Categories
Herbs & Plants

Allium kunthii

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Botanical Name : Allium kunthii
Family :Alliaceae/ Liliaceae (Lily Family)
Kingdom : Plantae
Class : Liliopsida
Order :Asparagales
Genus :Allium

Synonym(s): Allium scaposum, Schoenoprasum lineare

Common Name : Kunth‘s onion

Habitat : Allium kunthii is native to Southwestern N. America – Texas, New Mexico, Mexico. It grows on dry, rocky hills and mountains, usually in limestone soils at elevations of 700 – 3000 metres.

Description:
Allium kunthii is a Perennial bulb growing to 0.4 m (1ft 4in). Clustering bulbs, each about ¾ inch in diameter, coated with grayish membrane and producing several long thin green leaves. Umbels of white flowers with pinkish mid-ribs held erect above the leaves in summer It is in flower from Jul to September.

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The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, insects.Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

Cultivation:
Prefers a sunny position in a light well-drained soil. 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 cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle – if you want to produce clumps more quickly then put three plants in each pot. Grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter and plant them out into their permanent positions in spring once they are growing vigorously and are large enough. Division in spring. The plants divide successfully at any time in the growing season, pot up the divisions in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are growing well and then plant them out into their permanent positions.

Edible Uses:

Bulb – raw or cooked. Used as a flavouring. The small bulbs are usually less than 2cm in diameter. Leaves – raw or cooked. Flowers – raw. Used as a garnish on salads.

Medicinal Uses:
Although no specific mention of medicinal uses has been seen for this species, members of this genus are in general very healthy additions to the diet. They contain sulphur compounds (which give them their onion flavour) and when added to the diet on a regular basis they help reduce blood cholesterol levels, act as a tonic to the digestive system and also tonify the circulatory system.

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:
http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=ALKU
http://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/158180-Allium-kunthii
http://www.pfaf.org/User/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Allium+kunthii

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Allium giganteum

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Botanical Name : Allium giganteum
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Subfamily: Allioideae
Tribe: Allieae
Genus: Allium
Species: A. giganteum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

Common Name : Giant Onion, Ornamental Onion

Habitat : Allium giganteum is native to E. Asia – Afghanistan to Pakistan and north into Russia. It grows on cultivated Beds.

Description:
Allium giganteum is a bulb growing to 2 m (6ft) by 0.2 m (0ft 8in) at a fast rate. It is herbaceous perennial with spreading, glossy, strap-shaped basal leaves which die down before the flowers. Dense globose umbels of bright purple flowers are borne on tall stems in summer.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

It is in flower in May. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, insects.Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Cultivation:
Prefers a hot, sunny position in a light well-drained soil, it grows well in the light shade of thinly-clad shrubs that also like hot dry conditions. The bulbs tend to rot when grown in cool wet climates, even if they are given sharp drainage. One report says that this species is only hardy to zone 8, which only covers the mildest areas of Britain, whilst another says that it is much hardier and will succeed in zone 4. It is being grown successfully about 60 kilometres west of London, and so should be hardy at least in the south of Britain. 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. Special Features: Attractive foliage, Fragrant foliage, Not North American native, Attracts butterflies, Suitable for cut flowers, Suitable for dried flowers.
Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle – if you want to produce clumps more quickly then put three plants in each pot. Grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter and plant them out into their permanent positions in spring once they are growing vigorously and are large enough. Division in spring. The plants divide successfully at any time in the growing season, pot up the divisions in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are growing well and then plant them out into their permanent positions.

Edible Uses:

Bulb – raw or cooked. We have seen no reports of edibility, but the bulb is certainly not poisonous and has a pleasant mild onion flavour[K]. The fairly large bulbs are 4 – 6cm in diameter. Leaves – raw or cooked. Flowers – raw. Used as a garnish on salads.
Medicinal Uses:
Although no specific mention of medicinal uses has been seen for this species, members of this genus are in general very healthy additions to the diet. They contain sulphur compounds (which give them their onion flavour) and when added to the diet on a regular basis they help reduce blood cholesterol levels, act as a tonic to the digestive system and also tonify the circulatory system.
Other Uses:
Repellent.
The juice of the plant is used as a moth repellent. The whole plant is said to repel insects and moles.

Landscape Uses:Container, Foundation, Massing, Rock garden,  Specimen.

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_giganteum
http://www.pfaf.org/User/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Allium+giganteum
https://www.rhs.org.uk/Plants/829/Allium-giganteum/Details?returnurl=%2Fplants%2Fsearch-results%3Fform-mode%3Dtrue%26context%3Dl%253den%2526q%253d%252523all%2526sl%253dplantForm%26query%3DAllium%2Bgiganteum%26aliaspath%3D%252fplants%252fsearch-results

Categories
Herbs & Plants Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Sesame seeds

Chung Po MookImage by Pabo76 via Flickr

 

Botanical name: Sesamum Indicum, Sesamum Orientale.
Family: Pedaliaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales
Genus: Sesamum
Species: S. indicum

Other names: Benne, Bene, Oil Plant, Vangloe, Tilseed, Teel, Teel-seed, gingili.

Habitat : Sesamum Indicum is possibly native to Africa

Description:
Magnified image of white sesame seedsIt is an annual plant growing 50 to 100 cm (1.6 to 3.3 ft) tall, with opposite leaves 4 to 14 cm (1.6 to 5.5 in) long with an entire margin; they are broad lanceolate, to 5 cm (2 in) broad, at the base of the plant, narrowing to just 1 cm (0.4 in) broad on the flowering stem……..click  & see the pictures

The flowers are yellow, tubular, 3 to 5 cm (1.2 to 2.0 in) long, with a four-lobed mouth. The flowers may vary in colour with some being white, blue or purple.

Sesame fruit is a capsule, normally pubescent, rectangular in section and typically grooved with a short triangular beak. The length of the fruit capsule varies from 2 to 8 cm, its width varies between 0.5 to 2 cm, and the number of loculi from 4 to 12. The fruit naturally splits opens (dehisces) to release the seeds by splitting along the septa from top to bottom or by means of two apical pores, depending on the varietal cultivar. The degree of dehiscence is of importance in breeding for mechanised harvesting as is the insertion height of the first capsule.

Sesame seeds are small. The size, form and colours vary with the thousands of varieties now known. Typically, the seeds are about 3 to 4 millimeters long by 2 millimeters wide and 1 millimeter thick. The seeds are ovate, slightly flattened and somewhat thinner at the eye of the seed (hilum) than at the opposite end. The weight of the seeds are between 20 and 40 milligrams. The seed coat (testa) may be smooth or ribbed. CLICK & SEE

Sesame seeds come in many colours depending on the cultivar harvested. The most traded variety of sesame is off-white coloured. Other common colours are buff, tan, gold, brown, reddish, gray and black.

Sesame seed is sometimes sold with its seed coat removed (decorticated). This is the variety often present on top of buns in developed economies

African slaves brought sesame seeds, which they called benné seeds, to America, where they became a popular ingredient in Southern dishes.

Sesame seeds can be sprinkled on breads or on main dishes and vegetables to add a mild nutty flavor.
Tahini is a paste made of ground sesame seeds which is used in many Near and Far East recipes. You can purchase it prepared in most markets, or make your own.

Sesame seed oil is still the main source of fat used in cooking in the Near and Far East.
.Sesame plant

Plants in the field

Sesame Seeds is neither a herb or a spice but one of the oldest annual plants grown for its seeds and oil. It is native to Africa and Asia but today is grown in China, India, Mexico and southwest United States as a commercial crop.

Sesame seeds come in a variety of colors depending on the plant variety, including shades of brown, red, black, yellow, and most commonly, a pale grayish ivory. The darker seeds are said to be more flavorful.

Cultivation:
Sesame is grown in many parts of the world on over 5 million acres (20,000 km²). The largest producer of the crop in 2007 was China, followed by India, Myanmar, Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda and Nigeria. Seventy percent of the world’s sesame crop is grown in Asia, with Africa growing 26%.

Beginning in the 1950s, U.S. production of the crop has been largely centered in Texas, with acerage fluctuating between 10,000 to 20,000 acres (40 to 80 km²) in recent years. The country’s crop does not make up a significant global source; indeed imports have now outstripped domestic production

Aroma and Flavour: In spite of their high oil content, sesame seeds have little aroma, but when they are dry-fried their nutty aroma is very pronounced and their flavor heightened.

Culinary Use: Sesame oil is used in margarines and as a cooking medium and a flavouring ingredient. The seeds are ground to an oily, beige-coloured paste known as tahini, which is used in hummus, a Middle Eastern dip. Sometimes the tahini is mixed with lemon juice and gralic and used as a dip with hot pitta bread as starter or picnic food.

The Chinese are fond of sesame; sesame oil is widely used in Chinese cooking as a flavouring. The seeds are also used, for example sesame prawn toasts are scattered with seeds before they are deep-fried. They are also sprinkled over Chinese toffee apples, pieces of apple fried in a light batter and coated in caramel. Both oil and seeds are sued in the cooking of other Far Eastern countries such as Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Gomasio is a Japanese specialty using sesame seeds: s mixture of the ground seeds and salt sued as a seasoning.

The seeds are popular scattered on bread, sweet and savoury biscuits, particularly in Greece and Turkey.

white sesame seeds

Medicinal and Other Use: Sesame is used in laxatives, as an emollient and in poultices. Sesame oil, also called gingelly oil, is highly stable and it does not become rancid quickly in hot humid conditions; it is used in lubricants, soap, cosmetics and ointments. The mixture or ‘cake’ that remains after the pressing of the oil is full of protein and eaten as a subsistence food.
Sesame is a member of the Pedaliaceae family. It is native to tropical Asian countries. The sesame plant can grow to a height of three feet and is an annual herb. It is an erect plant covered in fine hair and has a square stem. The leaves are flat, lanceolate in shape and grow in clusters of twos and threes. The flowers are pinkish purple in color or white and are bell shaped. Sesame is planted in the month of May and is harvested by fall or autumn. The name sesame is derived from Middle English sisame and from the Latin sesamum.

Interestingly, nutrients from one seed to another vary, but they all contain protein, oils (oleic acid, liuoleic acid, palmitoleic acid, araehidic acid and tetracosanoic acid) lecithin, minerals (Ca, P, K, Fe) saccharide, cellulose, VB2, VE, niacin, folic acid, sterol, sesamd, sesamin and cytochrome C. Unhulled seeds contain more calcium then hulled seeds.

Sesame seeds may be the oldest condiment known to man dating back to as early as 1600 BC. They are highly valued for their oil which is exceptionally resistant to rancidity. “Open sesame,” the famous phrase from the Arabian Nights, reflects the distinguishing feature of the sesame seed pod, which bursts open when it reaches maturity. The scientific name for sesame seeds is Sesamun indicum.

Copper Provides Relief for Rheumatoid Arthritis, Magnesium Supports Vascular and Respiratory Health,

Calcium Helps Prevent Colon Cancer, Osteoporosis, Migraine and PMS, Zinc for Bone Health and Sesame Seeds’ Phytosterols Lower Cholesterol

Phytosterols are compounds found in plants that have a chemical structure very similar to cholesterol, and when present in the diet in sufficient amounts, are believed to reduce blood levels of cholesterol, enhance the immune response and decrease risk of certain cancers.
The oils extracted from pressed seeds are used as cooking oil, as a salad oil and in making margarine. The seeds are sprinkled on top of breads and other baked goods. Dried sesame powder is mixed with hot water and sugar to from a congee that is eaten as a dessert.Sesame oil is also used as a pharmaceutic solvent, and sesamolin is also used as a synergist for pyrethrum insecticides

Sesame is supposed to tonify kidney, liver and relax the bowel. It is used for the treatment of constipation due to hard stools, tinnitus, anaemia, clizziness and poor vision. Mix powdered toasted sesame seeds with ground tuckahoe. Stir one to two teaspoonful into warm water and take in the mornings.

Infuse the leaves in some hot boiling water and use this to gargle and treat inflamed membranes of the mouth. Use only after tea has cooled down.

In traditional Chinese medicine, black sesame seeds have sweet and neutral properties, and are associated with the Kidney and Liver meridians. They function to tonify yin jing and blood, moisten the intestines, and help build the spirit, or shen.

Women of ancient Babylon would eat halva, a mixture of honey and sesame seeds to prolong youth and beauty, while Roman soldiers ate the mixture for strength and energy .

Sesame seeds produce an allergic reaction in a small percentage of the general population (5-13 per 100).

There have been erroneous claims that sesame seeds also contain THC which may be detectable on random screening. This error stems from a misunderstanding of the commercial drug Dronabinol, a synthetic form of THC. The normal delivery mechanism for synthetic Dronabinol is via infusion into sesame oil and encapsulation into soft gelatin capsules. As a result some people are under the mistaken assumption that sesame oil naturally contains THC. In fact, THC, CBD, CBN and the other cannibinoids are unique to the Cannabis genus.

Sesame oil is used for massage and health treatments of the body in the ancient Indian ayurvedic system with the types of massage called abhyanga and shirodhara. Ayurveda views sesame oil as the most viscous of the plant oils and believes it may pacify the health problems associated with Vata aggravation.

Black sesame seeds are an extremely good source of calcium; studies have shown that one gram of seeds contains approximately 85 milligrams of calcium. Black sesame seeds also have high amounts of protein, phosphorous, iron and magnesium. In some patients, black sesame seeds are used to help patients recover from serious illnesses and fevers, treat constipation and promote regular bowel movements. Some practitioners recommend using black sesame seeds with polygonum to keep a person’s hair looking rich and dark.

You may click & read : The sesame wonder

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.
Resources:
http://www.hungrymonster.com/FoodFacts/Food_Facts.cfm?Phrase_vch=Herbs&fid=5905,
http://www.acupuncturetoday.com/herbcentral/blacksesameseeds.html and
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=84
http://www.hotel-club-thailand.com/thai-cooking/thai-spices.htm
http://www.lowfatlifestyle.com/flavoring/herbs_spices/sesame.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sesame_seed

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