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Hibiscus moscheutos

Botanical Name : Hibiscus moscheutos
Family: Malvaceae
Genus: Hibiscus
Species: H. moscheutos
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Malvales
Common Names: Rose mallow,Eastern rosemallow,Swamp Rose Mallow, Crimsoneyed rosemallow, Wild Cotton, Common Rosemallow, Eastern Rosemallow, Swamp

Habitat :Hibiscus moscheutos is native to Southern N. America – Massachusetts to Michigan, south to Alabama, Georgia and Florida. It grows on saline marshes and the shores of lakes.
Description:
Hibiscus moscheutos is a perennial flowering plant.It grows to 2.5 m (8ft) by 2 m (6ft) at a medium rate.This shrubby perennial has numerous sturdy stems arising from a single crown. The large, heart-shaped leaves are grayish-green above and hairy-white below. The showy, five-petaled, creamy-white flowers have a conspicuous band of red or burgundy at their bases from which a tubular column of yellow stamens extends.

This strikingly showy species is often found along edges of salt marshes but is more common in upper-valley wetlands.

It is in flower from Jul to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

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It is a cold-hardy perennial wetland plant that can grow in large colonies.

There exist in nature numerous forms, and petal colors range from pure white to deep rose, and most have an eye of deep maroon. Taxonomic consensus is lacking for the nomenclature of the multiple subspecies. The flowers are borne apically, whereas the related Hibiscus laevis carries bud and bloom along the stem.
Cultivation:
Prefers a well-drained humus rich fertile soil in a sheltered position in full sun.  Well-suited to a water-side planting. One report says that the plants are hardy in zone 5 (tolerating winter temperatures down to about -25°c), this same report also says that the plant succeeds outdoors in Britain only in those areas where winter temperatures do not fall below about -5°c. Another report says that it needs to be grown in a warm garden in the warmer areas of Britain. Plants of the cultivar ‘Southern Belle‘ have been seen growing outdoors at Kew Gardens, they are situated on a south-east facing wall of the Temperate House and have been there for at least 3 years as of 2000. A very ornamental plant, there are many named varieties. Special Features:North American native, Wetlands plant, Attracts butterflies.
Propagation:
Seed – sow early spring in a greenhouse. Germination is usually rapid. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer. Some reports say that the seed can be sown in situ outside and that it gives a good rate of germination.

Edible Uses:
Although there are no reports of edibility for this species, most of the plants in this family have edible leaves and flowers. The flowers are about 15cm in diameter, though in some cultivars they are up to 25cm in diameter. They have a mild flavour and somewhat mucilaginous texture with a slight bitterness in the aftertaste. The leaves are rather bland and are also mucilaginous, but have a slight hairiness to them which detracts a little from the pleasure of eating them.

Medicinal Uses:
The leaves and roots abound in mucilage. Like many other plants in this family, they are demulcent and emollient and are used in the treatment of dysentery, lung ailments and urinary ailments. an infusion of the dried stalks has been used in the treatment of inflammation of the bladder.

Other  Uses:  Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Foundation, Specimen.
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/Hibiscus_moscheutos
http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=HIMO
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Hibiscus+moscheutos

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Copal

Botanical Name: Protium copal
Common Name: Copal, Pom

Habitat :Protium copal is native to Guatemalan in South America, also grows in several places in Africa

Description:
Copal is a name given to tree resin that is particularly identified with the aromatic resins used by the cultures of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica as ceremonially burned incense and other purposes. More generally, the term copal describes resinous substances in an intermediate stage of polymerization and hardening between “gummier” resins and amber. The word copal is derived from the Nahuatl language word copalli, meaning “incense
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To the pre-Columbian Maya and contemporary Maya peoples it is known in the various Mayan languages as pom (or a close variation thereof), although the word itself has been demonstrated to be a loanword to Mayan from Mixe–Zoquean languages.

Copal is still used by a number of indigenous peoples of Mexico and Central America as an incense and during sweat lodge ceremonies.  It is available in different forms. The hard, amber-like yellow copal is a less expensive version. The white copal, a hard, milky, sticky substance, is a more expensive version of the same resin.

Copal was also grown in East Africa, (the common species there being Hymenaea verrucosa) initially feeding an Indian Ocean demand for incense. By the 18th Century, Europeans found it to be a valuable ingredient in making a good wood varnish. It became widely used in the manufacture of furniture and carriages. By the late 19th and early 20th century varnish manufacturers in England and America were using it on train carriages, greatly swelling its demand.

In 1859 Americans consumed 68 percent of the East African trade, which was controlled through the Sultan of Zanzibar, with Germany receiving 24 percent. The American Civil War and the creation of the Suez Canal led to Germany, India and Hong Kong taking the majority by the end of that century.

East Africa apparently had a higher amount of subfossil copal, which is found one or two meters below living copal trees from roots of trees that may have lived thousands of years earlier. This subfossil copal produces a harder varnish. Subfossil copal is also well-known from New Zealand (Kauri gum), Japan, the Dominican Republic, Colombia and Madagascar. It often has inclusions and is sometimes sold as “young amber”. Copal can be easily distinguished from genuine amber by its lighter citrine colour and its surface getting tacky with a drop of acetone or chloroform

Medicinal Uses:
Chickleros who stayed in the bush for months relied on fresh copal resin to treat painful cavities, a piece of resin was stuffed into the cavity and, in a few days, the tooth broke apart and was easily expelled. The bark is scraped, powdered, and applied to wounds, sores, and infections.  Cut a piece of bark 2.5 cm x 15 cm; boil in 3 cups of water for 10 minutes and drink 1 cup before meals for stomach complaints and intestinal parasites.  It is also used as a remedy for fright and dizziness.

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://belize.com/copal.html
http://www.marc.ucsb.edu/elpilar/features/trail/documents/plants/copal.htm
http://waynesword.palomar.edu/ecoph22.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Copal_with_insects_close-up.jpg

Pokeweed

Botanical Name: Phytolacca americana
Family: Phytolaccaceae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Caryophyllales
Genus: Phytolacca

Other Names: Poke Salet, American Pokeweed, Cancer-root, Cancer jalap, Inkberry, Pigeon Berry, Pocan, Poke, Poke Root, Pokeberry, Reujin D Ours, Sekerciboyaci, Skoke, Virginian Poke, Yoshu-Yama-Gobo, Yyamilin

Common Names: poke, pokebush, pokeberry, pokeroot, polk salad, polk sallet, inkberry or ombú.
Kingdom: Plantae

Caution : Toxic when misused. For experienced herbalists only. Can cause intense vomiting and diarrhea.In East Asia and New Zealand Pokeweed contains phytolaccatoxin and phytolaccigenin, which are poisonous to mammals.

Habitat
Pokeweed is a common perennial native plant, found in Northern and Central N. America from the New England States to Minnesota and south to Florida and Texas, naturalized in Britain and other countries. Growing in damp rich soils in clearings, woodland margins and roadsides.

Description:Pokeweed is a common perennial plant. The stout erect stalk is tall, growing to 10 feet or more, smooth and branching, turning deep red or purple as the berries ripen and the plant matures. The root is conical, large and fleshy, covered with a thin brown bark. Leaves are about 5 inches long and 2 to 3 inches wide, simple, alternate, ovate-lanceolate, and smooth. The flowers which appear from July to September are long-stalked clusters and each has 5 whitish petals with green centers. The fruit is a rich deep purple round berry, containing a rich crimson juice. Gather young edible shoots in spring, the roots in fall, slice and dry for later use, and berries as they ripen.

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Uses:
Young pokeweed leaves can be boiled three times to reduce the toxin, discarding the water after each boiling. The result is known as poke salit, or poke salad, and is occasionally available commercially.[1] Many authorities advise against eating pokeweed even after thrice boiling, as traces of the toxin may still remain. For many decades, poke salad has been a staple of southern U.S. cuisine, despite campaigns by doctors who believed pokeweed remained toxic even after being boiled. The lingering cultural significance of Poke salad can be found in the 1969 hit song “Polk Salad Annie,” written and performed by Tony Joe White, and famously covered by Elvis Presley and the El Orbits. Pokeberry juice is added to other juices for jelly by those who believe it can relieve the pain of arthritis. There is a poke salad festival held annually in Gainesboro, TN.

Pokeweed berries yield a red ink or dye, which was once used by Native Americans to decorate their horses. The United States Declaration of Independence was written in fermented pokeberry juice (hence the common name ‘inkberry’). Many letters written home during the American Civil War were written in pokeberry ink; the writing in these surviving letters appears brown. The red juice has also been used to symbolize blood, as in the anti-slavery protest of Benjamin Lay. A rich brown dye can be made by soaking fabrics in fermenting berries in a hollowed-out pumpkin.

Some pokeweeds are also grown as ornamental plants, mainly for their attractive berries; a number of cultivars have been selected for larger fruit panicles.

Pokeweeds are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Giant Leopard Moth.

Toxic Principle toxic constituents have been identified including the alkaloid phytolaccine ( and the alkaloid phytolaccotoxin, as well as a glycoprotein. When pokeweed is used as food, the water in which it is boiled must be discarded. The roots are particularly toxic.

A beautiful red ink and a dye are obtained from the fruit. The rootstock is rich in saponins and can be used as a soap substitute.

Medicinal Properties and Uses:Various parts of the plant have been used since pre-Colombian times to treat many conditions. It seems the berry juice has been used for pimples and boils, in some cases taken internally in other cases applied to the skin. It has also been taken for joint pain and applied to sore breasts. Leaf concoctions have been used as an expectorant, emetic and cathartic.

Pokeweed is edible (cooked) and medicinal. It has a long history of use by Native Americans and in alternative medicine. The young shoots are boiled in two changes of water and taste similar to asparagus, berries are cooked and the resulting liquid used to color canned fruits and vegetables. The root is alterative, anodyne, antiinflammatory, cathartic, expectorant, hypnotic, narcotic and purgative. It is used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, tonsillitis, mumps, glandular fever and other complaints involving swollen glands, chronic catarrh, bronchitis and diseases related to a compromised immune system it has potential as an anti-AIDS drug. Some of the chemical constituents in the plant are triterpenoid saponins, lectins, antiviral proteins and many phytolaccagenic acids, which are not completely understood.

New research has revealed that a possible CURE for Childhood Leukemia called (B43-PAP) is found in the common Pokeweed.

Anti-B43-pokeweed antiviral protein, B43-PAP, PAP is a pokeweed toxin. The B43 carries the weapon–the PAP–to the leukemia cells. It has been touted as a smart weapon. In one study 15 out of 18 children who had participated had attained remission.

The following is part of a repot from Parker Hughes Institute: The two parts of this drug are the B43 antibody (or anti-CD19) and the pokeweed antiviral protein (PAP) immunotoxin, a natural product in the pokeweed plant. B43 is designed to recognize specific B-cell leukemia cells just as natural antibodies attack and recognize germs. When the antibody finds a leukemia cell, it attaches and B43 delivers the other part of the drug, PAP. Inside the cell, PAP is released by the antibody and inactivates the ribosomes that make the proteins the cell needs to survive. With the cell unable to produce proteins, the specific leukemia cell is killed. More than 100 patients have been treated with B43-PAP and shown only minimal side effects.

Pokeweed is used as a folk remedy to treat many ailments. It can be applied topically or taken internally. Topical treatments have been used for acne and other ailments. Internal treatments include tonsilitis, swollen glands and weight loss. Grated pokeroot was used by Native Americans as a poultice to treat inflammations and rashes of the breast. These uses of pokeweed are scientifically unproven, dangerous, and may cause death.

Caution is advised as the whole plant, but especially the berries, is poisonous raw, causing vomiting and diarrhea.

Clinical signs:-

In humans:
The eating of limited quantities of poke, perhaps of the shoots, may cause retching or vomiting after two hours or more. These signs may be followed by dyspnea, perspiration, spasms, severe purging, prostration, tremors, watery diarrhea and vomitng (sometimes bloody) and, sometimes, convulsions. In severe poisonings, symptoms are weakness, excessive yawning, slowed breathing, fast heartbeat, dizziness, and possibly seizures, coma and death.

In horses:
Colic, diarrhea, respiratory failure.

In swine:
Unsteadiness, inability to rise, retching. Jerking movements of the legs. Below-normal temperature.

In cattle:
Same general signs plus a decrease in milk production.

Folklore
Some Native American tribes used Pokeweed as a Witchcraft Medicine, believing that it’s ability to totally purge the body by causing drastic diarrhea and vomiting would also expel bad spirits. Fruit was made into a red dye used in painting horses and various articles of adornment.

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/Phytolacca
http://2bnthewild.com/plants/H171.htm