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Herbs & Plants

Geranium dissectum

Botanical Name: Geranium dissectum
Family: Geraniaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Geraniales
Genus: Geranium
Species: G. dissectum

Synonyms : Geranium laxum

Common Names: Cut-Leafed Cranesbill, Cutleaf geranium

Habitat: Geranium dissectum is natiive to Europe, including Britain, south to N. Africa and east to Iran. It is cultivated and waste ground, grassland, hedgebanks etc to 375m.

Description:
A hairy annual plant growing to about 60cm, although 30 to 40cm is more typical, the leaves of Cut-leaved Cranesbill are deeply divided – almost to the base. Its hermaphrodite mauve flowers, 12 to 18mm across and with five slightly notched petals, are borne on very short stalks, while the sepals of the flowers are densely hairy. Fruits (seeds) ripen in beaked pods formed from five fused sections of the ovary with an elongated column that together looks like the head and beak of a stork. When fully ripened the seed pods open in curls from the base to expose the seeds.

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Cultivation:
Succeeds in any moderately fertile retentive soil in a sunny position. Tolerates a range of soil types. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits.

Edible Uses: Roots are cooked and eaten. A famine food, used when all else fails.

Medicinal Uses:
The whole plant, but especially the roots, is rich in tannin. It is antiseptic, highly astringent, styptic and tonic. An infusion of the whole plant, or of the roots alone, is used in the treatment of diarrhoea (especially for children and the elderly), dysentery, cholera, gastro-enteritis, internal bleeding, excessive menstruation etc. Externally, it is used in the treatment of purulent wounds, haemorrhoids, thrush, vaginal discharges, inflammations of the mouth etc. It is best to harvest the roots as the plant comes into flower since they are then at their most active medicinally. The leaves should be harvested before the plant sets seed. Both are dried for later use

Other Uses: A brown dye can be made from the dried flowers of Geranium dissectum.

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/Geranium_dissectum
https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Geranium+dissectum
https://www.first-nature.com/flowers/geranium-dissectum.php

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Herbs & Plants

Gentiana cruciata

Botanical Name: Gentiana cruciata
Family: Gentianaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales
Genus: Gentiana
Species: G. cruciata

Synonyms: Tretorhiza cruciata (L.) Delarbre

Common Names: Star gentian, Cross gentian,

Habitat: Gentiana cruciata is native to Europe to W. Asia. It grows on dry alpine meadows, woods, rocks and banks, usually on limey soils.

Description:
Gentiana cruciata is a hemicryptophyte scapose plant of small size, reaching on average 20–40 centimetres (7.9–15.7 in) in height. It has erect stems, the leaves are large, ovate-lanceolate, semiamplexicaul, about 3–8 centimetres (1.2–3.1 in) long. The flowers are violet-blue trumpets with 4 petals, clustered in the axils of upper leaves. The flowering period extends from June to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite and pollinated by insects (entomogamy). The fruit is a capsule. The seeds are dispersed by gravity alone (barochory).

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Cultivation:
In general, gentians require a moist well-drained soil in a sheltered position, a certain minimum of atmospheric humidity, high light intensity but a site where temperatures are not too high. They are therefore more difficult to grow in areas with hot summers and in such a region they appreciate some protection from the strongest sunlight[200, 239]. Most species will grow well in the rock garden. This species is easily grown in any good garden soil, preferring drier conditions than most other members of the genus[239]. Plants are hardy to at least -20°c. A moisture loving plant, preferring to grow with full exposure to the sun but with plenty of underground moisture in the summer, it grows better in the north and west of Britain. Plants are intolerant of root disturbance.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a light position in a cold frame. It can also be sown in late winter or early spring but the seed germinates best if given a period of cold stratification and quickly loses viability when stored, with older seed germinating slowly and erratically. It is advantageous to keep the seed at about 10°c for a few days after sowing, to enable the seed to imbibe moisture[239]. Following this with a period of at least 5 – 6 weeks with temperatures falling to between 0 and -5°c will usually produce reasonable germination. It is best to use clay pots, since plastic ones do not drain so freely and the moister conditions encourage the growth of moss, which will prevent germination of the seed. The seed should be surface-sown, or only covered with a very light dressing of compost. The seed requires dark for germination, so the pots should be covered with something like newspaper or be kept in the dark. Pot up the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. The seedlings grow on very slowly, taking 2 – 7 years to reach flowering size. When the plants are of sufficient size, place them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Division in March. Cuttings of basal shoots in late spring.

Medicinal Uses:
The root is appetizer, bitter tonic, digestive, febrifuge and stomachic. It is used in the treatment of hoarseness and sore throats. The root is a possible substitute for gentian root[4], though the report is not clear enough on this point. Listed below are the uses of G. lutea, the most widely used gentian root. Gentian root has a long history of use as a herbal bitter in the treatment of digestive disorders and is an ingredient of many proprietary medicines. It contains some of the most bitter compounds known and is used as a scientific basis for measuring bitterness[238]. It is especially useful in states of exhaustion from chronic disease and in all cases of debility, weakness of the digestive system and lack of appetite. It is one of the best strengtheners of the human system, stimulating the liver, gall bladder and digestive system, and is an excellent tonic to combine with a purgative in order to prevent its debilitating effects. The root is anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, bitter tonic, cholagogue, emmenagogue, febrifuge, refrigerant, stomachic. It is taken internally in the treatment of liver complaints, indigestion, gastric infections and anorexia. It should not be prescribed for patients with gastric or duodenal ulcers. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. It is quite likely that the roots of plants that have not flowered are the richest in medicinal properties.

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/Gentiana_cruciata
https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Gentiana+cruciata

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Herbs & Plants

Garcinia kola

Botanical Name: Garcinia kola
Family: Clusiaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malpighiales
Genus: Garcinia
Species: G. kola

Synonyms: Garcinia akawaensis Spirlet; Garcinia bergheana Spirlet; Garcinia giadidii De Wild.

Common Name: Bitter Kola

Other Names: Agambo, Akara, Akbatuwe, Akilu, Aouolie, Bolele, Ebon gagnagne, Edun, Efiat, Goro, Mbongo, Ngadjadja, Ngbwel, Onale, Ondale, Onie, Orogba, Orogbo, Oyale, Tweapea, Umbongo, adi, akara-inu oglu, aki-unu, akilu, akilu aki-inu, akra-inu, bitter kola, edum, edun, efi ari, efi at, efiari, efiat, false kola, male cola, mijin-gworo, ogolu, okan, okan., orogbo.

Habitat:Garcinia kola is native to Tropical Africa – Sierra Leone to S Nigeria and on into Zaire and Angola. It grows in the dense rainforest, often in wet situations, riverine and swamp, found at elevations up to 1,200 metres.

Description:
Garcinia kola is an evergreen flowering tree with a heavy, spreading crown and can grow up to 30 m in height. It can be found in tropical Africa. The trunk is straight with brown bark. The leaves are leathery. The flowers are greenish-white. The seeds can be eaten raw. The reddish-yellow fruits are extremely sour but is edible. Some of the first recipes for Coca-Cola were made using the extract of the bitter kola plant. Though the company hasn’t used actual kola to flavor their sodas in years, the name remains a reminder of the unusual plant that inspired the iconic drink.

Cultivation: Plantation cultivation can be successfully carried out: three year old stump-planting under shade is recommended, but sowing the seed in situ by a stake is possible.

Propagation:
Seed – it has a short viability and so should be sown as soon as possible. The fresh, mature seeds are dormant but viable, creating difficulties with rapid and uniform germination within seed lots. The thin leathery seed cover is not a barrier to water penetration in the embryo, however, de-coating or ethanol treatments (soaking in 70% ethanol solution for 1 to 2 hours) can increase germination to more than 90% after about 5 months. Germination of intact, fresh seeds is about 50%, starting after about 3 months at ambient temperature (25 – 28°c) and most seeds will have germinated 7 – 8 months after sowing (in river sand). However, in nursery trials, the seeds continued to germinate for 18 months, reaching a final germination level of 75%.

Edible Uses:
Seed s are eaten – raw. They have a bitter, astringent, aromatic flavour; somewhat resembling that of a raw coffee bean. This is followed by a slight sweetness (or lingering pepperiness). The seeds are chewed along with the seeds of the true cola (Cola spp.). They are thought to enhance a person’s enjoyment of the cola as well as allowing for consumption of larger quantities without indisposition. The extremely sour fruits are sometimes eaten. They are orange-sized, and contain a yellow pulp surrounding four seeds.

Medicinal Uses:
Bitter kola is widely used in traditional medicine in Africa with most parts of the plant being used and a wide range of ailments being treated. Several medically active compounds have been identified. Tannins, a reducing sugar and traces of an alkaloid have been detected in the bark; flavonins are also present, the whole being extremely bitter, resinous and astringent. A number of pharmocological actions have also been demonstrated. Extracts of stems, roots and seeds have been shown to have strong anti-hepatotoxic and hepatotropic activity. Petroleum ether and acetone extracts were found to be markedly anti-microbial. The bark contains an abundant sticky resinous gum. This is taken internally in the treatment of gonorrhoea. Externally, the gum is applied to skin-infections and used to seal new wounds. The bark is said to be aphrodisiac, galactagogue. A decoction is used to treat female sterility and to ease child-birth, the intake being daily until conception is certain and then at half quantity throughout the term. It is also used to induce the expulsion of a dead foetus. The powdered bark is applied externally to malignant tumours, cancers, etc.. A tea of the bark, combined with the bark of Sarcocephalus latifolius, has a strong reputation as a diuretic, urinary decongestant and treatment for chronic urethral discharge. The bark, combined with Piper guineense and sap from a plantain stalk (Musa sp.) is used to embrocate the breast for mastitis. The seed and bark are taken to treat stomach-pains. The leaves and bark are used in the treatment of pulmonary and gastro-intestinal troubles. The root and bark are used as a tonic for men ‘to make their organs work well’. The leaves have a bitter taste. A leaf-infusion is purgative The fruits are eaten in Nigeria as a cure for general aches in the head, back, etc., and as a vermifuge. The seeds are said to be antidote, antitussive, aphrodisiac, astringent and vermifuge. Mastication of the seeds is said to relieve coughs, hoarseness, and bronchial and throat troubles. They are taken dry as a remedy for dysentery. They are said to provide an antidote against Strophanthus poisoning. The active principle, or principles, in the nut remain enigmatic. Caffeine, which is present in the true kola, is absent. A trace of alkaloid has been reported in Nigerian materials, but absent in other samples. Tannins are present which may contain the anti-bacterial compounds morellin and guttiferin. Activity may also lie in resins which are as yet unidentified.

In Nigeria, these are eaten as a cure for body pains. Plant parts such as bark, fruit, seeds and nuts have been used in traditional medicine for the treatment of various conditions like coughs, fever, gonorrhea, wounds, malignant tumors, chronic urethral discharge, stomach pains, pulmonary and gastro-intestinal conditions, and general body pains. The tree is also planted as shade tree in cocoa plantations. The bark yields a resinous gum that has water-proofing capacity. The wood is durable and somewhat resistant to termite attacks. The roots are used as chew sticks.

Agroforestry Uses: The tree is used to provide shade in cocoa plantations.

Other Uses: The bark contains an abundant sticky resinous gum that has water-proofing properties. It can be used to protect powder in the priming pans of flintlock guns from rain. The gum in the bark is incendiary, the twigs burning brightly and therefore used as tapers. The bark is used in tanning, and has at times been exported as a tanning material. The leaves have a bitter taste and are used as a deterrent to fleas. The sap-wood is creamy white, the heart-wood yellow, darkening to brown at the centre, hard, close-grained, finishing smoothly and taking a good polish. It is durable and fairly resistant to termites. The principal application of the wood is for chew-sticks. They are said to whiten the teeth and clean the mouth, and are widely used in western Africa. Smaller trees are more commonly used and are specifically felled for this purpose, the wood being cut and split into pencil-sized pieces. The roots are also used as chew sticks, sometimes in preference to the wood. They are believed to prevent dental caries, though tests have shown no anti-biotic activity.

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/Garcinia_kola
https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Garcinia+kola
https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-bitter-kola#1

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Herbs & Plants

Garcinia brasiliensis

Botanical Name: Garcinia brasiliensis
Family: Clusiaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malpighiales
Genus: Garcinia
Species: G. gardneriana

Synonyms:
*Garcinia gardneriana
*Garcinia gardneriana (Planch. & Triana) Zappi
*Rheedia brasiliensis (Mart.) Planch. & Triana
*Rheedia gardneriana Planch. & Triana
*Rheedia spruceana Engl.

Common Names: Bacupari

Habitat: Garcinia brasiliensis is native to S. America – Argentina, Paraguay, eastern Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, French Guiana.It grows in secondary forests, by rivers, floodplains, coastal moist broadleaved forests etc.

Description:
Garcinia brasiliensis is an evergreen tree growing to 6 m (19ft) by 5 m (16ft) at a slow rate. The very attractive tree is pyramidal like that of the bakuri but smaller; is equally rich in yellow latex. The tree grows wild in the state of Rio de Janeiro in southeastern Brazil and adjacent Paraguay; is rarely cultivated. It blooms in December and matures its fruit in January and February. 2

Leaves: Short-petioled, ovate, oblong-ovate or lanceolate, narrowed at the base, blunt or slightly pointed at the apex, and leathery. 2

Flowers : Inflorescences: male flowers are more numerous along with 3-5 androgynous flowers per inflorescence on fascibles with a verticillate aspect. 4

Fruit: The fruit, ovate, pointed at the apex, may be 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 in long, with orange-yellow, pliable, leathery, tough skin, 1/8 in thick and easily removed. The aril-like pulp is white, translucent, soft, sub-acid, of excellent flavor, and encloses 2 rounded seeds.

Cultivation:
An understorey tree. It can be in seasonally flooded forest. A cultivated fruit tree. The fruit are popular. Fruit are sold in local markets. A plant of the moist tropics. Succeeds in full sun or light shade. It does best and fruits more readily in full sun. Plants can tolerate at least some inundation. Newly planted young trees establish and grow away fairly slowly.

Edible Uses:
Fruit – raw. The aril-like translucent subacid white pulp has an excellent flavour, suggesting that of the mangosteen. A highly prized fruit, usually eaten fresh but also makes an excellent jam. The ovate fruit may be 32 – 40mm long, with an orange-yellow, pliable, leathery, tough skin, 3 mm thick that is easily removed.

Medicinal Uses:
The seeds contain 8 to 9% oil (by weight), which is used in poultices on wounds, whitlows, tumours and, externally, over an enlarged liver. An infusion of the pulp has a narcotic action with an effect like that of nicotine. The root bark extract contains rheediaxanthone and a polyprenylated benzophenone, other lesser constituents, and 3 new prenylated xanthones.

Other Uses: The wood is irregular-grained, coarse-textured, heavy, moderately susceptible to rot. It is suitable only for rural construction. The wood is used for fuel. We do not have any more information on the wood of this species, but a general description of the wood for trees in the Americas which were formerly considered to be in the genus Rheedia is as follows:- The heartwood is dark yellow-brown, grayish- or pinkish-brown, merging gradually into the sapwood; surfaces are sometimes specked with resinous exudations. The texture is medium to coarse; the grain straight to irregular and roey; luster medium to rather low; it is free from discernible odour or taste. Species in Surinam are rated durable to attack by decay fungi and fairly resistant to dry wood termites. Species in Colombia are resistant to a brown-rot fungus but not the white-rot in a laboratory assay. Under field conditions the wood was susceptible to decay and attack by insects. It dries rapidly, but is reported to be moderately difficult to air season, tending to warp and check. Reports on workability vary with species from moderate to high resistance to cutting to machining fairly well; reports on ease of finishing are also variable. The wood is used for purposes such as furniture, flooring (quarter sawn), heavy construction, and general carpentry

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/Garcinia_gardneriana
https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Garcinia+brasiliensis
https://www.growables.org/information/TropicalFruit/Bakupari-Rheediabrasiliensis.htm

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Herbs & Plants

Galium triflorum

Botanical Name: Galium triflorum
Family: Rubiaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales
Genus: Galium
Species: G. triflorum

Common Names: Fragrant Bedstraw, Cudweed, Sweet-scented bedstraw,

Habitat: Galium triflorum is native to northern Europe (Scandinavia, Switzerland, Russia, Baltic States), eastern Asia (Kamchatka, Japan, Korea, Guizhou, Sichuan, India, Nepal) and North America (from Alaska and Greenland south to Veracruz). It grows in moist woods near sea level, to moderate elevations in the mountains in Western N. America.

Description:
Galium triflorum is a perennial plant, growing to 0.6 m (2ft). The leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets) There are three or more leaves per node along the stem. The edge of the leaf blade is entire (has no teeth or lobes) Flower petal color is green to brown and sometimes white. There are two or more ways to evenly divide the flower (the flower is radially symmetrical) Number of sepals, petals or tepals are four petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower and the petals or the sepals are fused into a cup or tube . Stamen number is four. Fruit is dry but does not split open when ripe. Fruit length is 1.5–2 mm.
The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Flies, beetles. The plant is self-fertile.

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Cultivation: Prefers a loose moist leafy soil in some shade. Tolerates dry soils but the leaves quickly become scorched when growing in full sun. This species does not thrive in a hot climate.

Edible Uses: Leaves are eaten – raw or cooked. A tea is made from the flowering stems

Medicinal Uses:
An infusion of the plant has been used in the treatment of gallstones and kidney complaints. A poultice of the whole plant has been used to treat backaches in babies]. Both Asperuloside (a terpenoid) and Coumarin (a benzopyrone) occur in some species of Galium. Asperuloside can be converted into prostaglandins (hormone-like compounds that stimulate the uterus and affect blood vessels), making the genus of great interest to the pharmaceutical industry.

Other Uses:
A red dye is obtained from the root. The plant is aromatic. It has been crushed and used as a perfume, particularly by women. The aroma is given off as the plant dries. A poultice of the whole plant has been rubbed on the scalp to encourage hair growth. The plant is used as a stuffing material for mattresses etc

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/Galium_triflorum
https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Galium+triflorum
https://gobotany.nativeplanttrust.org/species/galium/triflorum/