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Herbs & Plants

Vouacapoua americana

Botanical Name: Vouacapoua americana
Family: Fabaceae
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Fabales
Genus: Vouacapoua
Species: V. americana

Synonyms: Andira aubletii Benth.

Common Names: Wacapou, Acapu, Bruinhart; Vacapon; Black Heart; Acapu (Brazil); Brown Heart; Amazon Wood; Wacapou; Sarebebeballi; Partridge Wood

Habitat: Vouacapoua americana is native to northern S. America – northern Brazil, Surinam, French Guinea. It grows in primary rainforests, mainly in areas that are not seasonally inundated. Found especially on forested slopes.

Description:
Vouacapoua americana is a slender, semi deciduous evergreen tree growing usually about 35 m tall. It has a roundish crown and a straight, cylindrical, not buttressed trunk that can be up to 90 cm in diameter.

*Flowering dry season: January – March
*Flowering plant monocious
*Flower hermaphroditic
*Pollination insects: like bees, wasps, small beetles and hover flies etc.

*Fruit description:-
*Fruiting period wet season: April, May and June
*Fruit; length (cm) 5.5-7.2 x 2.4-4.0 cm
*Fruit petiole; length (cm) approx 2 cm
*Seed; length (cm) 4.9 x 3.4

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Medicinal Uses:
A decoction of the wood is used as a wash for body aches caused by overwork. A decoction of the bark is drunk to treat malaria. A decoction of the leaves is used as a wash for fevers.

Other Uses:
The heartwood is dark olive to dark chocolate; it is clearly demarcated from the 18 – 30mm wide, cream-coloured sapwood. Numerous fine lines of parenchyma, which are initially lighter brown in colour but which eventually turn nearly black, make the wood unusually attractive. The texture is uniformly coarse; the grain straight to slightly roey; the lustre low; no distinctive odour or taste is present in seasoned wood. The wood is hard, heavy, dense and very durable in contact with the soil, being highly resistant to decay and insect attack. There are conflicting reports regarding its resistance to toredo attack in sea water, though it is generally considered fairly resistant. It is somewhat slow to season, with only a slight risk of checking and distortion; once dry it is moderately stable in service. It has a fairly high blunting effect, so stellite-tipped and tungsten carbide tools are recommended; despite its high density, however, the wood is only moderately difficult to work and is generally said to have good working qualities; smooth surfaces are obtained in sawing and planing, but the coarse grain causes some rough and torn grain in boring and mortising; nailing and screwing are good so long as holes are pre-bored; gluing is correct for interior purposes only. The wood is used for making high class furniture, cabinet making, turnery, flooring, wheelwright’s work, beams, general construction, joinery, panelling, railway crossties, posts, rising and gunwales of boats, and general construction.

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/Vouacapoua_americana
https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Vouacapoua+americana
http://www.tropicaltimber.info/specie/wacapou-vouacapoua-americana/

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Herbs & Plants

Berberis asiatica

Botanical Name: Berberis asiatica
Family: Berberidaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ranunculales
Genus: Berberis

Synonyms: Berberis hypoleuca, Berberis asiatica var. clarkeana

Common names: Asian Barberry,Chutro, Rasanjan (Nep); Marpyashi

Hindi: Dar-hald, Daruhaldi, Kasmal
Malayalam: Chutro, Dar, Githa
Marathi: Daruhaldi
Sanskrit: Daru, Daruharidra
Tamil: Uchikkala

Habitat: Berberis asiatica is native to E. Asia – Himalayas It grows on grassy and rocky slopes up to 2500 metres. Found in heavy shade, on north-facing slopes and on open hillsides in the drier areas.

Description:
Berberis asiatica is an evergreen Shrub growing to 3.5 m (11ft 6in) at a medium rate, with pale yellow branches, and thick rigid evergreen leaves with usually 2-5 spiny teeth, shining dark grcen above and greyish beneath. Flowers pale yellow, in somewhat flat-topped clusters shorter than the leaves, with red hairless stalks; petals obovate, notched, 5-7 rnm. Leaves ovate to elliptic. 1.8-7.5 cm; stem splnes 1- 1.5 cm. Fruit is glaucous, dark purple, oblong-ovoid, 8 mrn. Fruit edible. Fruit – raw or dried and used like raisins. This species is said to make the best Indian raisins. Asian Barberry is found in the Himalayas, from Uttarakhand to SW China, at altitudes of 1200-2500 m. Flowering: March-May.

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The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects. The plant is self-fertile.

Cultivation:
Prefers a warm moist loamy soil and light shade but it is by no means fastidious, succeeding in thin, dry and shallow soils. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Plants are often found growing in dense shade in the wild. Plants are generally very hardy and fruit abundantly in Britain. They grow very well in Cornwall. In colder areas of the country they are apt to be cut to the ground in severe winters, though they resprout well from the base. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. This species is often offered under the names of B. chitria or B. glaucocarpa. Plants can be pruned back quite severely, they resprout well from the base.

Edible Uses:
Fruit – raw or dried and used like raisins. This species is said to make the best Indian raisins. Fully ripe fruits are fairly juicy with a pleasantly acid flavour, though there are rather a lot of seeds. The fruit is abundantly produced in Britain. The fruit is about 8mm long.

Medicinal uses:
The roots are used in treating ulcers, urethral discharges, ophthalmia, jaundice, fevers etc. The roots contain 2.1% berberine, the stems 1.3%. The bark and wood are crushed in Nepal then boiled in water, strained and the liquid evaporated until a viscous mass is obtained. This is antibacterial, laxative and tonic. It is taken internally to treat fevers and is used externally to treat conjuctivitis and other inflammations of the eyes. Tender leaf buds are chewed and held against affected teeth for 15 minutes to treat dental caries. The fruit is cooling and laxative. Berberine, universally present in rhizomes of Berberis species, has marked antibacterial effects. Since it is not appreciably absorbed by the body, it is used orally in the treatment of various enteric infections, especially bacterial dysentery. It should not be used with Glycyrrhiza species (Liquorice) because this nullifies the effects of the berberine. Berberine has also shown antitumour activity..

Other Uses:
A yellow dye is obtained from the roots and stems. The spiny branches are used to make fencing around fields in Nepal

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/Berberis
https://www.flowersofindia.net/catalog/slides/Asian%20Barberry.html
https://pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Berberis+asiatica

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Herbs & Plants

Atractylodes japonica

Botanical Name: Atractylodes japonica
Family: Asteraceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales
Tribe: Cynareae
Genus: Atractylodes

Synonyms: Giraldia Baroni

Common Name: Japanese Atractylodes. Japanese common name is Okera

Habitat: Atractylodes japonica is native to E. Asia – China, Japan, Korea. It grows on hills and mountains of central and southern Japan. Forests and forest margins at elevations of 200 – 800 metres in Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning provinces of eastern China.

Description:
Atractylodes japonica is a perennial herb 20-60 cm tall. Rhizome thick. Stem branched from base, glabrous. Leaves papery, glabrous. Middle cauline leaves petiolate; petiole 3-6 cm; leaf blade divided almost to base into 3-5 segments; lateral segments entire or bipartite, oblanceolate to ± narrowly elliptic, 4.5-7 × 1.5-2 cm; terminal segment largest. Upper cauline leaves similar but smaller. Outer bracts sessile, elliptic to narrowly elliptic, margin entire; inner bracts pinnatisect. Capitula 6-10. Involucre broadly campanulate, 3-4 cm in diam. Phyllaries numerous, imbricate, margin white cobwebby, apex obtuse; outer phyllaries ovate to triangular, 6-8 × 3-4 mm; innermost phyllaries lanceolate to broadly linear, 11-20 × 2-3 mm. Corolla purplish red, ca. 1.7 cm. Achene obconic, ca. 7.5 mm, hairs white. Pappus dirty white, ca. 1.7 cm. Flowering: September to October; fruiting: October to December
The species is monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant).

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Cultivation:
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

This species is dioecious. Both male and female plants need to be grown if seed is required. Another report says that the plant is monoecious, bearing both female and bisexual flowers

Edible Uses: Buds and young leaves. No more details are given. Root – cooked. A famine food used when all else fails

Medicinal Uses:
The rhizome is commonly used in Chinese and Korean herbal medicine. It is antiemetic, appetizer, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic, stomachic and tonic. The rhizome contains several medically active constituents including an essential oil and sesquiterpenes. It has been shown to help lower blood sugar levels and to exert a protective influence on the liver. It is used in the treatment of gastro-intestinal disorders such as diarrhoea, water retention, mastitis, fistula, rheumatoid arthritis and night blindness.

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/Atractylodes
https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Atractylodes+japonica
http://www.epharmacognosy.com/2020/05/atractylodes-macrocephala.html

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Herbs & Plants

Aristolochia reticulata

Botanical Name: Aristolochia reticulata
Family: Aristolochiaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Piperales
Genus: Aristolochia
Species: A. reticulata

Common Names: Red River snakeroot, Texas Dutchman’s pipe, or Texas pipevine

Habitat: Aristolochia reticulata is native to Southern N. America – Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas. It grows on moist woodlands. Moist, sandy soils at elevations of 30 – 600 metres.

Descriptiion:
Aristolochia reticulata is a evergreen and deciduous woody vines and herbaceous perennials, growing to 0.4 m (1ft 4in).The smooth stem is erect or somewhat twining. The simple leaves are alternate and cordate, membranous, growing on leaf stalks. There are no stipule. It is in flower from May to July. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Flies.

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Cultivatiion:
Suitable for: medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil. Prefers a well-drained loamy soil, rich in organic matter, in sun or semi-shade. Succeeds in ordinary garden soil. Most species in this genus have malodorous flowers that are pollinated by flies.

Medicinal Uses:
The root is aromatic, bitter, diaphoretic, stimulant and stomachic. The dried rhizome of Aristolochia reticulata is sometimes sold as serpentary for the treatment of snakebites. It is used as a tonic to calm the stomach, promote urination, and increase perspiration. The active ingredient is aristolochic acid, a potent gastric irritant that, in large doses, can cause respiratory paralysis.

Known Hazards: The plant contains aristolochic acid, this has received rather mixed reports on its toxicity. According to one report aristolochic acid stimulates white blood cell activity and speeds the healing of wounds, but is also carcinogenic and damaging to the kidneys. Another report says that it is an active antitumour agent but is too toxic for clinical use, causing gastric irritation and, in large doses, respiratry failure. Another report says that aristolochic acid has anti-cancer properties and can be used in conjunction with chemotherapy and radiotherapy and that it also increases the cellular immunity and phagocytosis function of the phagocytic cells.

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/Aristolochia_reticulata
https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Aristolochia+reticulata
https://www.plantslive.in/product/buy-aristolochia-reticulata-plants-online-india/

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Herbs & Plants

Arisaema amurense

Botanical Name: Arisaema amurense
Family: Araceae
Subfamily: Aroideae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Alismatales
Tribe: Arisaemateae
Genus: Arisaema

Common Names: Tian Nan Xing

Habitat: Arisaema amurense is native to E. Asia – N. China, Japan, Korea. It grows in the virgin forests, mountains and river banks. Deciduous forest, mixed forest, under woods and by streams at elevations of 50 – 200 metres in China.

Description:
Arisaema amurense is a perennial plant growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in).This species from Manchuria has triple-divided, crisped edge leaves and a purple-ended, emerald green spathe broadly lined with white.

The inflorescence emerges at the same time as the leaves and is generally green in colour, often with vertical white or pale lines. Sometimes these can be reddish maroon. The inside of the spathe can be more brightly coloured with darker horizontal bands. The spathe limb is relatively short and tends to be held mostly horizontal.

There are usually two leaves, each with up to five leaflets. Younger plants can show leaves with three leaflets, whilst older and more mature plants will have five. Some clones have very attractive serrated or undulated leaf margins.

Individuals are either male or female and never bisexual.
The species is dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required). and is pollinated by Flies. The plant is not self-fertile.

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Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Cultivation:
Prefers a cool peaty soil in the bog, woodland garden or a sheltered border in semi-shade. Prefers a loamy or peaty soil and will tolerate a sunny position if the soil is moist but not water-logged and the position is not too exposed. This species is well suited to the front of a peat border. Tubers should be planted about 15cm deep[233]. Only plant out full sized tubers and mulch them with organic matter in the winter. Plants require protection from slugs. Most species in this genus are dioecious, but they are sometimes monoecious and can also change sex from year to year.

Edible Uses:
Well-soaked roots can be boiled, peeled and eaten. The tuber is 6 – 7cm in diameter. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. Young leaves – cooked. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.

Medicinal Uses:
Arisaema amurense has been used in Chinese herbal medicine for thousands of years and is valued especially for its beneficial affect upon the chest. When prescribed internally it is always used dried and in conjunction with fresh ginger root. The root is an acrid irritant herb that is anodyne, antibacterial, antifungal, antiphlogistic, antirheumatic, anticancer, antispasmodic, antitumor, expectorant, sedative and stomachic. The dried root is used internally in the treatment of coughs with profuse phlegm, tumours, cervical cancer, epilepsy, tetanus and complaints involving muscular spasms. The fresh root is applied externally as a poultice to ulcers and other skin complaints. The root is harvested when the plant is dormant in the autumn or winter and is dried for later use

Known Hazards :The plant contains calcium oxylate crystals. These cause an extremely unpleasant sensation similar to needles being stuck into the mouth and tongue if they are eaten but they are easily neutralized by thoroughly drying or cooking the plant or by steeping it in water.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arisaema
https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Arisaema+amurense
http://arisaema-resource.co.uk/arisaema-amurense