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Hibiscus heterophyllus

Botanical Name : Hibiscus heterophyllus
Family: Malvaceae
Genus: Hibiscus
Kingdom:Plantae
Division:Cycadophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Type: Malvales

Common Names: Native rosella

Habitat : Hibiscus heterophyllus is native to AustraliaNew South Wales, Queensland. It grows in moist eucalyptus forests, jungle gullies and rainforest edges.

Description:
Hibiscus heterophyllus is a medium to large shrub of open habit, from about 3-6 metres high. The leaves are up to 200 mm long by 100 mm wide and may be linear to oval shaped either entire or 3-lobed. Flowers are large, up to 150 mm in diameter of typical hibiscus shape. In common with most Hibiscus species, the individual flowers last only 1-2 days but new flowers continue to open over a long period, generally from spring through to summer. The blooms are variable in colour and may be white, pink or yellow with a deep red centre. They are followed by hairy seed capsules containing a number of seeds….CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.
Cultivation:
Prefers a well-drained humus rich fertile soil in full sun. Suitable for waterside plantings. This species is not very hardy in Britain, it is unlikely to succeed outdoors even in the mildest areas of the country. However, it might be possible to grow it as a half-hardy annual, to flower in its first year from seed.

Propagation:
Seed – sow early spring in a warm greenhouse. Germination is usually fairly rapid. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. If growing them as annuals, plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer and protect them with a frame or cloche until they are growing away well. If hoping to grow them as perennials, then it is better to grow them on in the greenhouse for their first year and to plant them out in early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Overwinter them in a warm greenhouse and plant out after the last expected frosts.

Edible Uses:
The flower buds can be made into a jam. Other parts of the plant are also edible and have been used by Aboriginal people as a food source.
Leaves and young shoots – raw or cooked. Pleasantly acid. An excellent spinach substitute, the boiled leaves losing their acidity. Flowers and flower buds – raw or cooked. A very mild flavour. Root – it is edible but very fibrousy. Mucilaginous, without very much flavour. The roots of young plants are used.

Medicinal Uses:
Not yet known.

Other Uses: The central stem of the plant has a very strong fiber and the bark is easily peeled. It was used to make dilly bags and nets by the Australian Aboriginals, and the settlers used it to make snares and ropes.
Known Hazards: The hairs on the capsules can cause severe skin irritation and need to be handled with care.
Resources:
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Hibiscus+heterophyllus
https://ceb.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hibiscus_heterophyllus
http://anpsa.org.au/h-het.html

Hibiscus Heterophyllus Lutea Native Hibiscus Seeds

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Acacia decurrens

Botanical Name: Acacia decurrens
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Acacia
Species: A. decurrens
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

 Synonyms:  Mimosa decurrens.

Common Names: Acacia bark, Early black wattle, Green wattle, Sydney wattle, Wattle bark, Tan wattle, Golden teak, or Brazilian teak

Habitat : Acacia decurrens is native to eastern New South Wales, including Sydney, the Greater Blue Mountains Area, the Hunter Region, and south west to the Australian Capital Territory
It grows naturally in woodlands and dry sclerophyll forests in New South Wales, with associated trees such as Eucalyptus punctata and E. crebra. In areas where it has become naturalised, Sydney green wattle (Acacia decurrens) is generally found on roadsides, along creeklines and in waste areas. It also grows in disturbed sites nearby bushlands and open woodlands.

Despite its invasive nature, it has not been declared a noxious weed by any state or Australian government body
Description:
Acacia decurrens is a fast-growing tree, reaching anywhere from 2 to 15 m (7-50 ft) high. The bark is brown to dark grey colour and smooth to deeply fissured longitudinally with conspicuous intermodal flange marks. The branchlets have longitudinal ridges running along them that are unique to the species.   Young foliage tips are yellow. .

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Alternately arranged leaves with dark green on both side. Stipules are either small or none. Base of petiole swollen to form the pulvinus. Leaf blade is bipinnate. Rachis is 20-120mm long, angular and hairless. 15-45 pairs of widely spaced small leaflets (pinnules) are connected each other and 5-15 mm long by 0.4-1 mm wide, straight, parallel sided, pointed tip, tapering base, shiny and hairless or rarely sparsely hairy leaves.

The small yellow or golden-yellow flowers are very cottony in appearance and are densely attached to the stems in each head with 5-7 mm long and 60-110 mm long axillary raceme or terminal panicle. They are bisexual and fragrant. The flowers have five petals and sepals and numerous conspicuous stamens. Ovary is superior and has only one carpel with numerous ovules.

Flowering is followed by the seed pods, which are ripe over November to January.

Dark brown or reddish brown to black colour of the seed are located inside of parallel sided, flattish, smooth pod. They are 20-105 mm long by 4-8.5 mm wide with edges. Seed opens by two valves. Pods are initially hairy but they become hairless when they grow.

Cultivation  &  propagation :
Acacia decurrens adapts easily to cultivation and grows very quickly. It can be used as a shelter or specimen tree in large gardens and parks. The tree can look imposing when in flower.Cultivation of A. decurrens can be started by soaking the seeds in warm water and sowing them outdoors. The seeds keep their ability to germinate for many years.

Fieldwork conducted in the Southern Highlands found that the presence of bipinnate wattles (either as understory or tree) was related to reduced numbers of noisy miners, an aggressive species of bird that drives off small birds from gardens and bushland, and hence recommended the use of these plants in establishing green corridors and revegetation projects.

Edible Uses:
The flowers are edible and are used in fritters. An edible gum oozing from the tree’s trunk can be used as a lesser-quality substitute for gum arabic, for example in the production of fruit jelly.
Flowers – cooked. Rich in pollen, they are often used in fritters. A gum that exudes naturally from the trunk is edible and is used as a substitute for Gum Arabic in making jellies etc. It is insoluble in water and is of low quality. Larger quantities can be obtained by tapping the trunk. Some species produce a gum that is dark and is liable to be astringent and distasteful, but others produce a light gum and this is sweet and pleasant. It can be sucked like candy or soaked in water to make a jelly. The gum can be warmed when it becomes soft and chewable .

Constituents: Acacia Bark contains from 24 to 42 per cent. of tannin and also gallic acid. Its powerful astringency causes it to be extensively employed in tanning.

Medicinal Uses:
Strongly astringent, babul is used to contract and toughen mucous membranes throughout the body in much the same way as witch hazel or oak bark does. Babul may be made into a variety of preparations: for instance, a lotion for bleeding gums, a gargle for sore throats, a wash for eczema, an eyewash for conjunctivitis and other eye problems, and a douche for excessive vaginal discharge. The herb is taken internally to treat diarrhea, mainly in the form of a decoction. In Ayurvedic medicine, babul is considered a remedy that is helpful for treating premature ejaculation. .
Other Uses:
Uses for it include chemical products, environmental management, and wood. The bark contains about 37-40% tannin. The flowers are used to produce yellow dye, and the seed pods are used to produce green dye. An organic chemical compound called kaempferol gives the flowers of Acacia decurrens their color. It has been grown for firewood, or as a fast-growing windbreak or shelter tree. The extensive root system of this plant helps to prevent soil erosion.
A yellow dye is obtained from the flowers. A green dye is obtained from the seed pods. The extensive root system of this plant helps to prevent soil erosion. Often grown as a screen in Australia.

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/Acacia_decurrens
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm
https://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/a/acaci003.html

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Acacia+decurrens

Top Ten Therapeutic Benefits of Ginger

Click & see the Image

1.Helps Digestion:
Ginger has been used as a digestive aid for thousands of years by ancient cultures. Its carminative properties promote the elimination of intestinal gas to prevent bloating and flatulence, while its intestinal spasmolytic properties relax the gastrointestinal muscles to soothe an upset stomach.
Eating slices of ginger sprinkled with salt before meals can increase saliva flow to aid digestion and prevent stomach issues. It is also helpful to drink ginger tea after a large meal to reduce bloating and flatulence. If your stomach problems are more severe, you can also take ginger to help alleviate the various symptoms of food poisoning.
Ginger is frequently recommended to treat dyspepsia (chronic indigestion), provide relief from colic in children, and help in the treatment of bacteria-induced diarrhea.

2 . Therapy for nausea: Reduces motion sickness and more:
Ginger is very good at subsiding various types of nausea and vomiting, including morning sickness in pregnant women, motion sickness in travellers, and even nausea in chemotherapy patients.
70% of patients who undergo chemotherapy report struggling with nausea, despite being given anti-emetics during treatment. A recent study on adult cancer patients found that supplementing a daily dose of 0.5 to 1 gram of ginger before chemo, significantly reduced the severity of acute nausea in 91% of the participants.
The herb also helps reduce the dizziness and nausea associated with vertigo. Research in this area indicates that the spice’s therapeutic chemicals work in the brain and nervous system to control the effects of queasiness.

3.  Powerful anti-inflammatory: Reduces joint pain and relieves arthritis:
Ginger contains a very potent anti-inflammatory compound called gingerol, which is the substance responsible for alleviating joint and muscle pain. According to a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, ginger affects certain inflammatory processes at a cellular level. It shares pharmacological properties with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, making it an effective treatment for both acute and chronic inflammatory diseases.
Many other scientific studies support the effectiveness of ginger for its pro-analgesic effect on the joints, particularly in the early stages of rheumatoid arthritis. Many patients suffering from osteoarthritis have also reported reduced pain and improved mobility by consuming ginger on a regular basis.
Research in Hong Kong suggests that massage therapy using an oil of ginger and orange seems to reduce short-term stiffness and pain in patients with knee issues.
Ginger can also reduce inflammation and muscle pain caused by exercise. In a study carried out by the University of Georgia, researchers administered raw and heat-treated ginger to two groups of 34 and 40 volunteers, over 11 consecutive days. The results, published in The Journal of Pain, concluded that daily use of ginger supplements relieved exercise-induced muscle pain by 25%.

4 . Provides Pain Relief: Soothes migraines and menstrual pain:
Research has shown that ginger can provide pain relief from migraine headaches. A study performed in Iran and published in the Phytotherapy Research journal, found that ginger powder is as effective in treating migraine symptoms as sumatriptan – a common medication for the illness.
In the clinical trial, 100 migraine sufferers with acute symptoms were randomly selected to receive either sumatriptan or ginger powder. The researchers found that the efficacy of administering both were similar, while the adverse effects of ginger powder were less than sumatriptan – making it a safer remedy for migraines.
Ginger works on migraines by blocking prostaglandins, which stimulate muscle contractions, control inflammation in the blood vessels, and impact some hormones. Drinking ginger tea at the onset of a migraine attack stifles prostaglandins to block the unbearable pain, and stop the associated nausea and dizziness.
Ginger can also help women effectively reduce the pain associated with dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation). A research study in Iran divided 70 female students into two groups. One group was administered ginger capsules and the other was given a placebo – each for the first three days of their menstrual cycles. The researchers found that 82.85% of the women taking ginger capsules reported improvements in pain symptoms, compared to 47.05% of those on placebo.
Many cultures also pour fresh ginger juice on their skin to treat burns, and topical application of ginger oil has been found to be very effective in treating joint and back pain.

5 . Anti-tumor properties: Successful in killing cancer cells:
Modern research has recently been looking to ginger as a potential remedy for various types of cancer, and has come up with some promising results.
One study from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center found that ginger not only killed ovarian cancer cells, it also prevented them from building up resistance to chemotherapy – a common issue in ovarian cancer patients.
In the study, researchers applied a solution of ginger powder and water to ovarian cancer cells. In each and every test, they found that the cancer cells died when they came into contact with the ginger solution. Each of the cells either committed suicide, which is known as apoptosis, or they attacked one another, which is referred to as autophagy.

Ginger has also been proven to effectively treat breast cancer, prostate cancer and colon cancer.
Research published in the Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology discovered that chemicals from the ginger plant halted the proliferation of breast cancer cells, without affecting normal mammary cells. This property, known as selective cytotoxicity, is highly significant as it does not occur with conventional methods. And while many tumors respond well to chemotherapy treatment, breast cancer cells can be more difficult. They tend to survive and gain resistance to the treatment.
The use of natural remedies like ginger that are safe and can suppress growth of breast cancer cells is highly desirable. The other advantages of using ginger are that it is easy to administer in capsule form, it has few reported side effects, and it’s a low-cost alternative to conventional drugs.

In 2011, a Georgia State University study set out to explore ginger’s effects on prostate cancer, based on the herb’s proven anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Their results, published in The British Journal of Nutrition, found that ginger extract killed cancer cells in the prostate without affecting any of the healthy cells.

Modern scientific evidence suggests that ginger can also reduce inflammation in the colon to potentially prevent colon cancer. In a University of Michigan study, researchers administered two grams of ginger root supplements or placebo to a group of 30 patients over 28 days. After 28 days, researchers found significant reductions in colon inflammation markers in patients that were assigned ginger root, making it an effective natural prevention method for those at risk of colon cancer.
Ginger compounds have also been studied to inhibit other forms of cancer, including rectal cancer, liver cancer, lung cancer, melanoma and pancreatic cancer. It’s also interesting to note that beta-elemene – an anti-cancer pharmaceutical – is derived from ginger.

6.  Anti-diabetic compounds: Lowers blood sugar and increases insulin release:
In the case of diabetes, studies have shown ginger to be effective both preventively and therapeutically.
Research at the University of Sydney in Australia found ginger to be effective in glycemic control for people with type 2 diabetes. The study, published in the Planta Medica journal, showed that ginger extracts can increase uptake of glucose into muscle cells without using insulin, therefore it may assist in the management of high blood sugar levels.

Another clinical trial concluded that diabetic patients, that consumed three grams of dry ginger for 30 days, had a significant reduction in blood glucose, triglyceride, and in total and LDL cholesterol levels.

Overall, ginger works on diabetes by increasing insulin release and sensitivity, inhibiting enzymes in carbohydrate metabolism, and improving lipid profiles. Ginger also has a very low glycemic index (GI), which means it breaks down slowly to form glucose, and therefore does not trigger a spike in blood sugar levels like high GI foods do.
Several other studies have also established ginger to have a preventive effect against diabetes complications. Ginger can protect a diabetic’s liver, kidneys, and central nervous system, and reduce the risk of cataracts – a common side-effect of the disease.

7 . Heals the heart: Treats a variety of cardiovascular conditions:
High in potassium, manganese, chromium, magnesium and zinc, and famous for its anti-inflammatory properties, ginger has been used for years to treat heart conditions.
In Chinese medicine, ginger’s therapeutic properties were said to strengthen the heart, and ginger oil was often used to prevent and treat heart disease.
Modern studies indicate that the herb’s compounds go to work by lowering cholesterol, regulating blood pressure, improving blood flow, and preventing blocked arteries and blood clots – all of which help reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

8. Relieves respiratory disorders: Effective in treating asthma:
Ginger compounds have shown positive results in treating respiratory disorders, and research indicates it is a promising treatment for patients suffering from asthma. Asthma is a chronic disease that occurs when the muscles in the lungs’ oxygen channels become inflamed and sensitive to different substances that induce spasms.
Recent research published in the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology, demonstrates that ginger works on treating asthma in two ways: first, by inhibiting the enzyme that constricts airway muscles, and second, by activating another enzyme that works to relax the airways.

Part of the reason ginger works is due to its potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and analgesic compounds, which have properties similar to that of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, but without the negative side effects. While asthma can be a deadly disease, some of the medications used to treat asthma can also carry troubling side effects. Therefore, finding alternative, safe remedies like ginger, is a promising discovery in the treatment of this disease.

9. Immunity-booster: Reduces coughs and colds:
Ginger is a wonderful immune system booster, making it a well-known treatment for colds and flus. And since it helps calm symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection, it also works on coughs, sore throats and bronchitis.

Ginger clears the micro-circulatory channels of the body, including the pesky sinuses that flare up during colds. Drinking ginger with lemon and honey is a popular cold and flu remedy that has been handed down for many generations, both in the east and the west.

Ginger also has thermogenic properties, so it can warm up the body in the cold and, more importantly, can promote healthy sweating. This type of sweating, which helps to detoxify the body and assist in releasing cold symptoms, has also been shown to fight off bacterial and fungal infections.

Recent research in Germany found a potent germ-fighting agent contained in sweat which they named dermicidin. This is manufactured in the body’s sweat glands, secreted into the sweat, and transported to the skin’s surface, where it works to provide protection against bacteria like E. coli and fungi like Candida albicans.
Best of all, ginger has concentrated active substances that are easily absorbed by the body, so you don’t have to use very much to receive its beneficial effects.

10. Potent Antioxidant: Slows down DNA damage:
Many worldwide studies have found ginger to contain potent antioxidant properties, which help protect lipids from peroxidation (rancidity) and DNA damage.
Antioxidants are extremely important as they provide protection against free radicals, which helps reduce the various types of degenerative diseases that come with aging, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s and more.

While all spices are known to be powerful antioxidants, ginger seems to be extra-potent. It contains 25 different antioxidant properties on its own. This makes it effective at fighting a variety of free radicals, and in different areas of the body.

Some Important Things to Note:

*Ginger should not be given to children under the age of two
*In general, adults should not take more than 4 grams of ginger per day, including in cooking
*Pregnant women should not take more than 1 gram per day
*You can use dried or fresh ginger root to make ginger tea and drink that two to three times daily
*To reduce acute inflammation, you can massage the affected area with ginger oil a few times per day
*Ginger capsules are said to provide better benefits than other forms
*Ginger can interact with other medications, including blood thinners
*Always consult a doctor for ginger dosage information and potential side effects for specific issues.

Adopted from a very reliable source

Learn to Walk

Do you know how to walk? Of course, most people would say, everyone knows how to walk; it is as instinctive as breathing. The comparison is apt — just like many people breathe inefficiently, in today’s increasingly motorised world many have forgotten how to walk. If you look around, you will see that by the time people reach their fifties, they either waddle with a sideways swaying movement or have a forward shuffling gait. This unnatural way of walking pushes the spine, hip and knees out of alignment, eventually resulting in aches, pains and even degenerative arthritis.

As we grow older, we need to concentrate on maintaining a proper walking technique. Slouching, bad posture and an improper gait are avoidable pitfalls. Whenever you walk, hold your head high and the neck straight. The eyes should be focused 15-20 feet ahead, the chin held parallel to the ground, the stomach pulled in, the feet a shoulder-width apart and the arms should swing naturally at right angles (not across the body).

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

It is even more important to learn to walk properly as a toddler but cramped housing and an unsafe environment makes fearful parents confine children indoors. Also, early unsteady steps often result in falls, leading to bruises and bumps. Anxious parents then start carrying children or restrict them to prams. Watching television programmes seems safer and less stressful (for the caretaker) than letting tiny tots walk around.

That, however, is not the right attitude. Toddlers attempting to take their first steps need active encouragement. Hold them by the hand and make them walk alongside for around 20 minutes morning and evening. Encourage them to walk fast, run, jump and skip. This will improve muscle tone, balance, coordination as well as make them confident and sturdy. This will help them all through life.

The preparation for a healthy life in which one (barring an unforeseen event) remains active and mobile well into the nineties, should ideally begin in the twenties but it is never too late to start. Even the sixties or the eighties is not too late. These days doctors recommend an hour of aerobic activity a day. Of all the activities — jogging, walking, running swimming, dancing and sports like tennis — walking is the easiest. It does not require much training or equipment, no partner is required, and it is the least likely to cause an injury.

The intensity or speed of the walk can be varied to obtain maximum health benefits. The perception of the intensity of exercise can be misleading. This is why it is important to have an objective assessment. The “target heart rate” should be calculated from the formula 220-age. In light activity, 40 per cent of this heart rate is reached, breathing is normal, sweating is minimal and it is possible to carry on a conversation. In moderate activity, 50-70 per cent of the target heart rate is reached, breathing is rapid, sweating occurs and it is possible to speak but not sing. During vigorous activity 70-80 per cent of the target rate is reached, breathing is rapid and it is not possible to speak without pausing for breath. The intensity of exercise should be gradually built up over a period of months to the “vigorous stage” as this confers the most health benefits.

It is important to wear seamless socks (will not injure the feet) and proper footwear while walking. Slippers slap up against the heel. After many kilometres, this is likely to result in heel pain. Clothes should be loose and made out of natural or “climate controlled” material, not tight fitting synthetic and non sweat absorbing.

In 10-15 per cent of people over the age of 65, walking can result in a pain radiating down the leg or in the buttock or calf. After a period of rest, the pain disappears. This is a condition called intermittent claudication and is caused by poor blood supply to the leg muscles. It can occur in diabetes, hypertension and if cholesterol plaques block the vessels owing to elevated lipids .It can be a precursor to strokes and heart attacks. Intermittent claudication responds 250 per cent within a few months to walking for at least an hour a day with rest whenever the pain arises.

People who walk regularly get an endorphin (mood-elevating chemical) boost. The constant pounding helps calcium enter their bones making them stronger. Recent research has shown that the hippocampus (the area in the brain responsible for memory) expands by as much as 2 per cent in people who walk regularly. In sedentary elders it shrank by 1.5 per cent.

Have a clear aim, like eventually being able to walk for an hour. Make walking a habit, beginning each day with the thought “when I finish my walk,” rather than “if I walk today”. In short, walk to be fit, healthy, happy and to have a good memory.

Source : The Telegraph ( Kolkata, India)

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The World’s 10 Fattest Countries 2010

Obesity is a growing problem in every corner of the world.

The World Health Organization projects that five years from now, in 2015, the number of overweight adults will increase to 2.3 billion, up from just 1.6 billion five years ago.
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The Global Post lists the world’s top ten fattest countries, as measured by the percentage of the population with a BMI index of more than 25. Most are island nations, but the United States is also on the list.

1.Nauru: 95 percent of the population
Nauruans historically engaged in fattening ceremonies, where young women were kept inside and fed to excess. That legacy, plus the more recent transition to Western-style meals, has been devastating.

2.Micronesia,3. the Cook Islands and

4. Tonga: All three of these island nations weigh in at a 92 percent overweight population.
5.Niue: 84 percent
6.Samoa: 83 percent
7.Palau: 81 percent
8.United States: 79 percent
9.Kiribati: 77 percent
10.Dominica: 76 percent

Other overweight nations include Kuwait and Argentina (75 percent), Mexico (73 percent), Australia (71 percent), Egypt and Greece (70 percent), Belarus (67 percent) and the United Kingdom (66 percent).

Source: Global Post November 22, 2010

Posted By Dr. Mercola | December 08 2010