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Portulaca grandiflora

Botanical Name: Portulaca grandiflora
Family: Portulacaceae
Genus: Portulaca
Species:P. grandiflora
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:Caryophyllales

Synonyms:
*Portulaca hilaireana G. Don
*Portulaca immersostellulata Poelln.
*Portulaca mendocinensis Gillies ex Hook.
*Portulaca multistaminata Poelln.

Common Names: Rose moss, Eleven o’clock, Mexican rose, Moss rose, Sun rose, Rock rose, and Moss-rose purslane, 9’O Clock

Habitat:Portulaca grandiflora is native to S. America – Brazil. Occasionally established in S. and S.C. Europe. It is also seen in South Asia and widely spread in most of the cities with old 18th- and 19th-century architecture in the Balkans. In Pakistan it is called Gul Dopheri, meaning After Noon Flower, as flowers bloom whole after noon in summer’s heat. In Bangladesh, it is called “time fuul”, meaning “time flower”, because the flower has a specific time to bloom. In India, it is called “nau bajiya” or “9 o’clock flower” as it blooms in morning around 9:00 am. In the Philippines,it is called uru-alas dose or like twelve o’clock because it loses its bloom by noon. In Vietnam, it is called “hoa m??i gi?” meaning “ten o’clock flower”, because the flower is usually in full bloom at 10:00 in the morning. Its buds are often chewed by small birds like the house sparrow. It grows on roadsides and waste places in Europe.

Description:
Portulaca grandiflora is a small, but fast-growing annual plant growing to 30 cm tall, though usually less. However if it is cultivated properly it can easily reach this height. The leaves are thick and fleshy, up to 2.5 cm long, arranged alternately or in small clusters. The flowers are 2.5–3 cm diameter with five petals, variably red, orange, pink, white, and yellow.

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It is frost tender. It is in flower from Jun to July, and the seeds ripen from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects, self.The plant is self-fertile.

Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Cultivation:
Prefers a rather dry poor soil in full sun. Succeeds in a hot dry position, and dislikes wet soils. Although a perennial when grown in warmer climates than Britain, it is best treated as a half-hardy annual in this country. There are some named forms selected for their ornamental value.

Propagation:
Seed – sow early spring in a greenhouse, pricking out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Plant out after the last expected frosts. The seed can also be sown in situ in late spring, though the plants will not grow so large this way.

Edible Uses:
Leaves – raw or cooked. Seed – raw or cooked. It can be ground into a powder and used in soups etc, or can be added to cereals. The seed is very small and fiddly to utilize. Root – cooked.

Medicinal Uses:
The entire plant is depurative. It is used in the treatment of hepatitis, cirrhosis of the liver with ascites, swelling and pain in the pharynx. The fresh juice of the leaves and stems is applied externally as a lotion to snake and insect bites, burns, scalds and eczema.

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/Portulaca_grandiflora
http://www.pfaf.org/User/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Portulaca+grandiflora

Birthwort

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Botanical Name:Aristolochia clematitis
Family: Aristolochiaceae
Genus: Aristolochia
Species: A. clematitis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Piperales

Synonyms:
Heterotypic
Aristolochia infesta Salisb., Prodr. stirp. Chap. Allerton, 215. 1796, nom. illeg.
Aristolochia longa Georgi, Beschr. russ. Reich vol. 3, 5, 1274. 1800, nom. illeg. (non L.).
Aristolochia rotunda Georgi, Beschr. russ. Reich vol. 3, 5, 1274. 1800, nom. illeg. (non L.).

Common Name:Birthwort

Habitats:  Birthwort  is native to   east  and south east Europe. Naturalized in Britain. It grows in the waste ground, gardens, orchards etc.

Description:   Birthwort is a evergreen and deciduous woody vines and herbaceous perennials plant, growing to 0.7 m (2ft 4in) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in). The smooth stem is erect or somewhat twining. The simple leaves are alternate and cordate, membranous, growing on leaf stalks. There are no stipules.

The flowers grow in the leaf axils. They are inflated and globose at the base, continuing as a long perianth tube, ending in a tongue-shaped, brightly colored lobe. There is no corolla. The calyx is one to three whorled, and three to six toothed. The sepals are united (gamosepalous). There are six to 40 stamens in one whorl. They are united with the style, forming a gynostemium. The ovary is inferior and is four to six locular.

It is in leaf 11-May It is in flower from Jul to September. These flowers have a specialized pollination mechanism. The plants are aromatic and their strong scent attracts insects. The inner part of the perianth tube is covered with hairs, acting as a fly-trap. These hairs then wither to release the fly, covered with pollen.

The fruit is dehiscent capsule with many endospermic seeds.

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The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil.The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils..It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade.It requires moist soil.

Cultivation:
Prefers a well-drained loamy soil, rich in organic matter, in sun or semi-shade[1, 134]. Succeeds in ordinary garden soil. The plant has an invasive root system. Most species in this genus have malodorous flowers, often smelling like decaying flesh, that are pollinated by flies. The insects that pollinate this plant become trapped in the hairy throat of the flower. Birthwort was formerly cultivated as a medicinal plant in most of Europe.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the autumn. Pre-soak stored seed for 48 hours in hand-hot water and surface sow in a greenhouse. Germination usually takes place within 1 – 3 months at 20°c. Stored seed germinates better if it is given 3 months cold stratification at 5°c. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer after the last expected frosts. Division in autumn. Root cuttings in winter

Medicinal Uses;

AbortifacientAntiinflammatory;  Antispasmodic;  Diaphoretic;  EmmenagogueFebrifuge;  Oxytoxic;  Stimulant.

Birthwort has a very long history of medicinal use, though it has been little researched scientifically and is little used by present-day herbalists. It is an aromatic tonic herb that stimulates the uterus, reduces inflammation, controls bacterial infections and promotes healing. The juice from the stems was used to induce childbirth. The plant contains aristolochic acid which, whilst stimulating white blood cell activity and speeding the healing of wounds, is also carcinogenic and damaging to the kidneys. The flowering herb, with or without the root, is abortifacient, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, febrifuge, oxytocic and stimulant. Another report says that the root is used on its own whilst a third says that either the fresh flowering herb or the dried rootstock can be used. The plant should not be used internally without experienced supervision, externally it is used in the treatment of slow-healing cuts, eczema, infected toe and finger nails etc. Use with caution, internal consumption can cause damage to the kidneys and uterine bleeding. It should not be used by pregnant women

Used to treat: abdominal complaints, cancer, cancer (nose), depurative, leg ulcers, menstrual troubles, polyps (nose), tumor, wounds.  Not used much today, birthwort was formerly used to treat wounds, sores, and snake bite.  It has been taken after childbirth to prevent infection and is also a potent menstruation-inducing herbs and a (very dangerous) abortifacient.  A decoction was taken to encourage healing of ulcers.  Birthwort has also been used for asthma and bronchitis.
Chinese research into aristolochic acid has shown it to be an effective wound healer.  Aristolochia species are used in China, but the medicinal use has been banned in Germany because of the toxicity of aristolochic acid.  Chinese herbalists use the fruit when there is lung heat and inflammation, with or without deficiency, but with the presence of phlegm. For these conditions, it stops coughing and wheezing. It is also used internally to treat bleeding hemorrhoids.

Click to see :Overview of Aristolochia Clematitis (Arist-c) as a homeopathic remedy. :

Known Hazards:
The root and stem are poisonous. The plant contains aristolochic acid, this has received rather mixed reports on its toxicity. According to one report aristolochic acid stimulates white blood cell activity and speeds the healing of wounds, but is also carcinogenic and damaging to the kidneys. Another report says that it is an active antitumour agent but is too toxic for clinical use. Another report says that aristolochic acid has anti-cancer properties and can be used in conjunction with chemotherapy and radiotherapy and that it also increases the cellular immunity and phagocytosis function of the phagocytic cells

Medicinal problems:
It was formerly used as a medicinal plant (though poisonous) and is now occasionally found established outside of its native range as a relic of cultivation. A recent study suggests that it is the cause for thousands of kidney failures in Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia and Croatia where the plant is unintentionally consumed through flour. This has been discovered after a clinic for obesity in Belgium used Aristolochiaceae as a diuretic, after a few months some of the subjects suffered from kidney carcinoma and kidney failure.

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.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aristolochia_clematitis
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Aristolochia%20clematitis
http://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Aristolochia_clematitis

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Asarum Europeaum, European Ginger

Botanical  Name: Asarum europaeum
Family:Aristolochiaceae
Common Plant Family: Birthwort
Kingdom: Plantae
Genus: Asarum
Species:A. europaeum

Synonym:Hexastylis europaea

Common Name: European Wild Ginger,       Asarabacca,   Hazelwort, and Wild spikenard

Hasbitat:Asarum europaeum has a wide distribution in Europe. It ranges from southern Finland and northern Russia south to southern France, Italy, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republic of Macedonia. It is absent from the British Isles and Scandinavia with the exception of southern Finland, and also from northwestern Germany and the Netherlands. Within Europe, the plant is grown outside of its range in the United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands.The plant grows in open woodland and waterside thickets, especially in beech woodlands.

Description:
.Asarum europaeum (European Ginger)is not a flashy plant, but it always holds its own in the garden.The plant is an evergreen  perennial  one  and has prostrate stems that each bear 2 reniform (i.e. kidney-shaped) leaves with long petioles. The upper surface of the leaves is shiny and they have a pepper-like taste and smell. There are also 2 to 3 stipules present that occur in two rows opposite each other on the stem. the flowers are solitary, terminal and nodding. The flower tube is composed of fused tepals that ends with 3 petal-like projections that are brownish towards their ends and dark purple toward the centre. There are 12 stamens present. The flowers emerge in the late winter and spring.. Unlike American wild ginger, European ginger has glossy, shiny(heart shaped) leaves.Leaves are thick and extra glossy. It grows as a low, slow creeping ground cover that sweeps around other plants, catches the light and reflects it up. The leaves are so shiny, everyone wants to reach down and touch it.
click to see the pictures.>……..(01).......(1).…...(2)……..(3).….……
The stems are 10-15 cm long. The leaves are petiolate and reniform and about 10 cm wide. It occurs mostly in deciduous woodland or coniferous forests, especially in calcareous soils. There are two recognised subspecies other than the type, including A. europaeum ssp. caucasicum, which is confined to the southwestern Alps, and A. europaeum ssp. italicum, which is found in central and northern Italy as well as in the Crna Gora mountains in former Jugoslavia. In former days, it was used in snuff and also medicinally as an emetic and cathartic. It is quite shade-tolerant and is often employed as a ground cover in gardens where little else will grow.
click to see
The newly emerging perennial  leaves are folded tightly in half and are a fresh green colour. The large, flat leaf in front is from last year. About half of the leaves remain on the plant from last season, some in good shape, and some not.

The purplish  brown flowers are usually hidden by the leaves and so are  not considered to be ornamental. Provide a moist soil with a pH in the 5.5 to 6.5 range.

Plant Height: 4-8 inches,
Environment: prefers full shade to partial shade or partial sun; soil should be moist
Bloom Colors: Purple

A handsome groundcover for shaded areas. Prefers rich organic soil that is slightly acidic.
Propagation: Propagation is by division in the spring.

Medicinal Uses:

Asarabacca has a long history of herbal use dating back at least to the time of the ancient Greeks, though it is little used in modern herbalism. The root, leaves and stems are cathartic, diaphoretic, emetic, errhine, sternutatory, stimulant and tonic. The plant has a strong peppery taste and smell. It is used in the treatment of affections of the brain, eyes, throat and mouth. When taken as a snuff, it produces a copious flow of mucous. The root is harvested in the spring and dried for later use. It is to be used with caution considering it’s toxicity. An essential oil in the root contains 50% asarone and is 65% more toxic than peppermint oil. This essential oil is the emetic and expectorant principle of the plant and is of value in the treatment of digestive tract lesions, silicosis, dry pharyngeal and laryngeal catarrh etc.

It has been substituted for Ipecac to produce vomiting. The French use it for this purpose after drinking too much wine. A little sniffed up the nostrils induces violent sneezing and a heavy flow of mucus. This has caused it to be used to remedy headache, drowsiness, giddiness, catarrhs, and other conditions caused by congestion. Asarabacca has been a component in many popular commercial medicinal snuffs.

Asarabacca has been extensively investigated, both chemically and pharmacologically. It is rich in flavonoids. The leaves contain a highly aromatic essential oil that contains constituents that verify the value of extracts as an errhine (for promotion of nasal secretion). Based on human experiments, the expectorant properties of both the roots and the leaves are quite good. In Rumania, human experiments where infusions of asarabacca were administered to people suffering pulmonary insufficiency, the preparations were said to have a beneficial effect on the heart condition, including a diuretic effect. From the types of irritant chemical compound known to be present in this plant, one would expect that catharsis would result from ingestion of extracts prepared from asarabacca. However, it is violent in its action.

Other Uses:....Dye.… A vibrant apple-green dye is obtained from plant. A useful ground cover for a shady position so long as it is not dry, spreading by its roots

Known Hazards: The plant is poisonous in large doses, the toxin is neutralized by drying.

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.aboutgardenplants.com/Asarum_europaeum.shtml
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/fp.php?pid=503939
http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/showimage/10291/

Asarum Europaeum with Glossy Foliage


http://www.piam.com/mms_garden/plants.html
http://web1.msue.msu.edu/imp/modzz/00000156.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asarum_europaeum

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Simple Secrets of Happiness

Being happy is really a choice we make. The secret of Happiness is simple, very simple – what is it?

You decide if you want to be happy!
We all strive for happiness in life. Like many, you probably think achievements such as education, marriage, family and social/financial status make you happy.

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However, studies of happiness in several countries have found that these achievements have little to do with your happiness. For millions of people, happiness has remained a rather elusive goal. They’ve tried to buy happiness.

They’ve sought it through materialistic and pleasurable activities such as buying a new SUV or going on vacation. But nothing has seemed to work. For most people these changes, new possessions or temporary pleasures, might work for a while but will eventually become part of your status quo, and their power to deliver happiness will fade.

Researchers now strongly believe that your brains is hard-wired in ways that, at least to some degree, determine just how happy you’re going to be. Some psychologists believe happiness is genetic. Other scientists say they may have located an important area of the brain where happiness is generated. As powerful as these genetic predispositions may be, happiness is still partly within your control, says David Myers, PhD, the John Dirk Werkman Professor of Psychology at Hope College in Holland, Mich. “It’s rather like our cholesterol level — genetically influenced, yet also influenced by our habits and attitudes.”

While these ideas are debated, you don’t have to wait to begin discovering happiness within yourself. You see happiness comes from your social relationships, enjoyable work, fulfillment, high self-esteem, a sense that your life has meaning, and joining civic and other groups.

Your life is sprinkled with ample opportunities for discovering happiness. Search for the small things that give you a little laugh or a smile. Take time to be with your family and friends. In the long run, these are the treasures that will enhance your happiness, not some grand achievements that only give you a lift for a short while.

One way to steer your life toward happiness is simply to count your blessings. Happy people know that they don’t get to be happy all the time. They can appreciate brief moments, little victories, small miracles, and the personal interactions that bring real happiness.

Research has proven that happy people live longer, are healthier, are more successful, enjoy more fulfilling relationships, earn more money, and are liked and respected more.

What is Happiness and How Do You Achieve It?

Happiness seems to be a selfish goal. Happiness doesn’t depend upon who you are or what you have; it depends solely upon what you think. So start each day by thinking of all the things you have to be thankful for. Your future depends very largely on the thoughts you think today. So think positive thoughts of hope, confidence, love and success. You can be happy if you are a productive and useful member of society, share with others and help unselfishly.

Most experts agree that there are no shortcuts to happiness. Even the happy people do not experience joy twenty-four hours a day. A happy person can have a bad day but still experience pleasure in the small things in life. If you’re not feeling happy today, fake it. In experiments, people who were manipulated to smile actually felt happier.

Don’t postpone happiness until you reach a certain goal, like getting a promotion or pay raise to go on vacation. Studies show that these effects are short-lived. Don’t focus on negative thoughts; balance that by consciously spending a few minutes every day thinking about the good things in your life. Like eating a balanced meal or getting enough rest, practice this everyday and, each day, try to extend the time you spend on positive thoughts.

Everybody has their own characteristics that lead them in different directions towards happiness. Perhaps, at best, these discussions are useful to provoke thoughts and reactions, which might help you to focus on what can be done to make your own life consistently happy.

Again, there is no rule or special formula that can make a person constantly happy. Instead, happiness comes from developing positive social relationships, enjoyable work, fulfillment, a sense that life has meaning, and joining civic and other social groups.

Take time to meditate, or say a prayer, thanking almighty God for all you have. A spiritual dimension is an essential component of happiness.

Can Money Buy You Happiness?
A lot of people share a fairly common misconception. They believe that having lots of money can make you happy. Some even say that the more money you have, the happier you can be. Others believe that having money is not spiritually or socially acceptable, and that money is the root cause of all evil.

Are any of these beliefs really true? To answer this question, begin by asking yourself what money means to you, and how do you treat it when you have it?

Depending on how it is used, money can create powerful, positive changes in the world. Having money allows us to function more easily in the world, it buys food, clothes, provides comfort in our lives and in the lives of others. However, because attachment to money is based on fear, it always creates insecurity.

The desire to have more money, and thereby feel more secure, never ends. Security can never come from money alone. Some of the people who have the most money are also the most insecure. Does this mean you must give up the desire to attain wealth?

Not necessarily.
In and of itself money is neither good nor bad. It is what we choose to do with money that determines if it will have a positive effect on others, society, the world, and ourselves.

So, it cannot be said that money is essential for happiness. But, most people recognize that money is important in the 21st Century because it can give people comfort and freedoms. But, does raising a nation’s income, as measured by gross domestic product (GDP), raise the population’s overall level of happiness?

Intuitively, you’d think the answer is a definite yes.

However, a survey conducted by The Wall Street Journal found otherwise. Other studies also show that, in many countries, “although economic output has risen steeply over the past decades, there has been no rise in life satisfaction and there has been a substantial increase in depression and distrust.”

For example, since World War II, GDP per capita in the U.S. has tripled, but life satisfaction (measured by surveys that ask something like, “overall, how satisfied are you with your life?”) has barely changed.

Also Japan and Western Europe had a tremendous rise in GDP per capita since 1958, yet measures of national happiness have been flat. One reason may be that a rising economy produces rising aspirations. There are many villages in the world where people do not own shoes but the people are extremely happy and friendly.

How to Bring Happiness in Your Life
“Don’t worry, be happy.” This sounds like such a simplistic phrase, but there is great power and wisdom in it. This tells us to focus on what we want rather than what we don’t want. When we focus on what we want, our actions take us nearer to our goals in life.

One way to guide your life toward happiness is simply to count your blessings. Dr. Myers points to research showing that people who pause each day to reflect on the positive aspects of their lives (for example, their health, friends, family, education, freedom) are more likely to experience positive feelings and happiness.

Principles of happiness.
1) Improve your relationships with friends and family – Happiness starts at home. Start by improving your relationship with your parents, brothers, sisters, and children. Smile when you greet them, do things for them, don’t allow them to get angry with you. Maintaining healthy loving relationships and friendships can promote happiness. Remember that love makes you beautiful.

2) Be an optimist – Optimism generates good feelings.

3) Develop a genuine smile and laugh a lot – Act happy – It works. Smile into the mirror for a half hour without stopping. Smiling makes you happy and the more you smile the more happy you become. We all like people who smile. It also makes us more attractive.

4) Pray – Become religious or spiritual – This only works if you believe in God. If you want to be happy then ask God to make you happy. Prayer helps you accomplish things.

5) Be generous and share with others – Give more than you receive because being generous will make you happy.

6) Treat time as a friend – Don’t watch the clock.

7) Exercise your mind – Keep yourself busy with some new project or ideas.

8) Work your body – Exercise regularly. Studies show that aerobic exercise is an antidote for mild depression and anxiety. “Happy minds reside in sound bodies,” says Dr. Myers.

9) Have fun in life – Keep cool under pressure.

10) Pursue achievable goals.

11) Have high confidence in yourself.

12) Respect the disadvantaged.

13) Age gracefully.

14) Give compliments – Take every opportunity to be complimentary. Want to make someone like you? Every time you meet a person smile and give them a compliment.

15) Be honest – With honesty comes openness. People respect honest and open minded people.

16) Keep an open mind – Most people seem to think that they know everything that they need to know. There’s plenty of wisdom to go around.

17) Treat difficulties as challenges –Life’s an adventure and every obstacle in life is one of its challenges. Treat life as a game. What fun would a game be if you could never lose?

Conclusion

Being happy is really a choice we make. The secret of Happiness is simple, very simple – what is it? You decide if you want to be happy! Happiness is free. You can feel happiness, this very minute, if you so choose.

If you continue to focus all your energy and attention on what you want, you’ll soon find yourself happy. Realize now that true happiness results from sharing generously of yourself, your mind, emotion and spirit, with all those who come in contact with you.

Be an optimist.
Do kind deeds for others unselfishly. Explore the deeper resources within you by praying to God from your heart. Through sincere prayer and mindful meditation you will attain the highest achievement in life – the discovery of your eternal happiness with God.

We need to set our goals wisely and to develop happy-thought strategies and to surround ourselves with encouraging and positive people.

Pursuing truth, wisdom and a virtuous life – or just getting on with the duties and chores of daily life at work and home, often brings happiness as a by-product. Every one’s ultimate goal is to bring happiness to all friends, family and all souls that come in contact with .

That will make both you and me happy!

(Taken From the writings of Darshan Goswami, M.S., PE)

Considering the fact that one of the more potent ways to optimize your health — creating more happiness in your life — beats disease naturally, why wouldn’t you want to do whatever you can to manifest positive emotions?

The good news is that you can learn to deal with, and process emotional trauma and setbacks naturally, spiritually, and without drugs, by making some changes to your attitude and your daily routine.

Happiness will not only protect your body from stressors that can lead to coronary heart disease down the road, but it can even boost your immune system’s ability to fight off the common cold.

How Do You Measure Happiness?

Happiness is actually a fairly popular topic of scientific evaluation. There are quite a few experts with views on what happiness is, and how you create, or sabotage your own happiness.

Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert is one such expert, whose research has found that you can ‘synthesize’ happiness. That you have a subconscious ‘psychological immune system’ that helps you change your views about your world, which leads to being more satisfied with what you have. And being “satisfied,” feeling that you have “enough,” will remove many of your negative energy drains.

Are you satisfied with “enough”? Then you’re probably already happier than most.

Another take is that by British psychologist, Adrian White with the University of Leicester, who published the first “world map of happiness  in 2007.

Based on a compilation of data from more than 100 studies in the field of happiness research, Denmark comes out at the top as the happiest nation out of 178 countries, followed by Switzerland and Austria, with the United States ranking in 23rd place.

White, A. (2007). A Global Projection of Subjective Well-being: A Challenge To Positive Psychology? Psychtalk 56, 17-20.

This map rates happiness based on a subjective “state of well-being” (SWB), conceptualized as a sense of satisfaction with your life, both in general and in specific areas such as relationships, health and work.

It is immediately evident that there is an effect of poverty on levels of SWB. However, White’s research found that SWB correlated most strongly with health, closely followed by wealth and access to basic education.

The fact that the U.S. ranked lower than countries like Iceland and Bhutan can perhaps be explained by our tragically flawed healthcare system with its excessive over-medicating, which has led to an epidemic of poor health, effectively reducing your state of well-being and overall happiness.

Tying Happiness to Your Personal Mission
For most people, it is very difficult to define what truly makes you happy. So I want to reiterate a definition that you can grasp and apply to your life with greater ease.

Happiness can be identified as “whatever gets you excited.” Happiness is that which makes you jump out of bed in the morning with eager anticipation to start your day. Once you identify that activity, whatever it is, you can start focusing your mind around that so you can structure you life to do more of it.

Personally, my happiness is tied to my mission to catalyze the change of the entire fatally flawed health paradigm. This is what makes me greatly anticipate every morning, and it is the driving force that allows me to truly enjoy the extensive hours of my “work” weeks.

Health + Happiness = Your Best Life

Health and happiness are indeed intertwined, and if good health promotes happiness, and vice versa, then you can optimize both by limiting your options to the basics — that which is natural — and realizing there’s no “magic pill” for either.

In reality, you only need to focus on a few very basic things to optimize your health, which will spill over into increased feelings of happiness and well being:

1.Address emotional traumas and practice gratitude
2.Get optimal sun exposure
3.Drink pure water
4.Avoid toxins
5.Eat the right fats
6.Eat right for your Nutritional Type
7.Eat raw foods – Avoid sugar and processed foods
8.Control your insulin and leptin
9.Exercise
10.Sleep properly

Begin to see your life as one whole, where you indeed have the power to affect change in each and every area, and remember that positive changes in one field of activity affects all the others, and you’ll be well on your way to creating the life you deserve; one of health, physical and emotional well being, and personal purpose.

(Taken from Dr. Mercola’s Comments on Happiness)

Blackcurrant

Botanical Name: Ribes nigrum
Family: Grossulariaceae
Genus: Ribes
Species:R. nigrum
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:Saxifragales

Common Name: Blackcurrant

Other Names: European Black Currant, Quinsy Berries

Habitat : Black Currant is native to temperate parts of central and northern Europe and northern Asia where it prefers damp fertile soils and is widely cultivated both commercially and domestically. It is cultivated throughout Finland, and other places of the world. It also grows in the wild.

Description:   Blackcurrant is a medium sized shrub, growing to 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) by 1.5 metres (4.9 ft). The leaves are alternate, simple, 3 to 5 cm (1.2 to 2.0 in) broad and long with five palmate lobes and a serrated margin. All parts of the plant are strongly aromatic. The flowers are produced in racemes known as “strig”s up to 8 cm (3 in) long containing ten to twenty flowers, each about 8 mm (0.3 in) in diameter. Each flower has a hairy calyx with yellow glands, the five lobes of which are longer than the inconspicuous petals. There are five stamens surrounding the stigma and style and two fused carpels. The flowers open in succession from the base of the strig and are mostly insect pollinated, but some pollen is distributed by the wind. A pollen grain landing on a stigma will germinate and send a slender pollen tube down the style to the ovule. In warm weather this takes about 48 hours but in cold weather it may take a week, and by that time, the ovule may have passed the stage where it is receptive. If fewer than about 35 ovules are fertilised, the fruit may not be able to develop and will fall prematurely. Frost can damage both unopened and open flowers when the temperature falls below -1.9 °C (28.5 °F). The flowers at the base of the strig are more protected by the foliage and are less likely to be damaged.

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In midsummer the green fruit ripens to an edible berry up to 1 cm in diameter, very dark purple in colour, almost black, with a glossy skin and a persistent calyx at the apex, and containing several seeds dense in nutrients (notably Vitamin C). An established bush can produce about 4.5 kilograms (10 pounds) of fruit each year.


Cultivation and uses

The fruit have a high natural vitamin C content. Like the other true currants (not to be confused with the Zante currant, a type of grape which is often dried), it is classified in the genus Ribes.

In addition to the high levels of vitamin C, studies have also shown concentrated blackcurrant to be an effective Monoamine oxidase inhibitor (Bormann, et al. 1991.) Fifty grams of 5.5X concentrate was found to inhibit 92% of the Monoamine oxidase enzymes. Blackcurrant seed oil is a rich source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), a very rare essential fatty acid.

When not in fruit, the plant looks very similar to the redcurrant shrub; they may be distinguished by the strong odour of the leaves and stems of the blackcurrant.

In Russia, it is common to infuse slightly sweetened vodka with blackcurrant leaves, making a deep yellowish-green beverage with a sharp flavour and an astringent taste[citation needed]. Blackcurrant berries can also be used to flavour vodka. In the UK, blackcurrant juice is often mixed with Cider to make a drink called Cider Black. This drink can be ordered at most pubs. It is also believed that adding a small amount of blackcurrant to Guinness will bring out a sweeter taste in the beer, making it a better beverage in some beer-drinkers’ opinions.

Blackcurrants have a very sweet and sharp taste. They are made into jelly, jam, juice, ice cream, cordial and liqueur. In the UK, Europe and Commonwealth countries, some types of confectionery include a blackcurrant flavour, but this is generally missing in the United States, even within the same brand. Instead grape flavour in candy (including grape jelly) almost mirrors the use of blackcurrant in both its ubiquity in the USA, and its rarity on the eastern side of the Atlantic.

The juicy berry is dark, purple-black in colour and highly fragrant and aromatic. It tastes slightly sour, but much sweeter (and better) than red or white currant. In Finland, blackcurrants are mainly used to make jellies, jams and juices, or used in various desserts. They are also eaten fresh, with sugar. The fragrant leaves are used to flavour vegetable preserves, especially pickled or salted cucumbers. Blackcurrants are high in vitamins C and B and hot blackcurrant juice is an old trusted cold remedy.

It may be small, but the mighty blackcurrant is bursting with more health promoting antioxidants than most other fruit and vegetables, including blueberries!

It’s the special antioxidants called anthocyanins, which give blackcurrants their distinctive dark colour. British blackcurrants are grown and bred especially for their deep colour, which makes them extra good for you. The Blackcurrant Foundation has been established by British growers to raise awareness of the numerous health benefits of British blackcurrants.

On this site you will find everything you need to know about this small, but great British fruit!

Blackcurrants are one of the richest sources of vitamin C – weight for weight they contain four times as much as oranges. Blackcurrants are also a rich source of potassium but very little sodium which makes them beneficial in the treatment of high blood pressure and water retention. Their skins contain anthocyanosides an anti-bacterial pigment which is good for sore throats.

Healthy Foods For Good Nutrition and Weight Control
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History:
During World War II most fruits rich in vitamin C, such as oranges, became almost impossible to obtain in the United Kingdom. Since blackcurrant berries are a rich source of vitamin C and blackcurrant plants are suitable for growing in the UK climate, blackcurrant cultivation was encouraged by the British government. Soon, the yield of the nation’s crop increased significantly. From 1942 on almost the entire British blackcurrant crop was made into blackcurrant syrup (or cordial) and distributed to the nation’s children free, giving rise to the lasting popularity of blackcurrant flavourings in Britain.

Blackcurrants were once popular in the United States as well, but they became extremely rare in the 20th century after currant farming was banned in the early 1900s. The ban was enacted when it was discovered that blackcurrants helped to spread the tree disease White Pine Blister Rust, which was thought to threaten the then-booming U.S. lumber industry .

The federal ban on growing currants was shifted to individual States’ jurisdiction in 1966. The ban was lifted in New York State in 2003 as a result of the efforts of Greg Quinn and The Currant Company and currant growing is making a comeback in several states including Vermont, New York, Connecticut and Oregon.[2] However, several statewide bans still exist including Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Since the federal ban ceased currant production anywhere in the U.S., the fruit is not well-known and has yet to reach the popularity that it had in the U.S. in the 19th century or that it currently has in Europe and the UK. The first nationally available black currant beverage in the U.S. since the ban was lifted in many states is a powerful health-food nectar under the brand name CurrantC. Since black currants are a strong source of antioxidants and vitamins (much like pomegranate juice), awareness and popularity are once again growing in the U.S.

Cooking

Other than being juiced and used in jellies, syrups, and cordials, blackcurrants are used in cooking because their astringent nature brings out the flavour in many sauces and meat dishes and lends them to desserts. It was once thought that currants needed to be “topped and tailed” (the stalk and flower-remnants removed) before cooking. This however is not the case as these parts are easily assimilated during the cooking process. If one prefers to do this, however, the blackcurrants can be frozen, then shaken vigorously. The tops and tails are broken off and can be separated easily from the fruit.

Meditional Uses:

Blackcurrant fruits are a good source of minerals and vitamins, especially vitamin C. They have diuretic and diaphoretic actions, help to increase bodily resistance to infections and are a valuable remedy for treating colds and flu. The juice, especially when fresh or vacuum-sealed, helps to stem diarrhea and calms indigestion.

The leaves are cleansing, diaphoretic and diuretic. By encouraging the elimination of fluids they help to reduce blood volume and thereby lower blood pressure. An infusion is used in the treatment of dropsy, rheumatic pain and whooping cough, and can also be used externally on slow-healing cuts and abscesses. It can be used as a gargle for sore throats and mouth ulcers. The leaves are harvested during the growing season and can be used fresh or dried. French research has shown that blackcurrant leaves increase the secretion of cortisol by the adrenal glands, and thus stimulate the activity of the sympathetic nervous system. This action may prove useful in the treatment of stress-related conditions.

An infusion of the young roots is useful in the treatment of eruptive fevers. A decoction of the bark has been found of use in the treatment of calculus, dropsy and hemorrhoidal tumors. The seed is a source of gamma-linolenic acid, an unsaturated fatty acid which assists the production of hormone-like substances. This process is commonly blocked in the body, causing disorders that affect the uterine muscles, nervous system and metabolism. There are no records of the oil from this species being used medicinally, though it is used in cosmetic preparations.

In Europe the leaves have traditionally been used for arthritis, spasmodic cough, diarrhea, as a diuretic and for treating a sore throat. The berries were made into a drink thought to be beneficial for treatment of colds and flu, for other fevers, for diaphoresis and as a diuretic. In traditional Austrian medicine, Ribes nigrum fruits have been used internally (consumed whole or as a syrup) for treatment of infections and disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, the locomotor system, the respiratory tract and the cardiovascular system.

Blackcurrants prevent heart disease, cancer

Other uses:
The plant has various other uses. Blackcurrant seed oil is an ingredient in cosmetics and skin preparations, often in combination with vitamin E. The leaves can be extracted to yield a yellow dye and the fruit is a source for a blue or violet dye. The leaves have been used to assist in keeping vegetables fresh.

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.blackcurrantfoundation.co.uk/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackcurrant

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