Tag Archives: Middle East

Urad dal

Botanical Name : Vigna mungo
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily:Faboideae
Tribe: Phaseoleae
Genus: Vigna
Species: Vigna mungo
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales
Common Names: Urad dal, Vigna mungo, Black gram, Black lentil, Ulunthu in Tamil, Minumulu in Telugu,”‘uddinab??e”‘ in Kannada, Urad Dal in Hindi, or white lentils.

Local Indian Names:
Gujarati: alad, adad
Hindi: urad dal, urad dal
Kannada: uddu, uddina bele
Marathi: udid
Malayalam: uzunu
Sinhala : undu
Tamil: uluntu
Tulu: urdu bele
Bengali: mashkalai  dal
Nepali: mas
Punjabi: mash
Other names include:

Oriya: biri dali
Telugu: minumulu
Vietnamese: dauu muong an

Habitat: Vigna mungo is native to India, where it has been in cultivation from ancient times and is one of the most highly prized pulses of India and Pakistan. The coastal Andhra region in Andhra Pradesh is famous for black gram after paddy. The Guntur District ranks first in Andhra Pradesh for the production of black gram. Black gram has also been introduced to other tropical areas mainly by Indian immigrants.

Description:
Vigna mungo or urad dal is an erect, suberect or trailing, densely hairy, annual herb. The tap root produces a branched root system with smooth, rounded nodules. The pods are narrow, cylindrical and up to six cm long. The plant grows 30–100 cm with large hairy leaves and 4–6 cm seed pods. While the urad bean was, along with the mung bean, originally placed in Phaseolus, it has since been transferred to Vigna.

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Edible Use:
Vigna mungo is popular in India, largely used to make dal from the whole or split, dehusked seeds. The bean is boiled and eaten whole or, after splitting, made into dal; prepared like this it has an unusual mucilaginous texture. It is also extensively used in South Indian culinary preparations. Urad Dal is one of the key ingredient in making the Idli-Dosa batter, where one part of Urad Dal is mixed with Three or Four parts of Idli Rice to make the batter. Also the dough for Vada or Udid Vada is made from soaked batter and deep fried in cooking oil. The dough is also used in making Papad, notably the South Indian version known as Appalam and Papadum, in which white lentils are usually used.
It is very popular in the Punjabi cuisine, as an ingredient of dal makhani. In Bengal it is made as a preparation called Biulir Dal. In Rajasthan, It is used to prepare dal which is especially consumed with “Bati”.

Neutritional Value:  Urad dal  is very nutritious as it contains high levels of protein (25g/100g), potassium (983 mg/100g), calcium (138 mg/100g), iron (7.57 mg/100g), niacin (1.447 mg/100g), Thiamine (0.273 mg/100g), and riboflavin (0.254 mg/100g).[3] Black gram complements the essential amino acids provided in most cereals and plays an important role in the diets of the people of Nepal and India.[2] Black gram has been shown to be useful in mitigating elevated cholesterol levels.

Medicinal Uses:
It is nutritious and is recommended for diabetics, as are other pulses.

Ayurveda Medicinal properties of Black gram or urad dal:

According to texts of ayurveda this bean is heavy to digest and increases the moistness of body tissues. It is sweet to taste and hot in potency. All these properties help to normalize or calm vitiated vata. Consumption of this bean increases kapha and pitta.

Imbalanced vata dosha causes many diseases and also leads to men health problems like erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, low sperm count and motility etc. Hence Ayurveda acharyas recommend use of “masha” in many health conditions.

Anti inflammatory properties: According to principles of ayurveda vitiation of vata causes inflammation of tissues and initiates the sensation of pain.“Masha” or urad dal normalizes vata and hence has anti inflammatory properties. Usually a hot poultice of black gram is used in inflammation of joints and muscle pain. Massaging with herbal oil processed with this wonderful herb helps to reduce pain and inflammation
Nervous system disorders: This herb strengthens nervous system. Ayurveda acharyas recommend preparations of this herb in nervous debility, partial paralysis, facial paralysis and other disorders which involve nervous system.

Disorders of digestive system: “Vigna Mungo” or masha helps to increase bulk of stools. The moistness increasing property coupled with bulk increasing quality helps in easy movement of bowel. Therefore usage of this bean is recommended in conditions like constipation, piles and colic. This herb is a very good liver stimulant.

Action on male reproductive system: Texts of ayurveda eulogize the aphrodisiac properties of black gram. It increases sperm count and sperm motility.(Increases quality and quantity of semen). It is very effective in erectile dysfunction (impotence) and premature ejaculation

Action on female reproductive system: This herb is effective in dysmenorrhea and primary amenorrhea .It increases milk secretion in lactating mothers.

Apart from above mentioned medicinal properties, black gram also helps in increasing body bulk and body energy level. It strengthens the body and increases lifespan.

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/Vigna_mungo
http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/ayurveda-medicinal-properties-of-black-gram-vigna-mungo-urad-dal

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Rhus coriaria

Botanical Name : Rhus coriaria
Family: Anacardiaceae
Genus: Rhus
Species:R. coriaria
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Common Names: Sicilian sumac, Tanner’s sumach, or Elm-leaved sumach

Habitat :Rhus coriaria is native to southern Europe. It grows on rocky places and waysides, mainly on limestone.

Description:
Rhus coriaria is a deciduous Shrub growing to 3 m (9ft 10in).
It is frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil……...CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
Cultivation:
Succeeds in a well-drained fertile soil in full sun. This species is not very hardy in Britain and is unlikely to succeed outdoors in any but the mildest parts of the countr. Another report says that the plant is quite hardy and is often grown in British gardens. The young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. Unlike most members of this genus, this species is hermaphrodite. The form ‘Humilior’ from Italy is smaller growing. Plants have brittle branches and these can be broken off in strong winds. Plants are also susceptible to coral spot fungus. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. Many of the species in this genus, including this one, are highly toxic and can also cause severe irritation to the skin of some people, whilst other species are not poisonous. It is relatively simple to distinguish which is which, the poisonous species have axillary panicles and smooth fruits whilst non-poisonous species have compound terminal panicles and fruits covered with acid crimson hairs. The toxic species are sometimes separated into their own genus, Toxicodendron, by some botanists.

Propagation :
Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in hot water (starting at a temperature of 80 – 90c and allowing it to cool) prior to sowing in order to leach out any germination inhibitors. The stored seed also needs hot water treatment and can be sown in early spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Root cuttings 4cm long taken in December and potted up vertically in a greenhouse. Good percentage. Suckers in late autumn to winter

Edible Uses:
The immature fruits are used as caper substitutes. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. The crushed fruit, mixed with Origanum syriacum, is a principal ingredient of ‘Zatar‘, a popular spice mixture used in the Middle East. The seed is used as an appetizer in a similar manner to mustard.

Medicinal Uses:
The leaves and the seeds are astringent, diuretic, styptic and tonic. They are used in the treatment of dysentery, haemoptysis and conjunctivitis. The seeds are eaten before a meal in order to provoke an appetite. Some caution is advised in the use of the leaves and stems of this plant, see the notes below on toxicity.

Other Uses:
The leaves and bark are rich in tannin. The leaves can be collected as they fall in the autumn and used as a brown dye or as a mordant. The fruit and bark are also used. The leaves contain 20 – 35% tannin and yield a yellow dye. The finely ground leaves and stems provide the dyeing and tanning agent ‘sumac’. The shoots are cut down annually, near to the root, for this purpose. A fawn colour, bordering on green, is obtained and this can be improved with the judicious use of mordants. The cultivar ‘Mesculino’ is very rich in tannin, containing up to 35%. An oil is extracted from the seeds. It attains a tallow-like consistency on standing and is used to make candles. These burn brilliantly, though they emit a pungent smoke. A black dye is obtained from the fruit. A yellow and a red dye are obtained from the bark.

Known Hazards : The plant contains toxic substances which can cause severe irritation to some people. Both the sap and the fruit are poisonous

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhus_coriaria
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rhus+coriaria

Hibiscus syriacus

Botanical Name : Hibiscus syriacus
Family: Malvaceae
Genus: Hibiscus
Species: H. syriacus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malvales

Synonyms : Althaea frutex.

Common Names: Rose Of Sharon, Althaea, Shrub Althea, Hardy Hibiscus, Syrian ketmia or Rose mallow (United Kingdom) and St Joseph‘s rod (Italy).

Habitat :Hibiscus syriacus is native to E. Asia – China to India. Locally naturalized in S. Europe. It is found wild on mountain slopes, though the original

Description:
Hibiscus syriacus is a hardy deciduous shrub. It is upright and vase-shaped, reaching 2–4 m (7–13 ft) in height, bearing large trumpet-shaped flowers with prominent yellow-tipped white stamens. The flowers are often pink in color, but can also be dark pink (almost purple), light pink or white. Individual flowers are short-lived, lasting only a day. However, numerous buds are produced on the shrub’s new growth, and this provides prolific flowering over a long summer blooming period. Shoots make interesting indoor vase cuttings, as they stay green for a long time, and some new flowers may open from the more mature buds. The species has naturalized very well in many suburban areas, and might even be termed slightly invasive, so frequently does it seed around.
Bloom Color: Blue, Lavender, Pink, Purple, Red, White. Main Bloom Time: Early summer, Late summer, Mid summer. Form: Rounded, Upright or erect…

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Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Foundation, Standard, Seashore, Specimen. Prefers a well-drained humus rich fertile soil in a sheltered position in full sun. Succeeds in any soil of good or moderate quality. Dislikes shade or badly drained soils. Plants grow best with their roots in cool moist soil and their tops in a hot sunny position. This species is hardy to about -20°c but plants only really succeed in the warmer counties of Britain because of their late flowering habit. When planted in colder areas of the country, they will need protection for the first few winters. The flowers only open in sunny weather. Plants rarely require pruning, though they respond well to pruning and trimming and this is best carried out in the spring or just after flowering. Plants are late coming into leaf, usually around the end of May or early June. A very ornamental plant, there are many named varieties. Special Features:Attracts birds, Not North American native, Naturalizing, Attracts butterflies, Blooms are very showy.

Propagation:
Seed – sow early spring in a greenhouse. Germination is usually fairly quick. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first year. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Some reports say that the seed can be sown in situ outside and that it gives a good rate of germination. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Good percentage. Cuttings of mature wood, early autumn in a frame. Good percentage. Layering in mid summer to early autumn.

Edible Uses:… Oil; Tea.….Young leaves – raw or cooked. A very mild flavour, though slightly on the tough side, they make an acceptable addition to the salad bowl. A tea is made from the leaves or the flowers. Flowers – raw or cooked. A mild flavour and mucilaginous texture, they are delightful in salads, both for looking at and for eating. Root – it is edible but very fibrousy. Mucilaginous, without very much flavour.
Medicinal Uses:
The leaves are diuretic, expectorant and stomachic. A decoction of the flowers is diuretic, ophthalmic and stomachic. It is also used in the treatment of itch and other skin diseases,  dizziness and bloody stools accompanied by much gas. The bark contains several medically active constituents, including mucilage, carotenoids, sesquiterpenes and anthocyanidins. A decoction of the root bark is antiphlogistic, demulcent, emollient, febrifuge, haemostatic and vermifuge. It is used in the treatment of diarrhoea, dysentery, abdominal pain, leucorrhoea, dysmenorrhoea and dermaphytosis.

Other Uses:
A low quality fibre is obtained from the stems. It is used for making cordage and paper. The seed contains about 25% oil. No further details are given, but it is likely to be edible. A hair shampoo is made from the leaves. A blue dye is obtained from the flowers. This species is planted as a hedge in S. Europe.

National flower:
Hibiscus syriacus is the national flower of South Korea. The flower appears in national emblems, and Korea is compared poetically to the flower in the South Korean national anthem. The flower’s name in Korean is mugunghwa. The flower’s symbolic significance stems from the Korean word mugung, which means “eternity” or “inexhaustible abundance”.

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.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Hibiscus+syriacus
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hibiscus_syriacus

Arabis hirsuta

Botanical Name : Arabis hirsuta
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Arabis
Species:A. hirsuta
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Brassicales

Common Names: Hairy rockcress, Mountain rockcress, Creamflower rockcress

Habitat : Arabis hirsuta is native to Most of Europe, including Britain, N. Africa and N. Asia to Japan. It grows on the chalk and limestone slopes, limestone rocks and walls, dunes and dry banks.

Description:
Arabis hirsuta is a binnial/perennial plant, growing to 0.6 m (2ft).
This erect, high hairy plant is usually unbranched, with a long spike of flowers. Lower leaves form a rosette, the stalkless upper-leaves clasp the stem. The white petals are twice as long as the sepals, flowers June–August. The fruits are cylindrical and pressed close to the stem and the slightly winged seeds are reddish brown. The hairs are stiff and forking,. The species grows on chalk slopes, dunes, hedgebanks, walls and rocks. ...CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, lepidoptera, insects.
Cultivation: Easily grown in ordinary well-drained soil. Succeeds in dry soils and on walls.

Propagation:
Seed – it is best to surface sow the seed as soon as it is ripe in a light position in a cold frame. Seed can also be sown in spring. It usually germinates in 2 – 3 weeks at 21°c. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. Division after flowering. Very easy, the divisions can be planted out straight into their permanent positions if required. Cuttings in a shady border in summer.

Edible Uses: ...Young leaves – cooked and eaten.

Medicinal Uses: Couldnot find anywhere.

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/Arabis_hirsuta
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Arabis+hirsuta

Equisetum palustre

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

Common Names ; Marsh horsetail or the Humpback

Habitat : Equisetum palustre is native to temperate regions of Europe, including Britain, N. America and Asia. It is widespread in cooler regions of North America and Eurasia. It grows on bogs, fens, marshes and wet heaths, woods and meadows throughout Britain, ascending to 900 metres.

Description:
Equisetum palustre is a perennial cryptophyte, growing between 10 to 50 centimeters (4″ to 20″), in rare cases up to one meter (3′). Its fertile shoots, which carry ears, are evergreen and shaped like the sterile shoots. The rough, furrowed stem is one to three mm in diameter with usually eight to ten ribs, in rare cases, four to 12. It contains whorled branches. The tight-fitting sheaths end in four to 12 teeth. The lower sheaths are dark brown and much shorter than the sheaths of the main shoot. The central and vallecular canals are about the same size, but the carinal channels are much smaller. The central channels measure about one sixth of the diameter of the stem.

Equisetum palustre is green from spring to autumn and grows spores from June to September. It grows primarily in nutrient-rich wet meadows.

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The spores are spread by the wind (anemochory) and have four long ribbon-like structures attached to them. They sit on strobili which are rounded on the top. Marsh Horsetails often form subterranean runners and tubers, with which they also can proliferate vegetatively.

Cultivation:
We have no information on the needs of this species but, judging by the plant’s native habitat, it is likely to require a moist to wet soil in a sunny position. A very cold-hardy species tolerating temperatures down 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.

Medicinl Uses:
Horsetails have an unusual chemistry compared to most other plants. They are rich in silica, contain several alkaloids (including nicotine) and various minerals. Horsetail is very astringent and makes an excellent clotting agent, staunching wounds, stopping nosebleeds and reducing the coughing up of blood. It helps speed the repair of damaged connective tissue, improving its strength and elasticity. An infusion or decoction of the plants has been used in the treatment of constipation, stomach and bowel complaints.

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_palustre
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Equisetum+palustre