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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

Caulophyllum thalictroides

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Botanical Name :Caulophyllum thalictroides
Family: Berberidaceae
Tribe: Leonticeae
Genus: Caulophyllum
Species: C. thalictroides
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Ranunculales

Synonyms: Leontice thalictroides L

Common Names:Blue Cohosh Root , squaw root

Habitat :Caulophyllum thalictroides  is native to   Eastern N. America – New Brunswick to South Carolina, Arkansas, North Dakota and Manitoba. It is found in hardwood forest of the eastern United States, and favors moist coves and hillsides, generally in shady locations, in rich soil. It grows in eastern North America, from Manitoba and Oklahoma east to the Atlantic Ocean.

Description:
Caulophyllum thalictroides is  a flowering plant in the Berberidaceae (barberry) family. It is a medium-tall perennial with blue berry-like fruits and bluish-green foliage. growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in) by 1 m (3ft 3in).

Click to see the pictures.>.....(01)......(1).……....(2)…………(3)…..………..

From the single stalk rising from the ground, there is a single, large, three-branched leaf plus a fruiting stalk. The bluish-green leaflets are tulip-shaped, entire at the base, but serrate at the tip. Its species name, thalictroides, comes from the similarity between the large highly divided, multiple-compound leaves of Meadow-rue (Thalictrum) and those of Blue Cohosh.

It is hardy to zone 7. It is in flower in April, and the seeds ripen in September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)

 

Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils. 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.

 

Cultivation:
Easily grown in a damp light humus-rich woodland soil preferring a position in deep shade. One report says that it is best in a peat garden. Plants are hardy to at least -20°c. The plant only produces one large leaf each year. The seeds rupture the ovary before they are fully ripe and continue to expand naked, they are bright blue when fully ripe.

Propagation:  
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a shady part of a cold frame. If stored seed is used, it should be sown as soon as it is received. Germination can be erratic. Prick out the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a shady part of a greenhouse or cold frame for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions during autumn or early winter. Division in spring or just after flowering[200]. Plants are slow to increase

Constituents:  alkaloids, cystine (caulophylline), baptifoline, anagyrine, laburnine. also caulosaponin, resins

Medicinal Uses:

Properties: * Abortifacient * Antibacterial * AntiCancer * Antirheumatic * Antispasmodic * Emmenagogue * Anthelmintic;  Antispasmodic;  Birthing aid;  Diaphoretic;  Diuretic;  Emmenagogue;  Oxytoxic;  Sedative.

Papoose root is a traditional herb of many North American Indian tribes and was used extensively by them to facilitate child birth. Modern herbalists still consider it to be a woman’s herb and it is commonly used to treat various gynaecological conditions. An acrid, bitter, warming herb, it stimulates the uterus, reduces inflammation, expels intestinal worms and has diuretic effects. The root is anthelmintic, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, oxytocic and sedative. An infusion of the root in warm water is taken for about 2 weeks before the expected birth date in order to ease the birth. This infusion can also be used as an emmenagogue and a uterine stimulant. Papoose root should therefore be used with some caution by women who are in an earlier stage of pregnancy since it can induce a miscarriage or early delivery. The plant is also taken internally in the treatment of pelvic inflammatory disease, rheumatism and gout. It should not be prescribed for people with hypertension and heart diseases. The powdered root can have an irritant action on the mucous membranes, therefore any use of this plant is best under the supervision of a qualified practitioner. The roots are normally harvested in the autumn, because they are at their richest at this time, and are dried for later use. The root is harvested in early spring as new growth is beginning and is used to make a homeopathic remedy. It is used especially in childbirth and in some forms of rheumatism[Hypertensive * Parturient * Uterine Tonic

Blue cohosh is considered to be one of the best herbs to bring on menstruation, and is one of the traditional herbs used to induce labor in natural childbirth.2,3 It contains the phytochemical calulopsponin which actively stimulates uterine contractions and promotes blood flow to the pelvic region. 1 Blue cohosh is generally used in combination with other herbs, often black cohosh, to treat menstrual disorders. The herb’s powerful antispasmodic properties are helpful in relieving the menstrual cramps of a painful period.

The Iroquois used it to treat arthritis – research also suggests the plant possesses some anti-inflammatory and anti-rheumatic

 Known Hazards :  This plant should not be used during pregnancy prior to the commencement of labour. Excessive doses may cause high blood pressure and symptoms similar to nicotine poisoning. Overdose may cause nausea, vomiting, in-coordination and narrowing of blood vessels to the heart muscles. Powdered root can have an irritant effect on mucous membranes . Contraindicated in patients with ischaemic heart disease (angina and heart attacks) and in patients with high blood pressure

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://www.ask.com/wiki/Caulophyllum_thalictroides?o=3986&qsrc=999
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail88.php
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Caulophyllum+thalictroides

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Clausena anisata

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Botanical Name:Clausena anisata
Family: Rutaceae
Subfamily: Aurantioideae
Genus: Clausena
Species: C. anisata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Synonyms: Clausena abyssinica (Engl.) Engl. ,Clausena inaequalis (DC.) Benth.

Common names: Horsewood (E) Maggot killer (E) Muvengahonye (S) Muvhunambezo (S)

Engl: Horsewood, maggot killer

African vernacular names:
Kwere: Mkomavikali Massai: Ol matassia Pare: Mkwingwimi
Shona: Runga honya Venda mudede Xhosa: Umukambi, isifuta, isitutu
Zigua: Mjavikali Zulu: Nukamdida, umsanga
Philippines: nampi (Tagalog)

Habitat : India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Africa; in the Western_Ghats- throughout.

Description:
Shrub or small tree. The plant, a tropical shrub or tree up to 10 meters high is growing in and on the margins of evergreen forests. Leaves pinnately compound with 10-17 alternate or subopposite leaflets and a terminal leaflet.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Trunk\bark :  Bark reddish brown, scaly; blaze pink.

Branchlets : Young branchlets terete, grey pubescent.

Leaves :  Leaves compound, usually imparipinnate, sometimes paripinnate, cluster at twig ends, alternate, spiral, 13-26 cm long; rachis terete, grey pubescent, sometimes glabrescent; petiolule 0.2 cm long; leaflets 7-13 pairs, 2.5-8 (-12) x 1.3-3.5 (-6.5) cm, generally increase in size towards apex, ovate with unequal sides, apex acuminate with retuse tip, base asymmetric, margin entire to crenulate, chartaceous, glandular punctuate, usually grey pubescent on nerves and midrib on both surfaces, sometimes glabrescent; midrib raised above; secondary_nerves 7-11 pairs; tertiary_nerves broadly reticulate.

Flowers :  Inflorescence axillary racemes; flowers white, tetramerous. Flowering time is August – November…

Fruit& seed : Berry, globose, 1.3 cm across; seeds oblong.

Constituents:

Carbazole alkaloids are the major constituents of Rutaceous plants together with
coumarines and phenylpropanoids which are named clausamines. Their chemical
structure was determined by spectroscopic data and MS. They belong to the class of
1-oxygenated-3-methoxy-carbazoles having a prenyl side chain or an analogous
moiety at C-4.
In Cl. anisata nine carbazole alkaloids extracted by acetone could be found.
Among them:
Clausamine D is a colourless powder, structure formula C20H21NO3,
Clausamine E is a colourless oil, C20H21NO4
Clausamine G is a yellow oil, C20H21NO5 (4)
From the alcoholic extract of the stem bark of C. anisata contains the two alkaloids
clausenol and clausenine. Their structure was 1-hydroxy-6-methoxy-3-
methylcarbazole and 1,6-dimethoxy-3-methyl carbazole, respectively. The
molecular weight of clausenol was 227(m/z), the structure formula C14H31NO2 (1).
In Nigeria four coumarins could be found from the root bark, among these
chalepin and imperatorin (5).
Steam distillation of fresh leaves yields sweet smelling, brownish-yellow oil. Its
major component is estragole, not anethole. It is 1 ½ times more toxic than the
crude oil

Medicinal Uses:
Plant parts used:  The root, the stem bark, the fresh leaves

The pounded roots, with lime and Guinea grains, are applied to rheumatic and other pains in Nigeria, where also the leaves are considered anthelmintic.   In some parts of Africa it is considered a cough remedy.  Recent research has shown the root methanolic extract indicates

This species is used in treating an uncommonly wide range of ailments and conditions. Decoctions of the leaves or roots are taken for gastro-intestinal disorders, fever, pneumonia, headache, hypotension, sore throat and sinusitis, venereal diseases, as an aphrodisiac and anthelmintic, as a tonic for pregnant women, and as a tonic for infants to prevent rickets and to control convulsions. Root decoctions and infusions are also taken for whooping cough, malaria, syphilis and kidney ailments, irregular menses, threatening abortion, skin diseases and epilepsy, and given to women before and after parturition to ease delivery and to expel blood from the uterus, and later to boost milk production. Roots are chewed to combat indigestion.

Crushed leaves are used as an antiseptic and analgesic, and are applied to open wounds, mouth infections, otitis and abscesses, also burns, haemorrhoids, rheumatism and general body pains. Crushed leaves are also used to treat wounds in domestic animals, and as a snake-bite antidote. Dried leaves are widely used as an arthropod repellent, such as a filling material for mattresses and pillows against fleas, lice and bedbugs. The fruits are sweet and readily eaten by people and other animals. Stem bark is pounded and used as rope.

that the herb possesses hypoglycaemic activity, though not as strong as insulin; and thus lends credence to the suggested folkloric use of C. anisata root in the management and/or control of adult-onset, Type-2 diabetes mellitus in some communities of South Africa.

 

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.zimbabweflora.co.zw/speciesdata/species.php?species_id=133210
http://www.biotik.org/india/species/c/clauanis/clauanis_en.html

Click to access mp09clausenaanisata.pdf

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clausena_anisata

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

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Scientists Unlock How Trans Fats Harm Your Arteries

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Scientists have discovered the method by which dietary trans-fats cause hardening of the arteries. A study on mice suggests that high levels of trans-fats cause atherosclerosis by reducing the responsiveness of a key protein, transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta, that controls growth and differentiation in cells.

The findings of the study reinforce research that has linked the predominantly man-made fat with a range of health problems.

Food Navigator reports:

“Trans-fats are attractive for the food industry due to their extended shelf life and flavor stability, and have displaced natural solid fats and liquid oils in many areas of food processing.

But scientific reports that trans-fatty acids raise serum levels of LDL-cholesterol, reduce levels of HDL-cholesterol, can promote inflammation can cause endothelial dysfunction, and influence other risk factors for cardiovascular diseases (CVD), has led to a well-publicized bans in New York City restaurants, and other cities, like Chicago.”

You may click to see Maybole Health Forum – Tips



Resources:
Food Navigator November 3, 2010
The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry October 30, 2010

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Aging: You Can Hurry it, but You Can’t Slow it

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Nothing in gerontology comes close to fulfilling the promise of a dramatically extended life span — despite bold claims to the contrary.
………………
“I have little doubt that gerontologists will eventually find a way to avoid, or more likely, delay, the unpleasantries of extended life,” says S. Jay Olshansky, author of “The Quest for Immortality: Science at the Frontiers of Aging.” But they’re not there yet.

For now, what researchers are finding is that, although we can certainly accelerate the aging process, we can’t stop it.

People don’t like to accept that our life spans are generally preset by genetics. “The only control we have over our life span is to shorten it,” says Olshansky, an epidemiology professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health. We do this by being sedentary, smoking, gaining weight and abusing drugs.

Olshansky adds: “If we do everything right, the best we can do is live out our potential with as little age-related disease and disability as possible.”

In the United States today the average life span for women is 80 and for men it’s 75. Of the planet’s current 6.5 billion inhabitants, no more than 25 people are older than 110. Jeanne Calment of Arles, France, who died in 1997 at age 122 1/2 , set the record for the greatest documented age reached by any human.

Researchers who study centenarians (people who live to 100) and super centenarians (those who live beyond 110) appreciate how rare it is to attain that age. They also understand how ridiculous it is to claim that people alive today can expect to live to age 125, which is what some longevity proponents claim is achievable.

“Saying that is inconceivably irresponsible,” says Tom Perls, a geriatrician and director of the New England Centenarian Study. That said, he does believe we can borrow from the successes, if not the genes, of people who’ve lived to be 100. “I wouldn’t be devoting my life to studying centenarians if I didn’t think something would come of it.”

There isn’t a cure for aging because it isn’t a disease, says Laurence Rubenstein, geriatrician at UCLA Medical Center. “It’s a natural and complex process that involves every system in the body.” That individuals age unevenly at vastly different rates suggests that genes, lifestyle and disease can all affect the rate of aging.

Our risk of dying increases as we get older because more can go wrong, says Olshanksy, citing what those in the field call increased competitive risks. “If you do an autopsy on an 85-year-old who died of a stroke, you will find five other things that person was about to die from.”

While research continues to look at ways to help people live longer and healthier, Perls is looking at populations that seem to do that better than most.

The Seventh-day Adventists are such a group: They live to an average age of 88, or about 10 years longer than other people in the country. They don’t smoke. They tend to be lean and fit and get regular exercise. They eat a largely vegetarian diet and spend a lot of time involved with family and religion, which scientists think helps them manage stress.

“If everyone in our country adopted those behaviors, the payoff would be huge,” said Perls, an associate professor of geriatrics at Boston University Medical Center. He would add one more piece of advice to the list:

“Avoid anti-aging quacks like the plague.”

Source: Los Angeles Times

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