Tag Archives: Capsicum annuum

Capsicum annuum

Botanical Name : Capsicum annuum
Family: Solanaceae
Genus: Capsicum
Species: C. annuum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Solanales

Common Name:Cayenne,Sweet Pepper

Habitat :Probably native of the Tropics, but the original habitat is obscure.

Description:
Capsicum annuum is an evergreen Perennial growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 1 m (3ft 3in). The single flowers are an off-white (sometimes purplish) color while the stem is densely branched and up to 60 centimetres (24 in) tall. The fruit is a berry and may be green, yellow or red when ripe.[6] While the species can tolerate most climates, C. annuum is especially productive in warm and dry climates.
It is hardy to zone 9 and is frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Jul to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)

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

Cultivation :     
Requires a very warm sunny position and a fertile well-drained soil. Prefers a light sandy soil that is slightly acid[201]. Tolerates a pH in the range 4.3 to 8.3. Plants can tolerate a small amount of frost, but this species does not normally do well outdoors in an average British summer and so it is usually grown in a greenhouse in this country. However, if a very warm sheltered position outdoors is chosen then reasonable crops could be obtained in good summers. This species is widely grown throughout the world, but especially in warm temperate to tropical climates, for its edible fruit – the sweet and chilli peppers. There are many named varieties. There are five basic forms of fruits, each form having various varieties. These forms are:- Cerasiforme. These have small cherry-shaped pungent fruits. Conioides. These fruits are cone-shaped and up to 5cm long. Many of them are grown as ornamentals, but some are also cultivated for food.. Fasciculatum. Also cone-shaped, but with pungent red fruits up to 7.5cm long. Grossum. These are the sweet peppers with large bell-shaped fruits and thick flesh. Longum. These are the cultivated hot cayenne and chilli peppers with long thin fruits up to 30cm long. The pungency of peppers depends upon the presence of a single gene, cultivars that lack this gene are the sweet peppers. A short-lived evergreen perennial in the tropics, though the plants are grown as annuals in temperate zones. Sweet pepper plants are good companions for basil and okra. They should not be grown near apricot trees, however, because a fungus that the pepper is prone to can cause a lot of harm to the apricot tree.

Propagation :    
Seed – sow late winter to early spring in a warm greenhouse. The seed usually germinates in 3 – 4 weeks at 20°c. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots of reasonably rich soil and grow them on fast. If trying them outdoors, then plant them out after the last expected frosts and give them the protection of a cloche or frame at least until they are established and growing away well.

Edible Uses :
The species is a source of popular sweet peppers and hot chilis with numerous varieties cultivated all around the world.

In British English, the sweet varieties are called red or green peppers and the hot varieties chillies, whereas in Australian and Indian English the name capsicum is commonly used for bell peppers exclusively and chilli is often used to encompass the hotter varieties. Americans call the sweet types “peppers” and the hot ones “chili peppers” or “chilies” (sometimes spelled “chiles”).

Sweet peppers are very often used as a bulking agent in ready-made meals and take-away food, because they are cheap, have a strong flavour, and are colorful. The colorful aspect of peppers increases the visual appeal of the food, making it more appetizing. Foods containing peppers, especially chili peppers, often have a strong aftertaste due to the presence of capsinoids in peppers. Capsaicin, a chemical found in chili peppers, creates a burning sensation once ingested, which can last for several hours after ingestion.

Medicinal Uses:
Antidiarrhoeal;  Antiemetic;  Antihaemorrhoidal;  Antirheumatic;  Antispasmodic;  Appetizer;  Digestive;  Irritant;  Rubefacient;  Sialagogue.

The fruit of the hot, pungent cultivars is antihaemorrhoidal when taken in small amounts, antirheumatic, antiseptic, diaphoretic, digestive, irritant, rubefacient, sialagogue and tonic. It is taken internally in the treatment of the cold stage of fevers, debility in convalescence or old age, varicose veins, asthma and digestive problems. Externally it is used in the treatment of sprains, unbroken chilblains, neuralgia, pleurisy etc. It is an effective sea-sickness preventative. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Capsicum for muscular tension, rheumatism (see [302] for critics of commission

Hot peppers are used in medicine as well as food in Africa and other places around the world.

English botanist John Lindley described C. annuum on page 509 of his 1838 ‘Flora Medica’ thus:

“ It is employed in medicine, in combination with Cinchona in intermittent and lethargic affections, and also in atonic gout, dyspepsia accompanied by flatulence, tympanitis, paralysis etc. Its most valuable application appears however to be in cynanche maligna (acute diphtheria) and scarlatina maligna (malignent Scarlet fever, used either as a gargle or administered internally.) ”

*In ayurvedic medicine, C. annuum is classified as follows:

*Gunna (properties) – ruksh (dry), laghu (light) and tikshan (sharp)

*Rasa dhatu (taste) – katu (pungent)

*Virya (potency) – ushan (hot)

Other Uses:
Some cultivars grown specifically for their aesthetic value include the U.S. National Arboretum‘s Black Pearl  and the Bolivian Rainbow. Ornamental varieties tend to have unusually coloured fruit and foliage with colors such as black and purple being notable. All are edible, and most (like Royal Black) are hot.

Known Hazards   Pungent-fruited peppers may cause painful irritation when used in excess, or after accidental contact with the eyes. Although no reports have been seen for this species, many plants in this family produce toxins in their leaves. The sap of the plant can cause the skin to blister.  Avoid in patients taking monoamine oxidase inhibitor antidepressants and antihypertensive drugs

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/Capsicum_annuum
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Capsicum+annuum

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Capsicum minimum

Botanical Name: Capsicum minimum, Capsicum spp
Family: Solanaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Genus: Capsicum
Species: C. annuum

Synonyms: C.fastigiatum (Bl.), African chillies, chillies, red pepper, bird pepper, capsicum, hot pepper, Tabasco pepper

Common Names: African Pepper, Bird’s Eye Chilli, Bird Pepper, Cocksbur Pepper, Guinea Pepper, Spanish Pepper, Zanzibar Pepper

Habitat :This small erect shrub is indigenous to tropical America and cultivated in South America and Africa.

Description:
It is a perennial plant in its native America but is annual when cultivated outside tropical zones. Growing to a height of 1m or more, its glabrous stem is woody at the bottom and branched near the top. The leaves are ovate to lanceolate, entire and petioled. The drooping, white to yellow flowers grow alone or in pairs or threes between April and September. The ripe fruit, or pepper, is a many-seeded pod with a leathery outside in various shades of red or yellow.

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The single flowers are an off-white (sometimes purplish) color while the stem is densely branched and up to 60 centimetres (24 in) tall. The fruit is a berry and may be green, yellow or red when ripe. While the species can tolerate most climates, Capsicum minimum is especially productive in warm and dry climates.

Constituents: an alkaloid (capsaicin), carotenoids (capsanthine, capsorubin), flavonoids, volatile oil, vitamins A, B and C, steroidal saponins (capsicidons), sugars, fatty acids.

Edible Uses:
The species is a source of popular sweet peppers and hot chilis with numerous varieties cultivated all around the world.
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In British English, the sweet varieties are called red or green peppers and the hot varieties chillies, whereas in Australian and Indian English the name capsicum is commonly used for bell peppers exclusively and chilli is often used to encompass the hotter varieties. Americans call the sweet types “peppers” and the hot ones “chili peppers” or “chilies” (sometimes spelled “chiles”).

Sweet peppers are very often used as a bulking agent in ready-made meals and take-away food, because they are cheap, have a strong flavour, and are colorful. The colorful aspect of peppers increases the visual appeal of the food, making it more appetizing. Foods containing peppers, especially chili peppers, often have a strong aftertaste due to the presence of capsinoids in peppers. Capsaicin, a chemical found in chili peppers, creates a burning sensation once ingested, which can last for several hours after ingestion.

Medicinal Uses:
carminative, spasmolytic, stimulant, diaphoretic; externally as a rubefacient, counter-irritant and antiseptic.
It is used in  flatulent dyspepsia in the absence of inflammation, colic, insufficiency of the peripheral circulation; as a gargle for chronic laryngitis; externally for neuralgia, rheumatic pain and unbroken chilblains.

Capsicum is a good general tonic, specific for the circulatory and digestive system. It regulates blood flow and strengthens the heart, arteries, capillaries and nerves. It improves arterial blood supply to the tissues and toxin removal. It is a strong circulatory stimulant,  appearing to reinforce the action of certain prostaglandins, thereby increasing the flow of blood through all the tissues of the body and producing a diaphoretic effect. Capsaicin is known to mimic the effect of some of the prostaglandins. It desensitizes the sensory nerve endings to pain stimulation by depleting Substance P from the nervous system, which is the basis for its use as a local analgesic, and recent research suggests that cayenne can ease the severe pain of shingles and migraine. It is also used in digestive debility and flatulent dyspepsia in the absence of inflammation. The addition of Capsicum to a prescription will ensure that the other ingredients quickly reach all tissues even where there is poor circulation.

Applied externally it stimulates increased circulation within the subdermal tissues, reducing the need for the body to invoke the inflammatory response. It is therefore of benefit as a rubefacient for neuralgia and rheumatic pains. The ointment also helps to heal unbroken chilblains.

Hot, stimulating Cayenne peppers are like a jump start to a cold car engine on a frosty morning. It brings welcome life into sore muscles and get your heart beating faster, increasing the flow of blood all through the body. The heat of cayenne warms stiff arthritic joints and relaxes away low back pain.  The longer you use it, the better it works. Cayenne works very well for me, I use it every day, sometimes twice a day, for arthritis stiffness, sore muscles, and low back pain. Cayenne infused oil does not burn my skin as much as capsaicin creams. Cayenne salves and oils are my first recommendation to anyone who has problems with pain, however cayenne has many other varied uses that make it one of the most powerful remedies in your kitchen medicine cabinet.

Cayenne for Pain relief  Cayenne pepper extracts are an important part of herbal treatment for muscle pain, fibromyalgia, arthritis, and the nerve pain caused by shingles and sciatica.101 It appears to act by decreasing the concentration of substance P, the primary chemical used by nerve cells to transmit pain signals. It takes repeated use over a period of at least a few weeks to feel this benefit. Cayenne is also rich in salicylates, natural aspirin like compounds, which add to its analgesic nature. 102 Cayenne pepper balms, oils and creams are rubefacients,which means it warms the body by quickly dilating small capillaries, and  increasing circulation,  which reddens, (but does not burn) the skin. This increased circulation is the hallmark of cayenne’s effect on the body, it stimulates the heart, and the lungs as well as increasing blood circulation and warmth throughout the whole system.

Cayenne Pepper Diet: Adding cayenne to your diet plan is a no-brainer. Cayenne, along with other peppers strengthen digestion and lessen the change of bacterial infections from unsanitary food and water. Cayenne peppers also lessen the gas and bloating that comes from eating heavy, greasy foods. Cayenne helps boost your metabolism and induces the body to burn off more fat. Eating more hot spicy foods will help decrease appetite and increase satiety, so you are inclined to eat less. Seasoning with pepper lessens the need for salt and fat in cooking without sacrificing flavor.

Psoriasis Treatment: Capsaicin, the most potent constituent of cayenne, has been shown to be effective in treating the symptoms of psoriasis. Treatment does produce burning sensations, which are normal and decrease with repeated use. If you buy OTC products look for one that contains menthol, it will help relieve the itching as well. A 1999 study found that treatment with capsaicin caused a marked decrease in psoriasis activity and decreased formation of new skin plaques. 103

Heart Health: Cayenne is considered to be a valuable heart tonic. These hot peppers contain capsicum which has been shown to reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Cayenne also helps to increase circulation and keeps the blood flowing smoothly through veins and arteries. Cayenne also is high in antioxidants, rounding out its cardiovascular benefits.

 

Caution: Should not be used in cases of hypertension, gastric hyperacidity, peptic ulceration, or on mucous membranes. The hands should be washed after handling. Prolonged application to the skin can cause dermatitis and blistering, while excessive consumption can lead to gastroenteritis and liver and kidney damage. Only small doses should be used to avoid irritating the stomach or burning the skin. The seeds can be toxic. Therapeutic doses should be avoided during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.

Other Uses:
Some cultivars grown specifically for their aesthetic value include the U.S. National Arboretum’s Black Pearl and the Bolivian Rainbow. Ornamental varieties tend to have unusually coloured fruit and foliage with colors such as black and purple being notable. All are edible, and most (like Royal Black) are hot.

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.purplesage.org.uk/profiles/cayenne.htm
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail122.php
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capsicum_annuum

Cayenne (Capsicum minimum)

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Acer circinatum

Botanical Name ; Acer circinatum
Family: Sapindaceae
Genus: Acer
Species: A. circinatum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Common Name :Vine Maple

Habitat :Acer circinatum is native to  western N. America – British Columbia to California.It grows in forests, along banks of streams and in rich alluvial soils of bottomlands up to 1200 metres

Description:
Acer circinatum is a deciduous Tree. It is most commonly grows as a large shrub growing to around 5-8 m tall, but it will occasionally form a small to medium-sized tree, exceptionally to 18 m tall. The shoots are slender and hairless. It typically grows in the understory below much taller forest trees, but can sometimes be found in open ground, and occurs at altitudes from sea level up to 1,500 m.

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The leaves are opposite, and palmately lobed with 7-11 lobes, almost circular in outline, 3-14 cm long and broad, and thinly hairy on the underside; the lobes are pointed and with coarsely toothed margins. The leaves turn bright yellow to orange-red in fall. The flowers are small, 6–9 mm diameter, with a dark red calyx and five short greenish-yellow petals; they are produced in open corymbs of 4-20 together in spring. The fruit is a two-seeded samara, each seed 8-10 mm diameter, with a spreading wing 2–4 cm long.

Vine Maple trees can bend over easily. Sometimes, this can cause the top of the tree to grow into the ground and send out a new root system, creating a natural arch.

It is occasionally cultivated outside its native range as an ornamental tree, from Juneau, Alaska   and Ottawa, Ontario  to Huntsville, Alabama, and also in northwestern Europe.

Cultivation:   
Of easy cultivation, it succeeds in most good soils, preferring a good moist well-drained soil on the acid side. Prefers a sunny position but tolerates some shade. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Plants are hardy to about -20°c. Chlorosis can sometimes develop as a result of iron deficiency when the plants are grown in alkaline soils, but in general maples are not fussy as to soil pH. A very ornamental tree, a number of varieties are in cultivation. The branches tend to coil around other trees in much the same way as vines. (A strange report because vines do not coil but climb by means of tendrils formed in the leaf axils.) The tree sends out long slender arching branches in the wild. These form roots when they touch the ground and the plant thereby forms large impenetrable thickets often several hectares in extent. Most maples are bad companion plants, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants.

Propagation:          
Seed is usually of good quality when produced in gardens. It is best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame, it usually germinates in the following spring. Pre-soak stored seed for 24 hours and then stratify for 2 – 4 months at 1 – 8°c. It can be slow or very poor to germinate, especially if it has been dried. The seed can be harvested ‘green’ (when it has fully developed but before it has dried and produced any germination inhibitors) and sown immediately. It should germinate in late winter. If the seed is harvested too soon it will produce very weak plants or no plants at all. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on until they are 20cm or more tall before planting them out in their permanent positions. This tree often self-layers and can be propagated by this means. Cuttings of young shoots in June or July. The cuttings should have 2 – 3 pairs of leaves, plus one pair of buds at the base. Remove a very thin slice of bark at the base of the cutting, rooting is improved if a rooting hormone is used. The rooted cuttings must show new growth during the summer before being potted up otherwise they are unlikely to survive the winter. Cultivars of this species can be grafted onto A. palmatum, which makes a better rootstock than this species.

Edible Uses:   
Edible Parts: Sap.
Edible Uses: Sweetener.

The sap contains a certain amount of sugar and can either be used as a drink, or can be concentrated into a syrup by boiling off the water. The syrup is used as a sweetener on many foods. The concentration of sugar is considerably lower than in the sugar maples (A. saccharum). The tree trunk is tapped in the early spring, the sap flowing better on warm sunny days following a frost. The best sap production comes from cold-winter areas with continental climates.

Medicinal Uses:
Astringent.

The wood was burnt to charcoal and mixed with water and brown sugar then used in the treatment of dysentery and polio.
Coastal Aboriginal peoples have boiled the bark of the roots to make a tea for colds

Other Uses  :
Basketry;  Fuel;  Paint;  Preservative;  Wood.

The leaves are packed around apples, rootcrops etc to help preserve them. The young shoots are quite pliable and are used in basket making. Straight shoots can be used to make open-work baskets. A charcoal made from the wood can be mixed with oil and used as a black paint. Wood – hard, heavy, durable, close-grained, strong according to some reports, but not strong according to others. Too small to be commercially important, the wood is used for cart shafts, tool handles, small boxes etc. One report says that the wood is quite pliable and was used for making bows, snowshoe frames etc, whilst young saplings could be used as swings for baby cradles. The wood is almost impossible to burn when green and has served as a cauldron hook over the fire.

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/Acer_circinatum
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Acer+circinatum
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm
http://www.nsci.plu.edu/~jmain/Herbarium/images/acer_circinatum_habitat.jpg

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