Tag Archives: Pacific Ocean

Barringtonia asiatica

Botanical Name : Barringtonia asiatica
Family: Lecythidaceae
Genus: Barringtonia
Species: B.
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales

Synonym:     Mammea asiatica L., Barringtonia speciosa J.R.Forst. & G.Forst., Huttum speciosum (J.R.Forst. & G.Forst.) Britten, Agasta asiatica (L.) Miers, Michelia asiatica (L.) Kuntze.

Common Names: Fish Poison Tree, Putat or Sea Poison Tree. Barringtonia, Freshwater Mangrove, Indian Oak, Indian Putat • Assamese: Hendol, Hinyol, Pani amra • Bengali: Hijal • Hindi: Hijagal, Hijjal,  Samundarphal • Kannada: Mavinkubia, Niruganigily, Dhatripala • Malayalam: Attampu, Attupelu, Nir perzha • Marathi: Tiwar, Newar, Sathaphala, Samudraphala • Oriya: Nijhira • Sanskrit: Abdhiphala, Ambudhiphala, Ambuja • Tamil: Aram, Kadambu, Kadappai,  samudra pazham • Telugu: Kurpa • Urdu:

In Chinese: Bin Yu Rui (As B Asiatica), Mo Pan Jiao Shu (As B Speciosa), Yin Du Yu Rui (Taiwan).
In English : Balubiton, Barringtonia, Butong, Butun, Fish Poison Tree, Fish-Killer Tree, Fish-Poison Tree, Fish-Poison-Tree, Langasat, Lugo, Motong-Botong, Pertun, Putat Laut, Sea Poison Tree, Vuton
In Malay: Butong, Butun, Pertun, Putat Laut (Sarawak)
In Russian :Barringtonia Aziatskaia, Barringtonia Prekrasnaia (As B Speciosa)
In Spanish : Arbol De Los Muertos
In Thai :Chik Le
Habitat : Barringtonia asiatica is native to mangrove habitats on the tropical coasts and islands of the Indian Ocean and western Pacific Ocean from Zanzibar east to Taiwan, the Philippines, Fiji, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, the Cook Islands, Wallis and Futuna and French Polynesia.

(Barringtonia asiatica is a common plant in the Malaysian Mangroves and wetlands such as the Kuching wetlands and Bako National Park. Barringtonia asiatica is known locally as Putat laut or Butun.)

Description:
It is a small to medium-sized tree growing to 7–25 m tall. The leaves are narrow obovate, 20–40 cm in length and 10–20 cm in width. Fruit produced as mentioned earlier, is otherwise aptly known as the Box Fruit, due to distinct square like diagonals jutting out from the cross section of the fruit, given its semi spherical shape form from stem altering to a subpyramidal shape at its base. The fruit measures 9–11 cm in diameter, where a thick spongy fibrous layer covers the 4–5 cm diameter seed.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

The fruit is dispersed in the same way as a coconut – by ocean current – and is extremely water-resistant and buoyant. It can survive afloat for up to fifteen years; it was one of the first plants to colonise Anak Krakatau when this island first appeared after the Krakatau eruption. When washed ashore, and soaked by rainwater, the seeds germinate.

Medicinal Uses:
Constituents: Seeds contain hydrocyanic acid (toxic), triterpinoid saponins and gallic acid.

This tree has long been used for medicine, timber. In traditional medicine, when children suffer from a cold in the chest, the seed is rubbed down on a stone with water and applied over the sternum, and if there is much dyspnoea a few grains with or without the juice of fresh ginger are administered internally and seldom fail to induce vomiting and the expulsion of mucus from the air passages. More recently it has become the focus of research for pain-killing compounds.

Seeds are used to get rid of intestinal worms and the heated leaves are used to treat stomachache and rheumatism.

Other Uses:
Box fruits are potent enough to be used as a fish poison. The seeds have been used ground to a powder to stun or kill fish for easy capture, suffocating the fish where the flesh is unaffected.

Its large pinkish-white, pom pom flowers give off a sickly sweet smell to attract bats and moths which pollinate the flowers at night.

Known Hazards: All parts of the tree are poisonous, the active poisons including saponins.

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/Barringtonia_asiatica

http://ntbg.org/plants/plant_details.php?plantid=1466

http://www.flowersofindia.net/catalog/slides/Barringtonia.html

http://zipcodezoo.com/Plants/B/Barringtonia_asiatica/

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Ligusticum Scoticum

Botanical Name : Ligusticum Scoticum
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Ligusticum
Species: L. scoticum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales

Synonym: Sea Lovage.

Common Name :Scottish Lovage

Habitat :Ligusticum Scoticum is found near the coasts of northern Europe and north-eastern North America. It is primarily an Arctic plant, with a disjunct range extending from northern Norway to the more northerly shores of the British Isles, and from western Greenland to New England. A related species, Ligusticum hultenii, which was described by Merritt Lyndon Fernald in 1930 and may be better treated as a subspecies of L. scoticum, occurs around the northern Pacific Ocean, from Japan to Alaska. The southernmost occurrence of L. scoticum is at Ballyhalbert in Northern Ireland.

Description:
Ligusticum scoticum is a herbaceous perennial plant which typically grows 15–60 centimetres (6–24 in) tall. It has triangular, twice-ternate leaves, 5–20 cm (2.0–7.9 in) long, with each lobe 2–5 cm (0.8–2.0 in) long. The edges of the leaves may be toothed, lobed or serrated, and are typically either a paler green or magenta. The stem branches infrequently, and bears 2–5 inflorescences, each of which is a compound umbel 4–6 cm (1.6–2.4 in) in diameter. There are typically 8–12 rays in both the primary and secondary umbels. Each individual flower is around 2 mm (0.08 in) in diameter and greenish-white in colour.The fruit are 4–6 mm (0.16–0.24 in) long, with five prominent ridges on each carpel.

Cultivation:  
Succeeds in any well-drained soil in a sunny position. Dislikes shade. Succeeds in dry soils. Plants are hardy to at least -15°c. Scottish lovage has occasionally been cultivated as a pot herb, though it has been largely supplanted by celery. All parts of the plant are aromatic when bruised, the aroma being likened to a mixture of parsley, angelica and pear skin.

Propagation:
Seed – the seed only has a short period of viability and so is best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame in the autumn. Stored seed should be sown as early in the year as possible in a greenhouse or cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer if they have grown large enough. Otherwise, keep them in a cold frame for the first winter and plant them out in early summer. Division of the rootstock in early spring. Make sure that each section of root has at least one growth bud. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.

Ediable Uses:
Leaves, flowers and young shoots ..eaten raw or cooked. Strong and not very pleasant. Superb in salads. The leaves are usually blanched in order to make the flavour milder, though this also reduces the nutritional value. A celery-like flavour, it is used as a seasoning in salads, soups etc. Another report says that the flavour is more like parsley. Stem – used as a flavouring in soups, stews etc. A celery-like flavour. The green stem is peeled and eaten. Root – raw or cooked. A sweet flavour. Seed – ground into a powder and used as a flavouring in soups and stews. A sharp, hot taste it is used in the same ways as pepper. The young shoots and roots are occasionally candied like angelica.

Medicinal Uses:
The root is aromatic and carminative. It is used in the treatment of hysterical and uterine disorders. The seeds are sweetly aromatic and have been used as a carminative, deodorant and stimulant. They are also sometimes used for flavouring other herbal remedies.

Other Uses:  
Deodorant.

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/Ligusticum_scoticum

http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/l/lovsco45.html

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Ligusticum+scoticum

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Codium fragile

Botanical Name : Codium fragile
Family: Codiaceae
Genus: Codium
Species: C. fragile
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Chlorophyta
Class: Bryopsidophyceae
Order: Bryopsidales

Common Names :Green sea fingers, Dead man’s fingers, Felty fingers, Felt-alga, Green sponge and  Green fleece

Habitat :Codium fragile is native to the Pacific Ocean. The species inhabits the middle and lower intertidal zone as well as subtidal regions of rocky shores.

It is also found in large tide pools permanently filled with water. Therefore it is found at Race Rocks. At Race Rocks in 2001, the species occurred in only two small areas, although it was found when diving in earlier years in larger beds, shallow subtidally on the south side of Bentinck Island just across Race Passage north from Race Rocks. On the north side of the Great Race, there was one plant in a tide pool, and on the South East side, several dozen plants have occurred since the early 1980′s along the zero tide level of the small peninsula island. In 2004 it has been observed in several tidepools however its population still remains limited.

Description:
Codium fragile is a dark green alga, ranging from ten to 40 cm high and consists of repeatedly branching cylindrical segments about 0.5 to 1.0 cm in diameter, and the branches can be as thick as pencil. The segments look like dark green fingers. Its holdfast is a broad, sponge like cushion of tissue. The tips of segments are blunt and the surface is soft, so it is sometimes mistaken as a sponge. Its body consists of interwoven, filamentous cells with incomplete crosswalls forming the inner part of the branches.

Click to see the picture

A number of subspecies have been described, some of which have been introduced in various parts of the world. Although two spubspecies were widely accepted as having been introduced into Britain and Ireland, recent detailed genetic studies have shown that this is not the case.

Medicinal Uses;
In China, used to clear away heat and toxic materials, reduce tumescence and nourish dampness and driving bug. For edema, difficulty of pisses, driving lumbricoid and drink.

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/Codium_fragile

http://massbay.mit.edu/exoticspecies/exoticmaps/images/codium_big.jpg

http://myweb.dal.ca/rescheib/codium.html

http://www.seaweed.ie/descriptions/Codium_fragile.html

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

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Lime-berry

Botanical Name : Triphasia trifolia
Family: Rutaceae
Genus: Triphasia
Species: T. trifolia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Other scientific Names:Limonia trifolia Burm. f. ,Limonia trifoliata Linn.,Triphasia trifoliata DC. ,Triphasia aurantiola Lour.

Common Names: Sua-sua (Bik.),Suang-kastila (Bik.),Tagimunau (Neg.), Lime-berry (Engl.),Trifoliate limeberry (Engl.),Triphasia (Engl.),Kalamansito (Ilk., Ibn.),Kamalitos (Tag.), Limoncito (Span.),Limonsitong-kastila (Bik.)

Habitat : Triphasia trifolia is native to tropical southeastern Asia in Malaysia and possibly elsewhere.Grows throughout the Philippines, in thickets and settled areas; in some places, abundant.

Description:
It is an evergreen  smooth shrub growing to a height of 2 to 3 meters.
The leaves are trifoliate, glossy dark green, each leaflet 2-4 cm long and 1.5-2 cm broad.  They have two sharp and slender spines at the base. The short-petioled leaves have three leaflets, ovate to oblong-ovate, the terminal one 2 to 4 cm long; the lateral ones, smaller. The margins are crenate. Flowers are very short-stalked, white, fragrant, and about 1 cm long. Fruit is ovoid, fleshy and red, somewhat resinous, about 12 mm long, similar to a small Citrus fruit.

CLICK TO SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation:
It is grown for its edible fruit, and has been widely introduced to other subtropical to tropical regions of the world; it has become naturalized on a number of islands in the tropical Pacific Ocean.

This tree is also considered a weed in other introduced locations.

Edible Uses:
*Fruit is edilbe, raw or cooked.
*Ripe fruit is pleasant and sweet tasting.
*Fruit can be pickled or made into jams.

Medicinal Uses:
Parts utilized  :Leaves and fruits.

Constituents and Properties
• Berries are lemon-scented.
• Fragrant white flowers have a scent of orange blossoms.
• Leaves exude a resinous scent when bruised.
• Considered antifungal and antibacterial.
• Study yielded a new bicoumarin from the leaves and stems; the two coumarinic moieties are derivatives of mexoticin and meranzin hydrate.
• From the oil 81 compounds were identified, the main constituent was germacrene B.

Folkloric
*Leaves applied externally for colic, diarrhea, and skin afflictions.
*Fruits used for cough and sore throat.
*Preparation: Peel the fruits and soak overnight lime (apog) water. Rinse, and boil in 1 cup water with 1/2 cup sugar. Rinse and boil a second and third time as preferred, syrupy or candied, using as needed for cough or sore throat.

Studies
• Phenolics / Anti-HSV: Study on the inhibitory effects of phenolic compounds on herpes simplex virus and HIV included 13 coumarins from Triphasia trifolia. The data suggests the bis-hydroxyphenyl structure as a potential target for anti-HSV and HIV drugs development.
• Bicoumarin: Study yielded a new bicoumarin from the leaves and stems of Triphasia trifolia.The two coumarinic moieties are derivatives of mexoticin and meranzin hydrate.

Others Uses:
*Leaves used in making aromatic bath salts.
*Leaves used as cosmetic.
*Cultivated for its ornamental fragrant flower and edible red fruit. Attractive as a garden hedge.
*The Limeberry has been used as a bonsai plant…....CLICK & SEE….

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://www.stuartxchange.com/Limonsito.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triphasia_trifolia

http://www.tradewindsfruit.com/limeberry.htm

http://www.artofbonsai.org/galleries/worldview06.php

Breadfruit

Botanical Name :Artocarpus altilis
Family: Moraceae
Tribe: Artocarpeae
Genus: Artocarpus
Species: A. altilis
Kingdom
: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Rosales

Scientific names : Artocarpus altilis Linn.,Artocarpus communis  ,Artocarpus incisus
Common names:Fruta de pan (Span.), Breadfruit (Engl.),Rimas (Tag.)

Habitat :Native to the Malay Peninsula, through all of Island Southeast Asia and into most Pacific Ocean islands. The ancestors of the Polynesians found the trees growing in the northwest New Guinea area around 3500 years ago. They gave up the rice cultivation they had brought with them from ancient Taiwan, and raised breadfruit wherever they went in the Pacific (except Easter Island and New Zealand which were too cold). Their ancient eastern Indonesian cousins spread the plant west and north through Insular and coastal Southeast Asia. It has, in historic times, also been widely planted in tropical regions elsewhere

Description:
Breadfruit trees grow to a height of 85 feet (26 m). The large and thick leaves are deeply cut into pinnate lobes. All parts of the tree yield latex, a milky juice, which is useful for boat caulking.
....You may click to see the picture:->

The tree.

Artocarpus altilis (fruit).

ARS breadfruit49

Bread fruit in early stages.

Breadfruit drawing

Tree trunk

Fruit

 

 
The trees are monoecious, with male and female flowers growing on the same tree. The male flowers emerge first, followed shortly afterward by the female flowers, which grow into a capitulum, which are capable of pollination just three days later. The pollinators are Old World fruit bats in the family Pteropodidae. The compound, false fruit develops from the swollen perianth and originates from 1,500-2,000 flowers. These are visible on the skin of the fruit as hexagon-like disks.

Breadfruit is one of the highest-yielding food plants, with a single tree producing up to 200 or more fruits per season. In the South Pacific, the trees yield 50 to 150 fruits per year. In southern India, normal production is 150 to 200 fruits annually. Productivity varies between wet and dry areas. In the Caribbean, a conservative estimate is 25 fruits per tree. Studies in Barbados indicate a reasonable potential of 6.7 to 13.4 tons per acre (16-32 tons/ha). The grapefruit-sized ovoid fruit has a rough surface, and each fruit is divided into many achenes, each achene surrounded by a fleshy perianth and growing on a fleshy receptacle. Some selectively bred cultivars have seedless fruit.

The breadfruit is closely related to the breadnut and the jackfruit.

Cultivation:
Breadfruit is an equatorial lowland species that grows best below elevations of 650 metres (2,130 ft), but is found at elevations of 1,550 metres (5,090 ft). Its preferred rainfall is 1,500–3,000 millimetres (59–120 in) per year. Preferred soils are neutral to alkaline (pH of 6.1-7.4) and either sand, sandy loam, loam or sandy clay loam. Breadfruit is able to grow in coral sands and saline soils.

Edible uses:
Nutritional :Breadfruit is roughly 25% carbohydrates and 70% water. It has an average amount of vitamin C (20 mg/100g), small amounts of minerals (potassium and zinc) and thiamin (100 ?g).

*Crop considered a carbohydrate food source.
*Fruit can be fried, boiled, candied or cooked as a vegetable.
*High in starch, it is also high in Vitamin B, with fair amounts of B and C.

Breadfruit is a staple food in many tropical regions. They were propagated far outside their native range by Polynesian voyagers who transported root cuttings and air-layered plants over long ocean distances. They are very rich in starch, and before being eaten they are roasted, baked, fried or boiled. When cooked the taste is described as potato-like, or similar to fresh-baked bread (hence the name).

Because breadfruit trees usually produce large crops at certain times of the year, preservation of the harvested fruit is an issue. One traditional preservation technique is to bury peeled and washed fruits in a leaf-lined pit where they ferment over several weeks and produce a sour, sticky paste. So stored, the product may last a year or more, and some pits are reported to have produced edible contents more than 20 years later.  Fermented breadfruit mash goes by many names such as mahr, ma, masi, furo, and bwiru, among others.

Drawing of breadfruit by John Frederick MillerMost breadfruit varieties also produce a small number of fruits throughout the year, so fresh breadfruit is always available, but somewhat rare when not in season.

Breadfruit can be eaten once cooked, or can be further processed into a variety of other foods. A common product is a mixture of cooked or fermented breadfruit mash mixed with coconut milk and baked in banana leaves. Whole fruits can be cooked in an open fire, then cored and filled with other foods such as coconut milk, sugar and butter, cooked meats, or other fruits. The filled fruit can be further cooked so that the flavor of the filling permeates the flesh of the breadfruit.

The Hawaiian staple food called poi made of mashed taro root is easily substituted or augmented with mashed breadfruit. The resulting “breadfruit poi” is called poi ?ulu. In Puerto Rico, it is called “panapen” or “pana”, for short. Pana is often served boiled with a mixture of sauteed bacalao (salted cod fish), olive oil and onions. It is also serve as tostones or mofongo. In Dominican Republic, it is known by the name “buen pan” or “good bread”. Breadfruit is also found in Indonesia and Malaysia, where it is called ‘sukun’. In the South Indian state of Kerala and coastal Karnataka especially on the sides of Mangalore, where it is widely grown and cooked, it is known as Kadachakka and Gujje respectively. In Belize, the Mayan people call it ‘masapan’.

Medicinal Uses:
Parts used:Bark, leaves, fruit.

Properties and constituents : Study has yielded papayotin, enzyme and artocarpin.

Folkloric:
• Decoction of the bark used as vulnerary (wound healing). In the Visayas, decoction of the bark used in dysentery.
• Used as emollient.
• In the Carribean, leaves are used to relieve pain and inflammation.
• In Jamaican folk medicine, leaf decoction used for hypertension.

.It is also used in traditional medicine to treat illnesses that range from sore eyes to sciatica.

Studies:-
• Phytochemical: (1) Study concluded that the starch of Artocarpus altilis showed a high degree of purity. Physiochemical and rheological characteristics suggest the starch could be useful in products that require long heating process, with an excellent digestibility that might be advantageous for medical and food use. (2) Study showed percent recoveries of amino acid, fatty acid and carbohydrate content showed 72.5%, 68.2% and 81.4%. The starch content is 15.52 g/100 g fresh weight.
• Cytoprotective: Study yielded cytoprotective components – ß-sitosterol and six flavonoids with good potential for medicinal applications.
• Antiinflammatory: Extract of breadfruit leaves was shown to contain compounds with significant anti-inflammatory activities.
Phenolic Compounds / Cytotoxicity: Study isolated isoprenylated flavonoids – morusin, artonin E, cycloartobiloxanthone and artonol B – that showed high toxicity against Artmia salina. Result of cytotoxicity test showed the presence of an isoprenyl moiety in the C-3 position in the flavone skeleton, an important factor for its activity.
• Negative Inotropic Effect: Leaf extract study exerted a weak, negative chronotropic and inotropic effect in vivo in the rat. The mechanism of action of the inotropic agent was not cholinergic and may involve decoupling of excitation and contraxction.

Other Uses:
The wood of the breadfruit tree was one of the most valuable timbers in the construction of traditional houses in Samoan architecture.
Breadfruit was widely and diversely used among Pacific Islanders. Its lightweight wood (specific gravity of 0.27) is resistant to termites and shipworms, consequently used as timber for structures and outrigger canoes.  Native Hawaiians used its sticky sap to trap birds, whose feathers were made into cloaks.
Its wood pulp can also be used to make paper, called breadfruit tapa

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://www.stuartxchange.com/Rimas.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breadfruit

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Conch Shell

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Gastropoda
Subclass: Orthogastropoda
Superorder: Caenogastropoda
Order: Sorbeoconcha
Suborder: Hypsogastropoda
Infraorder: Littorinimorpha
Superfamily: Stromboidea
Family: Strombidae
Genus: Strombus

Description:
A conch (pronounced as “konk” or “konch”) is one of a number of different species of medium-sized to large saltwater snails or their shells. True conchs are marine gastropod molluscs in the family Strombidae, and the genus Strombus.

.click to see the pictures

The name “conch” however, is often quite loosely applied in English-speaking countries to several kinds of very large snail-like shells of salt-water molluscs that are pointed at both ends. That is, a conch’s shell has a high spire and a noticeable siphonal canal. Other species often called a “conch” include the crown conch Melongena species; the horse conch Pleuroploca gigantea; and the sacred chank or more correctly Shankha shell, Turbinella pyrum. None of these are in the family Strombidae, but instead in other families of the molluscs.

The true conch species within the genus Strombus vary in size from fairly small to very large. Several of the larger species are economically important as food sources; these include the endangered queen conch or pink conch Strombus gigas, which very rarely may produce a pink, gem quality pearl.

About 74 species of the Strombidae family are living, and a much larger number of species exist only in the fossil record.  Of the living species, most are in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Six species live in the greater Caribbean region, including the Queen Conch, and the West Indian Fighting Conch, Strombus pugilis.

Many species of conch live on sandy bottoms among beds of sea grass in warm tropical waters.

Live animal of fighting conch ->.

Anatomy:
Like almost all shelled gastropods, conches have spirally constructed shells. Again, as is normally the case in many gastropods, this spiral shell growth is usually right-handed, but on very rare occasions it can be left-handed.

True conchs have long eye stalks, with colorful ring-marked eyes. The shell has a long and narrow aperture, and a short siphonal canal, with another indentation near the anterior end called a stromboid notch. This notch is where one of the two eye stalks protrudes from the shell. The true conch has a foot ending in a pointed, sickle-shaped, operculum which can be dug into the substrate as part of an unusual “leaping” locomotion.

True conchs grow a flared lip on their shells only upon reaching sexual maturity. Animals which are harvested by fishermen before they reach this stage are juveniles, and have not had a chance to reproduce.

Conchs lay eggs in long, gelatinous strands

Species :-
Strombus alatus
Strombus gigas
Strombus luhuanus
Strombus pugilis
Strombus tricornis
Strombus canarium
Strombus dolomena
Strombus gibberulus
Strombus conomurex
Strombus lentigo
Strombus doxander
Strombus urceus
Strombus fragilis
Strombus gallus
Strombus dentatus
Strombus marginatus
Strombus raninus
Strombus buvonius

Different Uses:
As food
Second in popularity only to the escargot for edible snails, the “meat” of the conch is used as food, either eaten raw, as in salads, or cooked, as in fritters, chowders, gumbos, and burgers. All parts of the conch meat are edible. However, some people find only the white meat appetizing.

In East Asian cuisines, this seafood is often cut into thin slices and then steamed or stir-fried.

In the Bahamas and Haiti, natives eat conch in soups and salads, and restaurants all over the islands serve this particular meat.

In El Salvador, live conch is served in a cocktail of onion, tomato, cilantro, and lemon juice. Lemon juice is squeezed onto the cocktail, causing the conch to squirm, and then the whole thing is slurped down whole, as in the manner of oysters.

As musical instruments:-
Conch shells can be used as wind instruments, by cutting a small hole in the spire and then blowing into the shell as if it were a trumpet, as in blowing horn.

Conch shell trumpets were historically used throughout the South Pacific, in countries such as Fiji. In resorts in Fiji they still blow the shell as a performance for the tourists. The Fijians also used the conch shell when the chief died: the chief’s body would be brought down a special path and the conch would be played until the chief’s body reached the end of the path. Only the chief’s body could go down that path.

The American jazz trombonist Steve Turre also plays conches, notably with his group Sanctified Shells.

A partially echoplexed Indian conch was featured prominently as the primary instrument depicting the extraterrestrial environment of the derelict spaceship in Jerry Goldsmith‘s score for the film Alien. Director Ridley Scott was so impressed by the eerie effect that he requested its use throughout the rest of the score, including the Main Title.

Composer John Cage has used partially water-filled conch shells, which, when tilted slowly, create gurgling sounds beyond the player’s control, which are then amplified. This sound effect was used by James Horner in the film Troy and by Annea Lockwood in her compositions.

Pearls:
Many gastropods (snails and sea snails, of which the conch is the latter) produce pearls, and those of the Queen Conch, Strombus gigas, have been collectors’ items since Victorian times. Conch pearls come in a range of hues, including white, brown and orange and many intermediate shades, but pink is the colour most associated with the conch pearl. Conch pearls are sometimes referred to simply as ‘pink pearls’. In some gemmological texts, non-nacreous gastropod pearls used to be referred to as ‘calcareous concretions’ because they were ‘porcellaneous’ (i.e. shiny and ceramic-like) in appearance rather than ‘nacreous’ (i.e. with a pearly lustre sometimes known as ‘orient’). However, Kenneth Scarrat, the director of GIA in Bangkok recently argued that conch calcareous concretions should be called ‘pearls’. Although non-nacreous, the surface of fine Conch pearls has a unique and attractive appearance of its own. The microstructure of conch pearls comprises partly-aligned bundles of microcrystalline fibres which create a shimmering, slightly iridescent effect known as ‘flame structure’. The effect is a form of chatoyancy, caused by the interaction of light rays with the microcrystals in the pearl’s surface, and it somewhat resembles Moiré silk.

Other uses
*Conch shells are sometimes used as decoration, as decorative planters, and in cameo making.

*In classic Mayan art, conchs are shown being utilized in many ways including as paint and ink holders for elite scribes, as bugles or trumpets, and as hand weapons (held by combatants by inserting their hands in the aperture).

*Some American Aboriginals used cylindrical conch columella beads as part of breastplates and other personal adornment. See Hair Pipes.

*In some Caribbean and African American cemeteries, conch shells are placed on graves. (The Last Miles of the Way: African
*Homegoing Traditions, 1890-Present, edited by Elaine Nichols).

*In some Caribbean countries, cleaned Queen Conch (Strombus gigas) shells, or polished fragments, are sold, mainly to tourists, as souvenirs or in jewelry. Without a permit, however, export is a breach of CITES regulations, and may lead to arrest . This is most likely to occur on return to the tourist’s home country while clearing customs. In the UK conch shells are the ninth most seized import.

*Conch shells are occasionally used as a building material, either in place of bricks, or as bulk for landfill.

*In Grenada fishermen use Conch shells to announce to the community that fish is available for sale. It is also used at Carnival times in the popular Jouvert Jump where Diab Diab (Jab Jab) mas blow conch shells as part of the festivities.

Religious use:-

The Hindu tradition
A Shankha shell (the shell of a Turbinella pyrum, a species in the gastropod family Turbinellidae) is often referred to in the West as a conch shell, or a chank shell. This shell is used as an important ritual object in Hinduism. The shell is used as a ceremonial trumpet, as part of religious practices, for example puja. The chank trumpet is sounded during worship at specific points, accompanied by ceremonial bells and singing.
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A Hindu priest blowing a Sankh during a puja.In the story of Dhruva the divine conch plays a special part. The warriors of ancient India blew conch shells to announce battle, as is described in the beginning of the war of Kurukshetra, in the Mahabharata, the famous Hindu epic.

The god of Preservation, Vishnu, is said to hold a special conch, Panchajanya, that represents life, as it has come out of life-giving waters.

As it is an auspicious instrument,it is often played in a Lakshmi puja in temple or at home.

In Bengal, Hindu house wives blow Shankha three times every evening and  also in all auspicious functions in the house .   They wear  bangles made from shankha(conch shell) after marriage.

The Buddhist tradition
Buddhism has also incorporated the conch shell, as one of the Eight Auspicious Symbols.

Ancient Peru
The Moche people of ancient Peru worshiped the sea and often depicted conch shells in their art.

In literature and in the oral tradition
William Golding’s Lord of the Flies features frequent references to “the Conch”. In the book the conch is used as a trumpet to call everyone together and held by whoever is speaking at meetings, symbolically representing democracy and order. When a boulder released by Roger, Jack’s lieutenant, smashes the conch, it is a sign that civilized order has fully collapsed since Jack’s eventual increasing influence. At the same time, Piggy dies.

The famous Old English riddle Ic wæs be Sonde describes a conch: “I was by sound, near seawall, at ocean-stream; I dwelt alone in my first resting place. … Little did I know that I, ere or since, ever should speak mouthless over mead-benches.”

In popular folklore, it is believed that if one holds an open conch shell (or any other large marine snail shell) to the ear, the ocean can be heard. This phenomenon is caused by the resonant cavity of the shell producing a form of pink noise from the surrounding background ambiance. In reality, the person is hearing their blood flow in the capillaries of their ears; the sound enters the shell and reverberates through the chambers before coming back. This sound can also be heard (though rather poorly) by covering one’s ear with one’s hand. The rushing sound is the flow of blood

Medicinal Uses:Bhasam [ashes of conch shell]: is used for the treatment of : loss of appetite, indigestion, peptic ulcers, dueodenal ulcers, hyperacidity, bronchitis, hepatospleenomegaly, Gulma, asthma, cough, respiratory disorders.

Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_herbs_and_minerals_in_Ayurveda

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conch

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Kava

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Botanical Name: Piper methysticum
Family:Pepper/ Piperaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Piperales
Genus: Piper
Species: P. methysticum
Other names: kava kava, kawa, kew, yagona, sakau .awa (Hawaii), ‘ava (Samoa), yaqona (Fiji), and sakau (Pohnpei).
Parts Used:The part of the plant used medicinally is the root. Although the root was traditionally chewed or made into a beverage, kava is now available in capsule, tablet, beverage, tea, and liquid extract forms.

Habitat:South Pacific Isands.

Description:
Kava is a tall shrub in the pepper family that grows in the South Pacific islands.Kava kava belongs to the pepper family (Piperaceae) and is also known as kava, asava pepper, or intoxicating pepper. It grows to an average height of 6 ft (1.83 m) and has large heart-shaped leaves that can grow to 10 in (25.4 cm) wide. A related species is Piper sanctum, a native plant of Mexico that is used as a stimulant. It has been used there for thousands of years as a folk remedy and as a social and ceremonial beverage.

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The part of the plant used medicinally is the root. Although the root was traditionally chewed or made into a beverage, kava is now available in capsule, tablet, beverage, tea, and liquid extract forms.

Botany and agronomy
There are several cultivars of kava, with varying concentrations of primary and secondary psychoactive substances. The largest number are grown in the Republic of Vanuatu, and so it is recognised as the “home” of kava. Kava was historically grown only in the Pacific islands of Hawaii, Federated States of Micronesia, Vanuatu, Fiji, the Samoas and Tonga. Some is grown in the Solomon Islands since World War II, but most is imported. Kava is a cash crop in Vanuatu and Fiji.

The kava shrub thrives in loose, well-drained soils where plenty of air reaches the roots. It grows naturally where rainfall is plentiful (over 2,000 mm/yr). Ideal growing conditions are 20 to 35 degrees Celsius (70 to 95 °F), and 70–100% relative humidity. Too much sunlight is harmful, especially in early growth, so kava is an understory crop.

Kava cannot reproduce sexually. Female flowers are especially rare and do not produce fruit even when hand-pollinated. Its propagation is entirely due to human efforts by the method of striking.

Traditionally, plants are harvested around 4 years of age, as older plants have higher concentrations of kavalactones. But in the past two decades farmers have been harvesting younger and younger plants, as young as 18 months. After reaching about 2 m height, plants grow a wider stalk and additional stalks, but not much taller. The roots can reach 60 cm depth.

Composition
Fresh kava root contains on average 80% water. Dried root contains approximately 43% starch, 20% fibers, 15% kavalactones, 12% water, 3.2% sugars, 3.6% proteins, and 3.2% minerals. Kavalactone content is greatest in the roots and decreases higher up the plant. Relative concentrations of 15%, 10% and 5% have been observed in the root, stump, and basal stems, respectively.

The mature roots of the kava plant are harvested after a minimum of 4 years (at least five years ideally) for peak kavalactone content. Most kava plants produce around 50 kgs (110 lbs) of root when they are harvested. Kava root is classified into two categories: crown root (or chips) and lateral root. Crown roots are the large diameter pieces that look like big (1.5 inch to 5 inches diameter) wooden poker chips. Most kava plants consist of approximately 80% crown root upon harvesting. Lateral roots are smaller diameter roots that look more like a typical root. A mature kava plant is approximately 20% lateral roots. Kava lateral roots have the highest content of kavalactones in the kava plant. “Waka” grade kava is kava that is made of lateral roots only.
General use
Kava kava has been prescribed by healthcare providers to treat a wide range of ailments, including insomnia, nervousness, and stress-related anxiety and anxiety disorders. It is also reported to relieve urinary infections, vaginitis, fatigue, asthma, rheumatism, and pain.

The active ingredients in kava kava are called kavalactones and are found in the root of the plant. Kavalactones cause reactions in the brain similar to pharmaceutical drugs prescribed for depression and anxiety. Research has shown that kavalactones have a calming, sedative effect that relaxes muscles, relieves spasms, and prevents convulsions. Kavalactones also have analgesic (pain-relieving) properties that may bring relief to sore throats, sore gums, canker sores, and toothaches.

Kava kava is a strong diuretic that is reportedly beneficial in the treatment of gout, rheumatism, and arthritis. The diuretic effect of the herb relieves pain and helps remove waste products from the afflicted joints. Antispasmodic properties have shown to help ease menstrual cramps by relaxing the muscles of the uterus. Kava kava’s antiseptic and anti-inflammatory agents may help relieve an irritable bladder, urinary tract infections, and inflammation of the prostate gland.

Kava root.…………………....Kava root power…………….Cava in bottle as medicine

Medicinal Uses:
Kava kava has been used as a medicinal herb for hundreds of years and used by Pacific Islanders to treat rheumatism, asthma, worms, obesity, headaches, fungal infections,leprosy, gonorrhea, vaginal infections, urinary infections, menstrual problems, migraine headaches, and insomnia. It was also used as a diuretic, an aphrodisiac, to promote energy, and to bring about sweating during colds and fevers. Pacific Islanders consume a kava kava drink at social, ritual, and ceremonial functions. It is drunk at ceremonies to commemorate marriages, births, and deaths; in meetings of village elders; as an offering to the gods; to cure illness; and to welcome honored guests. Pope John Paul II, Queen Elizabeth II, and Hillary Rodham Clinton have all drunk kava kava during their island visits.

The drink is prepared by grinding, grating, or pounding the roots of the plant, then soaking the pulp in cold water or coconut milk. Traditionally the root was chewed, spit into a bowl, and mixed with coconut milk or water. That practice is no longer the standard.

Captain James Cook has been credited with the Western discovery of kava kava during his journey to the South Pacific in the late 1700s. The first herbal products made from kava kava appeared in Europe in the 1860s. Pharmaceutical preparations became available in Germany in the 1920s. Currently, kava kava has received widespread attention because of its reputation to promote relaxation and reduce stress.

Preparation & Consumption:
Traditional preparation
Kava is consumed in various ways throughout the Pacific Ocean cultures of Polynesia, Vanuatu, Melanesia and some parts of Micronesia and Australia. Traditionally it is prepared by either chewing, grinding or pounding the roots of the kava plant. Grinding is done by hand against a cone-shaped block of dead coral; the hand forms a mortar and the coral a pestle. The ground root/bark is combined with only a little water, as the fresh root releases moisture during grinding. Pounding is done in a large stone with a small log. The product is then added to cold water and consumed as quickly as possible.

Kava root drying in Lovoni village, Ovalau

The extract is an emulsion of kavalactone droplets in starch. The taste is slightly pungent, while the distinctive aroma depends on whether it was prepared from dry or fresh plant, and on the variety. The colour is grey to tan to opaque greenish.

Kava prepared as described above is much more potent than processed kava. Chewing produces the strongest effect because it produces the finest particles. Fresh, undried kava produces a stronger beverage than dry kava. The strength also depends on the species and techniques of cultivation. Many find mixing powdered kava with hot water makes the drink stronger. However the active ingredients of kava, such as Kavalactone, are ruined at 140 degrees. Most tea steeps at 180 degrees for at least a couple minutes which will reduce the potency of the kava.

In Vanuatu, a strong kava drink is normally followed by a hot meal or tea. The meal traditionally follows some time after the drink so that the psychoactives are absorbed into the bloodstream quicker. Traditionally no flavoring is added.

Fijians commonly share a drink called “grog”, made by pounding sun-dried kava root into a fine powder and mixing it with cold water. Traditionally, grog is drunk from the shorn half-shell of a coconut, called a “bilo.” Despite tasting very much like dirty water, grog is very popular in Fiji, especially among young men, and often brings people together for storytelling and socializing.

Modern preparation
In modernized countries Kava beverage is usually made from Kava root powder. The root is dried and then finely ground into powder before being exported. Generally one tablespoon of powder is added per cup of water, but sometimes as much as a half a cup of powder (eight tablespoons) is added per cup of water to increase potency. The powder is then soaked in water for approximately 30 minutes to allow the water to completely soak through the powdered fibers. Lecithin is often added to aid in the process of emulsifying the kavalactones with water. The Kava powder, water, and lecithin are blended in a blender for several minutes then strained into a straining cloth. Nylon, cheesecloth, and silk screen are common materials for straining. The remaining liquid is squeezed from the pulp and the pulp is discarded. As an alternative to the blender method, with the powdered pulp enclosed within the straining material, the pulp is massaged for five to ten minutes in water, then the liquid is wrung out. The more pressure that is applied to the wet powdered pulp while wringing it out, the more kavalactones will be released from it. Finally the pulp resin is discarded and the beverage is enjoyed. Often coconut water, coconut milk, lemongrass, cocoa, sugar, or soy milk is added to improve flavor.

Pharmacology
Kava’s active principal ingredients are the kavalactones, of which at least 15 have been identified and are all considered psychoactive. Only six of them produce noticeable effects, and their concentrations in kava plants vary. Different ratios can produce different effects. Kava has some abuse potential and some experts recommend cycling use over 1 to 3 months.

Pills
Pharmaceutical companies and herbal supplement companies extract kavalactones from the kava plant using solvents such as acetone and ethanol and produce pills standardized with between 30% and 90% kavalactones. Some kava herbal supplements have been accused of contributing to very rare but severe hepatotoxic reactions (see section on safety) such may have been due to the use of plant parts other than the root, such as stems or peelings that are known to have been exported to European manufacturers. A kava pill usually has anywhere from 60 mg to 150 mg of kavalactones. By comparison the typical bowl of traditionally prepared kava beverage has around 250 mg of kavalactones.

Uses: In some parts of the Western World, kava extract is marketed as herbal medicine against stress, insomnia, and anxiety. A Cochrane Collaboration systematic review of its evidence concluded that it was likely to be more effective than placebo at treating short-term social anxiety. Safety concerns have been raised over liver toxicity, although research indicates that this may be largely due to the use of stems and leaves in supplements, which were not used indigeneously

The word kava is used to refer both to the plant and the beverage produced from its roots. Kava is a tranquilizer primarily consumed to relax without disrupting mental clarity. Its active ingredients are called kavalactones.

Because kava can cause sedation, and in high amounts, intoxication, kava drinks are consumed in some parts of the world in much the same way as alcohol.

Although it’s not clear exactly how kava works, kavalactones may affect the levels of neurotransmitters (chemicals that carry messages from nerve cells to other cells) in the blood. Kava has been found to affect the levels of specific neurotransmitters, including norepinephrine, gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) and dopamine

A number of well-designed studies have examined kava’s ability to relieve anxiety compared to anxiety medication or a placebo. The results have been promising.

In 2003, a review by the Cochrane Collaboration examined the existing research to see how kava fared compared to a placebo in treating anxiety. After analyzing the 11 studies (involving a total of 645 people) that met the criteria, the researchers concluded that kava “appears to be an effective symptomatic treatment option for anxiety.” However, they added that it seemed to be a small effect.

Effects:
A moderately potent kava drink causes effects within 20–30 minutes that last for about two and a half hours, but can be felt for up to eight hours. Because of this, it is recommended to space out servings about fifteen minutes apart. Some report longer term effects up to two days after ingestion, including mental clarity, patience, and an ease of acceptance. The effects of kava are most often compared to alcohol, or a large dose of Valium.

The sensations, in order of appearance, are slight tongue and lip numbing (the lips and skin surrounding may appear unusually pale); mildly talkative and sociable behavior; clear thinking; anxiolytic (calming) effects; relaxed muscles; and a very euphoric sense of well-being. The numbing of the mouth is caused by the two kavalactones kavain and dihydrokavain which cause the contraction of the blood vessels in these areas acting as a local topical anesthetic. These anesthetics can also make one’s stomach feel numb. Sometimes this feeling has been mistaken for nausea. Some report that caffeine, consumed in moderation in conjunction with kava can significantly increase mental alertness.

A potent drink results in a faster onset with a lack of stimulation, the user’s eyes become sensitive to light, they soon become somnolent and then have deep, dreamless sleep within 30 minutes. Sleep is often restful and there are pronounced periods of sleepiness correlating to the amount and potency of kava consumed. Unlike alcohol-induced sleep, after wakening the drinker does not experience any mental or physical after effects. However, this sleep has been reported as extremely restful and the user often wakes up more stimulated than he or she normally would. Although excessive consumption of exceptionally potent brew has been known to cause pronounced sleepiness into the next day. Although heavy doses can cause deep dreamless sleep, it is reported that many people experience lighter sleep and rather vivid dreams after drinking moderate amounts of kava.

After thousands of years of use by the Polynesians and decades of research in Europe and the U.S., the traditional use of kava root has never been found to have any addictive or permanent adverse effects. Users do not develop a tolerance. While small doses of kava have been shown to slightly improve memory and cognition, large amounts at one time have been shown to cause intoxication. In Utah, California, and Hawaii there have been cases where people were charged with driving under the influence of alcohol after drinking a significant amount of kava (eight cups or more) although some of them were acquitted due to the laws not being broad enough to cover kava consumption.

Kava Culture:
Kava is used for medicinal, religious, political, cultural and social purposes throughout the Pacific. These cultures have a great respect for the plant and place a high importance on it. Correspondingly, the paraphernalia surrounding the traditional kava ceremony are expertly crafted. Traditionally designed kava bowls are bowls made from a single piece of wood, with multiple legs. More modern examples are also highly decorated, often carved and inlayed with mother of pearl and shell.CLICK & SEE

Kava root being prepared in Asanvari, a village on Maewo Island in the Pacific nation of Vanuatu. Photo taken in September, 2002 by Jordan Bigel.

Kava is used primarily at social gatherings to increase amiability and to relax after work. It has great religious significance, being used to obtain inspiration. Among some fundamentalist Christian sects in the Western Pacific, the drink has been demonized and seen as a vice, and young members of these religions often reject its traditional use. However, among most mainline Christian denominations, i.e. the Roman Catholic, Methodist, and Anglican churches, kava drinking is encouraged where it replaces the greater danger of alcohol.

Basic research on anti-cancer potential
On 15 February 2006, the Fiji Times and Fiji Live reported that researchers at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland and the Laboratoire de Biologie Moleculaire du Cancer in Luxembourg had discovered that kava may treat ovarian cancer and leukemia. Kava compounds inhibited the activation of a nuclear factor that led to the growth of cancer cells. The Aberdeen University researchers published in the journal The South Pacific Journal of Natural Science that kava methanol extracts had been shown to kill leukemia and ovarian cancer cells in test tubes.The kava compounds were shown to target only cancerous cells; no healthy cells were harmed. This may help explain why kava consumption is correlated with decreased incidence of cancer.

Fiji Kava Council Chairman Ratu Josateki Nawalowalo welcomed the findings, saying that they would boost the kava industry. For his part, Agriculture Minister Ilaitia Tuisese called on the researchers to help persuade members of European Union to lift their ban on kava imports.

Liver damage incidents and regulation
In 2001 concerns were raised about the safety of commercial kava products. There have been allegations of severe liver toxicity, including liver failure in some people who had used dietary supplements containing kava extract (but not in anyone who had drunk kava the traditional way). Out of the 50 people worldwide taking kava pills and extracts that have had some type of problem, almost all of them had been mixing them with alcohol and pills that could have effects on the liver.[16] The fact that different kava strains have slightly different chemical composition made testing for toxicity difficult as well.

The possibility of liver damage consequently prompted action of many regulatory agencies in European countries where the legal precautionary principle so mandated. In the UK, the Medicines for Human Use (Kava-kava) (Prohibition) Order 2002 prohibits the sale, supply or import of most derivative medicinal products. Kava is banned in Switzerland, France, Germany and The Netherlands[17]. The health agency of Canada issued a stop-sale order for kava in 2002. But legislation in 2004 made the legal status of kava uncertain. The United States CDC has released a report[18] expressing reservations about the use of kava and its possibly adverse side effects (specifically severe liver toxicity), as has the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration has recommended that no more than 250 mg of kavalactones be taken in a 24 hour period.[20] According to the Medicines Control Agency in the U.K., there is no safe dose of kava, as there is no way to predict which individuals would have adverse reactions.

Potential Side Effects of Kava:
Side effects include indigestion, mouth numbness, skin rash, headache, drowsiness and visual disturbances. Chronic or heavy use of kava has linked to pulmonary hypertension, skin scaling, loss of muscle control, kidney damage, and blood abnormalities.

Kava may lower blood pressure and it also may interfere with blood clotting, so it shouldn’t be used by people with bleeding disorders. People with Parkinson’s disease shouldn’t use kava because it may worsen symptoms.

Kava should not be taken within 2 weeks of surgery. Pregnant and nursing women, children, and people with liver or kidney disease shouldn’t use kava.

Possible Drug Interactions:
Kava shouldn’t be taken by people who are taking Parkinson’s disease medications, antipsychotic drugs, or any medication that influences dopamine levels.

Kava shouldn’t be combined with alcohol or medications for anxiety or insomnia, including benzodiazepines such as Valium (diazepam) or Ativan (lorazepam). It may have an additive effect if taken with drugs that cause drowsiness.

Kava may have an additive effect if combined with antidepressant drugs called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI).

Kava shouldn’t be taken with any drug or herb that impairs liver function. Kava also may interfere with blood clotting, so people taking Coumadin (warfarin) or any drug that influences blood clotting should avoid it unless under a doctor’s supervision.

Kava is a diuretic, so it may have an additive effect if combined with drugs or herbs that have diuretic properties.

Allergy
Literature suggests that <0.5% of people that take kava have an allergic reaction to it. Allergic reactions are usually mild and include itchy skin or itchy throat, and hives on the skin usually prevalent on the user’s belly region. If someone has an allergy to any relative of the pepper family, such as black pepper, they have a higher chance of having a kava allergy.

Click to learn more about Kava.:-.>………(1)….(2)……(3).…..(4)….(5)

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://altmedicine.about.com/od/kava/p/kava.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kava

http://www.healthline.com/galecontent/kava-kava

 

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Cascara Sagrada (Rhamnus purshiana)

Family: Rhamnaceae (Buckthorn family)
Habitat: Sides and bottoms of canyons from the
Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, extending north into British America.It is a species of buckthorn native to western North America from southern British Columbia south to central California, and inland to western Montana.

Other Names: Cascara sagrada, sacred bark, Purshiana bark, persian bark, chittem bark, California buchthorn, cascara, bearberry-tree, bearwood.Rhamnus purshiana (Cascara Buckthorn, Cascara, Bearberry, and in the Chinook Jargon, Chittam or Chitticum; syn. Frangula purshiana, Rhamnus purshianus)

Parts Used: The bark collected during the summer. The collecting season opens about the end of May and closes before the rainy season sets in, as bark collected after exposure to wet weather is difficult to cure properly. The strips of bark after removal from the trees are dried in such a way that the inner surface is not exposed to the sunlight, in order to retain its yellow color. Cascara bark must be aged at least one year before it is used.

Description: It is the largest species of buckthorn, occasionally growing up to 15 m tall, though more commonly a large shrub or small tree 5-10 m tall, with a trunk 20-50 cm in diameter. The bark is brownish to silver-grey with light splotching. The leaves are deciduous, alternate, clustered near the ends of twigs; they are oval, 5-15 cm long and 2-5 cm broad with a 0.6-2 cm petiole, dark shiny green on top, fuzzy and paler green below.The rather thin leaves are somewhat hairy on the lower surface and rather prominently veined. The small, insignificant greenish flowers are produced in clusters and are followed by black, 3-seeded berries of a somewhat insipid taste. The bark has a somewhat aromatic odor and an extremely bitter taste The flowers are tiny, 4-5 mm diameter, with five greenish yellow petals; the flowering season is brief, disappearing by early summer. The fruit is a berry 6-10 mm diameter, bright red at first, quickly maturing deep purple or black, and containing three seeds.

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It grows in moist, acidic soils in the shady side of clearings or in the marginal forest understory, near the edges of mixed deciduous-coniferous forests. It typically grows as a second-generation tree after alders have colonized a barren plot of land.

History: Cascara sagrada is a natural laxative made from the reddish-brown bark of a tree (Rhamnus purshiana) native to the Pacific Northwest. It was used by various Native American tribes, who also passed their “sacred bark” on to Spanish explorers (cascara sagrada means sacred bark in Spanish).
Other European settlers were also quick to adopt this traditional remedy for constipation and other discomforts. But it was not formally used in western medicine until 1877, when the pharmaceutical producer Eli Lilly & Company introduced “Elixir Purgans,” a popular product containing cascara as well as several other laxative herbs.

Today, numerous over-the-counter laxatives feature cascara sagrada as a key ingredient. Because it’s so mild, the herb is frequently combined with stronger laxatives, such as aloe vera latex. To work properly, the bark must be carefully prepared–cured for at least one year or heated and dried to speed up the aging process. Aging is essential because the fresh bark is very irritating to the gastrointestinal system, causing vomiting and intestinal spasms.

Constituents: Cascara bark is high in hydroxyanthraquinone glycosides called cascarosides. Resins, tannins, and lipids make up the bulk of the other bark ingredients. Cascarosides have a cathartic action, inducing the large intestine to increase its muscular contraction (peristalsis), resulting in bowel movement.

The basis of Cascara’s laxative effect is the presence of a mixture of anthraquinones, either free (aloe-emodin) or as sugar derivatives (glycosides). The free anthraquinones remain in the intestines and cause catharsis by irritating the intestinal wall. Those anthraquinones present in the plant as sugar derivatives are largely absorbed from the intestine, circulate through the blood stream, and eventually stimulate the nerve center in the lower part of the intestine, which causes a laxative effect.

Medicinal Properties:
Purgative, bitter tonic.

Main Uses: Cascara Sagrada is a mild laxative, acting principally on the large intestine. It is considered suitable for delicate and elderly persons, and may with advantage be given in chronic constipation, being generally administered in the form of the fluid extract.
It acts also as a stomachic tonic and bitter, in small doses, promoting gastric digestion and appetite.

Treat hemorrhoids and anal fissures -. Combined with conventional measures to soften the stool (plenty of dietary fiber, water, and exercise), occasional use of cascara sagrada preparations may prevent the pressure and pain associated with hemorrhoids and anal fissures (cracks in the skin near the anus). In fact, by speeding up bowel movements, hemorrhoids are also less likely to develop.

The dried, aged bark of this tree has been used continually for at least 1,000 years by both native and immigrant Americans as a laxative natural medicine, commercially called “Cascara Sagrada”, but old timers call it “chitticum bark”.

Cascara Sagrada means “sacred bark” in Spanish. The much more pertinent name chitticum means “shit come” in Chinook Jargon; chittam comes from the Chinook Jargon phrase chittam stick = “laxative tree” which is similarly from the English word “shit”.

The bark is harvested mostly from wild trees; over-harvesting in the middle 1900s eliminated mature trees near many settled areas. Once stripped from the tree, the bark is aged for about 1 year to make its effect milder. Fresh cut, dried bark causes vomiting and violent diarrhea.

Preparation & Dosages:
Cold Infusion: 2 to 6 ounces.
Tincture: [1:5, 50% alcohol], 1 to 2 teaspoons.
Fluid Extract: [1:1, 50% alcohol] 1/2 to 1 teaspoon.
Liquid extract: 1 teaspoon three times a day or 1 or 2 teaspoons at bedtime; or 1 or 2 capsules of dried bark at bedtime.

CAUTIONS:
Because long-term use of any laxative can make your body lose critical fluids and salts (especially potassium) and lead to chronic diarrhea or weakness, limit your use of cascara sagrada to one or two weeks. Habitual use of cascara sagrada can cause dependence on laxatives.

Some people develop crampy gastrointestinal discomforts with cascara sagrada; lower your dose if this happens and stop taking it altogether if the uncomfortable sensation persists.

Don’t use cascara sagrada continuously for more than two weeks.

See your doctor if constipation lasts for more than one week.

Never ingest fresh cascara bark, which is extremely irritating and can cause severe vomiting. The bark must be stored for a year or more and be specially treated before it’s safe to use. Instead, stick with standardized commercial cascara products (capsules, tablets, powders).

Avoid cascara sagrada if you have an inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, or if your doctor has diagnosed an intestinal obstruction of any kind.

Unless your doctor recommends it, don’t take cascara sagrada if you are pregnant or breast-feeding; its effects on the fetus and infant are unclear.

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://www.indianspringherbs.com/Cascara_sagrada.htm

http://www.indianspringherbs.com/Cascara_sagrada.htm

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