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Herbs & Plants

Canarium album(Chinese Olive)

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Botanical Name : Canarium album
Family: Burseraceae
Genus: Canarium
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Eudicotyledoneae
Subclass: Rosidae
Order: Sapindales

Common Name : Chinese Olive,White olive

Habitat : Canarium album is native to the subtropics of Asia.   It is different from European olive which is basically for oil.  In case of Chinese olive, it is the dried fruits and the nuts which are consumed.Chinese olive trees are planted in Vietnam, Japan, Malaysia, etc besides China.. The native habitat is in 22°N-26°N.  An annual average temperature of 20-22° C is needed, with a rainfall of 1200-1400 mm.  It is cold sensitive and does not withstand sub-zero temperature.

Description:
Canarium album is a midium sized tree of about 10-18 m high,trunk and branch with aromatic resin, odd-pinnate compound leaf,alternate; leaflet with petiolule, opposite, entire, papyraceous to coriaceous; slightly concave reticulate veins giving a special smell while twisted; floret unisexual or polygamous; staminate inflorescence thyrsoid, pistillate inflorescence racemose, inflorescences terminal or axillary, corolla white to yellowish white.

click to see the pictures.

Fruit an elliptic to ovate drupe; epicarp thick, yellowish green when mature; putament hard, two ends pointed, trachyspermous; seeds 1-2.

Flowering takes place in April to May.  The fruits mature from October to December.

The tree is planted in China along the highways, streets and in gardens.

Edible Uses:
The fresh fruit is crisp, first tastes a little bitter, and then tastes fragrant, sour, and sweet after chewed for a longer time.  It is used in stir-fry dishes and loved with chicken.  It is one of the two most common items used in the making of crack seed. It is also used in varieties of preserved fruits and beverages.

Food value: (on zero moisture basis)
Fruit = 6.1% protein, 6.1% fat, 81.8% total carbohydrates, 17.2% fiber, 6.1% ash, 91 mg calcium, 146 mg phosphorus, 10.6 mg iron, 237 mg sodium, 2,101 mg potassium, 1,667 ug beta-carotene equivalent, 0.10 mg thiamine, 0.567 mg riboflavin, 2.02 mg niacin, 101 mg vitamin C.

Dried fruits and seeds are also edible and are eaten in China.

Medicinal Uses:
In China, the fruit, nut, seed, and root have been used as medicines for a long time.

Traditional Chinese Medicines (TCM) regards that Chinese Olive fruit remove heat from the lung, relieve sore throats, promote the production of body fluid and detoxicating, and is used for swollen and sore throat, excessive thirst, hematemesis due to cough, lacillary dysentery, epilepsy, puffer poisoning, alcoholism, etc.

In Chinese medicine the raw fruit is an antidote for eating poisonous fish.  It is used for sore throat, toothache, inebriation, and diarrhea. The ripe fruit is edible and considered sedative.  It is used as a liver tonic and to eliminate apprehension.  The powdered seed has been used to treat earache, inflammation.   It is believed to also dissolve fish bones swallowed accidentally, while juice from the kernel is reputed to soften bones lodged in the throat.

Other Uses:
Wood is used for timber, ship building and for making furniture.

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.fruitipedia.com/chinese_olive%20-%20Canarium%20album.htm
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_UZ.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canarium

http://www.thaitable.com/thai/recipe/chinese-olive-fried-rice

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Herbs & Plants

Water Arum(Calla palustris)

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Botanical Name : Calla palustris
Family : Araceae
Subfamily: Calloideae
Genus :               Calla
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Alismatales
Species: C. palustris

Habitat :  Forest swamps, moorland marshes, by ponds and streams.
.Pond; Bog Garden;

Description:
It is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant growing in bogs and ponds. The leaves are rounded to heart-shaped, 6–12 cm long on a 10–20 cm petiole, and 4–12 cm broad. The greenish-yellow inflorescence is produced on a spadix about 4–6 cm long, enclosed in a white spathe. The fruit is a cluster of red berries, each berry containing several seeds.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
It is hardy to zone 4. It is in flower from June to July, and the seeds ripen from August to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Flies.
The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid soil. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires wet soil and can grow in water.

Cultivation details
Requires a wet lime-free humus rich soil by water or in shallow, still or slowly flowing water in full sun[200]. When grown on the pond margins it creeps in and out of the water[1]. Succeeds in water up to 25cm deep[188].

Propagation
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in late summer in a cold frame in pots standing in about 3cm of water[200]. Sow stored seed as early as possible in the year in a greenhouse. The germination rate of stored seed is often poor. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in trays of water in the greenhouse for at least their first winter, planting them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in spring[200]. Very easy, it is possible to divide this plant at almost any time in the growing season. Any part of the stem, if placed in water or a pot of very wet soil, will quickly root away to form a new plant. Stem cuttings in summer, rooted in wet mud.


Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Fruit; Root; Seed.

Rhizome – cooked. It is usually prepared by drying the root, grinding it into a powder and then thoroughly cooking it to ensure that any acrimonious principle is completely destroyed. The resulting powder is rich in starch and can be used as a flour for making bread etc, especially in conjunction with cereal flours[1, 2, 55, 100, 183]. It is said to be very tasty[65]. Fruit (does this include the seed?) – it should be dried and then thoroughly cooked[172]. The dried fruit and rootstalk can be ground into an unpalatable but nutritious powder[172]. The seed is dried, cooked and ground into a powder.

Medicinal Actions &  Uses
Antirheumatic; Poultice.

Antirheumatic. Used in the treatment of colds and flu. A tea made from the dried root has been used in the treatment of flu, shortness of breath, bleeding and as a poultice on swellings and snakebites. The aerial stems have been used in the treatment of sore legs.
Known Hazards:The plant is very poisonous when fresh due to its high oxalic acid content, but the rhizome, like that of Caladium, Colocasia and Arum, is edible after drying, grinding, leaching and boiling.

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?Calla+palustris
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calla
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Calla_palustris

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Herbs & Plants

Star Fruit (Kamranga in Bengali)

Belimbing alias StarfruitImage via Wi

Botanical Name: Averrhoa carambola
Family: Oxalidaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Oxalidales
Genus: Averrhoa
Species: A. carambola
Common Names:carambola,star ftuit,kamranga,Soh Pyrshong, Karambal, Karambola,  Kamarak, Carambola tree, Star fruit, Chinese gooseberry, Karamakha, Tamarak, Karmal, Karamakshi, Chaturpuli, Pulicchi, Kamare, Tamarattai, Karomonga.
Parts used: Leaves, flowers, seeds, fruit.
Habitat: The carambola is a species of tree native to Indonesia, India and Sri Lanka and is popular throughout Southeast Asia, Trinidad, Malaysia and parts of East Asia. It is also grown throughout the tropics. Carambola is commercially grown in the United States in south Florida and Hawaii, for its fruit, known as the starfruit. It is closely related to the bilimbi.

History: The star fruit originally came from Sri Lanka and the Moluccas. For the past several hundred years, it has been cultivated in Malaysia.

Description:The carambola is a slow-growing, short-trunked evergreen tree with a much-branched, bushy canopy that is broad and rounded. Mature trees seldom exceed 25-30 feet in height and 20-25 feet in spread. Trees are very unlikely to reach this size in California. In a spot to its liking carambolas make handsome ornamentals. Container grown plants are equally attractive and have the additional advantage of being movable.

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click to see the picture..

Fruits are ovate to ellipsoid, 6 to 13 cm in length, with 5 (rarely 4 or 6) prominent longitudinal ribs. Slices cut in cross-section are star shaped. The skin is thin, light to dark yellow and smooth with a waxy cuticle. The flesh is light yellow-to-yellow, translucent, crisp and very juicy without fiber. The fruit has a more or less oxalic acid odour and the flavour ranges from very sour to mildly sweet. Some times fruits contained more than 4% sugar.

Foliage:
The spirally arranged, alternate leaves are 6 – 10 inches long, with 5 – 11 nearly opposite, ovate-oblong leaflets that are 1-1/2 to 3-1/2 inches in length. They are soft, medium-green, and smooth on the upper surface, faintly hairy and whitish on the underside. The leaflets are sensitive to light and more or less inclined to to fold together at night or when the tree is shaken or abruptly shocked.

Flowers: The fragrant, pink to lavender flowers are 3/8 inch in diameter, perfect, and borne in clusters in axils of leaves on young branches, or on older branches without leaves. There are several flushes of bloom throughout the year.

Fruit: Carambola fruits are ovate to ellipsoid, 2-1/2 to 5 inches (6 to 13 cm) in length, with 5 (rarely 4 or 6) prominent longitudinal ribs. Slices cut in cross-section are star shaped. The skin is thin, light to dark yellow and smooth with a waxy cuticle. The flesh is light yellow to yellow, translucent, crisp and very juicy, without fiber. The fruit has a more or less oxalic acid odor and the flavor ranges from very sour to mildly sweet. The so-called sweet types rarely have more than 4% sugar. There may be up to 12 flat, thin brown seeds 1/4 – 1/2 inch long or none at all. Seeds lose viability in a few days after removal from fruit.

Nutritional Value: Edible fruit is a source of iron (low in calcium) and vitamins B and C, oxalate and potassium.

Medicinal Uses:Vermifuge, laxative, refrigerant, antiscorbutic, febrifuge, sialogogue, antiphlogistic, stimulant, emmenagogue, anodyne, emetic.
Like grapefruit, star fruit is considered to be a potent inhibitor of seven cytochrome P450 isoforms. These enzymes are significant in the first pass elimination of many medicines, and thus the consumption of star fruit or its juice in combination with certain medications can significantly increase their effective dosage within the body. Research into grapefruit juice has identified a number of common medications affected, including statins which are commonly used to treat cardiovascular illness, benzodiazepines (a tranquilizer family including diazepam) as well as other medicines.  These interactions can be fatal if an unfortunate confluence of genetic, pharmacological, and lifestyle factors results in, for instance, heart failure, as could occur from the co-ingestion of star fruit or star fruit juice with atorvastatin (Lipitor)

In India, the ripe fruit is administered to halt hemorrhages and to relieve bleeding hemorrhoids. The dried fruit or the juice may be taken to counteract fevers.
A conserve of the fruit is said to allay biliousness and diarrhea and to relieve a “hangover” from excessive indulgence in alcohol. A salve made of the fruit is employed to relieve eye afflictions.
In Brazil, the carambola is recommended as a diuretic in kidney and bladder complaints, and is believed to have a beneficial effect in the treatment of eczema.
In Chinese Materia Medica it is stated: “Its action is to quench thirst, to increase the salivary secretion, and hence to allay fever.”
A decoction of combined fruit and leaves is drunk to overcome vomiting. Leaves are bound on the temples to soothe headache. Crushed leaves and shoots are poulticed on the eruptions of chicken-pox, also on ringworm.
The flowers are given as a vermifuge. In southeast Asia, the flowers are rubbed on the dermatitis caused by lacquer derived from Rhus verniciflua Stokes.
Burkill says that a preparation of the inner bark, with sandalwood and Alyxia sp., is applied on prickly heat. The roots, with sugar, are considered an antidote for poison. Hydrocyanic acid has been detected in the leaves, stems and roots.
A decoction of the crushed seeds acts as a galactagogue and ernmenagogue and is mildly intoxicating. The powdered seeds serve as a sedative in cases of asthma and colic.
(Morton, J. 1987. Fruits of warm climates.)

Tea of boiled leaves used for aphthous stomatitis.
Crushed shoots or leaves used externally for headaches and ringworm.
Boiled flowers used to expel worms: 50 gms to a pint of boiling water; drunk in normal doses.
Fruit is laxative.
Decoction of fruit, 50 gms to a pint of boiling water, 4-5 glasses a day for bleeding piles.
Juice of fresh fruit for affections of the eyes.
Seed is used for asthma and colic: Powdered seeds, 10 gms to a cup of warm water, drunk 4 times daily.

You may click to see:-> Star Fruit and Gout

Precaution:Individuals with kidney trouble should avoid consuming the fruit, because of the presence of oxalic acid. Juice made from carambola can be even more dangerous owing to its concentration of the acid. It can cause hiccups, vomiting, nausea, and mental confusion. Fatal outcomes after ingestion of star fruits have been described in uraemic patients.

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/Carambola
http://www.crfg.org/pubs/ff/carambola.html
http://www.stuartxchange.com/Balimbing.html
http://www.ntbg.org/plants/plant_details.php?plantid=1377

http://gbpihed.gov.in/envis/HTML/vol13_1/nrai.htm

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News on Health & Science

Neutritional Value of Fresh Fruit Vs Cut and Dried Fruit

There are pluses and minuses,” said Christina Stark, a nutritionist at Cornell University. “The main difference is that taking out the water concentrates botnutrients and calories.”

This could be an advantage if you are hiking and want more calories that are easy to store and carry, she said. It could be a disadvantage if you are trying to lose weight.

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The heat used in drying fruit also decreases the amount of some of the heat-sensitive nutrients, like vitamin C.

As for how much to eat, she said, the general recommendation is two cups of fresh fruit a day, the more variety the better. A half cup of dried fruit counts as a cup of fresh.

Percentages of water, calories and amounts of vitamins and minerals vary by type of fruit.

For example, for apricots, a cup of fresh halves is 86 percent water, with 74 calories, and a half cup of dried fruit is 76 percent water, with 212 calories. Fresh apricots have 3.1 grams of fiber versus 6.5 for dried; 0.6 milligrams of iron versus 2.35 milligrams; 15.5 milligrams of vitamin C versus 0.8 milligrams; and 149 retinol activity equivalents of vitamin A versus 160.

A cup of fresh Thompson seedless grapes is 80 percent water, with 104 calories, and a half cup of raisins is 15 percent water, with 434 calories. The grapes have 1.4 grams of fiber, versus 5.4 grams for the raisins; 0.54 milligrams of iron versus 2.73 milligrams; 288 milligrams of potassium versus 1,086 milligrams; and 16.3 milligrams of vitamin C versus 3.3 milligrams.

Sources: The New York Times

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Healthy Tips

Healthy Habits

Whole grain

Image via Wikipedia

Have the whole thing.
Instead of eating processed white bread, white pasta, or white rice, opt for whole-wheat or whole-grain bread, whole-wheat pasta, and brown rice. “Whole” products are not only high in fiber, but they also keep you feeling full.

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Keep it skinny.

When eating fruits and vegetables, keep the skin intact. The skin of fruits and vegetables contains extra fiber, so keep it on and eat it up to gain the most nutritional benefit. To get even more nutrients from your favorite fruits and veggies, eat them raw. Cooking fruits and vegetables sacrifices some of their fiber and nutrient content, so savor them in their crunchy, au natural form….CLICK & SEE

Boost your breakfast and your fiber.
Start every morning with a healthy serving of fiber to fill you up and energize you for the day. Stock your cabinet with high-fiber breakfast options such as bran cereal and steel-cut oatmeal. Add even more fiber to these healthy diet choices by topping them with fiber-rich fruit. Add fresh blueberries, raspberries, or sliced bananas to your cold cereal. When you don’t have fresh fruit on hand, don’t panic—you can add frozen fruit to oatmeal just before cooking it.

Bring on the beans.
Dry beans and lentils are great sources of soluble fiber to add to your diet. They are protein-packed and delicious, and they can be selected as a meat replacement. Spice up your favorite foods by adding black, garbanzo, kidney, or navy beans..CLICK & SEE

Color your menu.
Ensure that your family is getting a full spectrum of nutrients in their daily diet by including a variety of colors in each meal. Because many nutrients are also pigments, adding colorful fruits and vegetables to entrees means you’re also increasing your intake of powerful, disease-fighting antioxidants…..CLICK & SEE


Snack smart.
Keep high-fiber, nutritious snacks handy at all times. Choose whole-grain pretzels, low-fat air-popped popcorn, or raw nuts when you are craving something salty. Wash pieces of fruit each day so they will be easy to grab when your sweet tooth beckons. Wash and cut carrots, peppers, and raw sweet potatoes for a crunchy, guilt-free snack. For the ultimate high-fiber snack, make a customized fiber-filled trail mix using raw nuts, flavorful seeds, dried fruit, and a few extra ingredients of your own..….CLICK & SEE

Request a healthy option.
When you’re dining out, ask if you can substitute vegetables or fruit for the fries or chips that normally accompany your meal. At some restaurants, you can even ask to replace the croutons on your salad with high-fiber raw nuts or dried fruit. Don’t be afraid to ask for a healthy option—after all, the customer is always right!………..CLICK & SEE

Supplement with Fiber.
To ensure you are reaching all of your fiber goals, supplement with Good Fiber. You may sprincle onto the foods you are already eating, or eat Wafers with fiber for a sweet, fiber-filled snack on the run

Increase your H2O.
As you increase your fiber intake, don’t forget to drink more water, too. Like fiber, water is an important regulator of the digestive system. Wash your fiber down with a refreshing glass of water, and you’ll be well on your way to digestive health….CLICK & SEE

Sources:Los Angle Times