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Herbs & Plants

Vitis vinifera

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Botanical Name: Vitis vinifera
Family: Vitaceae
Genus: Vitis
Species: V. vinifera
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Vitales

Synonym: Grape Vine.

Common Name: Grape, Wine grape, Purpleleaf Grape, Common grape vine {The name vine is derived from viere (to twist), and has reference to the twining habits of the plant which is a very ancient one; in the Scriptures the vine is frequently mentioned from the time of Noah onward. Wine is recorded as an almost universal drink throughout the world from very early times. The vine is a very longlived plant. Pliny speaks of one 600 years old, and some existent in Burgundy are said to be 400 and over.}
Parts Used: Fruit, leaves, juice.

Habitat: Vitis vinifera is native to the Mediterranean region, central Europe, and southwestern Asia, from Morocco and Portugal north to southern Germany and east to northern Iran. There are currently between 5000 and 10,000 varieties of Vitis vinifera grapes though only a few are of commercial significance for wine and table grape production. It grows in riversides and damp woods. Grows on the banks of the Thames at Kew in Britain

Description:
Vitis vinifera is a deciduous Climber growing to 35 yards (32 m) tall, with flaky bark. The leaves are alternate, palmately lobed, 5–20 cm (2.0–7.9 in) long and broad. The fruit is a berry, known as a grape; in the wild species it is 6 mm (0.24 in) diameter and ripens dark purple to blackish with a pale wax bloom; in cultivated plants it is usually much larger, up to 3 cm (1.2 in) long, and can be green, red, or purple (black). The species typically occurs in humid forests and streamsides.

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Bloom Color: Yellow. Main Bloom Time: Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Irregular or sprawling, Spreading or horizontal, Variable spread. It is not frost tender. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.
Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Arbor. Prefers a deep rich moist well-drained moderately fertile loam. Grows best in a calcareous soil, but dislikes excessively chalky soils. Prefers a pH in the range 6.5 to 7 but tolerates a range from 4.3 to 8.6. Succeeds in sun or partial shade though a warm sunny sheltered position is required for the fruit to ripen. Very commonly grown in the temperate zones of the world for its edible fruit, there are many named varieties, some of which have been developed for their use as a dried fruit, others for dessert use and others for wine. Good and regular crops are a bit problematical in Britain, grapes are on the northern most limits of their range in this country and the British summer often does not provide enough heat to properly ripen the fruit. Late frosts can also damage young growth in spring, though dormant shoots are very hardy, tolerating temperatures down to about -20°c. Nonetheless, there are a number of commercial vineyards in Britain (usually producing wine grapes) and, given a suitably sunny and sheltered position, good dessert grapes can also be grown. In general it is best to grow the dessert varieties against the shelter of a south or west facing wall. There are a number of varieties that have been bred to cope with cooler summers. Grapes are very susceptible to attacks by phylloxera, this disease is especially prevalent in some areas of Europe and it almost destroyed the grape industry. However, American species of grapes that are resistant to phylloxera are now used as rootstocks and this allows grapes to be grown in areas where the disease is common. Britain is free of the disease at the present (1989) and grapes are usually grown on their own roots. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus. The flowers are intensely fragrant. Grapes grow well in the company of hyssop, chives, basil and charlock. They grow badly with radishes, both the grapes and the radishes developing an off taste. Plants climb by means of tendrils. Any pruning should be carried out in winter when the plants are dormant otherwise they bleed profusely. The cultivated grape is thought to have been derived from V. vinifera sylvestris. (Gmel.)Hegi. This form has dioecious flowers and produces small black grapes. Special Features:Attractive foliage, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.
Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Six weeks cold stratification improves the germination rate, and so stored seed is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is obtained. Germination should take place in the first spring, but sometimes takes another 12 months. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter. Plant out in early summer. Cuttings of mature wood of the current seasons growth, December/January in a frame. These cuttings can be of wood 15 – 30cm long or they can be of short sections of the stem about 5cm long with just one bud at the top of the section. In this case a thin, narrow strip of the bark about 3cm long is removed from the bottom half of the side of the stem. This will encourage callusing and the formation of roots. Due to the size of these cuttings they need to be kept in a more protected environment than the longer cuttings. Layering

Edible Uses :
Edible Parts: Flowers; Fruit; Leaves; Oil.
Edible Uses: Oil.

Fruit – raw or dried for winter use. The dried fruits are the raisins, sultanas and currants of commerce, different varieties producing the different types of dried fruit. A fully ripened fresh fruit is sweet, juicy and delicious. The fruit juice can be concentrated and used as a sweetener. This fruit is widely used in making wine. Leaves – cooked. Young leaves are wrapped around other foods and then baked, they impart a pleasant flavour. Young tendrils – raw or cooked. The flower clusters are used as a vegetable. An edible oil similar to sunflower oil is obtained from the seed. It needs to be refined before it can be eaten. A polyunsaturated oil, it is suitable for mayonnaise and cooking, especially frying. Sap – raw. Used as a drink, it has a sweet taste. The sap can be harvested in spring and early summer, though it should not be taken in quantity or it will weaken the plant. The roasted seed is a coffee substitute. Cream of tartar, also known as potassium bitartrate, a crystalline salt, is extracted from the residue of pressed grapes, and from the sediment of wine barrels. It is used in making baking powder

Constituents: The leaves gathered in June contain a mixture of cane sugar and glucose, tartaric acid, potassium bi-tartrate, quercetine, quercitrin, tannin, amidon, malic acid, gum, inosite, an uncrystallizable fermentable sugar and oxalate of calcium; gathered in the autumn they contain much more quercetine and less trace of quercitrin.

The ripe fruit juice termed ‘must’ contains sugar, gum, malic acid, potassium bi-tartrate and inorganic salts; when fermented this forms the wine of commerce.

The dried ripe fruit commonly called raisins, contain dextrose and potassium acid tartrate.

The seeds contain tannin and a fixed oil.

The juice of the unripe fruit, ‘Verjuice,’ contains malic, citric, tartaric, racemic and tannic acids, potassium bi-tartrate, sulphate of potash and lime.

Medicinal Uses:
Analgesic; Antiinflammatory; Astringent; Bach; Demulcent; Diuretic; Hepatic; Laxative; Lithontripic; Miscellany; Skin;
Stomachic.

Grapes are a nourishing and slightly laxative fruit that can support the body through illness, especially of the gastro-intestinal tract and liver. Because the nutrient content of grapes is close to that of blood plasma, grape fasts are recommended for detoxification. Analgesic. The fresh fruit is antilithic, constructive, cooling, diuretic and strengthening. A period of time on a diet based entirely on the fruit is especially recommended in the treatment of torpid liver or sluggish biliary function. The fruit is also helpful in the treatment of varicose veins, haemorrhoids and capillary fragility. The dried fruit is demulcent, cooling, mildly expectorant, laxative and stomachic. It has a slight effect in easing coughs. The leaves, especially red leaves, are anti-inflammatory and astringent. A decoction is used in the treatment of threatened abortion, internal and external bleeding, cholera, dropsy, diarrhoea and nausea. It is also used as a wash for mouth ulcers and as douche for treating vaginal discharge. Red grape leaves are also helpful in the treatment of varicose veins, haemorrhoids and capillary fragility. The leaves are harvested in early summer and used fresh or dried. The seed is anti-inflammatory and astringent. The sap of young branches is diuretic. It is used as a remedy for skin diseases and is also an excellent lotion for the eyes. The tendrils are astringent and a decoction is used in the treatment of diarrhoea. The plant is used in Bach flower remedies – the keywords for prescribing it are ‘Dominating’, ‘Inflexible’ and ‘Ambitious’.

Other Uses :
Dye; Miscellany; Oil.

A yellow dye is obtained from the fresh or dried leaves. An oil from the seed is used for lighting and as an ingredient in soaps, paints etc. Cream of tartar, extracted from the residue of pressed grapes, is used in making fluxes for soldering. Especially when growing in hotter countries than Britain, the stems of very old vines attain a good size and have been used to supply a very durable timber.

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/Vitis_vinifera
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/v/vine–09.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Vitis+vinifera

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Categories
Herbs & Plants

Poke Root

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Botanical Name :  Phytolacca americana
Family: Phytolaccaceae
Genus:     Phytolacca
Species: P. decandra
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Caryophyllales

Synonyms: Phytolacca Root. Phytolaccae Radix. Phytolacca Berry. Phytolaccae Bacca. Phytolacca Vulgaris. Phytolacca Americana. Blitum Americanum. Branching Phytolacca. Phytolaque. Garget. Pigeon Berry. Méchoacan du Canada. Bear’s Grape. Poke Weed. Raisin d’Amérique. Red-ink Plant. American Spinach. Skoke. Crowberry. Jalap. Cancer-root. American Nightshade. Pocan or Cokan. Coakum. Chongras. Morelle à Grappes. Herbe de la Laque. Amerikanische scharlachbeere. Kermesbeere. Virginian Poke. Poke Berry.

Common Name : Poke root,Pokeweed, American pokeweed, Garnet, Pigeon Berry, Poke

Habitat:
Phytolacca americana is indigenous to North America. Common in Mediterranean countries. (Northern and Central N. America. Occasionally naturalized in Britain ) It grows on the damp rich soils in clearings, woodland margins and roadsides. Disturbed areas, pastures, clearings, thickets, woodland borders and roadsides from sea level to 1400 metres.

Description:
Phytolacca is a handsome  plant growing from 3 to 9 feet high. It is indigenous, with a perennial root of large size, frequently exceeding a man’s leg in diameter, usually branched, fleshy, fibrous, whitish within, easily cut or broken, and covered with a very thin brownish bark or cuticle. When young the stem is green, but as the plant matures it becomes more or less purple. The stem is annual, about 1 inch in diameter, much branched, smooth, stout, and hollow. The leaves are opposite, scattered, ovate, entire, 5 inches long by 2 or 3 wide, smooth on both sides, with ribs underneath. The flowers are numerous, arranged in long racemes opposite the leaves. There are no petals, but 5 rounded, incurved, petaloid sepals, whitish, or greenish-white in color. Stamens 10, shorter than the sepals. Styles 10, recurved. Ovary of 10 carpels, green, and united in a ring. The fruit is a handsome, flattened, black, or blackish-purple berry, 10-seeded, and contains a beautiful crimson juice.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES….>…....(1).….…(2)..…….…..
Cultivation:
An easily grown plant, succeeding in most soils, though preferring a moisture retentive soil in full sun or partial shade. Plants can be grown in quite coarse grass, which can be cut annually in the autumn. Succeeds in an open woodland garden, growing well under trees. Whilst the dormant plant is hardy in much of Britain, the young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. A very ornamental plant, it often self sows when in a suitable position. Cultivated as a dye plant and on a small scale for its edible young shoots, there is at least one named form. ‘White Stem’ has white stems and the berries yield a golden-peach dye instead of purple. It is not yet known (1992) if it will breed true from seed. This plant is an alternative host to a number of viral diseases that affect members of the Amaryllidaceae, Liliaceae (broad view, including plants recently moved into separate families) and Solanaceae. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits.

Propagation:
Seed – sow autumn or spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. If you have sufficient seed, it might be worthwhile trying an outdoor sowing in a seed bed in early spring. Grow the plants on in the seedbed for their first year and plant them out the following spring. Division in March or October. Use a sharp spade or knife to divide the rootstock, making sure that each section has at least one growth bud. Very easy, larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.

Edible Uses :
Edible Parts: Fruit; Leaves.
Edible Uses: Colouring.

Leaves – they must be cooked and even then it is best to change the water once. They are used like spinach[183]. Only the young leaves should be used since they become toxic with age. Caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. Young shoots – cooked. An asparagus substitute, they are delicious. The shoots are sometimes blanched before using, or forced in cellars to provide an early crop. The tender clear inner portion of the stem can be rolled in cornmeal and fried. Although cultivated on a small scale in N. America for its shoots, caution is advised, see notes above. A nutritional analysis is available. Fruit – cooked and used in pies. Poisonous raw, causing vomiting and diarrhoea. Even the cooked fruits should be viewed with caution. The fruit is a berry about 12mm in diameter. A red dye is obtained from the fruit and used as a food colouring

Medicinal Uses:
Parts Used: Dried root, berries.

Constituents : Phytolaccic acid has been obtained from the berries, and tannin. In theroot a non-reducing sugar, formic acid, and a small percentage of bitter resin have been found. The alkaloid Phytolaccin may be present in small quantities, but it has not been proved. A resinoid substance is called phytolaccin. The virtues are extracted by alcohol, diluted alcohol, and water. The powder is said to be sternutatory.

Composition :
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Shoots (Dry weight)

*274 Calories per 100g
*Water : 0%
*Protein: 31g; Fat: 4.8g; Carbohydrate: 44g; Fibre: 0g; Ash: 20.2g;
*Minerals – Calcium: 631mg; Phosphorus: 524mg; Iron: 20.2mg; Magnesium: 0mg; *Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 0mg; Zinc: 0mg;
*Vitamins – A: 62mg; Thiamine (B1): 0.95mg; Riboflavin (B2): 3.93mg; Niacin: 14.3mg; B6: 0mg; C: 1619mg;

A slow emetic and purgative with narcotic properties. As an alterative it is used in chronic rheumatism and granular conjunctivitis. As an ointment, in the proportion of a drachm to the ounce, it is used in psora, tinea capitis, favus and sycosis, and other skin diseases, causing at first smarting and heat.

The slowness of action and the narcotic effects that accompany it render its use as an emetic inadvisable. It is used as a cathartic in paralysis of the bowels. Headaches of many sources are benefited by it, and both lotion and tincture are used in leucorrhoea.

The Lenape chopped the root, poured boiling water over it, and prepared a liniment to reduce swellings.  To reduce fever, they bound the fresh roots to the hands and feet.  Other tribes made a purge from the juice of the root.  The Delaware considered the roasted mashed root of Pokeweed an excellent blood purifier and stimulant.  They were aware of the toxic properties of poke root, and only very small doses were administered.  It was combined with bittersweet by other tribes and used as an ointment for chronic sores and the Pamunkey of Virginia treated rheumatism with preparations of the boiled berries.  The Mohegans of Connecticut ate the young shoots in the spring and used poultices of the mashed ripe berries to relieve sore breasts of nursing mothers.  The large root is a violent emetic and is sometimes used as a substitute for ipecac.  Pokeweed was listed officially in the United States Pharmacopeia for nearly one hundred years, from 1820 to 1916, and in the National Formulary from 1916 to 1947, where it was classed as a slow emetic, purgative and alterative. A fluid extract of the dried root was prescribed for a variety of ailments.  During the early 1900s, it was a major ingredient in a popular over-the-counter obesity remedy, Phytoline, taken six times a day, before and after each meal.  A  cancer cure  was prepared by mixing the juice of the leaves or root with gunpowder, and in the Ozark Mountains, Poke was a famous remedy for a variety of parasitic skin afflictions collectively known as  the itch.   The root was boiled into a thick paste and reputed to work very well, but was quite painful when applied.  Investigators have reported finding a mitogenic substance in Pokeweed that may prove useful in cancer research and treatment.
Poke root treats constipation and glandular and lymphatic congestion.  In the latter conditions it may be taken in regular small internal doses of the tincture of the fresh root.  Take only 2-5 drops two or three times daily.  If it cases nausea, stop and begin again with even smaller doses.  Poke is one of the best blood and lymphatic purifying herbs.  It is excellent for the treatment of cancer, tumors, arthritis and degenerative diseases, but should be used with respect and preferably in combination with other herbs in a formula to offset its powerful detoxifying effects.  Do not take more than 1 gm. per day.
As an external medicine, Poke root is used in a decoction as a wash or made into an ointment for various skin diseases such as eczema, ulcers, scabies, ringworm and other fungus infections. It has been used, in small doses, as an alterative to stimulate the metabolism and to help break up congestion in the alimentary canal, as well as in various organs including the lymph glands.  It has also been used to treat breast cancer, and the excessive swelling of breasts after childbirth which sometimes make nursing impossible.  It has often been a part of the formulas used in treating arthritis and rheumatism.

As a poultice it causes rapid suppuration in felons. The extract is said to have been used in chronic rheumatism and haemorrhoids.

Authorities differ as to its value in cancer. Great relief towards the close of a difficult case of cancer of the uterus was obtained by an external application of 3 OZ. of Poke Root and 1 OZ. of Tincture used in the strength of 1 tablespoonful to 3 pints of tepid water for bathing the part. It is also stated to be of undoubted value as an internal remedy in cancer of the breast.

The following prescription has been recommended: Fluid extracts of Phytolacca (2 OZ.), Gentian 1 OZ.) and Dandelion 1 OZ.), with Simple Syrup to make a pint. One teaspoonful may be taken after each meal.

Infused in spirits, the fruit is used in chronic rheumatism, being regarded as equal to Guaicum.

It is doubtful if the root will cure syphilis without the help of mercury.

Phytolacca decandra – Homeopathic Remedies

Other Uses:
Ink; Insecticide; Soap.

A red ink and a dye are obtained from the fruit. A beautiful colour, though it is not very permanent. It makes a good body paint, washing off easily when no longer required, though the slightly toxic nature of the berries should be remembered. The rootstock is rich in saponins and can be used as a soap substitute. Cut the root into small pieces and simmer it in boiling water to obtain the soap. The plant is currently (1980) being evaluated for its snail-killing properties.

Known Hazards: The leaves are poisonous. They are said to be safe to eat when young, the toxins developing as the plants grow older. Another report says that the seeds and root are poisonous. The plant sap can cause dermatitis in sensitive people. The plant contains substances that cause cell division and can damage chromosomes. These substances can be absorbed through any abrasions in the skin, potentially causing serious blood aberratins, and so it is strongly recommended that the people wear gloves when handling the plant. Avoid during pregnancy. Even children consume even 1 berry emergency poison treatment should be instituted. Up to 10 berries are considered harmless for adults

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/Phytolacca_decandra
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/p/pokroo57.html
http://www.henriettes-herb.com/eclectic/kings/phytolacca.html

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

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Phytolacca+americana

Categories
Healthy Tips

Extend Your Life Span with this Antioxidant

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In 2003, research showed that resveratrol, a powerful polyphenol and anti-fungal chemical, was able to increase the lifespan of yeast cells. The results ignited flames of hope for an anti-aging pill. According to the findings, resveratrol could activate a gene called sirtuin1, which is also activated during calorie restriction in various species.
Since then studies in nematode worms, fruit flies, fish, and mice have linked resveratrol to longer lives. Other studies with only resveratrol have reported anti-cancer effects, anti-inflammatory effects, cardiovascular benefits, anti-diabetes potential, energy endurance enhancement, and protection against Alzheimer’s.

Resveratrol is found in grapes and red wine, and has particularly been associated with the so-called ‘French Paradox‘ — the low incidence of heart disease and obesity among the French, despite their relatively high-calorie diet and levels of wine consumption.
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Reources:

NutraIngredients September 14, 2009
NutraIngredients September 10, 2009

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