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Herbs & Plants Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Kaffir Lime

Botanical Name : Citrus hystrix DC., Rutaceae),
Family: Rutaceae
Other Names:Kieffer lime, Thai lime, wild lime, makrut, or magrood,
Burmese: shauk-nu
Indonesian: jerk purut, jeruk sambal
Malay:
duan limau purut
Philippino: swangi
Thai: makrut, som makrut

The leaves of this member of the citrus family are responsible for the distinctive lime-lemon aroma and flavour that are an indispensable part of Thai and, to a lesser extent, Indonesian cooking.

Description:
The leaves of the kaffir lime tree are a dark green color with a glossy sheen. They come in two parts: the top leaflet is lightly pointed at its tip and is attached to another leaflet beneath that is broader on its upper edge. The size of the leaves can vary quite a bit, from less than an inch to several inches long.

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The fruit is dark green and round, with a distinct nipple on the stem end. It has a thick rind, knobby and wrinkled, and one of its common names is ‘porcupine orange’. As the fruit becomes older, the color fades to a lighter, yellowish green. Though the juice is infrequently use in cooking, the zest of the rind is often used for making curry pastes.
The leaves and rind have a perfume unlike any other citrus, sometimes called mysterious or haunting. There is a combined lemon/lime/madarin aroma but clearly an identity of its own.

Culinary Uses
Kaffir lime leaves are precious to many Thai dishes, from soups and salads to curries and stir-fried dishes. They blend blend with lemon grass and lime juice in tom yam to give the soup its wholesome lemony essence. In soupy dishes, add the leaves whole or torn into smaller pieces, using them as one would bay leaves to flavour broth or stew.

Salads or garnishes require fresh leaves. Dried leaves cannot be substituted. The leaves, when young and tender, are finely shredded and added to salads and sprinkled over curries for a burst of flavour. Being rather thick, they must be cut very fine, like threads, and the thick mid-rib removed. To sliver kaffir lime leaves finely, stack three to four leaves of similar size together and slice them very thinly with a sharp knife. It is faster to cut diagonally , which gives the hands better leverage, or roll a few leaves at a time into a tight roll before slicing. If fresh kaffir lime leaves are not available, use the tender new leaves of lime, lemon or grapefruit. They won’t have the same fragrance but are preferable to using dried kaffir lime leaves in some dishes.

When making a soup or stock, whole fresh or dried leaves may be added, as they are removed after cooking. Finely chopped fresh or crumbled dry kaffir lime leaves are used in dishes like tom yum, strir fries and curries, especially those containing coconut cream. The flavour also combines well with basil, cardamom, chiles, cilantro, cumin, curry leaves, lemon grass, galangal, ginger, mint, tamarind, turmeric and coconut milk.

Though the juice is seldom used in cooking, the peel of the fruit, with its high concentration of aromatic oils, is indispensable in many curry pastes and is one reason why Thai curries taste refreshingly unique. The zest also imparts a wonderful piquant flavour to such delectable favorites as fried fish cakes, and it blends in powerfully with such spicy, chile-laden stews as “jungle soup” (gkaeng bpah). Because it’s strong flavour can over power the more subtle ones in a dish, the rind should be used sparingly, grated or chopped finely and reduced in a mortar with other paste ingredients until indistinguishable..

Kaffir lime is used extensively in Thai cooking. Both the zest and leaves are very useful. The fruit looks like wrinkled lime, big wrinkles. Thai people believed the juice is excellent hair rinse to prevent hair from falling out. The zest of the lime is an ingredient in red curry paste.

The juice is rarely used in Thai cooking, but the zest is common.

Recently, Thai growers have developed and started growing a kaffir lime without wrinkles that is easier to pack and ship around the world.
The leaf look like any citrus leaf, but it has two connecting leaves. I often call it the double leaf. Many recipes calls for its leaves. If the leaf is used whole, in soup, most people do not eat the leaf itself. The only time the leaf is eaten is when it sliced very thin for recipes like Tod Mun.

Medicinal Properties
The citrus juice used to be included in Thai ointments and shampoos, and in tonics in Malaysia. Kaffir lime shampoo leaves the hair squeaky clean and invigorates the scalp. Kaffir lime has also been used for ages as a natural bleach to remove tough stains.

The essential oils in the fruit are incorporated into various ointments, and the rind is an ingredient in medical tonics believed to be good for the blood. Like lemon grass and galangal, the rind is also known to have beneficial properties for the digestive system.

In folk medicine, the juice of kaffir lime is said to promote gum health and is recommended for use in brushing teeth and gums. It is believed to freshen one’s mental outlook and ward off evil spirits

The leaves can be used fresh or dried, and can be stored frozen.

The juice and rinds of the kaffir lime are used in traditional Indonesian medicine; for this reason the fruit is sometimes referred to in Indonesia as jeruk obat – literally “medicine citrus”. The oil from the rind has strong insecticidal properties.

The zest of the fruit is widely used in creole cuisine and to impart flavor to “arranged” rums in the Réunion island and Madagascar.

Storage
The leaves may be recognized by their distinctive two sections. For simmering in soups or curries the leaves are used whole. Frozen or dried leaves may be used for simmering if fresh leaves are not available. The finely grated rind of the lumpy-skinned fruit has its own special fragrance. If you can obtain fresh kaffir limes, they freeze well enclosed in freezer bags and will keep indefinitely in that state. Just grate a little rind off the frozen lime and replace lime in freezer until next required. The leaves freeze well too. dried kaffir lime leaves should be green, not yellow, and are best kept under the same conditions as other dried herbs. They will keep for about 12 months in an airtight pack, out of light, heat and humidity.

Click to Buy fresh lime leaves and other Thai ingredients


Resources:

http://www.theepicentre.com/Spices/kaffir.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaffir_lime

http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/67460/

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Herbs & Plants Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Zedoary

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Botanical Name:Curcuma zedoaria
Family: Zingiberaceae
Genus: Curcuma
Species: C. zedoaria
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Zingiberales

Synonyms:
*Amomum latifolium Lam.
*Amomum latifolium Salisb.
*Amomum zedoaria Christm.
*Costus luteus Blanco
*Curcuma malabarica Velay., Amalraj & Mural.
*Curcuma pallida Lour.
*Curcuma raktakanta Mangaly & M.Sabu
*Curcuma speciosa Link
*Erndlia zerumbet Giseke
*Roscoea lutea (Blanco) Hassk.
*Roscoea nigrociliata Hassk

Common Name : Zedoary
Other Names: wild turmeric
French: zedoaire
German: Zitwer
Italian: zedoaria
Spanish: cedoaria
Indian: amb halad, garndhmul,amb ada(in Bengal),In Telugu called as kacoramu [ kacōramu ] kachoramu.
Indonesian: kentjur

Zedoary is an ancient spice, a close relative to turmeric and native to India and Indonesia. The Arabs introduced it to Europe in the sixth century, where it enjoyed great popularity in the middle ages. Today it is extremely rare in the West, having been replaced by ginger. It is a substitute for arrowroot and used in Indian perfumes and in festive rituals.

Plant Description and Cultivation:
Zedoary grows in tropical and subtropical wet forest regions. It is a rhizome, or underground stem, like turmeric and ginger. The rhizome is large and tuberous with many branches. The leaf shoots are long and fragrant, reaching 1m (3ft) in height. The plant bears yellow flowers with red and green bracts. Pieces of the rhizome are planted, taking two years to mature before it can be harvested..

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It is a perennial herb and member of the genus Curcuma Linn. Zedoary is a rhizome that grows in tropical and subtropical wet forest regions. The fragrant plant bears yellow flowers with red and green bracts and the underground stem section is large and tuberous with numerous branches. The leaf shoots of the zedoary are long and can reach 1 metre (3 feet) in height.

The edible root of zedoary has a white interior and a fragrance reminiscent of mango, however its flavour is more similar to ginger, except with a very bitter aftertaste. In Indonesia it is ground to a powder and added to curry pastes, whereas in India it tends to be used fresh or pickled.

Spice Description:
Zedoary is a rhizome with a thin brown skin and a bright orange, hard interior. It’s smell is similar to turmeric and mango. Because of the mango-like fragrance, zedoary is called amb halad in many Indian languages (amb means mango). It is sold as a powder (kentjur in Chinese shops), or dried and sliced with a gray surface with a yellow to gray-white interior. There are two types of zedoary sold in Indian markets   Curcuma zedoaria or ‘round’ which is small and fat like ginger, and Curcuma zerumbet, or ‘long’ which is long and slender like turmeric.
Bouquet: musky a gingerlike with camphorous undertones
Flavour: warm and ginger-like, slightly camphorous, with a bitter aftertaste.

Preparation and Storage:
Dried zedoary is ground to a powder in a pestle and mortar. Store in airtight containers..

Culinary Uses:
In the Indian kitchen zedoary is usually used fresh or pickled. It is used as a dried spice more in Indonesia where it is often used as an ingredient in curry powder, especially for seafood dishes. It may be pounded with turmeric or ginger to make a spice paste for lamb or chicken curries.

Attributed Medicinal Properties & other uses:
Zedoary is valued for its ability to purify the blood. It is an antiseptic and a paste applied locally to cuts and wounds helps healing. It is used as an aid to digestion and to relieve flatulence and colic. The starch, shoti, is easily digested and nutritious so is widely used as part of an Eastern regimen for the sick or for the very young.

Useful in flatulent colic and debility of the digestive organs, though it is rarely employed, as ginger gives the same, or better results. It is highly valued for its ability to purify the blood.  Like turmeric, Zedoary is an antiseptic and a paste applied locally to cuts and wounds helps healing.  It is used as an ingredient in bitter tincture of Zedoary, antiperiodic pills (with and without aloes) bitter tincture, antiperiodic tincture (with and without aloes). Zedoary is also rich in starch and is given to babies and invalids in India.  It is combined with pepper, cinnamon and honey and used to treat colds.   It is used in Indian perfumes called ittars as well as in some drinks.  A paste of a little zedoary and cream makes a good face mask and keeps the skin clear and shining.  An ingredient in Swedish bitters.  The rhizome is used in China to treat certain types of tumors.  In Chinese trials, zedoary has reduced cervical cancer, and increased the cancer-killing effects of radiotherapy chemotherapy.

Zedoary is also used in some traditional eastern medicines where it is reputed to be an aid to digestion, a relief for colic and an agent for purifying the blood.

The essential oil produced from the dried roots of Curcuma zedoaria is used in perfumery and soap fabrication, as well as an ingredient in bitter tonics.

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/zedoary.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zedoary

http://www.motherherbs.com/curcuma-zedoaria.html
http://www.hiwtc.com/photo/products/20/03/79/37924.jpg
http://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Curcuma_zedoaria
http://www.kaboodle.com/reviews/curcuma-zedoaria-zedoary-root-ginger-rhizome-sets

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_UZ.htm http://saludbio.com/imagen/curcuma-zedoaria-rosc

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Herbs & Plants Herbs & Plants (Spices)

CASSIA

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Botanical Name: Cassia Augustifolia
Family:    Lauraceae
Genus:    Cinnamomum
Species:C. cassia
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:    Laurales

Popular Name(s): Senna, Indian Senna, Tinnervelly Senna, Cassia Senna, Locust Plant, Rajavriksha
Parts Used: Pods, Stems and Leaves
Habitat: Cultivated in dry lands of Southern & Western India, Burma  and indigenous to Arabia.

Genus Species: Cassia senna or Cinnamonum cassia
Cultivated: Hot wet tropics of China, Indochina, East and West Indies, and Central America

Other Names:Chinese cassia or Chinese cinnamon,Malabathrum,Cinnamomum tamala ,Malobathrum or Malabar leaf

Description :
Cassia is an aromatic bark, similar to cinnamon, but differing in strength and quality. Cassia bark is darker, thicker and coarser, and the corky outer bark is often left on. The outer surface is rough and grayish brown, the inside bark is smoother and reddish-brown. Cassia is less costly than cinnamon and is often sold ground as cinnamon. When buying as sticks, cinnamon rolls into a single quill while cassia is rolled from both sides toward the centre so that they end up resembling scrolls.

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Characteristics:
The leaves, known as tejpat in Nepali,  Tejpatta  in Hindi, Tejpat in Assamese and Tamalpatra in Marathi and in original Sanskrit, are used extensively in the cuisines of India, Nepal, and Bhutan, particularly in the Moghul cuisine of North India and Nepal and in Tsheringma herbal tea in Bhutan. It is called Biryani Aaku or Bagharakku in Telugu. They are often erroneously labeled as “Indian bay leaves,” though the bay leaf is from the Bay Laurel, a tree of Mediterranean origin in a different genus, and the appearance and aroma of the two are quite different. Bay leaves are shorter and light to medium green in color, with one large vein down the length of the leaf;photo while tejpat are about twice as long and wider than laurel leaves. They are usually olive green in color, may have some brownish spots and have three veins down the length of the leaf.photo True tejpat leaves impart a strong cassia- or cinnamon-like aroma to dishes, while the bay leaf’s aroma is more reminiscent of pine and lemon. Indian grocery stores usually carry true tejpat leaves. Some grocers may only offer Turkish bay leaves, in regions where true tejpat is unavailable.

Cassia buds resemble cloves. They are the dried unripe fruits about 14 mm (1/2 in) long and half as wide. It is native to Burma and grown in China, Indo-China, the East and West Indies and Central America. Cassia is called kwei in the earliest Chinese herbal by Shen-nung (2700 B.C.). It reached Europe in classical times with Arabian and Phoenician traders and the buds were known in Europe in the Middle Ages.


There are many varieties of cassia, including:

Chinese cassia (Cinnamomum cassia) or cassia, is from Burma and South China, coming in quills or rolled. This variety is also the source of cassia buds.
Indian cassia (Cinnamomum tamala) is native to India where its leaves are also used as an herb (tejpat).
Indonesian cassia (Cinnamomum burmanni) or Padang cassia has a smoother bark and double quills. This is usually the cassia that is imported to North America.
Saigon cassia (Cinnamomum loureirii) is native to Indonesia and is also grown in Japan and Korea.
Oliverâ’s Bark (Cinnamomum oliveri) is an Australian substitute of cassia and cinnamon.
Mossoia Bark (Cinnamomum) is an inferior substitute for cassia and cinnamon from Papua New Guinea.
Bouquet: The buds have a slight aroma. the bark is sweet-spicy like cinnamon, but more pungent.
Flavour: The bark and the buds have similar flavours: warm, sweet and pungent.

Buy Cassia on the Internet
For online purchases we recommend buying through one of the reputable dealers associated with Amazon and their trusted and secure online ordering system. Click here to shop for cassia products.
Cassia is the name given to the bark of several trees such as Cinnamonum cassia, C. aromatium, C. loureirii, C. burmannii, etc. These varieties have a wide distribution, but in ancient trade cassia used to come mainly from China, hence the name Chinese cinnamon or bastard cinnamon. The bark is coarser than that of true cinnamon, and the taste is more astringent and harsh, although a variety C. burmannii from Indonesia is similar to the Sri Lanka product.

Cassia is more widely used today than is cinnamon, although most people are unfamiliar with the name cassia; moreover, the word can be confused with Cassia angustifolia – a very different plant, namely senna! Cassia as a spice is favored by the Chinese for incorporation in Five Spice Powder (along with Szechuan pepper, cloves, fennel and star anise). Cassia leaves (tejpat) are currently used as a spice in Indian cooking, while cassia leaves and buds were a favored import (with the name malabathrum) in ancient Rome and also during the Middle Ages. See a list of spices by Taste and Hotness.


Useful Parts
:The spice in the case of both cinnamon and cassia come from bark of the plants.

Medicinal Properties:It is useful in habitual costiveness. It lowers bowels, increases peristaltic movements of the colon by its local action upon the intestinal wall.

Cinnamon and cassia extracts have been used medically to treat gastrointestinal problems and as a specific for diarrhea, but their value is marginal. Their use as antimicrobials is of limited relevance, and it is dubious if the presence of cinnamon or cassia in cooked foods retards spoilage if left unrefrigerated in a tropical climate. Nevertheless, cinnamon along with many other spices has antibacterial properties that may be worth exploiting.

The properties of cassia and cassia oil are similar to those of cinnamon and comprised largely of cinnamaldehyde.. Cassia is a tonic, carminative and stimulant. It is used to treat nausea and flatulence. It is also used alone or in combination to treat diarrhea.
Cassia (called ròu gùi; 肉桂 in Chinese) is used in traditional Chinese medicine, where it is considered one of the 50 fundamental herbs.

A 2003 study published in the DiabetesCare journal followed Type 2 diabetics ingesting 1, 3 or 6 grams of cassia daily. Those taking 6 grams shows changes after 20 days, and those taking lesser doses showed changes after 40 days. Regardless of the amount of cassia taken, they reduced their mean fasting serum glucose levels 18–29%, their triglyceride levels 23–30%, their LDL cholesterol 7–27%, and their total cholesterol 12–26%, over others taking placebos.

The effects, which may even be produced by brewing a tea from cassia bark, may also be beneficial for non-diabetics to prevent and control elevated glucose and blood lipid levels. Cassia’s effects on enhancing insulin sensitivity appear to be mediated by polyphenols . Despite these findings, cassia should not be used in place of anti-diabetic drugs, unless blood glucose levels are closely monitored and its use is combined with a strictly controlled diet and exercise program.

There is also much anecdotal evidence that consumption of cassia has a strong effect in lowering blood pressure, making it potentially useful to those suffering from hypertension. The USDA has three ongoing studies that are monitoring the blood pressure effect.

Though the spice has been used for thousands of years, there is concern that there is as yet no knowledge about the potential for toxic buildup of the fat-soluble components in cassia, as anything fat-soluble could potentially be subject to toxic buildup. There are no concluded long term clinical studies on the use of cassia for health reasons.

FOR MORE KNOWLEDGE CLICK TO SEE……..(1)……..(2)..

Historical View : The properties of cassia are similar to those of cinnamon; but it is commonly regarded as somewhat more astringent. Its uses are the same as those of cinnamon.

Bentley, Robert and Henry Trimen. Medicinal Plants; being descriptions with original figures of the principal plants employed in medicine and an account of the characters, properties, and uses of their parts and products of medicinal value. London, Churchill, 1880. (WZ 295 B556m 1880)

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.

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinnamomum_cassia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malabathrum

www.theepicentre.com and en.wikipedia.org

http://www.iloveindia.com/indian-herbs/cassia-angustifolia.html

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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.

click to see the picture..>….(01)....(1)....…(2)....(3)…..…(4)….

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

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Thankuni Leaf (Centella asiatica)

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Botanical Name::Centella asiatica
Family: Mackinlayaceae
Genus: Centella
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales
Species: C. asiatica
Common names : Gotu Kola, Asiatic Pennywort, Indian Pennywort, Luei Gong Gen, Takip-kohol, Antanan, Pegagan, Pegaga, vallaarai , Kula kud, Bai Bua Bok , Brahmi (this last name is shared with Bacopa monnieri) and rau má (literally: mother vegetable- Vietnamese). In Assamese it is known as Manimuni. It is used as a medicinal herb in Ayurvedic medicine, traditional African medicine, and traditional Chinese medicine. Botanical synonyms include Hydrocotyle asiatica L. and Trisanthus cochinchinensis (Lour.).In Telugu Language this is known as “Saraswathi Plant” in India. In Kannada  language is known as Ondelaga.

Habitat : Native to India, Sri Lanka, northern Australia, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Melanesia, Papua New Guinea, and other parts of Asia.Centella grows along ditches and in low wet areas. In Indian and Southeast Asian centella, the plant frequently suffers from high levels of bacterial contamination, possibly from having been harvested from sewage ditches. Because the plant is aquatic, it is especially sensitive to pollutants in the water, which easily are incorporated into the plant.

Description
The stems are slender, creeping stolons, green to reddish green in color, interconnecting one plant to another. It has long-stalked, green, reniform leaves with rounded apices which have smooth texture with palmately netted veins. The leaves are borne on pericladial petioles, around 2 cm. The rootstock consists of rhizomes, growing vertically down. They are creamish in color and covered with root hairs.
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The flowers are pinkish to red in color, born in small, rounded bunches (umbels) near the surface of the soil. Each flower is partly enclosed in two green bracts. The hermaphrodite flowers are minute in size (less than 3 mm), with 5-6 corolla lobes per flower. Each flower bears five stamens and two styles. The fruit are densely reticulate, distinguishing it from species of Hydrocotyle which have smooth, ribbed or warty fruit.

The crop matures in three months and the whole plant, including the roots, is harvested manually.

Edible use:
Centella is used as a leafy green in Sri Lankan cuisine, where it is called Gotu Kola. In Sinhalese (Sri Lanka) Gotu = conical shape and Kola= leaf. It is most often prepared as mallung; a traditional accompaniment to rice and curry, and goes especially well with vegetarian dishes such as parippu’ (dhal), and jackfruit or pumpkin curry. It is considered quite nutritious. In addition to finely chopped gotu kola, mallung almost always contains grated coconut and may also contain finely chopped green chilis, chili powder (1/4 teaspoon), turmeric powder (1/8 teaspoon) and lime (or lemon) juice.

A variation of the extremely nutritious porridge known as Kola Kenda is also made with Gotu Kola by the Sinhalese people of Sri Lanka. Kola Kenda is made with very well boiled red rice (with extra liquid), coconut milk and Gotu Kola which is liquidized. The porridge is accompanied with Jaggery for sweetness. Centella leaves are also used in the sweet “pennywort drink.”

In Indonesia, the leaves are used for sambai oi peuga-ga, an Aceh type of salad, also mixed into asinan in Bogor.

In Vietnam and Thailand this leaf is used for preparing a drink or can be eaten in raw form in salads or cold rolls.

In Malay cuisine the leaves of this plant are used for ulam, a type of Malay salad.

It is one of the constituents of the Indian summer drink “thandaayyee”.

Cultivation method: For rapid propagation vegetative organ especially stolon and seeds are used.

Medicinal Uses:
Gotu kola is a mild adaptogen, is mildly antibacterial, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcerogenic, anxiolytic, a cerebral tonic, a circulatory stimulant, a diuretic, nervine and vulnerary.

When eaten raw as a salad leaf, pegaga is thought to help maintain youthfulness. In Thailand cups with gotu kola leaves are used as an afternoon pick me up. A decoction of juice from the leaves is thought to relieve hypertension. This juice is also used as a general tonic for good health. A poultice of the leaves is also used to treat open sores.

Richard Lucas claimed in a book published in 1966 (second edition in 1979) that a subspecies “Hydrocotyle asiatica minor” allegedly from Sri Lanka also called “Fo ti tieng”, contained a longevity factor called ‘youth Vitamin X’ said to be ‘a tonic for the brain and endocrine glands’ and maintained that extracts of the plant help circulation and skin problems. However according to medicinal herbalist Michael Moore, it appears that there is no such subspecies and no Vitamin X is known to exist. Nonetheless some of the cerebral circulatory and dermatological actions claimed from centella (as hydrocotyle) have a solid basis.

Several scientific reports have documented Centella asiatica’s ability to aid wound healing, which is responsible for its traditional use in leprosy. Upon treatment with Centella asiatica, maturation of the scar is stimulated by the production of type I collagen. The treatment also results in a marked decrease in inflammatory reaction and myofibroblast production.

The isolated steroids from the plant have been used to treat leprosy. In addition, preliminary evidence suggests that it may have nootropic effects. Centella asiatica is used to re-vitalize the brain and nervous system, increase attention span and concentration , and combat aging. Centella asiatica also has anti-oxidant properties. It works for venous insufficiency. It is used in Thailand for opium detoxification.

Ayurvedic medicine
In India it is popularly known by a variety of names: Bemgsag, Brahma manduki, Brahmanduki, Brahmi, Ondelaga (North India, West India), Gotu kola, Khulakhudi, Mandukparni, Mandookaparni, Mandukaparni (South India), or Thankuni depending on region.

Bacopa monnieri is the more widely known Brahmi—both have some common therapeutic properties in Vedic texts and both are used for improving memory. C. asiatica is called “Brahmi” particularly in north India, although that may be a case of mistaken identification that was introduced during the 16th century, when brahmi was confused with mandukaparni, a name for C. asiatica.

Probably the earliest study of Mandookaparni as Medya Rasayana (improving the mental ability) was carried out at Dr.A.Lakshmipathy Research Centre(now under CCRAS)VHS,Adyar,Chennai by Dr.M.V.R Apparao,Kanchana Srinivasan et al.

Village people use it hugely for its availability and easy cultivation. Juice of leaves is used to cure dysentery and bowel complaints especially for babies and used as tonic also. It is also used for eczema, ulcers, liver complaints, rheumatism, improving memory, piles and irregular menstruation. Saving hair leaf juice is also very effective.

Folklore
Gotu Kola is a minor feature in the longevity myth of the Tai Chi Chuan master Li Ching-Yun. He purportedly lived to be 256, due in part to his usage of traditional Chinese herbs including Gotu Kola.

A popular folklore tale from Sri Lanka speaks of a prominent king from the 10th century AD named Aruna Withane who claimed that Gotu Kola provided him with energy and stamina to satisfy his 50-woman harem.

Background: Elderly people of this region(Eastern India & Bangladesh) have a strong belief that thankuni leaf as a pulp or extract can control loose motion. The mechanism of action of thankuni leaf extract is not known but the elderly, especially grandmothers, use thankuni leaf extracts for their grandchildren who suffer from loose motion. Objective: Evaluate control of motion and fluid loss as affected by intake of thankuni extract. Methodology: In a prospective study, 25 children aged 1-2 year(s), having more than 5 loose motions/day were randomly advised to take 60 mL of thankuni extract (extracted from 50 leafs with stem). The children were suffering from persistent malnutritional diarrhoea. They were also fed khichuri made with 300 g of rice, 200 g of vegetables, two eggs, 150 g of fish, 150 g of musur dal, and 30 mL of soybean oil. The total amount of khichuri was divided into 3 meals, and after each meal, 60 mL of thankuni extract was given to ingest. They were also advised to drink oral saline (tasty saline) in between the meals, and if capable, to eat fruits, such as banana, mango, guava, star fruit, and shaddock. The study was conducted at the private chamber of the author during 3 January-3 June 2003. None was admitted to hospital. Urinary excretion and stool of each patient were examined routinely on the first and the fifth day. After fifth day, they were advised to eat normal diets. Results: On the second day, 5 patients showed controlled motion (2-3 motions a day). Eleven cases showed controlled motion on the third day, 7 cases on the fourth day, and 2 cases on the fifth day. Signs of dehydration were absent in 15 cases on the third day, 8 cases on the fourth day, and 2 cases on the fifth day. Motion and dehydration both were controlled within the fifth day of thankuni therapy. Conclusion: Treatment of diarrhoea with thankuni, a common herb in Bangladesh, is not yet established, but the observation on 25 cases in this study showed 100% cure within 5 days. So, ICDDR,B  and other big children hospitals handling diarrhoea should give a clinical trial  upon thankuni extract and should establish this low-cost easy treatment in Bangladesh and abroad.

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/Centella_asiatica
Medicinal Plants Of Bangladesh
Transfusion Medicine, Comilla Medical College, Comilla, Bangladesh

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