Herbs & Plants

Cynodon dactylon (Bengali Durba ghas)

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Botanical Name: : Cynodon dactylon
Genus: Cynodon
Species: C. dactylon
Kingdom: Planta
Order: Poales

Common Names  Dorva  grass, Dhoob, Bermuda grass, Dubo, Dog’s tooth grass, Bahama grass, Devil’s grass, Couch grass, Indian doab, Arugampul, Grama, and Scutch grass.

Other Names: In Hindi it is known as dhub, doob, or harialil; other common names include durba (Bengali), garikoihallu (Kanarese), durva (Marathi), durva or haritali (Sanskrit), arugampullu (Tamil), garikagoddi (Telugu) and dhubkhabbal (Punjabi) (Sastry and Kavathekar, 1990). Although a problem for farmers.

Habitat : Cynodon dactylon  is  native to Bermuda, it is an abundant invasive species there. It is presumed to have arrived in North America from Bermuda, resulting in its common name.

Cynodon dactylon Pers. (Poaceae), a hardy perennial grass, is one of the most commonly occurring weeds in India.The blades are a grey-green colour and are short, usually 2–15 cm (0.79–5.91 in) long with rough edges.  The erect stems can grow 1–30 cm (0.39–11.81 in) tall. The stems are slightly flattened, often tinged purple in colour….CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

The seed heads are produced in a cluster of two to six spikes together at the top of the stem, each spike 2–5 cm (0.79–1.97 in) long.

It has a deep root system; in drought situations with penetrable soil, the root system can grow to over 2 metres (6.6 ft) deep, though most of the root mass is less than 60 centimetres (24 in) under the surface. The grass creeps along the ground and roots wherever a node touches the ground, forming a dense mat. C. dactylon reproduces through seeds, runners, and rhizomes. Growth begins at temperatures above 15 °C (59 °F) with optimum growth between 24 and 37 °C (75 and 99 °F); in winter, the grass becomes dormant and turns brown. Growth is promoted by full sun and retarded by full shade, e.g., close to tree trunks.

*Tifgreen (Most drought resistant)

Cynodon dactylon is widely cultivated in warm climates all over the world between about 30° S and 30° N latitude, and that get between 625 and 1,750 mm (24.6 and 68.9 in) of rainfall a year (or less, if irrigation is available). It is also found in the U.S., mostly in the southern half of the country and in warm climates.

It is fast-growing and tough, making it popular and useful for sports fields, as when damaged it will recover quickly. It is a highly desirable turf grass in warm temperate climates, particularly for those regions where its heat and drought tolerance enable it to survive where few other grasses do. This combination makes it a frequent choice for golf courses in the southern and southeastern U.S. It has a relatively coarse-bladed form with numerous cultivars selected for different turf requirements. It is also highly aggressive, crowding out most other grasses and invading other habitats, and has become a hard-to-eradicate weed in some areas (it can be controlled somewhat with Triclopyr, Mesotrione, Fluazifop-p-butyl, and Glyphosate).  This weedy nature leads some gardeners to give it the name of “devil grass”.

Medicinal Uses:
Cynodon dactylon  or durba ghas is a valuable herbal medicinal and used as first aid for minor injuries. Farmers traditionally apply crushed leaves to minor wounds as a styptik to stop bleeding similar to Tridax procumbens, Achyranthes aspera, and Blumea iacera, Oudhia, and Pal, 2000). Cynodon has a renown position in Indian systems of medicine and many parts of the plants are assumed to have medicinal properties. A traditional use of Cynodon is for eye disorders and weak vision; the afflicted are advised to walk bare foot on dew drops spread over Cynodon plant each morning. According to Ayurveda, India’s traditional pharmacopoeia, Cynodon plant is pungent, bitter, fragrant, heating, appetizer, vulnerary, anthelmintic, antipyretic, alexiteric. It destroys foulness of breath, useful in leucoderma, bronchitis, piles, asthma, tumors, and enlargement of the spleen. According to Unani system of medicine, Cynodon plant is bitter, sharp hot taste, good odor, laxative, brain and heart tonic, aphrodisiac, alexipharmic, emetic, emmenagogue, expectorant, carminative and useful against grippe in children, and for pains, inflammations, and toothache. Virus-affected discolored leaves of Cynodon are used for the treatment of liver complaints.. In Homoeopathic systems of medicine, it is used to treat all types of bleeding and skin troubles.

Other Uses:
Cynodon dactylon  is sometimes grown as a cover for warm sunny banks and are sometimes used for lawns. They stay green even in hot and dry weather. It give complete ground cover in 4-8 weeks when planted 30-45 cm apart. They succeed on most soil types and requires very little mowing on poor soils. Valuable for soil conservation due to its long runners that root at the nodes. Grasses  are used to produce biomass. Annual productivity ranges from 4 to 52 tonnes per hectare.

This grass is used  by Hindus in their puzas, marages and several other social celebrations.


A Bridge to a Relaxation

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Whenever you feel tightness in your chest, shoulders and back, practice this variation of a backbend, or bridge pose. It will help release tension in your mid- and upper back as well as stretch and strengthen your hips and legs.


Step-1. Lie back on a mat with your heels resting on a sturdy chair. Extend your arms alongside your body, palms flat on the floor. Make sure your feet are hip-distance apart and your knees are parallel to each other.

Step-2. On an inhale, press firmly on your feet as you raise your hips toward the ceiling. Interlace your fingers and rotate your upper arms outward so your shoulders can roll under. Keep your arms and hands on the floor while imagining your shoulder blades are moving up and through your chest. This will help open and release tight spots in your upper and middle back and chest area. Hold this position and focus on slow, deep breathing. To come down, release your hands and slowly lower your hips to the floor.

Source : Los Angeles Times

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Exercise Healthy Tips

Keep Fit in 30 Minutes or Less

The biceps curl is sometimes performed on the ...
Image via Wikipedia

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Between parties and shopping, time is short these days. But that doesn’t mean your exercise routine has to be second-rate. A 20- to 30-minute workout done at a high intensity can increase the heart rate and tone muscles equally as well as a longer workout done at a lower intensity.

“Who made the rule that a workout has to be an hour?” asks Amy Dixon, group fitness manager at Equinox in Santa Monica. “If people can wrap their heads around the fact that it’s OK to do a shorter workout, especially if you do it right, that’s all you need.”

The key, these trainers say, is to keep moving. Taking breaks between exercises — even short ones — will lower the heart rate and not provide as much calorie burn. While some of these routines require equipment such as cardio machines or light weights, you can easily make your substitutions. Run at a nearby track, park or playground and use stairs and bars for exercises such as pull-ups. Use soup cans for weights. And scale back or increase the level of intensity according to your fitness level. No need to be a superhero — or a slug — just because it’s the holidays.

Angela Stovall
(Master trainer at 24 Hour Fitness in Chino)

We’d start with five minutes of cardio, and that could be on a machine such as an elliptical trainer, a stair climber or a treadmill. If you’re exercising first thing and using this as a warm-up, do it at a low intensity. If you’re already warmed up, choose a moderate to vigorous intensity that gets your heart rate up.

Then do walking lunges for five minutes. This uses all the leg muscles, is a great fat burner and gets your heart rate up. You’re also using your core. If you’re a beginner, do stationary lunges, holding onto a chair if necessary. After doing 10, alternate between those and 10 ab crunches. Do three sets of each.

Get on the treadmill for five minutes at 3.5 miles per hour (or a moderately fast pace — not a slow walk). At the same time, do biceps curls and shoulder presses with light weights (3 to 5 pounds), or no weights. When you do this while you’re moving, you get a better calorie burn and you’re toning the muscles. You should always concentrate on your form. For beginners, only do this if you’re comfortable on the treadmill, and slow the speed if necessary.

Next, go to a mat and do push-ups — straight-legged if you’re advanced, or on your knees if you’re not. Do 10 to 20 depending on how conditioned you are. Alternate those with triceps bench dips on a chair, also doing 10 to 20. Do three sets of each.

Then it’s on to the StepMill (a stair climber with rotating steps) for five minutes. You can push it here a little bit because you’re warmed up, but beginners who have never done this before can stay at Level 1. If that machine isn’t available, you can use another form of stair climber, or just go up and down some stairs.

After that, do 25 standing squats with no weight, then 50 side bends. For the side bends, stand with feet hip-width apart and bend your torso from side to side, trying to reach below your knees. This is for the obliques. This also brings down the heart rate a little bit.

Amy Dixon
(Exercise physiologist and group fitness manager at Equinox, Santa Monica)

With only 20 to 30 minutes, I would do a treadmill workout that’s interval-based, alternating bouts of resting and pushing. You’re going to burn the most calories, get your heart rate up and spike your metabolism.

For beginners, walk on the treadmill at a comfortable but challenging pace, and up your intensity with the incline. When you’re pushing, it won’t feel easy. If you’re starting to feel uncomfortable, you’re in the upper end of your endurance zone, so stay there and get to know what it feels like. You shouldn’t feel like you have to step off the treadmill to catch your breath. When you come down to a slower pace, you’ll feel a little spike in your heart rate, but then you should be able to ride it out.

If you’re more advanced and want to run, keep your speed between 5 to 7 miles per hour and start at a 3% incline before increasing to about an 8% incline. If you’re in better condition, you should be breathless on the push.

For all fitness levels, try alternating between two minutes of the easy phase and a minute of the difficult phase. Do this workout a maximum of three times a week if you’re fit. For beginning exercisers or those who haven’t done intervals before, do it twice a week. If you don’t have a treadmill and can go outside, do hills for the hard part of the intervals, or push the pace. This can also be done on an elliptical trainer or stationary bike.

Sharon Phillips
(Personal trainer at Crunch, Los Angeles)
I like to do short workouts, circuit-training style, moving at a relatively quick pace to keep the heart rate up, and incorporating plyometrics. Each of these sets should take about a minute, and the entire circuit should be done three times. By the third set you’ll be pretty fatigued. You still want to push yourself, but also pace yourself.

For warm-ups, do sprints with push-ups. Run about the length of half a basketball court, then drop and do 10 push-ups, sprint to the other end and do 10 more push-ups. Or, run in place for 30 seconds, keeping knees high, and drop into push-ups.

Then do squats into a shoulder press using dumbbells that are a comfortable weight, or just your body weight. With feet shoulder-width apart, go into a squat position holding the dumbbells, come up and do a biceps curl with both arms, and then go into a shoulder press. Bring the weights back down and go back into a squat. For another version, go into a squat, jump into the air, come back down into a squat position again, put your hands on the ground and kick your feet out behind you, then bring them back in.

Walking lunges with a twist are next. If you have a medicine ball or other weighted object, hold it out in front of you, arms straight and at shoulder height. Twist toward the leading leg so you get a contraction in your obliques. You can also do this with no weights, but still holding your arms up. If there’s no room to do walking lunges, do them in place and alternate legs, doing the twist.

Then do a round of leapfrogs, which is a plyometric exercise. Start in a squat position, lean forward and jump, landing softly so you don’t injure your knees. If there’s no open space, just do jump squats in place, and again be careful with your knees. Your arms can be used for momentum, so swing them as you jump.

Pull-ups are next, and you’ll need a bar, which you can find at a gym or a park. Sometimes gyms have assisted pull-up machines, which make this a little easier. This exercise really engages the core.

Now do full-body crunches with a Body Bar (a long, weighted bar), a ball or with no weight. Lie on the floor with arms and legs extended and bring the elbows and knees together. Extend them out again, keeping them about an inch off the floor.

Sources: Los Angeles Times

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