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Herbs & Plants

Artemisia gmelinii

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Botanical Name : Artemisia gmelinii
Family: Asteraceae
Subfamily: Asteroideae
Tribes: Anthemideae
Subtribes: Artemisiinae
Genus: Artemisia
Species: Artemisia gmelinii

Common Name : Russian Wormwood, Gmelin’s wormwood

Habitat : Artemisia gmelinii is native to Eastern Europe to Central Asia, China, Mongolia and Korea. It grows on dry stony slopes, especially in Ladakh and Lahul, 2100 – 4200 metres. Hills, steppe, semidesert steppe, meadows, rocky slopes, scrub, dry floodlands, wastelands; 1500–4900 m.

Description:
Artemisia gmelinii is a perennial subshrubs, caespitose, 50-100(-150) cm tall, from woody rhizomes, densely pubescent, or glabrescent. Stems branched from upper parts. Leaves gland-dotted. Middle stem leaves: petiole 1-5 cm, triangular- or elliptic-ovate, 2-10 × 2-8 cm, 2- or 3-pinnatisect; segments 3-5 pairs; lobules serrate or pectinate; rachis serrate. Uppermost leaves and leaflike bracts 1- or 2-pinnatisect or entire; lobes linear or linear-lanceolate. Synflorescence a broad panicle. Capitula nodding. Involucre globose, 2-3.5(-5) mm in diam.; phyllaries puberulent, sometimes glabrescent. Marginal female florets 10-12; corolla narrowly tubular, ca. 1.3 mm, densely gland-dotted. Disk florets 20-40, bisexual; corolla ca. 1.8 mm. Achenes ellipsoid-ovoid or ellipsoid-conical. Fl. and fr. Aug-Oct. 2n = 18, 36.

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It is hardy to zone (UK) 3. It is in flower from Aug to October, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor 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.
Cultivation:
Easily grown in a well-drained circumneutral or slightly alkaline loamy soil, preferring a warm sunny dry position. Established plants are drought tolerant. Plants are longer lived, more hardy and more aromatic when they are grown in a poor dry soil. This species is closely related to A. sacrorum and often confused with that species. We are not sure if this plant is annual, biennial or perennial, since various reports differ. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation:
Seed – surface sow from late winter to early summer in a greenhouse, making sure that the compost does not dry out[200]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer. Division in spring or autumn. Basal cuttings in late spring. Harvest the young shoots when about10 – 15cm long, pot up in a lightly shaded position in a greenhouse or cold frame and plant them out when well rooted. Very easy.
Edible Uses: …One report says that the plant is edible but gives no more details.

Medicinal Uses:
Hepatic…..The leaf and stem are used in Korea to treat hepatitis, hyperlipaemia and infected cholecystitis. The plant contains flavonoids, sesquiterpenes and other bio-active constituents, though no bio-activites have been recorded scientifically.

Other Uses: The plant yields 1% essential oil, which contains 19% essential oil, 6% camphor

Known Hazards: Although no reports of toxicity have been seen for this species, skin contact with some members of this genus can cause dermatitis or other allergic reactions in some people.

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://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Artemisia_gmelinii
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Artemisia+gmelinii
http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=200023234

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Herbs & Plants

Inonotus obliquus

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Botanical Name :Inonotus obliquus
Family: Hymenochaetaceae
Genus: Inonotus
Species: I. obliquus
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Basidiomycota
Class: Agaricomycetes
Order: Hymenochaetales

Common Names  : Chaga Mushroom , Cinder conk, Birch mushroom

Habitat : Inonotus obliquus grows in birch forests of Russia, Korea, Eastern and Northern Europe, northern areas of the United States, in the North Carolina mountains and in Canada. The chaga mushroom is considered a medicinal mushroom in Russian and Eastern European folk medicine

Description:
It is parasitic on birch and other trees. The sterile conk is irregularly formed and has the appearance of burnt charcoal. It is not the fruiting body of the fungus, but a mass of mycelium, mostly black due to the presence of massive amounts of melanin. The fertile fruiting body can be found very rarely as a resupinate (crustose) fungus on or near the clinker, usually appearing after the host tree is dead.

click to see the pictures….…(01).....(1)..….…(2)..……..(3).….…(4)….…...(5)..……

Cultivation:
Geographically this fungus is mostly found in very cold habitats. It grows very slowly, suggesting it is not a reliable source of bioactive compounds in the long run. Attempts at cultivating this fungus all resulted in a reduced and markedly different production of bioactive metabolites.[9][10]Secondary metabolites were either absent or present in very different ratios, and in general showed significantly less potency in cultivated Chaga.  Cultivated Chaga furthermore results in a reduced diversity of phytosterols, particularly lanosterol, an intermediate in the synthesis of ergosterol and lanostane-type triterpenes. This effect was partially reversed by the addition of silver ion, an inhibitor of ergosterol biosynthesis.

Additionally, the bioactive triterpene betulinic acid is completely absent in cultivated Chaga. In nature Chaga grows pre-dominantly on birches, and birch bark contains up to 22% of betulin. Betulin is poorly absorbed by humans, even when taken intravenously; its bioavailability is very limited. However, the Chaga mushroom converts betulin into betulinic acid, and many internet sources state Chaga’s betulinic acid is bioavailable, even when taken orally. Unfortunately there is no research that confirms this claims.

Medicinal Uses:
Properties: * Analgesic * Antioxidant * AntiViral * Immunostimulant

Chaga mushrooms, or cinder conks, have been a staple of traditional medicine for centuries among the peoples of the boreal forests in Siberia, Asia and North America. They are used as a tonic and blood purifier. They belong to the Polypores, a group of mushrooms that grow on wood and may be the ancestors of most gilled mushrooms. Chaga and the similar reishi mushroom both have a reputation as tonics for longevity and health which are born out by recent scientific studies. These mushrooms show great promise for their anti-viral activities, immune response stimulation and anti-tumor effects that inhibit the spread of cancer cells.

In China, Japan and South Korea, extracts of chaga and other mushrooms from the family Hymenochaetaceae are being produced, sold and exported as anticancer medicinal supplements. The main bioactive ingredient in these extracts are usually (1>3)(1>6) Beta-D-glucans, a type of water-soluble polysaccharide. The biologic properties of crude preparations of these specific Beta-D-glucans have been subject of research since the 1960s.

Although these macro-molecules exhibit a wide range of biologic functions, including antitumor activity, their ability to prevent a range of infectious diseases (by triggering and supporting the immune function) has been studied in the greatest detail. Recent scientific research in Japan and China has been focused more on the anticancer potential and showed the effects of these specific beta-glucans to be comparable to chemotherapy and radiation, but without the side effects. Further research indicated these polysaccharides have strong anti-inflammatory and immune balancing properties, stimulating the body to produce natural killer (NK) cells to battle infections and tumor growth, instead of showing a direct toxicity against pathogens. This property makes well-prepared medicinal mushroom extracts stand out from standard pharmaceuticals – no side effects will occur or develop; the body is healing itself, triggered into action by the BRM effect of the chaga extract. Herbalist David Winston maintains it is the strongest anticancer medicinal mushroom. Russian literature Nobel Prize laureate Alexandr Solzhenitsyn wrote two pages on the medicinal use and value of chaga in his autobiographical novel, based on his experiences in a hospital in Tashkent, Cancer Ward (1968).

Since the 16th century, chaga mushrooms were recorded as being used in folk medicine and the botanical medicine of the Eastern European countries as a remedy for cancer, gastritis, ulcers, and tuberculosis of the bones. A review from 2010 stated, “As early as in the 16th century, chaga was used as an effective folk medicine in Russia and Northern Europe to treat several human malicious tumors and other diseases in the absence of any unacceptable toxic side effects.”

Chemical analysis shows that I. obliquus produces during its development and growth a range of secondary metabolites, including phenolic compounds such as melanins, and lanostane-type triterpenes, which include a small percentage of betulinic acid. Among these metabolites are biologically active components which have been researched and tested for their potential antioxidant, antitumoral, and antiviral activities. Both betulin and betulinic acid are being studied for use as chemotherapeutic agents and are already used as anti-HIV agents ). In an animal study, researchers found betulin from birch bark lowered cholesterol, obesity and improved insulin resistance.

In 1958, scientific studies in Finland and Russia found chaga provided an epochal effect in breast cancer, liver cancer, uterine cancer, and gastric cancer, as well as in hypertension and diabetes.

Research:
A 1998 study in Poland demonstrated chaga’s inhibiting effects on tumor growth. Noda and colleagues found betulin seems to work highly selectively on tumor cells because the interior pH of tumor tissues is generally lower than that of normal tissues, and betulinic acid is only active at those lower levels. Fulda et al. found, in 1997, once inside the cells, betulinic acid induces apoptosis (programmed cell death) in the tumors.[citation needed] In 2005, I. obliquus was evaluated for its potential for protecting against oxidative damage to DNA in a human keratinocyte cell line. The study found the polyphenolic extract protected these cells against hydrogen peroxide-induced oxidative stress. Another study that year found the endopolysaccharide of chaga produced indirect anticancer effects via immunostimulation. The mycelial endopolysaccharide of I. obliquus was identified as a candidate for use as an immune response modifier and indicated the anticancer effect of endopolysaccharide is not directly tumoricidal, but rather is immunostimulation. It also has anti-inflammatory properties. Saitoh Akiko published on the antimutagenic effects of chaga in 1996. Mizuno et al. published on the antitumor and hypoglycemic activities of the polysaccharides from the sclerotia and mycelia of chaga. Due to the serum glucose-lowering activity of polysaccharides, caution should be taken by those with hypoglycemia

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://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail502.php
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inonotus_obliquus

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Herbs & Plants

Wormseed

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Botanical Name : Artemisia cina
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Artemisia
Species: A. cina
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Common Names: Santonica (zahr el shieh el -khorasani), Levant wormseed, and Wormseed

Habitat :It is native to China, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan,  Russia, Mongolia and Eastern Europe. Growing in the arid areas.

Description:
it is a small scrub-like plant that produces very small flower heads each containing no more than five very small yellow flowers.
The plant is low and shrubby, throwing up a number of erect stems on which the little greenish-yellow, oblong flower-heads are borne. Each head is about 1/8 inch long and 1/16 inch in diameter, and contains three to five minute, tubular flowers. In July and August, before the flowers expand, they are stripped from the stems and dried, being brought into Chimkent by the Kirghiz and other tribes.

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Constituents:
The chief constituent of Wormseed is a crystalline principle, Santonin, to which the anthelmintic property of the drug is due. Santonin attains its maximum 2.3 to 3.6 per cent in July and August; after the flowerheads have expanded, it rapidly diminishes in quantity. It is extracted from the flower-heads by treating them with Milk of Lime, the Santonin being converted into soluble calcium santonate. It occurs in colourless, shining, flat prisms, without odour and almost tasteless at first, but afterwards developing a bitter taste. It is sparingly soluble in water, but soluble in alcohol and ether.

Wormseed also contains a crystalline substance, Artemisin, and a yellow volatile oil consisting of Cineol, to which its odour is due.

Medicinal Uses:
Wormseed is one of the oldest and most common anthelmintics, especially for children. In domestic practice the seeds are used powdered, combined with honey or treacle, the dose of the seeds taken thus in substance being 10 to 30 grains. The seeds have also been employed in infusion or decoction, but in these forms their bitterness is a strong objection. As a general rule, however, the crude drug Wormseed is seldom administered, its active constituent Santonin being employed. It acts as a direct poison to parasites, and is used as a remedy for round-worms, which it rapidly expels; it has also an effect on thread-worms to a lesser degree, but has no action on tapeworms. It is usually administered as a powder or in lozenges, not in solution, and is often given with calomel, or compound powder of scammony.

Vermifuge. Santonin is particularly active against round-worms, and to some extent against threadworms.  Wormseed has been taken combined with honey or treacle or as a decoction, it must be used with care as high doses are toxic.

Known Hazards:
Santonin is very toxic in even small doses. Several fatalities of Santonin Poisoning have been recorded. Wormseed contains up to 5% Santonin so it is potentially fatally toxic as a herb. Do not administer unless supervised by your doctor. Symptoms of Santonin poisoning are: disturbed vision, headaches, nausea, vomiting and in extreme cases convulsions.

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/Artemisia_cina
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm
http://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/w/worlav36.html
http://beneforce.com/informationfaq/herbal-medicines/wormseed.htm

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Salt Enhances Health Risks

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It’s known that eating a lot of salt puts people at greater risk of high blood pressure. Now there’s confirmation of a corollary: High salt intake also translates to significantly greater risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

A review published in the Nov. 25 online edition of BMJ found that a difference of just 5 grams of regular daily salt intake spells a 23 percent difference in the rate of stroke and a 17 percent difference in the rate of cardiovascular disease.
According to the review, the World Health Organization recommends that people consume only 5 grams — about a teaspoon — of salt each day. But people in the West typically eat around 10 grams a day, and those in Eastern Europe consume even more.

The review authors analyzed 13 studies, involving more than 170,000 people, that assessed the link between salt and cardiovascular disease and stroke.

The researchers estimated that reducing daily salt intake by 5 grams around the world could prevent more than 1 million stroke deaths and nearly 3 million deaths from cardiovascular disease each year. And because it’s hard to measure salt intake, those numbers could actually be even higher, the authors noted.

Click for more knowlwdge

Source:
British Medical Journal, Nov. 25, 2009

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Herbs & Plants Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Dill

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Botanical Name:Anethum graveolens
Family: Apiaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales
Genus: Anethum.
Species: A. graveolens
Common  Names:  Dill,   Other Name : Shubit.
The name dill is thought to have originated from a Norse or Anglo-Saxon word ‘dylle’ meaning to soothe or lull, the plant having the carminative property of relieving gas. In Sanskrit, this herb is termed as Shatapushpa. The seeds of this herb is also termed as Shatakuppi sompa, Shatapushpi,Sabasige, Badda sompu, Sabasiga, Surva, Soyi, Sowa, Soya in Tamil, Hindi, Telugu, Kannanda, Gujarathi, Hindi, Punjabi etc

Habitat:Dill originated in Eastern Europe. Zohary and Hopf remark that “wild and weedy types of dill are widespread in the Mediterranean basin and in West Asia.” Although several twigs of dill were found in the tomb of Amenhotep II, they report that the earliest archeological evidence for its cultivation comes from late Neolithic lake shore settlements in Switzerland. Traces have been found in Roman ruins in Great Britain. It grows on fields, waste places etc in the Mediterranean.

Description:
Dill (Anethum graveolens) is a short-lived perennial herb. It is the sole species of the genus Anethum, though classified by some botanists in a related genus as Peucedanum graveolens (L.) C.B.Clarke.

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It grows to 40–60 cm (16–24 in), with slender stems and alternate, finely divided, softly delicate leaves 10–20 cm (3.9–7.9 in) long. The ultimate leaf divisions are 1–2 mm (0.039–0.079 in) broad, slightly broader than the similar leaves of fennel, which are threadlike, less than 1 mm (0.039 in) broad, but harder in texture. The flowers are white to yellow, in small umbels 2–9 cm (0.79–3.5 in) diameter. The seeds are 4–5 mm (0.16–0.20 in) long and 1 mm (0.039 in) thick, and straight to slightly curved with a longitudinally ridged surface.

Its seeds, dill seeds are used as a spice, and its fresh leaves, dill, and its dried leaves, dill weed, are used as herbs.

Cultivation
Successful cultivation requires warm to hot summers with high sunshine levels; even partial shade will reduce the yield substantially. It also prefers rich, well drained soil. The seeds are viable for 3–10 years. Plants intended for seed for further planting should not be grown near fennel, as the two species can hybridise[citation needed].

The seed is harvested by cutting the flower heads off the stalks when the seed is beginning to ripen. The seed heads are placed upside down in a paper bag and left in a warm dry place for a week. The seeds then separate from the stems easily for storage in an airtight container.

Medicinal Uses:

Dill is recorded as a medicinal plant for at least five thousand years in the writings of the Egyptians. Oil extracted from the seeds is made into potions and given to colicky babies. Adults take the preparation to relieve indigiestion.
Fresh and dried dill leaves (sometimes called “dill weed” to distinguish it from dill seed) are used as herbs.
To brew a stomach-soothing tea, use two teaspoons of mashed seeds per cup of boiling water. Steep for ten minutes. Drink up to three cups a day. In a tincture, take 1/2 to 1 teaspoon up to three times a day. To treat colic or gas in children under two, give small amounts of a weak tea. Many herbalists recommend combining dill and fennel to ease colic in infants.

Carvone is a carminative. Limonene and phellandrene–an irritant found in oil of dill and many other essential oils–are photosensitizers.  Dill seed improves digestion and appetite and sweetens the breath.  The oil kills bacteria and relieves flatulence.    It is frequently used in Ayurvedic and Unani medicines for indigestion, fevers, ulcers, uterine pains and kidney and eye problems.  Ethiopians chew the leaves along with fennel to treat headaches and gonorrhea.  In Vietnam it is used to treat intestinal diseases.  Contemporary herbalists recommend chewing the seeds for bad breath and drinking dill tea both as a digestive aid and to stimulate milk production in nursing mothers.  The herb helps relax the smooth muscles of the digestive tract.  One study shows it’s also an antifoaming agent, meaning it helps prevent the formation of intestinal gas bubbles.
Historically, injured knights were said to have placed burned dill seeds on their open wounds to speed healing.  A mixture of dill, dried honey and butter was once prescribed to treat madness.

Other Uses:
The taste of dill leaves resembles that of caraway, while the seeds are pungent and aromatic. Freshly cut, chopped leaves enhance the flavor of dips, herb butter, soups, salads, fish dishes, and salads. The seeds are used in pickling and can also improve the taste of roasts, stews and vegetables. Try grinding the seeds to use as a salt substitute. Both the flowering heads and seeds are used in flavored vinegars and oils..

Like caraway, its fernlike leaves are aromatic, and are used to flavor many foods, such as gravlax (cured salmon), borscht and other soups, and pickles (where sometimes the dill flower is used). Dill is said to be best when used fresh, as it loses its flavor rapidly if dried; however, freeze-dried dill leaves preserve their flavor relatively well for a few months.

In Vietnam, dill is the important herb in the dish cha ca.

Dill seed is used as a spice, with a flavor somewhat similar to caraway, but also resembling that of fresh or dried dill weed.

Dill oil can be extracted from the leaves, stems and seeds of the plant.

Dill seeds were traditionally used to soothe the stomach after meals

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/Dill
http://www.gardenguides.com/plants/info/herbs/dill.asp

http://www.piam.com/mms_garden/plants.html

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