Tag Archives: Mediterranean Basin

Masoor Dal

 

Botanical Name : Lens Culinaris/Red Lentil
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Tribe: Vicieae
Genus: Lens
Species: L. culinaris
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Synonyms: Lens esculenta. Moench.

Common Name : Masoor  Dal  Masur Dal

Habitat :
Red Lentil (Lens culinaris L.) was first grown in southwest Asia about 7,000 BCE in the area that is now southern Turkey and northern Syria. It is best adapted to the cooler temperate zones of the world, or the winter season in Mediterranean climates.

The two main lentil market classes are red and green. Red lentil is marketed as whole seed, but 90-95 per cent of red lentil is dehulled before it is eaten. Dehulled lentil is consumed in whole form (footballs) or in split form.
Description:
Lens culinaris is an annual plant growing to typically short, compared to cereal crops, ranging from 20 – 65 cm (8 – 26 inches) in height depending on variety and growing conditions.
The leaves are alternate, with six pairs of oblong-linear leaflets about 15 mm (0.5 inch) long and ending in a spine. Two to four pale blue flowers are borne in the axils of the leaves in June or early July. The pods are about 15–20 mm long, broadly oblong, and slightly inflated and contain two seeds the shape of a doubly convex lens and about 4–6 mm in diameter. There are many cultivated varieties of the plant, differing in size, hairiness, and colour of the leaves, flowers, and seeds. The seeds may be more or less compressed in shape, and the colour may vary from yellow or gray to dark brown; they are also sometimes mottled or speckled.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES...>…....…(01) .....….(1) ......(2).

Because most red lentil is dehulled before consumption, the suitability of new red lentil varieties for secondary processing such as dehulling and splitting is of utmost importance. Dehulling and splitting yields in some processing plants are higher for more thick seeds which may be more desired for specific markets.
Cultivation:
An easily grown plant, it prefers a sandy soil in a warm sunny sheltered position. Another report says that it does best on clay. It produces most seed when grown on poorer soils. Lentils are widely cultivated in warm temperate and tropical zones for their edible and very nutritious seed, there are many named varieties. The plants are much hardier than is commonly supposed and many of these varieties can succeed in Britain, particularly in warm summers. There is at least one, called ‘WH2040’, that can withstand temperatures as low as -23°c in the seedling stage. ‘Chilean’ is a low-growing plant that can be grown in the winter in areas where winter vegetables can be grown. ‘HarLen’ tolerates temperatures down to -10°c and performs very well in gardens. The plants take the same time as peas to mature, so lentils are a potential commercial crop for Britain. Yields of up to 2 tonnes per hectare are possible. The main problem with growing them as a commercial crop is that they are produced by using cheap labour in many countries which makes it very difficult for British farmers to compete on prices. However, this does not preclude their being grown in the garden and allotment. Lentils are also beneficial to grow as part of a rotation on the farm or garden. They have a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby and, if the roots are left in the ground when the seeds are harvested, this will provide a source of nitrogen for the next crop.

Propagation :
Seed – sow early April in situ. Some cultivars are probably suitable for sowing outdoors in the autumn, at least in the milder parts of the country

Edible Uses: Dehulled lentil is most commonly eaten as soup in the Mediterranean region or as dhal – a thick sauce in which spices are used as flavouring – in south Asia. It is an important source of dietary protein and carbohydrate.
Seed – cooked or sprouted and eaten raw. A very nutritious food, the seeds can be cooked on their own or added to soups, stews etc. The seed can be soaked for 12 hours in warm water and then allowed to sprout for about 5 days. They have a crunchy, fresh flavour. Lentils are more digestible than many legumes. The dried seed can also be ground into a powder and used with cereal flours in making bread etc, this greatly enhances the value of the protein in the bread. The seed stores better if it is left in its husk. Young seedpods – used fresh or cooked like green beans.

Whole Red Lentils Nutritional Information Per 100 g dry
Amount……………………………… % Daily Value
Fat………………………….. 1.0 g………………..2 %
Carbohydrates…….59.1 g……………..20%
Total Fibre………… 14.2 g…………………..57%
Insoluble Fibre… 12.4 g
Soluble Fibre……… 1.81 g
Sucrose……………….. 1.79 g
Protein……………….28.4 g
Calcium……………. 97.3 mg………………10%
Iron…………………….. 7.3 mg………………41%
Potassium….. 1,135 mg………………….32%
Vitamin C…………. 0.73 mg……………….1%
Thiamin……………. 0.34 mg…………….23%
Riboflavin………… 0.31 mg………………18%
Niacin……………….. 1.73 mg………………..9%
Vitamin B6……… 0.28 mg………………14%
Folate…….. 186 mcg…………………………47%

Medicinal Uses :     The seeds are mucilaginous and laxative. They are considered to be useful in the treatment of constipation and other intestinal affections. Made into a paste, they are a useful cleansing application in foul and indolent ulcers.
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/Lentil
http://www.miltopexports.com/red_lentils.htm
http://www.agriculture.gov.sk.ca/Default.aspx?DN=a88f57f0-242b-40f6-8755-1fc6df4dfa14

 

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Sinapis arvensis

Botanical Name: Sinapis arvensis
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Sinapis
Species: S. arvensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Brassicales

Synonyms: Charlock. Brassica Sinapistrum

Common Names: Field mustard, Wild mustard or Charlock

Habitat: Sinapis arvensis is a native of the Mediterranean basin, it is widespread in all temperate regions of the planet. It has also become naturalized throughout much of North America. It is a highly invasive species, a weed, such as in California.

Description:
Sinapis arvensis is an annual plant. It reaches on average 20–80 centimetres (7.9–31.5 in) of height, but under optimal conditions can exceed one metre. The stems are erect, branched and striated, with coarse spreading hairs especially near the base.

The leaves are petiolate with a length of 1–4 centimetres (0.39–1.57 in). The basal leaves are oblong, oval, lanceolate, lyrate, pinnatifid to dentate, 4–18 centimetres (1.6–7.1 in) long, 2–5 centimetres (0.79–1.97 in) wide. The cauline leaves are much reduced and are short petiolate to sessile but not auriculate-clasping……...CLICK  & SEE  THE PICTURES

The inflorescence is a raceme made up of yellow flowers having four petals. The fruit is a silique 3-5 cm long with a beak 1-2 cm long that is flattened-quadrangular. The valves of the silique are glabrous or rarely bristly, three to five nerved. The seeds are smooth 1-1.5 mm in diameter.

Flowering occurs from May to SeptemberIt is in flower from May to July, and the seeds ripen from May to August.  The flowers are pollinated by various bees and flies (entomophily). Sinapis arvensis is the host plant of the caterpillars of some Lepidoptera, such as the small white, Pieris rapae. It contains chemicals of the class glucosinolates, including sinalbin.

Cultivation: Usually found on heavy alkaline soils in the wild. Succeeds on most soils. Dislikes shade. The plant harbours an eelworm that attacks other crops. It is therefore best not to grow it in a garden setting.

Propagation : Seed – germinates in spring and autumn in the wild. It should not really need much encouragement.

Part Used: Seeds.

Edible Uses: Edible Uses: Condiment; Oil; Oil.

Leaves – raw or cooked. Somewhat hot, the young leaves are used as a flavouring in salads, where they add a piquant flavour. Older leaves are used as a potherb. It is best to use just the young shoots and leaves in the spring, older leaves are bitter. Flowering stems – cooked. A pleasant, cabbage/radish flavour, they can be used as a broccoli substitute before the flowers open. The stems should be lightly steamed for no more than 5 minutes. The flowers can also be cooked as a vegetable or used as a garnish. Seed – it can be sprouted and eaten raw. A hot flavour, it can be added to salads and sandwiches. The seed can be ground into a powder and used as a food flavouring. It has a hot mustard flavour. An edible oil is obtained from the seed.

Medicinal Uses:
The plant is used in Bach flower remedies – the keywords for prescribing it are ‘Black depression’, ‘Melancholia’ and ‘Gloom’.
Other Uses: ..Oil; Oil…..An edible semi-drying oil is obtained from the seed. It is also used in making soap and burns well so can be used for lighting.

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/Sinapis_arvensis
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/m/mustar65.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Sinapis+arvensis

Helleborus niger

Botanical Name: Helleborus niger
Family: Ranunculaceae
Genus: Helleborus
Species: H. niger
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ranunculales

Synonyms: Christe Herbe. Christmas Rose. Melampode.

Common Names: Christmas rose or Black hellebore,

Parts Used: Rhizome, root.
Habitat: Helleborus niger is a native of the mountainous regions of Central and Southern Europe, Greece and Asia Minor, and is cultivated largely in this country as a garden plant. Supplies of the dried rhizome, from which the drug is prepared, have hitherto come principally from Germany.

Description:
Helleborus niger is an evergreen perennial flowering plant with dark leathery pedate leaves carried on stems 9–12 in (23–30 cm) tall. The large flat flowers, borne on short stems from midwinter to early spring, are white or occasionally pink.

There are two subspecies: H. niger niger as well as H. niger macranthus, which has larger flowers (up to 3.75 in/9 cm across). In the wild, H. niger niger is generally found in mountainous areas in Switzerland, southern Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia and northern Italy. Helleborus niger macranthus is found only in northern Italy and possibly adjoining parts of Slovenia….click & see the pictures

Cultivation & Propagation:  All kinds of Hellebore will thrive in ordinary garden soil, but for some kinds prepared soil is preferable, consisting of equal parts of good fibry loam and welldecomposed manure, half fibry peat and half coarse sand. Thorough drainage is necessary, as stagnant moisture is very injurious. It prefers a moist, sheltered situation, with partial shade, such as the margins of shrubberies. If the soil is well trenched and manured, Hellebore will not require replanting for at least seven years, if grown for flowering, but a top dressing of well-decayed manure and a little liquid manure might be given during the growing season, when plants are making their foliage. Propagation is by seeds, or division of roots. Seedlings should be pricked off thickly into a shady border, in a light, rich soil. The second year they should be transplanted to permanent quarters, and will bloom in the third year. For division of roots, the plant is strongest in July, and the clumps to be divided must be well established, with rootstocks large enough to cut. The plants will be good flowering plants in two years, but four years are required to bring them to perfection.

Constituents: Helleborus niger contains two crystalline glucosides, Helleborin and helleborcin, both powerful poisons. Helleborin has a burning, acrid taste and is narcotic, helleborcin has a sweetish taste and is a highly active cardiac poison, similar in its effects to digitalis and a drastic purgative. Other constituents are resin, fat and starch. No tannin is present.

Medicinal Uses:
In the early days of medicine, two kinds of hellebore were recognized: black hellebore, which included various species of Helleborus, and white hellebore (now known as Veratrum album or “false hellebore”, which belongs to a different plant family, the Melanthiaceae). “Black hellebore” was used by the ancients to treat paralysis, gout and particularly insanity, among other diseases. “Black hellebore” is also toxic, causing tinnitus, vertigo, stupor, thirst, a feeling of suffocation, swelling of the tongue and throat, emesis and catharsis, bradycardia (slowing of the pulse), and finally collapse and death from cardiac arrest. Research in the 1970s, however, showed that the roots of H. niger do not contain the cardiotoxic compounds helleborin, hellebrin, and helleborein that are responsible for the lethal reputation of “black hellebore”. It seems that earlier studies may have used a commercial preparation containing a mixture of material from other species such as Helleborus viridis, green hellebore

The drug possesses drastic purgative, emmenagogue and anthelmintic properties, but is violently narcotic. It was formerly much used in dropsy and amenorrhoea, and has proved of value in nervous disorders and hysteria. It is used in the form of a tincture, and must be administered with great care.

The active constituents have an action similar to that of those found in foxglove.  Toxic when taken in all but the smallest doses, the acrid black hellebore is purgative and cardiotonic, expels worms, and promotes menstrual flow.  In the 20th century, the cardiac glycosides in the leaves came into use as a heart stimulant for the elderly.  The herb has also been taken to stimulate delayed menstruation.  Now considered too strong to be safely used.

Applied locally, the fresh root is violently irritant.

Known Hazards: Helleborus niger contains protoanemonin, or ranunculin, which has an acrid taste and can cause burning of the eyes, mouth and throat, oral ulceration, gastroenteritis and hematemesis.

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://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/h/helbla14.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helleborus_niger

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

Centaurea solstitalis

Botanical Name : Centaurea solstitalis
Family:    Asteraceae
Tribe:    Cynareae
Genus:    Centaurea
Species:C. solstitialis
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:    Asterales

Synonym: St. Barnaby’s Thistle.

Common Names: yellow star-thistle, golden starthistle, yellow cockspur and St. Barnaby’s thistle (or Barnaby thistle)

Habitat : Centaurea solstitalis is native to the Mediterranean Basin region. It grows on cultivated land and waste ground.

Description:
Centaurea solstitalis forms a scrubby bush, 18 inches to 2 feet high, with the lower part of the stems very stiff, almost woody, the branches when young very soft, with broad wings, decurrent from the short, strap-shaped leaves. The lower leaves are deeply cut into, the upper ones narrow and with entire margins. The spines of the flower-heads are very long, 1/2 inch to 1 inch in length, pale yellow. The whole plant is hoary.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

This plant obtains its name from being supposed to flower about St. Barnabas’ Day, June 11 (old style).

During the vegetative stage if forms a rosette of non-spiny leaves (5–20 cm diameter). As the summer approaches, it produces a flowering stem (1 m) which will produce numerous spinous capitula containing numerous (10-50) yellow flowers. Flowers within capitula are pollinated by insects and each capitula will produce a mix of (10-50) pappus and non-pappus seeds. It is an annual semelparous species, and will die after reproduction is completed, normally by the end of the summer.
Cultivation:
Succeeds in ordinary garden soil. Prefers a well-drained fertile soil and a sunny position. Tolerates dry, low fertility and alkaline soils. A good bee and butterfly plant the flowers are rich in nectar. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation:
Seed – sow April in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer. If you have sufficient seed it can be sown in situ in the spring, and an autumn swing in situ might also be worth trying.

Edible Uses: The plant is eaten as a vegetable. The part used is not specified.

Medicinal Uses:
Parts Used: Herb, seeds, root

It has been used for the same purposes as the Common Star Thistle. Many species of Centaurea grow wild in Palestine, some of formidable size. Canon Tristram mentions some in Galilee through which it was impossible to make way till the plants had been beaten down. ‘Thistle’ mentioned several times in the Bible refers to some member of this family (Centaurea), probably C. Calcitrapa, which is a Palestinian weed.

The powdered seed is used as a remedy for stone. The powdered root is said to be a cure for fistula and gravel.

Known Hazards: There is a report that the plant causes brain lesions and a nervous syndrome called ‘chewing disease’ in horses.

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/Centaurea_solstitialis
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/t/thistl11.html#com

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Centaurea+solstitialis

Helminthia echioides

Botanical Name :  Helminthia echioides
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe:     Cichorieae
Genus:     Helminthotheca
Species: H. echioides
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class:     Magnoliopsida
Order:     Asterales

Synonyms : Picris echioides

Common Names ;Ox-Tongue, Bristly ox-tongue

Habitat : Helminthotheca echioides is native to the Mediterranean Basin, but has become widely naturalised outside that range. In the British Isles, it is widely distributed in the south and east, but more patchily distributed to the north and west. In Northern Ireland, H. echioides is only found on the north side of Belfast Lough.

It has been introduced to North America, where it can now be found from Nova Scotia to British Columbia and California.

Description:
Helminthia echioides is an annual/biennial plant growing to 0.9 m (3ft) by 0.4 m (1ft 4in), with a thick, furrowed stem and spreading branches. The leaves are 10–20 cm (4–8 in) long, oblanceolate with a short petiole. The leaves, branches and stem are all covered in thick bristles. The inflorescences are 2–3.5 cm (0.8–1.4 in) wide and subtended by between 3 and 5 large ovate-cordate involucral bracts. These large bracts are the defining feature of the genus Helminthotheca.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
A number of infraspecific taxa are recognised, varying in their leaf shape.

It is somewhat stout and coarse, the sturdy stems attaining a height of from 2 to 3 feet, branching freely and covered with short, stiff hairs, each of which springs from a raised spot and is hooked at the end.

The lower leaves are much longer than the upper, of lanceolate or spear-head form, with their margins coarsely and irregularly toothed and waved. The upper leaves are small and stalkless, heart-shaped and clasping the stem with their bases. All the leaves are of a greyish-green hue and very tough to the touch.

The flower-heads are ordinarily somewhat clustered together on short stalks and form an irregular, terminal mass at the ends of the main stems. The involucre, or ring of bracts from which the florets spring, is doubled outside the ring of eight to ten narrow and nearly erect scales, simple in form and thin in texture, is an outer ring composed of a smaller number of spiny bracts of a broad heart-shape, in their roughness of surface and general character resembling the leaves of the plant. The combination of the inner and outer bracts may be roughly compared to a cup and saucer, and gives the plant a singular appearance.

The Ox Tongue is in blossom during June and July; all the florets of the flower-heads, as in the Dandelion, are of a rich golden yellow.

Cultivation:    
Succeeds in most soils. Dislikes shade. Wild plants are an indicator of calcareous soils. Seed is often produced apomictically. Any seedlings from this seed will be genetically identical to the parent plant.

Propagation:   
Seed – sow spring in situ, only just covering the seed. Germination should take place quite quickly.

Medicinal Uses:
Information is not available.

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/Helminthotheca_echioides
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/o/oxtong17.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Picris+echioides