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Astragalus gummifer

 

Botanical Name: Astragalus gummifer
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Astragalus
Species: A. gummifer
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Synonyms: Gum Tragacanth. Syrian Tragacanth. Gum Dragon (known in commerce as Syrian Tragacanth).

Common Names:Tragacanth, Gum tragacanth milkvetch
Habitat: Astragalus gummifer is native to temperate regions of Western Asia centralized in Iraq, Kurdistan, Iran, Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey but also found in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Russia. It finds dry sub-alpine slopes and valleys habitable typically 1200–2600 metres below the tree line in Iraq. The shrub grows in highlands and deserts. The shrub tolerates a pH range between 3.2 and 7.8 and temperatures as low as -5 to -10 Celsius. Standard environment consists of low water supply, full sun, no shade, and well-drained sandy/loamy soil. The plant adheres to a perennial life cycle (living for more than two years) and is an evergreen retaining its leaves throughout all seasons. Plant also known to have symbiotic relationship with soil bacteria, which fix nitrogen used by the plant.

Description:
Astragalus gummifer is an evergreen Shrub growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in). The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, lepidoptera.It can fix Nitrogen. It is a small branching thorny shrub, the stem of which exudes a gum, vertical slits giving flat ribbon-shaped pieces and punctures giving tears; these have a horny appearance, are nearly colourless or faintly yellow, marked with numerous concentric ridges; the flakes break with a short fracture, are odourless and nearly tasteless; soaked in cold water, they swell and form a gelatinous mass 8 or 10 per cent only dissolving. This species is shrubby, with small branches and short woody gray stem surrounded by thorns. The compound leaves are stipulate with elliptical leaflets (pinnae) borne in opposite pairs. The rachis of the leaf is extended into a sharp thorn…...CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation:
Requires a dry well-drained soil in a sunny position. Succeeds in poor soils. Tolerates a pH in the range 3.2 to 7.8. This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the country, it tolerates temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c. Whilst it is likely to tolerate low temperatures it may not be so happy with a wet winter. Plants are intolerant of root disturbance and are best planted in their final positions whilst still small. This plant is a sub-shrub and although it produces woody stems these tend to die back almost to the base each winter. 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. Many members of this genus can be difficult to grow, this may be due partly to a lack of their specific bacterial associations in the soil.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. A period of cold stratification may help stored seed to germinate. Stored seed, and perhaps also fresh seed, should be pre-soaked for 24 hours in hot water before sowing – but make sure that you do not cook the seed. Any seed that does not swell should be carefully pricked with a needle, taking care not to damage the embryo, and re-soaked for a further 24 hours. Germination can be slow and erratic but is usually within 4 – 9 weeks or more at 13°c if the seed is treated or sown fresh. As soon as it is large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter, planting them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.

Edible Uses:
Dried sap containing gum can be extracted from the plants root and stem, and used as a food additive mainly a thickener for salad dressings and sauces. The gum is also an excellent emulsifier and can be used in ice cream to provide its texture.

Part Used: Gummy exudation.

Constituents: The portion soluble in water contains chiefly polyarabinan-trigalaetangeddic acid; the insoluble part is called bassorin. Tragacanth also contains water, traces of starch, cellulose, and nitrogenous substances, yielding about 3 per cent ash.

Medicinal Uses:
The gum obtained from the roots and stem of the plant also bears many medicinal properties and is often referred to as tragacanth gum. The gum acts as a demulcent, which soothes irritated tissues making it helpful in treating burns. The gum acts as an antitumor as well stimulating the immune system in order to treat cancer. The plant also serves as an adaptogen fighting against chronic degenerative diseases by helping the body get to normal stress levels.

Demulcent, but owing to its incomplete solubility is not often used internally. It is much used for the suspension of heavy, insoluble powders to impart consistence to lozenges, being superior to gum arabic, also in making emulsions, mucilago, etc. Mucilage of Tragacanth has been used as anapplication to burns; it is also employed by manufacturers for stiffening calico, crape, etc.

Other Uses:
Tragacanth gum works as a thickening agent for several dyes, dressing fabrics, glues, watercolors, and ink as well as a binding agent in paper making and lozenges. Incense can be derived from the burning of the stems or gum.

Known Hazards: Many members of this genus contain toxic glycosides. All species with edible seedpods can be distinguished by their fleshy round or oval seedpod that looks somewhat like a greengage. A number of species can also accumulate toxic levels of selenium when grown in soils that are relatively rich in that element

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/Astragalus_gummifer
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/t/tragac26.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Astragalus+gummifer

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Senecio erucifolius

Botanical Name : Senecio erucifolius
Family:Asteraceae or Compositae
Tribe: Senecioneae
Genus: Jacobaea
Species: J. erucifolia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Syn: Jacobaea erucifolia

Common Names: Hoary Groundsel, Hoary ragwort

Habitat: Senecio erucifolius occurs in Central and southern Europe, including Britain, north to Denmark and Lithuania, east to W. Asia. It grows in dry banks, field borders, grassy slopes and roadsides, in limestone and chalky districts and especially on heavy soils.

Description:
Senecio erucifolius is a perennial herb, growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.6 m (2ft in).Medium to tall, grey downy plant, with a shortly creeping stock bearing terminal leaf rosettes. Stems erect, branched above the middle. Leaves pinnately lobed, the lower stalked and usually present at flowering time. Upper leaves with narrower lobes; all leaves with somewhat down rolled margins and woolly, especially beneath. Flowerheads bright yellow 12 to 15 mm with 12 to 15 rays, borne in a narrow flat topped cluster.It is in flower from Jul to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies. It is noted for attracting wildlife.

Cultivation:
We have very little information on the cultivation needs of this plant but, judging by its native habitats, it is likely to require a sunny position and to succeed in most moderate to heavy soils, including those of an alkaline nature.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in situ. Division in spring
Medicinal Uses:
Anthelmintic; Antiscorbutic; Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Emmenagogue; Poultice; Purgative.

The plant is used in plasters, ointments and poultices. This species is related to groundsel, S. vulgaris, and is said to have similar properties. These are:- The whole herb is anthelmintic, antiscorbutic, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue and purgative. It is often used as a poultice and is said to be useful in treating sickness of the stomach, whilst a weak infusion is used as a simple and easy purgative. The plant can be harvested in May and dried for later use, or the fresh juice can be extracted and used as required. Use with caution, see notes above on toxicity.

Known Hazards: All parts of the plant are poisonous to many mammals, including humans. The toxin affects the liver and has a cumulative affect. Some mammals, such as rabbits, do not seem to be harmed by the plant, and will often seek it out. Various birds also eat the leaves and seeds.

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/Jacobaea_erucifolia
http://www.naturespot.org.uk/species/hoary-ragwort
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Senecio+erucifolius

 

Magnolia

Botanical Name: Magnolia acuminata, Magnolia virginiana
Family: Magnoliaceae
Genus: Magnolia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Magnoliales

Synonyms: CucumberTree. Magnoliae cortex. Blue Magnolia. Swamp Sassafras. Magnolia Tripetata.

Parts Used: Bark of stem and root.

Habitat: North America. The natural range of Magnolia species is rather scattered and includes eastern North America, Central America and the West Indies and east and southeast Asia. Some species are found in South America. Today many species of Magnolia and an ever increasing number of hybrids can also be found as ornamental trees in large parts of North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. The genus is named after French botanist Pierre Magnol, from Montpellier. See Origin of the name Magnolia.

Description :The genus is named in commemoration of Pierre Magnol, a famous professor of medicine and botany of Montpellier in the early eighteenth century. All its members are handsome, with luxuriant foliage and rich flowers. The leaves of Magnolia acuminata are oval, about 6 inches long by 3 broad, and slightly hairy below, with a diameter of 6 inches, and the fruit or cone, about 3 inches long, resembles a small cucumber.
It is a large tree, reaching a height of 80 or more feet and a diameter of 3 to 5 feet, but only grows to about 16 feet in England. The wood is finely grained, taking a brilliant polish, and in its colour resembles that of the tulip or poplar, but it is less durable. It is sometimes used for large canoes and house interiors.

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The bark of the young wood is curved or quilled, fissured outside, with occasional warts, and orange-brown in colour, being whitish and smooth within and the fracture short except for inner fibres. The older bark without the corky layer is brownish or whitish and fibrous. Drying and age cause the loss of its volatile, aromatic property.

Magnolia is an ancient genus. Having evolved before bees appeared, the flowers developed to encourage pollination by beetles. As a result, the carpels of Magnolia flowers are tough, to avoid damage by eating and crawling beetles. Fossilised specimens of M. acuminata have been found dating to 20 million years ago, and of plants identifiably belonging to the Magnoliaceae dating back to 95 million years ago. Another primitive aspect of Magnolias is their lack of distinct sepals or petals. The term tepal has been coined to refer to the intermediate element that Magnolia has instead. Magnolias are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Giant Leopard Moth.

Magnolia grandiflora is the official state flower of both Mississippi and Louisiana. The flower’s abundance in Mississippi is reflected in its state nickname, “Magnolia State”. The magnolia is also the official state tree of Mississippi.

One of the oldest nicknames for Houston, Texas Is “The Magnolia City” due to the abundance of Magnolia Trees growing along Buffalo Bayou.

Magnolia flowers may be white, pink or purple. Size ranges from 3 to 5 inch in diameter. Some species of mangolia have strap – shaped petals depending on the species.Mangolia seeds may remain dormant for many years (15 to 20 years).Mangolia flowers are protogynous ,apearing with or before the leaves.The tapals of mangolias are 9-15.Stems are present on elongate torus.early decidous; filemants white or purple,very short: another introrse or latrorse.

Origin of the name Magnolia
In 1703 Charles Plumier (1646-1704) described a flowering tree from the island of Martinique in his Genera. He gave the species, known locally as ‘Talauma’, the genus name Magnolia, after Pierre Magnol. The English botanist William Sherard, who studied botany in Paris under Joseph Pitton de Tournefort, a pupil of Magnol, was most probably the first after Plumier to adopt the genus name Magnolia. He was at least responsible for the taxonomic part of Johann Jacob Dillenius‘s Hortus Elthamensis and of Mark Catesby’s famous Natural history of Carolina. These were the first works after Plumier’s Genera that used the name Magnolia, this time for some species of flowering trees from temperate North America.

Carolus Linnaeus, who was familiar with Plumier’s Genera, adopted the genus name Magnolia in 1735 in his first edition of Systema naturae, without a description but with a reference to Plumier’s work. In 1753, he took up Plumier’s Magnolia in the first edition of Species plantarum. Since Linnaeus never saw a herbarium specimen (if there has ever been one) of Plumier’s Magnolia and had only his description and a rather poor picture at hand, he must have taken it for the same plant which was described by Catesby in his 1730 ‘Natural History of Carolina, and placed it in the synonymy of Magnolia virginiana variety foetida, the taxon now known as Magnolia grandiflora.

The species that Plumier originally named Magnolia was later described as Annona dodecapetala by Lamarck, and has since been named Magnolia plumieri and Talauma plumieri (and still a number of other names) but is now known as Magnolia dodecapetala.

Constituents: The bark has no astringency. The tonic properties are found in varying degree in several species.

Medicinal Action and Uses:
The bark from M. officinalis has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine, where it is known as houpu. In Japan, M. obovata has been used in a similar manner. The aromatic bark contains magnolol and honokiol, two polyphenolic compounds that have demonstrated anti-anxiety and anti-angiogenic properties. Magnolia bark also has been shown to reduce allergic and asthmatic reactions.

Magnolia has attracted the interest of the dental research community because magnolia bark extract inhibits many of the bacteria responsible for caries and periodontal disease. In addition, the constituent magnolol interferes with the action of glucosyltransferase, an enzyme needed for the formation of bacterial plaque.

A mild diaphoretic, tonic, and aromatic stimulant. It is used in rheumatism and malaria and is contra-indicated in inflammatory symptoms. In the Alleghany districts the cones are steeped in spirits to make a tonic tincture.

A warm infusion is laxative and sudorific, a cold one being antiperiodic and mildly tonic.

Dosage: Fluid Extract. Frequent doses of 1/2 to 1 drachm, or the infusion in wineglassful doses.

Other Species:
Both M. virginiana and M. tripetala were recognized as official with M. acuminata.

M. virginiana, or M. glauca, White Laurel, Beaver Tree, Swamp Sassafras, White Bay, Sweet Bay, Small or Laurel Magnolia, or Sweet Magnolia, is much used by beavers, who favour it both as food and building material. The light wood has no commercial use.

The bark and seed cones are bitter and aromatic, used as tonics, and in similar ways to M. acuminata. The leaves yield a green, volatile oil with a more pleasant odour than fennel or anise. There is probably also a bitter glucosidal principle.
Other Uses:
In general, Magnolia is a genus which has attracted a lot of horticultural interest. Hybridisation has been immensely successful in combining the best aspects of different species to give plants which flower at an earlier age than the species themselves, as well as having more impressive flowers. One of the most popular garden magnolias is a hybrid, M. x soulangeana (Saucer magnolia; hybrid M. liliiflora x M. denudata).

M. tripetala, Umbrella Tree or Umbrella Magnolia. The fruit yields a neutral crystalline principle, Magnolin.

The bark, if chewed as a substitute for tobacco, is said to cure the habit.

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://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/m/magnol03.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnolia
http://www.theflowerexpert.com/content/giftflowers/flowersandfragrances/magnolia

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