Herbs & Plants

Rubus canadensis

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Botanical Name : Rubus canadensis
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Rubus
Species:R. canadensis
Order: Rosales

*Rubus amnicola Blanch.
*Rubus argutus var. randii (L.H.Bailey) L.H.Bailey
*Rubus besseyi L.H.Bailey
*Rubus canadensis var. imus L.H.Bailey
*Rubus canadensis var. millspaughii (Britton) Blanch.
*Rubus forestalis L.H.Bailey
*Rubus illustris L.H.Bailey
*Rubus irregularis L.H.Bailey
*Rubus laetabilis L.H.Bailey
*Rubus millspaughii Britton
*Rubus orariu] Blanch.
*Rubus pergratus Blanch.
*Rubus pergratus Edees & A.Newton
*Rubus pergratus var. terrae-novae Fernald
*Rubus randii (L.H.Bailey) Rydb.
*Rubus suberectus Hook.
*Rubus villosus var. randii L.H.Bailey
*Selnorition canadensis (L.) Raf. ex B.D.Jacks.
*Rubus invisus (L.H.Bailey) L.H.Bailey
*Rubus jactus L.H.Bailey
*Rubus macdanielsii L.H.Bailey
*Rubus masseyi L.H.Bailey
*Rubus redundans L.H.Bailey
*Rubus sanfordii L.H.Bailey
*Rubus terraltanus L.H.Bailey
Common Names:American Dewberry, Smooth blackberry, Canadian blackberry, Thornless blackberry and Smooth highbush blackberr

Habitat : Rubus canadensis is native to central and eastern Canada (from Newfoundland to Ontario) and the eastern United States (New England, the Great Lakes region, and the Appalachian Mountains.It grows on thickets, woods and clearings.

Rubus canadensis is a deciduous rhizomatous shrub forms thickets up to 2 to 3 meters (7-10 feet) tall. The leaves are alternately arranged, each measuring 10 to 20 centimeters (4-8 inches) long. The inflorescence is a cluster of up to 25 flowers. The fruit is an aggregate of many small drupes, each of which contains a tiny nutlet. The plant reproduces by seed, by sprouting up from the rhizome, and by layering. The stems can grow one meter (40 inches) in height in under two months.

It is in flower in July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Apomictic.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.
Easily grown in a good well-drained loamy soil in sun or semi-shade. This species is a blackberry with biennial stems, it produces a number of new stems each year from the perennial rootstock, these stems fruit in their second year and then die. The stems are free from prickles. The plant produces apomictic flowers, these produce fruit and viable seed without fertilization, each seedling is a genetic copy of the parent. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.
Seed – requires stratification and is best sown in early autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed requires one month stratification at about 3°c and is best sown as early as possible in the year. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and grow on in a cold frame. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Tip layering in July. Plant out in autumn. Division in early spring or just before leaf-fall in the autumn.

Edible Uses:
Fruit – raw or cooked in pies, jams etc. Sweet, juicy and richly flavoured, it is generally preferred to most other species of blackberries. The fruit can be pressed into cakes and then dried for later use. The fruit can be up to 25mm long.
Medicinal Uses:
The stems and the fruit have been used in the treatment of dysentery. A decoction of the root has been used in the treatment of dysentery.

Other Uses:…Dye…..A purple to dull blue dye is obtained from the fruit.

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.



Too Much Worse Than too Little?

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We live in a stressful world, with family, work, financial needs, health, pollution, lack of sleep, and the new urban life style taking their toll. Fighting stress has become a money spinner. Doctors advocate preventive methods like diet, exercise, yoga, meditation, holidays and hobbies. These remedial measures require time and effort, scarce commodities in the 21st century. Media publicity highlights the potential hazards of stress. This has resulted in health being slickly packaged as a profitable commodity. Nutritional supplements (consumed dissolved in milk or water) and vitamins, once used for the sick, bedridden or elderly are now considered essential “stress busters”.

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Pharmaceutical companies vie with one another with tall claims, marketing gimmicks and eye-catching advertisements for formulations and supplements. They emphasise rejuvenation, prevention of disease, and accelerated mental development. After all everyone wants their child to be a “topper” or the next Sachin Tendulkar.

Vitamin supplements can be purchased over the counter (OTC) or prescribed. It pays to be knowledgeable about what is actually required, especially if you consult more than one physician each of whom may add a supplement. Some “high potency” vitamin supplements provide one ingredient in high concentrations and the rest in sub optimal doses. If you are taking one or more tablets or capsules of B complex, a vitamin and mineral supplement, additional calcium and a fortified beverage, the total concentration of one or more ingredients may be more than you require.

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There may also be mutual antagonism among the ingredients, preventing absorption and utilisation. Also, if the instructions says “once a day,” don’t take it twice; you will be doing yourself more harm than good.

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The fat soluble vitamins A,D, K and E are stored in body fat and the liver. Stores of A and D can last as long as six months. They can accumulate to toxic levels if consistently consumed in excess. Vitamin A occurs naturally as carotenoids in yellow foods. Excessive consumption of carotenoids can cause a yellow discolouration of the skin. Unnecessary consumption of supplements can result in hypervitaminosis A. In children it causes symptoms similar to that of a brain tumour.

Retinoids, the precursor of vitamin A, are administered as a treatment for acne. In a pregnant woman this can cause severe congenital malformations.

Vitamin D prevents rickets. Inadvertent administration of too much causes floppy muscles, irritability, vomiting, calcification in various body parts, aortic valve damage and clouding of the eyes.

Vitamin K is needed for clotting. Excessive administration of synthetic vitamin K can produce liver damage.

The B complex vitamins usually exhibit their deficiency as a group and produce fatigue, irritability, skin changes, anaemia, burning feet, fissures at the angles of the mouth and a smooth red tongue. Excess vitamins are usually harmlessly excreted in the urine. Pregnant women may be given high doses of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) to prevent vomiting. They can give birth to children with B6 dependency, and convulsions.

More than 65 mg a day of iron should not be taken. Excess iron gets deposited in organs like the liver, heart and thyroid, seriously damaging them.

More than 60 mg a day of zinc may be harmful. It can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, anaemia and nerve damage.

Amino acids are the basic building blocks of all protein. Protein deficiency owing to illness or malnutrition manifests itself with generalised swelling of the body and changes in the hair and nails. A few milligrams of amino acid in expensive capsules or a tonic will not help. A high protein diet needs to be eaten instead.

Iodine is provided in the “iodised salt” used for cooking. Supplements and tonics are sometimes fortified with additional iodine. This inadvertent intake can cause signs and symptoms of thyroid disease.

Pregnant women require folic acid supplements. Some expensive “women’s supplements” are marketed with additional vitamins, herbs and amino acids. This is not needed and may actually be dangerous.

Some special rejuvenating preparations for men contain sub optimal doses of herbs or precursors of androgenic steroids. The benefit is questionable.

Aware of this dangerous trend, government legislation has fixed the content of vitamin and mineral formulations. This has forced manufacturers to repackage vitamins as “dietary supplements” which are not under “price control” by adding trace elements, amino acids and minerals to the original formulation. The price is higher, but the proportions of the constituents are not scientific, nor are the advantages of the additives proved.

A sensible low fat diet supplemented with fresh fruits and vegetables (despite pollution and the use of fertilisers) supplies all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals needed. Supplements are required if the diet becomes inadequate as a result of premature birth, ageing, pregnancy, disease or food faddism.

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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