reduce their content of oxalic acid. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition.

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/Polygonum_persicaria

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Polygonum+persicaria

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

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Pomaderris kumarahou

Botanical Name : Pomaderris kumarahou
Family:Buckthorn (Rhamnaceae)

Common Name:Komarahou, papapa,Kumarou

Habitat :Pomaderis kumarahou is found in northern and central areas of the North Island. A plant of  northern gumlands and clay banks.

Description:
This is an upright shrub reaching 3 m with oval dark green somewhat wrinkled leaves. The small yellow flowers are in dense clusters forming a spectacular display in the spring.

click to see the pictures….(01)…..(1)...(2)..
Leaves 5-8cm. long with prominent veins and midribs.Flowers numerous and bright yellow in spring.

 

Medicinal Uses:

Kumarahou is a traditional Maori remedy that has been used to treat a wide range of illnesses.  Its most common use is as a remedy for problems of the respiratory tract, such as asthma and bronchitis.  However, it has also been used in the treatment of indigestion and heartburn, diabetes, and kidney problems.  Kumarahou is considered to be a detoxifier and “blood cleansing” plant, and is used to treat skin rashes and sores, including lesions produced by skin cancer.  High in anti-oxidants, protects liver from lipid peroxidation. Adaptagenic activity increases performance, speed and stamina.
Fresh leaves are applied to wounds. Wounds are also bathed in extracts obtained from boiling the leaves.
An infusion obtained from boiling leaves in water is used internally to treat bronchitis, asthma, rheumatism, to stop vomiting, for coughs and for colds.

 

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://web.auckland.ac.nz/uoa/science/about/departments/sbs/newzealandplants/maoriuses/medicinal/trees/kumarahou-pomaderris.cfm

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

http://www.bushmansfriend.co.nz/xurl/PageID/9165/ArticleID/-36699/function/moreinfo/content.html

Centaurea jacea

Botanical Name : Centaurea jacea
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cynareae
Genus: Centaurea
Species: C. jacea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Common Name : Brown Knapweed or Brownray Knapweed

Habitat : Centaurea jacea is  native to dry meadows and open woodland throughout Europe.

Description:
Centaurea jacea is a perennial plant. It grows to 10–80 cm tall.
It is hardy to zone 6. It is in flower from Aug to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, lepidoptera, self.The plant is self-fertile.

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Cultivation:  
Succeeds in ordinary garden soil. Prefers a well-drained fertile soil and a sunny position. Tolerates dry, low fertility and alkaline soils. Plants are suitable for the wild garden and for naturalising. This species is hardy to at least -15°c. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation: 
Seed – sow April in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer. Division in autumn. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer or following spring. This should be done at least once every three years in order to maintain the vigour of the plant. Basal cuttings in spring. Harvest the shoots when they are about 10 – 15cm long with plenty of underground stem. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.

Medicinal Uses:
Bitter;  Diuretic;  Ophthalmic;  Stomachic;  Tonic.

The root is bitter tonic, diuretic and stomachic. An excellent bitter for treating difficult digestive systems, it is still used in rural areas as a digestive and also to reduce the temperature of feverish children. A distilled water made from the leaves is used as an eye lotion in the treatment of conjunctivitis.

As an astringent it is used for piles, a decoction of the herb being taken in doses of 1-2 fl oz three times a day. This will also be useful for sore throat if used as a gargle.  An infusion of the flowering part is also helpful in diabetes mellitus.  The root is bitter tonic, diuretic and stomachic. An excellent bitter for treating difficult digestive systems, it is still used in rural areas as a digestive and also to reduce the temperature of feverish children. A distilled water made from the leaves is used as an eye lotion in the treatment of conjunctivitis. It was also applied as a vulnerary and was used internally. Culpepper describes it as a mild astringent, ‘helpful against coughs, asthma, and difficulty of breathing, and good for diseases of the head and nerves,’ and tells us that ‘outwardly the bruised herb is famous for taking away black and blue marks out of the skin.’

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/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Centaurea+jacea

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

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

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Eupatorium hyssopifolium

Botanical Name: Eupatorium hyssopifolium
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Eupatorieae
Genus: Eupatorium
Species: E. hyssopifolium
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Common Name:Hyssopleaf thoroughwort,Justice Weed

Habitat :Eupatorium hyssopifolium is native to  central and eastern N. America – Massachusetts to Florida and Texas.  It grows in moist soils.

Description:
Eupatorium hyssopifolium is a herbaceous plant perennial plant growing to 0.6 m (2ft). it has inflorescences containing a large number of white flowers with disc florets and no ray florets.The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.It is in flower from Aug to September.It is hardy to zone 5.

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Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Cultivation:   
Succeeds in ordinary well-drained but moisture retentive garden soil in sun or part shade. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame and only just cover the seed. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer. Division in spring or autumn. Very easy, the clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions.

Medicinal Uses:
The plant can be used medicinally (applied externally for insect and reptile bites). It can also be planted near crops to attract beneficial insects.

Other Uses:
The plant is used as a strewing herb and to discourage insects.

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/Eupatorium_hyssopifolium

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Eupatorium+hyssopifolium

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Mimosa tenuiflora

Botanical Name :Mimosa tenuiflora
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Mimosoideae
Genus: Mimosa
Species: M. tenuiflora
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Synonyms:Mimosa hostilis

Common Names;Jurema, Tepezcohuite

Habitat : Mimosa tenuiflora is native to the northeastern region of Brazil (Paraíba, Rio Grande do Norte, Ceará, Pernambuco, Bahia) and found as far north as southern Mexico (Oaxaca and coast of Chiapas). It is most often found in lower altitudes, but it can be found as high as 1000 m

Description:
The fern-like branches have leaves that are Mimosa like, finely pinnate, growing to 5 cm long. Each compound leaf contains 15-33 pairs of bright green leaflets 5-6  mm long. The tree itself grows up to 8 m tall and it can reach 4–5 m tall in less than 5 years. The white,[3] fragrant flowers occur in loosely cylindrical spikes 4–8 cm long. In the Northern Hemisphere it blossoms and produces fruit from November to June or July.[4] In the Southern Hemisphere it blooms primarily from September to January. The fruit is brittle and averages 2.5–5 cm long. Each pod contains 4–6 seeds that are oval, flat, light brown and 3–4 mm in diameter. There are about 145 seeds/g. In the Southern Hemisphere, the fruit ripens from February to April.

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The tree’s bark is dark brown to gray. It splits lengthwise and the inside is reddish brown.

The tree’s wood is dark reddish brown with a yellow center. It is very dense, durable and strong, having a density of about 1.11 g/cm³.

Medicinal Uses:
In Mexico, the bark of the tree is used as a remedy for skin problems and injuries such as burns, and it is now used in commercial skin and hair products which are promoted as being able to rejuvenite skin. Research has shown that it has some useful activities which support the traditional uses. The bark is rich in tannins, saponins, alkaloids, lipids, phytosterols, glucosides, xylose, rhamnose, arabinose, lupeol, methoxychalcones, and kukulkanins. In vitro studies on bacterial cultures have shown it is three times more effective as a bacteriocide than streptomycin, although in vivo studies have not been as positive.

Powdered tepezcohuite bark contains large amounts (16%) of tannins, which act as an astringent, making the skin stop bleeding. This helps protect the body from infection, while the skin builds new protective tissue.

Tannins in the bark diminish capillary permeability. It contains antioxidant flavonoids.

Extensive research has been performed in labs in Mexico, Canada and the United Kingdom. It is now used in commercial hair and skin products that claim to rejuvenate skin. The bark is known to be rich in tannins, saponins, alkaloids, lipids, phytosterols, glucosides, xylose, rhamnose, arabinose, lupeol, methoxychalcones and kukulkanins. In vitro studies have shown three times more bacteriocidal activity on bacterial cultures than streptomycin, and it works to some degree in vivo

Other Uses:
Mimosa tenuiflora does very well after a forest fire, or other major ecological disturbance. It is a prolific pioneer plant. It drops its leaves on the ground, continuously forming a thin layer of mulch and eventually humus. Along with its ability to fix nitrogen, the tree conditions the soil, making it ready for other plant species to come along.

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/Mimosa_tenuiflora

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

http://www.tabaccheria21.net/PsicoWeb/piantepsicovarie/html/pagimage009.shtml

Yucca brevifolia

Botanical Name : Yucca brevifolia
Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Agavoideae
Genus: Yucca
Species: Y. brevifolia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

Common Name :Joshua tree, yucca palm, tree yucca, and palm tree yucca

Habitat :Yucca brevifolia is native to southwestern North America in the states of California, Arizona, Utah and Nevada, where it is confined mostly to the Mojave Desert between 400 and 1,800 meters (1,300 and 5,900 ft) elevation.Grows on arid mesas and mountain slopes. It thrives in the open grasslands of Queen Valley and Lost Horse Valley in Joshua Tree National Park. A dense Joshua tree forest also exists in Mojave National Preserve, in the area of Cima Dome.

Description:
Yucca brevifolia trees are fast growers for the desert; new seedlings may grow at an average rate of 7.6 cm (3.0 in) per year in their first ten years, then only grow about 3.8 cm (1.5 in) per year thereafter. The trunk of a Yucca brevifolia tree is made of thousands of small fibers and lacks annual growth rings, making it difficult to determine the tree’s age. This tree has a top-heavy branch system, but also has what has been described as a “deep and extensive” root system, with roots possibly reaching up to 11 m (36 ft) away. If it survives the rigors of the desert it can live for hundreds of years with some specimens surviving up to a thousand years. The tallest trees reach about 15 m (49 ft). New plants can grow from seed, but in some populations, new stems grow from underground rhizomes that spread out around the Joshua tree.

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The evergreen leaves are dark green, linear, bayonet-shaped, 15–35 cm long and 7–15 mm broad at the base, tapering to a sharp point; they are borne in a dense spiral arrangement at the apex of the stems. The leaf margins are white and serrate.

 

The flowers are produced in spring from February to late April, in panicles 30–55 cm tall and 30–38 cm broad, the individual flowers erect, 4–7 cm tall, with six creamy white to green tepals. The tepals are lanceolate and are fused to the middle. The fused pistils are 3 cm tall and the stigma cavity is surrounded by lobes. The semi-fleshy fruit that is produced is green-brown, elliptical, and contains many flat seeds. Yucca brevifolia trees usually do not branch until after they bloom (though branching may also occur if the growing tip is destroyed by the yucca-boring weevil), and they do not bloom every year. Like most desert plants, their blooming is dependent on rainfall at the proper time. They also need a winter freeze before they will bloom.

FruitOnce they bloom, the trees are pollinated by the yucca moth, which spreads pollen while laying her eggs inside the flower. The moth larvae feed on the seeds of the tree, but enough seeds are left behind to produce more trees. The Yucca brevifolia tree is also able to actively abort ovaries in which too many eggs have been laid.

Cultivation:  
Thrives in any soil but prefers a sandy loam and full exposure to the south. Plants are hardier when they are grown on poor sandy soils. Prefers a hot dry position, disliking heavy rain. Established plants are very drought resistant. The flowers of this species are malodorous. In the plants native environment, its flowers can only be pollinated by a certain species of moth. This moth cannot live in Britain and, if fruit and seed is required, hand pollination is necessary. This can be quite easily and successfully done using something like a small paint brush. Individual crowns are monocarpic, dying after flowering. However, the crown will usually produce a number of sideshoots before it dies and these will grow on to flower in later years. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. Members of this genus seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits

Propagation :        
Seed – sow spring in a greenhouse. Pre-soaking the seed for 24 hours in warm water may reduce the germination time. It usually germinates within 1 – 12 months if kept at a temperature of 20°c. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for at least their first two winters. Plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer and consider giving them some winter protection for at least their first winter outdoors – a simple pane of glass is usually sufficient. Seed is not produced in Britain unless the flowers are hand pollinated. Root cuttings in late winter or early spring. Lift in April/May and remove small buds from base of stem and rhizomes. Dip in dry wood ashes to stop any bleeding and plant in a sandy soil in pots in a greenhouse until established. Division of suckers in late spring. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is best to pot up smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are growing away well. Plant them out in the following spring.

Edible Uses:        
Edible Parts: Flowers;  Fruit;  Root;  Seed;  Seedpod.
Edible Uses:

Flowers – cooked. The flower buds, before opening, can be parboiled in salt water to remove the bitterness, drained and then cooked again and served like cauliflower[183]. The opened flowers are rich in sugar and can be roasted and eaten as candy. Fruit – cooked. The fruits can be roasted then formed into cakes and dried for later use. Root – raw, boiled or roasted. Seed. Gathered and eaten by the local Indians. No further details are given, but it is probably ground into a powder and mixed with cornmeal or other flours and used for making bread, cakes etc. Immature seedpod. No more details given.

Medicinal Uses:  
A good strong infusion of the roots was once a popular treatment for venereal diseases.

Other Uses:
Basketry;  Brush;  Dye;  Fibre;  Soap;  Weaving.

A fibre obtained from the leaves is used for making ropes, baskets, sandals, clothing and mats. The whole leaf can be woven into mats etc and it can also be used as a paint brush. The dark red core of the roots has been used as a pattern material in coiled baskets. The core is split into strands, soaked and worked in with the coiling so that the colour is always on the outside. Red and black dyes have been obtained from the roots. The roots are rich in saponins and can be used as a soap substitute. It makes a good hair wash. Wood – light, soft, spongy, difficult to work. Sometimes cut into thin layers and used as wrapping material, or manufactured into boxes and other small articles.

Known Hazards:    The roots contain saponins. Whilst saponins are quite toxic to people, they are poorly absorbed by the body and so tend to pass straight through. They are also destroyed by prolonged heat, such as slow baking in an oven. Saponins are found in many common foods such as beans. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish

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/Yucca_brevifolia

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Yucca+brevifolia

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

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