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Catsear

 


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Botanical Name:Hypochaeris radicata
Family: Asteraceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Asterales
Tribe: Cichorieae
Genus: Hypochaeris
Species: H. radicata
Other Names:cat’s ear, false dandelion,long-rooted cat’s-ear, long-rooted hypochoere, spotted cat’s-ear

Etymology and differences from dandelions:
Catsear is derived from the words cat’s ear, and refers to the shape and fine-hair on the leaves resembling that of the ear of a cat.

The plant is also known as false dandelion, as it is commonly mistaken for true dandelions. Both plants carry similar flowers which form into windborne seeds. However, catsear flowering stems are forked and solid, whereas dandelions possess unforked stems that are hollow. Both plants have a rosette of leaves and a central taproot. The leaves of dandelions are jagged in appearance, whereas those of catsear are more lobe-shaped and hairy. Both plants have similar uses.

Habitat:The plant is native to Europe, but has also been introduced to the Americas, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.Found in the eastern United States as far north as New Jersey and as far west as Mississippi.

Description:
It is a perennial, low-lying edible herb often found in lawns.The leaves, which may grow up to eight inches, are lobed and covered in fine hairs, forming a low-lying rosette around a central taproot.Cat’s ear dandelion is similar to common dandelion. It has a basal rosette of densely hairy leaves with rounded lobes. This rosette arises from a prominent taproot. If broken, the leaves and flower stalks will emit a milky white sap. Most striking are the bright yellow flowers that are borne on the ends of long stems. Common dandelion plants can be distinguished because young leaves do not have hairs, whereas cat’s ear dandelion leaves have dense hairs. In addition, the leaves of common dandelion are more deeply notched than those of cat’s ear dandelion. On common dandelion, the leaf notches extend almost to the midrib of each leaf.

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When mature these form seeds attached to windborne “parachutes”. All parts of the plant exude a milky sap when cut.Typical stems do not occur, however leafless flower stalks (scapes) are present with 2 to 7 flowers on each stalk. Flower stalks also emit a milky sap when broken.

Hypochaeris species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including The Shark.

Culinary uses:
All parts of the catsear plant are edible; however, the leaves and roots are those most often harvested. The leaves are bland in taste but can be eaten raw in salads, steamed, or in stir-fries. Older leaves can become tough and fibrous, but younger leaves make for good eating. Some bitterness in the leaves may be apparent but is rare.

The root can be roasted and ground to form a coffee substitute.

Medicinal Uses:

Catsear is rich in nutrients and antioxidants – hence its popularity in recipes around the world – and this also means it has long been used for medicinal purposes. Uses include acting as a diuretic for kidney problems, and treating urinary infections, gallstones, rheumatism, constipation and liver infections.

Toxicity:
Catsear is considered a noxious weed for livestock and horses. Ingestion of large amounts of catsear can cause a neurological disorder in horses called stringhalt. Stringhalt causes involuntary twitching in the rear legs of the animal and other problems. The symptoms of catsear exposure may clear out of the system in a few years once grazing on the plant has been eliminated from the horse’s diet.

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/Catsear
http://ipm.ppws.vt.edu/scott/weed_id/hryra.htm
http://www.turffiles.ncsu.edu/Weeds/Dandelion_Cats_Ear.aspx

.http://www.meadowmat.com/wildflower-species/catsear

 

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Hog Weed

Scientific Name: Boerhaavia diffusa Linn. Syn. B. repens; B. repens var. diffusa
Family: Nyctaginaceae
Family Name: Hog weed, Horse Purslane
Common Indian Names
Gujarati: Dholia-saturdo, Moto-satoda.
Hindi: Snathikari
Canarese: Kommegida
Marathi: Tambadivasu
Sanskrit: Punarnava, Raktakanda, Shothaghni, Varshabhu
Bengali: Punurnava
Tamil: Mukaratee-Kirei
Telugu: Punernava

Habitat: Hog weed is indigenous to India. It grows wild all over the country as a common creeping weed and is specially abundant during the rains. It grows as common weed.

Useful Parts: Root, leaves and seeds.

Description;
Hog weed is a creeping and spreading perennial herb, with a stout root-stock and many erect or spreading branches. It grows upto 2 metres in length. The leaves of the plant are simple, broad, somewhat rough, thick and brittle. The flowers are pink or red in color. The fruits are oval in shape, dull-green or brownish in color and about the size of caraway bean.

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The plant contains a crystalline acid known as boerhavic acid, potassium nitrate and a brown mass consisting of tannins, phlobaphenes and reducing sugars. The active principle of hog weed is the alkaloid punarnavine. The drug contains large quantities of potassium salts, which accounts for its diuretic properties.

Chemical Constituents: Hog Weed contains b-Sitosterol, a-2-sitosterol, palmitic acid, ester of b-sitosterol, tetracosanoic, hexacosonoic, stearic, arachidic acid, urosilic acid, Hentriacontane, b-Ecdysone, triacontanol etc.

Healing Power and Curative Properties
The herb has been used in indigenous medicine from time immemorial. It is laxative and produces a cooling sensation. In large doses it induces vomiting. Medicinally, the most important part of the herb is the root. It has a bitter and nauseous taste. It is beneficial in the treatment of several common ailments.

Medicinal Uses: According to Ayurveda, Hog Weed is bitter, cooling, astringent to bowels, useful in biliousness, blood impurities, leucorrhoea, anaemia, inflammations, heart diseases, asthma, alternatives etc. The leaves are useful in dyspepsia, tumours, spleen enlargement, abdominal pains. According to Unani system of medicine, the leaves are appetizer, alexiteric, useful in opthalmia, in joint pains. Seeds are tonic expectorant, carminative, useful in lumbago, scabies. The seeds are considered as promising blood purifier.

Traditional Medicinal Uses: In many parts of India, different parts of Hog Weed are used as folk medicine.

Ayurveda Properties: Punarnavastaka, Punaravataila, Punarnavaleha etc.
Hog Weed or Boerhaavia diffusa extract curbs experimental melanoma metastasis
Chemical Examination of Punar-nava or Boerhaavia diffusa Linn. Proc Acad

Punarnava Boerhaavia diffusa – Pure Herbal :: Shopeastwest

Uses In Different Diseases:

Dropsy

Hog weed increases the secretion and discharge of urine. It is effective in the treatment of dropsy, a disease marked by an excessive collection of a watery fluid in the tissues and cavities or natural hollows of the body. The fresh boiled herb should be given in the treatment of this disease. A liquid extract of the fresh or dry plant can also be given in doses of 4 to 16 grams.

.Ascities

The herb is useful in the treatment of ascites, a disease characterized by accumulation of fluid inside the peritoneal cavity of the abdomen. Much more powerful effect on certain types of ascites that is, those caused due to the cirrhosis of the liver and chronic peritonitis-than some of the other important diuretics known. The herb can be administered m the same manner as for dropsy.

.Stomach Disorders

The drug is useful in strengthening the stomach and promoting its action. It is beneficial in the treatment of several stomach disorders, particularly intestinal colic. A powder of the root is given in doses of 5 grams thrice a day. It is also useful in killing or expelling intestinal worms.

Asthma

Hog weed promotes the removal of catarrhal matter and phlegm from the bronchial tubes. It is, therefore, beneficial in the treatment of asthma. A powder of the root can be taken in small doses three times a day.

Fevers

Hog weed is beneficial in the treatment of fevers. It brings down temperature by inducing copious perspiration.

Other Diseases

The root of the plant is useful in the treatment of several diseases — particularly of the kidney and heart — as well as gonorrhea. It is also valuable in oedema, anemia, cough, pleurisy, nervous weakness, constipation and paralysis..

Skin Diseases

The root of the plant is a~ effective remedy for several skin diseases. A paste of the root can be applied beneficially as a dressing for oedematous swellings. A hot poultice of the root can be applied with gratifying results to ulcers, abscesses and similar skin diseases. It is also used for extracting guinea-worms. Charaka, the great physician of ancient India, used it in the form of ointment in leprosy and other skin diseases.

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.

Source : http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/CropFactSheets/punanrnava.html and Herbs That Heal

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