Commiphora Opobalsamum

Botanical Name: Commiphora Opobalsamum
Family:    Burseraceae
Genus:    Commiphora
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:    Sapindales

Synonyms: Balsamum Meccae var. Judiacum. Balsamum Gileadense. Baume de la Mecque. Balsamodendrum Opobalsamum. Balessan. Bechan. Balsam Tree. Amyris Gileadensis. Amyris Opobalsamum. Balsumodendron Gileadensis. Protium Gileadense. Dossémo.

Part Used: The resinous juice.

Habitat:Commiphora Opobalsamum is native to  countries on both sides of the Red Sea.

Description:
Commiphora Opobalsamum is a small tree, the source of the genuine Balm of Gilead around which so many mystical associations have gathered stands from 10 to 12 feet high, with wandlike, spreading branches. The bark is of a rich brown colour, the leaves, trifoliate, are small and scanty, the flowers unisexual small, and reddish in colour, while the seeds are solitary, yellow, and grooved down one side. It is both rare, and difficult to rear, and is so much valued by the Turks that its importation is prohibited. They have grown the trees in guarded gardens at Matarie, near Cairo, from the days of Prosper Alpin, who wrote the Dialogue of Balm, and the balsam is valued as a cosmetic by the royal ladies. In the Bible, and in the works of Bruce Theophrastes, Galen, and Dioscorides, it is lauded.

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Leaves in Commiphora are pinnately compound (or very rarely unifoliolate). Many species are armed with spines. Bark is often exfoliating, peeling in thin sheets to reveal colorful, sometimes photosynthetic bark, below. Stems are frequently succulent, especially in species native to drier environments. Flowers are subdioecious and fruits are drupes, usually with a 2-locular ovary (one is abortive). In response to wounding, the stems of many species will exude aromatic resins

The wood is found in small pieces, several kinds being known commercially, but it rapidly loses its odour. The fruit is reddish grey, and the size of a small pea, with an agreeable and aromatic taste. In Europe and America it is so seldom found in a pure state that its use is entirely discontinued .

Constituents:  The liquid balm is turbid whitish, thick, grey and odorous, and becomes solid by exposure. It contains a resin soluble in alcohol, and a principle resembling Bassorin.

Medicinal  Uses:  It has been used in diseases of the urinary tracts, but is said to possess no medicinal properties not found in other balsams.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commiphora
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/b/balofg05.html

Solanum capsicoides

Botanical Name :Solanum capsicoides
Family:    Solanaceae
Genus:    Solanum
Species:    S. capsicoides
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:    Solanales

Synonyms:
This species had been included in S. aculeatissimum as variety denudatum by Dunal (Solanum denudatum of Bitter is S. humile as described by Lamarck). It was also included in the eggplant (S. melongena) under its junior synonym S. trongum (as var. sinuato-pinnatifidum), also by Dunal.

In addition, the Cockroach Berry is sometimes referenced under the following obsolete names:

*Solanum arrebenta Vell.
*Solanum bodinieri H.Lév. & Vaniot
*Solanum capsicoides Hort. Paris ex Lam. (preoccupied)
*Solanum ciliare Willd.
*Solanum ciliatum Lam.
*S. ciliatum of Blume from F.A.W. Miquel is an undetermined species of Lycianthes.
*Solanum ciliatum var. arenarium Dunal
*S. arenarium of Schur is S. villosum as described by Philip Miller.
*S. arenarium of Otto Sendtner is a valid species
*Solanum macowanii Fourc.
*Solanum pentapetaloides Roxb. ex Hornem.
*S. pentapetaloides of Bojer from Dunal in de Candolle is S. imamense.
*Solanum pentapetalum Schltdl.
*Solanum sinuatifolium Vell.
*Solanum sphaerocarpum Moric.

Common Names: Cockroach berry, Devil’s apple, Soda apple

Habitat:  Solanum capsicoides is native to eastern Brazil but naturalized in other tropical regions. It is widely naturalised in eastern Australia (i.e. in the wetter parts of eastern Queensland and in some parts of eastern New South Wales).
Also widely naturalised in other tropical regions, including in south-eastern USA (i.e. Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina and North Carolina) on several Pacific islands (i.e. French Polynesia, Western Samoa, Tonga and Hawaii).

Description:
Solanum capsicoides  is a flowering plant in the Solanaceae family.Annual or short-lived perennial shrub to 1 m high, sparsely hairy with long simple and minute glandular hairs It is native to eastern Brazil but naturalized in other tropical regions, where it sometimes becomes an invasive weed……click & see the pictures 

Stem:  Usually flowers and fruits as a shrub about 1-2 m tall but also flowers when smaller.

Leaves: Leaf blades about 4-8 x 4-7 cm, hairy on both the upper and lower surfaces also with erect, straight about 4-10 mm long spines present on both surfaces particularly along the midrib and main lateral veins. Petioles about 1.5-2.5 cm long. Leaf blade margins coarsely lobed with 2 or 3 lobes on each side. Twigs and petioles also armed with spines.

Flowers: Inflorescence axis, pedicels and calyx armed with straight spines. Pedicels about 10-25 mm long. Calyx about 4-6 mm long, lobes about 2-3 mm long. Corolla about 20-30 mm diam. Anthers orange, about 5-7 mm long, filaments somewhat flattened or winged. Ovary clothed in fine short glandular hairs. Style short.

Fruits:  Fruits depressed globular, about 20-35 mm diam. Pedicels spiny. Calyx green, spiny, persistent at the base of the fruit. Seeds numerous, about 4-6 mm diam. including the thick wing around the margin. Seeds dry, not immersed in pulp. Embryo +/- coiled, cotyledons no wider than the radicle.

Seedlings:  Cotyledons about 11-13 x 4-7 mm on petioles about 8-14 mm long. First pair of leaves alternate or paired, both the upper and lower surfaces and the petiole clothed in erect white hairs. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade +/- cordate, margin slightly lobed, spines present on the stem, petiole, midrib and lateral veins on both the upper and lower leaf surfaces.

Solanum capsicoides  is tender (frost hardy to zone 9a) perennial (grown usually as an annual plant) to 1,2m (4ft) high. This species is used in colder regions of Australia as a rootstock for perennial eggplant (Solanum melongena) trees. By grafting to create an “eggplant tree” which can literally produce from dozens to hundreds of eggplants. An “eggplant tree” can produce eggplants for about eight months of the year for two or three years in cold southern Australia areas. It is necessity only to cover the grafted tree in winter so the eggplant grafts don’t die off (the grafting process make plants that are annual in cold climates into perennials). Plant very spinous. In the past field children in Brazil delighted with these fruits. The layer of flesh under the skin is edible and very tasty. It should be not eaten in large quantities, it is rather a snack. Also very ornamental plant (many of orange fruits). In autumn the leafless branches with ripe fruits can be used like component of dry bouquets (the fruits are very permanent – for a few months they will not dry out or rot). Easy to grow. It can fruit in temperate gardens, but must be sown early (the best in January – March). Seeds harvested in summer 2012. Package 50 seeds.

Medicinal Uses:
Solanum capsicoides, ponm pwezon, is used when “blood goes up in somebody’s head and make them kind of crazy.’’ First they are given a tea made of fle makata (Caesalpinia pulcherrima), bonmidjez and lard.  The head is then wrapped with ponm pwezon poultice and a decoction made with olive oil, cheese, and saspawey (Agave caribaeicola) is given to drink.  Ingestion of this plant could be harmful.

In homeopathy Solanum Arrebenta is used in   Apoplexy.

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

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solanum_capsicoides
http://www.heirloomseedswap.com/item/894
http://www.saintlucianplants.com/localuses/solacaps.html
http://bie.ala.org.au/species/urn:lsid:biodiversity.org.au:apni.taxon:295961
http://keys.trin.org.au/key-server/data/0e0f0504-0103-430d-8004-060d07080d04/media/Html/taxon/Solanum_capsicoides.htm
http://keyserver.lucidcentral.org/weeds/data/080c0106-040c-4508-8300-0b0a06060e01/media/Html/Solanum_capsicoides.htm

Solanum dulcamara

Botanical Name:Solanum dulcamara
Family:    Solanaceae
Genus:    Solanum
Species:    S. dulcamara
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:    Solanales

Synonyms:  Dulcamara. Felonwood. Felonwort. Scarlet Berry. Violet Bloom

Other Names : Bittersweet, Bittersweet nightshade, Bitter nightshade, Blue bindweed, Amara Dulcis, Climbing nightshade, Fellenwort, Felonwood, Poisonberry, Poisonflower, Scarlet berry, Snakeberry, Trailing bittersweet, Trailing nightshade, Violet bloom, or Woody nightshade

Habitat : Solanum dulcamara  is native to Europe and Asia, and widely naturalised elsewhere, including North America, where it is an invasive problem weed.

Description:
Bittersweet is a semi-woody herbaceous perennial vine, which scrambles over other plants, capable of reaching a height of 4 m where suitable support is available, but more often 1–2 meters high. The leaves are 4–12 cm long, roughly arrowhead-shaped, and often lobed at the base. The flowers are in loose clusters of 3–20, 1–1.5 cm across, star-shaped, with five purple petals and yellow stamens and style pointing forward. The fruit is an ovoid red berry about 1 cm long, soft and juicy, with the aspect and odor of a tiny tomato, and edible for some birds, which disperse the seeds widely. However, the berry is poisonous to humans and livestock,  and the berry’s attractive and familiar look make it dangerous for children.It spreads via underground stems.
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The plant is relatively important in the diet of some species of birds such as European thrushes that feed on its fruits and are immune to its poisons, scattering the seeds abroad. It grows in all types of terrain with a preference for wetlands  and the understory of riparian forests. Along with other climbers, it creates a dark and impenetrable shelter for varied animals. The plant grows well in dark areas in places where it can receive the light of morning or afternoon. An area receiving bright light for many hours reduces their development. It grows more easily in rich wet soils with plenty of nitrogen.

Medicinal Uses:
It has been used in folk medicine across Europe for hundreds of years. But Michel Felix Dunal, who worked on Solanum in the 1800s, realised that many of the powers attributed to this plant were spurious.

Woody nightshade was used to treat skin conditions, circulatory conditions and breathing problems like asthma. It was included in the official British Pharamcopeia until 1907, but was taken out of later editions.

The older physicians valued Bittersweet highly and applied it to many purposes in medicine and surgery, for which it is no longer used. It was in great repute as far back as the time of Theophrastus, and we know of it being in use in this country in the thirteenth century.
Gerard says of it: ‘The juice is good for those that have fallen from high places, and have been thereby bruised or beaten, for it is thought to dissolve blood congealed or cluttered anywhere in the intrals and to heale the hurt places.’ Boerhaave, the celebrated Dutch physician, considered the young shoots superior to Sarsaparilla as a restorative, and Linnaeus, who at first had an aversion to the plant, later spoke of it in the highest terms as a remedy for rheumatism, fever and inflammatory diseases of all kinds. There are few complaints for which it has not been at some time recommended.

Known Hazards:
It carries the bacterium – Ralstonia solanacearum – that causes brown rot in potatoes. The disease can be spread to potatoes from infected woody nightshade growing on riverbanks if the river water is used to irrigate potato fields.

Solanum dulcamara contains solanine, an alkaloid glycoside. It increases bodily secretions and leads to vomiting and convulsions. The strength of its actions is said to be very dependent on the soil in which it grows with light, dry soils increasing its effects.

Though the berries are very attractive the bitter taste is a disincentive for the majority of people, especially children.

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

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solanum_dulcamara
http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nature-online/species-of-the-day/collections/collecting/solanum-dulcamara/index.html
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/n/nighwo06.html
http://www.thepoisongarden.co.uk/atoz/solanum_dulcamara.htm

Solanum ptychanthum

 Botanical Name: Solanum ptychanthum
Family:    Solanaceae
Genus:    Solanum
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:    Solanales

Common Names: Solanum ptychanthum, Eastern black nightshade or West Indian nightshade

Habitat: Eastern black nightshade is found principally in the Eastern United States. Eastern black nightshade grows in landscapes, and mixed in among most crops. It is most likely to be found growing near crops of related species such as tomatoes and potatoes. It can grow on sandy and poor soil, but prefers fertile and cultivated soil types.

Description:
Eastern black nightshade  is an annual or occasionally perennial plant . It is typically 15–60 cm tall and has many branche.The leaves of Eastern black nightshade are triangular to elliptic. The stems are circular, and sometimes slightly hairy. The flowers are small, white, and star-shaped, and they occur in small umbels of 5-7. The flowers ripen into glossy, black berries, each 10 mm in diameter and containing between 50 and 100 seeds. The ripened fruits have been shown to be not poisonous in low to moderate amounts,  however the foliage and unriped berries are toxic. The berries are eaten and dispersed by birds……..CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Eastern black nightshade grows as weeds. It is, however, shade tolerant and so an infestation can survive and continue to grow even in the shade of crop plants. There are no easy chemical methods for controlling Eastern black nightshade, but night tillage reduces emergence by 50% to 75%. Planting soybeans in 7.5-inch rows also reduces growth significantly, and is the recommended method of control.
Edible  & medicinal  uses:
You may click & see:-
1) .http://www.eattheweeds.com/american-nightshade-a-much-maligned-edible/

2)...http://kentuckyforager.com/2013/03/17/a-look-back-at-2012-and-solanum-ptycanthum-eastern-black-nightshade/

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

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solanum_ptychanthum

Solanum americanum

Botanical Name: Solanum americanum
Family: Solanaceae
Genus: Solanum
Species: S. americanum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Solanales

Common Names: American nightshade or Glossy nightshade

Habitat: Solanum americanum is native to the tropics and subtropics of the Americas, Melanesia, New Guinea, and Australia.The plant is widely naturalised around the Tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans, including Hawai?i, Indochina, Madagascar and Africa, possibly via anthropogenic introduction in these locales.
Description:
Solanum americanum is a herbaceous flowering plant which grows up to 1–1.5 metres (39–59 in) tall and is an annual or short-lived perennial. The leaves are alternate on the branch, and vary greatly in size, up to 10 centimetres (3.9 in) long and 7 centimetres (2.8 in) broad, with a 4-centimetre (1.6 in) petiole and a coarsely wavy or toothed margin. The flowers are about 1 cm diameter, white or occasionally light purple, with yellow stamens. The fruit is a shiny black berry 5–10 millimetres (0.20–0.39 in) diameter, containing numerous small seeds....CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
Edible Uses:
The ripe fruit is cooked into jams and preserves, or eaten raw. In Africa, South America, New Guinea and Oceania the young green shoots of Solanum americanum are cooked and eaten as greens, after boiling in water. The cooking water used for boiling the leaves is discarded as it contains the soluble alkaloids. In Kenya, Cameroon and Papua New Guinea the leaves are sold as a leaf vegetable in the markets. The leaves are used in a West Indian stew, and it is known as branched Kalaloo. In Mauritius it is cultivated and eaten as a pot-herb and used in bouillon. Experts warn that care should be taken since numerous toxins are reported with levels varying with local conditions and varieties.

Medicinal Uses:
It is used as a medicine in Cameroon, Kenya, Hawai?i, Panama, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Pakistan. In China a tea from the whole plant is used to treat cancer of the cervix. It is used as folk medicine for a wide range of conditions, being applied topically and internally.

Medical Research:
Extracts from S.americanum were found to have selective antiviral activity against the herpes simplex type-1 virus (HSV-1).Methanol extracts of S.americanum have high antimicrobial activity against Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus and Aspergillus niger. Water based extracts had no antibacterial activity.

Known Hazards: Solanum americanum is a variable taxon. It is considered by some botanists to be more than one species, and others recognise subspecies. Some botanists have suggested that Solanum americanum may be conspecific with the European nightshade, S. nigrum.

Toxicity:
Research indicates the presence of toxic glycoalkaloids and there are warnings to be careful on the use of S.americanum as herbal medicine and food. The green fruit is particularly poisonous and eating unripe berries has caused the death of children. Ripe berries and foliage may also cause poisoning. This is via high levels of the glycoalkaloids, solanine and solamargine,. Other toxins present in the plant include chaconine, solasonine, solanigrine, gitogenin and traces of saponins, as well as the tropane alkaloids scopolamine (hyoscine), atropine and hyoscyamine.

Significant amounts of solasodine(0.65%) have been found in the green berries. The ripe fruit also contains 0.3-0.45% solasonine, and acetylcholine, and has a cholinesterase-inhibiting effect on human plasma. In Transkei, rural people have a high incidence of esophageal cancer thought to be a result of using S.americanum as a food. Livestock can also be poisoned by high nitrate levels in the leaves.

Toxicity varies widely depending on the genetic strain and the location conditions, like soil and rainfall.[6][8] Poisonous plant experts advise: “…unless you are certain that the berries are from an edible strain, leave them alone.

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

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solanum_americanum

Stachvs Sieboldii

Botanical Name : Stachvs Sieboldii
Family:    Lamiaceae
Genus:    Stachys
Species:    S. affinis
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:    Lamiales

Other Names: Stachys affinis, the Chinese artichoke, chorogi, knotroot, artichoke betony, or crosne

Habitat :This species occurs wild in Northern China, where it is also cultivated, its native name being Tsanyungtzu, while in Japan it is called Chorogi. It was introduced as a culinary vegetable by the late Dr. M. T. Masters, F.R.S., in 1888. The tubers are eaten more in France than in this country. It grows in wet and submersed areas; 0-3200 m. Gansu, Hebei, Nei Mongol, Ningxia, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi, Xinjiang.

Description:
While the plant is easy to grow, the tubers are small, convoluted, and indented, so they are considered very tedious, if not difficult to clean properly. The thin skin ranges from a pale beige to ivory-white colour. The flesh underneath, under proper cultivation, is white and tender. Chinese poets compare it to jade beads. It is in season  generally commencing with October.
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Cultivation:  It is perfectly hardy and may be left in the ground until required for use. Planting should take place in the spring and the tubers dug through the winter as required. The plants are perfectly easily grown and extraordinarily productive.

Propagation  : Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. If sufficient growth has been made, it is possible to plant them out during the summer, otherwise grow them on in pots for their first summer, leaving the tubers in the pots to overwinter in a cold frame and then plant out in late spring when in active growth. Seed is rarely if ever produced on plants growing in Britain. Division. The tubers can be harvest and replanted at any time whilst they are dormant. They do start into growth fairly early in the year so it is better to have moved them by the end of March.

Edible Uses: The flavor of the stem tubers is delicate, and they can be prepared similarly to Jerusalem artichokes in cooking. It is used as a vegetable, in salad compositions, but more so as a garnish. It has a nutty, artichoke-like flavor.

In Chinese and Japanese cuisine, the Chinese artichoke is primarily pickled. In particular, its tuber is a part of Osechi, cooked for celebrating Japanese New Year. Dyed red by leaves of red shiso after being pickled, it is called Chorogi.

In French cuisine, its cooked tuber is often served alongside dishes named japonaise or Japanese-styled.

Medicinal Uses:
The dried and powdered root is anodyne. The entire plant has been used in the treatment of colds and pneumonia.

Chinese artichoke is composed mostly of carbohydrate with some protein. One hundred grams of this vegetable contains 80 calories. The Chinese artichoke plant is very similar and directly related to the European plant, wood betony or lousewort. Wood betony is renowned for its use in traditional European medicine and for the treatment of a number of ailments. They include heartburn, varicose veins, urinary tract inflammation and respiratory tract inflammation. It also has calming effects and is used for headaches and neuralgia. Chinese artichoke, both the root and the plant, are used in Chinese traditional medicine although for different ailments, mainly to treat symptoms of the common cold. So far there has been very little research into the active constituents of the Chinese artichoke plant, although wood betony is know to contain alkaloids, tannins and glycosides.

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

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stachys_affinis
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/a/artic067.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Stachys+affinis
https://food-nutrition.knoji.com/chinese-artichoke-or-crosne-culinary-uses-and-nutrition/

Jerusalem artichoke

.Botanical Name: Helianthus tuberosus
Family:    Asteraceae
Tribe:    Heliantheae
Genus:    Helianthus
Species:    H. tuberosus
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:    Asterales

Synonym:  Sunflower Artichoke.

Common Names: Jerusalem artichoke, Sunroot, Sunchoke, Earth apple or Topinambour

Habitat: Jerusalem artichoke is  native to eastern North America, and found from eastern Canada and Maine west to North Dakota, and south to northern Florida and Texas. It is also cultivated widely across the temperate zone for its tuber, which is used as a root vegetable.

Description:
Jerusalem artichoke is a herbaceous perennial plant growing to 1.5–3 m (4 ft 11 in–9 ft 10 in) tall with opposite leaves on the upper part of the stem but alternate below. The leaves have a rough, hairy texture and the larger leaves on the lower stem are broad ovoid-acute and can be up to 30 cm (12 in) long, and the higher leaves smaller and narrower.

The flowers are yellow and produced in capitate flowerheads, which are 5–10 cm (2.0–3.9 in) in diameter, with 10–20 ray florets.

The tubers are elongated and uneven, typically 7.5–10 cm (3.0–3.9 in) long and 3–5 cm (1.2–2.0 in) thick, and vaguely resembling ginger root in appearance, with a crisp texture when raw. They vary in colour from pale brown to white, red, or purple.

The artichoke contains about 10% protein, no oil, and a surprising lack of starch. However, it is rich in the carbohydrate inulin (76%), which is a polymer of the monosaccharide fructose. Tubers stored for any length of time will convert their inulin into its component fructose. Jerusalem artichokes have an underlying sweet taste because of the fructose, which is about one and a half times sweeter than sucrose.
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Jerusalem artichokes have also been promoted as a healthy choice for type 2 diabetics, because fructose is better tolerated by people who are type 2 diabetic. It has also been reported as a folk remedy for diabetes. Temperature variances have been shown to affect the amount of inulin the Jerusalem artichoke can produce. When not in tropical regions, it has been shown to make less inulin than when it is in a warmer region.

Cultivation:     
A very easily grown plant, it grows best in a loose circumneutral loam but succeeds in most soils and conditions in a sunny position. Plants are more productive when grown in a rich soil. Heavy soils produce the highest yields, but the tubers are easily damaged at harvest-time so lighter well-drained sandy loams are more suitable. Dislikes shade. Likes some lime in the soil. Jerusalem artichoke is reported to tolerate an annual precipitation of 31 to 282cm, an average annual temperature of 6.3 to 26.6°C and a pH in the range of 4.5 to 8.2. Jerusalem artichokes were cultivated as a food plant by the N. American Indians and they are today often grown in temperate areas for their edible tubers. There are some named varieties. The plant is a suitable crop in any soil and climate where corn (Zea mays) will grow. It survives in poor soil and in areas as cold as Alaska. It also tolerates hot to sub-zero temperatures. The first frost kills the stems and leaves, but the tubers can withstand freezing for months. The plants are particularly suited to dry regions and poor soils where they will out-yield potatoes. Tuber production occurs in response to decreasing day-length in late summer. Yields range from 1 – 2kg per square metre. The tubers are very cold-tolerant and can be safely left in the ground in the winter to be harvested as required. They can be attacked by slugs, however, and in sites prone to slug damage it is probably best to harvest the tubers in late autumn and store them over the winter. It is almost impossible to find all the tubers at harvest time, any left in the soil will grow away vigorously in the spring. Plants do not flower in northern Europe. They are sensitive to day-length hours, requiring longer periods of light from seedling to maturation of plant, and shorter periods for tuber formation. They do not grow where day-lengths vary little. The plant is good weed eradicator, it makes so dense a shade that few other plants can compete. The young growth is extremely attractive to slugs, plants can be totally destroyed by them. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits. Plants only produce flowers in Britain after a long hot summer and seed is rarely formed. Grows well with corn. Plants can be invasive.

Propagation:     
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in spring or autumn[200]. Harvest the tubers in late autumn or the winter and either replant the tubers immediately or store them in a cool but frost-free place and plant them out in early spring. Jerusalem artichoke is propagated by tubers, which should be planted as early as possible in the spring when the soil can be satisfactorily worked. Late planting usually reduces tuber yields and size seriously. Whole tubers or pieces about 50 g (2 oz.) should be planted like potatoes and covered to a depth of 10 cm. Pieces larger than 50 g do not increase the yield, though those smaller will decrease it. Deeper planting may delay emergence, weaken the sprouts, and cause the tubers to develop deeper, making harvest more difficult[269]. 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.

Edible Uses: Coffee;  Sweetener.
Tubers – raw or cooked. The tuber develops a pleasant sweetness during the winter, especially if subjected to frosts, and is then reasonably acceptable raw. Otherwise it is generally best cooked, and can be used in all the ways that potatoes are used. The tubers are rich in inulin, a starch which the body cannot digest, so Jerusalem artichokes provide a bulk of food without many calories. Some people are not very tolerant of inulin, it tends to ferment in their guts and can cause quite severe wind. The tubers are fairly large, up to 10cm long and 6cm in diameter. The tubers bruise easily and lose moisture rapidly so are best left in the ground and harvested as required. The inulin from the roots can be converted into fructose, a sweet substance that is safe for diabetics to use. The roasted tubers are a coffee substitute…....CLICK & SEE 

Medicinal Uses:
Aperient;  Cholagogue;  Diuretic;  Stomachic;  Tonic.

Reported to be aperient, aphrodisiac, cholagogue, diuretic, spermatogenetic, stomachic, and tonic, Jerusalem artichoke is a folk remedy for diabetes and rheumatism.

CLICK & SEE THE MEDICAL PROPERITIES OF  Jerusalem artichoke..>  ...(1).....(2)…
Other Uses:
Biomass.:  The plants are a good source of biomass. The tubers are used in industry to make alcohol etc. The alcohol fermented from the tubers is said to be of better quality than that from sugar beets. A fast-growing plant, Jerusalem artichokes can be grown as a temporary summer screen. Very temporary, it is July before they reach a reasonable height and by October they are dying down.

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

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerusalem_artichoke
http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Helianthus+tuberosus

Lamium Galeobdolon

Botanical Name: Lamium Galeobdolon
Family:    Lamiaceae
Genus:    Lamium
Species:    L. galeobdolon
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:    Lamiales

Synonyms:  Yellow Archangel. Weazel Snout. Dummy Nettle.

Common Names: Artillery plant, or Aluminium plant

Habitat: : Lamium Galeobdolon is a widespread wildflower in Europe, and has been introduced elsewhere as a garden plant. It  grows in woods and shady hedgerows, usually on heavier soils. Sometimes becoming locally dominant, especially after coppicing.

Description:
Yellow archangel is a large-leaved perennial plant with underground runners growing to a height of about 40 to 80 cm (16 to 31 in). The paired opposite leaves are stalked, broadly ovate with a cordate base and toothed margin. The underside of the leaves is often purplish. The flowers grow in whorls in a terminal spike. The calyx is five-lobed. The corolla is yellow, 15 to 25 mm (0.6 to 1.0 in) long, the petals fused with a long tube and two lips. The upper lip is hooded and the lower lip has three similar-sized lobes with the central one being triangular and often streaked with orange. There are two short stamens and two long ones. The carpels are fused and the fruit is a four-chambered schizocarp……....click & see the pictures

Cultivation:    
Landscape Uses:Ground cover, Massing, Woodland garden. A very easily grown plant, it tolerates most soils and conditions. It grows well in heavy clay soils, though it prefers a light calcareous soil. Dislikes dry soils. This species succeeds even in dense shade, growing well under trees. Once established, it can also succeed in drought conditions under the shade of trees, providing there is plenty of humus in the soil. There are at least four sub-species, L. galeobdolon montanum is the form generally found wild in Britain and it is a triploid. L. galeobdolon luteum and L. galeobdolon flavidum are both diploids. L. galeobdolon argentatum is the more rampant form, its clone ‘Variegatum’ is a commonly used ground cover plant for shady places. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits. A very invasive plant, sending out long prostrate shoots that root at intervals along the stems. Special Features: Attractive foliage, Naturalizing.

Propagation:  
Seed – usually self sows freely and should not require human intervention. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. The seed can also be sown in situ as soon as it is ripe. Division in spring. Succeeds at almost any time in the growing season. 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 spring

Edible Uses:  Young leaves and shoots – cooked. Young flowering tips – cooked.

Medicinal Uses:
Antispasmodic;  Astringent;  Diuretic;  Expectorant;  Styptic;  Vasoconstrictor.

The herb is antispasmodic, astringent, diuretic, expectorant, styptic and vasoconstrictor.

Other Uses:   A good ground cover plant, spreading rapidly by means of its rooting stems and succeeding even in dense shade. It is very vigorous, however, and can smother small plants. It does very well in woodlands.

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

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamium_galeobdolon
http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?latinname=Lamium+galeobdolon
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/n/nettle03.html

Urtica dioica

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

Common Names: Common nettle or Stinging nettle

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

In Europe nettles have a strong association with human habitation and buildings. The presence of nettles may indicate the site of a long-abandoned building. Human and animal waste may be responsible for elevated levels of phosphate[10] and nitrogen in the soil, providing an ideal environment for nettles.

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

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation:
Prefers a soil rich in phosphates and nitrogen. Plants must be grown in a deep rich soil if good quality fibre is required[4, 115]. Nettles are one of the most undervalued of economic plants. They have a wide range of uses, for food, medicines, fibres etc and are also a very important plant for wildlife. There are at least 30 species of insects that feed on it and the caterpillars of several lepidoptera species are dependant upon it for food[30]. Especially when growing in rich soils, the plant can spread vigorously and is very difficult to eradicate. It is said that cutting the plant down three times a year for three years will kill it[4]. It is a good companion plant to grow in the orchard and amongst soft fruit[53, 54]. So long as it is not allowed to totally over-run the plants, it seems to improve the health of soft fruit that grows nearby and also to protect the fruit from birds, but it makes harvesting very difficult. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Propagation :         
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame, only just covering the seed. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle, and plant them out in the summer. Division succeeds at almost any time in the growing season. Very easy, plant them straight out into their permanent positions.

Edible Uses: Colouring;  Curdling agent;  Drink;  Oil.
Young leaves – cooked as a potherb and added to soups etc. They can also be dried for winter use. Nettles are a very valuable addition to the diet, they are a very nutritious food that is easily digested and is high in minerals (especially iron) and vitamins (especially A and C). Only use young leaves (see the notes above on toxicity) and wear stout gloves when harvesting them to prevent being stung. Cooking the leaves, or thoroughly drying them, neutralizes the sting, rendering the leaf safe to eat. The young shoots, harvested in the spring when 15 – 20cm long complete with the underground stem are very nice. Old leaves can be laxative. The plants are harvested commercially for extraction of the chlorophyll, which is used as a green colouring agent (E140) in foods and medicines. A tea is made from the dried leaves, it is warming on a winters day. A bland flavour, it can be added as a tonic to China tea. The juice of the leaves, or a decoction of the herb, can be used as a rennet substitute in curdling plant milks. Nettle beer is brewed from the young shoot

Medicinal Uses:
Antiasthmatic;  Antidandruff;  Antirheumatic;  Antiseborrheic;  Astringent;  Diuretic;  Galactogogue;  Haemostatic;  Hypoglycaemic;  Stings;  Tonic.

Nettles have a long history of use in the home as a herbal remedy and nutritious addition to the diet. A tea made from the leaves has traditionally been used as a cleansing tonic and blood purifier so the plant is often used in the treatment of hay fever, arthritis, anaemia etc. The whole plant is antiasthmatic, antidandruff, astringent, depurative, diuretic, galactogogue, haemostatic, hypoglycaemic and a stimulating tonic. An infusion of the plant is very valuable in stemming internal bleeding, it is also used to treat anaemia, excessive menstruation, haemorrhoids, arthritis, rheumatism and skin complaints, especially eczema. Externally, the plant is used to treat skin complaints, arthritic pain, gout, sciatica, neuralgia, haemorrhoids, hair problems etc. The fresh leaves of nettles have been rubbed or beaten onto the skin in the treatment of rheumatism etc. This practice, called urtification, causes intense irritation to the skin as it is stung by the nettles. It is believed that this treatment works in two ways. Firstly, it acts as a counter-irritant, bringing more blood to the area to help remove the toxins that cause rheumatism. Secondly, the formic acid from the nettles is believed to have a beneficial effect upon the rheumatic joints. For medicinal purposes, the plant is best harvested in May or June as it is coming into flower and dried for later use. This species merits further study for possible uses against kidney and urinary system ailments. The juice of the nettle can be used as an antidote to stings from the leaves and an infusion of the fresh leaves is healing and soothing as a lotion for burns. The root has been shown to have a beneficial effect upon enlarged prostate glands. A homeopathic remedy is made from the leaves. It is used in the treatment of rheumatic gout, nettle rash and chickenpox, externally is applied to bruises. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Urtica dioica Stinging Nettle for rheumatic ailments (internal use of leaf), irrigation therapy, for inflammatory disease of the lower urinary tract and prevention of kidney ‘gravel’ formation, urination difficulty from benign prostatic hyperplasia (root)  for critics of commission

Urtica dioica herb has been used in the traditional Austrian medicine internally (as tea or fresh leaves) for treatment of disorders of the kidneys and urinary tract, gastrointestinal tract, locomotor system, skin, cardio-vascular system, hemorrhage, flu, rheumatism and gout.

Nettle is used in shampoo to control dandruff and is said to make hair more glossy, which is why some farmers include a handful of nettles with cattle feed.

Nettle root extracts have been extensively studied in human clinical trials as a treatment for symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). These extracts have been shown to help relieve symptoms compared to placebo both by themselves  and when combined with other herbal medicines.

Because it contains 3,4-divanillyltetrahydrofuran, certain extracts of the nettle are used by bodybuilders in an effort to increase free testosterone by occupying sex-hormone binding globulin.

As Old English stiðe, nettle is one of the nine plants invoked in the pagan Anglo-Saxon Nine Herbs Charm, recorded in the 10th century. Nettle is believed to be a galactagogue, a substance that promotes lactation.

Urtication, or flogging with nettles, is the process of deliberately applying stinging nettles to the skin in order to provoke inflammation. An agent thus used is known as a rubefacient (something that causes redness). This is done as a folk remedy for rheumatism, providing temporary relief from pain. The counter-irritant action to which this is often attributed can be preserved by the preparation of an alcoholic tincture which can be applied as part of a topical preparation (but not as an infusion) which drastically reduces the irritant action.

Extracts of Urtica dioica leaves may help with glycemic control in type 2 diabetes patients needing to use insulin.

Known Hazards:
Nettle stings are irritating and poisonous but are very rarely serious.The leaves of the plants have stinging hairs, causing irritation to the skin. This action is neutralized by heat or by thorough drying, so the cooked leaves are perfectly safe and nutritious. However, only young leaves should be used because older leaves develop gritty particles called cystoliths which act as an irritant to the kidneys. Possible interference with allopathic drugs for diabetes mellitus, hypertension. Central nervous system depression drugs (e.g. morphine, alcohol) may also interact with nettle. Avoid during pregnancy,

Other Uses:
Biomass;  Compost;  Dye;  Fibre;  Hair;  Liquid feed;  Oil;  Repellent;  Waterproofing.

A strong flax-like fibre is obtained from the stems. Used for making string and cloth, it also makes a good quality paper. It is harvested as the plant begins to die down in early autumn and is retted before the fibres are extracted. The fibre is produced in less abundance than from flax (Linun usitatissimum) and is also more difficult to extract. The plant matter left over after the fibres have been extracted are a good source of biomass and have been used in the manufacture of sugar, starch, protein and ethyl alcohol. An oil obtained from the seeds is used as an illuminant. An essential ingredient of ‘QR’ herbal compost activator. This is a dried and powdered mixture of several herbs that can be added to a compost heap in order to speed up bacterial activity and thus shorten the time needed to make the compost. The leaves are also an excellent addition to the compost heap and they can be soaked for 7 – 21 days in water to make a very nutritious liquid feed for plants. This liquid feed is both insect repellent and a good foliar feed. The growing plant increases the essential oil content of other nearby plants, thus making them more resistant to insect pests. Although many different species of insects feed on nettles, flies are repelled by the plant so a bunch of freshly cut stems has been used as a repellent in food cupboards. The juice of the plant, or a decoction formed by boiling the herb in a strong solution of salt, will curdle milks and thus acts as a rennet substitute. This same juice, if rubbed into small seams of leaky wooden tubs, will coagulate and make the tub watertight again. A hair wash is made from the infused leaves and this is used as a tonic and antidandruff treatment. A beautiful and permanent green dye is obtained from a decoction of the leaves and stems. A yellow dye is obtained from the root when boiled with alum

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

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urtica_dioica
http://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Urtica+dioica
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/n/nettle03.html

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Epigaea repens

Botanical Name: Epigaea repens
Family:    Ericaceae
Genus:    Epigaea
Species:    E. repens
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:    Ericales

Synonyms:  Mountain Pink. May Flower. Gravel Plant. Ground Laurel. Winter Pink.

Common Names: Mayflower or Trailing arbutus

Habitat:  Epigaea repens   is found from Newfoundland to Florida, west to Kentucky and the Northwest Territories. It is found in sandy soil in many parts of North America, in the shade of pines. Its natural home is under trees, and it will thrive in this country only in moist, sandy peat in shady places. It has long been known in cultivation here as an ornamental plant, having been introduced into Great Britain in 1736. Like the common Arbutus, or the Strawberry Tree and the Bearberry, it belongs to the order Ericacece, the family of the heaths.Slow growing, it prefers moist, acidic (humus-rich) soil, and shade. It is often part of the heath complex in an oak-heath forest.

Description:
Epigaea repens is a small evergreen creeping shrub, It grows but a few inches high, with a trailing, shrubby stalk, which puts out roots at the joints, and when in a proper soil and situation multiplies very fast. The evergreen leaves are stalked, broadly ovate, 1 to 1 1/2 inches long, rough and leathery, with entire, wavy margins and a short point at the apex. Branches, leaf-stalks and nerves of the leaves are very hairy. The flowers are produced at the end of the branches in dense clusters. They are white, with a reddish tinge and very fragrant, divided at the top into five acute segments, which spread open in the form of a star. The plant flowers in April and May, but rarely produces fruit in England. It is stated to be injurious to cattle when eaten by them.

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The species flowers are pink, fading to nearly white, very fragrant, about .5 inches (1.3 cm) across when expanded, few or many in clusters at ends of branches. Calyx of five dry overlapping sepals; corolla salver-shaped, the slender, hairy tube spreading into five equal lobes; 10 stamens; one pistil with a column-like style and a five-lobed stigma. Stem: Spreading over the ground (Epigaea = on the earth); woody, the leafy twigs covered with rusty hairs. Leaves: Alternate, oval, rounded at the base, smooth above, more or less hairy below, evergreen, weather-worn, on short, rusty, hairy petioles.

Cultivation:       
Landscape Uses:Rock garden, Woodland garden. Requires an open lime-free humus-rich soil and shade from direct sunlight. Grows well in the shade of other calcifuge plants such as rhododendrons and also under pine trees. A very cold-hardy plant but it is often excited into premature growth by mild winter weather and is then subject to damage by frost. The flower buds require a period of chilling to about 2°c before they will open. The flowers are deliciously and strongly scented with a rich spicy perfume. There are some named varieties, selected for their ornamental value. A difficult plant to grow in cultivation and very hard to transplant successfully. Another report says that although the genus is generally difficult to cultivate, this species is relatively easy to grow. Special Features:Attractive foliage, Fragrant flowers.

Propagation :  
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a shady position in a cold frame. Another report says that the seed requires no pre-treatment and can be sown in late winter in a cold frame. Surface sow and place the pot in light shade, do not allow it to dry out. The seed usually germinates in 3 – 5 weeks. As soon as they are large enough to handle, pot up the seedlings into individual pots. Be very careful since they strongly resent root disturbance. Grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse and plant them out in their permanent positions in the late spring of their second years growth. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame.Take the cutting with a part of the previous year’s growth. (This report is unclear as to whether it means a heel of older wood or just a small section of older wood) Plants self-layer and can be divided in the spring but this must be done with great care since they deeply resent root disturbance.

Edible Uses:   Flowers – raw. Fragrant, with a spicy slightly acid flavour, they are eaten as a wayside nibble or are added to salads. Thirst quenching.

Medicinal Uses:
Astringent;  Diuretic;  Tonic.
Mayflower is rarely used medicinally, even in folk medicine, though it is a strong urinary antiseptic and is one of the most effective remedies for cystitis, urethritis, prostatitis, bladder stones and particularly acute catarrhal cystitis. The leaves are astringent, diuretic and tonic. An infusion is made from the dried leaves, or a tincture from the fresh leaves. A tea made from the leaves is used in the treatment of kidney disorders, stomach aches, bladder disorders etc. It is of special value when the urine contains blood or pus. Use with caution, the plant contains arbutin and, although this is an effective urinary disinfectant, it hydrolyzes to hydroquinone which is toxic. The leaves can be used fresh or can be harvested in the summer and dried for later use

Other Uses:
Plants can be grown for ground cover, they should be spaced about 25cm apart each way and form a carpet of growth. This species is probably not very worthwhile for ground cover in Britain because of its difficulty to cultivate.

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

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epigaea_repens
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Epigaea+repens