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Herbs & Plants

Alpinia officinarum

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Botanical Name :Alpinia officinarum
Family:Zingiberaceae
Genus:    Alpinia
Species:A. officinarum
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Zingiberales

Synonyms: Galanga. China Root. India Root. East India Catarrh Root. Lesser Galangal. Rhizoma Galangae. Gargaut. Colic Root. Kaempferia Galanga.

Common Name : lesser galangal

Habitat:Alpinia officinarum is native to  China (Hainan Island), Java.It grows mainly on the southeastern coast, and it grows in Hainan, Japan, and Thailand. It is also cultivated in India. Hong Kong is the commercial center for the sale and distribution of the lesser galangal.

Description:
Alpinia officinarum is a herbaceous plant can grow up to ten feet in height, though three to five feet is more common. The leaves are lanceolate (long and thin), and the flowers are white with streaks of red, growing from a spike at the top. The plant’s rhizomes, the part known as galangal, are thin and tough, and they are the principal reason the plant is cultivated. They have orange flesh with a brown coating, and have an aromatic odor and a pungent flavor. These are smaller than greater galangal.

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This plant is a plant of the ginger family, cultivated in Southeast Asia. It originated in China, where its name ultimately derives. It can grow several feet high, with long leaves and reddish-white flowers. The rhizomes, known as galangal, are valued for their spicy flavor and aromatic scent. These are used throughout Asia in curries and perfumes, and were previously used widely in Europe. They are also used as an herbal remedy.

Lesser galangal is often misled the name for Kaempferia galanga that is used in Indonesia, Malaysia and other Southeast Asian countries.

Constituents: The root contains a volatile oil, resin, galangol, kaempferid, galangin and alpinin, starch, etc. The active principles are the volatile oil and acrid resin. Galangin is dioxyflavanol, and has been obtained synthetically. Alcohol freely extracts all the properties, and for the fluid extract there should be no admixture of water or glycerin.

Active Compound:-
Beta-sitoterol, 1,7-diphenyl-5-ol-3-heptone, 1-phenyl-7-(3′-methoxyl-4′-hydroxyl) phenyl-5-ol-3-heptone, glandin, kaempferol-4′-methylether and 3,4-dihydroxylbenzoic acid

Medicinal Uses:

Part Used: Dried rhizome.

The galangal rhizomes were widely used in ancient and medieval Europe, where they were reputed to smell of roses and taste of spice. Its use in Europe has dramatically declined, however, and is now mainly used in Eastern Europe. It is used in Russia for flavoring vinegar and the liqueur Nastoika. It is still used as a spice and medicine in Lithuania and Estonia.

In Asia the rhizomes are ground to powder for use in curries, drinks, and jellies. In India an extract is used in perfumes, and Tatars prepare a tea with it.

Alpinia officinarum contains high concentrations of the flavonol galangin, which has been shown to slow the increase and growth of breast tumor cells. Historically, the rhizomes were reputed to have stimulant and digestive effects.

Herbal medicine – Medicinal properties digestive tonic stimulant carminative antiemetic antifungal Medicinal parts Rhizome Has medicinal uses yes Do not self-administer no Do no use if pregnant no Legally restricted no Toxicity precautions Medicinal notes Alpiniaofficinarum has herbal applications as a digestive tonic, as a stimulant, as a carminative and as an antiemetic. See the medicinal properties section for even more traditional herbal uses. Only the rhizome is used in herbal preparations.

Traditional uses – Parts used Traditional uses Contemporary uses Fragrance ginger-like roots used for liqueur Fragrance parts Roots Fragrance intensity Mild Fragrance category Spicy Dye parts Dye color.

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/g/galang01.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpinia_officinarum

http://cancerplantsdatabase.com/a-alpiniaofficinarum.php

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Fruits & Vegetables Herbs & Plants

Lychee

Botanical Name :Litchi chinensis
Family: Sapindaceae
Subfamily: Sapindoideae
Genus: Litchi
Species: L. chinensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Common Names : Leechi, Litchi, Laichi, Lichu, Lizhi

Habitat :The lychee is native to low elevations of the provinces of Kwangtung and Fukien in Southern China. Cultivation spread over the years through neighboring areas of southeastern Asia and offshore islands. It reached Hawaii in 1873, and Florida in 1883, and was conveyed from Florida to California in 1897

The lychee is cultivated in China, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, Bangladesh and northern India (in particular Bihar, which accounts for 75% of total Indian production). South Africa and the United States (Hawaii and Florida) also have commercial lychee production.

The lychee has a history of cultivation going back as far as 2000 BC according to records in China. Cultivation began in the area of southern China, Malaysia, and Vietnam. Wild trees still grow in parts of southern China and on Hainan Island. There are many stories of the fruit’s use as a delicacy in the Chinese Imperial Court. It was first described and introduced to the west in 1782

Description:
Growth Habit: The lychee tree is handsome, dense, round-topped and slow-growing with smooth, gray, brittle trunk and limbs. Under ideal conditions they may reach 40 feet high, but they are usually much smaller The tree in full fruit is a stunning sight.
Foliage: The leathery, pinnate leaves are divided into four to eight leaflets. They are reddish when young, becoming shiny and bright green. Lychee trees have full foliage and branch to the ground.

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Flowers: The tiny petalless, yellowish-green flowers are borne in in terminal clusters to 30 inches. Lychees are eye-catching in spring when the huge sprays of flowers adorn the tree. Flowering precedes fruit maturity by approximately 140 days.

Fruits: The fruit is covered by a leathery rind or pedicarp which is pink to strawberry-red in color and rough in texture. A greenish-yellow variety is not grown in California at present. Fruit shape is oval, heart-shaped or nearly round, 1 to 1-1/2 inches in length. The edible portion or aril is white, translucent, firm and juicy. The flavor is sweet, fragrant and delicious. Inside the aril is a seed that varies considerably in size. The most desirable varieties contain atrophied seeds which are called “chicken tongue”. They are very small, up to 1/2 inch in length. Larger seeds vary between 1/2 to 1 inch in length and are plumper than the chicken tongues. There is also a distinction between the lychee that leaks juice when the skin is broken and the “dry and clean” varieties which are more desirable. In some areas lychees tend to be alternate bearers. Fruit splitting is usually caused by fluctuating soil moisture levels.

Health Benefits of Lychee:
Lychee health benefits are as follows:

•This fruit aids in enhancing the energy of the body.
•Lychee fruit improves fluid contents in the body that are essential for well being and good health of a person.
•This fruit boosts the feeling of well-being of a person.
•It has high amounts of vitamin C and also contains about 40% more vitamin C compared to orange.
•Lychee is also rich in beta carotene which is more than the amount of beta carotene present in carrots.
•This is also considered as a digestive and diuretic.
•Lychee consists of unsaturated fatty acids that aid in the absorbing beta carotene and various other fat soluble vitamins.
•Also it aids in preventing blood clots, serious damage to the cells ands also minimizes strokes to 50% in heart attack patients.
•Lychee is also a rich source of fiber and carbohydrates, that are very essential for the body

Medicinal Uses:
Ingested in moderate amounts, the lychee is said to relieve coughing and to have a beneficial effect on gastralgia, tumors and enlargements of the glands. One stomach-ulcer patient in Florida, has reported that, after eating several fresh lychees he was able to enjoy a large meal that, ordinarily, would have caused great discomfort. Chinese people believe that excessive consumption of raw lychees causes fever and nosebleed. According to legends, ancient devotees have consumed from 300 to 1,000 per day.

In China, the seeds are credited with an analgesic action and they are given in neuralgia and orchitis. A tea of the fruit peel is taken to overcome smallpox eruptions and diarrhea. In India, the seeds are powdered and, because of their astringency, administered in intestinal troubles, and they have the reputation there, as in China, of relieving neuralgic pains. Decoctions of the root, bark and flowers are gargled to alleviate ailments of the throat. Lychee roots have shown activity against one type of tumor in experimental animals in the United States Department of Agriculture/National Cancer Institute Cancer Chemotherapy Screening Program.

Other Uses:
In China, great quantities of honey are harvested from hives near lychee trees. Honey from bee colonies in lychee groves in Florida is light amber, of the highest quality, with a rich, delicious flavor like that of the juice which leaks when the fruit is peeled, and the honey does not granulate.

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/Lychee
http://www.drgranny.com/2011/03/15/health-benefits-of-lychee/
http://www.crfg.org/pubs/ff/lychee.html
http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/lychee.html

http://pickmeyard.wordpress.com/tag/pruning-a-lychee-tree/

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Herbs & Plants

Caesalpinia digyna

Botanical Name :Caesalpinia digyna
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Caesalpinioideae
Tribes: Caesalpinieae
Genus: Caesalpinia
Species: Caesalpinia digyna
Order: Fabales

Synonym(s):  Caesalpinia oleosperma Roxb.

Common Names : Vakerimool
English Names :Teri Pods
Sanskrit Names :Udakiryaka
Hindi Names : Udakiryaka
(Burmese) : tari
(Cambodia) : khvaw banla
(Filipino) : teri-pod plant
(Lao (Sino-Tibetan)) : kachaay
(Thai) : khee raet
(Vietnamese) : moc meo xanh (Dong Nai)

Habitat : Caesalpinia digyna is found in thickets, light forests and forest borders, in Indo-China up to 1200 m. In Indonesia C. digyna occurs in drier areas up to 200 m. The plant  has a distribution comparable with the preceding species, but is not found further north than Hainan in China.

It grows wild  in the scrub forests,of the eastern himalays, in Asam & West Bengal. It is also found in the Eastern Ghat in Andhra Pradesh & Madha Pradesh.

Description:
A prickly climber or scandent shrub, 2-5 m tall with long recurved prickles. Pinnae in 8-13 pairs, leaflets in 6-12 pairs, oblong-elliptic, 5-13 mm x 2.5-5 mm, subsessile. Flowers in long racemes, fairly large, with petals 8-10 mm long, yellow with red dot at base of red veins in terminal or axillary racemes, dark brown sub-globose seeds in short beaked fruits. Pods oblong-elliptic, 3-6 cm x 1.5-2 cm, constricted between the seeds (1-)2-3(-4)-seeded.

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Propagation:
Plants are propagated by seed. The seeds of C. digyna plant are very hard and must be scarified before sowing.

Constituents : They yield bergenin (vakerin). A novel supermidine alkaloid, caesalpinine A (C25H3103N3) has also been isolated.

Medicinal Uses:
The roots have marked astringent and anti-pyretic properties. They also have antioxidant activity and are given internally in debility.
Caesalpinia digyna is reported to treat tuberculosis and diabetes.

The plant is used for curing senile pruritis with excellent result. The drug is also reported to exhibit anti-fatigue effect in rats. The roots have marked astringent and antipyretic properties.

You may click to see :Antioxidant activity of Caesalpinia digyna root.

Other Uses:
Tannin or dyestuff: The pods of C. digyna and C. coriacaria are very rich in tannin, and is used in tanning industry. For tanning leather, the tan-stuff from the pods is generally used as a blend, mixed with other tanning materials. The pods can also serve to prepare a blackish or blueish dye and a black ink, and are sometimes employed as a mordanting agent. The wood is reported to contain a red dye.

Fodder: The seeds of C. digyna can serve as cattle feed. Lipids: Teri-pod contain an oil which can be used in lamps.

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.worldagroforestry.org/sea/Products/AFDbases/af/asp/SpeciesInfo.asp?SpID=18054
http://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Caesalpinia_digyna
http://www.la-medicca.com/raw-herbs-caesalpinia-digyna.html
http://www.himalayahealthcare.com/herbfinder/h_caesalpina.htm

http://www.mdidea.com/support/glossary_recipes_c.html

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