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Populus balsamifera

Botanical Name : Populus balsamifera
Family: Salicaceae
Genus: Populus
Section: Tacamahaca
Species: P. balsamifera
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malpighiales

Common Names : Balsam Poplar, Black cottonwood, Bam, Bamtree, Eastern balsam poplar, Hackmatack, Tacamahac poplar, Tacamahaca

Other common names :    Heartleaf balsam poplar, and Ontario balsam poplar.

The black cottonwood, Populus trichocarpa, is sometimes considered a subspecies of P. balsamifera and may lend its common name to this species, although the black poplars and cottonwoods of Populus sect. Aigeiros are not closely related.

Habitat : Populus balsamifera is native to northern N. America – Newfoundland to Alaska, south to New England, Iowa and Colorado. It grows in deep moist sandy soils of river bottomlands, stream banks, borders of lakes and swamps.

Description:
Populus balsamifera is a deciduous medium to large-sized, averaging 23 – 30 m (75 – 100 ft) high, broadleaved hardwood. Crown narrow, pyramidal with thick, ascending branches. Branchlets moderately stout, round, shiny reddy-brown, orange lenticels, buds are reddish-brown to brown, 2.5 cm (1 inch) long, curved, resinous and fragrant. Twig has a bitter aspirin taste. Trunk bark greenish gray with lighter lenticels when young, later becoming darker and furrowed with long, scaly ridges.

Leaves – alternate, simple, ovate, finely serrated, shiny dark green, paler and often blotchy orange below, petiole long with glands at the leaf base.

Flowers – dioecious, male and female as hanging, long pale yellow green catkins, appearing in May.

Fruit – small, 2-valved, dry capsule containing numerous small seeds. Capsules are a lustrous green during development but turn dull green at time of dispersal. Male flowers are shed promptly and decay; female catkins are shed shortly after dispersal is completed but remain identifiable for the remainder of the summer.

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Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

Cultivation :
An easily grown plant, it does well in a heavy cold damp soil, though it prefers a deep rich well-drained circumneutral soil, growing best in the south and east of Britain. Growth is much less on wet soils, on poor acid soils and on thin dry soils. Does not do well in exposed upland sites. Dislikes shade, it is intolerant of root or branch competition A fast-growing and generally short-lived tree, though specimens 150 – 200 years old have occasionally been recorded. This is a pioneer species, invading cleared land, old fields etc, but unable to tolerate shade competition and eventually being out-competed by other trees. It is not fully satisfactory in Britain. In spring and early summer the buds and young leaves have a strong fragrance of balsam. Poplars have very extensive and aggressive root systems that can invade and damage drainage systems. Especially when grown on clay soils, they should not be planted within 12 metres of buildings since the root system can damage the building’s foundations by drying out the soil. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Propagation:
Seed – must be sown as soon as it is ripe in spring. Poplar seed has an extremely short period of viability and needs to be sown within a few days of ripening. Surface sow or just lightly cover the seed in trays in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the old frame. If sufficient growth is made, it might be possible to plant them out in late summer into their permanent positions, otherwise keep them in the cold frame until the following late spring and then plant them out. Most poplar species hybridize freely with each other, so the seed may not come true unless it is collected from the wild in areas with no other poplar species growing. Cuttings of mature wood of the current season’s growth, 20 – 40cm long, November/December in a sheltered outdoor bed or direct into their permanent positions. Very easy. Suckers in early spring[

Edible Uses:…The inner bark is often dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickener in soups etc or added to cereals when making bread. Catkins – raw or cooked. A bitter flavour. It is best used in spring.
Medicinal Uses:
Anodyne; Antiinflammatory; Antiscorbutic; Antiseptic; Cathartic; Diuretic; Expectorant; Febrifuge; Stimulant; Tonic.

Balsam poplar has a long history of medicinal use. It was valued by several native North American Indian tribes who used it to treat a variety of complaints, but especially to treat skin problems and lung ailments. In modern herbalism it is valued as an expectorant and antiseptic tonic. The buds are used as a stimulating expectorant for all conditions affecting the respiratory functions when congested. In tincture they have been beneficially employed in affections of the stomach and kidneys and in scurvy and rheumatism, also for chest complaints.

The leaf buds are covered with a resinous sap that has a strong turpentine odor and a bitter taste. They are boiled in order to separate the resin and the resin is then dissolved in alcohol. The resin is a folk remedy, used as a salve and wash for sores, rheumatism, wounds etc. It is made into a tea and used as a wash for sprains, inflammation, muscle pains etc.

The bark is cathartic and tonic. Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, the bark of most, if not all members of the genus contain salicin, a glycoside that probably decomposes into salicylic acid (aspirin) in the body. The bark is therefore anodyne, anti-inflammatory and febrifuge. It is used especially in treating rheumatism and fevers, and also to relieve the pain of menstrual cramps. A tea made from the inner bark is used as an eye wash and in the treatment of scurvy.

It is an excellent hemorrhoid treatment. For burns it lessens pain, keeps the surface antiseptic and also stimulates skin regeneration. The tincture is a very effective therapy for chest colds, increasing protective mucus secretions in the beginning, when the tissues are hot, dry and painful. Later, it increases te softening expectorant secretions when the mucus is hard and impacted on the bronchial walls, and coughing is painful. Are aromatics are secreted as volatile gases in expiration. This helps to inhibit microorganisms and lessen the likelihood of secondary, often more serious, infections.

Other Uses:
Pioneer; Repellent; Resin; Rooting hormone; Wood.

An extract of the shoots can be used as a rooting hormone for all types of cuttings. It is extracted by soaking the chopped up shoots in cold water for a day. The resin obtained from the buds was used by various native North American Indian tribes to waterproof the seams on their canoes. The resin on the buds has been used as an insect repellent. The bark has been burnt to repel mosquitoes. A pioneer species, capable of invading cleared land and paving the way for other woodland trees. It is not very shade tolerant and so it is eventually out-competed by the woodland trees. Wood – soft, light, rather woolly in texture, without smell or taste, of low flammability, not durable, very resistant to abrasion. It weighs 23lb per cubic foot, and is used for pulp, boxes etc. The wood is also used as a fuel, it gives off a pleasant odour when burning.
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/Populus_balsamifera
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Populus+balsamifera
http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/volume_2/populus/balsamifera.htm

http://www.borealforest.org/trees/tree11.htm

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Ribes rubrum

Botanical Name :Ribes rubrum
Family: Grossulariaceae
Genus: Ribes
Species: R. rubrum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Saxifragales

Synonyms: Ribs. Risp. Reps.
Common Names: Red currant or Redcurrant

Habitat: Ribes rubrum is native to parts of western Europe (Belgium, Great Britain ergo England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, France, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Netherlands, northern Italy, northern Spain, Portugal and Poland). The plant is grown equally at home in hedges and ditches, trained against the wall of a house, or as a shrub cultivated in gardens.
Description:
Ribes rubrum is a deciduous shrub normally growing to 1–1.5 m (3.3–4.9 ft) tall, occasionally 2 m (7 ft), with five-lobed leaves arranged spirally on the stems. The flowers are inconspicuous yellow-green, in pendulous 4–8 cm (2–3 in) racemes, maturing into bright red translucent edible berries about 8–12 mm (0.3–0.5 in) diameter, with 3–10 berries on each raceme. An established bush can produce 3–4 kg (7–9 lb) of berries from mid to late summer…..CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
Cultivation:
There are several other similar species native in Europe, Asia and North America, also with edible fruit. These include Ribes spicatum (northern Europe and northern Asia), Ribes alpinum (northern Europe), R. schlechtendalii (northeast Europe), R. multiflorum (southeast Europe), R. petraeum (southwest Europe) and R. triste (North America; Newfoundland to Alaska and southward in mountains).

While Ribes rubrum and R. nigrum are native to northern and eastern Europe, large berried cultivars of the redcurrant were first produced in Belgium and northern France in the 17th century. In modern times, numerous cultivars have been selected; some of these have escaped gardens and can be found in the wild across Europe and extending into Asia.

The white currant is also a cultivar of Ribes rubrum. Although it is a sweeter and albino variant of the redcurrant, it is not a separate botanical species and is sometimes marketed with names such as Ribes sativum or Ribes silvestre, or sold as a different fruit.

Currant bushes prefer partial to full sunlight and can grow in most types of soil. They are relatively low-maintenance plants and can also be used as ornamentation.

Edible Uses:
With maturity, the tart flavour of redcurrant fruit is slightly greater than its blackcurrant relative, but with the same approximate sweetness. The albino variant of redcurrant, often referred to as white currant, has the same tart flavour but with greater sweetness. Although frequently cultivated for jams and cooked preparations, much like the white currant, it is often served raw or as a simple accompaniment in salads, garnishes, or drinks when in season.
In the United Kingdom, redcurrant jelly is a condiment often served with lamb, game meat including venison, turkey and goose in a festive or Sunday roast. It is essentially a jam and is made in the same way, by adding the redcurrants to sugar, boiling, and straining.

In France, the highly rarefied and hand-made Bar-le-duc or Lorraine jelly is a spreadable preparation traditionally made from white currants or alternatively red currants.

In Scandinavia and Schleswig-Holstein, it is often used in fruit soups and summer puddings (Rødgrød, Rote Grütze or Rode Grütt). In Germany it is also used in combination with custard or meringue as a filling for tarts. In Linz, Austria, it is the most commonly used filling for the Linzer torte.  It can be enjoyed in its fresh state without the addition of sugar.

In German-speaking areas, syrup or nectar derived from the red currant is added to soda water and enjoyed as a refreshing drink named Johannisbeerschorle. It is so named because the redcurrants (Johannisbeeren, “John’s berry” in German) are said to ripen first on St. John’s Day, also known as Midsummer Day, June 24.

In Russia, redcurrants are ubiquitous and used in jams, preserves, compotes and desserts; while leaves have many uses in traditional medicine.

In Mexico, redcurrants are a popular flavour for iced/frappé drinks and desserts, most commonly in ‘raspado’ (scraped ice) form.

Part Used in medicine: The fruits, especially the juice.

Constituents: The juice is said to contain citric acid, malic acid, sugar, vegetable jelly and jam.

Medicinal Uses:
Refrigerant, aperient, antiscorbutic. The juice forms a refreshing drink in fever, and the jelly, made from equal weights of fruit and sugar, when eaten with ‘high’ meats, acts as an anti-putrescent. The wine made from white ‘red’ currants has been used for calculous affections.

In some cases the fruit causes flatulence and indigestion. It has frequently given much help in forms of visceral obstruction. The jelly is antiseptic, and will ease the pain of a burn and prevent the formation of blisters, if applied immediately. Some regard the leaves as having emmenagogue properties.

Poison and Antidotes: In common with other acidulous fruits, they must be turned out of an open tin immediately into a glass or earthenware dish, or the action of the acid combining with the surrounding air will begin to engender a deadly metallic poison.

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/Redcurrant
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/c/currd132.html

Red Wine and Cranberries are Good for Teeth

 

Compounds found in red wine and cranberries can prevent cavities and plaque build-up.  The wine compounds, which are called polyphenols, do this by blocking a molecule made by the bacteria streptococcus mutans.

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These molecules break down sugar to make sticky molecules called glucans, which let bacteria cling to your teeth and damage their surfaces.

Live Science reports:
“But the fermented grape stems, seeds, and skins left over from wine production contain high amounts of polyphenols. The polyphenols can block the ability of S. mutans to make glucans .  Compounds in cranberries work similarly — they block the molecules that enable the sticky surface to form on our teeth.”

Resources:
Live Science December 17, 2010
Caries Research 2010; 44(2):116-26

Posted By Dr. Mercola . January 06 2011

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Resveratrol Slows The Aging Process

A natural compound that can help enhance your memory and restore your brain’s cell function is resveratrol. This nutrient is found in grapes, red wine, peanuts, seeds, nuts, various Chinese and Japanese herbs, raspberries, blueberries and cranberries.

The power of resveratrol was first discovered in association with French diets. Longevity and increased heart health were abundant among the Europeans even though they consumed high levels of saturated fats and wine. The key to the French peoples’ life expectancy, razor-sharp mind and low rate of coronary heart disease was linked with the nutrient resveratrol.

In his book, The Longevity Factor: How Resveratrol and Red Wine Activate Genes For A Longer and Healthier Life, Joseph Maroon, M.D., explains the power of resveratrol. During testing on mice at Harvard University, he observed results that show a reduction in the occurrence of Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases in those mice that received resveratrol.

Testing conducted at Harvard University by Joseph Baur, Ph.D., and David Sinclair, Ph.D., found that the compound resveratrol can slow down the aging process by repairing and protecting your cell membranes. By increasing the strength of your cells—especially your brain cells—you can virtually extend your life expectancy and sharpen your mind because you won’t have lost those essential cells.

In the book How Can the New Discovery of the Anti-aging Gene and Resveratrol Benefit You?, author Brook Henderson indicates resveratrol attacks genes that are harmful to your body. When this happens, abnormal cell growth decreases… dying and decaying cells are repaired… and the cells’ natural ability to repair themselves is restored.

Source : Better Health Research. July 5. 2010

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Red Wine Nutrient Helps Fight Aging and Abnormal Cell Growth

Recent scientific studies have discovered a simple compound that can help enhance, improve and even lengthen your life—without any negative side effects. Imagine living five… 10… or 15 years longer than the average-age man or woman.

………………..redwine

Specialists from the Mayo Clinic and Harvard University state that a miracle nutrient called resveratrol found in red wine could be the elixir to extend your life. Resveratrol can also be found in grapes, peanuts, seeds, various Chinese and Japanese herbs, raspberries, blueberries, and cranberries.

When it comes to protecting your cells from abnormal growth that can lead to cancer, clinical studies show resveratrol can boost the health and lifespan of your cells. Researchers at the University of Illinois in Chicago found that resveratrol interfered with the three major stages of cancer production. Resveratrol was found to neutralize free radical damage in the initiation of the disease, reduce inflammation during the promotion of the disease and inhibit further abnormal cell growth during the progression of the disease. According to the results published in Science, the data suggest that resveratrol is a highly effective nutrient that may present itself as a potential cancer chemopreventive agent in humans, as well.

By supplementing with resveratrol, not only can you fight abnormal cell growth, you can help shut down sick cells and prevent them from multiplying… repair cells faster and keep healthy cells living longer and stronger… increase your lifespan by decades… and virtually wipe out old-age health concerns including blood sugar imbalances, memory loss and cholesterol problems.

Source:  Better Health Research. Dec 14. 2009

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