Andira inermis

Botanical Name :Andira inermis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Andira
Species: A. inermis

Synonyms: Vouacapoua inermis. Bastard Cabbage Tree. Worm Bark. Yellow Cabbage Tree. Jamaica Cabbage Tree.

Common Names:Cabbage bark (in Belize), almendro macho (in El Salvador), almendro de río or river almond (Honduras), bastard cabbage tree, cabbage angelin (USA), cabbage bark (USA), cabbage tree, carne asada (Costa Rica), guacamayo (Honduras), Jamaica cabbage tree, moca (Puerto Rico), partridge wood (USA), worm bark, or yellow cabbage tree.

Habitat :Andira inermis is   native to the area from southern Mexico through Central America to northern South America (Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil); it has been introduced to the Caribbean, the Antilles, Florida, and Africa.

Description:
A leguminous tree, growing very tall and branching towards the top called Cabbage Tree because it forms a head in growing; it has a smooth grey bark which, cut into long pieces, is the part utilized for medicine. It is thick, fibrous, scaly, and of an ashy brownish colour externally, covered with lichens – the inside bark is yellow and contains a bitter sweet mucilage, with an unpleasant smell. In Europe the bark of another species, Avouacouapa retusa, has been utilized. It grows in Surinam, is a more powerful vermifuge than Vouacapoua inermus and does not as a rule produce such injurious after-effects. In the dried state it is without odour, but has a very bitter taste; when powdered it has the colour of cinnamon.

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It is a nitrogen-fixing tree. It is evergreen and unbuttressed and has a dense crown and pink flowers. It grows primarily in riparian zones in forests along rivers. It can also be found in drier areas, including roadsides, pastures, and woodlands.

Constituents:  Jamaicine-Andirin aglucoside, an inodorous, bitter, acrid resin.

Medicinal Action and Uses:  Cabbage tree produces a smooth grey bark which has been used in herbal medicine systems as a strong purgative to expel intestinal worms. It is treated with much respect by the rainforest shamans and herbal healers as a very powerful medicine since too large of a dose causes vomiting, fever, delirium, and even death. Some Indian tribes in the Amazon prepare a bark decoction to use for ring worm and other fungal infections on the skin. Usually taken as an infusion

Narcotic vermifuge. Cabbage Tree bark used in large doses may cause vomiting, fever and delirium, especially if cold water is drunk just before or after taking it. In the West Indies it is largely employed as a vermifuge to expel worm – ascaris lumbrecoides – but if used incautiously death has been known to occur. The powder purges like jalap.

Other Uses:
The tree’s wood is used for lumber, and its smooth gray bark reportedly has narcotic, laxative, and vermifuge properties.

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/c/cabtre01.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andira_inermis

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

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Sagittaria sagittifolia

Botanical Name :Sagittaria sagittifolia
Family: Alismataceae
Genus: Sagittaria
Species: S. sagittifolia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Alismatales

Synonyms : Wapatoo. Is’-ze-kn.,Sagittaria japonica.

Common Name:Arrowhead

Habitat :The Arrowhead is a water plant widely distributed in Europe and Northern Asia, as well as North America, and abundant in many parts of England, though only naturalized in Scotland. it is  native to wetlands throughout the temperate regions of Europe and Asia; in Britain it is the only native Sagittaria.

Description:
It is a herbaceous perennial plant, growing in water from 10–50 cm deep. The leaves above water are arrowhead-shaped, the leaf blade 15–25 cm long and 10–22 cm broad, on a long petiole holding the leaf up to 45 cm above water level. The plant also has narrow linear submerged leaves, up to 80 cm long and 2 cm broad. The flowers are 2-2.5 cm broad, with three small sepals and three white petals, and numerous purple stamens.

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Cultivation:        
A pond or bog garden plant, it requires a moist or wet loamy soil in a sunny position. Prefers shallow, still or slowly flowing water up to 30 – 60cm deep. Plants are fairly cold tolerant, surviving temperatures down to at least -10°c, though the top growth is damaged once temperatures fall below zero. They grow best in warm weather and require at least a six month growing season in order to produce a crop. A polymorphic species, the sub-species S. sagittifolia leucopetala is extensively cultivated for its edible bulb in China where there are many named varieties.

Propagation :   
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a pot standing in about 5cm of water. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle, and gradually increase the depth of water as the plants grow until it is about 5cm above the top of the pot. Plant out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Division of the tubers in spring or autumn. Easy. Runners potted up at any time in the growing season

Edible Uses:
Root – cooked. Excellent when roasted, the taste is somewhat like potatoes. The tubers are starchy with a distinct flavour[116]. The tubers should not be eaten raw[200].The skin is rather bitter and is best removed after the tubers have been cooked. Tubers can also be dried and ground into a powder, this powder can be used as a gruel etc or be added to cereal flours and used in making bread[55, 94].The roots (tubers really) are borne on the ends of slender roots, often 30cm deep in the soil and some distance from the parent plant. The tubers of wild plants are about 15cm in diameter and are best harvested in the late summer as the leaves die down. The dried root contains (per 100g) 364 calories, 17g protein, 1g fat, 76.2g carbohydrate, 3.1g fibre, 5.8g ash, 44mg calcium, 561mg phosphorus, 8.8mg iron, 2,480mg potassium, 0.54mg thiamine, 0.14mg riboflavin, 4.76mg niacin and 17mg ascorbic acid. They contain no carotene. Leaves and young stems – cooked. Somewhat acrid.

Medicinal Action and Uses:
Antiscorbutic;  Diuretic;  Galactofuge.
The plant is antiscorbutic, diuretic. The leaf is used to treat a variety of skin problems. The tuber is discutient, galactofuge and may induce premature birth.

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/Sagittaria_sagittifolia
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/a/arrow063.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Sagittaria+sagittifolia

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Atriplex patula

Botanical Name :Atriplex patula
Family: Amaranthaceae
Subfamily: Chenopodioideae
Genus: Atriplex
Species: A. patula
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Synonym: Spreading Orache.

Common Names:Spear Saltbush; Common Orache; Spear Orach; Spreading Orach

Habitat :
Atriplex patula is native to  most of Europe, including Britain, south and east to N. Africa and W. Asia. It grows on waste and arable land near the coast, it is usually found on clays and heavy ground.

Description:
Atriplex patula is a ruderal, circumboreal species of annual herbaceous plants in the genus Atriplex naturalized in many temperate regions.
The leaves are triangular in outline, rather narrow, the lower ones in opposite pairs. The very small, green flowers are in dense clusters.
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The whole plant is more or less covered with a powdery meal, often tinged red. It is distinguished from the Goosefoot genus Chenopodium, by the solitary seeds being enclosed between two triangular leaf-like valves.

‘These are to be gathered when just ripe for if suffered to stand longer, they lose part of their virtue. A pound of these bruised, and put into three quarts of spirit, of moderate strength, after standing six weeks, afford a light and not unpleasant tincture; a tablespoonful of which, taken in a cup of water-gruel, has the same effect as a dose of ipecacuanha, only that its operation is milder and does not bind the bowels afterwards…. It cures headaches, wandering pains, and the first attacks of rheumatism.

Cultivation:
Succeeds in full sun in any well-drained but not too fertile soil. Prefers a rich soil. Tolerates saline and very alkaline soils.

Propagation:
Seed – sow April/May in situ. Germination is usually rapid.

Edible uses:
Young leaves – raw or cooked as a spinach substitute. A fairly bland flavour, a few leaves of stronger-flavoured plants can be added to enhance the taste[7]. Seed – ground and mixed with cornmeal or used to thicken soups etc. Small and very fiddly to harvest and use

Medicinal uses:
The seeds, harvested when just ripe, are said to be as efficacious as ipecacuanha as a laxative.

Known Hazards: Most reports say that no member of this genus contains any toxins and that all have more or less edible leaves. However, one report says that if very large quantities are eaten they can cause photosensitivity. If plants are grown with artificial fertilizers they may concentrate harmful amounts of nitrates in their leaves.

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

Resources:
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/a/arrac062.html’
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atriplex_patula
http://practicalplants.org/wiki/Atriplex_patula

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Atriplex+patula

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Asclepias

Botanical Name :Asclepias
Family: Apocynaceae
Subfamily: Asclepiadoideae
Tribe: Asclepiadeae
Subtribe: Asclepiadinae
Genus: Asclepias
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Common Name:Milkweed

Habitat :Asclepias contains over 140 known species and most of the species  are native to America  but may be this one is a native of the West Indies, abounding especially in Nevis and St. Kitts.

Description:
Asclepias, the milkweeds, is a genus of herbaceous perennial, dicotyledonous plants.
This genus consists of herbaceous plants with a milky juice, which are for the most part natives of America. Several species are cultivated for the sake of their showy flowers. All of them are more or less poisonous. Asclepias curassavica is employed in the West Indies as an emetic, and goes by the name of Ipecacuanha: the drug known in medicine by that name is derived from quite a different plant and must not be confused with it. A. tuberosa, the Butterfly-weed, has mild purgative properties, and promotes perspiration and expectoration. A. syriaca, a plant misnamed, as it is a native of America and Canada, is frequently to be met with in gardens; its dull red flowers are very fragrant, and the young shoots are eaten as asparagus in Canada, where a sort of sugar is also prepared from the flowers, while the silk-like down of the seeds is employed to stuff pillows. Some of the species furnish excellent fibre, which is woven into muslins, and in certain parts of India is made into paper.

click to see the pictures of  some popular species :

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

In Hindu mythology, Soma – the Indian Bacchus- and one of the most important of the Vedic gods, is a personification of the Soma plant, A. acida, from which an intoxicating milky juice is squeezed. All the 114 hymns of the ninth book of the Rig Veda are in his praise. The preparation of the Soma juice was a very sacred ceremony and the worship of the god is very old. The true home of the plant was fabled to be in heaven, Soma being drunk by gods as well as men, and it is under its influence that Indra is related to have created the universe and fixed the earth and sky in their place. In postVedic literature, Soma is a regular name for the moon, which is regarded as being drunk by the gods and so waning, till it is filled up again by the Sun. In both the Rig Veda and Zend Avesta, Soma is the king of plants; in both, it is a medicine which gives health, long life and removes death.

The three species of Asclepias most used in medicine are the Calotropis procera, A. tuberosa (Pleurisy root) and A. Incarnata (Swamp Milkweed).

It is a very common roadside weed in the eastern and central states of North America, where it is called ‘Silkweed,’ from the silky down which surmounts the seed, being an inch or two in length, and which has been used for making hats and for stuffing beds and pillows. Attempts have been made to use it as a cotton substitute. Both in France and Russia it has had textile use. The fibres of the stem, prepared in the same manner as those of hemp and flax, furnish a very long, fine thread, of a glossy whiteness.

Constituents & Medicinal Action and Uses:  . : It has a very milky juice, which is used as a domestic application to warts. The juice has a faint smell and subacid taste and an acid reaction. It contains a crystalline substance of a resinous character, closely allied to lactucone and called Asclepione; also wax-like, fatty matter, caoutchouc, gum, sugar, salts of acetic acid and other salts.

Besides the above-named species, various other species of the genus have been used medicinally.

An indigenous North American species A. verticillata (Linn.), is used in the Southern States as a remedy in snake bites and the bites of venomous insects. Twelve fluid ounces of a saturated decoction are said to cause an anodyne and sudorific effect, followed by gentle sleep.

From A. vincetoxicum (Linn.), ‘TamePoison,’ besides the glucoside Asclepiadin said closely to resemble emetine in its physiological properties, the glucoside Vincetoxir has been isolated. The root of this species sometimes occurs in commercial Senega Root (Polygala Senega).

An infusion of its root was formerly recommended in dropsical cases and disorders peculiar to women, as well as for promoting perspiration in fevers, measles and other eruptive complaints, but is now much less used.

A. curas-savica (Blood-weed and Redhead) is also called in the West Indies ‘Bastard Ipecacuanha.’

Both root and expressed juice are emetic, the former in the dose of 20 to 40 grains, the latter in that of a fluid ounce.

  The plant is used medicinally in the United States for the anodyne properties of its root and its rhizome and root have been employed successfully, like those of A. tuberosa, both in powder and infusion, in cases of asthma and typhus fever attended with catarrh, producing expectoration and relieving cough and pain. It has also been used in scrofula with great success.

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/Asclepias
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/a/ascle072.html

Asphodelus ramosus

Botanical Name :Asphodelus ramosus
Family: Asphodelaceae
Subfamily: Asphodeloideae
Genus: Asphodelus
Species: A. ramosus
Order: Asparagales
Kingdom: Plantae

Synonyms: White Asphodel. Asphodele Rameux. Royal Staff. Branched Asphodel. King’s Spear.

Common Name:Common Asphodel

Habitat: Asphodelus ramosus is native to the Mediterranean region of southern Europe, northern Africa, and the Middle East. It can also be found in the Canary Islands. It is particularly common on the Catalan coast, where it shows an affinity for acidic soils, mainly schist. It is to be found close to the sea on the slopes of the Albères massif, where it forms abundant colonies in April to May.
Description:
Life form: Hemicryptophyte
Stems: Erect, single, glabrous branched scape
Leaves: Basal rosette; sessile from an underground stem; parallel venation, ensiform, smooth margin
Flowers: White with pink, stellate; 6 tepals with central reddish-brown mid-vein; 6 anthers, white firm filament and an orange anther; superior ovary.
The plant is about 3 feet high, with large, white, terminal flowers, and radical, long, numerous leaves. It is only cultivated in botanical and ornamental gardens, though it easily grows from seeds or division of roots.

The roots must be gathered at the end of the first year.

The ancients planted the flowers near tombs, regarding them as the form of food preferred by the dead, and many poems refer to this custom. The name is derived from a Greek word meaning sceptre.
Edible Uses: The roots, dried and boiled in water, yield a mucilaginous matter that in some countries is mixed with grain or potato to make Asphodel bread. In Spain and other countries they are used as cattle fodder, especially for sheep. In Barbary the wild boars eat them greedily.

In Persia, glue is made with the bulbs, which are first dried and then pulverized. When mixed with cold water, the powder swells and forms a strong glue.

Hippocrates, Dioscorides, and Pliny said the roots were cooked in ashes and eaten. The Greeks and Romans used them in several diseases, but they are not employed in modern medicine.
Constituents: An acrid principle separated or destroyed by boiling water, and a matter resembling inuline have been found. An alcohol of excellent flavour has been obtained from plants growing abundantly in Algeria.

Medicinal Uses:
Acrid, heating, and diuretic. Said to be useful inmenstrual obstructions and as an antispasmodic. The bruised root has been recommended for rapidly dissolving scrofulous swellings.
Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asphodelus_ramosus
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/a/aspho080.html
http://www.flowersinisrael.com/Asphodelusaestivus_page.htm