Polygonum persicaria

Botanical Name : Polygonum persicaria
Family: Polygonaceae
Genus: Persicaria
Species: P. maculosa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Synonyms : Polygonum maculata, Persicaria maculosa.Polygonum ruderalis, Polygonum ruderalis, Polygonum vulgaris, Polygonum dubium, Polygonum fusiforme, Polygonum minus and Polygonum puritanorum.

Common Names :Persicaria, Redleg, Lady’s-thumb, Spotted Ladysthumb, Gambetta, and Adam’s Plaster

Habitat :Polygonum persicaria is native to Europe, it is an invasive species in the Great Lakes region where it was first spotted in 1843. Grows in roadside and damp places.

Description:
Polygonum persicaria is an annual/ perennial plant.It grows up to 1 m high, and has narrow, lancet-shaped leaves 8–10 cm long. The leaves often have a brown or black spot. The white, pink or red flowers are in dense panicles and flower from early summer to late autumn and the seeds ripen from Aug to October.It is hardy to zone 5.

It is native to Europe and Asia, where it can be mistaken for Polygonum minus, but P. minus has narrower leaves, usually less than 1 cm wide, while its ear is slimmer.The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Self.The plant is self-fertile.

It has been introduced to North America and is naturalised in all mainland states, being found along roadsides, riverbanks, and on fallow ground. In the USA, it is very similar to Pennsylvania smartweed, but Redshank has a fringe of hairs at the top of the ocrea, something which Pennsylvania smartweed lacks.

Cultivation:      
Succeeds in an ordinary garden soil but prefers a moisture retentive not too fertile soil in sun or part shade. Repays generous treatment. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits.

Propagation:   
Seed – sow spring in situ.

 Edible Uses  
Edible Parts: Leaves;  Seed.
Edible Uses:

Leaves and young shoots – raw or cooked. They contain about 1.9% fat, 5.4% pectin, 3.2% sugars, 27.6% cellulose, 1% tannin. Seed – raw or cooked. It is rather small and fiddly to utilize.

Medicinal Uses:
Astringent;  Diuretic;  Lithontripic;  Poultice;  Rubefacient;  Vermifuge.

The leaves are astringent, diuretic, rubefacient and vermifuge. An infusion has been used as a treatment for gravel and stomach pains. A decoction of the plant, mixed with flour, has been used as a poultice to help relieve pain. A decoction of the plant has been used as a foot and leg soak in the treatment of rheumatism. The crushed leaves have been rubbed on poison ivy rash.

The Anglo-Saxons used Polygonum persicaria as a remedy for sore eyes and ears.  They called it Untrodden to Pieces, perhaps because it was so hardy and though that it survived even being stepped upon or otherwise crushed.

Other Uses  
Dye.

A yellow dye is obtained from the plant when alum is used as a mordant.

Known Hazards: Although no specific mention has been made for this species, there have been reports that some members of this genus can cause photosensitivity in susceptible people. Many species also contain oxalic acid (the distinctive lemony flavour of sorrel) – whilst not toxic this substance can bind up other minerals making them unavailable to the body and leading to mineral deficiency. Having said that, a number of common foods such as sorrel and rhubarb contain oxalic acid and the leaves of most members of this genus are nutritious and beneficial to eat in moderate quantities. Cooking the leaves will reduce their content of oxalic acid. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition.

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/Polygonum_persicaria

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Polygonum+persicaria

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

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Pomaderris kumarahou

Botanical Name : Pomaderris kumarahou
Family:Buckthorn (Rhamnaceae)

Common Name:Komarahou, papapa,Kumarou

Habitat :Pomaderis kumarahou is found in northern and central areas of the North Island. A plant of  northern gumlands and clay banks.

Description:
This is an upright shrub reaching 3 m with oval dark green somewhat wrinkled leaves. The small yellow flowers are in dense clusters forming a spectacular display in the spring.

click to see the pictures….(01)…..(1)...(2)..
Leaves 5-8cm. long with prominent veins and midribs.Flowers numerous and bright yellow in spring.

 

Medicinal Uses:

Kumarahou is a traditional Maori remedy that has been used to treat a wide range of illnesses.  Its most common use is as a remedy for problems of the respiratory tract, such as asthma and bronchitis.  However, it has also been used in the treatment of indigestion and heartburn, diabetes, and kidney problems.  Kumarahou is considered to be a detoxifier and “blood cleansing” plant, and is used to treat skin rashes and sores, including lesions produced by skin cancer.  High in anti-oxidants, protects liver from lipid peroxidation. Adaptagenic activity increases performance, speed and stamina.
Fresh leaves are applied to wounds. Wounds are also bathed in extracts obtained from boiling the leaves.
An infusion obtained from boiling leaves in water is used internally to treat bronchitis, asthma, rheumatism, to stop vomiting, for coughs and for colds.

 

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://web.auckland.ac.nz/uoa/science/about/departments/sbs/newzealandplants/maoriuses/medicinal/trees/kumarahou-pomaderris.cfm

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

http://www.bushmansfriend.co.nz/xurl/PageID/9165/ArticleID/-36699/function/moreinfo/content.html

Centaurea jacea

Botanical Name : Centaurea jacea
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cynareae
Genus: Centaurea
Species: C. jacea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Common Name : Brown Knapweed or Brownray Knapweed

Habitat : Centaurea jacea is  native to dry meadows and open woodland throughout Europe.

Description:
Centaurea jacea is a perennial plant. It grows to 10–80 cm tall.
It is hardy to zone 6. It is in flower from Aug to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, lepidoptera, self.The plant is self-fertile.

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Cultivation:  
Succeeds in ordinary garden soil. Prefers a well-drained fertile soil and a sunny position. Tolerates dry, low fertility and alkaline soils. Plants are suitable for the wild garden and for naturalising. This species is hardy to at least -15°c. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation: 
Seed – sow April in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer. Division in autumn. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer or following spring. This should be done at least once every three years in order to maintain the vigour of the plant. Basal cuttings in spring. Harvest the shoots when they are about 10 – 15cm long with plenty of underground stem. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.

Medicinal Uses:
Bitter;  Diuretic;  Ophthalmic;  Stomachic;  Tonic.

The root is bitter tonic, diuretic and stomachic. An excellent bitter for treating difficult digestive systems, it is still used in rural areas as a digestive and also to reduce the temperature of feverish children. A distilled water made from the leaves is used as an eye lotion in the treatment of conjunctivitis.

As an astringent it is used for piles, a decoction of the herb being taken in doses of 1-2 fl oz three times a day. This will also be useful for sore throat if used as a gargle.  An infusion of the flowering part is also helpful in diabetes mellitus.  The root is bitter tonic, diuretic and stomachic. An excellent bitter for treating difficult digestive systems, it is still used in rural areas as a digestive and also to reduce the temperature of feverish children. A distilled water made from the leaves is used as an eye lotion in the treatment of conjunctivitis. It was also applied as a vulnerary and was used internally. Culpepper describes it as a mild astringent, ‘helpful against coughs, asthma, and difficulty of breathing, and good for diseases of the head and nerves,’ and tells us that ‘outwardly the bruised herb is famous for taking away black and blue marks out of the skin.’

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.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Centaurea+jacea

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

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

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Eupatorium hyssopifolium

Botanical Name: Eupatorium hyssopifolium
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Eupatorieae
Genus: Eupatorium
Species: E. hyssopifolium
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Common Name:Hyssopleaf thoroughwort,Justice Weed

Habitat :Eupatorium hyssopifolium is native to  central and eastern N. America – Massachusetts to Florida and Texas.  It grows in moist soils.

Description:
Eupatorium hyssopifolium is a herbaceous plant perennial plant growing to 0.6 m (2ft). it has inflorescences containing a large number of white flowers with disc florets and no ray florets.The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.It is in flower from Aug to September.It is hardy to zone 5.

You may click to see the pictures

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Cultivation:   
Succeeds in ordinary well-drained but moisture retentive garden soil in sun or part shade. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame and only just cover the seed. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer. Division in spring or autumn. Very easy, the clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions.

Medicinal Uses:
The plant can be used medicinally (applied externally for insect and reptile bites). It can also be planted near crops to attract beneficial insects.

Other Uses:
The plant is used as a strewing herb and to discourage insects.

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/Eupatorium_hyssopifolium

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Eupatorium+hyssopifolium

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Mimosa tenuiflora

Botanical Name :Mimosa tenuiflora
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Mimosoideae
Genus: Mimosa
Species: M. tenuiflora
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Synonyms:Mimosa hostilis

Common Names;Jurema, Tepezcohuite

Habitat : Mimosa tenuiflora is native to the northeastern region of Brazil (Paraíba, Rio Grande do Norte, Ceará, Pernambuco, Bahia) and found as far north as southern Mexico (Oaxaca and coast of Chiapas). It is most often found in lower altitudes, but it can be found as high as 1000 m

Description:
The fern-like branches have leaves that are Mimosa like, finely pinnate, growing to 5 cm long. Each compound leaf contains 15-33 pairs of bright green leaflets 5-6  mm long. The tree itself grows up to 8 m tall and it can reach 4–5 m tall in less than 5 years. The white,[3] fragrant flowers occur in loosely cylindrical spikes 4–8 cm long. In the Northern Hemisphere it blossoms and produces fruit from November to June or July.[4] In the Southern Hemisphere it blooms primarily from September to January. The fruit is brittle and averages 2.5–5 cm long. Each pod contains 4–6 seeds that are oval, flat, light brown and 3–4 mm in diameter. There are about 145 seeds/g. In the Southern Hemisphere, the fruit ripens from February to April.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

The tree’s bark is dark brown to gray. It splits lengthwise and the inside is reddish brown.

The tree’s wood is dark reddish brown with a yellow center. It is very dense, durable and strong, having a density of about 1.11 g/cm³.

Medicinal Uses:
In Mexico, the bark of the tree is used as a remedy for skin problems and injuries such as burns, and it is now used in commercial skin and hair products which are promoted as being able to rejuvenite skin. Research has shown that it has some useful activities which support the traditional uses. The bark is rich in tannins, saponins, alkaloids, lipids, phytosterols, glucosides, xylose, rhamnose, arabinose, lupeol, methoxychalcones, and kukulkanins. In vitro studies on bacterial cultures have shown it is three times more effective as a bacteriocide than streptomycin, although in vivo studies have not been as positive.

Powdered tepezcohuite bark contains large amounts (16%) of tannins, which act as an astringent, making the skin stop bleeding. This helps protect the body from infection, while the skin builds new protective tissue.

Tannins in the bark diminish capillary permeability. It contains antioxidant flavonoids.

Extensive research has been performed in labs in Mexico, Canada and the United Kingdom. It is now used in commercial hair and skin products that claim to rejuvenate skin. The bark is known to be rich in tannins, saponins, alkaloids, lipids, phytosterols, glucosides, xylose, rhamnose, arabinose, lupeol, methoxychalcones and kukulkanins. In vitro studies have shown three times more bacteriocidal activity on bacterial cultures than streptomycin, and it works to some degree in vivo

Other Uses:
Mimosa tenuiflora does very well after a forest fire, or other major ecological disturbance. It is a prolific pioneer plant. It drops its leaves on the ground, continuously forming a thin layer of mulch and eventually humus. Along with its ability to fix nitrogen, the tree conditions the soil, making it ready for other plant species to come along.

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/Mimosa_tenuiflora

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

http://www.tabaccheria21.net/PsicoWeb/piantepsicovarie/html/pagimage009.shtml

Yucca brevifolia

Botanical Name : Yucca brevifolia
Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Agavoideae
Genus: Yucca
Species: Y. brevifolia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

Common Name :Joshua tree, yucca palm, tree yucca, and palm tree yucca

Habitat :Yucca brevifolia is native to southwestern North America in the states of California, Arizona, Utah and Nevada, where it is confined mostly to the Mojave Desert between 400 and 1,800 meters (1,300 and 5,900 ft) elevation.Grows on arid mesas and mountain slopes. It thrives in the open grasslands of Queen Valley and Lost Horse Valley in Joshua Tree National Park. A dense Joshua tree forest also exists in Mojave National Preserve, in the area of Cima Dome.

Description:
Yucca brevifolia trees are fast growers for the desert; new seedlings may grow at an average rate of 7.6 cm (3.0 in) per year in their first ten years, then only grow about 3.8 cm (1.5 in) per year thereafter. The trunk of a Yucca brevifolia tree is made of thousands of small fibers and lacks annual growth rings, making it difficult to determine the tree’s age. This tree has a top-heavy branch system, but also has what has been described as a “deep and extensive” root system, with roots possibly reaching up to 11 m (36 ft) away. If it survives the rigors of the desert it can live for hundreds of years with some specimens surviving up to a thousand years. The tallest trees reach about 15 m (49 ft). New plants can grow from seed, but in some populations, new stems grow from underground rhizomes that spread out around the Joshua tree.

CLICK TO SEE THE PICTURES

 

The evergreen leaves are dark green, linear, bayonet-shaped, 15–35 cm long and 7–15 mm broad at the base, tapering to a sharp point; they are borne in a dense spiral arrangement at the apex of the stems. The leaf margins are white and serrate.

 

The flowers are produced in spring from February to late April, in panicles 30–55 cm tall and 30–38 cm broad, the individual flowers erect, 4–7 cm tall, with six creamy white to green tepals. The tepals are lanceolate and are fused to the middle. The fused pistils are 3 cm tall and the stigma cavity is surrounded by lobes. The semi-fleshy fruit that is produced is green-brown, elliptical, and contains many flat seeds. Yucca brevifolia trees usually do not branch until after they bloom (though branching may also occur if the growing tip is destroyed by the yucca-boring weevil), and they do not bloom every year. Like most desert plants, their blooming is dependent on rainfall at the proper time. They also need a winter freeze before they will bloom.

FruitOnce they bloom, the trees are pollinated by the yucca moth, which spreads pollen while laying her eggs inside the flower. The moth larvae feed on the seeds of the tree, but enough seeds are left behind to produce more trees. The Yucca brevifolia tree is also able to actively abort ovaries in which too many eggs have been laid.

Cultivation:  
Thrives in any soil but prefers a sandy loam and full exposure to the south. Plants are hardier when they are grown on poor sandy soils. Prefers a hot dry position, disliking heavy rain. Established plants are very drought resistant. The flowers of this species are malodorous. In the plants native environment, its flowers can only be pollinated by a certain species of moth. This moth cannot live in Britain and, if fruit and seed is required, hand pollination is necessary. This can be quite easily and successfully done using something like a small paint brush. Individual crowns are monocarpic, dying after flowering. However, the crown will usually produce a number of sideshoots before it dies and these will grow on to flower in later years. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. Members of this genus seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits

Propagation :        
Seed – sow spring in a greenhouse. Pre-soaking the seed for 24 hours in warm water may reduce the germination time. It usually germinates within 1 – 12 months if kept at a temperature of 20°c. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for at least their first two winters. Plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer and consider giving them some winter protection for at least their first winter outdoors – a simple pane of glass is usually sufficient. Seed is not produced in Britain unless the flowers are hand pollinated. Root cuttings in late winter or early spring. Lift in April/May and remove small buds from base of stem and rhizomes. Dip in dry wood ashes to stop any bleeding and plant in a sandy soil in pots in a greenhouse until established. Division of suckers in late spring. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is best to pot up smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are growing away well. Plant them out in the following spring.

Edible Uses:        
Edible Parts: Flowers;  Fruit;  Root;  Seed;  Seedpod.
Edible Uses:

Flowers – cooked. The flower buds, before opening, can be parboiled in salt water to remove the bitterness, drained and then cooked again and served like cauliflower[183]. The opened flowers are rich in sugar and can be roasted and eaten as candy. Fruit – cooked. The fruits can be roasted then formed into cakes and dried for later use. Root – raw, boiled or roasted. Seed. Gathered and eaten by the local Indians. No further details are given, but it is probably ground into a powder and mixed with cornmeal or other flours and used for making bread, cakes etc. Immature seedpod. No more details given.

Medicinal Uses:  
A good strong infusion of the roots was once a popular treatment for venereal diseases.

Other Uses:
Basketry;  Brush;  Dye;  Fibre;  Soap;  Weaving.

A fibre obtained from the leaves is used for making ropes, baskets, sandals, clothing and mats. The whole leaf can be woven into mats etc and it can also be used as a paint brush. The dark red core of the roots has been used as a pattern material in coiled baskets. The core is split into strands, soaked and worked in with the coiling so that the colour is always on the outside. Red and black dyes have been obtained from the roots. The roots are rich in saponins and can be used as a soap substitute. It makes a good hair wash. Wood – light, soft, spongy, difficult to work. Sometimes cut into thin layers and used as wrapping material, or manufactured into boxes and other small articles.

Known Hazards:    The roots contain saponins. Whilst saponins are quite toxic to people, they are poorly absorbed by the body and so tend to pass straight through. They are also destroyed by prolonged heat, such as slow baking in an oven. Saponins are found in many common foods such as beans. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish

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/Yucca_brevifolia

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Yucca+brevifolia

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

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Nag Champa

English: Plate of flowers and seeds of Magnoli...

English: Plate of flowers and seeds of Magnolia (Michelia) champaca from Flora de Filipinas, Atlas I (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Botanical Name : Michelia champaca
Family: Magnoliaceae

Common Bengali Name : Kantali Champa

Habitat :Cultivated as a sacred plant, the Champaca can be found throughout India, Viet Nam, parts of China, and other tropical lands of Asia.

Description:
In India this beautiful and shady evergreen tree is revered, and often planted on the grounds of Hindu Temples or Ashrams. It is considered to be sacred to the Hindu god Vishnu and is traditionally burned for meditation ceremonies.

You may click to see more flower  pictures

Nag Champa has a strong individual smell that cannot be found in any other incense fragrances, generally starting with a potent smell that changes to a cool sweet smell as time passes.

Uses:
Nag Champa Incense is probably the most popular hand rolled incense world-wide! The unique scent is derived primarily from the Champaca flower, (Magnolia Champaca tree), Halmaddi (Ailanthus Malabarica tree) and Sandalwood, along with other resins and herbs.

Nag Champa became popular in modern Western Culture in the 60’s and 70’s when burned at the performances of Dylan, The Grateful Dead, and others. The heady fragrance became part of the concert experience for millions of music fans.

Nag Champa Incense is made with the bright and intoxicating flowers of the Champaca and hand-rolled onto a small stick used as a base.

History:
The history of Nag Champa is one rich in tradition. The distinctive and exotic fragrance of Nag Champa was originally manufactured in the Hindu and Buddhist monasteries of India and Nepal. Each monastery had its own secret formula that was revealed to no one outside of the order. When westerners became interested in spiritual enlightenment (in particular members of the ‘Hippie’ movement), many traveled to India where they found Nag Champa and began to spread it across the world. Now, many years later, it is considered one of the most popular incense fragrances. Many people burn Nag Champa for spiritual or meditation purposes. It’s a popular belief that the Nag Champa scent enhances the meditative state and helps create a sacred space. Many people simply burn it for its unique and attractive fragrance.

Resources:

http://www.sensia.com/nagchampa.htm

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

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

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Viola tricolor

Botanical Name : Viola tricolor
Family: Violaceae
Genus: Viola
Species: V. tricolor
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malpighiales

Common Names: Heartsease, Heart’s ease, Heart’s delight, Tickle-my-fancy,Johnny Jump Up, Jack-jump-up-and-kiss-me, Come-and-cuddle-me, Three faces in a hood, or Love-in-idleness

Habitat :Native to Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to Corsica, W. Asia, Siberia, Caucasus.Cultivated and waste ground, short grassland etc, mainly on acid and neutral soils.

Description:
Viola tricolor is a small annual/perennial plant of creeping and ramping habit, reaching at most 15 cm in height, with flowers about 1.5 cm in diameter.
It is hardy to zone 4 and is not frost tender. It flowers from April to September. The flowers can be purple, blue, yellow or white. They are hermaphrodite and self-fertile, pollinated by bees. The seeds ripen from Jun to September

click to see the pictures..>…..(01)...(1)…...(2)..…….(3)..……….(4).....
It is noted for attracting wildlife.

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Cultivation:   
Prefers a cool moist well-drained humus-rich soil in partial or dappled shade and protection from scorching winds. Tolerates sandstone and limestone soils but becomes chlorotic if the pH is too high. Prefers a pH between 6 and 6.5. A very variable species. It is normally an annual plant, but it is sometimes a short-lived perennial. A good bee plant. Grows well with rye but dislikes growing with wheat. All members of this genus have more or less edible leaves and flower buds, though those species with yellow flowers can cause diarrhoea if eaten in large quantities.

Propagation:   
Seed – best sown in the autumn in a cold frame. Division in the autumn or just after flowering. The plant is a short-lived perennial and division is not that worthwhile.

Chemical Constituents:
ChemicalsV. tricolor is one of many viola plant species containing cyclotides. These small peptides have proven to be useful in drug development due to their size and structure giving rise to high stability. Many cyclotides, found in Viola tricolor are cytotoxic. This feature means that it could be used to treat cancers.

#Extracts from the plant are anti-microbial.
#V. tricolor extract had anti-inflammatory effect in acute inflammation induced in male Wistar rats.
#The plant, especially the flowers, contain antioxidants and are edible.
#Plants contain aglycones: apigenin, chrysoeriol, isorhamnetin, kaempferol, luteolin, quercetin. and rutin

The fresh plant Viola declinata and V. tricolor contain approximately
*saponins (4.40%),
*mucilages (10.26%),
*total carotenoids(8.45 mg/100g vegetal product, expressed in ?-carotene).

Edible Uses:  
Edible Parts: Flowers;  Leaves.
Edible Uses: Tea.

Young leaves and flower buds – raw or cooked. When added to soup they thicken it in much the same way as okra. A tea can be made from the leaves. The small attractive flowers are added to salads or used as a garnish.

Medicinal Uses:  
Anodyne;  Antiasthmatic;  Antiinflammatory;  Antispasmodic;  Cardiac;  Demulcent;  Depurative;  Diaphoretic;  Diuretic;  Emetic;  Emollient;
Expectorant;  Homeopathy;  Laxative;  Vulnerary.

Heartsease has a long history of herbal use and was at one time in high repute as a treatment for epilepsy, asthma, skin diseases and a wide range of other complaints. In modern herbalism it is seen as a purifying herb and is taken internally in the treatment of skin complaints such as eczema. The herb is anodyne, antiasthmatic, anti-inflammatory, cardiac, demulcent, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic, emollient, expectorant, laxative and vulnerary. Being expectorant, it is used in the treatment of various chest complaints such as bronchitis and whooping cough, whilst its diuretic action makes it useful for treating rheumatism, cystitis and difficulty in passing urine. It is also used as an ointment for treating eczema and other skin complaints and is also useful in cases of rheumatism, bed-wetting etc. The plant is harvested from June to August and dried for later use. The root is emetic. A homeopathic remedy is made from the entire plant. It is used in the treatment of cutaneous eruptions.

It is commonly used in an infusion as a treatment for skin eruptions in children, fevers, hypertension, anxiety and nervousness, dry throat, cough, and diarrhea and urinary inflammations.  It may be used in eczema and other skin problems where there is exudates (weeping) eczema.  As an anti-inflammatory expectorant it is used for whooping cough and acute bronchitis where it will soothe and help the body heal itself.  For urinary problems it will aid in the healing of cystitis and can be used to treat the symptoms of frequent and painful urination.

 
Other Uses  :
Dye;  Litmus.

Yellow, green and blue-green dyes are obtained from the flowers. The leaves can be used in place of litmus in testing for acids and alkalis.

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/Viola_tricolor

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Viola+tricolor

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

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Datura stramonium

Botanical Name : Datura stramonium
Family: Solanaceae
Genus: Datura
Species: D. stramonium
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Solanales

Common Names:Jimson weed or datura

Habitat : Original habitat is obscure,but is believed to have originated in the Americas, it is found in many areas of the world, occasionally in S. Britain.Grows in  dry waste ground and amongst rubble or the ruins of old buildings.

(The native range of Datura stramonium is unclear. It was scientifically described and named by Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus in 1753, although it was earlier described by many herbalists, such as Nicholas Culpeper. Today, it grows wild in all the world’s warm and moderate regions, where it is found along roadsides and in dung heaps. In Europe, it is found as a weed on wastelands and in garbage dumps.

The seed is thought to be carried by birds and spread in their droppings. It can lie dormant underground for years and germinate when the soil is disturbed. People who discover it growing in their gardens, and are worried about its toxicity, have been advised to dig it up or have it otherwise removed)

Description:
Datura stramonium is a foul-smelling, erect annual, freely-branching herb that forms a bush up to 2–5 ft (1–1.5 m) tall.

The root is long, thick, fibrous and white. The stem is stout, erect, leafy, smooth, and pale yellow-green. The stem forks off repeatedly into branches, and at each fork forms a leaf and a single, erect flower.

 

The leaves are approximately 3-8 inches long, smooth, toothed, soft, irregularly undulate. The upper surface of the leaves is a darker green, and the bottom is a light green. The leaves have a bitter and nauseating taste, which is imparted to extracts of the herb, and remains even after the leaves have been dried.

click to see the pictures

Datura stramonium generally flowers throughout the summer. The fragrant flowers are trumpet-shaped, white to creamy or violet, and 2.5 to 3.5 in. long, and grow on short stems from either the axils of the leaves or the places where the branches fork. The calyx is long and tubular, swollen at the bottom, and sharply angled, surmounted by 5 sharp teeth. The corolla, which is folded and only partially open, is white, funnel-shaped, and has six prominent ribs. The flowers open at night, emitting a pleasant fragrance and providing food for nocturnal moths.

 

The egg-shaped seed capsule is walnut-sized and either covered with spines or bald. At maturity it splits into four chambers, each with dozens of small black seeds.

It is hardy to zone 7 and is not frost tender.

Cultivation: 
Succeeds in most moderately good soils but prefers a rich light sandy soil or a calcareous loam, and an open sunny position. Plants often self-sow when well sited. The thornapple is cultivated commercially as a medicinal plant. It can become a weed in suitable conditions and is subject to statutory control in some countries. This species is extremely susceptible to the various viruses that afflict the potato family (Solanaceae), it can act as a centre of infection so should not be grown near potatoes or tomatoes. Grows well with pumpkins. The whole plant gives off a nauseating stench.

Propagation: 
Sow the seed in individual pots in early spring in a greenhouse. Put 3 or 4 seeds in each pot and thin if necessary to the best plant. The seed usually germinates in 3 – 6 weeks at 15°c. Plant out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Especially in areas with hot summers, it is worthwhile trying a sowing outdoors in situ in mid to late spring.

Medicinal Uses:
Anodyne;  Anthelmintic;  Antiasthmatic;  Antidandruff;  Antiinflammatory;  Antispasmodic;  Hallucinogenic;  Hypnotic;  Mydriatic;  Narcotic.

The thornapple is a bitter narcotic plant that relieves pain and encourages healing. It has a long history of use as a herbal medicine, though it is very poisonous and should be used with extreme caution. The leaves, flowering tops and seeds are anodyne, antiasthmatic, antispasmodic, hallucinogenic, hypnotic, mydriatic and narcotic. The seeds are the most active medicinally. The plant is used internally in the treatment of asthma and Parkinson’s disease, excess causes giddiness, dry mouth, hallucinations and coma. Externally, it is used as a poultice or wash in the treatment of fistulas, abscesses wounds and severe neuralgia. The use of this plant is subject to legal restrictions in some countries. It should be used with extreme caution and only under the supervision of a qualified practitioner since all parts of the plant are very poisonous and the difference between a medicinal dose and a toxic dose is very small. The leaves should be harvested when the plant is in full flower, they are then dried for later use. The leaves can be used as a very powerful mind-altering drug, they contain hyoscyamine and atropine. There are also traces of scopolamine, a potent cholinergic-blocking hallucinogen, which has been used to calm schizoid patients. Atropine dilates the pupils and is used in eye surgery. The leaves have been smoked as an antispasmodic in the treatment for asthma, though this practice is extremely dangerous. The seeds are used in Tibetan medicine, they are said to have a bitter and acrid taste with a cooling and very poisonous potency. Analgesic, anthelmintic and anti-inflammatory, they are used in the treatment of stomach and intestinal pain due to worm infestation, toothache and fever from inflammations. The juice of the fruit is applied to the scalp to treat dandruff.

It is anti-asthmatic, antispasmodic, good for swellings and healing wounds  Traditional medicinal uses include placing a folded leaf behind the ear to allay motion-sickness, or applying a fresh leaf poultice externally to allay the pain of rheumatic or glandular swellings. Leaves and seeds were once smoked with Mullein for treating asthma.

Specifics: Body pain: Grind the roots and leaves of Datura stramonium into a paste. Add the latex of Jatropha gossyifolia in it. Then fry this paste with mustard oil. Massage this oil an all over the body only once before going to bed at night.  Earache: Pound a fruit of Datura stramonium and extract the juice. Warm this juice gently and put 2 to 3 drops of this juice inside the aching ear only once.  Elephantiasis: Grind all the following into a paste: the roots of Datura stramonium, the seeds of Brassia juncea and the bark of Morangia oleifera. Smear this paste locally on legs once daily for one month and bandage by a cloth.  Rheumatism: Boil all the followings in mustard oil: the young branch of Datura stramonium, the bark of Vitex negundo, few pieces of Ginger and garlic. Massage this oil on joints twice daily for a week.

Other Uses:
Hair;  Repellent.: The growing plant is said to protect neighbouring plants from insects. The juice of the fruits is applied to the scalp to cure dandruff and falling hair.

Spiritual Uses:
For centuries, Datura stramonium has been used as a mystical sacrament which brings about powerful visions (lasting for days) and opens the user to communication with spirit world.

The ancient inhabitants of what is today central and southern California used to ingest the small black seeds of datura to “commune with deities through visions”. Across the Americas, other indigenous peoples such as the Algonquin, Cherokee, Marie Galente and Luiseño also utilized this plant in sacred ceremonies for its hallucinogenic properties. In Ethiopia, some students and debtrawoch (lay priests), use D. stramonium to “open the mind” to be more receptive to learning, and creative and imaginative thinking.

The common name “datura” has its roots in ancient India, where the plant was considered particularly sacred — believed to be a favorite of the Hindu god Shiva Nataraja

Known Hazards: All parts of Datura plants contain dangerous levels of the tropane alkaloids atropine, hyoscyamine and scopolamine which are classified as deliriants, or anticholinergics. There is a high risk of fatal overdose amongst uninformed users, and many hospitalizations occur amongst recreational users who ingest the plant for its psychoactive effects.

The amount of toxins varies widely from plant to plant. There can be as much as a 5:1 variation across plants, and a given plant’s toxicity depends on its age, where it is growing, and the local weather conditions. Additionally, within a given datura plant, concentrations of toxins are higher in certain parts of the plant than others, and can vary from leaf to leaf. When the plant is younger, the ratio of scopolamine to atropine is approximately 3:1; after flowering, this ratio is reversed, with the amount of scopolamine continuing to decrease as the plant gets older.  This variation makes Datura exceptionally hazardous as a drug. In traditional cultures, a great deal of experience with and detailed knowledge of Datura was critical in order to minimize harm. An individual datura seed contains about 0.1 mg of atropine, and the approximate fatal dose for adult humans is >10mg atropine or >2-4mg scopolamine.

Datura intoxication typically produces delirium (as contrasted to hallucination); hyperthermia; tachycardia; bizarre behavior; and severe mydriasis with resultant painful photophobia that can last several days. Pronounced amnesia is another commonly reported effect. The onset of symptoms generally occurs approximately 30 minutes to an hour after smoking the herb. These symptoms generally last from 24 to 48 hours, but have been reported in some cases to last as long as 2 weeks.

As with other cases of anticholinergic poisoning, intravenous physostigmine can be administered in severe cases as an antidote

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/Datura_stramonium

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Datura+stramonium

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

http://www.thoughtscreatereality.com/shiva.htm

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Gardenia jasminoides

Botanical Name : Gardenia jasminoides
Family: Rubiaceae
Genus: Gardenia
Species: G. jasminoides
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Common Names: Common gardenia, Cape jasmine or Cape jessamine (The common names cape jasmine and cape jessamine derive from the earlier belief that the flower originated in Cape of Good Hope, South Africa)

Habitat :It originated in Asia and is most commonly found growing in Vietnam, Southern China, Taiwan, Japan and India.

Description:
Gardenia jasminoides is a fragrant flowering evergreen tropical plant  with greyish bark and dark green shiny leaves with prominent veins. The white flowers bloom in spring and summer and are highly fragrant. They are followed by small oval fruit

You may click to see more pictures: 

It is  favorite in gardens worldwide.  With its shiny green leaves and fragrant white summer flowers, it is widely used in gardens in warm temperate and subtropical climates. It has been in cultivation in China for at least a thousand years, and was introduced to English gardens in the mid 18th century. Many varieties have been bred for horticulture, with low growing, and large- and long-flowering forms.

Cultivation:
Gardenia jasminoides is generally considered to be somewhat difficult to take care of.

As a tropical plant, it thrives best in warm temperatures in humid environments. Getting those conditions is rather hard when in non tropical latitudes, reason for which gardenias are usually cultivated indoors or in greenhouses. In warm places, though, it can be grown outdoors. Either way, it prefers bright indirect sunlight or partial shade, rather than direct sunlight.

Apart from the difficulties in creating the suitable conditions for the plant to live, Gardenias need to be planted in an acidic soil (it is an acidophile plant). If the soil is not acid enough, many of its nutrients (especially iron compounds) will not be available for the plant, since they won’t dilute in water and therefore won’t be absorbed via the roots. It this happens, gardenias start to develop chlorosis, whose main symptom is a yellowing of the leaves. (See Soil ph).

For this reason, it’s advisable not to water Gardenias with very hard water. When having to water with hard water, it is possible to add some vinegar or lemon juice to it before doing so, this will lower the pH of the water.

Iron chelate can be added to the soil in order to lower the pH, but care must be taken since an overdose can kill the plant, as with any other inorganic soil amendment.

Some gardeners will spill vinegar over the soil to effectively keep the pH low and prevent chlorosis. This can be carried out either regularly or when the first symptoms of chlorosis have been spotted.

Medicinal Uses:
It is used as a tea for feverish states, inflammations of the liver (chronic hepatitis), gastrointestinal tract (with impaired digestion, minor constipation), genitourinary tract (cystitis), and as an antidyscratic (blood purifier) and anti-inflammatory for atopic eczema and chronic rheumatic complaints.

Traditional uses:
Gardenia jasminoides fructus (fruit) is used within Traditional Chinese Medicine to “drain fire” and thereby treat certain febrile conditions.

Pharmacological research:
Studies in animals indicate some pharmacological potential, but there is no evidence from clinical studies in humans. In one animal study Gardenia jasminoides significantly lowered serum IL-1? and TNF-? levels in rheumatoid arthritis rats, and its effect had a close relation with inhibitory development of rheumatoid arthritis in the rats.

A mice study found that genipin was an active constituent in Gardenia that regulated inflammatory activity. Geniposide from Gardenia enhanced glutathione content in rat livers. Glutathione is an important immune system amino acid that helps determine modulation of immune response, including cytokine production

Other Uses:
It is widely used as a garden plant in warm temperate and subtropical gardens. It can be used as a hedge.

The fruit is used as a yellow dye, which is used for clothes and food (including the Korean mung bean jelly called hwangpomuk).

Polynesian people in the pacific islands use these fragrant blooms in their flower necklaces, which are called Ei in the Cook Islands, Hei in French Polynesia and Lei in Hawai’i

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/Gardenia_jasminoides

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

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