Herbs & Plants

Iris decora

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Botanical Name: Iris decora
Family: Iridaceae
Subfamily: Iridoideae
Tribe: Irideae
Genus: Iris
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales
Synonyms: Evansia nepalensis (Klatt), Iris nepalensis (D.Don), Iris nepalensis var. khasiana (Baker), Iris sulcata (Wall.), Iris yunnanensis (H.Lév.), Junopsis decora (Wall.) Wern.Schulze, Neubeckia decora (Wall.) Klatt and Neubeckia sulcata (Klatt).
Habitat :Iris decora is native to E. AsiaHimalayasPakistan to S.W. China. It grows in the drier inner valleys, 1800 – 4000 metres. Grassy hillsides on plateaux, open stony pastures and cliffs at elevations of 2800 – 3100 metres.
Iris decora is a perennial plant. It has a rhizome covered in bristly fibres. It is similar in form to the roots of Hemerocallis. It reaches a height of 10–30 cm tall. It has 3–7 flowers per stem, in the summer, June -July, which are approximately 4–5 cm in diameter. They come in a range of colours between pale bluish lavender and deep reddish purple. The perianth tube measures 3.5–5 cm. The falls are up to 3.5 cm long. The blade has an orange-yellow central ridge that becomes white or purple at the apex. It has a whitish claw with purple veins.
The leaves reach up to 30 cm at flowering time and then grow up to 45–60 cm tall later, growing to longer than the flowering stem. The strongly ribbed leaves can be 2–8 mm wide.
The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.

Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Prefers a well-drained rich soil in a sunny position. Plants are best lifted in October, stores in dry sand in a cool frost-free place over the winter and planted out in March. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits. There has been some confusion over the name of this species. Iris decora Wall. should apply to a beardless species with the synonym of Iris nepalensis D.Don., whilst Iris nepalensis Wall. applies to a bearded species with the synonym Iris deflexa Knowle.&Wetc.
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. It does not require cold stratification. Stored seed should be sown as early in the year as possible in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first year. Plant out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Division, best done after flowering in late summer. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.

Medicinal Uses:
The root is aperient, deobstruent, diuretic and purgative. It is useful in the treatment of bilious obstructions and is also applied externally to small sores and pimples.

Known Hazards: Many plants in this genus are thought to be poisonous if ingested, so caution is advised. The roots are especially likely to be toxic. Plants can cause skin irritations and allergies in some 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.


Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Lactuca indica

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Botanical Name: Lactuca indica
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cichorieae
Genus: Lactuca
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms: L. amurensis. L. laciniata. L. saligna.

Common Names: Indian lettuce, milkweed, wild lettuce (En); lechuga de la India (Sp)

Lactuca indica is native to E. Asia. It grows on grassy places in lowland all over Japan.
Description:    Lactuca indica is an erect, perennial /annual herbaceous plant, 0.5-1m. high; rarely branched. Leaves alternate, sessile; the lower deeply lobed; the upper occasionally entire; margins toothed. Inflorescence in terminal head; flowers yellow. Achene small, tipped with a tuft of hairs. All parts of the plant contain a milky juice. It is in flower during June to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) 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.


The plant is sometimes cultivated for its edible leaves in parts of Asia, especially Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Japan.

Edible Uses: Leaves – raw or cooked. Added to salads or soups. The leaves contain about 1.5% protein, 0.4% fat, 2.2% carbohydrate, 0.7% ash. Stem – cooked. It contains 0.6% protein, 0.1% fat, 2.1% carbohydrate, 0.5% ash. Leaves and tender stems with slight bitterness are used fresh as salad, boiled, steamed or stir-fried, or in soup.

Medicinal Uses:
Beta-carotene: high; riboflavin: medium; ascorbic acid: medium; calcium: medium; iron: high; protein: 2.2%. Leaves contain also six antioxidative phenolic compounds.

The entire plant, and especially the leaves, is employed as a depurative and demulcent The leaves are used in treating mastitis, galactophoritis, furunculosis and abscesses. They are also effective for gastralgia and dyspepsia. The usual dose is 8 to 20g per day in the form of a decoction, extract or syrup. A mixture with some other plants is used externally in the form of a poultice of pounded fresh leaves.

The plant is digestive and tonic. Although we have seen no specific reports for this species, most if not all members of the genus have a milky sap that contains the substance ‘lactucarium‘ and can probably be used as the report below details. The whole plant is rich in a milky sap that flows freely from any wounds. This hardens and dries when in contact with the air. The sap contains ‘lactucarium’, which is used in medicine for its anodyne, antispasmodic, digestive, diuretic, hypnotic, narcotic and sedative properties. Lactucarium has the effects of a feeble opium, but without its tendency to cause digestive upsets, nor is it addictive. It is taken internally in the treatment of insomnia, anxiety, neuroses, hyperactivity in children, dry coughs, whooping cough, rheumatic pain etc. Concentrations of lactucarium are low in young plants and most concentrated when the plant comes into flower. It is collected commercially by cutting the heads of the plants and scraping the juice into china vessels several times a day until the plant is exhausted. An infusion of the fresh or dried flowering plant can also be used. The plant should be used with caution, and never without the supervision of a skilled practitioner. Even normal doses can cause drowsiness whilst excess causes restlessness and overdoses can cause death through cardiac paralysis. Some physicians believe that any effects of this medicine are caused by the mind of the patient rather than by the medicine. The sap has also been applied externally in the treatment of warts.

Prefers a light sandy loam. We do not know how hardy this plant will be in Britain, though it can be grown here as an annual. It takes about 60 days from seed sowing until the first leaves are harvested. This species is sometimes cultivated for its edible leaves in Asia. It originated in China but is now cultivated in many parts of S.E. Asia.

Seed – sow early spring in a warm greenhouse, only just covering the seed. Germination is usually rapid, prick out the seedlings when large enough to handle and plant them out after the last expected frosts. Division in spring. Make sure each piece of root has a leaf bud. Root cuttings in late winter.

Known Hazards : Although no specific mention of toxicity has been seen for this species, many plants in this genus contain a narcotic principle, this is at its most concentrated when the plant begins to flower. This principle has been almost bred out of the cultivated forms of lettuce but is produced when the plant starts to go to seed.
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.


Indian lettuce (Lactuca indica)

Herbs & Plants

Heliotropium indicum

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Botanical Name : Heliotropium indicum
Family: Boraginaceae
Genus: Heliotropium
Species: H. indicum
Kingdom: Plantae
Common  Indian Name: Hasti Sundi

Other Common Names:
*Indian heliotrope (English)
*Indian turnsole (English)
*Erysipela plant (English)
*Bigotitos (Spanish)
*Trompa elefante (Spanish)
*Lengua de Sapo (Spanish)
*Elepante (Cebuano)
*Kambra-kambra (Cebuano)
*Buntot-leon (Tagalog)
*Trompa ng elepante (Tagalog)
*Kuting-kutingan (Tagalog)
*Pengñga-pengñga (Ilocano)
*Uladulad (Kapampangan)
*Vòi voi (Vietnamese)
*Siriyari or Hathsura- (Hindi and Urdu)
*Hatisur (BENGALI)
*Thel kodukku (Tamil)
*Chelukondi Gida (Kannada)
*Thekkada (Malayalam)

Habitat: Heliotropium indicum  is  native to Asia or perhaps South America. Stablished in all tropical and sub tropical countries on the earth. It normally  grows in disturbed areas close to water sources.Low moist alluvial woods,muddy banks, gravel bars,waste ground.

Other informations: This species can be found in southern part of Missuri. This plant is easy to identify because of its rugose leaves and curled inflorescences, which have blue flowers.This plant is an introduced species and can be weedy but it grows well from seeds and would make a good garden subject.

Indian heliotrope is an annual, erect, branched plant that can grow to a height of about 15–50 centimetres (5.9–19.7 in). It has a hairy stem, bearing alternating ovate to oblong-ovate leaves. It has small white flowers with a green calyx; five stamens borne on a corolla tube; a terminal style; and a four-lobed ovary……….CLICK  &  SEE  THE  PICTURES

Inflorescence – the inflorescence of Heliotropium species uncoils after the central flowers, which are the oldest, mature. The flowers are arranged on only one side of the inflorescence.

Flowers – the petals are fused into a tube, with widely spreading lobes.
Fruits – immature fruit, the two lobes of the fruit are visible

Anti-inflammatory activity of Heliotropium indicum Linn and Leucas aspera spreng. in albino rats

To study the anti-inflammatory effect of Heliotropium indicum, and Leucas aspera on carrageenin induced hind paw oedema and cotton pellet granuloma in rats. Methods: Hind paw oedema was produced by subplantar injection of carrageenin and paw volume was measured plethysmometrically at ‘0’ and ‘3’ hours intervals after injection. Cotton pellet granuloma was produced by implantation of 50 ( 1 mg sterile cotton in each axilla under ether anaesthesia. The animals were treated with H. indicum and L. aspera and the standard drugs viz., acetylsalicylic acid and phenylbutazone. Results: H. indicum and L. aspera produced significant anti-inflammatory effect in both acute and subacute models of inflammation. In acute inflammation, L. aspera was more effective than acetylsalicylic acid. However in subacute inflammation, these two drugs were found to be less effective than phenylbutazone. Conclusion: H. indicum and L. aspera possess anti-inflammatory effects in both acute and subacute inflammation.

Medicinal Uses:
Traditional medicine:
In the Philippines, the plant is chiefly used as a traditional medicine. The extracted juice from the pounded leaves of the plants is used on wounds, skin ulcers and furuncles. The juice is also used as an eye drop for conjunctivitis. The pounded leaves are used as poultice.

In Indian Ayurveda Hasti Sundi (Heliotropium indicum) is very useful for the treatment of Oedema.(As per

Known Hazards:   Heliotropium indicum contains tumorigenic pyrrolizidine alkaloids.