Herbs & Plants

Crataegus aestivalis

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Botanical Name : Crataegus aestivalis
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Crataegus
Series: Aestivales
Species:C. aestivalis
Order: Rosales

*Crataegus  cerasoides Sarg.
*Crataegus fruticosa Sarg.
*Crataegus luculenta Sarg.
*Crataegus  maloides Sarg.
*Crataegus monantha Sarg.
*Mespilus aestivalis Walter

Common Names: Eastern Mayhaw, May hawthorn, Mayhaw, Apple Hawthorn

Habitat :Crataegus aestivalis is native to south-eastern N. AmericaNorth Carolina to Mississippi. It is found on the outer coastal plain in seasonally flooded depressions, in floodplains or in uplands. It is commonly found in river swamps, pond areas, and along stream banks.
Crataegus aestivalis is a deciduous Shrub growing to a height of 30 feet with a rounded canopy that spreads to 35 feet or more. The dark green, deciduous leaves are often three-lobed and have red/brown undersides. The leaves display no appreciable fall color. The sparkling white, showy springtime flowers appear before the new leaves unfurl and are followed by the production of large, red-dotted fruits. The spreading, low branching habit of growth makes this best suited for planting in a large open area of turf.


It is not frost tender. It is in flower in March, and the seeds ripen from May to June. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Midges.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid soils.

It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist or wet soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.It can tolerate atmospheric pollution.

A very easily grown plant, it prefers a well-drained moisture retentive loamy soil but is not at all fussy. Once established, it succeeds in excessively moist soils and also tolerates drought. It grows well on a chalk soil and also in heavy clay soils. It thrives in acid soils. A position in full sun is best when plants are being grown for their fruit, they also succeed in semi-shade though fruit yields and quality will be lower in such a position. It succeeds well in exposed positions and tolerates atmospheric pollution. A very hardy species, tolerating temperatures down to about -30°c. This species is closely related to C. opaca and is included in that species by some botanists. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. Seedling trees take from 5 – 8 years before they start bearing fruit, though grafted trees will often flower heavily in their third year. The flowers have a foetid smell somewhat like decaying fish. This attracts midges which are the main means of fertilization. When freshly open, the flowers have more pleasant scent with balsamic undertones[245]. Seedlings should not be left in a seedbed for more than 2 years without being transplanted. Occasionally cultivated for its fruit in America, there are some named varieties. Special Features:North American native, Attractive flowers or blooms.
Seed – this is best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame, some of the seed will germinate in the spring, though most will probably take another year. Stored seed can be very slow and erratic to germinate, it should be warm stratified for 3 months at 15°c and then cold stratified for another 3 months at 4°c. It may still take another 18 months to germinate. Scarifying the seed before stratifying it might reduce this time. Fermenting the seed for a few days in its own pulp may also speed up the germination process. Another possibility is to harvest the seed ‘green’ (as soon as the embryo has fully developed but before the seedcoat hardens) and sow it immediately in a cold frame. If timed well, it can germinate in the spring. If you are only growing small quantities of plants, it is best to pot up the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow them on in individual pots for their first year, planting them out in late spring into nursery beds or their final positions. When growing larger quantities, it might be best to sow them directly outdoors in a seedbed, but with protection from mice and other seed-eating creatures. Grow them on in the seedbed until large enough to plant out, but undercut the roots if they are to be left undisturbed for more than two years.
Edible Uses:
Fruit – raw or cooked. Juicy and acid with a pleasant flavour. It is up to 2cm in diameter. The fruit is frequently used and much prized in parts of southern N. America where it is often gathered in quantity from the wild. Its acid flavour makes it a favourite for preserves and jellies. The fruit can also be dried for later use. There are up to five fairly large seeds in the centre of the fruit, these often stick together and so the effect is of eating a cherry-like fruit with a single seed.
Medicinal Uses:
Cardiotonic; Hypotensive.

Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, the fruits and flowers of many hawthorns are well-known in herbal folk medicine as a heart tonic and modern research has borne out this use. The fruits and flowers have a hypotensive effect as well as acting as a direct and mild heart tonic. They are especially indicated in the treatment of weak heart combined with high blood pressure. Prolonged use is necessary for it to be efficacious. It is normally used either as a tea or a tincture.

Other Uses:
Shelterbelt; Soil stabilization; Wood.

Because it tolerates a wide variety of sites, this species can be used to stabilize banks, for shelterbelts, and to give protection from wind and water erosion. Wood – heavy, hard and strong, but not large enough for commercial use. Useful for making tool handles, mallets and other small items.

Landscape Uses:Border, Espalier, Pollard, Specimen, Street tree.

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.

Herbs & Plants

Acacia decurrens

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Botanical Name: Acacia decurrens
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Acacia
Species: A. decurrens
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

 Synonyms:  Mimosa decurrens.

Common Names: Acacia bark, Early black wattle, Green wattle, Sydney wattle, Wattle bark, Tan wattle, Golden teak, or Brazilian teak

Habitat : Acacia decurrens is native to eastern New South Wales, including Sydney, the Greater Blue Mountains Area, the Hunter Region, and south west to the Australian Capital Territory
It grows naturally in woodlands and dry sclerophyll forests in New South Wales, with associated trees such as Eucalyptus punctata and E. crebra. In areas where it has become naturalised, Sydney green wattle (Acacia decurrens) is generally found on roadsides, along creeklines and in waste areas. It also grows in disturbed sites nearby bushlands and open woodlands.

Despite its invasive nature, it has not been declared a noxious weed by any state or Australian government body
Acacia decurrens is a fast-growing tree, reaching anywhere from 2 to 15 m (7-50 ft) high. The bark is brown to dark grey colour and smooth to deeply fissured longitudinally with conspicuous intermodal flange marks. The branchlets have longitudinal ridges running along them that are unique to the species.   Young foliage tips are yellow. .


Alternately arranged leaves with dark green on both side. Stipules are either small or none. Base of petiole swollen to form the pulvinus. Leaf blade is bipinnate. Rachis is 20-120mm long, angular and hairless. 15-45 pairs of widely spaced small leaflets (pinnules) are connected each other and 5-15 mm long by 0.4-1 mm wide, straight, parallel sided, pointed tip, tapering base, shiny and hairless or rarely sparsely hairy leaves.

The small yellow or golden-yellow flowers are very cottony in appearance and are densely attached to the stems in each head with 5-7 mm long and 60-110 mm long axillary raceme or terminal panicle. They are bisexual and fragrant. The flowers have five petals and sepals and numerous conspicuous stamens. Ovary is superior and has only one carpel with numerous ovules.

Flowering is followed by the seed pods, which are ripe over November to January.

Dark brown or reddish brown to black colour of the seed are located inside of parallel sided, flattish, smooth pod. They are 20-105 mm long by 4-8.5 mm wide with edges. Seed opens by two valves. Pods are initially hairy but they become hairless when they grow.

Cultivation  &  propagation :
Acacia decurrens adapts easily to cultivation and grows very quickly. It can be used as a shelter or specimen tree in large gardens and parks. The tree can look imposing when in flower.Cultivation of A. decurrens can be started by soaking the seeds in warm water and sowing them outdoors. The seeds keep their ability to germinate for many years.

Fieldwork conducted in the Southern Highlands found that the presence of bipinnate wattles (either as understory or tree) was related to reduced numbers of noisy miners, an aggressive species of bird that drives off small birds from gardens and bushland, and hence recommended the use of these plants in establishing green corridors and revegetation projects.

Edible Uses:
The flowers are edible and are used in fritters. An edible gum oozing from the tree’s trunk can be used as a lesser-quality substitute for gum arabic, for example in the production of fruit jelly.
Flowers – cooked. Rich in pollen, they are often used in fritters. A gum that exudes naturally from the trunk is edible and is used as a substitute for Gum Arabic in making jellies etc. It is insoluble in water and is of low quality. Larger quantities can be obtained by tapping the trunk. Some species produce a gum that is dark and is liable to be astringent and distasteful, but others produce a light gum and this is sweet and pleasant. It can be sucked like candy or soaked in water to make a jelly. The gum can be warmed when it becomes soft and chewable .

Constituents: Acacia Bark contains from 24 to 42 per cent. of tannin and also gallic acid. Its powerful astringency causes it to be extensively employed in tanning.

Medicinal Uses:
Strongly astringent, babul is used to contract and toughen mucous membranes throughout the body in much the same way as witch hazel or oak bark does. Babul may be made into a variety of preparations: for instance, a lotion for bleeding gums, a gargle for sore throats, a wash for eczema, an eyewash for conjunctivitis and other eye problems, and a douche for excessive vaginal discharge. The herb is taken internally to treat diarrhea, mainly in the form of a decoction. In Ayurvedic medicine, babul is considered a remedy that is helpful for treating premature ejaculation. .
Other Uses:
Uses for it include chemical products, environmental management, and wood. The bark contains about 37-40% tannin. The flowers are used to produce yellow dye, and the seed pods are used to produce green dye. An organic chemical compound called kaempferol gives the flowers of Acacia decurrens their color. It has been grown for firewood, or as a fast-growing windbreak or shelter tree. The extensive root system of this plant helps to prevent soil erosion.
A yellow dye is obtained from the flowers. A green dye is obtained from the seed pods. The extensive root system of this plant helps to prevent soil erosion. Often grown as a screen in Australia.

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.



Near-Death Experience

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Researchers at the University of Southampton are conducting a study of near-death experiences.

Some people who have experienced near-death report seeing a tunnel or bright light, while others recall looking down from the ceiling at medical staff.


People who experience near-death often see a bright light

BBC News website readers have been sending in their stories.
A few years ago I was knocked of my cycle at a roundabout. The next 15 minutes are missing but I was aware that the light was blindingly pure and a richer blue than I have ever seen. I was surrounded by trees in reality, but the light was astounding and there was no noise whatsoever, there were no thoughts in my head, just wanting to be in the light. Then I realised that there was a person who I believed was my guardian angel. She was so tall that she could literally touch the sky, her body went on forever. She kept repeating “don’t touch your head, don’t touch your head”. I did and suddenly pain and reality returned and I was aware of all that was going on. I was so sad because the light was gone and the guardian angel in reality was a lady who had stopped to help and she was not tall.
Jane, Bracknell, Berkshire, United Kingdom

I was involved in a head-to-head car accident a year ago, which caused me to lose consciousness and black out. I was taken to the hospital and was under cardiac arrest for 14 minutes. I remember vaguely seeing myself walking through a field with my deceased brother James. It felt like only a moment before I “awoke” in which I felt extreme pain shoot up through my entire body. I have now recovered but I still keep that memory with me.
Betsy Cromer, Boston, United States

I had an operation during which I was pumped with antibiotics that I was allergic to. I recall my soul slowly rising to the ceiling in the hospital and out of my body. My sisters were on either side of the bed begging the doctors to do something. As my body continued to rise a doctor gave me an injection. My soul (I believe) then began to lower itself back into my body. The following day I explained this to the doctor and he confirmed I had a near-death experience.
Gary Williams, London, United Kingdom

Several days before my wife died she had a cardiac arrest from which she was recovered. She told me that she was up against the ceiling watching the medical team working to save her. She found herself reflecting that she was leaving me and her daughter and made the tremendous conscious effort to come back to stay with us. But, she said, if it happened again she might not have the strength to return. Three days later it did and she didn’t.
Gerard Mulholland, Paris, France

In the early 1980s I was overcome by carbon monoxide fumes from an electricity generator. I was rushed to Winchester hospital where my life was saved by a blood gas spectrum analyser. Meanwhile, I was going through a dark tunnel with beautiful lights and flowers at the end – with wonderful organ music! I didn’t have a care in the world. Suddenly I stopped going through the tunnel and an American voice was shouting at me saying something like, “you’re not going to die you bastard – it’s not your time’! Apparently, when I woke up the young American doctor was surprised when I asked him, ‘Do all Angels have American accents?’ Rob, Bournemouth, Dorset, United Kingdom

I had a heart attack, considerable pain and discomfort. My wife called 911. They arrived, loaded me into an ambulance and proceeded to the emergency room. My memory is that about a mile from home I went to sleep and began to dream. It was quite pleasant. There was a group of people talking and interacting pleasantly. I recognised no one but there was a purple tint to everything. I “woke up” just before we arrived at the emergency room. I told the EMTs that I had been napping. I was astonished that there were contact pads on me and my shirt had been cut off. They informed me I had flatlined. I can’t describe it but what I experienced left me with a sense of peace and possibly less of a fear of dying.
Larry Huffman, Newton, NC, United States

I fell off a ledge backwards and hit my head and back on a rocky ground, when I was travelling in rural Laos a few years ago. I recall vividly seeing the back of my travelling companion’s head, bending over me. And I remember feeling annoyed at him – because he didn’t seem to be doing much to assist me. Then I opened my eyes, and saw him from the ‘normal’ angle.
Michele Legge, Canberra, Australia

Having worked as a nurse in a Critical Care Unit for 10 years, I have spoken with several patients directly after their near-death experiences. They all describe going down a brightly lit tunnel and experiencing complete peace and tranquillity. This is then followed by being pushed back down the tunnel again back to their bodies. One lady explained how she returned to her body, she then felt terrified for a few minutes because she could see the medical staff and got the impression they thought she was dead.
Shirley Learthart, Hastings, United Kingdom

Sources: BBC NEWS:Sept. 19, ’08

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