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Setaria viridis pycnocoma

Botanical Name : Setaria viridis pycnocoma
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Setaria
Species: S. viridis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Poales
Synonyms: Panicum pycnocomum, Setaria pycnocoma
Common Names: Ju da gou wei cao, Panicum pycnocomum Steudel.

Habitat : Setaria viridis pycnocoma is native to E. Asia – Japan. It grows on roadsides, forest margins and as a crop weed, especially in S. italica fields, at elevations below 2700 metres.
Description:
Setaria viridis pycnocoma is an annual plant. Culms little branched at base, 60–150 cm tall. Leaf blades 15–40 × 1–2.5 cm, glabrous on both surfaces. Panicle sometimes lobed, 7–24 × 1.5–2.5 cm; bristles green, brownish or purplish, 7–12 mm. Spikelets 2.5–3 mm. This robust form of Setaria viridis may be of hybrid origin, resulting from crossing with S. italica. Unlike Setaria italica, the spikelets are shed whole….CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

It is hardy to zone (UK) 6. It is in flower from Aug to October, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Wind.

Cultivation :
Succeeds in any well-drained soil in full sun. This robust form of S. viridis may be of hybrid origin, resulting from crossing with S. italica. Unlike S. italica the spikelets are shed whole.

Propagation:
Seed – sow early spring in a greenhouse and only just cover the seed. Germination is usually quick and good. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow them on fast. Plant them out in late spring, after the last expected frosts. Whilst this is fine for small quantities, it would be an extremely labour intensive method if larger amounts were to be grown. The seed can be sown in situ in the middle of spring though it is then later in coming into flower and may not ripen its seed in a cool summer

Edible Uses: Seed – cooked. It can be eaten as a sweet or savoury food in all the ways that rice is used, or ground into a flour and made into porridge, cakes, puddings etc.

Medicinal Uses: Could not find much.
Resources:

Setaria viridis


http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=242348807
http://www.naturalmedicinalherbs.net/herbs/s/setaria-viridis-pycnocoma.php
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Setaria+viridis+pycnocoma

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Sandalwood (Santalum album)

Botanical Name :Santalum album
Family: Santalaceae
Genus: Santalum
Species: S. album
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Santalales

Common Name: Indian sandalwood or sandalwood

Habitat :Santalum album is native to semi-arid areas of the Indian subcontinent. It is now planted in India, China, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Northwestern Australia.It occurs from coastal dry forests up to 700 m elevation. It normally grows in sandy or stony red soils, but a wide range of soil types are inhabited. This habitat has a temperature range from 0 to 38°C and annual rainfall between 500 and 3000 mm.

Description:
Santalum album is a hemiparasitic  evergreen tree and the height  is between 4 and 9 metres. They may live to one hundred years of age. The tree is variable in habit, usually upright to sprawling, and may intertwine with other species. The plant parasitises the roots of other tree species, with a haustorium adaptation on its own roots, but without major detriment to its hosts. An individual will form a non-obligate relationship with a number of other plants. Up to 300 species (including its own) can host the tree’s development – supplying macronutrients phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium, and shade – especially during early phases of development. It may propagate itself through wood suckering during its early development, establishing small stands. The reddish or brown bark can be almost black and is smooth in young trees, becoming cracked with a red reveal. The heartwood is pale green to white as the common name indicates. The leaves are thin, opposite and ovate to lanceolate in shape. Glabrous surface is shiny and bright green, with a glaucous pale reverse. Fruit is produced after three years, viable seeds after five. These seeds are distributed by birds.
click to see the pictures……>...(01).....(1).…...(2).…....(3)....(4)..(5).…...(6)..

True sandalwoods:
Sandalwoods are medium-sized hemiparasitic trees, and part of the same botanical family as European mistletoe. Notable members of this group are Indian sandalwood (Santalum album) and Australian sandalwood (Santalum spicatum); others in the genus also have fragrant wood. These are found in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Australia, Indonesia, Hawaii, and other Pacific Islands.

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*Santalum album, or Indian sandalwood, is a threatened species. It is indigenous to South India, and grows in the Western Ghats and a few other mountain ranges like the Kalrayan and Shevaroy Hills. Although sandalwood trees in India and Nepal are government-owned and their harvest is controlled, many trees are illegally cut down. Sandalwood oil prices have risen to $2,000 per kg recently. Sandalwood from the Mysore region of Karnataka (formerly Mysore), and marayoor forest in kerala, Southern India is high quality. New plantations were created with international aid in Tamil Nadu for economic exploitation. In Kununurra in Western Australia, Indian sandalwood (Santalum album) is grown on a large scale.click to see

*Santalum ellipticum, S. freycinetianum, and S. paniculatum, the Hawaiian sandalwood (?iliahi), were also used and considered high quality. These three species were exploited between 1790 and 1825 before the supply of trees ran out (a fourth species, S. haleakalae, occurs only in subalpine areas and was never exported). Although S. freycinetianum and S. paniculatum are relatively common today, they have not regained their former abundance or size, and S. ellipticum remains rare.

*Santalum spicatum (Australian sandalwood) is used by aromatherapists and perfumers. The concentration differs considerably from other Santalum species. In the 1840s, sandalwood was Western Australia’s biggest export earner. Oil was distilled for the first time in 1875, and by the turn of the century there was intermittent production of Australian sandalwood oil. However in the late 1990s WA Sandalwood oil enjoyed a revival and by 2009 had peaked at more than 20,000kg per year – much of which went to the fragrance industries in Europe. By 2011 WA Sandalwood oil whilst reducing in overall volume had a significant amount of its production heading to the chewing tobacco industry in India alongside Indian Sandalwood – the chewing tobacco market being the largest market for both oils in 2012.

Edible Uses:
Australian Aboriginals eat the seed kernels, nuts, and fruit of local sandalwoods, such as quandong (Santalum acuminatum).

Medicinal Uses:
* Acne * Air Fresheners * Aphrodisiac * Aromatherapy * Ayurvedic * Bronchitis * Deodorants/Perfumes * Insect Repellent * Sleep/Insomnia
Properties: * Anodyne * Antifungal * Antispasmodic * AntiViral * Aphrodisiac * Aromatic * Astringent * Carminative * Diuretic * Expectorant * Sedative
Parts Used: Heartwood
Constituents:  santalol

Sandalwood oil has been widely used in folk medicine for treatment of common colds, bronchitis, skin disorders, heart ailments, general weakness, fever, infection of the urinary tract, inflammation of the mouth and pharynx, liver and gallbladder complaints and other maladies. Recently, the in vivo anti-hyperglycemic and antioxidant potentials of ?-santalol and sandalwood oil were demonstrated in Swiss Albino mice. Additionally, different in vitro and in vivo parts of the plant have been shown to possess antimicrobial  and antioxidant properties, possibly attributed to sesquiterpenoids, shikimic acid

Sandalwood oil is one of the few fragrances that is equally popular among men and women. It’s uplifting scent has been considered an aphrodisiac since ancient times. It aromatherapy it is often used to treat depression and emotional sexual dysfunction. A mild yang oil, it is emollient, tonic and sedative, making sandalwood one of the most useful oils for the skin. Sanalwood oil is classic choice for dry and dehydrated skin. It relieves itching and inflammation, and as a mild astringent can also profit those with  oily skin as well In Ayurvedic medicine sandalwood oil is prescribed as a tonic, to treat ulcers and abscesses, and to treat mucus discharge.

Sandalwood essential oil was popular in medicine up to 1920-1930, mostly as a urogenital (internal) and skin (external) antiseptic. Its main component beta-santalol (~90%) has antimicrobial properties. It is used in aromatherapy and to prepare soaps. Due to this antimicrobial activity, it can be used to clear skin from blackheads and spots, but it must always be properly diluted with a carrier oil. Because of its strength, sandalwood oil should never be applied to the skin without being diluted in a carrier oil.

Sandalwood is a classic for bladder infections. It is taken to help the passing of stones, in kidney inflammations, and prostatitis. The oil is cooling to the body and useful for fevers and infections when used as a massage. The scent is calming, and helps focus the mind away from distracting chatter and creating the right mood for meditation.. Sandalwood has been used internally for chronic bronchitis and to treat gonorrhea and the urethral discharge that results. Simmer one teaspoon of the wood per cup of water for 20 minutes, and take up to two cups a day in quarter-cup doses. The alcohol tincture is 20-40 drops, 4 times a day, not with meals. In Ayurvedic medicine, a paste of the wood is used to soothe rashes and itchy skin. For nosebleeds, the oil can be smeared up into the nose using a finger saturated with the oil.

In Chinese medicine, sandalwood is held to be useful for chest and abdominal pain. It is also used to treat vomiting, gonorrhea, choleraic difficulties and skin complaints. Promotes the movement of qi and alleviates pain: for pain associated with stagnant qi in the chest and abdomen. Contraindicated in cases of yin deficiency with heat signs. The oil also stimulates the spleen, promotes white blood cell production and strengthens the immune system against infection. Very useful for chronic bronchitis, laryngitis, sore throat, hiccups and dry coughs.

Emotionally, sandalwood is profoundly seductive, dispelling anxiety and depression. It casts out cynicism and obsessional attitudes, especially strong ties with the past, effecting a cure in cases of sexual dysfunction. It comforts and helps the dying to make peace with the world. It is used to awaken the power of kundalini and to connect that energy with the highest enlightenment. About the erotic quality of the oil, scientists have discovered a connection. Sandalwood smells similar to light concentrations of androsterone, a substance very similar in chemical structure to the male hormone testosterone and is released in men?s underarm perspiration.

Other Uses:
Sandalwood essential oil provides perfumes with a striking wood base note. Sandalwood smells somewhat like other wood scents, except it has a bright and fresh edge with few natural analogues. When used in smaller proportions in a perfume, it is an excellent fixative to enhance the head space[clarification needed] of other fragrances.
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Sandalwood oil in India is widely used in the cosmetic industry. The main source of true sandalwood, S. album, is a protected species, and demand for it cannot be met. Many species of plants are traded as “sandalwood”. Within the genus Santalum alone, there are more than nineteen species. Traders will often accept oil from closely related species, such as various species in the genus Santalum, as well as from unrelated plants such as West Indian Sandalwood (Amyris balsamifera) in the family Rutaceae or bastard sandalwood (Myoporum sandwicense, Myoporaceae). However, most woods from these alternative sources will lose their aroma within a few months or years.
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Isobornyl cyclohexanol is a synthetic fragrance chemical produced as an alternative to the natural product.

In Technology:
Due to its low fluorescence and optimal refractive index, sandalwood oil is often employed as an immersion oil within ultraviolet and fluorescence microscopy.

Sandalwood is most important in many religions functions :
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In Hinduism:
Sandalwood paste is integral to rituals and ceremonies, to mark religious utensils and to decorate the icons of the deities. It is also distributed to devotees, who apply it to the forehead or the neck and chest. Preparation of the paste is a duty fit only for the pure, and is therefore entrusted in temples and during ceremonies only to priests.

In Buddhism:
Sandalwood is considered to be of the padma (lotus) group and attributed to Amitabha Buddha. Sandalwood scent is believed to transform one’s desires and maintain a person’s alertness while in meditation. Sandalwood is also one of the more popular scents used when offering incense to the Buddha.

In Islamism:
In sufi tradition sandalwood paste is applied on the sufi’s grave by the disciples as a mark of devotion. It is practiced particularly among the Indian subcontinent sufi disciples. In some places sandalwood powder is burnt in Dargah for fragrance. In some parts of India during the Milad un Nabi in the early 19th century, the residents applied sandalwood paste on the decorated Buraq and the symbols of footprints of the Prophet Mohammed. In some places of India during the epidemic it was common among the South Indian devotees of Abdul-Qadir Gilani (also known as pir anay pir) to prepare his imprint of a hand with sandalwood paste and parade along the bylines, which they believed would cause the epidemic to vanish and the sick to be healed. Among the Tamil culture irrespective of religious identity, sandal wood paste and powder is applied on the graves of Sufi’s as a mark of devotion and respect.

In Chinese and Japanese religions:
Sandalwood, along with agarwood, is the most commonly used incense material by the Chinese and Japanese in worship and various ceremonies.

In Zoroastrianism:
Zoroastrians offer sandalwood twigs to the firekeeping priests who offer the sandalwood to the fire which keep the fire burning. Sandalwood is offered to all of the three grades of fire in the Fire temple, including the Atash Dadgahs. Sandalwood is not offered to the divo, a homemade lamp. Often, money is offered to the mobad (for religious expenditures) along with the sandalwood. Sandalwood is called sukhar in the Zoroastrian community. The sandalwood in the fire temple is often more expensive to buy than at a Zoroastrian store. It is often a source of income for the fire temple.

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/Santalum_album
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail53.php
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandalwood

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

Asplenium ceterach

Botanical Name : Asplenium ceterach
Family: Aspleniaceae
Genus: Asplenium
Species: A. ceterach
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pteridophyta
Class: Pteridopsida
Order: Blechnales

Synonyms : Ceterach officinarum DC.

Common Names :   Rustyback,Rusty Back Fern

Habitat : Asplenium ceterach  is found in Western and Central Europe, including the Mediterranean region. It is associated with fissures in carbonate rocks and also grows on the mortar of stone and brick walls .

Description:
Rhizome: erect, branching, scales clathrate.

Frond: 15 cm high by 2 cm wide, evergreen, monomorphic, blade/stipe ratio: 8:1.

Stipe: green, from base all up the rachis, scaly, vascular bundles: 2 C-shaped, back to back, uniting to 1 upwards to an X-shape.

Blade: pinnatifid, lanceolate, leathery, deep green upper surface, scales dense, light brown, entirely covering the lower surface.

Pinnae: 6 to 12 pair, alternate; margins entire or sometimes irregularly crenate, slightly bending upwards, revealing the scales; veins netted, veins closing near the margins, not visible without removing the scales.

Sori: linear, along veins, indusium: vestigial, replaced by scales, sporangia: dark brown, maturity: late summer, then overwintering to maturity early .
Dimensionality: a rosette, fairly flat on the ground.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Medicinal Uses:
In the eighteenth century the leaves were official in some pharmacopoeias, as its botanical name indicates. Infusions from the fern are particularly helpful to sufferers from dysuria (difficulty in passing urine) when oxalic acid is present, and to prevent colic caused by kidney stones.  A syrup made from the fern is sometimes used to treat lung infections, but it is less effective than maidenhair.  The whole plant is widely used in the Mediterranean to treat gravel in the urine and is also used with other mucilaginous plants to treat bronchial complaints.

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/Asplenium_ceterach
http://hardyfernlibrary.com/ferns/listSpecies.cfm?Auto=149
http://www.univ-lehavre.fr/cybernat/pages/asplcete.htm
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_RST.htm?Voucher2=Connect+to+Internet

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Laughter as Medicine

Have you laughed today? Good thing if you have because most people take life too seriously.

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But those who laugh are healthier because laughing helps them loosen up. Though it causes the pulse initially to quicken, it slows down considerably, so that blood pressure sinks.

“The skeletal muscles relax and the overall result is better circulation to the muscles,” said psychologist Michael Titze, chairman of an association called HumourCare in Tuttlingen, Germany, and a researcher into laughter.

Laughing also helps to break down stress hormones and build up hormones associated with happiness. And laughing helps to increase the immune defences in the bloodstream, including those that help the body protect itself from cancer and heart disease. The antibody-containing immunoglobulin in the saliva, which inhibits germ attacks on respiratory organs, also rises.

“Laughing, among other things, tenses the muscles in the eye and activates positive emotions in the brain,” said Titze, adding that laughter is an expression of pure deliverance and total tension release. “Through laughter we abandon self control.”

The therapist therefore advocates looking for things that trigger laughter in daily life and activating the laugh reflex.

“Laughing induces good mood and that in turn engenders hearty and intense laughter,” Titze said. But today this is difficult for many people.

“Laughing demands a bit of courage,” said Claudia Madelaine Zimmer of a club in Leipzig dedicated to laughing. To a certain degree, the discipline needed to raise children wears down the ability to have fun. People fear losing their authority by having fun or doing something ridiculous. However, people with humour not only live healthier, they are also better at solving conflicts, she believes.

But because it’s often difficult to have a good laugh, people all over the world are joining laugh clubs. Zimmer said such clubs meet regularly, and do “laugh yoga”. This sends resounding laughter into the streets, not because the laughter exercises are so funny, but because it’s actually a way to practise laughing.

Chuckles, giggles and snickers – “You don’t have to make a big deal of it, we’re dealing with something that we actually can do,” said Michaela Schaeffner, chairwoman of the association of the German laugh-yoga therapists in Munich.

The goal is to laugh without reason or inhibition. This initially seems artificial, but with a bit of training people can learn “to go into natural laughter from collective, intentional laughter”. And because you can scarcely think about it while in laugh training, the relaxation is all the greater……...click & see

Click to see ->Laugh Loudly and get rid of many diseases

Sources The Times Of India

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In The Throes Of Despair

A combination of nature and nurture leads to post-traumatic stress disorder, say scientist .Both genetic and environmental factors affect people’s risk of developing post-traumatic stress, says new research that illustrates how nature and nurture combine to shape health and behaviour.

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A particular genetic variant makes people much more susceptible to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after harrowing experiences, but only if they have also had an abusive childhood, US scientists have discovered. The findings add to a growing consensus that the debate about whether mental health, personality and behaviour are driven by nature or nurture is founded on a misconception. They indicate strongly that genes and the environment are not mutually exclusive forces, but rather work together to influence human development.

PTSD is a serious anxiety disorder that develops among people who experience unpleasant events, such as war, murders, terrorist attacks or natural disasters. It leads to nightmares, insomnia, flashbacks, mood swings and depression, and can severely impair the ability to live a normal life.

Not everybody who experiences severe trauma develops PTSD, and the risk is known to be influenced by genetics. Studies of twins who served in Vietnam showed that identical pairs, who share all their genes, are more likely both to suffer than are fraternal sets.

Genes, however, do not explain all the variability in people’s risk, and the precise genes and environmental factors that are involved have remained obscure.

A study led by Kerry Ressler, of Emory University in Atlanta, examined the effects of a gene called FKBP5, which is involved in the way the body responds to stress. The DNA code of this gene varies at four points, which allowed the scientists to investigate whether any particular genetic profiles would either raise the risk of PTSD or protect against it.

As PTSD develops only when people have lived through traumatic events, Dr Ressler studied a group of 900 adults who lived in deprived urban communities and were likely to have had violent experiences of the sort that can provoke the disorder.

The participants were also asked to complete a questionnaire that recorded whether they had suffered physical or sexual abuse at a young age. When variations in the FKBP5 gene were examined on their own, the researchers found no effect on PTSD risk. A history of child abuse also made no difference in isolation.

When the two factors were considered together, however, they were found to interact to raise or reduce risk. People with certain variants of FKBP5 were much more likely to develop PTSD after trauma if they had also been abused as children.

“These results are early and will need to be replicated, but they support the hypothesis that combinations of genes and environmental factors affect the risk for stress-related disorders like PTSD,” Dr Ressler said.

“Understanding how gene-environment interactions affect mental health can help us to understand the neuro- biology of these illnesses.”

The results, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, follow other studies that have shown how genetic variants interact with environmental factors to affect behaviour or mental health.

A team led by Avshalom Caspi and Terrie Moffitt, of the Institute of Psychiatry, London, has found that a variant of a gene called MAOA predisposes to antisocial behaviour when accompanied by child abuse. Dr Caspi said: “It is part of an emerging body of research that documents not so much that genes cause disease, but rather that genetic differences shape how people respond differently to the same events.”

Sources:THE TIMES, LONDON