Categories
Herbs & Plants

Prunus cerasoides

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Botanical Name : Prunus cerasoides
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Prunus
Subgenus: Cerasus
Species: P. cerasoides
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Synonyms:
*Prunus majestica Koehne
*Prunus puddum Franch.

Common Names: Wild Himalayan cherry or Sour cherry

Habitat : Prunus cerasoides is native to E. Asia – Himalayas from Himachel Pradesh to S.W. China and Burma. It grows in the forests, 1200 – 2400 metres. Forests in ravines at elevations of 700 – 3700 metres in western China.
Description:
Prunus cerasoides is a deciduous Tree growing to 30 m (98ft 5in). It has glossy, ringed bark. When the tree is not in flower, it is characterised by glossy, ringed bark and long, dentate stipules.

The tree flowers in autumn and winter. Flowers are pinkish white in color. It has ovoid yellow fruit that turns red as it ripens.

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The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.
Cultivation:
Thrives in a well-drained moisture-retentive loamy soil. Prefers some lime in the soil but is likely to become chlorotic if too much lime is present. Requires an open sunny sheltered position. Not very hardy in Britain but it succeeds outdoors in the milder areas of the country. Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.
Propagation:
Seed – requires 2 – 3 months cold stratification and is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible. Protect the seed from mice etc. The seed can be rather slow, sometimes taking 18 months to germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Grow them on in a greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July/August in a frame. Softwood cuttings from strongly growing plants in spring to early summer in a frame. Layering in spring.
Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Fruit; Seed.

Fruit – raw or cooked. Acid and astringent, they are only occasionally eaten raw but are more often cooked. The fruit is about 15mm in diameter and contains one large seed. Gum – chewed. Obtained from the trunk, it can be employed as a substitute for gum tragacanth, see Astragalus spp. Seed – raw or cooked. Do not eat the seed if it is too bitter – see the notes below on toxicity.

Medicinal Uses:
The fruit is astringent. The juice of the bark is applied externally to treat backaches. Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, all members of the genus contain amygdalin and prunasin, substances which break down in water to form hydrocyanic acid (cyanide or prussic acid). In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being.
Other Uses:
Beads; Dye; Gum; Wood.

A green dye can be obtained from the leaves. A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit. The seeds are used as beads in necklaces and rosaries. Wood – moderately hard, strong, durable, aromatic. The branches are used as walking sticks
Known Hazards: Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus where most, if not all members of the genus produce hydrogen cyanide, a poison that gives almonds their characteristic flavour. This toxin is found mainly in the leaves and seed and is readily detected by its bitter taste. It is usually present in too small a quantity to do any harm but any very bitter seed or fruit should not be eaten. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.
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/Prunus_cerasoides
http://www.pfaf.org/User/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Prunus+cerasoides

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Categories
Herbs & Plants

Prunus caroliniana

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Botanical Name : Prunus caroliniana
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Prunus
Species: P. caroliniana
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Synonyms: Laurocerasus caroliniana. (Mill.)Roem.

Common Names: American Cherry Laurel, Carolina laurelcherry, Laurel Cherry, Cherry laurel, or Carolina cherry

Habitat : Prunus caroliniana is native to the lowlands of Southeastern United States, from North Carolina south to Florida and westward to central Texas. The species has also escaped into the wild in a few places in California. It grows on deep, well-drained rich moist bottomlands, bluffs or streambanks.
Description:
Prunus caroliniana is a small to medium-sized evergreen tree which grows to about 5–13 meters (16–43 ft) tall, with a spread of about 6–9 meters (20–30 ft). The leaves are dark green, alternate, shiny, leathery, elliptic to oblanceolate, 5–12 cm (2–4.5 in) long, usually with an entire (smooth) margin, but occasionally serrulate (having subtle serrations), and with cuneate bases. Reproductively mature trees have entire margins, whereas immature ones often have subtle serrations. The twigs are red to grayish brown, slender, and glabrous.

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Fragrant white to cream-colored flowers are produced in racemes (stalked bunches) 5–8 cm (2–3 in) long in the late winter to early spring. The fruits are tiny black cherries about 1 cm (0.5 in) in diameter, which persist through winter and are primarily consumed by birds (February – April).
It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Apr to May, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.
Characteristics:
The leaves and branches contain high amounts of cyanogenic glycosides that break down into hydrogen cyanide when damaged, making it a potential toxic hazard to grazing livestock and children. Due to this, it is considered highly deer-resistant. When crushed, its leaves and green twigs emit a fragrance described as resembling maraschino cherries or almond extract..

Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Pest tolerant, Screen, Standard, Street tree, Woodland garden. Requires a well-drained moisture retentive soil.   Succeeds in a hot dry position. Succeeds in light shade but fruits better in a sunny position. Thrives in a loamy soil, doing well on limestone.  Prefers some chalk in the soil but apt to become chlorotic if too much is present. Fairly wind-resistant[200]. One report says that this species is tender in most of Britain, whilst another says that it succeeds in climatic zone 7 (tolerating frosts down to about -15°c). A fast-growing but short-lived tree. Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus. Special Features:North American native, Naturalizing, All or parts of this plant are poisonous, Fragrant flowers, Attractive flowers or blooms.
Propagation:
Seed – requires 2 – 3 months cold stratification and is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible. Protect the seed from mice etc. The seed can be rather slow, sometimes taking 18 months to germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Grow them on in a greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July/August in a frame. Softwood cuttings from strongly growing plants in spring to early summer in a frame. Layering in spring.
Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Fruit; Seed.
The fruit might be edible. It has a thick skin and a thin dry flesh[82] and is not edible. It is slightly toxic to humans. The fruit is about 13mm in diameter and contains one large seed. Seed – raw or cooked. Do not eat the seed if it is too bitter – see the notes below on toxicity.

Medicinal Uses:
Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, all members of the genus contain amygdalin and prunasin, substances which break down in water to form hydrocyanic acid (cyanide or prussic acid). In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being.
Other Uses:
Dye; Hedge; Hedge; Shelterbelt; Wood.

Amenable to trimming, this plant can be grown as a screen and hedge. It can also be used in shelterbelt plantings. A green dye can be obtained from the leaves. A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit. Wood – hard, heavy, strong, close grained. The trees are seldom large enough for the wood to be exploited commercially.

Known Hazards: The leaves and young branches of this species contain considerable quantities of hydrogen cyanide, a poison that gives almonds their characteristic flavour. This toxin is readily detected by its bitter taste. It is usually present in too small a quantity to do any harm but any very bitter seed or fruit should not be eaten. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.

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.pfaf.org/User/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Prunus+caroliniana
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prunus_caroliniana

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Artemisia cina

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Botanical Name : Artemisia cina
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Artemisia
Species: A. cina
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms: Sea Wormwood. Santonica. Semen Sanctum. Semen Cinae. Semen Contra. Semen Santonici. Artemesia Lercheana. Artemisia maritima, var. Stechmanniana. Artemisia maritima, var. pauciflora. Artemesia Chamaemelifolia.
(Italian) Semenzina

Common Names: Cina, Santonica (zahr el shieh el -khorasani), Levant wormseed, and wormseed.
Habitat: Artemisia cina is native to China, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Description:
Artemisia cina is a deciduous Shrub growing to 1 m (3ft 3in). It is in flower from Aug to October, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Wind….CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

It is an Asian species of herbaceous perennial in the daisy family. Its dried flowerheads are the source of the vermifugic drug santonin since ancient times. Its common names arise from its known ability to expel worms. The powder is grayish-green in colour with an aromatic odour and a bitter taste.

The plant is characterised by its spherical pollen grains, which are typical in the Asteraceae family, a fibrous layer on anthers, lignified, elongated, hypodermal sclerids, and clusters of calcium oxalate crystals.

Cultivation:
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain. Although this plant has woody stems, these tend to die back each winter giving the plant a herbaceous habit. It is cultivated as a medicinal plant in Russia and N. America. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Easily grown in a well-drained circumneutral or slightly alkaline loamy soil, preferring a sunny position. Established plants are very drought tolerant. Plants are longer lived, more hardy and more aromatic when they are grown in a poor dry soil. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation:
Seed – surface sow from late winter to early summer in a greenhouse. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Division in spring or autumn.

Part Used:The Seeds.

Constituents: The chief constituent of Wormseed is a crystalline principle, Santonin, to which the anthelmintic property of the drug is due. Santonin attains its maximum 2.3 to 3.6 per cent in July and August; after the flowerheads have expanded, it rapidly diminishes in quantity. It is extracted from the flower-heads by treating them with Milk of Lime, the Santonin being converted into soluble calcium santonate. It occurs in colourless, shining, flat prisms, without odour and almost tasteless at first, but afterwards developing a bitter taste. It is sparingly soluble in water, but soluble in alcohol and ether.

Wormseed also contains a crystalline substance, Artemisin, and a yellow volatile oil consisting of Cineol, to which its odour is due.

Medicinal Uses:
Digestive; Febrifuge; Homeopathy; Vermifuge.

Artemisia cina is one of the safest and most reliable vermifuges, used especially on children. Because of its bitter flavour, it is usually mixed with liquorice or some other pleasantly flavoured herb. The unexpanded floral heads and the seed contain the vermicide ‘santonin’. This is an effective and rapid treatment for round worms, it is also effective for thread worms, though it does not affect tapeworms. The plant is also used as a febrifuge and as an aid to the digestion. Caution is advised in the use of this plant since it is poisonous in large doses. This plant should not be used by pregnant women. The dried flowers are used to make a homeopathic remedy. This is particularly useful for complaints of the nervous system and the digestive tract. A homeopathic remedy made from the plant is used to rid children of worms
Known Hazards: Poisonous. Skin contact with some members of this genus can cause dermatitis or other allergic reactions in some people.

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/Artemisia_cina
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Artemisia+cina
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/w/worlav36.html

Categories
Advice against Health Hazards

A/C in Car – Precautions

Do not turn on A/C immediately as soon as you enter the car. Open the windows after you enter your car and turn ON the air-conditioning after a couple of minutes.

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According to a research done, the car dashboard, sofa, air freshener emits Benzene, a Cancer causing toxin (carcinogen – take note of the heated plastic Smell in your car).

In addition to causing cancer, it poisons your bones, causes anemia, and reduces white blood cells. Prolonged exposure will cause Leukemia, increasing the risk of cancer. May also cause miscarriage.

Acceptable Benzene level indoors is 50 mg per sq. ft… A car parked indoors with the windows closed will contain 400-800 mg of Benzene.
If parked outdoors under the sun at a temperature above 60 degrees F, the Benzene level goes up to 2000-4000 mg, 40 times the acceptable level… & the people inside the car will inevitably inhale an excess amount of the toxins.

It is recommended that you open the windows and door to give time for the interior to air out before you enter. Benzene is a toxin that affects your kidney and liver, and is very difficult for your body to expel this toxic stuff.

Categories
News on Health & Science

Is Red Meat’s Bad Name Justified?

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The news for red meat seems to be getting worse and worse.

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In December, a survey of more than 494,000 people by the National Institutes of Health found that men who ate more than 5 ounces of red meat each day and women who ate more than 3 ounces had a 51% greater risk of esophageal cancer, 61% of liver cancer and 24% of colorectal cancer than those who ate less than an ounce of red meat daily

In October 2007, the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research, two charities that fund research on the effects of diet and activity on cancer risk, declared that the evidence linking red meat consumption and colorectal cancer was “convincing.”

And though previous reports for breast cancer have been contradictory overall, findings published in July from a Harvard study of more than 39,000 young nurses suggested that the risk of getting breast cancer before menopause goes up for every extra daily serving of red meat a woman ate as a teenager, a time period that had not been studied before.

Add the numerous studies linking red meat to other cancers, cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and even Alzheimer’s disease, and it sounds like the hamburger you had for lunch might as well have been laced with rat poison.

In fact, there is a place for red meat in a healthful diet, scientists say, but they recommend choosing smaller portions of lean cuts and cooking them well but not at high temperatures.

The question is which meat components are responsible for the observed health risks. Scientists have several theories, though none seems to tell the whole story.

Red meat can contain a lot of saturated fats and cholesterol, known contributors to cardiovascular disease. “We know that dementia is strongly related to vascular disease, so it’s likely we’ll find a relationship there as well,” says Dr. Walter Willett, chair of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Contributing factors
Meat from commercially raised livestock also contains a high amount of omega-6 fats, which have been associated with poor cardiovascular health, but a low amount of omega-3 fats, which may be protective.

Another potential culprit is the iron in meat. Iron is essential for health, but iron from meat comes in a different form than that from vegetables and legumes, one that is absorbed whether the body needs it or not. “This type of iron can cause oxidative damage to all the components of the cell — the protein, lipid, DNA, RNA,” says Al Tappel, professor emeritus of food science at UC Davis.

Many of the studies that found an association between meat consumption and health risks did not differentiate between unprocessed meat, such as a steak, and processed or cured meats such as salami, bacon, pepperoni, bologna and hot dogs. Chemicals in processed meats may account for some of the cancer risk.

Finally, high-temperature cooking methods, such as grilling over charcoal, can cause the formation of known carcinogens such as heterocyclic amines, or HCAs, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs.

Mary Young, a registered dietitian from the Centennial, Colo.-based National Cattlemen’s Beef Assn., says that a study it commissioned on the science of red meat reached a very different conclusion (the study has not yet been published). “Red meat does not cause cancer,” she says. “Beef is really one of the most underappreciated nutrient-rich foods out there” — rich in protein and eight other nutrients, including B vitamins and zinc.

Some scientists, too, think that the risk of red meat has been overplayed. “The proof is not as strong as some people would like to think,” says Iowa State University animal science professor Don Beitz. “Cancer is such a multifactorial [problem]. I don’t see how one can just pin it on certain pollutants or nutrients.”

Rock-hard conclusions require carefully controlled, long-term, well-defined studies of many people. Each one of these requirements can be difficult to meet, so scientists rely heavily on epidemiological studies in which the normal habits of large numbers of people are tracked, often pooling the results of multiple studies.

But unlike lab rats, humans don’t live in a perfectly controlled environment, which makes it difficult to determine if it’s meat or something else in the diet or environment that leads to an observed cancer risk. Also, some studies ask people to recall what they ate years ago, and many studies don’t even define red meat the same way.

Even when a correlation between meat consumption and illness is found, the effect can be significant but small. In the December 2007 study, for example, high meat consumption resulted in only a 50% increased risk of developing esophageal cancer — by way of comparison, smoking can increase a person’s risk of developing lung cancer by 1,000% or more.

But to dismiss all risks because of inconsistencies in the research is unreasonable, Willett says. “That’s exactly the same argument used by cigarette manufacturers to say that smoking is not harmful. . . . The perfect study will never be done. The next best thing will be epidemiology.”

Scientists generally agree that lean red meat has a place in a healthful diet — in moderation. Studies showing increased cancer risks have mostly focused on high meat intake; the greatest risk increases are for those eating far more than the USDA-recommended limit of 18 ounces per week.

“One approach is to treat red and processed meat as a treat and not a regular staple,” said Dr. Michael J. Thun, vice president of epidemiology and surveillance research at the American Cancer Society

Moderation, it appears, is not the American way. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in 2006 the average American consumed 95 pounds of beef and 64 pounds of pork — about 7 ounces of red meat a day.

To sidestep some health concerns without giving up steak, some consumers have turned to grass-fed beef, which studies have shown to contain a heart-healthier ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids.

Meanwhile, scientists are looking to make beef more healthful via selective breeding.

The amount of specific nutrients in steaks from two animals of the same breed can vary by a factor of two or three, Beitz says. He and others in a group of researchers known as the National Beef Cattle Evaluation Consortium hope to find genetic markers for a host of nutrients, including omega-3 and other beneficial fats, zinc and vitamins B6 and B12. The research, sponsored by Pfizer Animal Science, would help animal breeders look at animals’ genetic profiles to select ones with the best nutritional composition.

“In a way, we’re trying to allow people to indulge themselves to a greater extent than to moderate,” said James Reecy, an Iowa State geneticist also involved in the project.

The same technique could be used to limit the unhealthy components of meat as well, such as specific saturated fats. Cattle breeders have already begun doing this, Reecy says.

Willett isn’t convinced that these efforts will eradicate the health risks that come from consuming red meat. “You may make it healthier in one way, but you’re unlikely to fix all the problems at the same time,” he says.

Click to see:->Red Meat Does and Doesnot

Sources:Los Angles Times

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