Herbs & Plants

Asclepias syriaca

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Botanical Name : Asclepias syriaca
Family: Apocynaceae
Subfamily: Asclepiadoideae
Genus: Asclepias
Species: A. syriaca
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Common Names:Common Milkweed, Butterfly flower, Silkweed, Silky Swallow-wort, Virginia Silkweed

Habitat :Asclepias syriaca is native to most of North America east of the Rocky Mountains, excluding the drier parts of the Prairies. It grows in sandy soils and appreciates lots of sunlight. It was one of the earliest North American species described in Cornut’s 1635 Canadensium plantarum historia. The specific name was reused by Linnaeus due to Cornut’s confusion with a species from Asia Minor.

It grows in thickets, roadsides, dry fields and waste places

Asclepias syriaca is a herbaceous perennial plant growing to 1–2 m tall from a rhizome. The stem and all parts of the plants produce a white latex when broken. The leaves are opposite, simple broad ovate-lanceolate, 7–25 cm long and 3–12 cm broad, usually with an undulate margin and a red-colored main vein. They have a very short petiole and a velvety underside.
The flowers are grouped in several spherical umbels with numerous flowers in each umbel. The individual flowers are small, 1–2 cm diameter, perfumed, with five cornate hoods. The seeds are attached to long, white flossy hairs and encased in large follicles.

It is hardy to zone 3. It is in flower from Jul to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, insects, lepidoptera.It is noted for attracting wildlife.

Succeeds in any good soil. Prefers a well-drained light rich or peaty soil. Requires a moist peaty soil and a sunny position. Plants are hardy to about -25°c. A very ornamental plant, though it can be invasive by means of its spreading root system. The flowers diffuse a delicious scent into the garden. This scent attracts bees, who obtain copious supplies of nectar from the plants, though unfortunately the plants do not always flower in Britain. The flower of many members of this genus can trap insects between its anther cells, the struggles of the insect in escaping ensure the pollination of the plant. This plant has a very wide range of uses and merits attention as a food, fibre and rubber crop. It was possibly cultivated at one time by the North American Indians for its many uses. It is considered by some to be the greatest underachiever among plants. Its potential appears great, yet until now it has never been continuously processed for commercial purposes. Many members of this genus seem to be particularly prone to damage by slugs. The young growth in spring is especially vulnerable, but older growth is also attacked and even well-established plants have been destroyed in wet years. Plants resent root disturbance and are best planted into their final positions whilst small.

Seed – best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the autumn or in late winter. We have also had good results from sowing the seed in the greenhouse in early spring, though stored seed might need 2 – 3 weeks cold stratification. Germination usually takes place in 1 – 3 months at 18°c. As soon as the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick them out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant out when they are in active growth in late spring or early summer and give them some protection from slugs until they are growing away strongly. Division in spring. With great care since the plant resents root disturbance. Pot the divisions up and place them in a lightly shaded position in the greenhouse until they are growing away strongly, then plant them out in the summer, giving them some protection from slugs until they are established.. Basal cuttings in late spring. Use shoots about 10cm long with as much of their white underground stem as possible. Pot them up individually and place them in a lightly shaded position in a greenhouse until they are rooting and growing actively. If the plants grow sufficiently, they can be put into their permanent positions in the summer, otherwise keep them in the greenhouse until the following spring and when they are in active growth plant them out into their permanent positions. Give them some protection from slugs until they are established.

Edible Uses     
Edible Parts: Flowers;  Leaves;  Oil;  Oil;  Seed;  Seedpod.
Edible Uses: Gum;  Oil;  Oil;  Sweetener.

Unopened flower buds – cooked. They taste somewhat like peas. They are used like broccoli. Flowers and young flower buds – cooked. They have a mucilaginous texture and a pleasant flavour, they can be used as a flavouring and a thickener in soups etc. The flower clusters can be boiled down to make a sugary syrup. The flowers are harvested in the early morning with the dew still on them. When boiled up they make a brown sugar. Young shoots – cooked. An asparagus substitute. They should be used when less than 20cm tall. A slightly bitter taste. Tips of older shoots are cooked like spinach. Young seed pods, 3 – 4 cm long, cooked. They are very appetizing. Best used when about 2 – 4cm long and before the seed floss forms, on older pods remove any seed floss before cooking them. If picked at the right time, the pods resemble okra. The sprouted seeds can be eaten. An edible oil is obtained from the seed. The latex in the stems is a suitable replacement for chicle and can be made into a chewing gum. It is not really suitable for use in tyres. The latex is found mainly in the leaves and is destroyed by frost. Yields are higher on dry soils.

Medicinal Uses:
Anodyne;  Contraceptive;  Diaphoretic;  Diuretic;  Emetic;  Expectorant;  Homeopathy;  Purgative;  Warts.

The root is anodyne, diaphoretic, diuretic, emetic, expectorant and purgative. It has been used in the treatment of asthma, kidney stones, venereal disease etc. Caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. An infusion of the pounded roots has been used by the women of some native North American Indian tribes to promote temporary sterility. The leaves and/or the latex are used in folk remedies for treating cancer and tumours. The milky latex from the stems and leaves is used in the treatment of warts. The latex needs to be applied at least daily over a period of up to a few weeks to be effective. The stems can be cooked and applied as a poultice on rheumatic joints. One reported Mohawk antifertility concoction contained milkweed and jack-in-the-pulpit, both considered contraceptive. Dried and pulverized, a fistful of milkweed and three Arisaema rhizomes were infused in a pint of water for 20 minutes. The infusion was drunk, a cupful an hour, to induce temporary sterility. The rhizome is used in homeopathy as an antioedemic and emmenagogue in the treatment of dropsy and dysmenorrhoea.

A root decoction (either fresh or dried) strengthens the heart in a different way from digitalis, and without the foxglove derivative’s toxicity.  It also soothes the nerves and is listed as an emetic, anthelmintic (kills worms) and stomach tonic.  It helps relieve edema probably by strengthening the heart.  It’s also a diaphoretic and expectorant.  It’s used for coughs, colds, arthritis aggravated by the cold, threatened inflammation of the lungs, asthma, bronchitis, female disorders, diarrhea and gastric mucus.  The milky sap is used topically, fresh or dried, to reduce warts.

The root is emetic and cathartic in large doses.  In average doses it is considered diuretic, expectorant and diaphoretic.  It is said to produce temporary sterility if taken as a tea.
HOMEOPATHIC: Used for afflictions of the nerves and the urinary tract and for pressing

Other Uses:
Adhesive;  Fibre;  Gum;  Latex;  Oil;    Pollution;  Stuffing;  Wick.

A good quality fibre is obtained from the inner bark of the stems. It is long and quite strong, but brittle. It can be used in making twine, cloth, paper etc. The fibre is of poor quality in wet seasons. It is easily harvested in late autumn after the plant has died down by simply pulling the fibres off the dried stems. It is estimated that yields of 1,356 kilos per hectare could be obtained from wild plants. The seed floss is used to stuff pillows etc or is mixed with other fibres to make cloth. It is a Kapok substitute, used in Life Jackets or as a stuffing material. Very water repellent, it can yield up to 550 kilos per hectare. The floss absorbs oil whilst repelling water and so has also been used to mop up oil spills at sea. Candlewicks can be made from the seed floss. In cultivation, only 1 – 3% of the flowers produce mature pods. It is estimated that yields of 1,368 kilos per hectare could be obtained from wild plants. Rubber can be made from latex contained in the leaves and the stems. It is found mainly in the leaves and is destroyed by frost. Yields of 197 kilos per hectare can be expected from wild plants, it is estimated that by selection these yields could be increased to 897 kilos. Yields are higher on dry soils. The latex can also be used as a glue for fixing precious stones into necklaces, earrings etc. The latex contains 0.1 – 1.5% caoutchouc, 16 – 17% dry matter, and 1.23% ash. It also contains the digitalis-like mixture of a- and b-asclepiadin, the antitumor b-sitosterol, and a- and b-amyrin and its acetate, dextrose and wax. Pods contain an oil and a wax which are of potential importance. The seed contains up to 20% of an edible semi-drying oil. It is also used in making liquid soap.

Known Hazards :  Although no specific reports have been seen for this species, many, if not all, members of this genus contain toxic resinoids, alkaloids and cardiac glycosides. They are usually avoided by grazing animals. The older leaves are poisonous if eaten in large quantities. The plant contains cardioactive compounds and is potentially toxic.

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


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Botanical Name :Marsdenia tinctoria R. Br.
Family  : Asclepiadaceae
Other Scientific Names :Marsdenia akkar Blanco ,Marsdenia tagudina Blanco ,Asclepias tinctoria Roxb. ,Pergularia tinctoria Spreng.
Common Names:  Ariñgit (Bik..),Lamus (Bag.),Payañgit (Tag.),Tayom-tayom (Ilk.),Broad-leafed indigo (Engl.,Lan ye teng (Chin.) , Java indigo (Engl.) ,Tarum (Malaysia)

Habitat :   Payangit is widly distributed from subtropical Himalays of Nepal and India,through Thailand and Peninsular Malayasia,southwards to Indonesia (Sumatra and Java) and the Philippines: east and northwest  to southern China, Taiwan, and the Ryukyu island. It is very rarely caltivated in India,Burma,Thailand and Indonesia(Sumatra & Java).

Payañgit is a twining, half-woody plant with very slender, smooth branches. Leaves are opposite, ovate to broadly ovate or somewhat rounded, 9 to 16 cm long, 5 to 10 cm wide, with pointed tip and heart-shaped base. Flowers are small, fragrant, yellowish green, borne in alternating clusters at the axils of the leaves, and 4 to 7 cm long. The fruit or follicle is lanceolate and somewhat angular, 5 to 8 cm long, and densely covered with hairs. Seeds are compressed and provided with profuse, silky-white hairs.
You may click to see pictures

Botanical Details:

Herbs, shrubs , or rarely treelike, with milky or, less often, clear latex. Leaves simple , opposite or occasionally whorled , very rarely alternate, usually without obvious stipules, margin nearly always entire. Inflorescences terminal , axillary , or extra-axillary , cymose , often condensed and umbel-like, occasionally a racemelike bostrychium. Flowers bisexual , 5-merous, actinomorphic . Sepals joined at base only, often with 5 or more basal glands in the sinuses. Corolla sympetalous , reflexed to urceolate or salverform ; lobes valvate or overlapping in bud to right or left. Corona usually present, inserted on corolla, stamens, or both. Stamens 5, usually inserted at base of corolla tube and adhering to stigma head to form gynostegium; filaments usually connate to form a tube enclosing ovaries; anthers 4-celled (Periplocoideae and Secamonoideae) or 2-celled (Asclepiadoideae), often with a membranous apical appendage ; pollen tetrads contained loosely on a spatulate translator with a basal corpusculum (Periplocoideae), or pollen united into waxy pollinia, each attached through a caudicle (stalk ) to the retinaculum (gland ) between adjacent anthers to form a pollinarium , pollinia 2 (Asclepiadoideae) or 4 (Secamonoideae) per pollinarium. Ovaries 2, free , superior; ovules numerous . Styles connate; stigma head fleshy. Fruit of 1 or 2 follicles. Seeds numerous, strongly compressed , with a coma (a prominent basal tuft of silky hairs ) . Chromosome number x = (8-) 11 (or 12) .

Payañgit occurs naturally in  secondary and primary forests at low and medium altitudes, climbing on trees or over rocks. It is also found in thickrts and open ground, possibly as remnants of former cultivation.

*Stems yielded pregnane glycosides.
*Plant yields an indigo dye, for which it is sometimes grown.

Mrdicinal Uses:
Parts used :Leaves

Leaves sometimes used internally for stomach aches and vaguely diagnosed intestinal afflictions.
In the Sikkim Himalayas, leaf juice taken three times daily for stomachaches.

Other Uses:
*Dye: In Burma, green is produced by dipping threads that have been dyed yellow in a boiling decoction of the leaves and twigs of the creeping Marsdenia tinctoria

*Its dye, like true indigo, is regarded as a good black dye for the hair.


Pregnane Glycosides: Study yielded three new pregnane glycosides, tinctorosides A-C, together with one known pregnane glycoside, stephanoside B, from the stems of M tinctoria.

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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Botanical Name: Calotropis gigantea/Asclepias syrica or Asclepias Gigantea
Subfamily: Asclepiadoideae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales
Genus: Calotropis
Species: C. gigantea
Common Names: Milkweed, Rui (madar) In India it is called Akand,Gurakand,Akanda,Swe-Takand in English it is called Bowstring Hemp, Madar,Gigantic Swallowwort and Milkwed.

Habitat :Throughout india on plains on wastelands. A common shurb of wasteland and rode side. the leaves are thick, opposite, decussate in arrangement and coated with white powder. flowers are in umble and blue in colour.

It grows throughout most of the United States; this species is not found in the Western states, but similar milkweeds are available: found in old fields, roadsides, meadows, waste places and disturbed habitats.

Originnative to the United States and Canada

The common milkweed is thick-stemmed and upright.  It grows to be 3-5 feet tall.  Its leaves are elliptical, and opposite; they are velvety on their upper surface, and downy underneath.  They are 4-9 inches long and quite wide.

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The pinkish-purple flower buds look like loose broccoli; the flower itself is large and made up of individual florets gathered in an umbrella shaped globe that droops from the stem.  The stem is hairy.  The seed pods are the most recognizable feature of the common milkweed; they are green, elliptical shaped and about 1-4 inches in length with a pointed tip; inside, they contain myriad seeds with silky parachute-like attachments.  Another easily recognizable characteristic of the common milkweed is the profuse, milky white sap that flows from any broken part.

Common milkweed is a member of the Asclepiadaceae, or milkweed, family.  Its relatives include other milkweeds such as swamp milkweed, the butterfly weed, and showy milkweed.  The butterfly weed and Western states versions of milkweed are toxic.

In lore, legend and life: In World War II, children in the United States were encouraged to collect milkweed pods and turn them in to the government, where the fluffy silk was used to stuff lifevests and flying suits.  The silk was especially good because of its exceptional buoyancy and lightweight. Also in World War II, because of the shortage of natural rubber, scientists in the United States tried to turn common milkweed’s latex into a rubber like substitute.

Monarch butterflies are particularly attracted to the flowers of the common milkweed and other milkweed relatives.

In Hindu mythology, relatives of the common milkweed were considered to be the king of plants; it was believed that the creating god was under the influence of milkweed juice when he created the universe.
Click to see :->Scarlet Milkweed 

Active constituents:- beta carotene, vitamin C, latex, alkaloids, asclepiadin, volatile oils

Medicinal uses :-
Dry leaf powder used for treating wounds and boils. leaves found to be effective on elephantiasis.
flowers along with jaggery are useful against cough and improving appetite.
the mixture of latex, turmeric and sesame oil, useful in treating scabies.Leaves and flowers used for worshiping lord Hanuman. position : Very common.

Common milkweed has been used traditionally a tea prepared from its root as a diuretic for kidney stones, a laxative, and an expectorant.  It has been used to treat asthma and bronchitis and it induces sweating.  The sap has been used for chewing gum, which is considered very dangerous because of the presence of cardioactive compounds in the plant. The sap has also been used as a topical remedy for worts, ringworm and moles.  Some Native Americans used milkweed as a contraceptive. It was also a folk remedy for cancer. Today, milkweed has limited medicinal use; other milkweed species, such as the swamp milkweed, have more widespread use. Parts of the milkweed plant can be eaten, but the similarity of this plant to toxic look-alikes would serve as a caution against this practice. It is used by some as an emetic, a potion to sooth the nerves, and as a stomach tonic.  It is also believed to kill parasitic worms.

Click to see it’s different Ayurvedic medicinal uses :-.

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.


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