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Herbs & Plants

Mentha crispa

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Botanical Name : Mentha crispa
Family: Lamiaceae
Subfamily: Nepetoideae
Tribe: Mentheae
Genus: Mentha
Species: M. spicata
Kingdom: Plantae

Common Names: Supermint, Spearmint or spear mint

Habitat : Mentha crispa is native to much of Europe and Asia (Middle East, Himalayas, China etc.), and naturalized in parts of northern and western Africa, North and South America, as well as various oceanic islands.

Description:
Mentha crispa is a herbaceous, rhizomatous, perennial plant growing 30–100 cm tall, with variably hairless to hairy stems and foliage, and a wide-spreading fleshy underground rhizome. The leaves are 5–9 cm long and 1.5–3 cm broad, with a serrated margin.It is broad, sharply-toothed, woolly beneath, is a avariety of M. aquatica. It is sometimes found in Britain in gardens and has quite a different odour to that of the common Wild Water Mint. The stem is square-shaped, a trademark of the mint family of herbs. Spearmint produces flowers in slender spikes, each flower pink or white, 2.5–3 mm long, and broad.

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Hybrids involving spearmint include Mentha × piperita (peppermint; hybrid with Mentha aquatica), Mentha × gracilis (ginger mint, syn. M. cardiaca; hybrid with Mentha arvensis), and Mentha × villosa (large apple mint, hybrid with Mentha suaveolens).

The name ‘spear’ mint derives from the pointed leaf tip

Cultivation: Mentha crispa or Spearmint grows well in nearly all temperate climates. Gardeners often grow it in pots or planters due to its invasive, spreading rhizomes. The plant prefers partial shade, but can flourish in full sun to mostly shade. Spearmint is best suited to loamy soils with abundant organic material.

Edible Uses: Spearmint leaves can be used fresh, dried, or frozen. They can also be preserved in salt, sugar, sugar syrup, alcohol, or oil. The leaves lose their aromatic appeal after the plant flowers. It can be dried by cutting just before, or right (at peak) as the flowers open, about one-half to three-quarters the way down the stalk (leaving smaller shoots room to grow). Some dispute exists as to what drying method works best; some prefer different materials (such as plastic or cloth) and different lighting conditions (such as darkness or sunlight).

Tea: The cultivar Mentha spicata ‘Nana’, the nana mint of Morocco, possesses a clear, pungent, but mild aroma, and is an essential ingredient of Touareg tea.

Spearmint is an ingredient in several mixed drinks, such as the mojito and mint julep. Sweet tea, iced and flavored with spearmint, is a summer tradition in the Southern United States.

Medicinal Uses: As a medicinal plant, spearmint is steeped as tea for the treatment of stomach ache. Spearmint has been studied for antifungal activity; its essential oil was found to have some antifungal activity, although less than oregano. Its essential oil did not show any evidence of mutagenicity in the Ames test. It can have a calming effect when used for insomnia or massages.

CLICK & SEE : Efficacy of the Mentha crispa in the treatment of women with Trichomonas vaginalis infection.

Other Uses: Spearmint is often cultivated for its aromatic and carminative oil, referred to as oil of spearmint. The most abundant compound in spearmint oil is R-(–)-carvone, which gives spearmint its distinctive smell. Spearmint oil also contains significant amounts of limonene, dihydrocarvone, and 1,8-cineol. Unlike peppermint oil, oil of spearmint contains minimal amounts of menthol and menthone. It is used as a flavoring for toothpaste and confectionery, and is sometimes added to shampoos and soaps.

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/Spearmint
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/m/mints-39.html

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Herbs & Plants

Milkweed

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Botanical Name: Calotropis gigantea/Asclepias syrica or Asclepias Gigantea
Family:Apocynaceae
Subfamily: Asclepiadoideae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales
Genus: Calotropis
Species: C. gigantea
Common Names: Milkweed, Rui (madar) In India it is called Akand,Gurakand,Akanda,Swe-Takand in English it is called Bowstring Hemp, Madar,Gigantic Swallowwort and Milkwed.

Habitat :Throughout india on plains on wastelands. A common shurb of wasteland and rode side. the leaves are thick, opposite, decussate in arrangement and coated with white powder. flowers are in umble and blue in colour.

It grows throughout most of the United States; this species is not found in the Western states, but similar milkweeds are available: found in old fields, roadsides, meadows, waste places and disturbed habitats.

Originnative to the United States and Canada

Description:
The common milkweed is thick-stemmed and upright.  It grows to be 3-5 feet tall.  Its leaves are elliptical, and opposite; they are velvety on their upper surface, and downy underneath.  They are 4-9 inches long and quite wide.

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The pinkish-purple flower buds look like loose broccoli; the flower itself is large and made up of individual florets gathered in an umbrella shaped globe that droops from the stem.  The stem is hairy.  The seed pods are the most recognizable feature of the common milkweed; they are green, elliptical shaped and about 1-4 inches in length with a pointed tip; inside, they contain myriad seeds with silky parachute-like attachments.  Another easily recognizable characteristic of the common milkweed is the profuse, milky white sap that flows from any broken part.

Common milkweed is a member of the Asclepiadaceae, or milkweed, family.  Its relatives include other milkweeds such as swamp milkweed, the butterfly weed, and showy milkweed.  The butterfly weed and Western states versions of milkweed are toxic.

In lore, legend and life: In World War II, children in the United States were encouraged to collect milkweed pods and turn them in to the government, where the fluffy silk was used to stuff lifevests and flying suits.  The silk was especially good because of its exceptional buoyancy and lightweight. Also in World War II, because of the shortage of natural rubber, scientists in the United States tried to turn common milkweed’s latex into a rubber like substitute.

Monarch butterflies are particularly attracted to the flowers of the common milkweed and other milkweed relatives.

In Hindu mythology, relatives of the common milkweed were considered to be the king of plants; it was believed that the creating god was under the influence of milkweed juice when he created the universe.
Click to see :->Scarlet Milkweed 

Active constituents:- beta carotene, vitamin C, latex, alkaloids, asclepiadin, volatile oils

Medicinal uses :-
Dry leaf powder used for treating wounds and boils. leaves found to be effective on elephantiasis.
flowers along with jaggery are useful against cough and improving appetite.
the mixture of latex, turmeric and sesame oil, useful in treating scabies.Leaves and flowers used for worshiping lord Hanuman. position : Very common.

Common milkweed has been used traditionally a tea prepared from its root as a diuretic for kidney stones, a laxative, and an expectorant.  It has been used to treat asthma and bronchitis and it induces sweating.  The sap has been used for chewing gum, which is considered very dangerous because of the presence of cardioactive compounds in the plant. The sap has also been used as a topical remedy for worts, ringworm and moles.  Some Native Americans used milkweed as a contraceptive. It was also a folk remedy for cancer. Today, milkweed has limited medicinal use; other milkweed species, such as the swamp milkweed, have more widespread use. Parts of the milkweed plant can be eaten, but the similarity of this plant to toxic look-alikes would serve as a caution against this practice. It is used by some as an emetic, a potion to sooth the nerves, and as a stomach tonic.  It is also believed to kill parasitic worms.

Click to see it’s different Ayurvedic medicinal uses :-.

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://green-source.blogspot.com/2009/06/rui-madar-calotropis-gigantea-milkweed.html
http://www.woodrow.org/teachers/bi/2000/Ethnobotany/milkweed.html

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Featured

Some Useful Household Tips

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Ants Problem:
Keep the skin of cucumbers near the place or ant hole.

To get pure and clean ice:
Boil water first before freezing.

To make the mirror shine:
Clean with spirit

To remove chewing gum from clothes:
Keep the cloth in the freezer for an hour.

To whiten white clothes
Soak white clothes in hot water with a slice of lemon for 10 minutes 10

To give a shine to hair:
Add one teaspoon of vinegar to hair, then wash hair.

To get maximum juice out of lemons:
Soak lemons in hot water for one hour, and then juice them.

To avoid smell of cabbage while cooking:
Keep a piece of bread on the cabbage in the vessel while cooking.

To rid the smell of fish from your hands:
Wash your hands with a little apple vinegar.

To avoid tears while cutting onions:
Chew gum.

To boil potatoes quickly:
Skin one potato from one side only before boiling.

To boil eggs quickly:
Add salt to the water and boil.

To check freshness of fish:
Put it in a bowl of cold water. If the fish floats, it’s fresh.

To check freshness of eggs:
Put the egg in water. If it becomes horizontal, it’s fresh. If it becomes slanting, its 3-4 days old. If it becomes vertical, its 10 days old. If it floats, it’s stale.

To remove ink from clothes:
Put toothpaste on the ink spots generously and let it dry completely, then wash.

To skin sweet potatoes quickly:
Soak in cold water immediately after boiling.

To get rid of mice or rats:
Sprinkle black pepper in places where you find mice or rats. They will run away.

To get rid of mosquitoes at night:
Keep leaves of mint near your bed or pillows and in around the room.

Sources:Internet site

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Herbs & Plants

Curry Plant

Batanical Name:Helichyrsum italicum.
Family: Asteraceae.
Synonyms: Helichrysum angustifolium – (Lam.)DC.
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Asterales
Genus: Helichrysum
Species: H. italicum
Parts used:Dried Flower,
Habitat :  It grows on dry, rocky or sandy ground around the Mediterranean, South Europe.

Common Name : Curry plant

Description:
It is a Perennial herb.Curry Plant looks very similar to a Lavender in its leaf stage. But, as the picture to the right shows, it looks totally different in bloom. Curry Plant likes it warm and dry. It is native to Turkey and thrives on sunny slopes.The stems are woody at the base and can reach 60cm or more in height. The clusters of yellow flowers are produced in Summer, they retain their colour after picking and are used in dried flower arrangements.
click to see the pictures...>..(01).(1).……..(2).……..…(3)..……....(4)

The plant is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects

Related to the very popular dried Strawflower, Curry Plant proves once again that the useful plants in a genus don’t usually inherit the beauty genes.

While not very tasty, Curry Plant smells strongly like Curry spices. But, Curry Plant is not where Curry Seasoning comes from. Curry is actually a blend of many different herbs. The herbs used in real Curry vary from region to region.  When Curry Plant is mentioned with food, it is always used sparingly, a few leaves in a mayonnaise or a sprig tucked in a cavity of a chicken. The flavor is not Curry but is strong. It is also difficult to describe. However, trimming Curry Plant in the garden will leave you pleasantly reeking like an Indian restaurant the rest of the day.

Cultivation:
Requires a light well-drained soil in a sunny sheltered position. Intolerant of excessive moisture. Established plants are drought resistant. Plants have proved to be fairly wind tolerant in an exposed site in Cornwall. This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the country, it tolerates temperatures down to about -10°c. Plants can be pruned back to the old wood in spring in order to maintain the shape of the plant and promote lots of new growth. The whole plant smells of curry, especially after rain. The flowering stems are often dried and used as ‘everlasting flowers’. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation:
Seed – sow February/March in a greenhouse. The seed usually germinates in 2 – 3 weeks at 20°c. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5cm with a heel, June/July in a frame. Roots in 4 weeks. Good percentage.

Edible Uses: Condiment; Tea.
Leaves – used as a flavouring in salads and cooked foods. They have a slight flavour of curry, though they do not impart this very well to other foods. An essential oil (from the leaves?) is used as a flavouring to enhance fruit flavours in sweets, ice cream, baked goods, soft drinks and chewing gum. A tea is made from the flower heads.

Additional Uses:
Oils in flowers appear to be useful as moisturizers according to one of the comments here and in reducing scarring as noted on A Healing Essence’s website.
The plant tolerates low water and is useful for xeriscaping.  It is also said to be deer resistant
Can be trimmed into a small hedge-like border at the edge of an herb garden.
Flowers can be dried for use in arrangements.
Propagation: methods include division, stem cuttings, and seeds.

Medicinal Uses:
The antioxidant activity of carbon dioxide extracts are under investigation. Preparations are used as anticoagulant, anasthetic, antispasmodic agents and for their antiviral and anti-fungal properties.

Essential oils distilled from flowers are used in aromatherapy. The antioxidant activity of carbon dioxide extracts are under investigation. Preparations are used as anticoagulant, anasthetic, antispasmodic agents and for their antiviral and anti-fungal properties.

The plant produces an oil from its blossoms which is used for medicinal purposes. It is anti-inflammatory, fungicidal, and astringent. It soothes burns and raw chapped skin. It is used as a fixative in perfumes, and has an intense fragrance.

It has been claimed on some gardening forums that the curry plant is as effective a cat deterrent as the “scaredy-cat” plant, Plectranthus caninus (also known as Coleus canina). This may be not so much a recommendation for Helichrysum italicum as a comment on the efficacy of Plectranthus caninus.

The Anada Apothecary has a detailed entry listing the properties and uses of the oil of the flowers.  Here the plant is also referred to as “Everlasting Oil” and is referred to as “one of the most important essential oils in aromatherapy because of its healing properties.  Of special note to me was mention of the oil in treating joint pain.  Additional aromatherapy uses can be found at Nature’s Gifts, A Healing Essence, and Lavender Notes.

A more simplified entry is provided by Rocky Mountain Oils, where 15ml of the oil costs $35.00, lists the uses and properties of helichrysum italicum as:
“This species is much less expensive. Anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antiseptic used for cuts, wounds, bruises, ulcers, herpes, rheumatism, gingivitis, pyorrhea, gastritis, sore throat, and typhoid fever. Induces menstruation, aids painful menstruation and headaches, and induces milk formation.”

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.piam.com/mms_garden/plants.html
http://www.mountainvalleygrowers.com/heltalicum.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helichrysum_italicum
http://kaleidescopeliving.wordpress.com/2008/07/19/curry-plant-helichrysum-italicum/
http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Helichrysum+italicum

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Featured

Chew Gum to Reduce Stress

chewing gumsImage via Wikipedia

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Chewing gum was found to help relieve anxiety, improve alertness and reduce stress among individuals, according to a new study.

The study, led by Andrew Scholey, professor of Behavioural and Brain Sciences, Swinburne University, Australia, was done on the Defined Intensity Stressor Simulation (DISS), a multi-tasking platform which reliably induces stress and also includes performance measures, while chewing and not chewing gum.

While chewing gum, participants reported lower levels of anxiety. They showed a reduction in anxiety as compared to non-gum chewers by nearly 17% during mild stress and nearly 10% in moderate stress.

Participants experienced greater levels of alertness when they chewed gum. The improvement in alertness over non-gum chewers was nearly 19% during mild stress and eight per cent in moderate stress.

Stress levels were also lower. Levels of salivary cortisol (a physiological stress marker) in gum chewers were lower than those of non-gum chewers by 16% during mild stress and nearly 12% in moderate stress.

Chewing gum resulted in a significant improvement in overall performance on multi-tasking activities. Both gum-chewers and non-chewers showed improvement from their baseline scores.

However, chewing gum improved mean performance scores over non-gum chewers by 67% during moderate stress and 109% in mild stress.

You may click to see:->Chewing Gum May Help After Surgery

Sources: The Times Of India

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