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Sweet Potato

Botanical Name: Ipomoea batatas
Family: Convolvulaceae
Genus: Ipomoea
Species: I. batat
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Solanales

Common Names: Sweet Potato, Yam, Kumara 
Although the soft, orange sweet potato is often called a “yam” in parts of North America, the sweet potato is botanically very distinct from a genuine yam (Dioscorea), which is native to Africa and Asia and belongs to the monocot family Dioscoreaceae. To add to the confusion, a different crop plant, the oca, Oxalis tuberosa (a species of wood sorrel), is called a “yam” in many parts of Polynesia, including New Zealand. To prevent confusion, the United States Department of Agriculture requires sweet potatoes to be labeled as “sweet potatoes” and not as “yams”

The Portuguese took the Taino name batata directly, while the Spanish also combined it with the Quechua word for potato, papa, to create the word patata for the common potato. In Argentina, Venezuela, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic it is called batata. In Mexico, Peru, Chile, Central America, and the Philippines, the sweet potato is known as camote (alternatively spelled kamote in the Philippines), derived from the Nahuatl word camotli. Boniato is another name widely used in mainland Spain and in Uruguay.

In Peru, the Quechua name for a type of sweet potato is kumar, strikingly similar to the Polynesian name kumara and its regional Oceanic cognates (kumala, umala, ‘uala, etc.), which has led some scholars to suspect an instance of Pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact.

In New Zealand, the most common variety is the Red (purple) cultivar, and is called kumara, though orange (Beauregard) and gold varieties are also available. Kumara is particularly popular as a roasted food or in contemporary cuisine, as kumara chips, often served with sour cream and sweet chili sauce. Occasionally shops in Australia will label the purple variety “purple sweet potato” to denote its difference to the other varieties. About 95% of Australia’s production is of the orange variety named “Beauregard”, originally from North America, known simply as “sweet potato”. A reddish-purple variety, Northern Star, is 4% of production and is sold as kumara.

In Papua New Guinea, sweet potatoes are known as kaukau in Tok Pisin. In South Korea, sweet potatoes are known as ‘goguma’

Habitat: The origin and domestication of sweet potato is thought to be in either Central America or South America. In Central America, sweet potatoes were domesticated at least 5,000 years ago. In South America, Peruvian sweet potato remnants dating as far back as 8000 BC have been found. Now sweet potato is grown all over the world.

Description:
Sweet potato, Ipomoea batatas, is an herbaceous perennial plant grown for its edible storage roots. The sweet potato plant is a branching, creeeping vine with spirally arranged lobed, heart shaped leaves and white or lavender flowers. The plant has enlarged roots called tubers which act as an energy store for the plant. The tubers can be variable in shape and can be red, yellow, brown, white or purple in color. Sweet potato vines can reach 4 m (13 ft) in length and the plant is usually grown as an annual, harvested after one growing season. Sweet potatoes may also be referred to as yams or Spanish potatoes and originate from Central America.

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Cultivation & Propagation:
Sweet potatoes grow very well in tropical and subtropical climates and they are very sensitive to cold weather.
The plant does not tolerate frost. It grows best at an average temperature of 24 °C (75 °F), abundant sunshine and warm nights. in well-draining, loamy soil with a pH of 5.6–6.6. Sweet potatoes should be planted in full sun and require plenty of space as the vines will spread over large areas. Annual rainfalls of 750–1,000 mm (30–39 in) are considered most suitable, with a minimum of 500 mm (20 in) in the growing season. The crop is sensitive to drought at the tuber initiation stage 50–60 days after planting, and it is not tolerant to water-logging, as it may cause tuber rots and reduce growth of storage roots if aeration is poor.

Edible Uses:
Sweet potato tubers are eaten cooked as a vegetable or may be processed into flour or starch. The leaves can be eaten fresh or after cooking. Sweet potatoes pack a powerful nutritional punch. They have got over 400% of our daily needs for vitamin A in one medium spud, as well as loads of fiber and potassium. They have got more grams of natural sugars than regular potato but more overall nutrients with fewer calories.

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People allover the world eat sweet potato (both the tubers & the leaves) as vegetable  & also  in different forms.

Medicinal Uses & health benefits:
Possible health benefits of consuming sweet potatoes:
Consuming fruits and vegetables of all kinds has long been associated with a reduced risk of many adverse health conditions. Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods like sweet potatoes decreases the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and overall mortality while promoting a healthy complexion, increased energy, and overall lower weight.

Diabetes:
Sweet potatoes are considered low on the glycemic index scale, and recent research suggests they may reduce episodes of low blood sugar and insulin resistance in people with diabetes. The fiber in sweet potatoes makes a big difference too. Studies have shown that type 1 diabetics who consume high-fiber diets have lower blood glucose levels and type 2 diabetics may have improved blood sugar, lipids and insulin levels. One medium sweet potato provides about 6 grams of fiber (skin on).

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 21-25 grams of fiber per day for women and 30-38 grams per day for men, which most people do not reach.

Blood pressure:
Maintaining a low sodium intake is essential to lowering blood pressure, however increasing potassium intake may be just as important. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, fewer than 2% of US adults are meeting the daily 4,700 mg recommendation for potassium.3 One medium sweet potato provides about 542 milligrams.

Also of note, high potassium intake is associated with a 20% decreased risk of dying from all causes.

Cancer:
Among younger men, diets rich in beta-carotene may play a protective role against prostate cancer, according to a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health’s Department of Nutrition.4 Beta-carotene has also been shown to have an inverse association with the development of colon cancer in the Japanese population.

Digestion and regularity:
Because of its high fiber content, sweet potatoes help to prevent constipation and promote regularity for a healthy digestive tract.

Fertility:
For women of childbearing age, consuming more iron from plant sources appears to promote fertility, according Harvard Medical School‘s Harvard Health Publications. The vitamin A in sweet potatoes (consumed as beta-carotene then converted to vitamin A in the body) is also essential during pregnancy and lactation for hormone synthesis.

Immunity:
Plant foods like sweet potatoes that are high in both vitamin C and beta-carotene offer an immunity boost from their powerful combination of nutrients.

Inflammation:
Choline is a very important and versatile nutrient in sweet potatoes that helps with sleep, muscle movement, learning and memory. Choline also helps to maintain the structure of cellular membranes, aids in the transmission of nerve impulses, assists in the absorption of fat and reduces chronic inflammation.6

In a study published by the Journal of Medicinal Food, purple sweet potato extract was found to have positive anti-inflammatory and antilipogenic effects as well as free radical scavenging and reducing activity.

Vision:
According to Duke ophthalmologist Jill Koury, MD, vitamin A deficiency causes the outer segments of the eye’s photoreceptors to deteriorate, damaging normal vision. Correcting vitamin A deficiencies with foods high in beta-carotene will restore vision.

Also of note, the antioxidant vitamins C and E in sweet potatoes have been shown to support eye health and prevent degenerative damage.

A higher intake of all fruits (3 or more servings per day) has also been shown to decrease the risk of and progression of age-related macular degeneration.
Other Uses:
In South America, the juice of red sweet potatoes is combined with lime juice to make a dye for cloth. By varying the proportions of the juices, every shade from pink to black can be obtained.

All parts of the plant are used for animal fodder.

Sweet potatoes or camotes are often found in Moche ceramics.

Several selections are cultivated in gardens as ornamental plants for their attractive foliage, including the dark-leafed cultivars ‘Blackie’ and ‘Ace of Spades’ and the chartreuse-foliaged ‘Margarita’.

Cuttings of sweet potato vine, either edible or ornamental varieties, will rapidly form roots in water and will grow in it, indefinitely, in good lighting with a steady supply of nutrients. For this reason, sweet potato vine is ideal for use in home aquariums, trailing out of the water with its roots submerged, as its rapid growth is fueled by toxic ammonia and nitrates, a waste product of aquatic life, which it removes from the water. This improves the living conditions for fish, which also find refuge in the vast root systems.

Researchers at North Carolina State University are breeding sweet potato varieties that would be grown primarily for biofuel production.

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/Sweet_potato
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/281438.php
https://www.plantvillage.com/en/topics/sweet-potato/infos/diseases_and_pests_description_uses_propagation

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Cantaloupe

Botanical Name: Cucumis Cantalupensis
Family: Cucurbitaceae
Genus: Cucumis
Species: C. melo
Subspecies: C. melo subsp. melo
Variety: C. melo var. cantalupo
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Cucurbitales

Common Names: Cantaloupe (also cantelope, cantaloup, muskmelon (India and the United States), Mushmelon, Rockmelon, Sweet melon, Honeydew, Persian melon, or Spanspek (South Africa)) refers to a variety of Cucumis melo

Habitat: The cantaloupe originated in Iran, India and Africa; it was first cultivated in Iran some 5000 years ago and in Greece and Egypt some 4000 years ago.

The European cantaloupe is lightly ribbed (sutured),  with a sweet and flavorful flesh and a gray-green skin that looks quite different from that of the North American cantaloupe.

The North American cantaloupe, common in the United States, Mexico, and in some parts of Canada, is actually a muskmelon, a different variety of Cucumis melo, and has a net-like (or reticulated) skin covering. It is a round melon with firm, orange, moderately sweet flesh and a thin, reticulated, light-brown rind.[6][verification needed] Varieties with redder and yellower flesh exist, but are not common in the U.S. market.

Description:
Cucumis melo cantalupensis is an annual creaper, growing to 1.5 m (5ft).
It is frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to 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 Insects.The plant is self-fertile.

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Cultivation: Requires a rich, well-drained moisture retentive soil and a warm, very sunny position. A frost-tender annual plant, the cantaloupe melon is widely cultivated in gardens and commercially, especially in warmer climates than Britain, for its edible fruit. Some varieties may succeed outdoors in Britain in hot summers but in general it is best to grow melons under protection in this country. Grows well with corn and sunflowers but dislikes potatoes. The weeds fat hen and sow thistle improve the growth and cropping of melons.

Propagation: Seed – sow early to mid spring in a greenhouse in a rich soil. Germination should take place within 2 weeks. Sow 2 or 3 seeds per pot and thin out to the best plant. Grow them on fast and plant out after the last expected frosts, giving them cloche or frame protection for at least their first few weeks if you are trying them outdoors.

Edible Uses:
Fruit – raw. Said to be the finest-tasting of the melons, cantaloupes have a very watery flesh but with a delicate sweet flavour. They are very refreshing, especially in hot weather. Rich in vitamins B and C. The flesh of the fruit can be dried, ground into a powder and used with cereals when making bread, biscuits etc. The size of the fruit varies widely between cultivars but is up to 15cm long and 7cm wide, it can weight 1 kilo or more. Seed – raw. Rich in oil with a nutty flavour but very fiddly to use because the seed is small and covered with a fibrous coat. The seed contains between 12.5 – 39.1% oil. An edible oil is obtained from the seed.

Medicinal Uses:
The fruits can be used as a cooling light cleanser or moisturiser for the skin. They are also used as a first aid treatment for burns and abrasions. The flowers are expectorant and emetic. The fruit is stomachic. The seed is antitussive, digestive, febrifuge and vermifuge. When used as a vermifuge, the whole seed complete with the seed coat is ground into a fine flour, then made into an emulsion with water and eaten. It is then necessary to take a purge in order to expel the tapeworms or other parasites from the body. The root is diuretic and emetic.

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/Cantaloupe
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Cucumis+melo+cantalupensis

Rosemary

 

Botanical Name: Rosmarinus officinalis
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Rosmarinus
Species: R. officinalis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Common Name: Rosemary

Habitat: Rosemary is native to Mediterranean region. Now it is growing in most places of the world.
Description:
Rosemary, is a woody, perennial herb with fragrant, evergreen, needle-like leaves and white, pink, purple, or blue flowers, native to the Mediterranean region. It is a member of the mint family Lamiaceae, which includes many other herbs. The name “rosemary” derives from the Latin for “dew” (ros) and “sea” (marinus), or “dew of the sea”. The plant is also sometimes called anthos, from the ancient Greek world, meaning “flower”. Rosemary has a fibrous root system.

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Rosemary leaves are similar to hemlock needles. The leaves are used as a flavoring in foods such as stuffings and roast lamb, pork, chicken and turkey. It is native to the Mediterranean and Asia, but is reasonably hardy in cool climates. It can withstand droughts, surviving a severe lack of water for lengthy periods. Forms range from upright to trailing; the upright forms can reach 1.5 m (5 ft) tall, rarely 2 m (6 ft 7 in). The leaves are evergreen, 2–4 cm (0.8–1.6 in) long and 2–5 mm broad, green above, and white below, with dense, short, woolly hair. The plant flowers in spring and summer in temperate climates, but the plants can be in constant bloom in warm climates; flowers are white, pink, purple or deep blue. Rosemary also has a tendency to flower outside its normal flowering season; it has been known to flower as late as early December, and as early as mid-February.

Cultivation:
Since it is attractive and drought-tolerant, rosemary is used as an ornamental plant in gardens and for xeriscape landscaping, especially in regions of Mediterranean climate. It is considered easy to grow and pest-resistant. Rosemary can grow quite large and retain attractiveness for many years, can be pruned into formal shapes and low hedges, and has been used for topiary. It is easily grown in pots. The groundcover cultivars spread widely, with a dense and durable texture.

Rosemary grows on friable loam soil with good drainage in an open, sunny position. It will not withstand waterlogging and some varieties are susceptible to frost. It grows best in neutral to alkaline conditions (pH 7–7.8) with average fertility. It can be propagated from an existing plant by clipping a shoot (from a soft new growth) 10–15 cm (4–6 in) long, stripping a few leaves from the bottom, and planting it directly into soil

Edible Uses:
The leaves are used to flavor various foods, such as stuffings and roast meats. Fresh or dried leaves are used in traditional Italian cuisine. They have a bitter, astringent taste and a characteristic aroma which complements many cooked foods. Herbal tea can be made from the leaves. When roasted with meats or vegetables, the leaves impart a mustard-like aroma with an additional fragrance of charred wood compatible with barbecued foods.

In amounts typically used to flavor foods, such as one teaspoon (1 gram), rosemary provides no nutritional value. Rosemary extract has been shown to improve the shelf life and heat stability of omega 3-rich oils which are prone to rancidity.

Meditional Uses:
Rosemary contains substances that are useful for stimulating the immune system, increasing circulation, and improving digestion. Rosemary also contains anti-inflammatory compounds that may make it useful for reducing the severity of asthma attacks. In addition, rosemary has been shown to increase the blood flow to the head and brain, improving concentration.

Phytochemicals and traditional medicine:
Rosemary contains a number of phytochemicals, including rosmarinic acid, camphor, caffeic acid, ursolic acid, betulinic acid, and the antioxidants carnosic acid and carnosol.

In traditional medicine of India, extracts and essential oil from flowers and leaves are used to treat a variety of disorders.

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Other Uses:
Rosemary is used as a decorative plant in gardens where it may have pest control effects.

Folklore and customs:
In the Middle Ages, rosemary was associated with wedding ceremonies. The bride would wear a rosemary headpiece and the groom and wedding guests would all wear a sprig of rosemary. From this association with weddings, rosemary was thought to be a love charm.

In myths, rosemary has a reputation for improving memory and has been used as a symbol for remembrance during war commemorations and funerals in Europe and Australia. Mourners would throw it into graves as a symbol of remembrance for the dead. In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Ophelia says, “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance.” (Hamlet, iv. 5.) In Australia, sprigs of rosemary are worn on ANZAC Day and sometimes Remembrance Day to signify remembrance; the herb grows wild on the Gallipoli Peninsula.

Hungary water was first prepared for the Queen of Hungary Elisabeth of Poland to ” … renovate vitality of paralyzed limbs … ” and to treat gout. It was used externally and prepared by mixing fresh rosemary tops into spirits of wine. Don Quixote (Part One, Chapter XVII) mixes it in his recipe of the miraculous balm of Fierabras.

Mythology:
According to legend, it was draped around the Greek goddess Aphrodite when she rose from the sea, born of Uranus’s semen. The Virgin Mary is said to have spread her blue cloak over a white-blossomed rosemary bush when she was resting, and the flowers turned blue. The shrub then became known as the “Rose of Mary”

Known hazards:
The essential oil of rosemary is potent and should be avoided by pregnant and breastfeeding women. The oil may cause severe adverse effects including seizures when taken internally and may irritate the skin when applied externally.
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/Rosemary
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=75
http://www.kew.org/science-conservation/plants-fungi/rosmarinus-officinalis-rosemary

Sweet Basil (Ocimum basilicum )

 

Botanical Name :Ocimum basilicum
Family: Lamiaceae or LABIATAE Mint Family
Genus: Ocimum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales
Species: O. basilicum
Common Names :  Basil , Sweet Basil
Parts Used: leaves, essential oil

Etymology
The word basil comes from the Greek (basileus), meaning “king”, as it is believed to have grown above the spot where St. Constantine and Helen discovered  the Holy Cross. The Oxford English Dictionary quotes speculations that basil may have been used in “some royal unguent, bath, or medicine”. Basil is still considered  the “king of herbs” by many cookery authors.

Habitat :It’s original habitat is obscure. Most probably  Basil is originally native to Iran, India and other tropical regions of Asia, having been cultivated there for more than 5,000 years Asia.Now grows everywhere. Long cultivated..Cultivated Beds;

Description:

Perennial growing to 0.45m by 0.3m. It is a tender low-growing herb. Basil is a culinary herb prominently featured in Italian cuisine, and also plays a major role in  the Southeast Asian cuisines of Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. The plant tastes somewhat like anise, with a strong, pungent, sweet smell.There are many varieties of basil. That which is used in Italian food is typically called sweet basil, as opposed to Thai basil, lemon basil and holy basil, which are used in Asia. While most common varieties of basil are treated as annuals, some are perennial in warm, tropical climates, including African Blue and Holy Thai basil..
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It is hardy to zone 10 and is frost tender. It is in flower from August to September, and the seeds ripen in September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.  The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow  in the shade. It requires moist soil.

Ocimum has several Species grows in different places as follows:
1.Ocimum × africanum Lour. – Africa, Madagascar, China, Indian Subcontinent, Indochina; naturalized in Guatemala, Chiapas, Netherlands Antilles, eastern Brazil
2.Ocimum americanum L. (tropical Africa), Indian Subcontinent, China, Southeast Asia; naturalized in Queensland, Christmas Island, and parts of tropical America
3.Ocimum amicorum A.J.Paton – Tanzania
4.Ocimum angustifolium Benth. – southeastern Africa from Kenya to Tranasvaal
5.Ocimum basilicum L. – Basil, Sweet basil – China, Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia; naturalized in Russia, Ukraine, Africa, Mexico, Central America, South America, and various oceanic islands
6.Ocimum burchellianum Benth. – Cape Province of South Africa
7.Ocimum campechianum Mill. – Amazonian basil – widespread across Florida, Mexico, West Indies, Central and South America
8.Ocimum canescens A.J.Paton – Tanzania
9.Ocimum carnosum (Spreng.) Link & Otto ex Benth. – Mexico, South America
10.Ocimum centraliafricanum R.E.Fr – Zaïre, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe
11.Ocimum circinatum A.J.Paton – Ethiopia, Somalia
12.Ocimum coddii (S.D.Williams & K.Balkwill) A.J.Paton – Northern Province of South Africa
13.Ocimum cufodontii (Lanza) A.J.Paton – Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya
14.Ocimum dambicola A.J.Paton – Tanzania, Zambia
15.Ocimum decumbens Gürke – from Zaïre to South Africa
16.Ocimum dhofarense (Sebald) A.J.Paton – Oman
17.Ocimum dolomiticola A.J.Paton – Northern Province of South Africa
18.Ocimum ellenbeckii Gürke – Ethiopia, Zaïre
19.Ocimum empetroides (P.A.Duvign.) ined. – Zaïre
20.Ocimum ericoides (P.A.Duvign. & Plancke) A.J.Paton – Zaïre
21.Ocimum filamentosum Forssk. – eastern + southern Africa, Arabian Peninsula, India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar
22.Ocimum fimbriatum Briq. – central Africa
23.Ocimum fischeri Gürke – Kenya, Tanzania
24.Ocimum formosum Gürke – Bale Province of Ethiopia
25.Ocimum forskoelei Benth. – eastern Africa from Egypt to Kenya, Angola, Arabian Peninsula
26.Ocimum fruticosum (Ryding) A.J.Paton – Somalia
27.Ocimum grandiflorum Lam. – Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia
28. African basil Africa, Madagascar, southern Asia, Bismarck Archipelago; naturalized in Polynesia, Mexico, Panama, West Indies, Brazil, Bolivia
29.Ocimum hirsutissimum (P.A.Duvign.) A.J.Paton – Zaïre
30.Ocimum irvinei J.K.Morton – West Africa
31.Ocimum jamesii Sebald – Ethiopia, Somalia
32.Ocimum kenyense Ayob. ex A.J.Paton – Kenya, Tanzania
33.Ocimum kilimandscharicum Baker ex Gürke – Camphor basil – Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia; naturalized in Angola, India, Myanmar, Thailand
34.Ocimum labiatum (N.E.Br.) A.J.Paton – Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland
35.Ocimum lamiifolium Hochst. ex Benth – eastern + central Africa
36.Ocimum masaiense Ayob. ex A.J.Paton – Ngong Hills in Kenya
37.Ocimum mearnsii (Ayob. ex Sebald) A.J.Paton – Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda
38.Ocimum metallorum (P.A.Duvign.) A.J.Paton – Zaïre
39.Ocimum minimum L. – India, Sri Lanka
40.Ocimum minutiflorum (Sebald) A.J.Paton – eastern + central Africa
41.Ocimum mitwabense (Ayob.) A.J.Paton – Zaïre
42.Ocimum monocotyloides (Plancke ex Ayob.) A.J.Paton – Zaïre
43.Ocimum motjaneanum McCallum & K.Balkwill – Swaziland
44.Ocimum natalense Ayob. ex A.J.Paton – Mozambique, KwaZulu-Natal
45.Ocimum nudicaule Benth. – Brazil, Paraguay, Misiones Province of Argentina
46.Ocimum nummularia (S.Moore) A.J.Paton – Somalia
47.Ocimum obovatum E.Mey. ex Benth. – tropical Africa, Madagascar
48.Ocimum ovatum Benth. – Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina
49.Ocimum pseudoserratum (M.R.Ashby) A.J.Paton – Northern Province of South Africa
50.Ocimum pyramidatum (A.J.Paton) A.J.Paton – Tanzania
51.Ocimum reclinatum (S.D.Williams & M.Balkwill) A.J.Paton – Mozambique, KwaZulu-Natal
52.Ocimum serpyllifolium Forssk. – Somalia, Yemen, Saudi Arabia
53.Ocimum serratum (Schltr.) A.J.Paton – South Africa, Swaziland
54.Ocimum somaliense Briq. – Ethiopia
55.Ocimum spectabile (Gürke) A.J.Paton – Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya, Somalia
56.Ocimum spicatum Deflers….. Ethiopia, Yemen, Kenya, Somalia
57.Ocimum tenuiflorum L. – Holy Basil, Tulsi – China, Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia, New Guinea, Queensland; naturalized in Kenya, Fiji, French Polynesia, West Indies, Venezuela
58.Ocimum transamazonicum C.Pereira – Brazil
59.Ocimum tubiforme (R.D.Good) A.J.Paton – Northern Province of South Africa
60.Ocimum urundense Robyns & Lebrun – Burundi, Tanzania
61.Ocimum vandenbrandei (P.A.Duvign. & Plancke ex Ayob.) A.J.Paton – Marungu Province in Zaïre
62.Ocimum vanderystii (De Wild.) A.W.Hill. – Zaïre, Congo-Brazzaville, Angola, Zambia
63.Ocimum viphyense A.J.Paton – Malawi, Zambia
64.Ocimum waterbergense (S.D.Williams & K.Balkwill) A.J.Paton – Northern Province of South Africa

Hybrids:
1.Ocimum × citriodorum (O. americanum × O. basilicum) – Lemon basil
2.Ocimum kilimandscharicum × basilicum ‘Dark Opal’ – African blue basil

Formerly placed here:
1.Basilicum polystachyon (L.) Moench (as O. polystachyon L.)
2.Isodon inflexus (Thunb.) Kudô (as O. inflexum Thunb.)
3.Frankenia salina (Molina) I.M.Johnst. (as O. salinum Molina)
4.Mosla scabra (Thunb.) C.Y.Wu & H.W.Li (as O. punctulatum J.F.Gmel. and O. scabrum Thunb.)
5.Orthosiphon aristatus (Blume) Miq. (as O. aristatum Blume)
6.Perilla frutescens var. crispa (Thunb.) W.Deane (as O. crispum Thunb.)
7.Perilla frutescens var. frutescens (as O. frutescens L.)
8.Plectranthus scutellarioides (L.) R.Br. (as O. scutellarioides L.)

Cultivation:
Prefers a rich light well-drained to dry soi. Requires a sunny sheltered position if grown outdoors. Tolerates a pH in the range 5 to 8. Sweet basil is commonly grown as an aromatic culinary and medicinal herb in warm temperate and tropical climates. There are a number of different constituents that make up the essential oil in basil, and the proportions of these vary considerably between plants growing in different regions of the world. From this variety many named varieties with differing flavour characteristics have been developed. Basil is a perennial plant in the tropics, but it is frost tender and needs to be grown as a half-hardy annual in temperate zones. It is a very good companion plant to grow in the house or greenhouse, its aromatic foliage helping to reduce problems caused by insect pests[K]. It requires a good hot summer in Britain if it is to do well outdoors. Sweet basil is a good companion plant for tomatoes but it grows badly with rue and sage. When grown near raspberries it can retard their fruiting.

Propagation
Seed – sow mid to late spring in a greenhouse and only just cover the seed. Germination is usually free and quick, prick out the seedlings into individual pots when  they are large enough to handle. If growing basil outdoors, plant out after the last expected frosts.

Cultivars
No entries have been made for this species as yet.

Common Uses: ConcentrationMemory/Focus * Culinary * Facial and Skin care * General Health Tonics * Insect Bites/Rashes * Insect Repellent *
Properties:  Antispasmodic* Carminative* Cephalic* Digestive* Emmenagogue* Expectorant* Febrifuge* Nervine* Stomachic* Diaphoretic* Stimulant* Antifungal*
Galactagogue* Aromatic* Refrigerant*

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Leaves; Seed.

Edible Uses: Condiment; Drink; Tea.

Leaves and flowers – raw or cooked. Used as a flavouring or as a spinach, they are used especially with tomato dishes, pasta sauces, beans, peppers and aubergines.
The leaves are normally used fresh but can also be dried for winter use. A very pleasant addition to salads, the leaves have a delightful scent of cloves. Use the
leaves sparingly in cooking because the heat concentrates the flavour. A refreshing tea is made from the leaves. The seed can be eaten on its own or added to bread
dough as a flavouring. When soaked in water it becomes mucilaginous and can be made into a refreshing beverage called ‘sherbet tokhum’ in the Mediterranean. An
essential oil obtained from the plant is used as a food flavouring in mustards, sauces, vinegars etc.

Basil is one of the main ingredients in pesto—a green Italian oil-and-herb sauce. Its other two main ingredients are olive oil and pine nuts.
The most commonly used Mediterranean basil cultivars are “Genovese”, “Purple Ruffles”, “Mammoth”, “Cinnamon”, “Lemon”, “Globe”, and “African Blue”. The Chinese also
use fresh or dried basils in soups and other foods. In Taiwan, people add fresh basil leaves to thick soups (traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: ) They also eat fried chicken with deep-fried basil leaves. Basil (most commonly Thai Basil) is commonly steeped in cream or milk to create an interesting flavor in ice cream or chocolates (such as truffles).

Basil is sometimes used with fresh fruit and in fruit jams and sauces—in particular with strawberries, but also raspberries or dark-colored plums. Arguably the flat-leaf basil used in Vietnamese cooking, which has a slightly different flavour, is more suitable for use with fruit.

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This is the variety of Sweet Basil that gives many Thai dishes their distinctive flavor. It is characterised by its purplish upper stems and inflorescence branches and smaller, less convex leaves than European Basil, and with a stronger hint of anise in the flavor and aroma. There does not seem to be any widely accepted varietal or cultivar name for it, which is a pity. I am therefore using its Thai common name ‘Horapha’ as a pseudo-cultivar name. Pronounced “hora pah”.

Basil is commonly used fresh in cooked recipes. It is generally added at the last moment, as cooking quickly destroys the flavour. The fresh herb can be kept for a short time in plastic bags in the refrigerator, or for a longer period in the freezer, after being blanched quickly in boiling water. The dried herb also loses most of its flavour, and what little flavour remains tastes very different, with a weak coumarin flavour, like hay.

Basil seeds:-
When soaked in water the seeds of several basil varieties become gelatinous, and are used in Asian drinks and desserts such as falooda or Sherbet. Such seeds are known variously as sabza, subza, takmaria, tukmaria, tukhamaria, falooda, selasih (Malay/Indonesian) or h?t é (Vietnamese). They are used for their medicinal properties in Ayurveda, the traditional medicinal system of India and Siddha medicine, a traditional Tamil system of medicine. They are also used as popular drinks in Southeast Asia.

Constituents: camphor, cineole, estragol, (or methyl chavicol),eugenol, linalool, pinene

Medicinal Actions &  Uses
Antibacterial; Antispasmodic; Aromatherapy; Aromatic; Carminative; Digestive; Galactogogue; Ophthalmic; Stomachic; Tonic.

Sweet basil has been used for thousands of years as a culinary and medicinal herb. It acts principally on the digestive and nervous systems, easing flatulence, stomach cramps, colic and indigestion. The leaves and flowering tops are antispasmodic, aromatic, carminative, digestive, galactogogue, stomachic and tonic. They are taken internally in the treatment of feverish illnesses (especially colds and influenza), poor digestion, nausea, abdominal cramps, gastro-enteritis, migraine, insomnia, depression and exhaustion. Externally, they are used to treat acne, loss of smell, insect stings, snake bites and skin infections. The leaves can be harvested throughout the growing season and are used fresh or dried. The mucilaginous seed is given in infusion in the treatment of gonorrhoea, dysentery and chronic diarrhoea. It is said to remove film and opacity from the eyes. The root is used in the treatment of bowel complaints in children. Extracts from the plant are bactericidal and are also effective against internal parasites. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy. Its keyword is ‘Clearing’.

An infusion of the leaves is a quick remedy for bronchitis and colds and an infusion of the seeds is an excellent diuretic.  A decoction of the roots is thought to relieve malarial fever. Leaves are diaphoretic, antiperiodic, bronchitis, gastric & hepatic disorders etc. A tea prepared with the leaves of O. sanctum is commonly used in cough, cold, mild, indigestion, diminished appetite and malaise. Anthelmintic, deodorant, stimulant, anti-inflammatory, cardiotonic, blood purifier, useful in skin diseases, antipyretic particularly in malarial fevers. Externally applied on chronic non healing ulcers, inflammation, skin disorders, useful in nausea, pain in abdomen, worms, allergic rhinitis, all types of cough, respiratory disorders. It acts as a powerful mosquito repellent.

In a 1997 study at M.S. University of Baroda, India, 17 NIDDM patients were supplemented with 1 g basil leaf per day for 30 days. Ten NIDDM patients served as controls, receiving no supplementation. All subjects were taking antidiabetic medications and did not change their diets. Holy basil lowered fasting blood glucose 20.8 percent, total cholesterol 11.3 percent and triacylglycerols 16.4 percent.18 I recommend 1­4 g of dried leaf daily. . It is said that eating Holy basil along with other foods will relieve stomach problems including cramps and digestive disorders.

The ethanolic extract of the leaves exhibited a hypoglycemic effect in rats and an antispasmodic effect in isolated guinea pig ileum. Tulsi extract was administered to 20 patients with shortness of breath secondary to tropical eosinophia in an oral dosage of 500 mg TID and an improvement in breathing was noted. The aqueous extract showed a hypotensive effect on anesthetised dogs and cats and negative inotropic and chronotropic activity (reduces the force and rate, respectively) on rabbit’s heart. Antibacterial activity has been shown against Staphlococcus aureus and Mycoplasma tuberculosis in vitro as well as against several other species of pathogens including fungi. The plant has had general adaptogenic effects in mice and rats and has been shown to protect against stress-induced ulcers. The leaf extract was found to protect guinea pigs against histamine and pollen induced asthma. Adaptogenic activity of Ocimum sanctum is reported in rats & mice.

Recent research studied the effect of Ocimum sanctum (Tulsi)on experimental cataract in rats and rabbits by P. SHARMA, S. KULSHRESHTHA AND A.L. SHARMA
Department of Pharmacology, S.N. Medical College, Agra – 282 001.
SUMMARY Objective: Methods: Two models of experimental cataract were induced: (1) Galactosaemic cataract in rats by 30% galactose, (2) Naphthalene cataract in rabbits by 1 gm/kg naphthalene. Ocimum sanctum (O.S.) was administered orally in both models at two dose levels 1 and 2 gm/kg of body weight for curative and prophylactic effects. The study was conducted for 40 days.

Results: O.S. delayed the onset of cataract as well as the subsequent maturation of cataract significantly in both models. In addition to delay in reaching various stages of development of cataract, IV stage did not develop with high doses till completion of 40 days of experimental period.

Conclusion: O.S. delayed the process of cataractogenesis in both models.  The higher doses are more effective and have got promising prophylactic role rather than curative one. This effect is more clear in galactosaemiccataract.  (Indian J Pharmacol 1998; 30: 16-20) More research: Surender Singh and D.K. Majumdar University of Delhi, New Delhi, India: The fixed oil of O. sanctum seeds was screened for antiarthritic activity using Freund’s adjuvant arthritis, formaldehyde-induced arthritis and also turpentine oil-induced joint edema in rats. The oil was administered intraperitoneally for 14 days in the case of adjuvant-induced arthritis and 10 days in formaldehyde-induced arthritis. The mean changes in diameter of paw were noted at regular intervals. X-rays of paws were taken at the end of study and SGOT & SGPT levels were also estimated. The fixed oil showed significant anti-arthritic activity in both models and anti-edema activity against turpentine oil-induced joint edema.

Traditional Uses: The leaf infusion or fresh leaf juice is commonly used in cough, mild upper respiratory infections, bronchospasm, stress-related skin disorders and indigestion. It is combined with ginger and maricha (black pepper) in bronchial asthma. It is given with honey in bronchitis and cough. The leaf juice is taken internally and also applied directly on cutaneous lesions in ringworm. The essential oil has been used in ear infections. The seeds are considered a general nutritious tonic.

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Other Uses
Essential; Repellent; Strewing.

An essential oil obtained from the whole plant is used as a food flavouring and in perfumery, dental applications etc. An average yield of 1.5% essential oil is obtained from the flowering tops. When applied to the skin it makes a good mosquito repellent. The growing or dried plant is an effective insect repellent. It is a good plant to grow in the home, where it repels flies, or in the greenhouse where it can keep all manner of insect pests away from nearby plants. It has been used in the past as a strewing herb.

Scented Plants
Leaves: Fresh Crushed Dried
The leaves are strongly aromatic. There are many named forms with different scents.

Known Hazards: None known .A toxicity study against fungi has been conducted by Dube et al. , which demonstrated that the plant is of insecticidal potent. Similar
researches confirmed recently that the plant is very toxic to mosquitos . However, the plant is safe to rats . Neverthless, further scientific researches should be warranted, since there are no equivalent reports of its use against humans.

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/Ocimum_basilicum
http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Ocimum+basilicum
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail4.php
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basil
Ocimum basilicum 'Horapha' 040924-1345

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

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Bergamot

Botanical Name: Monarda citriodora/Citrus aurantium ssp. bergamia
Family :Rutaceae — (rue family)
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales
Genus: Citrus
Species: C. aurantium x C. medica
Other Name : The bergamot orange is unrelated to the herbs of the same name, Monarda didyma and Monarda fistulosa.Citrus bergamia syn C.b. rutaceae syn C. aurantium var. bergamia
The name BERGAMOT is shared by unrelated perennial plants of the Monarda species.
Parts Used: Flowers, ripe fruit peel.

Habitat:Originally Asia. Today also cultivated in the Ivory Coast and Reggio di Calabria in southern Italy. Italian Bergamot is preferred. Extensively cultivated in southern France and Italy for a long time, it is believed the orange blossom as a symbol for marriage originated there.

Description:
A tree of the citrus family which is similar in appearance to Bitter Orange aka Seville Orange (C. aurantium), but with wider leaves and a more aromatic rind on the fruit. Both Neroli oil from the flowers, and Bergamot oil from the rinds, are obtained by distillation.Bergamot grows on small evergreen trees which blossom during the spring.

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Leaves – The bergamot tree has an evergreen and a relatively light-green foliage, close to the one of the lemon tree. (Citrus limon)
Flowers – Flowers are white, star-shaped, and strongly fragrant. Branches are often thorny.
Fruits – The bergamot, or orange bergamot, is a citrus fruit that looks like a slightly flattened and small lemon. Its skin is yellow to orange-yellow. The bergamot is seldom eaten raw, but is rather candied or processed to get the essential oils it contains
Fragrance: Subtle orangey, citrus scent. Somewhat spicy.

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.

Religious importance
It is believed that this herb is used in the rituals and spells for money and success.


USES:

In food
An essence extracted from the aromatic skin of this sour fruit is used to flavour Earl Grey tea and confectionery. One Italian food manufacturer produces a commercial marmalade using the fruit as its principal ingredient. It is also popular in Greece as a preserve, made with bergamot peel boiled in sugar syrup.

As a scent
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. Bergamot was a component of the original Eau de Cologne developed in 17th century Germany – in 1704 the bergamot was first used to make the now famous “Eau de toilette” from the bergamot fruit by scooping out the pulp and squeezing the peel into sponges. 100 bergamot oranges will yield about 3 ounces of bergamot oil.

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.

Medicinal Uses:
The strongly acidic fruit of the bitter orange stimulates the digestion and relieves flatulence. An infusion of the fruit is thought to soothe headaches, calm palpitations and lower fevers. The juice helps the body eliminate waste products, and, being rich in vitamin C, helps the immune system ward off infection. If taken to excess, however, its acid content can exacerbate arthritis. In Chinese herbal medicine, the unripe fruit, known as zhi shi, is thought to regulate the quick helping to relieve flatulence and abdominal bloating, and to open the bowels. The distilled flower water is antispasmodic and sedative.

In sunscreens:

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.

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.

Witchcraft
Bergamot was said to be used by Italian calabrian wiccas that used the fruit in potions to make women fertile, men impotent, or to get rid of warts or blemishes. Today there is a well-known pagan cult that worship the god given name of the Bergamot. On their talismans is a bergamot orange.

In hoodoo rootwork, bergamot is used to control or command, and for this reason is used in a variety of spells and formulas in which a practitioner might wish to subdue another person.

Bergamot Oil (Citrus bergamia) – A light greenish-yellow liquid with a fresh sweet-fruity, slightly spicy-balsamic undertone. Blends well with lavender, neroli, jasmine, cypress, geranium, lemon, chamomile, juniper, coriander and violet. Contains 0.2-0.5% furocoumarin (as bergaptene). If used straight, it has severe phototoxicity. Avoid sunlight after use on skin. To avoid phototoxicity use in dilutions of less than 1%. Otherwise non-toxic and relatively non-irritating.
Extraction: Cold pressed from the peels.
Country of Origin: Italy

MEDICINAL USES:
*Antiseptic, appetite stimulant.
*Bitter, aromatic; relieves tension; antispasmodic; digestive aid.
*Oil is considered sedative and healing.
*Orange blossom water has been used for infant colic.
*Bergamot oil has been used in douches and baths for vaginal infections.
*Formerly, the dried flowers were used in infusion form as a mild nervous stimulant.

This herb also known as Oswego tea and Bee Balm is good for the treatment of nausea, vomiting, cold and flu. If used in oil form is an effective treatment for Gingivitis, lost appetite, acne, coughs, fevers, tension, stress, and depression.


AROMATHERAPY:

Bergamot oil is considered sedative and healing and used for stress related problems, depression and anxiety. Neroli oil is considered stimulant and aphrodisiac. Both are used for skin conditions.

COSMETIC:
Increases tanning (do NOT apply directly to skin – photosensitivity)
Oil used in perfumery, diffuser (aromatherapy), massage, bath.

CULINARY:

Bergamot oil is used to flavor Earl Grey tea; also hard candy, tobacco, some chewing gum, baked goods and desserts.
Orange blossom water is used in desserts such as blancmange and in pastries.

Toxicology:
In one study, oil of bergamot has been linked to certain phototoxic effects (due to the chemical bergaptene) and blocking the absorption of potassium in the intestines.

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.

BITTER ORANGE (Citrus aurantium ssp amara): The peel is CONTRAINDICATED with stomach or intestinal ulcers; NOT given to children (possible toxic effects); NOT with ultraviolet or sun therapy (increased photosensitivity).

CAUTION:Because bergamot EO contains bergaptene and bergamotine, it needs to be used with care when applied to the skin. These two chemicals can produce over pigmentation of the skin when exposed to the sun or even just light. Do not apply bergamot oil to skin in greater than .5 to 1% diluted form in a base oil. It increases PHOTOSENSITIVITY.

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://earthnotes.tripod.com/bergamot_h.htm
http://www.wellbeingsonline.com/Aroma-pedia/Bergamot.htm
http://www.ayurveda-herbal-remedy.com/herbal-encyclopedia/ayurveda-encyclopedia-b.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bergamot_orange
http://coolexotics.com/plant-9.html#
http://www.candbsupplies.ca/essentialoils.html

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

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