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Chickpea

Botanical Name: Cicer arietinum
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Cicer
Species: C. arietinum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Synonyms:
*Cicer album hort.
*Cicer arientinium L
*Cicer arientinum L.
*Cicer edessanum Bornm.
*Cicer grossum Salisb.
*Cicer nigrum hort.
*Cicer physodes Rchb.
*Cicer rotundum Alef.
*Cicer sativum Schkuhr
*Cicer sintenisii Bornm.
Common Names: Chickpea or chick pea, Gram, or Bengal gram, Garbanzo or Garbanzo bean, Egyptian pea, ceci, Cece or Chana or Kabuli Chana (particularly in northern India).

Habitat: Chiekpea is native to Asia. It is grown in cultivated beds. It is one of the earliest cultivated legumes: 7,500-year-old remains have been found in the Middle East

Description:
Chickpea is an annuak plant. It grows to between 20–50 cm (8–20 inches) high and has small feathery leaves on either side of the stem. Chickpeas are a type of pulse, with one seedpod containing two or three peas. It has white flowers with blue, violet or pink veins. It is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jun to July, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)It can fix Nitrogen.

CLICK & SEE..>…..Chickpea Plant .…...Chickpea  

Types:
There are three main kinds of chickpea.
Desi has small, darker seeds and a rough coat. It is grown mostly in India and other parts of the Indian subcontinent, as well as in Ethiopia, Mexico, and Iran. Desi means ‘country’ or ‘local’ in Hindustani; its other names include Bengal gram or kala chana (“black chickpea” in both Hindi and Urdu) or chhola boot. Desi is probably the earliest variety because it closely resembles seeds found both on archaeological sites and the wild plant ancestor Cicer reticulatum of domesticated chickpeas, which only grows in southeast Turkey, where it is believed to have originated. Desi chickpeas have a markedly higher fibre content than other varieties, and hence a very low glycemic index, which may make them suitable for people with blood sugar problems. The desi type is used to make chana dal, which is a split chickpea with the skin removed.

Bombay chickpeas (Bambai) are also dark but slightly larger than desi. They too are popular in the Indian subcontinent.

Kabuli are lighter-coloured, larger and with a smoother coat, and are mainly grown in the Mediterranean, Southern Europe, Northern Africa, South America and Indian subcontinent. The name means “from Kabul” in Hindi and Urdu, and this variety was thought to come from Kabul, Afghanistan when it was introduced to India in the 18th century. It is called Kabuli chana in Marathi and safed chana in India.

An uncommon black chickpea, ceci neri, is grown only in Apulia, in southeastern Italy. It is larger and darker than the desi variety.

Green chickpeas are common in the state of Maharastra, India. In Marathi, they are called harbhara. Chana dal is also called harbara dal . Tender, immature harbara roasted on coal before the skin is removed is called hula in Marathi.
Cultivation:
Requires a hot sunny position, tolerating drought once established. Prefers a light well-drained fertile soil. Tolerates a pH in the range 5.5 to 8.6. Plants are hardy to about -25°c when covered by snow. This suggests that plants can be autumn sown – some trials are called for, especially of some of the hardier cultivars. The chickpea is widely cultivated in warm temperate and tropical areas for its edible seed. There are many named varieties, some of which should be suitable for cultivation in Britain. Plants only succeed outdoors in Britain in hot summers. Plants are about as hardy as broad beans but they often do not succeed in mild moist maritime climates because the seedpods are hairy and this holds moisture. The moisture then encourages fungal growth and the seed usually rots before it is fully mature. Plants require 4 – 6 months with moderately warm dry conditions if they are to crop well. 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:
Seed – sow April/May in situ under cloches. Chick peas can germinate at lower temperatures than broad beans. Could an early spring or even autumn sowing outdoors be successful

Edible Uses :
Edible Parts: Leaves; Seed; Seedpod.
Edible Uses: Coffee; Drink.

Seed – raw or cooked. The fresh or dried seed is cooked in soups, stews etc. It has a somewhat sweet flavour and a floury texture somewhat reminiscent of sweet chestnuts. The mature seed can also be sprouted and eaten raw. Parched seeds can be eaten as a snack. The seed can also be ground into a meal and used with cereal flours for making bread, cakes etc. The seed is a good source of carbohydrates and protein. The roasted seed is a coffee substitute. The roasted root can also be used. Both the young seedpods and the young shoots are said to be edible but some caution is advised. See the notes above on toxicity. A refreshing drink can be made from the acid dew that collects on the hairy seedpods overnight.

Nutrition:
Chickpeas are a nutrient-dense food, providing rich content (> 20% of the Daily Value, DV) of protein, dietary fibre, folate, and certain dietary minerals such as iron and phosphorus. Thiamin, vitamin B6, magnesium and zinc contents are moderate, providing 10-16 percent of the DV (right table). Chickpeas have a Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score of about 76 percent, which is higher than fruits, vegetables, many other legumes, and cereals.

Compared to reference levels established by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization and World Health Organization,[20] proteins in cooked and germinated chickpeas are rich in essential amino acids like lysine, isoleucine, tryptophan and total aromatic amino acids.

A 100 g serving of cooked chickpeas provides 164 kilocalories (690 kJ) (see table). Carbohydrates make up 68 percent of calories, most of which (84 percent) is starch, followed by total sugars and dietary fibre. Lipid content is 3 percent, 75 percent of which is unsaturated fatty acids for which linoleic acid comprises 43 percent of total fat

Medicinal Uses: An acid exudation from the seedpods is astringent. It has been used in the treatment of dyspepsia, constipation and snakebite

Other Uses: Animal feed:
Chickpeas serve as an energy and protein source not only in human nutrition but also as animal feed.
Resources:
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Cicer+arietinum
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chickpea

Asafoetida

Botanical Name : Ferula asafoetida
Family:    Apiaceae
Genus:    Ferula
Species:    F. assa-foetida
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:    Apiales
Common Names : Asafoetida , devil’s dung, food of the gods, hing, narthex

It has several Names
Asafetida, Assafetida, Assafoetida, Devil’s Dung, Devil’s Durt, Food of the Gods (Persian), Laser (Roman), Stinking Gum
French: assa foetida, ferulr perisque
German: Asafotida, Stinkender Asant
Italian: assafetida
Spanish: asafetida

Ferula foetida

Ferula foetida (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Afghan: kama-i-anguza
Indian: hing, hingu, heeng
Tamil: perunkaya,   Bengali :Hing

Asafoetida gets its name from the Persian aza, for mastic or resin, and the Latin foetidus, for stinking. It is a gum that is from the sap of the roots and stem of the ferula species, a giant fennel that exudes a vile odour. Early records mention that Alexander the Great carried this “stink finger” west in 4 BC. It was used as a spice in ancient Rome, and although not native to India, it has been used in Indian medicine and cookery for ages. It was believed that asafoetida enhanced singers voices. In the days of the Mughal aristocracy, the court singers if Agra and Delhi would eat a spoonful of asafoetida with butter and practice on the banks of the river Yamuna.

Plant Details and it’s Cultivation
Asafoetida is grown chiefly in Iran and Afghanistan from where it is exported to the rest of the world. In India it is cultivated in Kashmir. It is a perennial fennel that grows wild to 3.6 metres (12 ft) high, in large natural forests where little else grows. It bears fine leaves and yellow flowers. The roots are thick and pulpy and also yield a similar resin to that of the stems. All parts of the plant have the distinctive fetid smell. In March and April, just before flowering, the stalks are cut close to the root. A milky liquid oozes out, which dries to form a resin. This is collected and a fresh cut is made. This procedure lasts for about three months from the first incision, by which time the plant has yielded up to two pounds of resin and the root has dried up.

click to see the pictures..>...(01)..…..(1).…..…(2)..….…(3)…………..
Asafoetida is a hard resinous gum, grayish-white when fresh, darkening with age to yellow, red and eventually brown. It is sold in blocks or pieces as a gum and more frequently as a fine yellow powder, sometimes crystalline or granulated.
Bouquet: a pungent smell of rotting onions or sulfur. The smell dissipates with cooking.
Flavour: on its own, extremely unpleasant, like concentrated rotten garlic. When cooked, it adds an onion-like flavour.
Hotness Scale: 0

To make and store:

click to see the picture
It is vital to keep asafoetida in airtight containers as its sulfurous odour will effect other foods and spices. It is most commonly available as a powder or granules that can be added directly to the cooking pot. It is also sold in lumps that need to be crushed before using. This is a very powerful spice and even in its ground state lasts well over a year if stored properly, away from light and air.

Cultivation and manufacture:
The resin-like gum comes from the dried sap extracted from the stem and roots and is used as a spice. The resin is greyish-white when fresh but dries to a dark amber colour. The asafoetida resin is difficult to grate and is traditionally crushed between stones or with a hammer. Today, the most commonly available form is compounded asafoetida, a fine powder containing 30% asafoetida resin, along with rice flour and gum arabic.

Ferula assafoetida is a monoecious, herbaceous, perennial plant of the family Apiaceae. It grows to 2 m (7 ft) high, with a circular mass of 30–40 cm (12–16 in) leaves. Stem leaves have wide sheathing petioles. Flowering stems are 2.5–3 m (8–10 ft) high and 10 cm (4 in) thick and hollow, with a number of schizogenous ducts in the cortex containing the resinous gum. Flowers are pale greenish yellow produced in large compound umbels. Fruits are oval, flat, thin, reddish brown and have a milky juice. Roots are thick, massive, and pulpy. They yield a resin similar to that of the stems. All parts of the plant have the distinctive fetid smell.

Edible Uses:
Use in minute quantities, adding directly to cooking liquid, frying in oil, or steeping in water. Asafoetida is used mostly in Indian vegetarian cooking, in which the strong onion-garlic flavour enhances many dishes, especially those of Brahmin and Jain castes where onions and garlic are prohibited. It is used mostly in south and west India, though it does not grow there. It is used in many lentil dishes (often to prevent flatulence), vegetarian soups and pickles. It is also suited to many fish dishes and some pappadums are seasoned with asafoetida.

click to see the picture

Constituents:  Typical asafoetida contains about 40–64% resin, 25% endogeneous gum, 10–17% volatile oil, and 1.5–10% ash. The resin portion is known to contain asaresinotannols ‘A’ and ‘B’, ferulic acid, umbelliferone and four unidentified compounds.
Medicinal Uses:
*Antiflatulent. Asafoetida reduces the growth of indigenous microflora in the gut, reducing flatulence.[8] In the Jammu region of India, asafoetida is used as a medicine for flatulence and constipation by 60% of locals.

*A digestion aid. In Thailand and India, it is used to aid digestion and is smeared on the abdomen in an alcohol or water tincture known as mahahing.  Assafoetida in this tincture form was evidently used in western medicine as a topical treatment for abdominal injuries during the 18th and 19th centuries, although when it came into use in the West and how long it remained in use is uncertain. One notable case in which it was used is that of Canadian Coureur des bois Alexis St. Martin, who in 1822 suffered a severe abdominal injury from an accidental shooting that perforated his right lung and stomach and shattered several ribs. St Martin was treated by American army surgeon William Beaumont, who subsequently used St Martin as the subject of a pioneering series of experiments in gastric physiology. When St Martin’s wounds had healed, there remained an open fistula into his stomach that enabled Beaumont to insert various types of food directly into St Martin’s stomach and record the results. In his account of his treatment of and later experiments on St Martin, Beaumont recorded that he treated the suppurating chest wound with a combination of wine mixed with diluted muriatic acid and 30-40 drops of tincture of asafoetida applied three times a day, and that this appeared to have the desired effect, helping the wound to heal.

*Fighting influenza: Asafoetida was used in 1918 to fight the Spanish influenza pandemic. In 2009, researchers reported that the roots of Asafoetida produce natural antiviral drug compounds that demonstrated potency against the H1N1 virus in vitro and concluded that “sesquiterpene coumarins from F. assa-foetida may serve as promising lead compounds for new drug development against influenza A (H1N1) viral infection”.

*Remedy for asthma and bronchitis. It is also said  to be helpful in cases of asthma and bronchitis. A folk tradition remedy for children’s colds: it is mixed into a pungent-smelling paste and hung in a bag around the afflicted child’s neck.
An antimicrobial: Asafoetida has a broad range of uses in traditional medicine as an antimicrobial, with well documented uses for treating chronic bronchitis and whooping cough, as well as reducing flatulence.

*A contraceptive/abortifacient: Asafoetida has also been reported to have contraceptive/abortifacient activity,. It is related to (and considered an inferior substitute for) the ancient Ferula species Silphium.

*Antiepileptic: Asafoetida oleo-gum-resin has been reported to be antiepileptic in classical Unani, as well as ethnobotanical literature.

*Balancing the vata and kapha. In India according to the Ayurveda, asafoetida is considered to be one of the best spices for balancing the vata dosha. It mitigates vata and kapha, relieves flatulence and colic pain. It is pungent in taste and at the end of digestion. It aggravates pitta, enhances appetite, taste and digestion. It is easy to digest.

*Antidote for opium. Asafoetida has only been speculated to be an antidote for opium.

*Acifidity Bag. Asafoetida was approved by the US Pharmacopedia to stave off the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918 that killed millions worldwide. It was placed into pouches called “acifidity bags” that were provided by drug stores to be hung around the neck to try to prevent catching the disease.
Other uses

Other Uses:
*Bait: John C Duval reported in 1936 that the odour of asafoetida is attractive to the wolf, a matter of common knowledge, he says, along the Texas–Mexico border. It is also used as one of several possible scent baits, most notably for catfish and pike.

*May also be used as a moth (Lepidoptera) light trap attractant by collectors—when mixed by approximately 1 part to 3 parts with a sweet, fruit jelly.

*Repelling spirits: In Jamaica, asafoetida is traditionally applied to a baby’s anterior fontanel (Jamaican patois mole) to prevent spirits (Jamaican patois duppies) from entering the baby through the fontanel. In the African-American Hoodoo tradition, asafoetida is used in magic spells, as it is believed to have the power both to protect and to curse.

*In ceremonial magick, especially from The Key of Solomon the King, it is used to protect the magus from daemonic forces and to evoke the same and bind them

Side Effects:
The uncooked herb can cause nausea and vomiting. Using asafoetida over long periods may cause throat irritation, gas, diarrhea, and burning urination. This herb should be avoided during pregnancy. It may affect the menstrual cycle, and it is known to induce miscarriage.

Known Hazards :  Do not use orally. Avoid during pregnancy as possible increased bleeding. Topical use may cause skin irritation

Availability:If you want to buy on line you may click on this link.

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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/Asafoetida

Encylopedia of spices,

http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail415.php

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

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Onion

You are what you eat. Some of the gravest health problems can be caused by food and yet, food can also be a cure for many an ailment.

CLICK & SEE THE ONION PLANT 

Onion, like its cousin garlic, is a member of the Allium family. It is rich is certain sulphur-containing compounds. It is these compounds that are responsible for the pungent smell and fumes as well as the various health benefits,

It is Rich in chromium, Vitamin C and dietary fibre.

– Onions have blood sugar regulating effects due to its chromium content as well as increasing insulin availability. This makes it a friend of diabetics.
– Regular consumption of onion reduces bad cholesterol and high blood pressure. It also reduces atherosclerosis.
– Eating onions as little as 2-3 times a week significantly reduces risk of colon cancer
– Onions have this compound that inhibits the breakdown of bone cells thereby reducing osteoporosis.
– The anti bacterial property of onion has long been recognised by Ayurveda. The anti-inflammatory agents present in onions help reduce the cell-inflammation in conditions like asthma and respiratory tract infection. Onion soup could be nature’s own remedy to soothe a cold!

If you ignore the slight side-effect of onion-breath, onions can be just good for you.

Onions have been used for their medicinal properties for centuries. A paste or Ointment made out of onion is said to prevent infection in wounds and burns. Another use externally for age spots, warts, or freckles is to mix onion juice with vinegar and rub on the affected areas. One amusing bit of folklore says that if you put onion juice on your head and then sit out in the sun, you can cure baldness….

Onions and all the other members of the Allium family are thought to have some impact on high cholesterol and blood pressure. An onion Tea can be made and used daily, but I’m not sure how that would taste. The prudent thing for blood pressure and high cholesterol is probably to just include onions in your diet at every opportunity. Unfortunately, the down side to this is that onion compounds travel through the body when ingested and it takes time to process them out through sweat or breathing. Just brushing the teeth doesn’t make the odor go away. So, you’ll live to a ripe old age, but nobody will want to be around you…..

In Ayurveda both Charaka and Shushruta believed onion to be a strengthening food.

*Drinking the mixed juice of onion and bitter gourd cures severe indigestion.
*The juice of a boiled and crushed onion clears phlegm.
*Eating onion helps to clear phlegm from the throat and mouth. Teeth turn brighter. It sharpens the memory and strengthens the nerves.
*One spoonful of onion juice eliminates worms in the stomach of children

Handling onions
Next time you chop an onion and it stings your eyes, remember this is the compound that makes you cry and bestows so many benefits.

Some people soak the halved onion pieces in water before chopping it. But this process causes a loss of nutrients and you may not reap the full benefits of this vegetable. The best way to avoid the tears is to chill the onions for some time before you start chopping. Also, chopping onions in standing position will keep your eyes away from the line of fumes and lessen the eye irritatio.

Some ways to use onion in your diet:

*Use sliced onions in salads with tomatoes, cucumber slices and feta cheese, flavoured with salt, pepper and juice of a lime.
*Roast onion slices in an oven and use them as a garnish on curries and gravy vegetables.
*Make a paste of onions, tomato, garlic, ginger, red chillies and salt. Saut in a little oil and use as gravy for your favourite vegetables.
*Sliced onions can be cooked with any vegetable like cauliflower, gourds, peas, ladys finger, etc., to make a dry curry.
*Mix finely chopped onions in whole wheat flour, with a sprinkling of salt, pepper, ajwain (omum). Bind the dough and roll out into chapattis/parathas.
*Sliced onions can be added to any cooked lentils/ beans like tur dal, rajma, Kabuli chana, chana dal, black-eyed peas.
*Add finely chopped onions to fresh curds with some grated carrots to make a refreshing raita (pachadi).
SOME HEALTH BENEFITS OF EATING RAW ONIONS:-

Health benefits of eating raw onions: Cures constipation:

The fiber in raw onions help flush out toxins and hard food particles that get stuck in the intestines. If you are suffering from constipation, have raw onions.

An Ayurveda medicine for sore throat: If you are suffering from cold, cough and a sore throat, have fresh onion juice. Add jaggery or honey to the onion juice.

Remedy for bleeding problems: Have a bleeding nose or suffer from piles? Have raw onions. It is one simple and effective home remedy to cure piles naturally. To cure a bleeding nose, cut a raw onion and smell it for some time. The white onions can help cure bleeding problems.

Controls diabetes: This is one of the health benefits of eating raw onions. If consumed raw, onions increase the production of insulin. So, if you are diabetic, you have a good reason to munch crisp raw onion salad regularly.

Protects the heart: Regular consumption of raw onion protects the heart from coronary diseases. It control high blood pressure and also opens blocked arteries. This is one of the known health benefits of eating raw onions.

Controls cholesterol levels: The small herbaceous plant vegetable has a very good health benefit for obese people and heart patients. Raw onions control cholesterol by reducing the bad cholesterol (LDL) levels. It has methylallyl sulphide as well as the sulphur-containing amino-acids that lowers bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol (HDL) levels.Prevents growth of cancer cells: Onion is rich in sulphur compounds. Sulphur protects the body from stomach, colon, breast, lung and prostate cancer and prevents the growth of cancer cells. It also helps cure urinary tract disorders.

We often see tears flowing from the eyes while chopping onions. The sulphur-containing oils and organic sulphides lead to tears once it enters the nostrils. These oils help treat anemia. Note that the oils and the effect of organic sulphides reduce when the onions are cooked. So, to treat anemia, have raw onions. These are few health benefits of eating raw onions. You can have raw onions in sandwiches, mix with your vegetable salad or use as toppings for hamburgers and chaats. To prevent the strong and pungent mouth odor of raw onions, brush your teeth and have some mouth fresheners like cardamom or clove

Ext.from:/www.chennaionline.com/health and http://www.gardensablaze.com/VegOnion.htm

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