Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Asarum caudatum

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Botanical Name : Asarum caudatum
Family: Aristolochiaceae
Genus: Asarum
Species: A. caudatum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Piperales

Synonyms: Asarum hookeri Fielding & Gardner, Asarum rotundifolium Raf.

Common Names: British Columbia wild ginger, western wild ginger, or long-tailed wild ginger.

Habitat :Asarum caudatum is native to Western N. America – British Columbia to California. It grows on deep shade in moist pine woods and redwood forests. Understory of conifer forests, usually in mesic or wet places from sea level to 1200 metres and occasionally to 2200 metres.

Asarum caudatum is an evergreen Perennial growing to 0.1 m (0ft 4in) by 0.3 m (1ft) at a fast rate. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Jul to August. The flowers are distinct, hirsute (hairy), cup-shaped, and brown-purple to green-yellow which terminate in three, long, gracefully curved lobes, often concealed by leaves. The long rhizomes give rise to persistent reniform (kidney/heart shaped) leaves. Leaves are found in colonies or clusters as the rhizome spreads, forming mats. The leaves emit a ginger aroma when rubbed.

The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Flies.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) or semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist soil.

Prefers a rich moist neutral to acid soil in woodland or a shady position in the rock garden. Plants are hardy to at least -15°c. The flowers are malodorous and are pollinated by flies. Plants often self-sow when growing in a suitable position. Special Features:Attractive foliage, North American native, Fragrant foliage, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.

Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe in the summer. Stored seed will require 3 weeks cold stratification and should be sown in late winter. The seed usually germinates in the spring in 1 – 4 or more weeks at 18°c. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out when large enough in late spring. Division in spring or autumn. Plants are slow to increase. It is best to pot the divisions up and keep them in light shade in the greenhouse until they are growing away strongly.
Edible Uses: Condiment; Tea.
The root can be used as a ginger substitute. The root has a pungent, aromatic smell like mild pepper and ginger mixed, but more strongly aromatic. It can be harvested all year round, but is best in the autumn. It can also be dried for later use. Leaves are a tea substitute.

Medicinal Uses:
The root is laxative, stomachic and tonic. A tea made from the root is used in the treatment of colds, colic, indigestion and stomach pains. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. The whole plant is analgesic, antirheumatic, appetizer and tonic. A decoction is used externally to treat headaches, intestinal pain and knee pains. A poultice made from the heated leaves is applied to boils, skin infections and toothaches, whilst a decoction of the leaves is used as a wash on sores.

Other Uses :
A useful ground-cover plant for deep shade, spreading by its roots.Landscape Uses:Ground cover, Woodland garden.

Known Hazards : Although no reports of toxicity have been found for this plant, at least 3 other members of this genus have reports that the leaves are toxic. Some caution is therefore advised in the use of this plant.

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 (Spices)

Arum dioscoridis

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Botanical Name : Arum dioscoridis
Family: Araceae
Genus: Arum
Species: A. dioscoridis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Alismatales

Synonyms : A. hygrophyllum. Boiss.

Habitat :Arum dioscoridis is native to forests in the east of the Mediterranean in southern Turkey, Cyprus, and the Middle East.It grows in hedges and rocky places, often on calcareous soils.
Arum dioscoridis is a perennial plant growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in). It is not frost tender. In winter appear green, arrow-shaped leaves. In spring, the short-stalked inflorescence appears consisting of a black, rod-shaped spadix surrounded by a yellow-green, purple-mottled brown or even purple bract (spathe). The female flowers are located at the bottom of the spadix; above are the male flowers; and the top is a sterile area (appendix). The spadix emits a pungent smell that attracts flies as pollinators.


It is in leaf 7-Oct It is in flower in May. 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 Flies.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.
Prefers a humus rich soil and abundant water in the growing season. Grows well in woodland conditions. Succeeds in sun or shade. This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the country, it tolerates temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c. Because it comes into growth in the late autumn it is best grown by a warm wall or in a bulb frame A polymorphic species. The inflorescence is pollinated by flies and it smells of dung and carrion in order to attract the flies. It also has the remarkable ability to heat itself above the ambient air temperature to such a degree that it is quite noticeable to the touch. This probably protects the flowers from damage by frost, or allows it to penetrate frozen ground. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Seed – best sown in a greenhouse or cold frame as soon as it is ripe. The seed usually germinates in 1 – 6 months at 15°c. Stored seed should be sown in the spring in a greenhouse and can be slow to germinate, sometimes taking a year or more. A period of cold stratification might help to speed up the process. Sow the seed thinly, and allow the seedlings to grow on without disturbance for their first year, giving occasional liquid feeds to ensure that they do not become mineral deficient. When the plants are dormant in the autumn, divide up the small corms, planting 2 – 3 in each pot, and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for a further year, planting out when dormant in the autumn. Division of the corms in summer after flowering. Larger corms can be planted out direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up the smaller corms and grow them on for a year in a cold frame before planting them out.

Edible Uses :
Edible Parts: Root…..Tuber – cooked and used as a vegetable. It must be thoroughly dried or cooked before being eaten, see the notes above on toxicity.
Medicinal Uses : Abortifacient….The root is abortifacient.
Other Uses:
The plant can be grown as an ornamental plant in rock gardens Mediterranean regions. In the Benelux, the plant can be grown indoors as a pot plant. The plant can be propagated by seeding.

Known Hazards: The plant contains calcium oxylate crystals. These cause an extremely unpleasant sensation similar to needles being stuck into the mouth and tongue if they are eaten, but they are easily neutralized by thoroughly drying or cooking the plant or by steeping it in water.

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 (Spices)

Picea abies

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Botanical Name: Picea abies
Family: Pinaceae
Genus: Picea
Species: P. abies
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales

Synonyms: P. excelsa, Abies picea, Pinus abies

Common Names: Norway spruce

Habitat :Picea abies is native to Northern, Central and Eastern Europe. It is suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist or wet soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.
Picea abies is a large, fast-growing evergreen coniferous tree growing 35–55 m (115–180 ft) tall and with a trunk diameter of 1 to 1.5 m. It can grow fast when young, up to 1 m (3 ft) per year for the first 25 years under good conditions, but becomes slower once over 20 m (66 ft) tall.[4] The shoots are orange-brown and glabrous (hairless). The leaves are needle-like, 12–24 mm long, quadrangular in cross-section (not flattened), and dark green on all four sides with inconspicuous stomatal lines. The cones are 9–17 cm long (the longest of any spruce), and have bluntly to sharply triangular-pointed scale tips. They are green or reddish, maturing brown 5–7 months after pollination. The seeds are black, 4–5 mm long, with a pale brown 15 mm wing.


The tallest measured Norway spruce, 62,26 m (204 ft) tall, grows near Ribnica na Pohorju, Slovenia
It is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from May to June, and the seeds ripen from Oct to November. Bloom Color is Pink and the form is like pyramid. 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 Wind.It is noted for attracting wildlife. It cannot tolerate atmospheric pollution.

Landscape Uses:Firewood, Screen, Specimen. Likes abundant moisture at the roots, if grown in drier areas it must be given a deep moist soil.Succeeds in most soils including those that are wet cold and shallow, but it is not very wind-firm in shallow soils. Intolerant of chalky or poor acid soils. Tolerates poor peaty soils. Prefers a pH between 4 to 6. Dislikes shade[200] according to one report whilst another says that it is moderately shade tolerant. Intolerant of atmospheric pollution. Resists wind exposure to some degree and is tolerant of saline winds. A very cold-hardy tree when fully dormant, though the young shoots are subject to injury by late frosts, though less so than P. sitchensis. A fast growing tree, it is widely planted in cool temperate zones for its wood. Young trees often grow 1 metre or more a year and can sustain an average of 60cm for at least the first 60 years though growth tails off as they grow older. Probably not that long-lived in Britain, about 200 years seems the absolute maximum. In some upland areas, especially over granitic or other base-poor soils, growth rate and health have been seriously affected by aluminium poisoning induced by ‘acid rain’ pollution. There are many named varieties, almost all of them dwarf forms. A food plant for many caterpillars. A very aggressive tree, it is hostile to other trees. Susceptible to attacks by bark beetles so it should be kept away from more valuable trees. A biological control is being introduced (1983). This species is susceptible to honey fungus. Trees should be planted into their permanent positions when they are quite small, between 30 and 90cm. Larger trees will check badly and hardly put on any growth for several years. This also badly affects root development and wind resistance. Plants are strongly outbreeding, self-fertilized seed usually grows poorly. They hybridize freely with other members of this genus. The seed is shed in spring, the cones release their seed whilst they are still on the tree. The bruised leaves emit a delicious musky smell. Special Features: Not North American native, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.

Seed – stratification will probably improve germination so sow fresh seed in the autumn in a cold frame if possible. Sow stored seed as early in the year as possible in a cold frame. A position in light shade is probably best. Seed should not be allowed to dry out and should be stored in a cool place. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter. They can be planted out into their permanent positions in early summer of the following year, or be placed in an outdoor nursery bed for a year or so to increase in size. They might need protection from spring frosts. Cuttings of semi-ripe terminal shoots, 5 – 8cm long, August in a frame. Protect from frost. Forms roots in the spring. Cuttings of mature terminal shoots, 5 – 10cm long, September/October in a cold frame. Takes 12 months. Cuttings of soft to semi-ripe wood, early summer in a frame. Slow but sure.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Flowers; Inner bark; Seed.

Young male catkins – raw or cooked. Used as a flavouring. Immature female cones – cooked. The central portion, when roasted, is sweet and syrupy. Inner bark – dried, ground into a powder and used as a thickener in soups etc or added to cereals when making bread. An emergency food, used when all else fails. Seed – raw. Rich in oil and with a pleasant slightly resinous flavour, but too small and fiddly to be worthwhile unless you are desperate. A refreshing tea, rich in vitamin C, can be made from the young shoot tips. These tips are also used in making spruce beer
Medicinal Uses:
The buds, leaves and resin are antibiotic, antiseptic, balsamic, expectorant, sedative. A pitch, or resin, obtained from the trunk is rubefacient and stimulant. It is used externally in plasters etc for its healing and antiseptic properties. A poultice of the sap or gum has been used in the treatment of boil and abscess pain.

Other Uses:
The tree is a source of pitch (Burgundy pitch) and turpentine (Jura turpentine). Burgundy pitch is used as a varnish and in medicinal plasters. It is a strong adhesive. The turpentine is a waterproofer and wood preservative. They are obtained by incisions in the trunk, the resin is scraped out some months later. An essential oil from the leaves is used in perfumery. The seed contains 30% of a fatty oil, this is used in the production of a varnish. The bark contains some tannin. Both the bark and bark extract have been widely used in Europe as a source of tannin, the bark containing up to 13% tannin. Yields of tannin have been doubled by heating or steaming the bark as soon as possible after the tree has been felled. A fairly wind resistant tree and fast growing, it can be planted in shelterbelts to provide protection from the wind. The dwarf cultivar ‘Inversa’ can be grown as a ground cover plant in a sunny position. The cultivars ‘Reflexa’ and ‘Procumbens’ can also be used. They are best spaced about 1 metre apart each way. Wood – medium hard, fairly elastic, durable under water, light in weight and colour. Used for general carpentry, joinery, musical instruments etc. Valued for its use in the pulp industry to make paper.

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

Gossypium herbaceum

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Botanical Name : Gossypium herbaceum
Family: Malvaceae
Genus: Gossypium
Species: G. herbaceum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malvales

Common Name:  Levant cotton
Habitat: Gossypium herbaceum is native to Asia Minor, and cultivated in U.S.A. and Egypt, India, Mediterranean.

Gossypium herbaceum is a biennial or triennial plant with branching stems 2 to 6 feet high, palmate hairy leaves, lobes lanceolate and acute flowers with yellow petals, and a purple spot in centre, leaves of involucre serrate, capsule when ripe splits open and shows a loose white tuft surrounding the seeds and adhering firmly to outer coating; it requires warm weather to ripen its seeds, which they do not do north of Virginia.
Their flowers are small and yellow with a purple center. When ripe and in warm weather, the flower capsule will burst and expose the cotton surrounding the seeds firmly. The cotton produced by this plant is short, about 2 inches (5.1 cm) long and is firmly attached to the seed, which is covered in hairy down. An acre of cotton can be expected to produce about 300 pounds (140 kg)……..CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

The flowering time ends in September, and a month or so earlier the tops are cut off in order to ripen and send the sap back to the capsules. The pods are about the size of a walnut, and are collected by hand as they ripen;the cotton is also separated by hand and packed in bales. In the Levant the seeds are often used as food. An acre may be expected to produce 240 to 300 lb. of cotton.

The herbaceous part of the plant contains much mucilage and has been utilized as a demulcent. Cotton seeds have been used in the Southern States for intermittent fever with great success. The root and stem-bark deteriorates with age, so only newly harvested material should be used. The root-bark of commerce consists of thin flexible bands of quilled pieces covered with a browny yellow periderm, odour not strong, taste slightly acid.

Part Used in medicines: Bark of root and of other cultivated species.
Constituents: A peculiar acid resin, odourless and insoluble in water, absorbing oxygen when exposed, then changes to a red colour. The bark also contains sugar, gum, tannin, fixed oil, chlorophyll.

Medicinal Uses:
Orally administered ethyl ether and ethanol extracts of Gossypium herbaceum significantly decreased the blood glucose level. Gossypium herbaceum is not only lowered TC, TG, LDL, VLDL levels but also increased level of cardioprotective lipid HDL Therefore, Gossypium herbaceum has potential role to prevent formation of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. The study demonstrated that both above given extracts of Gossypium herbaceum could be useful in management of diabetes associated with abnormalities in lipid profiles.

Mainly used as an abortifacient in place of ergot, being not so powerful but safer; it was used largely in this way by the slaves in the south. It not only increases the contractions of the uterus in labour, but also is useful in the treatment of metrorrhagia, specially when dependent on fibroids; useful also as an ecbolic; of value in sexual lassitude. A preparation of cotton seed increases milk of nursing mothers.

Click to see  :  Homeopathic remedies    
Other Uses:
Cotton is usually used as a textile while making clothing and can be made into yarns and sheets of fabric. In the Levant seeds are often used for food. It is utilized so often because of its comfortable, breathable properties. It has been cultivated for women’s menstrual cycle pains and irregular bleeding, and it also has been used after birth to expel placenta afterbirth and to increase lactation. Cotton has been used for gastrointestinal issues also, such as hemorrhages, nausea, and diarrhea, as well as fevers and headaches, especially in the southern United States. Levant cotton seed extract, gossypol, also has a potential use as a male contraceptive but can cause infertility after discontinuing. In lab rat studies, it has been able to stop pregnancies early.
The crushed seeds give a fixed, semi-drying oil used in making soap, etc.
Click & see : Gossypium Herbaceum (Cotton) Seed Oil 


Herbs & Plants

Alnus serrulata

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Botanical Name : Alnus serrulata
Family:    Betulaceae
Genus:    Alnus
Species:A. serrulata
Order:   Fagales

Synonyms: Alnus rubra (obsolete). Smooth Alder. Red Alder.

Common Names: Hazel alder, Oregon Alder

Habitat: Alnus serrulata  is native to eastern North America and can be found found from western Nova Scotia and southern New Brunswick south to Florida and Texas. It grows on moist rich soils in woods, usually below 600 metres and within 50 km of the coast.

Alnus serrulata is a large shrub or small tree that may grow up to 2.5-4 m (8-12 ft) high and 15 cm (6 in) in diameter. The scientific name originates from alnus which is an old name for alder; serrulata points to the finely-toothed leaf margins which it possesses. It takes about 10 yrs to mature. The plant prefers moist soil near streams, pond margins, and riversides. It usually has multiple stems from its base and reddish-green flowers. The broad, flat, dark green leaves are about 2 to 4 inches long.


Leaf: The simple, round leaves are obovate, 2 to 5 in long, 1.2 to 2.8 in wide, obtuse, wider at middle, and V-shaped base. Veins are pinnate and conspicuous. Leaves have a smooth texture above and hairy texture below. The upper side of the leaves are dark green and the undersides are pale green.

Flower: The flowers are monoecious, meaning that both sexes are found on a single plant. Male (Staminate) catkins are 1.6-2.4 in long; female (Pistillate) catkins are 1/2 in long. Reddish-green flowers open in March to April.

Fruit: The ovate, dark brown, cone-like fruit is hard with winged scales. Seeds are produced in small cones and do not have wings. Fruit usually matures during fall and is quite persistent.

Twig: The twigs are reddish-brown and have a 3-angled-pith; young twigs are covered with hairs.

Bark: The bark is brownish gray, smooth, and has a bitter and astringent taste.

Alnus serrulata can be found in a habitats such as stream streambanks, riversides, and swamps. Water use is high and it requires sun or part-sun. It also requires moist soil that has a PH of 6.8-7.2. Alnus serrulata needs 5-10 foot spacing in wildlife habitat.

Medicinal Uses:  Alterative, tonic, astringent, emetic. A decoction or extract is useful in scrofula, secondary syphilis and several forms of cutaneous disease. The inner bark of the root is emetic, and a decoction of the cones is said to be astringent, and useful in haematuria and other haemorrhages.

When diarrhoea, indigestion and dyspepsia are caused by debility of the stomach, it will be found helpful, and also in intermittent fevers.

It is said that an excellent ophthalmic powder can be made as follows: bore a hole from 1/2 to 1 inch in diameter, lengthwise, through a stout piece of limb of Tag Alder. Fill the opening with finely-powdered salt, and close it at each end. Put into hot ashes, and allow it to remain until the Tag is almost charred (three to four days), then split it open, take out the salt, powder, and keep it in a vial. To use it, blow some of the powder upon the eye, through a quill.

It is also used to treat astringent, diuretic, emetic, ophthalmic, and purgative symptoms. A tea made from the bark is said to work as a treatment for diarrhea, coughs, toothaches, sore mouth, and the pain of birth.

Other Uses:
Because the plant resides in riversides or stream streambanks, it usually functions as a stabilizer and restorer for those habitats.

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