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Herbs & Plants

Allium atropurpureum

Botanical Name : Allium atropurpureum
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Subfamily: Allioideae
Genus: Allium
Species: A. atropurpureum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

Common NamesOrnamental Onion

Habitat : Allium atropurpureum is native to E. Asia – N. India.(Hungary, the Balkans, and Turkey.). It grows on the shaded humus rich soils along rocky cliffs, 1900 metres to 2200 metres in the Himalayas.

Description:
Allium atropurpureum is a bulb growing to 1 m (3ft 3in).It grows in clumps or bold drifts, for the most dramatic displays, and leave the seedheads standing throughout autumn and winter to add structural interest to the garden. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, insects.

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Allium atropurpureum is a fun drumstick allium, bearing a tightly packed ball of maroon-purple flowers on top of a tall, stout stem. It’s native to the Balkans, where it can be found growing in dry, open spaces.

Cultivation:
Allium atropurpureum prefers a sunny position in a light well-drained soil. Established plants are fairly drought tolerant[190]. Judging by its habit, this plant should also tolerate some shade. This species is only hardy in the milder areas of the country, it should tolerate temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c. The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply. Most members of this genus are intolerant of competition from other growing plants. Grows well with most plants, especially roses, carrots, beet and chamomile, but it inhibits the growth of legumes. This plant is a bad companion for alfalfa, each species negatively affecting the other. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle – if you want to produce clumps more quickly then put three plants in each pot. Grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter and plant them out into their permanent positions in spring once they are growing vigorously and are large enough. Division in spring. The plants divide successfully at any time in the growing season, pot up the divisions in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are growing well and then plant them out into their permanent positions.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves; Root.

Bulb – raw or cooked. The bulbs are 15 – 30mm wide. Leaves – raw or cooked. Flowers – raw. Used as a garnish on salads.
Medicinal Uses:
Although no specific mention of medicinal uses has been seen for this species, members of this genus are in general very healthy additions to the diet. They contain sulphur compounds (which give them their onion flavour) and when added to the diet on a regular basis they help reduce blood cholesterol levels, act as a tonic to the digestive system and also tonify the circulatory system.

Other Uses: It is widely grown as an ornamental for its rich, deep purple flowers. Allium atropurpureum makes an excellent cut flower. The juice of the plant is used as a moth repellent. The whole plant is said to repel insects and moles.

Known Hazards: Although no individual reports regarding this species have been seen, there have been cases of poisoning caused by the consumption, in large quantities and by some mammals, of certain members of this genus. Dogs seem to be particularly susceptible.

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.
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allium_atropurpureum#cite_note-mildred-1
http://www.gardenersworld.com/plants/allium-atropurpureum/214.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Allium+atropurpureum

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Valerianella olitoria

Botanical Name: Valerianella olitoria
Family: Caprifoliaceae
Genus: Valerianella
Species: V. locusta
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Dipsacales
Synonyms:   Lamb’s Lettuce. Valerian locusta (Linn.). White Pot Herb. Lactuca agnina.
(French) Loblollie. Mâche. Doucette. Salade de Chanoine. Salade de Prêtre.

Common names: Corn salad, Common cornsalad, Lamb’s lettuce,  Mâche, Fetticus,  Feldsalat, Nut lettuce,  Field salad, and Rapunzel. In restaurants that feature French cooking, it may be called doucette or raiponce
Habitat : Valerianella olitoria is native to Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to N. Africa and W. Asia. It is  now grows wild in parts of Europe, northern Africa and western Asia. In Europe and Asia it is a common weed in cultivated land and waste spaces. In North America it has escaped cultivation and become naturalized on both the eastern and western seaboards
Description:
Valerianella olitoria is a small, annual, bright-green plant, with succulent stems, 6 to 12 inches high, generally forking from the very base, or at least within the lowest quarter of their height. The first leaves, springing from the root, are 1 to 3 inches long, bluntly lance-shaped scarcely-stalked, generally decaying early. The stem leaves are quite stalkless, often stem-clasping. The flowers are minute and are greenish-white in appearance, arranged in close, rounded, terminal heads, surrounded by narrow bracts, the tiny corolla is pale lilac, but so small that the heads of flowers do not give the appearance of any colour…..CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation & propagation:   When cultivated in gardens, Valerianella olitoria may be sown in rows all through the autumn, winter and early spring, so as to produce a constant succession of crops. A small portion of garden earth sown with the seeds in August, will supply an excellent portion of the salad throughout the winter. The younger the leaves, the better they taste in salad.

Edible Uses: Young leaves  is eaten  raw as salad. A very mild flavour, with a delicate quality that makes them seem to melt in the mouth, they can be added in quantity to salads. The leaves can be available all year round from successional sowings and will only require protection in the colder winters. Flowers and flowering stems  are also  eaten raw.

Nutrition:
Valerianella olitoria  or corn salad has many nutrients, including three times as much vitamin C as lettuce, beta-carotene, B6, iron, and potassium. It is best if gathered before flowers appear

Medicinal Uses:
This herb was in request by country folk in former days as a spring medicine, and a homoeopathic medicinal tincture is made from the fresh root.

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
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valerianella_locusta
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/c/corsa104.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Valerianella+locusta

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News on Health & Science

Backs Chest Compressions in Resuscitation

 

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Concentrating on chest compressions rather than mouth-to-mouth when giving emergency resuscitation can produce better results, says research published in The Lancet.

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A study of 3,000 patients found that chest compressions alone increased chances of survival by more than 22%.

But training in how to give both chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth breaths is the best option, experts say.

The UK Resuscitation Council is due to produce new CPR guidelines next week.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a combination of chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth breaths, given in a life-threatening emergency like a cardiac arrest or heart attack.

The study, compiled by doctors from the Medical University of Vienna in Austria, looked at the survival rates of people treated by untrained members of the public taking instructions from the emergency services over the phone.

Dr Peter Nagele, from the department of anaesthesiology, critical care and pain therapy at the Medical University of Vienna, said that if untrained bystanders avoided mouth-to-mouth breaths during CPR, they were more likely to perform uninterrupted chest compressions.

That then increased the probability of CPR being successful.

Different techniques

The research in The Lancet involved two analyses.

The first used data from three randomised trials involving more than 3,000 patients.

It showed that chest-compression-only CPR was associated with a slightly improved chance of survival compared with standard CPR (14% v 12%).

In the second analysis of seven observational studies, researchers found no difference between the two CPR techniques.

The study authors maintain that continuous, uninterrupted chest compressions are vital for successful CPR.

Dr Jas Soar, chair of the Resuscitation Council from Southmead Hospital in Bristol, said: “Any CPR is better than no CPR. If you witness a cardiac arrest, dial 999 immediately. Those trained in CPR should follow existing guidance of 30 chest compressions followed by two rescue breaths.

“Those not trained should start compressions and follow instructions until an expert arrives,” Dr Soar said.

Dr Meng Aw-Yong, medical adviser at St John Ambulance, acknowledged that rescue breaths could be off-putting.

“The current advice is that if you’re unwilling or unable to do full CPR then chest compressions are better than nothing.

“The best solution, however, is for people to get trained in how to carry out chest compressions and rescue breaths so they can be the difference between a life lost and a life saved,” he said.

The British Heart Foundation says that being able to do CPR more than doubles the chances of survival.

Claire O’Neill, community resuscitation programme lead at the BHF, said: “For someone who is untrained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, doing both chest compressions and rescue breaths really can be difficult.

“We also know that uninterrupted chest compressions are very important for increasing the chance of survival. So being directed to focus solely on chest compressions could make people more willing to attempt resuscitation, which could ultimately save lives,” she said.

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Source : BBC News

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Categories
News on Health & Science

Vitamin D Cuts Down Mortality Rate

Want to live longer? Make sure that you expose yourself to sunlight in moderation daily, for a new study has revealed that vitamin D, which is produced in the body in course of the exposure, cuts down mortality rates.

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Previous studies have indicated that it might offer a variety of other health benefits, including protecting against cancer, peripheral artery disease and tuberculosis.

Now, a team at Graz University in Austria has found that the “sunshine vitamin” helps the body absorb calcium and facilitates growth of bones, which in turn do have a positive impact on death rates.

“This is the first association study that shows vitamin D affects mortality regardless of the (primary) reason for death,” the daily telegraph quoted lead researcher Harald Dobnig as saying.

Vitamin D is also found in milk and in fatty fish like salmon, but many people do not get enough of it. A lack of it can lead to rickets in children and osteoporosis in adults.

Sources: The Times Of India

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Fruits & Vegetables Herbs & Plants

Blackcurrant

Botanical Name: Ribes nigrum
Family: Grossulariaceae
Genus: Ribes
Species:R. nigrum
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:Saxifragales

Common Name: Blackcurrant

Other Names: European Black Currant, Quinsy Berries

Habitat : Black Currant is native to temperate parts of central and northern Europe and northern Asia where it prefers damp fertile soils and is widely cultivated both commercially and domestically. It is cultivated throughout Finland, and other places of the world. It also grows in the wild.

Description:   Blackcurrant is a medium sized shrub, growing to 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) by 1.5 metres (4.9 ft). The leaves are alternate, simple, 3 to 5 cm (1.2 to 2.0 in) broad and long with five palmate lobes and a serrated margin. All parts of the plant are strongly aromatic. The flowers are produced in racemes known as “strig”s up to 8 cm (3 in) long containing ten to twenty flowers, each about 8 mm (0.3 in) in diameter. Each flower has a hairy calyx with yellow glands, the five lobes of which are longer than the inconspicuous petals. There are five stamens surrounding the stigma and style and two fused carpels. The flowers open in succession from the base of the strig and are mostly insect pollinated, but some pollen is distributed by the wind. A pollen grain landing on a stigma will germinate and send a slender pollen tube down the style to the ovule. In warm weather this takes about 48 hours but in cold weather it may take a week, and by that time, the ovule may have passed the stage where it is receptive. If fewer than about 35 ovules are fertilised, the fruit may not be able to develop and will fall prematurely. Frost can damage both unopened and open flowers when the temperature falls below -1.9 °C (28.5 °F). The flowers at the base of the strig are more protected by the foliage and are less likely to be damaged.

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In midsummer the green fruit ripens to an edible berry up to 1 cm in diameter, very dark purple in colour, almost black, with a glossy skin and a persistent calyx at the apex, and containing several seeds dense in nutrients (notably Vitamin C). An established bush can produce about 4.5 kilograms (10 pounds) of fruit each year.


Cultivation and uses

The fruit have a high natural vitamin C content. Like the other true currants (not to be confused with the Zante currant, a type of grape which is often dried), it is classified in the genus Ribes.

In addition to the high levels of vitamin C, studies have also shown concentrated blackcurrant to be an effective Monoamine oxidase inhibitor (Bormann, et al. 1991.) Fifty grams of 5.5X concentrate was found to inhibit 92% of the Monoamine oxidase enzymes. Blackcurrant seed oil is a rich source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), a very rare essential fatty acid.

When not in fruit, the plant looks very similar to the redcurrant shrub; they may be distinguished by the strong odour of the leaves and stems of the blackcurrant.

In Russia, it is common to infuse slightly sweetened vodka with blackcurrant leaves, making a deep yellowish-green beverage with a sharp flavour and an astringent taste[citation needed]. Blackcurrant berries can also be used to flavour vodka. In the UK, blackcurrant juice is often mixed with Cider to make a drink called Cider Black. This drink can be ordered at most pubs. It is also believed that adding a small amount of blackcurrant to Guinness will bring out a sweeter taste in the beer, making it a better beverage in some beer-drinkers’ opinions.

Blackcurrants have a very sweet and sharp taste. They are made into jelly, jam, juice, ice cream, cordial and liqueur. In the UK, Europe and Commonwealth countries, some types of confectionery include a blackcurrant flavour, but this is generally missing in the United States, even within the same brand. Instead grape flavour in candy (including grape jelly) almost mirrors the use of blackcurrant in both its ubiquity in the USA, and its rarity on the eastern side of the Atlantic.

The juicy berry is dark, purple-black in colour and highly fragrant and aromatic. It tastes slightly sour, but much sweeter (and better) than red or white currant. In Finland, blackcurrants are mainly used to make jellies, jams and juices, or used in various desserts. They are also eaten fresh, with sugar. The fragrant leaves are used to flavour vegetable preserves, especially pickled or salted cucumbers. Blackcurrants are high in vitamins C and B and hot blackcurrant juice is an old trusted cold remedy.

It may be small, but the mighty blackcurrant is bursting with more health promoting antioxidants than most other fruit and vegetables, including blueberries!

It’s the special antioxidants called anthocyanins, which give blackcurrants their distinctive dark colour. British blackcurrants are grown and bred especially for their deep colour, which makes them extra good for you. The Blackcurrant Foundation has been established by British growers to raise awareness of the numerous health benefits of British blackcurrants.

On this site you will find everything you need to know about this small, but great British fruit!

Blackcurrants are one of the richest sources of vitamin C – weight for weight they contain four times as much as oranges. Blackcurrants are also a rich source of potassium but very little sodium which makes them beneficial in the treatment of high blood pressure and water retention. Their skins contain anthocyanosides an anti-bacterial pigment which is good for sore throats.

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History:
During World War II most fruits rich in vitamin C, such as oranges, became almost impossible to obtain in the United Kingdom. Since blackcurrant berries are a rich source of vitamin C and blackcurrant plants are suitable for growing in the UK climate, blackcurrant cultivation was encouraged by the British government. Soon, the yield of the nation’s crop increased significantly. From 1942 on almost the entire British blackcurrant crop was made into blackcurrant syrup (or cordial) and distributed to the nation’s children free, giving rise to the lasting popularity of blackcurrant flavourings in Britain.

Blackcurrants were once popular in the United States as well, but they became extremely rare in the 20th century after currant farming was banned in the early 1900s. The ban was enacted when it was discovered that blackcurrants helped to spread the tree disease White Pine Blister Rust, which was thought to threaten the then-booming U.S. lumber industry .

The federal ban on growing currants was shifted to individual States’ jurisdiction in 1966. The ban was lifted in New York State in 2003 as a result of the efforts of Greg Quinn and The Currant Company and currant growing is making a comeback in several states including Vermont, New York, Connecticut and Oregon.[2] However, several statewide bans still exist including Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Since the federal ban ceased currant production anywhere in the U.S., the fruit is not well-known and has yet to reach the popularity that it had in the U.S. in the 19th century or that it currently has in Europe and the UK. The first nationally available black currant beverage in the U.S. since the ban was lifted in many states is a powerful health-food nectar under the brand name CurrantC. Since black currants are a strong source of antioxidants and vitamins (much like pomegranate juice), awareness and popularity are once again growing in the U.S.

Cooking

Other than being juiced and used in jellies, syrups, and cordials, blackcurrants are used in cooking because their astringent nature brings out the flavour in many sauces and meat dishes and lends them to desserts. It was once thought that currants needed to be “topped and tailed” (the stalk and flower-remnants removed) before cooking. This however is not the case as these parts are easily assimilated during the cooking process. If one prefers to do this, however, the blackcurrants can be frozen, then shaken vigorously. The tops and tails are broken off and can be separated easily from the fruit.

Meditional Uses:

Blackcurrant fruits are a good source of minerals and vitamins, especially vitamin C. They have diuretic and diaphoretic actions, help to increase bodily resistance to infections and are a valuable remedy for treating colds and flu. The juice, especially when fresh or vacuum-sealed, helps to stem diarrhea and calms indigestion.

The leaves are cleansing, diaphoretic and diuretic. By encouraging the elimination of fluids they help to reduce blood volume and thereby lower blood pressure. An infusion is used in the treatment of dropsy, rheumatic pain and whooping cough, and can also be used externally on slow-healing cuts and abscesses. It can be used as a gargle for sore throats and mouth ulcers. The leaves are harvested during the growing season and can be used fresh or dried. French research has shown that blackcurrant leaves increase the secretion of cortisol by the adrenal glands, and thus stimulate the activity of the sympathetic nervous system. This action may prove useful in the treatment of stress-related conditions.

An infusion of the young roots is useful in the treatment of eruptive fevers. A decoction of the bark has been found of use in the treatment of calculus, dropsy and hemorrhoidal tumors. The seed is a source of gamma-linolenic acid, an unsaturated fatty acid which assists the production of hormone-like substances. This process is commonly blocked in the body, causing disorders that affect the uterine muscles, nervous system and metabolism. There are no records of the oil from this species being used medicinally, though it is used in cosmetic preparations.

In Europe the leaves have traditionally been used for arthritis, spasmodic cough, diarrhea, as a diuretic and for treating a sore throat. The berries were made into a drink thought to be beneficial for treatment of colds and flu, for other fevers, for diaphoresis and as a diuretic. In traditional Austrian medicine, Ribes nigrum fruits have been used internally (consumed whole or as a syrup) for treatment of infections and disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, the locomotor system, the respiratory tract and the cardiovascular system.

Blackcurrants prevent heart disease, cancer

Other uses:
The plant has various other uses. Blackcurrant seed oil is an ingredient in cosmetics and skin preparations, often in combination with vitamin E. The leaves can be extracted to yield a yellow dye and the fruit is a source for a blue or violet dye. The leaves have been used to assist in keeping vegetables fresh.

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

Resources:

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackcurrant

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