Herbs & Plants

Hibiscus syriacus

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Botanical Name : Hibiscus syriacus
Family: Malvaceae
Genus: Hibiscus
Species: H. syriacus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malvales

Synonyms : Althaea frutex.

Common Names: Rose Of Sharon, Althaea, Shrub Althea, Hardy Hibiscus, Syrian ketmia or Rose mallow (United Kingdom) and St Joseph‘s rod (Italy).

Habitat :Hibiscus syriacus is native to E. Asia – China to India. Locally naturalized in S. Europe. It is found wild on mountain slopes, though the original

Hibiscus syriacus is a hardy deciduous shrub. It is upright and vase-shaped, reaching 2–4 m (7–13 ft) in height, bearing large trumpet-shaped flowers with prominent yellow-tipped white stamens. The flowers are often pink in color, but can also be dark pink (almost purple), light pink or white. Individual flowers are short-lived, lasting only a day. However, numerous buds are produced on the shrub’s new growth, and this provides prolific flowering over a long summer blooming period. Shoots make interesting indoor vase cuttings, as they stay green for a long time, and some new flowers may open from the more mature buds. The species has naturalized very well in many suburban areas, and might even be termed slightly invasive, so frequently does it seed around.
Bloom Color: Blue, Lavender, Pink, Purple, Red, White. Main Bloom Time: Early summer, Late summer, Mid summer. Form: Rounded, Upright or erect…


Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Foundation, Standard, Seashore, Specimen. Prefers a well-drained humus rich fertile soil in a sheltered position in full sun. Succeeds in any soil of good or moderate quality. Dislikes shade or badly drained soils. Plants grow best with their roots in cool moist soil and their tops in a hot sunny position. This species is hardy to about -20°c but plants only really succeed in the warmer counties of Britain because of their late flowering habit. When planted in colder areas of the country, they will need protection for the first few winters. The flowers only open in sunny weather. Plants rarely require pruning, though they respond well to pruning and trimming and this is best carried out in the spring or just after flowering. Plants are late coming into leaf, usually around the end of May or early June. A very ornamental plant, there are many named varieties. Special Features:Attracts birds, Not North American native, Naturalizing, Attracts butterflies, Blooms are very showy.

Seed – sow early spring in a greenhouse. Germination is usually fairly quick. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first year. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Some reports say that the seed can be sown in situ outside and that it gives a good rate of germination. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Good percentage. Cuttings of mature wood, early autumn in a frame. Good percentage. Layering in mid summer to early autumn.

Edible Uses:… Oil; Tea.….Young leaves – raw or cooked. A very mild flavour, though slightly on the tough side, they make an acceptable addition to the salad bowl. A tea is made from the leaves or the flowers. Flowers – raw or cooked. A mild flavour and mucilaginous texture, they are delightful in salads, both for looking at and for eating. Root – it is edible but very fibrousy. Mucilaginous, without very much flavour.
Medicinal Uses:
The leaves are diuretic, expectorant and stomachic. A decoction of the flowers is diuretic, ophthalmic and stomachic. It is also used in the treatment of itch and other skin diseases,  dizziness and bloody stools accompanied by much gas. The bark contains several medically active constituents, including mucilage, carotenoids, sesquiterpenes and anthocyanidins. A decoction of the root bark is antiphlogistic, demulcent, emollient, febrifuge, haemostatic and vermifuge. It is used in the treatment of diarrhoea, dysentery, abdominal pain, leucorrhoea, dysmenorrhoea and dermaphytosis.

Other Uses:
A low quality fibre is obtained from the stems. It is used for making cordage and paper. The seed contains about 25% oil. No further details are given, but it is likely to be edible. A hair shampoo is made from the leaves. A blue dye is obtained from the flowers. This species is planted as a hedge in S. Europe.

National flower:
Hibiscus syriacus is the national flower of South Korea. The flower appears in national emblems, and Korea is compared poetically to the flower in the South Korean national anthem. The flower’s name in Korean is mugunghwa. The flower’s symbolic significance stems from the Korean word mugung, which means “eternity” or “inexhaustible abundance”.

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

Pelargonium fragrans

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Botanical Name : Pelargonium fragrans
Family: Geraniaceae
Genus: Pelargonium
Species: Pelargonium × fragrans
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Geraniales

Common Names: Nutmeg Geranium, Fragrans (Pelargonium comes from the Greek; Pelargos which means stork. Another name for pelargoniums is storksbills due the shape of their fruit. Fragrans refers to the fragrant leav)

Habitat : Pelargonium fragrans is native to South Africa. It is a naturally occurring hybrid, P. exstipulatum. x P. odoratissimum, found in the highlands of the Karoo.

Pelargonium fragrans is an evergreen shrub growing like its parent Pelargonium odoratissimum, is a small, spreading species which only grows up to 30 cm high and 60 cm wide. It has small white flowers and its leaves are waxy, green and ovate with slightly fringed edges. It has a sweet, slightly spicy, eucalyptus like scent. It is frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan and is in flower from May to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs.)...CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

This is perennial plant is a dwarf and glaucous shrub with small, rounded leaves and tiny, white flowers that grow in trailing clusters. And as the name indicates, this plant has a nutmeg fragrance. Most of the Pelargonium fragrans hybrids have a nutmeg fragrance as well, but not all of them.
Requires a light well-drained neutral to alkaline soil in a sunny position. Plants are not very hardy in Britain, they generally require greenhouse protection but might succeed outdoors when grown in a very sheltered warm spot in the mildest parts of the country. They can also be grown in containers that are placed outdoors in the summer and then brought into the greenhouse or conservatory for the winter. The plants need to be kept fairly dry in the winter. Very tolerant of pruning, they can be cut right down to the base in the autumn when bringing them back indoors, or in the spring to encourage lots of fresh growth. The leaves have a strong scent of pine. There are some named varieties, selected for their ornamental value.
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a greenhouse. Stored seed should be sown in early spring in a greenhouse. The seed germinates best with a minimum temperature of 13°c, germination usually taking place within 2 weeks though it sometimes takes some months. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. If trying them outdoors, plant them out in early summer and consider giving them extra protection during the winter. Cuttings succeed at almost any time in the growing season but early summer is the best time in order for the new plant to become established before winter.
Edible Uses:.... Condiment……The crushed leaves are used to flavour jellies, cakes, fruit dishes, vinegars etc. They give a spicy flavour to coffee.

Medicinal Uses :…….All parts of the plant are astringent. The leaves are used externally as a rub for aching feet or legs. They can be harvested as required and used fresh.

Other Uses : …..…Essential……..An essential oil is obtained from the plant. It has a nutmeg fragrance. The dried leaves are added to pot-pourri .

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.


News on Health & Science

Breakthrough in allergy, asthma therapy

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Researchers working on two European Union-funded research projects have unravelled the structure of a key enzyme that can trigger allergies and asthma, giving hopes for more effective therapies, said the European Commission.

The enzyme, termed LTC4 synthase, is part of a complex process that leads to the production of leukotrienes, which cause allergic symptoms, and motors the inflammatory reaction, which causes asthma attacks.

Some of the existing medicines block the effect of this enzyme after the process has taken place. Thanks to these latest findings, scientists will now be able to tailor new molecules that block LTC4 before it can act.

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The breakthrough was published in the leading scientific magazine Nature on Sunday.

The two projects, named EICOSANOX and E-MeP, are headed by professors from Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm and received 20 million euros ($27 million) of funding from EU’s research programme.

The EU-funded teams have developed the highest ever resolution picture of the structure of LTC4 synthase. This greater clarity of the structure of the enzyme means that scientists now have a much better understanding of how it is formed and how it works. This knowledge can then be used to develop more effective therapies.

Scientists from around the world have been working on unravelling the structure of LTC4 synthase and the results of two such projects are described in Nature this week.

The European team, however, has managed to produce the highest resolution information, therefore providing a much better template for drug design.

Source:The Times Of India