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Ribes rubrum

Botanical Name :Ribes rubrum
Family: Grossulariaceae
Genus: Ribes
Species: R. rubrum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Saxifragales

Synonyms: Ribs. Risp. Reps.
Common Names: Red currant or Redcurrant

Habitat: Ribes rubrum is native to parts of western Europe (Belgium, Great Britain ergo England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, France, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Netherlands, northern Italy, northern Spain, Portugal and Poland). The plant is grown equally at home in hedges and ditches, trained against the wall of a house, or as a shrub cultivated in gardens.
Description:
Ribes rubrum is a deciduous shrub normally growing to 1–1.5 m (3.3–4.9 ft) tall, occasionally 2 m (7 ft), with five-lobed leaves arranged spirally on the stems. The flowers are inconspicuous yellow-green, in pendulous 4–8 cm (2–3 in) racemes, maturing into bright red translucent edible berries about 8–12 mm (0.3–0.5 in) diameter, with 3–10 berries on each raceme. An established bush can produce 3–4 kg (7–9 lb) of berries from mid to late summer…..CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
Cultivation:
There are several other similar species native in Europe, Asia and North America, also with edible fruit. These include Ribes spicatum (northern Europe and northern Asia), Ribes alpinum (northern Europe), R. schlechtendalii (northeast Europe), R. multiflorum (southeast Europe), R. petraeum (southwest Europe) and R. triste (North America; Newfoundland to Alaska and southward in mountains).

While Ribes rubrum and R. nigrum are native to northern and eastern Europe, large berried cultivars of the redcurrant were first produced in Belgium and northern France in the 17th century. In modern times, numerous cultivars have been selected; some of these have escaped gardens and can be found in the wild across Europe and extending into Asia.

The white currant is also a cultivar of Ribes rubrum. Although it is a sweeter and albino variant of the redcurrant, it is not a separate botanical species and is sometimes marketed with names such as Ribes sativum or Ribes silvestre, or sold as a different fruit.

Currant bushes prefer partial to full sunlight and can grow in most types of soil. They are relatively low-maintenance plants and can also be used as ornamentation.

Edible Uses:
With maturity, the tart flavour of redcurrant fruit is slightly greater than its blackcurrant relative, but with the same approximate sweetness. The albino variant of redcurrant, often referred to as white currant, has the same tart flavour but with greater sweetness. Although frequently cultivated for jams and cooked preparations, much like the white currant, it is often served raw or as a simple accompaniment in salads, garnishes, or drinks when in season.
In the United Kingdom, redcurrant jelly is a condiment often served with lamb, game meat including venison, turkey and goose in a festive or Sunday roast. It is essentially a jam and is made in the same way, by adding the redcurrants to sugar, boiling, and straining.

In France, the highly rarefied and hand-made Bar-le-duc or Lorraine jelly is a spreadable preparation traditionally made from white currants or alternatively red currants.

In Scandinavia and Schleswig-Holstein, it is often used in fruit soups and summer puddings (Rødgrød, Rote Grütze or Rode Grütt). In Germany it is also used in combination with custard or meringue as a filling for tarts. In Linz, Austria, it is the most commonly used filling for the Linzer torte.  It can be enjoyed in its fresh state without the addition of sugar.

In German-speaking areas, syrup or nectar derived from the red currant is added to soda water and enjoyed as a refreshing drink named Johannisbeerschorle. It is so named because the redcurrants (Johannisbeeren, “John’s berry” in German) are said to ripen first on St. John’s Day, also known as Midsummer Day, June 24.

In Russia, redcurrants are ubiquitous and used in jams, preserves, compotes and desserts; while leaves have many uses in traditional medicine.

In Mexico, redcurrants are a popular flavour for iced/frappé drinks and desserts, most commonly in ‘raspado’ (scraped ice) form.

Part Used in medicine: The fruits, especially the juice.

Constituents: The juice is said to contain citric acid, malic acid, sugar, vegetable jelly and jam.

Medicinal Uses:
Refrigerant, aperient, antiscorbutic. The juice forms a refreshing drink in fever, and the jelly, made from equal weights of fruit and sugar, when eaten with ‘high’ meats, acts as an anti-putrescent. The wine made from white ‘red’ currants has been used for calculous affections.

In some cases the fruit causes flatulence and indigestion. It has frequently given much help in forms of visceral obstruction. The jelly is antiseptic, and will ease the pain of a burn and prevent the formation of blisters, if applied immediately. Some regard the leaves as having emmenagogue properties.

Poison and Antidotes: In common with other acidulous fruits, they must be turned out of an open tin immediately into a glass or earthenware dish, or the action of the acid combining with the surrounding air will begin to engender a deadly metallic poison.

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/Redcurrant
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/c/currd132.html

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Mentha arvensis

Botanical Name : Mentha arvensis
Family:    Lamiaceae
Genus:    Mentha
Species:M. arvensis
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:    Lamiales

Common Names:  Pudina,”Podina” in Hindi, wild mint or corn mint, Japanese Mint

Parts Used: Whole Plant, Oil

Habitat: Mentha arvensis is native to Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to Spain, N. Asia and the Himalayas.   Found through out India and is grown all over the world.It grows in arable land, heaths, damp edges of woods.

Description:It is an herbaceous perennial plant growing  to 0.5 m (1ft 8in) by 1 m (3ft 3in). The leaves are in opposite pairs, simple, 2-6.5 cm long and 1-2 cm broad, hairy, and with a coarsely serrated margin. The flowers are pale purple (occasionally white or pink), in clusters on the stem, each flower 3-4 mm long. It  is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to October, and the seeds ripen from Jul to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.It is noted for attracting wildlife.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation :
An easily grown plant, it succeeds in most soils and situations so long as the soil is not too dry. This species tolerates much drier conditions than other members of the genus. Prefers a slightly acid soil. Grows well in heavy clay soils. A sunny position is best for production of essential oils, but it also succeeds in partial shade. Plants are hardy to at least -15°c. Most mints have fairly aggressive spreading roots and, unless you have the space to let them roam, they need to be restrained by some means such as planting them in containers that are buried in the soil. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. Polymorphic. The whole plant has a very strong, almost oppressive, smell of mint. The flowers are very attractive to bees and butterflies. A good companion plant for growing near brassicas and tomatoes, helping to deter insect pests. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation :
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Germination is usually fairly quick. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. Mentha species are very prone to hybridisation and so the seed cannot be relied on to breed true. Even without hybridisation, seedlings will not be uniform and so the content of medicinal oils etc will vary. When growing plants with a particular aroma it is best to propagate them by division. Division can be easily carried out at almost any time of the year, though it is probably best done in the spring or autumn to allow the plant to establish more quickly. Virtually any part of the root is capable of growing into a new plant. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. However, for maximum increase it is possible to divide the roots up into sections no more than 3cm long and pot these up in light shade in a cold frame. They will quickly become established and can be planted out in the summer.

Edible Uses :
Edible Parts: Leaves.
Edible Uses: Condiment; Tea.

Leaves – raw or cooked. A reasonably strong minty flavour with a slight bitterness, they are used as a flavouring in salads or cooked foods. A herb tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves. An essential oil from the plant is used as a flavouring in sweets and beverages. The leaves contain about 0.2% essential oil

Properties Mint is tasty, relishing, and hot, an appetizer that eliminates the excessive formation of wind phlegm. It is beneficial in cough, indigestion, sprue, diarrhea, cholera, and chronic fever and eliminates the worm’s from the stomach. It also increases the digestive powers.

Medicinal Uses:

Anaesthetic; Antiphlogistic; Antiseptic; Antispasmodic; Aromatic; Cancer; Carminative; Diaphoretic; Emmenagogue; Febrifuge; Galactofuge;
Salve; Stimulant; Stomachic.

Corn mint, like many other members of this genus, is often used as a domestic herbal remedy, being valued especially for its antiseptic properties and its beneficial effect on the digestion. Like other members of the genus, it is best not used by pregnant women because large doses can cause an abortion. The whole plant is anaesthetic, antiphlogistic, antispasmodic, antiseptic, aromatic, carminative, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, galactofuge, refrigerant, stimulant and stomachic. A tea made from the leaves has traditionally been used in the treatment of fevers, headaches, digestive disorders and various minor ailments. The leaves are a classical remedy for stomach cancer. Another report says that this species is not very valuable medicinally. The leaves are harvested as the plant comes into flower and can be dried for later use. The essential oil in the leaves is antiseptic, though it is toxic in large doses.

The entire plant is antibacterial and antifibrile. It is effective in headache, rhinitis, cough, sore throat, colic, prurigo and vomiting. Menthol obtained from this is used in balms. It is also used as flavoring agent in culinary preparations.

Pudina or mint has various herbal and Ayurvedic medicinal value.
Mint is generally a sweet flavour imparting a cool sensation to the mouth. Peppermint has the highest concentrations of menthol, while pennyroyal is strong with a medicinal flavour.

Mint is refreshing, stimulative, diaphoretic, stomachic, and antispasmodic. It helps in colds, flu, fever, poor digestion, motion sickness, food poisoning, rheumatism, hiccups, stings, ear aches, flatulence and for throat and sinus ailments.

Both fresh and dried mint is used. Mint is used in a variety of dishes such as vegetable curries, mint recipe for chutney, fruit salads,vegetable salads,salad dressings, soup,desserts,juices, sherberts, etc.Peppermint is used to flavour toothpaste,mouth freshners and chewing gum.

  • A fresh juice extracted from the mint is very beneficial in cold.
  • If a semi liquid juice made from the powdered leaves of mint and basil is taken, it cures fever and its relapsing.
  • Mixed juice of mint and ginger cures ague. It also cures all types of fever by causing excessive perspiration. This juice is also beneficial in flatulationan and coryza.
  • A mixture made of six grams of mint, six grams of ginger juice and 1 gram of powdered rock salt, cures colic in stomach.

Other Uses :
Essential; Repellent; Strewing.

The plant is used as an insect repellent. Rats and mice intensely dislike the smell of mint. The plant was therefore used in homes as a strewing herb and has also been spread in granaries to keep the rodents off the grain. The leaves also repel various insects. An essential oil is obtained from the plant. The yield from the leaves is about 0.8%. The sub-species M. arvensis piperascens produces the best oil, which can be used as a substitute for, or adulterant of, peppermint oil. Yields of up to 1.6% have been obtained from this sub-species

Known Hazards :  Although no records of toxicity have been seen for this species, large quantities of some members of this genus, especially when taken in the form of the extracted essential oil, can cause abortions so some caution is advised.

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.fatfreekitchen.com/spices/mint.html
http://www.urday.com/spice.html)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mentha_arvensis
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Mentha+arvensis