Tag Archives: Aleurites moluccana

Jajoba

Botanical Name ;Simmondsia chinensis
Family :Simmondsiaceae – Jojoba family
Genus : Simmondsia Nutt. – goatnut
Species: Simmondsia chinensis (Link) C.K. Schneid. – jojoba
Kingdom :Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom :Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class:Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass: Rosidae
Order: Euphorbiales

Synonyms:
Simmondsia chinensis (Link) C.K. Schneid.

BUCH Buxus chinensis Link
SICA14 Simmondsia californica Nutt.

Common Names: Jajoba, goat nut, deer nut, pignut, wild hazel, quinine nut, coffeeberry, and gray box bush.(The name “jojoba” originated with the O’odham people of the Sonoran Desert in the southwestern United States, who treated burns with an antioxidant salve made from a paste of the jojoba nut)

Habitat : Jajoba is  native to areas of northern Mexico, Lower California, on the Islands off the coast of California, New Mexico, and Arizona. It inhabits the mountains bordering the Salton Sea basin in the Colorado Desert in California, and the southern portion of San Diego County. In Arizona, it is found in the mountains around Tucson, near Phoenix, and north of Yuma. In nature, it grows between 600 and 1500 m elevation in the desert, down to sea level near the coast, between latitudes 25° and 31° N. There is a major effort underway in the U.S., Mexico, and Israel to domesticate jojoba. There are reports that it has been planted in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Egypt, Haiti, Israel, Paraguay, Rhodesia, the Sahel, and South Africa for example. The Israeli examples are bearing fruit. We are anxious to hear more success stories. There seems to be no major difficulty in growing the plant in frost free, arid, subtropical, and tropical zones, but not many success stories have materialized.

Ranging from Warm Temperate Desert (with little or no frost) to Thorn through Tropical Desert Forest Life Zones, jojoba is reported to tolerate annual precipitation of 2 to 11 dm, annual temperature of 16 to 26°C, and pH of 7.3 to 8.2 (Duke, 1978). Jojoba is usually restricted to well-drained, coarse, well-aerated desert soils that are neutral to alkaline, with an abundance of phosphorus. It grows best where the annual rainfall exceeds 30 cm, but does exist where less than 12.5 cm occurs. Where rainfall is ca 75 mm, the jojoba grows to ca 1 m tall, where rainfall is 250–400 mm, it may attain 5 m. It tolerates full sun and temperatures ranging from 0° to 47°C. Mature shrubs tolerate temperatures as low as -10°C, but seedlings are sensitive to light frosts just below freezing.

Description:
Jajoba  grows to 1–2 metres (3.3–6.6 ft) tall, with a broad, dense crown. The leaves are opposite, oval in shape, 2–4 centimetres (0.79–1.6 in) long and 1.5–3 centimetres (0.59–1.2 in) broad, thick waxy glaucous gray-green in color. The flowers are small, greenish-yellow, with 5–6 sepals and no petals.

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Each plant is single-sex, either male or female, with hermaphrodites being extremely rare. The fruit is an acorn-shaped ovoid, three-angled capsule 1–2 centimetres (0.39–0.79 in) long, partly enclosed at the base by the sepals. The mature seed is a hard oval, dark brown in color and contains an oil (liquid wax) content of approximately 54%. An average-size bush produces 1 kilogram (2.2 lb) of pollen, to which few humans are allergic.

Jajoba  foliage provides year-round food opportunity for many animals, including deer, javelina, bighorn sheep, and livestock. The nuts are eaten by squirrels, rabbits, other rodents, and larger birds. Only Bailey’s Pocket Mouse, however, is known to be able to digest the wax found inside the jojoba nut.

In large quantities, the seed meal is toxic to many mammals, and the indigestible wax acts as a laxative in humans. The Seri, who utilize nearly every edible plant in their territory, do not regard the beans as real food and in the past ate it only in emergencies.

Despite its scientific name Simmondsia chinensis, Jojoba does not originate in China; the botanist Johann Link, originally named the species Buxus chinensis, after misreading Nuttall’s collection label “Calif” as “China”.

Jojoba was briefly renamed Simmondsia californica, but priority rules require that the original specific epithet be used. The common name should also not be confused with the similar-sounding Jujube (Ziziphus zizyphus), an unrelated plant

Cultivation
Jojoba seeds retain nearly 99% germinability after 6 months, and 38% after 11 years stored in an open shed. Germination is good in alkaline sands at temperatures of 27°–38°C. Seedlings are frost sensitive. Field seeding can be done with a modified cotton planter. Seedlings need two or three irrigations during the first summer and must be protected from animals. Weeding is recommended after each irrigation. Adventitious roots may form on 50–80% of the cuttings treated with growth promoting substances. Plants could start producing seeds in 5 years, but full production would not be attained for 8 to 10 years. Using a 2 x 4 m spacing in planting would permit the planting of about 500 female and 50 male pollinating plants per hectare. Apomictic plants are known, lessening the need for male non-fruiting plants in the orchard. Suggested methods for planting include: Close spacing, ca 15 cm apart, resulting in hedge rows, with the seeds planted in flat borders or in a slightly depressed ditch so as to keep them moist until they germinate (ca 10–14 days). Male plants should be thinned out to about a 5–1 ratio, finally allowing about 2,500 plants per hectare, with possible annual yields of 2.5 MT/ha seed. Propagation by cuttings from selected shrubs could increase seed and/or oil yields. Generally flowering nodes and leaf nodes alternate, but some plants flower at nearly all nodes; some plants produce more than one flower per node. Transplanted seedlings survive readily, if the roots are pruned. Hence, cuttings could be made in a nursery for later transplanting in the field. The more efficient spacing for this method of planting is in rows 4 m apart, and the bushes in the rows 2 m apart. Male bushes should be interspersed throughout the grove (about 1,500 female and 250 male plants per hectare), possibly yielding ca 2.75 MT/ha seed. When softwood cuttings were treated with IBA, 4 mg/g of talc, they rooted 100% in 38 days.

Chemical constituents:
The seed contains liquid wax rather than oil, sort of unusual for the conventional analyses. Verbiscar and Banigan (1978) approximated a proximate analysis, some of which follows: per 100 g, the seed is reported to contain 4.3–4.6 g H2O, 14.9–15.1 g protein, 50.2–53.8 g fat, 24.6–29.1 g total carbohydrate, 3.5–4.2 g fiber, and 1.4–1.6 g ash. Seeds contain 2.25–2.34%, seed hulls, 0.19%. Core wood, 0.45; leaves, 0.19–0.23%; twigs, 0.63–0.75%; an inflorescence, 0.22%; simmondsin, a demonstrated appetite depressant, toxicant. Three related cyanomethylenecyclohexyl glucosides have also been isolated from the seed meal. The acute oral LD50 for crude jojoba oil to male albino rats is higher than 21.5 ml/kg body weight. Strains of Lactobacillus acidophilus can ameliorate this toxicity. The amino acid composition of deoiled jojoba seed meal is 1.05–1.11% lysine, 0.49% histidine, 1.6–1.8% arginine, 2.2–3.1% aspartic acid, 1.1–1.2% threonine, 1.0–1.1% serine, 2.4–2.8% glutamic acid, 1.0–1.1% proline, 1.4–1.5% glycine, 0.8–1.0% alanine, 1.1–1.2% valine, 0.2% methionine, 0.8–0.9% isoleucine, 1.5–1.6% leucine, 1.0% tyrosine, 0.9–1.1% phenyalanine, 0.5–0.8% cystine and cysteine, and 0.5–0.6% tryptophane. Detailed analyses of the wax esters, free alcohols, free acids, are reported in NAS (1975). Per 100 g jojoba meal, there is 1.4 g lysine, 0.6 g histidine, 1.9 g arginine, 2.6 aspartic acid, 1.3 threonine, 1.3 serine, 3.2 glutamic acid, 1.5 proline, 2.4 glycine, 1.1 alanine, 0.6 cystine, 1.5 valine, 0.1 methionine, 0.9 isoleucine, 1.8 leucine, 1.1 tyrosine, and 1.2 g phenylalanine. The two major flavonoid constituents of the leaves are isorhamnetin 3-rutinoside (narcissin) and isorhamnetin 3,7-dirhamnoside.

Edible Uses:
Seeds were said to be palatable and were eaten raw or parched by Indians. Recent studies suggest they are toxic. They may also be boiled to make a well-flavored drink similar to coffee, hence the name coffeberry.

Medicinal Uses:
Folk Medicine
This shrub is first mentioned in the literature by the Mexican historian Francisco J. Clavijero in 1789, who noted that the Indians of Baja California highly prized the fruit for food and the oil as a medicine for cancer and kidney disorders. Indians in Mexico use the oil as a hair restorer. According to Hartwell (1967–1971), the oil was used in folk remedies for cancer. Reported to be emetic, jojoba is a folk remedy for cancer, colds, dysuria, eyes, head, obesity, parturition, poison ivy, sores, sorethroat, warts, and wounds. Seri Indians applied jojoba to head sores and aching eyes. They drank jojoba-ade for colds and to facilitate parturition.

The leaves are good tea for chronic mucus-membrane inflammation, ranging from chronic colitis,vagnitis and hemorrhoids to stomach and esophageal ulcers.In Mxico it has been widly used as a floke medicine for asthma and emphysema, but it is a more matter of adding the injured pulmonary  membranes than addressing any underline causes.A tea for the  seeds will decrease inflamation in phryngitis,tonsillitis and various types sore throat.Two to three ounces of the infusion drunk every several hours decreas  the irretability of bladder and urithra membranes and painful urination.

Other uses:
Simmondsia is unique among plants in that its seeds contain an oil which is a liquid wax. Oil of Simmondsia is obtained by expression or solvent extraction. It is light yellow, unsaturated, of unusual stability, remarkably pure, and need not be refined for use as a transformer oil or as a lubricant for high-speed machinery or machines operating at high temperatures. The oil does not become rancid, is not damaged by repeated heating to temperatures over 295°C or by heating to 370°C for four days; the color is dispelled by heating for a short time at 285°C, does not change in viscosity appreciably at high temperatures, and requires little refining to obtain maximum purity. Since Simmondsia Oil resembles sperm whale oil both in composition and properties, it should serve as a replacement for the applications of that oil. The CMR (Nov. 28, 1983) reports that a new oil from the fish known as orange roughy is “attempting to make inroads on the jojoba and sperm whale markets.” Jojoba oil can be easily hydrogenated into a hard white wax, with a melting point of about 73°–74°C, and is second in hardness only to carnauba wax. The oil is a potential source of both saturated and unsaturated long-chain fatty acids and alcohols. It is also suitable for sulfurization to produce lubricating oil and a rubber-like material (factice) suitable for use in printing ink and linoleum. The residual meal from expression or extraction contains 30–35% protein and is acceptable as a livestock food.It is an important browse plant in California and Arizona, the foliage and young twigs being relished by cattle, goats and deer, hence the name goatnut.

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.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/duke_energy/simmondsia_chinensis.html
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=SICH
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_IJK.htm

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

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Simmondsia_chinensis_form.jpg

http://www.delange.org/Jojoba/Jojoba.htm

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Ailanthus altissima

Botanical Name : Ailanthus altissima Mill.
Family: Simaroubaceae
Genus: Ailanthus
Species
: A. altissima
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Synonyms : A. glandulosa

Common Name: Maharukh,Tree of heaven, Ailanthus, or in Standard Mandarin as chouchun(Chinese:Pinyin:Chouchun)

Habitat : It  is native to northern and central China, Taiwan and northern Korea. In Taiwan it is present as var. takanai. In China it is native to every province except Gansu, Heilongjiang, Hainan, Jilin, Ningxia, Qinghai, Xinjiang, and Tibet.

The tree prefers moist and loamy soils, but is adaptable to a very wide range of soil conditions and pH values. It is drought-hardy, but not tolerant of flooding. It also does not tolerate deep shade. In China it is often found in limestone-rich areas. The tree of heaven is found within a wide range of climatic conditions. In its native range it is found at high altitudes in Taiwan as well as lower ones in mainland China. In the U.S. it is found in arid regions bordering the Great Plains, very wet regions in the southern Appalachians, and cold areas of the lower Rocky Mountains. Prolonged cold and snow cover cause dieback, though the trees re-sprout from the roots.

Description:
Ailanthus altissima  is a deciduous tree, grows rapidly and is capable of reaching heights of 15 metres (49 ft) in 25 years. However, the species is also short lived and rarely lives more than 50 years.

A. altissima is a medium-sized tree that reaches heights between 17 and 27 metres (56 and 90 ft) with a diameter at breast height of about 1 metre (40 in). The bark is smooth and light grey, often becoming somewhat rougher with light tan fissures as the tree ages. The twigs are stout, smooth to lightly pubescent, and reddish or chestnut in colour. They have lenticels as well as heart-shaped leaf scars (i.e. a scar left on the twig after a leaf falls) with many bundle scars (i.e. small marks where the veins of the leaf once connected to the tree) around the edges. The buds are finely pubescent, dome shaped, and partially hidden behind the petiole, though they are completely visible in the dormant season at the sinuses of the leaf scars. The branches are light to dark gray in colour, smooth, lustrous, and containing raised lenticels that become fissures with age. The ends of the branches become pendulous. All parts of the plant have a distinguishing strong odour that is often likened to rotting peanuts or cashews.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
The leaves are large, odd- or even-pinnately compound, and arranged alternately on the stem. They range in size from 30 to 90 cm (0.98 to 3.0 ft) in length and contain 10–41 leaflets organised in pairs, with the largest leaves found on vigorous young sprouts. The rachis is light to reddish-green with a swollen base. The leaflets are ovate-lanceolate with entire margins, somewhat asymmetric and occasionally not directly opposite to each others. Each leaflet is 5 to 18 cm (2.0 to 7.1 in) long and 2.5 to 5 cm (0.98 to 2.0 in) wide. They have a long tapering end while the bases have two to four teeth, each containing one or more glands at the tip. The leaflets’ upper sides are dark green in colour with light green veins, while the undersides are a more whitish green. The petioles are 5 to 12 mm (0.20 to 0.47 in) long. The lobed bases and glands distinguish it from similar sumac species.

The flowers are small and appear in large panicles up to 50 cm (20 in) in length at the end of new shoots. The individual flowers are yellowish green to reddish in colour, each with five petals and sepals. The sepals are cup-shaped, lobed and united while the petals are valvate (i.e. they meet at the edges without overlapping), white and hairy towards the inside. They appear from mid-April in the south of its range to July in the north. A. altissima is dioecious, with male and female flowers being borne on different individuals. Male trees produce three to four times as many flowers as the females, making the male flowers more conspicuous. Furthermore, the male plants emit a foul-smelling odour while flowering to attract pollinating insects. Female flowers contain ten (or rarely five through abortion) sterile stamens (stamenoides) with heart-shaped anthers. The pistil is made up of five free carpels (i.e. they are not fused), each containing a single ovule. Their styles are united and slender with star-shaped stigmas.  The male flowers are similar in appearance, but they of course lack a pistil and the stamens do function, each being topped with a globular anther and a glandular green disc. The seeds borne on the female trees are 5 mm in diameter and each is encapsulated in a samara that is 2.5 cm long (1 in) and 1 cm (0.39 in) broad, appearing July though August, but usually persisting on the tree until the next spring. The samara is twisted at the tips, making it spin as it falls and assisting wind dispersal. The females can produce huge amounts of seeds, normally around 30,000 per kilogram (14,000/lb) of tree.

In China, the tree of heaven has a long and rich history. It was mentioned in the oldest extant Chinese dictionary and listed in countless Chinese medical texts for its purported ability to cure ailments ranging from mental illness to baldness. The roots, leaves and bark are still used today in traditional Chinese medicine, primarily as an astringent. The tree has been grown extensively both in China and abroad as a host plant for the ailanthus silkmoth, a moth involved in silk production. Ailanthus has become a part of western culture as well, with the tree serving as the central metaphor and subject matter of the best-selling American novel A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.

The tree was first brought from China to Europe in the 1740s and to the United States in 1784. It was one of the first trees brought west during a time when chinoiserie was dominating European arts, and was initially hailed as a beautiful garden specimen. However, enthusiasm soon waned after gardeners became familiar with its suckering habits and its foul smelling odour. Despite this, it was used extensively as a street tree during much of the 19th century. Outside of Europe and the United States, the plant has been spread to many other areas beyond its native range. In a number of these, it has become an invasive species due to its ability to quickly colonise disturbed areas and suppress competition with allelopathic chemicals. It is considered a noxious weed in Australia, the United States, New Zealand and several countries in southern and eastern Europe. The tree also resprouts vigorously when cut, making its eradication difficult and time consuming. In many urban areas, it has acquired the derisive nicknames of “ghetto palm” and “stink tree”.

Cultivation
Tree of heaven is a popular ornamental tree in China and valued for its tolerance of difficult growing conditions. It was once very popular in cultivation in both Europe and North America, but this popularity dropped, especially in the United States, due to the disagreeable odour of its blossoms and the weediness of its habit. The problem of odour was previously avoided by only selling pistillate plants since only males produce the smell, but a higher seed production also results. Michael Dirr, a noted American horticulturalist and professor at the University of Georgia, reported meeting, in 1982, a grower who could not find any buyers. He further writes (his emphasis):

For most landscaping conditions, it has no value as there are too many trees of superior quality; for impossible conditions this tree has a place; selection could be made for good habit, strong wood and better foliage which would make the tree more satisfactory; I once talked with an architect who tried to buy Ailanthus for use along polluted highways but could not find an adequate supply.
—Michael A. Dirr,  Manual of Woody Landscape Plants.

In Europe, however, the tree is still used in the garden to some degree as its habit is generally not as invasive as it is in America. In the United Kingdom it is especially common in London squares, streets, and parks, though it is also frequently found in gardens of southern England and East Anglia. It becomes rare in the north, occurring only infrequently in southern Scotland. It is also rare in Ireland. In Germany the tree is commonly planted in gardens. The tree has furthermore become unpopular in cultivation in the west because it is short-lived and that the trunk soon becomes hollow, making trees more than two feet in diameter unstable in high winds.

A few cultivars exist, but they are not often sold outside of China and probably not at all in North America:

‘Hongye’ – The name is Chinese and means “red leaves”. As the name implies it has attractive vivid red foliage.
‘Thousand Leaders’
‘Metro’ – A male cultivar with a tighter crown than usual and a less weedy habit
‘Erythrocarpa’ – The fruits are a striking red
‘Pendulifolia’ – Leaves are much longer and hang elegantly

Medicinal Uses:
Nearly every part of A. altissima has some application in Chinese traditional medicine. One of the oldest recipes, recorded in a work from 732 AD, is used for treating mental illness. It involved chopped root material, young boys’ urine and douchi. After sitting for a day the liquid was strained out and given to the patient over the course of several days.

Another source from 684 AD, during the Tang dynasty and recorded in Li Shizhen’s Compendium of Materia Medica, states that when the leaves are taken internally, they make one incoherent and sleepy, while when used externally they can be effectively used to treat boils, abscesses and itches. Yet another recipe recorded by Li uses the leaves to treat baldness. This formula calls for young leaves of ailanthus, catalpa and peach tree to be crushed together and the resulting liquid applied to the scalp to stimulate hair growth.

The dried bark, however, is still an officinal drug and is listed in the modern Chinese materia medica as chun bai pi (Chinese:  pinyin: ch?nbáipí), meaning “white bark of spring”. Modern works treat it in detail, discussing chemical constituents, how to identify the product and its pharmaceutical uses. It is prepared by felling the tree in fall or spring, stripping the bark and then scraping off the hardest, outermost portion, which is then sun-dried, soaked in water, partially re-dried in a basket and finally cut into strips. The bark is said to have cooling and astringent properties and is primarily used to treat dysentery, intestinal hemorrhage, menorrhagia and spermatorrhea. It is only prescribed in amounts between 4 and 10 grams, so as not to poison the patients. Li’s Compendium has 18 recipes that call for the bark. Asian and European chemists have found some justification for its medical use as it contains a long list of active chemicals that include quassin and saponin, while ailanthone, the allelopathic chemical in the tree of heaven, is a known antimalarial agent. It is available in most shops dealing in Chinese traditional medicine. A tincture of the root-bark has been used successfully in treating cardiac palpitation, asthma and epilepsy.

The samaras are also used in modern Chinese medicine under the name feng yan cao (traditional Chinese:  pinyin: fèngy?nc?o), meaning “herbal phoenix eye”. They are used as a hemostatic agent, spermatorrhea and for treating patients with blood in their feces or urine. It was clinically shown to be able to treat trichomoniasis, a vaginal infection caused by the protozoan Trichomonas vaginalis. In occident, an extract of the bark sold under the synonym A. glandulosa is sometimes used as an herbal remedy for various ailments including cancer.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the plant may be mildly toxic. The noxious odours have been associated with nausea and headaches, as well as with contact dermatitis reported in both humans and sheep, who also developed weakness and paralysis. It contains a quinone irritant, 2,6-dimethoxybenzoquinone, as well as active quassinoids (ailanthone itself being one) which may account for these effects, but they have, however, proved difficult or impossible to reproduce in humans and goats. In one trial a tincture from the blossom and foliage caused nausea, vomiting and muscular relaxation

Other Uses:
In addition to its use as an ornamental plant, the tree of heaven is also used for its wood, medicinal properties, and as a host plant to feed silkworms of the moth Samia cynthia, which produces silk that is stronger and cheaper than mulberry silk, although with inferior gloss and texture. It is also unable to take dye. This type of silk is known under various names: “pongee”, “eri silk” and “Shantung silk”, the last name being derived from Shandong Province in China where this silk is often produced. Its production is particularly well known in the Yantai region of that province. The moth has also been introduced in the United States.

The pale yellow, close-grained and satiny wood of ailanthus has been used in cabinet work. It is flexible and well suited to the manufacture of kitchen steamers, which are important in Chinese cuisine for cooking mantou, pastries and rice. Zhejiang Province in eastern China is most famous for producing these steamers. It is also considered a good source of firewood across much of its range as it moderately hard and heavy, yet readily available. There are problems with using the wood as lumber, however. Because the trees exhibit rapid growth for the first few years, the trunk has uneven texture between the inner and outer wood, which can cause the wood to twist or crack during drying. Techniques have been developed for drying the wood so as to prevent this cracking, allowing it to be commercially harvested. Although the live tree tends to have very flexible wood, the wood is quite hard once properly dried.

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/Ailanthus_altissima
http://vaniindia.org.whbus12.onlyfordemo.com/herbal/plantdir.asp
http://extension.entm.purdue.edu/caps/pestInfo/pics/big/treeHeaven1.jpg

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Kukui Nut Tree ( Aleurites moluccanus)

Botanical Name : Aleurites moluccanus
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Genus: Aleurites
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Malpighiales
Species: A. moluccana
Synonyms: Aleurites javanicus, Aleurites pentaphyllus, Aleurites trilobus, Jatropha moluccana

Common Names:Candleberry,  Kemiri, Varnish tree, Nuez de la India or Kukui nut tree.Kukui Nut Oil, Candlenut, Indian-walnut.

Vernacular Names : Hindi:  Jangli akhrot,  Akhrot • Marathi:  Ramakrot,  Akhod, Japhala, Ranakot • Tamil:  Nattu akrottu, Woodooga • Malayalam: Akrottu, Akshotam, Karankolam, Vadam • Telugu: Uduga, Natu akrotu • Kannada: Akroda, Natakrodu, Arkod, Naadu aakrotu • Oriya: Akshota • Sanskrit: Akharota, Akhota, Akshota, Asphotaka, Gudashaya

Habitat:Its native range is impossible to establish precisely because of early spread by humans, and the tree is now distributed throughout the New and Old World tropics.We can say Candle Nut is an evergreen tree  and native to Indo-Malaysia.

Description:
The Candlenut (Aleurites moluccana), is a flowering tree. It grows to a height of 15–25 m (49–82 ft), with wide spreading or pendulous branches. The leaves are pale green, simple and ovate, or trilobed or rarely 5-lobed, with an acute apex, 10–20 cm (3.9–7.9 in) long. The nut is round, 4–6 cm (1.6–2.4 in) in diameter; the seed inside has a very hard seed coat and a high oil content, which allows its use as a candle  hence its name.

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It is a highly domesticated tree. It grows to a height of 15–25 metres, with wide spreading or pendulous branches. The leaves are pale green, simple and ovate, or 3-5 lobed, with a pointed tip, 10–20 cm long. Candle Nut has both male and  female flowers on the same plant. The?greenish-white, fragrant flowers are arranged in a 10–15 cm panicled cyme at the end of branches, with many  small male flowers surrounding the?female?flowers.?The?flowers are?white to creamy in color, with five free petals, oblong in shape and up to1.3 cm long. Male flowers are longer and thinner than female flowers.

The plant typically flowers in the spring, although flowers  can be found nearly any time of year in many areas. The nut is round, 4–6 cm diameter – the seed inside has a very hard seed coat and a high oil content, which allows its use as a candle, hence its name. In Ancient Hawai?i, the nuts, named kukui were burned to provide light. The nuts were strung in a row on a palm leaf midrib, lit one end, and burned one by one every 15 minutes or so. Flowering: March-April.

Edible & Other Uses:
The nut is often used cooked in Indonesian and Malaysian cuisine, where it is called kemiri in Indonesian or buah keras in Malay. On the island of Java in Indonesia, it is used to make a thick sauce that is eaten with vegetables and rice. In the Philippines, the fruit and tree are traditionally known as Lumbang after which Lumban, a lakeshore town in Laguna is named although the name Jatropha has since gained more popularity. Outside of Southeast Asia, macadamia nuts are sometimes substituted for candlenuts when they are not available, as they have a similarly high oil content and texture when pounded. The flavor, however, is quite different, as the candlenut is much more bitter. A Hawaiian condiment known as ?Inamona is made from roasted kukui (candlenuts) mixed into a paste with salt. ?Inamona is a key ingredient in traditional Hawaiian poke. Because the nuts contains saponin and phorbol, they are mildly toxic when raw.

In Ancient Hawaii, kukui nuts were burned to provide light. The nuts were strung in a row on a palm leaf midrib, lit one end, and burned one by one every 15 minutes or so. This led to their use as a measure of time. One could instruct someone to return home before the second nut burned out. Hawaiians also extracted the oil from the nut and burned it in a stone oil lamp called a kukui hele po (light, darkness goes) with a wick made of kapa cloth.

Hawaiians also had many other uses for the tree, including: leis from the shells, leaves and flowers; ink for tattoos from charred nuts; a varnish with the oil; and fishermen would chew the nuts and spit them on the water to break the surface tension and remove reflections, giving them greater underwater visibility. A red-brown dye made from the inner bark was used on kapa and aho (Touchardia latifolia cordage). A coating of kukui oil helped preserve ?upena (fishing nets). The nohona wa?a (seats), pale (gunwales) of wa?a (outrigger canoes) were made from the wood. The trunk was sometimes used to make smaller canoes used for fishing. Kukui was named the state tree of Hawai’i on 1 May 1959 due to its multitude of uses. It also represents the island of Moloka?i, whose symbolic color is the silvery green of the kukui leaf.

In Tonga, even today, ripe nuts, named tuitui are pounded into a paste, tukilamulamu, and used as soap or shampoo. As recently as 1993, candlenuts were chewed into sweet-scented emollient utilized during a traditional funerary ritual in the outlying islands of the Kingdom of Tonga.

Dead wood of candlenut is eaten by a larva of a coleoptera called Agrionome fairmairei. This larva is eaten by some people.

Modern cultivation is mostly for the oil. In plantations, each tree will produce 30–80 kg (66–180 lb) of nuts, and the nuts yield 15 to 20% of their weight in oil. Most of the oil is used locally rather than figuring in international trade.

Mythology
In Hawai’i the kukui is a symbol of enlightenment, protection and peace. It was said that Kamapua?a, the hog-man fertility demi-god, could transform into a kukui tree. One of the legends told of a woman who, despite her best efforts to please her husband, was routinely beaten. Finally, the husband beat her to death and buried her under a kukui tree. Being a kind and just woman, she was given new life, and the husband was eventually killed

Medicinal Uses:

Several parts of the plant have been used in traditional medicine in most of the areas where it is native. The oil is an irritant and purgative and sometimes used like castor oil. The seed kernels have a laxative effect. In Japan its bark has been used on tumors. In Sumatra, , pounded seeds, burned with charcoal, are applied around the navel for costiveness. In Malaya, the pulped kernels or boiled leaves are used in poultices for headache, fevers, ulcers, swollen joints, and gonorrhea. In Java, the bark is used for bloody diarrhea or dysentery. In Sumatra, pounded seeds, burned with charcoal, are applied around the navel for cositiveness. Bark juice with coconut milk is used for sprue. The fruit is eaten to produce aphrodisiac stimulation and the gum from the bark is chewed for the same reason. The oil is sometimes used medicinally similar to castor oil, as well as a laxative. In Southeast Asia, the oil is sometimes applied topically to treat headaches, fevers and swollen joints. To treat sores or infections in the mouth and to soothe the gums of teething babies, healers pick green kukui nuts in the morning when the sap is running. They separate the stem from the husk of the nut, and a small pool of sap fills the resulting hole. They apply the sap topically on sores or mix it with water to make a mouthwash. Its partly dried sap is used to treat thrush (ea) and its leaves are used as poultice for swellings and infections.

Candlenut oil is also used as a hair stimulant or additive to hair treatment systems. The seed kernels have a laxative effect. In Japan its bark has been used on tumors. In Sumatra, pounded seeds, burned with charcoal, are applied around the navel for costiveness. In Malaya, the pulped kernels or boiled leaves are used in poultices for headache, fevers, ulcers, swollen joints, and gonorrhea. In Java, the bark is used for bloody diarrhea or dysentery. In Hawaii, the flowers and the sap at the top of the husk (when just removed from the branch) were used to treat e’a (oral candidiasis) in children.

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Common medicinal Uses: Acne * Burns/SunBurn * Eczema * Hair Care/Shampoo * Natural Skin Care-Oils & Herbs * Psoriasis *

Kukui oil is expeller expressed from the nuts, and is light yellow with an amber tint. The oil pentrates skin deeply to hydrate and soften and is used an an emollient in skin care. Kukui oil is used to treat a variety of skin ailments such as eczema, psorisis and burned or damaged skin. Kukui is an excellent botanical source of fatty acids and antioxidents, as well as Vitamins A,C and E.

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/Aleurites_moluccana
http://www.flowersofindia.net/catalog/slides/Candle%20Nut.html
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail467.php

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

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