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Aloe vaera

Botanical NameAloe Perryi, Aloe vaera (LINN)

Family: Asphodelaceae
Subfamily: Asphodeloideae
Genus: Aloe
Species: A. perryi
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales

Common Name: Socotrine aloe.

Habitat: –Aloes are indigenous to East and South Africa, but have been introduced into the West Indies (where they are extensively cultivated) and into tropical countries, and will even flourish in the countries bordering on the Mediterranean. These plants are mainly found in dry areas; on flat or gentle slopes, primarily on limestone pavement but occasionally on sandy plains or granite mountains; at elevations from sea-level to 900 metres.

Description:
Aloe Perryi or Aloveras are succulent plants belonging to the Lily family, with perennial, strong and fibrous roots and numerous, persistent, fleshy leaves, proceeding from the upper part of the root, narrow, tapering, thick and fleshy, usually beset at the edges with spiney teeth. Many of the species are woody and branching. In the remote districts of S.W. Africa and in Natal, Aloes have been discovered 30 to 60 feet in height, with stems as much as 10 feet in circumference.

The flowers are produced in erect, terminal spikes. There is no calyx, the corolla is tubular, divided into six narrow segments at the mouth and of a red, yellow or purplish colour. The capsules contain numerous angular seeds.

The true Aloe is in flower during the greater part of the year and is not to be confounded with another plant, the Agave or American Aloe (Agave Americana), which is remarkable for the long interval between its periods of flowering. This is a succulent plant, without stem, the leaves being radical, spiney, and toothed. There is a variety with variegated foliage. The flower-stalk rises to many feet in height, bearing a number of large and handsome flowers. In cold climates there is usually a very long interval between the times of its flowering, though it is a popular error to suppose that it happens only once in a hundred years for when it obtains sufficient heat and receives a culture similar to that of the pineapple, it is found to flower much more frequently. Various species of Agave, all of which closely resemble each other, have been largely grown as ornamental plants since the first half of the sixteenth century in the south of Europe, and are completely acclimatized in Spain, Portugal and Southern Italy, but though often popularly called Aloes all of them are plants of the New World whereas the true Aloes are natives of the Old World. From a chemical point of view there is also no analogy at all between Aloes and Agaves.

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Although the Agave is not employed medicinally, the leaves have been used in Jamaica as a substitute for soap, the expressed juice (a gallon of the juice yields about 1 lb. of the soft extract), dried in the sun, being made into balls with wood ash. This soap lathers with salt water as well as fresh. The leaves have also been used for scouring pewter and kitchen utensils. The inner spongy substance of the leaves in a decayed state has been employed as tinder and the fibres may be spun into a strong, useful thread.

The fleshy leaves of the true Aloe contain near the epidermis or outer skin, a row of fibrovascular bundles, the cells of which are much enlarged and filled with a yellow juice which exudes when the leaf is cut. When it is desired to collect the juice, the leaves are cut off close to the stem and so placed that the juice is drained off into tubs. This juice thus collected is concentrated either by spontaneous evaporation, or more generally by boiling until it becomes of the consistency of thick honey. On cooling, it is then poured into gourds, boxes, or other convenient receptacles, and solidifies.

Aloes require two or three years’ standing before they yield their juice. In the West Indian Aloe plantations they are set out in rows like cabbages and cutting takes place in March or April, but in Africa the drug is collected from the wild plants.

Cultivation:
A plant of mainly arid and semi-arid lowland areas in the tropics. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 22 – 27°c, but can tolerate 12 – 31°c. It can be killed by temperatures of 5°c or lower It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 400 – 700mm, but tolerates 250 – 1,400mm. Tolerant of poor soils. Requires a well-drained, light to medium soil and a position in full sun. Prefers a pH in the range 6.5 – 7, tolerating 6 – 7.5.

Aloe species follow the Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM). CAM plants can fix carbon dioxide at night and photosynthesize with closed stomata during the day, thus minimizing water loss. This, plus their succulent leaves and stems, and the presence of a thick cuticle, makes them well adapted to dry conditions.

Propagation:
Seed – we have no specific information on this species – in general Aloes are sown in a sandy, well-drained potting soil in a warm, shady position in standard seed trays. Germination takes about three weeks. Cover the seed with a thin layer of sand (1 – 2mm), keep moist. The seedlings can be planted out in individual bags or containers as soon as they are large enough to handle.

Constituents:
The most important constituents of Aloes are the two Aloins, Barbaloin and Isobarbaloin, which constitute the so-called ‘crystalline’ Aloin, present in the drug at from 10 to 30 per cent. Other constituents are amorphous Aloin, resin and Aloe-emodin. The proportion in which the Aloins are present in the respective Aloes is not accurately known.

The manner in which the evaporation is conducted has a marked effect on the appearance of the Aloes, slow and moderate concentration tending to induce crystallization of the Aloin, thus causing the drug to appear opaque. Such Aloes is termed ‘livery’ or hepatic, and splinters of it exhibit minute crystals of Aloin when examined under the microscope. If, on the other hand, the evaporation is carried as far as possible, the Aloin does not crystallize and small fragments of the drug appear transparent; it is then termed ‘glassy,’ ‘vitreous,’ or ‘lucid’ Aloes and exhibits no crystals of Aloin under the microscope.

Medicinal Uses:
Used medicinally in the same ways as Aloe vera Aloe vera is used in the following ways:-

The clear gel contained within the leaf makes an excellent treatment for wounds, burns and a host of other skin disorders, placing a protective coat over the affected area, speeding up the rate of healing and reducing the risk of infection. The gel is also applied externally to cure haemorrhoids. These actions are in part due to the presence of aloectin B, which stimulates the immune system. To obtain this gel, the leaves can be cut in half along their length and the inner pulp rubbed over the affected area of skin. This has an immediate soothing effect on all sorts of burns and other skin problems.
The use of the gel has been approved in the United States for the treatment of leukaemia in cats, of fibrosarcoma in dogs, for wound healing in humans and to prevent dry socket (‘alveolar osteitis’) in humans.
The peeled leaves are eaten to relieve sore throat and coughs and as a mild laxative. As a food supplement, the leaf gel is said to facilitate digestion, and to improve blood and lymphatic circulation, as well as kidney, liver and gall bladder functions. There are claims of beneficial activity of Aloe vera products in cases of AIDS, arthritis, or other chronic and debilitating conditions. However, these claims have not been substantiated by scientific studies. There is also no evidence that topical Aloe vera gel is effective in preventing or minimizing radiation-induced skin reactions in cancer patients. In large amounts, the gel has anti-irritant properties.

A bitter substance is obtained from the yellow sap at the base of the leaf. Known as ‘bitter aloes’, it contains anthraquinones which are a useful digestive stimulant and a strong laxative. It also has vermicidal properties. It is taken internally in the treatment of chronic constipation, poor appetite, digestive problems etc. Mixed with other ingredients to mask its bitter taste, it is taken against asthma and to treat coughs. Similar mixtures are taken to cure dysentery, kidney problems or against dyspepsia. It should be administered preferably in combination with an antispasmodic to moderate its griping action.

It is applied externally as a refrigerant to treat acne or cuts.
‘Curaçao aloe’ should contain at least 28% hydroxy-anthraquinone derivatives; it is almost entirely soluble in 60% alcohol and for more than 70% in water. It should not contain more than 12% moisture and 3% ash.The plant is strongly purgative so great care should be taken over the dosage.
Anthraquinone-based laxatives, such as bitter aloes, should not be used longer than 8 – 10 days, nor by children younger than 12 years. Contra-indications include pregnancy, breastfeeding, intestinal inflammations and haemorrhoids.
When plants are grown in pots the anthraquinone content is greatly reduced.

The word Aloes, in Latin Lignum Aloes, is used in the Bible and in many ancient writings to designate a substance totally distinct from the modern Aloes, namely the resinous wood of Aquilaria agallocha, a large tree growing in the Malayan Peninsula. Its wood constituted a drug which was, down to the beginning of the present century, generally valued for use as incense, but now is esteemed only in the East.

A beautiful violet colour is afforded by the leaves of the Socotrine Aloe, and it does not require a mordant to fix it.
Known Hazards: The sap of Aloe species contains anthraquinones. These compounds have several beneficial medicinal actions, particularly as a laxative, and many species of Aloe are thus employed in traditional medicine. Whilst safe in small doses and for short periods of time, anthraquinones do have potential problems if used in excess. These include congestion and irritation of the pelvic organs.

Long term use of anthraquinone laxatives may also play a role in development of colorectal cancer as they have genotoxic potential, and tumorigenic potential.

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/aloes027.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aloe_perryi
http://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Aloe+perryi

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Allium fistulosum

Botanical Name : Allium fistulosum
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Subfamily: Allioideae
Genus: Allium
Species: A. fistulosum
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales

Synonyms:
*Allium bouddae Debeaux
*Allium kashgaricum Prokh.
*Cepa fissilis Garsault
*Cepa fistulosa (L.) Gray
*Cepa ventricosa Moench
*Kepa fistulosa (L.) Raf.
*Phyllodolon fistulosum (L.) Salisb.
*Porrum fistulosum (L.) Schur

Common Names: Welsh onion, Japanese bunching onion, Bunching onion,Scallion, Green onion, Ciboule

Habitat:Allium fistulosum is native to E. Asia, possibly western China, though the original habitat is obscure. It is being cultivated for over 1000 years, it is not known in the wild.
Description:
Allium fistulosum, a very distinctive member of the onion family. Bunching onions form perennial evergreen clumps up to 1 ft (0.3 m) in diameter and about 2 ft (0.6 m) tall. The leaves are hollow and tube-like, inflated their entire length. The bulbs are elongate and not much thicker than the stem. After a cold spell, bunching onions send up hollow stalks topped with little greenish flowers in round umbels (clusters with all the flower stems arising from the same point), that are 1-3 in (2.5-7.6 cm) in diameter.

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It is not frost tender. It is in flower in July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, insects.
Cultivation:
An easily grown plant, it prefers a sunny position in a light well-drained soil but tolerates most soils including those that are damp and acid[203]. Prefers a pH in the range 6.5 to 7.5, but it tolerates a pH in the range 4.9 to 7.5. A very hardy species, it is related to the cultivated onion (A. cepa) and could be of value in breeding programmes. It is sometimes cultivated in the garden for its edible leaves which can be produced throughout the winter if the weather is not too severe. A very popular cultivated vegetable in the Orient, it probably arose through cultivation from A. altaicum[203]. The oriental forms of this species, known as bunching onions, tend to be hardier and more robust than the welsh onion. There are two basic forms, multi-stem types and single-stem types. The single-stem types divide less freely than the multi-stems. Plants will often retain their leaves even when covered in snow. They are also tolerant of high temperatures and can be grown in the tropics. The plants are often eaten by slugs. The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply. Most members of this genus are intolerant of competition from other growing plants. Grows well with most plants, especially roses, carrots, beet and chamomile, but it inhibits the growth of legumes. This plant is a bad companion for alfalfa, each species negatively affecting the other. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.
Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a greenhouse. The seed germinates over a wide range of temperatures, it is faster at higher temperatures. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. When well-grown, the plants should be ready to be planted out in the summer. If they are not large enough at this time, grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter and plant them out in late spring. Division of the plants is very easy and can be done at almost any time of the year though the spring is probably best. The divisions can be planted out straight into their permanent positions if required.
Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves; Root.

Bulb – raw or cooked. A strong onion flavour, it can be used in salads, as a cooked vegetable or as a flavouring in cooked foods. The bulbs are rather small, usually 10 – 25mm in diameter though they can be up to 45mm, and are sometimes used as spring onions. A nutritional analysis is available[218]. Leaves – raw or cooked. They have a mild onion flavour and can be added to salads or cooked as a vegetable. The leaves are often available all through the winter if the weather is not too severe. They contain about 1.4% protein, 0.3% fat, 4.6% carbohydrate, 0.8% ash, some vitamin B1 and moderate levels of vitamin C. Flowers – raw. A pleasant onion flavour, but they are rather on the dry side.

Composition:
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Leaves (Fresh weight)

•0 Calories per 100g
•Water : 0%
•Protein: 1.4g; Fat: 0.3g; Carbohydrate: 4.6g; Fibre: 0g; Ash: 0.8g;
•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:
The bulb contains an essential oil that is rich in sulphur compounds. It is antibacterial, antiseptic, diaphoretic, diuretic, galactogogue, stomachic, vermifuge and vulnerary. It is used in the treatment of colds and abdominal coldness and fullness. A tea made from the roots is a children’s sedative. Use of the bulb in the diet impedes internal parasites. Externally, the bulb can be made into a poultice to drain pus from sores, boils and abscesses.

Other Uses: ….Repellent….The juice of the plant is used as a moth repellent. The whole plant is said to repel insects and moles

Known Hazards: Although no individual reports regarding this species have been seen, there have been cases of poisoning caused by the consumption, in large quantities and by some mammals, of certain members of this genus. Dogs seem to be particularly susceptible.

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/Allium_fistulosum
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Allium+fistulosum
http://mobile.floridata.com/Plants/Amaryllidaceae/Allium%20fistulosum/627

Allium cepa aggregatum

 

Botanical Name : Allium cepa aggregatum
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Subfamily: Allioideae
Genus: Allium
Species: A. cepa
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales

Common Names: Potato onion,Multiplier onion

Habitat : Potato onion is cultivated in many countries of the world.

Description:
Allium cepa aggregatum is a BULB growing to 1.2 m (4ft).
It is not frost tender. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, insects.
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Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.
Cultivation:
Prefers a sunny sheltered position in a light well-drained fertile soil[1] but tolerates most soils. Tolerates a pH in the range 4.5 to 8.3. The potato onion was at one time fairly widely grown as a vegetable, but it has now fallen into virtual disuse. There are still some named forms available[183]. This is a genuinely perennial form of A. cepa, the bulb grows deeper in the soil and divides to produce a number of underground bulbs each year in much the same way as shallots. Large bulbs divide to form 5 – 15 bulbs whilst smaller bulbs grow into one large bulb. According to one report, the bulbs should be planted fairly deeply, whilst another report says that they should be planted just below soil level. Onions grow well with most plants, especially roses, carrots, beet and chamomile, but they inhibit the growth of legumes. This plant is a bad companion for alfalfa, each species negatively affecting the other. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Seed is seldom produced by this plant. Division in late summer. Harvest the bulbs as the foliage dies down and store them in a cool place. In areas with mild winters the bulbs are traditionally replanted on the shortest day of the year, but in colder areas it is best to wait until late winter or even early spring. Plant the bulbs only just below the soil surface

Medicinal Uses:
Although rarely used specifically as a medicinal herb, the onion has a wide range of beneficial actions on the body and when eaten (especially raw) on a regular basis will promote the general health of the body. The bulb is anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, hypoglycaemic, hypotensive, lithontripic, stomachic and tonic. When used regularly in the diet it offsets tendencies towards angina, arteriosclerosis and heart attack. It is also useful in preventing oral infection and tooth decay. Baked onions can be used as a poultice to remove pus from sores. Fresh onion juice is a very useful first aid treatment for bee and wasp stings, bites, grazes or fungal skin complaints. When warmed the juice can be dropped into the ear to treat earache. It also aids the formation of scar tissue on wounds, thus speeding up the healing process, and has been used as a cosmetic to remove freckles.

Other Uses:
Cosmetic; Dye; Hair; Polish; Repellent; Rust.

The juice of the plant is used as a moth repellent and can also be rubbed onto the skin to repel insects. The plant juice can be used as a rust preventative on metals and as a polish for copper and glass. A yellow-brown dye is obtained from the skins of the bulbs. Onion juice rubbed into the skin is said to promote the growth of hair and to be a remedy for baldness. It is also used as a cosmetic to get rid of freckles. The growing plant is said to repel insects and moles. A spray made by pouring enough boiling water to cover 1kg of chopped unpeeled onions is said to increase the resistance of other plants to diseases and parasites

Known Hazards: There have been cases of poisoning caused by the consumption, in large quantities and by some mammals, of this plant. Dogs seem to be particularly susceptible.
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/Potato_onion
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Allium+cepa+aggregatum

Brassica rapa campestris

Botanical Name : Brassica rapa campestris
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Brassica
Species:B. rapa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Brassicales

Synonyms: B. campestris autumnalis. B. rapa campestris. (L.)Clapham.

Common Name : Wild Turnip

Habitat : Brassica rapa campestris is native to Europe – Mediterranean. Naturalized in Britain. It grows on the river banks, arable and waste land.

Description:
Brassica rapa campestris is an annual plant growing to 0.8 m (2ft 7in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 7 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, self.The plant is self-fertile.

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Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist

Cultivation:
Succeeds in full sun in a well-drained fertile preferably alkaline soil. Succeeds in any reasonable soil but prefers one on the heavy side[16]. Tolerates a pH in the range 4.8 to 8.3. This is the wild form of the turnip with a non-tuberous tap-root. It is closely related to the cultivated forms that are grown for their edible oil-bearing seeds.
Propagation:
Seed – sow spring or autumn in situ.
Edible Uses:
Leaves – raw or cooked. A strong radish/cabbage flavour. An edible oil is obtained from the seed, it is best when cold pressed. Some varieties are rich in erucic acid which can be harmful.
Medicinal Uses: The tuberous roots and seeds are considered to be antiscorbutic. A rather strange report, the leaves are much more likely to contain reasonable quantities of vitamin C than the roots or seeds.
Other Uses:…Oil; Oil…..The seed contains up to 45% of a semi-drying oil. It is used as a lubricant, luminant and in soap making

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/Brassica_rapa
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Brassica+rapa+campestris