Herbs & Plants

Aralia cordata

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Botanical Name : Aralia cordata
Family: Araliaceae
Genus: Aralia
Species:A. cordata
Order: Apiales

Synonyms : Aralia edulis, Aralia nutans

Common Names: Udo in Japanese, and also as Japanese spikenard or Mountain asparagus

Habitat : Aralia cordata is native to E. Asia – China, Japan, Korea. It grows in thickets and thin woods, esp. by streams and ravines, all over Japan.
Aralia cordata is a perennial herb. It is classified as a dicot and a eudicot. The leaves are alternate, large, and double to triple pinnate with leaflets 7 to 15 centimetres (2.8 to 5.9 in) long, and 5 to 10 centimetres (2.0 to 3.9 in) broad. The flowers are produced in large umbels of 30 to 45 centimetres (12 to 18 in) diameter in late summer, each flower small and white. The fruit is a small black drupe 3 millimetres (0.12 in) diameter, and may be toxic to humans.


In the wild, the plant achieves a height of 1.2 to 1.8 metres (3.9 to 5.9 ft). It has golden leaves in the spring and an abundance of large bright green ones in the summer. It has a hefty and plump root stock with shoots 60 to 90 centimetres (2.0 to 3.0 ft) in length. It can reach optimal growth when planted in rich soil. During the summer it produces loose flower bunches 90 centimetres (3.0 ft) in length, which are attractive to bees and flies, making it ideal for beekeepers. It can be grown using seed or propagated from cuttings.

It is in flower from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) or semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist soil.

Prefers a good deep loam and a semi-shady position. Requires a sheltered position. Plants are hardier when grown in poorer soils. Tolerates a pH in the range 5.0 to 7.4. Dormant plants are hardy to about -25°c. The young growth in spring, even on mature plants, is frost-tender and so it is best to grow the plants in a position sheltered from the early morning sun. This is a commonly cultivated food crop in Japan, where it is grown for its edible shoots. There are several named varieties.
Seed – best sown as soon as ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed requires 3 – 5 months of cold stratification. Germination usually takes place within 1 – 4 months at 20°c. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse for at least their first winter. Once the plants are 25cm or more tall, they can be planted out into their permanent positions, late spring or early summer being the best time to do this. Root cuttings 8cm long, December in a cold frame. Store the roots upside down in sand and pot up in March/April. High percentage. Division of suckers in late winter. Very easy, the suckers can be planted out direct into their permanent positions if required.
Edible Uses:
Young branched shoots – cooked or raw. They can be up to 1.5 metres long and have a mild and agreeable flavour. They are usually blanched and are crisp and tender with a unique lemon-like flavour. They can be sliced and added to salads, soups etc. The shoots contain about 1.1% protein, 0.42% fat, 0.8% soluble carbohydrate, 0.55% ash. Root – cooked. Used like scorzonera.

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

•0 Calories per 100g
•Water : 0%
•Protein: 1.1g; Fat: 0.42g; Carbohydrate: 0.8g; Fibre: 0g; Ash: 0.55g;
•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:
Analgesic; Antiinflammatory; Carminative; Diuretic; Febrifuge; Stimulant; Stomachic; Tonic.

The root is sometimes used in China as a substitute for ginseng (Panax species). It is said to be analgesic, antiinflammatory, carminative, diuretic, febrifuge, stimulant, stomachic and tonic. The root contains an essential oil, saponins, sesquiterpenes and diterpene acids. It is used in Korea to treat the common cold and migraines.

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

American ginseng


Botanical Name: Panax quinquefolius
Family: Araliaceae ( ivy family)
Subfamily: Aralioideae
Genus: Panax
Species: P. quinquefolius
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales

Synonyms: Aralia quinquefolia. Five Fingers. Tartar Root. Red Berry. Man’s Health

Common Name: American  ginseng

Habitat :American ginseng is native to eastern North America, though it is also cultivated in places such as China,Korea and Japan. The plant grows in rich woods throughout eastern and central North America, especially along the mountains from Quebec and Ontario, south to Georgia.
American ginseng is a smooth herbaceous perennial herb, with a large, fleshy, very slow-growing root, 2 to 3 inches in length (occasionally twice this size) and from 1/2 to 1 inch in thickness. Its main portion is spindle-shaped and heavily annulated (ringed growth), with a roundish summit, often with a slight terminal, projecting point. At the lower end of this straight portion, there is a narrower continuation, turned obliquely outward in the opposite direction and a very small branch is occasionally borne in the fork between the two. Some small rootlets exist upon the lower portion. The colour ranges from a pale yellow to a brownish colour. It has a mucilaginous sweetness, approaching that of liquorice, accompanied with some degree of bitterness and a slight aromatic warmth, with little or no smell. The stem is simple and erect, about a foot high, bearing three leaves, each divided into five finely-toothed leaflets, and a single, terminal umbel, with a few small, yellowish flowers. The fruit is a cluster of bright red berrles….CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation: On account of the growing scarcity of the American Ginseng plant, experiments have been made by the State of Pennsylvania to determine whether it can be grown profitably, resulting in the conclusion that in five years, starting with seeds and one year plants (or sooner if a start were made with older plants), an acre of ground would yield a profit of 1,500 dollars, without allowance for rental, but many precautions are necessary for success. The cultivated plants produced larger roots than those of the wild plant.

In 1912 it was estimated that the acreage of cultivated Ginseng in the United States was about 150 acres, and it is calculated that to supply China with twenty million dollars’ worth of dry root would require the American growers to plant 1,000 acres annually for five years, before this estimated annual supply could be sold. The cultivation of Ginseng would therefore appear to offer a rich field to American agriculture. It presents, however, considerable difficulty, owing to the great care and special methods required and to the fact that it is a very slow-growing crop, so that rapid returns can hardly be anticipated, and it is doubtful if its cultivation can be carried on profitably except by specialists in the crop. None the less, the percentage returns for the industrious, patient and painstaking farmer are large, and the demand for a fine article for export is not at all likely to be exceeded by the supply.

Part Used: The Root.

Chemical Constituents: Like Panax ginseng, American ginseng contains dammarane-type ginsenosides, or saponins, as the major biologically active constituents. Dammarane-type ginsenosides include two classifications: 20(S)-protopanaxadiol (PPD) and 20(S)-protopanaxatriol (PPT). American ginseng contains high levels of Rb1, Rd (PPD classification), and Re (PPT classification) ginsenosides—higher than that of P. ginseng in one study.

A large amount of starch and gum, some resin, a very small amount of volatile oil and the peculiar sweetish body, Panaquilon. This occurs as a yellow powder, precipitating with water a white, amorphous substance, which has been called Panacon.

Medicinal uses:
American ginseng or Panax quinquefolius is commonly used as Chinese or herbal medicine. In Western medicine, it is considered a mild stomachic tonic and stimulant, useful in loss of appetite and in digestive affections that arise from mental and nervous exhaustion.

A tincture has been prepared from the genuine Chinese or American root, dried and coarsely powdered, covered with five times its weight of alcohol and allowed to stand, well-stoppered, in a dark, cool place, being shaken twice a day. The tincture, poured off and filtered, has a clear, light-lemon colour, an odour like the root and a taste at first bitter, then dulcamarous and an acid reaction.

There is no evidence that American ginseng is effective in those infected with the common cold. The effect of preventive use is not clear. When used preventively it makes no difference on the rate of infections. It also appears to have no effect on how bad the infections are. There is tentative evidence that it may lessen the length of sickness when used preventively.

For detail medicinal uses you may click & see 
Cautions: : Individuals requiring anti-coagulant therapy such as warfarin should avoid use of American ginseng. Not recommended for individuals with impaired liver or renal function. It is not recommended in those who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Other adverse effects include: headaches, anxiety, trouble sleeping and an upset stomach.

Recent studies have shown that through the many cultivated procedures that American ginseng is grown, fungal molds, pesticides, and various metals and residues have contaminated the crop. Though these contaminating effects are not considerably substantial, they do pose health concerns that lead to neurological problems, intoxication, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

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


Panax quinquefolius foliage and fruitImage via Wikipedia

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Botanical Name :Panax notoginseng, Panax pseudoginseng San qi.
Kingdom:    Plantae
Common Name
:Ginseng, San Qi,Tan Qi,Teinchi Ginseng
Part Used:
Tuberous root.
Collection and habitat: Origin
China, An Asian herb used primarily in Korea, China, and Japan; the root is gathered in the spring or fall. The older the roots, the better.

Description:Tien-chi Ginseng (Panax pseudoginseng) is a unique type of ginseng plant that grows in southwestern China; mainly cultivated in Yunnan and Guangxi Provinces. The main part of the tien-chi plant used as a health product is the root, which is valued for regulating blood circulation, as detailed in a 1979 report (cover pictured here). The flower is used somewhat differently, as a “heat clearing and toxin cleansing” herb, given to reduce inflammation, feverish feeling, skin eruptions, and sore throat.

…click to see the pictures>…....(01)…….(1).…(2)..…..…(3)..…..…(4)..…….

All parts of the ginseng plants contain the saponins-known as ginsenosides-that have been shown to be responsible for most of ginseng’s beneficial effects. Additionally, the flowers contain flavonoids that contribute to the cooling and detoxifying action. The flowers have a mild, pleasant taste, and subtle aroma. In China, the flower tea is a favorite summer drink, used to compensate for the hot weather of the central and southern regions. The flowers are collected in early summer and then extracted and concentrated onto cane sugar to yield an instant tea granule, manufactured by Shenbao Corporation of Guanxi Province.

WHAT IT DOES: Tien chi root is sweet and slightly bitter in taste, and warming in action. It stops bleeding while simultaneously reducing blood congestion and clotting. It also relaxes, detoxifies and repairs blood vessels, and speeds wound healing. It is a mild tonic.

Medicinal Uses: Immune tonic and stimulant, adaptogenic, hepatoprotective, antiviral, cardiotonic, anti-inflammatory, anticomplement, antihyperglycemic, antiulcer, antioxidant, hemostatic, analgesic; promotes blood circulation.

Functions in liver disease: Antiviral, hepatoprotective, strong stimulant and tonic for the immune system. Directly active against hepatitis viruses.

Properties: Warming, both hemostatic and anticoagulant (depending on the condition), disperses blood stasis, anti-swelling, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulating, hypolipemic (raw sanqi), hyperlipemic (cured sanqi), anti-atherosclerotic, antioxidant.

Most Common Traditional Uses: Hemorrhages of various kinds (e.g., coughing blood, vomiting blood, nosebleeds, hematochezia, and metrorrhagia), traumatic injuries with bleeding and pain, stabbing pain in chest and abdomen.

By Chinese standards, tienchi is not an ancient herb, being first described only about 400 years ago, in Li Shi-Zhen’s Ben Cao Gang Mu (circa 1590 A.D.). It is cultivated mainly in southern China, in the provinces of Yunnan, Guangxi, and Guangdong, at altitudes between 800 and 1,000 m. Tienchi is closely related to Asian ginseng and American ginseng.Like ginseng, it also contains ginsenosides (esp. Rb1 and Rg1) as its major active components. However, unlike ginseng, tienchi’s most well-known traditional use is not as a tonic but as a hemostatic, and is a common ingredient in many hemostatic formulas both for internal and external applications. Perhaps the most famous formula of this kind is Yunnan Baoyao (White Drug of Yunnan Province) which contains tienchi as a major component. This medicine was carried by both Chinese and American airmen (the Flying Tigers) during World War II to stop bleeding due to wounds and injuries.

After modern chemical and pharmacological studies have shown tienchi to contain ginsenosides and to exhibit broad biological activities that are typical of tonics (cardiovascular, immunomodulating, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, normalizing blood lipids and blood pressure, etc.), it is now also used in tonic formulas.

Research Highlights:-

• Studies from China show that it speeds recovery from wounds by over 50% (reported in Dharmananda, 1994).

• Studies have shown that this action is strengthened by repeated administration and tends to be dose-dependent (Gong YH et al., 1991).

• In mouse studies, Tien chi root extract has shown significant anti-tumor activity on skin tumors induced by chemical toxins (Konoshima et al., 1999).

• In a study of patients with essential hypertension, tien chi root saponins, were shown to precipitate remarkable improvement in left ventricular diastolic function. The researchers concluded that the herb could improve heart muscle relaxation by enhancing calcium pump activity, inhibiting intracellular calcium overload, and lightening left ventricular muscle mass (Feng et al., 1997). In spite of this positive effect, however, the herb is not a reliable blood pressure-lowering agent by itself, though it may be a useful addition to a treatment protocol (Lei XL et al., 1986).

•The development of cardiac dysfunction and weakness immediately following traumatic burns is a serious problem, and one that is very difficult to treat. In a placebo controlled trial performed on rats at the Institute of Burn Research in Chongqing, China, researchers determined that tien chi root was effective in improving early post-burn cardiac function (Huang et al., 1999).

• The actions of this herb on the cardiovascular system are complex, involving multiple mechanisms. Studies done at the Chinese Academy of Medical Science in Beijing have shown that the saponins in tien chi root act as calcium channel blockers in neurons (Ma et al., 1997).

• The protection the whole root affords against hypoxic damage is attributed to the improvement of energy metabolism, preserving the structural integrity of neurons (Jiang KY et al., 1995).

• Other effects include lipid-lowering activity (Xu et al., 1993), increased outflow of coronary vessels and relaxed constriction of ileum smooth muscles (Hu Y et al., 1992), and anti-arrhythmic activity (Gao BY et al., 1992).

• A study on rabbits suffering from hemorrhagic shock examined the effects of various combinations of salvia root, tien chi root and chuan xiong rhizome (Ligusticum wallichii). Blood tests showed that all three herbs were effective for relieving blood pressure and heart rate reduction, but that the combination of any two herbs was superior to
using a single herb, improving results and lowering the required dosage (Wang et al., 1997)

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.


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Ayurvedic Healthy Tips

Herbal Power of Ashwagandha

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Herbal Power  of  Ashwagandha is standardized to contain the highest percentage of Withanolides (8%), the active compounds in Withania Somnifera that is responsible for the adaptogenic & tonic effects. Most Ashwagandha in the market contains <5% Withanolides.

Ashwagandha–Rejuvenating Tonifier

The name Ashwagandha is from the Sanskrit language and is a combination of the word ashva, meaning horse, and gandha, meaning smell. The root has a strong aroma that is described as “horse-like”. In Ayurvedic, Indian, and Unani medicine, ashwagandha is described as “Indian ginseng“.

Traditional Use of Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha has been used throughout India for thousands of years as a rejuvenating tonifier (rasayana in Ayurvedic herbalism). It was widely used to support vitality in people of all ages, including children, and to enhance reproductive function in both men and women. Traditionally, this herb has been used as an aphrodisiac, liver tonic, anti-inflammatory agent, and astringent. The results of clinical trials indicate that ashwagandha has anti-aging, immunomodulatory, antidepressive, and other therapeutic effects.


Pharmacological Effects of Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha contains several active constituents including alkaloids (isopelletierine, anaferine), steroidal lactones (withanolides, withaferins), and saponins. Withanolides serve as hormone precursors that can convert into human physiologic hormones as necessary. Preliminary animal evidence suggests ashwagandha may have a variety of pharmacological effects including analgesic, antipyretic, immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects.

Ashwagandha– Powerful Adaptogen
The high stress levels of our society have a profound impact on well-being, impacting our bodies and health in ways that are continually being revealed by new research. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is widely used in modern Western herbalism as an adaptogen—a substance that can help our bodies healthfully adapt to physiological and psychological stress, thus increasing resistance to stressors. Adaptogenic botanicals are increasingly important in today’s society, where high stress levels negatively impact many different body systems. Many health practitioners believe adaptogens are just as important to our health as better-known nutrients and botanicals, such as antioxidants. Research suggests the mechanism of action of adaptogens may include modulation of the pituitary-hypothalamus-adrenal gland axis. They increase resistance against external stressors, have a balancing effect and stabilize normal body functions.

Ashwagandha: Anti-Stressor

Ashwagandha has been shown to increase stress resistance, improve memory-related performance, and protect against stress induced responses such as anxiety, and physiological imbalances, according to numerous animal studies and several human studies. Some researchers think ashwagandha has a so-called “anti-stressor” effect. Preliminary evidence suggests ashwagandha might suppress stress-induced increases of dopamine receptors in the corpus striatum of the brain. A comparison of the anxiety-reducing and antidepressive actions of ashwagandha with those of the benzodiazepine lorazepam was made in mice. Mice treated with both agents exhibited a reduction in brain concentrations of a marker of clinical anxiety. In addition, ashwagandha exhibited an antidepressive effect. The results of similar studies support the use of ashwagandha as an anti-stress adaptogen. In a rat model of chronic stress, the stress-reducing activities of extracts from ashwagandha were compared with those of Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng). Both agents reduced the number and severity of chronic stress–induced ulcers, reversed the chronic stress–induced inhibition of male sexual behavior, and inhibited the adverse effects of chronic stress on the retention of learned tasks. Well-controlled clinical studies are needed to further confirm ashwagandha’s benefits for humans.

Ashwagandha: Anti-Aging herb

The anti-aging effects of Ashwagandha were shown in a double-blind clinical trial in which 101 healthy men aged 50–59 years received a dosage of 3 grams Ashwagandha for 1 year. Specifically, significant improvements in hemoglobin, red blood cell counts, hair melanin concentrations, and serum cholesterol concentrations were observed.

Click to learn more about Ashwagandha


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