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Robinia pseudoacacia

Botanical Name:Robinia pseudoacacia
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Tribe: Robinieae
Genus: Robinia
Species: R. pseudoacacia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Common Names: Black Locust, Yellow Locust, False acacia

Habitat :Robinia pseudoacacia is native to Eastern N. America – Appalachian and Ozark mountain ranges. Naturalized in Britain . It grows in woods and thickets, especially in deep well-drained calcareous soils.

Description:
Robinia pseudoacacia is a deciduous tree. It reaches a typical height of 40–100 feet (12–30 m) with a diameter of 2–4 feet (0.61–1.22 m).[12] Exceptionally, it may grow up to 52 metres (171 ft) tall and 1.6 metres (5.2 ft) diameter in very old trees. It is a very upright tree with a straight trunk and narrow crown which grows scraggly with age. The dark blue-green compound leaves with a contrasting lighter underside give this tree a beautiful appearance in the wind and contribute to its grace. Tree growing to 25 m (82ft) by 15 m (49ft) at a fast rate.

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*The bark is dark gray brown and tinged with red or orange in the grooves. It is deeply furrowed into grooves and ridges which run up and down the trunk and often cross and form diamond shapes.

*The roots of black locust contain nodules which allow it to fix nitrogen as is common within the pea family.
The branches are typically zig-zagy and may have ridges and grooves or may be round.[5] When young, they are at first coated with white silvery down, this soon disappears and they become pale green and afterward reddish or greenish brown.

*Prickles may or may not be present on young trees, root suckers, and branches near the ground; typically, branches high above the ground rarely contain prickles. R. psuedoacacia is quite variable in the quantity and amount of prickles present as some trees are densely prickly and other trees have no prickles at all. The prickles typically remain on the tree until the young thin bark to which they are attached is replaced by the thicker mature bark. They develop from stipules (small leaf like structures which grow at the base of leaves) and since stipules are paired at the base of leaves, the prickles will be paired at the bases of leaves. They range from .25–.8 inches (0.64–2.03 cm) in length and are somewhat triangular with a flared base and sharp point. Their color is of a dark purple and they adhere only to the bark.

*Wood: Pale yellowish brown; heavy, hard, strong, close-grained and very durable in contact with the ground. The wood has a specific gravity of 0.7333, and a weight of approximately 45.7 pounds per cubic foot.

*The leaves are compound, meaning that each leaf contains many smaller leaf like structures called leaflets, the leaflets are roughly paired on either side of the stem which runs through the leaf (rachis) and there is typically one leaflet at the tip of the leaf (odd pinnate). The leaves are alternately arranged on the stem. Each leaf is 6–14 inches (15–36 cm) long and contains 9-19 leaflets, each being 1–2 inches (2.5–5.1 cm)long, and .25–.75 inches (0.64–1.91 cm) wide. The leaflets are rounded or slightly indented at the tip and typically rounded at the base. The leaves come out of the bud folded in half, yellow green, covered with silvery down which soon disappears. Each leaflet initially has a minute stipel, which quickly falls, and is connected to the (rachis) by a short stem or petiolule. The leaves are attached to the branch with slender hairy petioles which is grooved and swollen at the base. The stipules are linear, downy, membranous at first and occasionally develope into prickles. The leaves appear relatively late in spring.

*The leave color of the fully grown leaves is a dull dark green above and paler beneath. In the fall the leaves turn a clear pale yellow.
Closeup of flowers.

*The flowers open in May or June for 7–10 days, after the leaves have developed. They are arranged in loose drooping clumps (racemes) which are typically 4–8 inches (10–20 cm) long. The flowers themselves are cream-white (rarely pink or purple) with a pale yellow blotch in the center and imperfectly papilionaceous in shape. They are about 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide, very fragrant, and produce large amounts of nectar. Each flower is perfect, having both stamens and a pistil (male and female parts). There are 10 stamens enclosed within the petals; these are fused together in a diadelphous configuration, where the filaments of 9 are all joined to form a tube and one stamen is separate and above the joined stamens. The single ovary is superior and contains several ovules. Below each flower is a calyx which looks like leafy tube between the flower and the stem. It is made from fused sepals and is dark green and may be blotched with red. The pedicels (stems which connect the flower to the branch) are slender, .5 inches (1.3 cm), dark red or reddish green.

*The fruit is a typical legume fruit, being a flat and smooth pea-like pod 2–4 inches (5.1–10.2 cm) long and .5 inches (1.3 cm) broad. The fruit usually contains 4-8 seeds. The seeds are dark orange brown with irregular markings. They ripen late in autumn and hang on the branches until early spring. There are typically 25500 seeds per pound.

*Winter buds: Minute, naked (having no scales covering them), three or four together, protected in a depression by a scale-like covering lined on the inner surface with a thick coat of tomentum and opening in early spring. When the buds are forming they are covered by the swollen base of the petiole.

*Cotyledons are oval in shape and fleshy.

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Cultivation:
Aggressive surface roots possible. Succeeds in any well-drained soil, preferring one that is not too rich. Succeeds in dry barren sites, tolerating drought and atmospheric pollution. Succeeds in a hot dry position. The plant is reported to tolerate an annual precipitation in the range of 61 to 191cm, an annual temperature in the range of 7.6 to 20.3°C and a pH of 6.0 to 7.0. A fast-growing tree for the first 30 years of its life, it can begin to flower when only 6 years old, though 10 – 12 years is more normal. The flowers are a rich source of nectar and are very fragrant with a vanilla-like scent. The branches are brittle and very liable to wind damage. When plants are grown in rich soils they produce coarse and rank growth which is even more liable to wind damage. The plants sucker freely and often form dense thickets, the suckers have vicious thorns. There are some named varieties selected for their ornamental value, some of these are thornless. Any pruning should be done in late summer in order to reduce the risk of bleeding. The leaves are rich in tannin and other substances which inhibit the growth of other plants. A very greedy tree, tending to impoverish the soil. (Although a legume, I believe it does not fix atmospheric nitrogen) A very good bee plant. This species is notably resistant to honey fungus. Special Features: North American native, Invasive, Naturalizing, All or parts of this plant are poisonous, Attracts butterflies, Fragrant flowers, Blooms are very showy.

Propagation:
Seed – pre-soak for 48 hours in warm water and sow the seed in late winter in a cold frame. A short stratification improves germination rates and time. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in the following summer. Other reports say that the seed can be sown in an outdoor seedbed in spring. The seed stores for over 10 years. Suckers taken during the dormant season.
Edible Uses:
Seed – cooked. Oily. They are boiled and used like peas. After boiling the seeds lose their acid taste. The seed is about 4mm long and is produced in pods up to 10cm long that contain 4 – 8 seeds. A nutritional analysis is available. Young seedpods – cooked. The pods contain a sweetish pulp that is safe to eat and is relished by small children. (This report is quite probably mistaken, having been confused with the honey locust, Gleditsia spp.) A strong, narcotic and intoxicating drink is made from the skin of the fruit. Piperonal is extracted from the plant, it is used as a vanilla substitute. No further details. All the above entries should be treated with some caution, see the notes at the top of the page regarding toxicity. Flowers – cooked. A fragrant aroma, they are used in making jams and pancakes. They can also be made into a pleasant drink.

Composition:
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Seed (Dry weight)

*0 Calories per 100g
*Water : 0%
*Protein: 21g; Fat: 3g; Carbohydrate: 0g; Fibre: 28g; Ash: 6.8g;
*Minerals – Calcium: 1400mg; Phosphorus: 0.3mg; Iron: 0mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 0mg; Zinc: 0mg;
*Vitamins – A: 0mg; Thiamine (B1): 0mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0mg; Niacin: 0mg; B6: 0mg; C: 0mg;
Medicinal Uses:
The flowers are antispasmodic, aromatic, diuretic, emollient and laxative. They are cooked and eaten for the treatment of eye ailments. The flower is said to contain the antitumor compound benzoaldehyde. The inner bark and the root bark are emetic, purgative and tonic. The root bark has been chewed to induce vomiting, or held in the mouth to allay toothache, though it is rarely if ever prescribed as a therapeutic agent in Britain. The fruit is narcotic. This probably refers to the seedpod. The leaves are cholagogue and emetic. The leaf juice inhibits viruses.

Other Uses:
Dye; Essential; Fibre; Fuel; Oil; Soil stabilization; Wood.

A drying oil is obtained from the seed. An essential oil is obtained from the flowers. Highly valued, it is used in perfumery. A yellow dye is obtained from the bark. Robinetin is a strong dyestuff yielding with different mordants different shades similar to those obtained with fisetin, quercetin, and myricetin; with aluminum mordant, it dyes cotton to a brown-orange shade. The bark contains tannin, but not in sufficient quantity for utilization. On a 10% moisture basis, the bark contains 7.2% tannin and the heartwood of young trees 5.7%. The bark is used to make paper and is a substitute for silk and wool. Trees sucker freely, especially if coppiced, and they can be used for stabilizing banks etc. Wood – close-grained, exceedingly hard, heavy, very strong, resists shock and is very durable in contact with the soil. It weighs 45lb per cubic foot and is used in shipbuilding and for making fence posts, treenails, floors etc. A very good fuel, but it should be used with caution because it flares up and projects sparks. The wood of Robinia pseudoacacia var. rectissima, the so called ‘Long Island’ or ‘Shipmast’ locust, has a greater resistance to decay and wood borers, outlasting other locust posts and stakes by 50 – 100% .Landscape Uses:Erosion control, Firewood.

Known Hazards: All parts of the plant (except the flowers) and especially the bark, should be considered to be toxic. The toxins are destroyed by heat.

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/Robinia_pseudoacacia
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Robinia+pseudoacacia

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Sweet Wormwood(Artemisia annu)

Botanical Name:Artemisia annu

Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Artemisia
Species: A. annua
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Common Names:Sweet Wormwood, Sweet Annie, Sweet Sagewort or Annual Wormwood.   Annual sagebrush ,  Chinese wormwood,   qing hao

Habitat :Sweet Wormwood is a common type of wormwood that is native to temperate Asia, but naturalized throughout the world.

Description:
It has fern-like leaves, bright yellow flowers, and a camphor-like scent. Its height averages about 2 m tall, and the plant has a single stem, alternating branches, and alternating leaves which range 2.5–5 cm in length. It is cross-pollinated by wind or insects. It is a diploid plant with chromosome number, 2n=18.Sweet Wormwood  has leaves that are mildly perfume scented.
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Medicinal uses:
Medicinal properties: bitter   febrifuge   antimalarial   antibiotic
Parts Used: Leaves

Sweet Wormwood was used by Chinese herbalists in ancient times to treat fever, but had fallen out of common use, but was rediscovered in 1970’s when the Chinese Handbook of Prescriptions for Emergency Treatments (340 AD) was found. This pharmacopeia contained recipes for a tea from dried leaves, prescribed for fevers (not specifically malaria).

Extractions:
In 1971, scientists demonstrated that the plant extracts had antimalarial activity in primate models, and in 1972 the active ingredient, artemisinin (formerly referred to as arteannuin), was isolated and its chemical structure described. Artemisinin may be extracted using a low boiling point solvent such as diethylether and is found in the glandular trichomes of the leaves, stems, and inflorescences, and it is concentrated in the upper portions of plant within new growth.

Parasite treatment:
It is commonly used in tropical nations which can afford it, preferentially as part of a combination-cocktail with other antimalarials in order to prevent the development of parasite resistance.

Malaria treatment:
Artemisinin itself is a sesquiterpene lactone with an endoperoxide bridge and has been produced semi-synthetically as an antimalarial drug. The efficacy of tea made from A. annua in the treatment of malaria is contentious. According to some authors, artemesinin is not soluble in water and the concentrations in these infusions are considered insufficient to treatment malaria. Other researchers have claimed that Artemisia annua contains a cocktail of anti-malarial substances, and insist that clinical trials be conducted to demonstrate scientifically that artemisia tea is effective in treating malaria. This simpler use may be a cheaper alternative to commercial pharmaceuticals, and may enable health dispensaries in the tropics to be more self-reliant in their malaria treatment. In 2004, the Ethiopian Ministry of Health changed Ethiopia’s first line anti-malaria drug from Fansidar, a Sulfadoxine agent which has an average 36% treatment failure rate, to Coartem, a drug therapy containing artemesinin which is 100% effective when used correctly, despite a worldwide shortage at the time of the needed derivative from A. annua.

Cancer treatment:
The plant has also been shown to have anti-cancer properties. It is said to have the ability to be selectively toxic to some breast cancer cells [Cancer Research 65:(23).Dec 1, 2005] and some form of prostate cancer, there have been exciting preclinical results against leukemia, and other cancer cells.

Mechanism:
The proposed mechanism of action of artemisinin involves cleavage of endoperoxide bridges by iron producing free radicals (hypervalent iron-oxo species, epoxides, aldehydes, and dicarbonyl compounds) which damage biological macromolecules causing oxidative stress in the cells of the parasite.[citation needed] Malaria is caused by Apicomplexans, primarily Plasmodium falciparum, which largely resides in red blood cells and itself contains iron-rich heme-groups (in the from of hemozoin).

Precaution:During pregnancy this herb should not used.

Other uses:
In modern-day central China, specifically Hubei Province, the stems of this wormwood are used as food in a salad-like form. The final product, literally termed “cold-mixed wormwood”, is a slightly bitter salad with strong acid overtones from the spiced rice vinegar used as a marinade. It is considered a delicacy and is typically more expensive to buy than meat.

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/Artemisia_annua
http://www.crescentbloom.com/Plants/Specimen/AO/Artemisia%20annua.htm

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Dhyana Mudra(A Position in Yoga Exercise)

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Posture : Ordinary Sitting or in Padmasana
How to get into the position:
1.Palms are kept open and tips of the thumb and index fingers of both the hands are joined together forming a circle in between them. Remaining 3 fingers are kept together and relaxed. This position of the hands is called Dhyana Mudra.
2. In sitting position wrists of the hands in this Dhyana Mudra posture are kept on the respective knees and palsm facing upwards.

Source:Yogapoint.com

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Sound Pollution

No one on earth can escape the sounds of noise- an unwanted, disturbing sound that causes a nuisance in the eye of the beholder. Noise is a disturbance to the human environment that is escalating at such a high rate that it will become a major threat to the quality of human lives. In the past thirty years, noise in all areas, especially in urban areas, have been increasing rapidly. There are numerous effects on the human environment due to the increase in noise pollution.Although we attempt to set standards for some of the most major sources of noise, we often are unable to monitor them. Major sources of noise can be airplanes at takeoff and landing, and a truck just off the assembly line, yet we seem accept and enjoy countless other sounds, from hard rock music to loud Harley Davidson motor cycles. The following areas will be investigated in some detail; adolescent education, neural-effects, sleep, hearing damage, occupational environment, transportation, and physiological effects.

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Most of society is now aware that noise can damage hearing. However, short of a threat that disaster would overtake the human race if nothing is done about noise, it is unlikely that many people today would become strongly motivated to do something about the problem. Yet, the evidence about the ill effects of noise does not allow for complacency or neglect. For instance, researchers working with children with hearing disorders are constantly reminded of the crucial importance of hearing to children. In the early years the child cannot learn to speak without special training if he has enough hearing loss to interfere effectively with the hearing of words in context (Bugliarello, et al., 1976). In this respect, there is a clear need for parents to protect their childrens’ hearing as they try to protect their eyesight. If no steps are taken to lessen the effects of noise, we may expect a significant percentage of future generations to have hearing damage. It would be difficult to predict the total outcome if total population would suffer hearing loss. Conceivably, the loss could even be detrimental to our survival if it were ever necessary for us to be able to hear high frequencies.