Abnormal height that matters

Doctors may have found an answer to hormonal problems. Structural changes in protein clumps could be the culprit for this abnormality in height.

ABNORMAL HEIGHT

A fourteen year boy or girl might get a height of  six feet few inches though  his parents are of average height. CLICK & SEE

We call Gigantism  which is a condition that leads to excessive growth — occurs when the pituitary or thyroid gland release excess hormones. But a study published recently in the Journal of Biological Chemistry implies that there may be a remedy — over time — for such hormone disorders. CLICK & SEE

Scientists have known for a while that many critical life processes controlled by the hormones are affected even when their production by glands is normal. This usually happens because the hormones are not released when they are needed.

Hormones regulate processes that are crucial for healthy functioning. Many of these hormones — including insulin, glucagon and the growth hormone — are protein or peptide molecules that are synthesised by the body and stored in cells known as secretory granules in clumps called amyloids. These amyloids are released into the blood stream as and when required by the body. For example, insulin, which plays an important role in sugar metabolism, is released from the pancreatic cells in response to glucose levels in the blood stream. CLICK & SEE

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Scientists have now discovered that the problem lies in the structural changes that take place in these amyloids.  “The structure or shape of a protein could be crucial for its efficient storage and secretion. Therefore, in most cases, structure governs the function of a protein,”

The group studied the role played by the structure of a peptide hormone called somatostatin-14 (SST14), which is involved in several functions of the human body, the most well known of which is countering a excessive growth hormone secretion, thus regulating human growth. Other important functions include controlling gastric acid secretion and insulin and glucagon secretion in the pancreas. A deficiency of this hormone can lead to gigantism and pituitary adenoma or non-cancerous tumours in the pituitary gland.

The researchers who carried out studies on a lab rat found that the structure of SST-14, which is stored in an amyloid form, could change in abnormal cases. And this happened when a particular chemical bond (disulphide bond) which kept it stable was disturbed. This caused the protein to take on a different structure, resulting in faster amyloid formations. These amyloids, however, do not release the somatostatin hormone readily.

The scientists, who hope to study this in bigger animals in the future, are now figuring out whether these results are applicable to other hormones too.

It shows that the difference between people who have abnormal growth hormone releases and those who don’t may lie in their somatostatin structure. This may help pharmaceutical companies hone their strategy for attacking this disorder,

Now, if experts can create long-acting somatostatin outside the human body, it can be used to treat dwarfism and pituitary deficient newborns too. Besides, this type of somatostatin can also be used to repair body tissue.”

Sources : The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

Mountain-laurel

Botanical Name :Kalmia latifolia
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Kalmia
Species: K. latifolia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales

Synonyms: Broad-leafed Laurel. Calico Bush. Spoon Wood. Ledum Floribus Bullates. Cistus Chamaerhodendros.

Common Names : Mountain-laurel, Calico-bush, or Cpoonwood

It is also known as Ivybush, Spoonwood (because native Americans used to make their spoons out of it), Sheep Laurel, Lambkill and Clamoun.

Habitat:Mountain-laurel is native to the eastern United States. Its range stretches from southern Maine south to northern Florida, and west to Indiana and Louisiana. Mountain-laurel is the state flower of Connecticut and Pennsylvania. It is the namesake of the city of Laurel, Mississippi (founded 1882).

The plant is naturally found on rocky slopes and mountainous forest areas. It thrives in acidic soil, preferring a soil pH in the 4.5 to 5.5 range. The plant often grows in large thickets, covering great areas of forest floor. In North America it can become tree sized on undeveloped mountains of the Carolinas but is a shrub farther north. The species is a frequent component of oak-heath forests.

Description:
A beautiful evergreen shrub from 4 to 20 feet. When in full flower it forms dense thickets, the stems are always crooked, the bark rough. It was called Kalmia by Linnaeus in honour of Peter Kalm, a Swedish professor. The hard wood is used in the manufacture of various useful articles. Leaves ovate, lanceolate, acute on each end, on petioles 2 to 3 inches long. Flowers numerous, delicately tinted a lovely shade of pink; these are very showy, clammy, interminal, viscid, pubescent, simple or compound heads, branches opposite, flowering in June and July. The flowers yield a honey said to be deleterious. The leaves, shoots and berries are dangerous to cattle, and when eaten by Canadian pheasants communicate the poison to those who feed on the birds. The fruit is a dry capsule, seeds minute and numerous.

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Medicinal Uses:

Part Used:  Leaves.

Constituents: Leaves possess narcotic poisoning properties and contain tannic acid, gum, fatty matter, chlorophyll, a substance resembling mannite, wax extractive, albumen, an acrid principle, Aglucosidearbutin, yellow calcium iron.

Indians are said to use the expressed juice of the leaves or a strong decoction of them to commit suicide. The leaves are the official part; powdered leaves are used as a local remedy in some forms of skin diseases, and are a most efficient agent in syphilis, fevers, jaundice, neuralgia and inflammation, but great care should be exercised in their use. Whisky is the best antidote to poisoning from this plant. An ointment for skin diseases is made by stewing the leaves in pure lard in an earthenware vessel in a hot oven. Taken internally it is a sedative and astringent in active haemorrhages, diarrhoea and flux. It has a splendid effect and will be found useful in overcoming obstinate chronic irritation of the mucous surface. In the lower animals an injection produces great salivation, lachrymation, emesis, convulsions and later paralysis of the extremities and laboured respiration. It is supposed, but not proved, that the poisonous principle of this plant is Andromedotoxin.

In Homeopathy this herb is used in different dialutions for different diseases.

Other Uses:
The wood of the mountain laurel is heavy and strong but brittle, with a close, straight grain. It has never been a viable commercial crop as it does not grow large enough, yet it is suitable for wreaths, furniture, bowls and other household items. It was used in the early 19th century in wooden-works clocks. Burls were used for pipe bowls in place of imported briar burls. It can be used for handrails or guard rails.

Known Hazards:
Mountain laurel is poisonous to several different animals due to grayanotoxin and arbutin, including horses, goats, cattle, deer, monkeys and humans. The green parts of the plant, flowers, twigs, and pollen are all toxic, including food products made from them, such as toxic honey that may produce neurotoxic and gastrointestinal symptoms in humans eating more than a modest amount. Fortunately the honey is sufficiently bitter to discourage most people from eating it, whereas it does not harm bees sufficiently to prevent its use as winter bee fodder. Symptoms of toxicity begin to appear about 6 hours following ingestion. Symptoms include irregular or difficulty breathing, anorexia, repeated swallowing, profuse salivation, watering of the eyes and nose, cardiac distress, incoordination, depression, vomiting, frequent defecation, weakness, convulsions, paralysis, coma, and eventually death. Autopsy will show gastrointestinal irritation and hemorrhage.

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.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/l/laumou12.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalmia_latifolia

Ptelea trifoliata

Botanical Name : Ptelea trifoliata
Family: Rutaceae
Genus: Ptelea
Species: P. trifoliata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Synonyms: Swamp Dogwood. Shrubby Trefoil. Wingseed. Hop Tree.

Common Names :Hop Tree, Common hoptree, Pallid hoptree  , Stinking ash, Wafer ash

Habitat : Ptelea trifoliata is  native to Eastern N. America – Quebec and New York to Florida, west to Texas and Kansas .It grows in moist places, rocky slopes, edges of woods, alluvial thickets and gravels. It is found in many different soil types.

Description:
Ptelea trifoliata is a small deciduous tree, or often a shrub of a few spreading stems, 6–8 m (20–26 ft) tall with a broad crown. The plant has thick fleshy roots, flourishes in rich, rather moist soil. In the Mississippi embayment (Mississippi River Valley) it is found most frequently on rocky slopes as part of the undergrowth. Its juices are acrid and bitter and the bark possesses tonic properties.
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The twigs are slender to moderately stout, brown with deep U-shaped leaf scars, and with short, light brown, fuzzy buds. The leaves are alternate, 5–18 cm long, palmately compound with three (rarely five) leaflets, each leaflet 1–10 cm long, sparsely serrated or entire, shiny dark green above, paler below. The western and southwestern forms have smaller leaves (5–11 cm) than the eastern forms (10–18 cm), an adaptation to the drier climates there.

The flowers are small, 1–2 cm across, with 4-5 narrow, greenish white petals, produced in terminal, branched clusters in spring: some find the odor unpleasant but to others trifoliata has a delicious scent. The fruit is a round wafer-like papery samara, 2-2.5 cm across, light brown, maturing in summer. Seed vessel has a thin wing and is held on tree until high winds during early winter

The bark is reddish brown to gray brown, short horizontal lenticels, warty corky ridges, becoming slightly scaly, unpleasant odor and bitter taste. It has several Native American uses as a seasoning and as an herbal medicine for different ailments.

*Bark: Dark reddish brown, smooth. Branchlets dark reddish brown, shining, covered with small excrescences. Bitter and ill-scented.

*Wood: Yellow brown; heavy, hard, close-grained, satiny. Sp. gr., 0.8319; weight of cu. ft., 51.84 lbs.

*Winter buds: Small, depressed, round, pale, covered with silvery hairs.

*Leaves: Alternate, compound, three-parted, dotted with oil glands. Leaflets sessile, ovate or oblong, three to five inches long, by two to three broad, pointed at base, entire or serrate, gradially pointed at apex. Feather-veined, midrib and primary veins prominent. They come out of the bud conduplicate, very downy, when full grown are dark green, shining above, paler green beneath. In autumn they turn a rusty yellow. Petioles stout, two and a half to three inches long, base enlarged. Stipules wanting.

*Flowers: May, June. Polygamomonoecious, greenish white. Fertile and sterile flowers produced together in terminal, spreading, compound cymes; the sterile being usually fewer, and falling after the anther cells mature. Pedicels downy.

*Calyx: Four or five-parted, downy, imbricate in the bud.

*Corolla: Petals four or five, white, downy, spreading, hypogynous, imbricate in bud.

*Stamens: Five, alternate with the petals, hypogynous, the psitillate flowers with rudimentary anters; filaments awl-shaped, more or less hairy; anthers ovate or cordate, two-celled, cells opening longitudinally.

*Pistils: Ovary superior, hairy, abortive in the staminate flowers, two to three-celled; style short; stigma two to three-lobed; ovules two in each cell.
*Fruit: Samara, orbicular, surrounded by a broad, many-veined reticulate membranous ring, two-seeded. Ripens in October and hangs in clusters until midwinter.

Cultiv:ation: 
Succeeds in any fertile well-drained moisture retentive soil in full sun or light part day shade. The young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. A very ornamental plant, it is slow-growing and short-lived in the wild. The sub-species P. trifoliata mollis. Torr.&Gray. is the form that is eaten by children. The leaves are aromatic. All parts of the plant emit a disagreeable odour. The flowers are especially pungent and are pollinated by carrion flies. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus.
Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed requires 3 months cold stratification at 5°c and should be sown as early as possible in the year. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in light shade in the cold frame for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Very little of the seed produced in Britain is viable. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Layering.

Edible Uses :
Edible Parts: Fruit.
Edible Uses: Condiment.

Fruit. A very bitter flavour, though it is eaten by young children. The fruit is also used as a hop substitute when making beer and it is added to yeast to make it rise more quickly when making bread. The fruit is produced abundantly in Britain, though very little of it is fertile. The fruit is very thin and about 25mm long.
Part Used: Root-bark.

Constituents:The bark contains at least three active constituents, a powerful volatile oil, a salt, acrid resin, and an alkaloid: Berberine. The alkaloid Arginine is also stated to be present in the root.

Medicinal Uses:

Anthelmintic; Antibacterial; Antiperiodic; Antirheumatic; Miscellany; Stomachic; Tonic.

The root-bark is anthelmintic, antibacterial, antiperiodic, stomachic and tonic. It has been mixed with other medicines in order to give added potency. It has a soothing influence on the mucous membranes and promotes the appetite, being tolerated when other tonics cannot be retained. It is also taken in the treatment of intermittent fevers such as malaria, heartburn, roundworms, pinworms and poor digestion. Externally it is applied to wounds. The roots are harvested in the autumn, the bark peeled off and dried for later use. The roots are a tonic, used in the treatment of asthmatic breathing, fevers, poor appetite etc. The leaves are said to be useful in the treatment of wounds and also in the destruction of intestinal worms.

The bark has tonic, antiperiodic and stomachic properties, and has been employed in dyspepsia and debility, and also in febrile diseases, especially in those requiring a mild, non-irritating bitter tonic, as it has a soothing influence upon the mucous membrane and promotes appetite, being tolerated when other tonics cannot be retained.

It is also useful in chronic rheumatism.

Other Uses:
Numerous cultivars have been developed for ornamental use in parks and gardens.Sometimes used as a hedge plant in N. America. Wood – hard, heavy, close grained. It weighs 51lb per cubic foot but the tree does not grow large enough for commercial exploitation

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.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/a/ashwa078.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ptelea_trifoliata

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Ptelea+trifoliata

Mountain-ash

Botanical Name : Pyrus Aucuparia
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Sorbus
Subgenus: Sorbus
Section: Sorbus
Species: S. aucuparia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Rosales

Synonym: Sorbus aucuparia, Rowan Tree.

Common Names: Rowan and mountain-ash,  Amur mountain-ash, European mountain-ash, quick beam, quickbeam, or rowan-berry

Habitat ; Mountain-ash  is  native to certain areas; a recent definition includes trees native to most of Europe and parts of Asia, as well as northern Africa. The range extends from Madeira and Iceland to Russia and northern China. Unlike many plants with similar distributions, it is not native to Japan.

Description:
Mountain-ash is a deciduous tree or shrub.It has a slender trunk with smooth bark, a loose and roundish crown, and its leaves are pinnate in pairs of leaflets on a central vein with a terminal leaflet. It blossoms from May to June in dense corymbs of small yellowish white flowers and develops small red pomes as fruit that ripen from August to October and are eaten by many bird species. The plant is undemanding and frost hardy and colonizes disrupted and inaccessible places as a short-lived pioneer species.

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Medicinal Uses:
Parts Used: Bark, fruit:
Constituents; The fruit contains tartaric acid before, citric and malic acids after ripening; two sugars, sorbin and sorbit, the latter after fermentation; parasorbic acid, which is aromatic and is converted into isomeric sorbic acid by heating under pressure with potassa; bitter, acrid and colouring matters. A crystalline saccharine principle, Sorbitol, which does not undergo the vinous fermentation, has also been found in the fruit.

The seeds contain 22 per cent. of fixed oil. It has been claimed that these seeds killed a child, apparently by prussic acid poisoning.

The bark has a soft, spongy, yellowishgrey outer layer and an inner thicker portion, with many layers of a light brown colour. It has a bitterish taste, but is odourless.

It is astringent and also yields amygdalin.

In herbal medicine, a decoction of the bark is given for diarrhoea and used as a vaginal injection in leucorrhoea, etc.

The ripe berries furnish an acidulous and astringent gargle for sore throats and inflamed tonsils. For their anti-scorbutic properties, they have been used in scurvy. The astringent infusion is used as a remedy in haemorrhoids and strangury.

The fruit is a favourite food of birds. A delicious jelly is made from the berries, which is excellent with cold game or wild fowl, and a wholesome kind of perry or cider can also be made from them.

In Northern Europe they are dried for flour, and when fermented yield a strong spirit. The Welsh used to brew an ale from the berries, the secret of which is now lost .

Other Different Uses:
Fruit of S. aucuparia were used in the past to lure and catch birds. To humans, the fruit are bitter, astringent, laxative, diuretic, cholagogue, prevent scurvy, and the parasorbic acid irritates the gastric mucosa. Pharmacist Mannfried Pahlow wrote that he doubted the toxicity of the fruit but advised against consuming large amounts. The fruit contain sorbitol, which can be used as a sugar substitute by diabetics, but its production is no longer relevant.[44] Sorbus aucuparia fruits have been used in the traditional Austrian medicine internally (as tea, syrup, jelly or liqueur) for treatment of disorders of the respiratory tract, fever, infections, colds, flu, rheumatism and gout.

Fresh fruit are usually unpalatable, but they can be debittered and made into compote, jelly, jam, a tangy syrup, a tart chutney, or juice, as well as wine and liqueur, or used for tea or to make flour. Fruit are served as a side dish to lamb or game. Debittering can be accomplished by freezing, cooking, or drying, which degrades the parasorbic acid. The fruit are red colored in August but usually only harvested in October after the first frost by cutting the corymbs. The robust qualities of S. aucuparia make it a source for fruit in harsh mountain climate and Maria Theresa of the Habsburg Monarchy recommended the planting of the species in 1779

An edible variety, named Sorbus aucuparia var. dulcis Kraetzl, or var. edulis Dieck, or var. moravica Dippel, was first discovered in 1810 near Ostružná in the Hrubý Jeseník mountain range of Northern Moravia and became widespread in Germany and Austria the early 20th century.  Its leaves are larger and pointed, only the front part of the leaflets is serrated, and they have darker bark, larger buds and larger fruit.  Similar non-bitter varieties found in Southern Russia were first introduced in Central Europe in 1900 as ‘Rossica’ and ‘Rossica Major’, which has large fruit up to 1.5 cm in diameter.

Two widespread cultivars of the Moravian variety are ‘Konzentra’ and ‘Rosina’, which were selected beginning in 1946 by the Institut für Gartenbau Dresden-Pillnitz, an agricultural research institute in Saxony, from 75 specimen found mostly in the Ore Mountains, and made available in 1954.  Fruit of the more widely used ‘Konzentra’ are small to medium-sized, mildly aromatic and tart, easier to transport because of their thicker peel, and used for juicing, while fruit of ‘Rosina’ are larger, sweet and tart, and aromatic, and candied or used in compote. The two cultivars are self-pollinating, yield fruit early, and the sugar content increases while the acid content decreases as the fruit ripen. ‘Beissneri’ is a cultivar with reddish foliage and bark and serrated leaves. Other edible varieties originate in and are named after Klosterneuburg, Lower Austria.

Russian botanist Ivan Vladimirovich Michurin began in 1905 to crossbreed common S. aucuparia with other species to create fruit trees. His experiments resulted in the cultivars ‘Burka’, ‘Likjornaja’, ‘Dessertnaja’, ‘Granatnaja’, ‘Rubinovaja’, and ‘Titan’. Other S. aucuparia hybrids planted in Western Europe beginning in the 1980s include ‘Apricot Queen’, ‘Brilliant Yellow’, ‘Chamois Glow’, ‘Pink Queen’, and ‘Salmon Queen’.

The leaves were fermented with leaves of sweet gale and oak bark to create herb beer.[44] Fruit are eaten as a mash in small amounts against lack of appetite or an upset stomach and stimulate production of gastric acid.[43] In folk medicine they are used as a laxative, against rheumatism and kidney disease, and as a gargled juice against hoarseness.

Wood of S. aucuparia is used for cartwright’s work, turner’s work, and woodcarving. Wood can be used from trees as young as 20 years. In almost treeless regions it is used as firewood. The leaves are sometimes used as fodder for livestock while the fruit are used against erysipeloid infections in domestic pigs and goats. Bark of the plant was used to dye wool brown or red. Honey from S. aucuparia flowers is strongly aromatic and has a reddish color.

S. aucuparia is planted in mountain ranges to fortify landslides and avalanche zones. It is also used as an ornamental plant in parks, gardens, or as an avenue tree. Ornamental cultivars include ‘Asplenifolia’, which has divided and sharply serrated leaflets, ‘Blackhawk’, which has large fruit and dark green foliage, ‘Fastigiata’, which has an upright columnar form, ‘Fructu Luteo’, which has orange yellow fruit, ‘Michred’, which has brilliant red fruit, ‘Pendula’, which is a weeping tree, ‘Sheerwater Seedling’, which is upright and slender, and ‘Xanthocarpa’, which has orange yellow fruit.  Cultivars are vegetatively propagated via cuttings, grafting, or shield budding.

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.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/a/ashmo076.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sorbus_aucuparia

Picraena excelsa

Botanical Name :Picraena excelsa
Family: Simaroubaceae
Genus: Picrasma
Species: P. excelsa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Synonym: Jamaica Quassia.

Common Names:Bitter Ash ,Picraena excelsa, Quassia undalata, Quassia amara

Habitat: Bitter Ash  is native to West Indies. It is found in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Venezuela. It is threatened by habitat loss.

Description:
This is the Quassia excelsa of Linnaeus, though the genuine plant is the Quassia amara. The species amara is a large shrub, or low tree, inhabiting Surinam; while the excelsa is a lofty tree with a very large trunk, and is found in Jamaica and other portions of the West Indies.The tree grows from 50 to 100 feet in height and has smooth, gray bark.  “Leaves alternate, unequally pinnate; leaflets opposite, oblong, acuminate. Flowers polygamous; sepals five, minute; petals five, pale; stamens five. Racemes axillary toward the ends of the brandies, very compound, panicled, many-flowered. Fruit of three black, shining drupes the size of a pea, only one of which comes to perfection.”

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Medicinal Uses:
Parts Used: Wood of trunk and branches, dried

Quassia is tonic, stomachic and antiseptic, possessing all the properties that belong to the other pure bitters. It is employed in cases of anorexia for promoting the appetite and assisting the digestive functions. It is wholly devoid of all irritant, stimulant, or astringent properties, and hence has been regarded as the type of the pure bitters. Its use is mostly confined to atonic states of the system, with indigestion and loss of appetite.

It is an excellent remedy in dyspeptic conditions due to lack of tone. As with all bitters, it stimulates the production of saliva and digestive juices and so increases the appetite. It may safely be used in all cases of lack of appetite such as anorexia nervosa and digestive sluggishness. The wood has been used to prepare “qQuassia cups.” A Quassia cup is filled with hot water and the wqater is allowed to cool somewhat before being drunk. This results in a liquid that is very bitter and thus acts to stimulate the appetitie. Quassia cups can be used in this way for a number of years and will retain an ability to produce a bitter water extract.. It is used in the expulsion of threadworms and other parasites, both as an enema and an infusion. The herb’s bitterness has led to its being used as a treatment for malaria and other fevers, and in the Caribbean it is given for dysentery. Externally as a lotion it may be used against lice infestations.

Known Hazards;
Allergies:

Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to quassia or its constituents.

Side Effects and Warnings:

*Quassia is likely safe when consumed in amounts found in foods and beverages. It has Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status in the United States.

*Quassia appears to have a very mild side effects profile. The most common side effects are nausea and vomiting, due to its bitter taste. There have also been reports of mucous membrane irritation.

* Quassia may cause drowsiness or sedation. Use cautiously if driving or operating heavy machinery. Long-term use of quassia may cause vision changes and blindness

*Use cautiously with cardiac (heart) medications and blood thinners.

*Avoid in people who are pregnant, and in males and females trying to become pregnant due to quassia’s potential antifertility effects.

* Avoid intravenous use in cardiomyopathy (heart disease) patients.

Other Uses:
Quassia has been used by brewers as a substitute for hops and is in general use by gardeners, mixed with soft soap, for spraying plants affected with green-fly.

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/Picrasma_excelsa
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/a/ashbi074.html
http://doctorschar.com/archives/quassia-picriena-excelsa/
http://www.appliedhealth.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=108436
http://www.thefreshcarrot.ca/ns/DisplayMonograph.asp?StoreID=5020E137E9014BC38944489AF1F99926&DocID=bottomline-quassia
http://www.henriettes-herb.com/eclectic/cook/PICRAENA_EXCELSA.htm

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

Motherwort

Botanical Name : Leonurus cardiaca
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Leonurus
Species: L. cardiaca
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Synonyms:  Cardiaca crispa. Cardiaca glabra. Lamium cardiaca. Leonurus glabra

Common Names :Motherwort, Throw-wort, Lion’s Ear, and Lion’s Tail. Lion’s Tail and Lion’s Ear.

Habitat :Motherwort is probably native to the southeastern part of Europe and central Asia where it has been cultivated since ancient times.
it is now found worldwide, spread largely due to its use as a herbal remedy. Its natural habitat is beside roadsides, in vacant fields, waste ground, rubbish dumps and other disturbed areas. This plant prefers well drained soil and a partly shady location. It is hardy in USDA climate zones 4–8.

Description:
Motherwort is a herbaceous perennial plant. It has a squarish stem which is clad in short hairs and is often purplish, especially near the nodes. The opposite leaves have serrated margins and are palmately lobed with long petioles; basal leaves are wedge shaped with three points while the upper leaves have five. They are slightly hairy above and greyish beneath. Flowers appear in leaf axils on the upper part of the plant and have three-lobed bracts. The calyx of each flower is bell-shaped and has five lobes. The corolla is irregular, 8 to 12 mm (0.3 to 0.5 in) long, fused, long-tubed with two lips. The upper lip is convex and covered with white hairs and the lower lip is three-lobed and downward-curving and spotted with red. The flowers are pink to lilac in colour often with furry lower lips. There are four stamens, two short and two longer, and the fruit is a four-chambered schizocarp. The plant grows to about 60 to 100 cm (24 to 39 in) in height and blooms during July and August.
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Cultivation:
An easily grown plant that succeeds in most soils, preferring one on the poor side. This plant was at one time cultivated for its medicinal uses. The whole plant is deliciously pungent when handled. The plant often self-sows when well-sited.

Propagation:       
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. If you have sufficient seed then it can be sown in an outdoor seedbed, or even in situ. 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 spring.

Edible Uses: 
Edible Uses: Condiment;  Tea.

The fresh or dried flowers can be used as a flavouring in soups, particularly lentil or split pea. They are also used as a flavouring in beer. Fresh or dried flowers can be used to make a tea

Medicinal Uses:
Part Used: The whole herb, dried, cut in August. The drying may be carried out in any of the ways described for Scullcap.

Motherwort is especially valuable in the treatment of female weaknesses and disorders, allaying nervous irritability, inducing quiet and passivity of the whole nervous system. It is also seen as a remedy for heart palpitations, it has a strengthening effect, especially on a weak heart. The antispasmodic and sedative effects promote relaxation rather than drowsiness. The leaves are antispasmodic, astringent, cardiac, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, nervine, sedative, stomachic, tonic and uterine stimulant. They are taken internally in the treatment of heart complaints (notably palpitations) and problems associated with menstruation, childbirth and menopause, especially of nervous origin. Although an infusion can be used, the taste is so bitter that the plant is usually made into a conserve or syrup. An alcoholic extract is said to possess superior action to valerian (Valeriana officinalis). The plant has been found effective in the treatment of functional heart complaints due to autonomic imbalance, and also as an anti-thyroid treatment, though it needs to be taken for several months for these effects to be noticed. The whole herb is harvested in August when in flower and can be dried for later use. It should not be prescribed in the earlier stages of pregnancy or where periods are heavy. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant. It is used in the treatment of heart complaints, amenorrhoea, menopausal problems and flatulence. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Leonurus cardiaca Motherwort for nervous heart complaints.

Other Uses:
Dye.
A dark olive-green dye is obtained from the leaves

Known Hazards :  Skin contact with this plant can cause dermatitis in susceptible people. The fragrant essential oil can cause photosensitization. Grazing animals can have their mouths injured by the sharp teeth of the calyces. Avoid during pregnancy as it is a uterine stimulant although it has been used during labour.

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/Leonurus_cardiaca
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Leonurus+cardiaca
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/m/mother55.html

Sphagnum Moss

Botanical Name : Sphagnum cymbifolium
Family: Sphagnaceae
Genus: Sphagnum
Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Bryophyta
Class: Sphagnopsida
Subclass: Sphagnidae
Order: Sphagnales

Synonym: Bog Moss.

Common Names ;Sphagnum Moss

Habitat :
Sphagnum Moss  is found in wet and boggy spots, preferably on peat soil, mostly near heather, on all our mountains and moors, in patches small or large, usually in water free from lime, growing so close together that it often forms large cushions or clumps. It is seldom found in woods; it grows best on heath moors, in water holes.

Sphagnum Moss is the only true Moss that has yet proved itself to be of appreciable economic value.

Description:
Sphagnum is easily distinguished from other mosses by its habit ofgrowth, its soft thick fullness (each head resembling a full and elaborate bloom of edelweiss), and its vividly pale-green colour.

Its stem is densely beset with narrow, broken-up leaves, a branch being emitted at every fourth leaf; many of these are turned downwards and applied more or less closely to the stem.
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Though the pale-green species is the most common, there are several others, large and small, varying in colour from the very light green (never dark green) to yellow, and all shades of pink to deep red and brown. The Moss often attracts attention by its display of beautiful shades of colour, such patches being avoided by wary persons, who do not wish to get their feet wet.

Every part of the moss is permeated with minute tubes and spaces, resulting in a system of delicate capillary tubes, having the effect of a very fine sponge. The cells readily absorb water and retain it. The water can be squeezed out, but the Moss does not collapse and is ready to take in fluid again.

The plant is not dependent on soil water, but also absorbs moisture from the atmosphere, and is laden throughout with water retained in its delicate cells.

The presence of these capillary cells makes Sphagnum economically useful. In horticulture, long before the war, this Moss had a marketable value, in combination with peat fibre, being widely used as a rooting medium for orchids, on account of the remarkable manner in which it retains moisture, a handful when wet being like a sponge, and when chopped and mixed with soil in pots preventing moisture passing too quickly through the soil.

Medicinal Uses:
Preparations of calcined peat have long been regarded as effective and cheap germicides, and as a valuable aid to sanitation; peat water possesses astringent and antiseptic properties, and the air in proximity to tracts of peat moss is invariably salubrious, owing probably to the absorption of hydrogen and the exhalation of oxygen by the mosses. Sphagnol, a distillate of Peat Tar, is authoritatively recognized as an extremely usefulapplication in eczema, psoriasis, pruritus, haemorrhoids, chilblains, scabies, acne and other forms of skin diseases, while it is very beneficial for allaying irritation arising from insect bites. For the latter purpose it is a preventative no less than a cure.

Other Uses:
Decayed, dried sphagnum moss has the name of peat or peat moss. This is used as a soil conditioner which increases the soil’s capacity to hold water and nutrients by increasing capillary forces and cation exchange capacity. This is often necessary when dealing with very sandy soil, or plants that need increased or steady moisture content to flourish. A distinction is sometimes made between sphagnum moss, the live moss growing on top of a peat bog, and ‘sphagnum peat moss’ (North American usage) or ‘sphagnum peat’ (British usage), the latter being the slowly decaying matter underneath.[18]

Dried sphagnum moss is also used in northern Arctic regions as an insulating material.

Anaerobic acidic sphagnum bogs have low rates of decay, and hence preserve plant fragments and pollen to allow reconstruction of past environments. They even preserve human bodies for millennia; examples of these preserved specimens are Tollund Man, Haraldskær Woman, Clonycavan Man and Lindow Man. Such bogs can also preserve human hair and clothing, one of the most noteworthy examples being Egtved Girl, Denmark. Because of the acidity of peat, however, bones are dissolved rather than preserved. These bogs have also been used to preserve food. Up to 2000-year-old containers of butter or lard have been found.

Sphagnum moss has also been used for centuries as a dressing for wounds, including through World War I. Since it is absorptive and extremely acidic, it inhibits growth of bacteria and fungi, so it is used for shipping seeds and live plants. However, see Health dangers below.

Peat moss is used to dispose of the clarified liquid output (effluent) from septic tanks in areas that lack the proper conditions for ordinary disposal means. It is also used as an environmentally friendly alternative to chlorine in swimming pool sanitation. The moss inhibits the growth of microbes and reduces the need for chlorine in swimming pools.

In New Zealand, both the species S. cristatum and S. subnitens are harvested by hand and exported worldwide for use as hanging basket liners, as a growing medium for young orchids, and mixed with other potting mixes to enhance their moisture retaining value.

Peat moss is a critical element for growing mushrooms. The fungal mycelium grows in compost with a layer of peat moss on top, through which the mushrooms come out, a process called casing.

Peat moss, dead or alive, is also a very important soil and topper for most carnivorous plants.

In the 7th Framework Programme Mossclone peat mosses multiplied in moss bioreactors are developed as a new tool to monitor air pollution.

The manufacture of spinning material out of peat-fibre has been attempted in Sweden, and experiments have advanced so far that cloth as well as clothing has been made out of peat fibre mixed with other textile materials. This does not, however, appear likely to lead to any important industry, but absorptive material has been produced from white Sphagnum Moss and Wood Pulp. It has also lately been reported from Sweden that successful attempts have been made to extract alcohol from Sphagnum.

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.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/m/mossph54.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sphagnum

Juniper haircap moss

Botanical Name : Polytrichium Juniperum
Family: Polytrichaceae
Genus: Polytrichum
Species: P. juniperinum
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Bryophyta
Class: Polytrichopsida
Subclass: Polytrichidae
Order: Polytrichales

Synonyms: Bear’s Bed. Robin’s Eye. Ground Moss. Golden Maidenhair. Female Fern Herb. Rockbrake Herb.

Common Names :Juniper haircap moss,Robin’s Rye, Ground Moss.

Habitat: Juniper haircap moss grow across a wide gradient of habitats but it is most commonly found on dry, acidic, exposed habitats. It is frequent in areas that previously experienced disturbances such as fire and logging. Other areas they occupy are mineral soil, humus and rocks, stumps, banks, trailsides and dry open woods. Although Juniper haircap moss is not usually found in moist or wet environments, it has been found growing on moist woods and other moist sites such as streambanks.

Description:
Juniper haircap moss  is an evergreen and perennial plany. The stems are reddish with grey-green leaves that have a distinctive red-brown tip. This characteristic allows them to be separated from the bristly haircap, a plant that the juniper haircap moss have a close resemblance to; the difference is that the bristly haircap have a green tip. The leaves of juniper haircap moss are lanceolate and upright spreading when dry, and when moist, wide-spreading. Although their growth form can be varied, they generally grow in thin, interwoven mats, and hardly as closely associated individuals. Juniper haircap moss have a well-developed system of tiny tubes for carrying water from the rhizoids to leaves that is uncharacteristic of mosses, resembling the system that has evolved in vascular plants such as ferns, gymnosperms and angiosperms. As a result of this developed system, stems have greater potential for height than in typical mosses.

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Medicinal Uses:
Part Used: Whole herb.

The herb is believed to be a powerful diuretic by herbalists. Because it increases urinary secretions, it is useful in the treatment of urinary obstructions and dropsy, an old term for today’s edema, which is defined by medicinenet as the swelling of tissue due to accumulation of excess water. The plant is also considered to be excellent for long term use because it does not cause nausea.

A very valuable remedy in dropsy as a powerful diuretic, and used with hydragogue cathartics of decided advantage.

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.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/m/moshai51.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polytrichum_juniperinum
http://chestofbooks.com/health/herbs/O-Phelps-Brown/The-Complete-Herbalist/Bears-Bed-Polytrichium-Juniperum.html

Adoxa Moschatellina

Botanical Name : Adoxa Moschatellina
Family: Adoxaceae
Genus: Adoxa
Species: A. moschatellina
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Dipsacales

Synonyms: Tuberous Moschatel. Musk Ranunculus.

Common Names :Moschatel, five-faced bishop, hollowroot, muskroot, townhall clock, tuberous crowfoot

Habitat :Adoxa Moschatellina grows throughout Europe, Asia, and North America, in hedgerows, cool forests, at low altitudes in the far north, to high altitudes in mountains in the south of its range.

Description:
Adoxa Moschatellina is an interesting little herbaceous plant, 4 to 6 inches high; stem four-angled; root-leaves long-stalked, ternate; leaflets triangular, lobed; cauline leaves or bracts two, smaller, with sheathing petioles; flowers arranged as if on five sides of a cube, small and pale green in colour; berry with one-seeded parchment-like chamber. Growing in hedgerows, local, but widely diffused, also in Asia and North America, even into the Arctic regions.

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The flowers, and indeed the whole plant, has a musk-like scent, which it emits towards evening when the dew falls – this scent, however, disappears if the plant is bruised. It flowers in April and May.

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/Adoxa
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/m/moscha45.html

Monsonia ovata

Botanical Name: Monsonia ovata
Family: 
Geraniaceae

Common Names: Monsonia

Habitat:Monsonia ovata  occurs in  Cape of Good Hope.

Description: Leaves oblong, subcordate, crenate, waved, flowers white axillary stalked, two on one peduncle, roots fleshy large, grown from seed.

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Medicinal  Uses:

Part Used-: Plant, root.

A valuable remedy for acute and chronic dysentery, specially of use in ulceration of the lower part of the intestines; the plant is not considered poisonous.

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.

Resours:
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/m/monson43.html
http://crescentbloom.com/Plants/Specimen/MO/Monsonia%20ovata.htM