Tag Archives: Cyanobacteria

Quercus garryana

 

Botanical Name: Quercus garryana
Family: Fagaceae
Genus: Quercus
Section: Quercus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fagales

Common Names: Garry oak, Oregon white oak or Oregon oak

Habitat : Quercus garryana is native to Western N. America – British Columbia to California. It grows on dry prairies and foothills to rocky bluffs.
Description:
Quercus garryana is a deciduous drought-tolerant tree, typically of medium height, growing slowly to around 20 m (occasionally as high as 30 m) or as a shrub to 3 to 5 metres (9.8 to 16.4 ft) tall. It has the characteristic oval profile of other oaks when solitary, but is also known to grow in groves close enough together that crowns may form a canopy. The leaves are deciduous, 5–15 cm long and 2–8 cm broad, with 3-7 deep lobes on each side. The flowers are catkins, the fruit a small acorn 2–3 cm (rarely 4 cm) long and 1.5–2 cm broad, with shallow, scaly cups.

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It is not frost tender. It is in flower in May, and the seeds ripen in October. 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 Wind.Suitable for: medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

The Oregon white oak is commonly found in the Willamette Valley hosting the mistletoe Phoradendron flavescens. It is also commonly found hosting galls created by wasps in the family Cynipidae. ‘Oak apples’, green or yellow ball of up to 5 cm in size, are the most spectacular. They are attached to the undersides of leaves. One common species responsible for these galls is Cynips maculipennis. Other species create galls on stems and leaves. Shapes vary from spheres to mushroom-shaped to pencil-shaped.
There are three varieties:
*Quercus garryana var. garryana – tree to 20 (30) m. British Columbia south along the Cascades to the California Coast Ranges.
*Quercus garryana var. breweri – shrub to 5 m; leaves velvety underneath. Siskiyou Mountains.
*Quercus garryana var. semota – shrub to 5 m; leaves not velvety underneath. Sierra Nevada
Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Aggressive surface roots possible, Specimen, Street tree. Prefers a good deep fertile loam which can be on the stiff side. Lime tolerant. Young plants tolerate reasonable levels of side shade. Tolerates moderate exposure, surviving well but being somewhat stunted. Prefers warmer summers than are usually experienced in Britain, trees often grow poorly in this country and fail to properly ripen their wood resulting in frost damage overwinter. A slow-growing and drought tolerant tree, it can live for 500 years. Seed production is cyclic, with a year of high production being followed by 2 – 3 years of lower yields. The tree flowers on new growth produced in spring, the seed ripening in its first year. Intolerant of root disturbance, trees should be planted in their permanent positions whilst young. Hybridizes freely with other members of the genus. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. Special Features: North American native, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.
Propagation:
Seed – it quickly loses viability if it is allowed to dry out. It can be stored moist and cool overwinter but is best sown as soon as it is ripe in an outdoor seed bed, though it must be protected from mice, squirrels etc. Small quantities of seed can be sown in deep pots in a cold frame. Plants produce a deep taproot and need to be planted out into their permanent positions as soon as possible, in fact seed sown in situ will produce the best trees. Trees should not be left in a nursery bed for more than 2 growing seasons without being moved or they will transplant very badly.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Seed.
Edible Uses: Coffee.

Seed – raw or cooked. Up to 25mm long. Up to 32mm long and 25mm wide according to other reports, which also said that it has a sweet taste. The seed is ground into a powder and used in making bread etc, it is a good thickener for soups and stews. The seed has a high content of bitter tannins, these can be leached out by thoroughly washing the dried and ground up seed in water, though many minerals will also be lost. Either the whole seed can be used or the seed can be dried and ground it into a powder. It can take several days or even weeks to properly leach whole seeds, one method was to wrap them in a cloth bag and place them in a stream. Leaching the powder is quicker. A simple taste test can tell when the tannin has been leached. The traditional method of preparing the seed was to bury it in boggy ground overwinter. The germinating seed was dug up in the spring when it would have lost most of its astringency. The roasted seed is a coffee substitute.

Medicinal Uses:

Astringent; TB.

Any galls produced on the tree are strongly astringent and can be used in the treatment of haemorrhages, chronic diarrhoea, dysentery etc[4]. A decoction of the bark has been used in the treatment of tuberculosis. An infusion of the plant has been drunk by a mother before her first baby comes. The pounded bark has been rubbed on the abdomen and sides of the mother before her first delivery.
Other Uses:
Repellent; Tannin; Wood.

A mulch of the leaves repels slugs, grubs etc, though fresh leaves should not be used as these can inhibit plant growth. Oak galls are excrescences that are sometimes produced in great numbers on the tree and are caused by the activity of the larvae of different insects. The insects live inside these galls, obtaining their nutrient therein. When the insect pupates and leaves, the gall can be used as a rich source of tannin, that can also be used as a dyestuff. Wood – hard, heavy, strong, tough, close grained, durable, easy to split. Used for furniture, cabinet making, general construction etc and also for fence posts and fuel. When used as firewood, garry oak produces 28 million BTUs per cord burned.
Recently the wood, which is similar to that of other white oaks, has been used experimentally in Oregon for creating casks in which to age wine.
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/Quercus_garryana
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Quercus+garryana

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Spirulina (Blue-green algae)

Other Names:
AFA, Algae, Algas Verdiazul, Algues Bleu-Vert, Algues Bleu-Vert du Lac Klamath, Anabaena, Aphanizomenon flos-aquae, Arthrospira maxima, Arthrospira platensis, BGA, Blue Green Algae, Blue-Green Micro-Algae, Cyanobacteria, Cyanobactérie, Cyanophycée, Dihe, Espirulina, Hawaiian Spirulina, Klamath, Klamath Lake Algae, Lyngbya wollei, Microcystis aeruginosa, Microcystis wesenbergii, Nostoc ellipsosporum, Spirulina Blue-Green Algae, Spirulina Fusiformis, Spirulina maxima, Spirulina platensis, Spirulina pacifica, Spiruline, Spiruline d’Hawaii, Tecuitlatl.

Description:
Spirulina is obtained from a plant in form of blue-green algae that springs from warm, fresh water bodies………..CLICK & SEE
Spirulina is a cyanobacterium that can be consumed by humans and other animals. There are two species, Arthrospira platensis and Arthrospira maxima.

Arthrospira is cultivated worldwide; used as a dietary supplement as well as a whole food; and is also available in tablet, flake and powder form. It is also used as a feed supplement in the aquaculture, aquarium and poultry industries.

Blue-green algae have a high protein, iron, and other mineral content which is absorbed when taken orally. Blue-green algae are being researched for their potential effects on the immune system, swelling (inflammation), and viral infections.

Chlorella is another form of algae that is sometimes confused with spirulina. The fundamental difference between spirulina and chlorella is that spirulina is many thousands of years older and does not possess the hard cell wall that makes chlorella closer to being a plant than algae.

Chlorella is an excellent way to detoxify  our body from mercury, which most of you are contaminated with if you’ve ever had dental fillings, received a vaccine, used certain types of cookware or eaten fish. Spirulina simply is unable to remove heavy metals like chlorella does, as it lacks a cell membrane.

Chlorella has also been proven to be of benefit to those who suffer from degenerative disease. This report, however, will focus on the specific benefits that can be attributed to spirulina in particular.

“Blue-green algae” describes a large and diverse group of simple, plant-like organisms found in salt water and some large fresh water lakes.

Blue-green algae products are used for many conditions, but so far, there isn’t enough scientific evidence to determine whether or not they are effective for any of them.

Blue-green algae are used as a source of dietary protein, B-vitamins, and iron. They are also used for weight loss, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), hayfever, diabetes, stress, fatigue, anxiety, depression, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and other women’s health issues.

Some people use blue-green algae for treating precancerous growths inside the mouth, boosting the immune system, improving memory, increasing energy and metabolism, lowering cholesterol, preventing heart disease, healing wounds, and improving digestion and bowel health.

Blue-green algae are commonly found in tropical or subtropical waters that have a high-salt content, but some types grow in large fresh water lakes. The natural color of these algae can give bodies of water a dark-green appearance. The altitude, temperature, and sun exposure where the blue-green algae are grown dramatically influence the types and mix of blue-green algae in the water.

Some blue-green algae products are grown under controlled conditions. Others are grown in a natural setting, where they are more likely to be contaminated by bacteria, liver poisons (microcystins) produced by certain bacteria, and heavy metals. Choose only products that have been tested and found free of these contaminants.

You may have been told that blue-green algae are an excellent source of protein. But, in reality, blue-green algae is no better than meat or milk as a protein source and costs about 30 times as much per gram.

Protein:
Dried spirulina contains about 60% (51–71%) protein.  It is a complete protein containing all essential amino acids, though with reduced amounts of methionine, cysteine and lysine when compared to the proteins of meat, eggs and milk. It is, however, superior to typical plant protein, such as that from legumes.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine said that spirulina was no better than milk or meat as a protein source, and was approximately 30 times more expensive per gram

Other nutrients:
Spirulina’s lipid content is about 7% by weight,  and is rich in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA),  and also provides alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), linoleic acid (LA), stearidonic acid (SDA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and arachidonic acid (AA).  Spirulina contains vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (nicotinamide), B6 (pyridoxine), B9 (folic acid), vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin E.  It is also a source of potassium, calcium, chromium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, sodium, and zinc. Spirulina contains many pigments which may be beneficial and bioavailable, including beta-carotene,  zeaxanthin,  7-hydroxyretinoic acid,  isomers, chlorophyll-a, xanthophyll, echinenone, myxoxanthophyll, canthaxanthin, diatoxanthin, 3′-hydroxyechinenone, beta-cryptoxanthin, and oscillaxanthin, plus the phycobiliproteins  c-phycocyanin and allophycocyanin.

Vitamin B12 controversy:
Spirulina is not considered to be a reliable source of Vitamin B12. Spirulina supplements contain predominantly pseudovitamin B12, which is biologically inactive in humans. Companies which grow and market spirulina have claimed it to be a significant source of B12 on the basis of alternative, unpublished assays, although their claims are not accepted by independent scientific organizations. The American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada in their position paper on vegetarian diets state that spirulina cannot be counted on as a reliable source of active vitamin B12. The medical literature similarly advises that spirulina is unsuitable as a source of B12.

 Spirulina Helped Save Millions from Arsenic Poisoning:
Bangladeshi researchers conducted a three-month-hospital-based study, where spirulina was given to 33 patients while 17 received placebo doses. 82 percent of those taking spirulina showed tremendous improvement.

An Immune-System Power-Boost — Spirulina’s Impact on Candida and AIDS:
According to a study done by the Department of Aquataculture in Taiwan,4 spirulina shows significant immune-boosting properties. Researchers exposed white shrimp to seawater containing a hot-water extract of spirulina before transferring them to seawater with a pH level of 6.8. The control group was not exposed to spirulina.

The shrimp exposed to the spirulina seawater showed a faster and more promising recovery rate to the high levels of pH than those not given the dose of spirulina first.

Now, let’s take a look at what this immune-system boosting power can mean for  us:

Candida:
If  we have an autoimmune disease such as Crohn’s disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, Lupus or fibromyalgia, chronic candida yeast can both cause and worsen your symptoms. Spirulina has been shown to encourage and support the growth of healthy bacterial flora in our gut,  which can help keep candida overgrowth under control.

HIV and AIDS:
Drugs such as AZT used to treat HIV and AIDS patients can actually cause the symptoms they are supposed to cure. However, spirulina has been shown to help inactivate the human immunodeficiency virus associated with HIV and AIDS.

Seasonal Allergy:
Millions of people are allergic to pollen, ragweed, dust, mold, pet dander, and a myriad other environmental contaminants, ensuring the makers of Kleenex will always stay in business.

Unfortunately, many people who have allergic rhinitis treat it with prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs that often do more harm than good. Antihistamines are designed to suppress our immune system, which leads to decreased resistance to disease and dependence on the drug. Certain asthma drugs have been linked to serious side effects as well.

This is where natural methods such as the use of spirulina come in. According to one study,  patients treated with spirulina reported relief of symptoms commonly associated with allergic rhinitis, such as nasal discharge and congestion, sneezing and itching, when given spirulina.

Blood Pressure Balancing:
According to a study done by the Department of Biochemistry in Mexico,7 4.5 grams of spirulina given each day was shown to regulate blood pressure among both women and men ages 18-65 years with no other dietary changes made during the six weeks the experiment was run.

Lowers Stroke Risk:
In a study done at the Institute of Pharmaceutical Technology in India, it was found that a dosage of 180mg/kg of spirulina had a protective effect on the brain and nervous system of rats exposed to high amounts of free radicals, compared to rats not given the spirulina before the experiment. This lab test shows the promising effect of spirulina on stroke prevention.

Helps Reduce Cancer Risk:
According to a study done in China,10 selenium-infused spirulina inhibited the growth of MCF-7 breast cancer cells.

Potential Adverse Reactions:
Spirulina is a safe source of protein, nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that has been used for centuries. Though there are no known side effects associated with spirulina,  our body may react to it based on  our current state of health. Let’s take a look at some of those reactions,  what they mean, and what you can do to alleviate them.

The most prominent reactions  one may experience are:
*Slight Fever –– The high protein content in spirulina increases metabolism, which may elevate body temperature.

*Dark Green Waste Matter — Spirulina can remove accumulated waste product in our colon, which may cause darker stool. Also, spirulina is high in chlorophyll. This will also turn waste matter green.

*Excessive Passing of Gas — This may indicate that your digestive system is not functioning properly or you have an extreme build-up of gas.

*Feelings of Excitement — Our body is converting protein into heat energy, which may cause temporary feelings of restlessness.

*Breakouts and Itchy Skin — This is caused by colon cleansing process and is only temporary.

*Sleepiness — This is caused by the detoxification process and may indicate our body is exhausted and needs better rest.

Remember, our body may go through an adjustment period with spirulina, and our best bet to reduce reaction is to dose gradually to see how  our body will react.  Water intake should be increased and ,  stress levels should be  reduced, we should eat according to our nutritional type, and get plenty of rest.

Important Contraindications for Spirulina:
Even though spirulina is entirely natural and generally considered a healthful food, there are some contraindications  we need to be aware of.  No one should  take spirulina if he or she has a severe seafood or iodine allergy. And, if one is pregnant or nursing or have hyperthyroidism, it is adviced  to  consult with the healthcare provider before taking spirulina.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirulina_(dietary_supplement)
http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-923-spirulina%20(blue-green%20algae).aspx?activeingredientid=923&activeingredientname=spirulina%20(blue-green%20algae)
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/07/01/spirulina-the-amazing-super-food-youve-never-heard-of.aspx

Lobaria pulmonaria

Botanical Name : Lobaria pulmonaria
Family: Lobariaceae
Genus: Lobaria
Species: L. pulmonaria
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Ascomycota
Class: Lecanoromycetes
Order: Peltigerales

Synonyms:  Jerusalem Cowslip. Oak Lungs. Lung Moss.

Common Names :Tree lungwort, Lung lichen, lung moss, Lungwort lichen, Oak lungs or Oak lungwort,  Sticta pulmonaria

Habitat :It has a wide distribution in Europe, Asia, North America and Africa, preferring damp habitats with high rainfall, especially coastal areas. It is the most widely distributed and most common Lobaria species in North America. Associated with old-growth forests, its presence and abundance may be used as an indicator of forest age, at least in the Interior Cedar-Hemlock biogeoclimatic zone in eastern British Columbia. It is also found in pasture-woodlands. It usually grows on the bark of broad-leaved trees such as oak, beech and maple but will also grow on rocks. In the laboratory, L. pulmonaria has been grown on nylon microfilaments. Various environmental factors are thought to affect the distribution of L. pulmonaria, such as temperature, moisture (average humidity, rapidity and frequency of wet-dry cycles), sunlight exposure, and levels of air pollution. Attempts to quantitatively evaluate the contribution of these factors to lichen growth is difficult because differences in the original environment from which the lichen thalli are collected will greatly affect heat and desiccation tolerances.

Due to declining population, L. pulmonaria is considered to be rare or threatened in many parts of the world, especially in lowland areas of Europe. The decline has been attributed to industrial forestry and air pollution, particularly acid rain. L. pulmonaria, like other lichens containing a blue-green algal component, are particularly susceptible to the effects of acid rain, because the subsequent decrease in pH reduces nitrogen fixation through inhibition of the algal nitrogenase enzyme

Description:
It is a foliose lichen and its leaf-like thallus is green, leathery and lobed with a pattern of ridges and depressions on the upper surface. Bright green under moist conditions, it becomes brownish and papery when dry. This species often has a fine layers of hairs, a tomentum, on its lower surface. The cortex, the outer protective layer on the thallus surface, is roughly comparable to the epidermis of a green plant. The thallus is typically 5–15 centimetres (2.0–5.9 in) in diameter, with individual lobes 1–3 centimetres (0.39–1.2 in) wide and up to 7 cm long. The asexual reproductive structures soredia and isidia are present on the thallus surface. Minute (0.5–1.5 mm in diameter) cephalodia—pockets of cyanobacteria—are often present on the lower surface of the thallus; these spots are conspicuously darker than the green surface of the thallus. Like other foliose lichens, the thallus is only loosely attached to the surface on which it grows.

Click to see the picture..>…..(01)....(1)………(2)………(3)….

 

Photobionts:
The thallus contains internal structures known as cephalodia, characteristic of three-membered lichen symbioses involving two photobionts (the photosynthetic symbionts in the fungal-algal lichen relationship). These internal cephalodia, found between the “ribs” of the thallus surface, arise when blue-green algae (from the genus Nostoc) on the thallus surface are enveloped during mycobiont growth.[6] Structurally, cephalodia consist of dense aggregates of Nostoc cells surrounded by thin-walled hyphae—this delimits them from the rest of the thallus which contains a loose structure of thick-walled hyphae.[7] Blue-green cyanobacteria can fix atmospheric nitrogen, enhancing nutrient availability for the lichen. The other photobiont of L. pulmonaria is the green algae Dictyochloropsis reticulata

Reproduction:
L. pulmonaria has the ability to form both vegetative propagation and sexual propagules[9] at an age of about 25 years. In sexual reproduction, the species produces small reddish-brown discs known as apothecia containing asci, from which spores are forcibly released into the air (like ballistospores). Based on studies of ascospore germination, it has been suggested that L. pulmonaria spores use some mechanism to inhibit germination—the inhibition is lifted when the spores are grown in a synthetic growth medium containing an adsorbent like bovine serum albumin or ?-cyclodextrin.

Dispersal by vegetative propagules (via soredia or isidia) has been determined as the predominant mode of reproduction in L. pulmonaria. In this method, the protruding propagules become dry and brittle during the regular wet/dry cycles of the lichen, and can easily crumble off the thallus. These fragments may develop into new thalli, either at the same locale or at a new site after dispersal by wind or rain. A number of steps are required for the development of the vegetative propagules, including the degeneration of the thallus cortex, replication of green algal cells, and entanglement of fungal hyphae with the green algal cells. This steps lead to an increase in internal pressure which eventually breaks through the cortex. Continued growth leads to these granules being pushed upwards and out of the thallus surface.

Chemical compositions:
L. pulmonaria is known to contain a variety of acids common to lichens, such as stictic acid, desmethyl stictic acid, gyrophoric acid, tenuiorin, constictic acid, norstictic acid, peristictic acid, and methylnorstictic acid. These compounds, collectively known as depsidones, are known to be involved in defense against grazing herbivores like lichen-feeding molluscs. It also contains the sugar alcohols D-arabitol, volemitol, in addition to several carotenoids (total content > 10 mg/kg), such as alpha carotene, beta carotene, and beta cryptoxanthin. The upper cortex of the lichen contains melanins that screen UV and PAR radiation from the photobiont. The synthesis of melanin pigments in the lichen increases in response to greater solar irradiation,  and shade-adapted thalli are greenish-grey in the air-dry state, while sun-exposed thalli can be dark brown in color. This adaptation helps protect the photosymbiont D. reticulata, known to be relatively intolerant to high light levels.

Also known to be present are various steroids, namely ergosterol, episterol, fecosterol and lichesterol.

Medicinal  Uses:
Its shape somewhat resembles the tissue inside lungs and therefore it is thought to be a remedy for lung diseases based on the doctrine of signatures. The lichen’s common English names are derived from this association. Gerard’s book The Herball or General Historie of plants (1597) recommends L. pulmonaria as medicinally valuable. It is still used for asthma, urinary incontinence and lack of appetite. In India it is used as a traditional medicine to treat hemorrhages and eczema, and it is used as a remedy for coughing up blood by the Hesquiaht in British Columbia, Canada. An ethnophytotherapeutical survey of the high Molise region in central-southern Italy revealed that L. pulmonaria is used as an antiseptic, and is rubbed on wounds.

A hot-water extract prepared using this species has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and ulcer-preventing activities. Also, methanol extracts were shown to have a protective effect on the gastrointestinal system of rats, possibly by reducing oxidative stress and reducing the inflammatory effects of neutrophils. Furthermore, methanol extracts also have potent antioxidative activity and reducing power, probably due to the presence of phenolic compounds.

Tree lungwort has expectorant and tonic properties. This helps to clear congested mucus and at the same time increases appetite.In a decoction sweetened with honey, it is appropriate for all conditions that are marked by chronic respiratory mucus, especially coughs and bronchitis.  The plant also treats asthma, pleurisy, and emphysema.  Being astringent and demulcent, tree lungwort makes a useful treatment for pulmonary ulcers as well as for a variety of gastrointestinal problems.  It is a highly suitable herb for treating ailments in children.

Other uses:
L. pulmonaria has also been used to produce an orange dye for wool, in the tanning of leather, in the manufacture of perfumes and as an ingredient in brewing

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

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