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Herbs & Plants

Crataegus chrysocarpa

Botanical Name : Crataegus chrysocarpa
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Crataegus
Series: Rotundifoliae
Species:C. chrysocarpa
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Rosales

Common Names: Goldenberry hawthorn, Fireberry Hawthorn, Red haw, Piper’s hawthorn

Habitat :Crataegus chrysocarpa is native to North-eastern N. America – Newfoundland to Pennsylvania, west to the Rocky Mountains. It grows in the thickets and rocky ground along streams.

Description:
Crataegus chrysocarpa is a deciduous Tree growing to 6 m (19ft 8in). It is not frost tender. It is in flower in May, and the seeds ripen in September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Midges.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.

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It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist or wet soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure. It can tolerate atmospheric pollution.
Cultivation:
A very easily grown plant, it prefers a well-drained moisture retentive loamy soil but is not at all fussy. Once established, it succeeds in excessively moist soils and also tolerates drought. It grows well on a chalk soil and also in heavy clay soils. A position in full sun is best when plants are being grown for their fruit, they also succeed in semi-shade though fruit yields and quality will be lower in such a position. Most members of this genus succeed in exposed positions, they also tolerate atmospheric pollution. Seedling trees take from 5 – 8 years before they start bearing fruit, though grafted trees will often flower heavily in their third year. A ten year old tree was seen at Kew Gardens in 2002. It was about 2.5 metres tall and was bearing a very good crop of fruit. The flowers have a foetid smell somewhat like decaying fish. This attracts midges which are the main means of fertilization. When freshly open, the flowers have more pleasant scent with balsamic undertones. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. Seedlings should not be left in a seedbed for more than 2 years without being transplanted.
Propagation:
Seed – this is best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame, some of the seed will germinate in the spring, though most will probably take another year. Stored seed can be very slow and erratic to germinate, it should be warm stratified for 3 months at 15°c and then cold stratified for another 3 months at 4°c. It may still take another 18 months to germinate. Scarifying the seed before stratifying it might reduce this time. Fermenting the seed for a few days in its own pulp may also speed up the germination process. Another possibility is to harvest the seed ‘green’ (as soon as the embryo has fully developed but before the seedcoat hardens) and sow it immediately in a cold frame. If timed well, it can germinate in the spring. If you are only growing small quantities of plants, it is best to pot up the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow them on in individual pots for their first year, planting them out in late spring into nursery beds or their final positions. When growing larger quantities, it might be best to sow them directly outdoors in a seedbed, but with protection from mice and other seed-eating creatures. Grow them on in the seedbed until large enough to plant out, but undercut the roots if they are to be left undisturbed for more than two years

 

Edible Uses:
Fruit – raw or cooked. Used mainly as a famine food. A very pleasant flavour when ripe, with the added bonus of ripening in late summer before most other members of the genus. The fruit can be used in making pies, preserves, etc, and can also be dried for later use. It is about 1cm in diameter and borne in small clusters. There are up to five fairly large seeds in the centre of the fruit, these often stick together and so the effect is of eating a cherry-like fruit with a single seed. A tea can be made from the twigs. (This probably means the young shoots with leaves.)
Medicinal Uses:
Cardiotonic; Hypotensive; Laxative.

A decoction of the dried berries has been used as a mild laxative. A compound decoction of the root has been used in the treatment of diarrhoea. Although no other specific mention has been seen for this species, the fruits and flowers of many hawthorns are well-known in herbal folk medicine as a heart tonic and modern research has borne out this use. The fruits and flowers have a hypotensive effect as well as acting as a direct and mild heart tonic. They are especially indicated in the treatment of weak heart combined with high blood pressure. Prolonged use is necessary for it to be efficacious. It is normally used either as a tea or a tincture.

Other Uses:
Wood – heavy, hard, tough, close-grained. Useful for making tool handlesses , mallets and other small items.

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/Crataegus_chrysocarpa
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Crataegus+chrysocarpa

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Herbs & Plants

Atriplex canescens

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Botanical Name: Atriplex canescens
Family: Amaranthaceae
Genus: Atriplex
Species: A. canescens
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Common Names :Saltbush, Grey Sage Brush, Chamiso, Chamiza, Four wing saltbush, Four-wing saltbush, and Fourwing saltbush

Habitat : Atriplex canescens is native to Central and southwestern N. America – South Dakota to Kansas, Texas, California and Mexico. ISandy or gravelly, commonly non-saline but in other situations obviously saline, sites in Joshua tree, blackbrush, greasewood, salt desert shrub, sagebrush, mountain brush communitiest grows on the
Descrition:
Atriplex canescens is an evergreen Shrub growing to 1.8 m (6ft) by 1.8 m (6ft). It is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan. It blooms in July and the seeds ripen in August. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by Wind.The plant is not self-fertile.

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Atriplex canescens has a highly variable form, and readily hybridizes with several other species in the Atriplex genus. The degree of polyploidy also results in variations in form. Its height can vary from 1 foot to 10 feet, but 2 to 4 feet is most common. The leaves are thin and 0.5 to 2 inches long.

It is most readily identified by its fruits, which have four wings at roughly 90 degree angles and are densely packed on long stems.

Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline and saline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.

Cultivation:
Requires a position in full sun in any well-drained but not too fertile soil. Tolerates saline and very alkaline soils. Plants are very tolerant of maritime exposure, though they dislike wet climates. Resents root disturbance when large. Succeeds in a hot dry position. A very ornamental plan, though it is liable to succumb to winter wet when grown on heavy or rich soils. This species forms hybrids with Atriplex confertifolia and A. gardneri. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required. Occasional monoecious plants are found. Individual plants can change sex. The change is more generally from female to male and is apparently associated with stress such as cold or drought. It would appear that the change confers a survival advantage on the plant.
Propagation:
Seed – sow April/May in a cold frame in a compost of peat and sand. Germination usually takes place within 1 – 3 weeks at 13°c. Pot up the seedlings when still small into individual pots, grow on in a greenhouse for the first winter and plant out in late spring or early summer after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a very sandy compost in a frame. Very easy. Pot up as soon as they start to root (about 3 weeks) and plant out in their permanent positions late in the following spring. Cuttings of mature wood of the current season’s growth, November/December in a frame. Very easy. Pot up in early spring and plant out in their permanent position in early summer

Edible Uses:
Leaves – cooked or raw. A very acceptable taste with a salty tang. The leaves can be used at any time of the year though winter harvesting must be light because the plant is not growing much at this time of year. Seed – cooked. Ground into a powder, mixed with cereals and used in making cakes etc or used as a piñole. It is small and very fiddly to utilize. The ground up seed can also be mixed with water and drunk as a refreshing beverage. The burnt green herb yields culinary ashes high in minerals and these are used by the Hopi Indians to enhance the colour of blue corn products. The ashes can be used like baking soda.

Medicinal Uses:
The leaves can be made into a soapy lather and used as a wash on itches and rashes such as chickenpox. A poultice of the crushed leaves can be applied to ant bites to reduce the pain and swelling. The dried tops as a lukewarm tea for nausea and vomiting from the flu; taken hot for breaking fevers. The cold tea is used for simple stomachache.Among the Zuni people, an infusion of dried root and blossoms or a poultice of blossoms is used for ant bites.

Other Uses:
A good hedge in maritime areas, it responds well to trimming. The leaves and stems were burnt by the Hopi Indians and the alkaline ash used to maintain the blue colour when cooking blue corn. A yellow dye is obtained from the leaves and stems. The leaves can be made into a soapy lather and used as a hair wash. The plant has fire-retardant properties and can be used for barrier plantings to control bush fires. Twigs are also attached to prayer plumes and sacrificed to the cottontail rabbit to ensure good hunting.

Known Hazards : No member of this genus contains any toxins, all have more or less edible leaves. However, if grown with artificial fertilizers, they may concentrate harmful amounts of nitrates in their leaves.
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/Atriplex_canescens
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Atriplex+canescens
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_RST.htm

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Herbs & Plants

Artemisia annua

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

Common Names :Sweet Wormwood,  Sweet Annie,  Sweet Sagewort or Annual Wormwood, Qing Hao

Habitat : Artemisia annua is native to temperate Asia, but naturalized throughout the world.
It occurs naturally as part of a steppe vegetation in the northern parts of Chahar and Suiyuan provinces in China, at 1000 to 1500 m above sea level.

Description:
Artemisia annua has fern-like leaves, bright yellow flowers, and a camphor-like scent. Its height averages about 2 m tall, and the plant has a single stem, alternating branches, and alternating leaves which range 2.5–5 cm in length. It is cross-pollinated by wind or insects. It is a diploid plant with chromosome number, 2n=18
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Cultivation:
An easily grown plant, succeeding in a well-drained circumneutral or slightly alkaline loamy soil, preferring a sunny position. Plants are longer lived, more hardy and more aromatic when they are grown in a poor dry soil. A fast-growing annual plant, it is tall but neat in habit with a handsome fragrant foliage and is useful for filling gaps at the back of a border. It has become a weed of waste places in many areas of the world. The plant is extremely vigorous and essentially disease and pest free. Qing Hao is a determinate short-day plant. Non-juvenile plants are very responsive to photoperiodic stimulus and flower about two weeks after induction. The critical photoperiod seems to be about 13.5 hours, but there are likely to be photoperiod x temperature interactions. In Lafayette Indiana, USA (40°21’N) plants flower in early September with mature seeds produced in October. The plant is not adapted to the tropics because flowering will be induced when the plants are very small. Most collections of artemisia derive from natural stands with highly variable artemisinin content, some as low of 0.01%. Selections from Chinese origin vary from 0.05 to 0.21%. Swiss researcher N. Delabays reports a clonal selection derived from Chinese material which produces 1.1% artemisin but is very late flowering; proprietary hybrids have been obtained with somewhat lower content but flower earlier. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame and plant out in late spring or early summer. Alternatively, the seed can be sown late spring in situ

Edible Uses: An essential oil in the leaves is used as a flavouring in spirits such as vermouth.

Medicinal Uses:
Qing Ho, better known in the West as sweet wormwood, is a traditional Chinese herbal medicine. An aromatic anti-bacterial plant, recent research has shown that it destroys malarial parasites, lowers fevers and checks bleeding.  Also used for heat stroke. Used as an infusion.  Externally the leaves are poulticed for nose bleeds, bleeding rashes, and sores.  Research in Thailand and the US shows that A. annua, in the preparation Artesunate, is an effective antimalarial against drug-resistant strains of the disease. Clinical trials have shown it to be 90% effective and more successful than standard drugs. In a trial of 2000 patients, all were cured of the disease. The seeds are used in the treatment of flatulence, indigestion and night sweats.
TCM:
Indications: summer colds, sweatless fevers, malaria, nocturnal sweats, heat excess.  An excellent refrigerant remedy in ailments of “empty-hot” excess.

Sweet Wormwood was used by Chinese herbalists in ancient times to treat fever, but had fallen out of common use, but was rediscovered in 1970’s when the Chinese Handbook of Prescriptions for Emergency Treatments (340 AD) was found. This pharmacopeia contained recipes for a tea from dried leaves, prescribed for fevers (not specifically malaria).

Other Uses:
Essential; Herbicide; Miscellany.

The plant is used in China as a medium for growing Aspergillus which is used in brewing wine. The substances mentioned above in the medicinal uses, used in the treatment of malaria, also show marked herbicidal activity. The plant yields 0.3% essential oi. This has an agreeable, refreshing and slightly balsamic odour and has been used in perfumery.
Known Hazards  : Skin contact with the plant can cause dermatitis or other allergic reactions in some people. The pollen is extremely allergenic.

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/Artemisia_annua
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_RST.htm

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Artemisia+annua

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Teenagers need more sleep, say experts

A leading body clock expert has claimed that students really do need a lie-in of an hour or two in the morning…..click & see

Neuroscience research suggests that the typical morose and sulky   Kevin the teenager  is someone who deserves our understanding, sympathy and help more than an early morning alarm call.

Scientists are beginning to understand why teenagers can turn from sweet, adorable boys and girls into a spotty, unpredictable and combustible blend of truculence, arrogance and moodiness. It is, research has shown, not just to do with sleep deprivation but profound changes taking place in their brains.

The teenage brain is a  work in progress   and needs extra sleep, according to Professor Russell Foster, a   chronobiologist  at Oxford University.

Teenagers have long complained they are too tired to get up in the morning and that starting school early is cruel. Some adults blame the griping on the fact that many teenagers stay up late to do homework, take part in marathon telephone sessions or play computer games.

But work by Professor Till Roenneberg and colleagues at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich has shown that sleep timing changes markedly as we age, said Foster. By the time of puberty, bed times and wake times drift to later and later hours. The tendency to get up later continues until about the age of 19.5 years in women and 20.9 years in men.

“On the basis of this data, we know teens want to go to bed two hours later than 40 to 50-year-olds, and in 10 per cent there is a four-hour delay,   said Foster. In other words, they are biologically programmed to want to stay under the duvet.

Mary Carskadon, the director of sleep research at EP Bradley Hospital in Rhode Island, America, has shown that among US teenagers, on average 25 per cent get fewer than six-and-a-half hours sleep a night.

She estimates that to be optimally alert teenagers need about nine hours of sleep. Studies by Carskadon with colleagues at the University of Toronto have suggested that a later starting time for school would greatly improve alertness and the mental abilities of teenagers during their morning lessons.

Foster said teenagers would not need such long lie-ins if they could “improve sleep hygiene.

That would mean, for example, going to bed at the same time each day, keeping their bedrooms cool and banning computers, lights and televisions.

But that is not always easy, as Foster knows first hand from his own children: Charlotte, 17, Victoria, 13, and most of all from his 15-year-old, William.

“Do they listen to me? They laugh at me most of time,” he confessed.

The basic problem is that society takes no account of the maturation of the teenage brain.

MRI scans of adolescent brains conducted over the past decade have revealed that not only is there major reorganisation in the teenage brain but it continues to develop until the early twenties.

Among the most sleep deprived are teenagers and an increasing body of evidence from sleep researchers suggests that relatively minor changes in the way we time educational activities could have major benefits,   said Foster.

Source:The Telegraph (Kolkata,India)