Categories
Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Maranta arundinaceae (Arrowroot)

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

Synonyms:

*Maranta indica Tussac
*Maranta minor Chantrier ex André
*Maranta ramosissima Wall.
*Maranta sylvatica Roscoe ex Sm.
*Maranta tessellata var. kegeljanii E.Morren
*Phrynium variegatum N.E.Br., nom. illeg.

Comon Names: Arrowroot, Maranta, West Indian arrowroot, Obedience plant, Bermuda arrowroot, Araru, Ararao or Hulankeeriya
Habitat: Maranta arundinacea is native to Mexico, Central America, the West Indies (Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Trinidad, Lesser Antilles) and South America (Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Suriname, Guyana, French Guiana). It is widely cultivated in the many warm countries and is considered naturalized in Jamaica, Bahamas, Bermuda, the Netherlands Antilles, India, Sri Lanka, China (Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan, Taiwan, Yunnan), Kazan Rett?, Mauritius, Réunion, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Florida, Cambodia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

The Caribbean island nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is the world’s largest grower of arrowroot and producer of arrowroot flour. In Kerala , India, arrowroot, locally called bilathi koova, is cultivated to produce an easily digestible starch.

The arrowroot plant probably originated in the Amazon rainforest of north-western Brazil and neighboring countries. It grows best between temperatures of 23 °C (73 °F) and 29 °C (84 °F) with annual precipitation between 1,500 millimetres (59 in) and 2,000 millimetres (79 in). The dormant rhizomes can withstand temperatures as low as 5 °C (41 °F).

In the United States, arrowroot is cultivated as an outside plant only in southern Florida

Parts Used:  Fecula (starch) of the tuberous root.

Description:
Arrowroot is a perennial plant growing to a height of between .3 metres (12 in) and 1.5 metres (59 in). Its leaves are lanceolate. The edible part of the plant is the rhizome. Twin clusters of small white flowers bloom about 90 days after planting. The plant rarely produces seed and reproduction is typically by planting part of a rhizome with a bud. Rhizomes are ready for harvesting 10–12 months after planting as leaves of the plant begin to wilt and die. The rhizomes are fleshy, cylindical, and grow from 20 centimetres (7.9 in) to 45 centimetres (18 in) long.
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Edible Uses:
Arrowroot was very popular in the Victorian era, and Napoleon supposedly said the reason for the British love of arrowroot was to support the commerce of their colonies. It can be consumed in the form of biscuits, puddings, jellies, cakes, hot sauces, and also with beef tea, milk or veal broth. Kudzu arrowroot (Pueraria lobata) is used in noodles in Korean and Vietnamese cuisine. In the Victorian era it was used, boiled with a little flavouring added, as an easily digestible food for children and people with dietary restrictions. With today’s greater understanding of its limited nutritional properties, it is no longer used in this way. In Burma, arrowroot tubers, which are called artarlut, are boiled or steamed and eaten with salt and oil.

Arrowroot makes clear, shimmering fruit gels and prevents ice crystals from forming in homemade ice cream. It can also be used as a thickener for acidic foods, such as Asian sweet and sour sauce. It is used in cooking to produce a clear, thickened sauce, such as a fruit sauce. It will not make the sauce go cloudy, like cornstarch, flour, or other starchy thickening agents would.

The lack of gluten in arrowroot flour makes it useful as a replacement for wheat flour in some baking uses. Like other pure starches, however, arrowroot is almost pure carbohydrates and devoid of protein, thus it does not provide a complete substitute for wheat flour for bread-making, which requires gluten.

Arrowroot thickens at a lower temperature than flour or cornstarch, is not weakened by acidic ingredients, has a more neutral taste, and is not affected by freezing. It does not mix well with dairy, forming a slimy mixture. It is recommended that arrowroot be mixed with a cool liquid before adding to a hot fluid. The mixture should be heated only until the mixture thickens and removed immediately to prevent the mixture from thinning. Overheating tends to break down arrowroot’s thickening property. Two teaspoons of arrowroot can be substituted for one tablespoon of cornstarch, or one teaspoon of arrowroot for one tablespoon of wheat flour.
Constituents:
An 1887 analysis of the root of the St. Vincent Arrowroot gave starch 27.17 per cent, fibre, fat, albumen, sugar, gum, ash, and 62.96 per cent water.

Of the starch was given: starch 83’70 per cent., fibre, fat, sugar, gum, ash and sand, and water 15.87 per cent.

The official granules, according to Pereira, are ‘rarely oblong, somewhat ovate-oblong, or irregularly convex, from 10 to 70 microns in diameter, with very fine lamellae, a circular hilium which is fissured in a linear or stellate manner.’

Medicinal Uses:
Arrowroot is chiefly valuable as an easily digested, nourishing diet for convalescents, especially in bowel complaints, as it has demulcent properties. In the proportion of a tablespoonful to a pint of water or milk, it should be prepared by being first made into a smooth paste with a little cold milk or water, and then carefully stirred while the boiling milk is added. Lemon-juice, sugar, wine, or aromatics may be added. If thick, it will cool into a jelly that usually suits weaning infants better than other farinaceous foods.

It is said that the mashed rhizomes are used for application to wounds from poisoned arrows, scorpion and black spider bites, and to arrest gangrene.

The freshly-expressed juice, mixed with water, is said to be a good antidote, taken internally, for vegetable poisons, such as Savanna.

Arrowroot has been used as an infant formula in place of breast milk or to help the baby adjust after weaning. A jelly made from arrowroot is often preferred by recently weaned infants to infant cereal or other farinaceous foods. Compared to other starches, arrowroot is believed to be the easiest to digest.

It is believed that the herb is an effective treatment against poisoned wounds, including scorpion stings, snake bites, and spider bites. Additionally, arrowroot has been used to treat gangrene.

Fresh arrowroot juice mixed with water, if drunk, is said to be an antidote to vegetable poisons.

The plant is used as an herbal remedy to alleviate nausea and to replenish nutrients lost through diarrhea and vomiting.

Used as a foot powder to combat excess moisture that may lead to athlete’s foot or other foot problems. Arrowroot does not have antifungal properties, so its use is restricted to moisture control alone.

Potential Side Effects of Arrowroot:

As with any herbal remedy, caution should be exercised when taking arrowroot. While a doctor should always be consulted before using herbal remedies, use special caution before giving it to children, pregnant or nursing mothers, or anyone with kidney or liver disease.

If considering arrowroot for an infant formula, consult the child’s pediatrician first and monitor closely for allergic reactions.

There are no known side effects linked to arrowroot, and it is not known to have any adverse interactions with drugs or chemicals in food.

When using the herb to alleviate diarrhea, it should not be taken with any other medication or supplement for diarrhea, as this may lead to constipation.

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/Maranta_arundinacea
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arrowroot
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/a/arrow064.html
http://www.herbal-supplement-resource.com/arrowroot-herb.html

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Aconitum heterophyllum

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Botanical Name : Aconitum heterophyllum
Family: Ranunculaceae
Tribe: Delphinieae
Genus: Aconitum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ranunculales

Synonyms:
Aruna, Ardra, Upavisa, Kasaya Krsna, Ghuna Vallabha, Candri, Pita Vallabha, Prati Visa, Bhangura, Madhya-deastha, Mahausadha, Madri, Mrdvi, Rakta, Visva, Visama, Visa,sisubhaisajya, Suka Kanda, Sukla Kanda, Srngika, Syama Kanda, sveta, Sveta Kanda, sveta vaca

Common Names:
Names in different languages:

Marathi……..Ati Vish
Persian………Vajjcturki
Punjabi……..Atis
Tamil…………Ati Vidayam
Telugu……….Ati Vasa
Bengali……..Ataich
English……….Indian Atees
Gujarati………Ativakhani Kali.
Hindi…………..Atis, Atvika
Kannada………Ati Visha
Malayalam…….Ati Vidayam

Habitat : Aconitum heterophyllum is native to E. Asia – W. Himalayas. Usually found on humus-rich soils in the alpine and subalpine zones, and in forests, 2300 – 2900 metres.
Description:
Aconitum heterophyllum is a perennial plant growing to 1.5 m (5ft). Roots, biennial, paired, tuberous; conical or cylindrical 4-10 cm long, 0.75-3 cm thick.Stem erect.Roots biennial, paired, tuberous; whitish or grey. Stem erect, simple or branched, from 15-20 cm high. glabrous below, finely crispo-pubescent in the upper part.

Leaves heteromorphous, glabrous: lowest on long petioles (13cm); blade orbicular- cordate or ovate-cordate in outline with a usually narrow sinus (1-1.5 cm deep); usually 5- lobed to the middle, amplexicaul.

Inflorescence slender raceme or a lax, leafy panicle, crispo-pubescent; Sepals bluish or violet (rarely whitish); navicular obliquely erect, shortly or obscurely beaked, 18-20 mm high, 8-9 mm wide. Carpels 5, elliptic-oblong. Follicles contagious, linear-oblong, straight, 16-18 mm long.

Seeds pyramidal, 3-4 mm long, blackish brown.

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It is in flower from Aug to September, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. and are pollinated by Bees.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.
Cultivation:
Thrives in most soils and in the light shade of trees. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers a moist soil in sun or semi-shade. Prefers a calcareous soil. Grows well in open woodlands. The roots of this plant are extensively collected from the wild for medicinal use and the species is becoming much rarer in many areas of its range. Members of this genus seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits and deer. A greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby species, especially legumes.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. The seed can be stratified and sown in spring but will then be slow to germinate. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer. Division – best done in spring but it can also be done in autumn. Another report says that division is best carried out in the autumn or late winter because the plants come into growth very early in the year

Edible Uses: Leaves and root – cooked. This report should be treated with great distrust due to the poisonous nature of the genus, but see the notes  below on known hazards.

Chemical Constituents:
Atidine , hetisine, heteratisine ,Diterpene alkaloids , heterophylline, heterophylline ,heterophyllidine heterophyllisine, hetidine, atidine & ,Atisenol, a new entatisene diterpenoid lactone from roots.

F-dishydrçatisine, hetidine, hetisinone, heteratisine, hetisine, benzylleteratisine, beta —sitosterol, carotene and 3— isoatisine from rhizomes.

Medicinal Uses:
Analgesic; Antiinflammatory; Antiperiodic; Aphrodisiac; Astringent; Cholagogue; Febrifuge; Tonic.

The dried root is analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antiperiodic, aphrodisiac, astringent, cholagogue, febrifuge and tonic. It is used in India in the treatment of dyspepsia, diarrhoea and coughs. It is also used in Tibetan medicine, where it is said to have a bitter taste and a cooling potency. It is used to treat poisoning from scorpion or snake bites, the fevers of contagious diseases and inflammation of the intestines. The root is best harvested in the autumn as soon as the plant dies down and is dried for later use. This is a very poisonous plant and should only be used with extreme caution and under the supervision of a qualified practitioner.

External uses:

The crushed eaves, mixed with saindhav are applied focally. The seeds crushed in honey are applied locally on throat, in tonsillitis. Nasal insufflations of roots is beneficial in headache (especially migraine).

Internal uses:

Respiratory system : The juice of roots along with milk is an expectorant Root powder is given orally in cervical lymphadenitis.

Digestive system : Seed and root are used in ascites. Seeds are laxative.

Urinary system : The seeds are diuretic, the root decoction reduces burning of urinary tract. It increases volume of urine,

Reproductive system : Root is used in sperrnatorrhoea. The decoction of roots is also used in burning of vagina.

Circulatory system : The juice of leaves along with juice of zingier reduce perspiration.

Known Hazards:  The whole plant is highly toxic – simple skin contact has caused numbness in some people. One report says that this plant does not contain the toxic alkaloid aconitine, and so is not poisonous. It does, however, still contain an intensely bitter alkaloid.

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/Aconitum
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Aconitum+heterophyllum
http://www.indianmedicinalplants.info/d2/Aconitum-heterophyllum(Ativisa%20).html

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Ilex vomitoria

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Botanical Name : Ilex vomitoria
Family: Aquifoliaceae
Genus: Ilex
Species: I. vomitoria
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Aquifoliales

Common Names: Yaupon or Yaupon holl (The word yaupon was derived from its Catawban name, yopún, which is a diminutive form of the word yop, meaning “tree”. )

The ceremony included vomiting, and Europeans incorrectly believed that it was Ilex vomitoria that caused it (hence the Latin name). The active ingredients, like those of the related yerba mate and guayusa plants, are actually caffeine and theobromine, and the vomiting either was learned or resulted from the great quantities in which they drank the beverage coupled with fasting. Others believe the Europeans improperly assumed the black drink to be the tea made from Ilex vomitoria when it was likely an entirely different drink made from various roots and herbs and did have emetic properties.

Habitat : Ilex vomitoria is native to North America from Maryland south to Florida and west to Oklahoma and Texas. A disjunct population occurs in the Mexican state of Chiapas. It generally occurs in coastal areas in well-drained sandy soils, and can be found on the upper edges of brackish and salt marshes, sandy hammocks, coastal sand dunes, inner-dune depressions, sandhills, maritime forests, nontidal forested wetlands, well-drained forests and pine flatwoods.

Description:
Yaupon holly is an evergreen shrub or small tree reaching 5–9 meters tall, with smooth, light gray bark and slender, hairy shoots. The leaves are alternate, ovate to elliptical with a rounded apex and crenate or coarsely serrated margin, 1-4.5 cm long and 1–2 cm broad, glossy dark green above, slightly paler below. The flowers are 5–5.5 mm diameter, with a white four-lobed corolla. The fruit is a small round, shiny, and red (occasionally yellow) drupe 4–6 mm diameter containing four pits, which are dispersed by birds eating the fruit. The species may be distinguished from the similar Ilex cassine by its smaller leaves with a rounded, not acute apex.
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Cultivation:
Succeeds in most soils so long as they are not water-logged. This species is not fully hardy in Britain, the plants are incapable of withstanding our hardest winters. A slow-growing species in the wild, often forming dense thickets from root suckers. The leaves remain on the plant for 2 – 3 years, falling just before the appearance of new leaves in the spring. Flowers are produced on the current year’s growth. Resents root disturbance, especially as the plants get older. It is best to place the plants into their permanent positions as soon as possible, perhaps giving some winter protection for their first year or two. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame. It can take 18 months to germinate. Stored seed generally requires two winters and a summer before it will germinate and should be sown as soon as possible in a cold frame. Scarification, followed by a warm stratification and then a cold stratification may speed up the germination time[78, 80]. The seedlings are rather slow-growing. Pot them up into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame for their first year. It is possible to plant them out into a nursery bed in late spring of the following year, but they should not be left here for more than two years since they do not like being transplanted. Alternatively, grow them on in their pots for a second season and then plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Give them a good mulch and some protection for their first winter outdoors. Cuttings of almost ripe wood with a heel, August in a shaded position in a cold frame. Leave for 12 months before potting up. Layering in October. Takes 2 years
Edible Uses: Native Americans used the leaves and stems to brew a tea, commonly thought to be called asi or black drink for male-only purification and unity rituals.

A mildly stimulating beverage containing caffeine is made from the dried and roasted leaves. The tea is stimulating and intoxicating. The leaves are first steeped in cold and then in boiling water. They are also used to flavour ice cream and soft drinks.

In 2013 a company in Cat Spring, Texas began selling yaupon tea online for people interested in the local food movement. Other companies have opened in Florida and Georgia

Medicinal Uses: A decoction of the leaves is emetic. The plant was used ritually by several N. American Indian tribes. The leaves were toasted over a fire and then boiled for several hours. The resulting thick black liquid was then drunk and this was followed by immediate vomiting. This was often used a a purification rite prior to hunting.

Other Uses: Ornamental
Ilex vomitoria is a common landscape plant in the Southeastern United States. The most common cultivars are slow-growing shrubs popular for their dense, evergreen foliage and their adaptability to pruning into hedges of various shapes. These include:

* ‘Folsom Weeping’ — weeping cultivar
* ‘Grey’s Littleleaf’/’Grey’s Weeping’ — weeping cultivar
* ‘Nana’/’Compacta’ — dwarf female clone usually remaining below 1 m in height.
* ‘Pride of Houston’ — female clone similar to type but featuring improvements in form, fruiting, and foliage.
* ‘Schilling’s Dwarf’/’Stokes Dwarf’ — dwarf male clone that grows no more than 0.6 m tall and 1.2 m wide.
* ‘Will Flemming’ — male clone featuring a columnar growth habit.

This species is occasionally used for hedging in the southern states of America. Wood – hard, heavy, strong, close grained. It weighs 46lb per cubic foot. Too small for commercial exploitation, the wood is used locally for turnery, inlay work, woodenware etc.

Known Hazards:
Although no specific reports of toxicity have been seen for this species, the fruits of at least some members of this genus contain saponins and are slightly toxic. They can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and stupor if eaten in quantity. The fruit is poisonous.

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/Ilex_vomitoria
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_UZ.htm
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Ilex+vomitoria

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Feather Bells

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BOTANICAL NAME: :Stenanthium gramineum
FAMILY: Liliaceae/Melanthiaceae
GENUS:Stenanthium
KINGDOM:Plantae
ORDER:Liliales
COMMON NAME : Feather bells,Featherfleece and grass-leaved lily.
SYNONYMS: Stenanthium robustum S. Wats. (= var. robustum (S. Wats.) Fern.

HABITAT: Moist rocky woods, rich wooded slopes; most frequent on acid soils. Mostly found in north America

DESCRIPTION:  
Feather Bells is  a Perennial  plantt and the  height is 3 to 5 feet .Flower is small white to green on branched cluster up to 2 feet long. Each flower has three pointed petals and three sepals (longer than their width); flowers on lateral branches are mostly staminate   Stems arising from bulbous base are leafy below, reduced upwards to panicle, 0.25-1.9 m; flowers and fruits June-Sept.

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Flowering Season: Summer into fall
Foliage: Long, narrow grasslike leaves are folded lengthwise; most numerous near the base
Site: Moist meadows, bogs, deciduous forests

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SIMILAR SPECIES: This genus, with only one species in Ohio, is very distinctive with its long grass-like leaves, panicled inflorescence and many smallish white flowers. Two types of flowers are present. Flowers of panicle branches are staminate, whereas flowers of the terminal unbranched axis are perfect.

Resources:
http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/factsheets/wildflowers/stenanthium_gramineum.html
http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/dnap/Abstracts/s/stengram/tabid/1619/Default.aspx

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