Category Archives: Herbs & Plants

Kundru

Botanical Name: Coccinia grandis
Family: Cucurbitaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Cucurbitales
Genus: Coccinia
Species: C. grandis

Synonyms:
Bryonia acerifolia D.Dietr.
Bryonia alceifolia Willd.
Bryonia barbata Buch.-Ham. ex Cogn.

Common Names: Kundru, Ivy gourd, also known as scarlet gourd, tindora, manoli, tindla, gentleman’s toes, tendli, thendli and kowai fruit. In bengali it is called talakochu

Habitat: Kundru’s native range extends from Africa to Asia, including India, the Philippines, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, eastern Papua New Guinea, and the Northern Territories, Australia. Its documented introduced range includes the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Guam, Saipan, Hawaii, the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Tonga, and Vanuatu.

Description:

This plant is a perennial climber with single tendrils and glabrous leaves. The leaves have 5 lobes and are 6.5–8.5 cm long and 7–8 cm wide. Female and male flowers emerge at the axils on the petiole, and have 3 stamens. Kundru is a tropical vine. It grows primarily in tropical climates and is commonly found in the southern Indian state of Kerala, where it forms a part of the local cuisine. Coccinia grandis is cooked as a vegetable.In Southeast Asia, it is grown for its edible young shoots and edible fruits.


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Edible Uses: Green kundru is used as a very good vegetable. In India, it is eaten as a curry, by deep-frying it along with spices, stuffing it with masala and sauteing it, or boiling it first in a pressure cooker and then frying it. It is also used in sambar, a vegetable and lentil-based soup. The immature fruit is also used raw, preserving its crisp texture, to make a quick fresh pickle.

A variety of recipes from all over the world list the fruit, as the main ingredient. They are best when cooked, and are often compared to bitter melon. The fruit is commonly eaten in Indian cuisine. People of Indonesia and other Southeast Asian countries also consume the fruit and leaves. In Thai cuisine, it is one of the ingredients of the very popular clear soup dish kaeng jued tum lueng and some curries kaeng khae curry and kaeng lieng curry

Medicinal Uses:
In traditional medicine, fruits have been used to treat leprosy, fever, asthma, bronchitis, and jaundice. The fruit possesses mast cell-stabilizing, antianaphylactic, and antihistaminic potential. In Bangladesh, the roots are used to treat osteoarthritis and joint pain. A paste made of leaves is applied to the skin to treat scabies.

Ivy gourd extracts and other forms of the plant can be purchased online and in health food stores. These products are claimed to help regulate blood sugar levels. Some research supports that compounds in the plant inhibit glucose-6-phosphatase. Glucose-6-phosphatase is one of the key liver enzymes involved in regulating sugar metabolism. Therefore, ivy gourd is sometimes recommended for diabetic patients. Although these claims have not been supported, a fair amount of research on the medicinal properties of this plant are focusing on its use as an antioxidant, antihypoglycemic agent, immune system modulator, etc. Some countries in Asia, such as Thailand, prepare traditional tonic-like drinks for medicinal purposes.

Nuetricional value : Kundru is rich in beta-carotene.

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/Coccinia_grandis
https://hif.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kundru

Chayote

Botanical Name: Sechium edule
Family: Cucurbitaceae
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:Cucurbitales
Genus:Sechium
Species:S. edule

Synonyms: Chayota edulis (Jacq.) Jacq. Cucumis acutangulus Descourt. Sechium americanum Poir. Sechium chayota

Common Names: Chayote, Mirliton, Cho Ko, Cho-Cho, Vegetable Pear Mirliton squash or simple squash in India. The common English name is from the Spanish word chayote, a derivative of the Nahuatl word chayohtli.

(Chayote was one of the several foods introduced to the Old World during the Columbian Exchange. Also during this period, the plant spread from Mexico to other parts of the Americas, ultimately causing it to be integrated into the cuisine of many other Latin American nations.)

Habitat: Chayote grows in most of t6he places in the world.

Description:
In the most common variety, the fruit is roughly pear-shaped, somewhat flattened and with coarse wrinkles, ranging from 10 to 20 cm in length. It looks like a green pear, and it has a thin, green skin fused with the green to white flesh, and a single, large, flattened pit. Some varieties have spiny fruits. The flesh has a fairly bland taste, and a texture is described as a cross between a potato and a cucumber.

The chayote vine can be grown on the ground, but as a climbing plant, it will grow onto anything, and can easily rise as high as 12 meters when support is provided. It has heart-shaped leaves, 10–25 cm wide and tendrils on the stem. The plant bears male flowers in clusters and solitary female flowers.[3] The plant’s fruit is light green and elongated with deep ridges lengthwise.

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Edible Uses: The chayote fruit is mostly used cooked. When cooked, chayote is usually handled like summer squash; it is generally lightly cooked to retain the crispy consistency. Though rare and often regarded as especially unpalatable and tough in texture, raw chayote may be added to salads or salsas, most often marinated with lemon or lime juice. Whether raw or cooked, chayote is a good source of vitamin C.

Although most people are familiar only with the fruit as being edible, the root, stem, seeds and leaves are edible as well. The tubers of the plant are eaten like potatoes and other root vegetables, while the shoots and leaves are often consumed in salads and stir fries, especially in Asia.

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Medicinal Uses: The leaves and fruit have diuretic, cardiovascular and anti-inflammatory properties, and a tea made from the leaves has been used in the treatment of arteriosclerosis and hypertension, and to dissolve kidney stones.

CLICK & SEE : Different Benefits of eating Chayote :

Other Uses: The tuberous part of the root is starchy and eaten like a yam (can be fried). It can be used as pig or cattle fodder.

Mummies
Due to its purported cell-regenerative properties, it is believed as a contemporary legend that this fruit caused the mummification of people from the Colombian town of San Bernardo who extensively consumed it. The very well preserved skin and flesh can be seen in the mummies today.

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/Chayote
https://pfaf.org/user/DatabaseSearhResult.aspx

Viburnum tinus

Botanical Name: Viburnum tinus
Family: Adoxaceae
Genus: Viburnum
Species: V. tinus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:Dipsacales

Common Names: Laurustinus, laurustinus viburnum, or laurestine

Other Name: French Name: Laurier-tin, Viorne tin

Habitat: Viburnum tinus is native to the Mediterranean area of Europe and North Africa.It grows mainly in the Mediterranean maquis and in oak forests. It prefers shady, moist areas, at an altitude of 0–800 metres (0–2,625 ft) above sea level. Laurus signifies the leaves’ similarities to bay laurel.

Description:
It is a shrub (rarely a small tree) reaching 2–7 m (7–23 ft) tall and 3 m (10 ft) broad, with a dense, rounded crown. The leaves are evergreen, persisting 2–3 years, ovate to elliptic, borne in opposite pairs, 4–10 cm long and 2–4 cm broad, with an entire margin. The flowers are small, white or light pink, produced from reddish-pink buds in dense cymes 5–10 cm diameter in the winter. The fragrant flowers are bisexual and pentamerous. The flowering period is from October to June. Pollination is by insects. The fruit is a dark blue-black drupe 5–7 mm long.

There are three subspecies:

*Viburnum tinus subsp. tinus. Mediterranean region.

*Viburnum tinus subsp. rigidum (syn. V. rigidum). Canary Islands.

*Viburnum tinus subsp. subcordatum. Azores.

Leaves have domatia where predatory and microbivorous mites can be housed

Foliage:
*Leaf Arrangement: Opposite
*Leaf Venation: Pinnate
*Leaf Persistance: Evergreen
*Leaf Type: Simple
*Leaf Blade: 5 – 10 cm
*Leaf Margins: Entire
*Leaf Textures: Rough
*Leaf Scent: Unpleasant
*Color(growing season): Green
*Color(changing season): Green

Flower :
*Flower Showiness: True
*Flower Size Range: 7 – 10
*Flower Type: Umbel
*Flower Sexuality: Monoecious (Bisexual)
*Flower Scent: Pleasant
*Flower Color: White
*Seasons: Spring

Trunk:
*Trunk Susceptibility to Breakage: Generally
resists breakage
*Number of Trunks: Can be trained to one trunk
*Trunk Esthetic Values: Not Showy

Fruit:
*Fruit Type: Drupe
*Fruit Showiness: True
*Fruit Size Range: 0 – 1.5
*Fruit Colors: Blue
*Seasons: Spring

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Medicinal Uses:
Viburnum tinus has medicinal properties. The active ingredients are viburnin (a substance or more probably a mixture of compounds) and tannins. Tannins can cause stomach upset. The leaves when infused have antipyretic properties. The fruits have been used as purgatives against constipation. The tincture has been used lately in herbal medicine as a remedy for depression. The plant also contains iridoid glucosides.

Viburnum tinus has good Homeopathic medicinal value.

Other Uses:      Viburnum tinus is a very good Landscape Plant. 

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/Viburnum_tinus
https://landscapeplants.aub.edu.lb/Plants/GetPDF/635ce76e-da16-43e0-9bbc-88a06fc81993

Guar


Botanical Name: Cyamopsis tetragonoloba
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Cyamopsis
Species: C. tetragonoloba
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Synonyms: Cyamopsis psoraleoides (Lam.) DC.

Common Name: Guar or Cluster bean

Other Names: Cluster Bean or Guar (Cyamopsis tetragonoloba). Also known as: Bakuchi, Bavachi gowar, chavalikayi in Kannada, Dridhabija, javaLikaayi, Gawar, gawaar (Sindhi), Goraksha, Gorani, Gorchikuda, Gorikayi, goruchikkudu kaya or gokarakaya in Telugu, Gowar, Guar, Guwar, Gwaar ki phalli, kotthavarai in Tamil, Kothaveray, Kulti, Kuwara, Phalini.

Habitat : Guar is native to East Asia,It mainly grows in India & Pakistan but it is cultivated in other countries like Afghanistan, Africa, Arabia, Australia, Central Africa, Chad, China, East Africa, Ethiopia, Fiji, Indochina, Indonesia, Kenya, Laos, Malaysia, Mali, Mozambique, Myanmar, Pacific, Papua New Guinea, PNG, Philippines, SE Asia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Southern Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, USA, Vietnam, Yemen, West Africa, Zambia.

Description:
Guar is an erect, herbaceous annual to perennial plant. It grows upright, reaching a maximum height of up to 2–3 m. It has a main single stem with either basal branching or fine branching along the stem. Thanks to taproots, the guar plant can access soil moisture in low soil depths. Additionally, this legume develops root nodules with nitrogen-fixing soil bacteria rhizobia in the surface part of its rooting system. Its leaves and stems are mostly hairy, dependent on the cultivar. Its fine leaves have an elongated oval shape (5 to 10 cm length) and of alternate position. Clusters of flowers grow in the plant axil and are of white to blueish color. The developing pods are rather flat and slim containing 5 to 12 small oval seeds of 5 mm length (TGW = 25-40 g). Usually, mature seeds are white or gray, but in case of excess moisture they can turn black and lose germination capacity. The chromosome number of guar seeds is 2n=14.The seeds of guar beans have a very remarkable characteristic. Its kernel consists of a protein-rich germ (43-46%) and a relatively large endosperm (34-40%), containing big amounts of the galactomannan. The latter is polysaccharide containing polymers of mannose and galactose in a ratio of 2:1 with many branches. Thanks to the latter, it exhibits a great hydrogen bonding activity having a viscosifying effect in liquids.

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Cultivation:
Suitable for growing in the warm temperate zone as an annual, it is more commonly grown in lowland tropical and subtropical areas up to an elevation of 1,000 metres. Tolerating high temperatures, it requires a high level of solar radiation to do well. Grows best when the soil temperature is in the range of 25 – 30?c, bur able to tolerate temperatures to 45?c. Prefers an annual rainfall in the range of 500 – 800mm, but can tolerate up to 2,700mm. Dry weather is essential once fertilization has taken place – the developing pods can be damaged by high humidity or rainfall. Prefers a sunny position. Grows best in alluvial and sandy loam soils. Established plants are very drought resistant. Some forms are tolerant of poor soils, alkaline or saline conditions. Prefers a pH in the range 7.5 – 8, tolerating 5.5 – 8.5. Young pods can be harvested 2 – 3 months after sowing the seed. Yields of 6 – 8 tonnes per hectare of the pods have been obtained. Approximately 800kg of dried seed per hectare is considered average. There are some named varieties. Many cultivars are daylength sensitive, though many new cultivars are daylength neutral. The plant has a vigorous taproot. 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.

Propagation:
Seed – sow 2 – 3cm deep in situ. Scarification can promote rapid germination, inoculating the seed with Rhizobium may be necessary. Often they are grown in mixed cropping situations. It requires 15-24 kg of seed to sow a hectare. They are often put 20-30 cm apart in rows 65 cm apart. Seed germinate within one week.

Edible Uses:
Leaves – cooked as a vegetable. Seed – cooked. Rich in protein. The seeds can also be sprouted and eaten. The seeds are about 5mm long. Seedpods – cooked. The unripe seedpods are eaten in curries, fried, salted, or dried for later use. The pods are 4 – 10cm long[ 300 ]. Unripe pods need to be thoroughly cooked in order to destroy a toxic principle. Only traces of this toxin remain in mature pods. The seeds are used to make guar gum, which is much used by food manufacturers as a stabilizer and thickener in ice creams, bakery goods, gluten-free foods etc.

Medicinal Uses:
The seeds are dried, ground into a powder then mixed with water to form a viscous substance known as guar gum. This comprises about 86% water-soluble mucilage consisting of mainly galactomannin. Guar gum is gently laxative, helps to lower blood cholesterol levels and acts as a digestive tonic. The gum is taken internally as an effective but very gentle bulk laxative. It also delays the emptying of the stomach and thereby slows the absorption of carbohydrates, thus helping to stabilize blood sugar levels. This can be of great importance to people with blood sugar level problems, such as diabetics and pre-diabetics.

Other Uses:
Agroforestry Uses: The plant is sometimes grown as a green manure. Other Uses: Guar gum, made from the seeds of the plant, has been used as a filter in industry, as a size when making paper and in cosmetics. Use of guar gum in hydraulic fracturing (oil shale gas).

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/Guar
https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Cyamopsis+tetragonoloba

Blueberry

 

Botanical Name: Vaccinium corymbosum
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Vaccinium
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Ericales

Common Name:Blueberry

Habitat: Blueberries are native to North America. The highbush blueberry varieties were introduced into Europe during the 1930s.

They are now grown commercially in the Southern Hemisphere, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia .

Description:
Blueberries are perennial flowering plants with blue– or purple–colored berries. They are usually prostrate shrubs that can vary in size from 10 centimeters (3.9 in) to 4 meters (13 ft) in height. In commercial production of blueberries, the species with small, pea–size berries growing on low–level bushes are known as “lowbush blueberries” (synonymous with “wild”), while the species with larger berries growing on taller cultivated bushes are known as “highbush blueberries”.

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The leaves can be either deciduous or evergreen, ovate to lanceolate, and 1–8 cm (0.39–3.15 in) long and 0.5–3.5 cm (0.20–1.38 in) broad. The flowers are bell-shaped, white, pale pink or red, sometimes tinged greenish. The fruit is a berry 5–16 millimeters (0.20–0.63 in) in diameter with a flared crown at the end; they are pale greenish at first, then reddish-purple, and finally dark purple when ripe. They are covered in a protective coating of powdery epicuticular wax, colloquially known as the “bloom”. They have a sweet taste when mature, with variable acidity. Blueberry bushes typically bear fruit in the middle of the growing season: fruiting times are affected by local conditions such as altitude and latitude, so the peak of the crop, in the northern hemisphere, can vary from May to August.

Uses:
Blueberries are sold fresh or are processed as individually quick frozen (IQF) fruit, purée, juice, or dried or infused berries. These may then be used in a variety of consumer goods, such as jellies, jams, blueberry pies, muffins, snack foods, or as an additive to breakfast cereals.

Blueberry jam is made from blueberries, sugar, water, and fruit pectin. Blueberry sauce is a sweet sauce prepared using blueberries as a primary ingredient.

Blueberry wine is made from the flesh and skin of the berry, which is fermented and then matured; usually the lowbush variety is used.

Nutrients:
Blueberries consist of 14% carbohydrates, 0.7% protein, 0.3% fat and 84% water (table). They contain only negligible amounts of micronutrients, with moderate levels (relative to respective Daily Values) (DV) of the essential dietary mineral manganese, vitamin C, vitamin K and dietary fiber (table).[36] Generally, nutrient contents of blueberries are a low percentage of the DV (table). One serving provides a relatively low caloric value of 57 kcal per 100 g serving and glycemic load score of 6 out of 100 per day.

Phytochemicals and research:
Blueberries contain anthocyanins, other polyphenols and various phytochemicals under preliminary research for their potential role in the human body. Most polyphenol studies have been conducted using the highbush cultivar of blueberries (V. corymbosum), while content of polyphenols and anthocyanins in lowbush (wild) blueberries (V. angustifolium) exceeds values found in highbush cultivars.

Medicinal Uses:
Blueberry is used for preventing cancer, cataracts and glaucoma and for treating ulcers, urinary tract infections (UTIs), multiple sclerosis (MS), chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), colic, fever, varicose veins, and hemorrhoids. Blueberry is also used for improving circulation and memory, and as a laxative.

As early as 1927 studies were being published on the health benefits of Blueberry Leaf for controling blood sugar, but the benefit of antioxidants wasn’t commonly known or hadn’t really made it to being a household word until the scientists Ehlenfeldt and Prior published their findings in 2001 on the ORAC, phenolic and anthocyanin concentrations in fruit and leaf tissues of the highbush blueberry. Kind’a heavy readin’ for a simple country girl, but what they basically found was that the leaf was 31 times higher in anthocyanin antioxidants than the fruit. Jest sayin’.

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/Blueberry
http://wildaboutberries.com/blueberry-leaf_302.html
http://www.google.com/search?q=medicinal+uses+of+blueberry&client=safari&rls=en&oq=medicinal+uses+of+blueberry&gs_l=heirloom-serp.12..0i30l2.1160377.1167178.0.1171399.14.14.0.0.0.0.385.3236.0j4j7j2.13.0….0…1ac.1.34.heirloom-serp..1.13.3232.If9rvRfxIfU