Herbs & Plants

Atriplex lentiformis

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Botanical Name : Atriplex lentiformis
Family: Amaranthaceae
Genus: Atriplex
Species:A. lentiformis
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Caryophyllales

Synonyms: A. breweri S.Wats A. lentiformis var. breweri (S.Wats.) McMinn = A. lentiformis subsp. brewer

Common Names: Quail bush, Big saltbrush, Big saltbush, Quailbrush, Lenscale, Len-scale saltbush and White thistle

Habitat : Atriplex lentiformis is native to South-western N. AmericaCalifornia, Arizona, Nevada, Texas and Mexico. It grows on saline to essentially non-saline drainages, stream and canal banks, roadsides, warm desert shrub, saltbush, and riparian communities at elevations of 70 – 1000 metres.
Atriplex lentiformis is an evergreen spreading communal shrub reaching one to three meters in height and generally more in width. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from May to September, and the seeds ripen from Jul to October. It is highly branched and bears scaly or scurfy gray-green leaves up to 5 centimeters long and often toothed or rippled along the edges. This species may be dioecious or monoecious, with individuals bearing either male or female flowers, or sometimes both. Male flowers are borne in narrow inflorescences up to 50 centimeters long, while inflorescences of female flowers are smaller and more compact. Plants can change from monoecious to dioecious and from male to female and vice versa.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) and are pollinated by Wind.


Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline and saline soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Requires a position in full sun in any well-drained but not too fertile soil. Tolerates saline and very alkaline soils. Succeeds in a hot dry position. This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the country, it tolerates temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c. Forms growing in coastal and near coastal regions of California have somewhat broader, merely ovate, rounded leaves, and they have been regarded either at species level as Atriplex breweri S. Watson or as a sub-species of A. lentiformis. Plants are more commonly dioecious, though monoecious forms can also be found.

Seed – sow April/May in a cold frame in a compost of peat and sand. The seed usually germinates in 1 – 3 weeks at 13°c. Pot up the seedlings when still small into individual pots, grow on in a greenhouse for the first winter and plant out in late spring or early summer after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Very easy. Pot up as soon as they start to root (about 3 weeks) and plant out in their permanent positions late in the following spring. Cuttings of mature wood of the current season’s growth, November/December in a frame. Very easy. Pot up in early spring and plant out in their permanent position in early summer.

Edible Uses:
Leaves and young shoots – cooked. Seed – cooked. It can be used as a piñole or be ground into a meal and used as a porridge, a thickener in soups or added to flour for making bread. The seed is rather small and fiddly to use.
Medicinal Uses:

Miscellany; Poultice.

The fresh leaves can be chewed, or the dried leaves smoked, in the treatment of head colds. The crushed flowers, stems and leaves can be steamed and inhaled to treat nasal congestion. A poultice of the powdered roots has been applied to sores.

Other Uses:...Miscellany; Soap…..The crushed leaves and roots have been used as a soap for washing clothes etc.
This saltbush species, A. lentiformis, and Atriplex canescens are the food plants for the saltbush sootywing Hesperopsis alpheus, a butterfly.

Atriplex lentiformis is used in restoration of riparian habitats, one of the native plants in riparian zone restoration projects in its native ranges

Known Hazards:  No member of this genus contains any toxins, all have more or less edible leaves. However, if grown with artificial fertilizers, they may concentrate harmful amounts of nitrates in their leaves.
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

Mentha australis

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Botanical Name : Mentha australis
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Mentha
Species: M. australis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Common Name : River mint

Habitat : Mentha australis is a native of eastern Australia, occurring in every state and territory except Western Australia.It grows along streams, usually in semi-shade, in inland areas

Mentha australis is a Perennial herb  growing to 0.5m.It has soft, aromatic leaves from 25 – 60 mm long, lance shaped and tapering to a point. The leaf margins are toothed. Small white to lilac flowers are seen in the upper leaf axils during summer and autumn.
It  is not frost tender. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. It is noted for attracting wildlife.


The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.

We do not have much information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Succeeds in most soils and situations so long as the soil is not too dry. Prefers a slightly acid soil. Grows well in heavy clay soils. A sunny position is best for production of essential oils, but succeeds in partial shade. Most mints have fairly aggressive spreading roots and, unless you have the space to let them roam, they need to be restrained by some means such as planting them in containers that are buried in the soil. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. The whole plant has a mint-like aroma. The flowers are very attractive to bees and butterflies. A good companion plant for growing near cabbages and tomatoes, helping to deter pests. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Germination is usually fairly quick. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. Mentha species are very prone to hybridisation and so the seed cannot be relied on to breed true. Even without hybridisation, seedlings will not be uniform and so the content of medicinal oils etc will vary. When growing plants with a particular aroma it is best to propagate them by division. Division can be easily carried out at almost any time of the year, though it is probably best done in the spring or autumn to allow the plant to establish more quickly. Virtually any part of the root is capable of growing into a new plant. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. However, for maximum increase it is possible to divide the roots up into sections no more than 3cm long and pot these up in light shade in a cold frame. They will quickly become established and can be planted out in the summer.

Medicinal Uses:
Abortifacient; Antiseptic; Carminative; Febrifuge.

Like many other members of this genus, this species is often used as a domestic herbal remedy, being valued especially for its antiseptic properties and its beneficial effect on the digestion. Like other members of the genus, it is best not used by pregnant women because large doses can cause an abortion. A tea made from the leaves of most mint species has traditionally been used in the treatment of fevers, headaches, digestive disorders and various minor ailments. The leaves are harvested as the plant comes into flower and can be dried for later use. The essential oil in the leaves is antiseptic, though it is toxic in large doses and can cause abortions.

Mentha australis is widespread in inland areas of Australia and was used as a medicinal plant by the Aborigines.  It was boiled in water and used for the relief of coughs and colds.  It is recorded the plant was used by the Aborigines to induce abortions.  It was also used by early settlers as a tonic. A tea made from the leaves of most mint species has traditionally been used in the treatment of fevers, headaches, digestive disorders and various minor ailments. The leaves are harvested as the plant comes into flower and can be dried for later use. The essential oil in the leaves is antiseptic, though it is toxic in large doses and can cause abortions.

Other Uses:
Essential; Repellent; Strewing.

The leaves contain about 0.2% of an essential oil. It is a coarse peppermint. Rats and mice intensely dislike the smell of mint. The plant was therefore used in homes as a strewing herb and has also been spread in granaries to keep the rodents off the grain.

Scented Plants
Plant: Crushed Dried
The whole plant has a mint-like aroma.

Known Hazards:   Although no records of toxicity have been seen for this species, large quantities of some members of this genus, especially when taken in the form of the extracted essential oil, can cause abortions so some caution is advised

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


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Herbs & Plants

Muktajhuri (Acalypha indica )

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Botanical Name : Acalypha indica Linn/Acalypha caroliniana Blanco
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Subfamily: Acalyphoideae
Genus: Acalypha
Species: Acalypha indica Linn.
Kingdom: Plantae
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Euphorbiales

Common Name
:Muktajhuri, Kuppi, Chalmari, Arithamanjara, Indan Acalypa, Swetbasanta(Beng.)  Maraotong (Ilk.) ,Taptapiñgar (Ilk.) Indian nettle (Engl.) Indian copperleaf (Engl.) , Indian acalypha (Engl.)

Vernacular Name:
Sans. –Arittamanjarie.
Eng. –Indian acalypha.
Hind. – Kuppu; Khokali.
Ben. –Muktajhuri; Sveta-basanta.
Guj.– Vanchi Kanto.
Mab.—Khokli ; Khajoti.
Tel. – Kuppichettu; Harita-manjiri; Kuppinta or Muripindi.
Tam. – Kuppivaeni; Kuppaimeni.
Mal. – Kuppamani.
Sinb .—Kupa-menya.

Habitat :Common annual shrub in Indian gardens, backyards of houses and waste place throughout the plains of India.A common weed in and about towns, in thickets and waste places throughout the Philippines.

An erect, simple or branched, slightly hairy annual herb, growing to a height of 40-80 cm. Leaves are ovate. 3 to 6 cm long, shorter than the long stalks, with toothed margins. Flowers are sessile, greenish, borne on numerous lax axillary spikes. The male flowers are very small, clustered at the summit. Female flowers are solitary and scattered, with a large and leafy bract, 5-6 mm long. Capsules are 2 mm long and concealed by the bract, containing one seed which is ovoid and smooth.

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You may click to see more pictures .

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Plant, Leaf, Root
In India during famine it was eaten asfood, leaves eaten as vegetable.

Main Constituents:
Contains an alkaloid, acalyphine.  Anthelminthic, cathartic, emetic, expectorant, laxative.

Medicinal Uses:
*Decoction of leaves used for dysentery.
*Juice of the root and leaves given to children as expectorant and emetic.
*The leaves, in decoction or powdered form, is used as a laxative.
*For constipation, an anal suppository of the bruised leaves helps relax the constricted sphincter ani muscle.
*Leaves mixed with garlic used as anthelminthic.
*Leaves mixed with common salt applied to scabies.
*Poultice of bruised leaves used for syphilitic ulcers, to maggot-eaten sores and as emollient to snake bites.
*Powdered dried leaves for bed sores.
*Juice of fresh leaves, mixed with oil or lime, used for rheumatic complaints.
*Decoction of leaves used as instillation for earaches and for periauricular poultice or compress
*Root, bruised in water, used as cathartic.
*Bruised leaves used as “suppository” in constipation.

In Indian pharmacopoeia, used as an expectorant. Also used for the prevention and reversal of atherosclerotic disease.
In Tamilnadu, India, the Paliyar tribes of Shenbagathope use the entire plant for bronchitis, a decoction of the herb for tooth- and earaches and paste of the leaves applied to burns.

For more knowledge click to see :Review of Acalypha indica, Linn in Traditional Siddha
Medicine by Thomas M.Walter

• Post-Coital Infertility Activity: Petroleum ether and ethanol extracts of A. indica were found to be effective in causing significant anti-implantation activity.
• Flavonoids: Four known kaempferol glycosides–mauritianin, clitorin, nicotiflorin and biorobin were isolated from the flowers and leaves of A. indica.
• Phytochemicals: Studies yielded fatty acids (eicosatrienoic acid methyl ester, hexatriacontaine, trimethyl undecatriene and trifluoroacetic acid), volatile essential oil (phytol), and flavonoids (naringing, quercitrin, hesperitin and kaempferol; most of the identified components having their own medicinal properties.
Antibacterial: Study have shown it to possess antibacterial activity against Aeromonas hydrophylla and Bacillus cereus.
• Anti-ulcer: Ethanol extract has an anti-ulcer property.
• Antifungal / Antimicrobial:(1) Study of fresh, dried and powdered samples of leaf, stem and root of Acalypha indica showed activity against Candida albicans, Aspergillus niger and E. coli. An active compound showed more activity than clotrimazole. (2) Study concludes the plant has potential antifungal properties providing a scientific basis for utilization of the plant for treatment of antifungal infections. Results of study were negative for antibacterial activity against E coli and S aureus.
• Antimalarial: Results of leaf extract of A. indica show promising larvicidal and ovicidal activity against malaria vector A. stephensi.
•Neuroprotective / Neurotherapeutic: Results of water extract study showed A indica has neuroprotective and neurotherapeutic effects ex vivo on m. gastrocnemius frog.
• Antioxidant: Ethanol and aqueous extract of root of A indica showed nitric oxide scavenging activity in a dose-dependent manner.
• Antibacterial / Antioxidant: Study of Acalypha indica and Ocimum basilicum showed antibacterial activity against E coli, K pneumonia, S aureus, P aeruginosa and Proteus sp, the ethanol more effective than the acetone extract.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings:-
Post-coital antifertility activity of Acalypha indica L. / Journal of Ethnopharmacology Vol 67, Issue 3, 30 November 1999, Pages 253-258/doi:10.1016/S0378-8741(98)00213-X
Flavonoids from Acalypha indica
/ A Nahrstedt, M Hungeling, F Peterelt / Fitoterapia Vol 77, Issue 6, September 2006, Pages 484-486 / doi:10.1016/j.fitote.2006.04.007
Preliminary studies on the analysis of fatty acids, essential oils and flavonoids in Acalypha indica L. / J. Trop. Agric. and Fd. Sc. 32(2)(2004): 16R3. –Su1r6i,9 H.
Isolation, Identification and Study of Antimicrobial Property of a Bioactive Compound in an Indian Medicinal Plant Acalypha indica (Indian-Nettle) / World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology, Volume 21, Numbers 6-7, October 2005 , pp. 1231-1236(6) /
Studies on effect of Acalypha indica L. (Euphorbiaceae) leaf extracts on the malarial vector, Anopheles stephensi Liston (Diptera:Culicidae) / Govindarajan,MJebanesan,APushpanathan,TSamidurai,K/ Parasitology Researc / 2008vol.103(no.3)
NEURO-PROTECTION AND NEURO-THERAPY EFFECTS OF Acalypha indica Linn. WATER EXTRACT EX VIVO ON Musculus gastrocnemius Frog / Ernie Purwaningsih et al / Makara Kesehatan. Vol 12, No 2, Dec 2008: 71-76 /
The Evaluation of Nitric Oxide Scavenging Activity of Acalypha Indica Linn Root
/ Balakrishnan N et al / Asian J. Research Chem. 2(2): April.-June, 2009
Isolation of potential antibacterial and antioxidant compounds from Acalypha indica and Ocimum basilicum
/ K Ramya Durga et al / Journal of Medicinal Plants Research Vol. 3(10), pp. 703-706, October, 2009

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.


Click to access Microsoft_Word_-_Acalypha.pdf

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Featured News on Health & Science

Candy Canes Can Help Fight Germs

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The traditional candy canes used for decorating Christmas trees can help fight germs and treat digestive disorders, according to a new study.


A study led by McMaster University researcher Alex Ford had found that peppermint oil, found in most candy canes, can act as the first line of defence against irritable bowel syndrome.

“Most of the (effective) species are really from the family Lamiaceae, or mint family,” Discovery News quoted Pavel Kloucek, a scientist at the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague, as saying.

The researchers hope that peppermint oil, and other potent essential oils, may soon be wafted in vapour form over food to inhibit bacterial growth.

For the new study, Kloucek and his team looked at several essential oils to determine how well they could, in vapour form, kill the bacteria responsible for Listeria, Staph, E. coli, and Salmonella infections, and more.

The new study is the first to bring forth the antimicrobial activity of two other mint family members –Mentha villosa and Faassen’s catnip -along with another non-mint herb, bluebeard.Moreover, essential oils for horseradish, garlic, hyssop, basil, marjoram, oregano, winter savory, and three types of thyme also showed potent bacteria-busting abilities.

Kloucek said that plant essential oils are lipophilic, i.e. they gravitate towards fat.

“And luckily, in the cell membrane of bacteria, there is plenty of fat, which serves as a seal,” he said.

“Essential oils are attracted to this fat and, as their molecules squeeze in between the fat molecules, they cause leakage of the membrane,” he added.

If foods were treated with essential oils to prevent illness, the obvious problem to overcome is the oils’ potent taste. While strong mint flavour is desirable in a candy cane, it might not work well with other foods. The solution, according to Kloucek and his team, is to carefully match the oil with the food.

The findings have been accepted for publication in the journal Food Control.

Sources: The Times Of India

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Therapetic treatment


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Aromatherapy is the ancient science of healing, relaxing and energizing by the use of plants and their parts. The roots, barks, flowers, fruits, seeds and nuts play a crucial part in this science. It is one of the more popular branches of alternative medicines. The word aromatherapy is derived from two words aroma which means smell and therapy which stands for healing.


Little to no significant scientific research has proven any combination of cause/effect solutions from aromatherapy aside from relaxation and clarity of mind, all considered similar to that of a nap or pause in conscious thought. Aromatherapy is also associated with astrological pseudoscience, and bases its medicinal beliefs on the alignment of stars, among many other aspects, to prescribe certain olfactory therapies. In truth, any odour can be considered a therapy by aroma, or aromatherapy.So in my openion, this type of Therapy should always be applied alongwith the modern scientific medication for curing a desies. This might speed up healing effect.
Some of the materials employed include:

Essential oils: Fragrant oils extracted from plants chiefly through distillation (e.g. eucalyptus oil) or expression (grapefruit oil). However, the term is also occasionally used to describe fragrant oils extracted from plant material by any solvent extraction.
Absolutes: Fragrant oils extracted primarily from flowers or delicate plant tissues through solvent or supercritical fluid extraction (e.g. rose absolute). The term is also used to describe oils extracted from fragrant butters, concretes, and enfleurage pommades using ethanol.
Phytoncides: Various volatile organic compounds from plants that kill microbes. Many terpene-based fragrant oils and sulfuric compounds from plants in the genus “Allium” are Phytoncides, though the latter are likely less commonly used in aromatherapy due to their disagreeable smells.
Hydrosols: The aqueous by-products of the distillation process (e.g. rosewater). Hydrosol used are limited to plants such as rose and chamomile since most hydrosols have unpleasant smells.
Infusions: Aqueous extracts of various plant material (e.g. infusion of chamomile)
Carrier oils: Typically oily plant base triacylglycerides that are used to dilute essential oils for use on the skin (e.g. sweet almond oil)

The basis of aromatherapy is the Essential oil Oils extracted from different plants and their barks and flowers.. These oils are the extracts of plants and their parts and form their life force. These oils are extracted by the means of steam distillation, cold expression, or fixed oil or alcohol extraction. They are highly concentrated and should not be used directly. These oils can be blended together and this blend is called synergy. The synergy is more potent than the individual oils combined. To reduce the potency of these oils, you can dilute them by mixing them with carrier oils.

These oils affect your mood. They enter through our olfactory system and affect the nervous system, thus improving mood and relaxing or energizing us. This helps is alleviating stress and speeding up healing. Most of these oils also have cosmetic properties and can be used in skincare and hair care products. Many of these oils have known anti-viral, antifungal and antiseptic properties. They are also used in household products for cleaning and antiseptic uses. These oils can be inhaled, massaged onto your body, added to the bath or shower or sprayed in the room.

When aromatherapy is used for the treatment or prevention of disease, a precise knowledge of the bioactivity and synergy of the essential oils used, knowledge of the dosage and duration of application, as well as, naturally, a medical diagnosis, are required.

In the Anglo-Saxon world, among alternative practitioners such as herbalists or naturopaths, aromatherapy is regarded as a complementary modality by some and a pseudoscientific belief by most others.

On the continent, especially in France, where it originated, aromatherapy is incorporated into mainstream medicine. There, the use of the anti-septic properties of oils in the control of infections is emphasized over the more “touchy feely” approaches familiar to English speakers. In France some essential oils are regulated as prescription drugs, and thus administered by a physician. In many countries they are included in the national pharmacopeia, but up to the present moment aromatherapy as science has never been recognized as a valid branch of medicine in the United States, Russia, Germany, or Japan.

Essential oils, phytoncides and other natural VOCs work in different ways. At the scent level they activate the limbic system and emotional centers of the brain. When applied to the skin (commonly in form of “massage oils” i.e. 1-10% solutions of EO in carrier oil) they activate thermal receptors, and kill microbes and fungi. Internal application of essential oil preparations (mainly in pharmacological drugs; generally not recommended for home use apart from dilution – 1-5% in fats or mineral oils, or hydrosoles) may stimulate the immune system.

(Help taken from:…… and