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Pelargonium fragrans

Botanical Name : Pelargonium fragrans
Family: Geraniaceae
Genus: Pelargonium
Species: Pelargonium × fragrans
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Geraniales

Common Names: Nutmeg Geranium, Fragrans (Pelargonium comes from the Greek; Pelargos which means stork. Another name for pelargoniums is storksbills due the shape of their fruit. Fragrans refers to the fragrant leav)

Habitat : Pelargonium fragrans is native to South Africa. It is a naturally occurring hybrid, P. exstipulatum. x P. odoratissimum, found in the highlands of the Karoo.

Description:
Pelargonium fragrans is an evergreen shrub growing like its parent Pelargonium odoratissimum, is a small, spreading species which only grows up to 30 cm high and 60 cm wide. It has small white flowers and its leaves are waxy, green and ovate with slightly fringed edges. It has a sweet, slightly spicy, eucalyptus like scent. It is frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan and is in flower from May to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs.)...CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

This is perennial plant is a dwarf and glaucous shrub with small, rounded leaves and tiny, white flowers that grow in trailing clusters. And as the name indicates, this plant has a nutmeg fragrance. Most of the Pelargonium fragrans hybrids have a nutmeg fragrance as well, but not all of them.
Cultivation:
Requires a light well-drained neutral to alkaline soil in a sunny position. Plants are not very hardy in Britain, they generally require greenhouse protection but might succeed outdoors when grown in a very sheltered warm spot in the mildest parts of the country. They can also be grown in containers that are placed outdoors in the summer and then brought into the greenhouse or conservatory for the winter. The plants need to be kept fairly dry in the winter. Very tolerant of pruning, they can be cut right down to the base in the autumn when bringing them back indoors, or in the spring to encourage lots of fresh growth. The leaves have a strong scent of pine. There are some named varieties, selected for their ornamental value.
Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a greenhouse. Stored seed should be sown in early spring in a greenhouse. The seed germinates best with a minimum temperature of 13°c, germination usually taking place within 2 weeks though it sometimes takes some months. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. If trying them outdoors, plant them out in early summer and consider giving them extra protection during the winter. Cuttings succeed at almost any time in the growing season but early summer is the best time in order for the new plant to become established before winter.
Edible Uses:.... Condiment……The crushed leaves are used to flavour jellies, cakes, fruit dishes, vinegars etc. They give a spicy flavour to coffee.

Medicinal Uses :…….All parts of the plant are astringent. The leaves are used externally as a rub for aching feet or legs. They can be harvested as required and used fresh.

Other Uses : …..…Essential……..An essential oil is obtained from the plant. It has a nutmeg fragrance. The dried leaves are added to pot-pourri .

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/Pelargonium_×_fragrans
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Pelargonium+fragrans
http://www.plant-and-flower-guide.com/pelargonium-fragrans.html

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Rooibos Tea

 

Botanical Name :  Aspalathus linearis
Family :Fabaceae   or  leguminosae    (pea family)
Subfamily: Faboideae
Genus: Aspalathus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales
Tribe: Crotalarieae
Species: A. linearis
Common Names :Rooibos , Redbush Tea, Red tea

Habitat :Through the 17th and 18th centuries, European travellers and botanists visiting the Cederberg region in South Africa commented on the profusion of “good plants” for curative purposes. In 1772, Swedish botanist Carl Thunberg noted that “the country people made tea” from a plant related to rooibos or redbush. Since then, rooibos has grown in popularity in South Africa, and has also gained considerable momentum in the worldwide market. A growing number of brand-name tea companies sell this tea, either by itself or as a component in an increasing variety of blends.

Description:

Technically, Rooibos is not a true tea. It comes from the plant Aspalathus linearis, rather than the Camellia plants that produce traditional teas. The name Rooibos comes from the Afrikaans word for ‘red bush’.
The Rooibos plant is a small shrubby bush that only grows in South Africa. The bush grows anywhere from 1/2 to 1 metre in height, with very thin, needle-like leaves. The leaves are green, but turn the characteristic red after fermentation.

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The Rooibos seeds are precious, because the plants produce few of them. The seeds also pop out of the fruits as soon as they are ripe, making harvest difficult. Many farmers still raid anthills looking for Rooibos seeds.

It is a rather delicate plant, and the cultivation has not changed much over the years. The plants thrive best when left along in their natural soil. The farming of Rooibos has always been very close to nature and remains so today.

The locals have known that Rooibos can be used to make a delicious beverage for a very long time, but it was only ‘discovered’ in 1904 by a Russian immigrant named Benjamin Ginsberg. He was a settler in the area and thought that the tea was so enjoyable that it should be available to people everywhere. He was the first to market Rooibos tea.

Rooibos tea is a distinctive red colour and its taste is also unique with a very sweet and slightly nutty flavour. Its delicious taste and numerous healthful qualities has helped Rooibos become a popular tea all over the world. It is still fairly ‘new’ but more and more people are coming to love this unique red tea.

Rooibos has increased in popularity not only because of its wonderful colour and taste, but because of all the great things it can do for your health.
Rooibos has no caffeine and is low in tannin, so it can be enjoyed all day long without any unpleasant side effects. This also makes it a great tea for pregnant women and nursing mothers.

Nutritional and health benefits:
Rooibos is becoming more popular in Western countries particularly among health-conscious consumers, due to its high level of antioxidants such as aspalathin   and nothofagin, its lack of caffeine, and its low tannin levels compared to fully oxidized black tea or unoxidized green tea leaves.[citation needed] Rooibos also contains a number of phenolic compounds, including flavanols, flavones, flavanones, and dihydrochalcones.

Rooibos is purported to assist with nervous tension, allergies and digestive problems.

Traditional medicinal uses of rooibos in South Africa include alleviating infantile colic, allergies, asthma and dermatological problems.

Scientific study:
Although human studies of rooibos are scarce in the scientific literature, animal studies suggest it has potent antioxidant, immune-modulating and chemopreventive effects. In addition, rooibos tea has not been found to have any adverse effects.

It is often claimed that “Green” rooibos (see above) has a higher antioxidant capacity than fully oxidized rooibos. However, one study, using two different ways of measuring antioxidant activity, found conflicting data, with green rooibos showing more activity under one measure, and less activity using the other. The study also found conflicting data when comparing both forms of rooibos to black, green, and oolong tea, although it consistently found both forms to have less activity than green tea.

In 2010, eleven poison dart frogs were raised at WWT Slimbridge by amphibian keepers in pint glasses of water, topped up with shop-bought Rooibos tea. Rooibos was used because it contains antioxidants with anti-fungal properties. This successfully protected the frogs against infection by chytridiomycosis.

A recent study performed by Japanese scientists also suggests that Rooibos tea is beneficial in the treatment of acne. This is due to levels of alpha hydroxy acid, zinc and superoxide dismutase present in the herb.

Various studies have shown the many health problems that can be helped by drinking Rooibos tea:-

*Eases irritability, headaches, nervous tension and insomnia.

*Acts as an anti-spasmodic agent, to relieve stomach cramps and colic in infants ->

*Can be used to treat hay fever, asthma and eczema

*Placed directly on the skin, it can slow the aging process

*Boosts the immune system

Rooibos tea contains no oxalic acid, so it can safely be consumed by people who are prone to kidney stones.

There are so many minerals in the tea, that it can almost be considered a nutritional supplement:

*Copper

*Iron

*Potassium

*Calcium

*Fluoride

*Zinc

*Manganese

*Alpha-hydroxy (great for the skin)

*Magnesium

You may clock to learn more about Rooibos Tea..:->………....(1)...(2).……..(3)……...(4).…….(5)

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://coffeetea.about.com/od/typesoftea/a/rooibos.htm

http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail204.php

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

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Wounded? Try honey

Anti-bacterial properties could make the nectar an effective treatment for sores that refuse to mend.
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With the rise in cases of diabetes, more and more people will suffer from foot ulcers that do not heal and may end up needing amputation because treatment of chronic wounds is so difficult.

But now, an alternative treatment based on a remedy used since antiquity is getting increased attention — smearing wounds with honey.

Manuka Honey, a medicinal honey harvested from beekeepers in New Zealand, is now being marketed for application on wounds. In June, Health Canada approved it under the brand name Medihoney for use as a wound dressing and an anti-microbial. In July, the US Food and Drug Administration cleared it for use in wounds and burns.

The effects of treating wounds with honey have been noted mostly in anecdotal reports and case histories, making it hard for scientists to know whether the remedy compares favourably with standard wound dressings such as hydrogels, silver-impregnated gauzes or topical antibiotics. But in recent years, larger studies have shown promising results, and more are underway.

“In the last few years, a lot of good science has been done in the area,” says Shona Blair, a microbiologist at the University of Sydney, Australia, who studies the anti-bacterial properties of honey.

Chronic wounds are a growing medical problem. Each year, an estimated 100,000 diabetics will lose a limb through amputation, mostly as a result of non-healing wounds.

Acute wounds are usually treated by keeping them moist and sterile, which promotes the innate wound-healing ability of the body. But in patients with underlying conditions such as diabetes, a small crack in the skin often fails to heal and can develop into a chronic wound.

Such a wound runs a great risk of becoming infected, which in turn reduces the chance of healing — a vicious cycle that can lead to severe infection, even down to the bone. Chronic wounds are at times treated surgically, by removing dead skin to promote healing. Patients are also treated with off-loading orthotic shoes to prevent applying pressure on the wound, but these are cumbersome and rarely efficiently used.

The honey treatment involves putting it on bandages and applying it to wounds. Because there is a concern among some physicians that untreated honey may carry a risk of botulism — a rare but fatal disease caused by contamination — companies such as Comvita, which markets Medihoney, irradiate the product to sterilise it.

There are several possible ways that honey helps wounds heal, researchers say.

Honey, rich in sugars, provides a hyperosmotic environment — meaning it will suck the water out of bacteria, killing them.

Honey is antibacterial in other ways too. During its creation, worker bees add an enzyme — glucose oxidase — to the nectar they’ve collected. When the honey is applied to a wound, it is exposed to oxygen in the air, and the glucose oxidase produces hydrogen peroxide — bleach — killing the bacteria.

Honey, Blair adds, seems to be active against troublesome antibiotic-resistant strains such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus — an important thing, because chronic wounds are often colonised by such bacteria. She’s tested various Australian and New Zealand honeys against bacterial strains obtained from hospitals and found that even the strains most resistant to antibiotics failed to grow and were killed in the presence of honey.

Peter Molan, a New Zealand biochemist at the University of Waikato, has reported that Manuka honey, named after a New Zealand tree, can stop bacterial growth even when diluted up to 56 times. And in studies in piglets and rats he’s found that honey has anti-inflammatory properties, stimulating skin to grow into a wound, advancing its closure.

Patient case histories also provide evidence that honey can help wounds heal. In 2001, Dr Jennifer Eddy, associate professor at the department of family medicine at the University of Wisconsin, US, was treating a patient with an extreme case of diabetic foot ulcer. It had refused to heal despite treatment with conventional remedies: surgical debridement (or removal of dead tissue), antibiotics, hydrogel dressings and use of an off-loading orthotic.

The foot was infected down to the bone. With the threat of amputation looming, Eddy treated the patient’s wound with honey, smearing it on the bandage and applying it to the wound.

The wound healed, the leg was salvaged, and in 2005 Eddy published the case report in the Journal of Family Practice. There are more than 200 similar case reports in the medical literature, according to a 2006 review, for a wide variety of chronic wounds — diabetic foot ulcers, ulcers due to insufficient venous or arterial blood flow, bed sores, burns, wounds containing antibiotic-resistant bacteria and ones caused by weakened immunity.

Anecdotes are one thing, but the medical gold standard is a clinical trial. And that is a problem for honey, Eddy says. Last year, while at a conference, she discussed with a colleague the possibility of conducting a trial on honey. “He told me, ‘There’s no money in honey’,” she says.

Eddy did manage to obtain funds for a randomised, clinical trial comparing store-bought honey against standard treatments for intractable foot ulcers. Since March, seven patients have been recruited; the goal is to recruit 40. Results are expected in about two years, Eddy says.

A three-year-long study at the University of Bonn, Germany, reported good healing rates in the use of honey as a dressing for wounds in 15 children with cancer, a population prone to non-healing ulcers because of weakened immunity after radiation and chemotherapy.

Preliminary results of another clinical trial comparing honey with hydrogel dressings in 100 patients with chronic leg ulcers were presented in May at a wound meeting in Scotland. The honey-dressing group healed faster and had less infection than the standard treatment group.

Other studies are underway: One, at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa, will compare a honey-based anti-bacterial wound gel product to standard treatment in about 80 children with burns. A smaller pilot study will look at honey treatment in head and neck cancer patients undergoing radiation.

Some specialists are not too optimistic about the benefits of honey in wound management. “It’s good with butter and bread — I don’t think honey on Band-Aid is the answer,” says Dr Adrian Barbul, chair of surgery at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore and professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins University.

But Dr Arne Simon, director of paediatric oncology at the Children’s Hospital of Bonn University and first author of the study on children with cancer, says that although more clinical studies are needed, the data for the children, at least, looked good. Specialists, he says, should consider standardised honey when faced with other wounds that just don’t want to heal.

Click to read the usefulness of honey 

Source:The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)