Tag Archives: Eastern Cape

Alepidea amatymbica

Botanical Name :Alepidea amatymbica
Family: Apiaceae
Subfamily: Saniculoideae
Genus: Alepidea
Species: Alepidea amatymbica
Order: Apiales

Common Name:  larger tinsel flower (Eng.); kalmoes (Afr.); Iqwili (Xhosa); ikhathazo (Zulu)
Vernacular names:Kalmoes (A); ikhathazo (Z); lesooko (S), iqwili (Xh)

Habitat :Alepidea amatymbica  occurs mainly in southern Africa are found as far north as Ethiopia.

Description:
Alepidea amatymbica is an erect robust perennial herb to 2m in height with hollow grooved stems and a rhizomatous rootstock; leaves mostly basal on petioles up to 200mm long, with a few stalkless clasping stem leaves;The margins of the leaves are prominently toothed, each tooth ending in a bristle. The inflorescence is widely branched, with a number of small, star-shaped, white flowers, ± 250 mm in diameter.glossy green on upper surface with prominent venation on lower surface; lamina lanceolate to cordate; 300 – 100 × 20 – 75mm, with dentate margin, each tooth terminating in a long bristle; flowers (Jan-Mar) white, borne in heads 10 – 20mm in diameter, arranged in panicles; each head with 5 unequal involucral bracts, the latter white to pale yellow above, olive green on lower surface.

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Growing Alepidea amatymbica:This plant is best grown from fresh seed sown in trays filled with a very well-drained seedling mix in late summer or early spring. Once sown, the seed should be lightly covered and kept watered until germination takes place. The seedlings are very prone to damping off and so watering should be carefully monitored. Once potted into individual pots, the plants need to be grown until the underground stem develops, after which they can be planted out.

Medicinal Uses:
Alepidea amatymbica  is a medicinal plant traditionally used for the treatment of various diseases including asthma, influenza, and diarrhea in South Africa. The antimicrobial activities of the acetone and methanol extracts of the leaf, stem, rhizome, and root of the species were assessed in an effort to validate the traditional medicinal uses of this herb, especially for the treatment of infectious diseases. Ten bacterial and three fungal species were bioassayed using the agar dilution method. All the extracts demonstrated appreciable activities against three Gram-positive bacteria. These bacteria have been implicated in different respiratory diseases. The inhibitory activity of some of the extracts against pathogens implicated in diarrhea diseases further validated the use of the herb in traditional medicine. Except for acetone leaf extract against Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus niger, all the extracts showed more than 50% mycotic inhibition with activity ranging from 51.39% on A. niger to 81.11% on Penicillium notatum at ?5?mg mL?1 which was the highest concentration tested in the study. The ability of the herb to inhibit the growth of various bacteria and fungi species is an indication of the broad-spectrum antimicrobial potential of A. amatymbica; this further validates the use of the herb for various diseases by the people of the Eastern Cape..

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.plantzafrica.com/medmonographs/alepideaatym.pdf
http://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Alepidea_amatymbica
http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13880200902817919
http://www.plantzafrica.com/plantab/alepidamat.htm

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Aloe ferox

Botanical Name : Aloe ferox
Family: Asphodelaceae
Genus: Aloe
Species: A. ferox
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

Common Names :  Cape Aloe, Bitter Aloe, Red Aloe and Tap Aloe

Habitat :  Aloe ferox is   indigenous to South Africa’s Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, and Lesotho.

Description:
Aloe ferox can grow to 10 feet (3.0 m) in height, and can be found on rocky hills, in grassy fynbos and on the edges of the Karoo. The plants may differ physically from area to area due to local conditions.  Its leaves are thick and fleshy, arranged in rosettes, and have reddish-brown spines on the margins with smaller spines on the upper and lower surfaces. Its flowers are orange or red, and stand between 2 and 4 feet (0.61 and 1.2 m) above the leaves.

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Endengered  Precis:
Aloe ferox is listed on the plant list of endangered plants (CITES – Appendix II) along with other wild species of this genus.

Cultivation:
Aloe Ferox plants are propaged mainly from seed and head cuttings. The plants are sowed one meter apart from each other in rows and colums. It takes about 4 to 5 years for the plants to reach the first harvest, from the seed stage. At the time of harvest, each leaf weighs about 1.5 kg to 2 kg. Aloe Ferox prefers dry-tropical climates, open areas, sandy-loamy soils, full sun, and moderate watering with good drainage system.

Medicinal uses:
Its leaves contain two juices; the yellow bitter sap is used as a laxative, and the white aloe gel is used in health drinks and skin care products.

The bitter yellow juice found just below the skin has been harvested for centuries for its laxative properties, the treatment of arthritis, for its healing properties and for use in cosmetics. The hard, black, resinous product is known as Cape aloes or aloe lump and is used mainly for its laxative properties but is also taken for arthritis.  Cape Aloe contains aloin, principally used as a purgative, particularly for sedentary or phlegmatic types.  Aloe tincture or extract is very gentle and slow-acting although too frequent use is said to induce piles.    It is also made into an ointment for mild skin rashes and a decoction of its juice acts as a mosquito repellent.

The home remedies with Aloe ferox is same as that of with Aloe vera.

*Cuts, wounds, burns, pimples and skin problems: apply the sap over the affected parts.

*Spleen disorders: intake a table spoon gel with a pinch of turmeric, twice a day, one hour after food.

*Indigestion, cancer, HIV/AIDS: intake a table spoon of fresh gel, twice a day, one hour after food.

*Constipation: mix the spoonful of gel in a cup of lukewarm water and take it one hour after dinner.

Aloe ferox has less demand that than of Aloe vera. The products of Aloe ferox are merely confined to South Africa, United States and few European Countries. Asian markets are mainly dominted by Aloe vera products.

Precaution: The sap is toxic to pregnant and breast feeding mothers.
(Taken in large doses, it can have a drastic effect, even causing abortion, so it should never be taken by pregnant women.)

Other Uses:
Cape aloe is sometimes blended with other bitter ingredients to flavor alcoholic drinks.

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

http://davarree.free.fr/Aloe-ferox.jpg

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Potato plant(Phyllanthus reticulatus)

Botanical Name : Phyllanthus reticulatus
Family: Phyllanthaceae/Euphorbiaceae
Tribe: Phyllantheae
Genus: Phyllanthus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malpighiales
Common Names: potato plant, roast potato plant (Eng); aartappelbos (Afr); intaba-yengwe, umchumelo (isiZulu); thethenya (xiTsonga)
Sanskrit Synonyms:  Poolika, Krishnakamboji

Hindi Name ;Pancholi, Makhi

Malayalam Name: Niroori, Niroli

Parts Used :  Roots, Leaves.

Habitat :Phyllanthus reticulatus is very common and widespread in the Okavango Delta. It often grows in low altitudes in riverine thickets. It is distributed along the Eastern Cape and Kwa- Zulu Natal coastal areas, Limpopo Province, Zimbabwe and throughout tropical Africa.

Description:
Phyllanthus reticulatus is usually a dense deciduous shrub or small tree with a distinct smell that is emitted by the minute flowers when they open towards the early evening. This is one of the fascinating characteristic smells of Africa. Despite its name, this plant which belongs to the Euphorbiaceae is not at all related to the true potato which belongs to the family Solanaceae.
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Phyllanthus reticulatus is a many branched shrub, sometimes partially scrambling, usually 1-5 m high, or a small twiggy tree that grows up to 8 m in height. The bark is light reddish-brown or grey-brown with hairy stems when young, which become smooth with age.

The leaves alternate along slender branches. They are up to 25 cm long and appear as leaflets of large pinnate leaves. The leaves are thinly textured, usually hairless. They have a noticeable reddish net-veining which is more visible above than below.

You may click to see the pictures

The potato plant has very small greenish-yellow flowers with a reddish tinge. They are clustered on the tips of short slender branches that are about 3 cm long. The flowers appear before or with the leaves. One female and a number of male flowers are grouped together.

The flowers of this plant are responsible for the strange smell of potatoes which is often encountered along river banks in the Lowveld, particularly on spring and summer evenings. It flowers from September to October, but the flowering season can extend from July onwards. P. reticulatus has very small, roundish berry like fruits that are green at first, turning purple-black, 4-6 mm in diameter.

Propagation & Cultivation :
P. reticulatus grows easily from seeds. Stored seeds should be soaked in water for a day and then be scrubbed with a brush to remove the fleshy part. They must then be sown in trays filled with normal potting soil. They should not be planted too deep as they can easily rot. Trays must be kept in a warm area, away from direct sunlight, but not too dark. The soil must be kept moist, but not wet to prevent seed from rotting. The seeds take 7 to 11 days to germinate. There is a very low success rate in growing potato bush through cuttings.

Potato bush grows best in deep moist soil, but can also tolerate sandy but not too dry conditions. This plant is best planted together with other taller bushes where it can scramble.

Medicinal Uses:
P. reticulatus has numerous medicinal uses. Roots, bark, leaves, as well as fruits are used for a large number of complaints, notably to treat asthma and coughs, and for injuries of the skin. And varity of ailments including smallpos,syphilis,asthama,diarrhea and bleeding from gums. Moreover,it is also claimed the plant has antidiabetic activity in tribal areas.

The leaves and roots are used as medicine for the fractures and traumatic injury.

Medicinal Properties of the Plant as per Ayurveda: Plant pacifies vitiated vata, pitta, diabetes, burning sensation, burns, skin diseases, obesity and urinary retention.

Other Uses:
Tannin or dyestuff: A black ink is prepared in the Philippines from the ripe fruits. In Indonesia a decoction of stem and leaves was used for dyeing cotton black. It is also used as a mordant. In India the root is reported to produce a red dye. The wood is sometimes used to make utensils.

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.plantzafrica.com/plantnop/phyllanthusret.htm
http://web.usm.my/jps/19-2-08/Article%2019-2-5.pdf
http://www.hkflora.com/v2/leaf/euphor_show_plant.php?plantid=1097
http://enchantingkerala.org/ayurveda/ayurvedic-medicinal-plants/niroori.php
http://www.worldagroforestrycentre.org/sea/Products/AFDbases/af/asp/SpeciesInfo.asp?SpID=18066
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phyllanthus

 

 

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