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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

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Herbs & Plants

Acacia murrayana

Botanical Name: Acacia murrayana
Family: Fabaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales
Clade: Mimosoideae
Genus: Acacia
Species: A. murrayana

Synonyms:
:Acacia frumentacea Tate.
:Acacia leptopetala auct.
:Racosperma murrayanum (F.Muell. ex Benth.) Pedley

Common Names: Sandplain wattle, Murray’s wattle, Fire wattle, Colony wattle and powder bark wattle

Habitat: Acacia murrayana is native to Australia – mainly in the central arid belt from Western Australia, South Australia, Northern Territory, New South Wales and Queensland

It grows in arid and desert areas in Western Australia. It grows in sandhill country. It requires a sunny position. It needs well drained soil. It can grow in hot places. It can survive fires. It can grow in arid places. A component of woodland and low woodland in the higher rainfall areas, more commonly in tall open-shrubland and hummock grassland in more arid regions, growing in sand on dunes, plains or along streams; at elevations up to 700 metres.

Description:
Acacia murrayana grows as a tall shrub or small tree typically to a height of 2 to 5 m (6 ft 7 in to 16 ft 5 in) but can grow as tall as 8 m (26 ft). It is able to form suckers and form dense colonies. It has glabrous branchlets that are often covered in a fine white powdery coating giving it frosted appearance. Like most Acacia species, it has phyllodes rather than true leaves. They are grey or pale green, with a length of 5 to 12 cm (2.0 to 4.7 in) and a width of 2 to 7 mm (0.079 to 0.276 in). The glabrous and thinly coriaceous phyllodes have a linear to narrowly elliptic shape but are occasionally oblanceolate and have a minute, callous and curved mucro. The phyllodes midrib is not prominent and it has obscure lateral nerves that are longitudinally anastomosing. In Western Australia it blooms between August and November but it can flower as late as January in other places and produce profuse flower displays a seed crops in favourable conditions. The flowers are bright yellow, and held in cylindrical clusters up to eight millimetres in diameter. The spherical flower-heads are composed of 25 to 50 densley packed golden to light golden coloured flowers. The pods are flat and papery with a length of 5 to 8 cm (2.0 to 3.1 in) and a width of up to 1 cm (0.39 in)

In Australia, its main flowering period is from August to November (this varies upon specific geographic) with pods maturing several months later (November-January). During favorable seasons, plants flower profusely and produce heavy pod crops.

The species most closely resembles A. pachyacra which has a similar range. The most obvious way to distinguish them is that A. pachyacra phyllodes (leaves) are much narrowe.

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Cultivation:
Acacia murrayana is a plant of arid and semi-arid regions in the warm temperate, subtropical and tropical zones of central Australia, where it is found at elevations up to 700 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 12 – 34°c, but can tolerate 5 – 42°c. When dormant, selected provenances of the plant can survive temperatures down to about -10°c, but young growth is more tender and can be severely damaged at -1°c. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 200 – 400mm, but tolerates 100 – 500mm. Requires a sunny position and a well-drained soil. Succeeds in a range of soils from sands to clays and is very tolerant of low fertility. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 – 7.5, tolerating 4.5 – 8.5. Established plants are drought tolerant. A fast-growing plant when young, but relatively short-lived, usually senescing when around 15 – 25 years old. The plant recovers well following fire – both by producing a flush of germinating seedlings and also by resprouting from the base. The main flowering period is from August to November with pods maturing several months later, between November and January (Maslin et al. 1998). Plants flower profusely, commencing at an early age and produce heavy pod crops during favourable seasons. The seeds of most acacia species can be quickly and efficiently harvested at full maturity without the need for any specialised equipment. Small seed-bearing branches can be cut and beaten on sheets, or bushes can be beaten or shaken directly onto large sheets. 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 murrayana, together with Acacia gelasina, Acacia pachyacra, Acacia praelongata and Acacia subrigida comprise the Acacia murrayana group of closely related species. This group of species is not far removed from the Acacia victoriae and Acacia juncifolia groups. Some forms of this species may resemble Acacia dietrichiana. It can be pruned after flowering. It can be pruned after flowering. The edible insect larvae (Bardie grub) is pulled out of the bored holes using a hooked twig. The white gum normally exudes from sites of insect damage. Carbon Farming – Cultivation: historic wild staple, new crop. Management: standard, coppice.

Edible Uses:
Edible Portion: Seeds, Grub, Gum. Seed – cooked. It can be eaten in the same ways as other small legume seeds and is also ground into a powder then used as a flavouring in desserts or as a nutritious supplement to pastries and breads. The pods are up to 90mm long, 8 – 12mm wide, with ovate, black seeds 4 – 5.5mm long. Acacia seeds are highly nutritious and contain around 26% protein, 26% available carbohydrate, 32% fibre and 9% fat. The fat content is higher than most legumes with the aril providing the bulk of fatty acids present. These fatty acids are largely unsaturated. The energy content is high in all species tested, averaging 1480 ±270 kJ per 100g. The seeds are low glycaemic index foods – the starch is digested and absorbed very slowly, producing a small, but sustained rise in blood glucose and so delaying the onset of exhaustion in prolonged exercise. The ground seed can be used to produce a high quality, caffeine-free coffee-like beverage. The plant possibly produces an edible gum. Carbon Farming – Staple Crop: protein.

Seeds and gum of the plant is a food source for Central Australian Aboriginae. Seeds can be ground to make a flour that can be used as a flavoring in desserts, a nutritious supplement in breads and pastries, or for a caffeine-free coffee alternative.

Medicinal Uses:
The bark of all Acacia species contains greater or lesser quantities of tannins and are astringent. Astringents are often used medicinally – taken internally, for example. they are used in the treatment of diarrhoea and dysentery, and can also be helpful in cases of internal bleeding. Applied externally, often as a wash, they are used to treat wounds and other skin problems, haemorrhoids, perspiring feet, some eye problems, as a mouth wash etc.Many Acacia trees also yield greater or lesser quantities of a gum from the trunk and stems. This is sometimes taken internally in the treatment of diarrhoea and haemorrhoids.

Other Uses:
Agroforestry Uses: The tree can provide low shelter, it can be used as an ornamental and is a pollen source for bees. Other Uses: The wood is of small dimensions, but can be used for posts and small turnery. The wood is highly suitable for fuel, and for making charcoal. An edible grub occurs in the roots and branches. Carbon Farming: Agroforestry Services: nitrogen, windbreak. Other Systems: FMAFS.

The bark of all Acacia species are high in tannins, making them useful for dyeing.

Known Hazards: The seed of many Acacia species, including this one, is edible and highly nutritious, and can be eaten safely as a fairly major part of the diet. Not all species are edible, however, and some can contain moderate levels of toxins. Especially when harvesting from the wild, especial care should be taken to ensure correct identification of any plants harvested for food. Especially in times of drought, many Acacia species can concentrate high levels of the toxin Hydrogen cyanide in their foliage, making them dangerous for herbivores to eat.

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/Acacia_murrayana
https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Acacia+murrayana

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Herbs & Plants

Acacia holosericea

Botanical Name: Acacia holosericea
Family: Fabaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales
Genus: Acacia
Species: A. holosericea

Common Names: Soapbush wattle, Soapbush, Strap wattle, Candelabra wattle, Silver wattle and Silky wattle

Habitat: Acacia holosericea is native to tropical and inland northern Australia.( Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland) Acacia-dominated scrubs and tall open shrubland, often developing dense, nearly monotypic populations along dry, stony or sandy drainage lines in disturbed sites such as road verges, gravel pits and burnt areas, growing in a variety of soil types. It occurs in Australia in red sands. It is a tropical plant.

Description: Acacia holosericea is a shrub has a spreading habit and typically grows to a height of 3 m (9.8 ft) and a width of 4 m (13 ft). The large grey-green phyllodes have an ovate-lanceolate shape with a length of 10 to 25 cm (3.9 to 9.8 in) and a width of 2 to 9 cm (0.79 to 3.54 in) and are covered with white silky hairs, with three to four prominent veins. The flowers are rod-like and bright yellow, 3–5 cm long.

. The thinly crustaceous seed pods that form after flowering are tightly irregularly coiled and have a width of 2.5 to 4 mm (0.098 to 0.157 in). The pods are 3 to 5 cm (1.2 to 2.0 in) in length and twisted and curled.The flowers are pollinated by Insects. The shiny dark brown seeds are arranged longitudinally in the pods and have an obloid-ellipsoid shape and are 3 to 5 mm (0.12 to 0.20 in) in length with a bright yellow aril.

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Cultivation:
A. holosericea is available for cultivation by seed, although the seeds must be scarified prior to planting. It grows quickly and well in a sunny, reasonably well drained position in most soil types. It is suitable as a feature plant or as a hedge or screen plant. It has attractive foliage and fruit and can be grown in tropical areas.

Edible Uses:
Edible Portion: Seeds. Seed – cooked. It can be eaten in the same ways as other small legume seeds and is also ground into a powder then used as a flavouring in desserts or as a nutritious supplement to pastries and breads. Traditionally, the dry seed was ground to a coarse flour, mixed with water and either eaten as a paste or baked to form a ‘cake’. The seedpods are openly and strongly curved, 50 – 100mm long and 3.5 – 4mm wide, with very dark, brown to black, oblong seeds 4 – 4.5mm long. Acacia seeds are highly nutritious and contain around 26% protein, 26% available carbohydrate, 32% fibre and 9% fat. The fat content is higher than most legumes with the aril providing the bulk of fatty acids present. These fatty acids are largely unsaturated. The energy content is high in all species tested, 1480 ±270 kJ per 100g. The seeds are low glycaemic index foods – the starch is digested and absorbed very slowly, producing a small, but sustained rise in blood glucose and so delaying the onset of exhaustion in prolonged exercise. Carbon Farming – Staple Crop: protein.

Medicinal Uses:
The bark of all Acacia species contains greater or lesser quantities of tannins and are astringent. Astringents are often used medicinally – taken internally, for example. they are used in the treatment of diarrhoea and dysentery, and can also be helpful in cases of internal bleeding. Applied externally, often as a wash, they are used to treat wounds and other skin problems, haemorrhoids, perspiring feet, some eye problems, as a mouth wash etc. Many Acacia trees also yield greater or lesser quantities of a gum from the trunk and stems. This is sometimes taken internally in the treatment of diarrhoea and haemorrhoids.

Other Uses:
Agroforestry Uses: Acacia colei is a colonising species, forming dense regrowth populations in disturbed sites, including roadsides and burnt-over areas. The plant can be used as a pioneer for restoring native woodland or establishing woodland gardens. It has been planted as a windbreak around fields and along roadsides. Its bushy habit to ground level and heavy fall of large slowly decomposing phyllodes enhance its value for sand stabilisation. It has given very satisfactory results when planted as the lower part of windbreaks with Eucalyptus camaldulensis. The plant has a shallow, wide-spreading root system that competes heavily with nearby crops and can reduce their yields. On sandy soils in semi-arid zones, the plant may be used in a wide alley cropping system (about 20 metres between rows) where its benefits as a low windbreak may outweigh its depletion of soil moisture in the crop root zone. Other Uses: A red dye can be obtained from the lipid-rich arils by soaking them in water. The heartwood is dark brown; it is clearly demarcated from the pale sapwood. The wood is hard, dense. It is suitable for the manufacture of small decorative articles, and can be used for light construction. The wood is an excellent source of firewood and charcoal. The calorific value of the wood is 4670 kcal/kg and that of the charcoal 7535 kcal/k. Carbon Farming – Agroforestry Services: nitrogen, windbreak. Other Systems: FMAFS.

Known Hazards: The seed of many Acacia species, including this one, is edible and highly nutritious, and can be eaten safely as a fairly major part of the diet. Not all species are edible, however, and some can contain moderate levels of toxins. Especially when harvesting from the wild, especial care should be taken to ensure correct identification of any plants harvested for food. Especially in times of drought, many Acacia species can concentrate high levels of the toxin Hydrogen cyanide in their foliage, making them dangerous for herbivores to eat.

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/Acacia_holosericea
https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Acacia+holosericea