Herbs & Plants

Borojoa patinoi

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Botanical Name: Borojoa patinoi
Family: Rubiaceae
Subfamily: Ixoroideae
Tribe: Cordiereae
Genus: Alibertia
Species: A. patinoi
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Synonyms: Borojoa patinoi Cuatrec, Alibertia patinoi (Cuatrec.)

Common Name: Borojo

Habitat :Borojoa patinoi is native to Northwestern S. America – Colombia and Brazil, north through Central America to Nicaragua. It grows on the lowland rainforests, usually at elevations up to 700 metres but occasionally to 1,200 metres.

Borojoa patinoi is an evergreen Tree growing to 8 m (26ft) by 6 m (19ft) at a medium rate.It has grey-brown bark and sometimes has two or three smaller trunks as well as one main one. The fruit is large (about 12 cm length), with a round shape and brown color and average weight of 740-1000 grams. The pulp represents 88% of the total weight. Each fruit has 90 to 640 seeds. Borojo has high levels of protein, ascorbic acid, calcium and iron and very high levels of phosphorus.


It needs high humidity (over 85%) and temperature (an average of at least 25 °C) to thrive, though it can tolerate brief frosts as well as floods.

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) or semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist soil.
A plant of warm tropical lowlands usually at elevations up to 700 metres, but sometimes to 1,200 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures fall within the range 20 – 28 degree centigrade, though it can tolerate 15 – 32 degree centigrade. Temperatures in its native region may reach up to an absolute maximum of 41 degree centigrade. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 3,000 – 6,000mm, tolerating 2,500 – 9,000mm. It thrives with high air humidity average up to almost 90%. Succeeds in heavy soils. Prefers a pH in the range 4.5 – 6.5, tolerating 4 – 7. The fruit takes more than one year to ripen after flowering. A dioecious species, both male and female forms need to be grown if fruit and seed are required.
Propagation: Seed

Edible Uses:
Fruit – eaten raw or made into jellies, preserves, sauces, ice cream etc. A sweet, aromatic flavour with some bitterness. The green to brown fruit is 7 – 12 cm in diameter with a brown pulp that is very acid and dense. The fruit pulp is used to prepare juice (jugo del amor), compotes, marmalades, candies and wine.

Medicinal Uses:
The fruit is prized for its tonic and cure-all qualities. It is famous in western Colombia for its supposed aphrodisiac properties.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Tradescantia zebrina

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Botanical Name: Tradescantia zebrina
T. zebrina

*Tradescantia pendula
*Zebrina pendula
*Zebrina pendula var. quadrifolia
*Tradescantia tricolor

Common Names: Wandering jew, Inchplant

Other common names: Silver inch plant

Habitat : Tradescantia zebrina is native to Mexico, Central America and Colombia, and naturalized in parts of Asia, Africa, Australia, South America, and various oceanic islands.

Tradescantia zebrina is a trailing evergreen perennial growing to 15cm, with lance-shaped, deep bronze-green leaves with two longitudinal silvery bands above, purple beneath; rosy-purple flowers in small terminal clusters appear sporadically throughout the year.

It has attractive zebra-patterned leaves, the upper surface showing purple new growth and green older growth parallel to the central axis, as well as two broad silver-colored stripes on the outer edges, with the lower leaf surface presenting a deep uniform magenta.

This plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society‘s Award of Garden Merit.

It is commonly available and used as a houseplant and groundcover. Propagated by cuttings, this plant can be moved or manipulated easily as its runners cling lightly to the ground (if used as cover). It tends to become an invasive species if not properly maintained.

Propagation : From leaf cuttings

Medicinal Uses:
It is used in southeast Mexico in the region of Tabasco, as a cold herbal tea, which is named Matali.

Known Hazards: Skin irritation may result from repeated contact with or prolonged handling of the plant — particularly from the clear, watery sap (a characteristic unique to T. zebrina as compared with the other aforementioned types).

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


Herbs & Plants

Critonia morifolia

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Botanical Name : Critonia morifolia
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Eupatorieae
Genus: Critonia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Common Name : Green Stick

Habitat : Critonia morifolia is native to Mexico, Central America, South America, and the West Indies. It grows in forest areas.

The most notable trait that characterizes the genus is the presence of pellucid punctations caused by internal secretory pockets of the leaves – to be seen these must be viewed with a hand lens while holding the leaf up to light in most species of the genus. Most species of Critonia also have smooth opposite leaves, a shrubby habit, unenlarged style bases, relatively few (3-5) flowers per head, and imbricate involucres. .CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Medicinal Uses:
Of the medicinal leaves found in the forest, this is one of the most important and useful to add to herbal bath formulas. Steam baths (“bajo”) are given in cases of swelling, retention of fluids, rheumatism, arthritis, paralysis, and muscle spasms. The leaf is heated in oil and applied to boils, tumors, cysts, and pus-filled sores. Boil leaf alone or in combination with other bathing leaves for any skin condition, exhaustion, wounds, feverish babies, insomnia, flu, aches, pains and general malaise.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with  your own health care provider.

Herbs & Plants

Saussurea graminifolia

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Botanical Name : Saussurea graminifolia
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cynareae
Genus: Saussurea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Common Name: Saussurea graminifolia, Mi mao feng mao ju

Habitat ; Saussurea graminifolia is native to E. Asia – western Himalayas at elevations up to 4,000 metres (Bhutan, NW India, Kashmir, Nepal.)It grows in scree, rocky slopes and dry steppe in the alpine zone.

Saussurea graminifolia is a perennial herb, growing to 0.2 m (0ft 8in). Caudex branched, with sterile leaf rosettes and flowering stems. Stem solitary, erect, simple, densely white lanate. Basal leaves sessile, narrowly linear, 3-14 × 0.1-0.2 cm, abaxially grayish white and densely lanate, adaxially green and glabrous, base widened and sheathlike, margin revolute and entire, apex acuminate. Stem leaves similar to basal leaves, reflexed, basally widened to a purple membranous sheath. Capitulum solitary, terminal on stem. Involucre subglobose, 1.8-2.5 cm in diam. Phyllaries in 4 or 5 rows, lanate; outer phyllaries narrowly ovate-elliptic, 7-15 × 2-4 mm, apically purple, apex long acuminate and reflexed; middle phyllaries narrowly ovate-elliptic, 9-15 × 1.5-3 mm; inner phyllaries linear, 10-15 × 1-2 mm. Corolla purple, 1.1-1.2 cm, glabrous, tube 4-5 mm, limb 6-7 mm, lobes 3-3.5 mm. Achene cylindric, ca. 3 mm, glabrous, apex with a short crown. Pappus pale yellowish brown; outer bristles 1-3 mm; inner bristles 1-1.2 cm. Fl. and fr. Jul-Sep. 2n = 32*.The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects….CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES 

Cultivation :
Succeeds in most soils in a sunny well-drained position.

Seed – we have no information for this species but suggest sowing the seed in a cold frame in the spring. Surface sow, or only just cover the seed, and make sure that the compost does not dry out. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring after the last expected frosts. Division in spring might be possible.

Medicinal Uses:
Antitussive; Aphrodisiac; Blood purifier; Emmenagogue.

The entire plant is used in Tibetan medicine, it is said to have a sour and sweet taste with a heating potency. Antitussive, aphrodisiac, blood purifier and emmenagogue, it is used in the treatment of coughing due to a loss of potency of the spleen, irregular menses, seminal/vaginal discharge, excessive bleeding from the womb and pain of the waist due to a loss of renal potency.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


Herbs & Plants

Helleborus niger

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Botanical Name: Helleborus niger
Family: Ranunculaceae
Genus: Helleborus
Species: H. niger
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ranunculales

Synonyms: Christe Herbe. Christmas Rose. Melampode.

Common Names: Christmas rose or Black hellebore,

Parts Used: Rhizome, root.
Habitat: Helleborus niger is a native of the mountainous regions of Central and Southern Europe, Greece and Asia Minor, and is cultivated largely in this country as a garden plant. Supplies of the dried rhizome, from which the drug is prepared, have hitherto come principally from Germany.

Helleborus niger is an evergreen perennial flowering plant with dark leathery pedate leaves carried on stems 9–12 in (23–30 cm) tall. The large flat flowers, borne on short stems from midwinter to early spring, are white or occasionally pink.

There are two subspecies: H. niger niger as well as H. niger macranthus, which has larger flowers (up to 3.75 in/9 cm across). In the wild, H. niger niger is generally found in mountainous areas in Switzerland, southern Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia and northern Italy. Helleborus niger macranthus is found only in northern Italy and possibly adjoining parts of Slovenia….click & see the pictures

Cultivation & Propagation:  All kinds of Hellebore will thrive in ordinary garden soil, but for some kinds prepared soil is preferable, consisting of equal parts of good fibry loam and welldecomposed manure, half fibry peat and half coarse sand. Thorough drainage is necessary, as stagnant moisture is very injurious. It prefers a moist, sheltered situation, with partial shade, such as the margins of shrubberies. If the soil is well trenched and manured, Hellebore will not require replanting for at least seven years, if grown for flowering, but a top dressing of well-decayed manure and a little liquid manure might be given during the growing season, when plants are making their foliage. Propagation is by seeds, or division of roots. Seedlings should be pricked off thickly into a shady border, in a light, rich soil. The second year they should be transplanted to permanent quarters, and will bloom in the third year. For division of roots, the plant is strongest in July, and the clumps to be divided must be well established, with rootstocks large enough to cut. The plants will be good flowering plants in two years, but four years are required to bring them to perfection.

Constituents: Helleborus niger contains two crystalline glucosides, Helleborin and helleborcin, both powerful poisons. Helleborin has a burning, acrid taste and is narcotic, helleborcin has a sweetish taste and is a highly active cardiac poison, similar in its effects to digitalis and a drastic purgative. Other constituents are resin, fat and starch. No tannin is present.

Medicinal Uses:
In the early days of medicine, two kinds of hellebore were recognized: black hellebore, which included various species of Helleborus, and white hellebore (now known as Veratrum album or “false hellebore”, which belongs to a different plant family, the Melanthiaceae). “Black hellebore” was used by the ancients to treat paralysis, gout and particularly insanity, among other diseases. “Black hellebore” is also toxic, causing tinnitus, vertigo, stupor, thirst, a feeling of suffocation, swelling of the tongue and throat, emesis and catharsis, bradycardia (slowing of the pulse), and finally collapse and death from cardiac arrest. Research in the 1970s, however, showed that the roots of H. niger do not contain the cardiotoxic compounds helleborin, hellebrin, and helleborein that are responsible for the lethal reputation of “black hellebore”. It seems that earlier studies may have used a commercial preparation containing a mixture of material from other species such as Helleborus viridis, green hellebore

The drug possesses drastic purgative, emmenagogue and anthelmintic properties, but is violently narcotic. It was formerly much used in dropsy and amenorrhoea, and has proved of value in nervous disorders and hysteria. It is used in the form of a tincture, and must be administered with great care.

The active constituents have an action similar to that of those found in foxglove.  Toxic when taken in all but the smallest doses, the acrid black hellebore is purgative and cardiotonic, expels worms, and promotes menstrual flow.  In the 20th century, the cardiac glycosides in the leaves came into use as a heart stimulant for the elderly.  The herb has also been taken to stimulate delayed menstruation.  Now considered too strong to be safely used.

Applied locally, the fresh root is violently irritant.

Known Hazards: Helleborus niger contains protoanemonin, or ranunculin, which has an acrid taste and can cause burning of the eyes, mouth and throat, oral ulceration, gastroenteritis and hematemesis.

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.