Categories
Fruits & Vegetables Herbs & Plants

Onion (Allium cepa)

[amazon_link asins=’B00ANFF8PO,B01GA9YADM,B00SZERS8K,B01F7VS92C,B0029K18XM,B007FCVSXY,B001VNGMW0,B006AXEO0S,B0048B35HM’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’finmeacur-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’58426f12-36c7-11e7-b295-b722e3edb40e’]

Botanical Name: Allium cepa
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Subfamily: Allioideae
Genus: Allium
Species: A. cepa
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales

Synonyms : Allium angolense, Allium aobanum, Allium ascalonicum, Cepa esculenta

Common Names: Onion, Garden onion , Bulb onion or Common onion

Habitat: Onion is believed to be native to W. Asia – Iran. The original habitat is obscure. It is unknown in the wild but has been grown and selectively bred in cultivation for at least 7,000 years.Now it is cultivated and grown through out the world and treated as vegetable.
Description:
The common onion is a biennial plant but is usually grown as an annual. Modern varieties typically grow to a height of 15 to 45 cm (6 to 18 in). The leaves are yellowish-green and grow alternately in a flattened, fan-shaped swathe. They are fleshy, hollow and cylindrical, with one flattened side. They are at their broadest about a quarter of the way up beyond which they taper towards a blunt tip. The base of each leaf is a flattened, usually white sheath that grows out of a basal disc. From the underside of the disc, a bundle of fibrous roots extends for a short way into the soil. As the onion matures, food reserves begin to accumulate in the leaf bases and the bulb of the onion swells…....CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES…> ....(1)......(2)…..

In the autumn the leaves die back and the outer scales of the bulb become dry and brittle, and this is the time at which the crop is normally harvested. If left in the soil over winter, the growing point in the middle of the bulb begins to develop in the spring. New leaves appear and a long, stout, hollow stem expands, topped by a bract protecting a developing inflorescence.It is in flower from Jun to July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, insects. The inflorescence takes the form of a globular umbel of white flowers with parts in sixes. The seeds are glossy black and triangular in cross section.
Cultivation:
Prefers a sunny sheltered position in a rich light well-drained soil. Prefers a pH of at least 6.5. Plants tolerate a pH in the range of 4.5 to 8.3. Onions are best grown in a Mediterranean climate, the hot dry summers ensuring that the bulbs are ripened fully. For best growth, however, cool weather is desirable at the early stages of growth. Plants are frost-tolerant but prolonged temperatures below 10°c cause the bulb to flower. Optimum growth takes place at temperatures between 20 and 25°c. Bulb formation takes place in response to long-day conditions. Plants are perennial but the cultivated forms often die after flowering in their second year though they can perennate by means of off-sets. The onion was one of the first plants to be cultivated for food and medicine. It is very widely cultivated in most parts of the world for its edible bulb and leaves, there are many named varieties capable of supplying bulbs all the year round. This species was derived in cultivation from A. oschaninii. Most forms are grown mainly for their edible bulbs but a number of varieties, the spring onions and everlasting onions, have been selected for their edible leaves. There are several sub-species:- Allium cepa ‘Perutile’ is the everlasting onion with a growth habit similar to chives, it is usually evergreen and can supply fresh leaves all winter. Allium cepa aggregatum includes the shallot and the potato onion. These are true perennials, the bulb growing at or just below the surface of the ground and increasing by division. Plants can be divided annually when they die down in the summer to provide bulbs for eating and propagation. Allium cepa proliferum is the tree onion, it produces bulbils instead of flowers in the inflorescence. These bulbils have a nice strong onion flavour and can be used raw, cooked or pickled. Onions grow well with most plants, especially roses, carrots, beet and chamomile, but they inhibit the growth of legumes. This plant is a bad companion for alfalfa, each species negatively affecting the other. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.
Propagation :
Seed. Early sowings can be made in February in a greenhouse to be planted out in late spring. The main sowing is made in March or April in an outdoor seedbed, this bed must be very well prepared. A sowing can also be made in an outdoor seedbed in August of winter hardy varieties (the Japanese onions are very popular for this). These overwinter and provide an early crop of onion bulbs in June of the following year. Onion sets can be planted in March or April. Sets are produced by sowing seed rather thickly in an outdoor seedbed in May or June. The soil should not be too rich and the seedlings will not grow very large in their first year. The plants will produce a small bulb about 1 – 2cm in diameter, this is harvested in late summer, stored in a cool frost-free place over winter and then planted out in April. A proportion of the bulbs will run quickly to seed but most should grow on to produce good sized bulbs.
Edible Uses:
Bulb – raw or cooked. A very versatile food, the bulb can be 10cm or more in diameter and is widely used in most countries of the world. Eaten raw, it can be sliced up and used in salads, sandwich fillings etc, it can be baked or boiled as a vegetable in its own right and is also commonly used as a flavouring in soups, stews and many other cooked dishes. Some cultivars have been selected for their smaller and often hotter bulbs and these are used for making pickles. Leaves – raw or cooked. There are some cultivars, the spring onions, that have been selected for their leaves and are used in salads whilst still young and actively growing – the bulb is much smaller than in other cultivars and is usually eaten with the leaves. By successional sowing, they can be available at any time of the year. Flowers – raw. Used as a garnish on salads. The flowers are somewhat dry and are less pleasant than many other species. The seeds are sprouted and eaten. They have a delicious onion flavour….CLICK & SEE ...

Constituents:
Composition :
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Root (Fresh weight)

* 72 Calories per 100g
* Water : 79.8%
* Protein: 2.5g; Fat: 0.1g; Carbohydrate: 16.8g; Fibre: 0.7g; Ash: 0.8g;
* Minerals – Calcium: 37mg; Phosphorus: 60mg; Iron: 1.2mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 12mg; Potassium: 334mg; Zinc: 0mg;
* Vitamins – A: 0mg; Thiamine (B1): 0.06mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0.02mg; Niacin: 0.2mg; B6: 0mg; C: 8mg;

Medicinal Uses;
Anthelmintic; Antiinflammatory; Antiseptic; Antispasmodic; Appetizer; Carminative; Diuretic; Expectorant; Febrifuge; Homeopathy; Hypoglycaemic;
Hypotensive; Lithontripic; Skin; Stings; Stomachic; Tonic.

Although rarely used specifically as a medicinal herb, the onion has a wide range of beneficial actions on the body and when eaten (especially raw) on a regular basis will promote the general health of the body. The bulb is anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, hypoglycaemic, hypotensive, lithontripic, stomachic and tonic. When used regularly in the diet it offsets tendencies towards angina, arteriosclerosis and heart attack. It is also useful in preventing oral infection and tooth decay. Baked onions can be used as a poultice to remove pus from sores. Fresh onion juice is a very useful first aid treatment for bee and wasp stings, bites, grazes or fungal skin complaints. When warmed the juice can be dropped into the ear to treat earache. It also aids the formation of scar tissue on wounds, thus speeding up the healing process, and has been used as a cosmetic to remove freckles. Bulbs of red cultivars are harvested when mature in the summer and used to make a homeopathic remedy. This is used particularly in the treatment of people whose symptoms include running eyes and nose. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Allium cepa Onion for appetite loss, arteriosclerosis, dyspeptic complaints, fevers & colds, cough/bronchitis, hypertension, tendency to infection, inflammation of mouth and pharynx, common cold for critics of commission

Other Uses :
Cosmetic; Dye; Hair; Polish; Repellent; Rust.

The juice of the plant is used as a moth repellent and can also be rubbed onto the skin to repel insects. The plant juice can be used as a rust preventative on metals and as a polish for copper and glass. A yellow-brown dye is obtained from the skins of the bulbs. Onion juice rubbed into the skin is said to promote the growth of hair and to be a remedy for baldness. It is also used as a cosmetic to get rid of freckles. The growing plant is said to repel insects and moles. A spray made by pouring enough boiling water to cover 1kg of chopped unpeeled onions is said to increase the resistance of other plants to diseases and parasites.

Known Hazards:  There have been cases of poisoning caused by the consumption, in large quantities and by some mammals, of this plant. Dogs seem to be particularly susceptible. Hand eczema may occur with frequent handling. May interfere with drug control of blood sugar

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/Onion
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/o/onion-07.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Allium+cepa

Advertisements
Categories
Fruits & Vegetables Herbs & Plants

Muskmelon

[amazon_link asins=’B018PLIVMO,B00UYC69IQ,B01N98B7AR,B004O7DUP2,B014ZM5G8Y,B013K14ZHY,B01BKING92,B00U9WK4KU,B0192HFHJU’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’finmeacur-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’23e73dcc-297c-11e7-9703-d5956e44638e’]

Botanical Name: Cucumis dudaim
Family: Cucurbitaceae
Genus: Cucumis
Species: C. melo
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Cucurbitales

Common Names: Muskmelon (Cucumis melo), Pickling Melon

Habitat:Probably Cucumis dudaim is native of Asia, though it has been in cultivation for so long its native habitat is obscure. Derived through cultivation, it is not known in a truly wild location.

Description:
Cucumis melo conomon is an annual creeping plant, growing to 1.5 m (5ft). It is frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile…….CLICK  &  SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation:
Requires a rich, well-drained moisture retentive soil and a warm, very sunny position. A frost-tender annual plant, the pickling melon is occasionally cultivated in gardens and commercially, especially in warmer climates than Britain, for its edible fruit. This form is also of value in breeding programmes for disease resistance. Some varieties may succeed outdoors in Britain in hot summers but in general it is best to grow melons under protection in this country. This form of the melon probably has a better chance of succeeding outdoors than the other forms – see the list of cultivars for suggested forms to grow. Grows well with corn and sunflowers but dislikes potatoes. The weeds fat hen and sow thistle improve the growth and cropping of melons.

Propagation:
Seed – sow early to mid spring in a greenhouse in a rich soil. Germination should take place within 2 weeks. Sow 2 or 3 seeds per pot and thin out to the best plant. Grow them on fast and plant out after the last expected frosts, giving them cloche or frame protection for at least their first few weeks if you are trying them outdoors.

Edible Uses :
Edible Parts: Fruit; Oil; Seed.
Edible Uses:….> Oil.

Fruit – raw or cooked. The fruit is more often cooked, often as a savoury dish. They can be chopped finely and used as a seasoning in salads and soups. Both mature and immature fruits are made into sweet or sour pickles. Seed – raw. Rich in oil with a nutty flavour but very fiddly to use because the seed is small and covered with a fibrous coat. The seed contains between 12.5 – 39.1% oil. An edible oil is obtained from the seed…..CLICK &  SEE..>…....FRUITS.……....SEEDS
Medicinal Uses:
The fruits can be used as a cooling light cleanser or moisturiser for the skin. They are also used as a first aid treatment for burns and abrasions. The flowers are expectorant and emetic. The fruit is stomachic. The seed is antitussive, digestive, febrifuge and vermifuge. When used as a vermifuge, the whole seed complete with the seed coat is ground into a fine flour, then made into an emulsion with water and eaten. It is then necessary to take a purge in order to expel the tapeworms or other parasites from the body. The root is diuretic and emetic.

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/Muskmelon
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Cucumis+melo+conomon

Categories
Fruits & Vegetables Herbs & Plants

Cantaloupe

Botanical Name: Cucumis Cantalupensis
Family: Cucurbitaceae
Genus: Cucumis
Species: C. melo
Subspecies: C. melo subsp. melo
Variety: C. melo var. cantalupo
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Cucurbitales

Common Names: Cantaloupe (also cantelope, cantaloup, muskmelon (India and the United States), Mushmelon, Rockmelon, Sweet melon, Honeydew, Persian melon, or Spanspek (South Africa)) refers to a variety of Cucumis melo

Habitat: The cantaloupe originated in Iran, India and Africa; it was first cultivated in Iran some 5000 years ago and in Greece and Egypt some 4000 years ago.

The European cantaloupe is lightly ribbed (sutured),  with a sweet and flavorful flesh and a gray-green skin that looks quite different from that of the North American cantaloupe.

The North American cantaloupe, common in the United States, Mexico, and in some parts of Canada, is actually a muskmelon, a different variety of Cucumis melo, and has a net-like (or reticulated) skin covering. It is a round melon with firm, orange, moderately sweet flesh and a thin, reticulated, light-brown rind.[6][verification needed] Varieties with redder and yellower flesh exist, but are not common in the U.S. market.

Description:
Cucumis melo cantalupensis is an annual creaper, growing to 1.5 m (5ft).
It is frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation: Requires a rich, well-drained moisture retentive soil and a warm, very sunny position. A frost-tender annual plant, the cantaloupe melon is widely cultivated in gardens and commercially, especially in warmer climates than Britain, for its edible fruit. Some varieties may succeed outdoors in Britain in hot summers but in general it is best to grow melons under protection in this country. Grows well with corn and sunflowers but dislikes potatoes. The weeds fat hen and sow thistle improve the growth and cropping of melons.

Propagation: Seed – sow early to mid spring in a greenhouse in a rich soil. Germination should take place within 2 weeks. Sow 2 or 3 seeds per pot and thin out to the best plant. Grow them on fast and plant out after the last expected frosts, giving them cloche or frame protection for at least their first few weeks if you are trying them outdoors.

Edible Uses:
Fruit – raw. Said to be the finest-tasting of the melons, cantaloupes have a very watery flesh but with a delicate sweet flavour. They are very refreshing, especially in hot weather. Rich in vitamins B and C. The flesh of the fruit can be dried, ground into a powder and used with cereals when making bread, biscuits etc. The size of the fruit varies widely between cultivars but is up to 15cm long and 7cm wide, it can weight 1 kilo or more. Seed – raw. Rich in oil with a nutty flavour but very fiddly to use because the seed is small and covered with a fibrous coat. The seed contains between 12.5 – 39.1% oil. An edible oil is obtained from the seed.

Medicinal Uses:
The fruits can be used as a cooling light cleanser or moisturiser for the skin. They are also used as a first aid treatment for burns and abrasions. The flowers are expectorant and emetic. The fruit is stomachic. The seed is antitussive, digestive, febrifuge and vermifuge. When used as a vermifuge, the whole seed complete with the seed coat is ground into a fine flour, then made into an emulsion with water and eaten. It is then necessary to take a purge in order to expel the tapeworms or other parasites from the body. The root is diuretic and emetic.

Good news for calorie counters. Even though cantaloupes are sweet, they actually come with a very low calorie content. A single cantaloupe only contains 34 calories per serving.

Health buffs should note that the fruit contains valuable nutrients and is loaded with fiber. Cantaloupes boost metabolism and contain niacin, which lowers your risk of contracting cardiovascular diseases.

Cantaloupes also contain vitamin B6, which helps improve your immune system, and folate, which is great for the heart and helps avoid strokes. This super fruit also contains, vitamins A and C. These are essential to the maintenance of good vision and defending the body from infections, respectively.

Research Links Cantaloupes to Disease Prevention:

Studies also show that cantaloupes are one of several fruits that actually contribute to lowering the risk of contracting breast, prostate, and/or colon cancer. It is also said that the consumption of cantaloupes helps in avoiding age-related macular degeneration or the deterioration of the eye’s macula because of its zeaxanthin component. Consuming cantaloupe also helps in lowering the risk of contracting asthma because of its high content of beta-carotene.

If you are thinking of buying cantaloupes, keep in mind that the ripeness of these fruits is quite hard to gauge. However, ripe cantaloupes are usually heavier as compared to unripe cantaloupes. Ripe cantaloupes also resonate a deeper and a hollower sound when you rap your knuckles on the fruit.

Overall, cantaloupes not only taste good but they’re also equipped with impressive nutritional properties. So the next time you have sweet craving, choose cantaloupes!

Known Hazards: But before consuming this fruit, it would be important to note that it contains a high amount of fructose which may be harmful to the body if taken in excess. Remember that cantaloupes, like other conventionally grown fruits, are usually grown in farms that use toxic insecticides, so it would be wise to buy them from local, organic farms to eliminate the risk of consuming these harmful toxins.

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/Cantaloupe
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Cucumis+melo+cantalupensis

http://www.drmercola.com/health-foods-2/cantaloupes-the-well-rounded-fruit/

Categories
Fruits & Vegetables Herbs & Plants

Apricot

[amazon_link asins=’B00Q0632P8,B00Q063Z1Y,B001N2GRX8,B0000536Y7,B00DQV4DF8,B00HRMS9XE’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’finmeacur-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’0eee5a08-f5a1-11e6-ba18-05551768a17c’]

Botanical Name :Prunus Armeniaca
Family:    Rosaceae
Genus:    Prunus
Subgenus:Prunus
Section:    Armeniaca
Species:    P. armeniaca
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:    Rosales

Synonyms:Apricot,  Apricock. Armeniaca vulgaris.

Common Names: Ansu apricot, Siberian apricot, Tibetan apricot

Habitat:Prunus Armeniaca  is considered  native range is somewhat uncertain due to its extensive prehistoric cultivation. Although formerly supposed to come from Armenia, where it was long cultivated, hence the name Armeniaca, there is now little doubt that its original habitat is northern China, the Himalaya region and other parts of temperate Asia. It is cultivated generally throughout temperate regions. Introduced into England, from Italy, in Henry VIII’s reign.

Description:
Prunus armeniaca is a small tree, 8–12 m (26–39 ft) tall, with a trunk up to 40 cm (16 in) in diameter and a dense, spreading canopy. The leaves are ovate, 5–9 cm (2.0–3.5 in) long and 4–8 cm (1.6–3.1 in) wide, with a rounded base, a pointed tip and a finely serrated margin. The flowers are 2–4.5 cm (0.8–1.8 in) in diameter, with five white to pinkish petals; they are produced singly or in pairs in early spring before the leaves. The fruit is a drupe similar to a small peach, 1.5–2.5 cm (0.6–1.0 in) diameter (larger in some modern cultivars), from yellow to orange, often tinged red on the side most exposed to the sun; its surface can be smooth (botanically described as: glabrous) or velvety with very short hairs (botanically: pubescent). The flesh is usually firm and not very juicy. Its taste can range from sweet to tart. The single seed is enclosed in a hard, stony shell, often called a “stone”, with a grainy, smooth texture except for three ridges running down one side….....CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Edible Uses:   Fruits     are eaten  raw  or  cooked or dried for later use. The best forms are soft and juicy with a delicious rich flavour. Wild trees in the Himalayas yield about 47.5kg of fruit per year.The fruit of the wild form contains about 6.3% sugars, 0.7% protein, 2.5% ash, 2.5% pectin. There is about 10mg vitamin C per 100g of pulp. The fruit is about 5cm in diameter and contains one large seed. Seed – raw or cooked. Bitter seeds should be eaten in strict moderation, but sweet ones can be eaten freely. The bitter seeds can be used as a substitute for bitter almonds in making marzipan etc. An edible gum is obtained from the trunk. The seed contains up to 50% of an edible semi-drying oil

The Italian liqueur amaretto and amaretti biscotti are flavoured with extract of apricot kernels rather than almonds. Oil pressed from these cultivar kernels, and known as oil of almond, has been used as cooking oil. Kernels contain between 2.05% and 2.40% hydrogen cyanide, but normal consumption is insufficient to produce serious effects.

Cultivation:        
Landscape Uses:Specimen. Requires a well-drained moisture retentive fertile soil in a warm sunny position. Succeeds in light shade but fruits better in a sunny position. Thrives in a loamy soil, doing well on limestone. Prefers some chalk in the soil but is apt to become chlorotic if too much is present. Prefers a pH in the range 6.5 to 7.5. Dislikes clay soils. Intolerant of saline soils. Trees drop their fruit buds if there is a summer drought. The apricot is widely cultivated for its edible fruit in temperate areas that have long hot summers, there are many named varieties. The tree is perfectly hardy in Britain but it usually flowers very early in the spring and the flowers are then liable to be destroyed by frosts. It really requires a more continental climate (with its clearly defined seasons) than it gets in Britain. However, if given the benefit of a south or west facing wall and some protection from frosts when it is in flower, reasonable crops can usually be produced in southern England. The plants are self-fertile, but hand pollination would be advisable since they are normally flowering before many pollinating insects are active. In Britain apricots are usually grown on plum rootstocks, ‘St. Julien A’ is the most widely used. The dwarfing rootstock ‘Pixie’ is also a possibility, but this must be double worked with ‘St. Julien A’ because it is incompatible with apricots. Any pruning should be carried out in the summer to allow rapid healing and therefore less risk of infection. Oats should not be grown near apricots because their roots have an antagonistic effect on the roots of the apricot. Tomatoes and potatoes are also bad companions for apricots. If nasturtiums (Tropaeoleum spp) are grown under apricots they will make the fruit less palatable to insects, though this is not detectable by the human palate. Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus. Special Features: Edible, Not North American native, All or parts of this plant are poisonous, Fragrant flowers, Attractive flowers or blooms.

Propagation :       
Seed – requires 2 – 3 months cold stratification and is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible. Protect the seed from mice etc. The seed can be rather slow, sometimes taking 18 months to germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Grow them on in a greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July/August in a frame. Difficult. Softwood cuttings from strongly growing plants in spring to early summer in a frame. Difficult. Layering in spring.

Constituents:  Prunus Armeniaca  yield by expression 40 to 50 per cent. of a fixed oil, similar to that which occurs in the sweet almond and in the peach kernel, consisting chiefly of Olein, with a small proportion of the Glyceride of Linolic acid, and commonly sold as Peach Kernel oil (Ol. Amygdae Pers.). From the cake is distilled, by digestion with alcohol, an essential oil (0l. Amygdae Essent. Pers.) which contains a colourless, crystalline glucoside, Amygdalin, and is chemically identical with that of the bitter almond. The essential oil is used in confectionery and as a culinary flavouring.

 Medicinal  Uses:
Analgesic;  Anthelmintic;  Antiasthmatic;  Antidote;  Antipyretic;  Antiseptic;  Antispasmodic;  Antitussive;  Demulcent;  Emetic;  Emollient;
Expectorant;  Laxative;  Ophthalmic;  Pectoral;  Sedative;  Tonic;  Vulnerary.

Apricot fruits contain citric and tartaric acid, carotenoids and flavonoids. They are nutritious, cleansing and mildly laxative. They are a valuable addition to the diet working gently to improve overall health. The salted fruit is antiinflammatory and antiseptic. It is used medicinally in Vietnam in the treatment of respiratory and digestive diseases. Antipyretic, antiseptic, emetic, ophthalmic. The flowers are tonic, promoting fecundity in women. The bark is astringent. The inner bark and/or the root are used for treating poisoning caused by eating bitter almond and apricot seeds (which contain hydrogen cyanide). Another report says that a decoction of the outer bark is used to neutralize the effects of hydrogen cyanide. The decoction is also used to soothe inflamed and irritated skin conditions. The seed is analgesic, anthelmintic, antiasthmatic, antispasmodic, antitussive, demulcent, emollient, expectorant, pectoral, sedative and vulnerary. It is used in the treatment of asthma, coughs, acute or chronic bronchitis and constipation. The seed contains ‘laetrile’, a substance that has also been called vitamin B17. This has been claimed to have a positive effect in the treatment of cancer, but there does not at present seem to be much evidence to support this. The pure substance is almost harmless, but on hydrolysis it yields hydrocyanic acid, a very rapidly acting poison – it should thus be treated with caution. In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being

Apricot oil is used as a substitute for Oil of Almonds, which it very closely resembles. It is far less expensive and finds considerable employment in cosmetics, for its softening action on the skin. It is often fraudulently added to genuine Almond oil and used in the manufacture of soaps, cold creams and other preparations of the perfumery trade.

Other Uses:
Adhesive;  Dye;  Gum;  Oil;  Oil;  Wood.

An edible semi-drying oil is obtained from the seed. Used for lighting. The oil has a softening effect on the skin and so it is used in perfumery and cosmetics, and also in pharmaceuticals. A green dye can be obtained from the leaves. A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit. Wood – handsome, hard, durable. Agricultural implements etc

In Armenia, the wood of the apricot tree is used for making wood carvings such as the duduk, which is a popular wind instrument in Armenia and is also called the apricot pipe. Several hand-made souvenirs are also made from the apricot wood.

Known Hazards: This species produces hydrogen cyanide, a poison that gives almonds their characteristic flavour. This toxin is found mainly in the leaves and seed and is readily detected by its bitter taste. Usually present in too small a quantity to do any harm, any very bitter seed or fruit should not be eaten. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death. Oral doses of 50g of hydrogen cyanide can be fatal (= 30g of kernels or 50-60 kernels at 2 mg HCN/g kernel)

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prunus_armeniaca
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Prunus+armeniaca
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/a/apric050.html

Categories
Fruits & Vegetables Herbs & Plants

Synsepalum dulcificum

[amazon_link asins=’B004SOMH3M,B0037C01PC,B01H2HWQGY,B002JA06Z8′ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’finmeacur-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’1c20b588-44e3-11e7-acd8-4581689a2fa6′]

Botanical Name: Synsepalum dulcificum
Family: Sapotaceae
Genus: Synsepalum
Species: S. dulcificum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales

Common Names:  Miracle fruit, Miracle berry, Miraculous berry, Sweet berry, and in West Africa, where the species originates, Agbayun, Taami, Asaa, and Ledidi.

Habitat: Synsepalum dulcificum is native to West Africa. When European explorer the Chevalier des Marchais provided an account of its use there. Marchais, who was searching West Africa for many different fruits in a 1725 excursion, noticed that local people picked the berry from shrubs and chewed it before meals.
Description:
Synsepalum dulcificum is a shrub that grows between 6 to 15 feet in height and has dense foliage. Its leaves are 5–10 cm long, 2-3.7 cm wide and glabrous below. They are clustered at the ends of the branchlets. The flowers are brown. It carries red, 2 cm long fruits. Each fruit contains one seed……..CLICK & SEE
The fruit or the berry when eaten, causes sour foods (such as lemons and limes) subsequently consumed to taste sweet. This effect is due to miraculin.

The berry itself has a low sugar content and a mildly sweet tang. It contains a glycoprotein molecule, with some trailing carbohydrate chains, called miraculin. When the fleshy part of the fruit is eaten, this molecule binds to the tongue’s taste buds, causing sour foods to taste sweet. At neutral pH, miraculin binds and blocks the receptors, but at low pH (resulting from ingestion of sour foods) miraculin binds protons and becomes able to activate the sweet receptors, resulting in the perception of sweet taste. This effect lasts until the protein is washed away by saliva (up to about 60 minutes).

The names miracle fruit and miracle berry are shared by Gymnema sylvestre and Thaumatococcus daniellii, which are two other species of plant used to alter the perceived sweetness of foods.
Cultivation:
The plant grows best in soils with a pH as low as 4.5 to 5.8, in an environment free from frost and in partial shade with high humidity. It is tolerant of drought, full sunshine and slopes.[4]
The seeds need 14 to 21 days to germinate. A spacing of 4 m between plants is suggested.
The plants first bear fruit after growing for approximately 3–4 years, and produce two crops per year, after the end of the rainy season. This evergreen plant produces small, red berries, while white flowers are produced for many months of the year.The seeds are about the size of coffee beans.In Africa, leaves are attacked by lepidopterous larvae, and fruits are infested with larvae of fruit-flies. The fungus Rigidoporus microporus has been found on this plant. Miraculin is now being produced by transgenic tomato plants.

Edible Uses:
In tropical West Africa, where this species originates, the fruit pulp is used to sweeten palm wine. Historically, it was also used to improve the flavor of soured cornbread.The Miracle berry has a very unusual effect when the fruit is absorbed over the tongue. It makes food and drinks which normally taste sour or bitter, taste sweet. The sweet taste is similar to that of artificial sweeteners. If you chew the fruit, and then eat a lemon, it will not taste sour at all, it actually tastes like lemonade. Sour2Sweet.com is our preferred Miracle Fruit vendor

Medicinal Uses:
Attempts have been made to create a commercial sweetener from the fruit, with an idea of developing this for patients with diabetes. Fruit cultivators also report a small demand from cancer patients, because the fruit allegedly counteracts a metallic taste in the mouth that may be one of the many side effects of chemotherapy. This claim has not been researched scientifically, though in late 2008, an oncologist at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami, Florida, began a study, and by March 2009, had filed an investigational new drug application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

In Japan, miracle fruit is popular among patients with diabetes and dieters.

The shelf life of the fresh fruit is only 2–3 days. Because miraculin is denatured by heating, the pulp must be preserved without heating for commercial use. Freeze-dried pulp is available in granules or in tablets, and has a shelf life of 10 to 18 months.

CLICK & READ

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synsepalum_dulcificum
http://www.synsepalumdulcificum.net/