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Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Kaempferia galanga

Botanical Name: Kaempferia galanga
Family: Zingiberaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Zingiberales
Genus: Kaempferia
Species: K. galanga

Common Names:Kencur, Galangal, Kentjur, Aromatic ginger, Sand ginger, Cutcherry, or Resurrection lily

Habitat: Kaempferia galanga is native to India and distributed in China, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos, Sudan, Nigeria and South Africa.

Description:
Galanga is a small, stemless perennial herb growing up to 45cm tall from a rhizomatous rootstock. The thick, rounded leaves usually lay flat in a rosette on the ground.

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Gathered from the wild for local use as a food and medicine, the plant is also sometimes cultivated as a spice in the tropics, especially in India, Malaya and China. The plant is also grown as an ornamenta

Cultivation:
A plant of the moister tropics with a distinct dry season, it prefers a humid climate and a minimum temperature that seldom falls below about 18°c.
Prefers a rich, moist soil and a position in the shade. Species in this genus generally prefer a position in partial shade, growing best in a moist, well-drained, fertile, humus-rich soil.

Edible Uses:
Kaempferia galanga is used as an herb in cooking in Indonesia, where it is called kencur (‘cekur’ in Malaysia), and especially in Javanese and Balinese cuisines. Beras kencur, which combines dried K. galanga powder with rice flour, is a particularly popular jamu herbal drink. Its leaves are also used in the Malay rice dish, nasi ulam.

The young leaves can be eaten raw, steamed, in curries or cooked with chilli paste and used as a side dish with rice.

The tender young rhizomes are aromatic, They can be eaten raw, steamed, in curries or cooked with chilli paste and used as a side dish with rice. The rhizomes can also be used as a condiment and, when dried, have been used as a substitute for turmeric in curry powder.

Medicinal Uses:
Galanga is a bitter, stimulant herb with a camphoraceous aroma. It is antibacterial, improves the digestion and has diuretic effects.

The root is used internally to treat colds, bronchial complaints, dyspepsia and other gastric complaints, and headaches[238
. It is chewed to treat sore throats and coughs. It is used in traditional medicine for the treatment of high blood pressure and asthma. The roots are an ingredient of a post partum medicine.
Externally, the root is applied as a poultice to wounds, swellings and ulcers, and is also used to treat dandruff and rheumatic joints. It is used as a gargle for sore throats.

The leaves are chewed to treat coughs and sore throat.

Other Uses:
The aromatic, powdered root is used in linen sachets to repel moths from clothes. The aromatic, powdered root is added to body powders and cosmetics

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/Kaempferia_galanga
http://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Kaempferia+galanga

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Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Tagetes minuta

Botanical Name: Tagetes minuta
Family: Asteraceae
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Asterales
Genus: Tagetes
Species:T. minuta

Synonyms:
*Tagetes bonariensis Pers.
*Tagetes glandulifera Schrank
*Tagetes glandulosa Schrank ex Link
*Tagetes porophyllum Vell.
*Tagetes tinctoria Hornsch.

Common Names:Huacatay, Mexican marigold, Mint marigold Muster John Henry, Southern marigold, Khakibos, Stinking roger, Wild marigold, and Black mint.

Habitat: Tagetes minuta is native to the southern half of South America. Since Spanish colonization, it has been introduced around the world, and has become naturalized in Europe, Asia, Australasia, North America, and Africa. Tagetes minuta has numerous local names that vary by region, most commonly found in the literature as chinchilla, chiquilla, chilca, zuico, suico, or anisillo. Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Description:
Tagetes minuta is an annual plant,growing to 1.2 m (4ft) by 0.6 m (2ft in).
It is in leaf from April to November, in flower in October, and the seeds ripen in November. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects.

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Cultivation:
Requires a well-drained moderately fertile soil in a sunny position. Grows well in heavy clay soils and in sandy soils. Plants are not very resistant to frosts and need to be grown as half hardy annuals. They also need a long growing season, usually flowering too late in the autumn to set seed in Britain. Removing dead flowers before the seed is formed will extend the flowering season. A very good companion plant, see ‘Other Uses’ below for more details. Plants are prone to slugs, snails and botrytis.

Edible Uses:
The dried leaves are used as an aromatic seasoning for soups and vegetables. They give an apple-like flavour. An essential oil obtained from the distilled plant, harvested when in flower, is used as a flavouring in ice cream, baked goods, soft drinks etc.

Medicinal Uses:
The whole plant is anthelmintic, antispasmodic, aromatic, diaphoretic, diuretic, purgative and stomachic. It is used internally in the treatment of gastritis, indigestion and internal worms. Externally, it is used to treat haemorrhoids and skin infections. The plant is harvested when in flower and dried for later use.

Other Uses:
This plant is widely used in companion planting schemes. Secretions from the roots of growing plants have an insecticidal effect on the soil, effective against nematodes and to some extent against keeled slugs. These secretions are produced about 3 – 4 months after sowing. These root secretions also have a herbicidal effect, inhibiting the growth of certain plants growing nearby. It has been found effective against perennial weeds such as Ranunculus ficaria (Celandine), Aegopodium podagraria Ground elder), Glechoma hederacea (Ground ivy), Agropyron repens (Couch grass) and Convolvulus arvensis (Field bindweed). An essential oil distilled from the leaves and flowering stems, harvested when the plant is forming seeds, is used as an insect repellent. It is also used in perfumery. Dried plants can be hung indoors as an insect repellent.

Known Hazards : This species has an irritant sap that can cause dermatitis in sensitive people.

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/Tagetes_minuta
https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Tagetes+minuta

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Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Atherosperma moschatum

Botanical Name: Atherosperma moschatum
Family: Atherospermataceae
Kingdom: Plantaeids
Order: Laurales
Genus: Atherosperma
Species: A. moschatum

Synonyms:
*Atherosperma moschatum Labill.
*Atherosperma elongatum Gand.
*Atherosperma integrifolium A.Cunn. ex Tul.

Common Namers: Black Sassafras, Southern sassafras, Black Leaf Sassafras

Habitat: Atherosperma moschatum is native to the temperate rainforests of central and northern New South Wales, Australia. In 2006, it was recognised as a separate subspecies by Richard Schodde. It grows in temperate rainforests and moist gullies up to the sub-alpine zone.

Description:
The southern sassafras is a shrub or a small tree, growing from 1 to 30 m tall. The trunk is not buttressed and somewhat cylindrical. The bark is fairly smooth with bumps and lenticels, often also marked with moss and lichen. Young shoots and new growth are noticeably hairy. It is a scented and beautiful tree, especially when in flower.

Its leaves are narrower than the more southern form of A. m. subsp. moschatum, and many of the leaves are entire, though some small prickles grow on a minority of leaves. Leaves are opposite on the stem, 8 cm long, 1 cm wide, white underneath, glossy above, and veiny. They are pleasantly scented when crushed.

The 1889 book ‘The Useful Native Plants of Australia records that “The fragrant bark of this tree has been used as tea in Tasmania. A decoction or infusion of the green or dried bark was made, and according to Mr. Gunn, it has a pleasant taste when taken with plenty of milk. Its effect is, however, slightly aperient. It is also used in the form of a beer. The bark contains an agreeable bitter, of much repute as a tonic amongst sawyers. It is called Native Sassafras from the odour of its bark, due to an essential oil closely resembling true sassafras in odour. Bosisto likens the smell of the inner bark to new ale, and says that a decoction from this part of the tree is a good substitute for yeast in raising bread. It is diaphoretic and diuretic in asthma and other pulmonary affections, but it is known more especially for its sedative action on the heart, and it has been successfully used in some forms of heart disease. It is prepared of the strength of 4 ounces of the bark to 20 ounces of rectified spirit, and is given in doses of 30 to 60 drops, usually on a lump of sugar. The volatile oil of the bark alone is said to have a lowering action on the heart. See “Volatile and Essential Oils.” The bark has been examined by N. Zeyer, who has found in it volatile oil, fixed oil, wax, albumin, gum, sugar, starch, butyric acid, an aromatic resin, iron-greening tannic acid, and an alkaloid which he designates atherospermine.

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Cultivation:
Requires a rich well composted lime-free soil in full sun or semi-shade. Succeeds in acid and neutral soils. Plants are not very hardy in Britain, requiring greenhouse treatment in most areas, but they succeed outdoors in a woodland garden in the milder areas of the country. Another report says that plants are fairly hardy when grown in a sheltered position. A tree at Edinburgh Botanical Gardens is 3 metres tall and flowers annually, whilst there are trees 6 metres tall in Cornwall. Plants can tolerate short-lived frosts to about -5°c if they are well sited and sheltered from cold drying winds. Plants come into flower when they are quite young. All parts of the plant are aromatic. The flowers diffuse a sweet perfume whilst the nuts have a musk-like fragrance similar to nutmegs. Dioecious, male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Edible Uses:
A pleasant tasting tea is made from the fresh or dried aromatic bark. Some caution is advised in its use, see the notes on toxicity at top of the page.

Medicinal Uses:
Antiasthmatic, antirheumatic, aperient, cardiac, diaphoretic, diuretic, laxative, tonic. A powerful poison, it is useful in treating rheumatism, syphilis and bronchitis.

Other Uses:
An essential oil is obtained from the plant, it is used medicinally. Wood – tough, close grained, fairly soft, low in tannin. Used for cabinet making, turnery etc.

Known Hazards: The bark contains a potential carcinogen. Another report says that the whole plant might be poisonous.

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/Atherosperma_moschatum_subsp._integrifolium
https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Atherosperma+moschatum

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Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Sassafras albidum

Botanical Name:Sassafras albidum
Family: Lauraceae
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Laurales
Genus: Sassafras
Species:S. albidum

Synonyms:
*Laurus sassafras L.
*Sassafras albidum var. molle (Raf.) Fernald
*Sassafras officinalis T. Nees & C.H. Eberm.
*Sassafras triloba Raf.
*Sassafras triloba var. mollis Raf.
*Sassafras variifolium Kuntze

Common Names: Sassafras, Sassafras, Common Sassafras

Habitat:Sassafras is native to eastern North America, from southern Maine and southern Ontario west to Iowa, and south to central Florida and eastern Texas. It occurs throughout the eastern deciduous forest habitat type, at altitudes of up to 1,500 m (5000 feet) above sea level. It formerly also occurred in southern Wisconsin, but is extirpated there as a native tree.

Description:
Sassafras albidum is a medium-sized deciduous tree growing to 15–20 m (49–66 ft) tall, with a canopy up to 12 m (39 ft) wide, with a trunk up to 60 cm (24 in) in diameter, and a crown with many slender sympodial branches. The bark on trunk of mature trees is thick, dark red-brown, and deeply furrowed. The shoots are bright yellow green at first with mucilaginous bark, turning reddish brown, and in two or three years begin to show shallow fissures.It is in leaf from April to October, in flower from May to June, and the seeds ripen from September to October. The leaves are alternate, green to yellow-green, ovate or obovate, 10–16 cm (4-6.4 inches) long and 5–10 cm (2-4 inches) broad with a short, slender, slightly grooved petiole. They come in three different shapes, all of which can be on the same branch; three-lobed leaves, unlobed elliptical leaves, and two-lobed leaves; rarely, there can be more than three lobes. In fall, they turn to shades of yellow, tinged with red. The flowers are produced in loose, drooping, few-flowered racemes up to 5 cm (2.0 in) long in early spring shortly before the leaves appear; they are yellow to greenish-yellow, with five or six tepals. It is usually dioecious, with male and female flowers on separate trees; male flowers have nine stamens, female flowers with six staminodes (aborted stamens) and a 2–3 mm style on a superior ovary. Pollination is by insects. The fruit is a dark blue-black drupe 1 cm (0.39 in) long containing a single seed, borne on a red fleshy club-shaped pedicel 2 cm (0.79 in) long; it is ripe in late summer, with the seeds dispersed by birds. The cotyledons are thick and fleshy. All parts of the plant are aromatic and spicy. The roots are thick and fleshy, and frequently produce root sprouts which can develop into new trees.

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Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Pest tolerant, Massing, Specimen, Woodland garden. Requires a deep, fertile, well-drained, lime-free, near neutral soil in sun or light shade. Does well in a woodland garden, especially in a sheltered position along the edge. The plant is tender when young, the young shoots of older trees can also be damaged by late spring frosts. A very ornamental plant with a wide range of uses, it is occasionally cultivated and often gathered from the wild. All parts of the tree contain essential oils and give off a pleasant spicy aroma when crushed. The stem bark is highly aromatic, more so than the wood. The root stem bark is the most pleasant of all. The flowers have a spicy perfume. Trees are long-lived, moderately fast-growing and disease-free in the wild. They can begin flowering when only 10 years old and good seed crops are usually produced every 2 – 3 years. The trees spread by root suckers and can form thickets. Although some flowers appear to be hermaphrodite, they are functionally either male or female and most trees are dioecious. Both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required. Special Features:North American native, Attracts butterflies, Fragrant flowers, Attractive flowers or blooms. The plant is heat tolerant in zones 8 through 3. (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. A sprouting standard sending up shoots from the base . The root pattern is a tap root similar to a carrot going directly down . The root pattern is suckering with new plants from underground runners away from the plant

Edible Uses:
Leaves – raw or cooked. The young leaves can be added to salads whilst both old and young leaves can be used as a flavouring and as a thickening agent in soups etc. They have a mild aromatic flavour. The leaves are often dried and ground into powder for later use. The young shoots have been used to make a kind of beer. The dried root bark can be boiled with sugar and water until it forms a thick paste. It is then used as a condiment. The root and the berries can also be used as flavourings. Winter buds and young leaves – raw. A tea is made from the root bark, it is considered to be a tonic. The tea can also be made by brewing the root in maple syrup, this can be concentrated into a jelly. A tea can also be made from the leaves and the roots. It is best in spring. A tea can be made from the flowers.

Medicinal Uses:
Sassafras has a long history of herbal use. It was widely employed by many native North American Indian tribes who used it to treat a wide range of complaints, valuing it especially for its tonic effect upon the body. It is still commonly used in herbalism and as a domestic remedy. The root bark and root pith are alterative, anodyne, antiseptic, aromatic, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, stimulant and vasodilator. A tea made from the root bark is particularly renowned as a spring tonic and blood purifier as well as a household cure for a wide range of ailments such as gastrointestinal complaints, colds, kidney ailments, rheumatism and skin eruptions. The mucilaginous pith from the twigs has been used as a poultice or wash for eye ailments and is also taken internally as a tea for chest, liver and kidney complaints. An essential oil from the root bark is used as an antiseptic in dentistry and also as an anodyne. The oil contains safrole, which is said to have carcinogenic activity and has been banned from use in American foods – though it is less likely to cause cancer than alcohol. In large doses the oil is poisonous, causing dilated pupils, vomiting, stupor, collapse and kidney and liver damage. The oil has been applied externally to control lice and treat insect bites, though it can cause skin irritation.

Other Uses:
An essential oil is obtained from the bark of the root and also from the fruits. One hundred kilos of root chips yield one litre of essential oil under steam pressure – this oil comprises about 90% safrol. The oil is medicinal and is also used in soaps, the coarser kinds of perfumery, toothpastes, soft drinks etc. It is also used as an antiseptic in dentistry. A yellow dye is obtained from the wood and the bark. It is brown to orange. The plant repels mosquitoes and other insects. Wood – coarse-grained, soft, weak, fragrant, brittle, very durable in the soil. It weighs 31lb per cubic foot and is used for fence posts and items requiring lightness.

Known Hazards: The extracted essential oil is poisonous in large quantities. The essential il contains safrole which is known to be carcinogenic and potentially harmful to the liver. The essential oil has been banned as a food flavouring in America, even though the potential toxicity is lower than that of alcohol.

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/Sassafras_albidum
https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Sassafras+albidum

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Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Aniseed myrtle

Botanical Name: Syzygium anisatum
Family: Myrtaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Myrtales
Genus: Syzygium
Species: S. anisatum

Common Names:Aniseed myrtle, Anise myrtle. Ringwood and Aniseed tree

Habitat: Aniseed myrtle is native to the Nambucca and Bellinger Valleys in New South Wales. It grows in subtropical rainforest, often along streams or on lower slopes; rare.

Description:
Aniseed myrtle a medium sized tree to 15m, developing a dense, spreading crown. In its natural environment, the rainforests of the Bellingen & Nambucca river valleys in north-eastern NSW, the Anise Myrtle can reach up to 45m. Lanceolate, opposite leaves are shiny green with wavy margins and a strong aniseed smell when crushed. New growth tips are a light burgundy colour. Clusters of small white flowers are borne at the ends of branchlets. Suitable for large gardens or acreage and will handle reasonable frosts but requires protection for the first two of years.

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Edible Uses:
Used as a flavouring spice and herbal tea ingredient. Although previously known, it was first sold in the early 1990s as a bushfood spice, and in the mid 1990s cultivated in plantations to meet demand.

The essential oil of S. anisatum contains anethole and methyl chavicol, imparting licorice and aniseed flavours respectively.

‘Aniseed myrtle’ is the name originally coined to specifically describe high quality selections of the trans-anethole chemotype (90%+) – generally recognized as safe for flavouring. These selections are propagated from cutting for consistent essential oil quality. The aniseed myrtle selections are also low in methyl chavicol and cis-anethole (less than 0.1%).

Medicinal Uses: Research indicates that aniseed myrtle oil has antimicrobial activity, including on the pathogenic yeast Candida albicans. Traditionally Aboriginal people used it medicinally as a tonic which had a vitalising effect.

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/Syzygium_anisatum
https://www.witjutigrub.com.au/index.php/info-sheets/16-anise-myrtle-syzygium-anisatum