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Equisetum telmateia

Botanical Name : Equisetum telmateia
Family: Equisetaceae
Genus: Equisetum
Species: E. telmateia
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pteridophyta
Class: Equisetopsida
Order: Equisetales

Synonyms : Equisetum maximum. auct.

Common Names : Great horsetail or Northern giant horsetail

Habitat : Equisetum telmateia is native to Europe, including Britain, from Sweden south and east to N. Africa and W. Asia, N.W. N. America. It grows on damp shady banks etc, to 350 metres.

Description:
Equisetum telmateia is a herbaceous perennial plant, with separate green photosynthetic sterile stems, and pale yellowish non-photosynthetic spore-bearing fertile stems. The sterile stems, produced in late spring and dying down in late autumn, are 30–150 cm (rarely to 240 cm) tall (the tallest species of horsetail outside of tropical regions) and 1 cm diameter, heavily branched, with whorls of 14–40 branches, these up to 20 cm long, 1–2 mm diameter and unbranched, emerging from the axils of a ring of bracts. The fertile stems are produced in early spring before the sterile shoots, growing to 15–45 cm tall with an apical spore-bearing strobilus 4–10 cm long and 1–2 cm broad, and no side branches; the spores disperse in mid spring, with the fertile stems dying immediately after spore release. It also spreads by means of rhizomes that have been observed to penetrate 4 meters into wet clay soil, spreading laterally in multiple layers. Occasional plants produce stems that are both fertile and photosynthetic. It is hardy to zone (UK) 6. It is in flower in March, and the seeds ripen in April.

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There are two subspecies:
*Equisetum telmateia subsp. telmateia. Great Horsetail. Europe, western Asia, northwest Africa. Main stem between branch whorls pale greenish white.

*Equisetum telmateia subsp. braunii (Milde) Hauke. Northern Giant Horsetail. Western North America, from southeastern Alaska and western British Columbia south to California. Main stem between branch whorls green.

CLICK & SEE : Equisetum telmateia  & Spore-bearing strobilus

Cultivation:
Prefers a moist soil with a pH between 6.5 and 7.5. Plants are hardy to about -30°c. Plants have a deep and penetrating root system and can be invasive. If grown in the garden they are best kept in bounds by planting them in a large container which can be sunk into the ground.

Propagation:
Spores – best collected as soon as they are ripe in the spring and surface-sown immediately on a sterile compost. Keep moist and pot up as soon as the plants are large enough to handle. Very difficult. Division. The plants usually spread very freely when well sited and should not really need any assistance.

Edible Uses:
Strobil (the fertile shoots in spring) – raw or cooked. The tough outer fibres are peeled off, or can be chewed and then discarded. The vegetative shoots, produced from late spring onwards, were occasionally cleaned of their leaves, sheathing and branches and then eaten by native North American Indians, but only when very young and tightly compacted. Root – cooked.

Medicinal Uses:

Astringent; Diuretic; Poultice.

The plant is astringent and diuretic. A decoction has been used to treat ‘stoppage of urine’. A poultice of the rough leaves and stems is applied to cuts and sores.

Other Uses:
Basketry; Fungicide; Hair; Liquid feed; Polish; Sandpaper.

The stems are very rich in silica. They are used for scouring and polishing metal and as a fine sandpaper. The stems are first bleached by repeated wetting and drying in the sun. They can also be used as a polish for wooden floors and furniture. The infused stem is an effective fungicide against mildew, mint rust and blackspot on roses. It also makes a good liquid feed. Used as a hair rinse it can eliminate fleas, lice and mites. The black roots have been used for imbrication on coiled baskets.

Known Hazards : Large quantities of the plant can be toxic. This is because it contains the enzyme thiaminase, a substance that can rob the body of the vitamin B complex. In small quantities this enzyme will do no harm to people eating an adequate diet that is rich in vitamin B, though large quantities can cause severe health problems. The enzyme is destroyed by heat or thorough drying, so cooking the plant will remove the thiaminase. The plant also contains equisetic acid – see the notes on medicinal uses for more information.

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/Equisetum_telmateia
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Equisetum+telmateia

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Pyramid Meditation

In today’s world of stress and tension, there are many South Mumbaiites who turn to meditation to help them keep their cool.
But, Shreyans and Pinky Daga of Breach Candy believe that pyramid meditation that is practising meditation under a specially-built pyramid greatly enhances its benefits.

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28-year-old Shreyans says, “It’s a scientific fact that the geometric structure of the pyramid collects and radiates energy. So, when one meditates under a pyramid, the energy power of the practitioner increases. Not just that, things kept under a pyramid similarly get energised and their freshness remains for a long time.”

Shreyans and Pinky Daga claim to be the only teachers of this technique in downtown. They have been teaching pyramid meditation from their residence since the last five years. Shreyans is also the founder-president of the Mumbai Pyramid Spiritual Society.

It has recently started the construction of a pyramid in a village near Thane. Pinky delves into the history of pyramid meditation.

“In Greek, pyramid means ‘in the middle of fire’ (pyro= fire, amid= in the middle). Of all the four elements, fire represents universal energy and power. About 10,000 years ago, the Egyptians built the Great Pyramids at Gizeh as store houses of universal energy. The power of the pyramid was obtained through a blending of the radiated cosmic energy with that of the gravitational force of the earth,” she explains.

The Dagas add, “Many believe that the Great Pyramids at Gizeh, one of the seven wonders of the world, was originally built to balance the energies of the earth. It’s located at the exact centre of the earth’s land mass. Scholars have also confirmed that the pyramid was built as an instrument of initiation into altered and higher states of consciousness.”

Today, that same ancient wisdom and science is creating modern-day store houses of energy. “Many people have built pyramids which fit the size of their homes and offices, for meditation purposes. Pyramid meditation has revealed manifold benefits. It’s been proven that it preserves fruits, milk and other perishables. An apple kept under a pyramid will not rot even after 10 days. Used razors and knives get sharpened. Many people have reported using the same blade for over a year when stored under a small pyramid. Pyramid meditation is also supposed to have healing properties. By practising this technique, wounds, boils, and bruises heal quicker; it ensures weight loss, and increases resistance to diseases. It has been known to cure asthma, toothaches, migraine, common cold, high blood pressure, arthritis, epilepsy and insomnia. Drinking pyramid energised water cures conjunctivitis, helps digestion, and gives the skin a healthy glow.

“By meditating under a pyramid, our whole being is revitalised; the mental, intellectual capacities are increased, and the energy centres gets activated easily,” says Pinky.

Pyramid meditation and usage of pyramid power is becoming increasingly common in many places. The Pyramid Spiritual Society has built close to 14 pyramids nationwide, with the largest 1,000-person capacity pyramid being built in Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh.

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Source:The  Times Of India.Dec.4.’09