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Sesbania grandiflora

Botanical Name : Sesbania grandiflora
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Sesbania
Species: S. grandiflora
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Synonyms: Aeschynomene grandiflora, Agati grandiflora

Common Names: Vegetable hummingbird, Agati or Hummingbird tree

Bengali Name: Bok ful

Habitat :Sesbania grandiflora is native to Malaysia to North Australia, and is cultivated in many parts of India and Sri Lanka. It grows where there is good soil and a hot, humid climate.

Description:
Sesbania grandiflora is a fast-growing tree. The leaves are regular and rounded and the flowers white or red. The fruits look like flat, long, thin green beans. The tree thrives under full exposure to sunshine and is extremely frost sensitive.

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It is a small soft wooded tree up to 3–8 m tall. Leaves are 15–30 cm long, with leaflets in 10–20 pairs or more and an odd one. Flowers are oblong, 1.5–10 cm long in lax, 2–4 flower racemes. The calyx is campanulate and shallowly 2-lipped. Pods are slender, falcate or straight, and 30–45 cm long, with a thick suture and approximately 30 seeds 8 mm in size.

Cultivation:
Propagated readily by seeding or cuttings, requiring little maintenance. It has been aerially seeded, apparently with success. For reforestation, Mendoza (1980) recommends spacing cuttings ca 1 m long at 4 x 4 m. The saplings could serve as a nurse crop for mahogany, Banquet pine, etc. Cuttings should be set out at the beginning of the rainy season. When grown as shade plant for coconut seedlings, agati is sown in India in June and July, putting 3–4 seed per hole in a narrow channel, 30 cm x 30 cm, ca 1 m from the coconut seedlings.

Harvesting:
When cultivated for fodder, agati is usually cut when ca 1 m tall. Indonesian foresters, growing the species for fuelwood, harvest on a 5-year rotation. One hectare can yield three m3 of stacked fuelwood in a 2-year rotation. After the plant is harvested, shoots resprout with such vigor that they seem irrepressible. The tree’s outstanding quality is its rapid growth rate, particularly during its first 3 or 4 years (NAS, 1980a).

Edible Uses:
The flowers of Sesbania grandiflora are eaten as a vegetable in Southeast Asia, including Laos, Thailand, Java in Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Ilocos Region of the Philippines.

In the Thai language, the flowers are called Dok khae and are used in the cuisine both cooked in curries, such as kaeng som and kaeng khae, and raw in nam phrik.

The young pods are also eaten. In Sri Lanka, agati leaves, known as Katuru murunga in Sinhala language, are sometimes added to sudhu hodhi or white curry, a widely eaten, thin coconut gravy, and are believed locally. In India this plant is known as agati (Tamil), agastya (Kannada), agise (Telugu), and both the leaves and the flowers have culinary uses.

Chemical Constituents:
Per 100 g, the leaf is reported to contain 73.1 g H2O, 8.4 g protein, 1.4 g fat, 11.8 g NFE, 2.2 g fiber, 3.1 g ash, 1,130 mg Ca, 80 mg P, 3.9 mg Fe, 9,000 IU vit. A, 0.21 mg thiamine, 0.09 mg riboflavin, 1.2 mg niacin, and 169 mg ascorbic acid. Leaves contain (ZMB) per 100 g, 321 calories, 36.3 g protein, 7.5 g fat, 47.1 g carbohydrate, 9.2 g fiber, 9.2 g ash, 1684 mg Ca, 258 mg P, 21 mg Na, 2,005 mg K, 25,679 mg b-carotene equivalent, 1.00 mg thiamine, 1.04 mg riboflavin, 9.17 mg niacin and 242 mg ascorbic acid. The flowers (ZMB) contain per 100 g, 345 calories, 14.5 g protein, 3.6 g fat, 77.3 g carbohydrate, 10.9 g fiber, 4.5 g ash, 145 mg Ca, 290 mg P, 5.4 mg Fe, 291 mg Na, 1,400 mg K, 636 mg b-carotene equivalent, 0.91 mg thiamine, 0.72 mg riboflavin, 14.54 mg niacin, and 473 mg ascorbic acid. Seeds (ZMB) contain 36.5% CP, 7.4% fat, 51.6% total carbohydrate, and 4.5% ash. The seed oil contains 12.3% palmitic, 5.2% stearic, 26.2% oleic, and 53.4% linoleic acids. The seed testa, which constitutes 20% of the seed, contains 5.2% moisture, 1.3% ash, 0.8% fat, 2.7% CF, 0.1% free reducing sugars, 1.4% sucrose, 2.8% nitrogen, 6.3% pentosans, and 65.4% carbohydrates. Yields of 33% galactomannans are reported for alkali extraction of the testae. Seeds allowed to germinate (sprouts) for 120 hours increased vit. C content from 17–166 mg/100 g. Extracellular invertase of Rhizobia japonicum and its role in free sugar metabolism in the developing root nodules was studied. The enzyme hydrolyzed sucrose extracellularly, and its release was substrate inducible. 0.1 m b-mercaptoethanol released the cell-bound form of this enzyme. The production of invertase was low when glucose, galactose, mannose, fructose, and farrinose were used as carbon sources in the growth medium. In the developing nodules sucrose was the major sugar. The content of fructose was low in comparison with that of glucose, suggesting that in the nodules the fructose is converted to glucose prior to its entry into the bacterial cell. The content of glucose synchronized with the pattern of change in the activity of invertase in the nodules (Singh et al, 1980).

Medicinal Uses:
The leaf extract may inhibit the formation of advanced glycation end-products. The leaf extract contains linolenic acid and aspartic acid, which were found to be the major compounds responsible for the anti-glycation potential of the leaf extract.

The flowers and the pods are eaten to to cure canker sores.

Folk Medicine:-
Resorted to be aperient, diuretic, emetic, emmenagogue, febrifuge, laxative, and tonic, agati is a folk remedy for bruises, catarrh, dysentery, eyes, fevers, headaches, smallpox, sores, sorethroat, and stomatitis (Duke and Wain, 1981). Bark, leaves, gums, and flowers are considered medicinal. The astringent bark was used in treating smallpox and other eruptive fevers. The juice from the flowers is used to treat headache, head congestion, or stuffy nose. As a snuff, the juice is supposed to clear the nasal sinuses. Leaves are poulticed onto bruises. Rheumatic swellings are poulticed or rubbed with aqueous decoctions of the powdered roots of the red-flowered variant. In India the flowers are sacred to Siva, representing both the male and female sex organs; still I find no mention of their use as aphrodisiacs. Ayurvedics, believing the fruits to be alexeteric, laxative, and intellectually stimulating, prescribe them for anemia, bronchitis, fever, pain, thirst, and tumors; the flowers, apertif and refrigerant, for biliousness, bronchitis, gout, nyctalopia, ozoena, and quartan fever; the root for inflammation, the bark as astringent; leaves, alexeteric, anthelmintic, for epilepsy, gout, itch, leprosy, nyctalopia, and ophthalmia. Yunani consider the tonic leaves useful in biliousness, fever, and nyctalopia. Indians apply the roots in rheumatism, the juice of the leaves and flowers for headache and nasal catarrh. Mixed with stramonium and pasted, the root is poulticed onto painful swellings. In Amboina, flower juice is squeezed into the eye to correct dim vision. The bark is used in infusions for smallpox. Cambodians consider the flowers emollient and laxative, the bark for diarrhea, dysentery, and paludism. Malayans apply crushed leaves to sprains and contusions. They gargle with the leaf juice to cleanse the mouth and throat. In small doses, the bark is used for dysentery and sprue, in large doses, laxative, in still larger doses, emetic. Pounded bark is applied to scabies. Philippines use the pounded bark for hemoptysis. The powdered bark is also recommended for ulcers of the mouth and alimentary canal. In Java, the bark is used for thrush and infantile disorders of the stomach. Leaves are chewed to disinfect the mouth and throat.

Other Uses:
The inner bark of Sesbania grandiflora can serve as fiber and the white, soft wood not too durable, can be used for cork. The wood is used, like bamboo, in Asian construction. The tree is grown as an ornamental shade tree, and for reforestation. In Java, the tree is extensively used as a pulp source. A gum resembling kino (called katurai), fresh when red, nearly black after exposure, exudes from wounds. This astringent gum is partially soluble in water and in alcohol, but applied to fishing cord, it makes it more durable. Pepper vines (Piper nigrum) are sometimes grown on and in the shade of the agati. According to NAS (1980a), this small tree produces firewood, forage, pulp and paper, food, and green manure and appears to hold promise for reforesting eroded and grassy wastelands throughout the tropics. It combines well with agriculture (agroforestry) in areas where trees are not normally grown and becomes an important fuelwood source. Dried and powdered bark is used as a cosmetic in Java. Allen and Allen enumerated three undesirable features (1) short lived (2) shallow-rooted and subject to wind throw, and (3) prolific seeder, the pods often considered a litter. An aqueous extract of bark is said to be toxic to cockroaches.

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/Sesbania_grandiflora
https://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/duke_energy/Sesbania_grandiflora.html

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Equisetum arvense

Botanical Name ; Equisetum arvense
Family: Equisetaceae
Genus: Equisetum
Species: E. arvense
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pteridophytes
Class: Equisetopsida
Order: Equisetales

Synonyms:
*Allosites arvense Brogn.
*Equisetum arvense fo. arcticum (Rupr.) M. Broun
*Equisetum arvense fo. boreale (Bong.) Klinge
*Equisetum arvense fo. campestre (Schultz) Klinge
*Equisetum arvense fo. ramulosum (Rupr.) Klinge ex Scoggan
*Equisetum arvense subsp. boreale (Bong.) Á. Löve
*Equisetum arvense subsp. ramulosum (Rupr.) W.F. Rapp
*Equisetum arvense var. arcticum Rupr.
*Equisetum arvense var. campestre (Schultz) Rupr.
*Equisetum arvense var. ramulosum Rupr.
*Equisetum boreale Bong.
*Equisetum calderi B. Boivin
*Equisetum campestre Schultz
*Equisetum saxicola Suksd.

Common Names: Field horsetail or Common horsetail

Habitat : Equisetum arvense is native to Arctic and temperate regions of Europe, including Britain, N. America and Asia. It grows on open fields, arable land, waste places, hedgerows and roadsides, usually on moist soils.

Description:
Equisetum species – horsetail family are Creeping, perenial, Branching rootstocks, rooted at the nodes. The Arial stems may be annual or Perennial, are cylindrical, fluted, simple or with whorled branches at the jointed nodes. The internodes are usually hollow. The Surfaces of the stems are covered with Silica. The Cones are terminal. Equisetum avense is a Perennial from creeping rhizomes, often forming large colonies; to 2 1/2 ft. Stems hollow, riged, jointed. Sterile stems green, with whorled branches ar nodes; leaves reduced to brownish, papery, toothed sheath around node; sheath with fewer then 14 teeth. Fertile stems brownish to whitish, with large “cone” at tip, formed by spore-producing scales; cone produced in early spring.

The sterile stems are 10–90 cm tall and 3–5 mm diameter, with jointed segments around 2–5 cm long with whorls of side shoots at the segment joints; the side shoots have a diameter of about 1 mm. Some stems can have as many as 20 segments. The fertile stems are succulent-textured, off-white, 10–25 cm tall and 3–5 mm diameter, with 4–8 whorls of brown scale leaves, and an apical brown spore cone 10–40 mm long and 4–9 mm broad.

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It has a very high diploid number of 216 (108 pairs of chromosomes).

The specific name arvense is derived from the Latin arvensis, meaning “from the meadow, field or grassland.”

Cultivation:
Prefers poor dusty ground. This rather contradicts another report which says that the presence of this plant indicates underground water. Prefers a moist but well-drained fertile soil with a pH between 6.5 and 7.5. A very cold-hardy species tolerating temperatures down to about -30°c. Plants have a deep and penetrating root system and can be invasive. If grown in the garden they are best kept in bounds by planting them in a large container which can be sunk into the ground.

Propagation :
Spores – best collected as soon as they are ripe in the spring and surface-sown immediately on a sterile compost. Keep moist and pot up as soon as the plants are large enough to handle. Very difficult. Division. The plants usually spread very freely when well sited and should not really need any assistance.
Edible Uses:
Strobil (the fertile shoots in spring) – cooked and used as an asparagus substitute. They should be used when young but even so it is probably best to change the water, perhaps 3 – 4 times. One report says that they can be eaten raw, they are peeled and the shoot tip is discarded. It is said to be a very tedious operation and they should not be eaten raw in any quantity, see the notes above on toxicity. Some native tribes liked to eat the young vegetative shoots, picked before they had branched out, and would often collect them in great quantity then hold a feast to eat them. The leaf sheaths were peeled off and the stems eaten raw – they were said to be ‘nothing but juice’. Roots – raw. The tuberous growths on the rhizomes are used in the spring. The black nodules attached to the roots are edible. It takes considerable effort to collect these nodules so it is normally only done in times of desperation. However, native peoples would sometimes raid the underground caches of roots collected by lemmings and other rodents in order to obtain these nodules. A further report says that the peeled stems, base of the plant, root and tubers were eaten raw by the N. American Indians, the report went on to say that this may be inadvisable.

Medicinal Uses:
Horsetails have an unusual chemistry compared to most other plants. They are rich in silica, contain several alkaloids (including nicotine) and various minerals. Horsetail is very astringent and makes an excellent clotting agent, staunching wounds, stopping nosebleeds and reducing the coughing up of blood. It helps speed the repair of damaged connective tissue, improving its strength and elasticity. The plant is anodyne, antihaemorrhagic, antiseptic, astringent, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, galactogogue, haemostatic and vulnerary. The green infertile stems are used, they are most active when fresh but can also be harvested in late summer and dried for later use. Sometimes the ashes of the plant are used. The plant is a useful diuretic when taken internally and is used in the treatment of kidney and bladder problems, cystitis, urethritis, prostate disease and internal bleeding, proving especially useful when there is bleeding in the urinary tract. A decoction applied externally will stop the bleeding of wounds and promote healing. It is especially effective on nose bleeds. A decoction of the herb added to a bath benefits slow-healing sprains and fractures, as well as certain irritable skin conditions such as eczema. The plant contains equisetic acid, which is thought to be identical to aconitic acid. This substance is a potent heart and nerve sedative that is a dangerous poison when taken in high doses. This plant contains irritant substances and should only be used for short periods of time. It is also best only used under the supervision of a qualified practitioner. A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh plant. It is used in the treatment of cystitis and other complaints of the urinary system . The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Equisetum arvense for urinary tract infections, kidney & bladder stones, wounds & burns.

Other  Uses:     Dye; Fungicide; Liquid feed; Musical; Paper; Polish; Sandpaper; Scourer.

 

The stems contain 10% silica and are used for scouring metal and as a fine sandpaper. They can also be used as a polish for brass, hardwood etc. The infused stem is an effective fungicide against mildew, mint rust and blackspot on roses. It also makes a good liquid feed. A light pink dye is obtained from the stem. It is yellow-gray according to another report. The plant has been used for making whistles.

Equisetum is used in biodynamic farming (preparation BD 508) in particular to reduce the effects of excessive water around plants (such as fungal growth). The high silica content of the plant reduces the impact of moisture.

Known Hazards:
Large quantities of the plant can be toxic. This is because it contains the enzyme thiaminase, a substance that can rob the body of the vitamin B complex. In small quantities this enzyme will do no harm to people eating an adequate diet that is rich in vitamin B, though large quantities can cause severe health problems. The enzyme is destroyed by heat or thorough drying, so cooking the plant will remove the thiaminase. The plant also contains equisetic acid – see the notes on medicinal uses for more information. Avoid in patients with oedema due to heart failure or impaired kidney function
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/Equisetum_arvense
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Equisetum+arvense

Lower Your Blood Pressure With Vitamin C

A study has linked high blood levels of vitamin C with lower blood pressure in young women.

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The study involved almost 250 women. They entered the trial when they were 8 to 11 years old, and over a 10-year period, their plasma levels of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and blood pressure were monitored. Both their systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings, were found to be inversely associated with ascorbic acid levels.

Previous research had already linked high plasma levels of vitamin C with lower blood pressure among middle-age and older adults.

Sources:
Reuters December 30, 2008
Nutrition Journal December 17, 2008; 7:35

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An Orange A Day Keeps Wrinkles Away

An orange a day may actually keep your wrinkles away. An interesting study has revealed that regular intake of foods rich in Vitamin C helps prevent ageing of skin.

Vitamin C, also know as ascorbic acid, is found in a wide variety of fruit and vegetables. Good sources include peppers, broccoli, brussels sprouts, oranges, kiwi fruit, strawberries, tomatoes, leafy greens, papaya, mango, watermelon, cauliflower, cabbage, raspberries and pineapples.

Click to Study :Vitamin C keeps wrinkles away

British scientists examined links between nutrient intake and skin ageing in 4,025 women aged 40-74 years using data from the first National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. All the women had extensive dermatologic examinations designed to evaluate skin wrinkling and other aspects of skin ageing and also completed a survey listing all the foods they ate in a particular day.

Ageing of the skin was defined as having a wrinkled appearance, senile dryness and skin atrophy.

The study by nutritional epidemiologist Maeve C Cosgrove and other researchers found that those who ate plenty of Vitamin C-rich foods had fewer wrinkles than people whose diets contained little of the vitamin. “Vitamin C is an antioxidant that has been shown to play a role in the synthesis of collagen, the protein that helps keep skin elastic. Our findings add evidence to a predominately supplement and topical application-based hypothesis that what we eat affects our skin-ageing appearance,” according to Cosgrove.

“This is one of the first studies to examine the impact of nutrients from foods rather than supplements on skin ageing. Diets rich in Omega-6 fatty acid were found to be associated with less skin ageing from dryness and thinning while higher fat diets and those higher in carbohydrates were found to be linked to more wrinkling,” Cosgrove added. Vitamin C, a water-soluble vitamin, is important in forming collagen, a protein that gives structure to bones, cartilage, muscle, and blood vessels.

Source:The Times Of India

Vitamine-C

Why do you need vitamin C?

Vitamin C is one of several antioxidants shown to play a key role in the prevention of many types of cancers. Vitamin C maintains collagen, a protein necessary for the formation of skin, ligaments and bones. It also enhances the immune system, helps heal wounds and mend fractures, and aids in resisting some types of bacterial and viral infections.

What are some good sources of vitamin C?

Citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruit, lemons, mangos, etc.) are great sources of vitamin C, as are many green vegetables (especially asparagus, broccoli, spinach, green peppers, and peas). Other good sources of vitamin C include tomatoes, potatoes and cabbage.

What can happen if you don’t get enough vitamin C?

Scurvy (hemorrages, loose teeth, gingivitis (bad breath), bone disease), bleeding gums, increased chance for infection, colds or respiratory infections can be unpleasant consequences of vitamin C deficiency.

Source:ChiroFind.com