Category Archives: Herbs & Plants

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Allium przewalskianum

Botanical Name: Allium przewalskianum
Family:    Amaryllidaceae
Subfamily:Allioideae
Genus:    Allium
Species:A. przewalskianum
Kingdom:Plantae
Clade:    Angiosperms
Clade:    Monocots
Order:    Asparagales

Synonyms:
*Allium jacquemontii Regel
*Allium jacquemontii var. parviflorum (Ledeb.) Aswal
*Allium junceum Jacquem. ex Baker
*Allium przewalskianum var. planifolium Regel
*Allium rubellum var. parviflorum Ledeb.
*Allium stenophyllum Wall.
*Allium stoliczkii Regel

Common Names: Jimbu

Habitat :  Allium przewalskianum  is widely distributed, reported from India, Nepal, Pakistan, Tibet, and parts of China(Gansu, Nei Mongol, Ningxia, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Sichuan, Xinjiang, Xizang, Yunnan)

Description:
Allium przewalskianum has narrow bulbs up to 10 mm across. Scape is up to 40 cm tall, round in cross-section. Leaves are tubular, about the same length as the scape. Umbel is densely crowded with many red or dark purple flowers.
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It is hardy to zone (UK) 8 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, insects.

Cultivation:  
Prefers a sunny position in a light well-drained soil. This species is only hardy in the milder areas of Britain, it probably tolerates temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c. The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply. Most members of this genus are intolerant of competition from other growing plants. Grows well with most plants, especially roses, carrots, beet and chamomile, but it inhibits the growth of legumes. This plant is a bad companion for alfalfa, each species negatively affecting the other. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation: 
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle – if you want to produce clumps more quickly then put three plants in each pot. Grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter and plant them out into their permanent positions in spring once they are growing vigorously and are large enough. Division in spring. Very easy, the plants divide successfully at any time in the growing season and the divisions can be planted straight out into their permanent positions if required.

Edible Uses:The herb  Allium przewalskianum  has a taste in between onion and chives, is most commonly used dried. In Mustang it is used to flavor vegetables, pickles, meat. In the rest of Nepal it is most commonly used to flavor urad dal or lentils. The dried leaves are fried in ghee to develop their flavor.

Bulb – raw or cooked. A very pleasant onion flavour[K], though rather on the small size and scarcely exceeding 10mm in diameter. Harvested in the autumn, they will store for at least 6 month. Leaves – raw or cooked. Tender and delicious. The leaves are rather on the small and thin side, but have an excellent onion favour[K]. They make a nice refreshing munch when working in the garden and also go very well in salads. They can be harvested from spring until the autumn. Flowers – raw. A pleasant onion flavour, they are used as a garnish on salads.

Medicinal Uses:

It is estimated that in Asiatic households use jimbu as medicine (mostly as a treatment believed to help flu).Although no specific mention of medicinal uses has been seen for this species, members of this genus are in general very healthy additions to the diet. They contain sulphur compounds (which give them their onion flavour) and when added to the diet on a regular basis they help reduce blood cholesterol levels, act as a tonic to the digestive system and also tonify the circulatory system.

Other Uses: The juice of the plant is used as a moth repellent. The whole plant is said to repel insects and moles.

Known Hazards:Although no individual reports regarding this species have been seen, there have been cases of poisoning caused by the consumption, in large quantities and by some mammals, of certain members of this genus. Dogs seem to be particularly susceptible.

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.

Resourcs:

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

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

http://www.amazon.com/Spice-Republic-Jimbu-Himalayan/dp/B006JUSA0M

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Allium+przewalskianum

Syzygium polyanthum

Botanical Name: Syzygium polyanthum
Family:    Myrtaceae
Subfamily:Myrtoideae
Tribe:    Syzygieae
Genus:    Syzygium
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:Myrtales

Synonyms: Eugenia balsamea, Eugenia nitida, Eugenia polyantha

Common Names:Indonesian bay leaf, daun salam

Habitat : Syzygium polyanthum is native to  Southeast Asia.:  Indochina, Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia (GRIN).It grows in tropical climate.

Description:
Syzygium polyanthum is a medium-sized evergreen perennial tree,it grows up to 30 m tall with dense crown, bole up to 60 cm in diameter; bark surface fissured and scaly, grey. Leaves opposite, simple, glabrous; petiole up to 12 mm long; blade oblong-elliptical, narrowly elliptical or lanceolate, 5-16 cm x 2.5-7 cm, with 6-11 pairs of secondary veins distinct below and a distinct intramarginal vein, dotted with minute oil glands, petiole up to 12 mm long. Inflorescence a panicle, 2-8 cm long, usually arising below the leaves, sometimes axillary, but trees flower very profusely; flowers sessile, bisexual, regular, fragrant, white, in threes on ultimate branchlets of the panicle; calyx cup-shaped, about 4 mm long, with 4 broad persistent lobes; petals 4, free, 2.5-3.5 mm long, white; stamens numerous, arranged in 4 groups, about 3 mm long; disk quadrangular, orange-yellow. Fruit a 1-seeded berry, depressed globose to globose, up to 12 mm in diameter, dark red to purplish-black when ripe”
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Propagation: Through Seed

Edible Uses:
Syzygium polyanthum has been known as a seasoning in various culinary nations Indonesia.  In addition, there are also benefits in terms of bay leaves as a natural treatment.

Medicinal Uses:
Syzygium polyanthum is used in Gastrointestinal disorders  and other disorders.

Forv diarrhea
Wash 15 fresh bay leaves. Boil in two cups water to boil for 15minutes. Add a little salt. Once cool, strain and filter drinking water well

For diabetes
7-15 Wash fresh bay leaves, then boiled in 3 cups of water until remaining 1 glass. Once cool, strain and filter drinking water well before eating. Apply 2 times a day.

For Lowering high cholesterol levels:
Wash 10-15 fresh bay leaves, and then boiled in 3 cups of water until remaining 1 glass. Once cool, strain and filter drinking water well at night. Do it every day.

For lowering high blood pressure:
Wash 7-10 bay leaves then boiled in 3 cups of water until remaining 1 glass. Once cool, strain and filter drinking water 2 times a day, each half a glass.

For ulcers:
Rinse 15-20 fresh bay leaves. Boil with 1 / 2 litter of water to boil for 15 minutes. Add palm sugar to taste. After chilling, drinking water as a tea. Do it every day until the pain disappeared and a full stomach.

During Hangover
Wash 1 handful of ripe fruit greeting, then mash until smooth. Squeeze and strain, the water collected while drunk.

For Scabies, itch
for external treatment, simply grab a leaf, bark, stems, or roots regards as necessary. Rinse, then milled until smooth dough like mush. And apply to the itchy spot, then wrapped.

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/Syzygium

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

http://herbpathy.com/Uses-and-Benefits-of-Syzygium-Polyanthum-Cid644

http://herbalmedicinalplant01.blogspot.in/2011/09/efficacy-syzygium-polyanthum.html

Sichuan pepper

Botanical Name ; Sichuan pepper
Family  :  Rutaceae
Subfamily: Rutoideae
Gender : Zanthoxylum
Species : Z. piperitum
Kingdom :Plantae
Subkingdom :Tracheobionta, Vascular plants
Superdivision :Spermatophyta, Seed plants
Division : Magnoliophyta,Flower plants
Class :Magnoliopsida, Dicotyledons
Subclass: Rosidae
Order: Sapindales

Synonyms:  Zanthoxylum piperitum

Common Names:
English: Sichuan pepper, Szechwan pepper or Szechuan pepper, Japanese pepper
Spanish: pimienta de Sichuán, pimienta de Sechuán, Fagara, pimienta anís, pimienta marrón, pimienta china, pimienta de Japón, Sansho, pimentero japonés (arbusto, bonsai).
Catalan: pebre japonès, pebre de Japó, pebre de Szechuan.
French: Poivrier du Japon, poivre chinois.
Italian: Pepe di Sichuan.
German: Japanischer Pfeffer, Anispfeffer, Chinesischer Pfeffer, Szechuanpfeffer.
Japanese: san-shô, shichimi.

Habitat:Sichuan pepper is native to Asia (mainly Caina)It grows in sun or partial shade. It prefers moist soils or heavy clay soils, well drained. Frost resistant up to -15 ° C.

Description:
Sichuan pepper is a deciduous shrub that grows 2 feet high by about 1 meter wide.Stem with rough colored bark, branched and covered with spines.
The leaves are pinnate, with an odd number of leaflets oval opposite (5 to 19), alternate and dark green. In fall, the leaves becom yellow stained.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
It flowers from April to June in the northern hemisphere. The Japanese pepper tree is a dioecious species, that’s to say, it has male plants and female plants. The variety to provide fruits must have both sexes.

The flowers are yellowish green, small and aromatic, fruity . They are formed on old wood, in the axils of the new branches.

The fruit is a capsule-sized sessile like peppercorns (3 to 5 mm in diameter), which grow in groups of 4 in the stem end, but only 1 or 2 fruits fail to develop.
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The capsules or fruit are reddish-brown.they have many bumps in the bark. They contain a liquid inside responsible for the characteristic pungent spiciness of this plant.

The interior has a black seed, shiny. It is customary that some fruits are empty inside.

Edible Uses:
The plant (fruit) is used as a spice . Its leaves are also edible.

Sichuan pepper’s unique aroma and flavour is not hot or pungent like black, white, or chili peppers. Instead, it has slight lemony overtones and creates a tingly numbness in the mouth (caused by its 3% of hydroxy alpha sanshool) that sets the stage for hot spices. According to Harold McGee in On Food and Cooking, they are not simply pungent; “they produce a strange, tingling, buzzing, numbing sensation that is something like the effect of carbonated drinks or of a mild electrical current (touching the terminals of a nine-volt battery to the tongue). Sanshools appear to act on several different kinds of nerve endings at once, induce sensitivity to touch and cold in nerves that are ordinarily nonsensitive, and so perhaps cause a kind of general neurological confusion.”

Recipes often suggest lightly toasting the tiny seed pods, then crushing them before adding them to food. Only the husks are used; the shiny black seeds are discarded or ignored as they have a very gritty sand-like texture. The spice is generally added at the last moment. Star anise and ginger are often used with it in spicy Sichuan cuisine. It has an alkaline pH and a numbing effect on the lips when eaten in larger doses. Ma la (Chinese: ??; pinyin: málà; literally “numbing and spicy”), common in Sichuan cooking, is a combination of Sichuan pepper and chili pepper, and it is a key ingredient in má là hot pot, the Sichuan version of the traditional Chinese dish. It is also a common flavouring in Sichuan baked goods such as sweetened cakes and biscuits.

Sichuan pepper is also available as an oil. In this form, it is best used in stir-fry noodle dishes without hot spices. The recipe may include ginger oil and brown sugar cooked with a base of noodles and vegetables, then rice vinegar and Sichuan pepper oil are added after cooking.

Hua jiao yan is a mixture of salt and Sichuan pepper, toasted and browned in a wok and served as a condiment to accompany chicken, duck, and pork dishes. The peppercorns can also be lightly fried to make a spicy oil with various uses.

In Indonesian Batak cuisine, andaliman (a relative of Sichuan pepper) is ground and mixed with chilies and seasonings into a green sambal tinombur or chili paste, to accompany grilled pork, carp, and other regional specialties. Arsik, a Batak dish from the Tapanuli region, uses andaliman as spice.

Sichuan pepper is one of the few spices important for Nepali (Gurkha), Tibetan and Bhutanese cookery of the Himalayas, because few spices can be grown there. One Himalayan specialty is the momo, a dumpling stuffed with vegetables, cottage cheese or minced yak meat, water buffalo meat, or pork and flavoured with Sichuan pepper, garlic, ginger, and onion, served with tomato and Sichuan pepper-based gravy. Nepalese-style noodles are steamed and served dry, together with a fiery Sichuan pepper sauce.

In Korean cuisine, two species are used: Z. piperitum and Z. schinifolium.

Medicinal uses:
Native North Americans use the ground bark of Szechuan plant as a remedy for toothache.
Like in anise, these peppercorns too found application in traditional medicines as stomachic, anti-septic, anti-spasmodic, carminative, digestive, expectorant, stimulant and tonic.

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/Sichuan_pepper

http://www.botanical-online.com/english/pepper_zanthoxylum_piperitum.htm

http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/sichuan-peppercorns.html

Tasmannia stipitata

Botanical Name : Tasmannia stipitata
Family:    Winteraceae
Genus:    Tasmannia
Species:T. stipitata
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Canellales

Common Names: Tasmannia stipitata, Dorrigo Pepper or Northern Pepperbush

Habitat :Tasmannia stipitata is native to temperate forests of the Northern Tablelands of New South Wales, Australia.(North from Barrington Tops to North East of Tenterfield, common on Dorrigo Plateau in New South Wales and into Queensland.) It grows In tall moist eucalypt forest and rainforest, especially Nothofagus moorei forest, the coastal ranges, usually above 1000 m alt.

Description:
Tasmannia insipida  is a  dioecious shrub up to 2.5 to 3 metres high (sometimes taller) with reddish stems,branchlets ± glaucous, purplish when young.
The leaves are lance-shaped from 80 to 200 mm long with a peppery flavour when crushed. The small white flowers occur in umbels from the leaf axils in spring through to summer. Separate male and female flowers are borne on the one plant – male flowers are distinguished by a number of stamens extending from the base of the flower.Flowering during September to November. The flowers are followed by oval-shaped, red berries about 15-20 mm long which darken to deep purple when ripe in summer. In contrast with T.lanceolata and T.stipitata, the seeds of T.insipida are not used commercially for culinary purposes but retain the peppery flavour and are edible.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Edible Uses:
The culinary quality of Tasmannia stipitata was recognized in the mid-1980s by horticulturist Peter Hardwick, who gave it the name ‘Dorrigo pepper’, and Jean-Paul Bruneteau, then chef at Rowntrees Restaurant, Sydney. It is mainly wild harvested from the Northern Tablelands of New South Wales. Dorrigo pepper has a woody peppery note in the leaves and fruit/seed. The hot peppery flavor is derived from polygodial, an essential oil component, common to most species in the family.

Tasmannia stipitata, Dorrigo pepper, is also used as a spice and was the original pepperbush used in specialty native food restaurants in the 1980s. Dorrigo pepper is safrole free and has a strong peppery flavour.

Medicinal Uses:  Mountain Peppers are said to be  Antiscorbutic, stomachic.
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/Tasmannia_stipitata

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

http://floragreatlakes.info/html/rfspecies/stipitata.html

http://anpsa.org.au/t-ins.html

Wasabi (Japanese Horseradish)

Botanical Name : Wasabia japonica or Eutrema japonica
Family:    Brassicaceae
Genus:    Wasabia
Species:W. japonica
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:    Brassicales

Other Names: Japanese Horseradish
French: Raifort du Japon
German: Bergstockrose, Japanischer Kren
Korean: Kochu-naengi, Gochu-naengi, Gyeoja-naengi, Kyoja-naengi, Wasabi
Thai: Wasabi
Chinese (Canonese): Saan kwai
Chinese (Mandarin): Shan kui

As one of the most prized crops from Japan, this pale green root is grown in cold mountain streams under some of the most closely guarded growing practices in agriculture. Many outside Japan have gone to great lengths to duplicate its wonderfully hot flavour. In fact, most of the commercial wasabi products in the west are fake. Many of us believe wasabi is the eye-watering and sinus-scouring vivid green side dish paste served with sushi, however, most of the time it is a concoction of horseradish, mustard, and artificial colouring.

Plant Description and Cultivation
Wasabia japonica is a slow growing perennial with a rooted, thickened rhizome, long petioles and large leaves. The wasabi rhizome looks much like a brussel sprout stalk after the sprouts are removed. The long stems (petioles) of the Wasabia Japonica plant emerge from the rhizome to grow to a length of 12 to 18 inches and can reach a diameter of up to 1 ½ inches. They merge into single heart shaped leaves that can reach the size of a small dinner plate.

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Wasabia Japonoica plants can take as much as three years to reach maturity. Initially, given the right conditions, the wasabi plant produces robust top and root growth, growing to about 2 feet with an overall width about the same. After this initial establishment phase the rhizome begins to build and store reproductive nutrients, reaching a size of 6 to 8 inches in approximately two years.
Wasabi can grow in the ground, but commonly it’s cultivated in water. It’s said that it’s very difficult to grow wasabi. For wasabi cultivation, clean water is essential, and the temperature must be mild (heat must be avoided). When the wasabi plant grows to nearly 20 inches tall, with green leaves on the head, the rhizome grows above the root and the plant is ready for harvesting.

Since the flavor is wonderful, you might want to use fresh wasabi in your cooking. If you want to buy fresh wasabi, there is a place online that sell it.
Click to buy Wasabi
Under optimum conditions, Wasabia Japonica will reproduce itself by seed, though on commercial wasabi farms, plant stock is typically extended by replanting small offshoots which characteristically occur as the plant matures.

Wasabi prefers the cool, damp conditions found in misty mountain stream beds. It generally requires a climate with an air temperature between 8°C (46°F) and 20 °C (70°F), and prefers high humidity in summer. It is quite intolerant of direct sunlight so it is grown beneath a natural forest canopy or man-made shade.

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Wasabia Japonica grows in northern Japan, parts of China, Taiwan, Korea and New Zealand. In North America, the rain forests found in British Columbia, the Oregon Coast and in parts of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina and Tenessee provide the right balance of climate, sunlight and water quality to grow natural wasabi. Limited success has been achieved by firms using greenhouse and/or hydroponic techniques, but the resulting costs are typically quite high. There are two main strategies that are used in growing Wasabi. The higher quality Wasabi, both in appearance and taste, grows in cool mountain streams and is known as semi-aquatic or “sawa” Wasabi. Wasabi known as field or “oka” Wasabi is grown in fields under varying conditions and generally results in a lower quality plant, both in appearance and taste.
Few places are suitable for large-scale wasabi cultivation, and cultivation is difficult even in ideal conditions. In Japan, wasabi is cultivated mainly in these regions:

Wasabia Japonica grows in northern Japan, parts of China, Taiwan, Korea and New Zealand. In North America, the rain forests found in British Columbia, the Oregon Coast and in parts of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina and Tenessee provide the right balance of climate, sunlight and water quality to grow natural wasabi. Limited success has been achieved by firms using greenhouse and/or hydroponic techniques, but the resulting costs are typically quite high. There are two main strategies that are used in growing Wasabi. The higher quality Wasabi, both in appearance and taste, grows in cool mountain streams and is known as semi-aquatic or “sawa” Wasabi. Wasabi known as field or “oka” Wasabi is grown in fields under varying conditions and generally results in a lower quality plant, both in appearance and taste.
Few places are suitable for large-scale wasabi cultivation, and cultivation is difficult even in ideal conditions. In Japan, wasabi is cultivated mainly in these regions:

Izu peninsula, located in Shizuoka prefecture
Nagano prefecture
Shimane prefecture
Yamanashi prefecture
Iwate prefecture
There are also numerous artificially cultivated facilities as far north as Hokkaidō and as far south as Kyūshū. The demand for real wasabi is very high. Japan has to import a large amount of it from:Mainland China and Ali Mountain of Taiwan, New Zealand.
In North America, a handful of companies and small farmers are successfully pursuing the trend by cultivating Wasabia japonica. While only the Pacific Northwest and parts of the Blue Ridge Mountains provide the right balance of climate and water for natural cultivation of sawa (water grown) wasabi, the use of hydroponics and greenhouses has extended the range. British Columbia in Canada, Oregon in United States and North Carolina in United States.
While the finest sawa wasabi is grown in pure, constantly flowing water, without pesticides or fertilizers, some growers push growth with fertilizer such as chicken manure, which can be a source of downstream.

Spice Description
Wasabi a member of the cruciferae family originating in Japan and is related to cabbages. It is a perennial which grows about knee high, is semi aquatic and produces a thickened stem in a similar fashion to a small brussel sprout. As the stem grows the lower leaves fall off. This stem has a very pungent smell and flavour when made into a paste.

The fresh is certainly preferable, but in the West, it’s more commonly found as a dry powder. Premixed pastes are available but none capture the intensity well. Make your own paste from the powder or fresh root.

Preparation and Storage
Treat the fresh root like horseradish, shredding only as much as needed. Traditionally, a sharkskin grater or “oroshi” is used. Using sharkskin as a tool for grating wasabi has been a practice in Japan since the earliest times, and is still regarded as the preferred method of obtaining the best flavour, texture and consistency in freshly ground wasabi. If a sharkskin grater is not available, ceramic or stainless steel surfaces can be used. Ceramic graters with fine nubs are preferable to stainless steel, but in either case, the smaller and finer the ‘teeth’, the better.

Pulsing in a food mill pure will yield a fiery paste, or it can be tempered with other ingredients to make vinaigrettes, mayonnaise or other hot condiments.

Grating wasabi releases volatile compounds, which gradually dissipate with exposure to the air. Using a traditional sharkskin grater and keeping the rhizome at a 90-degree angle to the grating surface generally minimizes exposure to the air. In this way, the volatile compounds are allowed to develop with minimal dissipation. Once you have grated enough for the first ‘session’, pile the grated wasabi into a ball and let stand at room temperature for a few minutes to allow the flavor and heat to develop. The flavor will dissipate within a short period, so grate only what will be used within 15 or 20 minutes.

How To Grate Wasabi.
*Rinse the rhizome under cold running water.
*Scrape off any bumps or rough areas along the sides.
*Scrub the rhizome with a stiff brush.
*Cut the rhizome just below the leaf base and inspect the exposed flesh to ensure that it is a uniform green colour.
*Grate the cut end against the grater surface, using a circular motion.
*After use, rinse the rhizome under cold running water. If you are using a sharkskin grater, rinse it under cold running water as well and let it air dry.

If you have powdered wasabi, make sure to allow some time once it is rehydrated so that the flavour compounds come back to the surface.
Wasabi powder is very convenient for use and storage, when sealed in an air-tight container or bag, and stored in low temperature, the self-life is almost 2 years.

Uses
Wasabi is generally sold either in the form of a root, which must be very finely grated before use, or as a ready-to-use paste, usually in tubes approximately the size and shape of travel toothpaste tubes. Once the paste is prepared it should remain covered until served to protect the flavor from evaporation. For this reason, sushi chefs usually put the wasabi between the fish and the rice.

Fresh leaves of wasabi can also be eaten and have some of the hot flavor of wasabi roots. They can be eaten as wasabi salad by pickling overnight with a salt and vinegar based dressing, or by quickly boiling them with a little soy sauce. Additionally, the leaves can be battered and deep-fried into chips.

For those who mistakenly consume too much of this condiment, the burning sensations it can induce are short-lived compared to the effects of chili peppers, especially when water is used to dissipate the flavor.

Wasabi is often served with sushi or sashimi, usually accompanied with soy sauce. The two are sometimes mixed to form a single dipping sauce known as Wasabi-joyu. Legumes may be roasted or fried, then coated with a wasabi-like mixture (usually an imitation); these are then eaten as an eye-watering “in the hand” snack.

Wasabi Ice Cream is a recent but increasingly popular innovation.

Culinary Uses
The pungent flavour of Wasabi lends itself to a great range of culinary uses. For most people the first introduction to its splendid taste is as a condiment for use with Japanese dishes such as Sushi, Sushimi and Soba dishes, and also with raw fish. For these uses it is ground up into a paste for seasoning.

Wasabi (Japanese horseradish) is an essential condiment in Japanese cuisine. It’s the light green paste that accompanies sushi, seafood, noodle dishes, and more. Typically, people dip sashimi (raw fish) slices in a mixture of wasabi and soy sauce. Wasabi is said to be effective as an antidote to prevent food poisoning. That is one reason that wasabi is served with sushi and raw fish slices.

Ideally, to use fresh wasabi, the rhizome is grated by a metal grater. But the availability of fresh wasabi rhizomes is usually low, and 100 % real, fresh wasabi is rarely used. Wasabi powder, which is used by mixing with water, or tubed wasabi, is substituted for fresh wasabi.
These prepared products are commonly used in Japanese homecooking.
The powdered wasabi is made mainly from seiyo-wasabi (western horseradish) powder, mustard powder, and food colorings. Also, the Japanese brands of tubed wasabi (such as S&B) include both real wasabi and western horseradish. It’s more convenient and cheaper to use the wasabi substitutes than using fresh wasabi. But, the taste and smell of real wasabi can never be matched. If you are using the powdered wasabi, mix with it water right before you intend to use it. You can ensure the best flavor that way.

Increasingly, we are finding that the use of wasabi extends beyond the scope of these traditional dishes. It is a flavour in its own right and can be used to enhance dips, meats and other foods.

Chemistry
The chemicals in wasabi that provide its unique flavor are the isothiocyanates, including:

6-methylthiohexyl isothiocyanate,
7-methylthioheptyl isothiocyanate and
8-methylthiooctyl isothiocyanate.
Research has shown that isothiocyanates have beneficial effects such as inhibiting microbe growth. This may partially explain why wasabi is traditionally served with seafood, which spoils quickly. However, if the quality of seafood is questionable, it should not be eaten raw, with or without wasabi. It is not a treatment for food poisoning.

Attributed Medicinal Properties
Besides its unique role as a food condiment, Wasabi also possesses many potential health benefits. A number of studies have shown that the active ingredients in Wasabia japonica are able to kill a number of different types of cancer cells, reduce the possibility of getting blood clots, encourages the bodies own defences to discard cells that have started to mutate, and acts as an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent against food poisons.

Wasabia Japonica owes its flavor and health benefits in part to a suite of isothicyanates (ITC’s) with unique characteristics including powerful anti-bacterial properties, which help mitigate microbial elements or pathogens potentially present. This helps reduce the effects food poisoning, supports detoxification and helps prevent conditions that lead to tooth decay. Rich in beta-carotenes and glucosinolates, Wasabi also kills some forms of E-Coli and Staphylococcus. Studies also indicate it helps reduce mucous, which has made it the focus of experiments relating to its use in combating asthma and congestive disorders.

The unique ITC group found in Wasabi includes long-chain methyl isothicyanates which are uncommon in most American’s diets. Long-chain methyl ITC’s have proven efficacy and potency in supporting natural liver and digestive detoxification functions than other more common types of isothicyanates.

The powerful antioxidant characterisics of Wasabi are also attracting additional scientific study. Evidence suggests that glucosinolates and their hydrolysis products are efficacious in reducing cancer risk by encouraging the immune system to discard mutagenic cells.

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/Image:Wasabi%2C_Iwasaki_Kanen_1828.jpg

http://www.theepicentre.com/Spices/wasabi.html

http://japanesefood.about.com/od/wasabi/a/wasabi.htm

Acmella oleracea

Botanical Name :Acmella oleracea
Family:    Asteraceae
Genus:    Acmella
Species:A. oleracea
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:    Asterales

Synonyms: Spilanthes oleracea, S. acmella

Common Names:Toothache plant and paracress. In Brazil it is called jambu.

Habitat : Acmella oleracea may be natibe to Brazilian Acmella species.

Description:
Acmella oleracea is a  sprawling and ornamental annual plant,  growing to a height of 12-18 in. (30-45 cm)It has copper tinted foliage and unique golden “eyeball shaped” flowers (it’s really just a composite without the petals).It is a small, erect plant, it grows quickly and bears gold and red inflorescences. It is frost-sensitive and perennial in warmer climates.It blooms repetedly during late summer and early fall.The bloom colour is red and bright yellow……. CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation & propagation:
This plant prefers well-drained, black (high organic content) soil. If starting outdoors, the seeds should not be exposed to cold weather, so startING after last frost is better. Seeds need direct sunlight to germinate, so don’t bury them.

Edible Uses:
A small amount of shredded fresh leaves is said to add a unique flavour to salads. Cooked leaves lose their strong flavour and may be used as leafy greens. Both fresh and cooked leaves are used in dishes such as stews in northern Brazil, especially in the state of Pará. They are combined with chilis and garlic to add flavor and vitamins to other foods.

The flower bud has a grassy taste followed by a strong tingling or numbing sensation and often excessive salivation, with a cooling sensation in the throat. The buds are known as “buzz buttons”, “Szechuan buttons“, “sansho buttons”, and “electric buttons”. In India, they are used as flavoring in chewing tobacco.

A concentrated extract of the Spilanthes plant identified as Jambu is used as a flavoring agent in many countries worldwide. EFSA and JECFA reviewed a feeding study in rats conducted by Moore et al and both authorities recognized that the no adverse effect level for spilanthol was 572 mg/kg b.w./day, yielding a safe dose of spilanthol of 1.9 mg/kg b.w./day, or 133.5 mg/70-kg male/day, 111 mg/58-kg female/day, or 38 mg/20-kg child/day.

The use of jambu extract as a food flavor is described as having an odor of citrus, herbal, tropical or musty odor, and its taste can be pungent, cooling, tingling, numbing, or effervescent. Thus, as described, the flavor use of jambu extract includes the ability induce a mouth-watering sensation in the oral cavity and the ability to promote the production of saliva. Spilanthol, the major constituent of jambu extract, is responsible for the perception of a mouth-watering flavor sensation, as well as the ability to promote salivation as a sialogogue, perhaps through its astringent action or its pungent taste in the oral cavity.

Constituents:
The most important taste-active molecules present are fatty acid amides such as spilanthol, which is responsible for the trigeminal and saliva-inducing effects of products such as jambú oleoresin, a concentrated extract of the plant. It also contains stigmasteryl-3-O-b-D-glucopyranoside and a number of triterpenes. The isolation and total synthesis of the active ingredients have been reported.

Medicinal Uses:
Acmella oleracea  is used as a medicinal remedy in various parts of the world. A decoction or infusion of the leaves and flowers is a traditional remedy for stammering, toothache, and stomatitis.

An extract of the plant has been tested against various yeasts and bacteria and was essentially inactive. It has been shown to have a strong diuretic action in rats.

As a bush plant used for treating toothache, the analgesic effect of the Spilanthes plant has been attributed to the presence of constituents containing an N-isobutylamide moiety, such as spilanthol, a substance that has been found to be an effective sialogogue, an agent that promotes salivation. Spilanthol is absorbed trans-dermally and through the buccal mucosa. Spilanthol may activate TRPA1, a specific transient receptor potential (TRP) ion channel in the oral cavity. In addition to capsaicin, allyl isothiocyanate, and cinnamaldehyde, spilanthol is also reported to affect the catecholamine nerve pathways present in the oral cavity that promote the production of saliva, which is responsible for its ability to induce a mouth-watering sensation when used as a flavor (and associated with the tingling or pungent flavoring sensation in some individuals).

Since 2000, there are several medicinal activities reported on Acmella oleracea that are highlighted in several journals.

Other Uses:
Biological pest control:-
Extracts were bioassayed against yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti) and corn earworm moth (Helicoverpa zea) larvae. The spilanthol proved effective at killing mosquitoes, with a 24-hour LD100 of 12.5 µg/mL, and 50% mortality at 6.25 µg/mL. The mixture of spilanthol isomers produced a 66% weight reduction of corn earworm larvae at 250 µg/mL after 6 days

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/Acmella_oleracea

http://plantlust.com/plants/acmella-oleracea/

http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/997/

Prunus mahaleb

Botanical Name : Prunus mahaleb
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Prunus
Species: P. mahaleb
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Common Names :Prunus mahaleb, aka mahaleb cherry, aka St Lucie cherry

Habitat :Prunus mahaleb  is native in the Mediterranean region, Iran and parts of central Asia. It is adjudged to be native in northwestern Europe or at  least it is naturalized there.The tree occurs in thickets and open woodland on dry slopes; in central Europe at altitudes up to 1,700 m, and in highlands at  1,200-2,000 m in southern Europe. It has become naturalised in some temperate areas, including Europe north of its native range (north to Great Britain and  Sweden), and locally in Australia and the United States.

Description:
Prunus mahaleb is a deciduous tree or large shrub, growing to 2–10 m (rarely up to 12 m) tall with a trunk up to 40 cm diameter.The tree’s bark is  grey-brown, with conspicuous lenticels on young stems, and shallowly fissured on old trunks. The leaves are 1.5-5 cm long, 1-4 cm. wide, alternate, clustered at the end of alternately arranged twigs, ovate to cordate, pointed, have serrate edges, longitudinal venation and are glabrous and green. The petiole is  5-20 mm, and may or may not have two glands. The flowers are fragrant, pure white, small, 8-20 mm diameter, with an 8-15 mm pedicel; they are arranged 3-10  together on a 3-4 cm long raceme. The flower pollination is mainly by bees. The fruit is a small thin-fleshed cherry-like drupe 8–10 mm in diameter, green at  first, turning red then dark purple to black when mature, with a very bitter flavour; flowering is in mid spring with the fruit ripening in mid to late  summer……....CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES.

Cultivation:  
Thrives in a well-drained moisture-retentive loamy soil, growing best in a poor soil. Prefers some lime in the soil but is likely to become chlorotic if too much lime is present. Succeeds in sun or partial shade though it fruits better in a sunny position. Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.

Propagation:       
Seed – requires 2 – 3 months cold stratification and is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible. Protect the seed from mice etc. The seed can be rather slow, sometimes taking 18 months to germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Grow them on in a greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July/August in a frame. Softwood cuttings from strongly growing plants in spring to early summer in a frame. Layering in spring.

Edible Uses:
The fruit might be edible. The fruits of all members of this genus are more or less edible, may not be always of very good quality. However, if the fruit is bitter it should not be eaten in any quantity due to the presence of toxic compounds. The fruit is about 6mm in diameter and contains one large seed. Seeds are eaten  raw or cooked. The dried seed kernels are used as a flavouring in breads, sweet pastries, confectionery etc. They impart an intriguing flavour. Do not eat the seed if it is too bitter – see the notes above on toxicity.

Medicinal Uses:
The seed is tonic. Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, all members of the genus contain amygdalin and prunasin, substances which break down in water to form hydrocyanic acid (cyanide or prussic acid). In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being.

Known Hazards:      Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus where most, if not all members of the genus produce hydrogen cyanide, a poison that gives almonds their characteristic flavour. This toxin is found mainly in the leaves and seed and is readily detected by its bitter taste. It is usually present in too small a quantity to do any harm but any very bitter seed or fruit should not be eaten. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even 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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prunus_mahaleb

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Prunus+mahaleb