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Nymphaea alba

Botanical Name: Nymphaea alba
Family: Nymphaeaceae
Genus: Nymphaea
Species: N. alba
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:Nymphaeales

Synonyms : N. occidentalis. Castalia alba. C. speciosa.
Common Names: White Water Lily, European white waterlily, White water rose or White nenuphar

Habitat: Nymphaea alba is native to most of Europe, including Britain. It grows in marshes, ponds, slow moving streams, lakes and canals up to 1.2m deep.

Description:
Nymphaea alba is a perennial water plant. It grows in water that is 30–150 cm (12–59 in) deep and likes large ponds and lakes. The leaves can be up to 30 cm (12 in) in diameter and they take up a spread of 150 cm (59 in) per plant. It is in flower from Jul to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are white and they have many small stamens inside. It is found all over Europe and in parts of North Africa and the Middle East in freshwater.

The red variety (Nymphaea alba f. rosea) which is in cultivation came from lake Fagertärn (“Fair tarn”) in the forest of Tiveden, Sweden, where they were discovered in the early 19th century. The discovery led to a large scale exploitation which nearly made it extinct in the wild before it was protected.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES:

The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Flies, beetles, self.The plant is self-fertile.

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It can grow in water.

Cultivation:
A water plant requiring a rich soil and a sunny position in still or slowly moving water. Best grown in 2 – 2.5 metres of water[200]. Prefers a pH between 6 and 7. Dislikes acid conditions according to another report. This species is hardy to about -20°c. There are two basic types of plant in this genus:- ‘crawlers’ are species with horizontal roots that often spread freely, with new plants being formed at intervals along the root. These species are useful for naturalising, but they do not flower very freely in the cool summers of Britain. ‘clumpers’ have vertical roots and form slowly spreading clumps and produce offsets around the crown. These forms flower much more freely in Britain. A very ornamental plant. The flowers, which only open in bright sunshine, have a soft delicate scent.

Propagation:
Seed – sow as soon as it is ripe in a greenhouse in pots submerged under 25mm of water. Prick out into individual pots as soon as the first true leaf appears and grow them on in water in a greenhouse for at least two years before planting them out in late spring. The seed is collected by wrapping the developing seed head in a muslin bag to avoid the seed being lost. Harvest it 10 days after it sinks below the soil surface or as soon as it reappears. Division in May. Each portion must have at least one eye. Submerge in pots in shallow water until established

Edible Uses: Root – cooked. Eaten when several years old. It contains up to 40% starch, 6% protein. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. The roasted seed is a coffee substitute. Seed – cooked. It contains about 47% starch.
Medicinal Uses:
The rhizome is anodyne, antiscrofulatic, astringent, cardiotonic, demulcent and sedative. A decoction of the root is used in the treatment of dysentery or diarrhoea caused by irritable bowel syndrome. It has also been used to treat bronchial catarrh and kidney pain and can be taken as a gargle for sore throats. Externally it can be used to make a douche to treat vaginal soreness or discharges. In combination with slippery elm (Ulmus rubra) or flax (Linum usitatissimum) it is used as a poultice to treat boils and abscesses. The rhizome is harvested in the autumn and can be dried for later use. The flowers are anaphrodisiac and sedative. They have a generally calming and sedative effect upon the nervous system, reputedly reducing the sex drive and making them useful in the treatment of insomnia, anxiety and similar disorders. A complete cure of uterine cancer by a decoction and uterine injection has been recorded. According to one report the plant is not used in modern herbal practice, though it has been quoted as a remedy for dysentery.

The rhizome may be used to make a douche for vaginal soreness and discharge, or to make a poultice, often in combination with slippery elm or linseed, for boils and abscesses. The plant has been found to lower blood pressure in animals. The flowers are anaphrodisiac and sedative. They have a generally calming and sedative effect upon the nervous system, reputedly reducing the sex drive and making them useful in the treatment of insomnia, anxiety and similar disorders. A complete cure of uterine cancer by a decoction and uterine injection has been recorded.

Known Hazards: One report suggests that the plant is poisonous but gives no further details. The plant contains the toxic alkaloids nupharine and nymphaeine, these substances have an effect on the nervous system.
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/Nymphaea_alba
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_UZ.htm
http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?latinname=Nymphaea+alba

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Ecballium elaterium

Botanical Name : Ecballium elaterium
Family: Cucurbitaceae
Tribus: Bryonieae
Genus: Ecballium
Species: Ecballium elaterium
Subspecies: E. e. subsp. elaterium – E. e. subsp. dioicum
Synonyms: Momordica elateria

Common Name : Squirting Cucumber

Habitat :Ecballium elaterium is native to Europe – Mediterranean. Naturalized in Britain at a few locations along the south coast. It grows on hot dry places on waste ground and roadsides, usually close to the coast.

Description:
Ecballium elaterium is a perennial plant,  growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 1 m (3ft 3in).
It is frost tender. It is in flower from Jun to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile….CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.
Cultivation:
Prefers a moist well-drained soil in a sunny position. Grows best in a rich soil. Another report says that it succeeds in poor soils. The foliage is fairly frost-tender, though the roots are much hardier and plants can survive quite cold winters in Britain. They are more likely to be killed by excessive winter wet. The squirting cucumber is sometimes cultivated for its use as a medicinal plant. The ripening fruit becomes pumped full of liquid, leading to an increase in pressure. As the seed becomes ripe, this pressure forces the fruit to break away explosively from the plant, ejecting its seed to a considerable distance in the opposite direction. The plant occasionally self-sows in our Cornwall trial ground and can become a weed in warmer climates than Britain. It is subject to statutory control as a weed in Australia.
Propagation:
Seed – sow early spring in rich compost in a greenhouse. Place 2 – 3 seeds per pot and thin to the strongest plant. The seed usually germinates in 10 – 21 days at 25°c. Grow the plants on fast and plant them out after the last expected frosts.
Medicinal Uses:
Ecballium elaterium has been used as a medicinal plant for over 2,000 years, though it has a very violent effect upon the body and has little use in modern herbalism. The juice of the fruit is antirheumatic, cardiac and purgative. The plant is a very powerful purgative that causes evacuation of water from the bowels. It is used internally in the treatment of oedema associated with kidney complaints, heart problems, rheumatism, paralysis and shingles. Externally, it has been used to treat sinusitis and painful joints. It should be used with great caution and only under the supervision of a qualified practitioner. Excessive doses have caused gastro-enteritis and even death. It should not be used by pregnant women since it can cause an abortion. The fully grown but unripe fruits are harvested during the summer, they are left in containers until the contents are expelled and the juice is then dried for later use. The root contains an analgesic principle.
Known Hazards : Poisonous in large quantities (this probably refers to the fruit). The juice of the fruit is irritative to some skins
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/Ecballium_elaterium
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Ecballium+elaterium

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_RST.htm

Symplocos sumuntia

Botanical Name :Symplocos sumuntia
Family: Symplocaceae
Genus: Symplocos
Species:Symplocos sumuntia
Kingdom:Plantae
Division:Cycadophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Ericales

Synonyms: Symplocos sumuntiia. Symplocos prunifolia. Sieb.&Zucc.

Common Names:

Habitat : Symplocos sumuntia is native to E. Asia – China, Japan, Korea. It grows in woods, 1000 – 1300 metres in W. Hupeh. Mixed forests at elevations of 100 – 1800 metres.
Description:
Symplocos sumuntia is an evergreen Tree growing to 6 m (19ft 8in). It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Feb to October, and the seeds ripen from Jun to December. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

CLICK &  SEE  THE  PICTURES

Detail description of the Trees: Young branchlets brown, usually glabrous. Petiole 2–10(–15) mm; leaf blade elliptic, narrowly ovate, or ovate, 2–10 X 0.7–4.5 cm, thinly leathery, both surfaces glabrous, sometimes abaxially hairy, base cuneate to rounded, margin slightly serrate, sinuolate-dentate, or rarely subentire, apex caudate, lateral veins 4–8(–10) pairs. Racemes 1–6(–9) cm, subglabrous, pilose, or pubescent; bracts and bractlets very soon deciduous, linear, broadly ovate, or obovate, 2–5 mm and 0.3–1.5 mm respectively, densely pubescent. Pedicel 0.1–1.3 cm. Ovary 1–2 mm, glabrous or sparsely short appressed hairy. Calyx lobes triangular-ovate, 0.3–1.5 mm, glabrous or sparsely appressed hairy, margin ciliate. Corolla white or yellow, may be lilac when young, 4–8 mm. Stamens 23–40. Disc glabrous, annular. Drupes ampulliform to ovoid, 6–10(–15) X 3–6 mm, apex with persistent erect calyx lobes.
Cultivation:
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it could succeed outdoors in many parts of this country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Succeeds in a sunny position in any well-drained fertile neutral to acid soil. Self-sterile, it needs cross-pollination with a different plant in the same species if seed and fruit are to be produced. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus.
Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Stored seed requires stratification and is best sown in a cold frame in late winter, it can take 12 months to germinate[11]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the cold frame for their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 7 – 10cm with a heel, July/August in individual pots in a cold frame[78, 200]. Roots are formed in about 4 weeks. Good percentage.

Edible Uses:Leaves – cooked. A sweetish/sour taste. The leaves are also used as a food colouring and a flavouring. Seed. No more details are found.

Medicinal Uses: The leaves are used in the treatment of dysentery.

Other Uses:
A purplish/black dye is obtained from the plant, it does not require a mordant. No more details are given, the dye is probably obtained from the leaves. A decoction with ginger is used as a parasiticide and is effective against fleas. The part used is not specified. We have no specific information for this species but many species in this genus contain alum and can be used as mordants when dyeing.

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://war.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symplocos_sumuntia
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Symplocos+sumuntia
http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=200017695

Phaceolus vulgaris

Botanical Name: Phaceolus vulgaris
Family:    Fabaceae
Subfamily:Faboideae
Tribe:    Phaseoleae
Subtribe:    Phaseolinae
Genus:    Phaseolus
Species:    P. vulgaris
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:    Fabales

Common Names:Common bean,Kidney bean, String bean, Field bean, Flageolet bean, French bean, Garden bean, Haricot bean, Pop bean, or Snap bean

Habitat:Phaceolus vulgaris is  native of Indies; cultivated all over Europe; also said to be found in ancient tombs in Peru.

Description:
Phaceolus vulgaris is a herbaceous annual plant grown worldwide for its edible dry seed or unripe fruit that are both known as “beans”. The common bean is a highly variable species with a long history. Bush varieties form erect bushes 20–60 cm (8–20 in) tall, while pole or running varieties form vines 2–3 m (7–10 ft) long. All varieties bear alternate, green or purple leaves, which are divided into three oval, smooth-edged leaflets, each 6–15 cm (2–6 in) long and 3–11 cm (1–4 in) wide. The white, pink, or purple flowers are about 1 cm long, and they give way to pods 8–20 cm (3–8 in) long and 1–1.5 cm wide. These may be green, yellow, black, or purple in color, each containing 4–6 beans. The beans are smooth, plump, kidney-shaped, up to 1.5 cm long, range widely in color, and are often mottled in two or more colors. The wild P. vulgaris was native to the Americas and was domesticated separately in Mesoamerica and in the southern Andes region, giving the domesticated bean two gene pools which remain separate to this day.  Along with squash and maize (corn), beans are one of the “Three Sisters” central to indigenous North American agriculture…...CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Edible Uses:
Dry beans:
Similar to other beans, the common bean is high in starch, protein, and dietary fiber, and is an excellent source of iron, potassium, selenium, molybdenum, thiamine, vitamin B6, and folate.

Dry beans will keep indefinitely if stored in a cool, dry place, but as time passes, their nutritive value and flavor degrade and cooking times lengthen. Dried beans are almost always cooked by boiling, often after being soaked in water for several hours. While the soaking is not strictly necessary, it shortens cooking time and results in more evenly textured beans. In addition, soaking beans removes 5 to 10% of the gas-producing sugars that can cause flatulence for some people. The methods include simple overnight soaking and the power soak method in which beans are boiled for three minutes and then set aside for 2–4 hours. Before cooking, the soaking water is drained off and discarded. Dry common beans take longer to cook than most pulses: cooking times vary from one to four hours, but are substantially reduced with pressure cooking.

In Mexico, Central America, and South America, the traditional spice used with beans is epazote, which is also said to aid digestion. In East Asia, a type of seaweed, kombu, is added to beans as they cook for the same purpose. Salt, sugar, and acidic foods such as tomatoes may harden uncooked beans, resulting in seasoned beans at the expense of slightly longer cooking times.

Dry beans may also be bought cooked and canned as refried beans, or whole with water, salt, and sometimes sugar.

Its leaf is also occasionally used as a vegetable and the straw as fodder. Its botanical classification, along with other Phaseolus species, is as a member of the legume family Fabaceae, most of whose members acquire the nitrogen they require through an association with rhizobia, a species of nitrogen-fixing bacteria.

The common bean is a highly variable species that has a long history of cultivation. All wild members of the species have a climbing habit, but many cultivars are classified as “bush beans” or “pole beans”, depending on their style of growth. These include the kidney bean, the navy bean, the pinto bean, and the wax bean. The other major types of commercially grown bean are the runner bean (Phaseolus coccineus) and the broad bean (Vicia faba).

Beans are grown in every continent except Antarctica. Brazil and India are the largest producers of dry beans, while China produces, by far, the largest quantity of green beans. Worldwide, 23 million tonnes of dry common beans and 17.1 million tonnes of green beans were grown in 2010.

Cultivation:     
Requires a warm sunny position in a rich well-drained preferably light soil with plenty of moisture in the growing season[27, 37, 200]. Dislikes heavy, wet or acid soils[16, 37]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 to 6.5[200]. The French bean is commonly cultivated in the temperate and subtropical zones and in montane valleys of the tropics for its edible mature seeds and immature seedpods. It is often grown to provide a major part of the protein requirement[183, 269]. A very variable plant, there are more than 1,000 named varieties ranging from dwarf forms about 30cm tall to climbing forms up to 3 metres tall[183, 186, 200, 269]. Plants are not frost-tolerant, air temperatures below 10°c can cause damage to seedlings[200]. When grown for their edible pods, the immature pods should be harvested regularly in order to promote extra flower production and therefore higher yields[200]. Yields of green pods averages about 3kg per square metre, though double this can be achieved[200]. French beans grow well with strawberries, carrots, cauliflowers, cucumbers, cabbage, beet, leek and celeriac[18, 20]. They are inhibited by alliums and fennel growing nearby[18, 20]. 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[200]. When removing plant remains at the end of the growing season, it is best to only remove the aerial parts of the plant, leaving the roots in the ground to decay and release their nitrogen.

Propagation:  
Pre-soak the seed for 12 hours in warm water and sow in mid spring in a greenhouse. Germination should take place within 10 days. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out after the last expected frosts. The seed can also be sown in situ in late spring though it may not ripen its seed in a cool summe

Constituents:  Starch and starchy fibrous matter, phaseoline, extractive albumen mucilage, pectic acid, legumin fatty matter, earthy salts, uncrystallizable sugar, inosite, sulphur

Medicinal  Uses:
Cancer;  Diuretic;  Homeopathy;  Hypoglycaemic;  Hypotensive;  Miscellany;  Narcotic.

The green pods are mildly diuretic and contain a substance that reduces the blood sugar level. The dried mature pod is used according to another report. It is used in the treatment of diabetes. The seed is diuretic, hypoglycaemic and hypotensive. Ground into a flour, it is used externally in the treatment of ulcers. The seed is also used in the treatment of cancer of the blood. When bruised and boiled with garlic they have cured intractable coughs. The root is dangerously narcotic. A homeopathic remedy is made from the entire fresh herb. It is used in the treatment of rheumatism and arthritis, plus disorders of the urinary tract.

When bruised and boiled with garlic Beans have cured otherwise uncurable coughs. If eaten raw they cause painful severe frontal headache, soreness and itching of the eyeball and pains in the epigastrium. The roots are dangerously narcotic.

Other Uses:
Biomass;  Dye;  Fungicide;  Miscellany.

A brown dye is obtained from red kidney beans. The plant contains phaseolin, which has fungicidal activity. Water from the cooked beans is very effective in reviving woollen fabrics. The plant residue remaining after harvesting the dried beans is a source of biomass.

Bean leaves have been used to trap bedbugs in houses. Microscopic hairs (trichomes) on the bean leaves entrap the insects. From ancient times, beans were used as device in various methods of divination. Fortune-telling using beans is called favomancy.

Known Hazards:     Large quantities of the raw mature seed are poisonous. Children eating just a few seeds have shown mild forms of poisoning with nausea and diarrhoea, though complete recovery took place in 12 – 24 hours. The toxins play a role in protecting the plant from insect predation.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phaseolus_vulgaris
http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Phaseolus+vulgaris
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/b/beakid21.html

Calabar Bean

Botanical Name :Physostigma venenosum
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Genus: Physostigma
Species: P. venenosum
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Fabales

Synonyms : Ordeal Bean. Chop Nut.

Common Name:Calabar Bean

Habitat: Calabar Bean  is native to West Africa, Old Calabar. Has been introduced into India and Brazil.

Description:
The plant is a large, herbaceous, climbing perennial, with the stem woody at the base, up to 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter; it has a habit like the scarlet runner, and attains a height of about 50 feet (15 m). The flowers, resting on axillary peduncles, are large, about an inch long, grouped in pendulous, fascicled racemes pale-pink or purplish, and beautifully veined. The seed pods, which contain two or three seeds or beans, are 6 or 7 inches (15 or 18 cm) in length; and the beans are about the size of an ordinary horse bean but much thicker, with a deep chocolate-brown color.
click to see the pictures…>…..(01).....(1)..….…(2)..
. It derives the first part of its scientific name from a curious beak-like appendage at the end of the stigma, in the centre of the flower; this appendage, though solid, was supposed to be hollow (hence the name from ????, a bladder, and stigma).

The plant came into notice in 1846 and was planted in the Edinburgh Botanical Gardens, where it grew into a strong perennial creeper. It is a great twining climber, pinnately trifoliate leaves, pendulous racemes of purplish bean-like flowers; seeds are two or three together in dark brown pods about 6 inches long and kidney-shaped thick, about 1 inch long, rounded ends, roughish but a little polished, and have a long scar on the edge where adherent to the placenta. The seeds ripen at all seasons, but are best and most abundant during the rainy season in Africa, June till September. The natives of Africa employ the bean as an ordeal owing to its very poisonous qualities. They call it esere, and it is given to an accused person to eat. If the prisoner vomits within half an hour he is accounted innocent, but if he succumbs he is found guilty. A draught of the pounded seeds infused in water is said to have been fatal to a man within an hour.

Constituents: The chief constituent is the alkaloid physostigmine (eserine), with which are calabarines, eseridine, and eseramine. Eseridine is not employed medicinally.

Medicinal Action and Uses:
Chiefly used for diseases of the eye; it causes rapid contraction of the pupil and disturbed vision.Also used as a stimulant to the unstriped muscles of the intestines in chronic constipation. Its action on the circulation is to slow the pulse and raise blood-pressure; it depresses the central nervous system, causingmuscular weakness; it has been employed internally for its depressant action in epilepsy, cholera, etc., and given hypodermically in acute tetanus. Physostigmine Salicylas is preferred for the preparation of eyedrops.

Chiefly used for diseases of the eye (especially for glaucoma as it reduces pressure on the eyeball); it causes rapid contraction of the pupil and disturbed vision. Also used as a stimulant to the unstriped muscles of the intestines in chronic constipation. Its action on the circulation is to slow the pulse and raise blood-pressure; As a physostigmine, it is used internally for neuromuscular diseases (notably myasthenia gravis), and postoperative constipation.  It depresses the central nervous system, causing muscular weakness; it has been employed internally for its depressant action in epilepsy, cholera, etc., and given hypodermically in acute tetanus. Formerly used in the treatment of tetanus, epilepsy, and rheumatism.

Known Hazards:
Calabar bean contains physostigmine, a reversible cholinesterase inhibitor alkaloid. The alkaloid physostigmine acts in effect like nerve gas,   disrupting communication between the nerves and muscles, and resulting in copius salivation, seizures, loss of control over the bladder and bowels, and eventually loss of control over the respiratory system, causing death by asphyxiation.

The main antidote to Calabar bean poisoning is atropine, which may often succeed; and the other measures are those usually employed to stimulate the circulation and respiration. Unfortunately, the antagonism between physostigmine and atropine is not perfect, and Sir Thomas Richard Fraser has shown that in such cases there comes a time when, if the action of the two drugs is summated, death results sooner than from either alone. Thus atropine will save life if three and a half times the fatal dose of physostigmine has been taken, but will hasten the end if four or more times the fatal dose has been ingested.

Poisons and Antidotes:  In case of poisoning by the beans the stomach should be evacuated and atropine injected until the pulse quickens. With poisoning by physostigmine the stomach should be washed out with 0.2 per cent of potassium permanganate and atropine and strychnine administered hypodermically.

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://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/c/calbea05.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calabar_bean

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm

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