Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Cleome serrulata

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Botanical Name : Cleome serrulata
Family: Cleomaceae
Genus: Cleome
Species: C. serrulata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Brassicales

Synonyms: Peritoma serrulata DC., Cleome integrifolia Torr. & Gray

Common Names: Rocky Mountain Beeplant, Tinking-clover, Bee spider-flower, Skunk weed, Navajo spinach, and Guaco

Habitat : Cleome serrulata is native to western N. America – Washington to Saskatchewan and south to California.It grows on waste land, plains and lower mountains, often on sandy soils.

Cleome serrulata is an annual plant growing to 10–150 cm (4–59 in) tall, with spirally arranged leaves. The leaves are trifoliate, diminutive teeth, and with three slender leaflets each 1–7 cm (0.5–3 in) long. The flowers are reddish-purple, pink, or white, with four petals and six long stamens. The fruit is a capsule 3–6 cm (1–2.5 in) long containing several seeds. Flowering lasts an extended period because it begins at the bottom of the stalk and works its way up. The onset of flowering and seed pods comes at the same time. Cell wall elasticity is higher in specimens that live in drier climates. The pollen is about 0.015 millimeters (0.00059 in) in length with three furrows which have one pore each.


Moisture, temperature, and time are critical in seed germination. Germination occurs during summer and plants can quickly grow to 1–2 meters (3.3–6.6 ft). Flowers are often covered with a variety of insects, especially bees. Elongated capsules contain the seeds, which are dark brown to black, curved, and have a wart-like appearance. After the seeds are dispersed, the plants begin decomposing.

The plant is called waa’ in the Navajo language, tumi in the Hopi language, and both a’pilalu and ado:we in the Zuni language.
Prefers a light fertile soil in a warm dry sunny position with plenty of room to spread. A frost tender plant, it can be grown as a summer annual in Britain. A very good bee plant, it is often planted by apiarists in America. This plant was probably cultivated by the N. American Indians. The Indians would allow the plant to produce seed when it was growing wild in the cornfields in order to ensure a supply the following year.

Seed – surface sow or only lightly cover the seed in spring in a greenhouse. The seed usually germinates in 5 – 14 days at 25°c. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in late spring. Day time temperatures below 20°c depress germination but a night time fall to 20° is necessary.

Edible Uses:

Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves; Seed; Seedpod.

Young shoots, leaves and flowers are cooked and used as potherbs. The plants were gathered and, after removing an alkaline taste, were eaten with cornmeal porridge. The plant smells like a skunk, but it was an important potherb for the native North American Indians and the early European settlers in America. Seed – raw or cooked. It can be dried and ground into a meal then used as a mush or mixed with flour to make bread etc. Seedpods – cooked. The hardened cakes of dyestuff (see note on the plants other uses) can be soaked in hot water and then eaten fried.

Medicinal Uses:
A poultice made of the crushed leaves has been used to reduce swellings. The flowers have been boiled with rusty iron and the liquid drunk as a treatment for anemia. An infusion of the plant is drunk in the treatment of fevers and stomach disorders. A poultice made from the pounded, soaked leaves has been applied to sore eyes. An infusion of the plant is drunk in the treatment of fevers and stomach disorders.

In traditional Native American and frontier medicine, an infusion of the plant is used to treat stomach troubles and fevers, and poultices made from it can be used on the eyes. As a dye, the plant can be boiled down until it is reduced to a thick, black syrup; this was used as a binder in pigments for painting black-on-white pottery at least as long ago as 900-1300AD by the Anasazi. The Navajo still use it to make yellow-green dye for their rugs and blankets.

Other Uses:   A black dye is obtained by boiling down the whole plant. It is used as a paint for decorating pottery. The young plants are harvested in mid-summer, boiled well in water, the woody parts of the plant are removed and the decoction is boiled again until it becomes thick and turns black. This thick liquid is then poured onto a board to dry in cakes and can be kept for an indefinite period. When needed it is soaked in hot water until the correct consistency for paint is achieved. A decoction of the leaves has been used as a body and shoe deodorant.

Plant paste is used with black mineral paint to color sticks of plume offerings to anthropic gods, and the whole plant except for the root is used in pottery decorations.

Birds do eat the seeds and the plant provides good cover for land reclamation and upland birds. The Tewa and other Southwestern United States tribes often included Cleome serrulata as a ‘fourth sister’ in the Three Sisters agriculture system because it attracts bees to help pollinate the beans and squash
Known Hazards: Nitrate poisoning can result if too much is consumed.

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.


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Indian scientists are using tissue engineering to give diabetes patients new insulin-making cells……...CLICK & SEE

Biomaterials scientist Prabha Nair is pitting her expertise of polymers to hold out a new line of hope for patients with diabetes who are dependent on insulin shots. In her laboratory, she has used two structures fashioned out of polymer materials to normalise blood sugar in rats with diabetes for up to 90 days. One of the polymer structures is designed to make insulin-secreting cells function properly, while the other is intended to protect such cells from threats that might emerge from the body’s immune system.

Nair and her colleagues at the government-funded Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST), Thiruvananthapuram have combined two applications of polymers to tackle two major obstacles that have held back a promising but experimental treatment for diabetes from widespread use. The treatment, called islet cell transplantation, involves the removal of insulin-secreting cells from the pancreas of a deceased organ donor and their implantation into a patient with diabetes.

It is nearly a decade since researchers at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, demonstrated that islet cell transplantation may help patients with diabetes acquire normal blood sugar levels and achieve some level of freedom from the need for insulin.

A review of islet transplantation on 225 patients between 1999 and 2006 had revealed several benefits — including reduced need for insulin, improved blood glucose control, and lowered risk of hypoglycemia, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders in the US. Two years after the islet transplantation, about one-third of the recipients were free of the need for insulin shots, the review suggested.

Islet cell transplantation, however, is not standard therapy yet. “There is a critical shortage of islet cells because of a shortage of organ donors,” says Nair, a scientist in the division of tissue engineering and regeneration technologies at the SCTIMST.

Patients who receive islet cells need to take immunosuppressive drugs throughout their lives to prevent their immune systems from destroying the implanted cells. These drugs have side effects including an increased risk of cancer.

The SCTIMST researchers harvested a class of cells known as pancreatic progenitor cells from mice and placed them in a cocktail of appropriate biochemicals where they turn into insulin-secreting islet-like cells.

The scientists then loaded these islet-like cells into three-dimensional scaffolds constructed out of a gelatin, a natural polymer, and polyvinylpyrrolidone, a synthetic polymer. The islet-like cells proliferate on the scaffolds and serve as a potential source of insulin.

In experiments, the scientists observed that rats with diabetes that received these islet cell-bearing scaffolds alone died within 20 days. Their scaffold cells had been attacked by the rats’ immune systems, leading to the destruction of tissue and the failure of the implantation.

“We also designed a polymer capsule to shield the implanted islet cells from the immune system,” Nair told KnowHow. When the scientists combined the scaffolding, also called tissue engineering, with encapsulation, the rats survived for up to 90 days.

The rats were models for type-I, or insulin-dependent diabetes, but researchers say the tissue engineering and encapsulation strategy may also be considered as a possible option for patients with adult-onset diabetes who need insulin injections. Given the differences in the lifespans of rats and humans, some researchers believe the 90-day freedom from insulin observed in the laboratory animals may be equivalent to several years in humans — although exactly how long is still a subject of debate.

“These results are really exciting,” says Aroop Dutta, a tissue engineering specialist and founder of ExCel Matrix Biologicals, a Hyderabad-based start-up in biomaterials and tissue engineering, who was not connected with the research in Thiruvananthapuram.

“There just aren’t enough human-derived islet cells for the large numbers of diabetes patients dependent on insulin. Animal cells or stem cell-based approaches are the only viable options as sustained sources of islet cells,” he adds.

The results of the SCTIMST’s experiments were published last Friday in the journal Acta Biomaterialia. The researchers say their use of islet cells from mice in rats with diabetes suggests that the polymer capsule that keeps the immune system at bay may facilitate xenotransplants — the use of cells or organs across species — as an option for reversing diabetes. “But there is still much work to be done,” Nair cautions.

“We’ll need to establish that this also works in large animals,” she said. The SCTIMST group plans to initiate studies in pigs with diabetes. If the technique is indeed shown to work in large animals too, it could be ready for human clinical trials within two or three years.

Source : The Telegraph ( kolkata, India)

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