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Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Pfaffia paniculata

Botanical Name : Pfaffia paniculata
Family: Amaranthaceae
Genus: Hebanthe
Species:H. eriantha
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:Caryophyllales

Common Names:  Suma or Pfaffia paniculata,  Brazilian ginseng

Habitat : Pfaffia paniculata is native to the rain forests of the Amazon and other tropical regions of Latin America, including Brazil, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela.

Description:
Suma is a large, rambling, shrubby ground vine with an intricate, deep, and extensive root system……CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES:

Constituents: (amino acids, electrolytes, trace minerals, pfaffic acid, germanium, sitosterol, stigmasterol, beta-ecdysone, saponins)

Suma root contains 19 different amino acids, a large number of electrolytes, trace minerals, iron, magnesium, zinc, vitamins A, B1, B2, E, K, and pantothenic acid. Its high germanium content probably accounts for its properties as an oxygenator at the cellular level; its high iron content may account for its traditional use for anemia. The root also contains novel phytochemicals including saponins (pfaffosides), pfaffic acid, beta-ecdysterone, glycosides, and nortriterpenes.

Medicinal Uses:
It increases energy, strengthens the immune system, fortified hormones (especially estrogen), reduces tumors and cancers, regulates blood sugar. It is considered a near panacea in Brazil, which it is called  Brazilian ginseng.  In herbal medicine in Ecuador today, Suma is considered a tonic for the cardiovascular system, the central nervous system, the reproductive system, and the digestive system and is used to treat hormonal disorders, sexual dysfunction and sterility, arteriosclerosis, diabetes, circulatory and digestive disorders, rheumatism, and bronchitis. In European herbal medicine Suma is used as to restore nerve and glandular functions, to balance the endocrine system, to strengthen the immune system, for infertility, menopausal and menstrual symptoms, to minimize the side-effect of birth control medications, for high cholesterol, to neutralize toxins and as a general restorative tonic after illness. In North and South American herbal medicine Suma root is used as an adaptogenic and regenerative tonic regulating many systems of the body, as an immunostimulant, and is used to treat exhaustion resulting from Epstein-Barr disease and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, hypoglycemia, impotency, arthritis, anemia, diabetes, cancer, tumors, mononucleosis, high blood pressure, PMS, menopause and hormonal disorders and many types of stress. Suma has also been called “The Russian Secret” because it is taken by Russian Olympic athletes to increase muscle-building and endurance without the side effects associated with steroids. This action is attributed to the anabolic agent, beta-ecdysterone as well as three novel ecdysteroid glycosides which are found in high amounts in Suma. Suma is such a rich source of beta-ecdysterone, that it is the subject of a Japanese patent for the extraction methods employed to obtain it from this root. Two other plant hormones found in Suma, sitosterol and stigmasterol, are believed to encourage estrogen production and may account for it’s use for menopausal symptoms.

Although suma is claimed as an ancient Brazilian folk remedy, no confirmation of that statement is found in the modern literature on medicinal plants. Advocates have claimed suma is an immune enhancer, an adaptogen (helps combat stress), and that it possesses anticancer activities. Test tube studies do indicate possible anti-tumor activity of suma constituents called pfaffosides. Suma has been marketed as Brazilian ginseng, though it is not an adaptogen (a substance that invigorates or strengthens the system) and is not related to Asian ginseng or American ginseng. In light of the lack of known traditional use, and of modern research confirming health benefits, use of suma is not recommended for any condition at this time.

The root of this rambling ground vine found in South America is used traditionally as a medicine and tonic. Nicknamed “para tudo” which means “for all,” suma is a traditional herbal medicine.

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/Hebanthe_eriantha
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_RST.htm
http://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hn-2170000
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail508.php

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Categories
Herbs & Plants

Fagopyrum esculentum

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Botanical Name ; Fagopyrum esculentum
Family: Polygonaceae
Genus: Fagopyrum
Species: F. esculentum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Synonyms : Fagopyrum sagittatum. Fagopyrum vulgare.

Common Name:Buckwheat

Habitat : Fagopyrum esculentum is native to Central Asia.  It occurs  occasional casual in Britain. It grows in waste ground as an escape from cultivation. Its original habitat is obscure.

Description:
Fagopyrum esculentum is an annual plant, growing to 1.5 m (5ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in) at a fast rate.
It is frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Bees, flies.It is noted for attracting wildlife.

CLICK &  SEE  THE  PICTURES

It is a plant cultivated for its grain-like seeds, and also used as a cover crop. To distinguish it from a related species, Fagopyrum tataricum that is also cultivated as a grain in the Himalayas, and from the less commonly cultivated Fagopyrum acutatum, it is also known as Japanese buckwheat and silverhull buckwheat.

Despite the name, buckwheat is not related to wheat, as it is not a grass. Instead, buckwheat is related to sorrel, knotweed, and rhubarb. Because its seeds are eaten and rich in complex carbohydrates, it is referred to as a pseudocereal. The cultivation of buckwheat grain declined sharply in the 20th century with the adoption of nitrogen fertilizer that increased the productivity of other staples.

Cultivation:
A very easily grown plant, it prefers dry sandy soils but succeeds in most conditions including poor, heavy  or acid soils and even sub-soils. Prefers a cool moist climate, but it also succeeds in dry and arid regions. Buckwheat is frequently cultivated for its edible seed and leaves, it can produce a seed crop in 100 days from sowing and a crop of leaves in 8 weeks. There are some named varieties. The seed ripens irregularly over a period of several weeks so it is difficult to harvest. Plants have poor frost resistance but they are disease and insect resistant. They inhibit the growth of winter wheat. The flowers have a pleasant sweet honey scent and are extremely attractive to bees and hoverflies.

Propagation:
Seed – sow from the middle of spring to early summer in situ. The seed usually germinates in 5 days. The earlier sowings are for a seed or leaf crop whilst the later sowings are used mainly for leaf crops or green manure.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Leaves;   Seed.

Leaves – raw or cooked like spinach. Not that wonderful raw, they improve somewhat with cooking. The leaves are rich in rutin (see below for more details) and so are a very healthy addition to the diet. Seed – raw or cooked. A nutty flavour, though it has a somewhat gritty texture. The seed can be soaked overnight in warm water then sprouted for a few days and added to salads. It can also be ground into a powder and used as a cereal when it can be made into pancakes, noodles, breads etc or be used as a thickening agent in soups etc. Rich in vitamin B6. An excellent beer can be brewed from the grain.

Medicinal Uses:

Acrid; Astringent; Galactogogue; Vasodilator.

Buckwheat is a bitter but pleasant tasting herb that is frequently used medicinally because the leaves are a good source of rutin. Rutin is useful in the treatment of a wide range of circulatory problems, it dilates the blood vessels, reduces capillary permeability and lowers blood pressure. The leaves and shoots of flowering plants are acrid, astringent and vasodilator. It is used internally in the treatment of high blood pressure, gout, varicose veins, chilblains, radiation damage etc. It is best used in conjunction with vitamin C since this aids absorption. Often combined with lime flowers (Tilia species), it is a specific treatment for haemorrhage into the retina. The leaves and flowering stems are harvested as the plant begins to flower and are dried for later use. They should be stored in the dark because the active ingredients rapidly degrade in the light. Some caution should be exercised in the use of this herb because it has been known to cause light-sensitive dermatitis. An infusion of the herb has been used in the treatment of erysipelas (an acute infectious skin disease). A homeopathic remedy has been made from the leaves. It is used in the treatment of eczema and liver disorders.

Buckwheat is used to treat a wide range of circulatory problems. It is best taken as a tea or tablet, accompanied by vitamin C or lemon juice to aid absorption. Buckwheat is used particularly to treat fragile capillaries, but also helps strengthen varicose veins and heal chilblains. Often combined with linden flowers, buckwheat is a specific treatment for hemorrhage into the retina. The leaves and shoots of flowering plants are acrid, astringent and vasodilator. It is used internally in the treatment of high blood pressure, gout, varicose veins, chilblains, radiation damage etc. A poultice made from the seeds has been used for restoring the flow of milk in nursing mothers. An infusion of the herb has been used in the treatment of erysipelas (an acute infectious skin disease).

Other Uses:
Dye; Green manure; Soil reclamation…………..A very good green manure plant, it can be used to reclaim badly degraded soils and subsoils.  A blue dye is obtained from the stems. A brown dye is obtained from the flowers.

Known Hazards : This plant has caused photosensitivity in some people, only the dehusked grain is considered to be safe.

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/Buckwheat
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Fagopyrum+esculentum