Herbs & Plants

Zanthoxylum nitidum

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Botanical Name : Zanthoxylum nitidum
Family: Rutaceae
Genus: Zanthoxylum
Species:Z. nitidum
Order: Sapindales

*Fagara hamiltoniana (Wall.) Engl.
*Fagara nitida Roxb.
*Fagara warburgii Perkins
*Zanthoxylum hamiltonianum Wall.
*Zanthoxylum hirtellum Ridl.
*Zanthoxylum torvum F. Muell.

Common Name: Shiny-leaf prickly-ash. In Assamese it is known as Tez-mui and Tejamool. It is also called Liang mian zhen

Habitat : Zanthoxylum nitidum is native to South China, southeast Asia, and northern Australia. It is one of thirteen Zanthoxylum species found in India.It grows in shrubby thickets.

Z. nitidum is a “morphologically variable” prickly shrub. Sometimes it is an evergreen Climber.The leaves are made up of several leathery oval leaflets which are up to 12 by 8 centimeters (5 by 3 inches) in size. It is aromatic. Flowers, which occur in the leaf axils, have yellow-green petals a few millimeters long. The fruit is a red-brown follicle.


It is in leaf 12-Jan. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required)The plant is not self-fertile.

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) 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 prefers a good deep well-drained moisture retentive soil in full sun or semi-shade. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required. Flowers are formed on the old wood.

Seed – best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the autumn. Stored seed may requires up to 3 months cold stratification, though scarification may also help. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible. Germination should take place in late spring, though it might take another 12 months. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out in early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Root cuttings, 3cm long, planted horizontally in pots in a greenhouse. Good percentage. Suckers, removed in late winter and planted into their permanent positions.
Chemical constituents:
The plant contains the chemical compounds nitidine, toddalolactone, and chelerythrine.The essential oil, at least from some varieties, contains limonene and geraniol.

Medicinal Uses:
Z. nitidum is one several species of Zanthoxylum that are used in traditional medicine in various parts of the world.The root of zanthoxylum nitidum is anodyne, antiphlogistic, carminative, depurative. The plant is analgesic and antirheumatic. The resin contained in the bark, and especially in that of the roots, is powerfully stimulant and tonic.
Other Uses:
Z. nitidum is used as an insecticide and a piscicide. In India and Nepal, the fruits are used as a condiment. It has been added to toothpaste to enhance its efficacy.
Known Hazards: Plants are slightly toxic

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

Allium schoenoprasum

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

Synonyms: Cives.
(French) : Ail civitte
(Old French) : Petit poureau

Common Name: Chives

Part Used in medicine : The Herb.
Habitat: The Chive is said to be a native of Britain, it is only very rarely found growing in an uncultivated state, and then only in the northern and western counties of England and Wales and in Oxfordshire. It grows in rocky pastures throughout temperate and northern Europe.

De Candolle says: ‘This species occupies an extensive area in the northern hemisphere. It is found all over Europe from Corsica and Greece to the south of Sweden, in Siberia as far as Kamschatka and also in North America. The variety found in the Alps is the nearest to the cultivated form.’ Most probably it was known to the Ancients, as it grows wild in Greece and Italy. Dodoens figures it and gives the French name for it in his days: ‘Petit poureau,’ relating to its rush-like appearance. In present day French it is commonly called ‘Ail civitte.’ The Latin name of this species means ‘Rush-Leek.’

Allium schoenoprasum is a hardy perennial plant. The bulbs grow very close together in dense tufts or clusters, and are of an elongated form, with white, rather firm sheaths, the outer sheath sometimes grey.

The slender leaves appear early in spring and are long, cylindrical and hollow, tapering to a point and about the thickness of a crowsquill. They grow from 6 to 10 inches high.


The flowering stem is usually nipped off with cultivated plants (which are grown solely for the sake of the leaves, or ‘grass’), but when allowed to rise, it seldom reaches more than a few inches to at most a foot in height. It is hollow and either has no leaf or one leaf sheathing it below the middle. It supports a close globular head, or umbel, of purple flowers; the numerous flowers are densely packed together on separate, very slender little flower-stalks, shorter than the flowers themselves, which lengthen slightly as the fruit ripens, causing the heads to assume a conical instead of a round shape. The petals of the flowers are nearly half an inch long; when dry, their pale-purple colour, which has in Parts a darker flush, changes to rose-colour. The anthers (the pollen-bearing part of the flower) are of a bluish-purple colour. The seed-vessel, or capsule, is a little larger than a hemp seed and is completely concealed within the petals, which are about twice its length. The small seeds which it contains are black when ripe and similar to Onion seeds.

The flowers are in blossom in June and July, and in the most cold and moist situations will mature their seeds, though rarely allowed to do so under cultivation

Chives thrive in well-drained soil, rich in organic matter, with a pH of 6-7 and full sun. They can be grown from seed and mature in summer, or early the following spring. Typically, chives need to be germinated at a temperature of 15 to 20 °C (60-70 °F) and kept moist. They can also be planted under a cloche or germinated indoors in cooler climates, then planted out later. After at least four weeks, the young shoots should be ready to be planted out. They are also easily propagated by division.

In cold regions, chives die back to the underground bulbs in winter, with the new leaves appearing in early spring. Chives starting to look old can be cut back to about 2–5 cm. When harvesting, the needed number of stalks should be cut to the base. During the growing season, the plant will continually regrow leaves, allowing for a continuous harvest

Edible Uses:
Chives are cultivated both for their culinary uses and their ornamental value; the violet flowers are often used in ornamental dry bouquets.

Chives are grown for their scapes, which are used for culinary purposes as a flavoring herb, and provide a somewhat milder flavor than those of other Allium species.

Chives have a wide variety of culinary uses, such as in traditional dishes in France and Sweden, among others. In his 1806 book Attempt at a Flora (Försök til en flora), Retzius describes how chives are used with pancakes, soups, fish and sandwiches. They are also an ingredient of the gräddfil sauce served with the traditional herring dish served at Swedish midsummer celebrations. The flowers may also be used to garnish dishes. In Poland and Germany, chives are served with quark cheese.

Chives are one of the “fines herbes” of French cuisine, which also include tarragon, chervil and/or parsley.

Chives can be found fresh at most markets year-round, making them readily available; they can also be dry-frozen without much impairment to the taste, giving home growers the opportunity to store large quantities harvested from their own gardens.

Medicinal Uses:
The medicinal properties of chives are similar to those of garlic, but weaker; the faint effects in comparison with garlic are probably the main reason for their limited use as a medicinal herb. Containing numerous organosulfur compounds such as allyl sulfides and alkyl sulfoxides, chives are reported to have a beneficial effect on the circulatory system. They also have mild stimulant, diuretic, and antiseptic properties. As chives are usually served in small amounts and never as the main dish, negative effects are rarely encountered, although digestive problems may occur following overconsumption.

Chives are also rich in vitamins A and C, contain trace amounts of sulfur, and are rich in calcium and iron.

In traditional folk medicine Chives were eaten to treat and purge intestinal parasites, enhance the immune system, stimulate digestion, and treat anemia.

Garlic and scallions, along with onions, leeks, chives, and shallots, are rich in flavonols, substances in plants that have been shown to have anti tumor effects. New research from China confirms that eating vegetables from the allium group (allium is Latin for garlic) can reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

Other Uses:
Retzius also describes how farmers would plant chives between the rocks making up the borders of their flowerbeds, to keep the plants free from pests (such as Japanese beetles). The growing plant repels unwanted insect life, and the juice of the leaves can be used for the same purpose, as well as fighting fungal infections, mildew and scab.

Its flowers are attractive to bees, which are important for gardens with an abundance of plants in need of pollination.

The Romans believed chives could relieve the pain from sunburn or a sore throat.

Romanian Gypsies have used chives in fortune telling. It was believed that bunches of dried chives hung around a house would ward off disease and evil

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

Allium cepa proliferum

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Botanical Name:Allium cepa proliferum
Family : Alliaceae
Genus : Allium.
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales
Species: A. proliferum

Synonyms : Allium cepa viviparum – (Metzg.)Alef. Allium x proliferum – (Moench.)Schrad. ex Willd.

Common Name: Tree Onion ,Top Onions, Topset Onions, Walking Onions, or Egyptian onions

Habitat: Original habitat is obscure. It grows on Cultivated Beds;

Description :
Bulb growing to 1.2m.
It is hardy to zone 5 and is not frost tender. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, insects.
The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires moist soil.

The tree onion plant resembles a green onion plant, or more generally a shallot. Rocambole, a top setting garlic, is alike, but it has flat leaves instead of the hollow leaves of the tree onion.

Of course the part used is the bulb. The Tree Onion is an unusual type of Onion that produces bulblets at the top of a strong stem about 2 feet high. Instead of seeds, a cluster of small bulblets appear which are green at first, but turn into a brownish-red colour which are about the size of hazel nuts. The stems bear so many of these bulblets so heavily that they require support to keep them upright.

Tree Onion bulblets will sprout and grow while still on the original stalk, which may bend down under the weight of the new growth, giving rise to the name, walking onion. Recent research has shown that the tree onion may be a cross between Allium cepa, the cultivated onion, and Allium fistulosum, the Welsh onion (Some sites may currently treat the Tree Onion as Allium cepa Proliferum Group). This phenomenon of forming bulblets instead of flowers is also seen in garlic and other various wild species of Allium. Bulblets in tree onions are generally very small, usually within .5 cm to 3 cm in diameter, although sizes may differ out of this range, from time to time. A similar relative to the tree onion is the pearl onion and a few other, nameable varieties.

Prefers a sunny position in a light well-drained soil[1] but succeeds in most soils that are in good condition[16]. Tolerates a pH in the range 4.5 to 8.3. The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply. Some modern works have moved this plant from A. cepa, seeing it as being of hybrid origin with A. fistulosum and therefore renaming in A. x proliferum. The tree onion is a genuinely perennial form of A. cepa that is sometimes grown in the herb garden for its edible bulbils. Plants rarely if ever produce seed, instead the flowering head is comprised of a number of small onions or bulbils. Plants are propagated by means of these bulbils or by dividing the main bulb that grows underground. By no means a heavily productive plant, though the bulbils are very well flavoured and the plant is fairly easily grown. Its main problem is that slugs seem to be attracted to it and can eat to death even well-established 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. Said to be immune to onion root fly. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

The Tree Onion is propagated from the small stem bulbs that are produced, planted 2 inches deep and 4 inches apart, in rows 8 inches apart. This is a general rule of thumb and I planted mine approximately like this.I planted them in a small no-dig garden that I built and grew tomatoes in, in the previous year. I had re-done the bed with some more straw, soil and blood and bone and was perfect for the onions. I also planted some of the giant garlic in the same beds and I will hopefully feature these in an article later on.

Harvest bulbils in late summer and replant immediately or store them in a cool dry frost-free place and plant them out in late winter or early spring. Division of the bulbs after the leaves die down in late summer.

A very hardy cultivar of Canadian origin, distinguished by its vigorous growth and the rapidity with which the bulbils commence to grow without being detached from the top of the stem. The bulbils divide into tiers, the second set of bulbils producing green shoots, leaves or barren stems to bring the height of the plant to over 75cm
‘McCullar’s White Topset’
This form produces a number of white bulbs below the ground about 25cm or more in diameter, plus pea-sized bulbils at the top of the flower stalk. The larger bulbs are used for eating, the bulbils are used for replanting. It is used primarily as a source of greens when other onions are dormant.

‘Moritz Egyptian’
Similar to the typical tree onion, but the bulbs are a deeper colour (red-purple) and the topsets are slightly larger than most strains. An unusual strain that will sometimes produce sets in the middle of the stalk.
‘Norris Egyptian’

This cultivar is less pungent and more productive than other strains

Edible Uses:-
Edible Parts: Leaves; Root.

The plant forms small bulbs at the top of the flowering stem, these can be eaten raw or cooked. They have a strong onion flavour and are often used as pickled onions or added to salads. As long as the bulbils are dried properly at harvest time, they store well. Bulb – raw or cooked. The bulb can be up to 4cm in diameter and has a strong onion flavour. Chopped into slices, it makes a good addition to salads and can also be used as a vegetable or as a flavouring in cooked foods. Leaves – raw or cooked. A strong onion flavour, it makes a nice flavouring in salads though it should not be harvested in quantity because this would reduce the yield of bulbils. The leaves are produced from late autumn, though we have found that harvesting them at this time will often encourage diseases such as mildew.

Medicinal Actions &  Uses
Anthelmintic; Antiinflammatory; Antiseptic; Antispasmodic; Carminative; Diuretic; Expectorant; Febrifuge; Hypoglycaemic; Hypotensive; Lithontripic; Skin; Stomachic; Tonic.

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 supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.