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Herbs & Plants

Lippia dulcis

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Botanical Name :Lippia dulcis
Family: Verbenaceae
Genus:     Phyla
Species: P. dulcis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Synonyms:Phyla dulcis, Yerba dulce. Mexican Lippia.

Common Names :Aztec Sweet Herb, Bushy Lippia, Honeyherb, Hierba Dulce, and Tzopelic-xihuitl (Nahuatl).

Habitat : Lippia dulcis is native to southern Mexico, the Caribbean (Cuba, Hispaniola, and Puerto Rico), Central America, Colombia, and Venezuela. Lippia dulcis is well grown in mild and damp climate and under full sun exposure.

Description:
Lippia dulcis is a perennial herb. This 30 cm height grown plant isn`t evergreen, which means, it may lose its 5 cm sized leaves some months during the year. However, during spring time, small beautiful white conical spikes flowers appear. When grown, Lippia (Phyla) dulcis has a shrub-like development. For better performance, fertilize the soil by the end of the winter and water rarely, about once every 2-3 weeks. The pleasant sweetness rising from this special plant`s leaves comes from 4 main ingredients: ascorbic acid, monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, and hernandulcin. That is a natural sweetener for sugar and its substitutes in foods and beverages. Habit: Trailing .Flowering time:   Spring, Fall

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Medicinal Uses:
Parts Used : leaves

This plant has historically been used as a natural sweetener and medicinal herb in its native Mexico and parts of Central America. It was used by the Aztecs and introduced to the Spanish when they arrived.

The sweet taste is caused by a sesquiterpene compound called hernandulcin, which was discovered in 1985 and named for Francisco Hernández, the Spanish physician who first described the plant in the sixteenth century.

The Aztecs used this plant as a sugar plant for their cooking and to ease coughs, colds, bronchitis & asthma.

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/Phyla_dulcis
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/l/lippia30.html
http://www.hishtil.com/htmls/page_3210.aspx?c0=22984&bsp=18227

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Herbs & Plants

Myroxylon Pereiræ

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Botanical Name :Myroxylon Pereiræ
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Tribe: Amburaneae
Genus: Myroxylon
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Synonyms: Toluifera Pereira. Myrosperum Pereira.

Common Names :Balsam of Peru, Quina or Balsamo.

Other names:  Tolu in Colombia, Quina quina in Argentina; in lumber trade, sometimes named Santos Mahogany.

Habitat:Myroxylon Pereiræ is native to Central America in the forests of San Salvado.

Description:
Myroxylon Pereiræ is a large tree growing to 40 metres (130 ft) tall, with evergreen pinnate leaves 15 centimetres (5.9 in) long with 5-13 leaflets.
It is a beautiful tree with a valuable wood like mahogany, and a straight smooth trunk; the last is coarse grey, compact, heavy granulated and a pale straw colour, containing a resin which changes from citron to dark brown; smell and taste balsamic and aromatic. Leaves alternately, abruptly pinnate, leaflets two pairs mostly opposite, ovate, lanceolate with the end blunt emarginate; every part of the tree including the leaves abounds in a resinous juice. The flowers are white with yellow stamens, produced in racemes. The fruit is a pod 7–11 centimetres (2.8–4.3 in) long, containing a single seed.The mesocarp of the fruit is fibrous, and the balsamic juice which is abundant is contained in two distinct receptacles, one on each side. The beans contain Coumarin, the husks an extremely acrid bitter resin, and a volatile oil; a gum resin, quite distinct from the proper balsam, exudes from the trunk of the tree and contains gum resin and a volatile oil; the tree commences to be productive after five or six years, and continues to yield for thirty years; the flower has a fragrance which can be smelt a hundred yards away.
click to see the pictures
The wood is dark brown with a deep red heartwood. Natural oils grant it excellent decay resistance. In fact, it is also resistant to preservative treatment. Its specific gravity is 0.74 to 0.81.

As regards woodworking, this tree is regarded as moderately difficult to work but can be finished with a high natural polish; it tends to cause some tool dulling.

Medicinal Uses:

Part Used: Oleoresinous liquid.

Constituents: A colourless, aromatic, oily liquid, termed cinnamein, dark resin peruviol, small quantity of vanillin and cinnamic acid.

Uses: Stimulant, expectorant, parasiticide. Used in scabies and skin diseases; it destroys the itch acarus and its eggs, and is much to be preferred to sulphur ointment, also of value in prurigo, pruritis and in later stages of acute eczema. It is a good antiseptic expectorant and a stimulant to the heart, increasing blood pressure; its action resembles benzoic acid. It is applied externally to sore nipples and discharges from the ear. Given internally, it lessens mucous secretions, and is of value in bronchorrhoea gleet, leucorrhoea and chronic bronchitis, and asthma. It is also used in soap manufacturing, for its fragrance, and because it makes a soft creamy lather, useful for chapped hands. Balsam of Peru can be applied alone or as an ointment made by melting it with an equal weight of tallow.

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/Myroxylon
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/b/balofp06.html

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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.

click to see the pictures.

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

Condurango

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Botanical Name : Gonolobus Condurango
Family: Apocynaceae
Subfamily: Asclepiadaceae
Genus:     Gonolobus
Species: G.condurango
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Gentianales

Synonyms:  Condurango Blanco. Marsdenia Condurango.
.
Habitat:Cundurango is native to Ecuador, South America. Condurango grows on the western slopes of the Andes in Ecuador, Peru, and Colombia.

Common Names : Condurango or Cundurango, Eagle Vine, Eagle-Vine Bark, Marsdenia Cundurango, Condurangorinde, and Ecorce de Condurango.

Description:
The product of an asclepiadaceous vine about 30 feet long and 2 feet in diameter. The bark is beaten with a mallet to separate it from the stem when it has been sun-dried. In commerce it occurs in quilled pieces 2 to 4 inches long and 1/2 inch in diameter. External surface, pale greyish brown to dark brown, nearly smooth, more or less scaly and roughened, with numerous warts or lenticels, the scales soft with sometimes a brownish-black fungus on them, inner side whity brown and longitudinally striate; fracture short, fibrous, granular; odour slightly aromatic, specially in the fresh drug; taste bitter and aromatic; yields not more than 12 per cent of ash.

Click to see the picture : >..(01).....(1)..…..…(2)...

Medicinal Uses:
Constituents:  A large quantity of tannin, a glucoside and an alkaloid resembling strychnine in its action.

 Part Used: The Bark

The part of Condurango that is used in medicinal remedies is the dried bark of branches and the trunk of the tree.

This bitter may be used in a whole range of digestive and stomach problems.  It will relax the nerves of the stomach, making it of use in the settling of indigestion where this is affected by nervous tension and anxiety.  Often used in South American folk medicine as a bitter and digestive tonic, it is a specific treatment for nervous indigestion and anorexia nervosa.  Its bitterness slowly increases the appetite, as well as the stomach’s ability to process increased quantities of food.  The herb is also thought to stimulate the liver and pancreas, and may be taken for liver disorders.  It also encourages menstruation.  The caustic white latex is applied to remove warts.  Condurangogenins in condurango may prove beneficial in countering tumors.  The whole plant, however, does not seem to significantly alter cancer development.

It is a digestive aid; an herbal medicine used to help food digestion, increase stomach juices, and help stimulate the appetite.

Diuretic stomachic, alterative. Has been regarded as a potential remedy for cancer and is useful in the early stages, but has no effect in the progress of the disease. There are many varieties of the plant, and the species experimented with in cancer is the Condurango blanco, which may be considered a genuine C. Cortex. It is largely used in South America as an alterative in chronic syphilis and is of great benefit.

It increases the circulation.

It is used in Homeopathic medicines too.

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/c/condur94.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gonolobus_condurango
http://www.diagnose-me.com/treatment/condurango.html

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

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Bixa orellana

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Botanical Name : Bixa orellana
Family: Bixaceae
Genus: Bixa
Species: B. orellana
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malvales

Synonym(s): Bixa katangensis DelpierreOrellana americana L.Orellana orellana Kuntze

Common Names  : Annatto Seed , achiote, lipstick tree. It is also known as Aploppas, and its original Tupi name urucu.(Arabic) : galuga
(Bengali) : latkan
(Creole) : chiót, woukou
(English) : annatto tree, arnato tree, lipstick, lipstick tree
(Filipino) : echuete, sotis
(French) : annato, annatto, chiote, rocouyer, roucou
(Hindi) : latkan
(Indonesian) : jarak belanda, kesumba, kunyit jawa
(Khmer) : châm’-puu, châm-puu chrâluek
(Lao (Sino-Tibetan)) : kh’am, satii, somz phuu
(Malay) : galuga, jarak belanda, kesumba, kunyit jawa
(Portuguese) : urucum
(Spanish) : achiote, anato, bija
(Swahili) : mzingefuri
(Tamil) : japhara
(Thai) : kam set, kam tai
(Vietnamese) : diêù nhuôm, siêm phung

Habitat :Bixa orellana is  native to tropical Central and South America but now widely distributed throughout the tropics. Introduced to the Philippines during its Spanish period.  It is cultivated there and in Southeast Asia, where it was introduced by the Spanish in the 17th century.

Description:
Bixa orellana is an evergreen shrub or small tree, 2-8 m high; trunk up to 10 cm in diameter; bark light to dark brown, tough, smooth, sometimes fissured, lenticellate; inner bark pinkish towards the outside with orange sap, slightly bitter; twigs green with minute, rusty, reddish-brown scales, becoming dark brown. Leaves spirally arranged, simple, stipulate, ovate, 7.5-24 x 4-16 cm, shallowly cordate to truncate at base, longly acuminate at apex, green or dark green above, grey or brownish-green beneath; scaly when young, glabrous; petiole terete, thickened at both ends, 2.5-12 cm long. Flowers in terminal branched panicles, 8-50 flowered, fragrant, 4-6 cm across; pedicel scaly, thickened at the apex, bearing 5-6 large glands; sepals 4-5, free, obovate, 1-1.2 cm long, caducous, covered with reddish-brown scales; petals 4-7, obovate, 2-3 x 1-2 cm, pinkish, whitish or purplish tinged; stalks scaly; stamens numerous, 1.6 cm long; anthers violet; pistil 1.6 cm long, composed of bristly 1-celled, superior ovary; style thickened upwards, 12-15 mm long; a short, 2-lobed stigma. Fruit a spherical or broadly elongated ovoid capsule, 2-4 x 2-3.5 cm, flattened, 2 valved, more or less densely cloaked with long bristles, green, greenish-brown or red when mature; seeds numerous, obovoid and angular, 4.5 mm long, with bright orange-red fleshy coats. ‘Bixa’ is derived from a local South American name.
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The inedible fruit is harvested for its seeds, which contain annatto, also called bixin. It can be extracted by stirring the seeds in water. It is used to color food products, such as cheeses, fish, and salad oil. Sold as a paste or powder for culinary use, mainly as a color, it is known as “achiote,” “annatto,” “bijol,” or “pimentão doce.” It is a main ingredient in the Yucatecan spice mixture recado rojo, or “achiote paste.” The seeds are ground and used as a subtly flavored and colorful additive in Latin American, Jamaican, Chamorro and Filipino cuisine. Annatto is growing in popularity as a natural alternative to synthetic food coloring compounds. While it has a distinct flavor of its own, it can be used to color and flavor rice instead of the much more expensive saffron. It is an important ingredient of cochinita pibil, the spicy pork dish popular in Mexico. It is also a key ingredient in the drink tascalate from Chiapas, Mexico.

In several European countries (e.g. Great Britain, Denmark, Sweden, Norway) the pigment, extracted by solvent or boiling the seeds in oil, have been and often still is used as color in margarines and several other foods. The pigment has E-number E160b. The seeds are collected from wild-growing bushes or from plantations, in Latin America, Africa (e.g. Kenya) and Asia. However, since there is no strong organization promoting the use of annatto, the color beta carotene, which is more expensive, has pushed the natural pigment out of many applications

Edible Uses:
Achiote paste, favored in Yucatán, Oaxacan, and Belizean cuisine, is made from the slightly bitter, earthy flavored, red annatto seeds, mixed with other spices and ground into a paste. Achiote is a distinctly colored and flavored mainstay of Mexican and Belizean kitchens.

The paste is dissolved in either lemon juice, water, oil or vinegar to create a marinade, and marinated or rubbed directly upon meat. The meat is then grilled, baked, barbecued or broiled. Sometimes it is added to corn dough to create a zesty flavor and color in empanadas and red tamales.

Medicinal Uses:
The achiote has long been used by American Indians to make body paint, especially for the lips, which is the origin of the plant’s nickname, lipstick tree. The use of the dye in the hair by men of the Tsáchila of Ecuador is the origin of their usual Spanish name, the Colorados.

In developing countries, particularly in Colombia, people with low income and less access to modern medicine resources use folk medicine and natural remedies for the treatment of common infections. Achiote is among those herbs used in Colombian folk medicine to treat infections of microbial origin. Adding to the known health benefits exerted by carotenoids, a bioactive sesquiterpene from achiote exhibited moderate anti-fungal activity. Extracts of the leaves of achiote possess antimicrobial activity against Gram positive microorganisms, with maximum activity against Bacillus pumilus. Achiote leaves have been employed to treat malaria and Leishmaniasis.

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bixa_orellana
http://www.worldagroforestrycentre.org/sea/products/afdbases/af/asp/SpeciesInfo.asp?SpID=338
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail459.php

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