Categories
Herbs & Plants

Saw palmetto,

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Botanical Name :Sarenoa serrulata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Arecales
Family: Arecaceae
Subfamily: Coryphoideae
Tribe:     Trachycarpeae
Subtribe: Livistoninae
Genus:     Serenoa
Species: S. repens

Synonyms: Sabal. Sabal serrulata, Serenoa repens

Common Names :Saw palmetto,

 Habitat:Saw palmetto is native to  the Atlantic Coast from South Carolina to Florida, and southern California.It is endemic to the southeastern United States, most commonly along the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal plains, but also as far inland as southern Arkansas. it grows in clumps or dense thickets in sandy coastal lands or as undergrowth in pine woods or hardwood hammocks.

Description:
Saw palmetto is a fan palm, with the leaves that have a bare petiole terminating in a rounded fan of about 20 leaflets. It is a hardy plant; extremely slow growing, and long lived, with some plants, especially in Florida where it is known as simply the palmetto, possibly being as old as 500–700 years. The petiole is armed with fine, sharp teeth or spines that give the species its common name. The teeth or spines are easily capable of breaking the skin, and protection should be worn when working around a Saw Palmetto. The leaves are light green inland, and silvery-white in coastal regions. The leaves are 1–2 m in length, the leaflets 50–100 cm long. They are similar to the leaves of the palmettos of genus Sabal. The flowers are yellowish-white, about 5 mm across, produced in dense compound panicles up to 60 cm long. The fruit is a large reddish-black drupe and is an important food source for wildlife and historically for humans. The plant is used as a food plant by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species such as Batrachedra decoctor, which feeds exclusively on the plant.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Edible Uses: This plant is also edible to human beings, but the more green it is the more bitter tasting it would be.

 Medicinal Uses:
Part Used: Partially-dried ripe fruit……..CLICK & SEE

Constituents:  Volatile oil, fixed oil, glucose, about 63 per cent of free acids, and 37 per cent of ethyl esters of these acids. The oil obtained exclusively from the nut is a glyceride of fatty acids, thick and of a greenish colour, without fruity odour. From the whole fruit can be obtained by pressure about 1 1/2 per cent of a brownishyellow to dark red oil, soluble in alcohol, ether, chloroform and benzene, and partly soluble in dilute solution of potassium hydroxide. The fixed oil is soluble in alcohol, ether, and petroleum benzin. The presence of an alkaloid is uncertain.

Diuretic, sedative, tonic. It is milder and less stimulant than cubeb or copaiba, or even oil of sandalwood. Like these, it has the power of affecting the respiratory mucous membrane, and is used for many complaints which are accompanied by chronic catarrh. It has been claimed that sabal is capable of increasing the nutrition of the testicles and mammae in functional atony of these organs. It probably acts by reducing catarrhal irritation and a relaxed condition of bladder and urethra. It is a tissue builder.

Saw palmetto is another wonderful instance of scientific research validating traditional herbal medicine. Saw palmetto frequently equals and sometimes exceeds pharmaceuticals for treating benign prostate hypertrophy( BPH). More than a dozen clinical studies involving almost 3,000 men have verified saw palmetto’s ability to markedly alleviate BPH symptoms- without the libido reducing side effects of the pharmaceutical drug. The herb helps more men than synthetic drugs, and it gets the job done faster. As an added benefit, saw palmetto inhibites enzymes that are suspected to cause male pattern baldness, and there is plenty of anecdotal evidence indicates that saw palmetto stems hair loss and triggers growth. Although it has lost the favor of mainstream medicine in the U.S., it is still widely used in Europe.

saw palmetto  extract has been promoted as useful for people with prostate cancer. However, according to the American Cancer Society, “available scientific studies do not support claims that saw palmetto can prevent or treat prostate cancer in humans”

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/Serenoa
http://www.driscollsnatural.com/herb_detail.php?herb=255
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/sawpal26.html

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Herbs & Plants

Prunus africana

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Botanical Name :Prunus africanum
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Prunus
Subgenus: Cerasus
Section: Laurocerasus
Species: P. africana
Order: Rosales

Syn. : P. africana

Common Names:  Pygeum, Iron wood, (Red) Stinkwood, African Plum, African Prune, African Cherry, and Bitter Almond. In other languages where it grows it is known as; in Amharic tikur inchet, in Chagga Mkonde-konde, in Kikuyu muiri, in Ganda entasesa or ngwabuzito, in Xhosa uMkakase, in Zulu inyazangoma-elimnyama or Umdumezulu, and in Afrikaans Rooi-Stinkhout.

Habitat :Prunus africanum is native to the montane regions of Sub-Saharan Africa and the Islands of Madagascar, Sao Tome, Fernando Po and Grande Comore at about 900–3400 m. of altitude. The mature tree is 10–25 m. high, open-branched and often pendulous in forest, shorter and with a round crown of 10–20 m. diameter in grassland. It requires a moist climate, 900–3400 mm annual rainfall, and is moderately frost-tolerant.

Description:
Prunus africanum  is an evergreen tree, growing up to 150 feet in height.The bark is black to brown, corrugated or fissured and scaly, fissuring in a characteristic rectangular pattern. The leaves are alternate, simple, long (8–20 cm.), elliptic, bluntly or acutely pointed, glabrous and dark green above, pale green below, with mildly serrate margins. A central vein is depressed on top, prominent on the bottom. The 2-cm petiole is pink or red. The flowers are androgynous, 10-20 stamens, insect-pollinated, 3–8 cm., greenish white or buff, and are distributed in 70-mm axillary racemes. The plant flowers October through May. The fruit is red to brown, 7–13 mm., wider than long, two-lobed with a seed in each lobe. It grows in bunches ripening September through November, several months after pollination.

click to see the pictures…..>……(01)....….(1)..……(2)..…...(3)….

Chemical Constituents:
The primary active components in pygeum bark are fat-soluble compounds, which include terpenes, sterols (including beta-sitosterol), and ferulic acid esters. Pygeum extracts are commonly standardized to 13% sterol concentration for consistent potency.

Medicinal Uses:
Traditionally used for fevers, malaria, wound dressing, arrow poison, stomach pain, purgative, kidney disease, appetite stimulant
An extract, pygeum, an herbal remedy prepared from the bark of Prunus africana, is used as an alternative medicine in patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) though clinical trials have not yet been conducted. It has shown positive results in in vitro studies and mouse models of prostate cancer.

The collection of mature bark for this purpose and for other medical uses has resulted in the species becoming endangered. Prunus africana continues to be taken from the wild. Plantecam Medicam deserves credit for attempting sustainable bark harvesting by removing opposing quarters of trunk bark rather than girdling the trees. However, quotas have been awarded by the Forestry Department without adequate forest inventories due to some harvesters, spurred on by the high price per kilogram of bark, removing too much of the bark in an unsustainable manner. In the 1990s it was estimated that 35,000 debarked trees were being processed annually. The growing demand for the bark has led to the cultivation of the tree for its medicinal uses.

The terpenes in pygeum have an anti-swelling effect. Terpenes are present in many plants that produce fragrant essential oils. Prostaglandins are inflammatory hormones that tend to accumulate in the prostates of men with BPH. Research indicates that the phytosterols in pygeum interfere with the formation of these prostaglandins, helping to reduce inflammation and swelling of the prostate. When taken correctly, pygeum is considered one of the safest herbs used for male health, and often is combined with saw palmetto for maximum results.

Other Uses:
The timber is a hardwood employed in the manufacture of axe and hoe handles, utensils, wagons, floors, chopping blocks, carving, bridge decks and furniture. The wood is tough, heavy, straight-grained and pink, with a pungent bitter-almond smell when first cut, turning mahogony and odorless later

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://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail296.php
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prunus_africana
http://www.swansonvitamins.com/health-library/encyclopedia/herbs/pygeum.html

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Herbs & Plants

Serenoa repens

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Botanical Name :Serenoa repens
Family: Arecaceae
Subfamily: Coryphoideae
Tribe: Trachycarpeae
Subtribe: Livistoninae
Genus: Serenoa
Hook.f.
Species: S. repens
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Arecales

Synonyms : Sabal serrulata – (Michx.)Schult.&Schult.f.

Common Names : Serenoa,saw palmetto

Habitat :Serenoa ios native to  South-eastern N. America – South Carolina to Florida, west to Arkansas. It is endemic to the southeastern United States, most commonly along the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal plains, but also as far inland as southern Arkansas.
It grows in low pine woods, savannahs and thickets, where it often forms substantial thickets. Also found on coastal sand dunes

Description:
Saw palmetto is a small palm, normally reaching a height of around 2–4 m (3–6 ft). Its trunk is sprawling, and it grows in clumps or dense thickets in sandy coastal lands or as undergrowth in pine woods or hardwood hammocks. Erect stems or trunks are rarely produced but are found in some populations.

click to see the pictures.>…..(01).(1).…..(2)....(3)...…(4)...
It is a hardy plant; extremely slow growing, and long lived, with some plants, especially in Florida where it is known as simply the palmetto, possibly being as old as 500–700 years.It is a fan palm, with the leaves that have a bare petiole terminating in a rounded fan of about 20 leaflets. The petiole is armed with fine, sharp teeth or spines that give the species its common name. The teeth or spines are easily capable of breaking the skin, and protection should be worn when working around a Saw Palmetto. The leaves are light green inland, and silvery-white in coastal regions. The leaves are 1–2 m in length, the leaflets 50–100 cm long. They are similar to the leaves of the palmettos of genus Sabal. The flowers are yellowish-white, about 5 mm across, produced in dense compound panicles up to 60 cm long. The fruit is a large reddish-black drupe and is an important food source for wildlife and historically for humans. The plant is used as a food plant by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species such as Batrachedra decoctor, which feeds exclusively on the plant. This plant is also edible to human beings, but the more green it is the more bitter tasting it would be.

It is hardy to zone 8. It is in leaf all year. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)

Edible Uses:

Edible Parts: Fruit; Seed.click to see

Fruit – raw or cooked. A sweet flavour but with a soapy taste and a strong vanilla-like aroma[238]. Regular consumption of the fruit is supposed to be very beneficial to the health, improving the digestion and helping to increase weight and strength. Seed – raw or cooked.

Cultivation:
Requires a warm sunny position in a moist but well-drained soil. Plants can succeed in quite dry soils so long as their roots can penetrate to underground water. Growing mainly in coastal areas in its native range, this species is likely to be very tolerant of maritime exposure, though not of cold winds. This species is one of the hardiest of palms and succeeds outdoors in warm temperate zones. It is only likely to be marginally hardy, even in the mildest areas of Britain, and probably tolerates temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c. Palms usually have deep penetrating root systems and generally establish best when planted out at a young stage. However, older plants are substantially more cold tolerant than juvenile plants. In areas at the limit of their cold tolerance, therefore, it is prudent to grow the plants in containers for some years, giving them winter protection, and only planting them into their permanent positions when sheer size dictates. Palms can also be transplanted even when very large. Although the thick fleshy roots are easily damaged and/or desiccated, new roots are generally freely produced. It is important to stake the plant very firmly to prevent rock, and also to give it plenty of water until re-established – removing many of the leaves can also help. Plants usually sucker freely in the wild and form dense thickets.

Propagation:
The seed is best sown in a warm greenhouse as soon as it is ripe. It usually germinates freely. Stored seed is more difficult to germinate, it should be pre-soaked for 24 hours in warm water before sowing in a warm greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first two winters. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Although the plant forms suckers, these do not usually transplant well and so seed is the only sure method of propagation

Medicinal Uses:
Antiseptic; Aphrodisiac; Diuretic; Expectorant; Sedative; Tonic; Uterine tonic.

Saw palmetto berries are a tonic herb that is used in the treatment of debility, urinary tract problems and for reducing enlarged prostate glands. The partially dried ripe fruit is aphrodisiac, urinary antiseptic, diuretic, expectorant, sedative and tonic. It is taken internally in the treatment of impotence, debility in elderly men, prostate enlargement and inflammation, bronchial complaints associated with coldness, and wasting diseases. Saw palmetto is one of the few Western herbs that are considered to be anabolic (strengthening and building body tissue and encouraging weight gain). The fruit pulp, or a tincture, is given to those suffering from wasting disease, general debility and failure to thrive. The fruit also has a beneficial effect on the urinary system, helping to reduce the size of an enlarged prostate gland and strengthening the neck of the bladder. The fruit has a probable oestrogenic action, it is prescribed in the treatment of impotence, reduced or absent sex drive and testicular atrophy in men and to stimulate breast enlargement in women. The fruit is also used in the treatment of colds, coughs, irritated mucous membranes, asthma etc. A suppository of the powdered fruits, in cocoa butter, has been used as a uterine and vaginal tonic.

The fruits of the saw palmetto are highly enriched with fatty acids and phytosterols, and extracts of the fruits have been the subject of intensive research for the symptomatic treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). This extract is also commonly used for other medical conditions, such as baldness, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and other hyperandrogen conditions, though research on such uses is preliminary.

Numerous meta-analyses of clinical trials S. repens extract in the treatment of BPH have found it safe and effective for mild-to-moderate BPH compared to placebo, finasteride, and tamsulosin Two larger trials found the extract no different from placebo. An updated meta-analysis including these trials found that saw palmetto extract “was not more effective than placebo for treatment of hyperplasia but following two million U.S. who use saw palmetto, urinary problems are greatly reduced. However, saw palmetto extract was comparable to tamsulosin and finasteride in this meta-analysis. Longer-term (2 years; most clinical trials have been 1 year) open studies suggest that saw palmetto reduces the risk of men with BPH ultimately needing to have surgery

Other Uses:

The leaves are used for thatching by several indigenous groups; so commonly so that there is a location in Alachua County, Florida named Kanapaha (“palm house”). The fruits may have been used to treat an unclear form of fish poisoning by the Seminoles and Bahamians

Basketry; Brush; String.

The leaf stems have been used in making baskets. The plant has been used to make brushes and cordage.

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/Serenoa_repens
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Serenoa+repens

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Epilobium parviflorum

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Botanical Name:Epilobium parviflorum
Family: Onagraceae
Genus: Epilobium
Species: E. parviflorumi
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Order: Myrtales

Common Names :Smallflower Hairy Willowherb or Willowherb

Habitat :Epilobium parviflorum grows  in most of Europe, including Britain, from Sweden to Northern Africa and Western Asia up to India, in USA and Canada.

Description:
Epilobium parviflorum  is a herbaceous perennial plant.

The biological form of the plant  is hemicryptophyte scapose, as its overwintering buds are situated just below the soil surface and the floral axis is more or less erect with a few leaves….

Click to see the pictures..>…..(01)...(1)…...(2).…...(3)
Epilobium parviflorum reaches on average 30–80 centimetres (12–31 in) in height. The stem is erect and densely covered with hairs, especially in the lower part. The leaves are opposite, unstalked but not amplexicaul, lanceolate and toothed, rounded at the base, 4–10 centimetres (1.6–3.9 in) long. The tiny flowers are pale pink or pale purple, 6–7 millimetres (0.24–0.28 in) in diameter, with four petals, eight stamens and a 4-lobed stigma. Flowering occurs from June to August.  The hermaphroditic flowers are either self-fertilized (autogamy) or pollinated by insects (entomogamy). Fruit is a three-to seven-centimeter long capsule containing very small black seeeds (about 1 mm long), with white fibres that allow the dispersal by wind. This species is quite similar to Epilobium hirsutum, but the flowers are very smaller

Medicinal Uses:
Extracts of this plant have been used by traditional medicine in disorders of the prostate gland, bladder and kidney, having an antioxidant and antiinflammatory effect . Extracts of Epilobium have been shown to inhibit proliferation of human prostate cells in-vitro by affecting progression of the cell cycle.

Small-flowered willow herb has been used as remedies in folk medicine, particularly in Central Europe, for the treatment of prostate disorders and abnormal growths. This pleasant herb and flower tea was highly recommended by Austrian herbalist, Maria Treben, for ailing men with prostate abnormalities.  Enlarged prostate, prostatitis, kidney or bladder disorders, gastro-intestinal disorders, mouth mucus membrane lesions, rectal bleeding, menstrual disorders, cystitis, Preliminary (in vitro) studies at the Prostate Center of Vancouver found that very low concentrations of an extract from small-flowered willow herb tea, in the micrograms per ml level, was among the most active ever seen against abnormal cells and growths of the prostate. Several extracts from Epilobium parviflorum, were evaluated in biochemical assays with 5-alpha-reductase and aromatase, two enzymes involved in the etiology of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Aqueous extracts displayed inhibition of these enzymes and the active compounds identified were macrocyclic ellagitannins, oenothein A1, B1 and B2, which can make up to 14% of crude plant extracts. Out of a total of 92 plant phenolic extracts tested, small-flowered willow herb was also found to have high antioxidant activity.  Small-flowered willow herb tea is also recommended for treating urinary tract infections in women. Take as a tea for oral, vaginal, and intestinal candidias.  An ingredient of Swedish bitters.

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/Epilobium_parviflorum
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_UZ.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Epilobium_parviflorum_0.7_R.jpg

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Categories
Health Problems & Solutions

Some Health Quaries & Answers

Touch the Grass


Q: I am 23 years old and have been reading a lot about exercising bare foot. I want to give it a try.

A: Barefoot running has really caught on. In fact, there is even a special barefoot shoe, which is similar to a glove. If you plan to run or walk long distances barefoot, make sure you do it on grass or soft soil. Tarred and cement roads or tracks with stones will hurt your feet. Also, make sure you acclimatise and harden your soles by doing short runs or walks at first. Running barefoot on the treadmill or skipping rope without shoes is, however, not a good idea.

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Pee pain

Q: My 9-month-old son strains to pass urine. His face turns red and he cries every time.

A: Check to see if his foreskin balloons out when he urinates. If that happens it means that the skin around the meatus (hole through which the urine comes out) is tight. You need to consult a paediatric surgeon. They can dilate it. Otherwise they might suggest a small operation called a circumcision.

Sometimes children may strain to urinate owing to posterior valves in the urinary bladder, which obstruct the free flow of urine. Both the conditions need evaluation, diagnosis and surgical correction. So consult your doctor immediately.

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Acne farewell

Q: I am being treated for acne and want to know if I can continue with the treatment after marriage.

A: Stop the treatment if you think that you might become pregnant soon after the marriage. Small quantities of products you apply on the skin can get absorbed and affect the foetus. Many common over-the-counter acne treatments contain benzoyl peroxide retinoids, minocycline and tetracyclines, all of which can potentially cause birth defects and need to be avoided during pregnancy.

Here are some safe, non medical ways to control acne:-

Wash your face using a wash cloth 3-4 times a day.

Do not apply talcum powder or greasy make up.

Shampoo your hair regularly.

Keep hair off the face.

Avoid picking and scratching acne

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Bow legs


Q: My daughter is three years old and bow-legged. It looks awkward and we are worried that the deformity will persist and cause problems when she is an adult.

A: Children are normally born bow-legged. It may be more obvious in some than in others. It usually gets corrected by the age of 5-6. If the legs are curved more than normal, it may be due to rickets (a consequence of vitamin D deficiency), or Blount’s disease. It is better to have your paediatrician evaluate the child.

Prostrate trouble


Q: My father gets up several times in the night to go to the loo, where he spends a lot of time as he says the urine does not flow freely.

A: Your father needs to be evaluated for an enlarged prostrate. It seems the likely diagnosis as he is complaining of “an obstructed feeling”. Benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) or prostatic growth begins at approximately 30. Around 50 per cent of men have evidence of BPH by age 50 and 75 per cent by 80. It can usually be tackled with medication. However, you need to do scans and a blood test called PSA (prostate specific antigen) to rule out cancer. Appropriate treatment can be provided by a urologist.

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Leg ache


Q: I develop a shooting pain down the back of my leg when I move suddenly. The doctor said it is sciatica and that I need surgery.

A: Sciatica is a generic term that describes a set of symptoms like tingling, pain or numbness in one leg. It is due to compression of one or more of the nerves coming out of the spinal cord. This may be due to the collapse of the lumbar vertebrae or herniation of the discs in between the bones. It needs to be evaluated with a CT scan or an MRI. If the symptoms are mild and there is no actual muscle wasting, traction and exercise can be tried. If the herniation is severe, surgery may be required.

Milk allergy


Q: My 6-month-old son had such a bad bout of diarrhoea that he lost a kilo. The paediatrician said he is allergic to cow’s milk and asked me to give him soya milk. I tried but my son does not like the taste. Can I use Nan or Lactogen instead? I have no milk so he has been on cow’s milk since birth.

A: Nan, Lactogen and other baby formulae are made by processing cow’s milk. So if your son is allergic to cow’s milk, he will be allergic to these tinned products also. Since your son is six months old, in addition to soya milk, you can start giving him solid food. You can give khichdi, potatoes, carrots, idlies and bananas. The ready-to-serve weaning foods available in packets and tins often contain milk powder so they are better avoided. If you want to use them, check the packaging label.

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Source : The Telegraph ( Kolkata, India)

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