Fruits & Vegetables Herbs & Plants

Momordica dioica

Botanical Name: Momordica dioica
Family: Cucurbitaceae
Order: Cucurbitales
Genus: Momordica
Species: M. dioica

Common Names:Kaksa, Spiny gourd or Spine gourd, Balsam pear, Prickly carolaho, Teasle gourd or Kantola,
In bengal it is called Kankrol
Assamese: avandhya, bhat-kerela • Bengali: bhat korola, ghee korola, kankrol • Gujarati: katwal • Hindi: Ban karela • Kannada: karchi-balli, madahagala gadde • Konkani: Phagil • Malayalam: Ben-pavel, erimapasel • Marathi: Kartoli • Rajasthani: Bara -Karela, Kankera, Kankoda • Sanskrit: Karkotaki, Karkoti • Tamil: Meluku-pakal, Palu-pakal • Telugu: Adavikakara, Akakara

Habitat: Momordica dioica is native to E. Asia – Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka.It grows on worm climate during rainey season.

Momordica dioica is a perennial, rhozomatous, distinctly dioecious climbing plant producing stems 3 – 5 metres long that scramble over the ground or climb into the surrounding vegetation, attaching themselves by means of tendrils.
It has three varities M. dioica, M. cochinchinensis and M. subangulata subsp. renigera are much confused, although they are quite distinct in flowers and fruits. All three share a large bract at the base of flower (tip of peduncle) and male and female flowers on different plants.

Based on flower the three can be differentiated in that flowers of dioica are yellow, without dark spots (nectaries) at the base of corolla, whereas remaining two have distinct dark dots at the base of pale yellow to nearly white corolla. The corolla lobes of M. cochinchinensis are pointed at tip, they are obtuse or rounded at tip.

The fruits of dioica and M. subangulata are narrowed distinctly towards tip, whereas they are rounded at ends in M. cochinchinensis, in which the spines are not that dense, fruit larger mostly longer than 8 cm, turning yellow and finally red. In M. dioica fruits are smaller, usually shorter than 6 cm densely covered with longer spines. In M. subangulata there are two subspecies, subangulata with longitudinal ridges, no spines, surface totally smooth, and subsp. renigera with tubercles present and in longitudinal rows, surface more or less spinescent if ridges are present.


Requires a soil rich in organic matter if optimum yields are to be achieved.
A dioecious plant, male and female forms need to be grown if fruit and seed are required.

Propagation: It is propagated by underground tubers and also through seeds.

Edible Uses:
Fruit are edible – cooked. Used as a vegetable. The young, green, spiny fruits are much esteemed as a curry-vegetable. They are quite palatable, rather sweet and entirely free of bitterness.

A semi-drying oil is extracted from the seed.

Tender shoots and leaves. Used as greens.

Medicinal Uses:
The tuberous root is used in medicine. The roots of female plants are larger than those of the male and are preferred for medicinal uses. They are applied in bleeding piles and urinary complaints. The root paste is applied over the body as a sedative in fever.

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.


Herbs & Plants Uncategorized

Acacia concina

Botanical Name: Acacia concina
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales
Clade: Mimosoideae
Genus: Senegalia
Species: S. rugata

*Acacia abstergens (Roxb. ex Spreng.) Steud.
*Acacia gamblei Bahadur & R.C.Gaur
*Acacia habbasioides Bojer
*Acacia hooperiana Zipp. ex Miq.
*Acacia philippinarum Benth.
*Acacia poilanei Gagnep.
*Acacia quisumbingii Merr.

Common Names: Shikakai, Soap-Pod

Other Names: Aila, Atouqie, Banritha, Chikaka, Chikakai, Kochi, Lahiur, Ritha, Shikai, Shikakai, Shikaya, Sige, Sikakai, Soap-pod tree, Som poi, Song bai.

Habitat:Acacia concina is native to China and tropical Asia, common in the warm plains of central and south India.It grows in the Rain forest, disturbed forest, open grassland, fields, creek sides, in open areas often a sprawling shrub; also recorded from limestone; at elevations from 50 – 1050 metres.

Acacia concina is a woody climber, or shrub, or small tree up to 5 metres (16 ft) tall, with numerous spines. Bark is light grey. Leaves are oblong 4-10mm long forming 7-11 pairs of branches each with 17-37 pairs of leaflets. Flower buds are purple or dark red. The flowers are cream or white. Pods up to 5cm long are flat and thick with 7 seeds. The seedpods are widely used as a soap substitute in India. Plants flower throughout the year. Fruit are on trees from February to March.The tree is food for the larvae of the butterfly Pantoporia hordonia.


This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby.

Acacia concinna can be grown from seeds. The seedlings can be transplanted. The seed of most, if not all, members of this genus has a hard seedcoat and may benefit from scarification before sowing to speed up germination. This can usually be done by pouring a small amount of nearly boiling water on the seeds (being careful not to cook them!) and then soaking them for 12 – 24 hours in warm water. By this time they should have imbibed moisture and swollen – if they have not, then carefully make a nick in the seedcoat (being careful not to damage the embryo) and soak for a further 12 hours before sowing.

Edible Uses:
Edible portion: Seeds, Leaves, Flowers, Vegetable. Leaves are cooked . The acid-flavoured young leaves can be used as a substitute for tamarinds (Tamarindus indica) in chutneys. They are also added to soups to make them hot and sour . They can be curried with salted fish and coconut milk. Flowers – cooked and eaten as a vegetable . Acid fruit are used in Philippine cooking to give a sour flavour. They are roasted and eaten. Seeds are edible after roasting. The young shoots are used to make pickles or cooked as a vegetable.

Medicinal Uses:
There is lots of anecdotal information on the medicinal use of Acacia concina which includs: the treating of dandruff and as a natural remedy for lice in both for humans and animals. The treatment of parasite-caused diseases such as malaria and visceral leishmaniasis. As a treatment for mouth and throat problems such as pharyngitis and mouth sores by chewing the pods. Tooth decay and plaque reduction from chewing the sticks. Alleviation of constipation indigestion, and other digestive problems from the fruit pods or a tea made from the leaves. A natural toxic cleanser, laxative, and diuretic. Recent research has shown that the tree has an antidermatophytic ability that can fight off fungi responsible for skin diseases. It also has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties and even contains some phytochemicals that may have antioxidant abilities.

Other Uses:
The bark is a source of tannins. This plant is important for its tannins. The pods are rich in saponins. They are widely used in India as a detergent for washing silks and woollen goods, and are also very commonly used for washing the hair. They are very effective in cleaning tarnished silver plates. It is said that yarn washed with these pods prior to being dyed will produce much better results from the dyeing . In order to prepare it the fruit pods, leaves and bark of the plant are dried, ground into a powder, then made into a paste.

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.



Hovenia dulcis

Botanical Name: Hovenia dulcis
Family: Rhamnaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales
Genus: Hovenia
Species: H. dulcis

Synonyms : Hovenia acerba, Hovenia inequalis.

Common Names: Japanese raisin tree or Oriental raisin tree

Habitat: Hovenia dulcis is native to E. Asia – China to the Himalayas. It grows on thje plains and mountains to 2000 metres in W. China. Secondary forest.

Hovenia dulcis is a deciduous Tree growing to 10 m (32ft) by 7 m (23ft). Branchlets brown or black-purple, glabrous, with inconspicuous lenticels. The glossy leaves are large and pointed. The trees bear clusters of small cream-coloured hermaphroditic flowers in July. The drupes appear at the ends of edible fleshy fruit stalks (rachis), which is a type of accessory fruit. The seeds ripen from September to October. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).


Grows well in a fertile sandy loam in a sunny position. Although the dormant plant is hardy to at least -15°c in Britain, it really prefers a continental climate to fully ripen its wood, it is then hardy to about -25°c. The shoot tips are sometimes damaged by winter frosts in Britain and the young growth in spring can also be damaged by late frosts. The Japanese raisin tree is said to grow well in Cornwall, though our experience of this plant so far (1995) is that it is very difficult to establish. Perhaps older plants are as hardy as the reports above suggest, but younger plants are quite tender and often die in their first few winters outdoors. The Japanese raisin tree is cultivated for its edible fruit in Japan. The small white flowers are scented and are produced in terminal cymes. The plant is heat tolerant in zones 8 through 5. (Plant Hardiness Zones show how well plants withstand cold winter temperatures. Plant Heat Zones show when plants would start suffering from the heat. The Plant Heat Zone map is based on the number of “heat days” experienced in a given area where the temperature climbs to over 86 degrees F (30°C). At this temperature, many plants begin to suffer physiological damage. Heat Zones range from 1 (no heat days) to 12 (210 or more heat days). For example Heat Zone. 11-1 indicates that the plant is heat tolerant in zones 11 through 1.) For polyculture design as well as the above-ground architecture (form – tree, shrub etc. and size shown above) information on the habit and root pattern is also useful and given here if available. The plant growth habit is a standard with a non-suckering single trunk.

Edible Uses:
Fruit – raw or cooked. They can be dried when they have the sweet flavour and texture of raisins and can be used similarly. The fruit is sweet and fragrant with a pear-like flavour. Dry and sub-acid. It is not a true fruit but a swollen receptacle. The fruit is up to 3cm long, it contains 11.4% glucose, 4.7% fructose and 12.6% sucrose. A sweet extract of the seed, boughs and young leaves is used as a substitute for honey. The seed contains 15% protein and 7.8% fat

The fleshy rachis of the infructescence is sweet, fragrant and is edible raw or cooked. Dried, they look and taste like raisins. An extract of the seeds, bough and young leaves can be used as a substitute for honey and is used for making wine and candy.

Medicinal Uses:
Antispasmodic, febrifuge, laxative. The fruit is antispasmodic, febrifuge, laxative and diuretic. The seeds are diuretic and are used in the treatment of alcohol overdose. The seeds are used to relieve intoxication due to wine. The stem bark is used in the treatment of rectal diseases. It has been used in traditional Chinese, Korean, and Japanese medicines to treat fever, parasitic infection, as a laxative, and a treatment of liver diseases, and as a hangover treatment.

Other Uses:
The wood is hard and fine grained. It is good for making furniture and building 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.


Fruits & Vegetables Herbs & Plants Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Garcinia gummi-gutta

Botanical Name: Garcinia gummi-gutta
Family: Clusiaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malpighiales
Genus: Garcinia
Species:G. gummi-gutta

*Cambogia binucao Blanco
*Cambogia gemmi-gutta L.
*Cambogia solitaria Stokes
*Garcinia affinis Wight & Arn.
*Garcinia cambogia (Gaertn.) Desr.
*Garcinia sulcata Stoke

Common Names:Camboge, Garcinia cambogia (a former scientific name), as well as brindleberry, Malabar tamarind, and Kudam puli (pot tamarind)

Habitat:Garcinia gummi-gutta is a tropical species of Garcinia native to Indonesia. It is grown for its fruit in Southeast Asia, coastal Karnataka/Kerala, India, and west and central Africa. It thrives in most moist forests.

Garcinia gummi-gutta is one of several closely related Garcinia species from the plant family Clusiaceae. With thin skin and deep vertical lobes, the fruit of G. gummi-gutta and related species range from about the size of an orange to that of a grapefruit; G. gummi-gutta looks more like a small yellowish, greenish, or sometimes reddish pumpkin. The color can vary considerably. When the rinds are dried and cured in preparation for storage and extraction, they are dark brown or black in color.

Along the west coast of South India, G. gummi-gutta is popularly termed “Malabar tamarind”, and shares culinary uses with the tamarind (Tamarindus indica). The latter is a small and the former a quite large evergreen tree. G. gummi-gutta is also called goraka or, in some areas, simply kattcha puli (souring fruit). It is called uppage in Kannada language and fruits are collected and dried for selling to dealers in Sirsi, Karnataka.

The tree is also cultivated outside its native range, especially in China, Malaysia and the Philippines. The fruit rind is traded in large quantities.

Camboge is an evergreen tree with a rounded crown growing 5 – 20 metres tall. The bole can be around 70cm in diameter. Leaves are simple, opposite, decussate; petiole 5-1.6 cm long, planoconvex or shallowly canaliculate above, slightly sheathing at base; lamina 5-13 x 2-6 cm; variable in shape from narrow elliptic, oblanceolate to obovate, apex usually acute, sometimes obtuse, base cuneate to attenuate, coriaceous or subcoriaceous; secondary nerves not prominent on both sides; tertiary nerves obscure.

Flowers polygamous, in axillary or terminal clusters; calyx cream; petals pink.

Fruit and Seed :Berry, globose, 6-8 grooved, to 5 cm in diameter; many seeded

The plant is harvested from the wild for its edible fruit and gum-resin, that has medicinal and various other uses.


A plant of hot, wet, tropical climates. It grows best in areas where the mean annual temperature is in the range 15 – 30°c and the mean annual rainfall is 1,500 – 4,000mm. Succeeds in both dry or occasionally inundated soils. Seed-grown plants start bearing after 10-12 years whereas grafts from the third year onwards and will attain the stage of full bearing at the age of 12-15 years. There are also reports of off-season bearers, bearing twice annually.
The orange yellow mature fruits either drop from the tree or are harvested manually. The rind is separated for processing immediately after harvest.
G. Gummi-gatta flowers in the dry season. It appears to be pollinated by wind, bees and small weevils of the genus Deleromus (Curculionidae).

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe, though viability can be maintained for 1 – 2 months in moist storage at 20°c. We have no specific information on this species, but the seed of most members of the genus can be slow to germinate, even if sown fresh, often taking 6 months or more.

Edible Uses:
Fruit – raw or cooked. A very sour flavour. Used in curries. The fruit is a green, ovoid berry, turning yellow or red when fully ripe, around 5cm in diameter. The rinds of the ripe fruits are processed and used as a condiment to impart flavour and taste and to improve keeping qualit. The dried seeds yield a protein and fat-rich butter, popularly known as ‘uppage tuppa’. The fruit juice or syrup is used as a coolant and helps to reduce body fat.

Although few high-quality studies have been done to define the composition of the fruit, its phytochemical content includes hydroxycitric acid which is extractable and developed as a dietary supplement. Other compounds identified in the fruit include the polyphenols, luteolin, and kaempferol

Medicinal Uses:
A decoction made from the plant (part not specified) is used in the treatment of rheumatism and bowel complaints. An extract obtained from the mature fruit rind, Hydroxy Citric Acid, is used as a treatment against obesity.

Other Uses:
Agroforestry Uses:
The tree provides good shade for shade-loving crops such as ginger, or it can be grown in association with other field crops, including medicinal plants.
The tree can also be grown as a perennial intercrop with coconut and areca nut. The tree is sometimes grown as an ornamental.

Gamboge, a gum-resin obtained from the plant, is used as a yellow dye, as an illuminant and in varnishes, water colours etc. The wood is used in construction and furniture making.

Known Hazards:
Adverse effects:
Hydroxycitric acid can cause dry mouth, nausea, gastrointestinal discomfort, and headaches.

Drug interactions:
There is potential for Garcinia cambogia to interfere with prescription medications, including those used to treat people with diabetes, asthma, and clotting disorders.

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.


Fruits & Vegetables


Botanical Name: Rubus caesius

Common Names:Youngberry, European dewberry, Dewberry, Common Dewberry, Blue bramble

Habitat:Youngberry is native to Europe and Asia from Ireland and Portugal as far east as Xinjiang Province in western China. It grows in amongst shrubs, in rough dry meadowland, forest margins, coppices, rocky broadleaf woods, waterside thickets, roadsides, mid-successional dunes, riverbanks, valleys, ravines, streams, inundated meadows, gardens and orchards.

Plant:…....CLICK & SEE
Youngberry is a small low-growing, deciduous shrub that normally grows about 2 m (6 ft. 7 in) tall with biennial stems which die after fruiting in their second year. It sends out long runners which root at the tip to form new plants. The plant prefers light, medium and heavy soils, slightly acidic to basic and well-drained soil. The stems are bluish-grey and sometimes prickly. Cane is 1.5 m tall and 0.5-2 m long, armed with irregular sized prickles, greenish-yellow to brown, and glabrous to glabrescent.

Leaf :…….CLICK & SEE

Alternate leaves are hairy above and below. They are stalked and the leaf blades are palmate in shape, either consisting of three oval leaflets with serrated margins and acute points or just being three-lobed

Flower:…...CLICK & SEE
Flowering season June to September
Flower Inflorescence is a loose cluster of several white flowers about 2.5 cm (1 in) in diameter. The calyx has five sepals and the corolla is composed of five spreading petals with finely toothed margins. There is a boss of stamens in the centre and there are several pistils.

Fruit:……….CLICK & SEE
Fruit Shape & Size: Aggregate of several black, fleshy drupes with a bluish waxy bloom
Fruit Color : Green when young turning to deep red and finally dark purple when ripe

Youngberry is a complex hybrid between three different species from the genus Rubus, the raspberries, blackberries, and dewberries of the rose family. The berries of the plant are eaten fresh or used to make juice, jam, and in recipes.

Edible Uses:
*Fruit can be consumed raw or cooked.

*A delicious flavor, it is considered to be superior to blackcurrants though the fruit is rather small and consists of just a few drupes.

*Fruit can be used for making jellies, preserves etc.

*The fresh or dried leaves are used as a tea substitute..

Health benefits :
Youngberry has low calorie and consist of vitamins A and C, some protein, magnesium, zinc, copper. Let’s check out some of the impressive benefits offered by Youngberry.

*Prevents Cancer

*Reduce High Blood Pressure

*Lower Bad Cholesterol

*Ward off Infections

*Maintain Healthy Skin

*Maintain Sharp Vision

*Slow Down Skin Aging

*Prevents Constipation

*Keep Excess Pounds at Bay

*Keep Gums and Teeth Strong

Traditional uses and benefits:

*The fruits are used to increase the appetite, and for digestive and respiratory tract health.

*Leaves and roots can be made into tea, extracts, or an infusion to treat stomach problems such as ulcers and gastritis, and kidney stones.

*Decoction obtained from the leaves, stems, and fruits, in addition to the ailments already mentioned, can promote women’s reproductive health during menopause and to treat cystitis, diabetes, bacterial infections such as pyeritis, skin fungal infections, and hair loss.

*Herbal remedies, including dewberry, are used for the treatment of hemorrhoid in Turkey.

*Honey produced from Rubus caesius is very effective in healing gastric disorders.

Other Uses:
*A purple to dull blue dye is obtained from the fruit.

*The species is cultivated for its edible berries, as an ornamental plant, and for honey production

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.