Categories
Herbs & Plants

Menispermum davuricum

Botanical Name : Menispermum davuricum
Family : Menispermaceae
Genus: Menispermum (men-ee-SPER-mum) (Info)
Species: davuricum

Synonyms : Menispermum dauricum (Auct.)
Common Name: Dahurian moonseed
Habitats: Menispermum davuricum is native to East AsiaSiberia to N. China. It grows on sparse forests ad bushes at the road.
Description:
Menispermum davuricum is a deciduous Climber growing to 3.6 m (11ft 10in) at a fast rate.
It is an interesting climber with attractive foliage that turns yellow in autumn. Large (10-20 cm across), heart-shaped, deep green leaves have 3-7 barely discernible lobes. Slender twining shoots densely entangle a support covering it with tiling leaves. Suitable for growing over arbours, fences, pergolas, trellises and other supports, it appreciates a site in full sun. Perfect as a screening or a ground cover plant. Prune when needed. When the plant has excessively spread out, every 3-4 years it can be cut off at 20-40cm above the ground. Spreading stolons should be kept under control.

CLICK  &  SEE  THE  PICTURES

It is hardy to zone (UK) 4. It is in flower from Jun to July, and the seeds ripen from Oct to November. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required)The plant is not self-fertile.

Cultivation :
Succeeds in any moderately fertile soil that does not dry out excessively in summer, in sun or partial shade. Prefers full sun. This species is hardy to about -30°c, but, due to a lack of summer heat, the plants usually produce soft growth in mild maritime areas and this can be cut to the ground at temperatures around -5 to -10°c. The plants do not require pruning, but can benefit from being cut back to ground level every 2 – 3 years in order to keep them tidy. Closely related to M. canadense, differing mainly in its annual or rarely persistent aerial stems. A twining plant, it spreads freely by means of underground suckers. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Propagation :
Seed – sow late winter in a greenhouse. Two months cold stratification speeds up germination so it might be better to sow the seed as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Germination is usually good. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of mature wood, autumn in a frame. Division of suckers in early spring. The suckers can be planted out direct into their permanent positions, though we prefer to pot them up and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are established

Medicinal Uses:    The root is antirheumatic and is also used in the treatment of cancer. The whole plant is used to alleviate skin allergies and is also used in the treatment of cancer.

Known Hazards : The whole plant is poisonous

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:
http://e-clematis.com/en_GB/p/Menispermum-davuricum-Dahurian-Moonseed/149
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Menispermum+davuricum
http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/80723/

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Categories
Herbs & Plants

Solidago spathulata

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Botanical Name : Solidago spathulata
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Solidago
Species: S. spathulata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms:
*Aster candollei Kuntze 1891 not Harv. 1865
*Homopappus spathulatus (DC.) Nutt.
*Solidago simplex var. spathulata (DC.) Cronquist
*Solidago spiciformis Torr. & A.Gray

Common Names: Coast Goldenrod, Creeping Goldenrod, Dune goldenrod

Habitat :Solidago spathulata is native to the Pacific Coastal regions of the United States, in the States of Oregon and California. It is found in a wide range of habitats from coastal sand dunes to inland and alpine areas

Description:
Solidago spathulata is perennial herb up to 50 cm (20 inches) tall with a branching underground caudex. One plant can produce as many as 100 small yellow flower heads in a branching array. It is hardy to zone (UK) 8. It is in flower from Jun to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.It is noted for attracting wildlife…....CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation :
Succeeds in any moderately fertile moisture retentive soil in sun or semi-shade. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Judging by the plants native habitat, it is likely to be tolerant of maritime exposure. This species is not hardy in the colder areas of Britain, it tolerates temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c. A rather greedy plant, it is apt to impoverish the soil. The plant attracts various beneficial insects such as ladybirds, lacewings and hoverflies to the garden, these insects will help to control insect pests in the garden. Special Features:Attractive foliage, North American native, Invasive, Naturalizing, Attracts butterflies, Suitable for cut flowers, Suitable for dried flowers, Extended bloom season in Zones 9A and above.

Propagation :
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Only just cover the seed and do not allow the compost to become dry. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle, and grow them on for their first winter in pots. Plant them out into their permanent positions in spring or early summer. Division in spring or autumn. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found it best to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in a cold frame, planting them out once they are well established in the summer.

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Leaves; Seed.
Edible Uses: Tea.

Leaves and flowering stems – cooked. Seed – used as a thickener in soups etc. The seed is very small and fiddly to harvest. A tea is made from the leaves and flowers.

Medicinal Uses:
Antiseptic; Haemostatic; Salve.
The flowering stems are antiseptic, haemostatic and salve. An infusion of the dried powdered herb can be used as an antisepti. A poultice of the toasted, powdered leaves has been mixed with oil and used in the treatment of mumps.

Other Uses:
Mustard, orange and brown dyes can be obtained from the whole plant. Landscape Uses:Border, Ground cover, Specimen, Woodland garden.

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/Solidago_spathulata
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Solidago+spathulata

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Panax ginseng

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Botanical Name : Panax ginseng
Family: Araliaceae
Subfamily: Aralioideae
Tribe: Aralieae
Genus: Panax
Species: Panax ginseng
Kingdom: Plantae
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Rosidae
Order: Apiales

Synonyms : Aralia ginseng. Panax chin-seng. Panax verus.

Common Name : Ginseng, Chinese ginseng

Habitat : Panax ginseng is native to E. Asia – China, Korea.(Manchuria, Chinese Tartary and other parts of eastern Asia, and is largely cultivated there as well as in Korea and Japan.) It grows on mountain forests.
Description:
Panax ginseng is a smooth perennial herb, with a large, fleshy, very slow-growing root, 2 to 3 inches in length (occasionally twice this size) and from 1/2 to 1 inch in thickness. Its main portion is spindle-shaped and heavily annulated (ringed growth), with a roundish summit, often with a slight terminal, projecting point. At the lower end of this straight portion, there is a narrower continuation, turned obliquely outward in the opposite direction and a very small branch is occasionally borne in the fork between the two. Some small rootlets exist upon the lower portion. The color ranges from a pale yellow to a brownish color. It has a mucilaginous sweetness, approaching that of liquorice, accompanied with some degree of bitterness and a slight aromatic warmth, with little or no smell. The stem is simple and erect, about a foot high, bearing three leaves, each divided into five finely-toothed leaflets, and a single, terminal umbel, with a few small, yellowish flowers. It is hardy to zone (UK) 6. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) The fruit is a cluster of bright red berries.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
Cultivation:
Requires a moist humus rich soil in a shady position in a woodland. Ginseng is widely cultivated and also collected from the wild in the Orient for its root which is commonly used as a medicine. The root is prepared in a number of different ways, including by steaming it for 4 hours in wicker baskets over boiling water.

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 positi
Edible Uses: ...Root – chewed. This probably refers to its medicinal uses. A tea is made from the root.

Medicinal Uses:
Ginseng was considered for generations to be a panacea by the Chinese and Koreans, although there are some disorders, such as acute inflammatory diseases, for which it is not recommended. It usually is not taken alone, but combined in formulas with other herbs. One of ginseng’s key investigators, Russian I.I. Brekhman, coined the term “adaptogen” to describe ginseng’s ability to regulate many different functions. It can have different responses, depending on what an individual needs. Studies show that ginseng increases mental and physical efficiency and resistance to stress and disease. Psychological improvements were also observed according to Rorschach. Studies done at the Chinese Academy of Medical Science in Beijing, China, showed that the ginsenosides increase protein synthesis and activity of neurotransmitters in the brain. They are also probably responsible for ginseng’s dual role of sedating or stimulating the central nervous system, depending on the condition it is being taken to treat. Studies also show that ginseng improves carbohydrate tolerance in diabetics. When volunteers were given 3 grams of ginseng along with alcohol, their blood alcohol level was 32% to 51% lower than that of the control group.

Ginseng appears to stimulate the immune system of both animals and humans. It revs up the white blood cells (macrophages and natural killer cells) that devour disease-causing microorganisms. Ginseng also spurs production of interferon, the body’s own virus-fighting chemical, and antibodies, which fight bacterial and viral infections. It reduces cholesterol, according to several American studies. It also increases good cholesterol. Ginseng has an anticlotting effect, which reduces the risk of blood clots. It reduces blood sugar levels. Ginseng protects the liver from the harmful effects of drugs, alcohol, and other toxic substances. In a pilot human study, ginseng improved liver function in 24 elderly people suffering from cirrhosis. Ginseng can minimize cell damage from radiation. In two studies, experimental animals were injected with various protective agents, then subjected to doses of radiation similar to those used in cancer radiation therapy. Ginseng provided the best protection against damage to healthy cells, suggesting value during cancer radiation therapy.

Asians have always considered ginseng particularly beneficial for the elderly. As people age, the senses of taste and smell deteriorate, which reduces appetite. In addition, the intestine’s ability to absorb nutrients declines. Ginseng enjoys a reputation as an appetite stimulant and one study showed it increases the ability of the intestine to absorb nutrients, thus helping prevent undernourishment. This is a yin tonic, taken in China for fevers and for exhaustion due to a chronic, wasting disease such as tuberculosis. It can help coughs related to lung weaknessIn the 1960s, a Japanese scientist, Shoji Shibata, at the Meiji College of Pharmacy in Tokyo, identified a unique set of chemicals that are largely responsible for ginseng’s actions. They are saponins, biologically active compounds that foam in water. Ginseng’s unique saponins were dubbed “ginsenosides.”

Research reveals that ginseng can have beneficial effects on metabolic function, immunity, mood, and physiological function at the most basic cellular level. It does not benefit everyone; recent studies of elite athletes reveal that it has no demonstrable effects on athletic performance. Yet in older people, studies show that it reduces fatigue, improves performance, and boosts mood. This makes sense in classic terms because why would world-class athletes, with superior yang energy, want to take a root for people with “devastated ” yang? But if you are recovering from a drawn-out illness, feeling fatigued, or feeling the effects of age’ if you are experiencing a “collapse” of your “chi”, ginseng may be right for you.

As an adaptogenic, ginseng’s action varies. In China, ginseng is best known as a stimulant, tonic herb for athletes and those subject to physical stress, and as a male aphrodisiac. It is also a tonic for old age, and is traditionally taken by people in northern and central China fro late middle age onward, helping them to endure the long hard winters.

Ginseng has been researched in detail over the past 20-30 years in China, Japan, Korea, Russian, and many other countries. Its remarkable “adaptogenic” quality has been confirmed. Trials show that ginseng significantly improves the body’s capacity to cope with hunger, extremes of temperature, and mental and emotional stress. Furthermore, ginseng produces a sedative effect when the body requires sleep. The ginsenosides that are responsible for this action are similar in structure to the body’s own stress hormones. Ginseng also increases immune function and resistance to infection, and supports liver function.

In Asian countries, ginseng has long been recognized as effective n reducing alcohol intoxication and also as a remedy for hangovers. A clinical experiment demonstrated that ginseng significantly enhanced blood alcohol clearance in humans. In regards to cancer, a number of experiments have shown that ginseng can help restore physiological balance within the system and significantly reduce the side effects when used along with anticancer drugs. For diabetes, when patients are treated with ginseng at the early stages, conditions can return to normal. In advanced stages, the blood glucose level is significantly lowered. When combined with insulin, insulin requirements are reduced while still effectively lowering blood glucose level. Other symptoms such as fatigue and decreased sexual desire are also alleviated.

There is some evidence that ginseng, taken in small amounts over a long period of time, improves regulation of the adrenals so that stress hormones are produced rapidly when needed and broken down rapidly when not needed. Whole root is best. Extracts, even those that contain specific guaranteed-potency ginsenosides, don’t have some of the other compounds in ginseng that may be beneficial. Its not recommended to take even good quality extracts for more than 2-3 weeks at a time, but the whole ginseng root, in small amounts can be taken every day for a year or more.

At the Institute of Immunological Science at Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan, researchers have been studying a ginsenoside, Rb2. In mice given lung tumors,’ oral administration of ginsenoside Rb2 caused a marked inhibition of both neovascularization and tumor growth,’ they write. Neovascularization, also called angiogenesis, is the tendency of tumors to create tiny blood vessels that feed their malignant growth.

A case-control study in Korea compared about 2,000 patients admitted tot eh Korea Cancer Center Hospital in Seoul to another 2,000 noncancer patients. Those with cancer were about half as likely to use ginseng as those without cancer. Cancer risk was lower with those who took ginseng for a year but much lower for those who took ginseng for up to 20 years. Fresh ginseng, white ginseng extract, white ginseng powder, and red ginseng were all associated with reduced cancer risk.

Known Hazards : Side effects include inability to fall asleep, increase in heart rate and blood pressure. Overuse or prolonged use may cause over stimulation (diarrhoea, nervousness, skin eruption). Caution with other stimulants needed. Avoid in patients with psychosis and manic disorders. Not recommended during pregnancy and breast feeding

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/Panax_ginseng
http://www.hardingsginsengfarm.com/botgin.htm
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_FGH.htm
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Panax+ginseng

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Gentiana purpurea

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Botanical Name: Gentiana purpurea
Family: Gentianaceae
Genus: Gentiana
Species: G. purpurea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales
Common Names: Gentiana purpurea

Habitat : Gentiana purpurea is native to C. and N. Europe. It grows on meadows, pastures and the grassy bottoms of mountain corries, sometimes in scrub and thin conifer woodland, usually on lime-free soils.

Description:
Gentiana purpurea is a perennial plant, growing to 0.6 m (2ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5. It is in flower from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bumblebees, butterflies.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

USDA hardiness zone : 4-8
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

This gentian is the little sister of Gentiana lutea :), growing not as tall but very similar in habit, although the leaves are smaller and the flowers are deep red-wine coloured.

Growing them both together seems like a great idea! Seeds gratefully received from happy plants growing in Norway.

Cultivation :
In general, gentians require a moist well-drained soil in a sheltered position, a certain minimum of atmospheric humidity, high light intensity but a site where temperatures are not too high. They are therefore more difficult to grow in areas with hot summers and in such a region they appreciate some protection from the strongest sunlight. Most species will grow well in the rock garden. This species is easily grown in a sandy, lime-free soil enriched with organic matter, so long as this is deep enough to accommodate the plant’s roots. A moisture loving plant, preferring to grow with full exposure to the sun but with plenty of underground moisture in the summer, it grows better in the north and west of Britain. Plants are intolerant of root disturbance.

Propagation :
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a light position in a cold frame. It can also be sown in late winter or early spring but the seed germinates best if given a period of cold stratification and quickly loses viability when stored, with older seed germinating slowly and erratically. It is advantageous to keep the seed at about 10°c for a few days after sowing, to enable the seed to imbibe moisture. Following this with a period of at least 5 – 6 weeks with temperatures falling to between 0 and -5°c will usually produce reasonable germination. It is best to use clay pots, since plastic ones do not drain so freely and the moister conditions encourage the growth of moss, which will prevent germination of the seed. The seed should be surface-sown, or only covered with a very light dressing of compost. The seed requires dark for germination, so the pots should be covered with something like newspaper or be kept in the dark. Pot up the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. The seedlings grow on very slowly, taking 2 – 7 years to reach flowering size. When the plants are of sufficient size, place them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Division in March. Most members of this genus have either a single tap-root, or a compact root system united in a single root head, and are thus unsuitable for division. Cuttings of basal shoots in late spring

Edible Uses: The root is sometimes used in the manufacture of gentian bitters.

Medicinal Uses:
This species is one of several that are the source of the medicinal gentian root[4], the following notes are based on the general uses of G. lutea which is the most commonly used species in the West. Gentian root has a long history of use as a herbal bitter in the treatment of digestive disorders and is an ingredient of many proprietary medicines. It contains some of the most bitter compounds known and is used as a scientific basis for measuring bitterness. It is especially useful in states of exhaustion from chronic disease and in all cases of debility, weakness of the digestive system and lack of appetite. It is one of the best strengtheners of the human system, stimulating the liver, gall bladder and digestive system, and is an excellent tonic to combine with a purgative in order to prevent its debilitating effects. The root is anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, bitter tonic, cholagogue, emmenagogue, febrifuge, refrigerant, stomachic. It is taken internally in the treatment of liver complaints, indigestion, gastric infections and anorexia. It should not be prescribed for patients with gastric or duodenal ulcers. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. It is quite likely that the roots of plants that have not flowered are the richest in medicinal properties

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/Gentiana_purpurea
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Gentiana+purpurea

Gentiana purpurea

Categories
immunisation

Immunisation

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Definition:
Immunization, or immunisation, is the process by which an individual’s immune system becomes fortified against an agent (known as the immunogen).It  is the process whereby a person is made immune or resistant to an infectious disease.

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Immunization is done through various techniques, most commonly vaccination. Vaccines against microorganisms that cause diseases can prepare the body’s immune system, thus helping to fight or prevent an infection. The fact that mutations can cause cancer cells to produce proteins or other molecules that are known to the body forms the theoretical basis for therapeutic cancer vaccines. Other molecules can be used for immunization as well, for example in experimental vaccines against nicotine (NicVAX) or the hormone ghrelin in experiments to create an obesity vaccine.

Before the introduction of vaccines, the only way people became immune to an infectious disease was by actually getting the disease and surviving it. Smallpox (variola) was prevented in this way by inoculation, which produced a milder effect than the natural disease. It was introduced into England from Turkey by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu in 1721 and used by Zabdiel Boylston in Boston the same year. In 1798 Edward Jenner introduced inoculation with cowpox (smallpox vaccine), a much safer procedure. This procedure, referred to as vaccination, gradually replaced smallpox inoculation, now called variolation to distinguish it from vaccination. Until the 1880s vaccine/vaccination referred only to smallpox, but Louis Pasteur developed immunisation methods for chicken cholera and anthrax in animals and for human rabies, and suggested that the terms vaccine/vaccination should be extended to cover the new procedures. This can cause confusion if care is not taken to specify which vaccine is used e.g. measles vaccine or influenza vaccine.

When this system is exposed to molecules that are foreign to the body, called non-self, it will orchestrate an immune response, and it will also develop the ability to quickly respond to a subsequent encounter because of immunological memory. This is a function of the adaptive immune system. Therefore, by exposing an animal to an immunogen in a controlled way, its body can learn to protect itself: this is called active immunization.

The most important elements of the immune system that are improved by immunization are the T cells, B cells, and the antibodies B cells produce. Memory B cells and memory T cells are responsible for a swift response to a second encounter with a foreign molecule. Passive immunization is direct introduction of these elements into the body, instead of production of these elements by the body itself.

The most important elements of the immune system that are improved by immunization are the T cells, B cells, and the antibodies B cells produce. Memory B cells and memory T cells are responsible for a swift response to a second encounter with a foreign molecule. Passive immunization is direct introduction of these elements into the body, instead of production of these elements by the body itself.

Immunization is a proven tool for controlling and eliminating life-threatening infectious diseases and is estimated to avert between 2 and 3 million deaths each year. It is one of the most cost-effective health investments, with proven strategies that make it accessible to even the most hard-to-reach and vulnerable populations. It has clearly defined target groups; it can be delivered effectively through outreach activities; and vaccination does not require any major lifestyle change.

Immunizations are definitely less risky and an easier way to become immune to a particular disease than risking a milder form of the disease itself. They are important for both adults and children in that they can protect us from the many diseases out there. Through the use of immunizations, some infections and diseases have almost completely been eradicated throughout the United States and the World. One example is polio. Thanks to dedicated health care professionals and the parents of children who vaccinated on schedule, polio has been eliminated in the U.S. since 1979. Polio is still found in other parts of the world so certain people could still be at risk of getting it. This includes those people who have never had the vaccine, those who didn’t receive all doses of the vaccine, or those traveling to areas of the world where polio is still prevalent.

The Immunization can be achieved in an active or passive manner:
Vaccination is an active form of immunization.

Active immunization/vaccination has been named one of the “Ten Great Public Health Achievements in the 20th Century”.

Active immunization:.click & see
Active immunization can occur naturally when a person comes in contact with, for example, a microbe. The immune system will eventually create antibodies and other defenses against the microbe. The next time, the immune response against this microbe can be very efficient; this is the case in many of the childhood infections that a person only contracts once, but then is immune.

Artificial active immunization is where the microbe, or parts of it, are injected into the person before they are able to take it in naturally. If whole microbes are used, they are pre-treated.

The importance of immunization is so great that the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has named it one of the “Ten Great Public Health Achievements in the 20th Century”.  Live attenuated vaccines have decreased pathogenicity. Their effectiveness depends on the immune systems ability to replicate and elicits a response similar to natural infection. It is usually effective with a single dose. Examples of live, attenuated vaccines include measles, mumps, rubella, MMR, yellow fever, varicella, rotavirus, and influenza (LAIV).

Passive immunization:……...click & see
Passive immunization is where pre-synthesized elements of the immune system are transferred to a person so that the body does not need to produce these elements itself. Currently, antibodies can be used for passive immunization. This method of immunization begins to work very quickly, but it is short lasting, because the antibodies are naturally broken down, and if there are no B cells to produce more antibodies, they will disappear.

Passive immunization occurs physiologically, when antibodies are transferred from mother to fetus during pregnancy, to protect the fetus before and shortly after birth.

Artificial passive immunization is normally administered by injection and is used if there has been a recent outbreak of a particular disease or as an emergency treatment for toxicity, as in for tetanus. The antibodies can be produced in animals, called “serum therapy,” although there is a high chance of anaphylactic shock because of immunity against animal serum itself. Thus, humanized antibodies produced in vitro by cell culture are used instead if available.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immunization
http://www.who.int/topics/immunization/en/