Herbs & Plants

Taraxacum tibetanum

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Botanical Name: Taraxacum tibetanum
Family: Asteraceae
Subfamily: Cichorioideae
Tribe: Cichorieae
Subtribe: Crepidinae
Genus: Taraxacum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms: Taraxacum tibeticum

Common Name: Tibetan dandelion

Habitat : Taraxacum tibetanum is native to E. Asia – Tibet.It grows on the alpine grasslands and pastures; 3800-5000 m. Sichuan, Xizang [India (Sikkim)].

Taraxacum tibetanum is a perennial herb, 5-15(-20) cm tall. Petiole ± green or purplish, base sparsely arachnoid; leaf blade mid-green to deep green, narrowly oblong-lanceolate in outline, 4-10(-13) × 0.8-1.2(-1.6) cm, glabrous, pinnatilobed to pinnatisect; lateral lobes 2-4 pairs, broadly triangular with base convex on distal side, approximate, ± recurved, distal margin entire, dentate, or sparsely lobulate, apex narrowed into a ± subpatent to strongly recurved lobulelike segment; interlobes short, broad; terminal lobe ± narrowly triangular-sagittate, margin entire or sparsely denticulate, apex subobtuse. Scapes brownish green, ± overtopping leaves, subglabrous and only sparsely arachnoid below capitulum. Capitulum ca. 4 cm wide. Involucre 1.1-1.4 cm wide, base broadly rounded. Outer phyllaries 10-13, ± black, subimbricate, oblong-ovate (often widest above middle), outermost ones (4-)7-9 × 2.7-3.1 mm and 1/2-3/4 as long as inner ones, venation not distinct, unbordered, ± glabrous to sparsely ciliate, ± flat to minutely corniculate below apex; inner phyllaries blackish green, 13-16 × 2-2.5 mm, apex ± flat or callose. Ligules yellow, outside striped dark gray; inner ligules with blackish apical teeth. Stigmas ± black. Anthers polliniferous; pollen grains irregular in size. Achene dark grayish brown, 4.1-4.4 × 1.1-1.4 mm; body distally subsparsely spinulose, ± smooth below, ± subabruptly narrowing into a 0.6-0.9 mm cone broadly conic at base and subconic distally, spinules small, suberect, and acute; beak ca. 6 mm. Pappus yellowish white, 7-8 mm. Fl. summer. Agamosperm.


The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.

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.

We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in many parts of the country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. This species is not in the IOPI list of accepted plant names. Prefers a well-drained humus-rich soil in full sun or light shade. Many species in this genus produce their seed apomictically. This is an asexual method of seed production where each seed is genetically identical to the parent plant. Occasionally seed is produced sexually, the resulting seedlings are somewhat different to the parent plants and if these plants are sufficiently distinct from the parents and then produce apomictic seedlings these seedlings are, in theory at least, a new species.
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame and either surface-sow or only just cover the seed. Make sure the compost does not dry out. Germination should take place within 2 weeks. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle, choosing relatively deep pots to accommodate the tap root. Plant them out in early summer. Division in early spring as the plant comes into growth.

Edible Uses:
Leaves – raw or cooked. The following uses are also probably applicable to this species, though we have no records for them Root – cooked. Flowers – raw or cooked. The unopened flower buds can be used in fritters. The whole plant is dried and used as a tea. A pleasant tea is made from the flowers. The leaves and the roots can also be used to make tea. The root is dried and roasted to make a coffee substitute.

Medicinal Uses:
The entire plant is used in Tibetan medicine, it has a bitter taste and a cooling potency. Anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory and febrifuge, it is used in the treatment of stomach disorders and pain in the stomach/intestines due to intestinal worms.

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.

Taraxacum mongolicum

Herbs & Plants

Prunus americana

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Botanical Name: Prunus americana
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Prunus
Section: Prunocerasus
Species: P. americana
Order: Rosales

Common Names: American Plum, American Wild Plum, Wild Plum, Large yellow sweet plum

Habitat : Prunus americana is native to North America from Saskatchewan and Idaho south to New Mexico and east to Québec, Maine and Florida.It grows on rich soils in mixed deciduous woodland, by streams, on the borders of swamps and in hedgerows.

Prunus americana grows as a large shrub or small tree, reaching up to 15 feet (4.6 m). It is adapted to coarse- and medium-textured soils, but not to fine soils. The shrub is winter-hardy, but has little tolerance for shade, drought, or fire. Its growth is most active in spring and summer, and it blooms in midspring. It propagates by seed, but the rate of spread by seed is slow.

The roots are shallow, widely spread, and send up suckers. The numerous stems per plant become scaly with age. The tree has a broad crown. The branches are thorny. The leaves are alternately arranged, with an oval shape. The leaf length is usually 2–4 in (5.1–10.2 cm) long. The upper surface of the leaf is dark green and under side is smooth and pale. The small white flowers with five petals occur singly or in clusters in the leaf axils. The globular fruits are about 1 in (2.5 cm) in diameter.


It is in flower in April, and the seeds ripen in August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.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.
Landscape Uses:Border, Espalier, Pest tolerant, Specimen. Thrives in a well-drained moisture-retentive loamy soil, doing well on limestone. Prefers some lime in the soil but is likely to become chlorotic if too much lime is present. Succeeds in sun or partial shade though it fruits better in a sunny position. Trees are probably hardy to as low as -50°c when fully dormant. A fast-growing but short-lived tree in the wild, it is cultivated for its edible fruit in N. America, where there are many named varieties. It flowers well in Britain but rarely fruits well here. Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged. Plants often produce suckers at the roots and form thickets. The branches are brittle. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus. Special Features: North American native, Edible, All or parts of this plant are poisonous, Attracts butterflies, Blooms are very showy.

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, if not impossible. Softwood cuttings from strongly growing plants in spring to early summer in a frame. Difficult, it not impossible. Suckers in late winter.
Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Fruit; Seed.

Fruit – raw, cooked in pies etc or used in preserves. The flesh is succulent and juicy, though it is rather acid with a tough skin. The best forms are pulpy and pleasant tasting. The fruit is best cooked, and it can also be dried for later use. The fruit is about 25mm in diameter and contains one large seed. Seed – raw or cooked. Do not eat the seed if it is too bitter – see the notes above on toxicity.
Medicinal Uses:

Antiasthmatic; Astringent; Disinfectant; Diuretic; Miscellany; Poultice.

A tea made from the scraped inner bark is used as a wash to treat various skin problems and as a mouth wash to treat sores. A poultice of the inner bark is disinfectant and is used as a treatment on cuts and wounds. The bark is astringent, diuretic and pectoral. It has been used to make a cough syrup. An infusion has been used in the treatment of diarrhoea, kidney and bladder complaints. An infusion of the twigs has been used in the treatment of asthma. Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, all members of the genus contain amygdalin and prunasin, substances which break down in water to form hydrocyanic acid (cyanide or prussic acid). In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being.


Other  Uses:Broom; Disinfectant; Dye; Miscellany; Rootstock; Soil stabilization; Wood.

A green dye can be obtained from the leaves. A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit. A red dye can be obtained from the roots. This species is widely used as a rootstock for cultivated plums in North America. The tough, elastic twigs can be bound into bundles and used as brooms for sweeping the floor. Trees often grow wild along streams, where their roots tend to prevent soil erosion. Wood – heavy, hard, close-grained, strong. It weighs 45lb per cubic foot. Of no commercial value because the trunk is too small.

Known Hazards:
Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus where most, if not all members of the genus produce 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. It is usually present in too small a quantity to do any harm but 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.

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.


Healthy Tips

Exercise Your Brain

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We all know about the importance of proper nutrition and exercise to keep our muscles in good shape. But did you also know that giving the brain a workout is equally important?


Researchers from the Mayo Clinic and the University of Southern California have determined that computer-based mental training programs appear to improve cognitive performance in older people by as much as 10 years. Another study from Harvard found that taking beta-carotene long-term can improve cognitive function.

So what can you do to keep your brain as fit as the rest of you? Here are a few tips:

* Move your body. A recent study from Columbia University in New York City found that people who exercised regularly for three months increased the blood flow to the hippocampus part of the brain, which is responsible for memory. This also can lead to the production of new brain cells. Sandra Aamodt, editor-in-chief of Nature Neuroscience, a leading scientific journal on brain research, explains that increased blood flow to the brain can offset mini-strokes, which can cause cognitive decline.

* Eat your vegetables and fruits. Your mother was right all along! The Alzheimer’s Association recommends a diet high in dark-colored vegetables (e.g., kale, spinach, beets and eggplant); colorful fruits (e.g., berries, raisins, prunes, oranges and red grapes) and fish such as salmon or trout high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids to keep those neurons firing. James Joseph, director of the neuroscience lab at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, says, “We have found that the berry fruits improve neuronal communication.”

* Challenge your brain. Games such as crossword puzzles, word jumbles or even sudoku (a numbers puzzle originating in Japan) keep those mental wheels turning. In tests of experienced crossword puzzlers of all ages, those in their 60s and 70s did the best, according to a recent article in U.S. News & World Report.

* Be social. Get involved with your community or participate in your favorite hobby with others. Researchers at Harvard found that those with at least five social ties were less likely to suffer cognitive decline than those with no social ties. Researchers at George Washington University found that elderly people who joined a choir stepped up their other activities during a 12-month period, while those who were not involved with the choir dropped out of other social activities.