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Herbs & Plants

Laserpitum latifolia

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Botanical Name:Laserpitum latifolia
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Laserpitium
Species: L. latifolium
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales

Synonym: White Gentian.

Common Name :Bastard lovage,Broad-leaved sermountain

Vernacular Names :Deutsch: Breitblättriges Laserkraut · français: Laser à feuilles larges · lietuvi?: Pla?ialapis begalis · polski: Okrzyn szerokolistny · svenska: Spenört ·

Habitat: Laserpitum latifolia is widespread in most of Europe except Albania, Great Britain, Greece, Ireland, the Netherlands and Portugal. It has been introduced in Belgium.It grows in mountain dry forests, on grassy slopes, on the sunny edges of woods or in meadows. It prefers calcareous soils and a nutrient-rich substrate, at an altitude of 400–2,100 metres (1,300–6,900 ft) above sea level.

Description:
Laserpitum latifolia is an herbaceous perennial plant. It reaches on average 50–150 centimetres (20–59 in) of height. The inflorescence has a diameter of 10–15 centimetres (3.9–5.9 in). The stem is green-grayish, round, erect and lightly grooved, branched on the top. Leaves are quite large, biternate and petiolated, with a prominent central rib. Leaflets are ovate or heart-shaped and toothed. Size of leaves: 3-10 cm long, 2-6 cm wide. Flowers are white, clustered in unbrels of 25-40 rays. The diameter of umbels reach 20–30 centimetres (7.9–11.8 in). The flowering season is from May to August. Fruits are oblong and flattened, 5–10 mm 5–10 millimetres (0.20–0.39 in) long. CLICK & SEE
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Edible Uses: Condiment.

Root – used as a flavouring. It was used by the Romans with cumin in order to season preserved artichokes. A decoction of the seeds is used in beer.

Medicinal Uses:

Stomachic, tonic

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/l/lovbas43.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laserpitium_latifolium
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Laserpitium_latifolium
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Laserpitium+latifolium

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Herbs & Plants

Olive

Botanical Name :Olea europea
Family: Oleaceae
Genus: Olea
Species: O. europaea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Common Name ::Olive
Habitat :Olive is  native to the Mediterranean, Asia and Africa.

Description:
The olive tree, Olea europaea, is an evergreen tree or shrub.  It is short and squat, and rarely exceeds 8–15 metres (26–49 ft) in height. However, the Pisciottana, a unique variety comprising 40,000 trees found only in the area around Pisciotta in the Campania region of southern Italy often exceeds 8–15 metres (26–49 ft) with correspondingly large trunk diameters. The silvery green leaves are oblong, measuring 4–10 centimetres (1.6–3.9 in) long and 1–3 centimetres (0.39–1.2 in) wide. The trunk is typically gnarled and twisted.

Click to see the pictures…>…….(01).....(1).…….(2).…....(3)...(4).….

The small white, feathery flowers, with ten-cleft calyx and corolla, two stamens and bifid stigma, are borne generally on the previous year’s wood, in racemes springing from the axils of the leaves.

The fruit is a small drupe 1–2.5 centimetres (0.39–0.98 in) long, thinner-fleshed and smaller in wild plants than in orchard cultivars. Olives are harvested in the green to purple stage. Canned black olives may contain chemicals (usually ferrous sulfate) that turn them black artificially.

Olea europaea contains a seed commonly referred to in American English as a pit or a rock, and in British English as a stone.
There are dozens of ancient olive trees throughout Israel and Palestine whose age has earlier been estimated to be 1,600–2,000 years old; however, these estimates could not be supported by current scientific practices. Ancient trees include two giant olive trees in Arraba and five trees in Deir Hanna, both in the Galilee region, which have been determined to be over 3,000 years old,[35] although there is no available data to support the credibility of the study that produced these age estimates and as such the 3000 years age estimate can not be considered valid. All seven trees continue to produce olives. Several trees in the Garden of Gethsemane (from the Hebrew words “gat shemanim” or olive press) in Jerusalem are claimed to date back to the purported time of Jesus.

Some Italian olive trees are believed to date back to Roman times, although identifying progenitor trees in ancient sources is difficult. A tree located in Santu Baltolu di Carana (municipality of Luras) in Sardinia, Italy, named with respect as the Ozzastru by the inhabitants of the region, is claimed to be 3,000 to 4,000 years old according to different studies.[citation needed] There are several other trees of about 1,000 years old within the same garden. The 15th-century trees of Olivo della Linza located in Alliste province of Lecce in Puglia were noted by Bishop Ludovico de Pennis during his pastoral visit to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Nardò-Gallipoli in 1452

Click to see :-
*Olive tree, Karystos, Euboia, Greece 
*Olive tree older than 1,500 years    
*An ancient olive tree in Pelion, Greece 
*Olive tree in Bar, Montenegro which is over 2,000 years old 

Subspecies:
There are six natural subspecies of Olea europaea distributed over a wide range:
*Olea europaea subsp. europaea (Mediterranean Basin)
*Olea europaea subsp. cuspidata (from South Africa throughout East Africa, Arabia to South West China)
*Olea europaea subsp. guanchica (Canaries)
*Olea europaea subsp. cerasiformis (Madeira)
*Olea europaea subsp. maroccana Morocco
*Olea europaea subsp. laperrinei (Algeria, Sudan, Niger)

The subspecies maroccana and cerasiformis are respectively hexaploid and tetraploid

Cultivation: The earliest evidence for the domestication of olives comes from the Chalcolithic Period archaeological site of Teleilat Ghassul in what is today modern Jordan.

Farmers in ancient times believed that olive trees would not grow well if planted more than a certain distance from the sea; Theophrastus gives 300 stadia (55.6 km or 34.5 mi) as the limit. Modern experience does not always confirm this, and, though showing a preference for the coast, they have long been grown further inland in some areas with suitable climates, particularly in the southwestern Mediterranean (Iberia, northwest Africa) where winters are mild.

Olives are now cultivated in many regions of the world with Mediterranean climates, such as South Africa, Chile, Peru, Australia, and California and in areas with temperate climates such as New Zealand, under irrigation in the Cuyo region in Argentina which has a desert climate. They are also grown in the Córdoba Province, Argentina, which has a temperate climate with rainy summers and dry winters (Cwa). The climate in Argentina changes the external characteristics of the plant but the fruit keeps its original features. The northernmost olive grove is placed in Anglesey, an island off the north west coast of Wales, in the United Kingdom: but it is too early to say if the growing will be successful, having been planted in 2006.

Edible Uses:  click to see
Olive oil for heart healthy foods is a monounsaturated oil that is widely used in healthy cooking, and as a salad dressing. Even the extremely conservative FDA allows suppliers of virgin olive oil to carry heart health claims on there consumer packaging. Some care must be taken to not expose virgin olive oil to high heat when cooking, as this can cause heat damage that break down the oil. Some in the health food community caution overheating causes olive oil to have harmful side effects. click to see
Traditional fermentation and curing:-
Green olives and black olives are typically washed thoroughly in water to remove oleuropein, a bitter glycoside.

Green olives are allowed to ferment before being packed in a brine solution. American black (“California”) olives are not fermented, which is why they taste milder than green olives.
click to see   an olive vat room used for curing.
In addition to oleuropein, freshly picked olives are not palatable because of phenolic compounds. (One exception is the throubes olive, which can be eaten fresh.) Traditional cures use the natural microflora on the fruit to aid in fermentation, which leads to three important outcomes: the leaching out and breakdown of oleuropein and phenolic compounds; the creation of lactic acid, which is a natural preservative; and a complex of flavoursome fermentation products. The result is a product which will store with or without refrigeration.

Curing can employ lye, salt, brine, or fresh water. Salt cured olives (also known as dry cured) are packed in plain salt for at least a month, which produces a salty and wrinkled olive. Brine cured olives are kept in a salt water solution for a few days or more. Fresh water cured olives are soaked in a succession of baths, changed daily.  Green olives are usually firmer than black olives.

Olives can also be flavoured by soaking in a marinade or pitted and stuffed. Popular flavourings include herbs, spices, olive oil, chili, lemon zest, lemon juice, wine, vinegar, and juniper berries; popular stuffings include feta cheese, blue cheese, pimento, garlic cloves, jalapeños, almonds, and anchovies. Sometimes, the olives are lightly cracked with a hammer or a stone to trigger fermentation. This method of curing adds a slightly bitter taste

Medicinal Uses:
Beauty * Cancer Prevention * Cardiovascular * Culinary/Kitchen * Pain Relief * Skin Care
Properties: * AntiCancer * Antifungal * Antiscrofulous * Astringent * Cholagogue
Parts Used:  oil of the fruit, leaves, bark
Constituents:  oleuropein, flavonoids, and triterpenes

Olive oil is very stable in comparison with many other nut and vegetable oils and is often used to make medicinal  herbal oils using herbs such as comfrey, arnica, garlic and many others. Olive is more than just a stable base oil for making these oil infusions, it adds its own analgesic and antibacterial properties to the mix as well. 19

With evidence mounting about the damage of diets high saturated fats, and conversely the heart healthy benefits of monounsaturated oils like olive, it becomes abundantly clear which oils to choose for healthy cooking and salad dressings. If you cannot afford olive oil use canola or safflower oils, both of which are much better than the lower grade corn oils. 20

Extracts from the leaf of the olive tree are also used to lower fevers, and olive leaf poultices are among the oldest therapies for infections of the skin. The slender, feather shaped leaves have antimicrobial and antioxidant medicinal properties that kill germs and disinfect wounds. 21 Olive leaf extracts have also been studied for use in diabetes, and cancer prevention.

Other Uses:
The olive tree, Olea europaea, has been cultivated for olive oil, fine wood, olive leaf, and the olive fruit.

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.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail85.php
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olea_europea

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News on Health & Science Pediatric

Syringes Beat Spoons for Children’s Medicine

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Parents should avoid using household teaspoons to give children medicine as sizes can vary widely, leading to both under- and overdoses, a study warns…….click & see

US and Greek researchers looked at teaspoons in 25 households and found that the largest was three times the size of the smallest.

They also found that when asked to use 5ml medicine spoons, people poured in varying quantities.

To avoid dosage differences, the team urged parents to use syringes.

The study in the International Journal of Clinical Practice looked at more than 70 teaspoons collected from 25 homes in Greece.

Low risk

The team from the Alfa Institute of Biomedical Sciences in Athens suggested that a parent using the largest domestic teaspoon would be giving their child nearly three times as much medicine as the smallest.

Most households in the study had between one and three different teaspoons, but two women had six.

“We not only found wide variations between households, we also found considerable differences within households,” said Professor Matthew Falagas, the lead author.

In addition, when they asked five people to measure out medicine in a calibrated 5ml spoon, they found that only one gave the correct dose.

Syringes are increasingly given out with over-the-counter medicines such as child paracetamol and ibuprofen.

The risks of harm occurring as a result of parents giving too much of these products in a single dose is thought to be very small indeed.

A spokesman for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain said: “In the UK medicines for children are sold with a spoon, or sometimes a syringe that allows parents and carers to measure and accurate dose.

“People collecting NHS prescription medicines for children will be supplied with either a spoon or syringe to allow an accurate dose to be given.

“Pharmacists would always recommend that parents and carers only use spoons or syringes which are designed for the administration of medicines if they are giving liquid medicines to children.”

Source : BBC NEWS:July.14.2010

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Herbs & Plants

Dittany Of Crete (Origanum dictamnus )

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Botanical Name : Origanum dictamnus
Family: Lamiaceae
Synonyms : Amaracus dictamnus – (L.)Benth.
Other Names :Origanum dictamnus , Dittany of Crete or Cretan  Dittany
Kingdom:
Plantae
Order: Lamiales
Genus: Origanum
Species:
O. dictamnus

Habitat : S. Europe – Crete.  Shady rocks in dry places in high mountains. It grows wild on the mountainsides and gorges of the Greek island of Crete, Greece.

Description:
It  is a tender perennial plant that grows 20–30 cm high. It is a healing, therapeutic and aromatic plant
It is hardy to zone 7. It is in flower from June to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Origanum dictamnus is a many branched plant with discoid to ovate grey-green leaves that are sited in pairs opposite each other. The slender arching stems and lanate leaves are covered in a velvety white down and are 13–25 mm in size.

The flowers are pale pink to purple and have a deep lilac corolla with many deep pink coloured overlapping bracts. The colourful flowers forming a cascade of elongated clusters are in bloom in the summer months. The flowers are hermaphrodite meaning they have both male and female organs and are pollinated by bees attracted to their scent and bright colour.

Said to symbolize love and to be an aphrodisiac, only the most ardent young lovers scrambled on mountainsides and the deep gorges of Crete gathering bunches of the pink blooms to present as love tokens. There are numerous deaths reported throughout the centuries by collectors of this magical herb.

Even in recent times the collection of Dittany of Crete was a very dangerous occupation for the men who risked life and limb to climb precarious rock faces where the plant grows wild in the mountains of Crete. They were named Erondades (love seekers) and were considered very passionate men to go to such dangerous lengths to collect the herb.

Dittany of Crete has always been highly prized and is gathered while in bloom in the summer months and is exported for use in pharmaceuticals, perfumery and to flavour drinks such as vermouth and absinthe.

In Ancient Greece it is believed, that Hippocrates prescribed plant cures to aid all manner of ailments and considered Dittany of Crete useful for stomach aches and complaints of the digestive system and as a poultice for healing wounds.

The Greek philosopher Aristotle in his work The History of Animals (612a4) wrote:

“Wild goats in Crete are said, when wounded by arrow, to go in search of dittany, which is supposed to have the property of ejecting arrows in the body.”

The Greek scholar and philosopher Theophrastus agreed with Aristotle about the healing properties of Dittany of Crete. In his work Enquiry into Plants he notes that Dittany was peculiar to Crete, and that it was:

“Said to be true, that, if goats eat it when they have been shot, it rids them of the arrow” (9.16.1).

Other scholars of Ancient Greece and later have made reference to Dittany but probably referred to Dictamnus albus known as False Dittany or White Dittany.

Today the wild naturally grown Dittany of Crete is classed as “rare” and is protected by European law so that it does not become extinct. The cultivation now centres on Embaros and the surrounding villages, south of Heraklion, Crete and is used to make herbal tea and for use in natural beauty products.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soil. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires dry or moist soil.

Cultivation :
Requires a rather dry, warm, well-drained soil, but is not fussy as to soil type, thriving on chalk . Prefers slightly alkaline conditions. This species is not fully hardy in Britain according to one report  whilst another says that it is hardy to zone 7, which means that it can succeed outdoors in most parts of the country. It is, however, very susceptible to winter wet and so is more commonly grown under cover in this country. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation:
Seed – sow early spring in a greenhouse at 10 – 13°c and only just cover the seed. Germination usually takes place within 2 weeks. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer. The seed can also be sown in situ in late spring. Division in March or October. 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. Basal cuttings of young barren shoots in June. Very easy. Harvest the shoots with plenty of underground stem when they are about 8 – 10cm above the ground. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.

Edible Uses:-
Edible Parts: Leaves.

Edible Uses: Condiment; Tea.

The leaves are used for flavouring salads and vermouth. A pleasant aromatic flavour, especially when mixed with parsley, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper. The flowering tops are dried and brewed into a herb tea.

Medicinal Actions & Uses:-
Antirheumatic; Oxytoxic; Stomachic; Vulnerary.

The flowering plant has been used as an antirheumatic, oxytocic, stomachic and vulnerary, though these uses appear to be obsolete in modern herbalism.

As a medicinal plant, the herb has been utilized to heal wounds, soothe pain, and ease childbirth. The root has been used in a salve to treat sciatica, and the juice was consumed in wine to cure snake bite.  In addition, it has been used as a remedy against gastric or stomach ailments and rheumatism.

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.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Origanum+dictamnus
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origanum_dictamnus
http://www.desert-tropicals.com/Plants/Lamiaceae/Origanum_dictamnus.html
http://www.arkive.org/dittany-of-crete/origanum-dictamnus/image-G18858.html

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

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Excess Cola Can Paralyze Muscles

Think twice before you take a sip from that cola bottle this summer. Experts are warning that excessive cola consumption can lead to anything from  mild weakness to profound muscle paralysis.
…………………………….
This is because the cola drinks can cause blood potassium to drop dangerously low, they report in the International Journal of Clinical Practice.

They tell of the curious case of an Australian ostrich farmer who needed emergency care for lung paralysis after drinking 4-10 litres of cola a day.

He made a full recovery and was advised to curtail his cola intake, BBC News portal reported on Tuesday.
Another example included a pregnant woman who regularly consumed up to three litres a day for the last six years and complained of tiredness, appetite loss and persistent vomiting.

A heart trace revealed she had an irregular heartbeat, most likely caused by her low blood potassium levels.
Once she stopped drinking such quantity of cola, she made a full and uneventful recovery.

The investigators believe these cases are not atypical and that many people risk problems due to their intake. Manufacturers insist the products are safe when consumed in moderation.

In a commentary, Clifford Packer from the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Centre in Ohio said: “We have every reason to think that it is not rare. With aggressive mass marketing, super-sizing of soft drinks, and the effects of caffeine tolerance and dependence, there is very little doubt that tens of millions of people in industrialised countries drink at least 2-3 litres of cola per day. “It follows that the serum potassium levels of these heavy cola drinkers are dropping, in some cases, to dangerous low levels.”

The author of the study, Moses Elisaf from the University of Ioannina in Greece, said it appeared that hypokalaemia can be caused by excessive consumption of three of the most common ingredients in cola drinks – glucose, fructose and caffeine. “The individual role of each of these ingredients in the pathophysiology of cola-induced hypokalaemia has not been determined and may vary in different patients. However in most of cases we looked at for our review, caffeine intoxication was thought to play the most important role.

“This has been borne out by case studies that focus on other products that contain high levels of caffeine but no glucose or fructose.”

Despite this, he warned that caffeine free cola products could also cause hypokalaemia because the fructose they contain can cause diarrhoea. “We believe that further studies are needed to establish how much is too much when it comes to the daily consumption of cola drinks.”

Sources: The Times Of India

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