Herbs & Plants

Summer Cypress (Bassia scoparia)

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Botanical Name :Bassia scoparia
Family : Chenopodiaceae
Genus :             Bassia
Synonyms: Chenopodium scoparia – L.,  Kochia scoparia – (L.)Schrad., Kochia trichophila – Stapf.kochia, mock cypress, mirabel, burningbush
Other Names : Mexican fireweed,Caryophyllales > Chenopodiaceae

Habitat : Europe to Western N. America.  Roadsides, ditches and wasteland in western N. America.

Mexican fireweed is an annual weed that grows to 4 ft. (1.2 m) tall. Leaves are gray-green, alternate, entire, 0.25 – 2.5 in. (5-60 mm) long, up to 0.5 in. (10 mm) wide and usually covered with small hairs. The upper leaves are sometimes glabrous. Flowering occurs in July to October. Flowers are apetaloid, sessile, inconspicuous and occur along spikes. The fruits are utricles that contain one flattened, 0.1 in. (2 mm) wide seed. Mexican fireweed is a native of Eurasia and occurs along roadsides, fields, and other disturbed places. In the winter, when the plants senesce, the plant breaks off at the base and tumbles in the wind, effectively spreading its seeds.

click to see the pictures

It is hardy to zone 6 and is frost tender. It is in flower in September, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are pollinated by Wind.

The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

Cultivation :-
An easily grown plant, it succeeds in ordinary garden soil[1]. Succeeds in any reasonably fertile light well-drained but moisture retentive soil in a sunny position. A frost tender plant, it is grown as a spring-sown annual in Britain. This species is cultivated in Korea for its use as a broom. The subspecies B. scoparia trichophylla. (Schmeiss.)Schinz.&Thell. is the form most often found in cultivation in Britain.

Seed – sow spring in a greenhouse and plant out in May. The seed can also be sown in situ in late April or early May.

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Leaves; Seed.

Young leaves – cooked. A delicious taste, they are used as a vegetable. A nutritional analysis is available[218]. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. Seed – dried and ground into a powder then mixed with cereals when making bread, biscuits etc. Very small and fiddly to use, it is also not a very reliable crop in Britain due to its late season of flowering[K]. On a zero moisture basis, the seed contains 20.4 – 27.5% protein, 8.8 – 16% fat and 3.4 – 9.4% ash.

Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.

Leaves (Dry weight)
0 Calories per 100g
Water: 0%
Protein: 21.5g; Fat: 2.4g; Carbohydrate: 56.8g; Fibre: 19.7g; Ash: 19.2g;
Minerals – Calcium: 0mg; Phosphorus: 0mg; Iron: 0mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 0mg; Zinc: 0mg;
Vitamins – A: 0mg; Thiamine (B1): 0mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0mg; Niacin: 0mg; B6: 0mg; C: 0mg;
Seed (Dry weight)
0 Calories per 100g
Water: 0%
Protein: 24g; Fat: 12.4g; Carbohydrate: 0g; Fibre: 0g; Ash: 6.4g;
Minerals – Calcium: 0mg; Phosphorus: 0mg; Iron: 0mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 0mg; Zinc: 0mg;
Vitamins – A: 0mg; Thiamine (B1): 0mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0mg; Niacin: 0mg; B6: 0mg; C: 0mg;
Notes: The values here are based on the median figures of those quoted in the report.

Medicinal Actions & Uses
Antibacterial; Antifungal; Antiphlogistic; Astringent; Cardiotonic; Diuretic; Skin.

Antibacterial, antifungal. The leaves and fruits are cardiotonic and diuretic. The stems are used in the treatment of dysentery, diarrhoea and dyspepsia The seed is antiphlogistic, astringent and diuretic. It is used to treat skin infections such as eczema ad scabies, and diseases of the urinary tract. The seed contains harmine, which can have adverse effects upon the gastro-intestinal tract and the central nervous system.

Other Uses
The whole plant is used as a broom. The green form is used.

Known Hazards
:  Plants contain some saponins and should not be eaten in large quantities. Saponins are a toxin found in many of our daily foods such as many beans. They are usually present in quantities too small to be concerned about and are also very poorly absorbed by the body, tending to pass straight through without causing any problems. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish.

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.


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Herbs & Plants

Boerhavia diffusa

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Botanical Name : Boerhavia diffusa
Family: Nyctaginaceae
Genus: Boerhavia
Species: B. diffusa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Synonyms : B. coccinea. B. repens. L.
English Name / Common Name: Spreading Hogweed / Boerhavia
Sanskrit / Indian Name: Punarna
Other Common Names:Punarnava , Boerhavia Diffusa, Hirsuta , Erva Tostao , Red Hogweed , Hog Weed , Pig Weed, Tar Vine, Red spiderling
Part Used :Root, Seed,whole plant
Properties :Anti- Inflammatory, Panduhar(Checks Anemia), Cardiac-tonic,Analgesic
Habitat:This weed grows throughout India, Bangla Desh, Burma,Sri Lanka and in many tropical countries  of the world like Australia – New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria.   It grows in a pioneer of bare areas, usually found on dry sandy soils.

Description:Boerhavia diffusa is a perennial creaping  plant. It grows  to 0.1 m (0ft 4in) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in). It has a large root system and produces yellow and white flowers. It is in flower from Jun to September, and the seeds ripen from Jun to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs). CLICK & SEE

You may click to see the pictures of Red Hogweed

Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

It is hardy to at least -7°c in Australian gardens but this cannot be translated directly to the British climate because our summers are cooler and our winters longer, colder and wetter. If the plant is capable of surviving our winters it is likely to need a sheltered very sunny position in a well-drained soil. Most if not all members of this genus have the same edible uses.

Seed -..sowing the seed in a greenhouse in the spring. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings

Medicinal Uses:Bitter, stomachic, laxative, diuretic, expectorant, rejuvenative, diaphoretic, emetic Root-purgative, anthelmintic, febrifuge; White-laxative, diaphoretic;

The extract of Punarnava has diuretic properties. It helps to maintain effective kidney function. Punarnava helps maintain efficient kidney function, with its diuretic, anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory action. It is a very useful herb in treating edema.

Punarnava Root Powder (Boerhaavia Diffusa) is known in Ayurveda for its diuretic action. This herb is also used to cleanse the liver, and for a variety of heart conditions.

PUNARNWA (Boerhavia diffusa) the active principle punarnavine is responsible for its laxative and diuretic properties. Presence of large amount of potassium salts reinforces its action.

The roots of this herb contain rotenoids AI, BI, C2 , D, E ,and F, dihydroisofurenoxanthin, borhavine and an antifibrinolytic agent, punarnavoside. Punarnava is a powerful Rasayana (longevity enhancer). It has diuretic and Ca2++ channel blocking activity. By clearing the excess of avalambhaka and kledhaka kapha from the chest and stomach, Punarnava opens the channels – especially for rasa and rakta, the circulatory fluids, to flow unimpeded.

» In Oedema – Paste of punamava, sunthi and Mustak should be taken in a dose of 1Ogm with milk.
» Used in Acute hapatic disorders & Ascites due to chronic peritonitis.
» In Jaundice – Punarnava is very effective.
» In Heart diseases – It should be taken with kutki, Chirayata & Sunthi.
» In Conjuctivitis – Freshroot powder of punarnava mixed with honey should be used as eye application.
» As Rasayana – One who takes pastes of fresh punamava 20mg with milk.

Remedies For: Punarnava in India where it has a long history of use by indigenous and tribal people, and in Aruyvedic or natural/herbal medicine in India. There, the roots are employed for many purposes including liver, gallbladder, kidney, renal and urinary disorders.

Red-vermifuge. Abdomen, Abdominal Pain, Anemia, Anthelmintic, Anti-inflammatory, Ascites, Asthma, Blood Purifier, Calculi, Cancer(abdominal), Cataract, Childbirth, Cholera, Cough, Debility, Diuretic, Dropsy, Dyspepsia, Edema, Emetic, Expectorant, Eye, Fever, Food, Gonorrhea, Guinea Worms, Heart Disease, Heart Ailments, Hemorrhages(childbirth) Hemorrhages(thoracic) Hemorrhoids, Hepatoprotective, Inflammation(internal), Jaundice, Lactagogue, Liver, Menstrual, Ophthalmic, Renal, Rheumatism, Spleen(enlarged), Weakness.

Ayurvedic Applications:

White-edema, anemia, heart disease, cough, intestinal colic, kidney disorders; same uses as red.

Red-nervous system, heart disease, hemorrhoids, skin diseases, kidney stones, edema, rat and snake bites; chronic alcoholism, wasting diseases, insomnia, rheumatism, eye diseases, asthma (moderate doses), induces vomiting in large doses, jaundice, ascites due to early liver and peritoneal concerns; urethritis.

Leaf juice with honey, dropped into the eyes for chronic ophthalmia.

No side effects have been noted so far.

According to Ayurveda, herbs are taken in combination with other herbs to neutralize the toxicity of one herb with the opposing effect of the other or to enhance the particular effect of one herb with the help of other.

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


Herbs & Plants

Wolf’s bane (Indian aconite)

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Botanical Name: Aconitum ferox Wall
Family: Ranunculaceae
Genus: Aconitum
Species:A. ferox
Order: Ranunculales

Syn: Aconitum virosum Don., A. napellus var. rigidum Hook, f & T.

English names: Wolf’s bane, Indian aconite.

Sanskrit names: Vatsanabha, Visa.

Vernacular names: Hin: Bish, Mahoor; Guj and Mar: Vachang; Kas: Mohra; Tam: Vasnumbi; Tel: Vasnabhi.

Trade name: Bish.

Habitat : Wolf’s bane  is  abundant at Sandakphu, which is the highest point of the Darjeeling Hills in the Indian State of West Bengal.
Alpine Himalaya including Nepal; endemic.


Wolf’s bane is  a deciduous perennial plant  . It is an erect herb growing up to 2 m in height; roots look like the navel of children; leaves alternate, simple, rounded or oval, may be palmately 5-lobed; flowers borne on branched racemes, bracts and bracteoles present, large helmet-type, helmet vaulted with short sharp beak, pale dirty blue in colour, zygomorphic, floral parts arranged spirally on an elongated receptacle; follicles erect, usually densely villose-sometimes glabrous.

Phenology: Flowering and Fruiting: July-November.
Ecology and cultivation: Temperate to alpine regions of the Himalaya in the altitude of 3300-5000 m…..CLICK & SEE

Thrives in most soils and in the light shade of trees[1]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers a moist soil in sun or semi-shade. Prefers a calcareous soil. Grows well in open woodlands. If the flower stems are removed after flowering the plant will normally flower again later in the season. Members of this genus seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits and deer. A greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby species, especially legumes. A polymorphic species. The nomenclature is very confused for this species, A. lycoctonum. L. is treated as A. septentrionale by many botanists whilst A. lycoctonum. Auct. is A. vulparia.

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. The seed can be stratified and sown in spring but will then be slow to germinate. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer. Division – best done in spring but it can also be done in autumn. Another report says that division is best carried out in the autumn or late winter because the plants come into growth very early in the year

Chemical contents: Root: pseudoaconitine (a toxic alkaloid), indactonitine, chasmaconitine, bikhaconitine.
Medicinal Actions &  Uses:

Alterative; Anaesthetic; Antiarthritic; Antitussive; Deobstruent; Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Sedative; Stimulant.

The root is alterative, anaesthetic, antiarthritic, antitussive, deobstruent, diaphoretic, diuretic, sedative and stimulant. This is a very poisonous plant and should only be used with extreme caution and under the supervision of a qualified practitioner

Traditional use: AYURVEDA : Root: used in the mrityunjaya rasa (used to treat the fever supposed to be caused by deranged vayu, i.e., wind, sannipatika jvara, i.e., remittent fever, hingulesware-rasa, anandabhairav agnitundi vati, etc.

Vatsanabha has been used in medicine from a very remote period. It is regarded as healing and stimulant. It is used in a great variety of affections, but is specially recommended in fever, cephalagia, affections of throat, dyspepsia and rheumatism. HOMOEOPATHY: remedy for clotting of blood in heart or in lungs, pneumonia, Iymptisis, pleurisy, eye trouble, earache, toothache and urinary trouble.

Modern use: Extremely poisonous; used in leprosy, fever, cholera, nasal catarrah, tonsillitis, sore throat, gastric disorders, debility, etc., also used as a sedative and diaphoretic; applied in the form of paste in cases of neuralgia and rheumatism.

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Adulterants: Indian aconite root is known as ‘bikh’ or ‘bish’, the name which is applied to aconite from more than one species, and different authors have ascribed it to different species.

Remarks: Vulnerable due to excessive collection for medicinal uses. Collection in wild state should be banned and measures for cultivation should be initiated.

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


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