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Herbs & Plants

Anise

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Botanical Name:Pimpinella anisum.
Family:
Apiaceae
Genus:
Pimpinella
Species:
P. anisum
Kingdom:
Plantae
Order:
Apiales

Habitat:
Anise is native to  Eastern Mediterranean or Western Asia.

Synonyms: Anisum vulgare (Gaertn.), A. officinarum (Moench.), Anise, Anisum, Anisi fructus, common aniseed

Parts used: Fruits (sometimes incorrectly called “seeds”).
Cultivated : Southern Europe, North Africa, Near East, China, Pakistan, Mexico, Chile, USA
Taste/smell:Sweet and very aromatic. A similar fragrance to that of cicely.( licorice-like, sweet)

Etymology: The spice gained its Latin name anisum as a result of confusion with dill, known in Greek as an?son. Names of anise in virtually all European languages are derived from anisum.
The Sanskrit name shatapushpa means “one hundred flowers” and refers to the flower cluster. The Hindi name saunf properly denotes fennel, of which anise is incorrectly thought to be a foreign variety. To distinguish anise clearly from fennel, the specialised terms patli saunf “thin fennel” or vilayati saunf “foreign fennel” are often used. Some languages refer to the sweetness of anise, e.g. Greek glykaniso “sweet anise”, or name anise as a sweet variant of other spices, e.g. Indonesian jinten manis and Arabic kamun halu “sweet cumin” (a name sometimes also used in English). Arabic has another, similar name habbu al-hulwa “sweet grains”. The Portuguese term erva doce “sweet herb” may denote anise, fennel or sweetleaf (stevia rebaudiana).
The genus name pimpinella is Late Latin for “narrow-ribbed fruit”.
Major Uses: pastries, candies, liquors

Description:

Anise, Pimpinella anisum, is an herbaceous annual plant in the family Umbelliferae grown primarily for its fruits which are used as a spice. The plant has a grooved stem and alternately arranged leaves. The lower leaves are round with a toothed edge and petioles which can be between 4 and 10 cm (1.6–3.9 in) in length. The upper leaves are feathered and become progressively shorter towards the top of the plant. The aniseed plant produces umbels of white flowers and an oval, flattened, hairy fruit with a single seed. Anise can reach a height of 45–60 cm (17.7–23.6 in) and is an annual plant, surviving only one growing season. Anise may also be referred to as aniseed and originates from the Mediterranean.

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Several spices have been called anise. The native of Egypt, Pimpinella anisum, is anise seed or aniseed, while China is the source of Illicum verum, star anise. In the past, dill, caraway and fennel seeds were confused with anise seed.
Useful Parts: The seeds have been used widely in cooking, and are popular in spicy cakes. The oil of anise  is often used in artificial licorice, and gives its distinctive taste to liqueurs such as anisette and raki. Anise is used in many processed foods and in cough medicines, and is often included in pet foods for the flavor it imparts.
Edible  Uses:In Western cuisine, anise is mostly restricted to bread and cakes although fruit products are occasionally aromatised with anise. In small dosage, anise seeds are sometimes contained in spice mixtures for sausages and stews. Their main applications are, however, anise-flavoured liqueurs, of which there are many in different Mediterranean countries including rak? in Turkey, ouzo in Greece and pernod in France. In many cases, oil of anise is partially or wholly substituted by oil of star anise in these products.

In the East, anise is less known and both fennel and star anise are more easily available and more popular. Anise may substitute for fennel in North Indian recipes, but it is a less suitable substitute for star anise in Chinese foods.
Anise appears occasionally in Mexican recipes, but native anise-flavoured herbs (Mexican tarragon and Mexican pepper-leaf) are more commonly used. Anise is an acceptable substitute for both, although tarragon is even better.
Several plants generate an aroma comparable to that of anise. Within the apiaceae (parsley) family, fennel and cicely copy the aroma of anise perfectly and chervil and dill also resemble anise, although their fragrance is less pure. In Far Eastern cuisines (India, Iran and Indonesia), no distinction is made between anise and fennel and the same name is usually given to both of them. In the Philippines star anise is very popular and is referred to as “anise” for short.

Constituents:
As with all spices, the composition of anise varies considerably with origin and cultivation method. These are typical values for the main constituents.

*Moisture: 9-13%
*Protein: 18%
*Fatty oil: 8-23%
*Essential oil: 2-7%
*Starch: 5%
*N-free extract: 22-28%
*Crude fibre: 12-25%
*Essential oil yielded by distillation is generally around 2-3% and anethole makes up 80-90% of this.

Medicinal Properties: Over the centuries, anise has been reported to have numerous medical benefits, but there is no evidence that it offers any pharmacologic benefit. It is thus a flavorful digestive spice that may be soothing, stimulating or carminative (relieving gas) in different individuals, and it is a popular taste in drinks, confections and simple proprietary medicines.

Anise is a carminative and an expectorant. It is also a good source of iron. One tablespoon of anise seeds sprinkled on cookies, bread or cake provides 16% of the RDA for a woman and 24% of the RDA for a man. A 1990 study tested the effect of certain beverage extracts on the absorption of iron. The results showed that anise was the most effective of the extracts tested in promoting iron absorption. The authors recommended offering this as a preventive agent to iron deficiency anemia. To make a carminative tea that may relieve intestinal gas, crush 1 teaspoon of anise seeds per cup of boiling water. Steep for 10-20 minutes and strain. Drink up to 3 cups a day. In a tincture, take  1 teaspoon up to three times a day. Diluted anise infusions may be given cautiously to infants to treat colic. For older children and people over 65, begin with low-strength preparations and increase strength if necessary. Some people simply chew the anise seeds. Early English herbalist Gerard suggested anise for hiccups. It has also been prescribed as a milk promoter for nursing mothers and as a treatment for water retention, headache, asthma, bronchitis, insomnia, nausea, lice, infant colic, cholera and even cancer. America’s 19th century Eclectic physicians recommended anise primarily as a stomach soother for nausea, gas, and infant colic.

Modern uses: Science has supported anise’s traditional use as a treatment for coughs, bronchitis, and asthma. According to several studies the herb contains chemicals (creosol and alpha-pinene) that loosen bronchial secretions and make them easier to cough up. Another chemical (anethole) acts as a digestive aid. Anise also contains chemicals (dianethole and photoanethole) similar to the female sex hormone estrogen. Scientists suggest their presence probably accounts for the herb’s traditional use as a milk promoter and may help relieve menopausal discomfort. One report shows that anise spurs the regeneration of liver cells in laboratory rats, suggesting a possible value in treating hepatitis and cirrhosis. While there are no studies that support using anise to treat liver disease in humans, anise looks promising in this area.

Other Miscellaneous Uses:
*In the 1860s, American Civil War nurse Maureen Hellstrom used anise seeds as an early form of antiseptic. This method was later found to have caused high levels of toxicity in the blood and was discontinued shortly thereafter.

*According to Pliny the Elder, anise was used as a cure for sleeplessness, chewed with alexanders and a little honey in the morning to freshen the breath, and, when mixed with wine, as a remedy for asp bites (N.H. 20.72).

*The Biblical “anise” mentioned in some translations of Matthew 23 is dill (A. graveolens), rather than this plant.

*In 19th-century medicine, anise was prepared as aqua anisi (“Water of Anise”) in doses of an ounce or more and as spiritus anisi (“Spirit of Anise”) in doses of 5–20 minims.

*In Pakistani and Indian cuisines, no distinction is made between anise and fennel. Therefore, the same name (saunf) is usually given to both of them. Some use the term patli (thin) saunf or velayati (foreign) saunf to distinguish anise from fennel, although Gujarati has the term anisi or Sava.

*In the Middle East, water is boiled with about a tablespoon of aniseed per teacup to make a special hot tea called yansoon. This is given to mothers in Egypt when they are nursing.

*Builders of steam locomotives in Britain incorporated capsules of aniseed oil into white metal plain bearings, so the distinctive smell would give warning in case of overheating.

*Anise can be made into a liquid scent and is used for both drag hunting and fishing. It is put on fishing lures to attract fish.

*Anise is frequently used to add flavor to mu’assel, particularly the double apple flavor.

*Anise is one of the three odors used in K9 Nosework.

Historical View :
Oil of anise possesses the same aromatic, carminative, and stimulant properties as anise fruits, and as already noticed is commonly preferred to them as a medicine, and is alone official in the British Pharmacopoeia.

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:
unitproj.library.ucla.edu
http://www.aidanbrooksspices.blogspot.com/2007/10/anise.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anise

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Herbs & Plants Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Asafoetida

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Botanical Name : Ferula asafoetida
Family:    Apiaceae
Genus:    Ferula
Species:    F. assa-foetida
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:    Apiales
Common Names : Asafoetida , devil’s dung, food of the gods, hing, narthex

It has several Names
Asafetida, Assafetida, Assafoetida, Devil’s Dung, Devil’s Durt, Food of the Gods (Persian), Laser (Roman), Stinking Gum
French: assa foetida, ferulr perisque
German: Asafotida, Stinkender Asant
Italian: assafetida
Spanish: asafetida

Ferula foetida
Ferula foetida (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Afghan: kama-i-anguza
Indian: hing, hingu, heeng
Tamil: perunkaya,   Bengali :Hing

Asafoetida gets its name from the Persian aza, for mastic or resin, and the Latin foetidus, for stinking. It is a gum that is from the sap of the roots and stem of the ferula species, a giant fennel that exudes a vile odour. Early records mention that Alexander the Great carried this “stink finger” west in 4 BC. It was used as a spice in ancient Rome, and although not native to India, it has been used in Indian medicine and cookery for ages. It was believed that asafoetida enhanced singers voices. In the days of the Mughal aristocracy, the court singers if Agra and Delhi would eat a spoonful of asafoetida with butter and practice on the banks of the river Yamuna.

Plant Details and it’s Cultivation
Asafoetida is grown chiefly in Iran and Afghanistan from where it is exported to the rest of the world. In India it is cultivated in Kashmir. It is a perennial fennel that grows wild to 3.6 metres (12 ft) high, in large natural forests where little else grows. It bears fine leaves and yellow flowers. The roots are thick and pulpy and also yield a similar resin to that of the stems. All parts of the plant have the distinctive fetid smell. In March and April, just before flowering, the stalks are cut close to the root. A milky liquid oozes out, which dries to form a resin. This is collected and a fresh cut is made. This procedure lasts for about three months from the first incision, by which time the plant has yielded up to two pounds of resin and the root has dried up.

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Asafoetida is a hard resinous gum, grayish-white when fresh, darkening with age to yellow, red and eventually brown. It is sold in blocks or pieces as a gum and more frequently as a fine yellow powder, sometimes crystalline or granulated.
Bouquet: a pungent smell of rotting onions or sulfur. The smell dissipates with cooking.
Flavour: on its own, extremely unpleasant, like concentrated rotten garlic. When cooked, it adds an onion-like flavour.
Hotness Scale: 0

To make and store:

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It is vital to keep asafoetida in airtight containers as its sulfurous odour will effect other foods and spices. It is most commonly available as a powder or granules that can be added directly to the cooking pot. It is also sold in lumps that need to be crushed before using. This is a very powerful spice and even in its ground state lasts well over a year if stored properly, away from light and air.

Cultivation and manufacture:
The resin-like gum comes from the dried sap extracted from the stem and roots and is used as a spice. The resin is greyish-white when fresh but dries to a dark amber colour. The asafoetida resin is difficult to grate and is traditionally crushed between stones or with a hammer. Today, the most commonly available form is compounded asafoetida, a fine powder containing 30% asafoetida resin, along with rice flour and gum arabic.

Ferula assafoetida is a monoecious, herbaceous, perennial plant of the family Apiaceae. It grows to 2 m (7 ft) high, with a circular mass of 30–40 cm (12–16 in) leaves. Stem leaves have wide sheathing petioles. Flowering stems are 2.5–3 m (8–10 ft) high and 10 cm (4 in) thick and hollow, with a number of schizogenous ducts in the cortex containing the resinous gum. Flowers are pale greenish yellow produced in large compound umbels. Fruits are oval, flat, thin, reddish brown and have a milky juice. Roots are thick, massive, and pulpy. They yield a resin similar to that of the stems. All parts of the plant have the distinctive fetid smell.

Edible Uses:
Use in minute quantities, adding directly to cooking liquid, frying in oil, or steeping in water. Asafoetida is used mostly in Indian vegetarian cooking, in which the strong onion-garlic flavour enhances many dishes, especially those of Brahmin and Jain castes where onions and garlic are prohibited. It is used mostly in south and west India, though it does not grow there. It is used in many lentil dishes (often to prevent flatulence), vegetarian soups and pickles. It is also suited to many fish dishes and some pappadums are seasoned with asafoetida.

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Constituents:  Typical asafoetida contains about 40–64% resin, 25% endogeneous gum, 10–17% volatile oil, and 1.5–10% ash. The resin portion is known to contain asaresinotannols ‘A’ and ‘B’, ferulic acid, umbelliferone and four unidentified compounds.
Medicinal Uses:
*Antiflatulent. Asafoetida reduces the growth of indigenous microflora in the gut, reducing flatulence.[8] In the Jammu region of India, asafoetida is used as a medicine for flatulence and constipation by 60% of locals.

*A digestion aid. In Thailand and India, it is used to aid digestion and is smeared on the abdomen in an alcohol or water tincture known as mahahing.  Assafoetida in this tincture form was evidently used in western medicine as a topical treatment for abdominal injuries during the 18th and 19th centuries, although when it came into use in the West and how long it remained in use is uncertain. One notable case in which it was used is that of Canadian Coureur des bois Alexis St. Martin, who in 1822 suffered a severe abdominal injury from an accidental shooting that perforated his right lung and stomach and shattered several ribs. St Martin was treated by American army surgeon William Beaumont, who subsequently used St Martin as the subject of a pioneering series of experiments in gastric physiology. When St Martin’s wounds had healed, there remained an open fistula into his stomach that enabled Beaumont to insert various types of food directly into St Martin’s stomach and record the results. In his account of his treatment of and later experiments on St Martin, Beaumont recorded that he treated the suppurating chest wound with a combination of wine mixed with diluted muriatic acid and 30-40 drops of tincture of asafoetida applied three times a day, and that this appeared to have the desired effect, helping the wound to heal.

*Fighting influenza: Asafoetida was used in 1918 to fight the Spanish influenza pandemic. In 2009, researchers reported that the roots of Asafoetida produce natural antiviral drug compounds that demonstrated potency against the H1N1 virus in vitro and concluded that “sesquiterpene coumarins from F. assa-foetida may serve as promising lead compounds for new drug development against influenza A (H1N1) viral infection”.

*Remedy for asthma and bronchitis. It is also said  to be helpful in cases of asthma and bronchitis. A folk tradition remedy for children’s colds: it is mixed into a pungent-smelling paste and hung in a bag around the afflicted child’s neck.
An antimicrobial: Asafoetida has a broad range of uses in traditional medicine as an antimicrobial, with well documented uses for treating chronic bronchitis and whooping cough, as well as reducing flatulence.

*A contraceptive/abortifacient: Asafoetida has also been reported to have contraceptive/abortifacient activity,. It is related to (and considered an inferior substitute for) the ancient Ferula species Silphium.

*Antiepileptic: Asafoetida oleo-gum-resin has been reported to be antiepileptic in classical Unani, as well as ethnobotanical literature.

*Balancing the vata and kapha. In India according to the Ayurveda, asafoetida is considered to be one of the best spices for balancing the vata dosha. It mitigates vata and kapha, relieves flatulence and colic pain. It is pungent in taste and at the end of digestion. It aggravates pitta, enhances appetite, taste and digestion. It is easy to digest.

*Antidote for opium. Asafoetida has only been speculated to be an antidote for opium.

*Acifidity Bag. Asafoetida was approved by the US Pharmacopedia to stave off the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918 that killed millions worldwide. It was placed into pouches called “acifidity bags” that were provided by drug stores to be hung around the neck to try to prevent catching the disease.
Other uses

Other Uses:
*Bait: John C Duval reported in 1936 that the odour of asafoetida is attractive to the wolf, a matter of common knowledge, he says, along the Texas–Mexico border. It is also used as one of several possible scent baits, most notably for catfish and pike.

*May also be used as a moth (Lepidoptera) light trap attractant by collectors—when mixed by approximately 1 part to 3 parts with a sweet, fruit jelly.

*Repelling spirits: In Jamaica, asafoetida is traditionally applied to a baby’s anterior fontanel (Jamaican patois mole) to prevent spirits (Jamaican patois duppies) from entering the baby through the fontanel. In the African-American Hoodoo tradition, asafoetida is used in magic spells, as it is believed to have the power both to protect and to curse.

*In ceremonial magick, especially from The Key of Solomon the King, it is used to protect the magus from daemonic forces and to evoke the same and bind them

Side Effects:
The uncooked herb can cause nausea and vomiting. Using asafoetida over long periods may cause throat irritation, gas, diarrhea, and burning urination. This herb should be avoided during pregnancy. It may affect the menstrual cycle, and it is known to induce miscarriage.

Known Hazards :  Do not use orally. Avoid during pregnancy as possible increased bleeding. Topical use may cause skin irritation

Availability:If you want to buy on line you may click on this link.

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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/Asafoetida

Encylopedia of spices,

http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail415.php

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

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Herbs & Plants Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Ajwain

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Botanical Name:Carum Coptium
Family : Umbelliferae; Apiaceae
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:    Apiales
Genus:    Trachyspermum
Species:T. ammi

Synonyms:  T.copticum. Ammi copticum. Carum copticum.
Other names: .
Carom, omoum,Ajowan, Bishop’s Weed , Seeds Of Bishop’s Weed,Wishep’s weed or Ajova Seed, is an uncommon spice except in certain areas of Asia. It is the small seed-like fruit of the Bishop’s Weed plant, (Trachyspermum ammi syn. Carum copticum), egg-shaped and grayish in colour. The plant has a similarity to parsley.

Habitat :It originated in the eastern Mediterranean, possibly Egypt, and spread up to India from the Near East.

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Description:  Ajwain is often confused with Lovage seed; even some dictionaries mistakenly state that ajwain comes from the lovage plant

Ajowan looks like wild parsley (similar to caraway, celery and cumin seeds) and is a native of India. It is grown throughout the country in Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar and West Bengal. It is also grown in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Egypt. The striped seeds are used as the spice.

Botany

Ajowan is an erect, glabrous or minutely pubescent, branched annual  plant that grows upto 90 cm. Stems are striate and leaves are distant and pinnately divided. Small white flowers are on terminal or seemingly lateral pedunculate, compound umbels. The fruits are ovoid, greyish brown, aromatic cremocarps with single seed.

Cultivation

Ajowan grows on all kinds of soil but does well on loams or clayey loams, both as a dry crop and under irrigation. Seeds are sown from September to November. The plants flower in about two months and the fruits become ready for harvesting when then flower heads turn brown. They are pulled out, dried on mats and the fruits are separated by rubbing by hands or feet.

Aroma and flavour

The sensoric quality of ajowan is similar to thyme, but stronger and less subtle. The essential oil (2.5 to 5% in the dried fruits) is dominated by thymol (35 to 60%); furthermore, a-pinene, b-cymene, limonene and e-terpinene have been found.

History:
Ajwain originated in the Middle East, possibly in Egypt. It is now primarily grown and used in the Indian Subcontinent, but also in Iran, Egypt and Afghanistan. It is sometimes used as an ingredient in berbere, an Ethiopian spice mixture

Recipes:

Ajwain flavour chicken,Palda,Fried Bhindi,Papdi,Jalebi Paratha and Amritsari Fish.

Culinary use:
Usage of ajowan is almost confined to Central Asia and Northern India. Ajowan is particularly popular in savoury Indian recipes like savoury pastries, snacks and breads. For example, the Bengali spic mixture panch phoron is sometimes enhanced with ajowan. Ajowan enjoys, however, some popularity in the Arabic world and is found in berebere, a spice mixture of Ethiopia which shows both Indian and Arabic heritage. In Southern Indian cuisine (which is predominantly vegetarian), tadka-like preparations are not only applied to dried lentils and beans, but also to green vegetables.

Herbal dishes of Chattisgarh, India is Ajwain Ka Halwa.   Material required: Ajwain, Cow ghee, Gud and Ata(wheet flower)

Method: Cow ghee is taken in a pan, Ajwain, gud and ata  are required to be roasted  till the color  turns redish and then water or milk is added. It is served hot.

Medicinal and Other use:
Ajowan is much used as a medicinal plant is ayurvedic medicine for its antispasmodic, stimulant, tonic and carminative properties. The seeds are used to ease asthma and indigestion. It is also widely used to treat diarrhoea and flatulence. In the West, thymol is used in medicines against cough and throat irritation. The thymol content makes ajowan a potent fungicide.

Ajwain holds a reputed position as medicinal herb in different systems of medicine in India.  According to Ayurveda, its seeds are hot, bitter, pungent, stomachic, appetizer, aphrodisiac, anthelmintic, carminative, laxative and cure ascites, abdominal tumours, spleen enlargement, piles, vomiting, abdominal pain, good for heart and toothache etc. According to Unani system of medicine, the seeds are bitter and hot, carminative, diuretic, good in weakness of limbs, paralysis, chest pains etc. it is useful in treatment of ear boils, liver spleen, hiccup, vomiting, dyspepsia, kidney troubles, inflammation etc. Ajwain Ke Halwa is a sweet preparation popular among the senior natives and traditional healers of Chhattisgarh.  It is not prepared by the natives.  The senior natives and traditional healers are aware of above mentioned medicinal uses of Ajwain but they prepare Ajwain Ke Halwa only for female patients having gynaecological troubles.  This preparation is considered as a boon for these patients.

Ajowan is recommended for diarrhea, cholera, heartcare , stresscare . Oil extracted from the fruit contains cardiac depressive activity. Green Earth Products is engaged in manufacturing, exporting and global sourcing of a complete range of herbal extracts such as carum coptium (soft ext ratio 8:01). The healing & preventative effects of carum coptium have led to wide demand of this extract in the western societies. We export Carum coptium to various countries of the world.
In the Middle East, ajowan water is often used for diarrhoea and wind and in India the seeds are a home remedy for indigestion and asthma.  For reasons of both flavor and practicality its natural affinity is with starchy foods and legumes.  Because of its thymol content, it is a strong germicide, anti-spasmodic, fungicide, and anthelmintic.  Regular use of Ajwain leaves seems to prevent kidney stone formation.   It also has aphrodisiac properties and the Ananga Ranga prescribes it for increasing the enjoyment of a husband in the flower of his life

Ajwain is very useful in alleviating spasmodic pains of the stomach and intestines, in adults as well as children. Any colicky pain due to flatulence (gas), indigestion and infections in the intestines can easily be relieved by taking one teaspoonful of ajwain along with 2-3 pinches of common salt in warm water. Use half the dose in children. Mixed with buttermilk it is a good anti-acidic agent

For chronic bronchitis and asthma, mix ajwain with jaggery (gur). Heat the mixture to make a paste and take 2 teaspoonsful twice a day. However, diabetics should not take this preparation because of the sugar content. It helps to bring out the mucus easily. It also helps in chronic cold.

In an acute attack of common cold or migraine headache, put ajwain powder in a thin cloth and smell this frequently. It gives tremendous symptomatic relief according to some Ayurvedic experts.
If people who consume excessive alcohol develop discomfort in the stomach, taking ajwain twice a day, will be very useful. It will also reduce the craving and desire for alcohol.

Some Home Remedies:

# Chucking wishep’s weed into the mouth cures coryza and cough.
# If a pregnant woman takes wishep’s weed then it helps her in digestion of food, increases her appetite, controls her flatulation and her uterus gets purified.
# Grinding dry wishep’s weed and wrapping the powder thus formed in a piece of cloth and then smelling or sniffing this cloth, cures coryza.
# Taking powdered wishep’s weed along with powdered sesame, cures diabetes.
# If three “rattis” of the flowers of wishep’s weed and along with ghee and honey is taken thrice a day, it cures cough by clearing out the phlegms from the body.
# If wishep’s weed is taken with hot water, it cures cough too.
# If 3 gms of powdered wishep’s weed is taken with hot water, flatulation gets cured.
# If powdered wisheps weed is made into paste and then pasted on to a cold body, it regains temperature.
# If a bundle of wishep’s weed is heated on a heating pan and applying this heat on the cold hands and feet of a person suffering from cholera or asthma, helps in regarding the temperature
# Drinking warm water after having wishep’s weed, cures indigestion, flatulation, pain and excessive formation of saliva.
# If the oil of wishep’s weed is applied on the joints of a rheumatic patient and then trying a bundle filled with wishep’s weed is applied on it, gives relief from pain.
# The flower of wishep’s weed controls the intensity of Hysteria.
# Eating the flower of wishep’s weed controls the development of worms in the intestines.
# Use of wishep’s weed by a woman who has just given birth to a child, helps her in producing milk.
# If a bundle of wishep’s weed is kept in the vagina after the birth of a child, it gives protection against germs.
# If the oil of wishep’s weed is massaged on the part of the body having sweeling, it gives relief.

Click to learn more about Ajowan
Other Uses: The seeds are rich in essential oil, 30 – 35% of which is thymol, which is more commonly found in Thymus species. The essential oil is added to epoxy derivatives. It is used in perfumes.

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://www.harvestfields.ca/CookBooks/spice/ajwan.htmland http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ajwain and http://www.urday.com/spice.html)

http://botanical.com/site/column_poudhia/publish/journal/693.txt

http://www.greenearthproducts.net/asparagus-adscendens.html

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

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Trachyspermum+ammi

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Herbs & Plants Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Ginger (Zingiber officinale)

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Botanical Name :Zingiber officinale
Family: Zingiberaceae
Genus: Zingiber
Species: Z. officinale
Kingdom: Plantae
clade: Angiosperms
clade: Monocots
clade: Commelinids
Order: Zingiberales

Common Name :Ginger

Ginger: When fresh it is called “ardraka”, and in the dried form it is referred to as “shunthi”

Habitat :  Ginger is a herb that is indigenous to the South West coast of India. It is also known in the East as a hot or yang herb, and has a long history of traditional usage spanning back over 2,500 years.The characteristic aromatic smell of ginger is familiar to many of us, and its use as a spice in cookery is very well known.

Description:

Zingiber officinale is usually about four feet tall, with long, narrow leaves that measure around seven inches long. When the plant flowers, it produces small yellow-green flowers. The word “zingiber” is a distant relative of the Sanskrit word “shringavera,” which means “shaped like a deer’s antlers” (referring to the shape of the plant’s leaves)..

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Different Uses:
Ginger used for cooking and medicinal purposes is not the outer part of the ginger plant, but the root. Ginger root is light beige in color and looks a bit like a hand, with many small extensions from a larger main body. Ginger root should be firm and have no growths on the exterior.

Gari (ginger)Ginger produces a hot, fragrant kitchen spice.[5] Young ginger rhizomes are juicy and fleshy with a very mild taste. They are often pickled in vinegar or sherry as a snack or just cooked as an ingredient in many dishes. They can also be steeped in boiling water to make ginger tea, to which honey is often added; sliced orange or lemon fruit may also be added. Ginger can also be made into candy.

Mature ginger roots are fibrous and nearly dry. The juice from old ginger roots is extremely potent[6] and is often used as a spice in Indian recipes, and is a quintessential ingredient of Chinese, Korean, Japanese and many South Asian cuisines for flavoring dishes such as seafood or goat meat and vegetarian cuisine.

Ginger acts as a useful food preservative.

Fresh ginger can be substituted for ground ginger at a ratio of 6 to 1, although the flavors of fresh and dried ginger are somewhat different. Powdered dry ginger root is typically used as a flavoring for recipes such as gingerbread, cookies, crackers and cakes, ginger ale, and ginger beer.

Candied ginger is the root cooked in sugar until soft, and is a type of confectionery.

Fresh ginger may be peeled before eating. For longer-term storage, the ginger can be placed in a plastic bag and refrigerated or frozen.

Culinary Use: The essential oil is used in commercial flavourings. Fresh root ginger is extremely popular in a huge variety of stir-fry or curry dishes. Authentically, fresh root India and oriental countries. It is incorporated by different techniques slices may be added to marinades or in cooking, to be discarded on the side of the plate or bowl as the food is eaten. Grated, chopped or crushed ginger is used in pastes or braised dishes. Finely shredded ginger is added to fried and stir-fried dishes, or it may be used raw in salads. Pickled and preserved types are served as appetizers or used in savoury cooking.

All these methods are employed to flavour fish and seafood, poultry, meat, vegetable and noodle dishes. Ginger is also widely appreciated in new cooking styles, for example with chicken and game in casseroles.

Ginger is all essential in much western baking, for example in traditional gingerbreads, cakes, biscuits (such as ginger snaps), French pain d’ epice and German Pfefferkuchen. The spice is also important in chutneys, pickles, jams and sweet preserves as well as drinks, such as ginger beer, ginger ale and ginger wine.

Most of Bengali Indian cooking giger paste and onion paste is always added to give a good taste and flavour in curry.Drink a cup of hot tea with ginger in it ……. is good for cold.

Aroma and Flavour: The aroma when you cut into a piece of fresh root ginger has a hint of lemon, with a refreshing sharpness. Jamaica ginger is said to have the finest aroma, with the Kenyan spice being of good quality too. Other African and Indian gingers have a darker skin and a biting, less pleasant flavour.

The Benefits of Ginger

Ayurveda considers it to be one of the best herbs which nullify the toxins produced in the body due to improper digestion. Fresh ginger is useful in alleviating cold and cough whereas the dried one has more anti-“vata” effect. Due to its “pitta” aggravating properties, excessive use of ginger is contra-indicated in conditions involving hyperacidity, ulcers and gall stones.

Nausea – it is often used to ease nausea caused by travelling or pregnancy as well as that due to other causes.
Digestion – it has the ability to calm the stomach, promote the flow of bile, and improve the appetite.
Stomach Cramps caused by wind – it can relieve these, often quicker than any other herbal medicine.
Circulation – it helps to support a healthy cardiovascular system by making platelets less sticky and therefore reducing he likelihood of aggregation (a major factor in atherosclerosis) Much recent work has focused on the use of ginger in circulatory disorders such as Raynauds disease, which is characterised by blue fingers and toes. Ginger appears to promote blood flow to these areas, which eases the problem.
Rheumatoid arthritis – it has traditionally been used to help inflammatory joint diseases such as arthritis. It is also valued for its analgesic action, which may help arthritic conditions.
Cholesterol – studies have suggested that ginger may be useful in keeping cholesterol levels under control, although how this works is not yet understood.
Respiratory infections – it is well known for its warming expectorant action on the upper respiratory tract, and this is why Chinese herbalists have traditionally used ginger to treat colds and influenza.

For more than 5,000 years Ginger has been used for the relief of the occasional upset stomach. Ginger, a warming energizer, is traditionally known to support the digestive and immune systems. In ancient Sanskrit, Ginger was called Vishwabhesaj, which means the universal medicine. Ayurvedic practitioners use Ginger to activate Agni, the body’s fire element. Agni burns up Ama, naturally occurring toxins and undigested food in the body. When you decrease Ama, the body gains strength, balance and harmony.

Medicinal and Other Use: Henry VIII is said to have used ginger as a medicine for its qualities, as outlined by Culpeper, the herbalist, 150 years later: Ginger helps digestion, warms the stomach, clear the sight, and is profitable for old men; it heats the joints and is therefore useful against gout’. Ginger has an impressive record in treating all kinds of ailments: it is said to help poor circulation, and to cure flatulence and indigestion; it is taken as a drink for coughs, nausea and influenza. In the East ginger is chewed to ward off evil spirits. it is considered to be a cure for travel sickness. The essential oil is used in perfumery.

Click & see :How to use ginger for better health  

One medical research study had results indicating that ginger might be an effective treatment for nausea caused by motion sickness or other illness, The study however, failed to show a significant difference between ginger and a placebo. There are several proposed mechanisms of action for the anti-emetic properties of ginger but there is not yet conclusive support for any particular model.

Modern research on nausea and motion sickness used approximately 1 gram of ginger powder daily. Though there are claims for efficacy in all causes of nausea, the PDR recommends against taking ginger root for morning sickness commonly associated with pregnancy due to possible mutagenic effects. Nevertheless, Chinese women traditionally have taken ginger root during pregnancy to combat morning sickness. The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database (compiled by health professionals and pharmacists), states that ginger is likely safe for use in pregnancy when used orally in amounts found in foods. Ginger ale and ginger beer have been recommended as “stomach settlers” for generations in countries where the beverages are made. Ginger water was commonly used to avoid heat cramps in the United States in the past.

In Western-hemisphere nations, powdered dried ginger root is made into capsules and sold in pharmacies for medicinal use. In the US, ginger is not approved by the FDA for the treatment or cure of any disease. Ginger is instead sold as an unregulated dietary supplement. In India, ginger is applied as a paste to the temples to relieve headache. In Myanmar, ginger and local sweet (Htan nyat) which is made from palm tree juice are boiled together and taken to prevent the Flu. A hot ginger drink (made with sliced ginger cooked in sweetened water or a Coca-Cola-like drink) has been reported as a folk medicine for common cold.

Ginger has also historically been used in folk medicine to treat inflammation, although medical studies as to the efficacy of ginger in decreasing inflammation have shown mixed results. There are several studies that demonstrate a decrease in joint pain from arthritis after taking ginger, though the results have not been consistent from study to study. It may also have blood thinning and cholesterol lowering properties, making it theoretically effective in treating heart disease; while early studies have shown some efficacy, it is too early to determine whether further research will bear this out.

The medical form of ginger historically was called “Jamaica ginger”; it was classified as a stimulant and carminative, being much used for dyspepsia and colic. It was also frequently employed to disguise the taste of nauseous medicines. The tea brewed from this root was an old-fashioned remedy for colds.

The characteristic odor and flavor of ginger root is caused by a mixture of zingerone, shoagoles and gingerols, volatile oils that compose about 1%–3% by weight of fresh ginger. The gingerols have analgesic, sedative, antipyretic, antibacterial, and GI tract motility effects.

Ginger is on the GRAS list from FDA. However, like other herbs, ginger may be harmful because it may interact with other medications, such as warfarin; hence, a physician or pharmacist should be consulted before taking the herb. Ginger is also contraindicated in people suffering from gallstones, because the herb promotes the release of bile from the gallbladder.

You may click to  see   : “Ginger may help researchers win the fight against cancer”
Properties
Pungent oleoresins – these have been identified as the phenylalkylketones, known as gingerols, shogaols and zingerone. The dried root of ginger has been shown to be more potent than the fresh root with regard to shogaol, which is thought to be the most potent of the constituents of ginger.

Contra-indications/Precautions
Anyone with a history of gallstones should consult a medical practitioner prior to use. Short-term use of low levels during the first three months of pregnancy appears to have no adverse side effects. Anyone using anticoagulants should not use ginger.

Ginger allergies
Some people are allergic to ginger. Generally, this is reported as having a gaseous component. This may take the form of flatulence, or it may take the form of an extreme constriction or tightening in the throat necessitating uncontrollable burping to relieve the pressure .

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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:   (Extracted from: http://www.healthreaction.com/web/articles/ginger.htm and http://www.good-earth.com/yogi-tea—ginger-tea.html and http://www.hotel-club-thailand.com/thai-cooking/thai-spices.htm), http://www.ehow.com/facts_5541828_description-ginger-plant.html

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Herbs & Plants Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Black cumin seeds (Kalo zira)

Botanical Name : Nigella sativa
Family: Ranunculaceae
Genus: Nigella
Species: N. sativa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ranunculales

Common Names : Black Seed Oil , Black cumin, black caraway, Roman-coria

Other Names
Black Caraway, Black Cumin, Black Seed, Damascena, Devil in-the-bush, Fennel flower, Melanthion, Nutmeg Flower, Roman Coriander, Wild Onion Seed
French: cheveux de Venus, nigell, poivrette
German: Scharzkummel (black caraway)
Italian: nigella
Spanish: neguilla
Indian: kala zeera (lit, black cumin), kalonji, krishnajiraka, Bengali  name; Kalo Zeera
Spice Description:
Nigella seeds are small, matte-black grains with a rough surface and an oily white interior. They are roughly triangulate, 1 1/2 – 3 mm (1/16 to 1/8 in ) long. They are similar to onion seeds.
Bouquet: The seeds have little bouquet, though when they are rubbed they give off an aroma reminiscent of oregano.
Flavour: Slightly bitter and peppery with a crunchy texture.
Hotness Scale: 3

Parts Used : Seeds

Plant Description and Cultivation
An herbaceous annual of the buttercup family, about 60 cm (2 ft) high. The gray–green leaves are wispy and threadlike. Flowers are have five petals bout 2.5 cm wide (1 in), white with blue veins and appearing between June and September. They yield a seed capsule with five compartments each topped by a spike. The compartments open when dried to disperse the seeds. Nigella is native to western Asia where it grows both wild and cultivated. India, Egypt and the Middle East also cultivate it.

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Plants :
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flower-2 :

 Negella seeds
Nigella damascena seed capsule

Nigella has been used since antiquity by Asian herbalists and pharmacists and was used for culinary purposes by the Romans. The seeds are known to repel certain insects and can be used like moth balls. The name nigella derives from the Latin nigellus, or niger, meaning black.
A spice that is made from seeds of the black cumin plant. A member of the parsley family of plants, black cumin is native to parts of Asia, India and Pakistan where the seeds are harvested. Narrow, tiny and curved in shape, Kala Jeera has a strong earthy aroma that becomes nutty flavored when cooked. Although it is not the same as cumin, it can be similarly used in small amounts to enhance the flavor of meats, soups, stews, rice, and sauces.

Culinary uses
The seeds of N. sativa, known as kalonji, black cumin (though this can also refer to Bunium persicum) or just nigella, are used as a spice in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine. The dry roasted nigella seeds flavor curries, vegetables and pulses. The black seeds taste mostly like oregano crossed with pepper. Most people use it as a “pepper” in recipes with pod fruit, vegetables, salads and poultry.

Nigella is used in India and the Middle East as a spice and condiment and occasionally in Europe as both a pepper substitute and a spice. It is widely used in Indian cuisines, particularly in mildly braised lamb dishes such as korma. It is also added to vegetable and dhal dishes as well as in chutneys. The seeds are sprinkled on to naan bread before baking. Nigella is an ingredient of some garam masalas and is one of the five spices in panch phoran. In the Middle East nigella is added to bread dough.

Other uses
Several species are grown as ornamental plants in gardens, popular for their seed capsules, which are used in dried flower arrangements. Love in the mist are used exclusively for dried arrangements. These flowers are the best to add texture to any dried flower arrangement. The delicate, purple striped pods are used in several arrangements for an airy effect.

In India the seeds are used as a carminative and stimulant to ease bowel and indigestion problems and are given to treat intestinal worms and nerve defects to reduce flatulence, and induce sweating. Dried pods are sniffed to restore a lost sense of smell. It is also used to repel some insects, much like mothballs.

Constituents::oleic-acid ,palmitic-acid,phenylalanine ,phytosterols, potassium,stearic-acid, stigmasterol,tannin,thymoquinone,tryptophan ,tyrosine

Medicinal Uses:
Nigella is considered carminative, a stimulant, and diuretic. A paste of the seeds is applied for skin eruptions and is sure to relieve scorpion stings. The seeds are antiseptic and used to treat intestinal worms, especially in children. The seeds are much used in India to increase breast milk. The seeds are often scattered between folds of clothes as an effective insect repellent. Alcoholic extracts of the seeds are used as stabilizing agents for some edible fats. In India, the seeds are also considered as stimulant, diaphoretic and emmenagogue. Some of the conditions nigella has been used for include: eruption fever, puerperium (Iraq); liver disease (Lebanon); cancer (Malaya); joints, bronchial asthma, eczema, rheumatis (Middle East); with butter for cough and colic (North Africa); excitant (Spain); boosing immune system, colds (U.S.) A recent study in South Carolina at the International Immuno-Biology Research Laboratory showed that there was some action against cancer cells using nigella plant extract. nder, fennel-flow.

Black cumin seed oil is used as a healthy dietary supplement. Black seed oil contains fatty acids, vitamins and minerals in a unique cell structure. Native to Western Asia, Turkey, Iraq, and Egypt, black seed oil has been valued for it’s health benefits for centuries, and is now becoming more well known in the West. As a general tonic 1 teaspoon of black seed oil, taken in food or drink, is said to benefit many conditions, in much the same manner as other oils rich in fatty acids, such as flax and walnut oils. According to Dr. Duke, the constituents in black cumin oil have been shown to have health benefits for: Stomach aches, asthma, bronchitis, coughs, digestive system, and fevers. The is anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and acts as an emmenagogue (brings on menses) and a lactagogue (increase breast milk.)

Benefits and Side Effects
Black cumin seed is derived from a plant with the botanical name Nigella sativa. The plant is indigenous to Mediterranean areas, though it is grown in other parts of the world as well. The seeds of the Nigella sativa plant are black in color and look something like sesame seeds. Both the seeds and oil from the seeds are used as a nutritional supplement. Black cumin seed is considered to have a number of beneficial properties when used as part of an overall holistic health program. Many studies show that, while black cumin seed is effective by itself, it is particularly potent when combined with other herbs in regimens used to treat specific ailments.

Black cumin seed (also referred to simply as “black seed”) has been used as a nutritional supplement for centuries. It was even found in King Tut’s tomb, suggesting that even centuries ago, great respect existed for black cumin seed’s beneficial health effects. Ancient traditions document the use of black cumin seed as an energy source, perhaps because of its rich nutritional value. The seeds are still believed to increase heat in the body, making metabolism more efficient.

As a nutritional supplement in modern times, black cumin seed is used to treat respiratory conditions like bronchitis, asthma and emphysema. In addition, it is used to support stomach and intestinal health as well as kidney and liver function. Black cumin seed is thought to have antihistamine-like properties that make it useful in treating congestion, and it is widely used as a general tonic to boost immune function and to help prevent cancer. Several skin conditions can be treated with black cumin seed, and it is also used to enhance circulation. Over the past six decades, black cumin seed has been studied at various universities throughout the world, and more than 200 studies support its use as an effective herbal supplement

The primary active ingredient in black cumin seed is crystalline nigellone. The substance was first identified and isolated for use in supplements in 1959. Other components with health benefits include amino acids, essential fatty acids, crude fiber, and minerals such as potassium, sodium, iron and calcium.

The usual recommended dosage is between 50 and 75 mg of a supplement made from standardized extracts. Black cumin seed oil is also available as a nutritional supplement. The seeds are cold pressed to extract the oil, which is especially effective when used topically on the skin to treat eczema, psoriasis, and dryness.black cumin seed is used to boost immune system function, as an anticancer agent, and to treat skin conditions, including eczema, abscesses, and boil.Very effective for acne, pimples.

Black cumin seed oil can also be taken internally to treat arthritis and asthma and to boost the immune system. The recommended dosage of the oil is one teaspoon daily with meals. It can be mixed with juice or other beverages and should be refrigerated after opening.

As with many supplements, black cumin seed works best when used on a regular basis so that it can support the body’s natural healing ability. Though there is no known toxicity, pregnant and lactating women should not use black cumin seed, which has a history of use in large doses to induce abortion.

Side Effects:Undiluted oil can cause skin irritation. Not to be used while pregnant For food and dietary use only.

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.theepicentre.com/Spices/nigella.html
http://vitamins.ultimatefatburner.com/black-cumin-seed.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigella

http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail469.php

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

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