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Herbs & Plants

Polyganum aviculare

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Botanical Name: Polyganum aviculare
Family: Polygonaceae
Genus: Polygonum
Species: P. aviculare
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Synonyms: Knotgrass. Centinode. Ninety-knot. Nine-joints. Allseed. Bird’s Tongue. Sparrow Tongue. Red Robin. Armstrong. Cowgrass. Hogweed. Pigweed. Pigrush. Swynel Grass. Swine’s Grass.

Common Names :  Knotweed, Prostrate knotweed, Birdweed, Pigweed and lowgrass.

Part Used: Whole herb.

Habitat: Polyganum aviculare occurs throughout the world. It is mostly found in fields and wasteland.

Description:
Common knotgrass is an annual herb with a semi-erect stem that may grow to 10 to 40 cm (4 to 16 in) high. The leaves are hairless and short-stalked. They are longish-elliptical with short stalks and rounded bases; the upper ones are few and are linear and stalkless. The stipules are fused into a stem-enclosing, translucent sheath known as an ochrea that is membranous and silvery. The flowers are regular, green with white or pink margins. Each has five perianth segments, overlapping at the base, five to eight stamens and three fused carpels. The fruit is a dark brown, three-edged nut. The seeds need light to germinate which is why this plant appears in disturbed soil in locations where its seeds may have lain dormant for years. It is noted for attracting wildlife……..CLICK  & SEE  THE  PICTURES

Cultivation :
Succeeds in an ordinary garden soil but prefers a moisture retentive not too fertile soil in sun or part shade. Repays generous treatment, in good soils the plant will cover an area up to a metre in diameter. Prefers an acid soil. Dislikes shade. Knotweed is a common and invasive weed of cultivated ground. It is an important food plant for the caterpillars of many species of butterflies. It also produces an abundance of seeds and these are a favourite food for many species of birds. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits. The flowers have little or no scent or honey and are rarely visited by pollinating insects. Self-fertilization is the usual method of reproduction, though cross-fertilization by insects does sometimes occur. The plant also produces cleistogomous flowers – these never open and therefore are always self-fertilized. The plant is very variable and is seen by most botanists as an aggregate species of 4 very variable species, viz. – P. aviculare. L.; P. boreale. (Lange.)Small.; P. rurivacum. Jord. ex Box.; and P. arenastrum. Box.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Germination is usually free and easy. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer if they have reached sufficient size. If not, overwinter them in a cold frame and plant them out the following spring after the last expected frosts. Division in spring or autumn. Very easy, larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.
Edible Uses :
Edible Parts: Leaves; Seed.
Edible Uses: Tea.

Young leaves and plants – raw or cooked. Used as a potherb, they are very rich in zinc. A nutritional analysis is available. Seed – raw or cooked. Rather small and fiddly to utilize, they can be used in all the ways that buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum) is used, either whole or dried and ground into a powder for use in pancakes, biscuits and piñole. The leaves are a tea substitute
Chemical Compositions: Polyganum aviculare contains the flavonols avicularin, myricitrin, juglanin, astragalin, betmidin and the lignan aviculin.
*Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
*Leaves (Fresh weight)
*0 Calories per 100g
*Water : 81.6%
*Protein: 1.9g; Fat: 0.3g; Carbohydrate: 10.2g; Fibre: 3.5g; Ash: 3.5g;
*Minerals – Calcium: 0mg; Phosphorus: 0mg; Iron: 0mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 0mg; Zinc: 0mg;
*Vitamins – A: 0mg; Thiamine (B1): 0mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0mg; Niacin: 0mg; B6: 0mg; C: 0mg;
Medicinal Uses:
Anthelmintic; Antiphlogistic; Astringent; Cardiotonic; Cholagogue; Diuretic; Emetic; Emollient; Expectorant; Febrifuge; Haemostatic;
Lithontripic; Purgative; TB; Vasoconstrictor; Vulnerary.

Polyganum aviculare is a safe and effective astringent and diuretic herb that is used mainly in the treatment of complaints such as dysentery and haemorrhoids. It is also taken in the treatment of pulmonary complaints because the silicic acid it contains strengthens connective tissue in the lungs. The whole plant is anthelmintic, astringent, cardiotonic, cholagogue, diuretic, febrifuge, haemostatic, lithontripic and vulnerary. It was formerly widely used as an astringent both internally and externally in the treatment of wounds, bleeding, piles and diarrhoea. Its diuretic properties make it useful in removing stones. An alcohol-based preparation has been used with success to treat varicose veins of recent origin. The plant is harvested in the summer and early autumn and is dried for later use. The leaves are anthelmintic, diuretic and emollient. The whole plant is anthelmintic, antiphlogistic and diuretic. The juice of the plant is weakly diuretic, expectorant and vasoconstrictor. Applied externally, it is an excellent remedy to stay bleeding of the nose and to treat sores. The seeds are emetic and purgative. Recent research has shown that the plant is a useful medicine for bacterial dysentery. Of 108 people with this disease, 104 recovered within 5 days when treated internally with a paste of knotweed
The plant has astringent properties, rendering an infusion of it useful in diarrhoea, bleeding piles and all haemorrhages; it was formerly employed considerably as a vulnerary and styptic.

It has also diuretic properties, for which it has found employment in strangury and as an expellant of stone, the dose recommended in old herbals being 1 drachm of the herb, powdered in wine, taken twice a day.

The decoction was also administered to kill worms.

The fresh juice has been found effectual to stay bleeding of the nose, squirted up the nose and applied to the temples, and made into an ointment it has proved an excellent remedy for sores.

Salmon stated:
‘Knotgrass is peculiar against spilling of blood, strangury and other kidney affections, cools inflammations, heals wounds and cleanses and heals old filthy ulcers. The Essence for tertians and quartan. The decoction for colick; the Balsam strengthens weak joints, comforts the nerves and tendons, and is prevalent against the gout, being duly and rightly applied morning and evening.’

The fruit is emetic and purgative.

Other Uses:..Dye…….Yields a blue dye that is not much inferior to indigo. The part used is not specified, but it is likely to be the leaves. Yellow and green dyes are obtained from the whole plant. The roots contain tannins, but the quantity was not given

Known Hazards: Although no specific mention has been made for this species, there have been reports that some members of this genus can cause photosensitivity in susceptible people. Many species also contain oxalic acid (the distinctive lemony flavour of sorrel) – whilst not toxic this substance can bind up other minerals making them unavailable to the body and leading to mineral deficiency. Having said that, a number of common foods such as sorrel and rhubarb contain oxalic acid and the leaves of most members of this genus are nutritious and beneficial to eat in moderate quantities. Cooking the leaves will reduce their content of oxalic acid. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition

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/Polygonum_aviculare
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/k/knogra08.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Polygonum+aviculare

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Herbs & Plants

Anamirta paniculata

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Botanical Name : Anamirta paniculata
Family: Menispermaceae
Tribe: Fibraureae
Genus: Anamirta
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ranunculales

Synonyms:  Anamirta cocculus, Anamirta paniculata Colebr ,Cocculus indicus Royle

Common Names: Levant Nut. Fish Berry, Arai ,Bañasin, Bayati, Bayating, Labtang , Lakdang,  Cocculus

Other vernacular names
Hindi: Kakamari.
Malayalam : Polla, Pollakkaya, Kollakkaya, Pettumarunnu.
Sanskrit: Garalaphala, Kakamari.

Habitat:Anamirta paniculata   grows in  India, Ceylon, Malabar.
Description:
Anamirta paniculata is a large woody vine with a ash-coloured corky  bark and white wood. Stems are sometimes 10 centimeters thick, longitudinally wadded, porous, with stout, smooth branches. Leaves are ovate or ovately-cordate, 10 to 20 centimeters long, with pointed or tapering apex and rounded or nearly heart-shaped base, smooth above, hairy on the nerve axils beneath, and 3-nerved from the base. Petioles are 5 to 15 centimeters long. Flowers are yellowish, sweet-scented, 6 to 7 millimeters across, crowded on 3- to 4.5 centimeters long, they  are pendulous panicles, male and female blooms on different plants. Fruit is a drupe, nearly spherical, about 1 centimeter in diameter when dry, smooth and hard.It is round and kidney shaped, outer coat thin, dry, browny, black and wrinkled, inside a hard white shell divided into two containing a whitish seed, crescent shaped and very oily….CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Part Used in medicines :  Dried fruit.

Constituents:  The chief constituent is the bitter, crystalline, poisonous substance, picrotoxin; the seed also contains about 50 per cent. of fat.

Medicinal  Uses:
The powdered berries are sometimes used as an ointment for destroying lice; the entire fruits are used to stupefy fish, being thrown on the water for that purpose. Picrotoxin is a powerful convulsive poison used principally to check night sweats in phthisis by its action in accelerating respiration, but it is not always successful. It was at one time used to adulterate beers, increasing their reputation as intoxicants; it is an antidote in Morphine poisoning.

This has use in Homeopathy remedy: A constituent in a homeopathic remedy for vertigo, Vertigoheel: A grisea, A cocculus, C maculatum and P rectificatum.

Known Hazads: The pleant is poisonous. It is  well known as a fish poison. Fruit is first heated and roasted, then crushed and powdered.
The toxic properties are not altered by roasting. In India, dried berries are used to stupefy fish.  In South American, used as blowgun dart poison.

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/Anamirta
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/c/coccul79.html

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Herbs & Plants

Araroba

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Botanical Name:  Andira araroba
Family:Fabaceae/ Leguminosae
Subfamily:Faboideae
Genus:    Andira
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:Fabales

Synonyms:  Goa Powder. Crude Chrysarobin. Bahia Powder. Brazil Powder. Ringworm Powder. Chrysatobine. Goa. Araroba Powder. Voucapoua Araroba,Vataireopsis araroba
Common Name :  Araroba
Habitat :  Andira araroba is  commonly found in Bahia, Brazil.

Description:
Andira Araroba, is large, smooth, and quite . It is met with in great abundance in certain forests in the province of Bahia, preferring as a rule low and humid spots. The tree is from 80 to 100 ft. high and has large imparipinnate leaves, the leaflets of which are oblong, about 12 in. long and 1 in. broad, and somewhat truncate at the apex. The flowers are papilionaceous, of a purple color and arranged in panicles.

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The yellowish wood has longitudinal canals and interspaces in which the powder is deposited in increasing quantity as the tree ages. It is probably due to a pathological condition. It is scraped out with an axe, after felling, sawing, and splitting the trunk, and is thus inevitably mixed with splinters and debris, so that it needs sifting, and is sometimes ground, dried, boiled, and filtered.
It irritates the eyes and face of the woodmen.

As it darkens quickly, the crude chrysarobin is changed from primrose yellow to shades of dark brown before it is met with in commerce, when it often contains a large percentage of water, added to prevent the dust from rising.

An amber skin-varnish is made with 20 parts of amber to 1 of chrysarobin in turpentine.

Chemical Composition:  Araroba is remarkable for occasionally yielding from 80 to 85 per cent of chrysophanic acid, as shown by Attfield, in 1875, and, according to the same authority, the remainder of the powder examined consists of 7 per cent of a glucoside and bitter matter, 2 of a resinous substance, 5 ½ of a red woody fiber, and ½ per cent of ash. The ashes consist chiefly of silicate of aluminum, and sulphates of potassium and of sodium. Prof J. U. Lloyd examined several specimens upon the market, and, in all cases, obtained a much smaller proportion of chrysophanic acid than stated by Mr. Attfield. Therefore, he concluded that Attfield must have procured an unexceptionally rich specimen of araroba, or that which reached this country was very inferior. Araroba readily yields chrysophanic acid to benzin. When heated in a suitable vessel, a sublimate is obtained, which, doubtless, consists largely of the aforementioned acid, as it is colored red by alkalies in solution. Araroba is chiefly employed for the preparation of chrysophanic acid (which see). Liebermann and Siedler, are authority for the statement that chrysophanic acid does not exist ready-formed in araroba, but is formed by oxidation of a natural constituent, to which they give the formula C30H26O7, and the name Chrysarobin (previously applied to araroba).

The powder is insoluble in water, but yields up to 80 per cent. of its weight to solutions of caustic alkalies and to benzene. It contains 80 to 84 per cent. of chrysarobin (easily convertible into chrysophanic acid), resin, woody fibre, and bitter extractive. Goa Powder is usually regarded as crude chrysarobin, while the purified chrysarobin, or Araroba, is a mixture extracted by hot benzene, which melts when heated, and leaves not more than 1 per cent. of ash when it finally burns.

Chrysarobin is a reduced quinone, and chrysophanic acid (also found in rhubarb yellow lichen, Buckthorn Berries, Rumox Eckolianus, a South African dock, etc., etc.), is a dioxymethylanthraquinone.

Chrysarobin contains at least five substances, and owes its power to one of these, chrysophanol-anthranol.

Lenirobin, a tetracetate,, and eurobin, a triacetate, are recommended as substitutes for chrysarobin, as they do not stain linen indelibly. (Benzin helps to remove the stains of chrysarobin.)

The action of chrysarobin on the skin is not due to germicidal properties, but to its chemical affinity for the keratin elements of the skin. The oxygen for its oxidation is abstracted from the epithelium by the drug.

Oxidized chrysarobin, obtained by boiling chrysarobin in water with sodium peroxide, can be used as an ointment for forms of eczema which chrysarobin would irritate too much.

Medicinal Uses:
The internal dose in pill or powder is a gastro-intestinal irritant, producing large, watery stools and vomiting. It is used in eczema, psoriasis, aene, and other skin diseases.

In India and South Ameriea it has been esteemed for many years for ringworm, psoriasis, dhobi’s itch, etc., as ointment, or simply moistened with vinegar or saliva. The application causes the eruption to become whitish, while the skin around it is stained dark.

In the crude form it should never be applied to the head, as it may cause erythema and oedema of the face. The 2 per cent. ointment is good in ecezema (after exudation has ceased), fissured nipples, and tylosis of the palms and soles after the skin has been removed by salicylic acid plaster, etc.

A drachm of chrysarobin may be dissolved in a fluid ounce of official flexible collodion, painted over the parts with a camel’s-hair brush, and the part coated with plain collodion to avoid staining the clothing; or chrysarobin may be dissolved in chloroform and the solution painted on the skin. For haemorrhoids, an ointment mixed with iodoform, belladonna, and petrolatum is recommended.

It is said to have been used as a taenifuge.

Known Hazards:
Precautions – Adverse reactions
The drug is severely irritating to skin and mucous membranes (redness, swelling, pustules and conjunctivitis, even without eye contact).
External administration on large skin areas could cause resorptive poisonings.
Internal administration leads to vomiting, diarrhea and kidney inflammation (with as little as
0.01 g).

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:
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/a/araro052.html
http://www.henriettes-herb.com/eclectic/kings/andira-arar.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Araroba_powder
http://www.globalhealth.it/xwp1/piante-medicinali/andira-araroba/

 

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Herbs & Plants

Mysore Thorn (Caesalpinia decapetala )

Botanical Name: Caesalpinia decapetala
Family: Leguminosae
Genus : Caesalpinia
Synonyms: Caesalpinia sepiaria – Roxb.
Common names: Arrete-boeuf, bois sappan (French), caniroc, cat’s claw, kraaldoring (Afrikaans), kraaldoring, liane croc chien (English), Mauritius thorn (English), mauritiusdoring (Afrikaans), mubage, Mysore thorn (English), puakelekino (Hawaii), sappan (French-Reunion (La Réunion)), shoofly (English), thorny poinciana, ubobo-encane (Zulu), ufenisi (Zulu), ulozisi (Zulu-South Africa), wait-a-bit (English)


Habitat :
E. Asia – Himalayas to China.Hedges and open bushy places. Swampy localities and ravines to 1800 metres.Woodland Garden; Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Hedge;

Description:
It  is a tropical tree species originating in India.

It is as a robust, thorny, evergreen shrub 2-4 m high or climber up to 10 m or higher; often forming dense thickets; the stems are covered with minute golden-hair; the stem thorns are straight to hooked, numerous, and not in regular rows or confined to nodes. The leaves are dark green, paler beneath, not glossy, up to 300 mm long; leaflets up to 8 mm wide. The flowers are pale yellow, in elongated, erect clusters 100-400 mm long. Fruits are brown, woody pods, flattened, unsegmented, smooth, sharply beaked at apex, ± 80 mm long.

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The medium-sized seeds may be dispersed by rodents and granivorous birds and running water. Trailing branches root where they touch the ground.

It has been introduced to Fiji, French Polynesia, Hawai‘i, New Caledonia, Norfolk Island, Australia, China, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Mauritius, Reunion, Rodrigues, and South Africa. Is has become a seriously problematic invasive species in many locations.

In Hawai‘i, where it has the local name p?poki, it forms impenetrable brambles, climbs high up trees, closes off pastures to animals and impedes forest pathways

It is hardy to zone 8. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. It can fix Nitrogen.
The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soil. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires moist soil.

Similar Species: Caesalpinia scortechinii, Caesalpinia subtropica

Cultivation:
Requires a sunny position, succeeding in any moderately fertile well-drained soil[200] including limy soils. This species is on the borderline of hardiness in Britain. However, C. japonica, which is considered to be no more than a variety of this species by many botanists, succeeds on a wall at Wisley to the west of London and is said to be hardy to about -10°c. Its natural range is Japan where it grows at heights up to 2000 metres on rocky mountain slopes in the cooler regions of the country. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. 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 – pre-soak for 12 – 24 hours in warm water and sow in a greenhouse in early spring. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter, planting them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Softwood cuttings in sand in a frame.

Medicinal Uses:
Anthelmintic; Antiperiodic; Astringent; Emmenagogue; Febrifuge; Laxative; Purgative.

Anthelmintic, antiperiodic, astringent, febrifuge. The leaves are emmenagogue and laxative.The bitter tasting stems and roots can be used medicinally. They are applied externally to burns. The root is purgative.

Other Uses

Hedge; Tannin; Wood.

The bark is a rich source of tannin. Plants are often grown as field boundaries in Nepal. An excellent hedge plant. However, due to its doubtful hardiness it is not a good candidate for this use in Britain. Wood – moderately hard.

Caesalpinia decapetala is used as a landscaping plant as a hedge or an ornamental in China and elsewhere.  Bark & other parts of the plant are useful in the chemical industry (Hao et al. 2004). The fruits and bark are rich in tannin. With an oil content of 35 percent, the seeds serve as a source of lubricant and soap (Hao et al. 2004).

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://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Caesalpinia+decapetala
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caesalpinia_decapetala
http://www.issg.org/database/species/ecology.asp?fr=1&si=510

http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/showimage/229822/

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Blue Zones: Places on Earth Where People Live Longest

If you are looking for a Fountain of Youth, forget pills and diet supplements. Adventurer Dan Buettner has visited four spots on the globe where people live into their 90s and 100s and outlines how they add years of good life in his book, ‘The Blue Zones.’

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The answer, Buettner says, includes smaller food portions, an active lifestyle and moderate drinking. “If someone tells you they have a pill or hormone (that extends life), you’re about to lose money,” Buettner says.

Buettner identifies four hotspots of longevity: the mountainous Barbagia region of Sardinia, an island off the coast of Italy; the Japanese island of Okinawa; a community of Seventh-day Adventists in Loma Linda, California, 60 miles east of Los Angeles; and the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica, in Central America.

The term ‘Blue Zones’ takes its name from the blue ink Belgian demographer Michel Poulain used to circle an area of long-living Sardinians on a map.

What Buettner found in his seven years of research and travel were common denominators among the vigorous super-elderly – close family relationships, a sense of purpose, healthy eating habits. He distills them into what he calls the Power Nine.

“Picking half a dozen things off of this al a carte menu, and sticking to it, is probably worth eight to 10 (extra) years for the average American,” says Buettner, a tall 48-year-old who hopes to live until at least 100.

Buettner turned to probing the secrets of the longest-living cultures after leading three long-distance bicycle expeditions – from the tip of North America to the tip of South America; across the United States, Europe and the Soviet Union; and across Africa – in the 1980s and 1990s. He also used the internet to take classrooms on interactive quests to solve everything from the collapse of ancient Mayan civilization to human origins in Africa.

Buettner made his first expedition to Okinawa in 2000 and eventually wrote a National Geographic cover story, ‘The Secrets of Long Life,’ in November 2005.

Living long – even forever – is a human desire throughout history, says Robert Butler, president and CEO of the International Longevity Center- USA in New York. But Butler says he’s skeptical of claims of places of long-living people. “There’s always been these rumors but they’ve always turned out to be inaccurate,” said Butler.

Sources: The Times Of India