Zanthoxylum

Botanical Name :Zanthoxylum spp
Family: Rutaceae
Subfamily: Toddalioideae
Genus: Zanthoxylum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Common NamesPrickly Ash , Szechuan pepper, chuan jiao, Tooth Ache Tree, yellow wood

Habitat:Zanthoxylum is native to northern and central Illinois.It occurs in upland woodlands, bottomland woodlands, savannas, wooded ravines, thinly wooded bluffs, edges of shady seeps, stream banks in wooded areas, thickets, pastures, and fence rows. It probably benefits from occasional wildfires.

Description:
Zanthoxylum  is a shrub is 4-25′ tall, branching abundantly. The bark of trunk and larger branches is gray to brown and fairly smooth, although on old large shrubs it can become shallowly furrowed with a wrinkled appearance. Twigs are brown and glabrous, while young shoots are light green and nearly glabrous to pubescent. Pairs of stout prickles up to 1/3″ long are scattered along the branches, twigs and shoots; these spines are somewhat flattened and curved. Alternate compound leaves about 6-12″ long develop along the twigs and young shoots; they are odd-pinnate with 5-11 leaflets. Individual leaflets are 1½-3¼” long and ½-1½” across; they are lanceolate-oblong to ovate-oblong with margins that are smooth to crenulate (fine rounded teeth). The upper surface of mature leaflets is medium green, minutely glandular, and glabrous, while the lower surface is pale green and short-pubescent to nearly glabrous; in the latter case, fine hairs are restricted to the major veins. Newly emerged leaflets are more hairy than mature leaflets. The lateral leaflets are sessile or nearly so, while the terminal leaflets have slender petiolules (basal stalklets) that are less than ½” long. The light green petioles (basal stalks) and rachises of the compound leaves are hairy while young, but become more glabrous with age; they have scattered small prickles along their undersides.

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Prickly Ash is almost always dioecious, producing male (staminate) and female (pistillate) flowers on separate shrubs. These flowers are arranged in small axillary clusters (cymes) along the branches of the preceding year. Individual male flowers are a little less than ¼” across, consisting of 4-5 erect petals and 4-5 stamens; there is no calyx. The petals of male flowers are yellowish green to orange and oblong in shape. Individual female flowers are about ¼” across, consisting of 4-5 erect petals and 2-5 separate pistils; there is no calyx. The petals of female flowers are also yellowish green to orange and oblong in shape. The ovaries of the pistils are glossy green and ovoid in shape; their elongated styles tend to converge at their tips. The blooming period occurs during mid- to late spring before the leaves develop. Afterwards, the female flowers are replaced by berry-like follicles (fruits that open along one-side) about 1/3″ long that are ovoid-globoid in shape with a pitted surface. As the follicles mature, they change from green to red to brown, eventually splitting open to expose shiny black seeds with oily surfaces. Each follicle contains 1-2 seeds. Both the crushed foliage and fruits are highly aromatic, somewhat resembling the fragrance of lemon peels. The root system produces underground runners, from which clonal offsets are produced. This shrub often forms clonal colonies of varying size.

Cultivation: The preference is full or partial sun and moist to dry-mesic conditions. Different types of soil are tolerated, including those that contain loam, clay-loam, and rocky material. This shrub can adapt to light shade, but it may fail to produce flowers and fruit. It has relatively few problems with pests and disease organisms

Medicinal uses:
Paresthesia is the mouth-numbing effect believed to be caused by hydroxyl-alpha-sanshool, an alkylamide found in Zanthoxylum spp.  Anyone who has bitten into a Sichuan pepper can attest to the unique sensation of mild electric shock or “pins and needles” in their mouth.  Researchers have likened this experience to that of “touching their tongue to the terminals of a 9-volt battery”, which is quite different from the burning pain of chilli peppers or the punch of fresh wasabi.

The numbing and analgesic effects of Zanthoxylum have been exploited for centuries as a natural remedy to alleviate acute and chronic pain.  In Nigeria, the roots are used as a chewing stick to give a warm and numbing effect.  This use is believed to be beneficial to the elderly and to those with sore gums and other oral disease conditions.  Zanthoxylum americanum is commonly known as toothache tree in North America and can be found in the eastern US as well as Ontario and Quebec in Canada.

Zanthoxylum spp. have traditionally been administered for a variety of maladies in addition to oral diseases.  In India, the leaf is used against fever, dyspepsia and bronchitis.  In Manipur, India, the seed oil is applied against baldness and bark powder is used to treat toothache (Singh and Singh 2004).  In a 2008 report titled “Indigenous Vegetables of India with a Potential for Improving Livelihoods,” ML Chadha from the ARVDC Regional Center for South Asia reports that Z. hamiltonianum is used as both a vegetable and a remedy; dried, tender leaves are eaten as a vegetable and powdered fruits are consumed to increase the appetite.  The young stems are employed as a toothbrush in cases of toothache and bleeding gums, whereas the roots and bark are used to cure malaria.  Though generally eaten as a vegetable, the leaves of Z. rhetsa are also consumed to kill tapeworms and reduce infection (Chadha 2008).

Scientific studies are validating the traditional medical role of various Zanthoxylum products.  Research has demonstrated the potential of Z. rhetsa leaf extract as a de-worming remedy; it has been found to have a pronounced effect against larval eggs, comparable to a commercial drug (Yadav and Tangpu  2009).  Bark extract from Z. rhetsa has been shown to lessen abdominal contractions and diarrhoea in mice (Rahman 2002).  Other potential pharmaceutical applications include cancer treatment and anti-oxidant, anti-coagulant and anti-bacterial agents.

At the industrial level, Z. armatum has been shown to contain high amounts of linalool (Jain et al. 2001), a compound used commercially as a precursor to vitamin E production and also in soaps, detergents and insecticides.  Clearly, Zanthoxylum spp. have potential beyond traditional uses as spices and folk medicine.

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.illinoiswildflowers.info/trees/plants/prickly_ash.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zanthoxylum
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail403.php
http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs035/1102506082274/archive/1104323477745.html

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Prunus africana

Botanical Name :Prunus africanum
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Prunus
Subgenus: Cerasus
Section: Laurocerasus
Species: P. africana
Order: Rosales

Syn. : P. africana

Common Names:  Pygeum, Iron wood, (Red) Stinkwood, African Plum, African Prune, African Cherry, and Bitter Almond. In other languages where it grows it is known as; in Amharic tikur inchet, in Chagga Mkonde-konde, in Kikuyu muiri, in Ganda entasesa or ngwabuzito, in Xhosa uMkakase, in Zulu inyazangoma-elimnyama or Umdumezulu, and in Afrikaans Rooi-Stinkhout.

Habitat :Prunus africanum is native to the montane regions of Sub-Saharan Africa and the Islands of Madagascar, Sao Tome, Fernando Po and Grande Comore at about 900–3400 m. of altitude. The mature tree is 10–25 m. high, open-branched and often pendulous in forest, shorter and with a round crown of 10–20 m. diameter in grassland. It requires a moist climate, 900–3400 mm annual rainfall, and is moderately frost-tolerant.

Description:
Prunus africanum  is an evergreen tree, growing up to 150 feet in height.The bark is black to brown, corrugated or fissured and scaly, fissuring in a characteristic rectangular pattern. The leaves are alternate, simple, long (8–20 cm.), elliptic, bluntly or acutely pointed, glabrous and dark green above, pale green below, with mildly serrate margins. A central vein is depressed on top, prominent on the bottom. The 2-cm petiole is pink or red. The flowers are androgynous, 10-20 stamens, insect-pollinated, 3–8 cm., greenish white or buff, and are distributed in 70-mm axillary racemes. The plant flowers October through May. The fruit is red to brown, 7–13 mm., wider than long, two-lobed with a seed in each lobe. It grows in bunches ripening September through November, several months after pollination.

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Chemical Constituents:
The primary active components in pygeum bark are fat-soluble compounds, which include terpenes, sterols (including beta-sitosterol), and ferulic acid esters. Pygeum extracts are commonly standardized to 13% sterol concentration for consistent potency.

Medicinal Uses:
Traditionally used for fevers, malaria, wound dressing, arrow poison, stomach pain, purgative, kidney disease, appetite stimulant
An extract, pygeum, an herbal remedy prepared from the bark of Prunus africana, is used as an alternative medicine in patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) though clinical trials have not yet been conducted. It has shown positive results in in vitro studies and mouse models of prostate cancer.

The collection of mature bark for this purpose and for other medical uses has resulted in the species becoming endangered. Prunus africana continues to be taken from the wild. Plantecam Medicam deserves credit for attempting sustainable bark harvesting by removing opposing quarters of trunk bark rather than girdling the trees. However, quotas have been awarded by the Forestry Department without adequate forest inventories due to some harvesters, spurred on by the high price per kilogram of bark, removing too much of the bark in an unsustainable manner. In the 1990s it was estimated that 35,000 debarked trees were being processed annually. The growing demand for the bark has led to the cultivation of the tree for its medicinal uses.

The terpenes in pygeum have an anti-swelling effect. Terpenes are present in many plants that produce fragrant essential oils. Prostaglandins are inflammatory hormones that tend to accumulate in the prostates of men with BPH. Research indicates that the phytosterols in pygeum interfere with the formation of these prostaglandins, helping to reduce inflammation and swelling of the prostate. When taken correctly, pygeum is considered one of the safest herbs used for male health, and often is combined with saw palmetto for maximum results.

Other Uses:
The timber is a hardwood employed in the manufacture of axe and hoe handles, utensils, wagons, floors, chopping blocks, carving, bridge decks and furniture. The wood is tough, heavy, straight-grained and pink, with a pungent bitter-almond smell when first cut, turning mahogony and odorless later

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.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail296.php
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prunus_africana
http://www.swansonvitamins.com/health-library/encyclopedia/herbs/pygeum.html

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Tabebuia impetiginosa

Botanical Name :Tabebuia impetiginosa
Family: Bignoniaceae
Tribe: Tecomeae
Genus: Tabebuia
Species: T. impetiginosa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Common Names: Pink Ipê or Pink Lapacho,Pau d’arco , lapacho, taheebo

Habitat : Tabebuia impetiginosa  is a native Bignoniaceae tree of America, distributed from northern Mexico south to northern Argentina. It is a common tree in Argentina’s northeastern region, as well as in southeastern Bolivia. It is said to be indigenous to Trinidad and Tobago.

Description:
Tabebuia impetiginosa is a  large deciduous tree, with trunks sometimes reaching 8 dm width and 30 m height. Usually a third of that height is trunk, and two thirds are its longer branches. It has a large, globous, but often sparse canopy. The tree has a slow growth rate. Leaves are opposite and petiolate, 2 to 3 inches long, elliptic and lanceolate, with lightly serrated margins and pinnate venation. The leaves are palmately compound with usually 5 leaflets.

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Its bark is brownish grey, tough and hard to peel. The wood is of a pleasant yellowish colour, barely knotted and very tough and heavy (0,935 kg/dm³). It’s rich in tannins and therefore very resistant to weather and sun. It is not very useful for furniture since it is so hard to work by hand. It can be found as beams or fulfilling other structural uses where needed outdoors.

Pink Lapacho flowers between July and September, before the new leaves appear. In India, the flowering season is December to January, after the leaves are shed. The flower is large, tubular shaped, its corolla is often pink or magenta, though exceptionally seen white, about 2 inches long. There are 4 stamens and a staminode. The fruit consists of a narrow dehiscent capsule containing several winged seeds.

The flowers are easily accessible to pollinators. Some hummingbirds – e.g. Black Jacobin (Florisuga fusca) and Black-throated Mango (Anthracothorax nigricollis) – seem to prefer them over the flowers of other Tabebuia species, while for others like the Stripe-breasted Starthroat (Heliomaster squamosus) it may even be a mainstay food source

Medicinal Uses:
Medicinal Uses: * Candida/yeast * Liver
Properties: * Antifungal * AntiViral * Hepatic * Tonic
Parts Used: Inner bark
Constituents:  lapachol, lapachone, and isolapachone, tannins

The Mayans and Incas of South America regarded Tabebuia impetiginosa as an important healing herb, but the scientific study is still very preliminary; the bottom line is that pau d’arco seems to be more promising for fungal infections than malignant cancers.1 There is a great deal of practical evidence, however, that Tabebuia impetiginosa can be used with success to treat colds, flu, sore throat, and yeast infections. Laboratory evidence suggests that the herb contains compounds that protect against tropical diseases, specifically malaria, schistosomiasis, and tropical fevers. The herb is added to ointments to treat psoriasis, and taken orally to relieve  ulcers.
The inner bark of Tabebuia impetiginosa is used in traditional medicine. It is dried, shredded, and then boiled, making a bitter brownish-colored tea known as Lapacho or Taheebo. The unpleasant taste of the extract is lessened when taken in pill form, or as tinctures. Lapacho bark is typically used during flu and cold season and for easing smoker’s cough. It apparently works by promoting the lungs to expectorate and free deeply embedded mucus and contaminates during the first three to ten days of treatment.

In the past decades it has been used by herbalists as a general tonic, immunostimulant, and adaptogen. It is used in herbal medicine for intestinal candidiasis.

However, the main active compound lapachol has since turned out to be toxic enough to kill fetuses in pregnant rats and reduce the weight of the seminal vesicle in male rats in doses of 100 mg/kg of body weight. Still, lapachol has strong antibiotic and disinfectant properties, and may be better suited for topical applications. Lapachol induces genetic damage, specifically clastogenic effects, in rats. Beta-lapachone has a direct cytotoxic effect and the loss of telomerase activity in leukemia cells in vitro.

One study has shown that recurrence of anal condylomata after surgical treatment is reduced by an admixture of the plants Echinacea, Uncaria, Tabebuja (sic), papaya, grapefruit and Andrographis.

The ethnomedical use of Lapacho and other Tabebuia teas is usually short-term, to get rid of acute ailments, and not as a general tonic. Usefulness as a short-term antimicrobial and disinfecting expectorant, e.g. against PCP in AIDS patients, is yet to be scientifically studied. Tabebuia impetiginosa inner bark seems to have anti-Helicobacter pylori activity. and has some effects on other human intestinal bacteria

Other Uses:
It is also used as a honey plant, and widely planted as ornamental tree in landscaping gardens, public squares and boulevards due to its impressive and colorful appearance as it flowers. Well-known and popular, it is the national tree of Paraguay. It is also planted as a street tree in cities of India, like in Bangalore.

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.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail289.php
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pink_Ip%C3%AA

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Pulsatilla nuttalliana

Botanical Name :Pulsatilla nuttalliana
Family: Ranunculaceae
Genus: Pulsatilla
Species: P. patens
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Ranunculales

Syn.:  Anemone patens v.nuttalliana,

Common Name :Pasque Flower , Pasque Flower, Prairie Crocus, Eastern pasqueflower, prairie smoke, prairie crocus, and cutleaf anemone

Habitat:Pulsatilla nuttalliana is native to Europe, Russia, Mongolia, China, Canada and the United States.

Description:
Pulsatilla patens is a species Perennial Wildf flowering plant.The common name ‘Pasque Flower’ was given for its early blooming habits coinciding with Easter
Flowers/Fruit/Seeds:Light purplish flowers bloom in April before the appearance of the true leaves. Flowers give way to feathery seed heads which are quite showy.Leaves/Stem are erect, hairy stem grows to height of 4 to 10 inches, leaves divided, greyish green and lacy with smooth tops and hairy undersides.
Flowering Season:Spring

 

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Two subspecies have been distinguished:
Pulsatilla patens subsp. patens
Pulsatilla patens subsp. multifida (Pritz.) Zämelis — cutleaf anemone

Medicinal Uses:
Properties: * Antibacterial * Antispasmodic * Nervine

Pasque flower was listed in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia at the time Millspaugh published his “American Medical Plants” in 1882, and was prescribed by both Eclectic physicians and homeopaths1 but is not widely used today because of its high toxicity. The plant can be an effective nervine in the hands of a trained herbalist for nervous exhaustion and dysmenorrhoea.

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Other Uses: We all can enjoy the early spring blooms of pasque flower in our garden as a harbinger of spring.

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.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail552.php
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulsatilla_patens

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Quassia amara

Botanical Name :Quassia amara
Family: Simaroubaceae
Genus: Quassia
Species: Q. amara
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Common Names :Amargo, Bitter-ash, Bitter-wood,Quassia, Jamaica Quassia

Habitat :Quassia amara is native to Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Brasilia, Peru, Venezuela, Suriname, Colombia, Argentinia, French Guiana and Guyana. Q. amara is widely planted outside its native range.

Description:
Amargo is a shrub or rarely a small tree, growing to 3 m tall (rarely 8 m). The leaves are compound and alternate, 15–25 cm long, and pinnate with 3-5 leaflets, the leaf rachis being winged. The flowers are produced in a panicle 15–25 cm long, each flower 2.5-3.5 cm long, bright red on the outside, and white inside. The fruit is a small drupe 1-1.5 cm long.  It has beautiful red flowers and fruits that turn red as they mature.

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Quassia amara is marketed and used interchangeably with another tree species, Picrasma excelsa. Sharing the common name of quassia (and many of Quassia amara’s constituents and uses), P. excelsa is much taller (up to 25 m in height) and occurs farther north in the tropics of Jamaica, the Caribbean, the Lesser Antilles, and northern Venezuela. In herbal medicine in the United States and Europe, very little distinction is made between the two species of trees; they are used identically and just called quassia. The name amargo means “bitter” in Spanish and describes its very bitter taste.

Chemical Constituents:
In the wood a share of 0.09 to 0.17% of quassin and 0.05 to 0.11% of neoquassin was detected in Costa Rician plants. Quassin is one of the most bitter substances found in nature.

Other identified components of bitterwood are: beta-carbolines, beta-sitostenone, beta-sitosterol, dehydroquassins, gallic acid, gentisic acid, hydroxyquassins, isoparain, isoparaines, isoquassins, malic acid, methylcanthins, methoxycanthins, methoxycantins, nigakilactone A, nor-neoquassin, parain, paraines, quassialactol, quassimarin, quassinol, quassol and simalikalactone D.

Medicinal Uses:
In the Amazon rainforest, Quassia amara is used much in the same manner as quinine bark: for malaria and fevers and as a bitter digestive aid. It grows at lower elevations (where quinine does not) and contains many of the same antimalarial phytochemicals (plant chemicals) as quinine. In addition, it is used as an insecticide and tonic, and for hepatitis. Brazilian Indians use the leaves in a bath for measles as well as in a mouthwash used after tooth extractions. Indians in Suriname use the bark for fever and parasites. Throughout South America, amargo is a tribal remedy for debility, digestion problems, fever, liver problems, parasites, malaria, snakebite, and back spasms. In the rainforests of Suriname, carved cups made out of amargo wood can be found in local markets. They are called “bitter cups” and they used medicinally in indigenous Saramaka traditional medicine systems. Drinking from these cups are thought to help digestion with the “bitters” leached from the wood.

In current Brazilian herbal medicine systems, Quassia amara is considered a tonic, digestion stimulant, blood cleanser, insecticide, and mild laxative. It is recommended for diarrhea, intestinal worms, dysentery, dyspepsia, excessive mucus, expelling worms, intestinal gas, stomachache, anemia, and liver and gastrointestinal disorders. In Peru, amargo is employed as a bitter digestive aid to stimulate gastric and other digestive secretions as well as for fevers, tuberculosis, kidney stones and gallstones. In Mexico, the wood is used for liver and gallbladder diseases and for intestinal parasites. In Nicaragua, amargo is used to expel worms and intestinal parasites as well as for malaria and anemia. Throughout South America, the bitter principles of amargo are used to stimulate the appetite and secretion of digestive juices, as well as to expel worms and intestinal parasites.

In herbal medicine in the United States and Europe, amargo is employed as a bitter tonic for stomach, gallbladder, and other digestive problems (by increasing the flow of bile, digestive juices, and saliva); as a laxative, amebicide, and insecticide; and to expel intestinal worms. In Europe, it is often found as a component in various herbal drugs that promote gallbladder, liver, and other digestive functions. In Britain, a water extract of the wood is used topically against scabies, fleas, lice, and other skin parasites. U.S. herbalist David Hoffman recommends it as an excellent remedy for dyspeptic conditions, to stimulate production of saliva and digestive juices, and to increase the appetite (as well as for lice infestations and threadworms). He also notes, “It may safely be used in all cases of lack of appetite such as anorexia nervosa and digestive sluggishness.”

The preparation of a tea out of young leafs is used traditionally in French Guyana. Experiments showed a high inhibition of Plasmodium yoelii yoelii and Plasmodium falciparum.

Other Uses:
Insecticide:
Extracts of Quassia wood or bark act as a natural insecticide. For organic farming this is of particular interest. A good protection was shown against different insect pests (eg. aphids, Colorado potato beetle, Anthonomus pomorum, Rhagoletis cerasi, Caterpillars of Tortricidae).[3] Quassin extract works as a contact insecticide. Adverse effects on beneficial organism were not found.

For Switzerland, a licensed formulation available for organic farming.

Formulation:
Around 200 gramms of Quassia wood chips are put together with 2 liters of water. It is allowed to stand for 24 hours and then it is cooked for 30 min. It is then diluted with 10 to 20 liters of water and used as a spray.  The use of approximately 3-4.5 kg wood extract per hectare seems to be optimal to minimize the damage of Hoplocampa testudinea on apple trees.

Flavouring:
Extracts of Q. amara wood or bark are also used to flavor soft drinks, aperitifs and bitters which can be added to cocktails or to baked goods.

Contraindications:
•Amargo should not be used during pregnancy.

•Amargo has been documented to have an antifertility effect in studies with male rats. Men undergoing fertility treatment or those wishing to have children probably should avoid using amargo.

•Large amounts of amargo can irritate the mucous membrane of the stomach and can lead to nausea and vomiting. Do not exceed recommended dosages.

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/Quassia_amara
http://www.rain-tree.com/amargo.htm#.UgY4yL7D92Y
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail488.php