Dryopteris filix-mas

Botanical Name :Dryopteris filix-mas
Family: Dryopteridaceae
Genus: Dryopteris
Species: D. filix-mas
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pteridophyta
Class: Pteridopsida
Order: Polypodiales

Common Name : Common Male Fern or Male Fern

Habitat : Dryopteris filix-mas  is one of the most common ferns of the temperate Northern Hemisphere, occurring throughout much of Europe, Asia, and North America. It favours damp shaded areas and is common in the understory of woodlands, but is also found in shady places on hedge-banks, rocks, and screes. It is much less abundant in North America than in Europe.

Description:
The half-evergreen leaves have an upright habit and reach a maximum length of 1.5 m, with a single crown on each rootstock. The bipinnate leaves consist of 20-35 pinnae on each side of the rachis. The leaves taper at both ends, with the basal pinnae about half the length of the middle pinnae. The pinules are rather blunt and equally lobed all around. The stalks are covered with orange-brown scales. On the abaxial surface of the mature blade 5 to 6 sori develop in two rows. When the spores ripen in August to November, the indusium starts to shrivel, leading to the release of the spores.

This species hybridises easily with Dryopteris affinis (Scaly Male Fern) and Dryopteris oreades (Mountain Male Fern).

Medicinal Uses:
Dryopteris filix-mas is one of the most effective of all “worm herbs,” male fern root, or the oleo-resin it yields, is a specific treatment for tapeworms.  It acts by paralyzing the muscles of the worm, forcing it to relax its hold on the gut wall.  Provided that the root is taken along with a nonoily purgative like scammony or black hellebore, it will flush out the parasites.  The roots are added to healing salves for wounds and rubbed into the limbs of children with rickets. It is also good for sores, boils, carbuncles, swollen glands and epidemic flu.  It inhibits bleeding of a hot nature and is combined with cedar leaves for uterine bleeding.  With other alteratives like honeysuckle, forsythia and dandelion it treats toxic blood conditions.  Fern tincture should be prepared in new batches every year.

The root was used, until recent times, as an anthelmintic to expel tapeworms, but has been replaced by less toxic and more effective drugs. The anthelmintic activity has been claimed to be due to flavaspidic acid, a phloroglucinol derivative. The plant is sometimes referred to in ancient literature as Worm Fern.

Other Uses:
Dryopteris filix-mas is also grown as an ornamental fern in gardens.

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

http://www.crownsvillenursery.com/xcart/product.php?productid=629&cat=7&page=1

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Pedicularis resupinata

Botanical Name : Pedicularis resupinata
Family: Orobanchaceae/Scrophulariaceae
Genus: Pedicularis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Common Name:Lousewort

Habitat :Native to Europe to E. Asia. Grows in meadows and hills in mountains all over Japan. Open woods in E. Europe

Description:
Pedicularis resupinata is a perennial plant grows up  to 1m.
You may click to see more pictures:
It is hardy to zone 0. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)
The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.

Cultivation: Apparently the plant smells like horse excrement. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. A semi-parasitic plant, growing on grass roots. Rather difficult to establish in cultivation, it is best grown in conditions that approximate to its native habitat. It requires a moist peaty soil and the presence of host grasses. Requires a partially shaded to sunny site in a well-drained gritty but moist soil.

Propagation: Seed – sow in pots of turf collected from the proximity of wild colonies or sow directly onto the sites where the plants are to remain. Division of established plants might be possible in the spring. Establish the divisions near the parent plants

Medicinal Uses:
Antirheumatic; Diuretic; Febrifuge.

Antirheumatic, diuretic, febrifuge. The plant is used in the treatment of fevers, leucorrhoea, rheumatism, sterility and urinary difficulties. A decoction of the plant is used to wash foul ulcers

The plant is used in the treatment of fevers, leucorrhoea, rheumatism, sterility and urinary difficulties. A decoction of the plant is used to wash foul ulcers

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://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Pedicularis+resupinata
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pedicularis
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm
http://www.botanic.jp/plants-sa/siogam.htm

 

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Nymphaea lotus

Botanical Name :Nymphaea lotus
Family: Nymphaeaceae
Genus: Nymphaea
Species: N. lotus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Nymphaeales

Synonyms: Nymphaea dentata Schumach,  Nymphaea alba

Common Name :Nymphaea lotus, the Tiger Lotus, White lotus or Egyptian White Water-lily,  ,European White Waterlily, White Lotus, White Water Rose or Nenuphar,

Habitat :Nymphaea lotus grows in various parts of East Africa and Southeast Asia.

Description:
It is a perennial, grows to 45 cm in height, and prefers clear, warm, still and slightly acidic waters. The color of the flower is white and sometimes tinged with pink.

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The water lily Nymphaea lotus ‘Red’ (sometimes known as N. zenkeri ‘Red’) can be found growing in its native habitat of tropical Africa in bodies of stagnant water ranging in size from lakes to small, temporary pools. It has been without question the most popular species of its genus to be kept in home aquaria. Bulbs and juvenile plants are available far and wide, sometimes for sale under the name ‘Red Tiger Lotus’.

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This species of water lily has lily pads which float on the water, and blossoms which rise above the water.

Propagation:Propagation of this type  of spices  can usually only be achieved if the plant is allowed to form a handful of floating leaves and subsequently develop one of its night-blooming flowers. The seeds that develop after the flower has wilted germinate easily. Bulb division, as well, is possible but is rare, and is only successful if the severed portion contains a crown from which leaves have already developed.

Though this species can easily achieve large dimensions, it is not without a place in the aquascape. Young specimens possess superb contrast value in tanks that include primarily green plants, and larger plants make wonderful centerpieces if they are placed well and trimmed regularly.

Medicinal Uses:
Nymphaea lotus is a soothing, astringent herb that has diuretic and tranquilizing effects and is reputedly detoxicant and aphrodisiac.  The seeds, crushed in water are an old remedy for diabetes.  The rhizomes is useful in Diarrhea, dysentery, dyspepsia and general debility. The flowers are astringent and cardiotonic. The seeds are sweet, cooling, constipating, aphrodisiac, stomachic and restorative. It has found uses both as a culinary delight and starchy food staple as well as being used internally as a treatment for gastrointestinal disorders and jaundice.

Other Uses:
The ancient Egyptians cultivated the white lotus in ponds and marshes. This flower often appears in ancient Egyptian decorations. They believed that the lotus flower gave them strength and power; remains of the flower have been found in the burial tomb of Ramesses II.

The number 1,000 in ancient Egyptian numerals is represented by the symbol of the white lotus.

The ancient Egyptians also extracted perfume from this flower. They also used the white lotus in funerary garlands, temple offerings and female adornment.

The white lotus might have been one of the plants eaten by the Lotophagi of Homer’s Odyssey.

 

Nymphaea lotus is often used as an aquarium plant. Sometimes it is grown for its flowers, while other aquarists prefer to trim the lily pads, and just have the underwater foliage. It was introduced into western cultivation in 1802 by Loddiges Nursery.

 

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

http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/plantfinder/details.php?id=47

Hepatica acutiloba

Botanical Name ; Hepatica acutiloba
Family: Ranunculaceae
Genus: Hepatica
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Ranunculales

Common Names:Hepatica, Liverleaf or Liverwort

Habitat :Hepatica acutiloba is native to central and northern Europe, Asia and eastern North America. Some botanists include Hepatica within a wider interpretation of Anemone.Grows in Rich woods. Deciduous woods, often in calcareous soils, from sea level to 1200 metres

Description:
Hepatica acutiloba is a perennial plant  growing to 0.25m by 0.2m.
It is hardy to zone 4. It is in flower from April to May. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, beetles, Lepidoptera (Moths & Butterflies).The flowers are pink, purple, blue, or white sepals and three green bracts appear singly on hairy stems from late winter to spring. The leaves are basal, leathery, and usually three-lobed, remaining over winter.

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The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soil. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.

Cultivation:
Prefers a deep light soil with leafmold. Grows well on limey woodland soils in half shade, though it also succeeds in deep shade and in full sun. Plants resent root disturbance and should be placed in their permanent positions as soon as possible. This species is closely related to H. americana. A greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants, especially legumes.

Propagation:
Seed – sow in a moist soil in a shady position. The stored seed requires stratification for about 3 weeks at 0 – 5°c. Germination takes 1 – 12 months at 10°c. It is probably worthwhile sowing the seed as soon as it is ripe in a shady position 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 at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division just as the leafless plant comes into flower in late winter. Replant immediately into their permanent positions.

Medicinal Uses:
Hepatic; Laxative.

A tea made from the leaves is laxative. It is used in the treatment of fevers, liver ailments and poor digestion. At one time it became a cult medicine as a liver tonic and 200,000 kilos of dried Hepatica leaves were used in 1883 alone. Externally, the tea is applied as a wash to swollen breasts. The plant is harvested in late spring or early summer and is dried for later use.  It also has demulcent activity. The roots and leaves are used dried or fresh in a tea or syrup. Of little use.

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://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Hepatica+acutiloba
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hepatica
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm

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Conocephalum conicum

Botanical Name : Conocephalum conicum
Family:Conocephalaceae
Genus: Conocephalum Hill, nom. cons.
Species: Conocephalum conicum (L.) Dumort.
Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Division: Hepaticophyta – Liverworts
Subdivision: Hepaticae
Class:Hepaticopsida
Subclass: Marchantiae
Order: Marchantiales

Common Name:Scented Liverwort

Habitat :Conocephalum conicum is distributed in damp forest floors and on stream sides over much of the Northern Hemisphere.

Description:
Conocephalum conicum is one of the most common of the thallose (leaf-lacking) liverworts.Their gametophytic thallus is dichotomously branched, meaning that the shoot apex splits exactly in half during branching producing two equal branches. They have a distinctive smell when crushed and make excellent terrarium plants for low light areas.
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Blooming Time: The species is dioicious (male and female gametes are formed on separate plants). The male receptacles (containing the antheridia) are sessile and tinged purple, whereas the female receptacles (containing the archegonia) are like tiny umbrellas, sometime reaching up to 4 inches (10 cm) tall.

Culture: Conocephalum conicum are very easy to culture. One can grow these under benches in the greenhouse where they thrive in the moist well shaded soil. For culture in terrariums, we use a soil mix consisting of 1 part peat moss to 2 parts loam to 1 part sand or perlite. The soil mix needs to have a neutral to slightly acidic pH. Plants should be kept moist at all times. It is better to use distilled water, because the plants do not like chlorinated water. Unsuitable water conditions will injure the plants and sometimes will cause complete die off.

Propagation: Conocephalum conicum are easily propagated by division.

Medicinal Uses:
Mixed with vegetable oils as ointments for boils, eczema, cuts, bites, wounds and burns; inhibits growth of micro-organisms

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.plantoftheweek.org/week234.shtml
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=COCO38
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm
http://bioref.lastdragon.org/Bryophyta/Conocephalum_conicum.html

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Marchantia polymorpha

Botanical Name : Marchantia polymorpha
Family: Marchantiaceae
Genus: Marchantia
Species: M. polymorpha
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Marchantiophyta
Class: Marchantiopsida
Order: Marchantiales

Common Names:Common liverwort or Umbrella liverwort

Habitat :Marchantia polymorpha is found worldwide from tropical to arctic climates. It grows on moist soil and rocks in damp habitats such as the banks of streams and pools, bogs, fens and dune slacks. It rapidly colonizes burnt ground after fires. It often grows in man-made habitats such as gardens, paths and greenhouses and can be a horticultural weed.

Description:
Marchantia polymorpha is a thallose liverwort which forms a rosette of flattened thalli with forked branches. The thalli grow up to 10 cm long with a width of up to 2 cm. It is usually green in colour but older plants can become brown or purplish. The upper surface has a pattern of hexagonal markings. The underside is covered by many root-like rhizoids which attach the plant to the soil. The plants produce umbrella-like reproductive structures known as gametophores. The gametophores of female plants consist of a stalk with star-like rays at the top. These contain archegonia, the organs which produce the ova. Male gametophores are topped by a flattened disc containing the antheridia which produce sperm.

 

You may click to see more pictures
Marchantia polymorpha can reproduce both sexually and asexually. Sexual reproduction involves sperm from the male plant fertilizing ova from the female plants. A fertilized ovum develops into a small sporophyte plant which remains attached to the larger gametophyte plant. The sporophyte produces male and female spores which develop into free-living gametophyte plants.

Asexual reproduction can occur when older parts of the plant die and newer branches develop into separate plants. It can also occur by means of gemmae, balls of cells which are genetically identical to the parent and contained in cup-like structures on the upper surface of the plant. These are dispersed when rain splashes the cups and develop into new plants.

Medicinal Uses:
Cytotoxicity against the KB cells; antileukemic activity in several compounds from leafy liverworts. In China, to treat jaundice, hepatitis and as an extermal cure to reduce inflammation; in Himalayas for boils and abscesses; mixed with vegetable oils as ointments for boils, eczema, cuts, bites, wounds, burns

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

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Malva parviflora

Botanical Name :Malva parviflora
Family: Malvaceae
Genus: Malva
Species: M. parviflora
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malvales

Common Names: Cheeseweed, Cheeseweed mallow, Egyptian mallow, Least mallow, Little mallow, Mallow, Marshmallow, Small-flowered mallow, Small-flowered marshmallow and Smallflower mallow

Habitat :Malva parviflora is native to Northern Africa, Europe and Asia and is widely naturalised elsewhere.  Grows in desert, Upland, Mountain, Riparian. It often grows in disturbed areas like vacant lots and drainage ditches, and in the desert, it can be found growing in mesquite bosques.

Description:
Malva parviflora is an annual, biennial or Perennial herbiculas plant, growing up to 40 inch.  The flowers emerge from the base of the leaf stalks. The individual flowers are 1/4 inch (6 mm) wide and have 5 petals that are similar in length to the green sepals. The flowers are followed by wrinkled, disk-like, fruits that are sectioned into lobes that look like slices from a wheel of cheese. The leaves are dark green and have 5 to 7 toothed, rounded lobes.

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The similar Common Mallow (Malva neglecta) has flowers with petals longer than the sepals.

Flower Color: White, Lavender pink, Lavender

Flowering Season: Spring, Summer

The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

It is hardy to zone 0 and is not frost tender.

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

Cultivation :
A very easily grown plant, succeeding in ordinary garden soil, though it prefers a reasonably well-drained and moderately fertile soil in a sunny position. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits. Plants are prone to infestation by rust fungus

Propagation:
Seed – sow early spring in situ. Germination should take place within 2 weeks.

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Leaves; Seed.

Leaves – raw or cooked as a potherb. A mild pleasant flavour, they make a very acceptable alternative to lettuce in salads. Immature seeds – raw or cooked. They are used to make a creamed vegetable soup that resembles pea soup. A few leaves are also added for colouring. The seeds have a pleasant nutty flavour, though they are too small for most people to want to collect in quantity.

Medicinal Uses:
Antidandruff; Demulcent; Emollient; Pectoral; Skin.

The whole plant is emollient and pectoral. It can be used as a poultice on swellings, running sores and boils. The seeds are demulcent. They are used in the treatment of coughs and ulcers in the bladder. A decoction of the roots or leaves has been used as a hair rinse to remove dandruff and to soften the hair.

The bruised leaves have been rubbed on the skin to treat skin irritations.  A strained tea of the boiled leaves has been administered after childbirth to clean out the mother’s system.  As a headache remedy, the leaves or the whole plant have been mashed and placed on the forehead.  Powdered leaves have been blown into the throat to treat swollen glands.  The leaves have been used to induce perspiration and menstrual flow, reduce fever, and treat pneumonia. The whole plant can be used as a poultice on swellings, running sores and boils.  The seeds are used in the treatment of coughs and ulcers in the bladder.  A decoction of the roots or leaves has been used as a hair rinse to remove dandruff and to soften the hair.

Other Uses
Dye; Hair; Oil.

The seed contains up to 18% of a fatty oil. No more details are given, though the oil is likely to be edible. Cream, yellow and green dyes can be obtained from the plant and the seed heads. A decoction of the roots or leaves has been used as a hair rinse to soften the hair.

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/Malva_parviflora
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Malva+parviflora
http://www.fireflyforest.com/flowers/1479/malva-parviflora-cheeseweed-mallow/

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Viburnum dilatatum

Botanical Name :Viburnum dilatatum
Family :
Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle family)/Adoxaceae
Genus:
Viburnum
Kingdom:
Plantae
Order:
Dipsacales

Common Name :Linden Viburnum

Habitat : Native to  E. Asia – China, Japan. Grows in thickets in hills and at low elevations in mountains in Japan

Description:
A scruffy multi-stemmed deciduous shrub, upright to rounded, 8-10 ft. tall by 6-10 ft. across.
Leaves are opposite, dark green, shiny, with shallowly toothed margins, nearly round to straplike, 2-5 in. long by 1-2½ in. wide; usually covered in soft hairs; leaves drop relatively late in the fall.

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Flowers are small creamy white  in numerous flattened clusters 3-5 in. wide; May to early June; fruits are bright red, flattened spheres, about 1/3 in. wide.

It is hardy to zone 5. It is in flower in June. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. The plant is not self-fertile.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.

Cultivation:
An easily grown plant, it succeeds in most soils but is ill-adapted for poor soils and for dry situations. It prefers a deep rich loamy soil in sun or semi-shade. Best if given shade from the early morning sun in spring. Plants are self-incompatible and need to grow close to a genetically distinct plant in the same species in order to produce fruit and fertile seed. A very ornamental and polymorphic species, there are some named varieties developed for the ornamental value of the fruit.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Germination can be slow, sometimes taking more than 18 months. If the seed is harvested ‘green’ (when it has fully developed but before it has fully ripened) and sown immediately in a cold frame, it should germinate in the spring. Stored seed will require 2 months warm then 3 months cold stratification and can still take 18 months to germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame or greenhouse. Plant out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of soft-wood, early summer in a frame. Pot up into individual pots once they start to root and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 – 8 cm long with a heel if possible, July/August in a frame. Plant them into individual pots as soon as they start to root. These cuttings can be difficult to overwinter, it is best to keep them in a greenhouse or cold frame until the following spring before planting them out. Cuttings of mature wood, winter in a frame. They should root in early spring – pot them up when large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer if sufficient new growth is made, otherwise keep them in a cold frame for the next winter and then plant them out in the spring. Layering of current seasons growth in July/August. Takes 15 months

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Fruit; Leaves.

Fruit – raw or cooked. A sweet flavour. The ovoid fruit is about 8mm long and contains a single large seed. Leaves – cooked

Medicinal Uses:
Anthelmintic; Astringent; Vulnerary.

A decoction of the leaves is astringent and vermifuge. It is used for washing and healing maggoty sores. The twigs are also vermifuge whilst the fruits are used as a vermifuge for children.

Other Uses:
Fibre.

A fibre obtained from the inner bark is used for making ropes

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://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Viburnum+dilatatum
http://www.fohvos.org/pdfs/factsheets/Viburnum%20dilatatum_Invasive%20Plants%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf
http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/pubs/midatlantic/vidi.htm

http://aquiya.sakura.ne.jp/zukan/Viburnum_dilatatum.html

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

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Delphinium ajacis

Botanical Name : Delphinium ajacis
Family :Ranunculaceae

Synonyms : Rocket larkspur

Common Name :Rocket Larkspur

Habitat : Delphinium ajacis is native to southern europe

Description:
Delphinium ajacis is an occasional garden annual flowering plant  grows about 1 meter but gets little recline with age.
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Leaves are alternate, petiolate below to sessile above, with 3-5 deeply divided lobes, typically pubescent. Ultimate divisions linear to linear-oblong, entire (ciliate-margined), to 2.5mm broad. Petioles to 9cm below.

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Flowers are Sepals deep blue-purple,(sometimes whitish to pinkish or mottled in cultivation), the most showy portion of the flower, spurred. Spur to -2cm long, dense pubescent. Petals 4, united, covering other floral organs(stamens and carpel), spurred. Stamens many, included. Filaments white, sparse pubescent, 5-6mm long, expanded at base. Anthers yellow, 1.1mm long. Ovary dense pubescent, 3-4mm long, conic.Flowering  time is July – August.

Fruit is a follicle to 2cm long, one per flower, variously pubescent. (All other native members of the genus have 3 follicles per flower).

Medicinal Uses:
Larkspur formerly had a reputation for its ability to consolidate and heal wounds, while the juice from the leaves is considered to be a remedy for piles and an infusion of the flowers and leaves has been used as a remedy for colicky children. However, the whole plant is very poisonous and it should not be used internally without the guidance of an expert.  Externally, it can be used as a parasiticide. A tincture of the seed is applied externally to kill lice in the hair.

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.missouriplants.com/Bluealt/Delphinium_ajacis_page.html
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/delphinium+ajacis
http://www.wildflowerinformation.org/Wildflower.asp?ID=86

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Lipid profile or Lipid panel

Definition:
A complete cholesterol test — also called a lipid panel or lipid profile: — It is a blood test that can measure the amount of cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood. A cholesterol test can help determine your risk of atherosclerosis, the buildup of plaques in your arteries that can lead to narrowed or blocked arteries throughout your body. High cholesterol levels usually don’t cause and signs or symptoms, so a cholesterol test is an important tool. High cholesterol levels are a significant risk factor for heart disease.

An extended lipid profile may include very low-density lipoprotein. This is used to identify hyperlipidemia (various disturbances of cholesterol and triglyceride levels), many forms of which are recognized risk factors for cardiovascular disease and sometimes pancreatitis.

It is recommended that healthy adults with no other risk factors for heart disease be tested with a fasting lipid profile once every five years. Individuals may also be screened using only a cholesterol test and not a full lipid profile. However, if the cholesterol test result is high, there may be the need to have follow-up testing with a lipid profile.

 

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If there are other risk factors or the individual has had a high cholesterol level in the past, regular testing is needed and the individual should have a full lipid profile.

For children and adolescents at low risk, lipid testing is usually not ordered routinely. However, screening with a lipid profile is recommended for children and youths who are at an increased risk of developing heart disease as adults. Some of the risk factors are similar to those in adults and include a family history of heart disease or health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension), or being overweight. High-risk children should have their first lipid profile between 2 and 10 years old, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Children younger than 2 years old are too young to be tested.

A total cholesterol reading can be used to assess an individual’s risk for heart disease, however, it should not be relied upon as the only indicator. The individual components that make up total cholesterol reading –- LDL, HDL, and VLDL –- are also important in measuring risk.

For instance, one’s total cholesterol may be high, but this may be due to very high good (HDL) cholesterol levels –- which can actually help prevent heart disease. So, while a high total cholesterol level may help give an indication that that there is a problem with cholesterol levels, the components that make up total cholesterol should also be measured.

The “lipid profile” is a popular component of master health check ups.There is no ideal age for the first evaluation. Elevated levels have been found in children as young as two if there is a history of adults in the family having elevated lipids or early heart attacks. Genetic studies have consistently shown changes in the Apolipoprotein E (APOE) locus in affected families. But for this gene to express itself, environmental factors like diet, obesity and inactivity also play a part.

If there is no such family history, lipids should be evaluated for the first time at the age of 20. If the results are “desirable”, the next reading can be taken after five years. In an older person (over 45 in men and 55 in women) the values need to be checked every year.

The blood should be taken after a nine-hour fast (water can be consumed). There should be no fever, infection, inflammation or pregnancy as these can alter the values.

Everyone has fat deposits under the skin, where it serves as insulation against heat and cold. Cholesterol is a fat that is produced by the liver and is essential for normal metabolism. It is not soluble in blood, it is transported through the body by LDL (low density lipoproteins), HDL (high density lipoproteins) and VLDL (very low density lipoproteins). Of these HDL is a “good” lipid as it transports excess cholesterol to the liver for excretion. VLDL and LDL transport cholesterol from the liver back into the blood.

As long as blood cholesterol remains in the normal range, the blood circulates freely. When levels are elevated, it precipitates in the blood vessels, forming obstructive deposits called plaques. This eventually leads to high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes.

TGL or triglycerides are different from cholesterol. They are derived from food when the calorie intake is greater than the requirement. It combines with cholesterol and gets deposited in the blood vessels.

A person with elevated lipids may develop a yellow deposit of cholesterol under the skin, usually around the eyelids. They may also have a crease on the earlobes.

A fat deposit (lipoma) can appear as a painless mobile lump just under the skin anywhere in the body. When multiple, it is a hereditary condition called multiple lipomatosis. These are not markers for elevated lipids. The lumps are not cancerous but may be cosmetically unacceptable. They do not respond to the lipid lowering medications and need to be surgically removed.

An elevated lipid profile can often be reversed by changes in lifestyle. Quit smoking immediately and drink in moderation only — two drinks a day for men and one for women. The much publicised cardio protective actions of alcohol are outweighed by the other problems of regular drinking.

Try to achieve ideal body weight and bring down the BMI (body mass index, which is found by dividing the weight by the height in metre squared) to 23. This can only be achieved with a combination of diet and exercise. Try to stop snacking, especially on fried items and “ready to eat” snacks. Increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables to 4-6 helpings a day. Walnuts, almonds and fish are rich in protective omega -3 fatty acids and Pufa (poly unsaturated fatty acids). Oats contains dietary fibre. Lower oil consumption to 300ml per month per family member. Try to use olive oil. If that is not practical or feasible, use a mixture of equal quantities of rice bran oil, sesame oil, mustard oil and groundnut oil.

Exercise aerobically (walking, running, jogging or swimming) for 60 minutes a day. This need not be done at one stretch but can be split into as many as six 10-minute sessions.

If lipids are still elevated after 3-6 months despite these interventions, speak to your physician about regular medication.

The “statin” group of drugs are very effective. They lower cholesterol, prevent its deposition and stabilise the plaques in the blood vessels. They can be combined with other drugs like ezetimibe (which limit the absorption of cholesterol), or bile acid binding resins, or niacin or fibrates. Natural supplements of fish oil or pure omega-3 fatty acid capsules also help. Lipid lowering medications are usually well tolerated and very effective.

Resources:
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cholesterol-test/MY00500
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lipid_profile
http://www.telegraphindia.com/1120730/jsp/knowhow/story_15788559.jsp

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