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Herbs & Plants

Portulaca oleracea

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Botanical Name: Portulaca oleracea
Family: Portulacaceae
Genus: Portulaca
Species: P. oleracea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Synonyms: Garden Purslane. Pigweed.
Common Name: Green Purslane, Little hogweed ,Common purslane, Verdolaga, Pigweed, Little hogweed, Red root, Pursley, and Moss rose

Parts Used: Herb, juice, seeds.

Habitat:The Purslanes are distributed all over the world. Portulaca oleracea, the Garden, or Green Purslane, is a herbaceous annual, native of many parts of Europe, found in the East and West Indies, China, Japan and Ascension Island, and though found also in the British Isles is not indigenous there.It grows in fields, waste ground, roadside verges, cultivated ground and by the sea

Description:
Portulaca oleracea is an annual succulent plant growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in) at a fast rate.It has smooth, reddish, mostly prostrate stems and alternate leaves clustered at stem joints and ends. The yellow flowers have five regular parts and are up to 6 mm wide. Depending upon rainfall, the flowers appear at anytime during the year. The flowers open singly at the center of the leaf cluster for only a few hours on sunny mornings. Seeds are formed in a tiny pod, which opens when the seeds are mature. Purslane has a taproot with fibrous secondary roots and is able to tolerate poor, compacted soils and drought.The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects, self.The plant is self-fertile. It is frost tender. It is in flower from Jun to September, and the seeds ripen from Jul to September.

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Cultivation:
Requires a moist light rich well-drained soil in a sunny position. Plants will not produce good quality leaves when growing in dry conditions. A perennial plant in warmer climates than Britain, purslane is killed by frost but can be grown as a half-hardy annual in this country. It can become an aggressive weed in areas where the climate suits it. The flowers only open in full sunlight. Purslane is occasionally cultivated for its edible leaves, there are some named varieties. The plants take about six to eight weeks to produce a crop from seed and can then be harvested on a cut and come again principle, providing edible leaves for most of the summer.

Propagation:
Seed – for an early crop, the seed is best sown under protection in early spring and can then be planted out in late spring. Outdoor sowings in situ take place from late spring to late summer, successional sowings being made every two to three weeks if a constant supply of the leaves is required.

Edible Uses :
Edible Parts: Leaves; Seed.

Leaves and stems – raw or cooked. The young leaves are a very acceptable addition to salads, their mucilaginous quality also making them a good substitute for okra as a thickener in soups. Older leaves are used as a potherb. The leaves have a somewhat sour flavour. A spicy and somewhat salty taste. The leaves are a source of omega-3 fatty acids, though seed sources such as walnuts are magnitudes richer. The leaves can be dried for later use. They contain about 1.8% protein, 0.5% fat, 6.5% carbohydrate, 2.2% ash. Another analysis gives the following figures per 100g ZMB. 245 – 296 calories, 17.6 – 34.5g protein, 2.4 – 5.3g fat, 35.5 – 63.2g carbohydrate, 8.5 – 14.6g fibre, 15.9 – 24.7g ash, 898 – 2078mg calcium, 320 – 774mg phosphorus, 11.2 – 46.7mg iron, 55mg sodium, 505 – 3120mg potassium, 10560 – 20000ug B-carotene equivalent, 0.23 – 0.48mg thiamine, 1.12 – 1.6mg riboflavin, 5.58 – 6.72mg niacin and 168 – 333mg ascorbic acid. Seed – raw or cooked. The seed can be ground into a powder and mixed with cereals for use in gruels, bread, pancakes etc. The seed is rather small and fiddly to utilize. In arid areas of Australia the plants grow quite large and can produce 10, 000 seeds per plant, a person can harvest several pounds of seed in a day. The seeding plants are uprooted and placed in a pile on sheets or something similar, in a few days the seeds are shed and can be collected from the sheet. In Britain, however, yields are likely to be very low, especially in cool or wet summers. The seed contains (per 100g ZMB) 21g protein, 18.9g fat 3.4g ash. Fatty acids of the seeds are 10.9% palmitic, 3.7% stearic, 1.3% behenic, 28.7% oleic, 38.9% linoleic and 9.9% linolenic. The ash of burnt plants is used as a salt substitute.

Constituents:
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Leaves (Dry weight) 270 Calories per 100g
*Water : 0%
*Protein: 26g; Fat: 4g; Carbohydrate: 50g; Fibre: 11.5g; Ash: 20g;
*Minerals – Calcium: 1500mg; Phosphorus: 550mg; Iron: 29mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 55mg; Potassium: 1800mg; Zinc: 0mg;
*Vitamins – A: 15000mg; Thiamine (B1): 0.35mg; Riboflavin (B2): 1.4mg; Niacin: 6mg; B6: 0mg; C: 250mg;
*Notes: The figures given here are the median of a very wide range quoted in the report.

Medicinal Uses:
Antiscorbutic; Depurative; Diuretic; Febrifuge; Skin; Tonic; Vermifuge.

The plant is antibacterial, antiscorbutic, depurative, diuretic and febrifuge. The leaves are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which is thought to be important in preventing heart attacks and strengthening the immune system. Seed sources such as walnuts, however, are much richer sources. The fresh juice is used in the treatment of strangury, coughs, sores etc. The leaves are poulticed and applied to burns, both they and the plant juice are particularly effective in the treatment of skin diseases and insect stings. A tea made from the leaves is used in the treatment of stomach aches and headaches. The leaf juice is applied to earaches, it is also said to alleviate caterpillar stings. The leaves can be harvested at any time before the plant flowers, they are used fresh or dried. This remedy is not given to pregnant women or to patients with digestive problems. The seeds are tonic and vermifuge. They are prescribed for dyspepsia and opacities of the cornea.

The sticky, broken leaves of fresh purslane sooth burns, stings and swellings.  The juice was once used for treating earaches and to  fasten   teeth and soothe sore gums.  Purslane has been considered valuable in the treatment of urinary and digestive problems.  The diuretic effect of the juice makes it useful in the alleviation of bladder ailments-for example, difficulty in passing urine. The plant’s mucilaginous properties also make it a soothing remedy for gastrointestinal problems such as dysentery and diarrhea.  In Chinese herbal medicine, purslane is employed for similar problems and for appendicitis.  The Chinese also use the plant as an antidote for wasp stings and snake bite.  Clinical trials in China indicate that purslane has a mild antibiotic effect.  In one study, the juice was shown to be effective in treating hookworms.  Other studies suggest that it is valuable against bacillary dysentery.  When injected, extracts of the herb induce powerful contractions of the uterus.  Taken orally, purslane juice weakens uterine contractions.    In Europe it’s been turned into a cough syrup for sore throats.  Purslane is the richest known plant source of Omega-3 acids, found mostly in fish oils.  These fatty acids reduce blood cholesterol and pressure, clotting, and inflammation and may increase immunity.   Recommended medicinal dosage is 15-30 grams.   Use for scours in goats.

Use is contraindicated during pregnancy and for those with cold and weak digestion. Purslane is a clinically effective treatment for oral lichen planus,

Other uses: Portulaca oleracea efficiently removes bisphenol A, an endocrine-disrupting chemical, from a hydroponic solution.

Companion plant: It is used as a companion plant, Purslane provides ground cover to create a humid microclimate for nearby plants, stabilising ground moisture. Its deep roots bring up moisture and nutrients that those plants can use, and some, including corn, will “follow” purslane roots down through harder soil that they cannot penetrate on their own (ecological facilitation). It is known as a beneficial weed in places that do not already grow it as a crop in its own right.

Popular culture:    Purslane also finds mention in a translation of the Bible as a repulsive food. Job’s question in Job 6:6 is translated in the RSV as, “Can that which is tasteless be eaten without salt or is there any taste in the slime of the purslane?”
The name verdolaga, associated with the plant that grows in South America is a nickname for Football clubs with green-white schemes in their uniforms, such as Colombia’s Atletico Nacional and Argentina’s Ferrocarril Oeste.

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/Portulaca_oleracea
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/p/prugol77.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Portulaca+oleracea

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

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Dahlia

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Botanical Name :Dahlia Variabilis
Family: Asteraceae/Compositae
Subfamily: Asteroideae
Tribe: Coreopsideae
Genus: Dahlia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonym:  Georgina.

Common Name :Dahlia  (Not to be confused with Dalea, in family Fabaceae)

Habitat :Dahlia is  native mainly in Mexico, but also Central America, and Colombia. It grows in sandy meadows at an elevation of 5,000 feet above the sea, and from whence the first plants introduced to England were brought by way of Madrid, in 1789, by the Marchioness of Bute. These having been lost, others were introduced, in 1804, by Lady Holland. These, too, perished, so fresh ones were obtained from France, when the Continent was thrown open by the Peace of 1814.

Now Dahlia  is grown in various places in the world as an ornamental plant.

Description:
Dahlia is a genus of bushy, tuberous, herbaceous perennial plant.The stems are leafy, ranging in height from as low as 12 in (30 cm) to more than 6–8 ft (1.8–2.4 m). The majority of species do not produce scented flowers or cultivars. Like most plants that do not attract pollinating insects through scent, they are brightly colored, displaying most hues, with the exception of blue.

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Edible Uses:
The dahlia was declared the national flower of Mexico in 1963. The tubers were grown as a food crop by the Aztecs, but this use largely died out after the Spanish Conquest. Attempts to introduce the tubers as a food crop in Europe were unsuccessful.

Today the dahlia is still considered one of the native ingredients in Oaxacan cuisine; several cultivars are still grown especially for their large, sweet potato-like tubers. Dacopa, an intense mocha-tasting extract from the roasted tubers, is used to flavor beverages throughout Central America.

Medicinal Uses:
The Inulin obtained in Dandelion and Chicory is also present in Dahlia tubers under the name of Dahlin. After undergoing a special treatment, Dahlia tubers and Chicory will yield the pure Laevulose that is sometimes called Atlanta Starch or Diabetic Sugar, which is frequently prescribed for diabetic and consumptive patients, and has been given to children in cases of wasting illness.

There was a very considerable business done in this product before the War by certain German firms. In a paper read at the Second International Congress of the Sugar Industry, held at Paris in 1908, it was stated that pure Laevulose is preferably made by the inversion of Inulin with dilute acids, and that the older process of preparation from invert sugar or molasses does not yield a pure product. The first step in the technical production of Laevulose is in the preparation of Inulin, and Dahlia tubers or Chicory root, which contain 6 to 12 per cent of Inulin are the most suitable material. Chicory root can readily be obtained in quantity, and Dahlia plants, if cultivated for the purpose, should yield in a few years a plentiful supply of cheap raw material.

For extraction of the Inulin, the roots or tubers are sliced, treated with milk of lime and steamed. The juice is then expressed and clarified by subsidence and filtration, the clear liquid being run into a revolving cooler until flakes are produced. These flakes are separated by a centrifugal machine, washed and decolorized, and the thus purified product finally treated with diluted acid, and so converted into Laevulose. This solution of Laevulose is neutralized and evaporated to a syrup in a vacuum pan.

Laevulose can be produced in this manner from Chicory roots and Dahlia tubers at an enormous reduction of price from the older methods of preparing it from molasses or sugar, the resultant product being moreover of absolute purity. Its sweet and pleasant taste are likely to make it used not only for diabetic patients, but also in making confectionery and for retarding crystallization of sugar products. It can also readily be utilized in the brewing and mineral water industries.

The research staff of one of the Scottish Universities during the War developed a process of extracting a valuable and much needed drug for the Army from Dahlia tubers, and was using as much material for the purpose as could be spared by growers.

In Europe and America, prior to the discovery of insulin in 1923, diabetics—as well as consumptives—were often given a substance called Atlantic starch or diabetic sugar, derived from inulin, a naturally occurring form of fruit sugar, extracted from dahlia tubers. Inulin is still used in clinical tests for kidney functionality.

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.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/d/dahlia02.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dahlia

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Herbs & Plants

Chicory

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Botanical: Cichorium intybus
Family:    Asteraceae
Tribe:    Cichorieae
Genus:    Cichorium
Species:C. intybus
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:   Asterales

Synonyms
Succory. Wild Succory. Hendibeh. Barbe de Capucin.

Common Names:Chicory , Blue daisy, blue dandelion, blue sailors, blue weed, bunk, coffeeweed, cornflower, hendibeh, horseweed, ragged sailors, succory, wild bachelor’s buttons, and wild endive.

Chicory is the common name given to the flowering plants in genus Cichorium of the family Asteraceae. There are two cultivated species, and four to six wild species.

Common chicory (Cichorium intybus) is a bushy perennial herb with blue or lavender flowers. Originating from Europe, it was naturalized in North America, where it has become a roadside weed. The roots are baked, ground, and used as a coffee substitute and additive in the plant’s Mediterranean region of origin, although its use as a coffee additive is still very popular in the American South, particularly in New Orleans. It is a staple in Cajun-style red-eye gravy. Common chicory is also known as blue sailors, succory, and coffeeweed. The plant is cultivated and used as endive under the common names radicchio, Belgian endive, French endive, or witloof. It is grown in complete darkness to keep new leaves tender and pale.

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

True endive (Cichorium endivia) is a species of chicory which is specially grown and used as a salad green. It has a slightly bitter taste and has been attributed with herbal properties. Curly endive and the broad-leafed escarole are true endives.

Cichorium is used as a food plant by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Setaceous Hebrew Character and Turnip Moth.

Root chicory (Chicorium intybus var. sativum) has been in cultivation in Europe as a coffee substitute for a long time. Around 1970 it was found that the root contains up to 20% inulin. Since then, new strains have been created, giving root chicory an inulin content comparable to that of sugar beet (around 600 dt/ha). Inulin is mainly present in the plant family Asteraceae as a storage carbohydrate (for example Jerusalem artichoke, dahlia, etc.). It is used as a sweetener in the food industry (with a sweetening power 30% higher than that of sucrose). Inulin can be converted to fructose and glucose through hydrolysis.

Chicory, with sugar beet and rye was used as an ingredient of the East German Mischkaffee (mixed coffee), introduced during the ‘coffee crisis’ of 1976-9


Habitat:
Wild Chicory or Succory is not uncommon in many parts of England and Ireland, though by no means a common plant in Scotland. It is more common on gravel or chalk, especially on the downs of the south-east coast, and in places where the soil is of a light and sandy nature, when it is freely to be found on waste land, open borders of fields and by the roadside, and is easily recognized by its tough, twig-like stems, along which are ranged large, bright blue flowers about the size and shape of the Dandelion. Sir Jas. E. Smith, founder of the Linnean Society, says of the tough stems: ‘From the earliest period of my recollection, when I can just remember tugging ineffectually with all my infant strength at the tough stalks of the wild Succory, on the chalky hills about Norwich….


Description-:
–It is a perennial, with a tap root like the Dandelion. The stems are 2 to 3 feet high, the lateral branches numerous and spreading, given off at a very considerable angle from the central stem, so that the general effect of the plant, though spreading, is not rich and full, as the branches stretch out some distance in each direction and are but sparsely clothed with leaves of any considerable size. The general aspect of the plant is somewhat stiff and angular.
The lower leaves of the plant are large and spreading – thickly covered with hairs, something like the form of the Dandelion leaf, except that the numerous lateral segments or lobes are in general direction about at a right angle with the central stem, instead of pointing downwards, as in similar portions of the leaf of the Dandelion. The terminal lobe is larger and all the segments are coarsely toothed. The upper leaves are very much smaller and less divided, their bases clasping the stems.

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The flowerheads are numerous, placed in the axils of the stem-leaves, generally in clusters of two or three. When fully expanded, the blooms are rather large and of a delicate tint of blue: the colour is said to specially appeal to the humble bee. They are in blossom from July to September. However sunny the day, by the early afternoon every bloom is closed, its petal-rays drawing together. Linnaeus used the Chicory as one of the flowers in his floral Clock at Upsala, because of its regularity in opening at 5 a.m. and closing at 10 a.m. in that latitude. Here it closes about noon and opens between 6 and 7 in the morning.

Part Used Medicinally:–The root. When dried – in the same manner as Dandelion it is brownish, with tough, loose, reticulated white layers surrounding a radiate, woody column. It often occurs in commerce crowned with remains of the stem. It is inodorous and of a mucilaginous and bitter taste.

Constituents:—A special bitter principle, not named, inulin and sugar.

Medicinal Action and Uses—Chicory has properties similar to those of Dandelion, its action being tonic, laxative and diuretic.

Ethnomedical Uses:
C. Endiva root has been used ethnomedically to treat dyspepsia, loss of appetite, liver and gallbladder problems, and intestinal worms, Type II Diabetes, and as a laxative for children.

Chicory as a herbal treatment :
Chicory, especially the flower, was used as a treatment in Germany, and is recorded in many books as an ancient German treatment for everyday ailments. Howard (1987) mentions is use as, variously, a tonic and appetite stimulant, and as a treatment for gallstones, gastro-enteritis, sinus problems and cuts and bruises.

Ayurvedic Medicinal Uses:

Constipation: The herb is natural laxative and very beneficial in the treatment of chronic Constipation.

Eye disorders:
Chicory contains food elements which are constantly needed by the optic system. It is one of the reachest source of vitamin A which is very useful for eyes. The addition of Juices of celery , parsley and carrot with chicory juice makes it highly nourishing food for the optic nerves and the mascular system.It can bring amazing results in correcting eye problems.

Asthma: Juices of carrot, chicory and celery are most helpful in Asthma and Hay fever. Powder of dry chicory root mixed with honey is a very good expectorant in chronic bronchitis.

Menstruation: A diction of chicory seeds is useful in obstructed menstruation.

Liver Disorders: The flowers,seeds and roots of chicory are medicinally used in the treatment of liver disorders. A decoction of all these can be used with beneficial results in thr treatment of tepidity of liver, stoppage of bile, jaundice and enlargement of spleen. Regular use of chicory juice promotes the secretion of bile and is therefore very good medicine for both liver and gall bladder dysfunctions.

Urinary Disorders:
Chicory is the herbal tonic which increases the secrition and discharge of urine.It is also a stimulant and mild laxative.

Anaemia: It is also an effective blood tonic. Chicory in combination with parsely and celery, is very much beneficial in anaemia. The blanched chicory leaves can be used with salads . Its mature green leaves can also be used as cooked vegetable.

Precautions: Gallstone patients should always consult a physician before using chicory. In rare cases, touching the herbs tiger allergic skin reaction.

Chicory and coffy mixes, dried chicory leaves and the whole plant are available in health food stores and herbal stores.

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.

Help taken from :www.botanical.com, en.wikipedia.org and Miracles of Herbs