Herbs & Plants

Iris foetidissima

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Botanical Name: Iris foetidissima
Family: Iridaceae
Subfamily: Iridoideae
Tribe: Irideae
Genus: Iris
Subgenus: Limniris
Section: Limniris
Species: I. foetidissima
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

Common Names: Stinking Gladwin, Stinking iris, Gladwin Iris,Stinking iris, gladdon, Roast-beef plant

Habitat : Iris foetidissima is native to Western Europe, including Britain, from France south and east to N. Africa, Italy and Greece. It grows on open woods, hedgebanks and shady places, usually on calcareous soils. It is often also found on sea cliffs.
Iris foetidissima is an evergreen Perennial growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 1.5 m (5ft) at a medium rate.
It is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from May to July, and the seeds ripen from Oct to February. The flowers are usually of a dull, leaden-blue colour, or dull buff-yellow tinged with blue; the capsules, which remain attached to the plant throughout the winter, are 5–8 cm long; and the seeds scarlet.

It is known as “stinking” because some people find the smell of its leaves unpleasant when crushed or bruised, an odour that has been described as “beefy”
The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.

It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry moist or wet soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.
An easily grown and very tolerant plant, it succeeds in most positions in any good soil in sun or partial shade. Succeeds in dense shade. Prefers a moist soil but succeeds in dry soils and, once established, is drought tolerant. Thrives in a bog garden. Requires a well-drained soil containing some lime and succeeds on pure chalk. Established plants are tolerant of considerable neglect and can survive dense weed competition. The evergreen leaves are not very hardy, being killed back by cold winds around -15°c, though the rootstock is much hardier and the plant soon recovers in spring. A good plant for woodland edges. Plants often self-sow. There are some named forms, selected for their ornamental value. The crushed leaves emit a strong odour which, at a distance, resembles hot roast beef. On closer acquaintance the scent becomes disagreeable. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits. Special Features: Flowers have an unpleasant odor, Attractive flowers or blooms.
Seed – best sown as soon as it is it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed should be sown as early in the year as possible in a cold frame, it may take 18 months to germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first year. Plant out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Division, best done in July after flowering. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.
Medicinal Uses:
Iris foetidissima has a long history of medicinal use, though it can be rather strong in its action and so is little used nowadays. The root is anodyne, antispasmodic and cathartic. A decoction of the roots acts as a strong purge, it has also been used as an emmenagogue and for cleaning eruptions. The powdered or infused dried root is beneficial in the treatment of fainting, nervous complaints and to relieve pains and cramps. The plant has been used as a cure for ringworm.


Other Uses:
Landscape Uses:Border, Rock garden, Specimen. A good ground cover plant, succeeding in dense shade and in dry soils. Rather slow to spread though, needing weeding for the first year or two. Plants should be spaced about 60cm apart each way.

Known Hazards: The roots of this plant are toxic to grazing mammals. Plants can cause skin irritations and allergies in some people.

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.


Herbs & Plants

Prunus arabica

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Botanical Name: Prunus arabica
Family: Rosaceae
Subfamily: Amygdaloideae
Tribes: Amygdaleae
Genus: Prunus
Subgenus: P. subg. Amygdalus
Species: Prunus arabica

Synonyms: Amygdalus arabica Oliv.; A. spartioides Spach; Prunus spartioides (Spach) Schneid.

Common Name:

Habitat :Prunus arabica is native to W. Asia – Iran. It grows on the dry steppe and open oak woodland.

Prunus arabica an unarmed deciduous shrub of broom-like habit 3 to 6 ft high, with green, glabrous, angled branches, leafless in the hot season. Leaves linear-lanceolate, up to 15?8 in. long, 1?8 to 3?16 in. wide, shortly stalked. It is in flower in May.


Flowers solitary, sessile, borne in spring, each from a bud with numerous brown imbricating scales, 1?2 to 3?4 in. wide, white or pinkish; receptacle partly concealed by the bud-scales, broad campanulate, glabrous or almost so. Ovary densely hairy. Fruits ovoid, slightly flattened, about 1 in. long; stone smooth.

The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Thrives in a well-drained moisture-retentive loamy soil. Prefers some lime in the soil but is likely to become chlorotic if too much lime is present. Succeeds in sun or partial shade though it fruits better in a sunny position. Judging by its native habitat this plant should succeed in dry soils. Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.

Seed – requires 2 – 3 months cold stratification and is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible. Protect the seed from mice etc. The seed can be rather slow, sometimes taking 18 months to germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Grow them on in a greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July/August in a frame. Softwood cuttings from strongly growing plants in spring to early summer in a frame. Layering in spring.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Fruit; Seed.

Fruit – raw or cooked. The fruit contains a single large seed. Seed – raw or cooked. Do not eat the seed if it is too bitter – see the notes below on toxicity.
Medicinal Uses:
Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, all members of the genus contain amygdalin and prunasin, substances which break down in water to form hydrocyanic acid (cyanide or prussic acid). In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being.

Other Uses:...Dye; Gum……A green dye can be obtained from the leaves. A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit. A gum obtained from the plant is sold in local markets. It is probably obtained from the trunk and branches.

Known Hazards: Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus where most, if not all members of the genus produce hydrogen cyanide, a poison that gives almonds their characteristic flavour. This toxin is found mainly in the leaves and seed and is readily detected by its bitter taste. It is usually present in too small a quantity to do any harm but any very bitter seed or fruit should not be eaten. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.
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.



How to Combat the Latest Supergerms

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As more and more bugs, including some truly nasty bacteria, become impervious to the effects of drugs it’s necessary to come up with effective alternatives.
Fortunately, while some germs may be outpacing our ability to kill them, we’re not completely defenseless. In fact, there are plenty of things we can do to slow their spread.

Here are some of’s better suggestions:

•Fight the flu with vitamin D. 1,500 to 2,000 I.U. of vitamin D not only bolsters the immune system but also may help prevent infection. (PLEASE NOTE: this is NOT my recommendation, but abstracted from the article on I believe most adults need 5,000-8,000 units of vitamin D per day)

•Wash your hands. The flu virus can live for up to 72 hours on surfaces. That makes hand-washing the most effective daily defense. Wash briskly with soap and water for 30 seconds.

•Cover up. Bandage all cuts, even paper cuts and blisters.

•Stay clean at the hospital. If you’re visiting a hospital, wash yourself and your clothes right after. Don’t use bar soap in any hospital bathroom or set your purse on the floor. And researchers recently found that one in three stethoscopes used by emergency-medical-service providers was contaminated with MRSA — ask your doctor to swab his scope with alcohol.

•De-germ the gym.
Use a disinfectant wipe to swab the handlebars of equipment, and drape a clean towel over shared yoga mats and sauna and locker room benches.

•Don’t share. You’re at increased risk of MRSA if you share razors, soap, towels, or other personal items.

•Be proactive. If you have to take an antibiotic, take a probiotic at the same time to build up the healthy bacteria in your gut.

Source: July 15, 2009

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Healthy Tips

Washing Hands Properly Stops Contagious Disease to Spread

Most people know that washing your hands can help to prevent passing on nasty viruses and bacteria. But how many people just flick their hands under a dribbling tap and think that will do? Now hopeless hand washers will be caught with glowing green fingers by a good hand-washing test.
A new hand-washing training kit uses a cream containing a harmless dye that glows green in ultraviolet light to show up shoddy hand washing. Demonstrators put a blob of cream on people’s hands and send them away to wash them. When they come back, they are often amazed at how much glowing green dye remains on their fingers. If the dye were a microbe, they would be standing a good chance of infecting themselves and passing it on to other people.

The glowing cream can also be used to show how viruses such as those that cause colds and flu can survive on hard surfaces and be spread from hand to hand. Just touching a doorknob that has had a little of the special cream applied to it can make people’s fingers turn green under UV light — and then when they touch another person’s hand the green glow gets passed on.

Science Daily June 3, ’09
Society for General Microbiology June3,’09