Broccoli

Botanical Name: Brassica oleracea italica
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Brassica
Species: B. oleracea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Brassicales

Common Names: Broccoli
Broccoli is an edible green plant in the cabbage family whose large flowerhead is eaten as a vegetable…....CLICK &  SEE

The word broccoli comes from the Italian plural of broccolo, which means “the flowering crest of a cabbage”, and is the diminutive form of brocco, meaning “small nail” or “sprout”.  Broccoli is often boiled or steamed but may be eaten .

Habitat: Broccoli is native to Mediterranean Region. It is a result of careful breeding of cultivated leafy cole crops in the northern Mediterranean starting in about the 6th century BC. Since the Roman Empire broccoli has been considered a uniquely valuable food among Italians. Broccoli was brought to England from Antwerp in the mid-18th century by Peter Scheemakers. Broccoli was first introduced to the United States by Italian immigrants, but did not become widely known there until the 1920s.

Description:
Broccoli is an herbaceous annual or biennial plant grown for its edible flower heads which are used as a vegetable. The broccoli plant has a thick green stalk, or stem, which gives rise to thick, leathery, oblong leaves which are gray-blue to green in color. The plant produces large branching green flower heads covered with numerous white or yellow flowers. Broccoli can be annual or biennial depending on the variety and can grow to 1 m (3.3 ft) in height. Broccoli may also be referred to as sprouting broccoli and likely originates from the Mediterranean although the exact location has not been determined……..CLICK  & SEE THE PICTURES

Varieties:
Broccoli plants in a nursery:
There are three commonly grown types of broccoli. The most familiar is Calabrese broccoli, often referred to simply as “broccoli”, named after Calabria in Italy. It has large (10 to 20 cm) green heads and thick stalks. It is a cool season annual crop. Sprouting broccoli has a larger number of heads with many thin stalks. Purple cauliflower is a type of broccoli sold in southern Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. It has a head shaped like cauliflower, but consisting of tiny flower buds. It sometimes, but not always, has a purple cast to the tips of the flower buds.

Other cultivar groups of Brassica oleracea include cabbage (Capitata Group), cauliflower and Romanesco broccoli (Botrytis Group), kale and collard greens (Acephala Group), kohlrabi (Gongylodes Group), Brussels sprouts (Gemmifera Group), and kai-lan (Alboglabra Group). Rapini, sometimes called “broccoli raab” among other names, forms similar but smaller heads, and is actually a type of turnip (Brassica rapa). Broccolini or “Tenderstem broccoli” is a cross between broccoli and Chinese broccoli. Beneforté is a variety of broccoli containing 2-3 times more glucoraphanin that was produced by crossing broccoli with a wild Brassica variety, Brassica oleracea var villosa.

Cultivation:
Succeeds in full sun in a well-drained fertile preferably alkaline soil. Tolerates a pH in the range 4.3 to 8.3. Prefers a heavy soil. Succeeds in any reasonable soil. Succeeds in maritime gardens. Some forms are very cold-hardy, tolerating temperatures down to about -17°c. Broccoli is closely related to the cauliflowers (C. oleracea botrytis) and is often grown for its edible young flowering stems which, by careful selection of varieties, can be available almost all year round from early summer right round to late spring. There are many named varieties and these can be classified into three main groups:- Calabrese, which matures in summer and autumn, is the least cold-hardy form. It produces green, or sometimes purple, flowering heads. Some forms will produce a number of side shoots once the main head has been harvested, though other forms seem unable to do this. Romanesco matures in late summer and the autumn. It has numerous yellowish-green conical groups of buds arranged in spirals. Given a little protection from the cold, it is possible to produce a crop throughout the winter. Unlike the other types of broccoli, romanesco seems unable to produce side shoots once the main head has been harvested. Sprouting broccoli is the most cold-hardy group. It does not form a central head like the other two groups but instead produces a mass of side shoots from early spring until early summer. The more you harvest these shoots, especially if you do so before the flowers open, then the more shoots the plant produces. A good companion for celery and other aromatic plants since these seem to reduce insect predations. Grows badly with potatoes, beet and onions. Grows well with potatoes, beet and onions according to another report.

Propagation:
Seed – sow sprouting broccoli in a seedbed outdoors in March to May. Plant out in June. Do not let the seedlings get overcrowded or they will soon become leggy and will not make such good plants. If your seedlings do get leggy, it is possible to plant them rather deeper into the soil – the buried stems will soon form roots and the plant will be better supported. Romanesco and calabrese are often sown in situ in the spring.

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

Young flowering stems and leaves – raw or cooked. The shoots of sprouting broccoli are harvested when about 10cm long, and before the flowers open, the shoots look somewhat like a small white or purple cauliflower and have a delicious flavour. They are considered to be a gourmet vegetable. When picking the stems, make sure that you leave behind a section of the stem with leaves on it, since the plants will often produce new side shoots from the leaf axils. Calabrese and Romanesco plants produce a central inflorescence rather like a small cauliflower, which are sometimes followed by a number of smaller flowering shoots. They usually come into bearing in the late summer or autumn and are very productive if they are regularly harvested. Sprouting broccoli plants come into production in late winter to early spring and can be very heavy bearing over a period of two months or more so long as all the flowering stems are harvested before coming into flower.
Nutrition:
Broccoli is high in vitamin C and dietary fiber. It also contains multiple nutrients with potent anti-cancer properties, such as diindolylmethane (DIM) and small amounts of selenium. A single serving provides more than 30 mg of vitamin C and a half-cup provides 52 mg of vitamin C. DIM is a potent modulator of the innate immune response system with anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-cancer activity. Broccoli also contains the compound glucoraphanin, which can be processed into an anti-cancer compound sulforaphane, though the anti-cancer benefits of broccoli are greatly reduced if the vegetable is boiled. Broccoli is also an excellent source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells.Sulforaphane, another compound in broccoli has been shown to stop over-rapid aging.

Boiling broccoli reduces the levels of suspected anti-carcinogenic compounds, such as sulforaphane, with losses of 20–30% after five minutes, 40–50% after ten minutes, and 77% after thirty minutes. However, other preparation methods such as steaming, microwaving, and stir frying had no significant effect on the compounds.

Broccoli has the highest levels of carotenoids in the brassica family.[20] It is particularly rich in lutein and also provides a modest amount of beta-carotene
Meditional Uses:
*Broccoli can provide us with some special cholesterol-lowering benefits if we cook it by steaming. The fiber-related components in broccoli do a better job of binding together with bile acids in our digestive tract when they’ve been steamed. When this binding process takes place, it’s easier for bile acids to be excreted, and the result is a lowering of your cholesterol levels.

*Raw broccoli still has cholesterol-lowering ability—just not as much.

*Broccoli has a strong, positive impact on our body’s detoxification system, and researchers have recently identified one of the key reasons for this detox benefit. Glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiian, and glucobrassicin are 3 glucosinolate phytonutrients found in a special combination in broccoli. This dynamic trio is able to support all steps in body’s detox process, including activation, neutralization, and elimination of unwanted contaminants. Isothiocyanates (ITCs) are the detox-regulating molecules made from broccoli’s glucosinolates, and they help control the detox process at a genetic level.

*Broccoli may help us solve our vitamin D deficiency epidemic. When large supplemental doses of vitamin D are needed to offset deficiency, ample supplies of vitamin K and vitamin A help keep our vitamin D metabolism in balance. Broccoli has an unusually strong combination of both vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene) and vitamin K. For people faced with the need to rebuild vitamin D stores through vitamin D supplements, broccoli may be an ideal food to include in the diet.

*Broccoli is a particularly rich source of a flavonoid called kaempferol. Recent research has shown the ability of kaempferol to lessen the impact of allergy-related substances on our body. This kaempferol connection helps to explain the unique anti-inflammatory benefits of broccoli, and it should also open the door to future research on the benefits of broccoli for a hypoallergenic diet.

CLICK & READ  THE LATEST RESEARCH
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:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brassica_oleracea
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Brassica+oleracea+italica
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=9
https://www.plantvillage.com/topics/broccoli/infos

Kohl Rabi (Bengali Olkopi)

Botanical Name : Brassica oleracea gongylodes
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Brassica
Species: B. oleracea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Brassicales

Synonyms: Brassica caulorapa. Pasq.

Common Names: Kohl Rabi , German turnip or Turnip cabbage
Bengali Name : Olkopi

Habitat: It is grown allover the world as vegitable. In tropical countries it grows in winter and in colder countries in summer.

Description:
Brassica oleracea gongylodes is an annual/biennial vegetable plant, growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in) at a fast rate. It is a low, stout cultivar of cabbage. Kohlrabi can be eaten raw as well as cooked.
It is not frost tender.

CLICK &  SEE THE PICTURES

Kohlrabi has been created by artificial selection for lateral meristem growth (a swollen, nearly spherical shape); its origin in nature is the same as that of cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collard greens, and Brussels sprouts: they are all bred from, and are the same species as, the wild cabbage plant (Brassica oleracea).

The taste and texture of kohlrabi are similar to those of a broccoli stem or cabbage heart, but milder and sweeter, with a higher ratio of flesh to skin. The young stem in particular can be as crisp and juicy as an apple, although much less sweet.

Except for the Gigante cultivar, spring-grown kohlrabi much over 5 cm in size tend to be woody, as do full-grown kohlrabi much over perhaps 10 cm in size; the Gigante cultivar can achieve great size while remaining of good eating quality. The plant matures in 55–60 days after sowing. Approximate weight is 150 g and has good standing ability for up to 30 days after maturity.

There are several varieties commonly available, including White Vienna, Purple Vienna, Grand Duke, Gigante (also known as “Superschmelz”), Purple Danube, and White Danube. Coloration of the purple types is superficial: the edible parts are all pale yellow. The leafy greens can also be eaten.
Cultivation:
Succeeds in full sun in a well-drained fertile preferably alkaline soil[200]. Succeeds in any reasonable soil, though it is best not grown in an acid soil. Tolerates a pH in the range 4.5 to 7.5. Prefers some shade and plenty of moisture in the growing season. Established plants are drought tolerant but the best stems are formed when the plant does not go short of moisture. Succeeds in maritime gardens. Very winter hardy, kohl rabi withstands severe frosts and so can be left in the ground all winter in most areas and be harvested as required. The young growing plant, however, is sensitive to low temperatures and a week at 10°c will cause the plants to bolt. It grows best at a temperature between 18 and 25°c. Kohl rabi is often cultivated for its edible swollen stem which can be available almost all year round from successional sowings. There are several named varieties and stem colour can range from white to green and purple. Green forms are faster to mature and so more suitable for early sowings, the purple forms are hardier and later to mature, they are used mainly for winter crops. Very fast growing, the stems of some cultivars can be harvested 6 – 8 weeks after sowing. The plant is more tolerant of drought and high temperatures than turnips, which it resembles in flavour, and so it is often grown as a substitute for that species. Grows well with onions, beet and aromatic herbs which seem to reduce insect predations. Plants also grow well with cucumbers, the roots of each species occupying different levels in the soil. Grows badly with strawberries, runner beans and tomatoes.

Propagation :
Seed – sow April to August in situ. Earlier sowings can be made under cloches

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Leaves; Stem.
Edible Uses:

Leaves – cooked. Used as a vegetable, though the quality is not as good as cabbage. The young leaves can also be added to salads, though some people find them difficult to digest. A nutritional analysis is available. Stem – raw or cooked. The plant produces a swollen stem just above ground level, and this is often used as a root vegetable. It has a mild cabbage flavour, when finely grated it makes a good addition to mixed salads and, when cooked, is an excellent vegetable. It is best eaten whilst fairly small and tender, between golf ball and tennis ball size. It becomes coarse with age. A nutritional analysis is available.

Kohlrabi stems are surrounded by two distinct fibrous layers that do not soften appreciably when cooked. These layers are generally peeled away prior to cooking or serving raw, with the result that the stems often provide a smaller amount of food than one might assume from their intact appearance.

The Kohlrabi root is frequently used raw in salad or slaws. It has a texture similar to that of a broccoli stem, but with a flavor that is sweeter and less vegetal.

Kohlrabi leaves are edible and can be used interchangeably with collard greens and kale.

Kohlrabi is an important part of the Kashmiri diet and one of the most commonly cooked foods. It is prepared with its leaves and served with a light gravy and eaten with rice

Composition :
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Leaves (Dry weight)

•320 Calories per 100g
•Water : 0%
•Protein: 23.5g; Fat: 2.5g; Carbohydrate: 62.5g; Fibre: 13g; Ash: 10.5g;
•Minerals – Calcium: 430mg; Phosphorus: 450mg; Iron: 10.5mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 80mg; Potassium: 3100mg; Zinc: 0mg;
•Vitamins – A: 15000mg; Thiamine (B1): 0.6mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0.7mg; Niacin: 4.5mg; B6: 0mg; C: 670mg;
Medicinal Uses:.…..Digestive: Tonic……..The leaf is digestive and tonic

Other Uses: Some varieties are grown as feed for cattle.

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:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kohlrabi
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Brassica+oleracea+gongylodes

Cauliflower

Botanical Name: Brassica oleracea botrytis
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Brassica
Species: B. oleracea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Brassicales

Common Name: Cauliflower (The name comes from Latin caulis (cabbage) and flower)

Habitat: Cauliflower is grown allover the world. It is cultivated form of B. oleracea.

Description:     Cauliflower an annual /biennial plant that reproduces by seed, growing to 0.8 m (2ft 7in).    It is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to August, and the seeds ripen from Jul to September in Colder countries but in tropical countries it is an winter vegitable. Typically, only the head (the white curd) is eaten. The cauliflower head is composed of a white inflorescence meristem. Cauliflower heads resemble those in broccoli, which differs in having flower buds. Brassica oleracea also includes broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, collard greens, and kale, though they are of different cultivar groups.The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.The plant is self-fertile.

CLICK &  SEE THE PICTURES….………....Cauliflower Plant..……Cauliflower…...Cauliflower seeds

Classification and identification:…….Major groups:…….There are four major groups of cauliflower.

*Italian: Diverse in appearance, and biennial and annual in type, this group includes white, Romanesco, various brown, green, purple, and yellow cultivars. This type is the ancestral form from which the others were derived.

*Northern European annuals: Used in Europe and North America for summer and fall harvest, it was developed in Germany in the 18th century, and includes the old cultivars Erfurt and Snowball.

*Northwest European biennial: Used in Europe for winter and early spring harvest, this was developed in France in the 19th century, and includes the old cultivars Angers and Roscoff.

*Asian: A tropical cauliflower used in China and India, it was developed in India during the 19th century from the now-abandoned Cornish type,and includes old varieties Early Benaras and Early Patna.

Varieties: There are hundreds of historic and current commercial varieties used around the world. A comprehensive list of about 80 North American varieties is maintained at North Carolina State University.

Colours: ....White……..White cauliflower is the most common color of cauliflower.

Orange:....Orange cauliflower (B. oleracea L. var. botrytis) contains 25% more vitamin A than white varieties. This trait came from a natural mutant found in a cauliflower field in Canada. Cultivars include ‘Cheddar’ and ‘Orange Bouquet’.

Green:.…..Green cauliflower, of the B. oleracea botrytis group, is sometimes called broccoflower. It is available in the normal curd shape and with a fractal spiral curd called Romanesco broccoli. Both have been commercially available in the U.S. and Europe since the early 1990s. Green-curded varieties include ‘Alverda’, ‘Green Goddess’ and ‘Vorda’. Romanesco varieties include ‘Minaret’ and ‘Veronica’.

Purple:…….The purple color in this cauliflower is caused by the presence of the antioxidant group anthocyanins, which can also be found in red cabbage and red wine. Varieties include ‘Graffiti’ and ‘Purple Cape’.
In Great Britain and southern Italy, a broccoli with tiny flower buds is sold as a vegetable under the name “purple cauliflower”; it is not the same as standard cauliflower with a purple curd.
Cultivation :
Succeeds in full sun in a well-drained moisture-retentive fertile soil with plenty of lime. Cauliflowers, especially the winter and spring maturing types, should not be given a soil that is too rich in nitrogen since this can encourage soft, sappy growth that is more susceptible to winter cold damage. Prefers a heavy soil]. Requires a warm sunny position. Prefers a pH in the range 6 to 7, though it tolerates a pH in the range 4.3 to 8.3. Succeeds in maritime gardens. Lack of moisture in the growing season can cause the plant to produce small or deformed curds. Summer varieties are not very cold hardy and will be damaged by light frosts, winter cauliflower plants are more hardy and will tolerate temperatures down to about -6°c, though the curds are more sensitive and can suffer damage at about -2°c. This damage can often be prevented by bending over the leaves so that they cover the curd. Cauliflowers are widely grown for their edible immature flower heads (or curd). There are many named varieties and, by careful selection, it is possible to provide a year round supply. The summer and autumn maturing cultivars are annuals, they need to produce a certain number of leaves before curd development will be initiated. The optimum temperature for this is around 17°c, but at temperatures above 20°c the curds will either be of poor quality or not be produced at all. Winter and spring maturing forms are biennial and need exposure to temperatures below 10°c before they will produce curds and once again, this will not happen unless the plant has reached a certain size. Grows well with celery and other aromatic plants since these seem to deter insect predations. Grows badly with beet, tomatoes, onions and strawberries.

Propagation :
Seed – sow in a seedbed outdoors in April to June depending on the cultivar. Plant out into their permanent position when the plants are 5 – 10cm tall. Seed of some cultivars can be sown in late winter in a greenhouse in order to obtain a harvest in early summer. Do not let the seedlings get overcrowded or they will soon become leggy and will not make such good plants. If your seedlings do get leggy, it is possible to plant them rather deeper into the soil – the buried stems will soon form roots and the plant will be better supported.

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

Immature flowering head – raw or cooked. A mild cabbage-like flavour, they make an excellent cooked vegetable and are also very acceptable in salads. By careful selection of cultivars, it is possible to produce flowering heads all year round. Leaves – cooked. A mild cabbage flavour, they make a good cooked vegetable. Do not over-harvest them, however, since this would adversely affect the production of the flowering head .

Medicinal Uses:
Protection against certain cancers. Naturally occurring chemicals (indoles, isothiocyanates, glucosinolates, dithiolethiones, and phenols) in cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, and other cruciferous vegetables appear to reduce the risk of some cancers, perhaps by preventing the formation of carcinogens in your body or by blocking cancer-causing substances from reaching or reacting with sensitive body tissues or by inhibiting the transformation of healthy cells to malignant ones.

All cruciferous vegetables contain sulforaphane, a member of a family of chemicals known as isothiocyanates. In experiments with laboratory rats, sulforaphane appears to increase the body’s production of phase-2 enzymes, naturally occurring substances that inactivate and help eliminate carcinogens. At the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, 69 percent of the rats injected with a chemical known to cause mammary cancer developed tumors vs. only 26 percent of the rats given the carcinogenic chemical plus sulforaphane.

In 1997, Johns Hopkins researchers discovered that broccoli seeds and three-day-old broccoli sprouts contain a compound converted to sulforaphane when the seed and sprout cells are crushed. Five grams of three-day-old broccoli sprouts contain as much sulforaphane as 150 grams of mature broccoli. The sulforaphane levels in other cruciferous vegetables have not yet been calculated………....Click & see : 
Other Uses :…….Fungicide……..An extract of the seeds inactivates the bacteria that causes black rot.

Known Hazards:
Enlarged thyroid gland (goiter). Cruciferous vegetables, including cauliflower, contain goitrin, thiocyanate, and isothiocyanate. These chemicals, known collectively as goitrogens, inhibit the formation of thyroid hormones and cause the thyroid to enlarge in an attempt to produce more. Goitrogens are not hazardous for healthy people who eat moderate amounts of cruciferous vegetables, but they may pose problems for people who have a thyroid condition or are taking thyroid medication.

Intestinal gas. Bacteria that live naturally in the gut degrade the indigestible carbohydrates (food fiber) in cauliflower, producing intestinal gas that some people find distressing.

Food/Drug Interactions: Anticoagulants. Cauliflower contains vitamin K, the blood-clotting vitamin produced naturally by bacteria in our intestines. Additional intake of vitamin K may reduce the effectiveness of anticoagulants (warfarin, Coumadin, Panwarfin), requiring larger-than-normal doses to produce the same effect.

False-positive test for occult blood in the stool. The active ingredient in the guiac slide test for hidden blood in feces is alphaguaiaconic acid, a chemical that turns blue in the presence of blood. Cauliflower contains peroxidase, a natural chemical that also turns alphaguaiaconic acid blue and may produce a positive test in people who do not actually have blood in the stool.

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:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brassica_oleracea
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cauliflower
http://www.vietnamese-recipes.com/articles/medical-uses-benefits-cauliflower.php
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Brassica+oleracea+botrytis

Chinese Kale

Botanical Name: Brassica oleracea alboglabra
Family : Brassicaceae or Cruciferae
Species: Brassica oleracea
Cultivar group: Alboglabra Group

Common Name : Chinese Kale , Chinese broccol, Kai-lan, Gai-lan

Habitat : Not known in the wild, it probably originated in the Mediterranean and is very close to B. oleracea costata, the Couve tronchuda.

Description:
Brassica oleracea alboglabra is a perennial plant growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in) at a fast rate.
It is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to August, and the seeds ripen from Jul to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.The plant is self-fertile.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES : 

Chinese kale is recognized as an interesting and a delicious vegetable in China. This vegetable is similar to western broccoli in appearance, so it is also known as Chinese broccoli. Two varieties of Chinese kale can be found in the present world. However, both these varieties are heat resistant and they will grow through winter in most areas. Therefore people can grow them with less hassle at any part of the world.

Cultivation:
An easily grown plant, it succeeds in full sun in a well-drained but moisture-retentive fertile preferably alkaline soil. Prefers a heavy soil. Plants prefer a pH in the range 5.5 – 6.5. Succeeds in any reasonable soil. Plants tolerate several degrees of frost once they are past the seedling stage. They also tolerate higher summer temperatures than most members of this genus. Closely related to broccoli (B. oleracea italica), this species is often cultivated in the Orient for its edible leaves and flowering stems. There are several named forms. A perennial plant, it is usually cultivated as an annual . It is fairly slow-growing, but it provides a crop over a long period in the summer and autumn. In a suitable climate they can crop for a period of six months. Most cultivars have been developed in the warmer parts of China and are best suited to warmer conditions than usually occur in Britain, though some forms have been developed that are more suitable for cooler conditions. Plants can be transplanted, if moved under cover in the autumn they will continue to grow slowly and provide a crop all winter.
Propagation:
Seed – sow in succession from late spring to late summer or even early autumn in favoured areas. The heaviest yields are from the mid to late summer sowings. Early sowings may bolt if there is a period of cold weather. Cuttings of lateral shoots root easily and can be used to produce more plants
Edible Uses: ….Young flowering shoots and small leaves- raw or cooked. Delicious if used when fairly young though they can become tough with age. Older stems should be peeled. All parts of the growing plant are used, including the developing inflorescence. Plants take about 3 months from sowing to their first harvest. Either the whole plant can be harvested, or, if a further harvest is required, just the terminal shoot is harvested which encourages the development of lateral shoots. Yields of 2 kg per square metre can be obtained

Medicinal Uses:
Chinese Kale has high iron content with low calories & high fiber content . It is filled with high nutrients, vitamins & magnesium .It is a great food which helps digestion. It is filled with antixodients like carotenoids and flavonoids which helps to protect against various types of cancers.Kale is a great cardiovascular support, eating this vegetable regularly reduces cholesterol.

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:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kai-lan
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Brassica+oleracea+alboglabra
http://www.examiner.com/list/10-health-benefits-of-kale

Apple Gourd (Tinda)

Botanical Name: Apple Gourd
Family: Cucurbitaceae
SubfamilyCucurbitoideae
Tribe: Benincaseae
Subtribe: Benincasinae
Genus: Praecitrullus  Pangalo
Species: P. fistulosus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Cucurbitales
Common Names: Tinda, Indian round gourd , Indian baby pumpkin, Meha (in  Sindhi language),  Dhemase (in Marathi)
Habitat : Apple Gourd is native to South Asia. Specially grown in India & Pakinthan
Description:
The plant is, as with all cucurbits, a prolific vine, and is grown as an annual. The fruit is approximately spherical, and 5–8 cm in diameter. The seeds may also be roasted and eaten. Tinda is a famous nickname among Punjabi families in India. This unique squash-like gourd is native to India, very popular in Indian and Pakistani cooking with curry and many gourmet dishes. Green colored, apple sized fruits are flattish round in shape and 50-60 grams in weight. Plants are vigorous, productive and begin to bear fruits in 70 days after planting.
Cultivation:  Sandy loam soils rich in organic matter with good drainage and pH ranging from 6.5-7.5 is best suited for Tinda cultivation. This crop requires a moderate warm temperature.
Propagation: Sow the seeds on one side of the channel. hin the seedlings after 15 days to maintain two/pit at 0.9 m spacing.
Uses:
Tinda is famous vegetable in India and Pakistan and regarded as super food due to its numerous health benefits. It contains antioxidants like carotenoids and many anti-inflammatory agents, which are effective for controlling blood pressure, heart diseases, and strokes and prevent cancer formation.
It is very mild and soothing vegetable for intestinal tract. A lot of fiber helps in digestion, helps in diarrhea by increased water absorption, relieves stomach acidity, and prevents constipation. Some researches indicate that they are good food for healthy skin and hairs, its consumption result in very long and healthy hairs. It increases the urinary flow and excretes toxins from the kidney.
It is very effective in prevention of prostitutes and prostate cancer. Prostate is male gland present near bladder and its inflammation and cancers are becoming common now a days, it is also very effective in urinary tract infections.
Carotenes present in pumpkins slow the aging process and prevent age related changes in body like cataract formation, grey hairs, thickening of blood vessels bone degeneration, and age related brain cell degeneration. Over all this vegetable, have magical effects on body if used regularly.
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:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tinda
http://desiclinic.com/roman/tinda-156.html
http://www.agritech.tnau.ac.in/horticulture/horti_vegetables_tinda.html

Black cohosh

Botanical Name : Cimicifuga racemosa
Family: Ranunculaceae
Genus: Actaea
Species: A. racemosa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ranunculales

Synonyms : Actaea racemosa

Common Names: Black cohosh, Black bugbane, Black snakeroot, Fairy candle,, Bugbane

Habitat : Black cohosh is native to eastern North America from the extreme south of Ontario to central Georgia, and west to Missouri and Arkansas. It grows in a variety of woodland habitats, and is often found in small woodland openings. (Moist, mixed deciduous forests, wooded slopes, ravines, creek margins, thickets, moist meadowlands, forest margins, and especially mountainous terrain from sea level to 1500 metres)

Description:
Black cohosh is a smooth (glabrous) herbaceous perennial plant that produces large, compound leaves from an underground rhizome, reaching a height of 25–60 cm (9.8–23.6 in). The basal leaves are up to 1 m (3 ft 3 in) long and broad, forming repeated sets of three leaflets (tripinnately compound) having a coarsely toothed (serrated) margin. The flowers are produced in late spring and early summer on a tall stem, 75–250 cm (30–98 in) tall, forming racemes up to 50 cm (20 in) long. The flowers have no petals or sepals, and consist of tight clusters of 55-110 white, 5–10 mm (0.20–0.39 in) long stamens surrounding a white stigma. The flowers have a distinctly sweet, fetid smell that attracts flies, gnats, and beetles. The fruit is a dry follicle 5–10 mm (0.20–0.39 in) long, with one carpel, containing several seeds….....CLICK & SEE  THE PICTURES

Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Woodland garden. Prefers a moist humus rich soil and some shade. Grows well in dappled shade. Succeeds in ordinary garden soil and tolerates drier soils. Plants are hardy to at least -20°c. A very ornamental species. The flowers have an unusual, slightly unpleasant smell which is thought to repel insects. Plants grow and flower well in Britain, though they seldom if ever ripen their seed. A greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants, especially legumes. Special Features:Attractive foliage, North American native, Naturalizing, Suitable for cut flowers, Suitable for dried flowers, Fragrant flowers.
Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Only just cover the seed. It germinates in 1 – 12 months or even longer at 15°c[. The seed does not store well and soon loses its viability, stored seed may germinate better if given 6 – 8 weeks warm stratification at 15°c and then 8 weeks cold stratification. Prick out the young seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a frame for their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer. Division in spring or autumn. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer or following spring.
Edible Uses: …Leaves – cooked. Some caution is advised,   see the notes below   on Known Hazards.

Medicinal Uses:
Black cohosh is a traditional remedy of the North American Indians where it was used mainly to treat women’s problems, especially painful periods and problems associated with the menopause. A popular and widely used herbal remedy, it is effective in the treatment of a range of diseases. The root is alterative, antidote, antirheumatic, antispasmodic, astringent, cardiotonic, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, hypnotic, sedative, tonic and vasodilator. It is harvested in the autumn as the leaves die down, then cut into pieces and dried.

Black cohosh root improves blood circulation and lowers blood pressure and body temperature by dilating blood vessels and increasing peripheral circulation. The constituents responsible for these actions are so resinous, the traditional virtues of this herb are best extracted by using hot water and preferably alcohol on the fresh root. A central nervous system depressant, black cohosh directly inhibits vasomotor centers that are involved with inner ear balance and hearing. One of the uses for black cohosh recognized by doctors is for relief of ringing in the ears. The Native Americans knew that it encouraged uterine contractions and used it to facilitate labor. It is also used to reduce the inflammation and muscular pain of rheumatism and inflammatory arthritis, especially when it is associated with menopause and to treat problems of the respiratory system. Chinese physicians use several related plants to treat headache, to ripen and bring out skin rashes such as measles, diarrhea, bleeding gums and some gynecological problems.

Black cohosh has estrogenic effects, meaning it acts like the female sex hormone estrogen. This may lend support to its traditional use for menstrual complaints. It is thought to reduce levels of pituitary luteinizing hormone, thereby decreasing the ovaries’ production of progesterone. A German trial published in 1995, revealed that black cohosh in combination with St. John’s wort was 78% effective at treating hot flashes and other menopausal problems. Black cohosh is used to optimize estrogen levels perhaps by competing with estrogen receptor sites when estrogen is overabundant but may promote estrogen production when estrogen is low. It is the prime women’s tonic for any uterine condition involving inflammation, pain, or low estrogen. It promotes fertility and softens the impact of menopause. Using black cohosh during menopause can reduce intensity and frequency of hot flashes, support and ease the body’s changes, helps counteract menopausal prolapses, improves digestion, relieves menstrual pain and irregularity, relieves headaches, relieves menopausal arthritis and rheumatism.

Cimicifugin, the ranunculoside in black cohosh, exhibits antispasmodic and sedative properties in the fresh root. When the root is cut or bruised, an enzyme is released which reacts with cimicifugin to produce protoanemonine, which is unstable in water but, when dried, is readily oxidized to an anemonic acid which has no physiological activity. The antispasmodic and sedative properties of black cohosh are only present in the whole, fresh root. The dried, powdered black cohosh in common use today contains only the irritating principles.

The root is toxic in overdose, it should be used with caution and be completely avoided by pregnant women.   The medically active ingredients are not soluble in water so a tincture of the root is normally used. It is used in the treatment of rheumatism, as a sedative and an emmenagogue. It is traditionally important in the treatment of women’s complaints, acting specifically on the uterus it eases uterine cramps and has been used to help in childbirth. Research has shown that the root has oestrogenic activity and is thought to reduce levels of pituitary luteinizing hormone, thereby decreasing the ovaries production of progesterone. The root is also hypoglycaemic, sedative and anti-inflammatory. Used in conjunction with St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) it is 78% effective in treating hot flushes and other menopausal problems. An extract of the root has been shown to strengthen the male reproductive organ in rats. The root contains salicylic acid, which makes it of value in the treatment of various rheumatic problems – it is particularly effective in the acute stage of rheumatoid arthritis, sciatica and chorea. Its sedative action makes it useful for treating a range of other complaints including tinnitus and high blood pressure. The roots are used to make a homeopathic remedy. This is used mainly for women, especially during pregnancy. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Cimicifuga racemosa (Actaea racemosa) for climacteric (menopause) complaints & Premenstrual syndrome.

Other Uses : Both the growing and the dried plant can be used to repel bugs and fleas

Known Hazards: The plant is poisonous in large doses. Large doses irritate nerve centres and may cause abortion. Gastrointestinal disturbances, hypotension, nausea, headaches. Not recommended during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Do not take concomitantly with iron.
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:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Actaea_racemosa
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Cimicifuga+racemosa+(Actaea+racemosa)
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail67.php

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

 

Abies balsamea

Botanical Name: Abies balsamea
Family: Pinaceae
Genus: Abies
Species: A. balsamea
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales

Common Names: Balsam Fir , Christmas tree, North American fir

Habitat ;Abies balsamea is native to most of eastern and central Canada (Newfoundland west to central British Columbia) and the northeastern United States (Minnesota east to Maine, and south in Appalachan death to West Virginia) It grows in low swampy grounds where it is often the major component of forests. Also found on well-drained hillsides.

Description:
Abies balsamea is a small to medium-size evergreen tree typically 14–20 metres (46–66 ft) tall, rarely to 27 metres (89 ft) tall, with a narrow conic crown. The bark on young trees is smooth, grey, and with resin blisters (which tend to spray when ruptured), becoming rough and fissured or scaly on old trees. The leaves are flat needle-like, 15 to 30 millimetres (½–1 in) long, dark green above often with a small patch of stomata near the tip, and two white stomatal bands below, and a slightly notched tip. They are arranged spirally on the shoot, but with the leaf bases twisted to appear in two more-or-less horizontal rows. The cones are erect, 40 to 80 millimetres (1½–3 in) long, dark purple, ripening brown and disintegrating to release the winged seeds in September…….CLICK & SEE THE  PICTURES

Varities:
There are two varieties:

*Abies balsamea var. balsamea (balsam fir) – bracts subtending seed scales short, not visible on the closed cones. Most of the species’ range.

*Abies balsamea var. phanerolepis (bracted balsam fir or Canaan fir) – bracts subtending seed scales longer, visible on the closed cone. The southeast of the species’ range, from southernmost Quebec to West Virginia. The name ‘Canaan Fir‘ derives from one of its native localities, the Canaan Valley in West Virginia. Some botanists regard this variety as a natural hybrid between balsam fir and Fraser fir (Abies fraseri), which occurs further south in the Appalachian mountains.

Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Christmas tree, Screen, Specimen. Prefers a good moist but not water-logged soil. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Very shade tolerant, especially when young, but growth is slower in dense shade. Intolerant of atmospheric pollution[1]. Prefers slightly acid conditions down to a pH of about5, though the cultivar ‘Hudsonia’ is more tolerant of alkaline conditions. Prefers growing on a north-facing slope. A shallow-rooted plant, making it vulnerable to high winds. Balsam fir is estimated to tolerate an annual precipitation of 60 to 150cm, an annual temperature range of 5 to 12°C, and a pH of 4.5 to 7.5. The balsam fir is a fast-growing tree in its native environment, but it is fairly short-lived and slow growing in Britain, becoming ungainly after about 20 years. It grows best in the Perthshire valleys of Scotland. New growth takes place from late May to the end of July. Trees are very cold hardy but are often excited into premature growth in mild winters and this new growth is susceptible to damage by late frosts. Female strobili may be wholly or partially aborted up to 6 to 8 weeks after bud burst by late spring frosts. Pollen dispersal can be reduced by adverse weather. Trees should be planted into their permanent positions when they are quite small, between 30 and 90cm in height. Larger trees will check badly and hardly put on any growth for several years. This also badly affects root development and wind resistance. Trees have a thin bark and are therefore susceptible to forest fires. This species is closely related to A. fraseri. Plants are strongly outbreeding, self-fertilized seed usually grows poorly. They hybridize freely with other members of this genus. The cones break up on the tree and if seed is required it should be harvested before the cones break up in early autumn. Whilst the typical species is too large for most gardens, there are some named slow-growing dwarf forms that can be grown. Whilst these will not provide the resin, their leaves can be used medicinally. The leaves are strongly aromatic of balsam when crushed. The tree is sometimes grown and used as a ‘Christmas tree. Special Features: North American native, There are no flowers or blooms.
Propagation :
Seed – sow early February in a greenhouse or outdoors in March. Germination is often poor, usually taking about 6 – 8 weeks. Stratification is said to produce a more even germination so it is probably best to sow the seed in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe in the autumn. Stored seeds should be moist stratified 14 – 28 days at 1 – 5°C, though fresh seed may be sown in autumn without stratification, with target seedling densities in the nursery ca 450 – 500/m2, often mulched with sawdust. The seed remains viable for up to 5 years if it is well stored[113]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on for at least their first winter in pots. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Of slow initial growth, the stock is usually outplanted as 2- to 3-year-old seedlings or 3- to 4-year-old transplants Alternatively, if you have sufficient seed, it is possible to sow in an outdoor seedbed. One report says that it is best to grow the seedlings on in the shade at a density of about 550 plants per square metre whilst another report says that they are best grown on in a sunny position. Trees often self-layer in the wild, so this might be a means of increasing named varieties in cultivation.

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Inner bark.
Edible Uses: Condiment; Gum; Tea.

Inner bark – cooked. It is usually dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickening in soups etc or mixed with cereals when making bread. Fir bark is a delight to chew in winter or early spring, slightly mucilaginous and sweetish, better raw than cooked[269]. Another report says that it is an emergency food and is only used when all else fails[183]. An aromatic resinous pitch is found in blisters in the bark[64]. When eaten raw it is delicious and chewy. Another report says that the balsam or pitch, in extreme emergency, forms a highly concentrated, though disagreeable, food[269]. An oleoresin from the pitch is used as a flavouring in sweets, baked goods, ice cream and drinks[183]. Tips of young shoots are used as a tea substitute.
Medicinal Uses:

Analgesic; Antiscorbutic; Antiseptic; Diuretic; Poultice; Stimulant; Tonic; VD.

The herb is used in Aromatherapy * Bronchitis * Christmas * Colds * Congestion * Cough * Cuts & Wounds * North American * Pain Relief * Rheumatoid_arthritis * Sore Throat

The resin obtained from the balsam fir has been used throughout the world and is a very effective antiseptic and healing agent. It is used as a healing and analgesic protective covering for burns, bruises, wounds and sores. It is also used to treat sore nipples and is said to be one of the best curatives for a sore throat. The buds, resin, and/or sap are used in folk remedies for treating cancers, corns, and warts. The resin is also antiscorbutic, diaphoretic, diuretic, stimulant and tonic. It is used internally in propriety mixtures to treat coughs and diarrhoea, though taken in excess it is purgative. A warm liquid of the gummy sap was drunk as a treatment for gonorrhoea. A tea made from the leaves is antiscorbutic. It is used in the treatment of coughs, colds and fevers. The leaves and young shoots are best harvested in the spring and dried for later use. This plant was widely used medicinally by various North American Indian tribes. The resin was used as an antiseptic healing agent applied externally to wounds, sores, bites etc., it was used as an inhalant to treat headaches and was also taken internally to treat colds, sore throats and various other complaints.

Other Uses :
Adhesive; Fibre; Gum; Kindling; Microscope; Repellent; Resin; Stuffing; Waterproofing; Wood.

CLICK   & SEE THE  PICTURES

The balsamic resin ‘Balm of Gilead’ or ‘Canada Balsam’ according to other reports is obtained during July and August from blisters in the bark or by cutting pockets in the wood. Another report says that it is a turpentine. The term Canada Balsam is a misnomer because balsams are supposed to contain benzoic and cinnamic acids, both absent from the Canada oleoresin. Turpentine is also a misnomer, implying that the oleoresin is entirely steam volatile. Actually it contains 70 – 80% resin, only 16 – 20% volatile oil. Canada Balsam yields 15 – 25% volatile oil, the resin being used for caulking and incense. It is used medicinally and in dentistry, also in the manufacture of glues, candles and as a cement for microscopes and slides – it has a high refractive index resembling that of glass. The pitch has also been used as a waterproofing material for the seams of canoes. The average yield is about 8 – 10 oz per tree. The resin is also a fixative in soaps and perfumery. “Turpentine” is usually collected during July-August by breaking the turpentine blisters into small metal cans with sharp-pointed lids. Trees are then allowed to recuperate for 1 – 2 years before being harvested again. The leaves and young branches are used as a stuffing material for pillows etc – they impart a pleasant scen and also repel moths. The leaves contain an average of 0.65% essential oil, though it can go up to 1.4% or even higher. One analysis of the essential oils reports 14.6% bornyl acetate, 36.1% b-pinene, 11.1% 3-carene, 11.1% limonene, 6.8% camphene, and 8.4% a-pinene. To harvest the oil, it would appear that the branches should be snipped off younger trees in early spring. Fifteen year old trees yield 70% more leaf oil than 110-year-old trees; oil yields are highest in January – March and September, they are lowest from April to August. A thread can be made from the roots. Wood – light, soft, coarse grained, not strong, not very durable. Weighs 24lb per cubic foot. Used mainly for pulp, it is not used much for lumber except in the manufacture of crates etc. The wood is commercially valuable for timber even though it is relatively soft, weak, and perishable. Balsam fir is used in the US for timber and plywood, and is the mainstay of the pulp wood industry in the Northeast. The wood, which is rich in pitch, burns well and can be used as a kindling.

Known Hazards: The oleoresin (Canada balsam) is reported to produce dermatitis when applied as perfume. The foliage has also induced contact dermatitis.

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:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abies_balsamea
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Abies+balsamea
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail561.php

 

Alzheimer’s disease

 

Other Names: Alzheimer’s disease (AD), also known as Alzheimer disease, or just Alzheimer’s

Definition:
Alzheimer’s is a chronic neurodegenerative disease that usually starts slowly and gets worse over time. It destroys memory and other important mental functions.
It’s the most common cause of dementia — a group of brain disorders that results in the loss of intellectual and social skills. These changes are severe enough to interfere with day-to-day life.
In this disease, the brain cells themselves degenerate and die, causing a steady decline in memory and mental function….CLICK  & SEE

Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that is more common with increasing age. People with a family history of the condition are also at increased risk of developing it.

At present Alzheimer’s disease medications and management strategies may temporarily improve symptoms. This can sometimes help people with Alzheimer’s disease maximize function and maintain independence.But because there’s no cure for this disease, it’s important to seek supportive services and tap into one’s support network as early as possible.

Symptoms:
At first, increasing forgetfulness or mild confusion may be the only symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease that one notices. But over time, the disease robs one of more of one’s memory, especially recent memories. The rate at which symptoms worsen varies from one person to other person.

If some one has Alzheimer’s, he or she may be the first to notice that the person are having unusual difficulty remembering things and organizing different thoughts. Or may not be recognizing that anything is wrong, even when changes are noticeable by the family members, close friends or co-workers.

Brain changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease lead to growing trouble with:
Alzimer’s is a slowly progressive chronic disease. It progresses in different stages:
Stages of Alzheimer’s disease:

*Effects of ageing on memory but not AD
*Forgetting things occasionally
*Misplacing items sometimes
*Minor short-term memory loss
*Not remembering exact details

Early stage Alzheimer’s:

*Not remembering episodes of forgetfulness
*Forgets names of family or friends
*Changes may only be noticed by close friends or relatives
*Some confusion in situations outside the familiar

Middle stage Alzheimer’s:

*Greater difficulty remembering recently learned information
*Deepening confusion in many circumstances
*Problems with sleep
*Trouble knowing where they are

Late stage Alzheimer’s:

*Poor ability to think
*Problems speaking
*Repeats same conversations
*More abusive, anxious, or paranoid

Causes:
Scientists believe that for most people, Alzheimer’s disease results from a combination of genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors that affect the brain over time.

Less than 5 percent of the time, Alzheimer’s is caused by specific genetic changes that virtually guarantee a person will develop the disease.

Although the causes of Alzheimer’s are not yet fully understood, its effect on the brain is clear. Alzheimer’s disease damages and kills brain cells. A brain affected by Alzheimer’s disease has many fewer cells and many fewer connections among surviving cells than does a healthy brain.

As more and more brain cells die, Alzheimer’s leads to significant brain shrinkage. When doctors examine Alzheimer’s brain tissue under the microscope, they see two types of abnormalities that are considered hallmarks of the disease:

*Plaques. These clumps of a protein called beta-amyloid may damage and destroy brain cells in several ways, including interfering with cell-to-cell communication. Although the ultimate cause of brain-cell death in Alzheimer’s isn’t known, the collection of beta-amyloid on the outside of brain cells is a prime suspect.

*Tangles. Brain cells depend on an internal support and transport system to carry nutrients and other essential materials throughout their long extensions. This system requires the normal structure and functioning of a protein called tau.

In Alzheimer’s, threads of tau protein twist into abnormal tangles inside brain cells, leading to failure of the transport system. This failure is also strongly implicated in the decline and death of brain cells.

Click & see: Transmittable Alzheimer’s’ concept raised :

Risk Factors:
Age:
Increasing age is the greatest known risk factor for Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s is not a part of normal aging, but your risk increases greatly after 65 years of age. Nearly half of those older than age 85 have Alzheimer’s.

People with rare genetic changes that virtually guarantee they’ll develop Alzheimer’s begin experiencing symptoms as early as their 30s.

Family history and genetics:

The risk of developing Alzheimer’s appears to be somewhat higher if a first-degree relative — parent or sibling — has the disease. Scientists have identified rare changes (mutations) in three genes that virtually guarantee a person who inherits them will develop Alzheimer’s. But these mutations account for less than 5 percent of Alzheimer’s disease.

Most genetic mechanisms of Alzheimer’s among families remain largely unexplained. The strongest risk gene researchers have found so far is apolipoprotein e4 (APOE e4). Other risk genes have been identified but not conclusively confirmed.

Sex: Women may be more likely than are men to develop Alzheimer’s disease, in part because they live longer.

Mild cognitive impairment:

People with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) have memory problems or other symptoms of cognitive decline that are worse than might be expected for their age, but not severe enough to be diagnosed as dementia.

Those with MCI have an increased risk — but not a certainty — of later developing dementia. Taking action to develop a healthy lifestyle and strategies to compensate for memory loss at this stage may help delay or prevent the progression to dementia.

Past head trauma: People who’ve had a severe head trauma or repeated head trauma appear to have a greater risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Lifestyle and heart health:

There’s no lifestyle factor that’s been conclusively shown to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

However, some evidence suggests that the same factors that put you at risk of heart disease also may increase the chance that you’ll develop Alzheimer’s. Examples include:

*Lack of exercise (a sedentry life style)
*Smoking
*High blood pressure
*High blood cholesterol
*Elevated homocysteine levels
*Poorly controlled diabetes
*A diet lacking in fruits and vegetables

These risk factors are also linked to vascular dementia, a type of dementia caused by damaged blood vessels in the brain. Working with your health care team on a plan to control these factors will help protect your heart — and may also help reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia

Diagnosis:
There is no specific test today that can confirms the Alzheimer’s disease. The doctor will make a judgment about whether Alzheimer’s is the most likely cause of the symptoms based on the information that the patient provides and results of various tests that can help clarify the diagnosis.

The doctor will Physical and neurological exam:

The doctor will perform a physical exam, and is likely to check the overall neurological health by testing the patient following:

*Reflexes
*Muscle tone and strength
*Ability to get up from a chair and walk across the room
*Sense of sight and hearing
*Coordination
*Balance

The doctor may ask the patient to under take the following tests:

1. Blood test: The tests may help the doctor to rule out other potential causes of memory loss and confusion, such as thyroid disorders or vitamin deficiencies

2. Mental status testing: The doctor may conduct a brief mental status test to assess the patient’s memory and other thinking skills. Short forms of mental status testing can be done in about 10 minutes.

3. Neuropsychological testing : The doctor may recommend a more extensive assessment of the patient’s thinking and memory. Longer forms of neuropsychological testing, which can take several hours to complete, may provide additional details about the mental function compared with others’ of a similar age and education level.

4. Brain imaging: Images of the brain are now used chiefly to pinpoint visible abnormalities related to conditions other than Alzheimer’s disease — such as strokes, trauma or tumors — that may cause cognitive change. New imaging applications — currently used primarily in major medical centers or in clinical trials — may enable doctors to detect specific brain changes caused by Alzheimer’s.

Brain-imaging technologies include:

i) Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). An MRI uses radio waves and a strong magnetic field to produce detailed images of your brain. You lie on a narrow table that slides into a tube-shaped MRI machine, which makes loud banging noises while it produces images. MRIs are painless, but some people feel claustrophobic inside the machine and are disturbed by the noise.

MRIs are used to rule out other conditions that may account for or be adding to cognitive symptoms. In addition, they may be used to assess whether shrinkage in brain regions implicated in Alzheimer’s disease has occurred.

ii) Computerized tomography (CT). For a CT scan, you’ll lie on a narrow table that slides into a small chamber. X-rays pass through your body from various angles, and a computer uses this information to create cross-sectional images (slices) of your brain. It’s currently used chiefly to rule out tumors, strokes and head injuries.

Positron emission tomography (PET). During a PET scan, you’ll be injected in a vein with a low-level radioactive tracer. You’ll lie on a table while an overhead scanner tracks the tracer’s flow through your brain.

The tracer may be a special form of glucose (sugar) that shows overall activity in various brain regions. This can show which parts of your brain aren’t functioning well. New PET techniques may be able to detect your brain level of plaques and tangles, the two hallmark abnormalities linked to Alzheimer’s.

Future diagnostic tests:

Researchers are working with doctors to develop new diagnostic tools to help definitively diagnose Alzheimer’s. Another important goal is to detect the disease before it causes the symptoms targeted by current diagnostic techniques — at the stage when Alzheimer’s may be most treatable as new drugs are discovered. This stage is called preclinical Alzheimer’s disease.

New tools under investigation include:

* Additional approaches to brain imaging
* More-sensitive tests of mental abilities
* Measurement of key proteins or protein patterns in blood or spinal fluid (biomarkers)

Treatment:
Current Alzheimer’s medications can help for a time with memory symptoms and other cognitive changes. Two types of drugs are currently used to treat cognitive symptoms:

Cholinesterase inhibitors. These drugs work by boosting levels of a cell-to-cell communication chemical depleted in the brain by Alzheimer’s disease. Most people can expect to keep their current symptoms at bay for a time.

Less than half of those taking these drugs can expect to have any improvement. Commonly prescribed cholinesterase inhibitors include donepezil (Aricept), galantamine (Razadyne) and rivastigmine (Exelon). The main side effects of these drugs include diarrhea, nausea and sleep disturbances.

Memantine (Namenda). This drug works in another brain cell communication network and slows the progression of symptoms with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease. It’s sometimes used in combination with a cholinesterase inhibitor.

Creating a safe and supportive environment:

Adapting the living situation to the needs of a person with Alzheimer’s is an important part of any treatment plan. For someone with Alzheimer’s, establishing and strengthening routine habits and minimizing memory-demanding tasks can make life much easier.

One can take these steps to support a person’s sense of well-being and continued ability to function:

*Always keep keys, wallets, mobile phones and other valuables in the same place at home, so they don’t become lost.
*See if the doctor can simplify the medication regimen to once-daily dosing, and arrange for the finances to be on automatic payment and automatic deposit.
*Develop the habit of carrying a mobile phone with location capability so that one can call in case the person is lost or confused and people can track the location via the phone. Also, program important phone numbers into the person’s phone, so that he or she does not have to try to recall them.
*Make sure regular appointments are on the same day at the same time as much as possible.
*Use a calendar or white board in the home to track daily schedules. Build the habit of checking off completed items so that you can be sure they were completed.
*Remove excess furniture, clutter and throw rugs.
*Install sturdy handrails on stairways and in bathrooms.
*Ensure that shoes and slippers are comfortable and provide good traction.
*Reduce the number of mirrors. People with Alzheimer’s may find images in mirrors confusing or frightening.

Exercise:

Regular exercise is an important part of everybody’s wellness plan — and those with Alzheimer’s are no exception. Activities such as a daily 30-minute walk can help improve mood and maintain the health of your joints, muscles and heart.

Exercise can also promote restful sleep and prevent constipation. Make sure that the person with Alzheimer’s carries identification if she or he walks unaccompanied.

People with Alzheimer’s who develop trouble walking may still be able to use a stationary bike or participate in chair exercises. You may be able to find exercise programs geared to older adults on TV or on DVDs.

Yoga & Meditation : It is proved that even an acute Alzheimer’s patient can improve a lot if he or she does Yoga & meditation regularly under the guidance of an expart teacher.

Alzheimer’s patients should be careful of taking daily nutritional food in time.

Study results have been mixed about whether diet, exercise or other healthy lifestyle choices can prevent or reverse cognitive decline. But these healthy choices promote good overall health and may play a role in maintaining cognitive health, so there’s no harm in including the above good and healthy lifestyle.
Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alzheimer%27s_disease
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alzheimers-disease/basics/definition/con-20023871

Vaccinium angustifolium

 

Botanical Name: Vaccinium angustifolium
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Vaccinium
Species: V. angustifolium
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales

Synonyms : V. lamarckii. Camp. V. pennsylvanicun angustifolium. V. pensylvanicum. Lam. non Mill.

Common Names: Low Sweet Blueberry, Lowbush blueberry

Habitat: Vaccinium angustifolium is native to eastern and central Canada (from Manitoba to Newfoundland) and the northeastern United States, growing as far south as the Great Smoky Mountains and west to the Great Lakes region. It grows in dry open barrens, peats and rocks.

Description:
Vaccinium angustifolium is a low spreading deciduous shrub growing to 60 cm tall, though usually 35 cm tall or less. The leaves are glossy blue-green in summer, turning purple in the fall. The leaf shape is broad to elliptical. Buds are brownish red in stem axils. The flowers are white, bell-shaped, 5 mm long. The fruit is a small sweet dark blue to black berry. This plant grows best in wooded or open areas with well-drained acidic soils. In some areas it produces natural blueberry barrens, where it is practically the only species covering large areas.

CLICK  &  SEE THE PICTURES

The Vaccinium angustifolium plant is fire-tolerant and its numbers often increase in an area following a forest fire. Traditionally, blueberry growers burn their fields every few years to get rid of shrubs and fertilize the soil. In Acadian French, a blueberry field is known as a “brûlis” (from brûlé, burnt) because of that technique, which is still in use.
Cultivation :
Requires a moist but freely-draining lime free soil, preferring one that is rich in peat or a light loamy soil with added leaf-mould. Prefers a very acid soil with a pH in the range of 4.5 to 6, plants soon become chlorotic when lime is present. Succeeds in full sun or light shade though it fruits better in a sunny position. Requires shelter from strong winds. A very hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to about -40°c. Dislikes root disturbance, plants are best grown in pots until being planted out in their permanent positions. Cultivated for its edible fruits, there are some named varieties. It succeeds in cold northerly locations such as Maine in N. America] and in C. Sweden. However, it is said to have little or no value as a fruit crop in Britain. The typical species is not as well known as its subspecies V. angustifolium laevifolium. House. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus.
Propagation:
Seed – sow late winter in a greenhouse in a lime-free potting mix and only just cover the seed. Stored seed might require a period of up to 3 months cold stratification. Another report says that it is best to sow the seed in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe. Once they are about 5cm tall, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a lightly shaded position 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. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 – 8cm with a heel, August in a frame. Slow and difficult. Layering in late summer or early autumn. Another report says that spring is the best time to layer. Takes 18 months. Division of suckers in spring or early autumn

Edible Uses:
Fruit – raw, cooked or used in preserves etc. A very sweet pleasant flavour with a slight taste of hone. Largely grown for the canning industry, it is considered to be the best of the lowbush type blueberries. The fruit can be dried and used like raisins. The fruit is about 12mm in diameter. This is the earliest commercially grown blueberry to ripen. A tea is made from the leaves and dried fruits.
Medicinal Uses :
The Chippewa Indians used the flowers to treat psychosis. The fruit contains anthocyanosides. These chemical compounds are very powerful antioxidants that are very effective in the prevention of heart disease and cancer. A tea made from the leaves has been used as a blood purifier and in the treatment of infant’s colic. It has also been used to induce labour and as a tonic after a miscarriage

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:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaccinium_angustifolium
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Vaccinium+angustifolium
http://www.piam.com/mms_garden/plants.html

Thymus vulgaris

Botanical Name ; Thymus vulgaris
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Thymus
Species: T. vulgaris
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Synonyms : Origanum thymus Kuntze. Thymus collinus Salisb. [Illegitimate] .

Common Names: Common thyme, German thyme, Wild Thyme , Garden thyme or Just thyme

Habitat: Thymus vulgaris is native to southern Europe from the western Mediterranean to southern Italy. It grows in dry slopes, rocks and maquis. Always found on clay or limestone soils

Description:
Thymus vulgaris is an evergreen Shrub growing to 15–30 cm (6–12 in) tall by 40 cm (16 in) wide, it is a bushy, woody-based with small, highly aromatic, grey-green leaves and clusters of purple or pink flowers.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

It is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Jun to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, lepidoptera.It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Ground cover, Rock garden. Prefers a light, dry calcareous soil and a sunny position. Succeeds in dry soils, poor soils and tolerates drought once it is established. Plants can be grown on old walls. Thymes dislike wet conditions, especially in the winter. A layer of gravel on the soil around them will help protect the foliage from wet soils. Thyme is hardy to about -15°c, though it is even hardier when grown on old walls are in well-drained poor light soils[4]. Thyme is commonly grown in the herb garden, there are many named varieties. It is also harvested commercially for its essential oil. The leaves are very aromatic. It is sometimes grown as an annual from seed when used for culinary purposes. The flowers are rich in nectar and are very attractive to honey bees. Thyme is a good companion for most plants, it is said to repel cabbage root flies when grown near brassicas. This is a very difficult genus taxonomically, the species hybridize freely with each other and often intergrade into each other. Special Features: Attractive foliage, Edible, Fragrant foliage, Not North American native.
Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Seed can also be sown in autumn in a greenhouse. Surface sow or barely cover the seed. Germination can be erratic. 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. The seed can keep for three years in normal storage[4]. Division in spring or autumn. 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 summer or the following spring. Cuttings of young shoots, 5 – 8cm with a heel, May/June in a frame. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 – 8cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Layering.

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

Leaves and flowering tops – raw in salads, used as a garnish or added as a flavouring to cooked foods, going especially well with mushrooms and courgettes.   It is an essential ingredient of the herb mix ‘bouquet garni’. It retains its flavour well in long slow cooking. The leaves can be used either fresh or dried. If the leaves are to be dried, the plants should be harvested in early and late summer just before the flowers open and the leaves should be dried quickly. A nutritional analysis is available. An aromatic tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves. Pungent and spicy.

Constituents:
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Leaves (Dry weight)

•276 Calories per 100g
•Water : 7.8%
•Protein: 9.1g; Fat: 7.4g; Carbohydrate: 63.9g; Fibre: 18.6g; Ash: 11.7g;
•Minerals – Calcium: 1890mg; Phosphorus: 201mg; Iron: 123.6mg; Magnesium: 220mg; Sodium: 55mg; Potassium: 814mg; Zinc: 6.2mg;
•Vitamins – A: 3800mg; Thiamine (B1): 0.51mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0.4mg; Niacin: 4.94mg; B6: 0mg; C: 0mg;

Medicinal Uses :

Common thyme has a very long history of folk use for a wide range of ailments. It is very rich in essential oils and these are the active ingredients responsible for most of the medicinal properties. In particular, thyme is valued for its antiseptic and antioxidant properties, it is an excellent tonic and is used in treating respiratory diseases and a variety of other ailments. The flowering tops are anthelmintic, strongly antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, deodorant, diaphoretic, disinfectant, expectorant, sedative and tonic. The plant is used internally in the treatment of dry coughs, whooping cough, bronchitis, bronchial catarrh, asthma, laryngitis, indigestion, gastritis and diarrhoea and enuresis in children. It should not be prescribed for pregnant women. Externally, it is used in the treatment of tonsillitis, gum diseases, rheumatism, arthritis and fungal infections. The plant can be used fresh at any time of the year, or it can be harvested as it comes into flower and either be distilled for the oil or dried for later use. Thyme has an antioxidant effect, thus regular use of this herb improves the health and longevity of individual body cells and therefore prolongs the life of the body. The essential oil is strongly antiseptic. The whole herb is used in the treatment of digestive disorders, sore throats, fevers etc. The essential oil is one of the most important oils used in aromatherapy. Its keyword is ‘Bacterial’. It is used especially in cases of exhaustion, depression, upper respiratory tract infections, skin and scalp complaints etc. The oil can cause allergic reactions and irritation to the skin and mucous membranes.

Other Uses:
Deodorant; Disinfectant; Essential; Fungicide; Pot-pourri; Repellent.

An essential oil from the leaves is frequently used in perfumery, soaps, toothpastes, mouthwashes, medicinally etc. It has fungicidal properties and is also used to prevent mildew. The leaves are dried and used in pot-pourri. The plant makes an attractive ground cover for a sunny position. Plants are best spaced about 30cm apart each way. The dried flowers are used to repel moths from clothing whilst the growing plant is said to repel cabbage root fly

Known Hazards: A comment has been made in one report on medicinal uses that the plant should be used with caution. No explanation was given. It quite possibly refers to overuse of the essential oil. All essential oils, since they are so concentrated, can be harmful in large doses. Avoid if inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract. Internal use contraindicated especially in pregnancy. Caution if sensitive to grasses . Dilute oil in carrier oil before topical use.

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:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thymus_vulgaris
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Thymus+vulgaris