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Herbs & Plants

Allium schoenoprasum

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Botanical Name: Allium schoenoprasum
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Subfamily: Allioideae
Genus: Allium
Species: A. schoenoprasum
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales

Synonyms: Cives.
(French) : Ail civitte
(Old French) : Petit poureau

Common Name: Chives

Part Used in medicine : The Herb.
Habitat: The Chive is said to be a native of Britain, it is only very rarely found growing in an uncultivated state, and then only in the northern and western counties of England and Wales and in Oxfordshire. It grows in rocky pastures throughout temperate and northern Europe.

De Candolle says: ‘This species occupies an extensive area in the northern hemisphere. It is found all over Europe from Corsica and Greece to the south of Sweden, in Siberia as far as Kamschatka and also in North America. The variety found in the Alps is the nearest to the cultivated form.’ Most probably it was known to the Ancients, as it grows wild in Greece and Italy. Dodoens figures it and gives the French name for it in his days: ‘Petit poureau,’ relating to its rush-like appearance. In present day French it is commonly called ‘Ail civitte.’ The Latin name of this species means ‘Rush-Leek.’

Description:
Allium schoenoprasum is a hardy perennial plant. The bulbs grow very close together in dense tufts or clusters, and are of an elongated form, with white, rather firm sheaths, the outer sheath sometimes grey.

The slender leaves appear early in spring and are long, cylindrical and hollow, tapering to a point and about the thickness of a crowsquill. They grow from 6 to 10 inches high.

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The flowering stem is usually nipped off with cultivated plants (which are grown solely for the sake of the leaves, or ‘grass’), but when allowed to rise, it seldom reaches more than a few inches to at most a foot in height. It is hollow and either has no leaf or one leaf sheathing it below the middle. It supports a close globular head, or umbel, of purple flowers; the numerous flowers are densely packed together on separate, very slender little flower-stalks, shorter than the flowers themselves, which lengthen slightly as the fruit ripens, causing the heads to assume a conical instead of a round shape. The petals of the flowers are nearly half an inch long; when dry, their pale-purple colour, which has in Parts a darker flush, changes to rose-colour. The anthers (the pollen-bearing part of the flower) are of a bluish-purple colour. The seed-vessel, or capsule, is a little larger than a hemp seed and is completely concealed within the petals, which are about twice its length. The small seeds which it contains are black when ripe and similar to Onion seeds.

The flowers are in blossom in June and July, and in the most cold and moist situations will mature their seeds, though rarely allowed to do so under cultivation

Cultivation:
Chives thrive in well-drained soil, rich in organic matter, with a pH of 6-7 and full sun. They can be grown from seed and mature in summer, or early the following spring. Typically, chives need to be germinated at a temperature of 15 to 20 °C (60-70 °F) and kept moist. They can also be planted under a cloche or germinated indoors in cooler climates, then planted out later. After at least four weeks, the young shoots should be ready to be planted out. They are also easily propagated by division.

In cold regions, chives die back to the underground bulbs in winter, with the new leaves appearing in early spring. Chives starting to look old can be cut back to about 2–5 cm. When harvesting, the needed number of stalks should be cut to the base. During the growing season, the plant will continually regrow leaves, allowing for a continuous harvest

Edible Uses:
Chives are cultivated both for their culinary uses and their ornamental value; the violet flowers are often used in ornamental dry bouquets.

Chives are grown for their scapes, which are used for culinary purposes as a flavoring herb, and provide a somewhat milder flavor than those of other Allium species.

Chives have a wide variety of culinary uses, such as in traditional dishes in France and Sweden, among others. In his 1806 book Attempt at a Flora (Försök til en flora), Retzius describes how chives are used with pancakes, soups, fish and sandwiches. They are also an ingredient of the gräddfil sauce served with the traditional herring dish served at Swedish midsummer celebrations. The flowers may also be used to garnish dishes. In Poland and Germany, chives are served with quark cheese.

Chives are one of the “fines herbes” of French cuisine, which also include tarragon, chervil and/or parsley.

Chives can be found fresh at most markets year-round, making them readily available; they can also be dry-frozen without much impairment to the taste, giving home growers the opportunity to store large quantities harvested from their own gardens.

Medicinal Uses:
The medicinal properties of chives are similar to those of garlic, but weaker; the faint effects in comparison with garlic are probably the main reason for their limited use as a medicinal herb. Containing numerous organosulfur compounds such as allyl sulfides and alkyl sulfoxides, chives are reported to have a beneficial effect on the circulatory system. They also have mild stimulant, diuretic, and antiseptic properties. As chives are usually served in small amounts and never as the main dish, negative effects are rarely encountered, although digestive problems may occur following overconsumption.

Chives are also rich in vitamins A and C, contain trace amounts of sulfur, and are rich in calcium and iron.

In traditional folk medicine Chives were eaten to treat and purge intestinal parasites, enhance the immune system, stimulate digestion, and treat anemia.

Garlic and scallions, along with onions, leeks, chives, and shallots, are rich in flavonols, substances in plants that have been shown to have anti tumor effects. New research from China confirms that eating vegetables from the allium group (allium is Latin for garlic) can reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

Other Uses:
Retzius also describes how farmers would plant chives between the rocks making up the borders of their flowerbeds, to keep the plants free from pests (such as Japanese beetles). The growing plant repels unwanted insect life, and the juice of the leaves can be used for the same purpose, as well as fighting fungal infections, mildew and scab.

Its flowers are attractive to bees, which are important for gardens with an abundance of plants in need of pollination.

The Romans believed chives could relieve the pain from sunburn or a sore throat.

Romanian Gypsies have used chives in fortune telling. It was believed that bunches of dried chives hung around a house would ward off disease and evil

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/Chives
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/c/chives65.html

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Categories
Herbs & Plants

Guarea rusbyi

Botanical Name : Guarea rusbyi
Family: Meliaceae
Genus: Guarea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Synonym : Guarea guidonia (L.) Sleumer

Common Name :Cocillana
Other Names: Grape Bark, Guapi, Guarea guara, Guarea guidonia, Guarea spiciflora, Guarea trichilioides, Sycocarpus rusbyi, Trompillo, Upas.

Habitat : Guarea rusbyi is native to tropical Africa and Central and South America.This plant  prefers Wet soil a pH of 7 . All plants need light to allow the photosynthesis process of converting carbon dioxide to growth sugars to take place. Some plants need more sun-light than others. For this plant those sunlight conditions are well described as … Full sun

Description:
Guarea rusbyi is a large tree 20-45 m tall, with a trunk over 1 m trunk diameter, often buttressed at the base. The leaves are pinnate, with 4-6 pairs of leaflets, the terminal leaflet present. The flowers are produced in loose inflorescences, each flower small, with 4-5 yellowish petals. The fruit is a four or five-valved capsule, containing several seeds, each surrounded by a yellow-orange fleshy aril; the seeds are dispersed by hornbills and monkeys which eat the fleshy aril.

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Medicinal Uses:
Patrs used: The bark

Constituents:
An alkaloid- rusbyine. Glycoside. Resins. Volatile oil- 2.5%. Tannins.. Fixed oil. Flavonols. Anthraquinones.
G. cedrata and G. thompsonii contains limonoids, such as dreagenin and methyl 6-acetoxyangolensate. Also sesquiterpenes and glycerides.

G. glabra has pentacarbocylic triperpenoids, including glabretal.

Used widely in cough syrups in a similar way to Ipecacuanha.

Some people apply cocillana root bark directly to the skin for skin tumors.

RESEARCH
G. guidonia- from Brazil has demonstated anti-inflammatory activity in vitro and is used for that purpose.
(BHP1983,PNC).

Other Uses:
The timber is important; the African species are known as Bossé, Guarea, or Pink Mahogany, and the South American species as Cramantee or American Muskwood. It is said to possibly cause hallucinations if ingested.

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/Guarea
http://www.innerpath.com.au/matmed/herbs/Guarea_rusbyi.html
http://www.plant-supplies.com/plants/guarearusbyi.htm
http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-408-COCILLANA.aspx?activeIngredientId=408&activeIngredientName=COCILLANA

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Categories
Herbs & Plants

Chervil

Chervil
Image via Wikipedia

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Botanical Name :Anthriscus cerfolium
Family:    Apiaceae
Genus:    Anthriscus
Species:A. cerefolium
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:    Apiales

Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium), sometimes called garden chervil, is a delicate annual herb, usually used to season mild-flavoured foods such as poultry, some seafoods, and young vegetables. It is a constituent of the French herb mixture fines herbes. Some cooks refer to chervil as “gourmet’s parsley.”

Classification: Chervil is a member of the parsley or carrot family, Apiaceae.

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Plant Description:
Chervil is a member of the Carrot family and its leaves highly resemble carrot tops. The young green leaves, which smell similar to Anise, are collected before they lose their pungency and often preserved in vinegar.

Chervil is a warm herb. Its taste and fragrance fill the senses the way warmth does, slowly, subtly. You notice chervil in the background, and you are glad to find it there because its flavour and fragrance are themselves warm and cheering.

There are two main varieties of chervil, one plain and one curly. Hardy annuals, they have a fernlike leaf structure as delicate and dainty as their flavor is subtle. The stems are branched and finely grooved, and the root is thin and white.
Flowers. Small, white, in compound umbels.
Leaves. Opposite, light green, compound, leaflets subdivided into opposite deeply cut leaflets. Only lower leaves have stalks.
Height: 2 ft.

Cultivation:
Chervil goes to seed quickly in the heat, and in fact, unlike most other culinary herbs, prefers a cool, moist and shaded location. To promote growth and a longer season, pinch off the tops. Successive plantings will help to give you a longer harvest. Chervil also has a very long tap root, and does not like to be transplanted so be sure to sow the seeds in the desired location. Chervil is one of those herbs that does well growing in containers. As the plant matures, the leaves tend to turn a purple, bronze color. At this stage they also lose the pungency of their taste, so use only the young green leaves.

Culinary Uses:

That subtle, tender flavor-part anise, part parsley-that you’ve been trying to identify in the fish sauce, will almost certainly turn out to be chervil, the most retiring of the sister spices that make up the fines herbes of French cuisine, but one that’s good company and not to be overlooked.

.Subtlety is key when using chervil in cooking. Although chervil will never dominate a dish, many cooks use it to enhance the flavours of other herbs accompanying it in recipes. Chervil is an important inclusion in the traditional French fines herbes blend of tarragon, parsley, chives and chervil. Chervil complements scrambled eggs and omelets, cream cheese and herb sandwiches, salads and even mashed potatoes.

Chervil is one of the staples of classic French cooking. Along with chives, tarragon and parsley, it is used as an aromatic seasoning blend called “Fines Herbes.” Most frequently it is used to flavor eggs, fish, chicken and light sauces and dressings. It also combines well with mild cheeses and is a tasty addition to herb butters. This blend is the basis for ravigote sauce, a warm herbed veloute served over fish or poultry. When a recipe calls for “Pluches de cerfeuille” — it is leaves of chervil that are required. Chervil is what gives Bernaise its distinctive taste. Chervil, being a spring time herb, has a natural affinity for other spring time foods: salmon, trout, young asparagus, new potatoes, baby green beans and carrots, salads of spring greens. Chervil’s flavour is lost very easily, either by drying the herb, or too much heat. That is why it should be added at the end of cooking or sprinkled on in its fresh, raw state. One way to keep chervil’s flavor is to preserve it in white wine vinegar. Because its flavor is so potent, little else is needed as flavoring when added to foods. This makes it a low calorie way to add interest to meals. Chervil’s delicate leaves make it an attractive herb to

Medicinal Properties:
Chervil had various traditional uses. Pregnant women bathed in an infusion of it; a lotion of it was used as a skin cleanser; and it was used medicinally as a blood purifier.
In various folk medicines, Chervil was used as an eyewash to refresh the eyes. Chervil was also made into a tea and ingested to reduce blood pressure. The active constituents of Chervil include its volatile oil, which has a smell similar to Myrrh. Chervil is also a rich source of bioflavonoids, which aid the body in many ways, including Vitamin C absorption.

As with most herbs, chervil is an aid for digestion. When brewed as a tea it can be used as a soothing eye wash. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 Tbs. fresh chopped chervil and let this steep for 20 minutes. Be sure to cover this to keep in all the volatile oils. When cool, moisten a cotton ball with some of the mixture and place over closed eyes for 10 minutes. Definitely refreshing.

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.

Resource:en.wikipedia.org and www.theepicentre.com