Categories
Herbs & Plants

Gymnadenia conopsea

Botanical Name: Gymnadenia conopsea
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Orchidoideae
Genus: Gymnadenia
Species: G. conopsea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

Synonyms : Orchis conopsea. L. Habenaria conopsea. non Rchb.f.

Common Name : Fragrant Orchid

Habitat: Gymnadenia conopsea is native to Europe, including Britain, to north and west Asia. This species habitat includes mountain meadows and pastures, grassland and fens. They grow on siliceous and calcareous substrate, mildly damp and with low nutritional value, at an altitude of 0–2,400 metres (0–7,874 ft) above sea level.

Description:
Gymnadenia conopsea is a is a herbaceous plant It grows to an avarage height of 20–60 centimetres (7.9–23.6 in), with a maximum of 80 centimetres (31 in). These plants are bulbous geophytes, as they bring their buds in underground tubers or bulbs, organs that annually produce new stems, leaves and flowers. Furthermore these orchids are “terrestrial”, because unlike “epiphyte” species do not live at the expense of other plants of major sizes.

The stem is leafy and robust, with a striated surface. The leaves are long, narrow and lanceolate and vary from 3 to 7. The leaf color is gray-green. Size of leaf: width 1 to 2 cm, length 10 – 25 cm.

These orchids have two ovoidal bulbs, deeply webbed and with many small and short lobes. Size of tubers: 1 to 3.5 cm.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

The inflorescence is 5–25 centimetres (2.0–9.8 in) long and it is composed of flowers gathered in dense cylindrical spikes (up to 50 flowers per spike). These inflorescences are scented and genes underlying eugenol (a volatile scent compound) production have been identified in Gymnadenia conopsea, Gymnadenia odoratissima and Gymnadenia densiflora The flowers are petiolated, placed in the axils of long bracts and reach on average 8–14 centimetres (3.1–5.5 in). They have a distinctive three lobed lip and long spurs. Their light scent is similar to cloves. Their colors vary from white and pink to pink-purple, more rarely white. These flowers bloom in the Summer, from June to July. They are hermaphrodite and pollinated by insects (entomophily), including moths. The species is almost exclusively pollinated by moths (Lepidoptera). The most common pollinators are the small elephant hawk-moth (Deilephila porcellus), hummingbird hawk-moth (Macroglossum stellatarum), silver Y (Autographa gamma), burnished brass (Diachrysia chrysitis) and large yellow underwing (Noctua pronuba). Fruit set is high with an average of 73%. The seeds germination is conditioned by the presence of specific fungi.
Cultivation:
Very easily grown in any good moist soil. Requires a deep rich soil. Orchids are, in general, shallow-rooting plants of well-drained low-fertility soils. Their symbiotic relationship with a fungus in the soil allows them to obtain sufficient nutrients and be able to compete successfully with other plants. They are very sensitive to the addition of fertilizers or fungicides since these can harm the symbiotic fungus and thus kill the orchid. A polymorphic species, it also hybridizes readily with other members of the genus. The flowers have a delicious perfume which is more pronounced at night in order to attract Night Hawk-moths for pollination. The sub-species G. conopsea densiflora has larger, more strongly scented flowers. This species is a colonizer of disturbed ground and bare soils, new colonies can spring up many kilometres from the plants nearest known locality. They have been known to colonize sites such as waste heaps of clinker at power stations. Plants are very impatient of root disturbance.
Propagation:
Seed – surface sow, preferably as soon as it is ripe, in the greenhouse and do not allow the compost to dry out. The seed of this species is extremely simple, it has a minute embryo surrounded by a single layer of protective cells. It contains very little food reserves and depends upon a symbiotic relationship with a species of soil-dwelling fungus. The fungal hyphae invade the seed and enter the cells of the embryo. The orchid soon begins to digest the fungal tissue and this acts as a food supply for the plant until it is able to obtain nutrients from decaying material in the soil. It is best to use some of the soil that is growing around established plants in order to introduce the fungus, or to sow the seed around a plant of the same species and allow the seedlings to grow on until they are large enough to move. Division in autumn. The plant is very intolerant of root disturbance, any moving or dividing should be attempted in the autumn, keep a large ball of soil around the plant. Division of the tubers as the flowers fade. This species produces a new tuber towards the end of its growing season. If this is removed from the plant as its flowers are fading, the shock to the plant can stimulate new tubers to be formed. The tuber should be treated as being dormant, whilst the remaining plant should be encouraged to continue in growth in order to give it time to produce new tubers. Division can also be carried out when the plant has a fully developed rosette of leaves but before it comes into flower. The entire new growth is removed from the old tuber from which it has arisen and is potted up, the cut being made towards the bottom of the stem but leaving one or two roots still attached to the old tuber. This can often be done without digging up the plant. The old tuber should develop one or two new growths, whilst the new rosette should continue in growth and flower normally
Edible Uses :
Edible Parts:…..The Root.

Bulb – cooked. Very nutritious. It is a source of ‘salep’, a fine white to yellowish-white powder that is obtained by drying the tuber and grinding it into a flour. Salep is a starch-like substance with a sweetish taste and a faint somewhat unpleasant smell . It is said to be very nutritious and is made into a drink or can be added to cereals and used in making bread etc. One ounce of salep is said to be enough to sustain a person for a day.
Medicinal Uses:

Demulcent; Nutritive.

Salep  is very nutritive and demulcent. It has been used as a diet of special value for children and convalescents, being boiled with water, flavoured and prepared in the same way as arrowroot. Rich in mucilage, it forms a soothing and demulcent jelly that is used in the treatment of irritations of the gastro-intestinal canal. One part of salep to fifty parts of water is sufficient to make a jelly. The tuber, from which salep is prepared, should be harvested as the plant dies down after flowering and setting seed

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/Gymnadenia_conopsea
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Gymnadenia+conopsea

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Anacyclus pyrethrum

[amazon_link asins=’B01MDV93RR,B06ZZDW9YB,B01MU8OCT1,B0012MBC9S,B00N99XWFE,B01HLPWNWE,B003S1WN62,B013BWRSRG,B01NATY92Y’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’finmeacur-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’9bae003d-8b91-11e7-8196-d3161c278897′]

Botanical Name: Anacyclus pyrethrum
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Anthemideae
Genus: Anacyclus
Species: A. pyrethrum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms: Anthemis Pyrethrum. Pyrethrum officinarum. Pyrethrum. Pyrethri Radix. Roman Pellitory. Pellitory of Spain. Spanish Chamomile. Pyrethre. Matricaria Pyrethrum.

Common Names: Pellitory, Akarkara, Spanish chamomile, or Mount Atlas daisy, Chamomile Spanish.

Habitat: Anacyclus pyrethrum is found in North Africa, elsewhere in the Mediterranean region, in the Himalayas, in North India, and in Arabian countries.

Description:
Anacyclus pyrethrum is a perennial plant, in habit and appearance like the chamomile, has stems that lie on the ground for part of their length, before rising erect. Each bears one large flower, the disk being yellow and the rays white, tinged with purple beneath. The leaves are smooth, alternate, and pinnate, with deeply-cut segments….CLICK & SEE  THE PICTURES

The root is almost cylindrical, very slightly twisted and tapering and often crowned with a tuft of grey hairs. Externally it is brown and wrinkled, with bright black spots. The fracture is short, and the transverse section, magnified, presents a beautiful radiate structure and many oleoresin glands. The taste is pungent and odour slight.

Cultivation-: Planting may be done in autumn, but the best time is about the end of April. Any ordinary good soil is suitable, but better results are obtained when it is well-drained, and of a stiff loamy character, enriched with good manure. Propagation is done in three ways, by seed, by division of roots and by cuttings. If grown by seed, sow in February or March, thin out to 2 to 3 inches between the plants, and plant out early in June to permanent quarters, allowing a foot or more between the plants and 2 feet between the rows, selecting, if possible, a showery day for the operation. The seedlings will quickly establish themselves. Weeding should be done by hand, the plants when first put out being small, might be injured by hoeing. To propagate by division, lift the plants in March, or whenever the roots are in an active condition, and with a sharp spade, divide them into three or five fairly large pieces. Cuttings should be made from the young shoots that start from the base of the plant, and should be taken with a heel of the old plant attached, which will greatly assist their rooting. They may be inserted at any time from October to May. The foliage should be shortened to about 3 inches, when the cuttings will be ready for insertion in a bed of light, sandy soil. Plant very firmly, surface the bed with sand, and water in well. Shade is necessary while the cuttings are rooting.

Part Used in medicine : The Root.
Constituents: Analysis has shown a brown, resinous, acrid substance, insoluble in potassium hydroxide and probably containing pelletonin, two oils soluble in potassium hydroxide – one dark brown and acrid, the other yellow – tannin, gum, potassium sulphate and carbonate, potassium chloride, calcium phosphate and carbonate, silica, alumina, lignin, etc.

An alkaloid, Pyrethrine, yielding pyrethric acid, is stated to be the active principle.

Medicinal Uses:
Anacyclus pyrethrum root is widely used because of its pungent efficacy in relieving toothache and in promoting a free flow of saliva. The British Pharmacopoeia directs that it be used as a masticatory, and in the form of lozenges for its reflex action on the salivary glands in dryness of the mouth and throat. The tincture made from the dried root may be applied to relieve the aching of a decayed tooth, applied on cotton wool, or rubbed on the gums, and for this purpose may with advantage be mixed with camphorated chloroform. It forms an addition to many dentifrices.

A gargle of Anacyclus pyrethrum infusion is prescribed for relaxed uvula and for partial paralysis of the tongue and lips. To make a gargle, two or three teaspoonsful of Anacyclus pyrethrum should be mixed with a pint of cold water and sweetened with honey if desired. Patients seeking relief from rheumatic or neuralgic affections of the head and face, or for palsy of the tongue, have been advised to chew the Anacyclus pyrethrum root daily for several months.

Being a rubefacient and local irritant, when sliced and applied to the skin, it induces heat, tingling and redness.

The powdered Anacyclus pyrethrum root forms a good snuff to cure chronic catarrh of the head and nostrils and to clear the brain, by exciting a free flow of nasal mucous and tears.

Culpepper tells us that Anacyclus pyrethrum ‘is one of the best purges of the brain that grows’ and is not only ‘good for ague and the falling sickness’ (epilepsy) but is ‘an excellent approved remedy in lethargy.’ After stating that ‘the powder of the herb or root snuffed up the nostrils procureth sneezing and easeth the headache,’ he goes on to say that ‘being made into an ointment with hog’s lard it taketh away black and blue spots occasioned by blows or falls, and helpeth both the gout and sciatica,’ uses which are now obsolete.

In the thirteenth century we read in old records that Pellitory of Spain was ‘a proved remedy for the toothache’ with the Welsh physicians. It was familiar to the Arabian writers on medicine and is still a favourite remedy in the East, having long been an article of export from Algeria and Spain by way of Egypt to India.

It treats fluid retention, stones and gravel, dropsy and other urinary complaints.  In European herbal medicine, it is regarded as having a restorative action on the kidneys, supporting and strengthening their function.  It has been prescribed for nephritis, pyelitis (inflammation of the kidney,  kidney stones, renal colic (pain caused by kidney stones), cystitis, and edema (fluid retention).  It is also occasionally taken as a laxative.  It combines well with parsley or wild carrot seed or root.  It counteracts mucus and is useful for chronic coughs. The leaves may be applied as poultices.

In the East Indies the infusion is used as a cordial.

More recently Anacyclus pyrethrum has been noted for its anabolic activity in mice and suggests to give a testosterone-like effect, and also significantly increasing testosterone in the animal model.

The variety depressus (sometimes considered a separate species, Anacyclus depressus), called mat daisy or Mount Atlas daisy, is grown as a spring-blooming, low-water ornamental.

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:
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/p/pellit19.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anacyclus_pyrethrum
https://www.ayurtimes.com/anacyclus-pyrethrum-akarkara-benefits-uses-side-effects/

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_OPQ.htm

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Lactuca serriola

[amazon_link asins=’B07538PZM1,B01M16JDG9,B0752DDQDY,B07589YW4F,B07514TYQM,B0751BCMNX,B074WJNDKS,B07519RSZ4,B074WGL911′ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’finmeacur-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’0f3a5167-9cf5-11e7-8bd3-8f33a50106ad’]

Botanical Name: Lactuca serriola
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cichorieae
Genus: Lactuca
Species: L. serriola
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Common Name: Common Name: Prickly Lettuce. milk thistle (not to be confused with Silybum marianum, also called milk thistle) compass plant, and scarole.

Habitat :Lactuca serriola is native to Europe, Asia, and north Africa, and has become naturalized elsewhere. It grows in waste places, walls, occasionally on more or less stable dunes.

Description:
Lactuca serriola is an annual or binnial plant. It has a spineless reddish stem, containing a milky latex, growing from 30 to 200 cm. The leaves get progressively smaller as they reach its top. They are oblong lanceolate, often pinnate and (especially for the lower leaves), waxy grey green. Fine spines are present along the veins and leaf edges. The undersides have whitish veins. They emit latex when cut. The flower heads are 11 to 13mm wide, are pale yellow, often tinged purple. The bracts are also often tinged purple. It flowers from July until September. The achenes are grey, tipped with bristles. The pappus is white with equal length hairs….CLICK  &  SEE  THE  PICTURES

Cultivation: Prefers a light sandy loam in a sunny position. The wild lettuce is cultivated for the oil in its seed in Egypt. A compass plant, the top leaves align north-south.

Propagation:..…Seed – sow spring in situ and only just cover the seed. Germination is usually fairly quick.

Edible Uses: Young leaves are eaten raw as salad or cooked. A bitter flavour. The young tender leaves are mild and make an excellent salad, but the whole plant becomes bitter as it gets older, especially when coming into flower. As a potherb it needs very little cooking. Large quantities can cause digestive upsets. Young shoots – cooked. Used as an asparagus substitute. An edible oil is obtained from the seed. The oil must be refined before it is edible. A pleasant flavour.

Medicinal Uses:
Anodyne; Antipyretic; Diuretic; Homeopathy; Hypnotic; Narcotic; Sedative.
The whole plant is rich in a milky sap that flows freely from any wounds. This hardens and dries when in contact with the air. The sap contains ‘lactucarium’, which is used in medicine for its anodyne, antispasmodic, digestive, diuretic, hypnotic, narcotic and sedative properties. Lactucarium has the effects of a feeble opium, but without its tendency to cause digestive upsets, nor is it addictive. It is taken internally in the treatment of insomnia, anxiety, neuroses, hyperactivity in children, dry coughs, whooping cough, rheumatic pain etc. Concentrations of lactucarium are low in young plants and most concentrated when the plant comes into flower It is collected commercially by cutting the heads of the plants and scraping the juice into china vessels several times a day until the plant is exhausted. This species does not contain as much lactucarium as L. virosa. An infusion of the fresh or dried flowering plant can also be used. Lettuce, White: (Nabalus albus): The Chippewa doctor considered this a  milk root and used the root as a remedy for female complaints, possibly as a douche in leucorrhea, to help arrest the discomforting white discharge of the vagina. At the same time a tea of the leaves was taken as a diuretic to flush the poisons from the urinary organs. To the Indians, the oozing bitter juice also corresponded to the pus of a sore, for which purpose he applied a poultice of the leaves to the bites of snakes and insects. In time, the herb became better known for its content of the astringent tannic acid and was used not only in dysentery but as an everyday vulnerary, to heal cancerous and canker sores. The powdered root is sprinkled on food to stimulate milk flow after childbirth. A tea made from the roots is used as a wash for weakness. A latex in the stems is diuretic it is used in female diseases. It is also taken internally in the treatment of snakebite. . Used in diarrhea and relaxed and debilitated conditions of the bowels.

Other Uses: The seed contains 35.2% of a semi-drying oil. It is used in soap making, paints, varnishes etc.

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/Lactuca_serriola
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Lactuca+serriola

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Succisa pratensis

[amazon_link asins=’B01N8RLYND,1536967637,B008C6H9ZI,B008VJ9F6W’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’finmeacur-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’f7e66876-061d-11e7-9c55-c3c664de1e76′]

Botanical Name : Succisa pratensis
Family: Caprifoliaceae
Genus: Succisa
Species: S. pratensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Dipsacales

Synonyms: Ofbit. Premorse Scabious,  Scabiosa succisa.

Common Names: Devil’s-bit or Devil’s-bit Scabious

Habitat : Succisa pratensis is distributed throughout the British Isles, western and central Europe, extending eastwards into central Asia. It is absent from eastern Asia and North America. It grows in wet or dry grassland and heath on acid or basic soils.It grows in meadows, pastures, marshes, fens and damp woods on slightly acid or calcareous
Description:
Succisa pratensis is a perennial herb up to 1m tall, growing from a basal rosette of simple or distantly-toothed, lanceolate leaves. Its unlobed leaves distinguish it from Field scabious,. The plant may be distinguished from Greater Knapweed by having its leaves in opposite pairs, not alternate as in knapweed. The bluish to violet (occasionally pink) flowers are borne in tight compound flower heads or capitula. Individual flowers are tetramerous, with a four-lobed epicalyx and calyx and a four-lobed corolla. Male and female flowers are produced on different flower heads (gynodioecious), the female flower heads being smaller. The flowering period is from June until October….CLICK & SEE THE  PICTURES

The florets composing the head are all very much the same size, the outer ones being scarcely larger than the inner. The stamens of each floret, as in the other species of Scabious are a very conspicuous feature, the anthers being large and borne upon filaments or threads that are almost as long again as the corolla. The root is, when fully grown, nearly the thickness of a finger, and ends in so abrupt a way as almost to suggest that it had been bitten off, a peculiarity that has given it a place in legends. In the first year of the plant’s existence the root is like a diminutive carrot or radish in shape; it then becomes woody and dies away, the upper part excepted; as it decays and falls away, the gnawed or broken look results. The portion left throws out numerous lateral roots, which compensate for the portion that has perished. The plant derives its common name from this peculiarity in the form of the root.

‘The greater part of the root seemeth to be bitten away; old fantastick charmers report that the divel did bite it for envie, because it is an herbe that hath so many good vertues and it is so beneficial to mankinde.

Cultivation:
Succeeds in ordinary garden soil, preferring damp conditions, in sun or semi-shade. Prefers a moist peaty soil. Hardy to about -20°c. Grows well in the summer meadow, it is an excellent bee and butterfly plant and a food plant for the caterpillars of many butterfly species.

Propagation:
Seed – sow April in a cold frame. Germination is usually rapid, but the seedlings are prone to damp off so make sure they are well ventilated[1]. Prick them out into individual pots once they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. Division in spring. Plant them straight out into their permanent positions.

Edible Uses: Young shoots is eaten raw. The tender young shoots are sometimes added to spring salads

Part Used in medicine: The whole Herb.

Medicinal Uses:
Anthelmintic; Demulcent; Depurative; Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Emmenagogue; Expectorant; Febrifuge; Stomachic.

The herb is anthelmintic, demulcent, depurative, slightly diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, mildly expectorant, febrifuge and stomachic. It makes a useful tea for the treatment of coughs, fevers and internal inflammations and is also a popular application externally to eczema and other cutaneous eruptions. A tincture of the plant is a gentle but reliable treatment for bruises, aiding quick re-absorption of the blood pigment. The whole herb is collected in early autumn and dried for later use. Good results have been achieved by using a distilled water from the plant as an eye lotion to treat conjunctivitis

The whole herb being collected in September and dried.

It makes a useful tea for coughs, fevers and internal inflammation. The remedy is generally given in combination with others, the infusion being given in wineglassful doses at frequent intervals. It purifies the blood, taken inwardly, and used as a wash externally is a good remedy for cutaneous eruptions. The juice made into an ointment is effectual for the same purpose. The warm decoction has also been used as a wash to free the head from scurf, sores and dandruff.

Culpepper assigned it many uses, saying that the root boiled in wine and drunk was very powerful against the plague and all pestilential diseases, and fevers and poison and bites of venomous creatures, and that ‘it helpeth also all that are inwardly bruised or outwardly by falls or blows, dissolving the clotted blood,’ the herb or root bruised and outwardly applied, taking away black and blue marks on the skin. He considered ‘the decoction of the herb very effectual as a gargle for swollen throat and tonsils, and that the root powdered and taken in drink expels worms.’ The juice or distilled water of the herb was deemed a good remedy for green wounds or old sores, cleansing the body inwardly and freeing the skin from sores, scurf, pimples, freckles, etc. The dried root used also to be given in powder, its power of promoting sweat making it beneficial in fevers.

The SHEEP’S (or SHEEP’S-BIT) SCABIOUS (Jasione montana) is not a true Scabious, though at first sight its appearance is similar. It may be distinguished from a Scabious by its united anthers, and it differs from a Compound Flower (Compositae, to which the Scabious belongs) in having a two-celled capsule. It is a member of the Campanulaceae, and is the only British species. The whole plant, when bruised, has a strong and disagreeable smell.

Other Uses:  A green dye is obtained from the leaves.

It is a good source of nectar and is the foodplant of Marsh fritillary, whose eggs are laid in groups on the underside of the plant, and Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth Hemaris tityus. As both plant and invertebrates are rare, their survival relies on careful management of sites containing these species.

The aim is to produce an uneven patchwork of short and long vegetation by the end of the grazing period, between 8 and 25 cm (3.1 and 9.8 in). This is to allow the devil’s bit scabious food plant to grow.This can be achieved through low intensity grazing (also known as extensive grazing) using cattle. Sheep are not so good as they are more efficient at removing wild plants.

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/Succisa_pratensis
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/scadev31.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Succisa+Pratensis

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Gotu kola (Hemidesmus indicus)

[amazon_link asins=’B00DV3C0D8,B004SSYV1O,B01HPUVQB4,B0199Y41GQ,B00CEDFH54,6040339640′ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’finmeacur-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’c7e2cc82-00cb-11e7-ac7c-af25091b4557′]

[amazon_link asins=’B0002791YM’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’finmeacur-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’ac53983e-00cb-11e7-b97b-cb48ff9a5d1c’]

Botanical Name : Hemidesmus indicus
Family:Apocynaceae
Subfamily:Asclepiadoideae
Genus:Hemidesmus
Species:H. indicus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:Gentianales

Synonyms: Hydrocotyle asiatica – L.

Common Names:Gotu Kola,Centella, March Pennywort, Indian Pennywort, Hydrocotyle, Brahmi (Sanskrit), Luei Gong Gen (Chinese)(Note: Gotu kola should not be confused with kola nut.)

In South Asia, other common names of centella include:

Thalkudi in Oriya;  Sarswathi aku in Telugu;  Kudavan, (Muththil), or  Kudangal  in Malayalam;   Thankuni  in Bengali;  Gotu kola  in Sinhala;  Brahmi  in Marathi:  Ondelaga  in Kannada;   Vallaarai  in Tamil; Brahmi booti in Hindi; Perook in Manipuri;   Manimuni  in  Assamese;Timare in Tulu; Tangkuanteh in Paite;   Brahmabuti or  Ghod-tapre  in Nepali; and  Kholcha ghyan  in Newari  Nepal Bhasa.

Habitat :Centella asiatica is native to E. Asia – India, China and Japan. Australia. Grows on Old stone walls and rocky sunny places in lowland hills and especially by the coast in central and southern Japan. Shady, damp and wet places such as paddy fields, and in grass thickets

Description:
Centella asiatica is an evergreen Perennial plant growing to 0.2m by 1m.
It is hardy to zone 8 and is frost tender.

click to see the picture..

The stems are slender, creeping stolons, green to reddish-green in color, connecting plants to each other. It has long-stalked, green, reniform leaves with rounded apices which have smooth texture with palmately netted veins. It is in leaf all year, in flower from July to August, and the seeds ripen from August to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

The flowers are pinkish to red in color, born in small, rounded bunches (umbels) near the surface of the soil. Each flower is partly enclosed in two green bracts. The hermaphrodite flowers are minute in size (less than 3 mm), with 5-6 corolla lobes per flower. Each flower bears five stamens and two styles. The fruit are densely reticulate, distinguishing it from species of Hydrocotyle which have smooth, ribbed or warty fruit. The plant is self-fertile. The leaves are borne on pericladial petioles, around 2 cm. The rootstock consists of rhizomes, growing vertically down. They are creamish in color and covered with root hairs.

Cultivation:
Prefers a moist to wet soil in sun or partial shade. Plants also grow on walls in the wild and so should tolerate drier conditions[K]. This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the country, it tolerates temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c. It grows and spreads very well outdoors during the summer in most parts of the country and is very easy to increase by division. It can therefore be grown as a summer crop with divisions being taken during the growing season and overwintered in a greenhouse in case the outdoor plants are killed by winter cold.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a greenhouse. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year, after the last expected frosts[K]. Division is simple at any time in the growing season, though the spring is probably best[K]. We find that it is best to pot up the divisions until they are rooting away well, though in selected mild gardens it should be possible to plant the divisions out directly into their permanent positions

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Leaves.

Leaves – raw or cooked. Used in salads and in curries. Cooked as a vegetable. An aromatic flavour, we have found them to be rather overpowering in salads when used in any but small quantities.

Medicinal Uses:
Adaptogen; Antiinflammatory; Cardiac; Depurative; Diuretic; Febrifuge; Hypotensive; Nervine; Sedative; Skin; Tonic.

Gotu kola is an outstandingly important medicinal herb that is widely used in the Orient and is becoming increasingly popular in the West. Its Indian name is ‘Brahmi’ which means ‘bringing knowledge of the Supreme Reality’ and it has long been used there medicinally and as an aid to meditation. It is a useful tonic and cleansing herb for skin problems and digestive disorders. In India it is chiefly valued as a revitalizing herb that strengthens nervous function and memory. The whole plant is alterative, cardio-depressant, hypotensive, weakly sedative and tonic. It is a rejuvenating diuretic herb that clears toxins, reduces inflammations and fevers, improves healing and immunity, improves the memory and has a balancing effect on the nervous system. It has been suggested that regular use of the herb can rejuvenate the nervous system and it therefore deserves attention as a possible cure for a wide range of nervous disorders including multiple sclerosis[K]. Recent research has shown that gotu kola reduces scarring, improves circulatory problems in the lower limbs and speeds the healing process. It is used internally in the treatment of wounds, chronic skin conditions (including leprosy), venereal diseases, malaria, varicose veins, ulcers, nervous disorders and senility. Caution should be observed since excess doses cause headaches and transient unconsciousness. Externally, the herb is applied to wounds, haemorrhoids and rheumatic joints. The plant can be harvested at any time of the year and is used fresh or dried. Another report says that the dried herb quickly loses its medicinal properties and so is best used fresh.

Medicinal Uses and Indications

Treatment :

Wound Healing and Skin Lesions
Gotu kola contains triterpenoids, compounds that have been shown to aid in wound healing. For example, animal studies indicate that triterpenoids strengthen the skin, increase the concentration of antioxidants in wounds, and restore inflamed tissues by increasing blood supply. Because of these properties, gotu kola has been used externally for burns, psoriasis, prevention of scar formation following surgery, recovery from an episiotomy following vaginal delivery of a newborn, and treatment of external fistulas (a tear at or near the anus).

Venous Insufficiency and Varicose Veins
When blood vessels lose their elasticity, blood pools in the legs and fluid leaks out of the blood vessels, causing the legs to swell (venous insufficiency). In a study of 94 people with venous insufficiency, those who took gotu kola reported a significant improvement in symptoms compared to those who took placebo. In another study of people with varicose veins, ultrasound examination revealed improvements in the vascular tone of those who took gotu cola.

High Blood Pressure

In a study of people with heart disease and high blood pressure, those who took abana (an Ayurvedic herbal mixture containing gotu kola) experienced a significant reduction in diastolic blood pressure (pressure on blood vessels when the heart is at rest) compared to those who took placebo. Further studies are needed to determine whether gotu kola alone, some other herb in the Ayurvedic mixture, or the particular combination of all the herbs in the remedy is responsible for the beneficial effect.
Anxiety
Triterpenoids (active compounds in gotu kola) have been shown to soothe anxiety and boost mental function in mice. A recent study found that people who took gotu kola were less likely to be startled by a novel noise (a potential indicator of anxiety) than those who took placebo. Although the results of this study are somewhat promising, the dose used in this study was extremely high, making it difficult to draw any conclusions about how gotu kola might be used by people with anxiety.

Scleroderma
One study involving 13 females with scleroderma found that gotu kola decreased joint pain, skin hardening, and improved finger movement.

Insomnia

Because of sedative effects demonstrated in animals, gotu kola has been used to help people with insomnia.

Dosage and Administration :

Gotu kola is available in teas, as dried herbs, tinctures, capsules, tablets, and ointments. It should be stored in a cool, dry play and used before the expiration date on the label.

Pediatric :
There is currently no information in the scientific literature about the use of gotu kola for children. Therefore, it is not recommended for those under 18 years old.

Adult
The adult dosage of gotu kola may vary depending on the condition being treated. An appropriately trained and certified herbalist, such as a naturopath, can provide the necessary guidance.

The standard dose of gotu kola varies depending on the form:

Dried herb  to make tea, add ¼ to ½ tsp dried herb to a cup of boiling water (150 mL) for 10 minutes, 3 times a day
Powdered herb (available in capsules)  1,000 to 4,000 mg, 3 times a day
Tincture (1:2, 30% alcohol) 30 to 60 drops (equivalent to 1.5 to 3 mL – there are 5 mL in a teaspoon), 3 times a day
Standardized extract—60 to 120 mg per day; standardized extracts should contain 40% asiaticoside, 29% to 30% asiatic acid, 29% to 30% madecassic acid, and 1% to 2% madecassoside; doses used in studies mentioned in the treatment section range from 20 mg (for scleroderma) up to 180 mg (in one study for venous insufficiency; although, most of the studies for this latter condition were conducted using 90 mg to 120 mg per day).
The recommended dosage for people with insomnia is ½ tsp of dried herb in a cup of water taken for no more than 4 to 6 weeks.

Precautions
The use of gotu kola for more than 6 weeks is not recommended. People taking the herb for an extended period of time (up to 6 weeks) should take a 2-week break before taking the herb again.

Asiaticoside, a major component of gotu kola, has also been associated with tumor growth in mice. Though more studies are needed, it is wise for anyone with a history of precancerous or cancerous skin lesions   such as squamous cell, basal cell skin cancer, or melanoma  to refrain from taking this herb.

Side Effects
Side effects are rare but may include skin allergy and burning sensations (with external use), headache, stomach upset, nausea, dizziness, and extreme drowsiness. These side effects tend to occur with high doses of gotu kola.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Pregnant women should not take gotu kola because it may cause spontaneous abortion. There is little or no information regarding the safety of this herb during breastfeeding, so nursing mothers should refrain from taking this herb.

Geriatric Use
People older than 65 years should take gotu kola at a lower than standard dose. The strength of the dosage can be increased slowly over time to reduce symptoms. This is best accomplished under the guidance of an appropriately trained and certified herbalist such as a naturopathic doctor.

Interactions and Depletions
There have been no reports documenting negative interactions between gotu kola and medications to date. Since high doses of gotu kola can cause sedation, individuals should refrain from taking this herb with medications that promote sleep or reduce anxiety.

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.

Resources:

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

http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Centella+asiatica

www.umm.edu/altmed/ConsHerbs

Enhanced by Zemanta