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Blue fenugreek

Botanical Name: Trigonella caerulea
Family:    Fabaceae
Genus:    Trigonella
Species:T. caerulea
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:    Fabales

Synonyms: Trigonella melilotus-caerulea, Melilotus caeruleus, Trifolium caeruleum, Grammocarpus caeruleus

Common Names: Blue fenugreek, Sweet Trefoil

Other Names:
English:Blue–white clover, Blue–white trigonella, Sweet trefoil, Curd herb, Blue melilot

French:    Trigonelle bleue, Mélilot bleu, Baumier, Trèfle musque, Trèfle bleu, Lotier odorant, Mélilot d’Allemagne

Georgian: Utskho suneli, Utsxo suneli

German:    Schabziegerklee, Blauer Steinklee, Blauklee, Bisamklee, Brotklee, Hexenkraut, Ziegerkraut, Zigerchrut, Ziegerklee, Käseklee, Blauer Honigklee

Habitat:Blue fenu­greek is found in the Alps, in the moun­tains of East­ern and South East­ern Europe and in the Cau­casus.The plant is naturalized on waste and arable land.

Description:
Blue fenugreek  is an annual herb in the. It is 30-60 cm tall. Its leaves are obovate or lance-shaped, 2-5 cm long, 1-2 cm wide and saw-toothed in upper part. Its flower stalks are compact, globular racemes, longer than the leaves. The sepals are twice as short as the corolla, its teeth are equal to the tube. The corolla is 5.5-6.5 mm long and blue. The pods are erect or slightly curved, compressed, 4-5 mm long with beak 2 mm. The seeds are small and elongated. It blossoms in April-May, the seeds ripen in May-June. It is self-pollinated.
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Cultivation:         
Succeeds in ordinary garden soil. Prefers a well-drained loamy soil in full sun. Cultivated in the Mediterranean for its leaves which are used as a flavouring. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby. When removing plant remains at the end of the growing season, it is best to only remove the aerial parts of the plant, leaving the roots in the ground to decay and release their nitrogen.

Propagation:
Pre-soak the seed for 12 hours in warm water and then sow in spring in situ.

Edible Uses:
Young seedlings are eaten with oil and salt. The leaves and young plants are eaten cooked. The dried powdered leaves and flowers are used as a flavouring and colouring for bread etc. They are also used as a condiment in soups and potato dishes. A decoction of the leaves is used as an aromatic tea and as a flavouring for China tea

Blue fenugreek is widely used in Georgian cuisine, where it is known as utskho suneli. It is one of the ingredients of the Georgian spice mix khmeli suneli. Both the seeds, the pods and the leaves are used. The smell and taste are similar to ordinary fenugreek, but milder. In Switzerland it is used for flavouring the traditional schabziger cheese.

Constituents:  According to a some­what older publication, ??keto-acids are respon­sible for the flavour of blue fenu­greek: pyruvic acid, ??keto glutaric acid, ??keto isovalerianic acid and even a-keto isocapronic acid

Medicinal Uses: Not available in the internet
Resources:
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Trigonella+caerulea
http://gernot-katzers-spice-pages.com/engl/Trig_cae.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trigonella_caerulea

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Plectranthus amboinicus

Botanical Name : Plectranthus amboinicus
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Plectranthus
Species: P. amboinicus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Common Names:Cuban oregano, Spanish thyme, Orégano Brujo (Puerto Rico), Indian Borage, Húng chanh (Vietnam), Big Thyme (Grenada) Mexican thyme, and Mexican mint

Habitat : Plectranthus amboinicus is native to Southern and Eastern Africa, but widely cultivated and naturalised in the Old and New World Tropics.

Description:
Plectranthus amboinicus is a tender fleshy perennial plant in the family Lamiaceae with an oregano-like flavor and odor.

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It  is now very commonly grown as a potted plant in many households. Plectranthus amboinicus is a fast growing plant. Propagation is via stem cuttings. To encourage a bushy plant, cut the tip of the top, insert into the soil and instantly, you have another plant as the cutting will grow within days.The Indian Borage ideally should be grown in a semi-shaded and moist location as the leaves will remain a beautiful jade-green colour. If it is getting too much sun, the leaves turn yellow, start curling and look unsightly; if not enough sun, the leaves turn a dark shade of green and spaced out.

Cultivation:
The herb grows easily in a well-drained, semi-shaded position. It is frost tender and grows well in sub-tropical and tropical locations, but will do well in cooler climates if grown in a pot and brought indoors, or moved to a warm sheltered position in winter. Water only sparingly.

Uses:
The leaves are strongly flavoured and make an excellent addition to stuffings for meat and poultry. Finely chopped, they can also be used to flavour meat dishes, especially beef, lamb and game.

Medicinal Uses:
The leaves have had many traditional medicinal uses, especially for the treatment of coughs, sore throats and nasal congestion, but also for a range of other problems such as infections, rheumatism and flatulence. In Indonesia Plectranthus amboinicus is a traditional food used in soup to stimulate lactation for the month or so following childbirth.

The herb is also used as a substitute for oregano in the food trade and food labelled “oregano-flavoured” may well contain this herb.

In Kerala in India this is called as “panikoorka” and has various uses in treating cold / cough / fever in infants.

Used traditionally within Ayurvedic and Unani Tibb herbal medicine to help reduce inflammation and is prescribed for bronchitis and asthma. It is reputed to very effective as a treatment for coughs. Old people says that it is often referred to as “pokok asthma”.  The fresh leaves are pounded and the extracted juice mixed with water.  An alternative method recommended is to boil a sprig in water with honey thrown in for added measure.

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/Plectranthus_amboinicus
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm

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