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Herbs & Plants

Allium ruhmerianum

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Botanical Name : Allium ruhmerianum
Family : Amaryllidaceae
Genus : Bulbs
Species: Allium ruhmerianum
Domain: Eukaryotes
Kingdom: Plants
Division: Vascular plants
Class : Monocot flowering plants
Habitat : Allium ruhmerianum is native to North Africa. It grows on cultivated bed.

Description:
Allium ruhmerianum is a bulb.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES 

The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, insects.Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

Cultivation:
This type of plant needs a sunny position in a light well-drained soil. The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply. Most members of this genus are intolerant of competition from other growing plants. 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:
Bulb – raw or cooked. 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 large quantities and by some mammals, of certain members of this genus. Dogs seem to be particularly susceptible.
Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
https://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allium_ruhmerianum
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Allium+ruhmerianum

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Herbs & Plants

Vicia faba major

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Botanical Name: Vicia faba major
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Tribe: Vicieae
Genus: Vicia
Species: V. faba
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales
Common Names: Broad bean, Fava bean, Faba bean, Field bean, Bell bean, English bean, Horse bean, Windsor bean, Pigeon bean and Tic(k) bean
Habitat ; The origin of this legume is obscure, but it had been cultivated in the Middle East for 8,000 years before it spread to Western Europe. It is grown on cultivated bed.

Description:
Vicia faba major is an annual stiffly erect plant growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) at a fast rate with stout stems of a square cross-section. The leaves are 10–25 cm long, pinnate with 2–7 leaflets, and of a distinct glaucous grey-green color. Unlike most other vetches, the leaves do not have tendrils for climbing over other vegetation. The flowers are 1–2.5 cm long, with five petals, the standard petal white, the wing petals white with a black spot (true black, not deep purple or blue as is the case in many “black” colorings,) and the keel petals are white. Crimson-flowered broad beans also exist, which were recently saved from extinction. The flowers have a strong and sweet scent which is attractive to bees and other pollinators,[6] particularly bumble bees. The fruit is a broad, leathery pod, green maturing to blackish-brown, with a densely downy surface; in the wild species, the pods are 5–10 cm long and 1 cm diameter, but many modern cultivars developed for food use have pods 15–25 cm long and 2–3 cm thick. Each pod contains 3–8 seeds, round to oval and 5–10 mm diameter in the wild plant, usually flattened and up to 20–25 mm long, 15 mm broad and 5–10 mm thick in food cultivars. Vicia faba has a diploid (2n) chromosome number of 12 (six homologous pairs). Five pairs are acrocentric chromosomes and one pair is metacentric.

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

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 semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.
Cultivation:
Prefers a fairly heavy loam but succeeds in a sunny position in most soils that are well-drained. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Dislikes dry conditions according to some reports, whilst another says that it is drought tolerant once established. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 to 7. Broad beans are often cultivated for their edible seed and sometimes also as a green manure crop. There are two main types, the ‘longpod’ beans are the more hardy and can be sown in the autumn in cool temperate areas, whilst ‘windsor’ beans, which are considered to be finer flavoured, are less tolerant of the cold and so are best sown in spring. The ideal temperature range in the growing season is between 18 and 27°c, at higher temperatures the flowers are often aborted. The autumn sown varieties are more susceptible to ‘chocolate spot’ fungus, this problem can be alleviated by the addition of potash to the soil. Black fly can be a major problem in late spring. Autumn sown crops are less likely to be affected. Pinching out the soft tips of the plants, one they are tall enough and are beginning to flower, can reduce the problem since the blackfly always start on the soft shoots and then spread to the older stems. Grows well with carrots, cauliflowers, beet, cucumber, cabbages, leeks, celeriac, corn and potatoes, but is inhibited by onions, garlic and shallots. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby. When removing plant remains at the end of the growing season, it is best to only remove the aerial parts of the plant, leaving the roots in the ground to decay and release their nitrogen.

Propagation:
Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water and then sow in situ in succession from late winter until early summer. Germination should take place in about 7 – 10 days. The earlier sowings should be of suitably hardy varieties such as the ‘Longpods’ whilst later sowings can be of the tastier varieties such as the ‘Windsors’. By making fresh sowings every 3 weeks you will have a continuous supply of fresh young seeds from early summer until early autumn. If you want to grow the beans to maturity then the seed needs to be sown by the middle of spring. You may need to protect the seed from the ravages of mice. Another sowing can be made in middle to late autumn. This has to be timed according to the area where the plants are being grown. The idea is that the plants will make some growth in the autumn and be perhaps 15 – 20cm tall by the time the colder part of winter sets in. As long as the winter is not too severe, the plants should stand well and will grow away rapidly in the spring to produce an earlier crop. The plants will also be less likely to be attacked by blackfly. Make sure you choose a suitably hardy variety for this sowing.
Edible Uses:
Broad bean seeds are very nutritious and are frequently used as items of food. There are, however, some potential problems to their use if they are consumed in large quantities – see the notes above on toxicity. The immature seeds can be eaten raw when they are small and tender, as they grow older they can be cooked as a vegetable. They have a very pleasant floury taste. The young pods can be cooked as a vegetable, though they quickly become fibrous and also have a hairy coating inside that can become unpleasant as the pods get larger. Mature seeds can be eaten cooked as a vegetable or added to soups etc. They are best soaked for 12 – 24 hours prior to cooking in order to soften them and reduce the cooking time. They will also become more nutritious this way. The flavour is mild and pleasant with a floury texture. They can also be dried and ground into a flour for use in making bread etc with cereal flours. The seed can also be fermented to make ‘tempeh’.The seed can be sprouted before being cooked. Popped seeds can be salted and eaten as a snack or roasted like peanuts. Young leaves – cooked. They are very nutritious and can be used like spinach.
Medicinal Uses: The seedpods are diuretic and lithontripic.

Other Uses :
Fibre; Soap making.

A fibre is obtained from the stems. The burnt stems are rich in potassium and can be used in making soap.

Known Hazards: Although often used as an edible seed, there are reports that eating the seed of this plant can cause the disease ‘Favism‘ in susceptible people. Inhaling the pollen can also cause the disease. Favism, which is a severe haemolytic anaemia due to an inherited enzymatic deficiency, only occurs in cases of excessive consumption of the raw seed (no more details are given) and when the person is genetically inclined towards the disease. About 1% of Caucasians and 15% of Negroids are susceptible to the disease.
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/Vicia_faba
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Vicia+faba+major

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Fruits & Vegetables Herbs & Plants

Synsepalum dulcificum

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Botanical Name: Synsepalum dulcificum
Family: Sapotaceae
Genus: Synsepalum
Species: S. dulcificum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales

Common Names:  Miracle fruit, Miracle berry, Miraculous berry, Sweet berry, and in West Africa, where the species originates, Agbayun, Taami, Asaa, and Ledidi.

Habitat: Synsepalum dulcificum is native to West Africa. When European explorer the Chevalier des Marchais provided an account of its use there. Marchais, who was searching West Africa for many different fruits in a 1725 excursion, noticed that local people picked the berry from shrubs and chewed it before meals.
Description:
Synsepalum dulcificum is a shrub that grows between 6 to 15 feet in height and has dense foliage. Its leaves are 5–10 cm long, 2-3.7 cm wide and glabrous below. They are clustered at the ends of the branchlets. The flowers are brown. It carries red, 2 cm long fruits. Each fruit contains one seed……..CLICK & SEE
The fruit or the berry when eaten, causes sour foods (such as lemons and limes) subsequently consumed to taste sweet. This effect is due to miraculin.

The berry itself has a low sugar content and a mildly sweet tang. It contains a glycoprotein molecule, with some trailing carbohydrate chains, called miraculin. When the fleshy part of the fruit is eaten, this molecule binds to the tongue’s taste buds, causing sour foods to taste sweet. At neutral pH, miraculin binds and blocks the receptors, but at low pH (resulting from ingestion of sour foods) miraculin binds protons and becomes able to activate the sweet receptors, resulting in the perception of sweet taste. This effect lasts until the protein is washed away by saliva (up to about 60 minutes).

The names miracle fruit and miracle berry are shared by Gymnema sylvestre and Thaumatococcus daniellii, which are two other species of plant used to alter the perceived sweetness of foods.
Cultivation:
The plant grows best in soils with a pH as low as 4.5 to 5.8, in an environment free from frost and in partial shade with high humidity. It is tolerant of drought, full sunshine and slopes.[4]
The seeds need 14 to 21 days to germinate. A spacing of 4 m between plants is suggested.
The plants first bear fruit after growing for approximately 3–4 years, and produce two crops per year, after the end of the rainy season. This evergreen plant produces small, red berries, while white flowers are produced for many months of the year.The seeds are about the size of coffee beans.In Africa, leaves are attacked by lepidopterous larvae, and fruits are infested with larvae of fruit-flies. The fungus Rigidoporus microporus has been found on this plant. Miraculin is now being produced by transgenic tomato plants.

Edible Uses:
In tropical West Africa, where this species originates, the fruit pulp is used to sweeten palm wine. Historically, it was also used to improve the flavor of soured cornbread.The Miracle berry has a very unusual effect when the fruit is absorbed over the tongue. It makes food and drinks which normally taste sour or bitter, taste sweet. The sweet taste is similar to that of artificial sweeteners. If you chew the fruit, and then eat a lemon, it will not taste sour at all, it actually tastes like lemonade. Sour2Sweet.com is our preferred Miracle Fruit vendor

Medicinal Uses:
Attempts have been made to create a commercial sweetener from the fruit, with an idea of developing this for patients with diabetes. Fruit cultivators also report a small demand from cancer patients, because the fruit allegedly counteracts a metallic taste in the mouth that may be one of the many side effects of chemotherapy. This claim has not been researched scientifically, though in late 2008, an oncologist at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami, Florida, began a study, and by March 2009, had filed an investigational new drug application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

In Japan, miracle fruit is popular among patients with diabetes and dieters.

The shelf life of the fresh fruit is only 2–3 days. Because miraculin is denatured by heating, the pulp must be preserved without heating for commercial use. Freeze-dried pulp is available in granules or in tablets, and has a shelf life of 10 to 18 months.

CLICK & READ

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/Synsepalum_dulcificum
http://www.synsepalumdulcificum.net/

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Herbs & Plants

Coccinia cordifolia(Bengali :Kundri)

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Botanical Name: Coccinia cordifolia
Family: Cucurbitaceae
Genus: Coccinia
Species: C. grandis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Cucurbitales

Synonyms: Coccinia grandis, Cephalandra indica and Coccinia indica

Common Names:Ivy gourd,Baby watermelon,Little gourd, Gentleman’s toes, Tindora, Ivy gourd,Gentleman’s toes  and Gherkin,
Bengali Name :Kundri or Tela kochu
Sanskrit Name: Bimbi, Uthundika, Bimbitika, Rakthaphala, Ostopamphala, Pilulparni.
English Name:Ivy gourd
Kannada Name:Tonde
Hindi Name: Kanduri, Kulari, Kundru

Habitat : Coccinia cordifolia is native to Tropical Asia To Africa.It grows on light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

Description:
Coccinia cordifolia is a large, glabrous, deciduous climbing shrub. The stems are rather succulent with long filiform fleshy aerial roots from the branches. The bark is grey-brown and warty; the leaves are membranous and cordate; the flowers, small, yellow or greenish yellow, in axillary and terminal racemes or racemose panicles; the male flowers clustered and females usually solitary; the drupes are ovoid, glossy, succulent, red and pea-sized; the seeds curved. ...CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Edible Uses:
In India it is eaten as a curry, by deep-frying it along with spices; stuffing it with masala and sauteing it, or boiling it first in a pressure cooker and then frying it. It is also used in sambar, a vegetable and lentil-based soup.

There are a variety of recipes from all over the world that list ivy gourd as the main ingredient. It is often compared to bitter melon. The fruit is commonly eaten in Indian cuisine. People of Indonesia and other southeast Asian countries also consume the fruit and leaves. In Thai cuisine it is one of the ingredients of the Kaeng khae curry. Cultivation of ivy gourd in home gardens has been encouraged in Thailand due to it being a good source of several micronutrients, including vitamins A and C.

Constituents:
Tinsporine, tinosporide, tinosporaside, cordifolide, cordifol, heptacosanol, clerodane furano diterpene, diterpenoid furanolactone tinosporidine, columbin, and ß-sitosterol.

Medicinal Uses:
In traditional medicine, fruits have been used to treat leprosy, fever, asthma, bronchitis and jaundice. The fruit possesses mast cell stabilizing, anti-anaphylactic and antihistaminic potential.  In Bangladesh, the roots are used to treat osteoarthritis and joint pain. A paste made of leaves is applied to the skin to treat scabies.

Ivy gourd extracts and other forms of the plant can be purchased online and in health food stores. It is claimed that these products help regulate blood sugar levels. There is some research to support that compounds in the plant inhibit the enzyme glucose-6-phosphatase. Glucose-6-phosphatase is one of the key liver enzymes involved in regulating sugar metabolism. Therefore, ivy gourd is sometimes recommended for diabetic patients. Although these claims have not been supported, there currently is a fair amount of research focused on the medicinal properties of this plant focusing on its use as an antioxidant, anti-hypoglycemic agent, immune system modulator, etc. Some countries in Asia like Thailand prepare traditional tonic like drinks for medicinal purposes.

The leaves are rubbed on skin diseases  like  eximas,sorasis  etc  to get releaf.

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coccinia_grandis
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Coccinia+grandis
http://parisaramahiti.kar.nic.in/Medicinal_plants_new/med%20plants/p62.html

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Herbs & Plants

Tragopogon porrifolius

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Botanical Name : Tragopogon porrifolius
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Tragopogon
Species: T. porrifolius
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms: Purple Goat’s Beard. Vegetable Oyster.
(French) Salsifis des prés.

Common Names :Purple or Common salsify, Oyster plant, Vegetable oyster, Jerusalem star,Goatsbeard or Simply salsify (although these last two names are also applied to other species, as well).

Habitat :Tragopogon porrifolius is   native to Mediterranean regions of Europe but introduced elsewhere, for example, into the British Isles (mainly in central and southern England), other parts of northern Europe, North America, and southern Africa and in Australia; in the United States it is now found growing wild in almost every state, including Hawaii, except in the extreme south-east.This plant is normally found near the sea and estuaries in S.E. England

Description:
Tragopogon porrifolius is a common biennial wildflower plant growing  to around 120 cm in height. As with other Tragopogon species, its stem is largely unbranched, and the leaves are somewhat grasslike. It exudes a milky juice from the stems.In the UK it flowers from June to September, but in warmer areas such as California it can be found in bloom from April. The flower head is about 5 cm across, and each is surrounded by green bracts which are longer than the petals (technically, the ligules of the ray flowers). The flowers are like that of Goatsbeard Tragopogon pratensis, but are larger and dull purple, 30-50mm across. The flowers are hermaphroditic, and pollination is by insects.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

The fruits are of the clock variety.The seeds ripen from July to September.

Cultivation:     
Succeeds in ordinary garden soils, including heavy clays. Plants do not grow well in stony soils. Prefers an open situation and a cool moist root run. Salsify is occasionally cultivated in the garden for its edible root, there are some named varieties. Grows well with mustard.

Propagation:  
Seed – sow in situ as early in the year as possible, in March if weather conditions permit. Seed sowings often fail unless the soil is kept moist until the seedlings are growing well.

Edible Uses: 
Edible Parts: Flowers;  Leaves;  Root;  Seed;  Stem.

Root – raw or cooked. The young root can be grated in salads, older roots are best cooked. The flavour is mild and sweet, and is said to resemble oysters. The roots are harvested as required from October until early spring, or can be harvested in late autumn and stored until required. Young shoots – raw or cooked. The new growth is used in spring. A sweet taste. Flowering shoots – raw or cooked. Used like asparagus. Flowers – raw. Added to salads[183]. The sprouted seeds can be added to salads or sandwiches. The root latex is used as a chewing gum.

Meditional Uses:

Antibilious;  Aperient;  Deobstruent;  Diuretic.

Salsify is a cleansing food with a beneficial effect upon the liver and gallbladder. The root is antibilious, slightly aperient, deobstruent and diuretic. It is specific in the treatment of obstructions of the gall bladder and jaundice and is also used in the treatment of arteriosclerosis and high blood pressure

Other Uses : Gum.

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/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Tragopogon+porrifolius
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragopogon_porrifolius
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/salsaf08.html