Tag Archives: Biological pest control

Lythrurn salicaria

Botanical Name : Lythrurn salicaria
Family: Lythraceae
Genus:     Lythrum
Species: L. salicaria
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Myrtales

Synonyms: Lythrum. Purple Willow Herb. Spiked Loosestrife. Salicaire. Braune or Rother Weiderich. Partyke. Lysimaque rouge. Flowering Sally. Blooming Sally.
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Habitat: Lythrurn salicaria is native to  Europe, including Britain. Russian and Central Asia. Australia. North America.

 Other names: Spiked loosestrife, or purple lythrum.

Description:
Lythrum salicaria is a herbaceous perennial plant, that can grow 1–1.5 m tall, forming clonal colonies 1.5 m or more in width with numerous erect stems growing from a single woody root mass. The stems are reddish-purple or red to purple and square in cross-section. The leaves are lanceolate, 3–10 cm long and 5–15 mm broad, downy and sessile, and arranged opposite or in whorls of three.
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The flowers are reddish purple, 10–20 mm diameter, with six petals (occasionally five) and 12 stamens, and are clustered tightly in the axils of bracts or leaves; there are three different flower types, with the stamens and style of different lengths, short, medium or long; each flower type can only be pollinated by one of the other types, not the same type, thus ensuring cross-pollination between different plants.

The fruit is a small 3–4 mm capsule containing numerous minute seeds. Flowering lasts throughout the summer. When the seeds are mature, the leaves often turn bright red through dehydration in early autumn; the red colour may last for almost two weeks. The dead stalks from previous growing seasons are brown.

Lythrurn salicaria is very variable in leaf shape and degree of hairiness, and a number of subspecies and varieties have been described, but it is now generally regarded as monotypic with none of these variants being considered of botanical significance.

Medicinal Uses:
Parts Used: Herb, root

Constituents: Mucilage and an astringent principle, but it has not been analysed.

Although scarcely used at present, Loosestrife has been highly esteemed by many herbalists. It is well established in chronic diarrhoea and dysentery, and is used in leucorrhoea and blood-spitting. In Switzerland the decoction was used successfully in an epidemic of dysentery. It has also been employed in fevers, liver diseases, constipation and cholera infantum, and for outward application to wounds and sores.

It has been stated to be superior to Eyebright for preserving the sight and curing sore eyes, the distilled water being applied for hurts and blows on the eyes and even in blindness if the crystalline humour is not destroyed.

An ointment may be made with the water 1 OZ. to 2 drachms of May butter without salt, and the same quantity of sugar and wax boiled gently together. It cleanses and heals ulcers and sores, if washed with the water, or covered with the leaves, green or dry according to the season.

A warm gargle and drink cures quinsy or a scrofulous throat.

Other Uses:
Biological control: Purple loosestrife provides a model of successful biological pest control. Research began in 1985 and today the plant is managed well with a number of insects that feed on it. Five species of beetle use purple loosestrife as their natural food source and they can do significant damage to the plant. The beetles used as biological control agents include two species of leaf beetle: Galerucella calmariensis and Galerucella pusilla, and three species of weevil: Hylobius transversovittatus, Nanophyes breves, and Nanophyes marmoratus. Infestations of either of the Galerucella species is extremely effective in wiping out a stand of purple loosestrife, defoliating up to 100% of the plants in an area. The moth Ectropis crepuscularia is a pest species itself and unsuitable for biological contro.

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/l/loopur40.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lythrum_salicaria

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Indian Barberry

Botanical Name: Berberis asiatica
Family:Berberidaceae
Genus:Berberis
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:Ranunculales

Common Name:Chutro, Rasanjan (Nep); marpyashi (Newa); Daruharidra, Darbi (Sans)

Habitat:Indian Barberry is native to E. Asia – Himalayas (Nepal)
It is normally found in  shrubberies, grassy and rocky slopes up to 2500 metres. Found in heavy shade, on north-facing slopes  and on open hillsides in the drier areas .

Description:
Indian Barberry  is an evergreen Shrub growing to 3.5 m (11ft 6in) at a medium rate. It is a large thorny shrub with yellow wood & whitish or pale Grey branches.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 8 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower in May. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects, self.The plant is self-fertile.

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The root-bark is light coloured, corky, almost inodorous, with a bitter, mucilaginous taste. It contains much Berberine, and a dark-brown extract is made from it employed in India under the name of ‘Rusot.’ This extract is sometimes prepared from the wood or roots of different species of Barberry. It has the consistency of opium and a bitter, astringent taste.

Cultivation & Propagation:
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay and nutritionally poor soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame, when it should germinate in late winter or early spring. Seed from over-ripe fruit will take longer to germinate , whilst stored seed may require cold stratification and should be sown in a cold frame as early in the year as possible. The seedlings are subject to damping off, so should be kept well ventilated . When the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick them out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame. If growth is sufficient, it can be possible to plant them out into their permanent positions in the autumn, but generally it is best to leave them in the cold frame for the winter and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Cuttings of mature wood of the current season’s growth, preferably with a heel, October/November in a frame

Edible Uses:
Fruit  is eaten  raw or dried and used like raisins. This species is said to make the best Indian raisins. Fully ripe fruits are fairly juicy with a pleasantly acid flavor, though there are rather a lot of seeds. The fruit is abundantly produced in Britain. The fruit is about 8mm long.

Medicinal Uses:
Antibacterial;  Cancer;  Laxative;  Odontalgic;  Ophthalmic;  Tonic.

The roots  are used in treating ulcers, urethral discharges, ophthalmia, jaundice, fevers etc. The roots contain 2.1% berberine, the stems 1.3%. The bark and wood are crushed in Nepal then boiled in water, strained and the liquid evaporated until a viscous mass is obtained. This is antibacterial, laxative and tonic. It is taken internally to treat fevers and is used externally to treat conjunctivitis and other inflammations of the eyes. Tender leaf buds are chewed and held against affected teeth for 15 minutes to treat dental caries. The fruit is cooling and laxative. Berberine, universally present in rhizomes of Berberis species, has marked antibacterial effects. Since it is not appreciably absorbed by the body, it is used orally in the treatment of various enteric infections, especially bacterial dysentery. It should not be used with Glycyrrhiza species (Liquorice) because this nullifies the effects of the berberine. Berberine has also shown antitumour activity.

Indian berberry has been made official in the Pharmacopoeia of India.It is an amportant indigenous medicine.The bark is useful in restoring the disordered process of neutrition and restores the normal function of the system.It helps open the natural pores of the body, arrest bleeding and induces copious perepiration despite the astrigent properties.The drug also constitute anti-tubercular activities.

Fever: Indian barberry is as valuable as quinine in maleria fevers.It is particularly useful in relieving pyrexia and checking the return of the violent intermittent fevers.The herb’s- bark and the root- bark are given as a decoction. It should be given twice or thrice a day.The decoction is given in doses of 150 grams between paroxysms of fever.

Monorrhagia: Indian barberry arrestes excessieve bleed loss during the monthly period.In skin diseases the decoction of the bark and the root-bark is efficacious as a cleanser for ulcers ans sores, as it helps formation of scar over the wounds.

Stomach Disorders :  Indian barberry is very useful in all kinds of stomach disorders.It is also effective in the treatment of Cholera.It is a popular remedy of diarrhoea and dysentery in Northwern India.It is useful in bleeding piles treatment. It is given with butter. A dilute solution can also be externally applied on the piles.

Eye Problems: The drug is highly beneficial in the treatment of all kinds of eye disorder.
It is mixed with butter and alum or with opium or lime juice and applied externally on the eye lids to cure opthalmia and other eye diseases. Mixed with milk, it can be used effectively as a lotion of Conjunctivitis.

Other Uses: A yellow dye is obtained from the roots and stems. The spiny branches are used to make fencing around fields in Nepal.
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:
Miracle of Herbs
http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Berberis+asiatica
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berberis