Tag Archives: East Africa

Gypsophila struthium

 

Botanical Name: Gypsophila struthium
Family: Caryophyllaceae
Genus: Gypsophila
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Common Name: Egyptian  Soapwort,  Baby’s-breath

Habitat : Gypsophila struthium is native to Eurasia, Africa, Australia, and the Pacific Islands.

Description:, 
Gypsophila struthium is a perennial herbaceous plant with a stem 1 to 2 feet in height.The leaves are variable in shape. The inflorescence is usually a cyme or a thyrse, branching intricately. Each small flower has a cup-like calyx of white-edged green sepals containing five petals in shades of white or pink. The fruit is a rounded or oval capsule opening at valves. It contains several brown or black seeds which are often shaped like a kidney or a snail shell.

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The root is generally in lengths of 4 to 6 inches, 1/2 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter; colour a yellowish white, furrowed down its length externally with lighter places where the cortex has been rubbed. The section is of a radiate and concentric structure. Taste bitter, then acrid; odour slight; powder irritating to the nostrils. This variety is rarely used medicinally, the Soapwort (Saponaria officinalis) being used as a substitute. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)
Cultivation :
Requires a sunny position and a deep soil. Lime tolerant. Grows well in a dryish soil.
Propagation :
Seed – we have no information for this species but suggest sowing the seed in a greenhouse in spring. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and, if growth is sufficient, plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer. If the plants are too small to plant out, grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter and then plant them out in late spring or early summer. Division in spring or autumn. 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. Basal cuttings before the plant flowers. Harvest the shoots when they are about 10cm long with plenty of underground stem. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer. Root cuttings.
Medicinal Uses:
Alterative; Diaphoretic; Purgative; Skin; Tonic.

Tonic, diaphoretic, alterative. A valuable remedy in the treatment of syphilitic, scrofulous and cutaneous diseases, also in jaundice, liver affections, rheumatism and gonorrhoea, the decoction is generally used. Saponin is produced from this plant. Although rarely used, this species can be employed in many of the same ways as soapwort, Saponaria officinalis. It is a valuable remedy, used as an external wash, for the treatment of many skin diseases.

Other Uses : The plant contains saponins. This may be used as soap substitute.

Known Hazards: Although no mention has been seen for this species, at least one member of this genus has a root that is rich in saponins. Although toxic, these substances are very poorly absorbed by the body and so tend to pass through without causing harm. They are also broken down by heat so a long slow baking can destroy them. Saponins are found in many plants, including several that are often used for food, such as certain beans. It is advisable not to eat large quantities of food that contain saponins. 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.

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/Gypsophila
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/soroeg62.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Gypsophila+struthium

Banksia Abyssinica.

 

Botanical Name :Hagenia Abyssinica / Brayera anthelmintica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Subfamily: Rosoideae
Tribe:     Sanguisorbeae
Subtribe: Agrimoniinae
Genus:     Hagenia
Species: H. abyssinica

Synonyms:Banksia abyssinica, Brayera anthelmintica, Hagenia abyssinica var. viridifolia and Hagenia anthelmintica.

Common Names :Banksia Abyssinica. Kooso. Kusso. Kosso. Cossoo. Cusso. African redwood, East African Rosewood, brayera, cusso, hagenia, or kousso, in Amharic as kosso, and in Swahili as mdobore or mlozilozi.

Parts Used: Herb, unripe fruit, and the dried panicles of the pistillate flowers.

Habitat:  North-Eastern Africa, and cultivated in Abyssinia; official in United States of America.It is generally found from 2000-3000 m elevation, in areas receiving 1000-1500 mm of rainfall annually. It can be found growing in mixed afromontane forest with Podocarpus, Afrocarpus, and other trees, and in drier afromontane forests and woodlands where Hagenia is dominant, or in mixed stands of Hagenia and Juniperus procera. It is often found near the upper limit of forest growth.

Description:
It is a tree up to 20 m in height, with a short trunk, thick branches, and thick, peeling bark. The leaves are up to 40 cm long, compound with 7-13 leaflets, each leaflet about 10 cm long with a finely serrated margin, green above, silvery-haired below. The flowers are white to orange-buff or pinkish-red, produced in panicles 30-60 cm long.

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Medicinal Uses:

Parts Used: Herb, unripe fruit, and the dried panicles of the pistillate flowers

Constituents:  A volatile oil, a bitter acrid resin, tannic acid, and a bitter principle called A Kosin and B Kosin, which is found in Kousso, but thought to be decomposition products. The principle constituent of Kousso is Koso-toxin, a yellow amorphous body, possibly closely allied to filicia acid, and Rottlerin; other inactive colourless bodies are crystalline Protokosin and Kosidin.

Purgative and anthelmintic; the Abyssinians are greatly troubled with tapeworm, and Kousso is used by them to expel the worms. One dose is said to be effective in destroying both kinds of tapeworms, the taenia solium and bothriocephalus latus; but as it possesses little cathartic power the subsequent administration of a purgative is generally necessary to bring away the destroyed ectozoon. The dose of the flowers when powdered is from 4 to 5 1/2 drachms, macerated in 3 gills of lukewarm water for 15 minutes; the unstrained infusion is taken in two or three doses following each other, freely drinking lemon-juice or tamarind water before and after the doses. It is advisable to fast twenty-four or forty-eight hours before taking the drug. The operation is usually safe, effective, and quick, merely causing sometimes a slight nausea, but it has never failed to expel the worm. Occasionally emesis takes place or diuresis, and collapse follows, but cases of this sort are extremely rare. It is said in Abyssinia that honey gathered from beehives immediately the Kousso plants have flowered is very effective in teaspoonful doses as a taenicide, its effect being to poison the worms.

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/Hagenia
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/k/kousso11.html

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Embelia

 

Botanical Name: Embelia Ribes and robusta
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales
Family: Myrsinaceae
Genus: Embelia
Species: E. ribes

Synonyms: Viranga. Birang-i-kabuli.

Common Names: False Black Pepper, White-flowered Embelia

Habitat: Embelia is mostly available in India, Indian Archipelago, Tropical Asia, Southern China, East Africa.

Description:
A straggling shrub, almost a climber. The plant possesses petiolate leaves and has small, whity-pink flowers in racemes at ends of the branches. The berries (the drug) are minute, round, spherical fruits (not unlike peppercorns) and vary in colour from red to black – those of E. Ribes have ovate, lanceolate smooth leaves and warty fruits, and are often sold to traders to adulterate pepper, which they so much resemble as to render it almost impossible to distinguish them by sight, or by any other means, as they possess a considerable degree of the spice flavour. The fruits of E. robusta, however, are longitudinally finely striated. Both fruit have often a short stalk and calyx fivepartite, removing this, a small hole is found in the fruit. The reddish seed, enclosed in a brittle pericarp, is covered by a thin membrane; when this is taken off, the seed is seen covered with light spots which disappear after immersion in water. The seed is horny, depressed at the base and has a ruminated endosperm. Taste, aromatic and astringent, with a slight pungency, owing to a resinous substance present in them.

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Medicinal Uses:

Part Used: Dried fruits.

Constituents:  Embelic acid, found in golden-yellow lamellar crystals (this acid is soluble in chloroform, alcohol and benzene, but not in water) and a quinone, Embelia.

Embelia is widely used In Ayurveda, it is considered widely beneficial in variety of diseases and is also used in homeopathy. In India, it is one of the widely and commonly used Ayurvedic herbs.

Anthelmintic, specially used to expel tapeworm, which are passed dead. In India and the Eastern Colonies the drug is given in the early morning, fasting, mixed with milk, and followed by a purgative. The dose is 1 to 4 drachms. The seeds are also made into an infusion, or ground to powder and taken in water or syrup, and being almost tasteless are not an unpleasant remedy.

Ammonium embelate is an effective taenicide for children: dose, 3 grains; adult dose, 6 or more grains.

The berries of E. robusta are considered cathartic.

Resources:
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/e/embili10.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embelia_ribes

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Maranta arundinacea

Botanical Name : Maranta arundinacea
Family: Marantaceae
Genus: Maranta
Species: M. arundinacea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Zingiberales

Common Names:Arrowroot,  Arrowroot maranta West Indian arrowroot, obedience plant, Bermuda arrowroot, araru, ararao or hulankeeriya

Habitat : Maranta arundinacea is native to South America, the Caribbean, and Mexico.

The plant is naturalized in Florida, but it is chiefly cultivated in the West Indies (especially Jamaica and St. Vincent), Australia, Southeast Asia, and South and East Africa.

Description:
A perennial plant growing to about 2 feet (0.61 m) tall, arrowroot has small white flowers and fruits approximately the size and shape of currants. The rootstocks are dug when the plant is one year old, and often exceed 1 foot (30 cm) in length and 0.75 inches (19 mm) in diameter. They are yellowish white, jointed and covered with loose scales

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Medicinal Uses:
Arrowroot powder is added to foods to help stop diarrhea, help soothe irritable bowel syndrome, and is considered a nutritious and easily digested food starch for infants and elderly patients with bowel complaints. Arrowroot is also used in bath and body care recipes, like these bath salts.

Hospitals formerly employed arrow root in barium meals given prior to X-raying the gastro-intestinal system.  When mixed with hot water, the root starch of this plant becomes gelatinous and serves as an effective demulcent to soothe irritated mucous membranes.  Used in much the same way as slippery elm.  It helps to relieve acidity, indigestion, and colic, and it exerts a mildly laxative action on the large bowel.

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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:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maranta_arundinacea
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail485.php

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm

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Nymphaea lotus

Botanical Name :Nymphaea lotus
Family: Nymphaeaceae
Genus: Nymphaea
Species: N. lotus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Nymphaeales

Synonyms: Nymphaea dentata Schumach,  Nymphaea alba

Common Name :Nymphaea lotus, the Tiger Lotus, White lotus or Egyptian White Water-lily,  ,European White Waterlily, White Lotus, White Water Rose or Nenuphar,

Habitat :Nymphaea lotus grows in various parts of East Africa and Southeast Asia.

Description:
It is a perennial, grows to 45 cm in height, and prefers clear, warm, still and slightly acidic waters. The color of the flower is white and sometimes tinged with pink.

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The water lily Nymphaea lotus ‘Red’ (sometimes known as N. zenkeri ‘Red’) can be found growing in its native habitat of tropical Africa in bodies of stagnant water ranging in size from lakes to small, temporary pools. It has been without question the most popular species of its genus to be kept in home aquaria. Bulbs and juvenile plants are available far and wide, sometimes for sale under the name ‘Red Tiger Lotus’.

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This species of water lily has lily pads which float on the water, and blossoms which rise above the water.

Propagation:Propagation of this type  of spices  can usually only be achieved if the plant is allowed to form a handful of floating leaves and subsequently develop one of its night-blooming flowers. The seeds that develop after the flower has wilted germinate easily. Bulb division, as well, is possible but is rare, and is only successful if the severed portion contains a crown from which leaves have already developed.

Though this species can easily achieve large dimensions, it is not without a place in the aquascape. Young specimens possess superb contrast value in tanks that include primarily green plants, and larger plants make wonderful centerpieces if they are placed well and trimmed regularly.

Medicinal Uses:
Nymphaea lotus is a soothing, astringent herb that has diuretic and tranquilizing effects and is reputedly detoxicant and aphrodisiac.  The seeds, crushed in water are an old remedy for diabetes.  The rhizomes is useful in Diarrhea, dysentery, dyspepsia and general debility. The flowers are astringent and cardiotonic. The seeds are sweet, cooling, constipating, aphrodisiac, stomachic and restorative. It has found uses both as a culinary delight and starchy food staple as well as being used internally as a treatment for gastrointestinal disorders and jaundice.

Other Uses:
The ancient Egyptians cultivated the white lotus in ponds and marshes. This flower often appears in ancient Egyptian decorations. They believed that the lotus flower gave them strength and power; remains of the flower have been found in the burial tomb of Ramesses II.

The number 1,000 in ancient Egyptian numerals is represented by the symbol of the white lotus.

The ancient Egyptians also extracted perfume from this flower. They also used the white lotus in funerary garlands, temple offerings and female adornment.

The white lotus might have been one of the plants eaten by the Lotophagi of Homer’s Odyssey.

Nymphaea lotus is often used as an aquarium plant. Sometimes it is grown for its flowers, while other aquarists prefer to trim the lily pads, and just have the underwater foliage. It was introduced into western cultivation in 1802 by Loddiges Nursery.

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/Nymphaea_lotus
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm

http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/plantfinder/details.php?id=47