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Lactuca sibirica

 

Botanical Name: Lactuca sibirica
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cichorieae
Genus: Lactuca
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms: Lactuca sibirica (L.) Benth., Lagedium sibiricum (L.) Sojak., Sonchus sibiricus L., Mulgedium sibiricum Less., Agathyrsus sibiricus D.Don.

Common Names: Prickly lettuce

Habitat:Lactuca sibirica is native to N. Europe to E. Asia. It grows on woods and scrub, also on river sands and gravels.

Description:
Lactuca sibirica is a perennial herb . Stalks are 25-100 (to 140) cm in height, straight, simple, non-pubescent, frequently red. The main root is erect, sometimes branchy. The root system consists of numerous roots and rhizomes. Leaves are sessile, lanceolate, elongate-acuminate, 1-5 cm in width, 6-18 cm in length, full, less often runcinate or pinnatilobate. Leaves are naked or weakly pubescent, amplexicaul cordate or sagittate at base; upper side green, underside glaucous. Phyllotaxy alternate. Corymbose-paniculate inflorescence consists of rather large calathidia 2.5-3 cm in diameter. Flowers are dark blue or violet, with ligules. Ligules are 10-15 mm in length and 2-3-mm in width. Involucre is cylindrical in form, 3-4-seriate, 9-14 mm in length, 4-8 mm in width. Leaflets lanceolate, bare with the pubescent top. Fruits are hemicarps, slightly compressed and ribbed, up to 5 mm in length, densely pubescent. Rostellum is usually a quarter the size of the hemicarp. Pappus is yellowish, up to 10 mm in length. It is in flower during July -and in fruit during August-September.

Flower color is blue, rarely white. Achene brown to olive green, narrowly ellipsoid, ca. 4 mm, subcompressed, either marginal rib almost as thick as ca. 1/3 of achene diam., middle third with 4 or 5 narrow ribs on either side, apically attenuate or with a ca. 1 mm beak. Pappus 5-7 mm.

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The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

Cultivation:
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) 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. But light sandy loam in a sunny position is prefered.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in situ and only just cover the seed. Germination is usually fairly quick. Division in spring. Make sure that each portion of root has at least one leaf bud.

Edible Uses: Young plants are eaten – raw or cooked. An emergency food, it is only used when all else fails

Medicinal Uses:
The whole plant is rich in a milky sap that flows freely from any wounds. This hardens and dries when in contact with the air. The sap contains ‘lactucarium’, which is used in medicine for its anodyne, antispasmodic, digestive, diuretic, hypnotic, narcotic and sedative properties. Lactucarium has the effects of a feeble opium, but without its tendency to cause digestive upsets, nor is it addictive. It is taken internally in the treatment of insomnia, anxiety, neuroses, hyperactivity in children, dry coughs, whooping cough, rheumatic pain etc. Concentrations of lactucarium are low in young plants and most concentrated when the plant comes into flower. It is collected commercially by cutting the heads of the plants and scraping the juice into china vessels several times a day until the plant is exhausted. An infusion of the fresh or dried flowering plant can also be used. The plant should be used with caution, and never without the supervision of a skilled practitioner. Even normal doses can cause drowsiness whilst excess causes restlessness and overdoses can cause death through cardiac paralysis. Some physicians believe that any effects of this medicine are caused by the mind of the patient rather than by the medicine. The sap has also been applied externally in the treatment of warts

Known Hazards: Although no specific mention of toxicity has been seen for this species, many plants in this genus contain a narcotic principle, this is at its most concentrated when the plant begins to flower. This principle has been almost bred out of the cultivated forms of lettuce but is produced when the plant starts to go to seed.
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/Lactuca

http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=200024118

http://www.agroatlas.ru/en/content/weeds/Lactuca_sibirica/http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Lactuca+sibirica

 

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Prunus japonica

Botanical Name ; Prunus japonica
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Prunus
Subgenus: Cerasus
Species: P. japonica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Synonyms : Cerasus japonica – (Thunb.)Loisel.

Common Names : Korean cherry, Flowering almond or Oriental bush cherry,

Habitat :  Prunus japonica is  native range extends from Central China through to the Korean peninsula. P. maximowiczii, the Miyama cherry is also often referred to as Korean cherry.Found in woodlands in mountain valleys. Forest on mountain slopes, thickets and sunny mountain slopes at elevations of 100 – 200 metres.

The plant thrives on well-drained and moist loamy soil and prefers little shade or no shade at all. The plant prefers some lime in the soil but not too much. It is mostly found at woodlands or sunny places.

Description:
The shrub reaches 1.5 m by 1.5 m. Its flowers are hermaphrodite and are pollinated by insects. The plant blossoms in May. Its fruit reaches about 14 mm and has an agreeably sweet flavor, therefore it is used in making pies, but its taste is quite sour, reminiscent of that of Sour cherry.

Every fruit has one seed. The plant usually grows from seed but can also be multiplied by cutting for layering.

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

Cultivation:
Thrives in a well-drained moisture-retentive loamy soil. Prefers some lime in the soil but is likely to become chlorotic if too much lime is present[1]. Succeeds in sun or partial shade though it fruits better in a sunny position. Plants are hardy to at least -15°c. A very ornamental plant, but it is subject to die-back. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus. The Korean cherry is sometimes cultivated for its edible fruit, there is at least one named variety. The sub-species P. japonica nakai. (Lév.)Rehd., which comes from Manchuria, has larger plum-like fruits up to 50mm in diameter. This species is closely related to P. glandulosa. Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged.

Propagation:
Seed – requires 2 – 3 months cold stratification and is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible. Protect the seed from mice etc. The seed can be rather slow, sometimes taking 18 months to germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Grow them on in a greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July/August in a frame. Softwood cuttings from strongly growing plants in spring to early summer in a frame. Layering in spring.

Medicinal Uses:
Medical interestAlthough this is not yet scientifically established, the species is thought[by whom?] to contain amygdalin and prunasin, as is the case at all the other members of the genus Prunus. These chemical compounds break down in water to form hydrocyanic acid, an extremely poisonous substance that when taken in very small amount can stimulate respiration and improve digestion.

The kernel of Prunus japonica is highly versatile: it is deobstruent, aperient, demulcent, carminative, diuretic, laxative, hypotensive, ophthalmic and lenitive. It can also be prescribed for internal use in treating dry constipation, oedema or post-traumatic insomnia. Other part of the plant is also used, but more rarely. For instance, the root acts against constipation, child fever, pinworms and teeth problems

Other uses:  The leaves of this plant procure a green dye, while the fruit procures a greenish to grayish dye.

Known Hazards:  Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus where most, if not all members of the genus produce hydrogen cyanide, a poison that gives almonds their characteristic flavour. This toxin is found mainly in the leaves and seed and is readily detected by its bitter taste. It is usually present in too small a quantity to do any harm but any very bitter seed or fruit should not be eaten. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.

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/Prunus_japonica
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Prunus+japonica
http://www.landscapedia.info/plant.php?plantID=5296

http://hortuscamden.com/plants/view/prunus_japonica_thunb

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Water Arum(Calla palustris)

Botanical Name : Calla palustris
Family : Araceae
Subfamily: Calloideae
Genus :               Calla
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Alismatales
Species: C. palustris

Habitat :  Forest swamps, moorland marshes, by ponds and streams.
.Pond; Bog Garden;

Description:
It is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant growing in bogs and ponds. The leaves are rounded to heart-shaped, 6–12 cm long on a 10–20 cm petiole, and 4–12 cm broad. The greenish-yellow inflorescence is produced on a spadix about 4–6 cm long, enclosed in a white spathe. The fruit is a cluster of red berries, each berry containing several seeds.

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It is hardy to zone 4. It is in flower from June to July, and the seeds ripen from August to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Flies.
The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid soil. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires wet soil and can grow in water.

Cultivation details
Requires a wet lime-free humus rich soil by water or in shallow, still or slowly flowing water in full sun[200]. When grown on the pond margins it creeps in and out of the water[1]. Succeeds in water up to 25cm deep[188].

Propagation
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in late summer in a cold frame in pots standing in about 3cm of water[200]. Sow stored seed as early as possible in the year in a greenhouse. The germination rate of stored seed is often poor. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in trays of water in the greenhouse for at least their first winter, planting them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in spring[200]. Very easy, it is possible to divide this plant at almost any time in the growing season. Any part of the stem, if placed in water or a pot of very wet soil, will quickly root away to form a new plant. Stem cuttings in summer, rooted in wet mud.


Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Fruit; Root; Seed.

Rhizome – cooked. It is usually prepared by drying the root, grinding it into a powder and then thoroughly cooking it to ensure that any acrimonious principle is completely destroyed. The resulting powder is rich in starch and can be used as a flour for making bread etc, especially in conjunction with cereal flours[1, 2, 55, 100, 183]. It is said to be very tasty[65]. Fruit (does this include the seed?) – it should be dried and then thoroughly cooked[172]. The dried fruit and rootstalk can be ground into an unpalatable but nutritious powder[172]. The seed is dried, cooked and ground into a powder.

Medicinal Actions &  Uses
Antirheumatic; Poultice.

Antirheumatic. Used in the treatment of colds and flu. A tea made from the dried root has been used in the treatment of flu, shortness of breath, bleeding and as a poultice on swellings and snakebites. The aerial stems have been used in the treatment of sore legs.
Known Hazards:The plant is very poisonous when fresh due to its high oxalic acid content, but the rhizome, like that of Caladium, Colocasia and Arum, is edible after drying, grinding, leaching and boiling.

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?Calla+palustris
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calla
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Calla_palustris

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Fatty Fish-oil May Help Reduce Tumour

An omega 3 fatty acid found in fish oils reduced the size of tumours in mice and made a chemotherapy drug more potent while limiting its  harmful effects, Egyptian researchers reported.

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The findings, published in publisher BioMed Central‘s peer-reviewed Cell Division journal, add to evidence showing a range of health benefits from eating the fatty acids found in foods such as salmon. A.M. El-Mowafy and colleagues from Mansoura University in Egypt looked at how an omega 3 fatty acid called docosahexanoic acid, or DHA, affected solid tumours growing in mice and how well it interacted with the chemotherapy drug cisplatin.

“Our results suggest a new, fruitful drug regimen in the management of solid tumours based on combining cisplatin and possibly other chemotherapeutics with DHA,” El-Mowafy said in a statement. “DHA elicited prominent chemo-preventative effects on its own, and appreciably augmented those of cisplatin as well.” In March, U.S. researchers showed that a diet high in omega 3 fatty acids– the kind found in fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines- protected against advanced prostate cancer even in men more at risk of the disease.

The fatty acids, also found in foods such as walnuts and leafy greens, have been shown to provide an anti-inflammatory effect and have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease. In their study, El-Mowafy’s team found that, at the molecular level, DHA reduces the accumulation of white blood cells, systemic inflammation, and a harmful condition marked by decreased antioxidant levels- all of which have been linked to tumour growth. Their experiment also showed that the fatty acid reduced toxicity and injury to kidney tissue caused by the chemotherapy drug, the researchers said.

Sources:The Times Of India

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Bergamot

Botanical Name: Monarda citriodora/Citrus aurantium ssp. bergamia
Family :Rutaceae — (rue family)
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales
Genus: Citrus
Species: C. aurantium x C. medica
Other Name : The bergamot orange is unrelated to the herbs of the same name, Monarda didyma and Monarda fistulosa.Citrus bergamia syn C.b. rutaceae syn C. aurantium var. bergamia
The name BERGAMOT is shared by unrelated perennial plants of the Monarda species.
Parts Used: Flowers, ripe fruit peel.

Habitat:Originally Asia. Today also cultivated in the Ivory Coast and Reggio di Calabria in southern Italy. Italian Bergamot is preferred. Extensively cultivated in southern France and Italy for a long time, it is believed the orange blossom as a symbol for marriage originated there.

Description:
A tree of the citrus family which is similar in appearance to Bitter Orange aka Seville Orange (C. aurantium), but with wider leaves and a more aromatic rind on the fruit. Both Neroli oil from the flowers, and Bergamot oil from the rinds, are obtained by distillation.Bergamot grows on small evergreen trees which blossom during the spring.

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Leaves – The bergamot tree has an evergreen and a relatively light-green foliage, close to the one of the lemon tree. (Citrus limon)
Flowers – Flowers are white, star-shaped, and strongly fragrant. Branches are often thorny.
Fruits – The bergamot, or orange bergamot, is a citrus fruit that looks like a slightly flattened and small lemon. Its skin is yellow to orange-yellow. The bergamot is seldom eaten raw, but is rather candied or processed to get the essential oils it contains
Fragrance: Subtle orangey, citrus scent. Somewhat spicy.

Companion plant
Bergamot’s aromatic roots are thought to mask other nearby plants from pests that attack their roots, and so are sometimes grown as a companion in vegetable gardens.

Religious importance
It is believed that this herb is used in the rituals and spells for money and success.


USES:

In food
An essence extracted from the aromatic skin of this sour fruit is used to flavour Earl Grey tea and confectionery. One Italian food manufacturer produces a commercial marmalade using the fruit as its principal ingredient. It is also popular in Greece as a preserve, made with bergamot peel boiled in sugar syrup.

As a scent
Bergamot peel is used in perfumery for its ability to combine with an array of scents to form a bouquet of aromas which complement each other. Approximately one third of all men’s and about half of women’s perfumes contain bergamot essential oil. Bergamot was a component of the original Eau de Cologne developed in 17th century Germany – in 1704 the bergamot was first used to make the now famous “Eau de toilette” from the bergamot fruit by scooping out the pulp and squeezing the peel into sponges. 100 bergamot oranges will yield about 3 ounces of bergamot oil.

Companion plant
Bergamot’s aromatic roots are thought to mask other nearby plants from pests that attack their roots, and so are sometimes grown as a companion in vegetable gardens.

Medicinal Uses:
The strongly acidic fruit of the bitter orange stimulates the digestion and relieves flatulence. An infusion of the fruit is thought to soothe headaches, calm palpitations and lower fevers. The juice helps the body eliminate waste products, and, being rich in vitamin C, helps the immune system ward off infection. If taken to excess, however, its acid content can exacerbate arthritis. In Chinese herbal medicine, the unripe fruit, known as zhi shi, is thought to regulate the quick helping to relieve flatulence and abdominal bloating, and to open the bowels. The distilled flower water is antispasmodic and sedative.

In sunscreens:

In the past psoralen – extracted from bergamot oil – has been used in tanning accelerators and sunscreens. Psoralens penetrate the skin, where they increase the amount of direct DNA damage. This damage is responsible for sunburn and for an increased melanin production.

These substances were known to be photocarcinogenic since 1959, but they were only banned from sunscreens in 1995. These photocarcinogenic substances were banned years after they had caused many cases of malignant melanoma and deaths. Psoralen is now used only in the treatment of certain skin disorders, as part of PUVA therapy.

Witchcraft
Bergamot was said to be used by Italian calabrian wiccas that used the fruit in potions to make women fertile, men impotent, or to get rid of warts or blemishes. Today there is a well-known pagan cult that worship the god given name of the Bergamot. On their talismans is a bergamot orange.

In hoodoo rootwork, bergamot is used to control or command, and for this reason is used in a variety of spells and formulas in which a practitioner might wish to subdue another person.

Bergamot Oil (Citrus bergamia) – A light greenish-yellow liquid with a fresh sweet-fruity, slightly spicy-balsamic undertone. Blends well with lavender, neroli, jasmine, cypress, geranium, lemon, chamomile, juniper, coriander and violet. Contains 0.2-0.5% furocoumarin (as bergaptene). If used straight, it has severe phototoxicity. Avoid sunlight after use on skin. To avoid phototoxicity use in dilutions of less than 1%. Otherwise non-toxic and relatively non-irritating.
Extraction: Cold pressed from the peels.
Country of Origin: Italy

MEDICINAL USES:
*Antiseptic, appetite stimulant.
*Bitter, aromatic; relieves tension; antispasmodic; digestive aid.
*Oil is considered sedative and healing.
*Orange blossom water has been used for infant colic.
*Bergamot oil has been used in douches and baths for vaginal infections.
*Formerly, the dried flowers were used in infusion form as a mild nervous stimulant.

This herb also known as Oswego tea and Bee Balm is good for the treatment of nausea, vomiting, cold and flu. If used in oil form is an effective treatment for Gingivitis, lost appetite, acne, coughs, fevers, tension, stress, and depression.


AROMATHERAPY:

Bergamot oil is considered sedative and healing and used for stress related problems, depression and anxiety. Neroli oil is considered stimulant and aphrodisiac. Both are used for skin conditions.

COSMETIC:
Increases tanning (do NOT apply directly to skin – photosensitivity)
Oil used in perfumery, diffuser (aromatherapy), massage, bath.

CULINARY:

Bergamot oil is used to flavor Earl Grey tea; also hard candy, tobacco, some chewing gum, baked goods and desserts.
Orange blossom water is used in desserts such as blancmange and in pastries.

Toxicology:
In one study, oil of bergamot has been linked to certain phototoxic effects (due to the chemical bergaptene) and blocking the absorption of potassium in the intestines.

Bergamot is also a source of bergamottin which, along with the chemically related compound 6’,7’-dihydroxybergamottin, is believed to be responsible for the grapefruit juice effect in which the consumption of the juice affects the metabolism of a variety of pharmaceutical drugs.

BITTER ORANGE (Citrus aurantium ssp amara): The peel is CONTRAINDICATED with stomach or intestinal ulcers; NOT given to children (possible toxic effects); NOT with ultraviolet or sun therapy (increased photosensitivity).

CAUTION:Because bergamot EO contains bergaptene and bergamotine, it needs to be used with care when applied to the skin. These two chemicals can produce over pigmentation of the skin when exposed to the sun or even just light. Do not apply bergamot oil to skin in greater than .5 to 1% diluted form in a base oil. It increases PHOTOSENSITIVITY.

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://earthnotes.tripod.com/bergamot_h.htm
http://www.wellbeingsonline.com/Aroma-pedia/Bergamot.htm
http://www.ayurveda-herbal-remedy.com/herbal-encyclopedia/ayurveda-encyclopedia-b.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bergamot_orange
http://coolexotics.com/plant-9.html#
http://www.candbsupplies.ca/essentialoils.html

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

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