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Equisetum palustre

Botanical Name : Equisetum palustre
Family: Equisetaceae
Genus: Equisetum
Species: E. palustre
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pteridophyta
Class: Equisetopsida
Order: Equisetales

Common Names ; Marsh horsetail or the Humpback

Habitat : Equisetum palustre is native to temperate regions of Europe, including Britain, N. America and Asia. It is widespread in cooler regions of North America and Eurasia. It grows on bogs, fens, marshes and wet heaths, woods and meadows throughout Britain, ascending to 900 metres.

Description:
Equisetum palustre is a perennial cryptophyte, growing between 10 to 50 centimeters (4″ to 20″), in rare cases up to one meter (3′). Its fertile shoots, which carry ears, are evergreen and shaped like the sterile shoots. The rough, furrowed stem is one to three mm in diameter with usually eight to ten ribs, in rare cases, four to 12. It contains whorled branches. The tight-fitting sheaths end in four to 12 teeth. The lower sheaths are dark brown and much shorter than the sheaths of the main shoot. The central and vallecular canals are about the same size, but the carinal channels are much smaller. The central channels measure about one sixth of the diameter of the stem.

Equisetum palustre is green from spring to autumn and grows spores from June to September. It grows primarily in nutrient-rich wet meadows.

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The spores are spread by the wind (anemochory) and have four long ribbon-like structures attached to them. They sit on strobili which are rounded on the top. Marsh Horsetails often form subterranean runners and tubers, with which they also can proliferate vegetatively.

Cultivation:
We have no information on the needs of this species but, judging by the plant’s native habitat, it is likely to require a moist to wet soil in a sunny position. A very cold-hardy species tolerating temperatures down to about -30°c. Plants have a deep and penetrating root system and can be invasive. If grown in the garden they are best kept in bounds by planting them in a large container which can be sunk into the ground.

Propagation:
Spores – best collected as soon as they are ripe in the spring and surface-sown immediately on a sterile compost. Keep moist and pot up as soon as the plants are large enough to handle. Very difficult. Division. The plants usually spread very freely when well sited and should not really need any assistance.

Medicinl Uses:
Horsetails have an unusual chemistry compared to most other plants. They are rich in silica, contain several alkaloids (including nicotine) and various minerals. Horsetail is very astringent and makes an excellent clotting agent, staunching wounds, stopping nosebleeds and reducing the coughing up of blood. It helps speed the repair of damaged connective tissue, improving its strength and elasticity. An infusion or decoction of the plants has been used in the treatment of constipation, stomach and bowel complaints.

Known Hazards: Large quantities of the plant can be toxic. This is because it contains the enzyme thiaminase, a substance that can rob the body of the vitamin B complex. In small quantities this enzyme will do no harm to people eating an adequate diet that is rich in vitamin B, though large quantities can cause severe health problems. The enzyme is destroyed by heat or thorough drying, so cooking the plant will remove the thiaminase. The plant also contains equisetic acid – see the notes on medicinal uses for more information.

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/Equisetum_palustre
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Equisetum+palustre

Drimys winteri

Botanical Name: Drimys winteri
Family: Winteraceae
Genus: Drimys
Species: D. winteri
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Canellales

Synonyms: True Winter’s Bark. Winter’s Cinnamon. Wintera aromatica. Wintera. Drimys aromatica. Murray. non (R.Br.)Muell. Wintera aromatica. Murray. non (R.Br.)Muell.

Common Names: Winter’s Bark, Canelo

Habitat: Drimys winteri is native to the Magellanic and Valdivian temperate rain forests of Chile and Argentina, where it is a dominant tree in the coastal evergreen forests. Boggy sites by streams etc in rich soils. It is found below 1,200 m (3,937 ft) between latitude 32° south and Cape Horn at latitude 56°. In its southernmost natural range it can tolerate temperatures down to ?20 °C (?4 °F).

Description:
Drimys winteri is an evergreen Shrub growing to 7.5 m (24ft) by 6 m (19ft) at a medium rate. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Jan to June. The leaves are lanceolate, glossy green above, whitish below and can measure up to 20 cm (8 in). The flowers  are white with a yellow center, and comprise a great number of petals and stamens. The fruit is a bluish berry. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)

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The bark is green and wrinkled, that of the branches smooth and green, erect and scarred, leaves alternate, oblong, obtuse, with a midrib veinless, glabrous and finely dotted underside. Flowers small on terminal peduncles, approximately one-flowered, simple. Fruits up to six obovate, baccate, and many seeded. The bark is the official part and is found in small carved pieces 1/4 inch thick, dull yellow grey externally. Both Canella and Cinnamodendron are found in its transverse section, exhibiting radiating white lines at the end of the last rays, diverging towards the circumference; odour aromatic with a warm pungent taste.
Cultivation:
Requires a light lime-free soil in semi-shade. Tolerates chalk in the soil. Requires a deep moist soil. Dislikes dry conditions. Prefers a warm sandy loam with some shelter. Fairly wind resistant. Another report says that the plant resents severe wind-chill. Succeeds against a wall at Kew and it thrives in an open position in S.W. England. Tolerates temperatures down to about -10°c. This species is less hardy than D. lanceolata but it usually recovers from damage. Another report says that it is hardier than D. lanceolata. A very ornamental plant. The sub-species D. winteri andina. Reiche. is a slow growing dwarf form seldom exceeding 1 metre in height. It usually commences flowering when about 30cm tall. A polymorphic species. The flowers have a delicate fragrance of jasmine, whilst the bark has a powerful aromatic smell. This plant was a symbol of peace to the indigenous Indian tribes of S. America in much the same way as an olive branch was used in Greece. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus.
Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a greenhouse. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow on the plants for at least their first winter in a cold frame. Plant them out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Layering in March/April. Takes 12 months. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 10 – 15 cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Approximately 60% take. Cuttings of mature wood of the current year’s growth with a heel of older wood, November in a cold frame

Edible Uses : The aromatic pungent bark is powdered and used as a pepper substitute in Brazil, Chile and Argentina. It is rich in vitamin C.

Part Used: The Bark.

Constituents: An inodorous acrid resin, pale yellow volatile oil, tannic acid, oxide of iron, colouring matter and various salts.

Medicinal Uses:

Antidandruff; Antiscorbutic; Aromatic; Febrifuge; Parasiticide; Skin; Stimulant; Stomachic.

The bark is a pungent bitter tonic herb that relieves indigestion. It is antiscorbutic, aromatic, febrifuge, skin, stimulant and stomachic. An infusion of the bark is used in the treatment of indigestion, colic, dandruff and scurvy. It is also used as a parasiticide. The bark is harvested in the autumn and winter and is dried for later use.

Other Uses:
Essential; Parasiticide; Wood.

Canelo wood is reddish in color and heavy, with a very beautiful grain. It is used for furniture and music instruments. The wood is not durable outdoors because continuous rainfalls damage it. The wood is not good for making bonfires because it gives off a spicy smoke.The powerfully aromatic bark contains resinous matter and 0.64% of aromatic essential oil.

The bark is gray, thick and soft and is used as a pepper replacement in Argentina and Chile. The peppery compound in canelo is polygodial.

Known Hazards  : The sap of this plant can cause serious inflammation if it comes into contact with the eyes

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/Drimys_winteri
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/w/winbar25.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Drimys+winteri

Sium latifolium

Botanical Name: Sium latifolium
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Sium
Species: S. latifolium
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales

Synonym: Water Hemlock

Common Names: Great water-parsnip, Greater water-parsnip and Wideleaf waterparsnip

Habitat : Sium latifolium occurs in most of Europe, including Britain, excluding the northwest, Portugal, Greece and Turkey. It grows in fens and other wet places, often in water, avoiding acid conditions.

Description:
Sium latifolium is a perennial herb, growing to 2 m (6ft 7in). . It is in flower from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Beetles, flies, bees.The plant is self-fertile. The long creeping root-stock of this and the somewhat smaller, closely allied species S. angustifolium is poisonous, but pigs and oxen eat the stem and leaves without harm. However, cows in milk should not be allowed to eat it, as it communicates a disagreeable taste to the milk……..CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

It is easily recognized by it’s pinnate leaves, the leaf-stalks carrying about six to eight pairs of ovate, toothed leaflets. The umbels of white flowers are flat and have a general involucre composed of broadish or lance-shaped bracts, and there is also an in volucel. The fruit bears slender ribs. Theerect, furrowed stems are from 3 to 6 feet high.

Cultivation: Prefers a light, rich, moisture retentive soil in full sun[200]. A plant of wet ground and shallow water, it grows best in about 20cm of water.

Propagation: Seed – sow late winter to early spring in a cold frame. The seed can be slow to germinate[200]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer if they are large enough. Otherwise, grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter and plant them out in the following spring. Division in early spring just before new growth begins. Use the side roots. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found it best to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in a cold frame, planting them out once they are well established in the summer
Edible Uses: …..Leaves are cooked and eaten.

Medicinal Uses: Not yet found any.

Other Uses: An essential oil is obtained from the seed.

Known Hazards: The entire plant, and especially the root, is poisonous. Firm proof of this is not available.

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.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sium_latifolium
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Sium+latifolium
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/p/parwat13.html

Redshank

Botanical Name :Adenostoma sparsifolium
Family : Rosaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Rosales
Genus: Adenostoma
Species: A. sparsifolium

Common Name: Red shank, Ribbon bush,Ribbonwood

Habitat: South-western N. AmericaSouthern California.  Grows in chapparal at elevations of 300 – 2500 metres[

Description:
Adenostoma sparsifolium is an evergreen Shrub growing to 6m.It is a multi-trunked tree or shrub native to dry slopes or chaparral of Southern California and northern Baja California. Shaggy falling shanks or ribbons of bark are one of the strongest characteristics of the tree, hence the common names. Redshanks are closely related to the more abundant Chamise (Adenostoma fasciculatum).

You may click to see the picturs..

It is an annual to tree.
Leaves simple to pinnately to palmately compound, generally alternate; stipules free to fused, persistent to deciduous
Inflorescence: cyme, raceme, panicle, or flowers solitary.

Red shanks grows from the San Luis Obispo/Santa Barbara County line south in chaparral, down through the L.A. basin in coastal sage scrub and up on the edge of the pine forests in many areas like Mountain Center and Wheeler Springs.. It looks something like a tamarisk in fruit and flower. In the upper Malibu area the frequent fires and post-fire seeding of grasses have destroyed most of the plants. Red Shanks makes the area look like something from a James Bond movie shot in Africa or Captain Kirk on an alien planet, or Korea if you watch a MASH rerun. If pruned a little and opened up it makes a very dramatic small tree. Weird that it is not as wide ranging as it’s cousin Chamise, but it is as easy to grow and very tolerant of most garden conditions.

Flower generally bisexual, radial; hypanthium free or fused to ovary, saucer- to funnel-shaped, often with bractlets alternate with sepals; sepals generally 5; petals generally 5, free; stamens (0)5–many, pistils (0)1–many, simple or compound; ovary superior to inferior, styles 1–5
Fruit: achene, follicle, drupe, pome, or blackberry- to raspberry-like
Seeds generally 1–5

It is hardy to zone 8. It is in leaf all year, in flower from May to June. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, requires well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Cultivation :-
Requires a sheltered sunny position in a well-drained soil and protection from cold winds. Plants are not very hardy in Britain and do not withstand exposure to prolonged winter frosts though they succeed outdoors in the milder areas of the country. In colder areas they are best grown against a south or south-west facing wall. The leaves are resinous and catch fire easily. They have a pleasant aroma.

Propagation:-
Seed – we have no information for this species but suggest sowing the seed in a greenhouse in early spring. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow the plants on for at least their first winter in a greenhouse or cold frame, planting them out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings could be tried in August of half-ripe wood, preferably with a heel, in a frame. Layering.

Medicinal Uses:
The plant is cathartic. The plant has been used externally in the treatment of arthritis. An infusion of the leaves has been used in the treatment of colds and chest complaints, and also as a mouth wash to treat toothaches. An infusion of the dried leaves, or the branches, has been used in the treatment of stomach ailments, inducing either bowel movements or vomiting. The crushed twigs have been mixed with oil and used as a salve.

Other Uses
The bark is fibrous and has been stripped off the plants to make women’s skirts. The wood has been used to make fencing posts and as construction material. The wood burns well, giving a high intensity heat.

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://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Adenostoma+sparsifolium
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ADSP&photoID=adsp_004_ahp.jpg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adenostoma_sparsifolium
http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/get_JM_treatment.pl?6677,6681,6683
http://www.laspilitas.com/nature-of-california/plants/adenostoma-sparsifolium

 

How Much Exercise Do Children Need?

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YOU’RE a parent and you want to do your best to be sure your children are healthy. So you worry about physical activity. How much exercise is enough? Will being active protect them against diabetes, cancer or heart disease later in life? Will it prevent them from getting fat?

You search for information, for official guidelines on physical activity. And, you soon discover, there is plenty of advice — at least 27 sets of official guidelines, notes Harold W. Kohl, an epidemiologist at the University of Texas School of Public Health in Austin who formerly worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But the problem in making recommendations is a lack of good data.

We can’t “clarify the dose of physical activity and exercise that’s good for kids” as precisely as we think we can, Dr. Kohl said.

It’s not that experts haven’t tried.

For example, a few years ago the C.D.C. convened a panel of experts to review published papers and make the best recommendations. The panel’s co-chairman, Robert M. Malina, a professor emeritus of kinesiology and health education at the University of Texas at Austin, noted that the group reviewed 850 published papers on the benefits of regular exercise for school-age children and adolescents.

In 2004, the panel concluded by recommending that children and adolescents get 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. Why 60 minutes and not 30 or 45? It was, Dr. Malina said, “a gut reaction” to the body of evidence.

Now, the Department of Health and Human Services is preparing a new set of guidelines, but most of the same questions remain, Dr. Kohl said. And even though he, Dr. Malina and most other exercise researchers enthusiastically endorse physical activity for everyone, they caution that some of its reputed benefits may be oversold.

In reviewing published papers, the C.D.C. and Human Services panels asked: How good are the data? They learned that, with a few exceptions, for every purported benefit, the evidence was often marginal or equivocal. And, Dr. Malina said, even in situations in which exercise has demonstrable effects, there are marked differences among individuals: some children will get more benefit than others and some will not get any at all.

The undisputed benefits of exercise, the panels said, are that it can lead to stronger muscles, greater endurance, and bones that are denser and have greater mineral content. In addition, when obese children exercise regularly, their body fat, blood lipids and blood pressure may fall. Exercise, though, has not been found to have those effects on healthy children of normal weight.

Even there, though, uncertainties remain, Dr. Kohl said. “Kids aren’t little adults, and they don’t do things for 30 minutes straight through,” he said. “You can put kids on treadmills and train them and that can somewhat help obese kids reduce their adiposity levels, but when you get out in the real world it’s not that easy.”

The panels asked whether exercise alleviates symptoms of anxiety or depression or whether it improves self-image. The studies were not large enough to draw conclusions, they said.

Another issue is academics. Do physically active and physically fit children do better in school? Do they have qualities, like an improved ability to pay attention, that might predict better academic performance?

The answer, Dr. Kohl said, is not known. “The only good data we have indicate that participation in a better physical education program does not negatively affect test scores,” he adds.

Parents sometimes are advised to get children involved in activities that they can do throughout a lifetime — walking, cycling or swimming. But, Dr. Malina said, there is no good evidence that the sport someone does as a child will affect activity as an adult.

“The evidence that tracks youngsters to adulthood is very relatively meager,” Dr. Malina said. And, he added, it is not clear how and why people change activities during their lives.

“I played all sorts of sports growing up,” he said. By the time he started college, he adds, “baseball was my sport.” Now, said Dr. Malina, who is 71, “in my old age, my activity is walking.”

Still, exercise researchers do have some advice for parents: Let the children decide what physical activity they want to do.

“The single best activity you can do is the one you will do,” said Charles B. Corbin, a professor emeritus in the department of exercise and wellness at Arizona State University and the author of more than 80 books on fitness.

And the mistake parents often make, Dr. Malina said, is to decide in advance which sports their children should pursue.

“All too often, youngsters do not have a choice in the decision-making process,” he explained. And, he said, no matter how much parents may want their children to be physically active, “if it is not fun, the child will not do it.”

Sources: The New York Times

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