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Herbs & Plants

Gardenia jasminoides

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Botanical Name : Gardenia jasminoides
Family: Rubiaceae
Genus: Gardenia
Species: G. jasminoides
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Common Names: Common gardenia, Cape jasmine or Cape jessamine (The common names cape jasmine and cape jessamine derive from the earlier belief that the flower originated in Cape of Good Hope, South Africa)

Bengali Name: Gandharaj

Habitat :It originated in Asia and is most commonly found growing in Vietnam, Southern China, Taiwan, Japan and India.

Description:
Gardenia jasminoides is a fragrant flowering evergreen tropical plant  with greyish bark and dark green shiny leaves with prominent veins. The white flowers bloom in spring and summer and are highly fragrant. They are followed by small oval fruit.

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It is  favorite in gardens worldwide.  With its shiny green leaves and fragrant white summer flowers, it is widely used in gardens in warm temperate and subtropical climates. It has been in cultivation in China for at least a thousand years, and was introduced to English gardens in the mid 18th century. Many varieties have been bred for horticulture, with low growing, and large- and long-flowering forms.

Cultivation:
Gardenia jasminoides is generally considered to be somewhat difficult to take care of.

As a tropical plant, it thrives best in warm temperatures in humid environments. Getting those conditions is rather hard when in non tropical latitudes, reason for which gardenias are usually cultivated indoors or in greenhouses. In warm places, though, it can be grown outdoors. Either way, it prefers bright indirect sunlight or partial shade, rather than direct sunlight.

Apart from the difficulties in creating the suitable conditions for the plant to live, Gardenias need to be planted in an acidic soil (it is an acidophile plant). If the soil is not acid enough, many of its nutrients (especially iron compounds) will not be available for the plant, since they won’t dilute in water and therefore won’t be absorbed via the roots. It this happens, gardenias start to develop chlorosis, whose main symptom is a yellowing of the leaves. (See Soil ph).

For this reason, it’s advisable not to water Gardenias with very hard water. When having to water with hard water, it is possible to add some vinegar or lemon juice to it before doing so, this will lower the pH of the water.

Iron chelate can be added to the soil in order to lower the pH, but care must be taken since an overdose can kill the plant, as with any other inorganic soil amendment.

Some gardeners will spill vinegar over the soil to effectively keep the pH low and prevent chlorosis. This can be carried out either regularly or when the first symptoms of chlorosis have been spotted.

Medicinal Uses:
It is used as a tea for feverish states, inflammations of the liver (chronic hepatitis), gastrointestinal tract (with impaired digestion, minor constipation), genitourinary tract (cystitis), and as an antidyscratic (blood purifier) and anti-inflammatory for atopic eczema and chronic rheumatic complaints.

Traditional uses:
Gardenia jasminoides fructus (fruit) is used within Traditional Chinese Medicine to “drain fire” and thereby treat certain febrile conditions.

Pharmacological research:
Studies in animals indicate some pharmacological potential, but there is no evidence from clinical studies in humans. In one animal study Gardenia jasminoides significantly lowered serum IL-1? and TNF-? levels in rheumatoid arthritis rats, and its effect had a close relation with inhibitory development of rheumatoid arthritis in the rats.

A mice study found that genipin was an active constituent in Gardenia that regulated inflammatory activity. Geniposide from Gardenia enhanced glutathione content in rat livers. Glutathione is an important immune system amino acid that helps determine modulation of immune response, including cytokine production

Other Uses:
It is widely used as a garden plant in warm temperate and subtropical gardens. It can be used as a hedge.

The fruit is used as a yellow dye, which is used for clothes and food (including the Korean mung bean jelly called hwangpomuk).

Polynesian people in the pacific islands use these fragrant blooms in their flower necklaces, which are called Ei in the Cook Islands, Hei in French Polynesia and Lei in Hawai’i

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/Gardenia_jasminoides
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_IJK.htm

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News on Health & Science

Statins May Raise Stroke Risk in Some

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People who have had a type of stroke caused by bleeding in the brain should avoid taking cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins, U.S. researchers said
. The drugs increase the risk of a second stroke in these patients.

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It was especially true of people who had strokes in one of their brain’s four lobes, which have a greater chance of recurrence than strokes that occur deep in the brain.

People who have a stroke in one of their lobes have a 22 percent risk of a second stroke when they take statins, compared with a 14 percent risk among those not taking a statin.

According to Reuters:
“The researchers said it is not clear how statins increase the bleeding risk in these patients. It may be having low cholesterol increases the risk of bleeding in the brain, or it may be that statins affect clotting factors in the blood that increase the risk of a brain hemorrhage in these patients.”


Resources:

Reuters January 10, 2011
Archives of Neurology January 10, 2011

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Herbs & Plants

Chinese honeylocust(Gleditsia sinensis)

Botanical Name :Gleditsia sinensis
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Caesalpinioideae
Genus: Gleditsia
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Fabales
Species: G. sinensis

Common Name :In China, it has the name zào jiá.  However, its English name includes Chinese honey locust (or Chinese honeylocust), soap bean and soap pod.

Habitat :  E. Asia – China.   Dry valleys in W. China, 1000 – 1600 metres. Along valley streams or on level land.

Description:
Chinese honeylocust is a  deciduous  tree, growing to 12 m (39ft 4in) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone 5. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.It can fix Nitrogen.

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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..It cannot grow in the shade.It requires dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.It can tolerate atmospheric pollution.

Cultivation:

Easily grown in a loamy soil, requiring a sunny position. Succeeds in most soils[200]. Tolerates drought once established and atmospheric pollution. Rather tender when young, it grows best in S. Britain. A tree at Cambridge Botanical Gardens was 13 metres tall in 1985. Trees have a light canopy, they come into leaf late in the spring and drop their leaves in early autumn making them an excellent top storey tree in a woodland garden. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby.

Propagation:
Seed – pre-soak for 24 hours in warm water and then sow in spring in a greenhouse. The seed should have swollen up, in which case it can be sown, if it has not swollen then soak it for another 24 hours in warm water. If this does not work then file away some of the seed coat but be careful not to damage the embryo. Further soaking should then cause the seed to swell. One it has swollen, the seed should germinate within 2 – 4 weeks at 20°c. As soon as they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual deep pots and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer. Give the plants some protection from the cold for their first few winters outdoors


Medicinal Uses :


Anthelmintic;  Antibacterial;  Antifungal;  Antipruritic;  Antitussive;  Astringent;  Emetic;  Expectorant;  Febrifuge;  Haemostatic;  Laxative;
Skin;  Stimulant;  VD.

A decoction of the leaves is used for washing sores, including syphilitic skin diseases. The stem bark is anthelmintic and febrifuge. The fruit is antibacterial, antifungal, antitussive, astringent, emetic, expectorant, haemostatic and stimulant. It is used in the treatment of bronchial asthma with sticky phlegm, epilepsy and apoplexy with loss of consciousness. Overdosage can cause poisoning of the entire body, haemolysis of the blood. The seed is emetic, expectorant, decongestant and purgative. They have been used in the treatment of cancer of the rectum. The root bark is anthelmintic and antifebrile. The thorns on the plant are antipruritic. They are used in the treatment of acute purulent inflammation, dermatopathies and tonsillitis. They should not be used by pregnant women. The plant has been used in the treatment of lockjaw, stroke, acute numbness of the throat and epilepsy, but the report does not make clear whether the seed or the thorns of the plant are used.
Antidote Takeda; Congestion Hunan; Dysentery Hunan; Emetic Woi.4; Epilepsy Hunan; Expectorant Hunan, Takeda, Woi.4; Laxative Hunan; Lockjaw Hunan; Numbness Hunan; Purgative Woi.4; Soap Uphof; Stroke Hunan; Tumor Hartwell.(From Dr. Duke’s  Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases🙂

It is one of the alleged “50 fundamental herbs” used in traditional Chinese medicine. Gleditsia sinensis has been used in China for at least 2000 years as a detergent.

The thorns of Gleditsia sinensis LAM. (Leguminosae) have been used in traditional medicine for the treatment of inflammatory diseases including swelling, suppuration, carbuncle and skin diseases in China and Korea. In this study, we investigated the mechanism responsible for anti-inflammatory effects of Gleditsia sinensis thorns in RAW 264.7 macrophages. The aqueous extract of Gleditsia sinensis thorns (AEGS) inhibited LPS-induced NO secretion as well as inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) expression, without affecting cell viability. Furthermore, AEGS suppressed LPS-induced NF-kappaB activation, phosphorylation and degradation of IkappaB-alpha, phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK). These results suggest that AEGS has the inhibitory effects on LPS-induced NO production and iNOS expression in macrophages through blockade in the phosphorylation of MAPKs, following IkappaB-alpha degradation and NF-kappaB activation.

Other Uses
Soap;  Tannin;  Wood.

The pod is used as a soap substitute. The seed is used. Tannin is obtained from the seedpod. Wood – strong, durable, coarse-grained. Used for general construction.

Known Hazards: The plant contains potentially toxic compounds.

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/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Gleditsia+sinensis
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18556161
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gleditsia_sinensis

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Healthy Tips

The Best & Healthy Way to Eat Eggs

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Raw, hands down…. that many of you, especially women, will find this particularly difficult to accept. This is primarily because of the slimy texture but if you whip them up in a shake you won’t even know they are there.

Raw eggs are better because cooking them will damage the valuable nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin, bioflavanoids present in egg yolk that are incredibly important for your vision.

Heating the egg protein also changes its chemical shape, and the distortion can easily lead to allergies.

Further, when an egg is overcooked, such as when it is scrambled, the cholesterol in it becomes oxidized, or rancid, and oxidized cholesterol can increase your levels of inflammation and lead to numerous health problems.

So if you want to get the maximum health benefits that eggs have to offer, choose organic varieties and eat them raw. The next best would be soft-boiled and then sunny-side up, with the yolk still very runny.

If you are worried about getting salmonella from eating raw eggs, as many people initially are, please read my past article on the topic — Raw Eggs for Your Health — to address your concerns. The risk is actually very, very small.

Remember the MYTH :Brown eggs are better than white eggs.  Fact:NOT TRUE : The nutritional content of egg has got nothing to do with the outer  shell colour.

Related Links:
Eggs are the Better Breakfast Choice
A Novel Way to Consume Raw Eggs
Eggs-aggerated Health Myth Debunked

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Herbs & Plants

San Qi

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Botanical Name : Panax pseudo-ginseng
Family: Araliaceae
Genus: Panax
Subgenus: Panax
Section: Pseudoginseng
Species: P. pseudoginseng
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales

Synonyms : Panax notoginseng

Other Possible Synonyms:Aralia quinquefolia var. notoginseng[G] P. notoginseng[G] P. pseudo-ginseng notoginseng[HORTIPLEX] P. pseudoginseng var. notoginseng[G] (From various places across the web, may not be 100% correct.)

Common Name :San Qi, Pseudoginseng, Nepal ginseng, and Himalayan ginseng.

 Habitat:Woodland, Dappled Shade, Shady Edge, Deep Shade. Forests and shrubberies, 2100 – 4300 metres in Central Nepal in the Himalayas, E. Asia – China to the Himalayas and Burma.Notoginseng grows naturally in China and Japan.

 

Description:
Perennial growing to 1.2m at a slow rate. . The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female   organs).

The herb is a perennial with dark green leaves branching from a stem with a red cluster of berries in the middle. It is both cultivated and gathered from wild forests, with wild plants being the most valuable. The Chinese refer to it as “three-seven root” because the plant has three branches with seven leaves each. It is also said that the root should be harvested between three and seven years after planting it…...CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
Cultivation :

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) or semi-shade (light woodland). It requires moist soil.  Requires a moist humus rich soil in a shady position in a woodland.

Propagation
Seed – sow in a shady position in a cold frame preferably as soon as it is ripe, otherwise as soon as the seed is obtained. It can be very slow and erratic to germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a shady position in the greenhouse or frame for at least their first winter. Make sure the pots are deep enough to accommodate the roots. Plant out into their permanent positions in late summer.

Edible Uses
Drink; Tea.
The roots are chewed, used as a flavouring in liqueurs or made into a tea.

. This is the form used medicinally in China. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus.

Medicinal Uses
Analgesic; Antiinflammatory; Antiphlogistic; Antiseptic; Astringent; Cardiotonic; Diuretic; Haemostatic; Hypoglycaemic.   San Qi is a fairly recent newcomer to Chinese herbalism, the first recorded usage dating from the sixteenth century. Nevertheless, it has attained an importance as a tonic medicine that supports the function of the adrenal glands, in particular the production of corticosteroids and male sex hormones. It also helps to improve blood flow through the coronary arteries, thus finding use as a treatment for arteriosclerosis, high blood pressure and angina.

The roots are said to be analgesic,antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, cardiotonic, diuretic, haemostatic,hypoglycaemic , antiphlogistic, astringent, discutient, hypoglycaemic, styptic, tonic and vulnerary. They are used in the treatment of contused wounds, soft tissue injuries and all kinds of bleeding, both internal and external, like haematuria, nose bleeds, haematemesis, uterine bleeding etc. They are also used in the treatment of coronary heart disease and angina pectoris. The roots can be applied externally as a poultice in order to help speed the healing of wounds and bruises.

The root is harvested before flowering or after the seed has ripened. It is usually dried for later use.

*stop bleeding – transform blood stasis – int. & ext. bleeding

*-can stop bleeding without causing blood stasis

*-traumatic injuries – alleviate pain, reduce swelling

The roots are also used both internally and externally in the treatment of nosebleeds, haemorrhages from the lungs, digestive tract and uterus, and injuries. The roots are harvested in the autumn, preferably from plants 6 – 7 years old, and can be used fresh or dried.

The flowers are used to treat vertigo and dizziness.

The purple-red san-qi ginseng flower is valued for its ability to improve and maintain the circulation of Blood and Qi. According to the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, san-qi ginseng flower is Sweet and Cool and pacifies the Liver.

Orally, panax pseudoginseng is used as a hemostatic, for vomiting and coughing up blood, blood in the urine or stool, nosebleed, and hemorrhagic disease. It is also used to relieve pain, and to reduce swelling, blood cholesterol, and blood pressure. Panax pseudoginseng is also used for angina, dizziness, and acute sore throat.

Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners have called notoginseng “the miracle root for the preservation of life.”Research is showing that Notoginseng exerts a number of beneficial effects on several physiological functions, including the nervous, immune, and cardiovascular systems. It is widely used in Asia for angina, to help lower cholesterol and triglycerides, and to expand coronary arteries in order to promote blood circulation and prevent blood clots.

Internally it is used for coronary heart disease and angina(roots), dizziness, and vertigo (Flowers).  Internally and externally it is used for nosebleed, and hemorrhage from lungs, digestive tract, uterus, or injuries (roots).  It was used extensively by the North Vietnamese during the Vietnam War to increase recovery rates from gunshot wounds.  Used in the herbal combination PC-SPES’.a compound of 8 herbs used for prostate cancer.  It is one of the most valuable Chinese herbs for traumas and injuries because of its ginseng-like tonic properties and its strong hemostatic action in acute conditions. It will effectively dissolve blood clots when taken internally and works very well for most abnormal bleeding when combined with the ashes of human hair.  Its healing, astringent properties increase when combined with comfrey root.  Like the other ginsengs, it may be taken as a blood and energy tonic and is regarded by some as equally effective.  It is considered preferable for younger people because it moves the chi more than the common American or Oriental ginsengs.  It also strengthens the heart and improves athletic performance, making it a preferred tonic for the purposes of sports medicine

According to Ron Teeguarden, master herbalist and author of Radiant Health: The Ancient Wisdom of the Chinese Tonic Herbs (Warner Books, 1998), Notoginseng is also considered one of the most powerful blood tonics known to man. It is used in Chinese medicine to assist coagulation of the blood, stop bleeding, and to dilate the coronary artery and increase coronary blood flow, thus providing more blood to the heart muscle. The herb also reduces cardiac load, lowers arterial pressure, and improves micro-circulation in and around damaged heart tissue.

The herb is sweet and slightly bitter in flavour, slightly warm in nature, and acts on the heart, liver and spleen channels. Being sweet for mildness, warm for clearing, it acts heart and liver channels and blood division for resolving blood stasis and improving blood circulation. When the stasis is resolved and the blood returned back to the vessels, the bleeding without retaining blood stasis, it is an important herb to stop bleeding and alleviate pain. The herb is often used to treat various kinds of bleeding and pains due to blood stasis.

Indication:
1. The herb powder can be orally taken, 2-3 times a day, 3g each time, to treat haematemesis, hemafecia, metrorrhagia and metrostaxis and other kinds of bleeding, with a better effect for bleeding with blood stasis. To treat haematemensis, hemafecia caused by ulcer of the digestive tract, the herb can be used in combination with hyacinth bletilla and cuttle bone.

2 . To treat traumatic ecchymosis and swelling pain, the herb can be orally taken or externally applied or used in combination with other herbs for removing blood stasis and alleviating pain. To treat obstruction of the heart channel by blood stasis and colic due to obstruction of Qi in the chest, the herb is often used in combination with ginseng for supplementing Qi, clearing the channels, removing blood stasis and alleviating pain.

Dosage and Administration: 1-3g. The herb powder is orally taken in form of infusion with hot boiled water.

Click to learn more about San Qi

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.tonshen.com/product/healthtea/sanqi_t.html
http://www.ibiblio.org/pfaf/cgi-bin/arr_html?Panax+pseudoginseng+notoginseng
http://tcm.health-info.org/Herbology.Materia.Medica/sanqi-properties.htm
http://www.mdidea.com/products/new/new081.html
http://www.tcmtreatment.com/herbs/0-sanqi.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panax_pseudoginseng

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

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