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

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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

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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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Ipomoea purga

Botanical Name :Ipomoea purga
Family: Convolvulaceae – Morning-glory family
Genus :Ipomoea L. – morning-glory
Species: Ipomoea purga (Wender.) Hayne – jalap
Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass: Asteridae
Order: Solanales

Synonyms: Convolvulus purge Wender.; Ipomoea schiedeana Zucc.; Exogonium purge (Wender.) Benth. y Convolvulus officinalis Pelletan. and Convolvulus Pelletan officinalis.

Common Names:The purge, jalap, jalap root, lemongrass and umbrella (McDonald, 1994: Martinez, 1979), black Mechoacan. Tolompatl, tlanoquiloni and camotic in Nahuatl, Totonac language suyu (Martinez, 1979).

Description:
Ipomoea purga is a Perennial herb, lying on the ground and entangled in other plants. Size: The stems of up to 7 m long.

Stem: Branching, smooth, twining climbing, green or purple, without hairs.

Leaves: Alternate, ovate, up to 12.5 cm long and 7.7 cm wide, slightly pointed, the margins entire, base cordate to aflechada, without hairs. Los pecíolos de hasta 6 cm de largo, lisos, sin pelillos. Petioles up to 6 cm long, smooth, without hairs.

Inflorescencia: De 1 a 2 flores sobre largos pedúnculos, en las axilas de las hojas. Inflorescence: 1 to 2 flowers on long stems in the axils of the leaves.

Flowers: The calyx of 5 sepals dark green, overlapping one another, somewhat unequal, the outer slightly larger than the interior, up to 10 mm long and up to 7 mm wide, the apex with a tiny notch, margins are integers and somewhat translucent; the corolla magenta-purple, trumpet-shaped tube (up to 6 cm long) very thin (slightly swollen at its middle), which widens towards the apex abruptly forming an almost limbo circular, slightly 5-angled (up to 6 cm in diameter), without hairs, stamens 5 somewhat unequal, exceeding the corolla, the filaments white, without hairs, style white, slightly longer than the stamens, without hairs.

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Nuts and seeds: dried fruit, a capsule conical, up to 10 mm long and up to 8 mm wide, without hairs, which opens at maturity to release seeds. Las semillas 4, negras, globoso-triangulares, cubiertas de pelillos. Seeds 4, black, globose-triangular, covered with hairs.

Root: It has a swollen root, up to 10 cm in diameter, and additionally a small tuberculitos.

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Medicinal Uses;
Jalap is such a powerful cathartic that its medicinal value is questionable.  Even in moderate doses it stimulates the elimination of profuse watery stools, and in larger doses it causes vomiting.

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.conabio.gob.mx/malezasdemexico/convolvulaceae/ipomoea-purga/fichas/ficha.htm

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

http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=IPPU6

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Pilocarpus jaborandi

Botanical Name : Pilocarpus jaborandi
Family: Rutaceae
Genus: Pilocarpus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Synonym: Pilocarpus cearensis, P. officinalis

Common Name :Jaborandi, indian hemp, jaborandi-do-norte, catai-guacu, ibiratai, pimenta-de-cachorro, arruda do mato, arruda brava, jamguarandi, juarandi

Habitat:  Pilocarpus jaborandi is native to the neotropics of South America. Various species are important pharmacologically. Many of the species have the common name Jaborandi.(There are about 13 species of plants belonging to the family Rutaceae)

Selected species are:
*Pilocarpus jaborandi (Pernambuco Jaborandi)
*Pilocarpus microphyllus (Maranham Jaborandi)
*Pilocarpus racemosus (Guadeloupe Jaborandi)
*Pilocarpus pennatifolius (Paraguay Jaborandi)
*Pilocarpus spicatus (Aracati Jaborandi)

Description:
Jaborandi refers to a three to seven meter high shrubby tree with smooth grey bark, large leathery leaves and thick, small, reddish-purple flowers. The leaves contain an essential oil which gives off an aromatic balsam smell when they are crushed. Jaborandi is native to South and Central America and to the West Indies. Several Pilocarpus species are called jaborandi and used interchangeably in commerce and herbal medicine, including the main Brazilian species of commerce: P. jaborandi, and P. microphyllus, and the Paraguay species P. pennatifolius. All three tree species are very similar in appearance, chemical constituents and traditional herbal medicine uses. The word jaborandi comes from the Tupi Indians and it means “what causes slobbering” describing its ancient use in their rainforest herbal pharmacopeia.

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You may click to see pictures of  Pilocarpus jaborandi tree  

Constituents:  Pilocarpine, jaborine, volatile oil, tannic acid, volatile acid, potassium chloride.

Jaborandi is a perfect example of a plant which made the transition from Amazonian indigenous tribal use, to folklore use, and then into modern medicine based upon natural chemicals found in the plant. In 1875, two researchers independently discovered an alkaloid in jaborandi leaves which was named pilocarpine. Tests revealed that pilocarpine was responsible for much of the biological activity of the plant-especially it’s ability to induce sweating and salivation, as well as to lower intraocular pressure in the eyes (making it an effective treatment in certain types of glaucoma). In 1876, the isolated pilocarpine alkaloid was introduced into conventional ophthalmology for the treatment of glaucoma. The mixture of pilocarpine and another natural product, physostigmine, remains to this day one of the mainstay drugs in ophthalmology. Interestingly, scientists have never been able to fully synthesize the pilocarpine alkaloid in the laboratory; the majority of all pilocarpine drugs sold today are derived from the natural alkaloid extracted from jaborandi leaves produced in Brazil.

Pilocarpine eye drops are still sold as a prescription drug worldwide for the treatment of glaucoma and as an agent to cause constriction of the pupil of the eye (useful in some eye surgeries and procedures). In the treatment of glaucoma, pilocarpine causes the iris of the eye to contract, which leads to the opening of the space between the iris and the cornea and, in effect, relieves narrow-angle glaucoma. It is even being used as a tool for the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease in early stages; the eye constriction response to pilocarpine was found to be greater in Alzheimer’s patients than in controls. Tablets of pilocarpine are also manufactured and prescribed to cancer patients to treat dryness of the mouth and throat caused by radiation therapy as well as to patients with Sjogren’s syndrome (an autoimmune disease in which immune cells attack the moisture-producing glands causing dry mouth and eyes). So as history shows; the Indian’s “slobber-mouth” plant made it out of the jungles of the Amazon and into mainstream medicine and pharmaceutical use (for the identical uses the Indians employed it for). As usual, however, the Indians never realized any profits from the resulting manufacture and sales of several drugs over the last 50 years that made use of their plant knowledge.

In addition to pilocarpine, jaborandi leaves contain terpenes, tannic acids and other alkaloids. The natural leaf contains an average of 0.5% pilocarpine, plus similar amounts of other alkaloids such as isopilocarpine, jaborine, jaboridine and pilocarpidine. The alkaloids in jaborandi (including pilocarpine) are a rather rare and unique type of alkaloid that are derived from histidine (an amino acid) and classified as imidazole alkaloids. The main chemicals found in jaborandi include: 2-undecanone, alpha-pinene, isopilocarpidine, isopilocarpine, isopilosine, jaborine, jaborandine, jaboric, limonene, myrcene, pilocarbic acid, pilocarpidine, pilocarpine, pilosine, sandaracopimaradiene, and vinyl-dodecanoate.

Biological Activities and Clinical Research:  

There are well over a thousand clinical studies published on pilocarpine. As with most plant-based drugs, however, the use of the whole natural plant fell out of use as a natural remedy (and failed to attract further research efforts) in favor of the single isolated active ingredient that was turned into a prescription drug. The PDR for Herbal Medicines indicates that the effects of jaborandi leaves are as follows: increases the secretion of saliva, sweat, gastric juices and tears, and stimulates the smooth muscle of the gastrointestinal tract, bronchi, bile duct and bladder. Herbalists and natural health practitioners attribute the same biological activities for the plant as the main activities clinically validated for pilocarpine, but there is no actual clinical research on leaf extracts to support them or qualify them. Another problem is trying to determine effective dosages of leaf extracts (in the absence of clinical research). The pilocarpine content of the leaf can vary – between different “jaborandi” tree species, as well as when different harvesting methods, growth habitats, and even storage, handling and drying methods of the harvested leaves are used. The pilocarpine chemical is fragile; dried jaborandi leaves have shown to lose as much as 50% of their pilocarpine content in as little as a year of storage. Another alkaloid in the leaf, jaborine, has shown to counteract or decrease the effects of pilocarpine, which means that one cannot simply relate the effective dosage of a leaf extract based solely upon the pilocarpine content of the extract.

Finally, one must consider that the longstanding documented use of pilocarpine is not with side effects, toxicity or contraindications. Knowing at least an approximate amount of such an active chemical in a leaf extract is certainly necessary to help determine the extract’s efficacy and safety. The lethal dose of pilocarpine is reportedly 60 mg, which could correspond to as little as 5-10 grams of the leaves. Individuals with cardiac and circulatory problems may even have a lower lethal dosage. Reported side effects for non-lethal dosages of pilocarpine include vomiting, nausea, sweating, convulsions, increased heart rate, difficulty in breathing, and bronchial spasms. Interestingly, a positive side effect of reported use of the pilocarpine eye solution drug was an improvement in sleep apnea and snoring in glaucoma patients using the drug.

Current Practical Uses:

The use of jaborandi is best left in the hands of experienced herbalists and health practitioners since pilocarpine has such pronounced biological activities and it occurs in significant amounts in the natural leaf. (The oral pilocarpine prescription drug, Salagen® is only 5 mg of pilocarpine, so very little is required for a pharmacological effect.) In recent years demand by U.S. consumers for the natural leaf has been increasing, mainly fueled by the high cost of pilocarpine drugs and the rather new uses of it in cancer therapy (as a saliva enhancement agent). However, it still is not recommended to be used by the average lay-person. The natural leaf is not widely available in the U.S. today and importation of it as a natural product is a bit in the grey area since pilocarpine is sold as a regulated prescription drug. In fact, Brazil is the largest producer today of jaborandi leaves. However, 100% of Brazil’s jaborandi leaf production goes into drug manufacture, including Merck Pharmaceuticals who located a manufacturing plant in Brazil specifically for the processing and manufacture their pilocarpine prescription drugs. Current laws in Brazil prohibit the export of jaborandi leaves as a natural product, as they regulate even the leaves as a drug.

Medicinal Uses:
Used internally for psoriasis, itching of the skin, syphilis, chronic excess mucus, and dropsy (leaf extracts).  Internally and externally used for glaucoma and as an antidote to atropine; externally for hair gloss (leaf extracts).

Clinical research is still ongoing today on the isolated alkaloid of Jaborandi leaves, pilocarpine. Some of the latest research is now focused on the topical applications of it as a transdermal penetration agent for other pharmacologic agents since it has the ability to open skin pores and promote capillary blood circulation. These effects are also attributed to its use as a topical agent for baldness.

Precauations:
*Pilocarpine has shown to increase the rate of birth defects in animal studies. Jaborandi should not be taken during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

*Both jaborandi and pilocarpine may cause headaches and can irritate the stomach and cause vomiting and nausea. An overdose may cause such symptoms as flushing, profuse sweating and salivation, urinary frequency, nausea, rapid pulse, contracted pupils, diarrhea or fatal pulmonary edema.

*The plant may induce bradycardia. Those with cardiac or circulatory conditions should not take jaborandi.

*Jaborandi may induce dehydration due to excessive perspiration and urination. If using jaborandi, electrolyte and fluid status must be monitored and maintained.

Drug Interactions:

*May potentiate cardiac medications.
*May potentiate diuretic medications.
*May potentiate cholinergic medications.
*May potentiate diaphoretics.

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/Pilocarpus

http://rainforest-database.com/plants/jaborand.htm

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

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Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Botanical Name : Parthenocissus quinquefolia
Family: Vitaceae
Genus: Parthenocissus
Species: P. quinquefolia
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Vitales

Common Name :Virginia creeper, five-leaved ivy, or five-finger , or Ivy, American

Habitat:  Parthenocissus quinquefolia is  native to eastern and central North America, in southeastern Canada, the eastern and central United States, eastern Mexico, and Guatemala, west as far as Manitoba, South Dakota, Utah and Texas. Parthenocissus quinquefolia is also known as woodbine although woodbine can refer to other plant species. For other plants called woodbine, see the Woodbine disambiguation page.

Description:
Parthenocissus quinquefolia is a prolific climber, reaching heights of 20 to 30 m in the wild. It climbs smooth surfaces using small forked tendrils tipped with small strongly adhesive pads 5 mm in size. The leaves are palmately compound, composed of five leaflets (rarely three leaflets, particularly on younger vines) joined from a central point on the leafstalk, and range from 3 to 20 cm (rarely 30 cm) across. The leaflets have a toothed margin. The species is often confused with Parthenocissus vitacea, which has the same leaves, but does not have the adhesive pads at the end of its tendrils.

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The flowers are small and greenish, produced in clusters in late spring, and mature in late summer or early fall into small hard purplish-black berries 5 to 7 mm diameter. These berries contain oxalic acid, which is only moderately toxic to humans and other mammals. The berries provide an important winter food source for birds.

The leaf structure of Virginia creeper is superficially similar to that of Cannabis sativa, with the effect that persons familiar with only the plants’ leaf structures and not with their stem structures (which are markedly different) often mistake Virginia creeper for “ditch weed” (wild marijuana).

It is commonly misidentified as toxicodendron radicans(poison ivy) due to its similar ability to climb upon structures.

Medicinal Uses:
A hot decoction of the bark and fresh young shoots can be used as a poultice to help reduce swellings.  A tea made from the leaves is used as a wash on swellings and poison ivy rash.  A tea made from the plant is used in the treatment of jaundice.  A tea made from the roots is used in the treatment of gonorrhea and diarrhea. The fruit is useful in treating fevers. The bark and twigs are usually made into a syrup for use in coughs and colds, but a decoction can also be used.

Native Americans used the plant as an herbal remedy for diarrhea, difficult urination, swelling, and lockjaw.

Other Uses:
Virginia creeper is grown as an ornamental plant, because of its deep red to burgundy fall foliage. It is frequently seen covering telephone poles or trees. The creeper may kill vegetation it covers by shading its support and thus limiting the supporting plants’ ability to photosynthesize.

Virginia creeper can be used as a shading vine for buildings on masonry walls. Because the vine, like its relative Boston ivy, adheres to the surface by disks rather than penetrating roots, it will not harm the masonry but will keep a building cooler by shading the wall surface during the summer, saving money on air conditioning. As with ivy, trying to rip the plant from the wall will damage the surface; but if the plant is first killed, such as by severing the vine from the root, the adhesive pads will eventually deteriorate and release their grip.

Also known as “Engelmann’s Ivy” in Canada.

Known hazards:Similar to poison ivy, Virginia creeper can cause skin irritations or painful rashes in some individuals.

 

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/Parthenocissus_quinquefolia

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

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