Vetiver Grass

Botanical Name :Chrysopogon zizanioides
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Chrysopogon
Species: C. zizanioides
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Poales
Synonyms: Vetiveria zizanioides, Phalaris, Anatherum zizanioides,Andropogon odoratus,Andropogon zizanioides.Phalaris zizanioides,Vetiveria zizanioides

Common Name : Vetiver Grass,khus(In western and northern India, it is popularly known as khus.)

Habitat :Vetiver Grass is  native to India.Though it originates in India, vetiver grass is widely cultivated in the tropical regions of the world. The world’s major producers include Haiti, India, Java, and Réunion.

Description:
Vetiver Grass  is a perennial evergreen grass of the Poaceae family.The grass has a gregarious habit and grows in bunches.
Vetiver grass can grow up to 1.5 metres high and form clumps as wide. The stems are tall and the leaves are long, thin, and rather rigid. It has infrequent blooming time. The flowers are brownish-purple. Unlike most grasses, which form horizontally spreading, mat-like root systems, vetiver’s roots grow downward, 2–4 m in depth.  Shoots growing from the underground crown make the plant frost- and fire-resistant, and allow it to survive heavy grazing pressure. The leaves can become up to 120–150 cm long and 0.8 cm wide. The panicles are 15–30 centimeters long and have whorled, 2.5–5.0 centimeters long branches. The spikelets are in pairs, and there are three stamens.

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The plant stems are erect and stiff. They can persist deep water flow. Under clear water, the plant can survive up to two months.

The root system of vetiver is finely structured and very strong. It can grow 3–4 m deep within the first year. Vetiver has no stolons nor rhizomes. Because of all these characteristics, the vetiver plant is highly drought-tolerant and can help to protect soil against sheet erosion. In case of sediment deposition, new roots can grow out of buried nodes.

Vetiver is most closely related to Sorghum but shares many morphological characteristics with other fragrant grasses, such as lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus), citronella (Cymbopogon nardus, C. winterianus), and palmarosa (Cymbopogon martinii).The most commonly used commercial genotypes of vetiver are sterile (do not produce fertile seeds), and because vetiver propagates itself by small offsets instead of underground stolons, these genotypes are noninvasive and can easily be controlled by cultivation of the soil at the boundary of the hedge. However, care must be taken, because fertile genotypes of vetiver have become invasive. Vegetatively propagated, almost all vetiver grown worldwide for perfumery, agriculture, and bioengineering has been shown by DNA fingerprinting to be essentially the same nonfertile cultigen (called ‘Sunshine’ in the United States, after the town of Sunshine, Louisiana).

Edible Uses:
Vetiver grass  is  used as a flavoring agent, usually through khus syrup. Khus syrup is made by adding khus essence to sugar, water and citric acid syrup. Khus Essence is a dark green thick syrup made from the roots of khus grass(vetiver grass). It has a woodsy taste and a scent prominent to khus.

click to see

click to see:Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides) essential oil in a clear glass vial

The syrup is used to flavor milkshakes and yogurt drinks like lassi, but can also be used in ice creams, mixed beverages like Shirley Temples and as a dessert topping. Khus syrup does not need to be refrigerated, although khus flavored products may need to be.

Medicinal Uses:
Vetiver grass has been used in traditional medicine in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and West Africa.Old Tamil literature mentions the use of vetiver for medical purposes.

Other Uses:
Vetiver grass is grown for many different purposes. The plant helps to stabilise soil and protects it against erosion, but it can also protect fields against pests and weeds. Vetiver has favourable qualities for animal feed. From the roots, oil is extracted and used for cosmetics and aromatherapy. Due to its fibrous properties, the plant can also be used for handicrafts, ropes and more.

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Soil and water conservation:
Several aspects of vetiver make it an excellent erosion control plant in warmer climates. Unlike most grasses, it does not form a horizontal mat of roots; rather, the roots grow almost exclusively downward, 2–4 m, which is deeper than some tree roots. This makes vetiver an excellent stabilizing hedge for stream banks, terraces, and rice paddies, and protects soil from sheet erosion. The roots bind to the soil, therefore it can not dislodge. Vetiver has also been used to stabilize railway cuttings/embankments in geologically challenging situations in an attempt to prevent mudslides and rockfalls, the Konkan railway in Western India being an example. The plant also penetrates and loosens compacted soils.

 

Runoff mitigation and water conservation:
The close-growing culms also help to block the runoff of surface water. It slows water’s flow velocity and thus increases the amount absorbed by the soil (infiltration). It can withstand a flow velocity up to 5 metres per second (16 ft/s).

Vetiver mulch increases water infiltration and reduces evaporation, thus protects soil moisture under hot and dry conditions. The mulch also protects against splash erosion.

Crop protection:
Vetiver can be used for crop protection. It attracts pests, such as the stem borer (Chilo partellus), which lay their eggs preferably on vetiver. Due to the hairy architecture of vetiver, the larvae can not move on the leaves, fall to the ground and die.

As a mulch, vetiver is used for weed control in coffee, cocoa and tea plantations. It builds a barrier in the form of a thick mat. When the mulch breaks down, soil organic matter is built up and additional nutrients for crops become available.

Animal feed:
The leaves of vetiver are a useful byproduct to feed cattle, goats, sheep and horses. The nutritional content depends on season, growth stage and soil fertility. Under most climates, nutritional values and yields are best if vetiver is cut every 1–3 months.

In-house uses;
In the Indian Subcontinent, khus (vetiver roots) is often used to replace the straw or wood shaving pads in evaporative coolers. When cool water runs for months over wood shavings in evaporative cooler padding, they tend to accumulate algae, bacteria and other microorganisms. This causes the cooler to emit a fishy or seaweed smell into the house. Vetiver root padding counteracts this smell. A cheaper alternative is to add vetiver cooler perfume or even pure khus attar to the tank. Another advantage is that they do not catch fire as easily as dry wood shavings.

Mats made by weaving vetiver roots and binding them with ropes or cords are used in India to cool rooms in a house during summer. The mats are typically hung in a doorway and kept moist by spraying with water periodically; they cool the passing air, as well as emitting a refreshing aroma.[citation needed]

In the hot summer months in India, sometimes a muslin sachet of vetiver roots is tossed into the earthen pot that keeps a household’s drinking water cool. Like a bouquet garni, the bundle lends distinctive flavor and aroma to the water. Khus-scented syrups are also sold.

Fuel cleaning:
A recent study found the plant is capable of growing in fuel-contaminated soil. In addition, the study discovered the plant is also able to clean the soil, so in the end, it is almost fuel-free.

Vetiver grass is used as roof thatch (it lasts longer than other materials), mud brick-making for housing construction (such bricks have lower thermal conductivity), strings and ropes and ornamentals (for the light purple flowers).

Garlands made of vettiver grass is used to adorn The dancing god nataraja in the Hindu temples.

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/Chrysopogon_zizanioides
http://www.smgrowers.com/products/plants/plantdisplay.asp?plant_id=3690
http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/83630/

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Stinging nettle

Botanical Name :Urtica dioica
Family: Urticaceae
Genus: Urtica
Species: U. dioica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Common Names:Stinging nettle, common nettle, Urtica dioica or Nettle

Habitat :Urtica dioica is  native to Europe, Asia, northern Africa, and North America. They are abundant in northern Europe and much of Asia, usually found in the countryside. It is less widespread in southern Europe and north Africa, where it is restricted by its need for moist soil. In North America it is widely distributed in Canada and the United States, where it is found in every province and state except for Hawaii and also can be found in northernmost Mexico. It grows in abundance in the Pacific Northwest, especially in places where annual rainfall is high. In North America the stinging nettle is far less common than in northern Europe[citation needed]. The European subspecies has been introduced into North America as well as South America.

In Europe stinging nettles have a strong association with human habitation and buildings. The presence of nettles may indicate that a building has been long abandoned. Human and animal waste may be responsible for elevated levels of phosphate and nitrogen in the soil, providing an ideal environment for stinging nettles.

Description:
Stinging nettle is a dioecious herbaceous perennial, 1 to 2 m (3 to 7 ft) tall in the summer and dying down to the ground in winter. It has widely spreading rhizomes and stolons, which are bright yellow as are the roots. The soft green leaves are 3 to 15 cm (1 to 6 in) long and are borne oppositely on an erect wiry green stem. The leaves have a strongly serrated margin, a cordate base and an acuminate tip with a terminal leaf tooth longer than adjacent laterals. It bears small greenish or brownish numerous flowers in dense axillary inflorescences. The leaves and stems are very hairy with non-stinging hairs and also bear many stinging hairs (trichomes), whose tips come off when touched, transforming the hair into a needle that will inject several chemicals: acetylcholine, histamine, 5-HT (serotonin), moroidin, leukotrienes, and possibly formic acid. This mixture of chemical compounds cause a painful sting or paresthesia from which the species derives its common name, as well as the colloquial names burn nettle, burn weed, burn hazel.

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Edible Uses:
Stinging nettle has a flavour similar to spinach and cucumber when cooked and is rich in vitamins A, C, iron, potassium, manganese, and calcium. Young plants were harvested by Native Americans and used as a cooked plant in spring when other food plants were scarce.  Soaking nettles in water or cooking will remove the stinging chemicals from the plant, which allows them to be handled and eaten without incidence of stinging. After the stinging nettle enters its flowering and seed setting stages the leaves develop gritty particles called “cystoliths”, which can irritate the urinary tract.  In its peak season, stinging nettle contains up to 25% protein, dry weight, which is high for a leafy green vegetable.  The young leaves are edible and make a very good pot-herb. The leaves are also dried and may then be used to make a tisane, as can also be done with the nettle’s flowers.

click & see ..>The nettle can be used as a foodstuff, as the purée shown in the  image.

Nettles can be used in a variety of recipes, such as polenta, pesto and purée. Nettle soup is a common use of the plant, particularly in Northern and Eastern Europe. In Nepal and the Kumaon & Gargwal region of Northern India, stinging nettle is known as Sisnu, Kandeli and Bicchu-Booti ( in Hindi) respectively. It is also found in abundance in Kashmir. There it is called ‘Soi’. It is a very popular vegetable and cooked with Indian spices.

Nettles are sometimes used in cheese making, for example in the production of Yarg[20] and as a flavouring in varieties of Gouda.

Nettles are used in Albania as part of the dough filling for the byrek. Its name is byrek me hithra. The top baby leaves are selected and simmered, then mixed with other ingredients like herbs, rice, etc before being used as a filling between dough layers.

Competitive eating:
In the UK, an annual Stinging Nettle Eating Championship draws thousands of people to Dorset, where competitors attempt to eat as much of the raw plant as possible. Competitors are given 60 cm (20 in) stalks of the plant, from which they strip the leaves and eat them. Whoever strips and eats the most stinging nettle leaves in a fixed time is the winner. The competition dates back to 1986, when two neighbouring farmers attempted to settle a dispute about which had the worst infestation of nettle.

Drinks:
Nettle leaves are steeped in a concentrated sugar solution so the flavour is extracted into the sugar solution. The leaves are then removed and a source of citric acid (usually lemon juice) is added to help preserve the cordial and add a tart flavour.

Commercially produced cordials are generally quite concentrated and are usually diluted by one part cordial to ten parts water – thus a 0.5 litres (0.11 imp gal; 0.13 US gal) bottle of cordial would be enough for 5.5 litres (1.2 imp gal; 1.5 US gal) diluted. The high concentration of sugar in nettle cordial gives it a long shelf life.

There are also many recipes for alcoholic nettle beer, which is a countryside favourite in the British Isles.

Medicinal Uses:
Allergies * Alopecia * Amenorrhea * Arthritis * Asthma * Bed Wetting/incontinence * Female Hormones * Fibromyalgia * Kidney * Libido * Longevity Tonics * Menorrhagia * Nutrition * Osteoporosis * PMS * Prostate * Rheumatoid_arthritis * Spring Tonics
Properties: * Analgesic * Anodyne * AntiCancer * Astringent * Depurative * Diuretic * Tonic
Parts Used: Leaves, stems, and to a lesser extent root
Constituents:  formic acid, mucilage, ammonia, carbonic acid, water

Stinging nettles are a potent herb with a long history of use. Nettle is one of natures best nutraceuticals, containing protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, beta-carotene, along with vitamins A,C, D, and B complex, all in a form that is easy for the body to use.

The stinging comes from the presence on the bristles of histamine that delivers a stinging burn when the hairs on the leaves and stems are touched. Stinging nettle contains natural antihistamines and anti-inflammatories (including quercetin), that open up constricted bronchial and nasal passages, helping to ease hay fever, and nose & sinus type allergy symptoms.1

Extracts of nettle roots(click & see) are reliable diuretics that encourage excretion of uric acid, but simultaneously discourage nighttime bathroom urges, making this remarkable plant useful for such disparate problems as gout, and the overnight incontinence of benign prostate enlargement and weak and irritated bladder. Frequent use of nettle leaf tea, a cup or more daily, rapidly relieves and helps prevent water retention. Nettle is a superb nourisher of the kidneys and adrenals.

Stinging nettle is an almost ideal herb for those with all types of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout. The anti-inflammatory substances combined with the rich concentration of the minerals boron, calcium and silicon ease the pain while helping to build strong bones. Drink stinging nettle in teas to reap the most benefits for osteoporosis and the bone loss that is often associated with arthritis. A cup of nettle herbal tea delivers as much calcium and boron, important herbs for bone health, as a whole cup of tincture would.3 While non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID) is necessary evil for most with arthritis, using nettle may help you to decrease the amount you need to take. In a scientific study of patients with acute arthritis, stewed stinging nettle leaves enhanced the anti-inflammatory effects of common arthritis medications. One reason may be that nettles contain large amounts of magnesium which helps to moderate pain response.

Stinging Nettles use a tonic of the female system goes back to the Native American women who used it throughout pregnancy and as a remedy to stop hemorrhaging during childbirth. It is considered one of the best all round women’s tonics. Nettles are a good general tonic of the female reproductive system, excellent for young women just starting their monthly cycle, as well as women entering menopause. Stinging nettle helps to keep testosterone circulating freely and keep you feeling sexually vital, and has been shown effective in treatment of BPH in clincal trials when combined with saw palmetto  4 and for male pattern baldness when combines with saw palmetto and Pygeum 5 Stinging nettle also acts as a tonic to the female system making it a herb that couples can share

Other Uses:

Textiles:
Nettle stems contain a bast fibre that has been traditionally used for the same purposes as linen and is produced by a similar retting process. Unlike cotton, nettles grow easily without pesticides. The fibres are coarser however…>…… click & see….click & see.....click & see .
In recent years a German company has started to produce commercial nettle textiles.
Nettles may be used as a dye-stuff, producing yellow from the roots, or yellowish green from the leaves.

click & see .

Gardening:
As well as the potential for encouraging beneficial insects, nettles have a number of other uses in the vegetable garden.

The growth of stinging nettle is an indicator that an area has high fertility (especially phosphorus) and has been disturbed.

Nettles contain a lot of nitrogen and so are used as a compost activator or can be used to make a liquid fertiliser which although somewhat low in phosphate is useful in supplying magnesium, sulphur and iron. They are also one of the few plants that can tolerate, and flourish in, soils rich in poultry droppings.

Recent experiments have shown that nettles are a beneficial weed, having use as a companion plant.

Stinging nettle can be a troubling weed, and mowing can increase plant density. Regular and persistent tilling will greatly reduce its numbers, the use of herbicides such as 2,4-D and Glyphosate, are effective control measures.

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_detail107.php
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stinging_nettle

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Olive

Botanical Name :Olea europea
Family: Oleaceae
Genus: Olea
Species: O. europaea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Common Name ::Olive
Habitat :Olive is  native to the Mediterranean, Asia and Africa.

Description:
The olive tree, Olea europaea, is an evergreen tree or shrub.  It is short and squat, and rarely exceeds 8–15 metres (26–49 ft) in height. However, the Pisciottana, a unique variety comprising 40,000 trees found only in the area around Pisciotta in the Campania region of southern Italy often exceeds 8–15 metres (26–49 ft) with correspondingly large trunk diameters. The silvery green leaves are oblong, measuring 4–10 centimetres (1.6–3.9 in) long and 1–3 centimetres (0.39–1.2 in) wide. The trunk is typically gnarled and twisted.

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The small white, feathery flowers, with ten-cleft calyx and corolla, two stamens and bifid stigma, are borne generally on the previous year’s wood, in racemes springing from the axils of the leaves.

The fruit is a small drupe 1–2.5 centimetres (0.39–0.98 in) long, thinner-fleshed and smaller in wild plants than in orchard cultivars. Olives are harvested in the green to purple stage. Canned black olives may contain chemicals (usually ferrous sulfate) that turn them black artificially.

Olea europaea contains a seed commonly referred to in American English as a pit or a rock, and in British English as a stone.
There are dozens of ancient olive trees throughout Israel and Palestine whose age has earlier been estimated to be 1,600–2,000 years old; however, these estimates could not be supported by current scientific practices. Ancient trees include two giant olive trees in Arraba and five trees in Deir Hanna, both in the Galilee region, which have been determined to be over 3,000 years old,[35] although there is no available data to support the credibility of the study that produced these age estimates and as such the 3000 years age estimate can not be considered valid. All seven trees continue to produce olives. Several trees in the Garden of Gethsemane (from the Hebrew words “gat shemanim” or olive press) in Jerusalem are claimed to date back to the purported time of Jesus.

Some Italian olive trees are believed to date back to Roman times, although identifying progenitor trees in ancient sources is difficult. A tree located in Santu Baltolu di Carana (municipality of Luras) in Sardinia, Italy, named with respect as the Ozzastru by the inhabitants of the region, is claimed to be 3,000 to 4,000 years old according to different studies.[citation needed] There are several other trees of about 1,000 years old within the same garden. The 15th-century trees of Olivo della Linza located in Alliste province of Lecce in Puglia were noted by Bishop Ludovico de Pennis during his pastoral visit to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Nardò-Gallipoli in 1452

Click to see :-
*Olive tree, Karystos, Euboia, Greece 
*Olive tree older than 1,500 years    
*An ancient olive tree in Pelion, Greece 
*Olive tree in Bar, Montenegro which is over 2,000 years old 

Subspecies:
There are six natural subspecies of Olea europaea distributed over a wide range:
*Olea europaea subsp. europaea (Mediterranean Basin)
*Olea europaea subsp. cuspidata (from South Africa throughout East Africa, Arabia to South West China)
*Olea europaea subsp. guanchica (Canaries)
*Olea europaea subsp. cerasiformis (Madeira)
*Olea europaea subsp. maroccana Morocco
*Olea europaea subsp. laperrinei (Algeria, Sudan, Niger)

The subspecies maroccana and cerasiformis are respectively hexaploid and tetraploid

Cultivation: The earliest evidence for the domestication of olives comes from the Chalcolithic Period archaeological site of Teleilat Ghassul in what is today modern Jordan.

Farmers in ancient times believed that olive trees would not grow well if planted more than a certain distance from the sea; Theophrastus gives 300 stadia (55.6 km or 34.5 mi) as the limit. Modern experience does not always confirm this, and, though showing a preference for the coast, they have long been grown further inland in some areas with suitable climates, particularly in the southwestern Mediterranean (Iberia, northwest Africa) where winters are mild.

Olives are now cultivated in many regions of the world with Mediterranean climates, such as South Africa, Chile, Peru, Australia, and California and in areas with temperate climates such as New Zealand, under irrigation in the Cuyo region in Argentina which has a desert climate. They are also grown in the Córdoba Province, Argentina, which has a temperate climate with rainy summers and dry winters (Cwa). The climate in Argentina changes the external characteristics of the plant but the fruit keeps its original features. The northernmost olive grove is placed in Anglesey, an island off the north west coast of Wales, in the United Kingdom: but it is too early to say if the growing will be successful, having been planted in 2006.

Edible Uses:  click to see
Olive oil for heart healthy foods is a monounsaturated oil that is widely used in healthy cooking, and as a salad dressing. Even the extremely conservative FDA allows suppliers of virgin olive oil to carry heart health claims on there consumer packaging. Some care must be taken to not expose virgin olive oil to high heat when cooking, as this can cause heat damage that break down the oil. Some in the health food community caution overheating causes olive oil to have harmful side effects. click to see
Traditional fermentation and curing:-
Green olives and black olives are typically washed thoroughly in water to remove oleuropein, a bitter glycoside.

Green olives are allowed to ferment before being packed in a brine solution. American black (“California”) olives are not fermented, which is why they taste milder than green olives.
click to see   an olive vat room used for curing.
In addition to oleuropein, freshly picked olives are not palatable because of phenolic compounds. (One exception is the throubes olive, which can be eaten fresh.) Traditional cures use the natural microflora on the fruit to aid in fermentation, which leads to three important outcomes: the leaching out and breakdown of oleuropein and phenolic compounds; the creation of lactic acid, which is a natural preservative; and a complex of flavoursome fermentation products. The result is a product which will store with or without refrigeration.

Curing can employ lye, salt, brine, or fresh water. Salt cured olives (also known as dry cured) are packed in plain salt for at least a month, which produces a salty and wrinkled olive. Brine cured olives are kept in a salt water solution for a few days or more. Fresh water cured olives are soaked in a succession of baths, changed daily.  Green olives are usually firmer than black olives.

Olives can also be flavoured by soaking in a marinade or pitted and stuffed. Popular flavourings include herbs, spices, olive oil, chili, lemon zest, lemon juice, wine, vinegar, and juniper berries; popular stuffings include feta cheese, blue cheese, pimento, garlic cloves, jalapeños, almonds, and anchovies. Sometimes, the olives are lightly cracked with a hammer or a stone to trigger fermentation. This method of curing adds a slightly bitter taste

Medicinal Uses:
Beauty * Cancer Prevention * Cardiovascular * Culinary/Kitchen * Pain Relief * Skin Care
Properties: * AntiCancer * Antifungal * Antiscrofulous * Astringent * Cholagogue
Parts Used:  oil of the fruit, leaves, bark
Constituents:  oleuropein, flavonoids, and triterpenes

Olive oil is very stable in comparison with many other nut and vegetable oils and is often used to make medicinal  herbal oils using herbs such as comfrey, arnica, garlic and many others. Olive is more than just a stable base oil for making these oil infusions, it adds its own analgesic and antibacterial properties to the mix as well. 19

With evidence mounting about the damage of diets high saturated fats, and conversely the heart healthy benefits of monounsaturated oils like olive, it becomes abundantly clear which oils to choose for healthy cooking and salad dressings. If you cannot afford olive oil use canola or safflower oils, both of which are much better than the lower grade corn oils. 20

Extracts from the leaf of the olive tree are also used to lower fevers, and olive leaf poultices are among the oldest therapies for infections of the skin. The slender, feather shaped leaves have antimicrobial and antioxidant medicinal properties that kill germs and disinfect wounds. 21 Olive leaf extracts have also been studied for use in diabetes, and cancer prevention.

Other Uses:
The olive tree, Olea europaea, has been cultivated for olive oil, fine wood, olive leaf, and the olive fruit.

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_detail85.php
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olea_europea

Leucanthemum vulgare

Botanical Name :Chrysanthemum leucanthemum
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Leucanthemum
Species: L. vulgare
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Syn. :Leucanthemum vulgare

Common Names:Oxeye Daisy , marguerite, moon daisy ,common daisy, dog daisy and oxe-eye daisy.

Habitat :Leucanthemum vulgare is native to Europe and the temperate regions of Asia and an introduced plant to North America, Australia, and New Zealand. It is one of a number of Asteraceae family plants to be called a “daisy”, and has the vernacular names: common daisy, dog daisy, moon daisy, and oxe-eye daisy.It grows  in a variety of plant communities including meadows and fields, under scrub and open-canopy forests, and in disturbed areas.

Description:
Leucanthemum vulgare is a perennial herb 2 feet (61 cm) high by 1 foot (0.30 m) wide. The stem is mostly unbranched and sprouts laterally from a creeping rhizomatous rootstock.

The leaves are dark green on both sides. The basal and middle leaves are petiolate, obovate to spoon-shaped, and serrate to dentate. The upper leaves are shorter, sessile, and borne along the stem.
click to see the pictures..
Leucanthemum vulgare blooms from late spring to autumn. The small flower head, not larger than 5 centimetres (2.0 in), consists of about 20 white ray florets that surround a yellow disc, growing on the end of 1 to 3 ft (30 to 91 cm) tall stems. The plant produces an abundant number of flat seeds, without pappus, that remain viable in the soil for 2 to 3 years. It also spreads vegetatively by rhizomes.

Edible Uses: The un-opened flower buds can be marinated and used in a similar way to capers.

Medicinal Uses:
The oxeye daisy has medicinal properties similar to chamomile , but much weaker. 1 The balsamic flowers were once much more used as a country simple than today, when the flowers, stalks and leaves were used to make an infusion to relieve chronic coughs. The root was also employed as a fluid extract for treating night sweats in pulmonary consumption in early America.

Leucanthemum vulgare , a midsummer flower known a marguerite, was used as an oracle. A daisy is the star flower of Gretchen in Goethe’s Faust: “He loves me, he loves me not”. Those who are pregnant as “Boy, girl, boy girl as they pluck the raylike flowers. Girls would put the flower under their pillows to see dreams of their future husbands. Claudia Muller-Ebeling, Wolf-Deieter Storl Witchcraft Medicine(1998)

The herb is under the sign Cancer, and under the dominion of Venus, and therefore excellently good for wounds in the breast, and very fitting to be kept both in oils, ointments, and plaisters, as also in syrup. The greater wild Daisy is a wound herb of good respect, often used in those drinks or salves that are for wounds, either inward or outward. The juice or distilled water of these, or the small Daisy, doth much temper the heat of choler, and refresh the liver, and the other inward parts. A decoction made of them and drank, helps to cure the wounds made in the hollowness of the breast. The same also cures all ulcers and pustules in the mouth or tongue, or in the secret parts. The leaves bruised and applied to the privities, or to any other parts that are swollen and hot, doth dissolve it, and temper the heat. A decoction made thereof, of Wallwort and Agrimony, and the places fomented and bathed therewith warm, gives great ease to them that are troubled with the palsy, sciatica, or the gout.

Other Uses:
Leucanthemum vulgare is widely cultivated and available as a perennial flowering ornamental plant for gardens and designed meadow landscapes. It thrives in a wide range of conditions and can grow in sun to partial shade, and prefers damp soils. There are cultivars, such as ‘May Queen’ which begins blooming in early spring.

Known Hazards:
Allergies:  Allergies to daises do occur, usually causing contact dermatitis

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/Leucanthemum_vulgare
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail446.php

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.

click to see

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

Sandalwood (Santalum album)

Botanical Name :Santalum album
Family: Santalaceae
Genus: Santalum
Species: S. album
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Santalales

Common Name: Indian sandalwood or sandalwood

Habitat :Santalum album is native to semi-arid areas of the Indian subcontinent. It is now planted in India, China, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Northwestern Australia.It occurs from coastal dry forests up to 700 m elevation. It normally grows in sandy or stony red soils, but a wide range of soil types are inhabited. This habitat has a temperature range from 0 to 38°C and annual rainfall between 500 and 3000 mm.

Description:
Santalum album is a hemiparasitic  evergreen tree and the height  is between 4 and 9 metres. They may live to one hundred years of age. The tree is variable in habit, usually upright to sprawling, and may intertwine with other species. The plant parasitises the roots of other tree species, with a haustorium adaptation on its own roots, but without major detriment to its hosts. An individual will form a non-obligate relationship with a number of other plants. Up to 300 species (including its own) can host the tree’s development – supplying macronutrients phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium, and shade – especially during early phases of development. It may propagate itself through wood suckering during its early development, establishing small stands. The reddish or brown bark can be almost black and is smooth in young trees, becoming cracked with a red reveal. The heartwood is pale green to white as the common name indicates. The leaves are thin, opposite and ovate to lanceolate in shape. Glabrous surface is shiny and bright green, with a glaucous pale reverse. Fruit is produced after three years, viable seeds after five. These seeds are distributed by birds.
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True sandalwoods:
Sandalwoods are medium-sized hemiparasitic trees, and part of the same botanical family as European mistletoe. Notable members of this group are Indian sandalwood (Santalum album) and Australian sandalwood (Santalum spicatum); others in the genus also have fragrant wood. These are found in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Australia, Indonesia, Hawaii, and other Pacific Islands.

click to see

*Santalum album, or Indian sandalwood, is a threatened species. It is indigenous to South India, and grows in the Western Ghats and a few other mountain ranges like the Kalrayan and Shevaroy Hills. Although sandalwood trees in India and Nepal are government-owned and their harvest is controlled, many trees are illegally cut down. Sandalwood oil prices have risen to $2,000 per kg recently. Sandalwood from the Mysore region of Karnataka (formerly Mysore), and marayoor forest in kerala, Southern India is high quality. New plantations were created with international aid in Tamil Nadu for economic exploitation. In Kununurra in Western Australia, Indian sandalwood (Santalum album) is grown on a large scale.click to see

*Santalum ellipticum, S. freycinetianum, and S. paniculatum, the Hawaiian sandalwood (?iliahi), were also used and considered high quality. These three species were exploited between 1790 and 1825 before the supply of trees ran out (a fourth species, S. haleakalae, occurs only in subalpine areas and was never exported). Although S. freycinetianum and S. paniculatum are relatively common today, they have not regained their former abundance or size, and S. ellipticum remains rare.

*Santalum spicatum (Australian sandalwood) is used by aromatherapists and perfumers. The concentration differs considerably from other Santalum species. In the 1840s, sandalwood was Western Australia’s biggest export earner. Oil was distilled for the first time in 1875, and by the turn of the century there was intermittent production of Australian sandalwood oil. However in the late 1990s WA Sandalwood oil enjoyed a revival and by 2009 had peaked at more than 20,000kg per year – much of which went to the fragrance industries in Europe. By 2011 WA Sandalwood oil whilst reducing in overall volume had a significant amount of its production heading to the chewing tobacco industry in India alongside Indian Sandalwood – the chewing tobacco market being the largest market for both oils in 2012.

Edible Uses:
Australian Aboriginals eat the seed kernels, nuts, and fruit of local sandalwoods, such as quandong (Santalum acuminatum).

Medicinal Uses:
* Acne * Air Fresheners * Aphrodisiac * Aromatherapy * Ayurvedic * Bronchitis * Deodorants/Perfumes * Insect Repellent * Sleep/Insomnia
Properties: * Anodyne * Antifungal * Antispasmodic * AntiViral * Aphrodisiac * Aromatic * Astringent * Carminative * Diuretic * Expectorant * Sedative
Parts Used: Heartwood
Constituents:  santalol

Sandalwood oil has been widely used in folk medicine for treatment of common colds, bronchitis, skin disorders, heart ailments, general weakness, fever, infection of the urinary tract, inflammation of the mouth and pharynx, liver and gallbladder complaints and other maladies. Recently, the in vivo anti-hyperglycemic and antioxidant potentials of ?-santalol and sandalwood oil were demonstrated in Swiss Albino mice. Additionally, different in vitro and in vivo parts of the plant have been shown to possess antimicrobial  and antioxidant properties, possibly attributed to sesquiterpenoids, shikimic acid

Sandalwood oil is one of the few fragrances that is equally popular among men and women. It’s uplifting scent has been considered an aphrodisiac since ancient times. It aromatherapy it is often used to treat depression and emotional sexual dysfunction. A mild yang oil, it is emollient, tonic and sedative, making sandalwood one of the most useful oils for the skin. Sanalwood oil is classic choice for dry and dehydrated skin. It relieves itching and inflammation, and as a mild astringent can also profit those with  oily skin as well In Ayurvedic medicine sandalwood oil is prescribed as a tonic, to treat ulcers and abscesses, and to treat mucus discharge.

Sandalwood essential oil was popular in medicine up to 1920-1930, mostly as a urogenital (internal) and skin (external) antiseptic. Its main component beta-santalol (~90%) has antimicrobial properties. It is used in aromatherapy and to prepare soaps. Due to this antimicrobial activity, it can be used to clear skin from blackheads and spots, but it must always be properly diluted with a carrier oil. Because of its strength, sandalwood oil should never be applied to the skin without being diluted in a carrier oil.

Other Uses:
Sandalwood essential oil provides perfumes with a striking wood base note. Sandalwood smells somewhat like other wood scents, except it has a bright and fresh edge with few natural analogues. When used in smaller proportions in a perfume, it is an excellent fixative to enhance the head space[clarification needed] of other fragrances.
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Sandalwood oil in India is widely used in the cosmetic industry. The main source of true sandalwood, S. album, is a protected species, and demand for it cannot be met. Many species of plants are traded as “sandalwood”. Within the genus Santalum alone, there are more than nineteen species. Traders will often accept oil from closely related species, such as various species in the genus Santalum, as well as from unrelated plants such as West Indian Sandalwood (Amyris balsamifera) in the family Rutaceae or bastard sandalwood (Myoporum sandwicense, Myoporaceae). However, most woods from these alternative sources will lose their aroma within a few months or years.
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Isobornyl cyclohexanol is a synthetic fragrance chemical produced as an alternative to the natural product.

In Technology:
Due to its low fluorescence and optimal refractive index, sandalwood oil is often employed as an immersion oil within ultraviolet and fluorescence microscopy.

Sandalwood is most important in many religions functions :
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In Hinduism:
Sandalwood paste is integral to rituals and ceremonies, to mark religious utensils and to decorate the icons of the deities. It is also distributed to devotees, who apply it to the forehead or the neck and chest. Preparation of the paste is a duty fit only for the pure, and is therefore entrusted in temples and during ceremonies only to priests.

In Buddhism:
Sandalwood is considered to be of the padma (lotus) group and attributed to Amitabha Buddha. Sandalwood scent is believed to transform one’s desires and maintain a person’s alertness while in meditation. Sandalwood is also one of the more popular scents used when offering incense to the Buddha.

In Islamism:
In sufi tradition sandalwood paste is applied on the sufi’s grave by the disciples as a mark of devotion. It is practiced particularly among the Indian subcontinent sufi disciples. In some places sandalwood powder is burnt in Dargah for fragrance. In some parts of India during the Milad un Nabi in the early 19th century, the residents applied sandalwood paste on the decorated Buraq and the symbols of footprints of the Prophet Mohammed. In some places of India during the epidemic it was common among the South Indian devotees of Abdul-Qadir Gilani (also known as pir anay pir) to prepare his imprint of a hand with sandalwood paste and parade along the bylines, which they believed would cause the epidemic to vanish and the sick to be healed. Among the Tamil culture irrespective of religious identity, sandal wood paste and powder is applied on the graves of Sufi’s as a mark of devotion and respect.

In Chinese and Japanese religions:
Sandalwood, along with agarwood, is the most commonly used incense material by the Chinese and Japanese in worship and various ceremonies.

In Zoroastrianism:
Zoroastrians offer sandalwood twigs to the firekeeping priests who offer the sandalwood to the fire which keep the fire burning. Sandalwood is offered to all of the three grades of fire in the Fire temple, including the Atash Dadgahs. Sandalwood is not offered to the divo, a homemade lamp. Often, money is offered to the mobad (for religious expenditures) along with the sandalwood. Sandalwood is called sukhar in the Zoroastrian community. The sandalwood in the fire temple is often more expensive to buy than at a Zoroastrian store. It is often a source of income for the fire temple.

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/Santalum_album
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail53.php
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandalwood