Category Archives: Herbs & Plants

Bombax ceiba (Shimul in Bengali)

Botanical Name : Bombax ceiba
Family: Malvaceae
Genus: Bombax
Species: B. ceiba
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malvales

Synonyms: Salmalia malabarica

Common Nams:  cotton tree, Red Silk-Cotton, Red Cotton Tree  or ambiguously as silk-cotton or kapok, both of which may also refer to Ceiba pentandra.

This tree is commonly known as semal (Hindi) or shimul (Bengali) in India.  The local Urdu and Punjabi name for the tree is sumbal.

Habitat:  Bombax ceiba is native to India, tropical southern Asia, northern Australia and tropical Africa.

Description:
Bombax ceiba grows to an average of 20 meters, with old trees up to 60 meters in wet tropical weather. The trunk and limb bear numerous conical spines particularly when young, but get eroded when older. The leaves are palmate with about 6 leaflets radiating from a central point, an average of 7~10 centimeters wide, 13~15 centimeters in length. The leaf’s long flexible petiole is up to 20 cm long.
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Cup-shaped flowers solitary or clustered, axillary or sub-terminal, fascicles at or near the ends of the branches, when the tree is bare of leaves, an average of 7~11 centimeters wide, 14 centimeters in width, petels up to 12 centimeters in length, calyx is cup-shaped usually 3 lobed, an average of 3~5 centimeters in diameter. Staminal tube is short, more than 60 in 5 bundles. stigma is light red, up to nine centimeters in length, ovary is pink, 1.5~2 centimeters in length, with the skin of the ovary covered in white silky hair at 1mm long. Seeds are numerous, long, ovoid, black or gray in colour and packed in white cotton. Fruiting can start as early as March. The fruit, which reaches an average of 13 centimeters in length, is light-green in color  immature fruits, brown in mature fruits.

Cultivation:
The cotton fibers of this tree can be seen floating in the wind around the time of early May. This tree shows two marked growth sprints in India: in spring and during the monsoon months.

Edible Uses: The dry cores of the Bombax ceiba flower are an essential ingredient of the nam ngiao spicy noodle soup of the cuisine of Shan State and Northern Thailand, as well as the kaeng khae curry. At the peak of its flowering season in Hong Kong, elderly people could often be found picking flowers off the ground to dry, which is used to make a type of tea.

Chemical constituents :
All parts of the plant gave betasitosterol and its glucosides; seeds, bark and root bark, lupeol; flowers, hentriacontane, hentriacontanol; root bark, in addition, gave -hydroxycadalene. The seed oil yields arachidic, linoleic, myristic, oleic and palmitic acids; seeds contain carotenes, n-hexacosanol, ethylgallate and tocopherols; the gum contains gallic and tannic acids, yields L-arbinose, D-galactose, D-galacturonic acid and D-galactopyranose. Younger roots contain more sugars (arabinose and galactose  and peptic substances than the older ones. They contain mucilage, starch, mineralmatter, tannins  and non-tannins, along with other constituents. [Indian Medicinal Plants An Illustrated Dictionary

Medicinal Uses:
Bombax ceiba or shimul  has various uses in medicine.(Astringent, demulcent, diuretic,aphrodisiac, emetic):-
Ayurvedic uses: Raktapitta, Vrana, Daha.

Unani uses: Jaryan, Auram

To increase the potency of a man - seedling roots of Bombax ceiba L. (salamali) to chew. To treat the nocturnal pollution [The nocturnal pollutions are, in fact, involuntary loss of  semen during sleep. Most often, pollutions occur during the so-called “wet dreams” or erotic dreams] consume the flowers of Bombax ceiba L. (salmali). Rural folk of Assam use leaf to treat infertility; Santals find seedling spermatorrhoea.

Garhwalis and tribes of Dahanu forest use root to treat impotency. The roots are used in dysentery. The gum is useful in dysentery, haemoptysis of pulmonary tuberculosis, burning sensation. The bark is used for healing wounds. Leaves are good for skin eruption. Flowers are good for skin troubles. [Herbal Cures: Traditional Approach]

Young root tips are dried in shade and cooked as a vegetable for patients suffering from impotency. This vegetable is considered to be as good as the leaves of Adansonia digitata to increase the amount of sperm in semen. A half-cup extract of bark and flowers is taken for 3 d to treat sexual diseases such as hydrocele, leucorrhoea and gonorrhoea and to treat an irregular menstrual cycle. [Herbal Drugs: Ethnomedicine to Modern Medicine

Young roots (Semulmusali)— astringent, (used for dysentery) stimulant, demulcent. Fruits—stimulant, diuretic, expectorant. Used for chronic inflammation of bladder, kidney also for calculus affections. Flowers— astringent and cooling, applied to cutaneous affections. Leaves— anti-inflammatory. Stem bark— demulcent, styptic. Aqueous extract with curd is given for blooddysentery. Bark—paste is applied to skin eruptions, boils, acne, pimples. Seeds used for chickenpox, smallpox, catarrhal affections, chronic cystitis and genitourinary diseases. Gum—astringent, demulcent, styptic. Used for diarrhoea, dysentery, haemoptysis, bleeding piles, menorrhagia, spermatorrhoea. Root and pod—used for the treatment of low vitality and debility.

Various parts of the plant are used in fever, smallpox, rheumatism and leprosy. Bark is demulcent and tonic and is used in menorrhagia, leucorrhoea, diarrhoea, dysentery, boils, acne, pimples and coughs. Roots have stimulant, tonic and aphrodisiac properties and are given in impotency. Roots and barks are emetics. Young fruits are stimulant, expectorant and diuretic and beneficial in calculous affections, chronic inflammation and ulceration of bladder and kidneys. Seed extract is used as oxytocic and gonorrhea. burned infections, dysentery and urinary problems.

Other Uses:
This tree is planted on road side for beautification. The phenomenon paints the whole landscape in an enchanting red hue.

The fruit, the size of a ping-pong ball. These are full of cotton-like fibrous stuff. It is for the fiber that villagers gather the semul fruit and extract the cotton substance called “kopak”. This substance is used for filling economically priced pillows, quilts, sofas etc. The fruit is cooked and eaten and also pickled. Semul is quite a fast growing tree and can attain a girth of 2 to 3 m, and height about 30 m, in nearly 50 years or so. Its wood, when sawn fresh, is white in color. However, with exposure and passage of time it grows darkish gray. It is as light as 10 to 12 kg, per cubic foot. It is easy to work but not durable anywhere other than under water. So it is popular for construction work, but is very good and prized for manufacture of plywood, match boxes and sticks, scabbards, patterns, moulds, etc. Also for making canoes and light duty boats and or other structures required under water. Bombax species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including the leaf-miner Bucculatrix crateracma which feeds exclusively on Bombax ceiba.

The flowers are very attractive to local wildlife, with many birds like the Japanese White-eye, a type of fruit eating bird, which often draws a hole in an unopened Bombax ceiba flower bud. Honey bees, and bumble bees also attracted to the flowers to collect pollen and nectar. Because the flowers attract many insects, Crab Spiders can be occasionally found on a fully opened flower, hunting bees.

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/Bombax_ceiba

http://flowersofindia.net/catalog/slides/Silk%20Cotton%20Tree.html

http://medplants.blogspot.in/search/label/Bombax%20ceiba

Meyna spinosa Roxb.

Botanical Name: Meyna spinosa Roxb.
Family:    Rubiaceae
Subfamily: Ixoroideae
Tribe:    Vanguerieae
Genus:    Meyna
KingdomPlantae
Clade:    Angiosperms
Clade:    Eudicots
Clade:    Asterids
Order:    Gentianales

Synonyms : Vangueria spinosa  (Roxb. ex Link) Roxb.; Vangueria spinosa var. mollis Hook. f.; Pyrostria spinosa (Roxb. ex Link) Miq.; Vangueria miqueliana Kurz ; Vangueria mollis Wall.; Vangueria stellata Blanco.

Common names: Mainakanta, Madan, Maniphal

Vernacular names in other Languages :

Bengali : Mainakanta, Maniphal, Madan | Sanskrit : Pinditaka | Hindi : Maniphal, Pundrika | Tribal : Serali | English : Voavanga | Other Languages : Manakkarai (Tam.) ; Cegagadda (Tel.) ; Moltakanta (Ori.)

Habitat :Mainakanta is native to tropical Asia & Africa.It grows in hot and humid climate with a slightly acidic to neutral (pH 6.3-7.3) soil condition.

Description:
Meyna spinosa Roxb  is a thorny bushy shrub. The plant has straight, sharp spines and whorled green leaves arranged in opposite manner. Flowering season starts in late spring and lasts until early summer. It is distributed in India, Bangladesh, Nepal and also found in the plain lands of Java and Myanmar. In Bangladesh it is known as ‘Moyna’. Fruits of M. spinosa are reported to contain sugar, gum and tannic acid whereas the seeds contain esters of palmitic, stearic, oleic and linoleic acids.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Medicinal Uses:

Chemical constituents: The present study was undertaken to investigate the antibacterial and cytotoxic activity of the ethanol extract of Meyna spinosa stem. Antibacterial activity was investigated against Staphylococcus aureus. Streptococcus pyogenes, Escherichia coli and Shigella dysenieriae by disc diffusion and broth macrodilution assay. In disk diffusion assay, the extract inhibited all the microorganisms except E. coli. Minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of the extract was 1000 μg/ml for S. aureus, S. pyogenes and E. coli, whereas 500 μg/mLfor S. dysenieriae. For cytotoxicity test, the extract was subjected to brine shrimp lethality bioassay. The LD50 of M. spinosa stem extract was found to be 40 μg/mL. Findings of the study justify the use of the plant in traditional medicine and suggests for further investigation.

Meyna spinosa Roxb., a medicinal plant enjoys it use in the traditional medicine in Bangladesh for the treatment of a number of ailments. Fruits are used in the treatment of fever, inflammation, biliary complaints and hepatic congestion. Leaves are used in bone fracture and in the treatment of diphtheria. The plant is also reported to be used traditionally in the treatment of skin irritation abortion and renal diseases .

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://connection.ebscohost.com/c/articles/83173978/antibacterial-cytotoxic-activity-meyna-spinosa-roxb-stem

http://thai-shopping-mall.com/muyna-meyna-spinosa-5-seeds-p-1375.html

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

http://thinkinglaymen.org.in/plant_details.php?id=568a

Justicia adhatoda (Bengali :Bakash or Vasok)

Botanical Name: Justicia adhatoda
Family:    Acanthaceae
Genus:    Justicia
Species:J. adhatoda
Kingdom:Plantae
Division:Angiosperms
Class:    Eudicots
Order:    Lamiales

Synonyms:Adhatoda vasica, Adhatoda zeylanica,

Common Names:  Adhatoda, Adathodai, Adusoge, Vasaka, Adalodakam, Malabar Nut, Arusa Adulsa, Bakash, Addasaramu.

vernacular names:
*sinhala: pawatta
*Malayalam: Atalotakam
*Sanskrit: Sinhapuri, Vasaka
*Hindi: Adosa, Arusha, Rus, Bansa
*Bengali: Adulsa, Bakash,Vasok
*Gujarati: Aradus?, Adulso, Aduraspee, Bansa
*Kannada: Adusogae
*Marathi: Adulsa, Adusa
*Oriya: Basanga
*Punjabi: Bhekkar
*Tamil: Adathodai
*Telugu: Adamkabu, Adampaka, Addasaram
*Nepali: Asuro, Kalo vasak
*Mizo: Kawldai

Habitat: Justicia adhatoda is native to Asia, widely used in Siddha Medicine, Ayurvedic and Unani systems of medicine.The plant’s range includes Sri Lanka, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, and China, as well as Panama where it is thought to have been introduced

Description:
Justicia adhatoda is a shrub with lance-shaped leaves 10 to 15 centimeters in length by four wide. They are oppositely arranged, smooth-edged, and borne on short petioles. When dry they are of a dull brownish-green colour. They are bitter-tasting. When a leaf is cleared with chloral hydrate and examined microscopically the oval stomata can be seen. They are surrounded by two crescent-shaped cells at right angles to the ostiole. The epidermis bears simple one- to three-celled warty hairs, and small glandular hairs. Cystoliths occur beneath the epidermis of the underside of the blade.

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Called Simha Mukhi in Sanskrit because the shape of its flowers resembles a lion’s head, Justicia adhatoda is found growing in abundance in plain areas. The bitter taste of this herb is source of its name, a goat will not eat it. There are distinct differences in male  and female  varieties of this plant, it can be found as either a tree with spines (male) or a small bush with spineless leaves (female). In maturity, this herb has dark green leaves with yellow undersides 10 to 16 cm in length. The fruit which holds the most potency of the herb is a small capsule usually with four seeds. The pendulant flowers of this herb are found in white, red and black, with the white flowered variety the most commonly found. Typically found throughout India, and particularly in the Himalayan mountain area, it flourishes at altitudes up to 1.000 meters above sea level.

Medicinal Uses:
Plant Parts Used: Leaves, roots, fruit, stem bark and flowers.
Chemical composition: Several alkaloids are present in the leaves. The most important is vasicine, a quinazoline alkaloid. The vasicine yield of the herbage has been measured as 0.541 to 1.1% by dry weight.

This shrub has a number of traditional medicinal uses in Siddha Medicine, Ayurvedic and Unani systems of medicine.

*In Ayurveda this herb is called Vasa and traditionally only the female (Mada) variety of Adhatoda vasica were used, with preference for potency to Mada plants with red flowers, which are almost as rare as those with black flowers. It is the white flowered Mada variety of Adhatoda vasica that is most commonly used in medicinal preparations.

* Justicia adhatoda is an herb that has unique properties which support the entire respiratory system, and its bronchial function. The leaves, flowers and root of this herb have been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for the treatment of chest congestion and inflammation. In addition to mucolytic action, benzylamines, a potent alkaline that is derived from  Justicia adhatoda inhibit the effects of Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

*In addition, the fruit of  Justicia adhatoda’s expectorant properties are valued for treating asthma, fever, coughs, vomiting and chronic bronchitis. The leaves are dried and smoked for asthma relief.

*In pharmacology, this herb provides two valuable alkaloids, vasicine and vasicinone, produced by the oxidation process of vasicine has been found to be a more potent broncho-dilator, in addition to decreasing sensitivity to airborne irritants.

*Rich in vitamin C, carotene and the leaves also yield an essential oil and Adhatodic acid, an organic acid. The juice of the leaves and root are used to relieve symptoms of pyorrhea and bleeding gums and cure glandular tumor, diarrhea and dysentery. The leaves are also powdered and used a poultice for dressing wounds, relief of rheumatism and as an alterative in cases of neuralgia, epilepsy, hysteria and mental imbalance.

*Expectorant action is due to the volatile oil content and the bronchodilator activity of vasicine is used in conjunction with atropine. Vasicine is also the reason for its use in stimulating the contraction of uterine muscles to accelerate or induce labor.

*The leaves are boiled and combined with honey, ginger and black pepper (piper nigrum) to treat coughs and respiratory ailments. A decoction of the herb is used to expel intestinal parasites and wasting of the body (phthisis).

*Fresh flowers of this plant are used to treat eye conditions such as opthalmia. The leaf has also shown significant protective qualities in conditions leading to liver damage

Vasicine, the active compound, has been compared to theophylline both in vitro and in vivo. Another, vasicinone, showed bronchodilatory activity in vitro but bronchoconstrictory activity in vivo. Both the alkaloids in combination (1:1) showed pronounced bronchodilatory activity in vivo and in vitro. Both alkaloids are also respiratory stimulants. Vasicine has a cardiac–depressent effect, while vasicinone is a weak cardiac stimulant; the effect can be normalized by combining the alkaloids. Vasicine is reported to have a uterine stimulant effect. Vasicinone was shown to have an antianaphylactic action. Clinical trials of a commercial drug containing vasicinone and vasicinone have not revealed any side effects while treating bronchial asthma.

Known Hazards: The use of the leaf extract, is considered safe. However, the uterine tonic and abortifacient activity prevents its use during pregnancy, except during childbirth. Due to the potency of this herb it should be taken under medical supervision.

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://ezinearticles.com/?Adhatoda-Vasica&id=730923

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

Jaboticaba

Botanical Name:Myrciaria cauliflora
Family:    Myrtaceae
Genus:    Plinia
Species:P. cauliflora
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:   Myrtales

Synonyms:Plinia cauliflora

Common Name:Jaboticaba

Other Common Names:Brazilian Grape Tree, Jaboticaba, Jabotica, Jabuticabeira, Guaperu, Guapuru, Hivapuru, Sabará and Ybapuru (Guarani).

Habitat: Jaboticaba is native to Minas Gerais and São Paulo states in southeastern Brazil. Related species in the genus Myrciaria, often referred to by the same common name, are native to Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Peru and Bolivia.

Description:
Jaboticaba is a slow growing large shrub or small, bushy tree. It reaches a height of 10 – 15 feet in California and 12 – 45 feet in Brazil, depending on the species. The trees are profusely branched, beginning close to the ground and slanting upward and outward so that the dense, rounded crown may attain an ultimate spread as wide as it is tall. The thin, beige to reddish bark flakes off much like that of the guava.

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The evergreen, opposite leaves are lanceolate to elliptic, 1 – 4 inches in length and 1/2 – 3/4 inch wide. In color they are a glossy dark green with a leathery texture. The size, shape and texture varies somewhat from one species to another.

Small yellow-white flowers dramatically emerge from the multiple trunks, limbs and large branches in groups of four. It has been reported from Brazil that solitary jaboticaba trees bear poorly compared with those planted in groups, which indicates that cross-pollination enhances productivity.

The fruit is grape-like in appearance and texture but with a thicker, tougher skin. Most California fruit is dark purple to almost black in color. Averages size is one inch in diameter but can run from 3/4 to 1-1/2 inches, depending on species and variety. The gelatinous whitish pulp contains from one to four small seeds and has a pleasant, subacid flavor markedly similar to certain muscadine grapes. The skin has a slight resinous flavor that is not objectionable. Fruit may be produced singly or in clusters from the ground up all over the trunk and main branches, and the plant may fruit up to five times per year. Fresh fruit is delicious eaten out-of-hand and can be made into jellies, jams and wine. The skin is high in tannin and should not be consumed in large quantities over a long period of time.

Propagation: Most seeds are polyembryonic, producing a plant that is true or close to the parent plant. The seeds germinate in about one month. A suggested potting mixture is 2 parts peat, 2 parts coarse sand and 1 part coarse perlite, wood shavings or compost. Selected strains can be reproduced by inarching (approach grafting) or air-layering. Budding is not easily accomplished because of the thinness of the bark and the hardness of the of the wood. Veneer or side grafts are fairly successful. The grafted plant will fruit considerably earlier than a seedling. One may expect a grafted plant to produce fruit within three years, It can take from 8 to 15 years for a seedling to mature into a fruiting tree. It is this very slow growth that has kept this plant from becoming as popular as it deserves to be. Grafting older trees over to a different variety is inadvisable because it is the trunk and inner branches which produce the fruit. One would have to cut the tree back to a one-inch stump in order to change its fruiting nature.

Edible Uses:
The Jaboticaba fruit is purple-black in color with plum-sized fruits cluster which is directly around the stem and main branches of the tree. These fruits are grape-like in appearance and also the flavor tastes as that of grapes, being sweet with an attractive sub acid tang. The fruits skin is tougher than grapes and this aids storage and handling.

The jabuticaba is a fresh juicy fruit that can be eaten fresh off the tree. It is also used in jellies, or left to ferment and become wine and hard liquor.

Taste-The fruit Jaboticaba’s appearance invited Trubus to taste those ripe fruits. Rosy Nur Apriyanti, Trubus reporter, picked up from the fruits. ‘It tastes sweet,’ as the grape like fruit flesh with soft texture was enjoyed by the tongue. “On the first day of the fruit picked, its flavour is like guava, and the second day it is like mangosteen, and the third day is lychee taste, the forth is passion fruit taste, the fifth is sweetsop fruit; the sixth up to the eighth is grape fruit nature of taste.” The best flavor impression is on the ninth day when fruit becomes perfectly ripe and it tastes sweet and smells good.

Medicinal Uses:
Jaboticaba is used for the treatment of hemoptysis, asthma, diarrhea and dysentery also as a gargle for chronic inflammation of the tonsils are by the caustic decoction of the sun-dry skins is agreed in Brazil. Such use of fruit also may lead to excessive consumption of tannin.

The fruit of Jaboticaba contain compounds similar to known to have positive biological effects in cranberries, grapes and other related species, including anti-ageing, anti-inflammatory and the antioxidant qualities.

It is discovered that several anticancer compounds in this fruit , so scientists hope to be useful in the fight against this disease.

Other Uses: The jaboticaba makes an attractive landscape plant.
Cultural aspects:
The name jabuticaba, derived from the Tupi word Jabuti (tortoise) + Caba (place), meaning the place where you find tortoises. The Guarani name is “Yvapuru”, where yva means fruit, and the onomatopoeic word pur? for the crunching sound the fruit produces when bitten.

A traditional song from the eastern region of Bolivia refers to a young woman as having “eyes like the guapuru” (because of their soft blackness) and a mouth “as sweet as the achachairu.”

The jabuticaba tree, which appears as a charge on the coat of arms of Contagem, Minas Gerais, Brazil, has become a widely used species in the art of bonsai, particularly in Taiwan and parts of the Caribbean.

In Brazil, it is common to refer to something allegedly unique to the country as a “jabuticaba” since the tree supposedly only grows in Brazil. It is usually a pejorative expression.

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.fruitsinfo.com/Jabotacaba-Exotic-fruits.php

http://www.crfg.org/pubs/ff/jaboticaba.html

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

http://www.thegardenguru.net/edible-fruiting-tropical-plants/jaboticaba-the-brazilian-tree-grape/

Frankenia grandifloria

Botanical: Frankenia grandifloria
Family: N.O. Frankeniaceae
Synonyms: Frankenia. Flux Herb.
Common Name: Yerba Reuma
Habitat:  Frankenia grandifloria is native to California, Nevada, Arizona and Northern Mexico.Heliotropium curassavicum,and alkaline places, from the coast to the desert. SAn Joaquin Valley, central coast, south coast, Channel Islands, eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada, Mojave Desert, Nevada, Mexico, to South America.It grows in salt marshes in clay loam soil, with high salt content. in salt marshes, full sun, pink fls. no trees, low vegetation.
It tolerates seaside conditions, alkaline soil, salt, no drainage and seasonal flooding.

Description:
Frankenia grandifloria is a perennial, rhizomatous and small shrubby plant, with a prostrate, much-branched stem, about 6 inches long, growing in sandy places.It’s leaves are opposite, entire and glabrous to densely hairy, the lower ones obovate and the upper narrow, and axillary fascicles are often present.
The solitary rose-purple flowers are about 3/8″ long and are sessile in the upper leaf axilsThe 5-cleft calyx is tubular with acute teeth, and the corolla contains five petals with 4-7, generally 5 or 6, stamens. There are normally three style branches.  The fruit is a linear capsule 3/16″ long with 1-20 brown seeds.    It blooms from June to October.  These four pictures were taken in Upper Newport Bay. It is salty to the taste, leaving an astringent aftertaste. It has somewhat fkeshy leaves ( no odour), small white to pink flowers, forms clumps, CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Medicinal Uses:
Part Used: The Herb.
Constituents: It contains about 6 per cent of tannin.

The herb is used as a remedy in catarrhal affections, especially of the nose and genitourinary tract.
When diluted with from two to five times its volume of water, it may be used as an injection or spray. It may also be taken internally.

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.laspilitas.com/nature-of-california/plants/frankenia-grandiflora

http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/y/yerreu06.html

http://www.calflora.net/bloomingplants/alkaliheath.html

Eriodictyon glutinosum

Botanical Name: Eriodictyon glutinosum
Family: Hydrophyllaceae

Synonyms: Mountain Balm. Consumptive’s Weed. Gum Bush. Bear’s Weed. Holy or Sacred Herb. Eriodictyon Californicum (Hook and Arn.).

Other Name: Holy or Sacred Herb

Habitat: Eriodictyon glutinosum is native to California and Northern Mexico,found growing abundantly in clumps on dry hills in California and Northern Mexico.

Description: Eriodictyon glutinosum is a low, shrubby evergreen plant, 2 to 4 feet high. The stem is smooth, usually branched near the ground, and covered with a peculiar glutinous resin, which covers all the upper side of the plant. Leaves, thick and leathery, smooth, of a yellowish colour, their upper side coated with a brownish varnish-like resin, the under surface being yellowish-white reticulated and tomentose, with a prominent midrib, alternate, attached by short petioles, at acute angle with the base; shape, elliptical, narrow, 2 to 5 inches long 3/4 inch wide, acute and tapering to a short leaf-stalk at the base. The margin of the leaf, dentate, unequal, bluntly undulate. The flowers, bluish, in terminal clusters of six to ten, in a one-sided raceme, the corolla funnel-like, calyx sparsely hirsute….CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Medicinal Uses:
Parts Used:Dried leaves.
Constituents: The chief constituents are five phenolic bodies, eriodictyol, homoeriodictyol, chrysocriol, zanthoeridol and eridonel. Free formic and other acids, glycerides of fatty acids; a yellow volatile oil; a phytosterol, a quantity of resin, some glucose. Taste, balsamic and sweetish, afterwards acrid, but not bitter, recalls Dulcamara and creates a flow of saliva. Odour, aromatic. The leaves are brittle when dry, but flexible in a warm, moist atmosphere. Eriodictyon Californicum is official in the United States Dispensary. Alcohol is the best agent for the fluid extract of the dried plant.

Recommended for bronchial and laryngeal troubles and in chronic pulmonary affections, in the treatment of asthma and hay-fever in combination with Grindelia robusta. Likewise advised for haemorrhoids and chronic catarrh of the bladder. Much used in California as a bitter tonic and a stimulating balsamic expectorant and is a most useful vehicle to disguise the unpleasant taste of quinine. Male fern and Hydrastis. In asthma, the leaves are often smoked. Aromatic syrup is the best vehicle for quinine.

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.herbsguide.net/yerba-santa.html

http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/y/yersan07.html

Rumex acetosa

Botanical Name :  Rumex acetosa
Family:    Polygonaceae
Genus:    Rumex
Species:R. acetosa
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:    Caryophyllales

Common Names: Common sorrel or garden sorrel, often simply called sorrel
Other Names: Spinach dock and Narrow-leaved dock.

Habitat : Rumex acetosa occurs in grassland habitats throughout Europe from the northern Mediterranean coast to the north of Scandinavia and in parts of Central Asia. It occurs as an introduced species in parts of North America.

Description : Rumex acetosa is a perennial herb. It is a plant like the Common Dock, but handsomer, and distinguished by its sharp-pointed leaves being narrower and longer. It grows about 3 feet high, having erect, round, striated stems and small greenish flowers, turning brown when ripe……..CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Edible Uses: The leaves may be pureed in soups and sauces or added to salads; they have a flavour that is similar to kiwifruit or sour wild strawberries. The plant’s sharp taste is due to oxalic acid.

In northern Nigeria, sorrel is known as yakuwa or sure (pronounced suuray) in Hausa or karassu in Kanuri. It is also used in stews usually in addition to spinach. In some Hausa communities, it is steamed and made into salad using kuli-kuli (traditional roasted peanut cakes with oil extracted), salt, pepper, onion and tomatoes. The recipe varies according to different levels of household income. A drink called solo is made from a decoction of the plant calyx.

In Romania, wild or garden sorrel, known as m?cri? or ?tevie, is used to make sour soups, stewed with spinach, added fresh to lettuce and spinach in salads or over open sandwiches.

In Russia and Ukraine it is called shchavel’   and is used to make soup called green borscht. It is used as a soup ingredient in other countries, too .

In Croatia and Bulgaria is used for soups or with mashed potatoes, or as part of a traditional dish containing eel and other green herbs.

In rural Greece it is used with spinach, leeks, and chard in spanakopita.

In the Flemish speaking part of Belgium it is called “zurkel” and preserved pureed sorrel is mixed with mashed potatoes and eaten with sausages, meatballs or fried bacon, as a traditional winter dish.

In Vietnam it is called Rau Chua and is used to added fresh to lettuce and in salads for Bánh X?o.

In Portugal, it’s called “azeda” (sour), and is usually chewed raw.

In India, the leaves are called chukkakura in Telugu and are used in making delicious recipes. Chukkakura pappu soup made with yellow lentils which is also called toor dal in India.

In Albania it is called lëpjeta, the leaves are simmered and served cold marinated in olive oil, it is used in soups, and even as an ingredient for filling byrek pies ( byrek me lakra ).

This name can be confused with the hibiscus calyces or Hibiscus Tea.

Medicinal Uses:
The root has been used in drinks and decoctions for scurvy and as a general blood cleanser, and employed for outward application to cutaneous eruptions, in the form of an ointment, made by beating it up with lard.

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.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/d/docks-15.html

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

Scrophularia aquatica

Botanical Name :Scrophularia aquatica
Family: Scrophulariaceae
Genus: Scrophularia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Synonyms: Water Betony. Fiddlewood. Fiddler. Crowdy Kit. Brownwort. Bishops’ Leaves.

Common Name:Water Figwort

Habitat : Scrophularia aquatica is native to South of Denmark in Europe, N. Africa, N. and W. Asia, eastward to the Himalayas, marks the present range of this species in the N. Temperate Zone.It is typically an aquatic plant growing by the side of tracts of water, being rooted in the mud, and a thorough hygrophyte. It is to be found by the sides of most rivers, streams, and other types of running water. It also frequents still waters, such as lakes, ponds, pools, and even ditches by the roadside. It is seldom found away from water.

Description:
Scrophularia aquatica is a perennial flowering plant. It is found only in damp ground, generally by the banks of rivers and ponds. It varies much in size, but on an average, the stems grow to a height of 5 feet. The general character of the stem is upright, though small lateral branches are thrown out from the rigid, straight, main stem, which is smooth and quadrangular, the angles being winged. The stems are often more or less reddish-purple in colour; though hollow and succulent, they become rigid when dead, and prove very troublesome to anglers owing to their lines becoming tangled in the withered capsules. The Figwort is named in Somersetshire, ‘Crowdy Kit’ (the word kit meaning a fiddle), or ‘Fiddlewood,’ because if two of the stalks are rubbed together, they make a noise like the scraping of the bow on violin strings, owing no doubt to the winged angles. In Devonshire, also, the plant is known as ‘Fiddler.’
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The leaves are placed in pairs on the stem, each pair at right angles to the pair below it; all are on footstalks, the pairs generally rather distant from one another on the stem. The leaves are oblong and somewhat heartshaped; smooth, with very conspicuous veining. The flowers grow at the top of the stems, arranged in loose panicles, under each little branch of which is a little floral leaf, or bract. They are in bloom during July and August. The calyx has five conspicuous lobes, fringed by a somewhat ragged-looking, brown, membraneous border. The dark, greenish-purple, sometimes almost brown corolla is almost globular; the lobes at its mouth are very short and broad, the two upper ones stand boldly out from the flower, the two side ones taking the same direction, but are much shorter, and the fifth lobe turned sharply downward. The result is that the flowers look like so many little helmets. There are four anther-bearing stamens, and generally a fifth barren one beneath the upper lip of the corolla. The seed vessel when ripe is a roundish capsule opening with two valves, the edges of which are turned in, and contains numerous small brown seeds.

Wasps and bees are very fond of the flowers, from which they collect much honey.

The leaves are used, collected in June and July, when in best condition, just coming into flower, and used both fresh and dried.

Medicinal Uses:
Scrophularia aquatica has vulnerary and detergent properties, and has enjoyed some fame as a vulnerary, both when used externally and when taken in decoction.

In modern herbal medicine, the leaves are employed externally as a poultice, or boiled in lard as an ointment for ulcers, piles, scrofulous glands in the neck, sores and wounds. It is said to have been one of the ingredients in Count Matthei’s noted remedy, ‘AntiScrofuloso.’

In former days this herb was relied on for the cure of toothache and for expelling nightmare. It has also a reputation as a cosmetic, old herbalists telling us that:  ‘the juice or distilled water of the leaves is good for bruises, whether inward or outward, as also to bathe the face and hands spotted or blemished or discoloured by sun burning.’

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.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/f/figwat14.html

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

http://chestofbooks.com/flora-plants/flowers/British-Wild-Flowers-1/Water-Figwort-Scrophularia-Aquatica-L.html#.U_FuI9tXv_s

Erysimum cheiri

Botanical Name :Erysimum cheiri
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus:     Erysimum
Species: E. cheiri
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Brassicales

Synonyms: Cheiranthus cheiri,Gillyflower. Wallstock-gillofer. Giroflier. Gillyflower. Handflower. Keiri. Beeflower. Baton d’or.

Common Name:   Wallflower, Aegean wallflower

Habitat:Erysimum cheiri is native to all Southern Europe, on old walls, quarries and seacliffs. It grows on Walls, cliffs and rocks, often near the sea in Britain.

Description:
This is an herbaceous perennial plant, often grown as a biennial, with one or more highly branching stems reaching heights of 15–80 cm (6–31 in). The leaves are generally narrow and pointed and may be up to 20 cm (8 in) long. The top of the stem is occupied by a club-shaped inflorescence of strongly scented flowers. It has single flowers, yellowy orange in its wild state, and quickly spreads abundantly from seed, commencing to bloom in early spring, and continuing most of the summer. In olden times this flower was carried in the hand at classic festivals, hence it was called Cherisaunce by virtue of its cordial qualities. Each flower has purplish-green sepals and rounded petals which are two to three centimeters long and in shades of bright yellows to reds and purples. The flowers fall away to leave long fruits which are narrow, hairy siliques several centimeters in length.
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This is a popular ornamental plant, widely cultivated for its abundant, fragrant flowers in spring. Many cultivars have been developed, in shades of yellow, orange, red, maroon, purple, brown, white and cream. It associates well in bedding schemes with other spring flowers such as tulips and forget-me-nots. It is usually grown as a biennial, sown one year to flower the next, and then discarded. This is partly because of its tendency to grow spindly and leggy during its second year, but more importantly its susceptibility to infections such as clubroot.

A miniature yellow double leafed wallflower was rediscovered by Rev. Henry Harpur-Crewe (before 1883) and is now named “Harpur Crewe”. Other bred varieties may vary quite a bit in appearance from the wild plant. One cultivar, ‘Chelsea Jacket‘, is a winner of the Royal Horticultural Society‘s Award of Garden Merit. Other varieties such as ‘Blood Red Covent Garden’ are easy to grow and often benefit from being sown and left to their own devices, growing on patches of empty land with little effort required to maintain them, providing aesthetically sound blooms which produce heady scents.

Cultivation:
Prefers a position in full sun in a circumneutral soil. Succeeds in ordinary garden soils, tolerating poor and limey soils. Plants are liable to die out if the soil is too rich. Wallflowers are perennial, though they are usually grown as biennials in the flower garden for spring and early summer bedding. There are some named varieties. A very ornamental plant, it is liable to die out after flowering, probably because it exhausts itself by producing so many flowers. Plants require a very well-drained dry soil if they are to survive a second winter. They grow well on dry stone walls  and also on old mortared walls where they usually self-sow. A good butterfly and moth plant. A good companion for apple trees.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in an outdoor seedbed. Germination should take place within 3 weeks. Plant the seedlings into their permanent positions when they are large enough to handle. If seed is in short supply, it can be sown in spring in pots in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in early summer.

Constituents: Oil, a powerful glucoside, of the digitalis group, and cherinine, a crystalline alkaloid.

Medicinal Uses:
Erysimum cheiri was formerly used mainly as a diuretic and emmenagogue but recent research has shown that it is more valuable for its effect on the heart. In small doses it is a cardiotonic, supporting a failing heart in a similar manner to foxglove (Digitalis purpurea). In more than small doses, however, it is toxic and so is seldom used in herbal medicine. The flowers and stems are antirheumatic, antispasmodic, cardiotonic, emmenagogue, nervine, purgative and resolvent. They are used in the treatment of impotence and paralysis. The essential oil is normally used. This should be used with caution because large doses are toxic. The plant contains the chemical compound cheiranthin which has a stronger cardiotonic action than digitalis (obtained from Digitalis species). If taken in large doses this is very poisonous and so this plant should not be used medicinally without expert supervision. The seeds are aphrodisiac, diuretic, expectorant, stomachic and tonic. They are used in the treatment of dry bronchitis, fevers and injuries to the eyes

(In homoeopathic medicine a tincture of the whole plant has been found useful in the effects of cutting the wisdom tooth) The oil has a pleasing perfume if diluted, but in full strength a disagreeable odour. The alkaloid is useful acting on nerve centres and on the muscles.

Other Uses: The flowers contain 0.06% essential oil. It has a pleasing aroma if diluted and is used in perfumery. The seed contains about 20% fixed oil, but no details of any uses are  available.

Known Hazards :    The plant is said to be poisonous if used in large quantities.

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/Erysimum_cheiri

http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/w/wallfl04.html

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Cheiranthus+cheiri

Arisaema triphyllum

Botanical Name : Arisaema triphyllum
Family: Araceae
Subfamily: Aroideae
Tribe:     Arisaemateae
Genus:     Arisaema
Species: A. triphyllum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Alismatales

Synonyms: Arum triphyllum , Dragon Root. Wild Turnip. Devil’s Ear. Pepper Turnip. Indian Turnip. Jack-in-the-Pulpit. Memory Root. Arisamae triphyllum (Schott.).
(French) Gouet à trois feuilles.
(German) Dreiblattiger Aron.

Common Names: jack-in-the-pulpit, bog onion, brown dragon, Indian turnip, American wake robin, or wild turnip

Habitat: Arisaema triphyllum is native to  Eastern North America in damp places. Indigenous almost all over United States and Canada.

Description:
Arisaema triphyllum  is a herbaceous perennial plant growing from a corm. It’s leaves are trifoliate, with groups of three leaves growing together at the top of one long stem produced from a corm; each leaflet is 8–15 centimetres (3.1–5.9 in) long and 3–7 centimetres (1.2–2.8 in) broad. Plants are sometimes confused with Poison-ivy especially before the flowers appear or non-flowering plants. The inflorescences are shaped irregularly and grow to a length of up to 8 cm long. They are greenish-yellow or sometimes fully green with purple or brownish stripes. The spathe, known in this plant as “the pulpit” wraps around and covers over and contain a spadix (“Jack”), covered with tiny flowers of both sexes. The flowers are unisexual, in small plants most if not all the flowers are male, as plants age and grow larger the spadix produces more female flowers. This species flowers from April to June. It is pollinated by flies, which it attracts using heat and smell. The fruit are smooth, shiny green, 1 cm wide berries clustered on the thickened spadix. The fruits ripen in late summer and fall, turning a bright red color before the plants go dormant. Each berry produces 1 to 5 seeds typically, the seeds are white to light tan in color, rounded, often with flattened edges and a short sharp point at the top and a rounded bottom surface. If the seeds are freed from the berry they will germinate the next spring, producing a plant with a single rounded leaf. Seedlings need three or more years of growth before they become large enough to flower.

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In addition the plant is not self-pollinating since the male flowers on a specific plant have already matured and died before the female flowers of that same plant are mature. So the female flowers need to be pollinated by the male flowers of a different plant. This inhibits inbreeding and contributes to the health of the species.

Edible Uses:If the plant is properly dried or cooked it can be eaten as a root vegetable.

Constituents: In the recent state it has a peculiar odour and is violently acrid. It has been found to contain besides the acrid principle, 10 to 17 per cent of starch, albumen, gum, sugar, extractive, lignin and salts of potassium and calcium.

Medicinal Uses:
Acrid, expectorant, and diaphoretic. Used in flatulence, croup, whooping-cough, stomatitis, asthma, chronic laryngitis, bronchitis and pains in chest.A preparation of the root was reported to have been used by Native Americans as a treatment for sore eyes. Preparations were also made to treat rheumatism, bronchitis, and snakebites, as well as to induce sterility.

Known Hazards: In the fresh state it is a violent irritant to the mucous membrane, when chewed burning the mouth and throat; if taken internally this plant causes violent gastro-enteritis which may end in death.

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.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/w/wakero03.html

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