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Herbs & Plants

Aframomum corrorima

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Botanical Name; Aframomum corrorima
Family: Zingiberaceae
Genus: Aframomum
Species: A. corrorima
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Zingiberales

Synonyms: Amomum corrorima Braun (1848), Amomum korarima J.Pereira (1850), Aframomum korarima (J.Pereira) K.Schum. ex Engl. (1908), Aframomum usambarense Lock (1976).

Common Names:  Korarima, Ethiopian cardamom, or False cardamom

Vernaculr Names:  Korarima, cardamome d’Ethiopie, poivre d’Ethiopie (Fr). Korarima, Ethiopian cardamom, false cardamom (En).

Habitat :Aframomum corrorima is native to Tanzania, western Ethiopia (in the vicinity of Lake Tana and Gelemso), southwestern Sudan, western Uganda. It is cultivated in both Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Description:
Aframomum corrorima is a perennial, rhizomatous, aromatic herb with  leafy stems 1–2 m tall; rhizome subterete, up to 1 cm in diameter, profusely branched, red-brown, covered with thin, subovate scales up to 6 cm × 4 cm and bearing thin, fibrous, pale brown roots; stem unbranched, mainly formed by the leaf sheaths, subterete, up to 1 cm in diameter but at base usually thickened up to 3 cm diameter. Leaves alternate, distichous, simple; sheaths covering each other, yellow-green, with prominent veins and scarious, ciliate margins; ligule deeply bilobed, thin, ciliate, lobes acute, up to 3 cm long; petiole 4–10 mm long, deeply grooved above; blade elliptical to oblong, 10–30 cm × 2.5–6 cm, obliquely obtuse at base, cuspidate at apex, margin entire, glossy dark green above, paler green and often a bit reddish below, lateral veins fine, pinnately arranged but parallel, making a very sharp angle with the midrib, 4–9 per 5 mm above, 12–16 per 5 mm below. Inflorescence a shortly stalked head arising from the rhizome near the base of a leafy stem, sometimes situated at the end of a rhizomatous runner, up to 5-flowered; peduncle up to 7 cm long, covered by imbricate, purplish-brown, subovate scales 2.5 cm × 1.5 cm; head covered with imbricate, purplish-brown, ovate to square bracts up to 4.5 cm in diameter; each flower surrounded by a scarious, suboblong bract up to 6 cm × 2 cm, bidentate, ciliate. Flowers bisexual, zygomorphic; calyx spathaceous, up to 4.5 cm × 1 cm; corolla tubular, 3-lobed at apex, white to pale violet, tube up to 4.5 cm long, densely woolly in upper 2 cm, lateral lobes ovate-oblong, up to 4 cm × 2 cm, dorsal lobe up to 4 cm × 3 cm, labellum obovate in outline, with a half-tubular fleshy claw up to 3 cm × 1.5 cm and a subovate to orbicular lobe up to 3 cm × 3.5 cm, thin, slightly notched, yellow at throat inside; fertile stamen 1, filament fleshy, slightly rounded, 6 mm × 5 mm, connectivum fleshy, at apex with 2 lateral horns 4 mm long, thecae 2, narrowly ellipsoid, about 11 mm × 1 mm; ovary inferior, 3-locular, style thin, terete, up to 5 cm long, stigma funnel-shaped, 2 mm wide, ciliate, top of ovary provided with 2 (sometimes more) lobed, fleshy outgrowths (probably nectaries), partly clasping the style. Fruit an indehiscent, subconical berry up to 6 cm × 3.5 cm, usually showing 3 longitudinal furrows but sometimes more, shiny green when immature, turning bright red at maturity, with 3 cells containing 45–65 seeds each. Seeds subglobose in outline but usually somewhat angular, 2–5 mm in diameter, testa finely lined, glossy brown, hilum circular, whitish, aril thin, a bit fleshy, completely covering the seed.

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Edible Uses:
Dried seeds are extensively used in Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine. It is an ingredient in berbere, mitmita, awaze, and other spice mixtures, and is also used to flavor coffee.

Constituents:
Korarima seed has a mild, sweet flavour and is less peppery or pungent than seed of Aframomum melegueta K.Schum. (grain of paradise). The seeds contain essential oil which has a typical odour and is sometimes called ‘nutmeg-cardamom’. After distillation of dried comminuted fruits, 3–3.5% of a pale yellow volatile oil with a flat cineolic odour can be obtained, in which the following compounds have been found (all monoterpenes, approximate amount of the major ones): 1,8-cineol 32–35%, limonene 7–14%, B-pinene 4–7%, sabinene 7–9%, terpinen-4-ol 3–5%, geraniol 5%, P-cymene 4%, A-pinene, A-terpineol and Y-terpinene 3% each. Sesquiterpenes were identified in another analysis; the total was dominated by about 75% monoterpenes including 1,8-cineol (38%) and terpinyl acetate (11%), and 17% sesquiterpenes including nerolidol (11–14%), ?-caryophyllene (2%) and caryophyllene oxide (1%).

Medicinal Uses:
In Ethiopian herbal medicine the seeds are used as a tonic, carminative, and laxative.

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/Aframomum_corrorima
http://www.prota4u.org/protav8.asp?fr=1&g=pe&p=Aframomum+corrorima+
http://database.prota.org/PROTAhtml/Aframomum%20corrorima_En.htm

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Herbs & Plants

Coffea arabica

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Botanical Name : Coffea arabica
Family: Rubiaceae
Subfamily: Ixoroideae
Tribe: Coffeeae
Genus: Coffea
Species: C. arabica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Common Name :Coffee , java, joe ,coffee shrub of Arabia, mountain coffee or arabica coffee

Habitat :Coffea arabica Originally found in the southwestern highlands of Yemen, Coffea arabica is now rare in its native state, and many populations appear to be mixed native and planted trees. It is common there as an understorey shrub. It has also been recovered from the Boma Plateau in South Sudan. C. arabica is also found on Mount Marsabit in northern Kenya, but it is unclear whether this is a truly native or naturalised occurrence.

The conservation of the genetic variation of Coffea arabica relies on conserving healthy populations of wild coffee in the Afromontane rainforests of Ethiopia. Genetic research has shown coffee cultivation is threatening the genetic integrity of wild coffee because it exposes wild genotypes to cultivars

Description:
Coffea arabica  is a wild plant grows to between 9 and 12 m (29 and 39 ft) tall, and has an open branching system; the leaves are opposite, simple elliptic-ovate to oblong, 6–12 cm (2.4–4.8 in) long and 4–8 cm (1.6–3.2 in) broad, glossy dark green. The flowers are white, 10–15 mm in diameter and grow in axillary clusters. The fruit is a drupe (though commonly called a “cherry”; interestingly, the plural form is simply “cherry” – used only when referring to the fruit of C. arabica – when referring to the actual cherry fruit, the appropriate plural is “cherries”) 10–15 mm in diameter, maturing bright red to purple and typically contains two seeds (the coffee seeds).

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Coffea arabica accounts for 75-80 percent of the world’s coffee production.

C. arabica takes about seven years to mature fully, and does best with 1.0–1.5 meters (about 40–59 inches) of rain, evenly distributed throughout the year.[citation needed] It is usually cultivated between 1,300 and 1,500 m altitude,[citation needed] but there are plantations as low as sea level and as high as 2,800 m.

The plant can tolerate low temperatures, but not frost, and does best with an average temperature between 15 and 24 °C (59 and 75 °F).[5] Commercial cultivars mostly only grow to about 5 m, and are frequently trimmed as low as 2 m to facilitate harvesting. Unlike Coffea canephora, C. arabica prefers to be grown in light shade.

Cultivation:
Drawing of Coffea arabica
Two to four years after planting, C. arabica produces small, white, highly fragrant flowers. The sweet fragrance resembles the sweet smell of jasmine flowers. Flowers opening on sunny days results in the greatest numbers of berries. This can be a curse, however, as coffee plants tend to produce too many berries; this can lead to an inferior harvest and even damage yield in the following years, as the plant will favour the ripening of berries to the detriment of its own health.

On well-kept plantations, overflowering is prevented by pruning the tree. The flowers only last a few days, leaving behind only the thick dark green leaves. The berries then begin to appear. These are as dark green as the foliage, until they begin to ripen, at first to yellow and then light red and finally darkening to a glossy deep red. At this point they are called ‘cherries’ and are ready for picking.

The berries are oblong and about 1 cm long. Inferior coffee results from picking them too early or too late, so many are picked by hand to be able to better select them, as they do not all ripen at the same time. They are sometimes shaken off the tree onto mats, which means ripe and unripe berries are collected together.

The trees are difficult to cultivate and each tree can produce from 0.5 to 5.0 kg of dried beans, depending on the tree’s individual character and the climate that season. The real prize of this cash crop are the beans inside. Each berry holds two locules containing the beans. The coffee beans are actually two seeds within the fruit; there is sometimes a third seed or one seed, a peaberry in the fruit at tips of the branches. These seeds are covered in two membranes; the outer one is called the “parchment coat” and the inner one is called the “silver skin”.

On Java Island, trees are planted at all times of the year and are harvested year round. In parts of Brazil, however, the trees have a season and are harvested only in winter. The plants are vulnerable to damage in poor growing conditions (cold, low pH soil) and are also more vulnerable to pests than the C. robusta plant.

A Coffea arabica plantation in São João do Manhuaçu, Minas Gerais, Brazil.
Arabica coffee production in Indonesia began in 1699. Indonesian coffees, such as Sumatran and Java, are known for heavy body and low acidity. This makes them ideal for blending with the higher acidity coffees from Central America and East Africa.

In Hawaii, coffee was formerly more widely grown than at present, and it persists after cultivation in many areas. In some valleys, it is a highly invasive weed.

It has been expected that there may be a medium-term depletion of the culture of arabica, with global warming culture would not be possible without significant investment in agriculture that would make the cultivation of the shrub less profitable.

Edible Uses:
Gourmet coffees are almost exclusively high-quality mild varieties of arabica coffee, and among the finest arabica coffee beans in the world used for making espresso coffee are Jamaican Blue Mountain, Colombian Supremo, Tarrazú, Costa Rica, Guatemalan Antigua and Ethiopian Sidamo.

It is said to produce better tasting coffee than the other major commercially grown coffee species, Coffea canephora (robusta), because robusta cherries contain twice as much caffeine as arabica. Caffeine itself has a bitter taste, making robusta more bitter. C. arabica contains less caffeine than any other commercially cultivated species of coffee.

Constituents:  caffeine, chlorogenic acid, theobromine

Medicinal Uses:
Medicinal Uses: * Asthma * Diet/weight Loss * Headache/Migraine
Properties: * Bitter * Nervine * Stimulant

Coffee’s reputation as America’s favorite bad habit has been somewhat redeemed recently. Many recent reports in the scientific literature pointing to the many benefits of coffee including lower rates of strokes , diabetes,prostate cancer and depression among caffeinated coffee drinkers when compared to non-coffee drinkers. 3,4,5,6

The caffeine in coffee and tea is a chemical cousin to the asthma drug theophylline, drinking coffee and caffeinated teas can help calm an asthma attack and stop coughing spasms. Doctors at the Diamond Headache Clinic in Chicago, Illinois, have found that the common painkiller, ibuprofen, is more active against tension headaches when combined with caffeine. 8 102

As in all things balance is key, coffee’s worst aspect may be that it crowds out the many other healthy herbal teas and drinks we should be consuming during the course of the day.

Coffee consumption has always been a mainstay for dieters and has been associated with long term weight loss, likely from the thermogenic effects of caffeine raising the metabolic rate. Green coffee extract is another component that may be a factor. Green coffee extract, (GCE) is obtained mostly from green or raw coffee, as some of coffee’s active, antioxidant compounds are damaged in the roasting process. GCE is believed to suppress the accumulation of hepatic triglycerides, in other words works as a fat burner. There have no side effects reported in studies when using GCE, but the studies have been small in scope so far. Green coffee extract is not a “magic pill”, however, it may be a good supplement to try as part of a healthy approach to weight

In the green pharmacy Coffee is used in the treatment of flu, asthma, pulmonary problems, and fainting. Also a brew is made from both the leaves and the beans and drunk to accelerate labor.

Recorded medicinal properties of caffeine are: anticancer, antiHIV, antitumor-promoter, cancer-preventive, antibacterial, antiviral, cardiotonic, coronary-dilator, antiulcer, vermifuge, antieczemic, antiasthmatic, anticolitic.

(Schultes, R. E and Raffauf, R. F. 1990. The Healing Forest, Medicinal and Toxic Plants of the Northwest Amazonia.)
Reported to be analgesic, anaphrodisiac, anorexic, antidotal, cardiotonic, CNS-stimulant, counterirritant, diuretic, hypnotic, lactagogue, nervine, stimulant.
Coffee is reported as a folk remedy for asthma, atropine-poisoning, fever, flu, headache, jaundice, malaria, migraine, narcosis, nephrosis, opium-poisoning, sores, and vertigo. Also, caffeine is a widespread additive in over-the-counter diet pills, pain killers, and stimulants.
(Duke and Wain. 1981)
(List and Horhammer.1969-1979.)
(Duke. J.1984.)

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/Coffea_arabica
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail216.php
http://ntbg.org/plants/plant_details.php?plantid=3120

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Herbs & Plants

Ensete ventricosum

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Botanical Name : Ensete ventricosum
Family: Musaceae
Genus: Ensete
Species: E. ventricosum
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Zingiberales

Synonyms: Ensete edule – Bruce. ex Horan.Musa arnoldiana De Wild., Musa ventricosa Welw. and Musa ensete J. F. Gmel

Common Names: False Banana, Ethiopian Banana, Abyssinian Banana

Habitat : Ensete ventricosum occurs along the Eastern Edge of the Great African Plateau, extending northwards from Transvaal in South Africa through Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania to Ethiopia, and west to the Democratic Republic of Congo, being found in high rainfall forests on mountains, and along forested ravines and streams.

Description:
Ensete ventricosum in an evergreen Perennial large non-woody tree (technically a gigantic herb) up to 6m tall, it has a stout trunk of tightly overlapping leaf bases, and large banana-like leaf blades of up to 5m x 1m with a salmon-pink midrib. The flowers, which only occur once from the centre of the tree at the end of the tree’s life, are in massive pendant thyrses covered by equally large pink bracts. The fruits are similar to those of the domestic banana, are edible but insipid, with hard, black, rounded seeds. The plant is quick-growing and some colourful varieties are widely cultivated as an ornamental. After flowering the plant dies back. The young and tender tissues in the centre or heart of the tree (the growing point) may be cooked and eaten, being tasty and nutritious and very like the core of palms and cycads

You may click to see the pictures

 

Ensete ventricosum
Ensete ventricosum (Photo credit: pris.sears)

It is hardy to zone 10 and is frost tender. It is in leaf all year. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)
The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires moist soil.

Cultivation:
Requires a very sheltered sunny position in a fertile moisture-retentive soil. This species is not very hardy in Britain but it succeeds outdoors on the Scilly Islands and is sometimes used in sub-tropical bedding. Plants can survive light frosts but they require ample shelter from the wind. It should be possible to grow plants in tubs, keeping them outdoors in the summer and bringing them into a greenhouse or conservatory in the winter. The leaves can be up to 6 metres long.

Propagation:
Sow the large seed in individual pots in a heated greenhouse at any time of the year. Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water beforehand. Germination should take place within 3 months. Grow on the plants for at least a couple of winters in the greenhouse before attempting to grow them outdoors. Division of suckers in spring. Try to get as much of the sucker’s roots out as possible without disturbing the main plant too much. Pot the suckers up and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse until they are established.

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Root; Seed; Stem.

The chopped and grated pulp of the corms and leaf sheaths is fermented and used as a flour in making kocho bread. 100% kocho flour or a mixture of kocho and other cereal flours may be used. It is said to taste like a good quality bread. The endosperm of the seed is consumed as a food. The base of the flower stalk is edible cooked.

The species has been cultivated in Ethiopia for thousands of years where it is still considered to be one of the most important and widely cultivated root crops. The pseudostems, corms and stems of flowering branches are used to make a starchy product which is fermented in a pit and then made into a kind of pancake, bread, and porridge.

“Enset provides more amount of foodstuff per unit area than most cereals. It is estimated that 40 to 60 enset plants occupying 250-375 sq. meters can provide enough food for a family of 5 to 6 people.” – Country Information Brief.

(In Ethiopia, more than 150 000 ha are cultivated for the starchy staple food prepared from the pulverised trunk and inflorescence stalk. Fermenting these pulverised parts results in a food called ‘kocho’. ‘Bulla’ is made from the liquid squeezed out of the mixture and sometimes eaten as a porridge, while the remaining solids are suitable for consumption after a settling period of some days. Mixed kocho and bulla can be kneaded into dough, then flattened and baked over a fire. Kocho is in places regarded as a delicacy, suitable for serving at feasts and ceremonies such as weddings, when wheat flour is added. The fresh corm is cooked like potatoes before eating. Dry kocho and bulla are energy-rich and produce from 1400 to 2000kJ per 100g.)

Medicinal Uses:
The ensete pseudostem has medicinal uses.People of south Africa make herbal medicines to get relieve from different ailments.

 

Other Uses:

The fibre obtained from the plant is very good quality fibre, suitable for ropes, twine, baskets, and general weaving, is obtained from the leaves. Dried leaf-sheaths are used as packing material, serving the same function as Western foam plastic and polystyrene. The fibre obtained from the plant is very good quality fibre, suitable for ropes, twine, baskets, and general weaving, is obtained from the leaves. Dried leaf-sheaths are used as packing material, serving the same function as Western foam plastic and polystyrene.  Also used for animal fodder, shade, adornment, roof thatch, and dye. The seeds are used as beads for ornamentation.

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/Ensete_ventricosum
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Ensete+ventricosum
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Ensete+ventricosum

http://anthropogen.com/2009/10/02/ensete-ventricosum-wild-banana-ihindu-kiduyu-ikulutui-kamba-getembe-maasai/

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Herbs & Plants

Artemisia afra

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Botanical Name ; Artemisia afra
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Artemisia
Species: Artemisia afra
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Common Names:wild wormwood, African wormwood (Eng.); wilde-als (Afr.); umhlonyane (Xhosa); mhlonyane (Zulu); lengana (Tswana); zengana (Southern Sotho)

Habitat :Artemisia afra has a  wide distribution from South Africa, to areas reaching to the North and East, as far north as Ethiopia. Artemisia afra is the only indigenous species in this genus.

Description:
Artemisia afra grows in thick, bushy, slightly untidy clumps, usually with tall stems up to 2 m high, but sometimes as low as 0.6 m. The stems are thick and woody at the base, becoming thinner and softer towards the top. Many smaller side branches shoot from the main stems. The stems are ribbed with strong swollen lines that run all the way up. The soft leaves are finely divided, almost fern-like. The upper surface of the leaves is dark green whereas the undersides and the stems are covered with small white hairs, which give the shrub the characteristic overall grey colour. A. afra flowers in late summer, from March to May. The individual creamy yellow flowers are small (3-4 mm in diameter), nodding and crowded at the tips of the branches. Very typical of A. afra is the strong, sticky sweet smell that it exudes when touched or cut.

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Medicinal Uses;
Artemisia afra is a well-known medicinal plant in Africa, and is still used effectively by people of many cultures. Uses range from treating cough, fever, colic, headache, to intestinal parasites and malaria. In addition, Artemisia afra is frequently used as a moth repellent, and in organic insecticidal sprays.

The roots, stems and leaves are used as enemas, poultices, infusions, lotions, inhaled (e.g. smoked or snuffed), or as an essential oil.

Artemisia afra is used in many different ways and one of the most common practices is to insert fresh leaves into the nostrils to clear blocked nasal passages. Another maybe not so common use is to place leaves in socks for sweaty feet. The roots, stems and leaves are used in many different ways and taken as enemas, poultices, infusions, body washes, lotions, smoked, snuffed or drunk as a tea. A. afra has a very bitter taste and is usually sweetened with sugar or honey when drunk. Wilde-als brandy is a very popular medicine still made and sold today. Margaret Roberts lists many other interesting uses which includes the use in natural insecticidal sprays and as a moth repellent.

Used mainly as an aqueous decoction or infusion applied externally or taken orally, the extremely bitter taste being masked by the addition of sugar or honey. Fresh leaf may be added to boiling water and the vapors inhaled.  For the treatment of cough, croup, whooping cough, influenza, fever, diabetes, gastro-intestinal disorders and intestinal worms.  As an inhalation for the relief of headache and nasal congestion or a lotion to treat hemorrhoids. In traditional practice, fresh leaf is inserted into the nostrils to relieve nasal congestion or placed in boiling water as a steam bath for menstrual pain or after childbirth. Warmed leaves may be applied externally as a poultice to relieve inflammation and aqueous infusions administered per rectum or applied as a lotion to treat hemorrhoids.  African Artemisia afra foliage was smoked by many Indian tribes to induce visionary states during religious ceremonies. It is a strong narcotic, analgesic and antihistamine. It is an excellent smoke or smoke-mix, reputed for its hallucinogenic effects and psychoactive properties. In Central America and the Caribbean Islands, it is dried and smoked along with Cannabis sativa as an aphrodisiac.  Volatile oils from the plant resulted in significant activity against Aspergillus ochraceus, A. niger, A. parasiticus, Candida albicans, Alternaria alternata, Geotrichum candidum, and Penicillium citrium

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_afra
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_UZ.htm
http://www.plantzafrica.com/plantab/artemisafra.htm
http://www.herbgarden.co.za/mountainherb/article_wildeals.htm

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Herbs & Plants

Khat(Catha edulis)

Botanical Name : Catha edulis
Family: Celastraceae
Genus: Catha
Species: C. edulis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Celastrales

Common Names :Bushman’s tea (Eng.; Boesmanstee (Afr.); umHlwazi (Zulu); iQgwaka (Xhosa); Khat (Arabic)

Derivation of name and historical aspects:
The generic name Catha is derived from the Arabic common name for this plant khat and the specific name edulis is a Greek word meaning ‘edible’. It is derived from the leaves of this tree being used in teas by the Bushmen, as it contains a habit-forming stimulant.

C. edulis belongs to the Celastraceae family, commonly known as the spike thorn family. The family has about 60 tree species in southern Africa, and thus counts as one of the ten largest tree families in the region. The largest genus of this family in the region is Gymnosporia. Most of the family members have spines, or are armed with spinescent shoots.

Habitat:Khat is found in woodlands and on rocky outcrops. It is scattered in KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape, mostly from the mistbelt, moving inland. It is also found in the Western Cape, Mpumalanga, Swaziland, Mozambique and through to tropical Africa and the Arab countries.

Description:
Bushman’s tea is a shrub to small tree growing up to 10 m tall. The stem is usually straight and slender, with a narrow crown. The bark is light grey, becoming darker. It is rough and often cracked. The young stems are pinkish in colour. The leaves of this tree are opposite and are hanging. They have a leathery texture and are shiny bright green on the upper surface and paler beneath. The leaf margins are strongly serrated. Leaf stalks are short and pinkish in colour.

click to see the pictures..>……(01)..(1)..(2).(3).…(4)....(5).…...
Creamy-white to greenish minute flowers are borne in leaf axils in spring. They appear in clusters. In late October, the tree bears reddish brown, three-lobed capsules. They are 10 mm long and in late summer split to release the narrowly winged seeds.

Cultivation:
C edulis can be grown from seeds that are harvested just before the fruits split. The seeds may be sown in early spring, in trays filled with compost or seeding mix. The trays should be kept moist in a well-lit warm area. The seeds can also be sown straight into the prepared ground.

Bushman’s tea also grows quickly from root cuttings. Cuttings of new roots may be taken in the growing season, and planted immediately in pots filled with compost. They may then be covered with wood chippings to preserve heat and moisture. Cuttings should not be watered until the shoots have appeared, to avoid rotting.

Medicinal Uses:
A restorative tea made from the flowers (called flowers of paradise in Yemen ) of the plant is still consumed in Arabia. Mainly used as a social drug, khat is also chewed fresh or taken in an infusion to treat ailments such as malaria. In Africa, it is taken in old age, stimulating and improving mental function.  Khat is used in Germany to counter obesity.  Khat is usually packaged in plastic bags or wrapped in banana leaves to retain its moistness and freshness. It is often sprinkled with water during transport to keep the leaves moist. Khat also may be sold as dried or crushed leaves or in powdered form.  Khat is becoming increasingly available in the US, especially in cities like New York City, LA , Boston, California, Dallas, Detroit and Buffalo. It is commonly sold in restaurants, bars, grocery stores, and smoke shops that cater to East Africans and Yemenis after its importation from Kenya, Egypt, and Arabia. Because Khat in leaf form starts to lose its potency after 48 hours, it is generally shipped to the US on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays for weekend use.

How it works: In humans, it is a stimulant producing a feeling of exaltation, a feeling of being liberated from space and time.  It may produce extreme loquacity, inane laughing, and eventually semicoma. It may also be an euphorient and used chronically can lead to a form of delirium tremens. So, Khat chewing produces a mild cocaine- or amphetamine-like euphoria that is much less potent than either substance with no reports of a rush sensation or paranoia indicated.  Up to 80% of the adult population of Yemen use Khat. Upon first chewing Khat, the initial effects were unpleasant and included dizziness, lassitude, tachycardia, and sometimes epigastric pain. Gradually more pleasant feelings replaced these inaugural symptoms. The subjects had feelings of bliss, clarity of thought, and became euphoric and overly energetic. Sometimes Khat produced depression, sleepiness, and then deep sleep. The chronic user tended to be euphoric continually.  In rare cases the subjects became aggressive and overexcited .  In animals, Khat produces excitation and increased motor activity.  What Khat does: it stimulates brain and spinal cord through synapses resulting in: – Alleviation of fatigue and reduction of depression;  Euphoria , excitation , high activity and mood; Increasing levels of alertness and ability to concentrate; Increasing of confidence, friendliness, contentment and flow of ideas; Increases motor activity; Positive sexual effects ( regarding the desire and duration of sexual intercourse according to the type and source of Khat ); Dispel feeling of hunger;  It promotes communication; Casual users claim Khat lifts spirits, sharpens thinking; Advocates of Khat use claim that it eases symptoms of diabetes, asthma, and stomach/intestinal tract disorders;  Socially, it’s used to meet people, socialize with each others, communication issues and problems solving.

Fresh Khat leaves are typically chewed like tobacco. By filling the mouth to capacity with fresh leaves the user then chews intermittently to release the active components. Chewing Khat leaves produces a strong aroma and generates intense thirst.  Its intake occurs mostly in moderation esp. in a special Yemeni style rooms designed especially for that purpose with the fine famous Yemeni-furnishing style provided with water pipes and these special rooms called ” Diwan ” which are so large and wonderful rooms. It is also prepared as a tea, an infusion of water or milk is made, and then sweetened with honey.

Other Uses:
The wood of Bushman’s tea is also used for a number of purposes. It is hard and fine-grained, and therefore is good for firewood and furniture. The bark is also used as an insect repellent and the stem for fence poles.

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/plantcd/cathedulis.htm
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_IJK.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khat
http://www.lookfordiagnosis.com/mesh_info.php?term=catha&lang=1

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