Herbs & Plants

Ferula sumbul

Botanical Name: Ferula sumbul

Family: Apiaceae

Synonyms: Euryangium Musk Root. Jatamansi. Ouchi. Ofnokgi. Sumbul Radix. Racine de Sumbul. Sumbulwurzel. Moschuswurzel, Ferula suaveolens

Common Names: Sumbul

Parts Used:  Root and rhizome.
Habitat: sumbul is native to the Mediterranean region east to central Asia, mostly growing in arid climates.Turkestan, Russia, Northern I

Ferula sumbul is a herbaceous perennial plant It reaches a height of 8 feet, and has a solid, cylindrical, slender stem which gives rise to about twelve branches. The root-leaves are 2 1/2 feet long, triangular in outline, while the stem-leaves rapidly decrease in size until they are mere sheathing bracts. The pieces of root, as met with in commerce, are from 1 to 3 inches in diameter and 3/4 to 1 inch in thickness. They are covered on the outside with a duskybrown, papery, transversely-wrinkled cork, sometimes fibrous; within they are spongy, coarsely fibrous, dry, and dirty yellowishbrown, with white patches and spots of resin. The odour is strong and musk-like, the taste bitter and aromatic….: CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Sumbul – a Persian and Arabic word applied to various roots – was discovered in 1869 by the Russian Fedschenko, in the mountains south-east of Samarkand near the small town of Pentschakend on the River Zarafshan, at an elevation of 3,000 to 4,000 feet. A root was sent to the Moscow Botanical Gardens, and in 1872 two were sent from there to Kew, one arriving alive. In 1875 the plant died after flowering. The genus Euryangium (i.e. ‘broad reservoir’) was based by Kauffmann on the large, solitarv dorsal vittae, or oil tubes, which are filled with a quantity of latex – the moisture surounding the stigma – which pours out freely when a section is made, smelling strongly of musk, especially if treated with water, but they almost disappear in ripening, making the plant difficult to classify.

The root has long been used in Persia and India medicinally and as incense in religious ceremonies.

The physicians of Moscow and Petrograd were the first to employ it on the Continent of Europe, and Granville first introduced it to Great Britain and the United States.

The root of Ferula suaveolens, having only a faint, musky odour, is one of the species exported from Persia to Bombay by the Persian Gulf. It is the Sambul Root of commerce which differs from the original drug, being apparently derived from a different species of Ferula than that officially given.

The recognized source in the United States Pharmacopceia is F. Sumbul (Hooker Fil.). False Sumbul is the root of Dorema Ammoniacum; it is of closer texture, denser, and more firm, of a red or yellow tinge and feeble odour.

Constituents :   Volatile oil, two balsamic resins, one soluble in alcohol and one in ether; wax, gum, starch, a bitter substance soluble in water and alcohol, a little angelic and valeric acid. The odour seems to be connected with the balsamic resins. The volatile oil has a bitter taste like peppermint, and on dry distillation yields a bluish oil containing umbelliferone. A 1916 analysis shows moisture, starch, pentrosans, crude fibre, protein, dextrin, ash, sucrose, reducing sugar, volatile oil and resins. Alkaioids were not detected. The volatile oil did not show the presence of sulphur. Both betaine and umbelliferon were detected. In the resin, vanillic acid was identified and a phytosterol was present. Among the volatile acids were acetic, butyric, angelic and tiglic acid, and among the nonvolatile oleic, linoleic, tiglic, cerotic, palmitic and stearic.

Medicinal Uses:    Stimulant and antispasmodic, resembling valerian in its action, and used in various hysterical conditions. It is believed to have a specific action on the pelvic organs, and is widely employed in dysmenorrhoea and allied female disorders. It is also a stimulant to mucous membranes, not only in chronic dysenteries and diarrhoeas, but in chronic bronchitis, especially with asthmatic tendency, and even in pneumonia.

A very effective nerve stimulant and tonic.  The medicinal action resembles that of valerian (Valeriana officinalis) and the plant is used in the treatment of various hysterical conditions.  It is also believed to have a specific action on the pelvic organs and is used in treating dysmenorrhea and a wide range of other feminine disorders. The root is also a stimulant to mucous membranes and is used in treating chronic dysenteries, diarrhea, bronchitis and even pneumonia.

Half an ounce of a tincture produced narcotic symptoms, confusing the head, causing a tendency to snore even when awake, and giving feelings of tingling, etc., with a strong odour of the drug from breath and skin which only passed off after a day or two.

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.


Herbs & Plants

Fragaria viridis

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Botanical Name : Fragaria viridis
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Fragaria
Species: F. viridis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Synonyms : Fragaria collina.

Common Names: Green Strawberry

Habitat : Fragaria viridis is native to Europe. It grows in woods and banks.

Fragaria viridis is a perennial plant, growing to 0.3 m (1ft).
It is not frost tender. It is in flower from Apr to May, and the seeds ripen from Jun to July. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by Insects……..CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
Prefers a fertile, well-drained, moisture retentive soil in a sunny position. Tolerates semi-shade though fruit production will be reduced when plants grow in such a position. This species is closely related to F. vesca. Plants are sometimes dioecious. In this case, male and female plants will be needed if fruit and seed is required.

Seed – sow early spring in a greenhouse. The seed can take 4 weeks or more to germinate. The seedlings are very small and slow-growing at first, but then grow rapidly. Prick them out into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out during the summer. Division of runners, preferably done in July/August in order to allow the plants to become established for the following years crop. They can also be moved in the following spring if required, though should not then be allowed to fruit in their first year. The runners can be planted out direct into their permanent positions.

Edible Uses :    Fruit – raw or cooked. The fruit are greenish-tinged with red and are sweet and succulent with a rich musky pineapple-like flavour. Absolutely delicious, though they are not produced very freely.

Medicinal Uses : None known

Other Uses : An excellent ground cover plant, spreading vigorously by means of surface stolons and forming a dense carpet.   It grows well amongst shrubs but can out-compete smaller plants

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.


News on Health & Science

‘Brushing Teeth Prevents Preterm Birth’

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Preterm births are easier prevented than thought. Researchers in the United States have found that brushing your teeth properly and maintaining  proper oral hygiene reduces the chance of early labour by a large extent.

……………………..…CLICK & SEE

Researchers from Case Western Reserve and Yale Universities Previously undiscovered bacteria usually found in the mouth could be responsible for up to 80% of early preterm labours.

The research could help doctors prevent preterm births by encouraging oral hygiene or stop early labour from developing by prescribing targeted antibiotics, Discovery News reported on its website on Wednesday.

“The earlier the woman goes into preterm labor, the higher the chance that she will be infected,” said Yiping Han, a doctor at Case Western University and the first author on the study.

Most human pregnancies last about 40 weeks. A birth prior to 37 weeks is classified as preterm. Babies born preterm can face many hurdles: vision and hearing loss, cerebral palsy, mental retardation, even death.

Labour itself is still somewhat of a mystery to science, which makes puzzling out preterm labour even more difficult. Anything from socioeconomic status and race to bacterial infection and genetics have been linked to preterm births, but a definitive cause is still elusive.

Han and her colleagues think they have found a major cause, at least in mice. By infecting the rodents with Bergeyella, a previously unknown bacteria found in the mice, the researchers caused preterm births.

In humans, the scientists showed a strong correlation between infection and preterm births. Doctors removed amniotic fluid from 46 different women with potentially higher risk pregnancies. Of that group, 21 delivered an early preterm baby (32 weeks or earlier). Nineteen of those women, or about 85%, were positive for previously undetected bacteria.

The bacteria normally live in the mouth, but if a cut, cavity or other wound allows the bacteria to enter the blood stream, they can travel and eventually colonize the uterus. That triggers an immune response, which can inflame the uterus and eventually cause a mother to go into labour prematurely.

To identify bacteria behind preterm labour, doctors used polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Using PCR, the scientists identified the Bergeyella bacterium, as well as DNA belonging to 10 or 11 different strains of newly identified bacteria. Now that doctors know about another link to preterm labour, the next step is to treat it. Antibiotics that specifically target these new bacteria are currently being tested.

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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Decoding Diseases

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The 1000 Genome Project promises to provide genetic clues to all the major ailments plaguing humankind.


For a long time in the history of science, scientists had relied on tact and finesse in their investigations into Nature. They designed ingenious experiments and constructed exquisite theories to probe into Nature’s patterns. But some of them are now combining finesse with brute force, and in the process uncovering some of Nature’s most profound mysteries.

At the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge in the United Kingdom, biologists are using brute force like never before in the history of biology. They are sequencing genomes (the full complement of genes in a person) at breakneck speed: about 300 million bases of DNA an hour, seven billion a day, 50 billion a week. In the last six months, scientists there have sequenced more than one trillion letters of genetic code. That is the equivalent of 300 human genomes. Every two minutes, the institute generates as much sequence as was done in the first five years of genome mapping (from 1982-1987).

While sequencing at such a speed, which will itself keep going up each year, biologists are getting closer to answering some critical questions. At a fundamental and philosophical level, it will tell us why we are all so similar and yet so different. At a more practical level, it will tell us why some of us get sick while others don’t. Or to be precise, we will soon know how genetic variation contributes to disease. Says Richard Durbin, co-leader of the three-year 1000 Genome Project that the Institute launched with two other institutions: “At the end of the project, we will have a much clearer picture of what the human genome really looks like.”

The first draft of the human genome, produced by US and UK scientists in 2000, was a major breakthrough in biology. However, there were many gaps in the draft that have still not been plugged. It turns out that the gaps contain the crucial data that we need to understand health and disease. Moreover, the draft was based only on primary data. It is the secondary data, the variations in the reference sequence, which will tell us about risk factors for diseases. That is what biologists are after now.

The 1000 Genome Project was launched in January this year with the aim of producing a map of the human genome that is medically relevant. There are three institutions in the project: the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, the Beijing Genomics Institute at Shenzen in China, and the National Human Genome Research Institute at Bethesda, Maryland, in the US. Later, three US based companies — 454 Life Sciences, Illumina and Applied Biosystems — joined the project by providing sequencing equipment. This sequencing equipment has been developed recently and has not been tested in actual research. It has provided what biologists there call the next generation sequencing technology.

The power of this technology was unimaginable even two years ago. At that time the institute had 75 machines and could sequence 50 billion bases a year. Now it has 25 machines and can sequence 50 billion bases a week. “We had a major shift in technology last year,” says Harold Swerdlow, head of sequencing technology at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. “The speed of sequencing has gone up 100 times and the cost has gone down by 100 times.”

Without this improvement in technology, the 1000 Genome Project may not have been possible or would have taken too long. As the plans stand now, the first year is for a pilot project. It will do two things: learning to work with the technology, and test the technology itself. Scientists in the project are now sequencing the DNA of 180 people in three equal sets of 60: people of European origin (the sample came from Utah in the US), Africans (sample from Nigeria) and East Asians (sample from China and Japan). The sequencing is at a low depth, a term biologists use to denote the number of times they sequence a gene and thus its accuracy. By the end of the project, they would have sequenced 1000 genomes at an accuracy unavailable so far. They would have had to sequence a genome at least about 40 times to reach this stage.

Maps of genetic variation that exist now are called HapMap. The scientists already have about 130 places of genetic variation that can increase the risk of diabetes, breast cancer, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and so on. However, this map identifies variations at a frequency of 5 per cent or more. The 1000 Genome Project will identify gene variations at a frequency of 1 per cent or even less. It will then open up possibilities of developing markers and treatment for a large number of diseases. Says Sameer Brahmachari, a biologist and director general of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi: “If the physical traits of the sequenced individuals are studied and correlated with their genome, the 1000 genome sequence can be an invaluable resource.”

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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