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Herbs & Plants

Berchemia Lineata

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Botanical Name : Berchemia lineata
Family : Rhamnaceae
Genus: Berchemia

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Rosales
Species: B. lineata
Synonyms : Berchemia axilliflora – Cheng.,Berchemia edgeworthii – Lawson.,Berchemia nana – W.W.Smith.,Rhamnus lineatus – L.
Habitat:Range E. Asia – C. and N. China to the Himalayas.It occurs naturally in dry thickets in the rainshadows of the central Asian mountains. B. lineata is found from northern China to Nepal, but is also cultivated in gardens. On rocks and in forests, 2000 – 2700 metres in the Himalayas. Scrub thickets in dry places at elevations of 2400 – 4000 metres in Nepal.Hills, open places, roadsides; low elevations. Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan, Taiwan [India, Japan, Vietnam].

Description:
A decidious Climber growing to 4m tall. Shrubs, prostrate or procumbent. Branchlets yellow-green, densely pubescent; older branches glabrescent. Stipules remarkable, reddish, lanceolate, 3-5 mm, persistent; petiole 1-3 mm, pubescent; leaf blade abaxially greenish and with minute dark pits, adaxially dark green, broadly elliptic or oblong-ovate, 5-20 × 4-12 mm, papery, both surfaces glabrous, lateral veins 4-6 pairs, base rounded, apex rounded or obtuse, with a mucro 1-2 mm, often slightly emarginate. Flowers white, very small, 4-5 mm in diam., in terminal cymose racemes or in fascicles of few to 10 in leaf axils. Pedicel 2.5-4 mm, glabrous. Calyx tube campanulate; lobes triangular-lanceolate, ca. 1.5 mm. Petals lanceolate, ca. 2.5 mm. Stamens slightly longer than petals, with very thin, flat filaments. Drupe yellowish green when young, dark blue and waxy at maturity, globose to ovoid to ellipsoid, 5-6 mm, to 3 mm in diam., with persistent disk and calyx tube at base; fruiting pedicel 4.5-5 mm, pilose. Fl. Jul-Oct, fr. Nov.
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The roots and leaves are used medicinally for relieving coughs and reducing sputum and for treating injuries, trauma, and snakebites.

It is hardy to zone 8. It is in flower from July to August, and the seeds ripen in November. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)
The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and requires well-drained 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.

Cultivation
Requires a good moist well-drained loam, succeeding in full sun if the soil does not dry out otherwise it is best in light shade. This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the country, it tolerates temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c. Suitable for growing along fences, against walls with wire supports or for growing through other shrubs. Plants climb by means of twining around supports. Closely related to B. edgeworthii.

Propagation

Seed – sow spring or autumn in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Cuttings of mature wood of the current season’s growth, November to January in a frame. Root cuttings in winter[200]. Layering of young stems in winter

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Fruit.

Fruit. – raw or cooked. Only eat the fruit when it is black ripe. The fruit is not very freely produced in Britain[1]. The fruit is about 8mm in diameter.

Medicinal Actions & Uses:-
Antitussive; Febrifuge.

The plant has been used as a febrifuge. The roots and leaves have been used as a medicine to relieve coughs and reduce sputum, to treat injuries, trauma and snakebite.

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

Resources:
http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Berchemia+lineata
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berchemia_lineata
http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=620&taxon_id=200013327

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Herbs & Plants

Calamus (Acorus Calamus)

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Botanical Name :Acorus calamus /Acorus americanus
Family: Acoraceae
Genus:     Acorus
Species: A. calamus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Acorales

Common Names  : Calamus root , Sweet Sledge. Sweet Myrtle, Sweet Flag
Other Names:   Beewort, bitter pepper root, calamus root, flag root, gladdon, myrtle flag, myrtle grass, myrtle root, myrtle sedge, pine root, rat root, sea sedge, sweet cane, sweet cinnamon, sweet grass, sweet myrtle, sweet root, sweet rush, and sweet sedge. Common names in Asia include: “vacha”; “bacch” (Unani); “bajai,” “gora-bach,” “vasa bach” (Hindi); “vekhand” (Marathi); “vashambu” (Tamil); “vadaja,” “vasa” (Telugu); “baje” (Kannada); “vayambu” (Malayalam); Haimavati, “bhutanashini,” “jatila” (Sanskrit).

Parts Used: Roots and rhizome

Habitat: Wet soil and shallow water. Probably indigenous to India, Acorus calamus is now found across Europe, in southern Russia, northern Asia Minor, southern Siberia, China, Japan, Burma, Sri Lanka, and northern USA.

Description: Calamus or Common Sweet Flag (Acorus calamus) is a plant from the Acoraceae family, Acorus genues. It is a tall perennial wetland monocot with scented leaves and rhizomes which have been used medicinally, for its odor, and as a psychotropic drug.It is a perennial plant that grows more or less abundantly throughout the northern hemisphere, inhabiting pond edges, marshes, swamps, and the banks of rivers and streams. It’s horizontal, creeping rootstock, which may grow to be 5 feet long, produces sword-shaped leaves from 2 to 6-feet high and also a keeled or ridged flower.flowers bloom : May – August
stalk which bears a cylindrical spadix covered by minute greenish-yellow flowers.

Botanical information: The morphological distinction between the Acorus species is made by the number of prominent leaf veins. Acorus calamus has a single prominent midvein and then on both sides slightly raised secondary veins (with a diameter less than half the midvein) and many, fine tertiary veins. This makes it clearly distinct from Acorus americanus.

The leaves are between 0.7 and 1.7 cm wide, with average of 1 cm. The sympodial leaf of Acorus calamus is somewhat shorter than the vegetative leaves. The margin is curly-edged or undulate. The spadix, at the time of expansion, can reach a length between 4.9 and 8.9 cm (longer than A. americanus). The flowers are longer too, between 3 and 4 mm. Acorus calamus is infertile and shows an abortive ovary with a shriveled appearance.
.…click to see the pictures..>...(01)...(1)..…...(2).……..(3)....(4).…………

Constituents: Aserone, Cis-methyl isoeugenol Calamene, Linalool, Eugenol, Azulene, Pinene, Cineole, Camphor, Sesquiterpenes, Acoric acid, Tannin, Resin, Mucilage.

Chemistry: Both triploid and tetraploid calamus contain asarone, but diploid does not contain any.

Usage: Calamus has been an item of trade in many cultures for thousands of years. Calamus has been used medicinally for a wide variety of ailments.

In antiquity in the Orient and Egypt, the rhizome was thought to be a powerful aphrodisiac. In Europe Acorus calamus was often added to wine, and the root is also one of the possible ingredients of absinthe. Among the northern Native Americans, it is used both medicinally and as a stimulant; in addition, the root is thought to have been used as an entheogen among the northern Native Americans. In high doses, it is hallucinogenic.

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Medicinal Properties:Sdedative, analgesic, tpilepsy, hypertensive. Carminative, Diaphoretic, Emmenagogue, Febrifuge,  and stomachic.
Main Uses:

Calamus rhizome is a bitter tonic that stimulates the digestive juices and is combined with gentian in the tonic Stockton bitters. It counters overacidity, heartburn, and intestinal gas. Herbalists report it useful to help reduce severe loss of appetite due to cancer or other illness or the eating disorder anorexia nervosa. Traditional Islamic medicine employs calamus for stomach and liver inflammation and rheumatism, as well as a calamus-rose oil-vinegar mix to treat burns. Egyptians used sweet flag for scrofula, but it should be combined with supporting, more effective herbs for this chronic condition.

Chinese studies show that calamus extracts kill bacteria, lower blood pressure by dilating the blood vessels, stop coughing, and eliminate lung congestion. Traditional Chinese medicine uses it to open the orifices, vaporize phlegm and quiet the spirit; for phlegm veiling and clocking the sensory orifices with such symptoms as deafness, dizziness, forgetfulness, and dulled sensorium, as well as seizures or stupor. It harmonizes the middle burner and transforms turbid dampness: for such symptoms as chest and epigastric fullness and abdominal pain due to dampness distressing the Spleen and Stomach. Also used both internally and topically for wind-cold-damp painful obstruction, trauma and sores. Use with caution in cases of yin deficiency with heat signs or where there is irritability and excessive sweating or vomiting blood. According to some traditional sources, this herb antagonizes ma huang.

The Regional Research Institute in India found that calamus reduces epileptic fits and even eases some emotional problems. It is also used in India to treat asthma. The Native Americans for the Great Plains chewed it when they had a fever, cough, cold, or toothache. The American species is especially sedative to the central nervous system and stops muscle spasms. In India the burnt root mixed with some bland oil is used as a poultice for flatulence and colic as well as for paralyzed limbs and indolent ulcers and wounds. Its solvents are alcohol and partially in hot water.

Calamus is particularly known for its beneficial effects on the stomach. It stimulates appetite and helps to relieve acute and chronic dyspepsia, gastritis, and hyperacidity.
In Europe, calamus is used for the stomach and bowel because it stimulates the salivary glands and production of stomach juices, helping to counter acidity and ease heartburn and dyspepsia. It also eased flatulence and relaxed the bowel, reducing catarrhal states of the mucous membranes.

Calamus is good for gastritis resulting from heavy drinking. Take an infusion twice a day.

Preparation And Dosages:
Infusion: Steep 1 teaspoon rootstock in 1/2 cup water for 5 minutes. Twice a day.
Decoction: Add 1 tablespoon dried rootstock to 1 cup simmering water and boil briefly. Take 1 cup a day.
Tincture: Fresh (1:2), dry (1:5), in 60% alcohol. Take 15 to 45 drops, two to four times a day. To improve appetite and digestion, take 15 minutes before meals.
Oil: Take 2 to 3 drops, three times a day.

Regulations: Calamus and products derived from calamus (such as its oil) were banned in 1968 as food additives and medicines by the United States Food and Drug Administration(FDA).

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.

Resources:
http://www.indianspringherbs.com/Calamus.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweet_flag

http://www.orissafdc.com/products_medicinal_plants.php

http://apmab.ap.nic.in/products.php?&start=30#

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm

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Herbs & Plants

Hollyhocks (Alcea Roses)

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Botanical Name: Alcea rosea
Family: Malvaceae
Genus: Alcea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Malvales

The scientific name for Hollyhocks is Alcea rosea but used to go by the scientific name Althaea and is still seen that way in garden catalogs on occasion.

Common Name:Hollyhocks

Habitats: Holyhock is native to Eurasia.It grows in Woodland Garden; Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; and in  Cultivated Beds.Hollyhocks prefer rich, well-drained soil and full sun. Light shade is tolerated but wet winter soil is not….click & see

Description:
Holyhock  is a biennial or short-lived perennial plant about 4-8′ tall. The stout central stem is unbranched or sparingly branched; it is light green, terete, and more or less hairy. The blades of the alternate leaves are up to 8″ long and across; they are palmately lobed (with 3-7 blunt lobes each) and crenate along their margins. Each leaf blade is orbicular or oval in outline and indented at the base where the petiole joins the blade. The upper surface of each leaf blade is medium green, slightly pubescent to hairless, and wrinkled from fine veins; the lower surface is light green and pubescent. The petioles of the leaves are as long or a little longer than their blades; they are light green and hairy..
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The central stem terminates in a spike-like raceme of flowers; axillary flowers are produced from the axils of the upper leaves as well. These flowers occur individually or in small clusters along the central stem; they nod sideways from short hairy pedicels. Each flower spans about 3-5″ when it is fully open; it has 5 petals, 5 sepals, 6-9 sepal-like bracts, and a columnar structure in the center with the reproductive organs (stamens toward the tip, thread-like stigmas below). The overlapping petals provide the flower with a funnelform shape; they are usually some shade of white, pink, or purplish red. The sepals are light green, ovate, and much smaller than the petals. The bracts of each flower are located underneath the sepals; they are light green, hairy, ovate, and joined together at the base. The blooming period occurs from mid-summer into the fall; a colony of plants will bloom for about 2 months. Each flower is replaced by a fruit containing a ring of 15-20 seeds (technically, a schizocarp). These seeds are oval, flattened, and notched on one side. The root system consists of a taproot. This plant spreads by reseeding itself.

Species: There are about 60 species of Alcea, including:

Alcea acaulis
Alcea biennis (syn. A. pallida)
Alcea calvertii
Alcea ficifolia — Antwerp hollyhock
Alcea flavovirens
Alcea grossheimii — Grossheim’s alcea
Alcea heldreichii
Alcea kurdica
Alcea lavateriflora
Alcea litwinowii
Alcea longipedicellata
Alcea nudiflora
Alcea pallida
Alcea rhyticarpa
Alcea rosea — common hollyhock
Alcea rugosa
Alcea setosa — bristly hollyhock
Alcea sosnovskyi
Alcea striata
Alcea sulphurea

Hardiness Zones: Hollyhocks are hardy in zones 2-10.

Uses in the Garden: Perfect for planting in the back of borders, for old cottage gardens, cut flower gardens, humming bird beds or fence borders.

Cultivation details:
Succeeds in most soils. Poor soils should be enriched with organic matter. Prefers a heavy rich soil and a sheltered sunny position.Plants are hardy to about -15°c.A very ornamental plant, it is usually grown as a biennial due to its susceptibility to the fungal disease ‘rust’. There are many named varieties.Young plants, and also the young growth in spring, are very attractive to slugs. The preference is full to partial sun, moist to mesic conditions, and a fertile loamy soil. Lower leaves will wither away during hot dry weather. Hollyhock is vulnerable to foliar disease, including rust.

Propagation:
Seed – sow April/May or August/September in pots or in situ[200, 238]. Easily grown from seed, which usually germinates in about 2 – 3 weeks at 20°c[133, 268]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer.Division after flowering. Only use rust-free specimens.Root cuttings in December.Basal cuttings at almost any time of year

Medicinal Uses:
Antiinflammatory; Astringent; Demulcent; Diuretic; Emollient; Febrifuge.

Hollyhock is stated to be an emollient and laxative. It is used to control inflammation, to stop bed-wetting and as a mouthwash in cases of bleeding gums .

The flowers are demulcent, diuretic and emollient. They are useful in the treatment of chest complaints, and a decoction is used to improve blood circulation, for the treatment of constipation, dysmenorrhoea, haemorrhage etc. The flowers are harvested when they are open and are dried for later use.
The shoots are used to ease a difficult labour. The root is astringent and demulcent. It is crushed and applied as a poultice to ulcers. Internally, it is used in the treatment of dysentery. The roots and the flowers are used in Tibetan medicine, where they are said to have a sweet, acrid taste and a neutral potency. They are used in the treatment of inflammations of the kidneys/womb, vaginal/seminal discharge, and the roots on their own are used to treat loss of appetite.
The seed is demulcent, diuretic and febrifuge.The flowers are used in the treatment of repiratory and inflammatory ailments and the root extracts to produce marshmallow sweets.

Other Uses
Compost; Dye; Litmus; Oil; Paper.
A fibre obtained from the stems is used in papermaking. The fibres are about 1.9mm long. The stems are harvested in late summer, the leaves are removed and the stems are steamed until the fibres can be removed. The fibres are cooked with lye for 2 hours and then ball milled for 3 hours or pounded with mallets. The paper is light tan in colour.

The flowers are an alternative ingredient of ‘Quick Return’ herbal compost activator. This is a dried and powdered mixture of several herbs that can be added to a compost heap in order to speed up bacterial activity and thus shorten the time needed to make the compost.The seed contains 12% of a drying oil.The red anthocyanin constituent of the flowers is used as a litmus.A brown dye is obtained from the petals.
Hollyhocks are tolerant of black walnut toxins and, like Polemonium plants, can be planted near and around black walnut trees where other plants will not grow.

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.

Resources:
http://www.ibiblio.org/pfaf/cgi-bin/arr_html?Alcea+rosea
http://plantsbulbs.suite101.com/article.cfm/hollyhock_alcea_plant_profile
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcea
http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/weeds/plants/hollyhock.htm