Tag Archives: Alfalfa

Fragaria bracteata

 

Botanical Name: Fragaria bracteata
Family: Rosaceae
Subfamily: Rosoideae
Tribe: Potentilleae
Subtribe: Fragariinae
Genus: Fragaria
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Synonyms : F. vesca bracteata. F. vesca crinita.

Common Name : Woodland Strawberry

Habitat :Fragaria bracteata is native to Western N. AmericaBritish Columbia to California. It grows in moist woods, stream banks and sandy meadows.

Description:
Fragaria bracteata is a perennial plant growing to 0.3 m (1ft). It is in flower from Apr to May, and the seeds ripen from Jun to July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

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Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.
Cultivation:
Prefers a fertile, well-drained, moisture retentive soil in a sunny position. Tolerates semi-shade though fruit production will be reduced. There is some doubts over the validity of this name. It is probably best included as part of F. vesca. Plants like a mulch of pine or spruce leaves, appreciating the acid conditions.
Propagation:
Seed – sow early spring in a greenhouse. The seed can take 4 weeks or more to germinate. The seedlings are very small and slow-growing at first, but then grow rapidly. Prick them out into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out during the summer. Division of runners, preferably done in July/August in order to allow the plants to become established for the following years crop. They can also be moved in the following spring if required, though should not then be allowed to fruit in their first year. The runners can be planted out direct into their permanent positions.
Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Fruit. & Tea…….Fruit – raw. Sweet and succulent, they are eaten as a delicacy. The leaves are used as a tea substitute

Medicinal Uses: Not known

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fragaria
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Fragaria+bracteata

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Tulipa Edulis

Botanical Name : Tulipa edulis
Family  : Liliaceae
Genus   : Tulipa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Liliales
Species: T. edulis

Synonyms : Amana edulis – (Miq.)Honda.,Amana graminifolia – (Baker. ex S.Moore.)A.D.Hall.,Tulipa graminifolia – Baker. ex S.Moore.
Common names: lao ya ban

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Habitat :
E. Asia – E. China, S. Japan, Korea, Manchuria  Moist places in meadows in lowlands, near rivers and on wooded hillsides. Grassy slopes and hillsides from near sea level to 1700 metres in China.

Description:
Bulb growing to 0.15m at a slow rate.
It is hardy to zone 7 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from March to April, and the seeds ripen from May to June. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs).

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The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires moist soil.

Cultivation
Easily grown in a well-drained soil in a sunny position[1, 90]. This species is not fully hardy in Britain, the plants come into growth in the winter and need protection from severe weather and so are best grown in a bulb frame[1]. Plants are dormant in summer but do not require protection from rain[90]. Bulbs can be harvested in June after they have died down and then stored in a cool dry place, being planted out again in October.

Propagation
Seed – best sown in a shady part of the cold frame as soon as it is ripe in early summer, or in the early autumn. A spring sowing of stored seed in the greenhouse also succeeds. Sow the seed thinly so that the seedlings can be grown on without disturbance for their first growing season – apply liquid feeds to the pot if necessary. Divide the bulbs once the plants have become dormant, putting 3 – 4 bulbs in each pot. Grow the on in the greenhouse for at least the next year, planting them out when dormant. Division of offsets in July. Larger bulbs can be planted out straight into their permanent positions, or can be stored in a cool place and then be planted out in late autumn. It is best to pot up smaller bulbs and grow them on in a cold frame for a year before planting them out when they are dormant in late summer to the middle of autumn.

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Leaves; Root.

Bulb – cooked. A source of starch.  The bulb can be up to 4cm in diameter. Leaves – cooked. Unless you have more plants than you need this practise is not recommended since it will greatly weaken the plant.

Medicinal Actions & Uses
Antidote; Antipyretic; Cancer; Depurative; Expectorant; Febrifuge; Laxative.

The inner portion of the bulb is antidote, antipyretic, depurative, expectorant, febrifuge and laxative. It is used, mainly as a poultice, in the treatment of ulcers and abscesses. The plant has been used in the treatment of cancer. The leaves are applied externally to abscesses, buboes and breast diseases. The flowers are used in the treatment of dysuria.

Known Hazards: Although no records of toxicity have been seen for this species, the bulbs and the flowers of at least one member of this genus have been known to cause dermatitis in sensitive people, though up to 5 bulbs a day of that species can be eaten without ill-effect.

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/database/plants.php?Tulipa+edulis
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulipa_edulis
http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/taxon.pl?423574

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Alfalfa

Botanical Name : Medicago sativa
Family:Fabaceae
Genus: Medicago
Species:M. sativa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:Fabales

Synonyms:  Purple Medicle. Cultivated Lucern.

Common Names :Alfalfa, Medicago sativa, Lucerne

Habitat :Alfalfa is native to western Asia and the eastern Mediterranean region

Description:
Alfalfa is a perennial flowering plant in the pea family Fabaceae cultivated as an important forage crop in many countries around the world. The Spanish-Arabic (according to wiktionary and the DRAE) name alfalfa is widely used, particularly in North America and Australia. But in the UK, South Africa and New Zealand, the more commonly used name is lucerne. It superficially resembles clover, with clusters of small purple flowers followed by fruits spiralled in 2 to 3 turns containing 10-20 seeds. Alfalfa is native to a warmer temperate climate such as that of Iran (where it is thought to have originated). It has been cultivated as livestock fodder since at least the era of the ancient Greeks and Romans.
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 Alfalfa sprouts have become a popular food. Alfalfa herbal supplements primarily use the dried leaves of the plant. The heat-treated seeds of the plant have also been used.Alfalfa has been used in connection with the high cholesterol, menopause and poor appetite.

Sunshine, regular watering are the necessary conditions for the growth of this 1 to 3 feet tall herb which is not picky about the soil and is cultivated in many parts of the world..

First discovered by the Arabs, who dubbed this valuable plant the “father of all foods”, the leaves of the alfalfa plant are rich in minerals including calcium, magnesium, potassium, and carotene to support the heart and normal cellular division. English herbalist John Gerard recommended alfalfa for upset stomachs. Noted biologist and author Frank Bouer discovered that the leaves of this remarkable legume contain eight essential amino acids. Alfalfa is suggested to be a good cleanser and a natural diuretic. This versatile herb is also a folk remedy for joint stress, and is reputed to be an excellent appetite stimulant and overall tonic. Unfortunately, most westerners regard alfalfa as cattle fodder and therefore rarely take advantage of the beneficial properties of this common plant.

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Many years ago, traditional Chinese physicians used young alfalfa leaves to treat disorders of the digestive tract. Similarly, the Ayurvedic physicians of India prescribed the leaves and flowering tops for poor digestion. Alfalfa was also considered therapeutic for water retention and arthritis. North American Indians recommended alfalfa to treat jaundice and to encourage blood clotting.

Although conspicuously absent from many classic textbooks on herbal medicine, alfalfa did find a home in the texts of the Eclectic physicians (19th-century physicians in the United States who used herbal therapies) as a tonic for indigestion, dyspepsia, anemia, loss of appetite, and poor assimilation of nutrients. These physicians also recommended the alfalfa plant to stimulate lactation in nursing mothers, and the seeds were made into a poultice for the treatment of boils and insect bites.

Religious importance:
It is believed that if this herb is kept in a container and placed outside home it prevents the house from poverty and hunger. Scattering the ashes of burned alfalfa protects property.

Active constituents:
While the medicinal benefits of alfalfa are poorly understood, the constituents in alfalfa have been extensively studied. The leaves contain approximately 2–3% saponins. Animal studies suggest that these constituents block absorption of cholesterol and prevent the formation of atherosclerotic plaques. One small human trial found that 120 grams per day of heat-treated alfalfa seeds for eight weeks led to a modest reduction in cholesterol. However, consuming the large amounts of alfalfa seeds (80–120 grams per day) needed to supply high amounts of these saponins may potentially cause damage to red blood cells in the body. Herbalists also claim that alfalfa may be helpful for people with diabetes. But while high amounts of a water extract of the leaves led to increased insulin release in animal studies, there is no evidence that alfalfa would be useful for the treatment of diabetes in humans.

Alfalfa leaves also contain flavones, isoflavones, sterols, and coumarin derivatives. The isoflavones are thought to be responsible for the estrogen-like effects seen in animal studies. Although this has not been confirmed with human trials, alfalfa is sometimes used to treat menopause symptoms.

Alfalfa contains protein and vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin K. Nutrient analysis demonstrates the presence of calcium, potassium, iron, and zinc.

 Cultivation:   
Alfalfa is a very versatile plant that can adapt to a wide range of climatic conditions from cold temperate to warm sub-tropical. It succeeds on a wide variety of soils, but thrives best on a rich, friable, well-drained loamy soil with loose topsoil supplied with lime. It does not tolerate waterlogging and fails to grow on acid soils. Grows well on light soils[206]. The plant has a deep taproot and, once establishd, tolerates drought and extremely dry conditions. Prefers a neutral fertile soil but succeeds in relatively poor soils so long as the appropriate Rhizobium bacteria is present.  A good bee plant and a food plant for many caterpillars. Alfalfa is a very deep rooting plant, bringing up nutrients from deep in the soil and making them available for other plants with shallower root systems. It is a good companion plant for growing near fruit trees and grape vines so long as it is in a reasonably sunny position, but it does not grow well with onions or other members of the Allium genus. Growing alfalfa encourages the growth of dandelions. Alfalfa has long been cultivated for its edible seed, which can be sprouted and eaten in salads. It is also grown as a green manure and soil restorer. There are many named varieties. Botanists divide the species into a number of sub-species – these are briefly described below:- M. sativa caerulea (Less. ex Ledeb.)Schmalh. This sub-species is likely to be of value in breeding programmes for giving cold tolerance, drought resistance and salt tolerance to alfalfa. M. sativa falcata (L.)Arcang. This sub-species is likely to be of value in breeding programmes for giving cold tolerance, drought and disease resistance plus salt and water-logging tolerance to alfalfa. M. sativa sativa. The commonly cultivated form of alfalfa. M. sativa varia (Martyn.)Arcang. This sub-species is likely to be of value in breeding programmes for giving cold tolerance, drought resistance and high yields to alfalfa. 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.

Propagation:                                            
Pre-soak the seed for 12 hours in warm water and then sow in spring in situ. The seed can also be sown in situ in autumn. Seed can be obtained that has been inoculated with Rhizobium bacteria, enabling the plant to succeed in soils where the bacteria is not already present.

Medicinal Uses:

The whole herb is used medicinally to help stop bleeding to benefit the kidneys and as a general tonic.   It is a good laxative and a natural diuretic.  It is a folk remedy for arthritis and is reputed to be an excellent appetite stimulant.  Alfalfa possesses extremely high nutritional value.  An excellent source of vitamins A and D, alfalfa leaf is used in the infants’ cereal pablum.  Also rich in vitamin K, alfalfa leaf has been used in medicine to encourage blood clotting.  Alfalfa also lowers blood cholesterol.  Other recommended uses for alfalfa are for asthma and hayfever.  It has also been found to retard the development of streptozotocin diabetes in mice.    It is a traditional European and Russian tea for wasting diseases and is used in some German clinics as a dietary aid in Celiac Disease, together with traditional treatment and diet.  A safe and appropriate tea for pregnancy, along with raspberry leaves; also good to drink when sulfa or antibiotic drugs are taken.

Benefits of alfalfa include:

Excellent source of nutritive properties

Minerals

Chlorophyll

Vitamins

Thyroid support

Blood purifier

A host of phytonutrients

Alfalfa is useful in the support of urinary tract health including kidney, bladder and prostate and detoxifies the body, especially the liver. Alfalfa has estrogenic properties and therefore helps support the female cycle.

It is used for treating anemia, fatigue, kidneys, peptic ulcers, pituitary problems, and for building general health, retaining water in the body, relieving urinary and bowel problems. This herb is effective for the treatment of narcotic and alcohol addiction.

Alfalfa acts as a blood purifier and has helped many arthritis sufferers. The action as a detoxifier and blood purifier has been found to be beneficial for a variety of illnesses, including liver disorders, breath odor, infections, disorders of the bones and joints and skin ailments.

Alfalfa is a good laxative and natural diuretic that promotes urine flow and is often used to treat urinary tract infections and eliminate excess retained water.

Alfalfa has an alkalizing effect on the body. It is a great source of mineral supplements that are all alkaline, which has a neutralizing effect on the intestinal tract, thereby easing digestive problems, such as upset stomach, gastritis and indigestion.

Alfalfa contains a high calcium and magnesium content, and studies have shown that migraines may be prevented and/or reduced when these two minerals are combined. All the minerals are in a balanced form, which also promotes absorption.

Herbalists have long used Alfalfa Leaf to treat ulcers, as the bioflavonoids found in Alfalfa reduce inflammation of the stomach lining and build capillary strength, while Alfalfa’s vitamin A helps to maintain the stomach’s overall health. The herb’s enzymes aid in food assimulation. During the Han Dynasty (200 A.D.), Alfalfa was used to treat ulcers and continues in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to strengthen the digestive tract and stimulate the appetite.

Alfalfa is said to lower cholesterol and prevent the formation of atherosclerotic plaques (by blocking cholesterol’s absorption into the body from the intestines), balance blood sugar (especially when taken with manganese) and promote pituitary gland function.

Alfalfa is an immune-system stimulant that promotes normal blood clotting; and the vitamin K content helps treat bleeding gums and nosebleed, but does not interfere with normal circulation. The bioflavonoids found in Alfalfa are believed to build capillary strength.

Alfalfa contains phytoestrogens, and the herb has had some estrogenic activity in women whose own sex hormone production has declined; thus Alfalfa has helped many women with the discomforts of menopausal symptoms, particularly hot flashes. The phytoestrogens appear to reduce the risk of estrogen-linked disease, including serious breast problems). The Vitamin K2 found in Alfalfa may also partially prevent bone loss caused by estrogen deficiency.

Dried alfalfa leaf is available as a bulk herb, and in tablets or capsules. It is also available in liquid extracts. No therapeutic amount of alfalfa has been established for humans. Some herbalists recommend 500–1,000 mg of the dried leaf per day or 1–2 ml of tincture three times per day.

Use of the dried leaves of alfalfa in the amounts listed above is usually safe. There have been isolated reports of people who are allergic to alfalfa.

Contraindications:
Alfalfa should not be taken by those who have autoimmune problems (lupus, etc.), nor should it be taken by pregnant women. Ingestion of very large amounts (the equivalent of several servings)

of the seed and/or sprouts or supplements has been linked to the onset of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), the autoimmune illness characterized by inflamed joints and a risk of damage to kidneys and other organs. The chemical responsible for this effect is believed to be canavanine. Those taking prescription anticoagulants such as Coumadin, etc., should avoid this herb.

We can learn little more about Alflfa from this page.

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://groups.msn.com http://www.herbalextractsplus.com/alfalfa-leaf.cfm?gclid=CLGiro2w24cCFQ9OWAodujVXBw

http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Medicago+sativa

http://www.ayurveda-herbal-remedy.com/herbal-encyclopedia/index.html

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

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