Tag Archives: Baking

Vanilla planiforlia

Botanical Name : Vanilla planiforlia
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Vanilloideae
Tribes: Vanilleae
Class: Equisetopsida
Subclass: Magnoliidae
Superorder: Lilianae
Order: Asparagales
Genus: Vanilla
Species: Vanilla planifolia

Synonyms: Vanilla planifolia Jacks, Notylia planifolia

Common name: Vanilla
Habitat:Vanilla planiforlia is native to Mexico and Central America. It grows in the tropical forests.
Description:
Vanilla planifolia is a tropical vine, which can reach a length of over 30 m. It has thick, fleshy stems and greenish flowers that open early in the morning and are pollinated by bees. The flowers have only a slight scent, with no element of the vanilla flavour or aroma. Once pollinated, the ovaries swell and develop into fruits called ‘pods’ similar to long, thin runner beans over a period of four weeks. The pods contain thousands of tiny black seeds.
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Cultivation:
Chris Ryan of Kew’s Tropical Nursery has found that propagation of this orchid is relatively straightforward and is usually done from stem cuttings.

A piece of stem is taken, with a minimum of three sets of leaves. The cutting is placed on sphagnum moss and kept damp in a warm and humid environment until new growth starts from one of the nodes. The cuttings are then planted into hanging baskets, using a compost mix made of three parts bark chips, two parts pumice and one part charcoal. The compost is watered only when it dries out, but the aerial roots are misted once a day.

The plants are kept in a warm zone of the nursery, with a minimum winter temperature of 18?C, and shaded when necessary. When the plants become large they require some support due to their climbing habit. Flowering can be induced by tip-pruning established plants, which promotes flowering on lateral shoots.

Edible Uses:The tiny seeds, whole fruit, powder or fruit extract of vanilla are used as flavouring agents in food, particularly in confectionery and sweet foods, sometimes to reduce the amount of sugar necessary to sweeten food.

Medicinal Uses:
Vanilla is used medicinally as an aphrodisiac, as a stimulant, and to relieve fevers and gastric complaints, although there is no scientific evidence for its effectiveness in these cases. In the 16th and 17th centuries vanilla was believed to have various medicinal properties and was used as a stomach herb, a stimulant and aphrodisiac and an antidote to poisons. It was first included in European pharmacopoeias in the 18th century and was listed in the British and American ones for many years. It acts on the nervous system and used to be used to treat hysteria and high fevers.

Research has shown that vanillin, the main flavour molecule in vanilla, does have antimicrobial and antioxidant activities.
Other Uses:
Vanilla is among the most important ingredients in perfumery.

Vanilla: Essence and aroma

The mature, unripe fruits have no flavour when they are harvested. The aroma and flavour of vanilla are released when the fruit is dried and cured by steaming and fermentation. The finest quality vanilla pods turn dark brown and accumulate a frosting of glucose and vanillin on the surface during fermentation.

Vanillin was first synthesised in 1874 from a compound extracted from pine bark, and then in 1891 from a different compound extracted from cloves, and is widely used as a synthetic substitute for natural vanilla. The ‘vanilla essence‘ commonly used today is synthesised from wood pulp as a by-product of paper-making and from coal-tar (toluene). However, the characteristic aroma and flavour of natural vanilla comprises a cocktail of over 200 different molecules.
Known Hazards: Vanilla may cause allergic responses when applied topically or taken internally. ‘Vanillism’ is a condition sometimes experienced by workers handling vanilla, the symptoms of which are headache, dermatitis and insomnia.

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://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Vanilla_planifolia
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_UZ.htm
http://www.kew.org/science-conservation/plants-fungi/vanilla-planifolia-vanilla

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Polyganum aviculare

Botanical Name: Polyganum aviculare
Family: Polygonaceae
Genus: Polygonum
Species: P. aviculare
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Synonyms: Knotgrass. Centinode. Ninety-knot. Nine-joints. Allseed. Bird’s Tongue. Sparrow Tongue. Red Robin. Armstrong. Cowgrass. Hogweed. Pigweed. Pigrush. Swynel Grass. Swine’s Grass.

Common Names :  Knotweed, Prostrate knotweed, Birdweed, Pigweed and lowgrass.

Part Used: Whole herb.

Habitat: Polyganum aviculare occurs throughout the world. It is mostly found in fields and wasteland.

Description:
Common knotgrass is an annual herb with a semi-erect stem that may grow to 10 to 40 cm (4 to 16 in) high. The leaves are hairless and short-stalked. They are longish-elliptical with short stalks and rounded bases; the upper ones are few and are linear and stalkless. The stipules are fused into a stem-enclosing, translucent sheath known as an ochrea that is membranous and silvery. The flowers are regular, green with white or pink margins. Each has five perianth segments, overlapping at the base, five to eight stamens and three fused carpels. The fruit is a dark brown, three-edged nut. The seeds need light to germinate which is why this plant appears in disturbed soil in locations where its seeds may have lain dormant for years. It is noted for attracting wildlife……..CLICK  & SEE  THE  PICTURES

Cultivation :
Succeeds in an ordinary garden soil but prefers a moisture retentive not too fertile soil in sun or part shade. Repays generous treatment, in good soils the plant will cover an area up to a metre in diameter. Prefers an acid soil. Dislikes shade. Knotweed is a common and invasive weed of cultivated ground. It is an important food plant for the caterpillars of many species of butterflies. It also produces an abundance of seeds and these are a favourite food for many species of birds. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits. The flowers have little or no scent or honey and are rarely visited by pollinating insects. Self-fertilization is the usual method of reproduction, though cross-fertilization by insects does sometimes occur. The plant also produces cleistogomous flowers – these never open and therefore are always self-fertilized. The plant is very variable and is seen by most botanists as an aggregate species of 4 very variable species, viz. – P. aviculare. L.; P. boreale. (Lange.)Small.; P. rurivacum. Jord. ex Box.; and P. arenastrum. Box.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Germination is usually free and easy. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer if they have reached sufficient size. If not, overwinter them in a cold frame and plant them out the following spring after the last expected frosts. Division in spring or autumn. Very easy, larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.
Edible Uses :
Edible Parts: Leaves; Seed.
Edible Uses: Tea.

Young leaves and plants – raw or cooked. Used as a potherb, they are very rich in zinc. A nutritional analysis is available. Seed – raw or cooked. Rather small and fiddly to utilize, they can be used in all the ways that buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum) is used, either whole or dried and ground into a powder for use in pancakes, biscuits and piñole. The leaves are a tea substitute
Chemical Compositions: Polyganum aviculare contains the flavonols avicularin, myricitrin, juglanin, astragalin, betmidin and the lignan aviculin.
*Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
*Leaves (Fresh weight)
*0 Calories per 100g
*Water : 81.6%
*Protein: 1.9g; Fat: 0.3g; Carbohydrate: 10.2g; Fibre: 3.5g; Ash: 3.5g;
*Minerals – Calcium: 0mg; Phosphorus: 0mg; Iron: 0mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 0mg; Zinc: 0mg;
*Vitamins – A: 0mg; Thiamine (B1): 0mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0mg; Niacin: 0mg; B6: 0mg; C: 0mg;
Medicinal Uses:
Anthelmintic; Antiphlogistic; Astringent; Cardiotonic; Cholagogue; Diuretic; Emetic; Emollient; Expectorant; Febrifuge; Haemostatic;
Lithontripic; Purgative; TB; Vasoconstrictor; Vulnerary.

Polyganum aviculare is a safe and effective astringent and diuretic herb that is used mainly in the treatment of complaints such as dysentery and haemorrhoids. It is also taken in the treatment of pulmonary complaints because the silicic acid it contains strengthens connective tissue in the lungs. The whole plant is anthelmintic, astringent, cardiotonic, cholagogue, diuretic, febrifuge, haemostatic, lithontripic and vulnerary. It was formerly widely used as an astringent both internally and externally in the treatment of wounds, bleeding, piles and diarrhoea. Its diuretic properties make it useful in removing stones. An alcohol-based preparation has been used with success to treat varicose veins of recent origin. The plant is harvested in the summer and early autumn and is dried for later use. The leaves are anthelmintic, diuretic and emollient. The whole plant is anthelmintic, antiphlogistic and diuretic. The juice of the plant is weakly diuretic, expectorant and vasoconstrictor. Applied externally, it is an excellent remedy to stay bleeding of the nose and to treat sores. The seeds are emetic and purgative. Recent research has shown that the plant is a useful medicine for bacterial dysentery. Of 108 people with this disease, 104 recovered within 5 days when treated internally with a paste of knotweed
The plant has astringent properties, rendering an infusion of it useful in diarrhoea, bleeding piles and all haemorrhages; it was formerly employed considerably as a vulnerary and styptic.

It has also diuretic properties, for which it has found employment in strangury and as an expellant of stone, the dose recommended in old herbals being 1 drachm of the herb, powdered in wine, taken twice a day.

The decoction was also administered to kill worms.

The fresh juice has been found effectual to stay bleeding of the nose, squirted up the nose and applied to the temples, and made into an ointment it has proved an excellent remedy for sores.

Salmon stated:
‘Knotgrass is peculiar against spilling of blood, strangury and other kidney affections, cools inflammations, heals wounds and cleanses and heals old filthy ulcers. The Essence for tertians and quartan. The decoction for colick; the Balsam strengthens weak joints, comforts the nerves and tendons, and is prevalent against the gout, being duly and rightly applied morning and evening.’

The fruit is emetic and purgative.

Other Uses:..Dye…….Yields a blue dye that is not much inferior to indigo. The part used is not specified, but it is likely to be the leaves. Yellow and green dyes are obtained from the whole plant. The roots contain tannins, but the quantity was not given

Known Hazards: Although no specific mention has been made for this species, there have been reports that some members of this genus can cause photosensitivity in susceptible people. Many species also contain oxalic acid (the distinctive lemony flavour of sorrel) – whilst not toxic this substance can bind up other minerals making them unavailable to the body and leading to mineral deficiency. Having said that, a number of common foods such as sorrel and rhubarb contain oxalic acid and the leaves of most members of this genus are nutritious and beneficial to eat in moderate quantities. Cooking the leaves will reduce their content of oxalic acid. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition

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/Polygonum_aviculare
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/k/knogra08.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Polygonum+aviculare

Solanum ptychanthum

 

Botanical Name: Solanum ptychanthum
Family:    Solanaceae
Genus:    Solanum
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:    Solanales

Common Names: Solanum ptychanthum, Eastern black nightshade or West Indian nightshade

Habitat: Eastern black nightshade is found principally in the Eastern United States. Eastern black nightshade grows in landscapes, and mixed in among most crops. It is most likely to be found growing near crops of related species such as tomatoes and potatoes. It can grow on sandy and poor soil, but prefers fertile and cultivated soil types.

Description:
Eastern black nightshade  is an annual or occasionally perennial plant . It is typically 15–60 cm tall and has many branche.The leaves of Eastern black nightshade are triangular to elliptic. The stems are circular, and sometimes slightly hairy. The flowers are small, white, and star-shaped, and they occur in small umbels of 5-7. The flowers ripen into glossy, black berries, each 10 mm in diameter and containing between 50 and 100 seeds. The ripened fruits have been shown to be not poisonous in low to moderate amounts,  however the foliage and unriped berries are toxic. The berries are eaten and dispersed by birds……..CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Eastern black nightshade grows as weeds. It is, however, shade tolerant and so an infestation can survive and continue to grow even in the shade of crop plants. There are no easy chemical methods for controlling Eastern black nightshade, but night tillage reduces emergence by 50% to 75%. Planting soybeans in 7.5-inch rows also reduces growth significantly, and is the recommended method of control.
Edible  & medicinal  uses:
You may click & see:-
1) .http://www.eattheweeds.com/american-nightshade-a-much-maligned-edible/

2)...http://kentuckyforager.com/2013/03/17/a-look-back-at-2012-and-solanum-ptycanthum-eastern-black-nightshade/

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/Solanum_ptychanthum

Simple Gestures Of Solace

Offering Comfort
Sometimes it is difficult to see someone we love struggling, in pain, or hurting. When this happens, we might feel like we need to be proactive and do something to ease their troubles. While others may want our help, it is important to keep in mind that we need to be sensitive to what they truly want in the moment, since it can be all too easy to get carried away and say or do more than is really needed. Allowing ourselves to let go and simply exist in the present with another person may actually provide a greater amount of comfort and support than we could ever imagine.

Perhaps we can think back to a time when we were upset and needed a kind word, hug, or listening ear from someone else. As we remember these times, we might think of the gestures of kindness that were the most healing. It may have been gentle words such as “I care about you,” or the soothing presence of someone holding us and not expecting anything that were the most consoling. When we are able to go back to these times it becomes easier for us to keep in mind that giving advice or saying more than is really necessary is not always reassuring. What is truly comforting for another is not having someone try to fix them or their problems, but to just be there for them. Should we begin to feel the urge arise to offer advice or repair a situation, we can take a few deep breaths, let the impulse pass, and bring our attention back to the present. Even though we may want to do more, we do not have to do anything other than this to be a good friend.

The more we are attuned to what our loved ones are feeling, the more capable we are of truly giving what is best for them in their hour of need. Keeping things simple helps us give the part of ourselves that is capable of the greatest amount of compassion—open ears and an understanding heart.

Source: Daily Om

Brewer’s yeast

Description
Brewer’s yeast is an ingredient that is used to ferment sugars to alcohol in the brewing of beer. It consists of the ground, dried cells of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a one-celled plant that is a variety of fungus.

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Brewer’s yeast contains all the essential amino acids, 14 minerals, and 17 vitamins. It is one of the best natural sources of the B-complex vitamins thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B6, pantothenic acid, biotin, and folic acid. It is also high in minerals, including chromium, zinc, iron, phosphorus, and selenium. Brewer’s yeast is also a good source of protein. It contains approximately 16 g of protein per 30 g of powdered yeast. Brewer’s yeast is a good source of RNA, an immune-enhancing nucleic acid that may help in the prevention of degenerative diseases and slowing the aging process.

Brewer’s yeast is an active yeast used to make beer and can also be grown specifically to make nutritional supplements. It is a rich source of minerals (particularly chromium), protein, and the B-complex vitamins. Brewer’s yeast is bitter in taste and should not be confused with baker’s yeast, nutritional yeast, or torula yeast as these forms of yeast are low in chromium. Chromium is an essential trace mineral that helps the body maintain normal blood sugar levels. It occurs naturally in the environment and is an important contributor to human health. Some experts estimate that as many as 90% of Americans don’t get enough chromium in their diet.

Active dried yeast, a granulated form in which yeast is commercially sold

General Uses:

Baking:Yeast, specifically Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is used in baking as a leavening agent, where it converts the fermentable sugars present in the dough into carbon dioxide.

Bioremediation
Some yeasts can find potential application in the field of bioremediation. One such yeast Yarrowia lipolytica is known to degrade palm oil mill effluent,TNT (an explosive material), and other hydrocarbons such as alkanes, fatty acids, fats and oils.

Industrial ethanol production
The ability of yeast to convert sugar into ethanol has been harnessed by the biotechnology industry, which has various uses including ethanol fuel. The process starts by milling a feedstock, such as sugar cane, sweetcorn, or cheap cereal grains, and then adding dilute sulfuric acid, or fungal amylase enzymes, to break down the starches in to fermentable sugars. Yeasts are then added to convert the fermentable sugars to ethanol, which is then distilled off to obtain ethanol up to 96% in concentration.

Kombucha:
A Kombucha culture fermenting in a jar Yeast in symbiosis with acetic acid bacteria is used in the preparation of Kombucha, a fermented sweetened tea. Species of yeast found in the tea can vary, and may include: Brettanomyces bruxellensis, Candida stellata, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, Torulaspora delbrueckii and Zygosaccharomyces bailii

Medicinal Uses
Vegetarians have used brewer’s yeast as a source of protein, vitamins, and minerals for many years. In addition to being an excellent nutritional supplement, brewer’s yeast is often recommended to regulate blood sugar levels, improve the health of the skin, control diarrhea, lower cholesterol, and repel insects.

Brewer’s yeast is one of the best sources of the mineral chromium. Two tablespoons of brewer’s yeast yields about 120 micrograms (μg) of chromium, an amount equal to the recommended daily allowance. Chromium is an important factor in regulating blood sugar levels. High levels of chromium increase glucose tolerance. Diabetes and hypoglycemia are two conditions in which blood sugar levels are unstable. Brewer’s yeast has been reported to help improve symptoms of diabetes and hypoglycemia, and may act to prevent diabetes from developing in persons with a family history of diabetes and in those who have problems with blood sugar metabolism. One Danish study reported that people with hypoglycemia showed an improvement in their symptoms after taking 2 tbsp of brewer’s yeast every day for one month.

B-complex vitamins are important for healthy skin and nails. Persons deficient in these vitamins may benefit from taking brewer’s yeast as it is rich in B-complex vitamins. A compound derived from brewer’s yeast, skin respiratory factor (SRF) reportedly has wound healing properties. SRF has been a component in over-the-counter hemorrhoid remedies for more than four decades. SRF also has been used to treat skin problems. Brewer’s yeast has been used in the treatment of contact dermatitis, a condition of the skin characterized by red, itchy, and inflamed skin.

Another component of brewer’s yeast also has wound healing properties. Glucan, a substance derived from the yeast, has been shown to improve wound healing in mice by activating macrophages and promoting the growth of skin cells and capillaries.

Brewer’s yeast may help to prevent constipation. Thirty grams of brewer’s yeast contains approximately 6 grams of dietary fiber (24% of the recommended daily amount). Fiber is an important part of the diet as it helps increase the bulk of fecal matter, thereby promoting healthy bowels and intestines. Brewer’s yeast has also been found to be helpful in cases of diarrhea. The yeast acts to encourage the growth of good bacteria in the intestines.

Studies show that brewer’s yeast may be helpful in decreasing cholesterol and raising HDL levels (the good cholesterol). A study performed at Syracuse University in New York reported that persons who consumed 2 tbsp of brewer’s yeast daily for two months reduced their cholesterol levels by 10%.

Pet owners have known about the ability of brewer’s yeast ability to repel ticks and fleas for many years. Wafers that contain brewer’s yeast can be given to animals for this purpose. Powdered brewer’s yeast may be sprinkled on the animal’s food also. The large amounts of thiamine in brewer’s yeast may act to repel mosquitoes from humans as well.

Generous doses of brewer’s yeast may help to prevent cancers such as prostate cancer. When combined with wheat germ, brewer’s yeast is helpful in preventing heart problems. Brewer’s yeast may also be helpful in the treatment of fatigue or low energy.

Brewer’s yeast is often used as a source of B-complex vitamins and chromium. The B-complex vitamins in brewer’s yeast include B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B9 (folic acid), and H (biotin). These vitamins help break down carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, which provide the body with energy. They also support the nervous system, help maintain the muscles used for digestion, and promote the health of skin, hair, eyes, mouth, and liver.

Stress

Some consider B-complex vitamins to be important during times of physical and/or emotional stress. Therefore, a healthcare professional may recommend using brewer’s yeast as a source of B vitamins for ongoing or recurrent illnesses, such as chronic fatigue syndrome or depression.

Injury
Similarly, the B complex is considered an important nutrient following an injury. Therefore, sources of vitamin B may be recommended during recovery, for example, from a wound or a burn.

Diabetes
Some studies suggest that chromium supplements may help individuals with diabetes. This condition is characterized by abnormally high levels of sugar in the blood. People with diabetes either do not produce enough insulin—a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life—or cannot use the insulin that their bodies produce. Chromium may reduce blood sugar levels as well as the amount of insulin needed by individuals with this condition. Given that brewer’s yeast is a rich source of chromium, this may prove to be a valuable nutritional supplement for people with diabetics, particularly because brewer’s yeast is more easily absorbed than other sources of chromium.

High Cholesterol
As stated earlier, brewer’s yeast is an important source of chromium. This mineral can help lower LDL (“bad” cholesterol) levels in the blood and raise HDL (“good” cholesterol) levels. In addition, some experts suggest that other factors found in brewer’s yeast also help lower cholesterol.

Weight Loss
Although some studies suggest that chromium may improve lean body mass and reduce body fat, its effects are minor compared to those of exercise and a well-balanced diet.

Available Forms
Brewer’s yeast is available in powder, tablet, and liquid forms.

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How to Take It
Pediatric
There are no known scientific reports on the therapeutic use of brewer’s yeast in children.

Adult

4 Tbsp/day dissolved in juice or water. If this amount causes gas (which can occur in individuals with diets low in B vitamins), begin with 1 Tbsp/day and slowly increase dosage.

Precautions
Because supplements may have side effects or interact with medications, they should be taken only under the supervision of a knowledgeable healthcare provider.

Individuals with frequent yeast infections should avoid taking brewer’s yeast as this supplement may aggravate symptoms.

Possible Interactions
If you are currently being treated with any of the following medications, you should not use brewer’s yeast without first talking to your healthcare provider.

Antidepressants, Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)
Brewer’s yeast contains a significant amount of tyramine, a substance that should be avoided by individuals taking antidepressant medications known as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Examples of MAOIs include phenelzine, tranylcypromine, pargyline, selegiline (also used for Parkinson’s disease), and isocarboxazid. This interaction may lead to “hypertensive crisis,” a rapid and severe increase in blood pressure that is characterized by nausea and vomiting, headache, and irregular heartbeat. This reaction may even result in a heart attack or stroke.

Narcotics for Pain
As with MAOI antidepressants, brewer’s yeast may also lead to “hypertensive crisis” if taken with meperidine, a narcotic medication used to relieve intense pain.

Help taken from:www.healthline.com , www.umm.edu and en.wikipedia.org