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Mackerel

Description:
Mackerel is a common name applied to a number of different species of pelagic fish, mostly, but not exclusively, from the family Scombridae. They are found in both temperate and tropical seas, mostly living along the coast or offshore in the oceanic environment.

This fish typically have vertical stripes on their backs and deeply forked tails. Many species are restricted in their distribution ranges, and live in separate populations or fish stocks based on geography. Some stocks migrate in large schools along the coast to suitable spawning grounds, where they spawn in fairly shallow waters. After spawning they return the way they came, in smaller schools, to suitable feeding grounds often near an area of upwelling. From there they may move offshore into deeper waters and spend the winter in relative inactivity. Other stocks migrate across oceans.

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Smaller mackerel are forage fish for larger predators, including larger mackerel and Atlantic cod. Flocks of seabirds, as well as whales, dolphins, sharks and schools of larger fish such as tuna and marlin follow mackerel schools and attack them in sophisticated and cooperative ways. Mackerel is high in omega-3 oils and is intensively harvested by humans. In 2009, over five million tons were landed by commercial fishermen. Sport fishermen value the fighting abilities of the king mackerel.

Mackerel are prolific broadcast spawners and must breed near the surface of the water due to the eggs of the females floating. Individual females lay between 300,000 and 1,500,000 eggs. Their eggs and larvae are pelagic, that is, they float free in the open sea. The larvae and juvenile mackerel feed on zooplankton. As adults they have sharp teeth, and hunt small crustaceans such as copepods, as well as forage fish, shrimp and squid. In turn they are hunted by larger pelagic animals such as tuna, billfish, sea lions, sharks and pelicans.

Off Madagascar, spinner sharks follow migrating schools of mackerel. Bryde’s whales feed on mackerel when they can find them. They use several feeding methods, including skimming the surface, lunging, and bubble nets.

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Distribution:

Most mackerel species have restricted distribution ranges.

*Atlantic Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus maculatus) occupy the waters off the east coast of North America from the Cape Cod area south to the Yucatan Peninsula. Its population is considered to include two fish stocks, defined by geography. As summer approaches, one stock moves in large schools north from Florida up the coast to spawn in shallow waters off the New England coast. It then returns to winter in deeper waters off Florida. The other stock migrates in large schools along the coast from Mexico to spawn in shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico off Texas. It then returns to winter in deeper waters off the Mexican coast. These stocks are managed separately, even though genetically they are identical.

*The Atlantic mackerel (Scomber scombrus) is a coastal species found only in the north Atlantic. The stock on the west side of the Atlantic is largely independent of the stock on the east side. The stock on the east Atlantic currently operates as three separate stocks, the southern, western and North Sea stocks, each with their own migration patterns. Some mixing of the east Atlantic stocks takes place in feeding grounds towards the north, but there is almost no mixing between the east and west Atlantic stocks.

*Another common coastal species, the chub mackerel (Scomber japonicus), is absent from the Atlantic Ocean but is widespread across both hemispheres in the Pacific, where its migration patterns are somewhat similar to those of Atlantic mackerel. In the northern hemisphere, chub mackerel migrate northwards in the summer to feeding grounds, and southwards in the winter when they spawn in relatively shallow waters. In the southern hemisphere the migrations are reversed. After spawning, some stocks migrate down the continental slope to deeper water and spend the rest of the winter in relative inactivity.

*The Chilean jack mackerel (Trachurus murphyi), the most intensively harvested mackerel-like species, is found in the south Pacific from West Australia to the coasts of Chile and Peru. A sister species, the Pacific jack mackerel (Trachurus symmetricus), is found in the north Pacific. The Chilean jack mackerel occurs along the coasts in upwelling areas, but also migrates across the open ocean. Its abundance can fluctuate markedly as ocean conditions change, and is particularly affected by the El Niño.

Three species of jack mackerels are found in coastal waters around New Zealand: the Australasian, Chilean and Pacific jack mackerels. They are mainly captured using purse seine nets, and are managed as a single stock that includes multiple species.

Some mackerel species migrate vertically. Adult snake mackerels conduct a diel vertical migration, staying in deeper water during the day and rising to the surface at night to feed. The young and juveniles also migrate vertically but in the opposite direction, staying near the surface during the day and moving deeper at night. This species feeds on squid, pelagic crustaceans, lanternfishes, flying fishes, sauries and other mackerel.It is in turn preyed upon by tuna and marlin.

As Food:
Mackerel is an important food fish that is consumed worldwide. As an oily fish, it is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. The flesh of mackerel spoils quickly, especially in the tropics, and can cause scombroid food poisoning. Accordingly, it should be eaten on the day of capture, unless properly refrigerated or cured.

Mackerel preservation is not simple. Before the 19th-century development of canning and the widespread availability of refrigeration, salting and smoking were the principal preservation methods available. Historically in England, this fish was not preserved, but was consumed only in its fresh form. However, spoilage was common, leading the authors of The Cambridge Economic History of Europe to remark: “There are more references to stinking mackerel in English literature than to any other fish!” In France mackerel was traditionally pickled with large amounts of salt, which allowed it to be sold widely across the country.

Food Value:
Mackerel is one of the highly recommended oily fish for a healthy diet. It is also known as maccarello. The slim torpedo-shaped fish is found in deep temperate and tropical waters. It is rich in essential oils, vitamins and minerals. Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids occur in high quantities in this fish. It contains vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E and K. Various minerals also occur richly in the fish. These include calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium and selenium. Trace minerals include zinc and copper. The fish also contains protein and the antioxidant Coenzyme Q10. The fish has several benefits to health.

Health Benefit:

Anti-Carcinogenic:-
Coenzyme Q10 helps to eliminate cancerous agents from afflicted cells. This improves cellular health. Antioxidants reduce the risk of some cancers. Omega-3 fatty acids can help to prevent breast, prostrate, renal and colon cancers. It has also been established that marine fatty acids hinder the proliferation of breast cancer cells. Several studies have concluded that essential fatty acids reduce the risk of breast cancer. The oily fish contains good amounts of vitamins B12 and selenium, which have been found helpful in the treatment of cancer.

Immunity:-
Mackerel fortifies the immune system. It supports the functions of organs that have been weakened by sickness. Omega-3 fatty acids act as an anti-inflammatory agent. They help in the management of arthritis. They also help to lower the risk of some cancers and heart disease. Coenzyme Q10 protects cells from damage that increases the risk of cancer. It also enhances the body’s capacity to fight infections. It is a great item to be included in the diet of convalescents and those undergoing various treatments.

Cardiovascular:-
Inclusion of oily fish in the diet improves the condition of the blood. This promotes better heart health. Essential fatty acids help to thin the blood. This improves blood flow and lowers blood pressure. It prevents build-up of cholesterol in the blood and prevents constriction of arteries. Essential fatty acids reduce bad cholesterol levels yet maintain good cholesterol levels. They make blood vessels more elastic, which facilitates improved blood flow. Cleaner, thinner blood reduces the risk of heart attack and coronary heart disease. The rich calcium content in the fish also helps to normalize heartbeat and regulate blood pressure. To reduce the risk of heart disease, it is recommended that two servings of oily fish are included in the diet each week.

Brain and Nerve Development:-
High concentrations of Omega-3 fatty acids are found in the brain. It has been established that they play a vital role in cognitive and behavioral functions. This enhances memory and performance. It also prevents the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Essential fatty acids help to prevent problems of the central nervous system. They also facilitate the efficient transmission of nerve impulses. Essential fatty acids have been found helpful in the prevention of depression and dementia.
Known Hazards: Although mackerel is a highly nourishing fish, it is recommended that pregnant and nursing mothers avoid it. The fish may contain elevated mercury levels, especially if sourced from polluted waters. When consumed by pregnant women, it could damage the child’s developing nervous system. It also poses risks to the mother’s health.

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.

Resurces::
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mackerel
http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/peeps-flavored-oreos-and-17-other-foods-that-can-change-the-pallor-of-your-poo.html

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Rubus allegheniensis

Botanical Name : Rubus allegheniensis
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Rubus
Species:R. allegheniensis
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Rosales

Common Names: Alleghany Blackberry, Graves’ blackberry, and simply as Common blackberry

Habitat : Rubus allegheniensis is native to Eastern N. America – Nova Scotia to Ontario, New York, Virginia and North Carolina. It grows on the dry thickets, clearings and woodland margins.

Description:
Rubus allegheniensis is a deciduous Shrub growing to 3 m (9ft 10in) at a medium rate.Characteristics can be highly variable. It is an erect bramble, typically 5 feet (150 cm) but occasionally rarely over 8 feet (240 cm) high, with single shrubs approaching 8 feet or more in breadth, although it usually forms dense thickets of many plants. Leaves are alternate, compound, ovoid, and have toothed edges.

Thorny canes, with white, 5-petal, ¾ inch (19 mm) flowers in late spring and glossy, deep-violet to black, aggregate fruit in late summer. Shade intolerant.

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It is in flower from May to July, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Apomictic.The plant is self-fertile.

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

Cultivation:
Easily grown in a good well-drained loamy soil in sun or semi-shade. Plants have biennial stems, they produce a number of new stems from the perennial rootstock each year, these stems fruit in their second year and then die. Often cultivated for its edible fruits in America, it is the parent of many named varieties. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.
Propagation:
Seed – requires stratification and is best sown in early autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed requires one month stratification at about 3°c and is best sown as early as possible in the year. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and grow on in a cold frame. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Tip layering in July. Plant out in autumn. Division in early spring or just before leaf-fall in the autumn.
Edible Uses:
Fruit – raw, cooked or dried for later use. A pleasant sweet and somewhat spicy flavour. The fruit is about 12mm in diameter and can be 3cm long. Young shoots – raw. They are harvested in the spring, peeled and used in salads.
Medicinal Uses:
Antihaemorrhoidal; Antirheumatic; Astringent; Diuretic; Ophthalmic; Stimulant; TB; Tonic.

The roots are antihaemorrhoidal, antirheumatic, astringent, stimulant and tonic. An infusion can be used in the treatment of stomach complaints, diarrhoea, piles, coughs and colds, tuberculosis and rheumatism. The infusion has also been used by women threatened with a miscarriage. The root can be chewed to treat a coated tongue. An infusion of the root has been used as a wash for sore eyes. The leaves are astringent. An infusion can be used in the treatment of diarrhoea. An infusion of the bark has been used in the treatment of urinary problems. A decoction of the stems has been used as a diuretic.

Other Uses:….Dye…..A purple to dull blue dye is obtained from the fruit.
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/Rubus_allegheniensis
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rubus+allegheniensis

Rhamnus californica

Botanical Name : Rhamnus californica/Frangula californica
Family: Rhamnaceae
Genus: Rhamnus
Subgenus: Frangula
Species: R. californica—F. californica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Common Names: California coffeeberry, Coffeeberry, and California buckthorn

Habitat : Rhamnus californica is native to California, the Southwestern United States, and Baja California state in Mexico. It is an introduced species in Hawaii. The plant occurs in Oak woodland and chaparral habitats, numerous others in its range. Individual plants can live an estimated 100 to 200 years.

Description:
Rhamnus californica is a shrub 3–12 feet (0.91–3.66 m) tall. It is variable in form across subspecies. In favorable conditions the plant can develop into a small tree over 12 feet (3.7 m) tall.More commonly it is a shrub between 3–6 feet (0.91–1.83 m) tall.

The branches may have a reddish tinge and the new twigs are often red in color. The alternately arranged evergreen leaves are dark green above and paler on the undersides. The leaves have thin blades in moist habitat, and smaller, thicker blades in dry areas.

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The 1/8″ greenish flowers occur in clusters in the leaf axils, have 5 sepals, and 5 shorter petals.

It blooms in May and June.

The fruit is a juicy drupe which may be green, red, or black. It is just under a centimeter long and contains two seeds that resemble coffee beans.

Edible Uses:
The seeds inside the berries make an excellent, caffeine-free coffee substitute, superior to chicory and with overtones of mocha.

Although the plant itself looks much like a coffee plant, its berries, which are succulent, do not, but they can be made into jams and jellies.

Native Americans of the west coast of North America had several uses for the plant as food, and used parts of it as a traditional medicinal plant. Several tribes of the indigenous peoples of California ate the fruit fresh or dried.

Medicinal Uses:
The Ohlone people used the leaves to treat poison oak dermatitis. The Kumeyaay people had similar uses for its bark. The Kawaiisu used the fruit to treat wounds such as burns. The bark was widely used as a laxative by the indigenous peoples.
Names for the plant in the Konkow language of the Concow tribe include pä and pö.

Other Uses:
This plant is cultivated as an ornamental plant by plant nurseries, for planting in native plant, water conserving, and wildlife gardens; in large pots and containers; and in natural landscaping and habitat restoration projects. It is also used for erosion control, and is usually deer resistant. As a pollinator plant it is of special value to native butterflys and bees.

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/Rhamnus_californica
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm
http://www.parksconservancy.org/conservation/plants-animals/native-plant-information/california-coffeeberry.html

Gnaphalium Obtusifolium

Botanical NameGnaphalium polycephalum/ Gamochaeta purpurea/Gnaphalium uliginosum /Pseudognaphalium macounii
Family: Asteraceae
Subfamily: Asteroideae
Tribe:     Gnaphalieae
Genus:     Gnaphalium
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms: Indian Posy. Sweet-scented Life Everlasting. Old Field Balsam. Gnaphalium Obtusifolium or Blunt-leaved Everlasting. Gnaphalium Connoideum. Fragrant Everlasting. None-so-Pretty. Catsfoot. Silver Leaf.

Common Names : White Balsam

Habitat:White Balsam is native to  Virginia, Pennsylvania and New England. This plant is common in old fields and pastures throughout the United States and Canada.

Description:
Natural Order, Compositae. This belongs to a genus of woolly herbs, which are peculiar for their downy and tomentose appearance. Their flowers are borne in many compact heads, closely arranged in a large terminal corymb, and all tubular. The species here spoken of is an annual, one to two feet high, the whole plant (stem, leaves, and peduncles) gray with a short and silky wool. Stem erect, branched above. Leaves alternate, three inches long by one-fourth of an inch broad, tapering at the base, sessile, margins a little wavy, smoothish above. Flowers tubular, white, in obovate heads; heads in a terminal and close panicled corymb, of a pretty appearance. Whole plant slightly fragrant. July and August.

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The leaves and yellow flower-heads are used medicinally, though the whole plant is gathered. Its aroma is rather pleasant, its taste slightly bitter and aromatic, and its properties are extracted by water and alcohol. Several other species of the same genus are used indiscriminately with this one, among which may be named G. decurrens, with yellowish-white flowers and decurrent leaves; G. uliginosum, about five inches high, and with the clusters of flower-heads sitting down below the upper leaves; and G. purpureum, branching from the base, with the leaves green above, and the flowers in a wand-like terminal spike.

Medicinal Uses:

Parts Used: Herb, leaves, flowers.
This plant combines relaxing and stimulating properties with a moderate portion of demulcent quality. In cold preparations, its action is mainly expended upon mucous membranes; and as it soothes and strengthens these tissues, it has been pronounced astringent, though it is faintly tonic and not drying. It has been used in sore-mouth, sub-acute coughs, feebleness of the lungs, leucorrhea, catarrh of the bladder, and the latter stages of dysentery. It is really an excellent article in such cases; and though it is too mild to be of use in degenerate conditions, it is useful for its gentle influence. In warm infusion, it promotes mild diaphoresis, and is a popular remedy in recent colds and light fever; and a strong preparation is said to relieve mumps, quinsy, the tenesmus of dysentery, and excessive menstruation. In some respects it acts on the assimilative organs much as avens root does–toning them and abating a tendency to curdy diarrhea. From being at one time over-rated, it has fallen into undeserved neglect. An ounce may be digested in a pint and a half of water till a pint remains, and two fluid ounces of this used once every two hours or oftener. It is sometimes combined with other agents in pulmonary sirups.

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/Gnaphalium
http://www.henriettes-herb.com/eclectic/cook/GNAPHALIUM_POLYCEPHALUM.htm
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/b/balwhi08.html

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Eat banana everyday

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A banana a day keeps the doctor away

…..In Thailand ,for example,pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.
Eat at least one banana every day , they are said to contain everything a human needs and they contain all the 8 amino acids our body cannot produce itself.

Peculior characteristics:-   It is the most well known and eaten tropical food.In eastern Africa you can buy banana beer. This bear is brewed from banana fruit.Tropical fruit is usually picked unripen and transported to different places and there they ripen them artificially.Bananas are ripen in ethylene- gas.Sometimes they expose them to additional-gas to accelerate the process.

Banana is the only fruit that for some people can work fatting because they contain a lot of starch(more starch than sugar). These people shouldnot eat toomany bananas a day, but one is a must.

Bananas are very good sourse of fibre,potassium and vitamin C: Red bananas are often dried and converted to meal which is used in many ways. They contain more vitamine C .

Description & storage:
Long thick-skinned edible fruit that is yellow when ripe.
Keep bananas on a fruit dish in the living room at room temperature. If you want the bananas to ripen faster place the bowl in the sun. Like other tropical fruits and tomatoes and bell peppers, never store bananas in the refrigerator. Below 8 degrees Celsius the fruit will decay from the inside. These fruits will not ripen but will turn black in the refrigerator. If babana gets more ripen it’s skin may turn black,but nothing to worry, you can peal and eat that banana too.If you don’t want the skin to get black, wrap the yellow skined banana with a wet napkin, the skin will not turn black so quickly.

Medicinal uses:    Tape a small piece of banana skin (with the fleshy side towards the wart) over the wart at bedtime. Leave it on overnight. Some people report that warts given this treatment daily disappear within weeks.

Plant description : Banana plant can grow up to 15m.but most plant are 3 to 9m. It has very big leafs can grow 4x1m.


History
:Wild form of banana plant come originally from Indo -Malyasian area and are now caltivated all over the tropical and subtropical continents.

Anyone interested to learn more can go to this site

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