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Bitter orange

Botanical Name :Citrus aurantium L.
Family: Rutaceae
Genus: Citrus
Species: C. × aurantium
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Synonyms : Citrus bigarradia – Loisel.,  Citrus vulgaris – Risso.

Common Names:Bitter orange, Seville orange, sour orange, bigarade orange, or marmalade orange

Habitat :Bitter oranges originate from northeastern India and certain regions of China and Myanmar. The fruit has spread to the rest of the world by the 1st century CE, when the Romans first started cultivating bitter oranges to use them in natural remedies and as a delicious treat. With fall of Roman Empire, the cultivation of Bitter Orange has staggered for a while in Europe. It was the Arabs who spread it all the way to Spain, where they grow even today, lining the streets and spreading the wonderful aroma of the fresh citrus blossoms. Some of these trees are more than 600 years old, but oldest live bitter orange tree is supposedly one planted back in 1421, and still growing at the Palace of Versailles outside Paris.

When the Americas were discovered, Spanish people brought the seeds of bitter orange to North America, namely to Florida and the Bahamas. Florida is today known as the world’s largest producer of oranges, and the fragrant blossoms of the orange tree are listed as Florida state symbols.

Description:
An evergreen Tree growing to 9m by 6m.
It is hardy to zone 9 and is frost tender. It is in leaf all year, in flower from April to June. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Apomictic (reproduce by seeds formed without sexual fusion), insects. The plant is self-fertile.
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The plant prefers medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid and neutral soils and can grow in very alkaline soil. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires moist soil.

Varities:
*Citrus x aurantium subsp. amara is a spiny evergreen tree native to southern Vietnam, but widely cultivated. It is used as grafting stock for citrus trees, in marmalade, and in liqueur such as triple sec, Grand Marnier and Curaçao. It is also cultivated for the essential oil expressed from the fruit, and for neroli oil and orange flower water, which are distilled from the flowers.

*Seville orange (or bigarade) is a widely-known, particularly tart orange which is now grown throughout the Mediterranean region. It has a thick, dimpled skin, and is prized for making marmalade, being higher in pectin than the sweet orange, and therefore giving a better set and a higher yield. It is also used in compotes and for orange-flavored liqueurs. Once a year, oranges of this variety are collected from trees in Seville and shipped to Britain to be used in marmalade.[6] However, the fruit is rarely consumed locally in Andalusia.

*Chinotto, from the myrtle-leaved orange tree, C. aurantium var. myrtifolia, is used for the namesake Italian soda beverage.[8] This is sometimes considered a separate species.
Daidai, C. aurantium var. daidai, is used in Chinese medicine and Japanese New Year celebrations. The aromatic flowers are added to tea.

*Wild Florida sour orange is found near small streams in generally secluded and wooded parts of Florida and the Bahamas. It was introduced to the area from Spain.

*Bergamot orange is probably a bitter orange and limetta hybrid; it is cultivated in Italy for the production of bergamot oil, a component of many brands of perfume and tea, especially Earl Grey tea.

Cultivation :
Prefers a moderately heavy loam with a generous amount of compost and sand added and a very sunny position. Prefers a pH between 5 and 6[200]. Tolerates a pH in the range 4.8 to 8.3. Plants are intolerant of water logging. When growing plants in pots, a compost comprising equal quantities of loam and leafmould plus a little charcoal should produce good results[260]. Do not use manure since Citrus species dislike it. When watering pot plants it is important to neither overwater or underwater since the plant will soon complain by turning yellow and dying. Water only when the compost is almost dry, but do not allow it to become completely dry. Dormant plants can withstand temperatures down to about -6°c so long as this is preceded by cool weather in order to harden off the plant. 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. A tree grown outdoors on the coast at Salcombe in Devon lived for over 200 years. The bitter orange is often grown for its edible fruit in warm temperate and tropical zones, there are many named varieties. In Britain it can be grown in a pot that is placed outdoors in the summer and brought into a greenhouse during the winter. Plants dislike root disturbance and so should be placed into their permanent positions when young. If growing them in pots, great care must be exercised when potting them on into larger containers.

Propagation:
The seed is best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it ripe after thoroughly rinsing it. Sow stored seed in March in a greenhouse[3]. Germination usually takes place within 2 – 3 weeks at 13°c. Seedlings are liable to damp off so they must be watered with care and kept well ventilated. The seed is usually polyembrionic, two or more seedlings arise from each seed and they are genetically identical to the parent but they do not usually carry any virus that might be present in the parent plant. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least three growing seasons before trying them outdoors. Plant them out in the summer and give them some protection from the cold for their first few winters outdoors. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Layering in October.

Edible Uses:

Edible Parts: Fruit.

Edible Uses: Condiment; Oil.

Fruit – raw or cooked. Very bitter. It is used in making marmalade and other preserves. The fruit is about 5 – 7cm in diameter. The rind of the fruit is often used as a flavouring in cakes etc. Used in ‘bouquet garni’. An oil obtained from the seeds contains linolenic acid and is becoming more widely used as a food because of its ability to reduce levels of cholesterol in the blood. The flowers are used for scenting tea. An essential oil from the dried peel of immature fruits is used as a food flavouring

Cooking:
The unripe fruit, called narthangai, is commonly used in Southern Indian cuisine, especially in Tamil cuisine. It is pickled by cutting it into spirals and stuffing it with salt. The pickle is usually consumed with yoghurt rice thayir sadam. The fresh fruit is also used frequently in pachadis. The juice from the ripe fruit is also used as a marinade for meat in Nicaraguan, Cuban, Dominican and Haitian cooking, as it was in Peruvian Ceviche until the 1960s. The peel can be used in the production of bitters. In Yucatan (Mexico), it is a main ingredient of the cochinita pibil.

The Belgian Witbier (white beer) is made from wheat spiced with the peel of the bitter orange. The Finnish and Swedish use bitter orange peel in gingerbread (pepparkakor), some Christmas bread and in mämmi. It is also used in the Nordic mulled wine glögg. In Greece and Cyprus, the nerántzi or kitrómilon, respectively, is one of the most prized fruits used for spoon sweets, and the C. aurantium tree (nerantziá or kitromiliá) is a popular ornamental tree. Throughout Iran, the juice is popularly used as a salad dressing, souring agent in stews and pickles or as a marinade. The blossoms are collected fresh to make a prized sweet-smelling aromatic jam (“Bitter orange blossom jam” Morabba Bahar-Narendj), or added to brewing tea. In Turkey, juice of the ripe fruits can be used as salad dressing, especially in Çukurova region.

Medicinal Uses:
Antibacterial; Antiemetic; Antifungal; Antispasmodic; Antitussive; Aromatherapy; Carminative; Contraceptive; Diaphoretic; Digestive; Miscellany; Sedative; Stimulant; Stomachic; Tonic.

Citrus species contain a wide range of active ingredients and research is still underway in finding uses for them. They are rich in vitamin C, flavonoids, acids and volatile oils. They also contain coumarins such as bergapten which sensitizes the skin to sunlight. Bergapten is sometimes added to tanning preparations since it promotes pigmentation in the skin, though it can cause dermatitis or allergic responses in some people. Some of the plants more recent applications are as sources of anti-oxidants and chemical exfoliants in specialized cosmetics. The plants also contain umbelliferone, which is antifungal, as well as essential oils that are antifungal and antibacterial. They also contain the pyrone citrantin, which shows antifertility activity and was once used as a component of contraceptives. Both the leaves and the flowers are antispasmodic, digestive and sedative. An infusion is used in the treatment of stomach problems, sluggish digestion etc. The fruit is antiemetic, antitussive, carminative, diaphoretic, digestive and expectorant.The immature fruit can be used (called Zhi Shi in China) or the mature fruit with seeds and endocarp removed (called Zhi Ke). The immature fruit has a stronger action. They are used in the treatment of dyspepsia, constipation, abdominal distension, stuffy sensation in the chest, prolapse of the uterus, rectum and stomach. The fruit peel is bitter, digestive and stomachic. The seed and the pericarp are used in the treatment of anorexia, chest pains, colds, coughs etc. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy. Its keyword is ‘Radiance’. It is used in treating depression, tension and skin problems.

The leaves have a high vitamin C content in the form of ascorbic acid, and the fruit is full of this too. The fruit also contains flavonoid-glycosides such as aldehytes, ketone-free acids, esters, coumarins and tetranotriterpenoids (limonin). Synephrine is the main chemical constituent in the fruit flavones naringin and neohesperidin. The fruit contains vitamin A and some B-complex vitamins, with the minerals calcium, iron and phosphorous; amino acids are also present.

Herbal stimulant:
The extract of bitter orange (and bitter orange peel) has been marketed as dietary supplement purported to act as a weight-loss aid and appetite suppressant. Bitter orange contains the tyramine metabolites N-methyltyramine, octopamine and synephrine, substances similar to epinephrine, which act on the ?1 adrenergic receptor to constrict blood vessels and increase blood pressure and heart rate.p-Synephrine alone or in combination with caffeine or other substances has been shown to modestly increase weight loss in several low-quality clinical trials. Following bans on the herbal stimulant ephedra in the U.S., Canada, and elsewhere, bitter orange has been substituted into “ephedra-free” herbal weight-loss products by dietary supplement manufacturers. Like most dietary supplement ingredients, bitter orange has not undergone formal safety testing, but it is believed to cause the same spectrum of adverse events as ephedra. Case reports have linked bitter orange supplements to strokes, angina, and ischemic colitis. The U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that “there is currently little evidence that bitter orange is safer to use than ephedra.” Bitter orange may have serious drug interactions with drugs such as statins in a similar way to grapefruit.

Contraindications:
Because of the potential for additive effects, synephrine use is best avoided in patients with hypertension, tachyarrhythmia, or narrow angle glaucoma.

Pregnancy/Lactation:
Avoid use due to lack of clinical data regarding safety and efficacy during pregnancy and lactation.

Bitter Orange Interactions
Bitter orange may inhibit intestinal CYP3A4 and intestinal efflux and may interact with numerous drugs, including anxiolytics, antidepressants, antiviral agents, calcium channel blockers, dextromethorphan, GI prokinetic agents, vasoconstrictors, and weight-loss formulas.

Other Uses

Essential; Hedge; Oil; Repellent; Rootstock.
This species is much used as a rootstock for the sweet orange, C. sinensis, because of its disease resistance and greater hardiness. Grown as a hedging plant in N. America. A semi-drying oil obtained from the seed is used in soap making. Essential oils obtained from the peel, petals and leaves are used as a food flavouring and also in perfumery and medicines. The oil from the flowers is called ‘Neroli oil’ – yields are very low from this species and so it is often adulterated with inferior oils. The oil from the leaves and young shoots is called ‘petit-grain’ – 400 kilos of plant material yield about 1 kilo of oil. This is also often adulterated with inferior products. Neroli oil, mixed with vaseline, is used in India as a preventative against leeches

Toxicology
Medical literature primarily documents cardiovascular toxicity, especially due to the stimulant amines synephrine, octopamine, and N-methyltyramine, which may cause vasoconstriction as well as increased heart rate and blood pressure.

Known Hazards: (Bitter Orange Adverse Reactions)
There are numerous case reports of adverse cardiac reactions associated with C. aurantium extract use.

Following an incident in which a healthy young man suffered a myocardial infarction (heart attack) linked to bitter orange, a case study found that dietary supplement manufacturers had replaced ephedra with its analogs from bitter orange

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/Citrus_%C3%97_aurantium
http://www.drugs.com/npp/bitter-orange.html
http://www.fragrantica.com/notes/Bitter-Orange-79.html
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Citrus+aurantium

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Manchineel

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Botanical Name : Hippomane mancinella
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Subfamily: Euphorbioideae
Tribe: Hippomaneae
Subtribe: Hippomaninae
Genus: Hippomane
L.
Species: H. mancinella
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malpighiales

Common Name :Manchineel .
The name “manchineel” (sometimes written “manchioneel”) as well as the specific epithet mancinella is from Spanish manzanilla (“little apple”), from the superficial resemblance of its fruit and leaves those of an apple tree. A present-day Spanish name is in fact manzanilla de la muerte, “little apple of death”. This refers to the fact that manchineel is one of the most poisonous trees in the world.

Habitat ; Manchineel  is  native to Florida in the United States, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, Central America, and northern South America.

Description:
Manchineel is a tree reaching up to 15 meters high with a greyish bark, shiny green leaves and spikes of small greenish flowers. Its fruits, which are similar in appearance to an apple, are green or greenish-yellow when ripe.
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The manchineel tree can be found near to (and on) coastal beaches. It provides excellent natural windbreaks and its roots stabilize the sand, thus helping to prevent beach erosion.

Medicinal Uses:
Manchineel is occasionally used in folk medicine to treat parasitic disease of the skin. It is diuretic, and in 2-drop doses is reputed actively purgative. The Cubans make use of it in tetanus. It has been used in homeopathic medicine

Toxicity:
The tree and its parts contain strong toxins, some unidentified. Its milky white sap contains Phorbol and other skin irritants, producing strong allergic dermatitis. Standing beneath the tree during rain will cause blistering of the skin from mere contact with this liquid (even a small drop of rain with the milky substance in it will cause the skin to blister). Burning the tree may cause blindness if the smoke reaches the eyes. The fruit can also be fatal if eaten. Many trees carry a warning sign, while others are marked with a red “X” on the trunk to indicate danger. In the French Antilles the trees are often marked with a painted red band a few feet above the ground.

The tree contains 12-deoxy-5-hydroxyphorbol-6gamma, 7alpha-oxide, hippomanins, mancinellin, and sapogenin, phloracetophenone-2,4-dimethylether is present in the leaves, while the fruits possess physostigmine.

The Caribs used the sap of this tree to poison their arrows and would tie captives to the trunk of the tree, ensuring a slow and painful death. A poultice of arrowroot (Maranta arundinacea) was used by the Arawaks and Taíno as an antidote against such arrow poisons. The Caribs were known to poison the water supply of their enemies with the leaves. Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León was struck by an arrow that had been poisoned with Manchineel sap during battle with the Calusa in Florida, dying shortly thereafter.

To Europeans, the manchineel quickly became notorious. The heroine of Giacomo Meyerbeer‘s 1865 opera L’Africaine commits suicide by lying under a manchineel tree and inhaling the plant’s vapours. In the 1956 film Wind Across The Everglades, a notorious poacher named Cottonmouth (played by Burl Ives) ties a victim to the trunk of a manchineel tree.

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/Manchineel
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm
http://gislab.fiu.edu/treesofmiami/sp_pages/Hippomane_mancinella.html

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Hippomane_mancinella

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Canella alba

 

Botanical Name : Canella alba
Family Canellaceae Canellaceae
KingdomPlantae Plantae
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta Tracheobionta
Division : Magnoliophyta Magnoliophyta
Class : Magnoliopsida Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Magnoliidae Magnoliidae
Order Canellales Canellales
Gender :  Canella Canella
:Species : C. C. alba dawn
Synonyms:Canella. White Wood. Wild Cinnamon. Canellae Cortex, Canella winteriana

Common Names :Kilyuram patai, Castilian: Mullein, white Canella, Palo malambo.

Habitat:
It is native to the West Indies Caribbean common areas  and Florida.


Description:

A straight tree, from 10 to 50 feet in height with numerous branches with leaves. The bark is whitish and the leaves alternate, oblong, thick, and of a dark, shining, laurel green.The whole plant is aromatic and evokes the smell of black currant , but not to be confused with cinnamon true (Cinnamomum). The leaves are alternate, obovate or oblanceolate, coriaceous, dark green dotted with translucent glands. The upper surface is dark and the lower surface bright green, lighter and mate. The inflorescences are usually terminal, sometimes axillary.

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The flowers are small, and seldom open. They have 3 sepals 2-3 mm thick and 5 petals obovate, 5-6 mm, bright red color with a yellowish base, 10 stamens with filaments united into a staminal tube 3-4 mm and anthers yellow to orange, and a short style but bigger.
They are of a violet colour, and grow in clusters at the tops of the branches.  They last from June to September.

 

The fruit is a berry globose green and vermilion, and finally almost black7-10 mm in diameter. Contains up to 5 seeds black, shiny, oblong, 5-6 mm.Although the flowers are hermaphrodites , they behave as unisexual flowers.

The fruit is an oblong berry containing four kidney-shaped seeds, and turns from green to blue and then to a glossy black. The wild pigeons of Jamaica eat the fruit, and their flesh is flavoured by them. The whole tree is aromatic, and if the flowers are dried, then softened again in warm water, they have a fragrance resembling musk. Canella was first introduced into Britain in 1600. The Spaniards, on seeing it in America, thought it was a species of cinnamon, and brought it to Europe as ‘white cinnamon.’
The corky layer of the bark can be gently beaten off, and the inner bark is dried, and exported chiefly from the Bahamas.

 

In commerce the bark is found in quills or twisted pieces, of a pale orange-brown, with characteristic markings scars, or spots. The fracture is short, granular, and whitish. The odour is agreeable, resembling cloves and cinnamon, and the taste is pungent, bitter, and acrid.

The negroes and Caribs use it as a condiment or spice, and it is sometimes added by smokers to their tobacco to remove the unpleasant odour and make their rooms fragrant.

Constituents: A volatile oil, gum, starch, canellin, bitter extractive, resin, albumen, mannite, etc. The oil has a pungent, aromatic taste, and contains eugenol, cineol, and terpenes. There is no tannin.

Contains pentosan (16.7%). manito(8.71%), nitrogenous (8.5%), reducing substance(16%),ash (7.4%), and small amounts of plowing, Glaktos and xylan.


Medicinal Action and Uses:

Part Used: The bark, deprived of its corky layer and dried.

It is aromatic , stimulant , digestive , stomach , tonic, antiscorbutic .  Macerated bark is used in rubbing alcohol against rheumatism , the cooking for the stomach , is given as a febrifuge , is included among the stimulants general and aphrodisiacs . It is part of Rhubarb wine of the British Pharmacopoeia.  The bark is used.

An aromatic bitter, useful in enfeebled conditions of the stomach, and often given with other medicines. It was formerly given in scurvy. The powder is used with aloes as a stimulating purgative. (This is a descendant of the Hiera Piera of Galen. – EDITOR.) It is often sold as a substitute for winter’s bark, but it contains no tannic acid, or oxide of iron, both of which are present in the other.

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://vaniindia.org.whbus12.onlyfordemo.com/herbal/plantdir.asp
http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fes.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FCanella_alba.
http://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/c/cinwhi70.html

http://handicraft.indiamart.com/products/decorative-items/dry-flowers/canella.html

http://www.increasemyvocabulary.com/definition/of/canella-winterana/

Otaheite Gooseberry

Botanical Name:Phyllanthus acidus
Family: Phyllanthaceae

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Malpighiales
Tribe: Phyllantheae
Subtribe: Flueggeinae
Genus: Phyllanthus
Species: P. acidus
Parts Used :  Whole plant
Other Names:Malay gooseberry, Tahitian gooseberry, country gooseberry, star gooseberry, West India gooseberry or simply gooseberry tree,Kuppanti, Buddabudama / Tankari / Physalis minima, Linn.
In Telugu it is called Nela Usiri
Habitat:This tropical or subtropical species is thought to originate in Madagascar, then carried to the East Indies. Now it is generally found in South India, and Southeast Asia countries, such as Southern Vietnam, Laos, Indonesia and Northern Malaya. It also occurs in the Indian Ocean islands of Mauritius, Réunion and Rodrigues and also in Guam, Hawaii and several other Pacific islands. In 1793, the plant was introduces to Jamaica from Timor. From there, it progressively spread to the whole Caribbean region, as far as the Bahamas or Bermuda. It is now naturalized in Central and South America.

In the United States, the tree is occasionally found as a curiosity in Florida. For instance, it is resistant enough to fruit in Tampa.

Description:The plant is a curious intermediary between shrubs and tree, reaching 2 to 9 m in height. The tree’s dense and bushy crown is composed of thickish, tough main branches, at the end of which are clusters of deciduous, greenish, 15-to-30-cm long branchlets. The branchlets bear alternate leaves that are ovate or lanceolate in form, with short petioles and pointed ends. The leaves are 2-7.5 cm long and thin, they are green and smooth on the upperside and blue-green on the underside. In general, the Otaheite gooseberry very much looks like the bilimbi tree.
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LeavesThe flowers can be male, female or hermaphrodite. They are small and pinkish and appear in clusters in 5-to-12.5-cm long panicles. Flowers are formed at leafless parts of the main branches, at the upper part of the tree. The fruits are numerous, oblate, with 6 to 8 ribs, develop so densely that they actually form spectacular masses. They are pale yellow or white, waxy, crisp and juicy, and very sour. It has only one seed in each fruit.

Cultivation:
The Otaheite gooseberry prefers moist soil. Although it usually grows from seeds, the tree can also be multiplied from budding, greenwood cuttings or air-layers. It bears two crops per year in South India: one in April-May and the other in August-September. Elsewhere, it is mainly harvested in January. It is mostly cultivated for ornamentation.

Food Uses:
The flesh must be sliced from the stone, or the fruits must be cooked and then pressed through a sieve to separate the stones. The sliced raw flesh can be covered with sugar and let stand in the refrigerator for a day. The sugar draws out the juice and modifies the acidity so that the flesh and juice can be used as a sauce. If left longer, the flesh shrivels and the juice can be strained off as a clear, pale-yellow sirup. In Indonesia, the tart flesh is added to many dishes as a flavoring. The juice is used in cold drinks in the Philippines. Bahamian cooks soak the whole fruits in salty water overnight to reduce the acidity, then rinse, boil once or twice, discarding the water, then boil with equal amount of sugar until thick, and put up in sterilized jars without removing seeds. The repeated processing results in considerable loss of flavor. Fully ripe fruits do not really require this treatment. If cooked long enough with plenty of sugar, the fruit and juice turn ruby-red and yield a sprightly jelly. In Malaya, the ripe or unripe Otaheite gooseberry is cooked and served as a relish, or made into a thick sirup or sweet preserve. It is also combined with other fruits in making chutney and jam because it helps these products to “set”. Often, the fruits are candied, or pickled in salt. In the Philippines, they are used to make vinegar.

The young leaves are cooked as greens in India and Indonesia.
The juice can be used in beverage, or the fruit pickled in sugar. When cooked with plenty of sugar, the fruit turns ruby red and produces a kind of jelly, which is called m?t chùm ru?t in Vietnamese. It can also be salted.

The fruit is called “Grosella” in Puerto Rico. Since the fruit is tart, it if often eaten in “Dulce de Grosellas”. The preparation of this dessert consist in simmering the berries with sugar until they are soft and turn red in color. The liquid from the cooking is also used as a beverage.

Other Uses
Wood: The wood is light-brown, fine-grained, attractive, fairly hard, strong, tough, durable if seasoned, but scarce, as the tree is seldom cut down.
Root bark: The root bark has limited use in tanning in India.
Medicinal Uses:Enlargement of Spleen, to restore flaccid breasts, to restore lost vigour,Bronchitis, Erysipelas, Ulcers, Ascites,Tonic, Diuretic, Purgative.

In India, the fruits are taken as liver tonic, to enrich the blood. The sirup is prescribed as a stomachic; and the seeds are cathartic. The leaves, with added pepper, are poulticed on sciatica, lumbago or rheumatism. A decoction of the leaves is given as a sudorific. Because of the mucilaginous nature of the leaves, they are taken as a demulcent in cases of gonorrhea.

The root is drastically purgative and regarded as toxic in Malaya but is boiled and the steam inhaled to relieve coughs and headache. The root infusion is taken in very small doses to alleviate asthma. Externally, the root is used to treat psoriasis of the soles of feet. The juice of the root bark, which contains saponin, gallic acid, tannin and a crystalline substance which may be lupeol, has been employed in criminal poisoning.

The acrid latex of various parts of the tree is emetic and purgative.

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/Otaheite_gooseberry
http://apmab.ap.nic.in/products.php?&start=10#
http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/otaheite_gooseberry.html

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Conch Shell

 

 

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Gastropoda
Subclass: Orthogastropoda
Superorder: Caenogastropoda
Order: Sorbeoconcha
Suborder: Hypsogastropoda
Infraorder: Littorinimorpha
Superfamily: Stromboidea
Family: Strombidae
Genus: Strombus

Description:
A conch (pronounced as “konk” or “konch”) is one of a number of different species of medium-sized to large saltwater snails or their shells. True conchs are marine gastropod molluscs in the family Strombidae, and the genus Strombus.

.click to see the pictures

The name “conch” however, is often quite loosely applied in English-speaking countries to several kinds of very large snail-like shells of salt-water molluscs that are pointed at both ends. That is, a conch’s shell has a high spire and a noticeable siphonal canal. Other species often called a “conch” include the crown conch Melongena species; the horse conch Pleuroploca gigantea; and the sacred chank or more correctly Shankha shell, Turbinella pyrum. None of these are in the family Strombidae, but instead in other families of the molluscs.

The true conch species within the genus Strombus vary in size from fairly small to very large. Several of the larger species are economically important as food sources; these include the endangered queen conch or pink conch Strombus gigas, which very rarely may produce a pink, gem quality pearl.

About 74 species of the Strombidae family are living, and a much larger number of species exist only in the fossil record.  Of the living species, most are in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Six species live in the greater Caribbean region, including the Queen Conch, and the West Indian Fighting Conch, Strombus pugilis.

Many species of conch live on sandy bottoms among beds of sea grass in warm tropical waters.

Live animal of fighting conch ->.…CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Anatomy:
Like almost all shelled gastropods, conches have spirally constructed shells. Again, as is normally the case in many gastropods, this spiral shell growth is usually right-handed, but on very rare occasions it can be left-handed.

True conchs have long eye stalks, with colorful ring-marked eyes. The shell has a long and narrow aperture, and a short siphonal canal, with another indentation near the anterior end called a stromboid notch. This notch is where one of the two eye stalks protrudes from the shell. The true conch has a foot ending in a pointed, sickle-shaped, operculum which can be dug into the substrate as part of an unusual “leaping” locomotion.

True conchs grow a flared lip on their shells only upon reaching sexual maturity. Animals which are harvested by fishermen before they reach this stage are juveniles, and have not had a chance to reproduce.

Conchs lay eggs in long, gelatinous strands

Species :-
Strombus alatus
Strombus gigas
Strombus luhuanus
Strombus pugilis
Strombus tricornis
Strombus canarium
Strombus dolomena
Strombus gibberulus
Strombus conomurex
Strombus lentigo
Strombus doxander
Strombus urceus
Strombus fragilis
Strombus gallus
Strombus dentatus
Strombus marginatus
Strombus raninus
Strombus buvonius

Different Uses:
As food
Second in popularity only to the escargot for edible snails, the “meat” of the conch is used as food, either eaten raw, as in salads, or cooked, as in fritters, chowders, gumbos, and burgers. All parts of the conch meat are edible. However, some people find only the white meat appetizing.

In East Asian cuisines, this seafood is often cut into thin slices and then steamed or stir-fried.

In the Bahamas and Haiti, natives eat conch in soups and salads, and restaurants all over the islands serve this particular meat.

In El Salvador, live conch is served in a cocktail of onion, tomato, cilantro, and lemon juice. Lemon juice is squeezed onto the cocktail, causing the conch to squirm, and then the whole thing is slurped down whole, as in the manner of oysters.

As musical instruments:-
Conch shells can be used as wind instruments, by cutting a small hole in the spire and then blowing into the shell as if it were a trumpet, as in blowing horn.

Conch shell trumpets were historically used throughout the South Pacific, in countries such as Fiji. In resorts in Fiji they still blow the shell as a performance for the tourists. The Fijians also used the conch shell when the chief died: the chief’s body would be brought down a special path and the conch would be played until the chief’s body reached the end of the path. Only the chief’s body could go down that path.

The American jazz trombonist Steve Turre also plays conches, notably with his group Sanctified Shells.

A partially echoplexed Indian conch was featured prominently as the primary instrument depicting the extraterrestrial environment of the derelict spaceship in Jerry Goldsmith‘s score for the film Alien. Director Ridley Scott was so impressed by the eerie effect that he requested its use throughout the rest of the score, including the Main Title.

Composer John Cage has used partially water-filled conch shells, which, when tilted slowly, create gurgling sounds beyond the player’s control, which are then amplified. This sound effect was used by James Horner in the film Troy and by Annea Lockwood in her compositions.

Pearls:……CLICK & SEE
Many gastropods (snails and sea snails, of which the conch is the latter) produce pearls, and those of the Queen Conch, Strombus gigas, have been collectors’ items since Victorian times. Conch pearls come in a range of hues, including white, brown and orange and many intermediate shades, but pink is the colour most associated with the conch pearl. Conch pearls are sometimes referred to simply as ‘pink pearls’. In some gemmological texts, non-nacreous gastropod pearls used to be referred to as ‘calcareous concretions’ because they were ‘porcellaneous’ (i.e. shiny and ceramic-like) in appearance rather than ‘nacreous’ (i.e. with a pearly lustre sometimes known as ‘orient’). However, Kenneth Scarrat, the director of GIA in Bangkok recently argued that conch calcareous concretions should be called ‘pearls’. Although non-nacreous, the surface of fine Conch pearls has a unique and attractive appearance of its own. The microstructure of conch pearls comprises partly-aligned bundles of microcrystalline fibres which create a shimmering, slightly iridescent effect known as ‘flame structure’. The effect is a form of chatoyancy, caused by the interaction of light rays with the microcrystals in the pearl’s surface, and it somewhat resembles Moiré silk.

Other uses
*Conch shells are sometimes used as decoration, as decorative planters, and in cameo making.

*In classic Mayan art, conchs are shown being utilized in many ways including as paint and ink holders for elite scribes, as bugles or trumpets, and as hand weapons (held by combatants by inserting their hands in the aperture).

*Some American Aboriginals used cylindrical conch columella beads as part of breastplates and other personal adornment. See Hair Pipes.

*In some Caribbean and African American cemeteries, conch shells are placed on graves. (The Last Miles of the Way: African
*Homegoing Traditions, 1890-Present, edited by Elaine Nichols).

*In some Caribbean countries, cleaned Queen Conch (Strombus gigas) shells, or polished fragments, are sold, mainly to tourists, as souvenirs or in jewelry. Without a permit, however, export is a breach of CITES regulations, and may lead to arrest . This is most likely to occur on return to the tourist’s home country while clearing customs. In the UK conch shells are the ninth most seized import.

*Conch shells are occasionally used as a building material, either in place of bricks, or as bulk for landfill.

*In Grenada fishermen use Conch shells to announce to the community that fish is available for sale. It is also used at Carnival times in the popular Jouvert Jump where Diab Diab (Jab Jab) mas blow conch shells as part of the festivities.

Religious use:-

The Hindu tradition
A Shankha shell (the shell of a Turbinella pyrum, a species in the gastropod family Turbinellidae) is often referred to in the West as a conch shell, or a chank shell. This shell is used as an important ritual object in Hinduism. The shell is used as a ceremonial trumpet, as part of religious practices, for example puja. The chank trumpet is sounded during worship at specific points, accompanied by ceremonial bells and singing.
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A Hindu priest blowing a Sankh during a puja.In the story of Dhruva the divine conch plays a special part. The warriors of ancient India blew conch shells to announce battle, as is described in the beginning of the war of Kurukshetra, in the Mahabharata, the famous Hindu epic.

The god of Preservation, Vishnu, is said to hold a special conch, Panchajanya, that represents life, as it has come out of life-giving waters.

As it is an auspicious instrument,it is often played in a Lakshmi puja in temple or at home.

In Bengal, Hindu house wives blow Shankha three times every evening and  also in all auspicious functions in the house .   They wear  bangles made from shankha(conch shell) after marriage.

The Buddhist tradition
Buddhism has also incorporated the conch shell, as one of the Eight Auspicious Symbols.

Ancient Peru
The Moche people of ancient Peru worshiped the sea and often depicted conch shells in their art.

In literature and in the oral tradition
William Golding’s Lord of the Flies features frequent references to “the Conch”. In the book the conch is used as a trumpet to call everyone together and held by whoever is speaking at meetings, symbolically representing democracy and order. When a boulder released by Roger, Jack’s lieutenant, smashes the conch, it is a sign that civilized order has fully collapsed since Jack’s eventual increasing influence. At the same time, Piggy dies.

The famous Old English riddle Ic wæs be Sonde describes a conch: “I was by sound, near seawall, at ocean-stream; I dwelt alone in my first resting place. … Little did I know that I, ere or since, ever should speak mouthless over mead-benches.”

In popular folklore, it is believed that if one holds an open conch shell (or any other large marine snail shell) to the ear, the ocean can be heard. This phenomenon is caused by the resonant cavity of the shell producing a form of pink noise from the surrounding background ambiance. In reality, the person is hearing their blood flow in the capillaries of their ears; the sound enters the shell and reverberates through the chambers before coming back. This sound can also be heard (though rather poorly) by covering one’s ear with one’s hand. The rushing sound is the flow of blood

Medicinal Uses:Bhasam [ashes of conch shell]: is used for the treatment of : loss of appetite, indigestion, peptic ulcers, dueodenal ulcers, hyperacidity, bronchitis, hepatospleenomegaly, Gulma, asthma, cough, respiratory disorders.

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/List_of_herbs_and_minerals_in_Ayurveda
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conch