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Herbs & Plants

Clerodendron inerme

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Botanical Name : Clerodendron inerme
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Volkameria
Species: V. inermis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Synonyms: Volkameria inermis

Common Names : Glory bower, Wild Jasmine, Sorcerers Bush, Seaside clerodendrum, Clerodendrum, Scrambling; Scrambling Clerodendrum; Harmless Clerodendron; Clerodendron, Harmless
Habitat : Clerodendron inerme is native to India & Malaysia. It is found in Australia, Asia, Malesia and the Pacific islands. It usually grows in close proximity to the sea and is often found near margins or on the margins of beach forest. Also occurs in Asia, Malesia and the Pacific islands.

Description:
Clerodendron inerme is an evergreen mangrove plant, which has found a place in our gardens, is able to thrive near the ocean at the high tide mark, making it a potential weed in the coastal environment. A hardy, straggling shrub, it reaches a height of 9-12 FT with closely arranged, almost round, shiny, deep green leaves. The plant is always in flower. The flowers are white and very fragrant, with spreading five corolla lobes, 1″ long white tubes and long purple stamens. As the specific name implies, the stems are smooth and are devoid of thorns. The plant is not choosy about the soil and can even withstand droughts. Seaside clerodendrum, as its name suggests, grows well along the beach tolerating the salt spray of the ocean and the harsh rays of the sun. It is a versatile plant and can be grown as a topiary or as a bonsai. It is its hardy nature and the closely held bunches and leaves that promoted it into a garden plant. Clerodendrum inerme is a sun loving plant and a sunny spot should be chosen for it. The plant produces suckers and seeds. For making hedges, a large number of well-developed plants are required and, therefore, it is advisable to produce new plants through cuttings. Trimming the plant keeps the hedges in shape and also promotes production of new branches and leaves to fill up the gaps. As flowers are produced at the ends of branches, trimming robs the plant of its flowers. The plants is salt-, heat- and wind-tolerant.

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Description in detalis:
*Stem: Often grows into a rather untidy vine but frequently flowers and fruits as a shrub about 1-4 m tall. Vine stem diameters to 3 cm recorded.

*Leaves: Twigs, petioles and leaves glabrous or minutely puberulous. Leaf blades about 3-12 x 1-6 cm, punctate or glandular on the lower surface. Petioles about 0.5-1.5 cm long, grooved or channelled on the upper surface. Lateral veins forming loops inside the blade margin. Twigs usually pale-coloured and petioles dark purple.

*Flowers: Pedicels puberulous, about 3-6 mm long. Calyx about 3-6 mm long, glandular, glabrous or puberulous with a few large nectariferous glands on the outer surface, glabrous on the inner surface, lobes minute. Corolla glabrous and glandular outside, tube villous inside, tube cylindrical, about 15-40 mm long, lobes about 3.5-11 mm long. Stamens exserted, filaments about 15-38 mm long, anthers about 2.5-3 mm long. Ovary glabrous, glandular, about 1.5-2 x 1-1.5 mm, style exserted, glabrous, about 25-48 mm long.

*Fruit: Fruit consists of four nutlets which fit together and are borne on a receptacle like an egg in an egg cup. Fruit about 10-20 x 7-15 mm. Calyx persistent at the base forming a cup about 7-12 mm diam. Cotyledons about 5 mm long, much longer and wider than the radicle which is about 0.5-1 mm long.

*Seedlings : Cotyledons thick and fleshy, about 12-20 x 6-9 mm, gradually tapering into the petioles. First pair of leaves opposite, margins entire or with a few teeth. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade lanceolate, margin entire or with a few teeth, stem purple becoming pale, terminal bud clothed in pale prostrate hairs. Petiole and midrib purple.

Medicinal Uses:
Clerodendron inermesed is used as local medicine in both Kosrae and Pohnpei for a variety of ailments. Known to be used in Samoa as a local medicine as well. The root of Clerodendron inerme is of a more decided bitter taste and strong odor, and is regarded as possessing tonic and alterative properties, and as being useful in venereal and scrofulous complaints. A steam bath (srawuk) of kwacwak is used by women during their monthly menstrual cycle. Used to treat fever, skin rash, flu, headache, infected umbilical cord, eye infections, evil spirit prevention. Can also be added to coconut oil and rubbed into skin.
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/Volkameria_inermis
http://keys.trin.org.au/key-server/data/0e0f0504-0103-430d-8004-060d07080d04/media/Html/taxon/Clerodendrum_inerme.htm
http://toptropicals.com/catalog/uid/Clerodendrum_inerme.htm
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_IJK.htm

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Categories
Herbs & Plants

Cocculus palmatus

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Botanical name: Jateorhiza palmata
Family: Menispermaceae
Genus: Cocculus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ranunculales
Synonym: Menispermum calumba of Roxbury; Jateorhiza calumba of Miers.

Common Name : Moonseed, Colombo

Habitat :Cocculus palmatus is native to warm temperate to tropical regions of North America, Asia and Africa. This plant inhabits the forests near the southeastern coast of Africa, in the neighborhood of Mozambique, where the natives call it Kalumb.

Description: This is a climbing annual plant. The stems are herbaceous and twining; root perennial, fasciculated, fleshy, one to three inches in diameter, brownish without, deep yellow within. The stems, of which one or two proceed from the same root, are twining, simple in the male plant, branched in the female, round, hairy, and about an inch or an inch and a half in circumference. The leaves stand on rounded glandular hairy footstalks, and are alternate, distant, cordate, and have three, seven, or nine lobes and nerves. The flowers are small and inconspicuous . Flowers on solitary axillary racemes; small, green, dioecious. Calyx six-sepaled; corolla six-petaled; stamens six; pistils three. Fruit about the size of a hazel-nut, densely covered with long spreading hairs, either drupaceous or a berry.

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The fusiform roots of this plant appear in market in thin slices transversely. “The slices are flat, circular or oval, mostly two inches in diameter and from two to four lines thick and branching. grayish-yellow, bitter.” (Pereira.) The root is often worm-eaten. Its powder has a greenish-yellow tint, a faint smell, and an aromatic bitter taste. The root is covered with a thin brown skin, marked with transverse warts.

Water, alcohol, diluted alcohol, and ether extract its virtues, which most abound in the cortical. It contains starch; a colorless neutral principle named calumbin; and an alkaloid berberia or berberin.

Medicinal Uses:
Columbo, so important in the present practice of medicine. The root is a bitter of the more relaxing order of tonics, stimulating only to a very moderate degree, and having a slightly demulcent character. It resembles the American article of a similar common name, (Frasera Carolinensis,) but is much pleasanter and not at all astringent. Its chief action is upon the stomach; and it is admirably suited to feeble conditions of this organ, with want of appetite, indigestion, flatulence, and vomiting. It never excites nausea, but on the contrary is an excellent agent to allay all forms of sympathetic vomiting, as in pregnancy; and few tonics are so well received by weak and irritable stomachs. During convalescence from fever, diarrhea, and dysentery, it is one of the most useful tonics; and it exerts a very mild influence on the hepatic apparatus, which well fits it for numerous cases of biliousness. It imparts a desirable tonic influence to the bowels. Some class it among the very powerful tonics, like gentian; but this is a mistake, for it is altogether a milder article, and suited for quite other conditions than those to which the gentian is applied. It is generally compounded with other tonics and with aromatics; and deserves more attention than it receives in America. Dose of the powder, ten to twenty grains three times a day.
Pharmaceutical Preparations: I. Infusion. Calumba in coarse powder, six drachms; boiling water, one pint. Macerate for an hour. Dose, eight to twelve fluid drachms three times a day. By adding a few grains of dill seed or fennel, the flavor is much improved.

II. Tincture. This is prepared by macerating two and a half ounces of calumba in a sufficient quantity of proof spirit; transferring to a percolator, and adding proof spirit till one pint in all has been used; then pressing the drugs strongly, and adding enough spirit to the liquid to make the product one pint. Dose, half a fluid drachm to two fluid drachms. This is often added to other tonic preparations, or to such nervine aromatic infusions as may be in use for excessive vomiting. This agent is an ingredient in the compound wine of comfrey.
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/Cocculus
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm
http://www.henriettes-herb.com/eclectic/cook/COCCULUS_PALMATUS.htm
http://chestofbooks.com/health/herbs/O-Phelps-Brown/The-Complete-Herbalist/Columbo-Cocculus-Palmatus.html#.Vk_j_SpTffI

Categories
Exercise

Tai Chi Chaun

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Tai means great, Chi means spirit and Chaun means fist

Tai chi chuan is Traditional, Simplified and an internal Chinese martial art, often practiced with the aim of promoting health and longevity. Tai chi chuan’s training forms are well known as the slow motion routines that groups of people practice together every morning in parks around the world, particularly in China. Some medical studies support its effectiveness as an alternative exercise and a form of martial arts therapy. Tai chi chuan is considered a soft style martial art — an art applied with internal power    to distinguish its theory and application from that of the hard martial art styles. There are many different styles of tai chi chuan, but most modern schools can trace their development to the system originally taught by the Chen family to the Yang family starting in 1820.

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Yang Chengfu in a posture from the Yang style tai chi chuan solo form known as Single Whip cir. 1931.

Overview
The Mandarin term “tai chi chuan” literally translates as “supreme ultimate boxing” or “boundless fist,” but may better translate to “great extremes boxing,” with an emphasis on finding balance between two great extremes. The concept of the “supreme ultimate” is the symbol of the Taijitu meant to show the principles of Yin and Yang duality of Taoist philosophy. Thus, tai chi theory and practice evolved in agreement with many of the principles of Chinese philosophy and Taoism in particular. Tai chi training first and foremost involves learning solo routines, known as forms ( taolu). While the image of tai chi chuan in popular culture is typified by exceedingly slow movement, many tai chi styles (including the three most popular, Yang, Wu and Chen) have secondary forms of a faster pace. The other half of traditional tai chi training (though many modern schools disregard it entirely) consists of partner exercises known as pushing hands, and martial applications of the postures of the form.

Tai chi chuan was created as a form of traditional Chinese martial arts of the Neijia (soft or internal) branch. Since the first widespread promotion of tai chi’s health benefits by Yang Shaohou, Yang Chengfu, Wu Chien-ch’uan and Sun Lutang in the early twentieth century, it has developed a worldwide following among people with little or no interest in martial training for its benefit to health and health maintenance. Some call it a form of moving meditation, as focusing the mind solely on the movements of the form purportedly helps to bring about a state of mental calm and clarity. Besides general health benefits and stress management attributed to tai chi training, aspects of Traditional Chinese medicine are taught to advanced tai chi students in some traditional schools.[citation needed] Some martial arts, especially the Japanese martial arts, use a uniform for students during practice. Tai chi chuan schools do not generally require a uniform, but both traditional and modern teachers often advocate loose, comfortable clothing and flat-soled shoes.

The physical techniques of tai chi chuan are described in the tai chi classics (a set of writings by traditional masters) as being characterized by the use of leverage through the joints based on coordination in relaxation, rather than muscular tension, in order to neutralize or initiate attacks. The slow, repetitive work involved in the process of learning how that leverage is generated gently and measurably increases and opens the internal circulation (breath, body heat, blood, lymph, peristalsis, etc.).

The study of tai chi chuan primarily involves three subjects. Traditional schools cover these aspects of tai chi practice simultaneously, while many modern schools focus on a single aspect, depending on their goal in practicing the art. These subjects are:

Health
An unhealthy or otherwise uncomfortable person will find it difficult to meditate to a state of calmness or to use tai chi as a martial art. Tai chi’s health training therefore concentrates on relieving the physical effects of stress on the body and mind. For those focused on tai chi’s martial application, good physical fitness is the first step in effective self-defense.

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Meditation
The focus and calmness cultivated by the meditative aspect of tai chi is seen as necessary in maintaining optimum health (in the sense of relieving stress and maintaining homeostasis) and in application of the form as a soft style martial art.

Martial art
The ability to use tai chi as a form of self-defense in combat is said to be the most effective proof of a student’s understanding of the principles of good Tai Chi. The study of tai chi chuan martially is the study of appropriate change in response to outside forces; the study of yielding and blending with outside force rather than attempting to meet it with opposing force.

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History and styles
Wu style being demonstrated at a tournament in Toronto, CanadaThere are five major styles of tai chi chuan, each named after the Chinese family from which it originated:

Chen style
Yang style
Wu or Wu/Hao style of Wu Yu-hsiang (Wu Yuxiang)
Wu style of Wu Ch’uan-yü (Wu Quanyuo) and Wu Chien-ch’uan (Wu Jianquan)
Sun style
The order of verifiable age is as listed above. The order of popularity (in terms of number of practitioners) is Yang, Wu, Chen, Sun, and Wu/Hao.The first five major family styles share much underlying theory, but differ in their approaches to training.

There are now dozens of new styles, hybrid styles and offshoots of the main styles, but the five family schools are the groups recognised by the international community as being orthodox. Zhaobao Tai Chi, a close cousin of Chen style, has been newly recognised by Western practitioners as a distinct style. The designation internal or nei chia martial arts is also used to broadly distinguish what are known as the external or wai chia styles based on the Shaolinquan styles, although that distinction is sometimes disputed by modern schools. In this broad sense, all styles of tai chi (as well as related arts such as Pa Kua Chang and Hsing-i Ch’üan) are therefore considered to be “soft” or “internal” martial arts. Many styles list in their history that tai chi was originally formulated by a Taoist monk called Zhang Sanfeng and taught by him in the Taoist monasteries at Wu Tang Shan .

When tracing tai chi chuan’s formative influences to Taoist and Buddhist monasteries, there seems little more to go on than legendary tales from a modern historical perspective, but tai chi chuan’s practical connection to and dependence upon the theories of Sung dynasty Neo-Confucianism (a conscious synthesis of Taoist, Buddhist and Confucian traditions, esp. the teachings of Mencius) is readily apparent to its practitioners. The philosophical and political landscape of that time in Chinese history is fairly well documented. Tai chi’s theories and practice are therefore believed by some schools to have been formulated by the Taoist monk Zhang Sanfeng in the 12th century, at about the same time that the principles of the Neo-Confucian school were making themselves felt in Chinese intellectual life. Zhang Sanfeng as a young man studied Tao Yin , Pinyin dÇŽoyǐn) breathing exercises from his Taoist teachers and martial arts at the Buddhist Shaolin monastery, eventually combining the martial forms and breathing exercises to formulate the soft or internal principles we associate with tai chi chuan and related martial arts. Zhang Sanfeng is also sometimes attributed with the creation of the original 13 Movements of Tai Chi Chuan. These 13 movements are in all forms of tai chi chuan. Its subsequent fame attributed to his teaching, Wu Tang monastery was known thereafter as an important martial center for many centuries, its many styles of internal kung fu preserved and refined at various Taoist temples.

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