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Black cohosh

Botanical Name : Cimicifuga racemosa
Family: Ranunculaceae
Genus: Actaea
Species: A. racemosa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ranunculales

Synonyms : Actaea racemosa

Common Names: Black cohosh, Black bugbane, Black snakeroot, Fairy candle,, Bugbane

Habitat : Black cohosh is native to eastern North America from the extreme south of Ontario to central Georgia, and west to Missouri and Arkansas. It grows in a variety of woodland habitats, and is often found in small woodland openings. (Moist, mixed deciduous forests, wooded slopes, ravines, creek margins, thickets, moist meadowlands, forest margins, and especially mountainous terrain from sea level to 1500 metres)

Description:
Black cohosh is a smooth (glabrous) herbaceous perennial plant that produces large, compound leaves from an underground rhizome, reaching a height of 25–60 cm (9.8–23.6 in). The basal leaves are up to 1 m (3 ft 3 in) long and broad, forming repeated sets of three leaflets (tripinnately compound) having a coarsely toothed (serrated) margin. The flowers are produced in late spring and early summer on a tall stem, 75–250 cm (30–98 in) tall, forming racemes up to 50 cm (20 in) long. The flowers have no petals or sepals, and consist of tight clusters of 55-110 white, 5–10 mm (0.20–0.39 in) long stamens surrounding a white stigma. The flowers have a distinctly sweet, fetid smell that attracts flies, gnats, and beetles. The fruit is a dry follicle 5–10 mm (0.20–0.39 in) long, with one carpel, containing several seeds….....CLICK & SEE  THE PICTURES

Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Woodland garden. Prefers a moist humus rich soil and some shade. Grows well in dappled shade. Succeeds in ordinary garden soil and tolerates drier soils. Plants are hardy to at least -20°c. A very ornamental species. The flowers have an unusual, slightly unpleasant smell which is thought to repel insects. Plants grow and flower well in Britain, though they seldom if ever ripen their seed. A greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants, especially legumes. Special Features:Attractive foliage, North American native, Naturalizing, Suitable for cut flowers, Suitable for dried flowers, Fragrant flowers.
Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Only just cover the seed. It germinates in 1 – 12 months or even longer at 15°c[. The seed does not store well and soon loses its viability, stored seed may germinate better if given 6 – 8 weeks warm stratification at 15°c and then 8 weeks cold stratification. Prick out the young seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a frame for their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer. Division in spring or autumn. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer or following spring.
Edible Uses: …Leaves – cooked. Some caution is advised,   see the notes below   on Known Hazards.

Medicinal Uses:
Black cohosh is a traditional remedy of the North American Indians where it was used mainly to treat women’s problems, especially painful periods and problems associated with the menopause. A popular and widely used herbal remedy, it is effective in the treatment of a range of diseases. The root is alterative, antidote, antirheumatic, antispasmodic, astringent, cardiotonic, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, hypnotic, sedative, tonic and vasodilator. It is harvested in the autumn as the leaves die down, then cut into pieces and dried.

Black cohosh root improves blood circulation and lowers blood pressure and body temperature by dilating blood vessels and increasing peripheral circulation. The constituents responsible for these actions are so resinous, the traditional virtues of this herb are best extracted by using hot water and preferably alcohol on the fresh root. A central nervous system depressant, black cohosh directly inhibits vasomotor centers that are involved with inner ear balance and hearing. One of the uses for black cohosh recognized by doctors is for relief of ringing in the ears. The Native Americans knew that it encouraged uterine contractions and used it to facilitate labor. It is also used to reduce the inflammation and muscular pain of rheumatism and inflammatory arthritis, especially when it is associated with menopause and to treat problems of the respiratory system. Chinese physicians use several related plants to treat headache, to ripen and bring out skin rashes such as measles, diarrhea, bleeding gums and some gynecological problems.

Black cohosh has estrogenic effects, meaning it acts like the female sex hormone estrogen. This may lend support to its traditional use for menstrual complaints. It is thought to reduce levels of pituitary luteinizing hormone, thereby decreasing the ovaries’ production of progesterone. A German trial published in 1995, revealed that black cohosh in combination with St. John’s wort was 78% effective at treating hot flashes and other menopausal problems. Black cohosh is used to optimize estrogen levels perhaps by competing with estrogen receptor sites when estrogen is overabundant but may promote estrogen production when estrogen is low. It is the prime women’s tonic for any uterine condition involving inflammation, pain, or low estrogen. It promotes fertility and softens the impact of menopause. Using black cohosh during menopause can reduce intensity and frequency of hot flashes, support and ease the body’s changes, helps counteract menopausal prolapses, improves digestion, relieves menstrual pain and irregularity, relieves headaches, relieves menopausal arthritis and rheumatism.

Cimicifugin, the ranunculoside in black cohosh, exhibits antispasmodic and sedative properties in the fresh root. When the root is cut or bruised, an enzyme is released which reacts with cimicifugin to produce protoanemonine, which is unstable in water but, when dried, is readily oxidized to an anemonic acid which has no physiological activity. The antispasmodic and sedative properties of black cohosh are only present in the whole, fresh root. The dried, powdered black cohosh in common use today contains only the irritating principles.

The root is toxic in overdose, it should be used with caution and be completely avoided by pregnant women.   The medically active ingredients are not soluble in water so a tincture of the root is normally used. It is used in the treatment of rheumatism, as a sedative and an emmenagogue. It is traditionally important in the treatment of women’s complaints, acting specifically on the uterus it eases uterine cramps and has been used to help in childbirth. Research has shown that the root has oestrogenic activity and is thought to reduce levels of pituitary luteinizing hormone, thereby decreasing the ovaries production of progesterone. The root is also hypoglycaemic, sedative and anti-inflammatory. Used in conjunction with St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) it is 78% effective in treating hot flushes and other menopausal problems. An extract of the root has been shown to strengthen the male reproductive organ in rats. The root contains salicylic acid, which makes it of value in the treatment of various rheumatic problems – it is particularly effective in the acute stage of rheumatoid arthritis, sciatica and chorea. Its sedative action makes it useful for treating a range of other complaints including tinnitus and high blood pressure. The roots are used to make a homeopathic remedy. This is used mainly for women, especially during pregnancy. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Cimicifuga racemosa (Actaea racemosa) for climacteric (menopause) complaints & Premenstrual syndrome.

Other Uses : Both the growing and the dried plant can be used to repel bugs and fleas

Known Hazards: The plant is poisonous in large doses. Large doses irritate nerve centres and may cause abortion. Gastrointestinal disturbances, hypotension, nausea, headaches. Not recommended during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Do not take concomitantly with iron.
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/Actaea_racemosa
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Cimicifuga+racemosa+(Actaea+racemosa)
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail67.php

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

 

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Citrus Begamia

Botanical Name :Citrus begamia
Family: Rutaceae
Genus: Citrus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales
Species: Citrus bergamia

Synonym: Citrus bergamia Risso

Common names : Bergamot orange bergamot

Other Names:Italian bergamotto, modification of Turkish bey armudu; literally, the Bey’s pear

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Parts Used: Essence expressed from peel

Habitat : Citrus bergamot is native to Asia and is commercially grown in Calabria (Italy), in France, and in Ivory Coast.

Description:
Bergamot grows on small trees which blossom during the winter. The distinctive aroma of the bergamot is most commonly known for its use in Earl Grey tea, though the juice of the fruit has also been used in Calabrian indigenous medicine as an herbal remedy for malaria and its essential oil is popular in aromatherapy applications.

click to see the pictures...(01)......(1)….....(2)...……………

The bergamot orange is unrelated to the herbs of the same name, Monarda didyma and Monarda fistulosa, which are in the mint family.

Cultivation
Propagule  Buds   Cutting   Seed Pollination method  Parthenocarpic Planting style    Crop spacing    Row spacing    Cold frame  Planting period    Harvesting period  Dec 01 – Feb 28 Frost tolerance    Heat requirement    Fertilizer  Typical Time to harvest

Constituents: linalyl acetate, bergamotine, beraptene, d-limonene, linalool

Uses  In food
An essence extracted from the aromatic skin of this sour fruit is used to flavour Earl Grey and Lady Grey teas, and confectionery. An Italian food manufacturer, Caffé Sicilia in Noto, Syracuse, Sicily, produces a commercial marmalade using the fruit as its principal ingredient. It is also popular in Turkey, Greece and Cyprus as a preserve, made with bergamot peel boiled in sugar syrup.

As a fragrance
Bergamot peel is used in perfumery for its ability to combine with an array of scents to form a bouquet of aromas which complement each other. Approximately one third of all men’s and about half of women’s perfumes contain bergamot essential oil.[citation needed] Bergamot was a component of the original Eau de Cologne developed by Italian perfumers in 17th century Germany. One hundred bergamot oranges will yield about 3 ounces of bergamot oil.

Bergamot peel is also used in aromatherapy to treat depression and as a digestive aid.

Companion plant
Bergamot’s aromatic roots are thought to mask other nearby plants from pests that attack their roots, and so are sometimes grown as a companion in vegetable gardens.

Common Uses: Anxiety/Panic * Candida/Yeast Infection * Deodorants/Perfumes * Depression * Digestion/Indigestion * Herpes * Sore Throat/Laryngitis *

Properties: Antibacterial* Antispasmodic* Carminative* Cisatrisant* Deodorant* Digestive* Febrifuge* Sedative* Skin tonic* Vermifuge* Vulnerary* Analgesic*

uplifting scent of bergamot essential oil is used to stabilize the emotions, calm and tone the nervous system, relieve tension and insomnia, and is beneficial for anxiety and depression.

Bergamot essential oil has been used in traditional medicine for intestinal worms and fever, respiratory infections, urinary tract infections, and skin problems. Bergamot essential oil is very useful as an anti-infectious agent and is effective against a wide number of microorganisms.

Bergamot essential oil aids the digestion and can relieve symptoms of colic and gas when massaged into the abdomen.

Toxicology
In several studies, application of some sources of bergamot oil directly to the skin was shown to have a concentration-dependent phototoxic effect of increasing redness after exposure to ultraviolet light (due to the chemical bergapten, and possibly also citropten, bergamottin, geranial, and neral) . Bergapten has also been implicated as a potassium channel blocker, which in one case study of a patient who consumed 4 liters of Earl Grey tea per day led to muscle cramps.

Bergamot is also a source of bergamottin which, along with the chemically related compound 6’,7’-dihydroxybergamottin, is believed to be responsible for the grapefruit juice effect in which the consumption of the juice affects the metabolism of a variety of pharmaceutical drugs.

Bergamot orange and sun exposure
In the past psoralen — extracted from bergamot oil — has been used in tanning accelerators and sunscreens. Psoralens penetrate the skin where they increase the amount of direct DNA damage. This damage is responsible for sunburn and for an increased melanin production.
It can also lead to phytophotodermatitis, a darkening of the skin as a result of a chemical reaction that makes the skin extra sensitive to ultraviolet light.

These substances were known to be photocarcinogenic since 1959, but they were only banned from sunscreens in 1995. These photocarcinogenic substances were banned years after they had caused many cases of malignant melanoma and deaths.Psoralen is now used only in the treatment of certain skin disorders, as part of PUVA therapy.

Bergamot oil is cold-pressed from the peel of the nearly ripe fruit. The aroma of bergamot oil is sweet and citrusy, but has a warm floral quality absent in lemon and orange. Along with neroli and lavender it is one of the principal ingredients in the classic Eau-de-Cologne. It is an excellent deodorizer or room spray and a refreshing and relaxing bath oil. Bergamot’s fresh uplifting aroma is used in aromatherapy to stabilize emotions and relieve tension. It is a nervous system tonic, with a calming influence on states on anxiety and depression. Use the oil in massage blends, aroma lamps, and baths.

Herbal medicine
Medicinal properties  antispasmodic   digestive tonic Medicinal parts  Essential oil Has medicinal uses  yes Do not self-administer  no Do no use if pregnant  no Legally restricted  no Toxicity precautions  Do not take essential oil internally. Medicinal notes  The fruit is 2 to 3 inch diameter, round slightly flattened at one end, and an orange colored aromatic rind which is used commercially for its oil. Citrus bergamia is most often used as oil. Bergamot (sometimes called Bergamot orange) has been used in traditional herbal healing as either an antispasmodic or a digestive tonic. Traditional medicinal remedies are made from the essential oil. Do not take essential oil internally.

Neuroprotective effects
Recently, bergamot essential oil has been found to reduce excitotoxic damage to cultured human neuronal cells in vitro and may therefore have neuroprotective properties.

Side Effects:
Increases the skin’s sensitivity to sunlight. Bergamot oil has a slightly irritation effect on the skin in high concentrations, but the reverse if used in moderation (1%). It must never be used neat on the skin in the presence of sunlight.

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/Bergamot_orange
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail7.php
http://www.crescentbloom.com/plants/specimen/ci/Citrus%20bergamia.htm

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