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Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Lactuca sibirica

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Botanical Name: Lactuca sibirica
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cichorieae
Genus: Lactuca
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms: Lactuca sibirica (L.) Benth., Lagedium sibiricum (L.) Sojak., Sonchus sibiricus L., Mulgedium sibiricum Less., Agathyrsus sibiricus D.Don.

Common Names: Prickly lettuce

Habitat:Lactuca sibirica is native to N. Europe to E. Asia. It grows on woods and scrub, also on river sands and gravels.

Description:
Lactuca sibirica is a perennial herb . Stalks are 25-100 (to 140) cm in height, straight, simple, non-pubescent, frequently red. The main root is erect, sometimes branchy. The root system consists of numerous roots and rhizomes. Leaves are sessile, lanceolate, elongate-acuminate, 1-5 cm in width, 6-18 cm in length, full, less often runcinate or pinnatilobate. Leaves are naked or weakly pubescent, amplexicaul cordate or sagittate at base; upper side green, underside glaucous. Phyllotaxy alternate. Corymbose-paniculate inflorescence consists of rather large calathidia 2.5-3 cm in diameter. Flowers are dark blue or violet, with ligules. Ligules are 10-15 mm in length and 2-3-mm in width. Involucre is cylindrical in form, 3-4-seriate, 9-14 mm in length, 4-8 mm in width. Leaflets lanceolate, bare with the pubescent top. Fruits are hemicarps, slightly compressed and ribbed, up to 5 mm in length, densely pubescent. Rostellum is usually a quarter the size of the hemicarp. Pappus is yellowish, up to 10 mm in length. It is in flower during July -and in fruit during August-September.

Flower color is blue, rarely white. Achene brown to olive green, narrowly ellipsoid, ca. 4 mm, subcompressed, either marginal rib almost as thick as ca. 1/3 of achene diam., middle third with 4 or 5 narrow ribs on either side, apically attenuate or with a ca. 1 mm beak. Pappus 5-7 mm.

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The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

Cultivation:
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) 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. But light sandy loam in a sunny position is prefered.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in situ and only just cover the seed. Germination is usually fairly quick. Division in spring. Make sure that each portion of root has at least one leaf bud.

Edible Uses: Young plants are eaten – raw or cooked. An emergency food, it is only used when all else fails

Medicinal Uses:
The whole plant is rich in a milky sap that flows freely from any wounds. This hardens and dries when in contact with the air. The sap contains ‘lactucarium’, which is used in medicine for its anodyne, antispasmodic, digestive, diuretic, hypnotic, narcotic and sedative properties. Lactucarium has the effects of a feeble opium, but without its tendency to cause digestive upsets, nor is it addictive. It is taken internally in the treatment of insomnia, anxiety, neuroses, hyperactivity in children, dry coughs, whooping cough, rheumatic pain etc. Concentrations of lactucarium are low in young plants and most concentrated when the plant comes into flower. It is collected commercially by cutting the heads of the plants and scraping the juice into china vessels several times a day until the plant is exhausted. An infusion of the fresh or dried flowering plant can also be used. The plant should be used with caution, and never without the supervision of a skilled practitioner. Even normal doses can cause drowsiness whilst excess causes restlessness and overdoses can cause death through cardiac paralysis. Some physicians believe that any effects of this medicine are caused by the mind of the patient rather than by the medicine. The sap has also been applied externally in the treatment of warts

Known Hazards: Although no specific mention of toxicity has been seen for this species, many plants in this genus contain a narcotic principle, this is at its most concentrated when the plant begins to flower. This principle has been almost bred out of the cultivated forms of lettuce but is produced when the plant starts to go to seed.
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/Lactuca

http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=200024118

http://www.agroatlas.ru/en/content/weeds/Lactuca_sibirica/http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Lactuca+sibirica

 

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Fruits & Vegetables Herbs & Plants

Broccoli

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Botanical Name: Brassica oleracea italica
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Brassica
Species: B. oleracea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Brassicales

Common Names: Broccoli
Broccoli is an edible green plant in the cabbage family whose large flowerhead is eaten as a vegetable…....CLICK &  SEE

The word broccoli comes from the Italian plural of broccolo, which means “the flowering crest of a cabbage”, and is the diminutive form of brocco, meaning “small nail” or “sprout”.  Broccoli is often boiled or steamed but may be eaten .

Habitat: Broccoli is native to Mediterranean Region. It is a result of careful breeding of cultivated leafy cole crops in the northern Mediterranean starting in about the 6th century BC. Since the Roman Empire broccoli has been considered a uniquely valuable food among Italians. Broccoli was brought to England from Antwerp in the mid-18th century by Peter Scheemakers. Broccoli was first introduced to the United States by Italian immigrants, but did not become widely known there until the 1920s.

Description:
Broccoli is an herbaceous annual or biennial plant grown for its edible flower heads which are used as a vegetable. The broccoli plant has a thick green stalk, or stem, which gives rise to thick, leathery, oblong leaves which are gray-blue to green in color. The plant produces large branching green flower heads covered with numerous white or yellow flowers. Broccoli can be annual or biennial depending on the variety and can grow to 1 m (3.3 ft) in height. Broccoli may also be referred to as sprouting broccoli and likely originates from the Mediterranean although the exact location has not been determined……..CLICK  & SEE THE PICTURES

Varieties:
Broccoli plants in a nursery:
There are three commonly grown types of broccoli. The most familiar is Calabrese broccoli, often referred to simply as “broccoli”, named after Calabria in Italy. It has large (10 to 20 cm) green heads and thick stalks. It is a cool season annual crop. Sprouting broccoli has a larger number of heads with many thin stalks. Purple cauliflower is a type of broccoli sold in southern Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. It has a head shaped like cauliflower, but consisting of tiny flower buds. It sometimes, but not always, has a purple cast to the tips of the flower buds.

Other cultivar groups of Brassica oleracea include cabbage (Capitata Group), cauliflower and Romanesco broccoli (Botrytis Group), kale and collard greens (Acephala Group), kohlrabi (Gongylodes Group), Brussels sprouts (Gemmifera Group), and kai-lan (Alboglabra Group). Rapini, sometimes called “broccoli raab” among other names, forms similar but smaller heads, and is actually a type of turnip (Brassica rapa). Broccolini or “Tenderstem broccoli” is a cross between broccoli and Chinese broccoli. Beneforté is a variety of broccoli containing 2-3 times more glucoraphanin that was produced by crossing broccoli with a wild Brassica variety, Brassica oleracea var villosa.

Cultivation:
Succeeds in full sun in a well-drained fertile preferably alkaline soil. Tolerates a pH in the range 4.3 to 8.3. Prefers a heavy soil. Succeeds in any reasonable soil. Succeeds in maritime gardens. Some forms are very cold-hardy, tolerating temperatures down to about -17°c. Broccoli is closely related to the cauliflowers (C. oleracea botrytis) and is often grown for its edible young flowering stems which, by careful selection of varieties, can be available almost all year round from early summer right round to late spring. There are many named varieties and these can be classified into three main groups:- Calabrese, which matures in summer and autumn, is the least cold-hardy form. It produces green, or sometimes purple, flowering heads. Some forms will produce a number of side shoots once the main head has been harvested, though other forms seem unable to do this. Romanesco matures in late summer and the autumn. It has numerous yellowish-green conical groups of buds arranged in spirals. Given a little protection from the cold, it is possible to produce a crop throughout the winter. Unlike the other types of broccoli, romanesco seems unable to produce side shoots once the main head has been harvested. Sprouting broccoli is the most cold-hardy group. It does not form a central head like the other two groups but instead produces a mass of side shoots from early spring until early summer. The more you harvest these shoots, especially if you do so before the flowers open, then the more shoots the plant produces. A good companion for celery and other aromatic plants since these seem to reduce insect predations. Grows badly with potatoes, beet and onions. Grows well with potatoes, beet and onions according to another report.

Propagation:
Seed – sow sprouting broccoli in a seedbed outdoors in March to May. Plant out in June. Do not let the seedlings get overcrowded or they will soon become leggy and will not make such good plants. If your seedlings do get leggy, it is possible to plant them rather deeper into the soil – the buried stems will soon form roots and the plant will be better supported. Romanesco and calabrese are often sown in situ in the spring.

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

Young flowering stems and leaves – raw or cooked. The shoots of sprouting broccoli are harvested when about 10cm long, and before the flowers open, the shoots look somewhat like a small white or purple cauliflower and have a delicious flavour. They are considered to be a gourmet vegetable. When picking the stems, make sure that you leave behind a section of the stem with leaves on it, since the plants will often produce new side shoots from the leaf axils. Calabrese and Romanesco plants produce a central inflorescence rather like a small cauliflower, which are sometimes followed by a number of smaller flowering shoots. They usually come into bearing in the late summer or autumn and are very productive if they are regularly harvested. Sprouting broccoli plants come into production in late winter to early spring and can be very heavy bearing over a period of two months or more so long as all the flowering stems are harvested before coming into flower.
Nutrition:
Broccoli is high in vitamin C and dietary fiber. It also contains multiple nutrients with potent anti-cancer properties, such as diindolylmethane (DIM) and small amounts of selenium. A single serving provides more than 30 mg of vitamin C and a half-cup provides 52 mg of vitamin C. DIM is a potent modulator of the innate immune response system with anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-cancer activity. Broccoli also contains the compound glucoraphanin, which can be processed into an anti-cancer compound sulforaphane, though the anti-cancer benefits of broccoli are greatly reduced if the vegetable is boiled. Broccoli is also an excellent source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells.Sulforaphane, another compound in broccoli has been shown to stop over-rapid aging.

Boiling broccoli reduces the levels of suspected anti-carcinogenic compounds, such as sulforaphane, with losses of 20–30% after five minutes, 40–50% after ten minutes, and 77% after thirty minutes. However, other preparation methods such as steaming, microwaving, and stir frying had no significant effect on the compounds.

Broccoli has the highest levels of carotenoids in the brassica family.[20] It is particularly rich in lutein and also provides a modest amount of beta-carotene
Meditional Uses:
*Broccoli can provide us with some special cholesterol-lowering benefits if we cook it by steaming. The fiber-related components in broccoli do a better job of binding together with bile acids in our digestive tract when they’ve been steamed. When this binding process takes place, it’s easier for bile acids to be excreted, and the result is a lowering of your cholesterol levels.

*Raw broccoli still has cholesterol-lowering ability—just not as much.

*Broccoli has a strong, positive impact on our body’s detoxification system, and researchers have recently identified one of the key reasons for this detox benefit. Glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiian, and glucobrassicin are 3 glucosinolate phytonutrients found in a special combination in broccoli. This dynamic trio is able to support all steps in body’s detox process, including activation, neutralization, and elimination of unwanted contaminants. Isothiocyanates (ITCs) are the detox-regulating molecules made from broccoli’s glucosinolates, and they help control the detox process at a genetic level.

*Broccoli may help us solve our vitamin D deficiency epidemic. When large supplemental doses of vitamin D are needed to offset deficiency, ample supplies of vitamin K and vitamin A help keep our vitamin D metabolism in balance. Broccoli has an unusually strong combination of both vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene) and vitamin K. For people faced with the need to rebuild vitamin D stores through vitamin D supplements, broccoli may be an ideal food to include in the diet.

*Broccoli is a particularly rich source of a flavonoid called kaempferol. Recent research has shown the ability of kaempferol to lessen the impact of allergy-related substances on our body. This kaempferol connection helps to explain the unique anti-inflammatory benefits of broccoli, and it should also open the door to future research on the benefits of broccoli for a hypoallergenic diet.

CLICK & READ  THE LATEST RESEARCH
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/Brassica_oleracea
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Brassica+oleracea+italica
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=9
https://www.plantvillage.com/topics/broccoli/infos

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Fruits & Vegetables Herbs & Plants

Cauliflower

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Botanical Name: Brassica oleracea botrytis
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Brassica
Species: B. oleracea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Brassicales

Common Name: Cauliflower (The name comes from Latin caulis (cabbage) and flower)

Habitat: Cauliflower is grown allover the world. It is cultivated form of B. oleracea.

Description:     Cauliflower an annual /biennial plant that reproduces by seed, growing to 0.8 m (2ft 7in).    It is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to August, and the seeds ripen from Jul to September in Colder countries but in tropical countries it is an winter vegitable. Typically, only the head (the white curd) is eaten. The cauliflower head is composed of a white inflorescence meristem. Cauliflower heads resemble those in broccoli, which differs in having flower buds. Brassica oleracea also includes broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, collard greens, and kale, though they are of different cultivar groups.The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.The plant is self-fertile.

CLICK &  SEE THE PICTURES….………....Cauliflower Plant..……Cauliflower…...Cauliflower seeds

Classification and identification:…….Major groups:…….There are four major groups of cauliflower.

*Italian: Diverse in appearance, and biennial and annual in type, this group includes white, Romanesco, various brown, green, purple, and yellow cultivars. This type is the ancestral form from which the others were derived.

*Northern European annuals: Used in Europe and North America for summer and fall harvest, it was developed in Germany in the 18th century, and includes the old cultivars Erfurt and Snowball.

*Northwest European biennial: Used in Europe for winter and early spring harvest, this was developed in France in the 19th century, and includes the old cultivars Angers and Roscoff.

*Asian: A tropical cauliflower used in China and India, it was developed in India during the 19th century from the now-abandoned Cornish type,and includes old varieties Early Benaras and Early Patna.

Varieties: There are hundreds of historic and current commercial varieties used around the world. A comprehensive list of about 80 North American varieties is maintained at North Carolina State University.

Colours: ....White……..White cauliflower is the most common color of cauliflower.

Orange:....Orange cauliflower (B. oleracea L. var. botrytis) contains 25% more vitamin A than white varieties. This trait came from a natural mutant found in a cauliflower field in Canada. Cultivars include ‘Cheddar’ and ‘Orange Bouquet’.

Green:.…..Green cauliflower, of the B. oleracea botrytis group, is sometimes called broccoflower. It is available in the normal curd shape and with a fractal spiral curd called Romanesco broccoli. Both have been commercially available in the U.S. and Europe since the early 1990s. Green-curded varieties include ‘Alverda’, ‘Green Goddess’ and ‘Vorda’. Romanesco varieties include ‘Minaret’ and ‘Veronica’.

Purple:…….The purple color in this cauliflower is caused by the presence of the antioxidant group anthocyanins, which can also be found in red cabbage and red wine. Varieties include ‘Graffiti’ and ‘Purple Cape’.
In Great Britain and southern Italy, a broccoli with tiny flower buds is sold as a vegetable under the name “purple cauliflower”; it is not the same as standard cauliflower with a purple curd.
Cultivation :
Succeeds in full sun in a well-drained moisture-retentive fertile soil with plenty of lime. Cauliflowers, especially the winter and spring maturing types, should not be given a soil that is too rich in nitrogen since this can encourage soft, sappy growth that is more susceptible to winter cold damage. Prefers a heavy soil]. Requires a warm sunny position. Prefers a pH in the range 6 to 7, though it tolerates a pH in the range 4.3 to 8.3. Succeeds in maritime gardens. Lack of moisture in the growing season can cause the plant to produce small or deformed curds. Summer varieties are not very cold hardy and will be damaged by light frosts, winter cauliflower plants are more hardy and will tolerate temperatures down to about -6°c, though the curds are more sensitive and can suffer damage at about -2°c. This damage can often be prevented by bending over the leaves so that they cover the curd. Cauliflowers are widely grown for their edible immature flower heads (or curd). There are many named varieties and, by careful selection, it is possible to provide a year round supply. The summer and autumn maturing cultivars are annuals, they need to produce a certain number of leaves before curd development will be initiated. The optimum temperature for this is around 17°c, but at temperatures above 20°c the curds will either be of poor quality or not be produced at all. Winter and spring maturing forms are biennial and need exposure to temperatures below 10°c before they will produce curds and once again, this will not happen unless the plant has reached a certain size. Grows well with celery and other aromatic plants since these seem to deter insect predations. Grows badly with beet, tomatoes, onions and strawberries.

Propagation :
Seed – sow in a seedbed outdoors in April to June depending on the cultivar. Plant out into their permanent position when the plants are 5 – 10cm tall. Seed of some cultivars can be sown in late winter in a greenhouse in order to obtain a harvest in early summer. Do not let the seedlings get overcrowded or they will soon become leggy and will not make such good plants. If your seedlings do get leggy, it is possible to plant them rather deeper into the soil – the buried stems will soon form roots and the plant will be better supported.

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

Immature flowering head – raw or cooked. A mild cabbage-like flavour, they make an excellent cooked vegetable and are also very acceptable in salads. By careful selection of cultivars, it is possible to produce flowering heads all year round. Leaves – cooked. A mild cabbage flavour, they make a good cooked vegetable. Do not over-harvest them, however, since this would adversely affect the production of the flowering head .

Medicinal Uses:
Protection against certain cancers. Naturally occurring chemicals (indoles, isothiocyanates, glucosinolates, dithiolethiones, and phenols) in cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, and other cruciferous vegetables appear to reduce the risk of some cancers, perhaps by preventing the formation of carcinogens in your body or by blocking cancer-causing substances from reaching or reacting with sensitive body tissues or by inhibiting the transformation of healthy cells to malignant ones.

All cruciferous vegetables contain sulforaphane, a member of a family of chemicals known as isothiocyanates. In experiments with laboratory rats, sulforaphane appears to increase the body’s production of phase-2 enzymes, naturally occurring substances that inactivate and help eliminate carcinogens. At the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, 69 percent of the rats injected with a chemical known to cause mammary cancer developed tumors vs. only 26 percent of the rats given the carcinogenic chemical plus sulforaphane.

In 1997, Johns Hopkins researchers discovered that broccoli seeds and three-day-old broccoli sprouts contain a compound converted to sulforaphane when the seed and sprout cells are crushed. Five grams of three-day-old broccoli sprouts contain as much sulforaphane as 150 grams of mature broccoli. The sulforaphane levels in other cruciferous vegetables have not yet been calculated………....Click & see : 
Other Uses :…….Fungicide……..An extract of the seeds inactivates the bacteria that causes black rot.

Known Hazards:
Enlarged thyroid gland (goiter). Cruciferous vegetables, including cauliflower, contain goitrin, thiocyanate, and isothiocyanate. These chemicals, known collectively as goitrogens, inhibit the formation of thyroid hormones and cause the thyroid to enlarge in an attempt to produce more. Goitrogens are not hazardous for healthy people who eat moderate amounts of cruciferous vegetables, but they may pose problems for people who have a thyroid condition or are taking thyroid medication.

Intestinal gas. Bacteria that live naturally in the gut degrade the indigestible carbohydrates (food fiber) in cauliflower, producing intestinal gas that some people find distressing.

Food/Drug Interactions: Anticoagulants. Cauliflower contains vitamin K, the blood-clotting vitamin produced naturally by bacteria in our intestines. Additional intake of vitamin K may reduce the effectiveness of anticoagulants (warfarin, Coumadin, Panwarfin), requiring larger-than-normal doses to produce the same effect.

False-positive test for occult blood in the stool. The active ingredient in the guiac slide test for hidden blood in feces is alphaguaiaconic acid, a chemical that turns blue in the presence of blood. Cauliflower contains peroxidase, a natural chemical that also turns alphaguaiaconic acid blue and may produce a positive test in people who do not actually have blood in the stool.

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/Brassica_oleracea
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cauliflower
http://www.vietnamese-recipes.com/articles/medical-uses-benefits-cauliflower.php
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Brassica+oleracea+botrytis

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Fruits & Vegetables Herbs & Plants

Wild Cabbage(Brassica oleracea)

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Botanical Name: Brassica oleracea
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Brassica
Species: B. oleracea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Brassicales

Synonyms : Brassica sylvestris.

Common Names: Wild Cabbage, Broccoli, Tronchuda cabbage, Brussels sprouts, Kohlrabi, Sprouting broccoli

Habitat : Brassica oleracea is native to Coastal regions of the Mediterranean and W. Europe north to France and Britain. Its high tolerance of salt and lime and its intolerance of competition from other plants typically restrict its natural occurrence to limestone sea cliffs.

Description:
Biennial/Perennial growing to 1.2m.Wild  forming a stout rosette of large leaves in the first year, the leaves being fleshier and thicker than those of other species of Brassica, adaptations to store water and nutrients in its difficult growing environment. In its second year, the stored nutrients are used to produce a flower spike 1 to 2 metres (3–7 ft) tall bearing numerous yellow flowers.

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They have smooth margins and look like the outer or basal, non-heading leaves of cabbage. The lower leaves tend to sag down and the upper ones are more erect and cup-shaped. Kale leaves are not as thick as collards and in many cultivars they are fringed or wavy-edged. Kale plants, and their leaves, are smaller than those of collards. There are many cultivars of kale and collards. Some were selected more for ornamental use than food.

It is hardy to zone 7 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to August, and the seeds ripen from July to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees. The plant is self-fertile.

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. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Leaves.

Leaves – raw or cooked. Slightly bitter raw, they can be cooked in one or more changes of water. We find that the slight bitterness actually enhances the flavour, and this is one of our favourite cooked leaves. The plant can usually be harvested all year round, though there will be little to pick in very cold winters.

Medicinal Actions & Uses
Anthelmintic; Cardiotonic; Diuretic; Laxative; Stomachic.

The leaves are cardiotonic and stomachic. They have been used in the treatment of gout and rheumatism. The leaves can be used as a poultice to cleanse infected wounds – the mid-rib is removed and the leaf ironed then placed on the affected area whilst still hot. The poultice should not be left on too long or it an cause blisters. The seeds are anthelmintic, diuretic, laxative and stomachic.

Cabbages best known medicinal use is as a poultice,  the leaves of the wild or cultivated plant are blanched, crushed, or chopped, and applied to swellings, tumors and painful joints. Wild cabbage leaves eaten raw or cooked aid digestion and the breakdown of toxins in the liver, so the Romans   eating it to ease a hangover was quite sensible.  The leaves can be used as a poultice to cleanse infected wounds – the mid-rib is removed and the leaf ironed then placed on the affected area whilst still hot. The seeds are anthelmintic, diuretic, laxative and stomachic.  Cabbage is also detoxifying and helpful in the long term treatment of arthritis.  The high vitamin C content of cabbage has made it useful in the prevention of scurvy.

Cultivation:
An easily grown plant, it succeeds in full sun in any reasonable soil, though it prefers a well-drained fertile preferably alkaline soil. It does well in heavy clay soils. It is often found wild by the coast and tolerates considerable maritime exposure. The true wild cabbage is a short-lived perennial, though we have seen specimens 5 years old or more[K]. This species has long been cultivated for its edible leaves, stems etc and a wide diversity of forms have been developed, including cabbages, cauliflowers, broccolis and Brussels sprouts. Most of these forms are biennial in cultivation, though there are also some perennial forms. These different forms are detailed below and have each been given their own entry in the database. We have chosen the most up to date classification we can find, as treated in ‘World Economic Plants’. B. oleracea alboglabra. Chinese kales are fast-growing plants with tender edible leaves. Although perennials, they are usually grown as annuals and are eaten as a summer and autumn crop whilst still young. B. oleracea botrytis. Cauliflowers are grown mainly for their edible swollen inflorescence. Different cultivars can be used to provide crops all year round. B. oleracea botrytis aparagoides. A short-lived perennial form of cauliflower producing a small cauliflower head in the spring followed by a number of broccoli-like flowering shoots. B. oleracea capitata. These are the cultivated cabbages, grown for their edible leaves that usually form a compact head. Reasonably winter hardy, different cultivars can be used to provide edible plants all year round. B. oleracea costata. Couve tronchuda is a tall-growing form of cabbage. It is less hardy than most other forms of this genus. B. oleracea gemmifera. Brussels sprouts form large edible axillary buds 5cm or more long. They are mainly used as late autumn to spring crops. B. oleracea gongylodes. Kohl rabi produces an edible swollen stem 8cm or more in diameter. It is reasonably cold hardy and provides crops from mid summer to the winter. B. oleracea italica. The calabreses and sprouting broccolis, grown mainly for their edible flowering shoots. Calabrese is the less hardy and is used mainly as an autumn and early winter crop. The sprouting broccolis are very winter hardy and are grown outdoors through the winter to provide a spring to early summer crop. B. oleracea medullosa. Marrowstem kales have edible leaves and stems. B. oleracea palmifolia. The Jersey kale produces a very tall stem which has been used as a walking stick. B. oleracea ramosa. The thousand-headed and perennial kales are very cold hardy. Their flavour is stronger than most of the other cultivated forms and they are mainly used as a winter crop. This form is very close to the wild species and has the most potential for developing perennial cultivars. B. oleracea subauda. The savoy cabbages form large heads like the cultivated cabbages (B. oleracea capitata). They have a stronger flavour, crinkly leaves and are generally more cold-hardy so can provide a winter crop in areas with quite severe winters. B. oleracea sabellica. The curly kales have attractively curled leaves. These are quite cold-tolerant plants and are mainly used to provide edible leaves in winter and spring. B. oleracea viridis. Collards are a cold-hardy non-heading form of cabbage, used mainly to provide green leaves in the spring.

Propagation
Seed – sow April in situ. Seedlings transplant very well and so, if you sow the seed too thickly, it is a simple matter to move some of the plants to give them more space. Cuttings root very easily at almost any time in the growing season[K]. Use shoots about 8cm long of the current year’s growth and place them in individual pots in the cuttings frame.

Cultivars
‘Tree Collards’
This is a perennial form of cabbage that is said to live for 20 years or more. The leaves are a very dark green and look somewhat like the leaves of savoy cabbages, though the plant does not form a heart. The flavour is very good and the leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. The plant can be harvested all year round. The shoot tips are removed when about 15 – 20cm long, making sure that there is plenty of stem left. The plant then forms new sideshoots along the stem and these can also be harvested in their turn.

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?Brassica+oleracea
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brassica_oleracea
http://www.floridata.com/ref/b/bras_ole_kale.cfm

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm

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Broccoli-The Best Health Vegetable

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Botanical Name: Brassicaceae (formerly Cruciferae).
Family: Cabbage

Description:Broccoli is a member of the cabbage family, and is closely related to cauliflower. Its cultivation originated in Italy. Broccolo, its Italian name, means “cabbage sprout.” Because of its different components, broccoli provides a range of tastes and textures, from soft and flowery (the floret) to fibrous and crunchy (the stem and stalk). Do not let the smell of the sulfur compounds that are released while cooking keep you away from this highly nutritious vegetable. …….CLICK & SEE
It is classified as the Italica Cultivar Group of the species Brassica oleracea. Broccoli possesses abundant fleshy flower heads, usually green in colour, arranged in a tree-like fashion on branches sprouting from a thick, edible stalk. The large mass of flower heads is surrounded by leaves. Broccoli most closely resembles cauliflower, which is a different cultivar group of the same species, but broccoli is green rather than white. In the United States, the term refers exclusively to the form with a single large head. This form is sometimes called “Calabrese” in the United Kingdom, where sprouting (non-heading) types and those with underdeveloped flower buds are also sold as broccoli.

Varieties:
There are three commonly grown types of broccoli. The most familiar is sometimes called Calabrese in Great Britain and simply ‘broccoli’ in North America. It has large (10 – 20 cm) green heads and thick stalks, and is named after Calabria in Italy where it was first cultivated. It is a cool season annual crop.

Sprouting broccoli has a larger number of heads with many thin stalks. It is planted in May to be harvested during the winter or early the following year in temperate climates.

Romanesco broccoli has a distinctive fractal appearance of its heads, and is yellow-green in colour. It is technically in the Botrytis (cauliflower) cultivar group

Purple cauliflower is a type of broccoli sold in southern Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. It has a head shaped like cauliflower, but consisting of tiny flower buds. It sometimes, but not always, has a purple cast to the tips of the flower buds.


PLANT CHARACTERISTICS

Overview. The edible part of the broccoli plant is a tender stem and unopened flower buds. They are a good source of Vitamin A, calcium, and riboflavin or B2. Broccoli and cauliflower are quite similar morphologically, but the broccoli produces a green head with longer and more slender floret stalks than cauliflower. After the main stem has been harvested, the axillary buds that are lower on the main stem are induced to develop into smaller heads, which can also be harvested in home gardens. They are not harvested in commercial production....CLICK & SEE
Cultivation, preparation and nutritional value:
Broccoli is a cool-weather crop that does poorly in hot summer weather. Other cultivar groups of Brassica oleracea include: cabbage (Capitata Group), cauliflower (Botrytis Group), kale and collard greens (Acephala Group), kohlrabi (Gongylodes Group), and Brussels sprouts (Gemmifera Group). Chinese broccoli (Alboglabra Group) is also a cultivar group of Brassica oleracea. It is usually boiled or steamed, but may be eaten raw and has become popular as a raw vegetable in hors-d’oeuvre trays. It is high in vitamin C and soluble fiber and contains multiple nutrients with potent anti-cancer properties including diindolylmethane and selenium. The 3,3′-Diindolylmethane found in broccoli is a potent modulator of the innate immune response system with anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-cancer activity. Broccoli also contains the compound glucoraphanin, which can be processed into an anticancer compound sulforaphane, though the benefits of broccoli are reduced if the vegetable is boiled. A high intake of broccoli has been found to reduce the risk of aggressive prostate cancer. Broccoli leaf is also edible and contains far more betacarotene than the florets

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Ideal for harvest
Root System. The seedling will generally produce a red colored hypocotyl, two notched cotyledons and a tap root with lateral roots. Usually during transplanting the tap root is damaged and therefore many adventitious roots will arise. Most of the roots are 0.5 mm with few reaching 1 cm thick. In the beginning the roots are quite shallow and the lateral roots are growing horizontally. The roots can be found up to 3 feet away from the plant. After a few months of growing some of the roots will mine vertically to a depth of 1.5-2 m. The majority of the roots occur in the top 20-30 cm. The root system that develops is influenced greatly by water and cultivation.
Stem. The stem is waxy, usually unbranched and, from it arise the leaves and flower heads.
Leaves. The leaves are simple, alternate and without stipules. Many times they are pinnately lobed.
Flower. Branched flower clusters form on 2-2 ½ ft tall plants. The flowers are bright yellow. There are four sepals, six stamens, two carpal and four petals. Broccoli flowers have a superior ovary. The buds are dark green and tightly packed on top of the plant. Broccoli exposed to 40°F will initiate flower primordia much quicker than plants grown in higher temperatures. The flowers are pollinated mostly by bees.
Seed. The fruit of broccoli is a glabrous silique. There are between 10-30 seed per silique. About 325 seed will constitute a gram, and approximately 9,000 seeds make up an ounce. It will take about 144,000 broccoli seed to make up a pound. The seed should be planted ½ inches deep. It will take the seed about 10 days to germinate.
In popular culture
In 1928, when broccoli was still something of a novelty in the United States, a cartoon appeared in the New Yorker magazine. A mother and child are seated at the table, and the mother says, “It’s broccoli, dear.” The child replies, “I say it’s spinach, and I say the hell with it.”

In Michael Winterbottom’s 2002 film 24 Hour Party People, Tony Wilson explains that James Bond producer Albert R. Broccoli invented broccoli by cross-pollinating cauliflower and “a green thing”, then using the profits to fund the Bond movies.

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Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broccoli
http://www.uga.edu/vegetable/broccoli.html

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