Herbs & Plants

Polygala paucifolia

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Botanical Name : Polygala paucifolia
Family: Polygalaceae
Genus: Polygala
Species: P. paucifolia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Common Names:Gaywings or Fringed polygala,Milkwort, Fringed

Habitat : Native to USA.Grows in  moderate moisture to moist; forests

Polygala paucifolia is an  erect, perennial herb growing to 3″-6″ tall, evergreen forb; stems usually solitary; colony-forming rhizomes from small tubers.  Flower are  rose-purple to white, 5-parted, 1/2″-3/4″ wide, about as wide as long, 5 petal-like sepals with the 3 inner ones small and the 2 outer ones very large and wing-like; inflorescence of 1-4 long-stalked flowers in a very short, terminal cluster (raceme); blooms May-June. Leaf is lower scale-like, 3-6 oval to elliptical ones near the top.

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Medicinal Uses:
Its primary purpose is antiseptic, to heal broken skin and infected sores  The milky exudation was also thought to quicken the removal of deposits from the bowels and kidneys. Fringed milkwort possesses similar properties to Milkwort (Polygala vulgaris), and may be employed as a substitute. The root of has a pleasant, spicy flavor, very similar to that of gaultheria. In doses of from 3 to 10 grains, bitter polygala is an excellent bitter tonic; from 10 to 30 grains act upon the bowels, and cause slight diaphoresis. An infusion has been found beneficial as a tonic in debility of the digestive organs. It may be used in all cases where a bitter tonic is indicated

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.


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Herbs & Plants

Gentiana scabra

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Botanical Name : Gentiana scabra
Family: Gentianaceae
Genus: Gentiana
Species: G. scabra
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Common Name; Long Dan Cao, Japanese gentian

Habitat :Gentiana scabra  is native to E. Asia – China, Japan.( Now it is  found in much of the United states and Japan ,Korea, E Russia (Fujian, Jiangsu, Zhejiang ).It grows in  river banks, grassland and roadside slopes, moist meadows, scrub, forest margins, forests; 400-1700 m.

Gentiana scabra is a perennial plant . growing  30-60 cm tall. Stems apically papillate. Stem leaves sessile; lowermost leaves scalelike, 4-6 mm; middle to upper leaves linear-lanceolate, ovate-lanceolate, or ovate, 2-7 × (0.4-)2-3 cm, base rounded to subcordate, margin scabrous and revolute, apex acuminate to acute, veins 3-5. Upper leaves slightly smaller, shorter than flowers and surrounding their bases. Inflorescences 1 to many flowered, terminal or in axillary clusters, axillary clusters rarely on pedunclelike branches; bracts linear-lanceolate to lanceolate, 2-2.5 cm. Flowers sessile. Calyx tube 1-1.2 cm, entire; lobes spreading to erect, linear, 8-10 mm, margin scabrous, apex acute. Corolla blue-purple, sometimes with yellow-green spots in throat, tubular-campanulate to funnelform, 4-5 cm; lobes ovate to ovate-orbicular, 7-9 mm, apex rounded and apiculate; plicae obliquely and narrowly triangular, 3-4 mm, apex acute or slightly 2cleft. Stamens inserted at middle of corolla tube; filaments 0.9-1.2 cm; anthers free, narrowly ellipsoid, 3.5-4.5 mm. Style 3-4 mm. Capsules 2-2.5 cm; gynophore to 1.5 cm. Seeds 1.8-2.5 mm. It is hardy to zone (UK) 5. It is in flower from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bumblebees, butterflies.

click to see the pictures
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a light position in a cold frame. It can also be sown in late winter or early spring but the seed germinates best if given a period of cold stratification and quickly loses viability when stored, with older seed germinating slowly and erratically. It is advantageous to keep the seed at about 10?C for a few days after sowing, to enable the seed to imbibe moisture. Following this with a period of at least 5 – 6 weeks with temperatures falling to between 0 and -5?C will usually produce reasonable germination. It is best to use clay pots, since plastic ones do not drain so freely and the moister conditions encourage the growth of moss, which will prevent germination of the seed. The seed should be surface-sown, or only covered with a very light dressing of compost. The seed requires dark for germination, so the pots should be covered with something like newspaper or be kept in the dark. Pot up the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. The seedlings grow on very slowly, taking 2 – 7 years to reach flowering size. When the plants are of sufficient size, place them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Division in March. Most members of this genus have either a single tap-root, or a compact root system united in a single root head, and are thus unsuitable for division. Cuttings of basal shoots in late spring.

Edible Uses:
Young plant and old leaves – cooked & eaten.  A famine food, used when all else fails.

Medicinal Uses:
Long Dan Cao is used as a bitter tonic in Chinese herbalism where it promotes digestive secretions and treats a range of illnesses associated with the liver. The root is antibacterial and stomachic. It is used in the treatment of anorexia, dyspepsia, jaundice, leucorrhoea, eczema, conjunctivitis, sore throat, acute infection of the urinary system, hypertension with dizziness and tinnitus. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. This species is one of several that are the source of the medicinal gentian root, the following notes are based on the general uses of G. lutea which is the most commonly used species in the West. Gentian root has a long history of use as a herbal bitter in the treatment of digestive disorders and is an ingredient of many proprietary medicines. It contains some of the most bitter compounds known and is used as a scientific basis for measuring bitterness. It is especially useful in states of exhaustion from chronic disease and in all cases of debility, weakness of the digestive system and lack of appetite. It is one of the best strengtheners of the human system, stimulating the liver, gall bladder and digestive system, and is an excellent tonic to combine with a purgative in order to prevent its debilitating effects. The root is anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, bitter tonic, cholagogue, emmenagogue, febrifuge, refrigerant, stomachic. It is taken internally in the treatment of liver complaints, indigestion, gastric infections and anorexia. It should not be prescribed for patients with gastric or duodenal ulcers. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. It is quite likely that the roots of plants that have not flowered are the richest in medicinal properties.

The root is a bitter, cooling, anti-inflammatory herb that stimulates the appetite and digestion, increases blood sugar levels and potentiates the sedative and analgesic properties of other herbs.  Internally used for liver disorders, eye complaints related to liver disharmony (such as conjunctivitis), acute urinary infections, hypertension with dizziness or tinnitus and tantrums in children.  Included in many Chinese patent remedies for “liver heat.”  It is also used in the treatment of jaundice, leucorrhoea, eczema, conjunctivitis, and sore throat.

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.


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Herbs & Plants

Rooibos Tea

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Botanical Name :  Aspalathus linearis
Family :Fabaceae   or  leguminosae    (pea family)
Subfamily: Faboideae
Genus: Aspalathus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales
Tribe: Crotalarieae
Species: A. linearis
Common Names :Rooibos , Redbush Tea, Red tea

Habitat :Through the 17th and 18th centuries, European travellers and botanists visiting the Cederberg region in South Africa commented on the profusion of “good plants” for curative purposes. In 1772, Swedish botanist Carl Thunberg noted that “the country people made tea” from a plant related to rooibos or redbush. Since then, rooibos has grown in popularity in South Africa, and has also gained considerable momentum in the worldwide market. A growing number of brand-name tea companies sell this tea, either by itself or as a component in an increasing variety of blends.


Technically, Rooibos is not a true tea. It comes from the plant Aspalathus linearis, rather than the Camellia plants that produce traditional teas. The name Rooibos comes from the Afrikaans word for ‘red bush’.
The Rooibos plant is a small shrubby bush that only grows in South Africa. The bush grows anywhere from 1/2 to 1 metre in height, with very thin, needle-like leaves. The leaves are green, but turn the characteristic red after fermentation.


The Rooibos seeds are precious, because the plants produce few of them. The seeds also pop out of the fruits as soon as they are ripe, making harvest difficult. Many farmers still raid anthills looking for Rooibos seeds.

It is a rather delicate plant, and the cultivation has not changed much over the years. The plants thrive best when left along in their natural soil. The farming of Rooibos has always been very close to nature and remains so today.

The locals have known that Rooibos can be used to make a delicious beverage for a very long time, but it was only ‘discovered’ in 1904 by a Russian immigrant named Benjamin Ginsberg. He was a settler in the area and thought that the tea was so enjoyable that it should be available to people everywhere. He was the first to market Rooibos tea.

Rooibos tea is a distinctive red colour and its taste is also unique with a very sweet and slightly nutty flavour. Its delicious taste and numerous healthful qualities has helped Rooibos become a popular tea all over the world. It is still fairly ‘new’ but more and more people are coming to love this unique red tea.

Rooibos has increased in popularity not only because of its wonderful colour and taste, but because of all the great things it can do for your health.
Rooibos has no caffeine and is low in tannin, so it can be enjoyed all day long without any unpleasant side effects. This also makes it a great tea for pregnant women and nursing mothers.

Nutritional and health benefits:
Rooibos is becoming more popular in Western countries particularly among health-conscious consumers, due to its high level of antioxidants such as aspalathin   and nothofagin, its lack of caffeine, and its low tannin levels compared to fully oxidized black tea or unoxidized green tea leaves.[citation needed] Rooibos also contains a number of phenolic compounds, including flavanols, flavones, flavanones, and dihydrochalcones.

Rooibos is purported to assist with nervous tension, allergies and digestive problems.

Traditional medicinal uses of rooibos in South Africa include alleviating infantile colic, allergies, asthma and dermatological problems.

Scientific study:
Although human studies of rooibos are scarce in the scientific literature, animal studies suggest it has potent antioxidant, immune-modulating and chemopreventive effects. In addition, rooibos tea has not been found to have any adverse effects.

It is often claimed that “Green” rooibos (see above) has a higher antioxidant capacity than fully oxidized rooibos. However, one study, using two different ways of measuring antioxidant activity, found conflicting data, with green rooibos showing more activity under one measure, and less activity using the other. The study also found conflicting data when comparing both forms of rooibos to black, green, and oolong tea, although it consistently found both forms to have less activity than green tea.

In 2010, eleven poison dart frogs were raised at WWT Slimbridge by amphibian keepers in pint glasses of water, topped up with shop-bought Rooibos tea. Rooibos was used because it contains antioxidants with anti-fungal properties. This successfully protected the frogs against infection by chytridiomycosis.

A recent study performed by Japanese scientists also suggests that Rooibos tea is beneficial in the treatment of acne. This is due to levels of alpha hydroxy acid, zinc and superoxide dismutase present in the herb.

Various studies have shown the many health problems that can be helped by drinking Rooibos tea:-

*Eases irritability, headaches, nervous tension and insomnia.

*Acts as an anti-spasmodic agent, to relieve stomach cramps and colic in infants ->

*Can be used to treat hay fever, asthma and eczema

*Placed directly on the skin, it can slow the aging process

*Boosts the immune system

Rooibos tea contains no oxalic acid, so it can safely be consumed by people who are prone to kidney stones.

There are so many minerals in the tea, that it can almost be considered a nutritional supplement:








*Alpha-hydroxy (great for the skin)


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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.


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