Categories
Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Alnus rugosa

[amazon_link asins=’B06Y4213R2′ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’finmeacur-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’44f26ad5-8961-11e7-b39f-0903dfb1396c’]

Botanical Name: Alnus rugosa
Family: Betulaceae
Genus: Alnus
Subgenus: Alnus
Species: A. incana
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fagales

Synonyms: A. incana rugosa. (Duroi.)Clausen

Common Names: Speckled Alder, Alnus incana, Grey alder

Habitat : Alnus rugosa is native to Northern and Eastern N. AmericaHudson’s Bay to Virginia. Naturalized in C. Europe It grows on wet sandy or gravelly soils, usually along streams and rivers, but also in ponds and swamps. It is only found in open sunny areas, being unable to compete in dense shade.
Description:
Alnus rugosa is a deciduous small to medium size tree 15–20 m (49–66 ft) tall with smooth grey bark even in old age, its life span being a maximum of 60 to 100 years. The leaves are matte green, ovoid, 5–11 cm (2.0–4.3 in) long and 4–8 cm (1.6–3.1 in) broad. The flowers are catkins, appearing early in spring before the leaves emerge, the male catkins pendulous and 5–10 cm (2–4 in) long, the female catkins 1.5 cm (0.6 in) long and one cm broad when mature in late autumn. The seeds are small, 1–2 mm (0.04–0.08 in) long, and light brown with a narrow encircling wing. The grey alder has a shallow root system, and is marked not only by vigorous production of stump suckers, but also by root suckers, especially in the northern parts of its range. The wood resembles that of the black alder, but is somewhat paler and of little economic value.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

It is in flower in May, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Wind.It can fix Nitrogen.

Suitable for: medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay and nutritionally poor soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist or wet soil.

Cultivation:
Prefers a heavy soil and a damp situation. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Tolerates very infertile sites. A fast-growing but short-lived tree. Closely related to A. incana and considered to be no more than a sub-species (A. incana rugosa) by some botanists. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil micro-organisms, these form nodules on the roots of the plants 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.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe and only just covered. Spring sown seed should also germinate successfully so long as it is not covered. The seed should germinate in the spring as the weather warms up. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots. If growth is sufficient, it is possible to plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer, otherwise keep them in pots outdoors and plant them out in the spring. If you have sufficient quantity of seed, it can be sown thinly in an outdoor seed bed in the spring. The seedlings can either be planted out into their permanent positions in the autumn/winter, or they can be allowed to grow on in the seed bed for a further season before planting them. Cuttings of mature wood, taken as soon as the leaves fall in autumn, outdoors in sandy soil.

Medicinal Uses:
The speckled alder was quite widely used medicinally by the native North American Indians who used it to treat a variety of complaints. It is little used in modern herbalism. The bark is alterative, astringent, emetic, laxative, ophthalmic, stomachic and tonic. The bark contains salicin, which probably decomposes into salicylic acid (closely related to aspirin) in the human body. This is used as an anodyne and febrifuge. The root bark was mixed with molasses and used in the treatment of toothache. A decoction of the inner bark was used as a wash for sore eyes. The outer bark is astringent and is applied as a poultice to bleeding wounds, it also reduces swellings.

Other Uses:
Dye; Pioneer; Soil stabilization; Wood.
This is an excellent pioneer species for re-establishing woodlands on disused farmland, difficult sites etc. Its fast rate of growth means that it quickly provides sheltered conditions to allow more permanent woodland trees to become established. In addition, bacteria on the roots fix atmospheric nitrogen – whilst this enables the tree to grow well in quite poor soils it also makes some of this nitrogen available to other plants growing nearby. Alder trees also have a heavy leaf canopy and when the leaves fall in the autumn they help to build up the humus content of the soil. Alder seedlings do not compete well in shady woodland conditions and so this species gradually dies out as the other trees become established. The tree has an extensive root system and can be planted to control banks from erosion. A dark dye is obtained from the bark. Browns, through red to orange colours can be obtained from the bark. The wood is soft, weighing 29lb per cubic foot. The tree is too small to be of importance for lumber or fuel.
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/Alnus_incana
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Alnus+rugosa

Categories
Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Liquidambar formosana

Botanical Name : Liquidambar formosana
Family: 
Altingiaceae
Genus: 
Liquidambar
Species:
L. formosana
Kingdom:
Plantae
Order: 
Saxifragales

Synonyms: Liquidambar acerifolia.

Common Names: Chinese sweet gum or Formosan gum,, Formosa Sweet Gum

Habitat : Liquidambar formosana is native to E. Asia – Central and southern China from Taiwan to south-west Sichuan. It grows mostly in woodland in warm temperate zones. It requires moist soil and can grow in light to no shade areas.

Description:
Liquidambar formosana is a large, native, deciduous tree that grows up to 30-40m tall. The leaves are 10~15 cm wide., and are three-lobed unlike five- to seven-lobed leaves of most American Liquidambar species. The foliage of the L. formosana turns a very attractive red color in autumn. Leaves grow in an alternate arrangement, and are simple, palmately-veined, with serrated margins. Roots can be aggressive and branches are usually covered with corky projections. The individual flowers of L. formosana are monoecious. However, both sexes can be found in the same plant. Male flowers are in catkins, female flowers form dense spherical heads, and the fruit is burr-like because of the persistent styles.  CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

.
Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Aggressive surface roots possible, Specimen. Prefers a moist but not swampy loam in a sunny sheltered position. Succeeds in light shade[188]. Requires a deep fertile soil. Prefers a neutral to acid soil, growing poorly on shallow soils overlying chalk. Not all introductions of this species are hardy[11]. The Monticola group, which comes from western Hubei and north-eastern Sichuan, tolerates temperatures lower than -5°c. Young plants are susceptible to frost damage and should be protected for their first few years. This species resents root disturbance, young plants should be pot-grown and be placed in their permanent positions as soon as possible. Special Features:Attractive foliage, Not North American native, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame. Harvest the seed capsules at the end of October or November, dry in a warm place and extract the seed by shaking the capsule. Stored seed requires 1 – 3 months stratification and sometimes takes 2 years to germinate. Sow it as early in the year as possible. Germination rates are often poor. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame or greenhouse for their first winter. Since they resent root disturbance, it is best to plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer of their second year and give them some protection from cold for their first winter outdoors. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Suckers in early spring. Layering in October/November. Takes 12 months.

Medicinal Uses:
Liquidambar formosana has many medicinal uses. The leaves and roots are used in the treatment of cancerous growths. The stem bark is used in the treatment of fluxes and skin diseases. The fruits used in the treatment of arthritis, lumbago, oedema, oliguria, and decreased milk production and skin diseases. The resin from the stems is used to treat bleeding boils, carbuncles, toothache and tuberculosis. The trunk of this tree can be used for aromatic resin. The extract of this resin is used to promote blood circulation and relieve pain.

The stem bark is used in the treatment of fluxes and skin diseases. The fruits are antirheumatic, diuretic and galactogogue. They are used in the treatment of arthritis, lumbago, oedema, oliguria, decreased milk production and skin diseases. The root is used in the treatment of cancerous growths. The resin from the stems is used to treat bleeding boils, carbuncles, toothache and tuberculosis.

Other Uses :Liquidambar formosana is a rare in cultivation but in its native regions the wood is used for making tea chests and the leaves to feed silk worms. An aromatic resin is obtained from the trunk of this tree. It forms in cavities of the bark and is harvested in autumn. It is used medicinally. Wood. Used to make tea chests for higher grade teas.

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/Liquidambar_formosana
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Liquidambar+formosana

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Calypso bulbosa

[amazon_link asins=’B015T57D9Q,B00U8DHVXS,B06XFWVGWG,B06XJN4YYY,B00VLBFWRS,B06XSHFBWN,B06XFFDSQR,B06XJZFDVW,B06XP8PN5M’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’finmeacur-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’de2408a5-2982-11e7-967f-7d6d93374cba’]

[amazon_link asins=’B01N2HF2AL,B01NBQMDAU,B01LDQS82Q,B017C9UB8M,B0013D87CQ,B0008AN0VI’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’finmeacur-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’2f4fa3d9-f345-11e6-a9b3-e384a437bdbd’]

Botanical Name : Calypso bulbosa
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Epidendroideae
Tribe: Calypsoeae
Genus: Calypso
Species: C. bulbosa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

Synonyms : C. borealis. Cytherea bulbosa.

Common Names: Calypso orchid, Fairy slipper orchid or Venus’s slipper orchid

Habitat : Calypso bulbosa is native to N. Europe, N. America – Alaska to California, east to New York. It grows in Soils rich with decaying leaves and wood, in moist pine or spruce woods and by cool shady streams from sea level to the mid-montane zone.

Description:
Calypso bulbosa is a parennial orchid plant. It grows to 10 to 14 cm in height.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5. It is in leaf 7-Oct and it is in flower from May to June. It’s little purple blooms can be a pleasant sporadic sight on hiking trails from late March onwards, though in the more northerly parts of their range they do not bloom until May and June. The plants live no more than five years.The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by InsectsCLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

.
Cultivation:  Grows well in half shade in a light moist organic-rich soil. Requires a lime-free soil, doing best in full shade. The plant comes into growth in the autumn and, although fairly hardy, is best grown in a frame or unheated greenhouse. Orchids are, in general, shallow-rooting plants of well-drained low-fertility soils. Their symbiotic relationship with a fungus in the soil allows them to obtain sufficient nutrients and be able to compete successfully with other plants. They are very sensitive to the addition of fertilizers or fungicides since these can harm the symbiotic fungus and thus kill the orchid. Plants can be naturalized in the woodland or bog garden. Apply a good organic mulch in the winter. Plants do not always grow every year, the bulb can remain dormant in the soil for 2 years.

Propagation :
Seed – we have no information on this species but, like all members of the orchid family, the seed of this species is extremely simple, it has a minute embryo surrounded by a single layer of protective cells. It contains very little food reserves and depends upon a symbiotic relationship with a species of soil-dwelling fungus. The fungal hyphae invade the seed and enter the cells of the embryo. The orchid soon begins to digest the fungal tissue and this acts as a food supply for the plant until it is able to obtain nutrients from decaying material in the soil. Surface sow the seed, preferably as soon as it is ripe, in the greenhouse and do not allow the compost to dry out. It is best to use some of the soil that is growing around established plants in order to introduce the fungus, or to sow the seed around a plant of the same species and allow the seedlings to grow on until they are large enough to move. Division in autumn. Make sure that you keep plenty of soil with each plant. It is also said to be possible to transplant orchids after they have flowered but whilst they are still in leaf. Grow on for at least the first year before potting up and do not plant out until the plants are 2 – 4 years old. Division of the tubers as the flowers fade. This species produces a new tuber towards the end of its growing season. If this is removed from the plant as its flowers are fading, the shock to the plant can stimulate new tubers to be formed. The tuber should be treated as being dormant, whilst the remaining plant should be encouraged to continue in growth in order to give it time to produce new tubers. Division can also be carried out when the plant has a fully developed rosette of leaves but before it comes into flower. The entire new growth is removed from the old tuber from which it has arisen and is potted up, the cut being made towards the bottom of the stem but leaving one or two roots still attached to the old tuber. This can often be done without digging up the plant. The old tuber should develop one or two new growths, whilst the new rosette should continue in growth and flower normally.

Edible Uses: Bulb – raw or cooked. Rather small. The corms have a rich, butter-like quality. They were usually boiled by the North American Indians before being eaten, though young maidens would eat them raw as they were believed to increase the size of the bust.

Medicinal Uses : Antispasmodic……The bulbs have been chewed or the flowers sucked in the treatment of mild epilepsy.

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/Calypso_bulbosa
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Calypso+bulbosa

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Viburnum opulus

Botanical Name: Viburnum opulus
Family: Adoxaceae
Genus: Viburnum
Species: V. opulus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Dipsacales

Synonyms: Cramp Bark. Snowball Tree. King’s Crown. High Cranberry. Red Elder. Rose Elder. Water Elder. May Rose. Whitsun Rose. Dog Rowan Tree. Silver Bells. Whitsun Bosses. Gaitre Berries. Black Haw.

Common Name: Guelder-rose, Cramp Bark , Stagbush, sweet viburnum, water elder, arrowwood

Other common names: Water elder, , Snowball tree and European cranberry bush

Part Used: Bark.

Habitat:The ‘Gaitre-Beries’ of which Chaucer makes mention among the plants that ‘shal be for your hele’ to ‘picke hem right as they grow and ete hem in,’ are the deep red clusters of berries of the Wild Guelder Rose (Viburnum Opulus, Linn.), a shrub growing 5 to 10 feet high, belonging to the same family as the Elder, found in copses and hedgerows throughout England, though rare in Scotland, and also indigenous to North America, where it is to be found in low grounds in the eastern United States.
It grows in hedges, scrub and woodland, usually on damp soils.
Description:
Viburnum opulus is a deciduous shrub growing to 4–5 m (13–16 ft) tall. The leaves are opposite, three-lobed, 5–10 cm (2–4 in) long and broad, with a rounded base and coarsely serrated margins; they are superficially similar to the leaves of some maples, most easily distinguished by their somewhat wrinkled surface with impressed leaf venation. The leaf buds are green, with valvate bud scales….CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

The hermaphrodite flowers are white, produced in corymbs 4–11 cm (2–4 in) in diameter at the top of the stems; each corymb comprises a ring of outer sterile flowers 1.5–2 cm in diameter with conspicuous petals, surrounding a center of small (5 mm), fertile flowers; the flowers are produced in early summer, and pollinated by insects. The fruit is a globose bright red drupe 7–10 mm diameter, containing a single seed. The seeds are dispersed by birds.
The bark is collected chiefly in northern Europe and appears in commerce in thin strips, sometimes in quills, 1/20 to 1/12 inch thick, greyish-brown externally, with scattered brownish warts, faintly cracked longitudinally. It has a strong, characteristic odour and its taste is mildly astringent and decidedly bitter.

Constituents: The active principle of Cramp Bark is the bitter glucoside Viburnine; it also contains tannin, resin and valerianic acid.
Edible Uses:
The fruit is edible in small quantities, with a very acidic taste; it can be used to make jelly. It is however very mildly toxic, and may cause vomiting or diarrhea if eaten in large amounts.

Medicinal Uses: The bark, known as Cramp Bark, is employed in herbal medicine. It used formerly to be included in the United States Pharmacopoeia, but is now omitted though it has been introduced into the National Formulary in the form of a Fluid Extract, Compound Tincture and Compound Elixir, for use as a nerve sedative and anti-spasmodic in asthma and hysteria.

In herbal practice in this country, its administration in decoction and infusion, as well as the fluid extract and compound tincture is recommended. It has been employed with benefit in all nervous complaints and debility and used with success in cramps and spasms of all kinds, in convulsions, fits and lockjaw, and also in palpitation, heart disease and rheumatism.

Crampbark is effective at relieving any over-tense muscle, whether smooth muscle in the intestines, airways, or uterus, or striated muscle in the limbs or back. It may be taken internally or applied topically to relieve muscle tension. The herb also treats symptoms arising from excess muscle tension, including breathing difficulties in asthma, and menstrual pain caused by excessive contraction of the uterus.. For night cramps and back pain, lobelia is often mixed with crampbark. The herb also relieves constipation, colic, and irritable bowel syndrome, as well as the physical symptoms of nervous tension. Useful as a protection against threatened miscarriage. Its astringent action gives it a role in the treatment of excessive blood loss in periods and especially bleeding associated with the menopause. In some cases of arthritis, where joint weakness and pain have caused muscles to contract until they are almost rigid, crampbark can bring remarkable relief. As the muscles relax, blood flow to the area improves, waste products such as lactic acid are removed and normal function can return. Crampbark is commonly used in treatments for high blood pressure and other circulatory conditions.

It is a specific remedy for pains in the thighs and back and a bearing-down, expulsive pain in the uterus, whether during pregnancy and childbirth or during menstruation. Crampbark combines well with bearberry for bladder infections with painful cramping and frequent urination with little passed.

For the relief of cramp it may be combined with Prickly Ash and Wild Yam. For uterine and ovarian pains or threatened miscarriage it may be used with Black Haw and Valerian. For bladder infections with painful cramping combine with bearberry.

Other uses:
The term cramp bark is related to the properties of the bark’s ability to reduce smooth muscle tightness. It is called cramp bark as relieving this type of muscle tightness is most often associated with relieving women’s menstrual (period) cramps. However, this can also be used during pregnancy for cramps or pain and general muscle cramping.

Cultural meaning:
Viburnum opulus (Kalyna) is one of the National symbols of Ukraine.   Mentions of the bush can be found throughout the Ukrainian folklore such as songs, picturesque art, Ukrainian embroidery, and others. Chervona Kalyna was the anthem of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. Kalyna Country is an ecomuseum in Canada.

This bush’s symbolic roots can be traced to the Slavic paganism of millennia ago. According to a legend Kalyna was associated with the birth of the Universe, the so-called Fire Trinity: the Sun, the Moon, and the Star.  Its berries symbolize blood and the undying trace of family roots. Kalyna is often depicted on the Ukrainian embroidery: towels and shirts. In Slavic paganism kalyna also represents the beauty of a young lady which rhymes well in the Ukrainian language: Ka-ly-na – Div-chy-na. That consistency was reviewed by numerous Ukrainian folklorists such as Nikolay Kostomarov, Oleksandr Potebnia (founder of the Kharkiv Linguistic.
Known Hazards : Large quantities of the fruit can cause vomiting and diarrhoea. The fruit is of very low or zero toxicity, it only causes mild upsets when eaten unripe or in large quantities.

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/Viburnum_opulus
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/g/gueros44.html

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Viburnum+opulus

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

Categories
Healthy Tips

Eggs Could Cut Heart Defects

[amazon_link asins=’B00024CRC8,B00XWQSD7G,B00014EBPA,B001F0R65Q’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’finmeacur-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’3ddbce91-536f-11e7-86a0-f1c3edfd8f5f’]

[amazon_link asins=’B00CIZCSIM,B00YT6QD70,B00DDXWFY0,B008T9SHRW’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’finmeacur-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’57351019-536f-11e7-82e3-edce34d6ef03′]

Various studies have revealed that choline, which is present in eggs in abundance, is associated with decreased rate of heart defects during prenatal development.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
Researchers examined the offspring of mice that consumed a choline-deficient diet during pregnancy compared to the offspring of mice that consumed a diet containing the recommended amount of choline.

They observed that heart defects were more prevalent among the offspring of mice consuming a choline-deficient diet.

The study also found that low choline intake was associated with increased levels of homocysteine, an amino acid in the blood that, when elevated, is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and declined cognitive function.

“Choline is a complex nutrient that is intricately involved in fetal development, and this research reveals another piece of the puzzle,” said Marie Caudill, of Cornell University.

“Women with diets low in choline have two times greater risk of having babies with neural tube defects so it’s essential that nutrition education during pregnancy and breastfeeding highlight the importance of dietary sources of choline,” she added.

Apart from decreasing risk of prenatal development, choline plays an important role throughout lifespan too.

Another study found that higher intakes of choline and betaine were associated with lower blood homocysteine concentrations, especially in subjects with low blood levels of folate and vitamin B12.4 Choline, like folate, is involved in breaking down homocysteine in the blood.

Elevated homocysteine concentrations have been associated with increased risk of stroke, coronary heart disease and cognitive decline.

Researchers also studied the impact of choline intake on DNA damage in 60 Mexican-American men.

They found that individuals with greater intakes of choline, even exceeding current dietary recommendations, exhibited the least amount of DNA damage.

Source: The findings were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Enhanced by Zemanta