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Rhododendron ferrugineum

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Botanical Name : Rhododendron ferrugineum
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Rhododendron
Species:R. ferrugineum
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Ericales

Common Names: Alpenrose, Snow-rose, or Rusty-leaved alpenrose

Habitat :Rhododendron ferrugineum is native to Europe.It grows just above the tree line in the Alps, Pyrenees, Jura and northern Apennines on the mountain slopes in open woods or scrub, often dominant in the dwarf shrub zone.

Description:
Rhododendron ferrugineum is an evergreen Shrub growing to 1.5 m (5ft). It produces clusters of pinkish-red, bell-shaped flowers throughout the summer. The undersides of the leaves are covered in rust-brown spots, which give the species its scientific name. This is in contrast to Rhododendron hirsutum, which has no such brown colouring, has hairy edges to the leaves and grows over limestone. Where the two species co-occur (usually on soils of intermediate pH), the hybrid Rhododendron × intermedium may occur; as its name suggests, it is intermediate in form between the two parental species.

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It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower in June, and the seeds ripen in August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.
Cultivation:
Succeeds in a most humus-rich lime-free soils except those of a dry arid nature or those that are heavy or clayey. Prefers a peaty or well-drained sandy loam. Succeeds in sun or shade, the warmer the climate the more shade a plant requires. A pH between 4.5 and 5.5 is ideal. This species grows better in the midlands and north Britain, disliking the hotter conditions in the south. Succeeds in a woodland though, because of its surface-rooting habit, it does not compete well with surface-rooting trees. Plants need to be kept well weeded, they dislike other plants growing over or into their root system, in particular they grow badly with ground cover plants, herbaceous plants and heathers. Plants form a root ball and are very tolerant of being transplanted, even when quite large, so long as the root ball is kept intact. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.
Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the autumn and given artificial light. Alternatively sow the seed in a lightly shaded part of the warm greenhouse in late winter or in a cold greenhouse in April. Surface-sow the seed and do not allow the compost to become dry. Pot up the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and grow on in a greenhouse for at least the first winter. Layering in late July. Takes 15 – 24 months. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, August in a frame. Difficult

Medicinal Uses:
The flowers, leaves and the galls are antirheumatic, diaphoretic and diuretic. It is used in the treatment of certain forms of arthritis and rheumatism, but can cause diarrhoea and vomiting so should only be used with expert supervision. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant. It is used in treating a variety of complaints involving flatulence.

Other Uses:
Plants can be grown as ground cover when spaced about 1 metre apart each way. Some substances in this plant have shown herbicidal activity, though more research needs to be carried out

Known Hazards: The leaves and the galls are poisonous. The pollen of many if not all species of rhododendrons is also probably toxic, being said to cause intoxication when eaten in large quantities.

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/Rhododendron_ferrugineum
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rhododendron+ferrugineum

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Small-Leaved Knotweed

Botanical Name : Polygonum arenastrum – Bor.
Family :                Polygonaceae
Genus  : Polygonum
Synonyms: Polygonum calcatum Lindman, Polygonum aequale Lindin, Polygonum aviculare subsp. depressum (Meissner) Arcang., Polygonum aviculare subsp. aequale (Lindman) A. et. Gr., Polygonum aviculare subsp. calcatum (Lindman) Thell.
Common Names :  mat grass, oval-leaf knotweed, stone grass, wiregrass, and door weed, as well as many others.

Habitat :Throughout Europe, including Britain. Waste places and roadsides, common throughout Britain .

Description:
Small-Leaved Knotweed is an annual herb growing to 0.3m.with prostrate or ascending bluish-green slender, terete stems, not sharply angled, 1-12 dm. long; lvs. lanceolate to almost oblong, 5-20 mm. long, blue-green, scattered to approximate, not much reduced upward, joined with the ocreae and 1-nerved, mostly 2 or more in the axils, short pedicelled; branch-lvs. much smaller than stem lvs.; stipule-sheaths silvery, soon torn; fls. 1-5 in axillary clusters; calyx 2-3 mm. long, greenish with pinkish to purplish margins, persistent, divided almost to base; stamens 8, rarely 5; aks. dull or slightly shiny, 2-2.5 mm. long, somewhat roughened.
It is hardy to zone 5. It is in flower from June to October, and the seeds ripen from August to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. The plant is self-fertile. It is noted for attracting wildlife.

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The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid soil. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.


Cultivation :

Succeeds in an ordinary garden soil but prefers a moisture retentive not too fertile soil in sun or part shade. Repays generous treatment, in good soils the plant will cover an area up to a metre in diameter. Prefers an acid soil. Dislikes shade. Knotweed is a common and invasive weed of cultivated ground. It is an important food plant for the caterpillars of many species of butterflies.  It also produces an abundance of seeds and these are a favourite food for many species of birds. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits. The flowers have little or no scent or honey and are rarely visited by pollinating insects. Self-fertilization is the usual method of reproduction, though cross-fertilization by insects does sometimes occur. The plant also produces cleistogomous flowers – these never open and therefore are always self-fertilized. The plant is very variable according to habitat and is seen by most botanists as part of an aggregate species of 4 very variable species, viz. – P. aviculare. L.; P. boreale. (Lange.)Small.; P. rurivacum. Jord. ex Box.; and P. arenastrum. Bor.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Germination is usually free and easy. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer if they have reached sufficient size. If not, overwinter them in a cold frame and plant them out the following spring after the last expected frosts. Division in spring or autumn. Very easy, larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.

Edible Uses
Young leaves and plants – raw or cooked. Used as a potherb, they are very rich in zinc. A nutritional analysis is available. Seed – raw or cooked. Rather small and fiddly to utilize, they can be used in all the ways that buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum) is used, either whole or dried and ground into a powder for use in pancakes, biscuits and piñole. The leaves are a tea substitute.

Medicinal Uses:

Knotweed is a safe and effective astringent and diuretic herb that is used mainly in the treatment of complaints such as dysentery and haemorrhoids. It is also taken in the treatment of pulmonary complaints because the silicic acid it contains strengthens connective tissue in the lungs. The whole plant is anthelmintic, astringent, cardiotonic, cholagogue, diuretic, febrifuge, haemostatic, lithontripic and vulnerary. It was formerly widely used as an astringent both internally and externally in the treatment of wounds, bleeding, piles and diarrhoea. Its diuretic properties make it useful in removing stones.  An alcohol-based preparation has been used with success to treat varicose veins of recent origin. The plant is harvested in the summer and early autumn and is dried for later use. The leaves are anthelmintic, diuretic and emollient. The whole plant is anthelmintic, antiphlogistic and diuretic. The juice of the plant is weakly diuretic, expectorant and vasoconstrictor. Applied externally, it is an excellent remedy to stay bleeding of the nose and to treat sores. The seeds are emetic and purgative. Recent research has shown that the plant is a useful medicine for bacterial dysentery. Of 108 people with this disease, 104 recovered within 5 days when treated internally with a paste of knotweed.

Other Uses
Yields a blue dye that is not much inferior to indigo. The part used is not specified, but it is likely to be the leaves. Yellow and green dyes are obtained from the whole plant. The roots contain tannins, but the quantity was not given.

Known Hazards :  Although no specific mention has been made for this species, there have been reports that some members of this genus can cause photosensitivity in susceptible people. Many species also contain oxalic acid (the distinctive lemony flavour of sorrel) – whilst not toxic this substance can bind up other minerals making them unavailable to the body and leading to mineral deficiency. Having said that, a number of common foods such as sorrel and rhubarb contain oxalic acid and the leaves of most members of this genus are nutritious and beneficial to eat in moderate quantities. Cooking the leaves will reduce their content of oxalic acid. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition.

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.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Polygonum+arenastrum
http://botany.cz/cs/polygonum-arenastrum/
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Polygonum+arenastrum
http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Polygonum_arenastrum

http://nathistoc.bio.uci.edu/Plants%20of%20Upper%20Newport%20Bay%20(Robert%20De%20Ruff)/Polygonaceae/Polygonum%20arenastrum.htm

Facts About Depression

Learn the facts about depression, and what you can do to treat it.
In any given one-year period, 9.5% of the population, or about 18.8 million American adults, suffer from a depressive illness. The economic cost for this disorder is high, but the cost in human suffering cannot be estimated. Depressive illnesses often interfere with normal functioning and cause pain and suffering not only to those who have a disorder, but also to those who care about them. Serious depression can destroy family life as well as the life of the ill person. But much of this suffering is unnecessary.

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Most people with a depressive illness do not seek treatment, although the great majority — even those whose depression is extremely severe — can be helped. Thanks to years of fruitful research, there are now medications and psychosocial therapies such as cognitive/behavioral, “talk,” or interpersonal that ease the pain of depression.

Unfortunately, many people do not recognize that depression is a treatable illness. If you feel that you or someone you care about is one of the many undiagnosed depressed people in this country, the information presented here may help you take the steps that may save your own or someone else’s life.

What’s a Depressive Disorder?
A depressive disorder is an illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts. It affects the way a person eats and sleeps, the way one feels about oneself, and the way one thinks about things. A depressive disorder is not the same as a passing blue mood. It is not a sign of personal weakness or a condition that can be willed or wished away. People with a depressive illness cannot merely “pull themselves together” and get better. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years. Appropriate treatment, however, can help most people who suffer from depression.

Types of Depression:
Depressive disorders come in different forms, just as is the case with other illnesses such as heart disease. Brief descriptions of the most commmon types of depressive disorders are given below. However, within these types there are variations in the number of symptoms, their severity, and persistence.

Major depression is manifested by a combination of symptoms that interfere with the ability to work, study, sleep, eat, and enjoy once pleasurable activities. Such a disabling episode of depression may occur only once but more commonly occurs several times in a lifetime.

A less severe type of depression, dysthymia, involves long-term, chronic symptoms that do not disable, but keep one from functioning well or from feeling good. Many people with dysthymia also experience major depressive episodes at some time in their lives.

Another type of depression is bipolar disorder, also called manic-depressive illness. Not nearly as prevalent as other forms of depressive disorders, bipolar disorder is characterized by cycling mood changes: severe highs (mania) and lows (depression). Sometimes the mood switches are dramatic and rapid, but most often they are gradual.

When in the depressed cycle, an individual can have any or all of the symptoms of a depressive disorder. When in the manic cycle, the individual may be overactive, overtalkative, and have a great deal of energy. Mania often affects thinking, judgment, and social behavior in ways that cause serious problems and embarrassment. For example, the individual in a manic phase may feel elated, full of grand schemes that might range from unwise business decisions to romantic sprees. Mania, left untreated, may worsen to a psychotic state.

Symptoms of Depression and Mania:
Not everyone who is depressed or manic experiences every symptom. Some people experience a few symptoms, some many. Severity of symptoms varies with individuals and also varies over time.

Depression :
Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed, including sex
Decreased energy, fatigue, being “slowed down”
Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
Insomnia, early morning awakening, or oversleeping
Appetite and/or weight loss or overeating and weight gain
Thoughts of death or suicide; suicide attempts
Restlessness, irritability
Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain .
Mania :
Abnormal or excessive elation
Unusual irritability
Decreased need for sleep
Grandiose notions
Increased talking
Racing thoughts
Increased sexual desire
Markedly increased energy
Poor judgment
Inappropriate social behavior
Causes of Depression
Some types of depression run in families, suggesting that a biological vulnerability can be inherited. This seems to be the case with bipolar disorder. Studies of families in which members of each generation develop bipolar disorder found that those with the illness have a somewhat different genetic makeup than those who do not get ill. However, the reverse is not true: Not everybody with the genetic makeup that causes vulnerability to bipolar disorder will have the illness. Apparently, additional factors, possibly stresses at home, work, or school, are involved in its onset.

In some families, major depression also seems to occur generation after generation. However, it can also occur in people who have no family history of depression. Whether inherited or not, major depressive disorder is often associated with changes in brain structures or brain function.

People who have low self-esteem, who consistently view themselves and the world with pessimism or who are readily overwhelmed by stress, are prone to depression. Whether this represents a psychological predisposition or an early form of the illness is not clear.

In recent years, researchers have shown that physical changes in the body can be accompanied by mental changes as well. Medical illnesses such as stroke, a heart attack, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and hormonal disorders can cause depressive illness, making the sick person apathetic and unwilling to care for his or her physical needs, thus prolonging the recovery period. Also, a serious loss, difficult relationship, financial problem, or any stressful (unwelcome or even desired) change in life patterns can trigger a depressive episode. Very often, a combination of genetic, psychological, and environmental factors is involved in the onset of a depressive disorder. Later episodes of illness typically are precipitated by only mild stresses, or none at all.

Evaluation and Treatment:
The first step to getting appropriate treatment for depression is a physical examination by a physician. Certain medications as well as some medical conditions such as a viral infection can cause the same symptoms as depression, and the physician should rule out these possibilities through examination, interview, and lab tests. If a physical cause for the depression is ruled out, a psychological evaluation should be done, by the physician or by referral to a psychiatrist or psychologist.

A good diagnostic evaluation will include a complete history of symptoms, i.e., when they started, how long they have lasted, how severe they are, whether the patient had them before and, if so, whether the symptoms were treated and what treatment was given. The doctor should ask about alcohol and drug use, and if the patient has thoughts about death or suicide. Further, a history should include questions about whether other family members have had a depressive illness and, if treated, what treatments they may have received and which were effective.

Last, a diagnostic evaluation should include a mental status examination to determine if speech or thought patterns or memory have been affected, as sometimes happens in the case of a depressive or manic-depressive illness.

Treatment choice will depend on the outcome of the evaluation. There are a variety of antidepressant medications and psychotherapies that can be used to treat depressive disorders. Some people with milder forms may do well with psychotherapy alone. People with moderate to severe depression most often benefit from antidepressants. Most do best with combined treatment: medication to gain relatively quick symptom relief and psychotherapy to learn more effective ways to deal with life’s problems, including depression. Depending on the patient’s diagnosis and severity of symptoms, the therapist may prescribe medication and/or one of the several forms of psychotherapy that have proven effective for depression.
Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

From: The National Institute of Mental Health