Category Archives: Herbs & Plants

Chamomile

Botanical Name: Matricaria chamomilla
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Anthemideae
Genus: Matricaria
Species: M. chamomilla
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonym: Matricaria recutita

Common Names:Chamomile, German chamomile, Hungarian chamomile (kamilla), wild chamomile or scented mayweed,

Habitat:Chamomile is native to southern and eastern Europe. It is also grown in Germany, Hungary, France, Russia, Yugoslavia, and Brazil. It was introduced to India during the Mughal period, now it is grown in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Jammu and Kashmir. The plants can be found in North Africa, Asia, North and South America, Australia, and New Zealand. Hungary is the main producer of the plant biomass. In Hungary, it also grows abundantly in poor soils and it is a source of income to poor inhabitants of these areas. Flowers are exported to Germany in bulk for distillation of the oil. It often grows near roads, around landfills, and in cultivated fields as a weed, because the seeds require open soil to survive.

Description:
Chamomile is an annual plant with thin spindle-shaped roots only penetrating flatly into the soil. The branched stem is erect, heavily ramified, and grows to a height of 10–80 cm. The long and narrow leaves are bi- to tripinnate. The flower heads are placed separately, they have a diameter of 10–30 mm, and they are pedunculate and heterogamous. The golden yellow tubular florets with 5 teeth are 1.5–2.5 mm long, ending always in a glandulous tube. The flowers bloom in early to midsummer, and have a strong, aromatic smell. The flowers are 6–11 mm long, 3.5 mm wide, and arranged concentrically. The receptacle is 6–8 mm wide, flat in the beginning and conical, cone-shaped later, hollow—the latter being a very important distinctive characteristic of Matricaria—and without paleae. The fruit is a yellowish brown achene.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation:
German chamomile can be grown on any type of soil, but growing the crop on rich, heavy, and damp soils should be avoided. It can also withstand cold weather with temperature ranging from 2°C to 20°C. The crop has been grown very successfully on the poor soils (loamy sand) at the farm of the Regional Research Laboratory, Jammu. At Banthra farm of the National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow, the crop has been grown successfully on soil with a pH of 9. Soils with pH 9–9.2 are reported to support its growth. In Hungary, it grows extensively on clayey lime soils, which are barren lands and considered to be too poor for any other crop. Temperature and light conditions (sunshine hours) have greater effect on essential oils and azulene content, than soil type. Chamomile possesses a high degree of tolerance to soil alkalinity. The plants accumulate fairly large quantity of sodium (66 mg/100 gm of dry material), which helps in reducing the salt concentration in the top soil.[43] No substantial differences were found in the characteristics of the plants grown 1500 km apart (Hungary–Finland). Under cooler conditions in Finland, the quantity of the oxide type in the essential oil was lower than in Hungary.

Propagation:
The plant is propagated by seeds. The seeds of the crop are very minute in size; a thousand seeds weigh 0.088–0.153 gm. About 0.3–0.5 kg of clean seed with a high germination percentage sown in an area of 200–250 m2 gives enough seedlings for stocking a hectare of land. The crop can be grown by two methods i.e. direct sowing of the seed and transplanting. Moisture conditions in the field for direct sowing of seeds must be very good otherwise a patchy and poor germination is obtained. As direct sowing of seeds usually results in poor germination, the transplanting method is generally followed. The mortality of the seedlings is almost negligible in transplanting.

Medicinal Uses:
Chamomile is used in herbal medicine for a sore stomach, irritable bowel syndrome, and as a gentle sleep aid. It is also used as a mild laxative and is anti-inflammatory and bactericidal. It can be taken as an herbal tea, two teaspoons of dried flower per cup of tea, which should be steeped for 10 to 15 minutes while covered to avoid evaporation of the volatile oils. The marc should be pressed because of the formation of a new active principle inside the cells, which can then be released by rupturing the cell walls, though this substance only forms very close to boiling point. For a sore stomach, some recommend taking a cup every morning without food for two to three months. It has been studied as a mouthwash against oral mucositis ]and may have acaricidal properties against certain mites, such as Psoroptes cuniculi.

One of the active ingredients of its essential oil is the terpene bisabolol. Other active ingredients include farnesene, chamazulene, flavonoids (including apigenin, quercetin, patuletin and luteolin) and coumarin.

Dried chamomile has a reputation (among herbalists) for being incorrectly prepared because it is dried at a temperature above the boiling point of the volatile components of the plant.

Chamomile is used topically in skin and mucous membrane inflammations and skin diseases. It can be inhaled for respiratory tract inflammations or irritations; used in baths as irrigation for anogenital inflammation; and used internally for GI spasms and inflammatory diseases. However, clinical trials supporting any use of chamomile are limited.

Possible Side Effects:
Chamomile, a relative of ragweed, can cause allergy symptoms and can cross-react with ragweed pollen in individuals with ragweed allergies. It also contains coumarin, so care should be taken to avoid potential drug interactions, e.g. with blood thinners.

While extremely rare, very large doses of chamomile may cause nausea and vomiting. Even more rarely, rashes may occur. A type-IV allergic reaction with severe anaphylaxis has been reported in a 38-year old man who drank chamomile tea.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any
supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matricaria_chamomilla
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3210003/
http://www.drugs.com/npp/chamomile.html

Gotu kola (Hemidesmus indicus)

Botanical Name : Hemidesmus indicus
Family:Apocynaceae
Subfamily:Asclepiadoideae
Genus:Hemidesmus
Species:H. indicus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:Gentianales

Synonyms: Hydrocotyle asiatica – L.

Common Names:Gotu Kola,Centella, March Pennywort, Indian Pennywort, Hydrocotyle, Brahmi (Sanskrit), Luei Gong Gen (Chinese)(Note: Gotu kola should not be confused with kola nut.)

In South Asia, other common names of centella include:

Thalkudi in Oriya;  Sarswathi aku in Telugu;  Kudavan, (Muththil), or  Kudangal  in Malayalam;   Thankuni  in Bengali;  Gotu kola  in Sinhala;  Brahmi  in Marathi:  Ondelaga  in Kannada;   Vallaarai  in Tamil; Brahmi booti in Hindi; Perook in Manipuri;   Manimuni  in  Assamese;Timare in Tulu; Tangkuanteh in Paite;   Brahmabuti or  Ghod-tapre  in Nepali; and  Kholcha ghyan  in Newari  Nepal Bhasa.

Habitat :Centella asiatica is native to E. Asia – India, China and Japan. Australia. Grows on Old stone walls and rocky sunny places in lowland hills and especially by the coast in central and southern Japan. Shady, damp and wet places such as paddy fields, and in grass thickets

Description:
Centella asiatica is an evergreen Perennial plant growing to 0.2m by 1m.
It is hardy to zone 8 and is frost tender.

click to see the picture..

The stems are slender, creeping stolons, green to reddish-green in color, connecting plants to each other. It has long-stalked, green, reniform leaves with rounded apices which have smooth texture with palmately netted veins. It is in leaf all year, in flower from July to August, and the seeds ripen from August to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

The flowers are pinkish to red in color, born in small, rounded bunches (umbels) near the surface of the soil. Each flower is partly enclosed in two green bracts. The hermaphrodite flowers are minute in size (less than 3 mm), with 5-6 corolla lobes per flower. Each flower bears five stamens and two styles. The fruit are densely reticulate, distinguishing it from species of Hydrocotyle which have smooth, ribbed or warty fruit. The plant is self-fertile. The leaves are borne on pericladial petioles, around 2 cm. The rootstock consists of rhizomes, growing vertically down. They are creamish in color and covered with root hairs.

Cultivation:
Prefers a moist to wet soil in sun or partial shade. Plants also grow on walls in the wild and so should tolerate drier conditions[K]. This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the country, it tolerates temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c. It grows and spreads very well outdoors during the summer in most parts of the country and is very easy to increase by division. It can therefore be grown as a summer crop with divisions being taken during the growing season and overwintered in a greenhouse in case the outdoor plants are killed by winter cold.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a greenhouse. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year, after the last expected frosts[K]. Division is simple at any time in the growing season, though the spring is probably best[K]. We find that it is best to pot up the divisions until they are rooting away well, though in selected mild gardens it should be possible to plant the divisions out directly into their permanent positions

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Leaves.

Leaves – raw or cooked. Used in salads and in curries. Cooked as a vegetable. An aromatic flavour, we have found them to be rather overpowering in salads when used in any but small quantities.

Medicinal Uses:
Adaptogen; Antiinflammatory; Cardiac; Depurative; Diuretic; Febrifuge; Hypotensive; Nervine; Sedative; Skin; Tonic.

Gotu kola is an outstandingly important medicinal herb that is widely used in the Orient and is becoming increasingly popular in the West. Its Indian name is ‘Brahmi’ which means ‘bringing knowledge of the Supreme Reality’ and it has long been used there medicinally and as an aid to meditation. It is a useful tonic and cleansing herb for skin problems and digestive disorders. In India it is chiefly valued as a revitalizing herb that strengthens nervous function and memory. The whole plant is alterative, cardio-depressant, hypotensive, weakly sedative and tonic. It is a rejuvenating diuretic herb that clears toxins, reduces inflammations and fevers, improves healing and immunity, improves the memory and has a balancing effect on the nervous system. It has been suggested that regular use of the herb can rejuvenate the nervous system and it therefore deserves attention as a possible cure for a wide range of nervous disorders including multiple sclerosis[K]. Recent research has shown that gotu kola reduces scarring, improves circulatory problems in the lower limbs and speeds the healing process. It is used internally in the treatment of wounds, chronic skin conditions (including leprosy), venereal diseases, malaria, varicose veins, ulcers, nervous disorders and senility. Caution should be observed since excess doses cause headaches and transient unconsciousness. Externally, the herb is applied to wounds, haemorrhoids and rheumatic joints. The plant can be harvested at any time of the year and is used fresh or dried. Another report says that the dried herb quickly loses its medicinal properties and so is best used fresh.

Medicinal Uses and Indications

Treatment :

Wound Healing and Skin Lesions
Gotu kola contains triterpenoids, compounds that have been shown to aid in wound healing. For example, animal studies indicate that triterpenoids strengthen the skin, increase the concentration of antioxidants in wounds, and restore inflamed tissues by increasing blood supply. Because of these properties, gotu kola has been used externally for burns, psoriasis, prevention of scar formation following surgery, recovery from an episiotomy following vaginal delivery of a newborn, and treatment of external fistulas (a tear at or near the anus).

Venous Insufficiency and Varicose Veins
When blood vessels lose their elasticity, blood pools in the legs and fluid leaks out of the blood vessels, causing the legs to swell (venous insufficiency). In a study of 94 people with venous insufficiency, those who took gotu kola reported a significant improvement in symptoms compared to those who took placebo. In another study of people with varicose veins, ultrasound examination revealed improvements in the vascular tone of those who took gotu cola.

High Blood Pressure

In a study of people with heart disease and high blood pressure, those who took abana (an Ayurvedic herbal mixture containing gotu kola) experienced a significant reduction in diastolic blood pressure (pressure on blood vessels when the heart is at rest) compared to those who took placebo. Further studies are needed to determine whether gotu kola alone, some other herb in the Ayurvedic mixture, or the particular combination of all the herbs in the remedy is responsible for the beneficial effect.
Anxiety
Triterpenoids (active compounds in gotu kola) have been shown to soothe anxiety and boost mental function in mice. A recent study found that people who took gotu kola were less likely to be startled by a novel noise (a potential indicator of anxiety) than those who took placebo. Although the results of this study are somewhat promising, the dose used in this study was extremely high, making it difficult to draw any conclusions about how gotu kola might be used by people with anxiety.

Scleroderma
One study involving 13 females with scleroderma found that gotu kola decreased joint pain, skin hardening, and improved finger movement.

Insomnia

Because of sedative effects demonstrated in animals, gotu kola has been used to help people with insomnia.

Dosage and Administration :

Gotu kola is available in teas, as dried herbs, tinctures, capsules, tablets, and ointments. It should be stored in a cool, dry play and used before the expiration date on the label.

Pediatric :
There is currently no information in the scientific literature about the use of gotu kola for children. Therefore, it is not recommended for those under 18 years old.

Adult
The adult dosage of gotu kola may vary depending on the condition being treated. An appropriately trained and certified herbalist, such as a naturopath, can provide the necessary guidance.

The standard dose of gotu kola varies depending on the form:

Dried herb  to make tea, add ¼ to ½ tsp dried herb to a cup of boiling water (150 mL) for 10 minutes, 3 times a day
Powdered herb (available in capsules)  1,000 to 4,000 mg, 3 times a day
Tincture (1:2, 30% alcohol) 30 to 60 drops (equivalent to 1.5 to 3 mL – there are 5 mL in a teaspoon), 3 times a day
Standardized extract—60 to 120 mg per day; standardized extracts should contain 40% asiaticoside, 29% to 30% asiatic acid, 29% to 30% madecassic acid, and 1% to 2% madecassoside; doses used in studies mentioned in the treatment section range from 20 mg (for scleroderma) up to 180 mg (in one study for venous insufficiency; although, most of the studies for this latter condition were conducted using 90 mg to 120 mg per day).
The recommended dosage for people with insomnia is ½ tsp of dried herb in a cup of water taken for no more than 4 to 6 weeks.

Precautions
The use of gotu kola for more than 6 weeks is not recommended. People taking the herb for an extended period of time (up to 6 weeks) should take a 2-week break before taking the herb again.

Asiaticoside, a major component of gotu kola, has also been associated with tumor growth in mice. Though more studies are needed, it is wise for anyone with a history of precancerous or cancerous skin lesions   such as squamous cell, basal cell skin cancer, or melanoma  to refrain from taking this herb.

Side Effects
Side effects are rare but may include skin allergy and burning sensations (with external use), headache, stomach upset, nausea, dizziness, and extreme drowsiness. These side effects tend to occur with high doses of gotu kola.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Pregnant women should not take gotu kola because it may cause spontaneous abortion. There is little or no information regarding the safety of this herb during breastfeeding, so nursing mothers should refrain from taking this herb.

Geriatric Use
People older than 65 years should take gotu kola at a lower than standard dose. The strength of the dosage can be increased slowly over time to reduce symptoms. This is best accomplished under the guidance of an appropriately trained and certified herbalist such as a naturopathic doctor.

Interactions and Depletions
There have been no reports documenting negative interactions between gotu kola and medications to date. Since high doses of gotu kola can cause sedation, individuals should refrain from taking this herb with medications that promote sleep or reduce anxiety.

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/Centella_asiatica

http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Centella+asiatica

www.umm.edu/altmed/ConsHerbs

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Safflower

Botanical Name:Carthamus tinctorius L.
Family:    Asteraceae
Tribe:    Cynareae
Genus:    Carthamus
Species:C. tinctorius
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:    Asterales

Common Names:   Beni, Chimichanga, or Carthamus tinctorius and in Pashto it is called Kareza
Habitat   :Safflower is native to the Mediterranean countries and cultivated in Europe and the United States. Now it grows in countries worldwide. India, United States, and Mexico are the leading s, with  growers, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, China,and the Arab World.
It is found

Description:
Safflower is  is a highly branched, herbaceous, thistle-like annual plant.
It is commercially cultivated for vegetable oil extracted from the seeds. Plants are 30 to 150 cm (12 to 59 in) tall with globular flower heads having yellow, orange, or red flowers.
Each branch will usually have from one to five flower heads containing 15 to 20 seeds per head. Safflower is native to arid environments having seasonal rain.
It grows a deep taproot which enables it to thrive in such environments…….CLICK & SEE

Parts Used : Flower

Biochemical Information:Carthamin, palmitic acid, stearic acid, arachic acid, oleic acid, linoleic and linolenic acids, safflower yellow

Medicinal Uses: It is Diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, analgesic, carminative
Taken hot, safflower tea produces strong perspiration and has thus been used for fevers, colds, and related ailments.
It has also been used at times for its soothing effect in cases of hysteria, such as that associated with chlorosis.
Used for delayed menses, poor blood circulation, bruises, injuries (used in liniments), and measles.

The defunct pharmaceutical company SemBioSys Genetics tried to use transgenic safflower plants to produce human insulin as the global demand for the hormone grows.
Safflower-derived human insulin was in the PI/II trials on human test subjects

Other Uses:
The flowers can be dried and powdered to make a saffron substitute; mixed with finely powdered talc, they make a rouge. Fresh flower petals yield dye colors ranging from yellows to reds.
Flowers are used as a scent in potpourris and look nice dried in flower arrangements.

Seeds are used mainly in cosmetics and as a cooking oil, in salad dressing, and for the production of margarine. It may also be taken as a nutritional supplement. INCI nomenclature is Carthamus tinctorius.

Safflower seed is also used quite commonly as an alternative to sunflower seed in birdfeeders, as squirrels do not like the taste of it.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://medicinalherbinfo.org/herbs/Safflower.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safflower

Sophora Flavescens

Botanical Name : Sophora Flavescens
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily:Faboideae
Tribe: Sophoreae
Genus: Sophora
Species:S. flavescens
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Fabales

Common Names:Ku Shen, Shrubby sophora

Habitat:Sophora Flavescens is native to Eastern Asia -(From Russia to China.) It grows on Scrub on mountain slopes, river valleys, especially on sandy soils. Grassy places in lowland and waste ground, Central and South Japan

Description:
An evergreen Shrub growing to 1.5m by 1m at a slow rate. It is hardy to zone 6. It is in leaf all year, in flower from July to August, and the seeds ripen in September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. It can fix Nitrogen. The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires moist soil….CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Sophora flavescens is a species of plant in the genus Sophora a genus of the Fabaceae family, that contains about 52 species, nineteen varieties, and seven forms that are widely distributed in Asia, Oceanica, and the Pacific islands.About fifteen species in this genus have a long history of use in traditional Chinese medicines. The root is known as Ku shen. is a typical traditional Chinese medicine
Cultivation:
Succeeds in a well-drained moderately fertile soil in full sun. Requires the protection of a sunny wall if it is to flower, and succeeds only in the mildest areas of the country. It grows best in the warmer areas of the country where the wood will be more readily ripened and better able to withstand winter cold. Although hardy to at least -15°c, this species does not do very well in the relatively cool summers of Britain, the plant gradually weakens and eventually succumbs. It can be grown in the milder areas of the country and be treated like a herbaceous perennial, growing afresh from the base each spring. An important medicinal herb in China. Plants should be container-grown and planted out whilst young, older plants do not transplant well. A polymorphic species. The flowers are produced on the current years growth. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a greenhouse. Pre-soak stored seed for 12 hours in hot (not boiling) water and sow in late winter in a greenhouse. Prick out the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle into individual pots in the greenhouse, and grow them on for 2 years under protected conditions. Plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer of their third year. Cuttings of young shoots with a heel, July/August in a frame. Air-layering
Medicinal Uses:
The Sophora Flavescen’s   root (click & see) is anthelmintic, antibacterial, antifungal, antipruritic, astringent, bitter, carminative, diuretic, febrifuge, parasiticide, pectoral, stomachic and tonic. It is used internally in the treatment of jaundice, dysentery, diarrhea and urinary infections. Sophora root is used both internally and externally in the treatment of vaginitis, eczema, pruritis, ringworm, leprosy, syphilis, scabies and itching allergic reactions. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. The plant is anthelmintic and diuretic. It also has antibacterial activity, inhibiting the growth of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Trichomonas vaginitis.
Known Hazards: The plant contains cytosine, which resembles nicotine and is similarly toxic. The plant is poisonous when used in quantity[

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sophora_flavescens
http://www.getwellnatural.com/sophora-flavescens.aspx
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Sophora+flavescens

Glycyrrhiza Uralensis

Botanical Name : Glycyrrhiza Uralensis
Family:    Fabaceae
Genus:    Glycyrrhiza
Species:G. uralensis
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:    Fabales

Common Name: Licorice, Gan Cao, Iriqsus, Kan T’Sao, Kan Ts’Ao, Liquirita, Madhuka, Meyankoku, Mi Ts’Ao, Regaliz, Sus Maikik,Chinese liquorice.

Common Names in Azerbaijani:Ural biyan
Common Names in Chinese:Gan Zao
Common Names in English:Chinese Licorice, Gan-Cao, Russian Licorice
Common Names in French:Réglisse De L´oural, Réglisse De Sibérie
Common Names in German:Chinesische Lakritze, Chinesisches Sübholz
Common Names in Hinese:Gan Cao
Common Names in Japanese:Gurukiruriza Urarenshisu, Uraru Kanzou,
Common Names in Kazakh:Miya-Tamr
Common Names in Russian:Solodka Ural´skaja, Solodka Uralskaya
Common Names in Thai:Cha Em Kha Kai (Central Thailand)
Common Names in Tibetan:Shing-Mngar
Common Names in Vietnamese:Cam thao

Habitat : Native to Central Asia. Licorice grows in sandy soil usually near a stream for ample water. Glycyrrhiza glabra, which is very similar medicinally, comes from the Mediterranea region.

Description:
Glycyrrhiza uralensis is a perennial  herb  growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.4 m (1ft 4in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6. It is in flower from Jun to August, and the seeds ripen from Jul to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)It can fix Nitrogen.....CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Species:
Glycyrrhiza has several Species and that include:

Glycyrrhiza acanthocarpa
Glycyrrhiza aspera
Glycyrrhiza astragalina
Glycyrrhiza bucharica
Glycyrrhiza echinata – Russian liquorice
Glycyrrhiza eglandulosa
Glycyrrhiza foetida
Glycyrrhiza foetidissima
Glycyrrhiza glabra – liquorice, licorice
Glycyrrhiza gontscharovii
Glycyrrhiza iconica
Glycyrrhiza inflata
Glycyrrhiza korshinskyi
Glycyrrhiza lepidota – American licorice
Glycyrrhiza pallidiflora
Glycyrrhiza squamulosa
Glycyrrhiza triphylla
Glycyrrhiza uralensis – Chinese liquorice
Glycyrrhiza yunnanensis

Cultivation:  
Requires a deep well cultivated fertile moisture-retentive soil for good root production. Prefers a sandy soil with abundant moisture. Slightly alkaline conditions produce the best plants. Plants are hardy to at least -15°c. This species is widely cultivated in China as a medicinal plant. Unless seed is required, the plant is usually prevented from flowering so that it puts more energy into producing good quality roots. A very deep-rooted plant, it can be difficult to eradicate once it is established. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby.

Propagation:    
Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water and then sow spring or autumn in a greenhouse. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle, and grow them on for their first winter in a greenhouse. Plant out in late spring or early summer when in active growth. Plants are rather slow to grow from seed. Division of the root in spring or autumn. Each division must have at least one growth bud. Autumn divisions can either be replanted immediately or stored in clamps until the spring and then be planted out. It is best to pt up the smaller divisions and grow them on in a cold frame until they are established before planting them out in the spring or summer.

Edible Uses:    
Edible Parts: Root.
The fibrous root is used as a sweetener for foods. It is boiled in water to extract the sugars etc and used as a liquorice substitute in sweets, medicines, drinks etc. The root contains glycyrrhizin, which is 50 times sweeter than sugar.

Parts Uses: Root & the whole herb

Medicinal Uses:
Anodyne, Antioxidant, Antispasmodic, Anti-inflammatory, Demulcent, Depurative, Diuretic, Emollient, Estrogenic, Expectorant, Pectoral

Glycyrrhiza Uralensis is commonly used in Chinese herbalism, where it is considered to be one of the 50 fundamental herbs. It is considered to be second in importance only to Ginseng (Panax spp). Used in excess, however, it can cause cardiac dysfunction and severe hypertension. The root is a sweet tonic herb that stimulates the corticosteroidal hormones, neutralizes toxins and balances blood sugar levels. It is also antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiphlogistic, antispasmodic, antitussive, cholagogue, demulcent, emollient, expectorant and laxative. It is used internally in the treatment of Addison’s disease, asthma, coughs and peptic ulcers. Externally, it is used to treat acne, boils and sore throats. It is included in almost all Chinese herbal formulae, where it is said to harmonize and direct the effects of the various ingredients. It precipitates many compounds and is therefore considered to be unsuitable for use with some herbs such as Daphne genkwa, Euphorbia pekinensis and Corydalis solida. It increases the toxicity of some compounds such as ephedrine, salicylates, adrenaline and cortisone. It should not be prescribed for pregnant women or for people with high blood pressure, kidney disease or anyone taking digoxin-based medications. Excessive doses cause water retention and high blood pressure. It can cause impotence in some people. The roots are harvested in early autumn, preferably from plants 3- 4 years old, and is dried for later use. The flowers are alterative and expectorant.

Other Uses:
Fire retardant;  Insulation.
Liquorice root, after the medicinal and flavouring compounds have been removed, is used in fire extinguishing agents, to insulate fibreboards and as a compost for growing mushrooms.

Known Hazards: Liquorice root contains glycyrrhizin, which can cause high blood pressure, salt and water retention, and low potassium levels; it could also lead to heart problems. Patients who take liquorice with diuretics or medicines that reduce the body’s potassium levels could induce even lower potassium levels. Taking large amounts of liquorice root could also affect cortisol levels as well.[citation needed] People with heart disease or high blood pressure should be cautious about taking liquorice root. Pregnant women also need to avoid liquorice root because it could increase the risk of preterm labor.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Glycyrrhiza+uralensis
http://www.angelicaherbs.com/herbdetail.php?id=339&cat=latin_name&latin_name=Glycyrrhiza%20uralensis
http://zipcodezoo.com/Plants/G/Glycyrrhiza%5Furalensis/
http://www.theplantencyclopedia.org/wiki/Glycyrrhiza

Trichosanthes kirilowii

Botanical Name :Trichosanthes kirilowii
Family: Cucurbitaceae
Genus: Trichosanthes
Species:T. kirilowii
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:Cucurbitales

Common Names:  Chinese cucumber in English. And Chinese snake gourd.

Habitat :Trichosanthes kirilowii found particularly in Henan, Shandong, Hebei, Shanxi, and Shaanxi. It is one of the 50 fundamental herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine.

OIt often grows at an altitude of 200-1800m hillside forest, thickets, meadows and Cunpang Tanabe, or in the natural distribution area of bone, widely cultivated. Most parts of China are distributed, located in North, South, East and Liaoning, Shaanxi, Gansu, Sichuan, Guizhou and Yunnan. Most of the country has produced. The main production Shandong, Anhui, Henan and other places.

Description:
Trichosanthes kirilowii is a flowering plant.A Climber,length up to 10m. Tubers cylindrical , fleshy , rich in starch. Stems thick, much branched , with longitudinal ribs and grooves are white stretch pubescent. Leaves alternate ; petiole length 3-10cm, with vertical stripes, is of pubescent ; tendrils 3-7 differences pubescent ; leaves low-quality , contour nearly round or nearly heart-shaped , length and width are about 5-20cm, often 3-5 ( -7 ) lobed to the crack, split or dilute parted and only ranging from large coarse teeth , diamond-shaped lobes obovate , oblong , apex obtuse, acute, often re- lobed edges , base heart-shaped , curved lack of deep 3-4cm, surface dark green , rough, back of the green, on both sides along the veins villous hairy hirsute , basal palmate veins 5 , veinlets reticulate. Dioecious ; male racemes solitary or with a single flower and students, or those in the upper branches solitary, too inflorescence total length 10-20cm, stout, with longitudinal ridges and grooves , puberulent , the top 5 -8 flower, single flower stalk about 15cm, pedicel about 3mm, small bracts obovate or broadly ovate, 1.5-2.5 (-3) cm, width 1-2cm, the upper coarsely toothed , base with handle , pubescent ; calyx tube cylindrical , long 2-4cm, apex expanded diameter of about 10mm, the lower diameter of about 5mm, pubescent , lobes lanceolate, length 10-15cm, width 3-5mm, entire; Corolla white , lobes obovate , about 20mm, width 18mm, with a central green tip apex sides fringed with filaments , pubescent ; anther connivent , about 2mm, diameter of about 4mm, filaments separated , stout, villous ; female flowers solitary, stalk length 7.5cm, pubescent ; calyx tube oblong, 2.5cm, diameter 1.2cm, with male and corolla lobes ; ovary oval, green , long- 2cm, style long 2cm, stigma 3. Fruit oval, flattened , long 11-16mm, width 7-12mm, light brown, almost at the edge of a ridge . Flowering from May to August , the fruit of August to October……CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation:
Requires a rich well-drained soil and plenty of moisture in the growing season. Sometimes cultivated in China for its edible fruit and medicinal uses. Male plants are favoured for root production. This species is not winter hardy in Britain and usually requires greenhouse cultivation. However, it may be possible to grow it as an annual in a very warm sheltered bed outdoors. A climbing plant, supporting itself by means of tendrils. Dioecious, male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Propagation:
Seed – sow March in pots in a warm greenhouse in a rich soil. Sow 2 – 3 seeds per pot and thin to the strongest plant. Grow them on fast and plant out after the last expected frosts. Give some protection, such as a frame or cloche, until the plants are growing away well.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Fruit; Leaves; Oil; Oil; Root…….click & see

Fruit. The young fruits are pickled. The pulp of older fruits is eaten. Mature fruits are about 10cm long. Leaves and young shoots – cooked and used as a vegetable. An edible starch is obtained from the root. It requires leeching, which probably means that it has a bitter flavour. The root is harvested in the autumn, cut into thick slices, soaked for 4 – 5 days in water, changing the water daily until the root disintegrates and can be mashed into a fine pulp. It is then steamed into cakes or used for making dumplings. An edible oil is obtained from the seed.

Chemical components: The plant is a source of the toxic anti-HIV type I ribosome-inactiving lectin trichosanthin

Medicinal Uses:
Trichosanthes kirilowii is commonly used in Chinese herbalism, where it is considered to be one of the 50 fundamental herbs. Recent research has isolated a protein called “trichosanthin” in the roots and this is undergoing trials as a possible remedy for AIDS. Skin, vulnerary. The leaf and the stem are febrifuge. The fruit is antibacterial, anticholesterolemic, antifungal, depurative, emollient, expectorant and laxative. It is used in the treatment of pulmonary infections with yellow and thick sputum, chest pains, stuffy feelings in the chest, constipation and dry stool. It has an antibacterial action against E. coli, Bacillus dysenteriae, B. typhi, B. paratyphi, Pseudomonas, Vibrio cholerae, V. Proteus etc. The fruit is traditionally prepared as a winter soup to ward off colds and influenza. The fruit is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. The rind of the fruit is used to treat a number of ailments, including cancer, jaundice, retained placenta, bronchial infections with thick phlegm and sore throat. The seed is antitussive, emollient and expectorant. The root is antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, febrifuge, galactogogue, laxative, oxytocic, sialagogue and uterine tonic. The fresh root has been noted for centuries as an abortifacient – a sponge soaked in its juice was placed in the vagina and induced an abortion in the second trimester of pregnancy. The root is taken internally in the treatment of diabetes, dry coughs, and to assist in the second stage of labour. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. The root and/or the seed is powdered and used in the treatment of mammary cancer.

Other Uses:
Oil; ……..An oil from the seed is used for lighting.
Known Hazards: Root extracts are extremely toxic. Intravenous administration can cause pulmonary oedema, cerebral oedema, cerebral haemorrhage and myocardial damage. Seizures and fever in HIV patients with parenteral administration. Self-medication of root not advised
Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trichosanthes_kirilowii
http://www.mdidea.com/products/new/new05602.html
http://www.naturalmedicinalherbs.net/herbs/t/trichosanthes-kirilowii=chinese-cucumber.php
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Trichosanthes+kirilowii

Ficus benjamina

Botanical Name :Ficus benjamina
Family:    Moraceae
Tribe:    Ficeae
Genus:    Ficus
Subgenus:Conosycea
Species:F. benjamina
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:    Rosales

Common Names: Weeping Chinese Banyan, Weeping Fig, Benjamin’s fig, or ficus tree

Habitat :Ficus benjamina is native to south and southeast Asia and Australia.Occasionally found self-sown in Britain, especially in the south-west. It is the official tree of Bangkok.

Description:
Ficus carica is a deciduous Tree growing to 6 m (19ft) by 6 m (19ft) at a medium rate.It is a tree reaching 30 metres (98 ft) tall in natural conditions, with gracefully drooping branchlets and glossy leaves 6–13 cm (2–5 in), oval with an acuminate tip. In its native range, its small fruit are favored by some birds, such as the Superb Fruit Dove, Wompoo Fruit Dove, Pink-spotted Fruit Dove, Ornate Fruit Dove, orange-bellied Fruit Dove, Torresian Imperial Pigeon, Purple-tailed Imperial Pigeon

Growth Rate: 24 Inches per Season
Landscape Use: Screen, Espalier or Hedged
Longevity: 40 to 150 years
Leaves: Ovate Glossy Medium to Dark Green. Evergreen.
Flowers: Inconspicuous. Flowers in Summer. Has separate male and female flowers on the same tree (monoecious).
Bloom Color is Green, Yellow. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Spreading or horizontal, Upright or erect.

Fruit: Red Follicle, Small (0.25 – 0.50 inches), fruiting in Summer or Fall…..click & see
Bark: Light Green or Light Gray, Smooth
Branch Strength: Rated as Medium

   CLICK & SEE       
It is in flower from Jun to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant)The plant is self-fertile.

Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Container, Specimen. Requires a well-drained medium to light loam and some lime rubble incorporated into the soil. Succeeds in dry soils. A heavy wet soil tends to encourage excessive plant growth at the expense of fruit production[1]. Prefers a very sunny position but tolerates part-day shade when grown on a warm wall. Plants are hardy to about -15°c. The top growth is susceptible to frost damage and can be killed back to the base in severe winters, though plants usually recover well. Trees require the protection of a south or west facing wall in most parts of Britain if they are to produce a worthwhile crop, though free standing trees can succeed in Cornwall. There is a small orchard of free-standing trees in Anthony garden near Plymouth. These were seen in July 1995 with a very heavy crop of ripening fruits that would have been ready by August. Figs are very widely cultivated in warmer climes than Britain for their edible fruit, there are many named varieties. ‘Brown Turkey’ is the cultivar most commonly grown in Britain and is probably the most suitable for this climate. ‘White Ischia’ is a dwarf cultivar (though it can still be 5 metres tall and wide) and is ideal for pot culture. It produces an abundance of green-white thin-skinned fruits. Up to three crops of fruit a year can be obtained in some countries[46]. When grown outdoors in Britain only one crop is usually obtained, though in exceptionally hot years two crops are sometimes produced. The fruit usually takes about 12 months to mature in Britain, baby fruits no larger than about 15mm long in the autumn usually overwinter to form the following years crop of fruit. If plants are grown in pots in a conservatory or cold greenhouse, two crops of fruit can be obtained, one in early summer and one in late summer to autumn. Pinch back the new shoots to about six leaves in order to encourage the second crop. It is a good idea to restrict the roots of fig trees on most soil types in order to discourage excessive vegetative growth at the expense of fruit production. This can be done by root pruning, but it is easier to place some kind of permanent restriction around the roots – planting into a large tub that is then buried into the ground is one method. It is important to make sure that the tree still gets ample moisture, especially when the fruits are ripening. Special Features: Attractive foliage, Not North American native, Invasive, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.

Propagation:     
Seed – sow spring in a warm greenhouse. Prick out the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle and overwinter the young plants in a greenhouse for at least their first year. Plant out in late spring after the last expected frosts and give some protection for their first winter outdoors. Cuttings of mature wood 10 – 12cm with a heel, winter in a frame. Fairly easy, but the cuttings must be kept frost free. It is probably best if the cuttings are put in individual pots. Layering.

Edible Uses   :
Edible Parts: Fruit.
Edible Uses: Curdling agent.
Fruits are eaten raw or cooked. Sweet and succulent, a fully ripe specimen is an exquisite fruit that almost literally melts in the mouth. The fruit is often dried for later use[183] and this dried fruit is a major item of commerce. Figs are usually pear-shaped and up to 5cm in diameter. A nutritional analysis is available. The latex from the sap can be used to coagulate plant milks.

Medicinal Uses:
Cancer;  Demulcent;  Digestive;  Emollient;  Galactogogue;  Laxative;  Pectoral;  Stings;  Stomachic;  Tonic;  Warts.

A decoction of the leaves is stomachic. The leaves are also added to boiling water and used as a steam bath for painful or swollen piles. The latex from the stems is used to treat corns, warts and piles. It also has an analgesic effect against insect stings and bites. The fruit is mildly laxative, demulcent, digestive and pectoral. The unripe green fruits are cooked with other foods as a galactogogue and tonic. The roasted fruit is emollient and used as a poultice in the treatment of gumboils, dental abscesses etc. Syrup of figs, made from the fruit, is a well-known and effective gentle laxative that is also suitable for the young and very old. A decoction of the young branches is an excellent pectoral. The plant has anticancer properties.

Other Uses:
Wood – pliable but porous and of little value. It is used for hoops, garlands, ornaments etc. When saturated with oil and covered with emery is used as a substitute for a hone. This tree is very suitable for bonsai and can be used as a house plant.This plant is also used as a land scaping plant.

Known Hazards: The sap and the half-ripe fruits are said to be poisonous. The sap can be a serious eye irritant.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://selectree.calpoly.edu/treedetail.lasso?rid=603
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Ficus+carica
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ficus_benjamina

Nicotiana benthamiana

Botanical Name: Nicotiana benthamiana
Family: Solanaceae
Genus: Nicotiana
Species:N. benthamiana
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Solanales

Synonyms: Nicotiana suaveolens var. cordifolia

Common indigenous names: Tjuntiwari and Muntju. Tangungnu, Ngkwerlp-pweter, Pinapitilypa, Tjiknga, Munju, Pirnki-warnu, Turlkamula

Habitat :Nicotiana benthamiana is native to Australia.It is found amongst rocks on hills and cliffs throughout the northern regions of Australia.

Description:
Nicotiana benthamiana is an erect, sometimes sprawling, annual herbaceous plant. This short-lived herb will reach from 0.65-5 feet (0.2-1.5 m) tall. Grown in containers, the plants rarely reach over 18 inches (0.45 m) tall by about half as wide. The dark green, broadly ovate leaves will reach up to 4 inches (10 cm) wide by 5 inches (12.7 cm) long. We selected this plant to use for TMV research because it is very susceptible to all kinds of viruses. Plants are easy to grow and we always keep several different ages of plants available at all times.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Blooming: In the greenhouse, plants flower all year round, but in nature, they normally bloom from May-September. The small, white flowers are 3/8 inch (1 cm) across by 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) long.

A vigorous plant with numerous erect leafy stems. Its alternate leaves are broadly egg-shaped, dull green and soft. Except at the top of the stems, where they are stalkless, its leaves have slender stalks. Flowers are whitish, with a long, slender tube and five blunt lobes; fruits are capsules containing many pitted seeds.

This plant is a close relative of tobacco and species of Nicotiana indigenous to Australia.The plant was used by peoples of Australia as a stimulant – it contains nicotine and other alkaloids – before the introduction of commercial tobacco (N.tabacum and N.rustica). It was first collected on the north coast of Australia by Benjamin Bynoe on a voyage of the H.M.S. Beagle in 1837.

Cultivation:
Nicotiana benthamiana need full sun to partial shade using a well-drained soil mix. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix consisting of 2 parts peat moss to 1 part loam to 1 part coarse sand or perlite. Since we grow these plants for research, they are given water on a daily basis to keep them stress free. They are fertilized weekly with a balanced fertilizer diluted to 1/2 the strength recommended on the label. Since we have to have these plants for research, once they set seed, plants are discarded. During the winter months, we use supplemental lighting to keep the plants growing strong.

Propagation: Nicotiana benthamiana is best propagated from seed.
Medicinal Uses:
The scientists have shown that transgenic versions of a plant Nicotiana benthamiana, also known as ‘Tjuntiwari’ in the native language, may be able to produce large quantities of a protein griffithsin which can be used as an anti-HIV microbicide gel.The protein has shown capabilities of neutralizing HIV as it binds to the virus molecule in such a way that the virus could not disguise itself from the immune system of humans.

Anti-HIV microbicide gel directly targets entry of the virus and averts infection at the surfaces but at present they are being produced using biologicals like bacteria E.coli, an expensive process which is not cost-effective.

The researchers from USA and UK altered the genetic nature of the plant using a tobacco mosaic virus which produced the protein griffithsin.(Published in The Times Of India)

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicotiana_benthamiana
http://www.plantoftheweek.org/week425.shtml
http://biolinfo.org/cmkb/view.php?comname=cmkb_public&scid=412

Jute

Botanical Name:Corchorus capsularis
Family: Malvaceae
Subfamily: Grewioideae
Genus:     Corchorus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Malvales

Common Name : Jute
Habitat :Jute is native to tropical and subtropical regions throughout the world.A tropical plant in essence, Jute thrives in hot, humid conditions and in soils that have high levels of sand and clay. It is little wonder then, that the Ganges River Delta is at the centre of global Jute production. This area also encounters heavy rainfall during the monsoon season that further benefits Jute growth and the reliability of a good crop.

Description:
Jute plants are tall, usually annual herbs, reaching a height of 2–4 m, unbranched or with only a few side branches. The leaves are alternate, simple, lanceolate, 5–15 cm long, with an acuminate tip and a finely serrated or lobed margin. The flowers are small (2–3 cm diameter) and yellow, with five petals; the fruit is a many-seeded capsule. It thrives almost anywhere, and can be grown year-round.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Jute plant has about 40–100 species, including:
Corchorus aestuans
Corchorus capsularis
Corchorus carnarvonensis
Corchorus cunninghamii
Corchorus erodiodes
Corchorus junodi
Corchorus olitorius
Corchorus sidoides
Corchorus tridens
Corchorus walcottii

Cultivation:
Jute needs a plain alluvial soil and standing water. The suitable climate for growing jute (warm and wet) is offered by the monsoon climate, during the monsoon season. Temperatures from 20 degree cent. to 40degree cent. and relative humidity of 70%–80% are favourable for successful cultivation. Jute requires 5–8 cm of rainfall weekly, and more during the sowing time.

Edible Uses:
In Nigeria, leaves of Corchorus olitorius are prepared in sticky soup called ewedu together with ingredients such as sweet potato, dried small fish or shrimp. The leaves are rubbed until foamy or sticky before adding to the soup. The leaves of the Jute plant are widely used in Nigeria to prepare a sticky soup. Amongst the Yoruba of Nigeria, the leaves are called Ewedu, and in the Hausa-speaking northern Nigeria, the leaves are called turgunuwa or lallo. The jute leaves are cut into shreds and added to the soup which would normally contain other ingredients such as meat and/or fish, pepper, onions, and other spices. Likewise, the Lugbara of Northwestern Uganda eat the leaves as soup, locally called pala bi. Jute is also a totem for Ayivu, one of the Lugbara clans.

In the Philippines, especially in Ilocano-dominated areas, this vegetable, locally known as saluyot, can be mixed with either bitter gourd, bamboo shoots, loofah, or sometimes all of them. These have a slimy and slippery texture.

In Bengal the leaf is used and cooked as  jute vegetable called as pat shak.

Chemical Constituents:
Per 100 g, the leaves are reported to contain 43-58 calories, 80.4-84.1 g H2O, 4.5-5.6 g protein, 0.3 g fat, 7.6-12.4 g total carbohydrate, 1.7-2.0 g fiber, 2.4 g ash, 266-366 mg Ca, 97-122 mg P, 7.2-7.7 mg Fe, 12 mg Na, 444 mg K, 6,410-7,850 ug beta-carotene equivalent, 0.13-0.15 mg thiamine, 0.26- 0.53 mg riboflavin, 1.1-1.2 mg niacin, and 53-80 mg ascorbic acid. Leaves contain oxydase and chlorogenic acid. The folic acid content is substantially higher than that of other folacin-rich vegetables, ca 800 micrograins per 100 g (ca 75% moisture) or ca 3200 micrograms on a zero moisture basis (Chen and Saad, 1981).
The seeds contain 11.3-14.8% oil (Watt and Breyer-Brandwijk, 1962), reportedly estrogenic (Sharaf et al, 1979), which contains 16.9% palmitic-, 3.7% stearic-, 1.8% behenic-, 1.1% lignoceiic-, 9.1% oleic-, 62.5% linoleic-, and 0.9% linolenic- acids as well as large portions of B, Mn, Mo, and Zn.

Medicinal Uses:
While perhaps better known as a fiber crop, jute is also a medicinal “vegetable”, eaten from Tanganyika to Egypt. Dried leaves were given me by an Egyptian friend who had brought them with him to this country. They are used in soups under the Arabic name  “Molukhyia.” In India the leaves and tender shoots are eaten. The dried material is there  known as “nalita.” Injections of olitoriside markedly improve cardiac insufficiencies and  have no cumulative attributes; hence, it can serve as a substitute for strophanthin.

Reported to be demulcent, deobstruent, diuretic, lactagogue, purgative, and tonic, tussah  jute is a folk remedy for aches and pains, dysentery, enteritis, fever, dysentery, pectoral  pains, and tumors (Duke and Wain, 1981; List and Horhammer, 1969-1979). Ayurvedics.

The leaves are used for ascites, pain, piles, and tumors. Elsewhere the leaves are used for  cystitis, dysuria, fever, and gonorrhea. The cold infusion is said to restore the appetite and  strength (Source: James A. Duke. 1983. Handbook of Energy Crops.http://www.worldjute.com/jute_news/medijut.html).

Other Uses:
Jute is a long, soft, shiny vegetable fiber that can be spun into coarse, strong threads. It is produced from plants in the genus Corchorus, which was once classified with the family Tiliaceae, more recently with Malvaceae, and has now been reclassified as belonging to the family Sparrmanniaceae. “Jute” is the name of the plant or fiber that is used to make burlap, Hessian or gunny cloth…..click & see

Jute is one of the most affordable natural fibers and is second only to cotton in amount produced and variety of uses of vegetable fibers. Jute fibers are composed primarily of the plant materials cellulose and lignin. It falls into the bast fiber category (fiber collected from bast or skin of the plant) along with kenaf, industrial hemp, flax (linen), ramie, etc. The industrial term for jute fiber is raw jute. The fibers are off-white to brown, and 1–4 metres (3–13 feet) long. Jute is also called “the golden fiber” for its color and high cash value.

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Jute is used in the manufacture of a number of fabrics such as Hessian cloth, sacking, scrim, carpet backing cloth (CBC), and canvas. Hessian, lighter than sacking, is used for bags, wrappers, wall-coverings, upholstery, and home furnishings. Sacking, a fabric made of heavy jute fibers, has its use in the name. CBC made of jute comes in two types. Primary CBC provides a tufting surface, while secondary CBC is bonded onto the primary backing for an overlay. Jute packaging is used as an eco-friendly substitute.

Jute floor coverings consist of woven and tufted and piled carpets. Jute Mats and mattings with 5 / 6 mts width and of continuous length are easily being woven in Southern parts of India, in solid and fancy shades, and in different weaves like, Boucle, Panama, Herringbone, etc. Jute Mats & Rugs are made both through Powerloom & Handloom, in large volume from Kerala, India. The traditional Satranji mat is becoming very popular in home décor. Jute non-wovens and composites can be used for underlay, linoleum substrate, and more.

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Jute has many advantages as a home textile, either replacing cotton or blending with it. It is a strong, durable, color and light-fast fiber. Its UV protection, sound and heat insulation, low thermal conduction and anti-static properties make it a wise choice in home décor. Also, fabrics made of jute fibers are carbon-dioxide neutral and naturally decomposable. These properties are also why jute can be used in high performance technical textiles.

The dry  jute stem is used as fire wood.

As a diversified byproducts from jute can be used in cosmetics,  paints, and other products.

Toxicity:
Contains HCN and several cardiac glycosides. Negm et al (1980) report the LD50 of tissue extracts to mice. The “lethal dose” of Corchoroside A to cats is 0.053-0.0768 mg/kg and Corchoroside B 0.059-0.1413, but some authors say that Corchoroside A is twice as active as Corchoroside B.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jute
http://www.jute-rugs.co.uk/aboutjute.php
http://indianjute.blogspot.in/p/medicinal-use-herbal-use-of-jute-jute.html
http://www.worldjute.com/jute_news/medijut.html

Goldenseal

Botanical Name : Hydrastis canadensis
Family: Ranunculaceae
Genus: Hydrastis
Species: H. canadensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ranunculales

Common Names:  Goldenseal, yellow paint root, orange root, yellow puccoon, ground raspberry, eye root, yellow Indian plant, turmeric root, Ohio curcuma, eye balm, yellow eye and jaundice root.

Habitat :Goldenseal is native to North America, and can be found growing wild from Ontario to Arkansas, across the southeastern U.S. to Georgia and cultivated in Oregon and Washington. The main growing region used to be Ohio valley, before it became the area fell victim to deforestation and development.
It grows in the rich soil of shady woods and moist places at the edge of wooded lands. Goldenseal prefers open hardwood forests, with rich humic soils, and a slight slope around 5% to facilitate drainage. Plants are found to be most vigorous in stands with 60-65% shade, and pH values between 5.5 and 6.5.

Description:
Goldenseal has a thick, yellow rootstock which sends up an erect hairy stem about 1 foot in height which branches near the top, one branch bearing a large leaf and another a smaller leaf and a flower.The stem is purplish and hairy above ground and yellow below ground where it connects to the yellow rhizome. The plant bears two palmate, hairy leaves with 5–7 double-toothed lobes and single, small, inconspicuous flowers with greenish white stamens in the late spring.

CLICK & SEE :

The rhizome is thick, sarcous, oblong, irregular, and knotted, having a yellowish-brown, thin bark, and a bright-yellow interior; rootlets numerous, scattered, coriaceous fibres.This low perennial herb grows from 6 to 10 inches high, its leaves and fruit much resembling those of the raspberry. The flowering stem, which is pushed up early in the spring, is from 6 to 12 inches high, erect, cylindrical, hairy, with downward-pointing hairs, especially above, surrounded at the base with a few short, brown scales. It bears two prominently-veined and wrinkled, dark green, hairy leaves, placed high up, the lower one stalked, the upper stalkless, roundish in outline, but palmately cut into 5 to 7 lobes, the margins irregularly and finely toothed. The flower, which is produced in April, is solitary, terminal, erect, and small, with three small greenish-white sepals, falling away immediately after expansion, no petals and numerous stamens.It bears a single berry like a large raspberry with 10–30 seeds. The fruit ripens in July and has the superficial appearance of a raspberry, with small, fleshy, red berries, tipped with the persistent styles and containing 1 or 2 black, shiny seeds. However, it is not edible.

Cultivation:
Goldenseal can be grown both from seed and from the rhizome. It requires a partially shaded situation (60 – 70%), in a well draining, rich humus soil. Rootstocks can be divided into small pieces and set at least 8” apart. Planting should be undertaken in the autumn. The plants should be allowed to grow for 2 – 3 years before harvesting, though by the 4th year the roots are said to become too fibrous for medicinal use. Transplanting may be undertaken at any time. According to an American grower 32 healthy plants set per square yard will produce 2 lb of dry root after three years of growth. The fresh rhizome is juicy and loses much of its weight in drying. When fresh, it has a well-marked, narcotic odour, which is lost in a great measure by age, when it acquires a peculiar sweetish smell, somewhat resembling liquorice root. It has a very bitter, feebly opiate taste, more especially when freshly dried. The rhizome is irregular and tortuous, much knotted, with a yellowish-brown, thin bark and bright yellow interior, 1/2 inch to 1 1/2 inch long, and from 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. The upper surface bears short ascending branches, which are usually terminated by cup-like scars, left by the aerial stems of previous years. From the lower surface and sides, numerous thin, wiry, brittle roots are given off, many of them breaking off, leaving small protuberances on the root. The colour of the rhizome, though yellow in the fresh root, becomes a dark, yellowish brown by age; that of the rootlets and the interior of the root are yellow and that of the powder still more so. When dry, the rhizome is hard and breaks with a clean, resinous fracture, the smooth, fractured surface is of a brownish-yellow, or greenish-yellow colour, and exhibits a ring of bright yellow, somewhat distant narrow wood bundles surrounding large pith.

Constituents:
Goldenseal contains the isoquinoline alkaloids: hydrastine, berberine, berberastine, hydrastinine, tetrahydroberberastine, canadine, and canalidine. A related compound, 8-oxotetrahydrothalifendine was identified in one study. One study analyzed the hydrastine and berberine contents of twenty commercial goldenseal and goldenseal-containing products and found they contained variously 0%-2.93% hydrastine and 0.82%-5.86% berberine.[18] Berberine and hydrastine act as quaternary bases and are poorly soluble in water but freely soluble in alcohol. The herb seems to have synergistic antibacterial activity over berberine in vitro, possibly due to efflux pump inhibitory activity.

Multiple bacteria and fungi, along with selected protozoa and chlamydia are susceptible to berberine in vitro. Berberine alone has weak antibiotic activity in vitro since many microorganisms actively export it from the cell (although a whole herb is likely to work on the immune system as well as on attacking the microbes and hence have a stronger clinical effect than the antibiotic activity alone would suggest).[citation needed] Interestingly, there is some evidence for other berberine-containing species synthesizing an efflux pump inhibitor that tends to prevent antibiotic resistance, a case of solid scientific evidence that the herb is superior to the isolated active principle. However, it is not yet known whether goldenseal contains a drug resistance efflux pump inhibitor, although many antimicrobial herbs do.

Medicinal Uses:
•The American aborigines valued the root highly as a tonic, tomachic and application for sore eyes and general ulceration.
•It is a valuable remedy in the disordered conditions of the digestion and has a special action on the mucous membrane, making it of value as a local remedyin various forms of catarrh.
•The action is tonic, laxative, alterative and detergent. The powder has proved useful as a snuff for nasal catarrh.
•It is employed in dyspepsia, gastric catarrh, and loss of appetite and liver troubles.
•Goldenseal was used by the American Indians as a treatment for irritations and inflammation of the mucous membranes of the respiratory, digestive, and urinary tracts.
•Its traditional uses include treatment of peptic ulcers, gastritis, dyspepsia and colitis.
•It is said to stimulate appetite and generally have a toning effect on the whole body.
•Its astringent properties have also been employed in cases of excessive menstruation and internal bleeding. It has a stimulating effect on the uterine muscles for which it is sometimes used as an aid in childbirth.
•The decoction is also said to be effective as a douche to treat trichomonas and thrush. As a gargle it can be employed in cases of gum infections and sore throats.
•It was commonly used topically for skin and eye infections.
•It is used for infectious diarrhea, upper respiratory tract infections, and vaginal infections.
•It is used as aremedy for laxative, tonic, alterative, detergent, opthalmicum, antiperiodic, aperient, diuretic, antiseptic, deobstruent.
•Excels for open sores, inflammations, eczema, ringworm, erysipelas, skin diseases, and nausea during pregnancy.
•In combination with skullcap and red pepper it will relieve and strengthen the heart.
•The Iroquois made a decoction of roots for treatment of whooping cough and diarrhea, liver trouble, fever, sour stomach and gas and as an emetic for biliousness. They also prepared a compound infusion with other roots for use as drops in the treatment of earache and as a wash for sore eyes.

Known Hazards:  Goldenseal is considered safe at recommended dosages.But it may cause side effects allergic reaction, headache and many others. Not safe for pregnant women and children.

Other Uses:
•Mixed with bear’s grease it is said to have been used as an insect repellent.
•Native people also valued the yellow roots as a stain and dye

Folklore and Myths:
It is believed that Goldenseal root is a very rare and expensive botanical Curio widely thought to be a powerful Guardian and Healer and to provide Strength and Protection to those who possess it.  Goldenseal root is used by many people for the purpose of Warding off Evil and bringing Good Luck in Health Matters. Some folks says that they place Goldenseal  root in a white flannel bag along with Angelica Root and other Healing Herbs, anoint this conjure hand with 7-11 Holy Type Oil or Blessing Oil and sew it into the mattress of any loved one who suffers chronic pain, serious disease, or acute illness, for Protection and Healing.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goldenseal
http://www.indianmirror.com/ayurveda/goldenseal.html
http://www.medicalhealthguide.com/herb/goldenseal.htm