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Herbs & Plants

Irish moss

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Botanical Name :Chondrus crispus

Family: Gigartinaceae
Genus:     Chondrus
Species: C. crispus
Domain: Eukaryota
Class:     Rhodophyceae
Order:     Gigartinales

Synonyms: Carrageen. Chondrus. Carrahan.
Common Names : Irish moss or carrageen moss

Habitat: Irish moss is a species of red algae which grows abundantly along the rocky parts of the Atlantic coast of Europe and North America.

It is common all around the shores of Ireland and Great Britain and can also be found along the coast of Europe including Iceland, the Faroe Islands  western Baltic Sea to southern Spain. It is found on the Atlantic coasts of Canada and recorded from California in the United States to Japan.However, any distribution outside the Northern Atlantic needs to be verified. There are also other species of the same genus in the Pacific Ocean, for example, C. ocellatus Holmes, C. nipponicus Yendo, C. yendoi Yamada et Mikami, C. pinnulatus (Harvey) Okamura and C. armatus (Harvey) Yamada et Mikami

Description:
Irish moss is a small perennial thallophyte, reaching up to a little over than 20 cm in length. It grows from a discoid holdfast and branches four or five times in a dichotomous, fan-like manner. The morphology is highly variable, especially the broadness of the thalli. The branches are 2–15 mm broad, firm in texture and dark reddish brown in color bleaching to yellowish in sunlight. The gametophytes (see below) often show a blue iridescence and fertile sporophytes show a spotty pattern. Mastocarpus stellatus (Stackhouse) Guiry is a similar species which can be readily distinguished by its strongly channelled and often somewhat twisted thallus. The cystocarpic plants of Mastocarpus show reproductive papillae[clarification needed] quite distinctively different from Chondrus. When washed and sun-dried for preservation, it has a yellowish, translucent, horn-like aspect and consistency.

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Medicinal Uses:

Part Used: Plant, dried.

Constituents: It contains a large amount of mucilage with the presence of a big percentage of sulphur compounds.

Demulcent, emollient, nutritive. A popular remedy made into a jelly for pulmonary complaints and kidney and bladder affections. Can be combined with cocoa. The decoction is made by steeping 1/2 OZ. of the Moss in cold water for 15 minutes and then boiling it in 3 pints of milk or water for 10 or 15 minutes, after which it is strained and seasoned with liquorice, lemon or cinnamon and sweetened to taste. It can be taken freely.

Other Uses:
Chondrus crispus is an industrial source of carrageenan, which is commonly used as a thickener and stabilizer in milk products such as ice cream and processed foods, including lunch meat. In Europe, it is indicated as E407 or E407b. It may also be used as a thickener in calico-printing and for fining beer or wine. Irish moss is frequently mixed with Mastocarpus stellatus (Gigartina mammillosa), Chondracanthus acicularis (G. acicularis) and other seaweeds with which it is associated in growth. Carrageenan and agar-agar are also used in Asia for gelatin-like desserts, such as almond jelly. Presently, the major source of carrageenan is tropical seaweeds of the genera Kappaphycus and Eucheuma.

In parts of Scotland (where it is known as (An) Cairgean in Scottish Gaelic) and Ireland, it is boiled in milk and strained, before sugar and other flavourings such as vanilla, cinnamon, brandy or whisky are added. The end-product is a kind of jelly similar to pannacotta, tapioca, or blancmange.  Similarly, in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago Gracilaria spp is boiled with cinnamon and milk to make a thick drink called Irish Moss that is believed to be an aphrodisiac. In Venezuela it has been used for generations as a home remedy for sore throat and chest congestion, boiled in milk and served with honey before bed.

Irish moss is commonly used as a clarifying agent in the process of brewing (beer), particularly in homebrewing. A small amount is boiled with the wort, attracting proteins and other solids, which is then removed from the mixture after cooling.

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.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/m/mosiri53.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chondrus_crispus

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Herbs & Plants

Dulse

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Botanical Name : Rhodymenia palmata
Family: Palmariaceae
Genus: Palmaria
Species: P. palmata
Domain: Eukaryota
Division: Rhodophyta
Class: Florideophyceae
Order: Palmariales

Synonym:Palmaria palmata (Linnaeus) Kuntze

Common Name ;Dulse, dillisk, dilsk, red dulse, sea lettuce flakes or creathnach

Habitat : Dulse is the only species of Palmaria found on the coast of Atlantic Europe. It is to be found from Portugal to the B altic coasts also on the coasts of Iceland and the Faroe Islands. It also grows on the shores of Arctic Russia, Arctic Canada, Atlantic Canada, Alaska, Japan and Korea. The records from California are of Palmaria mollis which is considered a different species.

It grows on the northern coasts of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. It is a well-known snack food, and in Iceland, where it is known as söl, it has been an important source of fiber throughout the centuries.

Description:
Dulse  grows attached by its discoid holdfast to the stipes of Laminaria or to rocks. It has a short stipe, the fronds are variable and vary in colour from deep-rose to reddish-purple and are rather leathery in texture. The flat foliose blade gradually expands and divides into broad segments ranging in size to 50 cm long and 30 – 8 cm in width which can bear flat wedge-shaped proliferations from the edge.

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Reddish brown, membranous or leathery, flattened fronds, 50-300 (rarely –1000) mm long, arising from a discoid base, usually with a small stipe expanding gradually to form simple or dichotomously and palmately divided fronds, often with characteristic marginal leaflets. Blade very variable in shape, having broadly ovate to narrowly linear segments.

The reference to Rhodymenia palmata var.mollis in Abbott & Hollenberg (1976), is now considered to refer to a different species: Palmaria mollis (Setchel et Gardner) van der Meer et Bird.

Dulse is similar to another seaweed Dilsea carnosa (Schmidel) Kuntze, Dilsea, however, is more leathery with blades up to 30 cm long and 20 cm wide. Unlike Palmaria palmata it is not branched and does not have proliferations or branches from the edge of the frond. The older blades may split however

Edible Uses;
Dulse is a good source of minerals and vitamins compared with other vegetables, contains all trace elements needed by humans, and has a high protein content.

It is commonly found from June to September and can be picked by hand when the tide is out. When picked, small snails, shell pieces and other small particles can be washed or shaken off and the plant then spread to dry. Some gatherers may turn it once and roll it into large bales to be packaged later. It is also used as fodder for animals in some countries.

Dulse is commonly used in Ireland, Iceland, Atlantic Canada and the Northeast United States both as food and medicine. It can be found in many health food stores or fish markets and can be ordered directly from local distributors. In Ballycastle, Ireland, it is traditionally sold at the Ould Lammas Fair. It is particularly popular along the Causeway Coast. Although a fast-dying tradition,[citation needed] there are many who still gather their own dulse. In South West Ireland, as in County Antrim, it is eaten dried and uncooked in a manner similar to that in which one would eat snacks at a drinks party. It is also used in cooking. (Its properties are similar to those of a flavor-enhancer). It is commonly referred to as dillisk on the west coast of Ireland. Dillisk is usually dried and sold as a snack food from stalls in seaside towns by periwinkle-sellers.

Waste pipes have spoiled some sites.

Fresh dulse can be eaten directly off the rocks before sun-drying. Sun-dried dulse is eaten as is or is ground to flakes or a powder. In Iceland the tradition is to eat it with butter. It can also be pan fried quickly into chips, baked in the oven covered with cheese, with salsa, or simply microwaved briefly. It can also be used in soups, chowders, sandwiches and salads, or added to bread/pizza dough. Finely diced, it can also be used as a flavour enhancer in meat dishes, such as chili, in place of monosodium glutamate.

Medicinal Uses:

Dulse contains iodine, which prevents goiter.

In several traditions of European herbal medicine, dulse was used to remove parasites, to relieve constipation, and as a treatment for scurvy. It is a superior source of the iodine the body needs to make the thyroid hormones thyroxine and triiodothyronine which affect weight and metabolic rate.  The complex polysaccharides in the herb make it a gentle alternative to psyllium or senna in the treatment of constipation.

Externally, the fresh blades can be used to treat skin diseases, headaches, and to help expel placenta. It is used as a gentle laxative. Dulse has also been used to help prevent fibroid tumors of the breasts, the uterus or the ovaries and in cases of swollen lumps or enlargements of the intestinal area. Natural, organically-bond iodine extracts from Dulse are used for the treatment and prevention of thyroid disease, and clinical trials on daily molecular iodine supplementation have shown that cyclical breast lumps and cysts are completely resolved within two months. The iodine in Dulse can also prevent goiter.

Dulse has an alkalizing effect on the blood that neutralizes wastes that build up in the body and also aids in removing radioactive and heavy metals from the body. It also prevents the absorption from the gut by binding these elements, which include radioactive strontium, barium, and cadmium. This is done by transforming them into harmless salts (via a substance called alginic acid) that are easily eliminated. Dulse has elements to eliminate excess uric acid from the system and has been used for genitourinary problems such as kidney, bladder, prostrate, and uterus.  Clinical documentation shows that taking some each day can reduce enlarged prostrates in older men and urination can become painless.

Seaweeds may reduce the risk of poisoning from environmental pollution by providing fiber that increases fecal bulk and also reduces cholesterol levels through the retardation of bile acid absorption. Recent research has suggested that Dulse may help reverse hardening of the arteries, reduce high blood pressure, regress and prevent tumors  Research has shown that Dulse extracts inhibited HeLa cell proliferation that is found in human cervical adenocarcinoma and has also been found in animal studies to reduce the risk of intestinal and mammary cancer.

It has been used to treat the problems associated with thyroid malfunction. Liquid Dulse can help to soothe an irritated throat and mucous membranes. It has been used for enlarged thyroid and lymph nodes, swollen and painful testes and to reduce edema. Seaweeds are used to promote wound healing. New generation dressings such as the hydrocolloid dressings are seaweed base as they provide optimal conditions for healing to begin.  It is known to prevent seasickness. Thus it should be of value in other conditions where motion sickness is the cause such as vertigo and labrynthitis or Meniere’s Disease.

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

http://www.horta.uac.pt/species/Algae/Palmaria_palmata/Palmaria_palmata.htm

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Herbs & Plants

Angelica (Angelica archangelica)

 

.Botanic Name:Angelica archangelica
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Angelica
Species: A. archangelica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales

Synonyms:  Archangelica officinalis Hoffm., and Archangelica officinalis var. himalaica C.B.Clarke.

Common Names: Garden Angelica, Holy Ghost, Wild Celery, and Norwegian angelica
Habitat:  Angelica  is native to Europe. Naturalized in Britain. It  grows wild in Russia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Greenland, the Faroe Islands, and Iceland, mostly in the northern parts of the countries. It grows best in shady places. Not to be confused with the toxic Pastinaca sativa, or Wild Parsnip.
Etymology:
Archangelica comes from the Greek word “arkhangelos” (=arch-angel), due to the myth that it was the angel Gabriel who told of its use as medicine.

In Finnish it is called  vainonputki, in Kalaallisut kuanneq, in Northern Sami fadnu, boska and rassi, in English garden angelica, in German arznei-engelwurz, in Dutch grote engelwortel, in Swedish kvanne, in Norwegian kvann and in Icelandic it has the name hvönn.

Description :   Angelica archangelica is a biennial  plant.    This large variety is also known as Archangelica officianalis. The roots are long and spindle-shaped, thick and fleshy and have many long, descending rootlets. The stems grow 4 to 6 feet high and are hollow. The leaves are bright green and the edges are finely toothed or serrated. The flowers are small and numerous, yellowish or greenish in color, are grouped into large, globular
umbels. After blooming, they are succeeded by pale yellow, oblong fruits, 1/6 to 1/4 inch in length when ripe. Both the odor and taste of the fruits are similar to honey.
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During its first year it only grows leaves, but during its second year its fluted stem can reach a height of two metres. Its leaves are composed of numerous small leaflets, divided into three principal groups, each of which is again subdivided into three lesser groups. The edges of the leaflets are finely toothed or serrated. The flowers, which blossom in July, are small and numerous, yellowish or greenish in colour, are grouped into large, globular umbels, which bear pale yellow, oblong fruits.

Cultivation: Although angelica is naturally biennial, the plants are perennial if they are prevented from setting seed. It will flower in its second year and then die off.
Seeds should be sown as soon as possible after removing them from the plant. Directly sow the seeds outdoors or start seeds indoors. If they must be stored, seal them in a plastic container, and store the container in the refrigerator.
Plant angelica in the coolest part of the garden. The soil should be deep, rich, moist and slightly acid. Soggy soil will cause the plants to die. Transplant seedlings when they have four to six leaves. They have long taproots, so don’t delay transplanting too long. Mulch and water well if the weather gets hot and dry. Fertilize in spring and midsummer.

Edible Uses :
Edible Parts: Leaves; Root; Seed; Stem.
Edible Uses: Condiment.

Leaves – raw or cooked. A liquorice-like flavour, they can be used as a flavouring in mixed salads. They are also used to sweeten tart fruits. Stalks and young shoots – cooked or raw. The stalks should be peeled, they can be used like celery. They can also be used to sweeten tart fruits and to make jam. They are often crystallised in sugar and used as sweets and cake decorations. The stems are best harvested in the spring. An essential oil is obtained from the root and seeds, it is used as a food flavouring. Root – cooked. Seed – used as a flavouring in liqueurs such as Chartreuse. A tea can be made from the leaves, seed or roots.

Usage/History
From the 10th century on, angelica was cultivated as a vegetable and medicinal plant, and achieved great popularity in Scandinavia in the 12th century and is still used today, especially in Sami culture. A flute-like instrument with a clarinet-like sound can be made of its hollow stem, probably as a toy for children. Linnaeus reported that Sami peoples used it in reindeer milk. Other usages include spices.

In 1602, angelica was introduced in Niort, which had just been ravaged by the plague, and it has been popular there ever since. It is used to flavour liqueurs or aquavits (e.g. Chartreuse, Bénédictine, Vermouth and Dubonnet), omelettes and trout, and as jam. The long bright green stems are also candied and used as decoration.

Angelica contains a variety of chemicals which have been shown to have medicinal properties. Chewing on angelica or drinking tea brewed from it will cause local anesthesia, but it will heighten the consumer’s immune system. It has been shown to be effective against various bacteria, fungal infections and even viral infections.
The essential oil of the roots of ‘Angelica archangelica contains β-terebangelene, C10H16, and other terpenes; the oil of the seeds also contains β-terebangelene, together with methylethylacetic acid and hydroxymyristic acid.

Angelica seeds and angelica roots are sometimes used in making absinthe.

Medicinal Properties:
Appetizer, carminative, emmenagogue, expectorant, stimulant, stomachic, tonic. The seeds are also said to be diaphoretic and diuretic.
Main Medicinal Uses: Angelica has recently become a very popular herb in the United States, and is often recommended by herbalists as a treatment for flatulence and stomach pains, and as a stimulant to invigorate circulation and warm the body. The most common use of angelica is as an emmenagogue to promote menstrual flow and help regulate irregular menstrual cycles.
Angelica has also been used for bronchitis, coughs, colds, lungs and chest, heartburn, gas, rheumatic complaints (especially the legs), sluggish liver and spleen, pleurisy, and strengthening the heart.
Take angelica tea or tincture to stimulate appetite, to relieve flatulence and muscle spasms, and to stimulate kidney action. It is useful for all sorts of stomach and intestinal difficulties, including ulcers and vomiting with stomach cramps. It can also by used for intermittent fever, nervous headache, colic, and general weakness. Externally, angelica salve can be used as a beneficial skin lotion and also to help relieve rheumatic pains. As a bath additive, angelica is said to be good for the nerves. A decoction of the root can be applied to the skin for scabies or itching and also to wounds. As a compress it can by used for gout.

An old remedy for flatulence directed that the stalks e slowly chewed until the condition was relieved which may have been good advice, as it has been found that one of angelica’s constituents is pectin, an enzyme which acts on digesting food.  This herb is a useful expectorant for coughs, bronchitis and pleurisy, especially when they are accompanied by fever, colds or influenza.  The leaf can be used as a compress in inflammations of the chest.  Its content of carminative essential oil explains its use in easing intestinal colic and flatulence.  As a digestive agent it stimulates appetite and may be used in anorexia nervosa.  It has been shown to help ease rheumatic inflammations.  In cystitis it acts as a urinary antiseptic.  Angelica has proved itself to relieve muscle spasms of asthma and it’s been used to regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle, especially after extended use of birth control pills or an intrauterine device.   Combine with coltsfoot and white horehound for bronchial problems and with chamomile for indigestion, flatulence and loss of appetite.  The leaves are used in the bath to stimulate the skin. Angelica salve is helpful in cases of chronic rhinitis and sinusitis because it dissolves mucus and warms. Apply it twice daily to the area of the paranasal sinuses, forehead, root of the nose, nose, cheeks and angle of the jaw.  Angelica contains at least 14 anti-arrhythmic compounds, one of which is said to be as active as verapamil (Calan, Isoptin), a popular calcium channel blocker.  Because of its aromatic bitter properties, this plant is much used in bitters and liqueurs such as Benedictine and Chartreuse.  The volatile oil has carminative properties, counteracting flatulence, so that the action of this plant comes close to that of wormwood in this respect, a plant mainly used to treat gallbladder disease.

Other Uses:  An essential oil from the root and seeds is used in perfumery, medicinally and as a food flavouring. The oil from the seeds has a musk-like aroma and is often used to flavour liqueurs. The dried root contains 0.35% essential oil, the seed about 1.3%. Yields of the essential oil vary according to location, plants growing at higher altitudes have higher yields with a better aroma.

Known Hazards:      All members of this genus contain furocoumarins, which increase skin sensitivity to sunlight. May cause contact dermatitis.

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/Garden_Angelica
http://www.indianspringherbs.com/Angelica.htm

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Angelica+archangelica

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