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Herbs & Plants

Alpinia nutans

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Botanical Name : Alpinia nutans
Family: Zingiberaceae
Subfamily: Alpinioideae
Tribe: Alpinieae
Genus: Alpinia
Species: A. nutans
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Zingiberales

Synonyms :
*Alpinia speciosa K.Schum.
*Amomum compactum Roem. & Schult.
*Catimbium nutans Juss.
*Costus zerumbet Pers.
*Languas speciosa Small
*Renealmia nutans Andrews
*Zerumbet speciosum H.Wendl

Common Names: Shellflower, Dwarf cardamom,False cardamom

Habitat : Alpinia nutans is a Southeast Asian plant.

Description:
Alpinia Nutans is mostly  an evergreen rhizomatous soft-wooded perennial plant.It Can grow 5 to 6 feet tall and tolerate winter temperatures down to 20F. Grows best in some shade but can tolerate full sun in hardiness zone  10-13.   Its flowers have a porcelain look, are shell-like and bloom prolifically on a 30-cm stalk. The flower’s single fertile stamen has a massive anther. The globose white stigma of the pistil extends beyond the tip of the anther. The foliage of Alpinia nutans is evergreen in areas that do not have a hard freeze. It has a very distinctive cardamom fragrance when brushed or rubbed, but this is not the plant that produces the spice by that name.

click to see the pictures

Chemical Constituents:
The rhizome oil of Alpinia speciosa K. Schum. contains some fatty acids with an odd number of carbon atoms, which are less common in nature than fatty acids with even numbers of carbon atoms. The major one is pentadecanoic acid (C-15, 21.9%) and others are tricosylic acid (C-23, 5.7%), tridecylic acid (C-13, 1.9%), undecylic acid (C-11, 3.1%) and pelargonic acid (C-9, 0.1%). Among the fatty acids containing even number of carbon atoms, the main constituents are linolenic acid (C-18:3, 27.4%) and arachidic acid (C-20, 22.4%). The total saturated fatty acids constitute 65.7% and unsaturated 34.3%

Medicinal Uses:
In Asian medicinal practices, the alpinia nutans fruits   are used to expel gas, prevent vomiting and stimulate stomach secretions.

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/Alpinia_nutans
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm
http://www.floridahillnursery.com/ginger-alipinia-c-5/alpinia-nutans-narrow-leaf-live-plant-p-238
http://www.plantthis.com.au/plant-information.asp?gardener=8702&tabview=photos&plantSpot=
http://www.floridahillnursery.com/popup_image/pID/238

http://etc.usf.edu/clipart/81600/81619/81619_alpinia_nuta.htm

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.

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Herbs & Plants

Zhe Bei Mu (Fritillaria thunbergii )

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Botanical Name : Fritillaria thunbergii
Family:
Liliaceae
Genus:
Fritillaria
Species:
F. thunbergii
Kingdom:
Plantae
Order:
Liliales

Synonyms : F. collicola. Hance. F. verticillata thunbergii.

Common Name :Zhe Bei Mu

Habitat :Fritillaria thunbergii is native to China and Japan . It grows in bamboo forests, shady and moist places from near sea level to 600 metres.

Description:
Fritillaria thunbergii is a bulb growing to 0.6 m (2ft).  It has linear leaves that are whorled on the top where there are also tendril-like tips. Flowers are cream-colored, flecked or tessellated green. This species needs to be planted deeply. It is in flower from Mar to May. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.It is hardy to zone 8.

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The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) 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:
Best grown in a moist peaty soil in the open garden[90]. Easily grown in a moderately fertile soil in sun or semi-shade. Succeeds in drier soils and is drought tolerant when established. The dormant bulbs are fairly hardy and will withstand soil temperatures down to at least -5°c. The scaly bulbs are best planted on their sides or surrounded in sand to prevent water collecting in their hollow crowns. This species is cultivated as a medicinal plant in Europe and Asia. Plants take 3 – 5 years to flower from seed.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as ripe in a cold frame, it should germinate in the spring. Protect from frost. Stored seed should be sown as soon as possible and can take a year or more to germinate. Sow the seed quite thinly to avoid the need to prick out the seedlings. Once they have germinated, give them an occasional liquid feed to ensure that they do not suffer mineral deficiency. Once they die down at the end of their second growing season, divide up the small bulbs, planting 2 – 3 to an 8cm deep pot. Grow them on for at least another year in light shade in the greenhouse before planting them out whilst dormant. Division of offsets in August. The larger bulbs can be planted out direct into their permanent positions, but it is best to pot up the smaller bulbs and grow them on in a cold frame for a year before planting them out in the autumn. Bulb scales

Edible Uses: Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Leaves;  Root.

Bulb – fried or candied. The bulb is up to 3cm in diameter. Young plants and buds – cooked

Medicinal Uses:
Antitussive;  ExpectorantFebrifuge.

The bulbs are antidote, antitussive, astringent, expectorant, galactogogue and purgative. They contain fritimine which diminishes excitability of respiratory centres, paralyses voluntary movement and counters effects of opium. The bulbs are thought to act specifically on tumours and swellings of the throat, neck and chest, and they are taken in the treatment of thyroid gland nodules, scrofula, abscesses and boils and breast cancer. The bulb is used internally in the treatment of coughs, bronchitis, pneumonia, feverish illnesses, abscesses etc. The bulbs also have a folk history of use against cancer of the breast and lungs in China. This remedy should only be used under the supervision of a qualified practitioner, excessive doses can cause breathing difficulties and heart failure. The bulbs are harvested in the winter whilst they are dormant and are dried for later use.

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://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fritillaria_thunbergii
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Fritillaria+thunbergii
http://www.pacificbulbsociety.org/pbswiki/index.php/AsianFritillariaTwo

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Herbs & Plants

One-Leaved Onion (Allium unifolium )

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Botanical Name: Allium unifolium
Family  : Alliaceae
Genus  : Allium
Synonyms : Allium grandisceptrum – Davidson.
Kingdom:: Plantae
Order  : Asparagales
Species: A. unifolium

Habitat: South-western N. AmericaCalifornia and Oregon. Moist soils in pine or mixed evergreen forest in the coastal ranges of California. Cultivated Beds;

Description:
Bulb growing to 0.6m by 0.1m.
It is hardy to zone 8 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from June to July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, insects..

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires dry or moist soil.

Cultivation:-
Prefers a hot dry sunny position in a light, rich well-drained soil[90, 200]. This species is difficult to maintain under cultivation in Britain, our weather is probably too wet and cool for it to really thrive. The plant has a summer resting period when it should be kept dry and so it is best grown in a cold greenhouse or bulb frame . Placing a cloche over outdoor-grown plants in the summer, especially after flowering, will help to ripen the bulbs . Most members of this genus are intolerant of competition from other growing plants . This species is not fully hardy in Britain and is unlikely to survive in the colder parts of the country. It is only marginally hardy in N.W. England. A new bulb is formed annually, the old one withering away. Grows well with most plants, especially roses, carrots, beet and chamomile, but it inhibits the growth of legumes. This plant is a bad companion for alfalfa, each species negatively affecting the other. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation:-

Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle – if you want to produce clumps more quickly then put three plants in each pot. Grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter and plant them out into their permanent positions in spring once they are growing vigorously and are large enough. Division in spring. The plants divide successfully at any time in the growing season, pot up the divisions in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are growing well and then plant them out into their permanent positions

Edible Uses:-
Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves; Root.

Bulb – raw or cooked. The bulbs are 10 – 15mm in diameter. Together with the young shoots, they are fried and eaten. Leaves – raw or cooked. Flowers – raw. Used as a garnish on salads.

Medicinal Uses :-
Although no specific mention of medicinal uses has been seen for this species, members of this genus are in general very healthy additions to the diet. They contain sulphur compounds (which give them their onion flavour) and when added to the diet on a regular basis they help reduce blood cholesterol levels, act as a tonic to the digestive system and also tonify the circulatory system .

Other Uses:-
Repellent.

The juice of the plant is used as a moth repellent. The whole plant is said to repel insects and moles.

Known Hazards :   Although no individual reports regarding this species have been seen, there have been cases of poisoning caused by the consumption, in very large quantities and by some mammals, of certain members of this genus. Dogs seem to be particularly susceptible.

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.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Allium+unifolium
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allium_unifolium
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Allium_unifolium
http://www.baynatives.com/plants/Allium-unifolium/
.

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Herbs & Plants

Aconitum Orientale

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Botanical Name : Aconitum orientale
Family : Ranunculaceae
Other Names : Caucasian aconite; downy wolfsbane
Common Name: Downy Wolfsbane
Genus: Aconitum


Habitat :-
W. Asia – Turkey to Iran. Woodland Garden; Dappled Shade;

Description:-
Perennial growing to 1.5m by 0.3m.
It is hardy to zone 6. It is in flower from July to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay 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:-
Thrives in most soils and in the light shade of trees. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers a moist soil in sun or semi-shade. Prefers a calcareous soil. Grows well in open woodlands. Members of this genus seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits and deer. A greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby species, especially legumes.

Propagation:-
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. The seed can be stratified and sown in spring but will then be slow to germinate. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer. Division – best done in spring but it can also be done in autumn. Another report says that division is best carried out in the autumn or late winter because the plants come into growth very early in the year

Medicinal Actions & Uses:
Anodyne; Diaphoretic; Diuretic.

The dried root is anodyne, diaphoretic and diuretic. It should be harvested in the autumn as soon as the plant dies down. This is a very poisonous plant and should only be used with extreme caution and under the supervision of a qualified practitioner.

Known Hazards : The whole plant is highly toxic – simple skin contact has caused numbness in some people

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.
Resourcs:
http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Aconitum+orientale
http://hortiplex.gardenweb.com/plants/p1/gw1000507.html
http://www.armitageimages.net/index.cfm/fuseaction/stock.masterlist/index.htm
http://www.giftpflanzen.com/aconitum_orientale.html

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Healthy Tips

Hot and Cold compress

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Hot and Cold compress is very good treatment for treating different kinds of pain in different parts of body.

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Let us see  what Is a Compress?
Hot and cold compresses can either be store-bought or homemade—which one  we choose is simply a matter of convenience. A cold compresses can be anything from gel packs that are placed in the freezer, to ice-wrapped in a clean cloth or a plain old bag of frozen corn. Heat compresses  can be applied in many kinds or forms such as hot water, hot towel heating pads, deep heating rubs, microwavable gel packs and ultrasound.

Hot compress is the application of heat to any part of the body to relieve certain kinds of pain.  All of these tools can help in applying hot compress to  affected part of our body. On the other hand  cold compress  can also relieve pain. Cold compress can reduce both swelling and pain in the affected area of the body. In cases such as pulled muscles and strains cold compress is very useful.

The Hot Compress
A hot compress is normally recommended for chronic conditions such as tight muscles, menstrual cramps and arthritic pain. A  hot compress provides “heat therapy” which helps to reduce muscle spasms and is applied as often as needed. But heat therapy is only applied to the affected area for short periods of time—usually no more than 20 minutes.

Two Compresses, One Injury
There are times when it is necessary to use both hot and cold compression on a single soft-tissue injury. The most important thing to remember about any soft-tissue injury is that in order for it to heal, swelling must be relieved.  Cold compress will help reduce the pain and inflammation associated with soft-tissue injuries and should be utilized for the first 72 hours after the injury occurs. A heat compress is then applied after 72 hours (only if swelling has subsided) to promote blood flow and induce proper healing.

Both of these treatments can only offer short term relief but it is very helpful for people who are experiencing different kind of pain. Sometimes pains can occur many times and these treatments can eliminate the pain quickly. Continuous application of hot and cold compress can increase blood circulation that can result in good health. The required time for this hot and cold compress is only 20 minutes, but it can be used more often if needed until swelling and pain diminish.

Hot and cold compresses can both shock the tissues and the blood vessels on the affected area due to sudden change of temperature. The affected part will be flooded by more white blood cells to fight the infection. But in this process, the circulation of the blood’s red cells in the affected area is blocked by the white blood cells. As  we all know, red blood cells carry oxygen that is needed for the normal functioning of each cell. In this case, accumulation of spasms spread through the other parts of the body especially through the leg area. The application of hot and cold compresses can increase blood circulations that carry the oxygen. The hot and cold sensation relaxes the nerves that can trigger the pain signal to the brain.

Hot and cold compresses are both very beneficial if they are used properly on the affected area. It is better to always consult a doctor to accompany the treatment with medication for faster treatment of any pain. Hot and cold are both needed for the body to maintain its normal functions. Homeostasis inside the body is maintained by the equilibrium of hot and cold temperature.

 Warnings
It is important to note that hot and cold compression should never be used on open wounds, nor should either type of compression be used by individuals with circulatory problems without a doctor’s consent. Heating pads should never be used “hot,” despite their name. A pad that is simply warm to the touch should be sufficient. It is also important to remember never to fall asleep while using a heating pad, because serious burns can occur.   Hot and cold compresses should never be applied directly to the skin. A physician should be notified if swelling persists or if there is no sign of reduced inflammation after 72 hours.

Resources:
http://www.ehow.com/about_5542216_hot-cold-compresses.html

Hot and Cold Compression Therapy

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