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Ceratonia siliqua

Botanical Name :Ceratonia siliqua
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Ceratonia
Species: C. siliqua
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Common Names:  carob tree, St John’s-bread, Locust Bean

Habitat  :Ceratonia siliqua is native to the Mediterranean region including Southern Europe, Northern Africa, the larger Mediterranean islands; to the Levant and Middle-East of Western Asia into Iran; and to the Canary Islands and Macaronesia. It grows in the  rocky places near the sea shore.

Description:
The Ceratonia siliqua tree grows up to 15 metres (49 ft) tall. The crown is broad and semi-spherical, supported by a thick trunk with brown rough bark and sturdy branches. Leaves are 10 to 20 centimetres (3.9 to 7.9 in) long, alternate, pinnate, and may or may not have a terminal leaflet. It is frost-tolerant.

Click to see the pictures..>....(01)...(1)....(2)....(3).....(4)....(5)..….(6)..

Most carob trees are dioecious. The trees blossom in autumn. The flowers are small and numerous, spirally arranged along the inflorescence axis in catkin-like racemes borne on spurs from old wood and even on the trunk (cauliflory); they are pollinated by both wind and insects. Male flowers produce a characteristic odour, resembling semen.

The fruit is a pod that can be elongated, compressed, straight or curved, and thickened at the sutures. The pods take a full year to develop and ripen. The ripe pods eventually fall to the ground and are eaten by various mammals, thereby dispersing the seed.

The seeds of Ceratonia siliqua contains leucodelphinidin, a colourless chemical compound

Cultivation:
Ceratonia siliqua is widely cultivated in the horticultural nursery industry as an ornamental plant for planting in Mediterranean climate and other temperate regions around the world, as its popularity in California and Hawaii shows. The plant develops a sculpted trunk and ornamental tree form when ‘limbed up’ as it matures, otherwise it is used as a dense and large screening hedge. When not grown for legume harvests the plant is very drought tolerant and part of ‘xeriscape’ landscape design for gardens, parks, and public municipal and commercial landscapes.

Propagation:
Seed – pre-soak for 24 hours in warm water prior to sowing. If the seed has not swollen then give it another soaking in warm water until it does swell up. Sow in a greenhouse in April[200]. Germination should take place within 2 months. As soon as they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual deep pots and grow them on in a greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Give them some protection from the cold for their first few winters outdoors.

Edible Uses:
Carob consumed by humans is the dried (and sometimes roasted) pod, and not the ‘nuts’ or seeds. Carob is mildly sweet and is used in powdered, chip, or syrup form as an ingredient in cakes and cookies, and as a substitute for chocolate.

Chocolate contains theobromine, which is poisonous to some mammals, but carob does not, and is used to make chocolate-flavored treats for dogs.

The seeds, also known as locust beans, are used as animal feed, and are the source of locust bean gum — a food thickening agent. Crushed pods may be used to make a beverage; compote, liqueur, and syrup are made from carob in Turkey, Malta, Portugal, Spain and Sicily. Several studies suggest that carob may aid in treating diarrhea in infants.[13] In Libya, carob syrup (there called rub) is used as a complement to Asida. The so-called carob syrup made in Peru is actually from the fruit of the Prosopis nigra tree.

Carob is rich in sugars – Sucrose = 531g ± 93 g/kg dry weight for cultivated varieties and 437 ± 77 g/kg in wild type varieties. Fructose and glucose levels do not differ between cultivated and wild type carob

Carob is a healthy substitute for  chocolate that is lower in calories. Roasted carob is naturally sweeter, (or not as bitter), as unsweetened chocolate, so it can be made palatable with less added sugar in recipes. Carob has a number of advantages over chocolate: it is hypoallergenic, and hypoglycemic. 55 The true trick to enjoying carob is to not expect it to taste exactly like chocolate,(and be forever disappointed), but to learn to appreciate carob for its own unique taste.

Traditional uses:
Carob was eaten in Ancient Egypt. Carob juice drinks are traditionally drunk during the Islamic month of Ramadan. It was also a common sweetener and was used in the hieroglyph for “sweet” (nedjem). Dried carob fruit is traditionally eaten on the Jewish holiday of Tu Bishvat. Also it is believed to be an aphrodisiac.

In Cyprus, carob syrup is known as Cyprus’s black gold, and is widely exported.

In Malta, a syrup (?ulepp tal-?arrub) is made out of carob pods. This is a traditional medicine for coughs and sore throat. A traditional sweet, eaten during Lent and Good Friday, is also made from carob pods in Malta. However, carob pods were mainly used as animal fodder in the Maltese Islands, apart from times of famine or war when they formed part of the diet of many Maltese.

In the Iberian Peninsula, carob pods were used mainly as animal fodder, especially to feed donkeys.

Carob pods were an important source of sugar before sugarcane and sugar beets became widely available.

Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Aggressive surface roots possible. Requires a very sunny position in any well-drained moderately fertile soil[200]. Does well in calcareous, gravelly or rocky soils. Tolerates salt laden air. Tolerates a pH in the range 6.2 to 8.6. The tree is very drought resistant, thriving even under arid conditions, the roots penetrating deep into the soil to find moisture. This species is not very hardy in Britain but it succeeds outdoors in favoured areas of S. Cornwall[1], tolerating temperatures down to about -5°c when in a suitable position. The young growth in spring, even on mature plants, is frost-tender and so it is best to grow the plants in a position sheltered from the early morning sun. The carob is frequently cultivated in warm temperate zones for its edible seed and seed pods. Mature trees in a suitable environment can yield up to 400 kilos of seedpods annually. There are named varieties with thicker pods. Seeds are unlikely to be produced in Britain since the tree is so near (if not beyond) the limits of its cultivation. The seed is very uniform in size and weight, it was the original ‘carat’ weight of jewellers. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby. Special Features:Edible, Not North American native, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.

Propagation:
Seed – pre-soak for 24 hours in warm water prior to sowing. If the seed has not swollen then give it another soaking in warm water until it does swell up. Sow in a greenhouse in April[200]. Germination should take place within 2 months. As soon as they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual deep pots and grow them on in a greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Give them some protection from the cold for their first few winters outdoors.

Medicinal  Uses::
Parts Used: Seed Pod
Constituents:  arginine, benzoic-acid , gallic-acid , glucose , pectin ,starch, sucrose ,tannin,tocopherol,tyrosine

Antidiarrhoeal;  Antiemetic;  Astringent;  Demulcent;  Emollient;  Purgative.

The pulp in the seedpods of carob is very nutritious and, due to its high sugar content, sweet-tasting and mildly laxative. However, the pulp in the pods is also astringent and, used in a decoction, will treat diarrhoea and gently help to cleanse and also relieve irritation within the gut. Whilst these appear to be contradictory effects, carob is an example of how the body responds to herbal medicines in different ways, according to how the herb is prepared and according to the specific medical problem. The seedpods are also used in the treatment of coughs. A flour made from the ripe seedpods is demulcent and emollient. It is used in the treatment of diarrhoea.   The seed husks are astringent and purgative. The bark is strongly astringent. A decoction is used in the treatment of diarrhoea.

Other Uses:  A flour made from the seedpods is used in the cosmetic industry to make face-packs. Tannin is obtained from the bark. Wood – hard, lustrous. Highly valued by turners, it is also used for marquetry and walking stick.

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:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceratonia_siliqua
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Ceratonia+siliqua
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail462.php

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Arrowleaf Balsamroot

Botanical Name :Arrowleaf Balsamroot

Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Heliantheae
Genus: Balsamorhiza
Species: B. sagittata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Common Name :Balsamorrhiza sagittata

Habitat : Arrowleaf Balsamroot  is native to much of western North America from British Columbia to California to the Dakotas, where it grows in many types of habitat from mountain forests to grassland to desert scrub. It is drought tolerant.

Description:
Arrowleaf Balsamroot is a taprooted perennial herb growing a hairy, glandular stem 20 to 60 centimeters tall. The branching, barky root may extend over two meters deep into the soil. The basal leaves are generally triangular in shape and are large, approaching 50 centimeters in maximum length. Leaves farther up the stem are linear to narrowly oval in shape and smaller. The leaves have untoothed edges and are coated in fine to rough hairs, especially on the undersides.

click to see the pictures
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The inflorescence bears one or more flower heads. Each head has a center of long yellowish tubular disc florets and a fringe of bright yellow ray florets, each up to 4 centimeters long. The fruit is a hairless achene about 8 millimeters long. Grazing animals find the plant palatable, especially the flowers and developing seed heads.

Edible Uses:  All of the plant can be eaten. It can be bitter and pine-like in taste. The seeds were particularly valuable as food or used for oil

Medicinal Uses:
The root of the plant is sometimes used as an expectorant and mild immunostimulant.  Native Americans used the sticky sap as a topical antiseptic for minor wounds.  Medicinally, the Indians used the large coarse Balsamroot leaves as a poultice for burns. The roots were boiled and the solution was applied as a poultice for wounds, cuts and bruises. Indians also drank a tea from the roots for tuberculosis and whooping cough.  As an antibacterial the tincture may be applied to infections and hard to heal wounds. The tincture of the root and bark may be used internally or externally for bacterial problems. Perhaps the most common use for arrowleaf balsamroot is as an immune system enhancer. Use the tincture as you would Echinacea, taking 1 tsp. twice daily to strengthen the immune system.
Many Native American groups, including the Nez Perce, Kootenai, Cheyenne, and Salish, utilized the plant as a food and medicine.

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/Balsamorhiza_sagittata
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm
http://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/plant-of-the-week/images/arrowleafbalsamroot/balsamorhiza_sagittata_lg.jpg

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Broom Moss

Botanical Name :Dicranum scoparium
Family: Dicranaceae
Genus: Dicranum
Species: D. scoparium
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Bryophyta
Class: Bryopsida
Subclass: Dicranidae
Order: Dicranales

Common Name :Broom Moss

Habitat :Broom Moss is native to North America, including the Great Lakes region.Grows on  Soil, humus, humus over rock, decaying stumps and logs, tree bases in dry to mesic woodlands.

Description:
Plants in loose to dense tufts, light to dark green, glossy to sometimes dull. Stems 2-10 cm, tomentose with white to brown rhizoids. Leaves very variable, usually falcate-secund, rarely straight and erect, slightly contorted and crisped when dry, sometimes slightly rugose or undulate, (4-)5-8.5(-15) × 0.8-1.8 mm, concave proximally, keeled above, lanceolate, apex acute to somewhat obtuse; margins strongly serrate in the distal 1/3 or rarely slightly serrulate; laminae 1-stratose; costa percurrent, excurrent, or ending before apex, 1/10-1/5 the width of the leaves at base, usually with 2-4 toothed ridges above on abaxial surface, with a row of guide cells, two thin stereid bands, adaxial epidermal layer of cells not differentiated, the abaxial layer interrupted by several enlarged cells that form part of the abaxial ridge, not extending to the apices; cell walls between lamina cells not bulging; leaf cells smooth; alar cells 2-stratose, well- differentiated, sometimes extending to costa; proximal laminal cells linear-rectangular, pitted, (25-)47-100(-132) × (5-)7-12(-13) µm; distal laminal cells shorter, broad, sinuose, pitted, (11-)27-43(-53) × (5-)8-12(-20) µm

Click to see the pictures…..…(01)......(1)……....(2).……....(3).…………………

Capsules mature spring.

Medicinal Uses:
The CH2Cl2 extract of Dicranum scoparium was found to possess pronounced antimicrobial activity against Bacillus cereus, Bacillus stearothermophilus, Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus, and Escherichia coli.

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/Dicranum_scoparium
http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=200000987
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=DISC71&photoID=disc71_005_ahp.jpg
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm

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Nattokinase May Soon be Sold as Aspirin Replacement to Treat Thromboses

What Is Nattokinase?
Nattokinase is a potent fibrinolytic (anti-clotting) enzyme complex extracted and highly purified from a traditional Japanese food called Natto. Natto is a fermented cheese-like food that has been used in Japanese culture for more than 1,000 years for its popular taste, and as a folk remedy for heart and vascular diseases. Research has shown that Nattokinase supports the body in breaking up and dissolving the unhealthy coagulation of blood. In fact, it has been shown to have four times greater fibrinolytic activity than plasmin.4

click & see the pictures….…...Natto……...Nattokinase

How is it made?
Natto is produced by a fermentation process by adding the bacteria Bacillus subtilis to boiled soybeans. The resulting Nattokinase enzyme is produced when Bacillus subtilis acts on the soybeans. While other soy foods contain enzymes, it is only the natto preparation that contains the specific Nattokinase enzyme.

How was Nattokinase discovered?… Japanese researcher Dr. Hiroyuki Sumi had spent many years searching for a natural thrombolytic agent that could successfully dissolve blood clots associated with heart attacks and stroke. Finally in 1980, after testing more than 173 natural foods, Sumi found what he was looking for.

Natto, a traditional Japanese soy cheese(commonly eaten for breakfast in Japan), was dropped onto an artificial thrombus (fibrin) in a petri dish and allowed to stand at 37ºC (approximately body temperature). Over the next 18 hours, the thrombus around the natto completely dissolved! Sumi named the newly discovered enzyme Nattokinase, which means “enzyme in natto.” Dr. Sumi remarked that Nattokinase showed “a potency matched by no other enzyme.”

 

You may click to see :Natto and Nattokinase

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons has said that taking aspirin may not prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which is the formation of a clot in the blood vessels, usually in a vein deep within the legs or hips.

How does  Nattokinase work
Nattokinase enhances the body’s natural ability to fight blood clots, and has an advantage over blood thinners because it has a prolonged effect without side effects.

*Supports normal blood pressure
*Prevents blood clots from forming
*Dissolves existing blood clots
*Dissolves fibrin
*Enhances the body’s production of plasmin and other clot-dissolving agents, including urokinase

Research studies
Nattokinase has been the subject of 17 studies, including two small human trials. In 1990, Dr. Sumi’s research team published a series of studies demonstrating the fibrinolytic effects of Nattokinase.9 Here are some of them:

Dissolves blood clots

Researchers from JCR Pharmaceuticals, Oklahoma State University, and Miyazaki Medical College, tested Nattokinase on 12 healthy Japanese volunteers (6 men and 6 women, between the ages of 21 and 55). The researchers gave the volunteers 7 ounces of natto (the food) before breakfast, and then tracked fibrinolytic activity through a series of blood plasma tests....click & see

In one test, a blood sample was taken and a thrombus (clot) was artificially induced. The amount of time needed to dissolve the clot was cut in half within 2 hours of treatment, compared to the control group. Additionally, the volunteers retained an enhanced ability to dissolve blood clots for up to 8 hours.9

Dr. Sumi’s team also induced blood clots in a major leg vein in male dogs that had been given either four capsules of Nattokinase (250 mg per capsule) or four placebo capsules. Angiograms (x-rays of blood vessels) showed that the blood clots in the dogs that received Nattokinase had completely dissolved within 5 hours of treatment, and that normal blood circulation had been restored. Blood clots in the dogs who received the placebo showed no sign of dissolving 18 hours after the treatment.9

Researchers from Biotechnology Research Laboratories and JCR Pharmaceuticals Co. of Kobe, Japan, tested Nattokinase’s ability to dissolve a blood clot in the carotid arteries of rats. Animals treated with Nattokinase regained 62 percent of blood flow, whereas those treated with plasmin regained just 15.8 percent of blood flow.19

In another laboratory study, endothelial damage was induced in the femoral arteries of rats that had been given Nattokinase. In normal circumstances, a thickening of the artery walls and blood clotting would occur, but they were both suppressed because of Nattokinase’s fibrinolytic activity.

A recent study found that airline passengers given three daily doses of nattokinase were less likely to develop a DVT during a flight.


Helps reduce high blood pressure

Human volunteers with high blood pressure were given 30 grams of natto extract (equivalent to 7 ounces of natto food), orally for 4 consecutive days. In 4 out of 5 volunteers, the systolic blood pressure decreased on average from 173.8 to 154.8. Diastolic blood pressure decreased on average from 101.0 to 91.2. This data represents about a 10.9 percent drop in systolic blood pressure and a 9.7 percent drop in diastolic blood pressure.5911

Wistar rats that were given natto extract showed a significant drop in systolic blood pressure also, from an average of 166 to 145 in just two hours, which further decreased to an average of 144 in 3 hours. This data represents an approximate 12.7 percent drop in systolic blood pressure also, from an average of 166 to 145 in just two hours, which further decreased to an average of 144 in three hours. This data represents an approximate 12.7 percent drop in systolic blood pressure within two hours.5,9,11

These tests all indicate that Nattokinase generates a heightened ability in the body to dissolve blood clots.

Restores blood circulation

This is one of the most dramatic, documented stories about the effects of Nattokinase. A 58-year-old man had a blood clot in the retina of his right eye that caused fluid build up and bleeding. He started losing his vision in that eye and was admitted to a university hospital, where researchers prescribed a 3-ounce dose of natto to be taken before bed every night, in order to get the benefit of Nattokinase.

The man’s bleeding completely stopped by the tenth day, and by the 20th day, his vision returned and he was released from the hospital. He continued to eat natto twice a week. When he had a retinal angiogram two months later, it showed that the blood clot was completely gone.12

The traditional Japanese food Natto has been used safely for more than 1,000 years. The safety record of its potent fibrinolytic enzyme, Nattokinase, is based upon the long-term traditional use of the food and recent scientific studies.

Nattokinase has many benefits including its prolonged effects, cost effectiveness, and its ability to be used preventatively. It is a naturally occurring, food-based dietary supplement that has demonstrated stability in the gastrointestinal tract, as well as to changes in pH and temperature. It is definitely a nutritional supplement to consider adding to a cardiovascular health maintenance plan.

While currently it is rarely used clinically, the article in the JAAPA suggests that further clinical trials of nattokinase may cement its potential health benefits.

Resources:
*Better Health Research :
*Smart Publications :
*http://www.naturalypure.com/NattokinasePlus.htm

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Plants Too Cry Out for Quick Help

If under attack by pathogen, such as disease-causing bacteria, a plant’s leaf can send out an SOS to the roots for help, and the roots will then secrete an acid that brings beneficial bacteria to the rescue, scientists announced .

CLICK  & SEE

“Plants are a lot smarter than we give them credit for,” said Harsh Bais, assistant professor of plant and soil sciences at the University of Delaware. “People think that plants, rooted in the ground, are just sitting ducks when it comes to attack by harmful fungi or bacteria, but we’ve found that plants have ways of seeking external help,” he notes.

To figure this out, Bais and colleagues infected the leaves of the small flowering plant Arabidopsis thaliana with a pathogenic bacterium, Pseudomonas syringae. The plants started to look sickly.

However, the infected plants whose roots had been inoculated with the beneficial microbe Bacillus subtilis were perfectly healthy.

Farmers often add B subtilis to the soil to boost plant immunity. It forms a protective biofilm around plant roots and also has antimicrobial properties, Bais said.

Using molecular biological tools, the scientists detected the transmission of a long-distance signal, a “call for help,” from the leaves to the roots in the plants that had Bacillus in the soil. The roots responded by secreting a carbon-rich chemical — malic acid. All plants biosynthesize malic acid, Bais explains, but only under specific conditions and for a specific purpose.

Sources: The Times Of India

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