Herbs & Plants

Salix eleagnos

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Botanical Name : Salix eleagnos
Family: Salicaceae
Tribe: Saliceae
Genus: Salix
Species:Salix eleagnos
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malpighiales

Synonyms: Salix rosmarinifolia, Rosemary Willow

Common Names: Olive willow, Hoary willow, Rosemary willow

Habitat: Salix eleagnos is native to central and southern Europe and south west Asia.

Salix eleagnos is an erect bushy deciduous shrub with narrow grey-green leaves up to 20 cm (8 in) long, which turn yellow in autumn (fall). The plant is 3 m (10 ft) tall by 5 m (16 ft) broad.The green catkins, 3–6 cm (1–2 in) long, appear with the leaves in spring, male catkins having yellow anthers.

Like all willows, the species is dioecious. The specific epithet eleagnos is frequently spelt elaeagnos, though the original spelling has been accepted as a correct Greek form.

S. eleagnos subsp. angustifolia has gained the Royal Horticultural Society‘s Award of Garden Merit.


Botanical details:
*Growth form: the plant is a shrub (a woody plant with several stems growing from the base) the plant is a tree
*Leaf type: the leaf blade is simple (lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
*Leaves per node: there is one leaf per node along the stem
*Leaf blade edges: the edge of the leaf blade has no teeth or lobes / the edge of the leaf blade has teeth
*Leaf duration: the leaves drop off in winter (or they wither but persist on the plant)
*Armature on plant: the plant does not have spines, prickles, or thorns
*Leaf blade length: 5–160 mm
*Leaf blade width: 1–8 mm
*Leaf stalk: the leaves have leaf stalks
*Fruit type (general): the fruit is dry and splits open when ripe
*Bark texture: the bark of an adult plant is thin and smooth
*Twig winter color: brown,red,yellow
*Bud scale number: there is one scale on the winter bud, and it covers the scale like a cap
Medicinal Uses:
In Ancient Greece, the bark of the white willow (Salix alba) was chewed to relieve the pain of gout and to reduce fever. In the fifth century B.C., Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, prescribed ground willow bark to ease aches and pains. In the 1st century A.D. Dioscorides, a Greek physician in service to the Romans, wrote that the ingested bark and leaves of Salix alba reduce fever and relieve pain. For centuries, Europeans used tea made of the roots and leaves to lower fever and relieve aches. The Chickasaw Indians used tea made from the roots to relieve headache.
In 1830, German researchers isolated salicin from the bark of the white willow tree and from other plants. Their research determined that ingested salicin becomes salicylic acid in the stomach, and that salicylic acid is responsible for the desired effects as well as undesirable toxic side effects that include gastrointestinal bleeding. In 1875 a derivative, acetylsalicylic acid, was synthesized from salicylic acid. Acetylsalicylic acid was discovered to have the properties of and to have many fewer side effects than salicylic acid. In 1899 acetylsalicylic acid appeared in powder form for the first time; 1915 was the first time that it appeared in pill form. A part of the terms of the peace treaty with Germany following World War I was the surrender of the patent and of the trade mark ASPIRIN for acetylsalicylic acid. Since then acetylsalicylic acid (abbreviated as ASA) has been universally known as aspirin. Aspirin is one of the most important and one of the cheapest drugs in the medical armamentarium for the treatment of human diseases, for the relief of pain, and as a blood thinner in the prevention of heart attacks and strokes caused by disease in the blood vessel walls.
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

Salyx nigra

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Botanical Name: Salyx nigra
Family: Salicaceae
Genus: Salix
Species: S. nigra
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malpighiales

Synonym: Pussy Willow.

Common Name : Black willow

Habitat : Salyx nigra is native to eastern North America (New York and Pennsylvania), from New Brunswick and southern Ontario west to Minnesota, and south to northern Florida and Texas. It is typically found along streams and in swamps.

Salyx nigra is a medium-sized deciduous tree, the largest North American species of willow, growing to 10–30 m (33–98 ft) tall, exceptionally up to 45 m (148 ft), with a trunk 50–80 centimetres (20–31 in) diameter. (Largest example: According to the National Register of Big Trees, the largest black willow tree in the US is in Hennepin, Minnesota. Its height is 63 feet (19 m), circumference is 32 feet (9.8 m) and spread is 73 feet (22 m).The Marlboro Tree, located in Marlboro Township, New Jersey is certified by the State of New Jersey as the largest known example of this tree in the state. It is about 152 years old and measures 76 feet (23 m) in height and 19.7 feet (6.0 m) in circumference. Five grown people must hold hands to fully encircle the tree)


The bark is dark brown to blackish, becoming fissured in older trees, and frequently forking near the base. The shoots are slender and variable in color from green to brown, yellow or purplish; they are (like the related European Salix fragilis) brittle at the base, snapping evenly at the branch junction if bent sharply. The foliage buds are 2–4 millimetres (0.079–0.157 in) long, with a single, pointed reddish-brown bud scale. The leaves are alternate, long, thin, 5–15 centimetres (2.0–5.9 in) long and 0.5–2 centimetres (0.20–0.79 in) broad, usually somewhat falcate, dark, shiny green on both sides or with a lighter green underside, with a finely serrated margin, a short petiole and a pair of small stipules. It is dioecious, with small, greenish yellow to yellow flowers borne on catkins 2.5–7.5 centimetres (0.98–2.95 in) long in early spring at the same time as the new leaves appear. The fruit is a 5 millimetres (0.20 in) capsule which splits open when mature to release the numerous minute, down-covered seeds. The leaves turn a lemon yellow in the fall.

Salix gooddingii (Goodding’s willow) is sometimes included in S. nigra as a variety, as S. nigra var. vallicola Dudley; when included, this extends the species’ range to western North America. However, the two are usually treated as distinct species.

Another name occasionally used for black willow is “swamp willow”, not to be confused with Salix myrtilloides (swamp willow).
Succeeds in most soils, including wet, ill-drained or intermittently flooded soils, but prefers a damp, heavy soil in a sunny position. Rarely thrives on chalk. A fast-growing but relatively short-lived species, it can reach 15 metres tall within 10 years from seed in the wild. Twigs tend to break off easily in storms, these will then often root and grow into new trees. A good bee plant, providing an early source of nectar. Trees are impatient of root disturbance and should be moved regularly before being planted in their permanent positions, which is best done whilst the plants are young. The root system is rather aggressive and can cause problems with drains. Plants should not be grown within 10 metres of buildings. Closely related to Salix caroliniana, hybridising with that species where their ranges overlap. This species is also likely to hybridize freely with other members of this genus. Although the flowers are produced in catkins early in the year, they are pollinated by bees and other insects rather than by the wind. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus. Seedlings are very fast-growing, they can reach 1.2 metres tall in their first year. Plants are used commercially for papermaking. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required. Special Features:Attractive foliage, North American native, Grows submerged, Naturalizing, Wetlands plant, Attracts butterflies, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.
Seed – must be surface sown as soon as it is ripe in late spring. It has a very short viability, perhaps as little as a few days. Cuttings of mature wood of the current year’s growth, November to February in a sheltered outdoor bed or planted straight into their permanent position and given a good weed-suppressing mulch. Very easy. Plant into their permanent positions in the autumn. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, June to August in a frame. Very easy.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Inner bark; Leaves.
Edible Uses:

Inner bark – raw or cooked. It can be dried, ground into a powder and then added to cereal flour for use in making bread etc. A very bitter flavour, it is a famine food that is only used when all else fails. Young shoots – raw or cooked. They are not very palatable
Constituents: The bark contains tannin and about 1 per cent of Salinigrin, a white crystalline glucoside soluble in water and alcohol.

Medicinal Uses: An aphrodisiac sedative, tonic. The bark has been prescribed in gonorrhoea and to relieve ovarian pain; a liquid extract is prepared and used in mixture with other sedatives. Largely used in the treatment of nocturnal emissions.

Black willow roots are very bitter, and have been used as a substitute for quinine in the past. Ethnobotanical uses of black willow by various Native American tribes include basketry, and treatment of fever, headache, and coughs. The bark of the tree contains salicylic acid, a chemical compound similar to aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid).

Other Uses:
Basketry; Charcoal; Hair; Paper; Soil stabilization; Tannin; Wood.

The young stems are very flexible and are used in basket and furniture making. The twigs can be split in half lengthways, sun-dried and used as the foundation of coiled basketry. The plant is usually coppiced annually when grown for basket making, though it is possible to coppice it every two years if thick poles are required as uprights. A fibre obtained from the stems is used in making paper. The stems are harvested in spring or summer, the leaves are removed and the stems steamed until the fibres can be stripped. The fibres are cooked for 2 hours with lye and then beaten with mallets or put through a blender. The paper is red/brown in colour. The trees are often used in erosion control, their roots forming dense networks that stabilize stream banks. The bark is a good source of tannin. A decoction or infusion of the bark can be used as a hair wash to make the hair grow. Wood – not durable, light, soft and weak but does not splinter, warp or check. The wood is tough and fairly strong according to another report. It weighs 27lb per cubic foot. Used where strength is not important, for artificial limbs, barn floors etc. A good charcoal is also obtained from the wood
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 provi


News on Health & Science

Aspirin ‘Helps Protect Against Bowel Cancer’

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A daily aspirin tablet may help prevent bowel cancer, a study suggests.

Oxford University found it cut cases by a quarter and deaths by more than a third in a review of 14,000 patients.

Aspirins are already widely used to help protect people against strokes and heart problems, although many healthy middle-aged people do not take them because of the risk of side-effects.

But researchers said their findings – published by the Lancet – “tipped the balance” in favour of taking them.

They followed up four study groups over a period of 20 years to identify the impact of regular small doses of of the drug – the tablets given for medical reasons are often a quarter of a strength of those used to treat headaches.

They found it reduced the risk of the incidence of bowel cancer by 24% and of dying from the disease by 35%.

And even though regular aspirin use can have side-effects, the researchers said it was still worthwhile as on such low doses these tended to be relatively minor, such as bruising or nose bleeds.

One in 20 people in the UK develops bowel cancer over their lifetime, making it the third most common cancer. About 16,000 people die each year as a result of it.

The findings build on previous research on the issue, and come after the government announced earlier this month it was looking to start a new screening programme for bowel cancer for 55-year-olds.

Lead researcher Professor Peter Rothwell said the screening would provide the perfect opportunity for doctors to discuss with their patients about whether to take aspirin.
He said:-“To date, for healthy middle-aged people it has been a fine balance as to whether to take aspirins, but this tips it in my view.

“There is a small benefit for vascular disease and now we know a big benefit for this cancer. In the future, I am sure it will be shown that aspirin helps prevent other cancers too.”

‘Talk to GP

He added those with a high risk of bowel cancer, including the obese and those with a family history of the disease, should give aspirin treatment a particular consideration.

Mark Flannagan, chief executive of Beating Bowel Cancer, said they were “very positive” findings and giving aspirin alongside the new screening programme should be looked at.

But he added: “Anyone considering starting a course of medication should first consult their GP.”

You may click to see :Bowel cancer risk gene pinpointed

Source : BBC News

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Herbs & Plants

Meadowsweet (Spriea Ulmaria)

Botanical Name : Spriea Ulmaria
Family : ROSACEAE Rose Family
Genus: Filipendula

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Rosales
Species: F. ulmaria
Synonyme : Spirea ulmaria L.

Common Names : Meadowsweet , Queen of the Meadow,  Quaker Lady , Pride of the Meadow, Meadow-Wort, Meadow Queen, Lady of the Meadow, Dollof, Meadsweet and Bridewort.

Habitat :  It is found in the North Temperate and Arctic regions of Arctic Europe, Asia Minor, and North Asia,  grows in damp meadows.
The Meadow-sweet is found in all parts of Great Britain as far north as the Shetland Islands, up to 1200 ft. in Yorkshire. It is found in the West of Ireland.

Description :

Meadowsweet  is a perennial herb .The stems are 1–2 m (3-7 ft) tall, erect and furrowed, reddish to sometimes purple. The leaves  are dark green on the upper side and whitish and downy underneath, much divided, interruptedly pinnate, having a few large serrate leaflets and small intermediate ones. Terminal leaflets are large, 4–8 cm long and three to five-lobed.


Meadowsweet has delicate, graceful, creamy-white flowers clustered close together in handsome irregularly-branched cymes, having a very strong, sweet smell. They flower from June to early September.

Meadowsweet leaves are commonly galled by the bright orange rust fungus Triphragmium ulmariae which creates swellings and distortions on the stalk and / or midrib.

Meadowsweet is known in Irish as Airgead Luachra meaning Rush Silver. Perhaps it derives its name from its leaves which are a silvery green underneath and the fact that the herb grows in damp areas. Meadowsweet was considered a sacred herb in ancient Celtic rituals. Few of its medicinal uses were known in the past when it was used mainly for scouring milk churns in Co Mayo and strewing on floors. At the same time in parts of Ireland country people tended to be wary of the plant and some wouldn’t allow it into the home believing it induced sleep from which they could not awake. In Co Kerry a black dye was obtained and used from the roots.

Its medicinal properties have only been used in recent times, possibly since it was discovered that the plant contained salicylic acid, one of the main ingredients for Aspirin. The old name of the plant was Spirea (Ulmaria) from which Aspirin derives is name.

Properities & Constituents :

Active ingredients: compounds of salicylic acid, flavone-glycosides, essential oils and tannins.
Astringent* Diuretic* Tonic* Depurative* Febrifuge* . Meadowsweet contains chemicals called tannins. Since tannins have a drying effect on mucous membranes, meadowsweet is helpful in decreasing the congestion and mucus associated with a cold. Meadowsweet has also been used for heartburn, stomach ulcers, diarrhea, infections and to ease the pain of sore joints and muscles.

Medicinal Uses:

Common Uses: Colds * Congestion/Chest & Sinus * Diarrhea * Gout * Influenza * Lupus * Rheumatoid Arthritis *

Like Aspirin, Meadowsweet is used mainly to relieve pain. It is suitable as a diuretic, being useful for kidney and bladder complaints such as cystitis. Since it contains mucilage, it is ideal for problems concerning the stomach lining – gastritis, ulcers, hiatus hernia etc. It also reduces stomach acidity and is good for rheumatic conditions, as it rids the body of excess uric acid.

To prepare Meadowsweet add 1 pint of almost boiling water to 1 oz. of the flowers. Cover and leave to infuse for 10 minutes and take 3-4 cups per day between meals. This can be taken regularly for three weeks. Compresses soaked in the above infusion or poultices made from the flowers will relieve pain when applied directly to joints affected by rheumatism and neuralgia.

The whole herb possesses a pleasant taste and flavour, the green parts having a similar aromatic character to the flowers, leading to the use of the plant as a strewing herb, strewn on floors to give the rooms a pleasant aroma, and its use to flavour wine, beer and many vinegars. The flowers can be added to stewed fruit and jams, giving them a subtle almond flavor. It has many medicinal properties. The whole plant is a traditional remedy for an acidic stomach and the fresh root is often used in infinitesimal quantities in homeopathic preparations. It is effective on its own as a treatment for diarrhea. The flowers, when made into a tea, are a comfort to flu sufferers. Dried, the flowers make lovely pot pourri.

In 1897 Felix Hoffmann created a synthetically altered version of salicin, derived from the species, which caused less digestive upset than pure salicylic acid. The new drug, formally Acetylsalicylic acid, was named aspirin by Hoffman’s employer Bayer AG after the old botanical name for meadowsweet, Spiraea ulmaria. This gave rise to the hugely important class of drugs known as NonSteroidal AntiInflammatory Drugs, or NSAIDs.

This plant contains the chemicals used to make aspirin, a small section of root, when peeled and crushed smells like Germolene, and when chewed is a good natural remedy for relieving headaches. A natural black dye can be obtained from the roots by using a copper mordant.

About one in five people with asthma has Samter’s triad, in which aspirin induces asthma symptoms. Therefore, asthmatics should be aware of the possibility that meadowsweet, with its similar biochemistry, could theoretically also induce symptoms of asthma.


Should not be used by anyone who has asthma or is allergic to aspirin.
Can cause stomach upset or kidney damage if used too much or for too long

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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News on Health & Science

The Little Blood-Sucker Ticks Can Save Lives

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Thousands of people who have had, or are at risk of, a heart attack could be saved by a new drug made from a chemical produced by blood-sucking ticks.

………………………….click & see
The drug, called Variegin, contains a man-made version of an anti-clotting chemical found in ticks from Africa and Central America.

Once the tiny insects have latched on to their human or animal prey, they release the chemical to stop blood from clotting and allow them to feed for longer.

Now a team of scientists from Britain, Singapore and Slovakia have discovered it might also slash the risk of heart attacks by stopping blood clots from forming.
They have developed a drug containing a synthetic form of the blood-thinning chemical that is up to 70 times more powerful than the ‘natural’ form produced by the ticks.
Initial tests show it is not only highly effective as an anticlotting agent, but potentially longer-lasting and safer than some existing drugs.

Every year, around 270,000 people in Britain suffer a heart attack, and coronary disease remains Britain’s biggest killer. About a third of heart attack patients die before reaching hospital, often because they have delayed seeking help.
Heart attacks occur when a clot forms and shuts off the supply of blood to cardiac muscle. Clotting is the body’s natural reaction to injury, designed to stem blood loss. But clots that form when there has been no injury can wreak havoc throughout the body, not just on the heart.
If they reach the brain, they can cause a stroke, or if they restrict blood flow to the lungs, they can cause an often fatal condition called a pulmonary embolism.

Patients who have suffered a heart attack or stroke – or are at high risk of them – are often given anti-clotting drugs to prevent more clots forming.
These work by changing the chemical composition of blood in a way that switches off the clotting process. The best known is Warfarin, a drug that has been around for more than 50 years and was once commonly used as a rat killer.
But patients on Warfarin have to be monitored extremely closely to ensure it does not thin their blood so much that they run the risk of bleeding to death from even the slightest cut. Newer drugs, known as direct thrombin inhibitors, have come on to the market in recent years. Although they have a better safety record than Warfarin, they can also increase the danger of a life-threatening bleed.
Around one in 100 people given a direct thrombin inhibitor suffers bleeding severe enough to kill them – unless they have urgent medical attention such as a transfusion.
If a patient is bleeding heavily or needs surgery, it’s vital that doctors can quickly restore normal clotting. But a drawback of modern anticlotting drugs is that their effects are irreversible.
The researchers behind the tick-saliva medicine have found a way of switching the clotting process back on, by injecting a chemical called protamine sulphate.
Professor Patricia Nuttall, who spearheaded the British arm of the tick project-at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Wallingford, Oxfordshire, says: ‘The problem with direct thrombin inhibitors is once you have used them, you cannot switch them off.
‘Then you might get a patient who suffers excessive bleeding that you cannot control. But in our tests we used protamine sulphate, which stops the drug from binding to thrombin, the enzyme in the blood that makes it clot.’
Researchers hope to begin human clinical trials using the tick-saliva drug in the near future.
Professor Jeremy Pearson, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, says: ‘Scientists often take lessons from nature in the development of new medicines.
‘Our own researchers have worked with snake venom in the past to reveal clues about blood clotting. We look forward to seeing the results of clinical tests with Variegin.’

Source: Mail Online.Sept.8,2009

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