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Herbs & Plants

Epilobium glabellum

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Botanical Name : Epilobium glabellum
Family: Onagraceae
Genus: Epilobium
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Myrtales

Synonyms:
*Boisduvalia
*Chamaenerion
*Pyrogennema
*Zauschneria

Common Names: Willowherbs;

Habitat : Epilobium glabellum is native to Australia, New Zealand.It grows on the loamy soils, flats and hillsides in eastern Australia.

Description:
Epilobium glabellum is an evergreen Perennial flowering plant, growing to 0.2 m (0ft 8in) by 0.2 m (0ft 8in). It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees….CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES:

Cultivation:
Prefers a well-drained but moisture retentive soil in a sunny position or in partial shade. Succeeds in most soils. Possibly hardy to about -15°c. Plants are semi-evergreen.

Propagation:
Seed – sow early spring in situ or as soon as the seed is ripe. Division in spring or autumn. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.
Edible Uses: Young leaves and shoots – cooked and eaten.

Medicinal Uses: The herb is used is as a herbal supplement in the treatment of prostate, bladder (incontinence) and hormone disorders.

Other Uses: A useful ground cover plant.

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/Epilobium
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Epilobium+glabellum

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Herbs & Plants

Cymbopogon citrates

Botanical Name : Cymbopogon citrates
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Cymbopogon
Species: C. citratus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Poales

Common Names : Lemon grass or Oil grass, Fever Grass, Citronella, Capim

Habitat : Cymbopogon citrates is native to tropical regions ( Indonesia, and introduced and cultivated in most of the tropics, including Africa, South America and Indo-China.) It grows in clusters. The plant has globular stems that eventually become leaf blades.

Description:
The Cymbopogon citrates is a perennial plant with brawny stalks and somewhat broad and scented leaves. This species of plant is usually cultivated commercially for oil refinement and is different by its individual aroma and chemical composition of the oil. Apart from C. citratus, or Cymbopogon citratus, there are other varieties of lemongrass such as C. nardus (also known citronella grass that is a source of citronella oil), C. martini (known as ginger grass, palma-rosa or rusha) and C. winterianus (Java citronella oil).
Cymbopogon citrates is also a resourceful plant in the garden. This grass, native of the tropical regions, usually grows in thick bunches that often develop to a height of six feet (1.8 meters) and approximately four feet (1.2 meters) in breadth. The leaves of the plant are similar to straps and are 0.5 inch to 1 inch (1.3 cm to 2.5 cm) in width and around three feet (0.9 meter) in length, and possess stylish apexes. The plant bears leaves round the year and they are vivid bluish-green and when mashed they emit an aroma akin to lemons. The leaves of this plant are used for flavoring and also in the manufacture of medications. The leaves are refined by steam to obtain lemongrass oil – an old substitute in the perfume manufacturers’ array of aroma. The most common type of lemongrass found is a variety of plants that originated and persisted under cultivation and do not usually bear flowers…….CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Over the years, lemongrass has fast turned out to be the most wanted plant for the American gardeners and this is attributed to the increasing popularity of Thai culinary in the United States. The aromatic lemongrass is considered to be of multi-purpose use in the kitchen as it is used in teas, drinks, herbal medications and the soups and delicacies originated in the Eastern region of the world and now popular all over. In fact, the worth of this aromatic and cosmetic plant was known to the ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians.
Edible Uses:
The stalks and leaves of the lemongrass are widely used in culinary in different Asian countries.

Cymbopogon citratus is abundant in the Philippines and Indonesia where it is known as tanglad or sereh. Its fragrant leaves are traditionally used in cooking, particularly for lechon and roasted chicken.

The dried leaves can also be brewed into a tea, either alone or as a flavoring in other teas, imparting a flavor reminiscent of lemon juice but with a mild sweetness without significant sourness or tartness.

Medicinal Uses:
Apart from the herb’s aromatic, ornamental and culinary uses, lemongrass also provides a number of therapeutic benefits. Lemongrass leaves and the essential oils extracted from them are utilized to cure grouchy conditions, nervous disorders, colds and weariness. It may be mentioned here that many massage oils and aromatherapy oils available in the market enclose lemongrass oil as an important ingredient. The essential oils extracted from lemongrass have a yellow or yellowish-brown hue and this liquid is known to be antiseptic. Very often the oil is applied externally to treat disorders like athlete’s foot (tinea pedia). Among other things, lemongrass is also used as a carminative to emit digestive gas, a digestive tonic, a febrifuge or analgesic as well as an antifungal. In addition, lemongrass is prescribed to treat rheumatism and sprains, suppress coughs, and as a diuretic and sedative.

In East India and Sri Lanka, where it is called “fever tea,” lemon grass leaves are combined with other herbs to treat fevers, irregular menstruation, diarrhea, and stomachaches. Lemon grass is one of the most popular herbs in Brazil and the Caribbean for nervous and digestive problems. The Chinese use lemon grass in a similar fashion, to treat headaches, stomachaches, colds, and rheumatic pains. The essential oil is used straight in India to treat ringworm or in a paste with buttermilk to rub on ringworm and bruises. Studies show it does destroy many types of bacteria and fungi and is a deodorant. It may reduce blood pressure – a traditional Cuban use of the herb – and it contains five different constituents that inhibit blood coagulation.

The leaves of Cymbopogon citratus have been used in traditional medicine and are often found in herbal supplements and teas. Many effects have been attributed to both their oral consumption and topical use, with modern research supporting many of their alleged benefits.

In the folk medicine of Brazil, it is believed to have anxiolytic, hypnotic, and anticonvulsant properties.

In traditional medicine of India the leaves of the plant are used as stimulant, sudorific, antiperiodic, and anticatarrhal, while the essential oil is used as carminative, depressant, analgesic, antipyretic, antibacterial, and antifungal agent.

Laboratory studies have shown cytoprotective, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties in vitro, as well as antifungal properties (though Cymbopogon martinii was found to be more effective in that study).

Citronellol is an essential oil constituent from Cymbopogon citratus, Cymbopogon winterianus, and Lippia alba. Citronellol has been shown to lower blood pressure in rats by a direct effect on the vascular smooth muscle leading to vasodilation. In a small, randomized, controlled trial, an infusion made from C. citratus was used as an inexpensive remedy for the treatment of oral thrush in HIV/AIDS patients.

Lemon grass oil contains 65-85% citral in addition to myrcene, citronella, citronellol, and geraniol. Hydrosteam distillation, condensation, and cooling can be used to separate the oil from the water. The hydrosol, as a by-product of the distillation process, is used for the production of skin care products such as lotions, creams, and facial cleansers. The main ingredients in these products are lemon grass oil and “negros oil” (mixture of lemon grass oil with virgin coconut oil) used in aromatherapy.
Other Uses:
Effects on insects: Beekeepers sometimes use lemon grass oil in swarm traps to attract swarms. Lemon grass oil has also been tested for its ability to repel the pestilent stable fly, which bite domestic animals. The oil is used as insect replants.

The leaves and essential oils of the plant are also utilized in herbal medications. In addition, Cymbopogon citratus is extensively used by the cosmetic industry in the manufacture of soaps as well as hair care products. Finally, these days, lemongrass is being appreciated for its effectiveness in repelling mosquitoes. The essential oils of Cymbopogon species are basically used in the fragrance industry as they possess very restrained therapeutic uses.

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/Cymbopogon_citratus
http://www.herbs2000.com/herbs/herbs_lemongrass.htm
http://www.kew.org/science-conservation/plants-fungi/cymbopogon-citratus-lemon-grass
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm
https://findmeacure.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1821&action=edit

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Herbs & Plants

Cowslip

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Botanical Name : Primula veris
Family: Primulaceae
Genus: Primula
Species: P. veris
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales

Synonyms: Primula officinalis Hill, Paigle. Peggle. Key Flower.  Petty Mulleins.  Buckles. Palsywort. Mayflower. Password. Artetyke. Drelip. Our Lady’s Keys. Arthritica.

Common Names: cowslip, common cowslip,(Anglo-Saxon) Cuy lippe, (Greek) Paralysio

(The common name cowslip may derive from the old English for cow dung, probably because the plant was often found growing amongst the manure in cow pastures. An alternative derivation simply refers to slippery or boggy ground; again, a typical habitat for this plant.

The species name v?ris means “of spring”. However, this is not the first primula to flower, being preceded by the primrose P. vulgaris.

Other folk names include: cuy lippe, herb peter, paigle, peggle, key flower, key of heaven, fairy cups, petty mulleins, crewel, buckles, palsywort, plumrocks, tittypines.)

Habitat : Primula veris is native throughout most of temperate Europe and Asia, and although absent from more northerly areas including much of northwest Scotland, it reappears in northernmost Sutherland and Orkney. It grows on Grassy places, fields and woods with calcareous soils.

Description:
Primula veris is a variable evergreen or semi-evergreen perennial flowering plant  growing to 25 cm (10 in) tall and broad, with a rosette of leaves 5–15 cm long and 2–6 cm broad. The deep yellow flowers are produced in spring, in clusters of 10-30 blooms together on a single stem. Each flower is 9–15 mm broad. Red-flowered plants occur rarely.

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Quite early in the spring, the Primula veris begins to produce its leaves. At first, each is just two tight coils, rolled backwards and lying side by side; these slowly unroll and a leaf similar to that of a Primrose, but shorter and rounder, appears. All the leaves lie nearly flat on the ground in a rosette, from the centre of which rises a long stalk, crowned by the flowers, which spring all from one point, in separate little stalks, and thus form an ‘umbel.’ The number of the flowers in an umbel varies very much in different specimens.

This species frequently hybridizes with other Primulas such as Primula vulgaris to form False Oxslip (Primula x polyantha) which is often confused with true Oxslip (Primula elatior) which is a much rarer plant. Botanists have found no less than twenty-five of these hybrid-forms in the Austrian Alps.

Cultivation :
Prefers a medium to heavy moisture retentive humus rich loam in a cool position with light to medium shade. Grows well in heavy clay soils and on chalk. Prefers full sun and a well-drained alkaline soil if it is to survive well. Plants are hardy to about -20°c. A very ornamental plant, it grows well in the spring meadow. The flowers diffuse a sweet fragrance quite unlike all other flower scents. It has been likened by some to the breath of a cow (cuslippe is the Saxon word for this and thus the origin of the common name), by others to the sweet milky breath of a tiny child.

Propagation :
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Sow stored seed in early spring in a cold frame. Germination is inhibited by temperatures above 20°c. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. Division in autumn. This is best done every other year.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves.
Edible Uses: Tea.

Young leaves – raw or cooked in soups etc. They are not that tasty, but are available in late winter which adds somewhat to their value[K]. The fresh or dried leaves are used as a tea substitute. Flowers – raw, cooked or used in conserves, as a garnish etc. They make an ornamental addition to the salad bowl. This species has become much less common in the past 100 years due to habitat destruction, over-collecting from the wild and farming practices. When it was more abundant, the flowers were harvested in quantity in the spring and used to make a tasty wine with sedative and nervine properties. A related species Primula elatior is listed by the Council of Europe as a natural food flavouring.

Medicinal Uses:
Part Used Medicinally: The yellow corolla is alone needed, no stalk or green part whatever is required, only the yellow part, plucked out of the green calyx.

Chemical constituents: The roots and the flowers have somewhat of the odour of Anise, due to their containing some volatile oil identical with Mannite. Their acrid principle is Saponin.

The medicinal roots of Primula veris contain different glycosides of 5-methoxysalicylic methyl ester, such as primeverin and primulaverin. In the dried, crude root drug, their phenolic aglycones are responsible for the typical odor reminiscent of methyl salicylate or anethole, depending on the exact species. The dried roots contain significant amounts of triterpene saponins, such as primula acid I/II, while in the flower drug these constituents are located in the sepals, and the dominating constituents are flavonoids. Rare side effects of the saponins can be nausea or diarrhea while some of the phenolic constituents are possibly responsible for allergic reactions.

The subspecies macrocalyx, growing in Siberia, contains the phenolic compound riccardin C.
Cowslips are an underused but valuable medicinal herb. They have a very long history of medicinal use and have been particularly employed in treating conditions involving spasms, cramps, paralysis and rheumatic pains. The plant contains saponins, which have an expectorant effect, and salicylates which are the main ingredient of aspirin and have anodyne, anti-inflammatory and febrifuge effects. This remedy should not be prescribed for pregnant women, patients who are sensitive to aspirin, or those taking anti-coagulant drugs such as warfarin. The flowers and the leaves are anodyne, diaphoretic, diuretic and expectorant. They are harvested in the spring and can be used fresh or dried. The yellow corolla of the flower is antispasmodic and sedative. They are recommended for treating over-activity and sleeplessness, especially in children. They are potentially valuable in the treatment of asthma and other allergic conditions. At one time an oil was produced by maceration of the flowers, this has an antiecchymotic effect (treats bruising). The root contains 5 – 10% triterpenoid saponins which are strongly expectorant, stimulating a more liquid mucous and so easing the clearance of phlegm . It has been dried and made into a powder then used as a sternutatory. The root is also mildly diuretic, antirheumatic and slows the clotting of blood. It is used in the treatment of chronic coughs (especially those associated with chronic bronchitis and catarrhal congestion), flu and other febrile conditions. The root can be harvested in the spring or autumn and is dried for later use. The leaves have similar medicinal properties to the roots but are weaker in action. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant. It is used in the treatment of kidney complaints and catarrh. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Primula veris for cough/bronchitis.

In folk medicine, it was used as a sedative, anti-rheumatic and for gout. In modern phytotherapy, it is mostly employed in form of tinctures or dry extracts for its evidence-based expectorant effects. It was later discovered through pharmacognostic examinations that the active principles (saponins) are mostly occurring in the rhizomes and flowers.

In the Middle-Ages it was also known as St. Peter’s herb or Petrella and was very sought after by Florentine apothecaries. Hildegard von Bingen recommended the medicinal parts only for topical use but the leaves were also consumed as food. Other common names at the time were Herba paralysis, Verbascum, Primrose or Mullein leaves. It was frequently misidentified or confused with similar species from the genus Primula.

Known Hazards : Some people are allergic to the stamens of this plant, though such cases are easily treated. Saponins may cause hypotension. Excessive/prolonged use may interfere with high blood pressure treatments. Possible Gastrointestinal irritation .

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/Primula_veris
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/c/cowsl112.html

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Primula+veris

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Vetiver Grass

Botanical Name :Chrysopogon zizanioides
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Chrysopogon
Species: C. zizanioides
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Poales
Synonyms: Vetiveria zizanioides, Phalaris, Anatherum zizanioides,Andropogon odoratus,Andropogon zizanioides.Phalaris zizanioides,Vetiveria zizanioides

Common Name : Vetiver Grass,khus(In western and northern India, it is popularly known as khus.)

Habitat :Vetiver Grass is  native to India.Though it originates in India, vetiver grass is widely cultivated in the tropical regions of the world. The world’s major producers include Haiti, India, Java, and Réunion.

Description:
Vetiver Grass  is a perennial evergreen grass of the Poaceae family.The grass has a gregarious habit and grows in bunches.
Vetiver grass can grow up to 1.5 metres high and form clumps as wide. The stems are tall and the leaves are long, thin, and rather rigid. It has infrequent blooming time. The flowers are brownish-purple. Unlike most grasses, which form horizontally spreading, mat-like root systems, vetiver’s roots grow downward, 2–4 m in depth.  Shoots growing from the underground crown make the plant frost- and fire-resistant, and allow it to survive heavy grazing pressure. The leaves can become up to 120–150 cm long and 0.8 cm wide. The panicles are 15–30 centimeters long and have whorled, 2.5–5.0 centimeters long branches. The spikelets are in pairs, and there are three stamens.

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The plant stems are erect and stiff. They can persist deep water flow. Under clear water, the plant can survive up to two months.

The root system of vetiver is finely structured and very strong. It can grow 3–4 m deep within the first year. Vetiver has no stolons nor rhizomes. Because of all these characteristics, the vetiver plant is highly drought-tolerant and can help to protect soil against sheet erosion. In case of sediment deposition, new roots can grow out of buried nodes.

Vetiver is most closely related to Sorghum but shares many morphological characteristics with other fragrant grasses, such as lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus), citronella (Cymbopogon nardus, C. winterianus), and palmarosa (Cymbopogon martinii).The most commonly used commercial genotypes of vetiver are sterile (do not produce fertile seeds), and because vetiver propagates itself by small offsets instead of underground stolons, these genotypes are noninvasive and can easily be controlled by cultivation of the soil at the boundary of the hedge. However, care must be taken, because fertile genotypes of vetiver have become invasive. Vegetatively propagated, almost all vetiver grown worldwide for perfumery, agriculture, and bioengineering has been shown by DNA fingerprinting to be essentially the same nonfertile cultigen (called ‘Sunshine’ in the United States, after the town of Sunshine, Louisiana).

Edible Uses:
Vetiver grass  is  used as a flavoring agent, usually through khus syrup. Khus syrup is made by adding khus essence to sugar, water and citric acid syrup. Khus Essence is a dark green thick syrup made from the roots of khus grass(vetiver grass). It has a woodsy taste and a scent prominent to khus.

click to see

click to see:Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides) essential oil in a clear glass vial

The syrup is used to flavor milkshakes and yogurt drinks like lassi, but can also be used in ice creams, mixed beverages like Shirley Temples and as a dessert topping. Khus syrup does not need to be refrigerated, although khus flavored products may need to be.

Medicinal Uses:
Vetiver grass has been used in traditional medicine in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and West Africa.Old Tamil literature mentions the use of vetiver for medical purposes.

Other Uses:
Vetiver grass is grown for many different purposes. The plant helps to stabilise soil and protects it against erosion, but it can also protect fields against pests and weeds. Vetiver has favourable qualities for animal feed. From the roots, oil is extracted and used for cosmetics and aromatherapy. Due to its fibrous properties, the plant can also be used for handicrafts, ropes and more.

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Soil and water conservation:
Several aspects of vetiver make it an excellent erosion control plant in warmer climates. Unlike most grasses, it does not form a horizontal mat of roots; rather, the roots grow almost exclusively downward, 2–4 m, which is deeper than some tree roots. This makes vetiver an excellent stabilizing hedge for stream banks, terraces, and rice paddies, and protects soil from sheet erosion. The roots bind to the soil, therefore it can not dislodge. Vetiver has also been used to stabilize railway cuttings/embankments in geologically challenging situations in an attempt to prevent mudslides and rockfalls, the Konkan railway in Western India being an example. The plant also penetrates and loosens compacted soils.

Runoff mitigation and water conservation:
The close-growing culms also help to block the runoff of surface water. It slows water’s flow velocity and thus increases the amount absorbed by the soil (infiltration). It can withstand a flow velocity up to 5 metres per second (16 ft/s).

Vetiver mulch increases water infiltration and reduces evaporation, thus protects soil moisture under hot and dry conditions. The mulch also protects against splash erosion.

Crop protection:
Vetiver can be used for crop protection. It attracts pests, such as the stem borer (Chilo partellus), which lay their eggs preferably on vetiver. Due to the hairy architecture of vetiver, the larvae can not move on the leaves, fall to the ground and die.

As a mulch, vetiver is used for weed control in coffee, cocoa and tea plantations. It builds a barrier in the form of a thick mat. When the mulch breaks down, soil organic matter is built up and additional nutrients for crops become available.

Animal feed:
The leaves of vetiver are a useful byproduct to feed cattle, goats, sheep and horses. The nutritional content depends on season, growth stage and soil fertility. Under most climates, nutritional values and yields are best if vetiver is cut every 1–3 months.

In-house uses;
In the Indian Subcontinent, khus (vetiver roots) is often used to replace the straw or wood shaving pads in evaporative coolers. When cool water runs for months over wood shavings in evaporative cooler padding, they tend to accumulate algae, bacteria and other microorganisms. This causes the cooler to emit a fishy or seaweed smell into the house. Vetiver root padding counteracts this smell. A cheaper alternative is to add vetiver cooler perfume or even pure khus attar to the tank. Another advantage is that they do not catch fire as easily as dry wood shavings.

Mats made by weaving vetiver roots and binding them with ropes or cords are used in India to cool rooms in a house during summer. The mats are typically hung in a doorway and kept moist by spraying with water periodically; they cool the passing air, as well as emitting a refreshing aroma.[citation needed]

In the hot summer months in India, sometimes a muslin sachet of vetiver roots is tossed into the earthen pot that keeps a household’s drinking water cool. Like a bouquet garni, the bundle lends distinctive flavor and aroma to the water. Khus-scented syrups are also sold.

Fuel cleaning:
A recent study found the plant is capable of growing in fuel-contaminated soil. In addition, the study discovered the plant is also able to clean the soil, so in the end, it is almost fuel-free.

Vetiver grass is used as roof thatch (it lasts longer than other materials), mud brick-making for housing construction (such bricks have lower thermal conductivity), strings and ropes and ornamentals (for the light purple flowers).

Garlands made of vettiver grass is used to adorn The dancing god nataraja in the Hindu temples.

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/Chrysopogon_zizanioides
http://www.smgrowers.com/products/plants/plantdisplay.asp?plant_id=3690
http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/83630/

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