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Amorphophallus rivieri

Botanical Name: Amorphophallus rivieri
Family: Araceae
Subfamily: Aroideaen f
Tribe: Thomsonieae
Genus: Amorphophallus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Alismatales

Synonyms : Conophallus konjak.

Common Names: Devil’s Tongue, Umbrella Arum, Leopard Palm, Snake Palm

Habitat: Amorphophallus rivieri is native to E. Asia – Cochin China, East Indies. Loose leafy detritus in moist shady habitats. It grows in forest margins and thickets at elevations of 830-1200 metres in western Yunnan.

Description:
Amorphophallus rivieri is a tuberous herbaceous perennial plant growing to 0.8 m (2ft 7in) by 0.6 m (2ft). It is foul-smelling somewhat fleshy tropical plant of southeastern Asia cultivated for its edible corms or in the greenhouse for its large leaves and showy dark red spathe surrounding a large spadix.

It is frost tender. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Flies.

Bloom Color: Pink. Main Bloom Time: Late spring. Form: Irregular or sprawling.

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Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Border, Container. Requires shade and a rich soil in its native habitats, but it probably requires a position with at least moderate sun in Britain. This species is being increasingly cultivated for its edible tubers in Japan and Chin The plants are not winter hardy outdoors in Britain but are sometimes grown outdoors in this country as part of a sub-tropical bedding display. It is also said to make a good house plant. The tuber is harvested in the autumn after top growth has been cut back by frost and it must be kept quite dry and frost-free over winter. It is then potted up in a warm greenhouse in spring ready to be planted out after the last expected frosts. The tubers are planted 15cm deep. The plant has one enormous leaf and one spadix annually. It requires hand pollination in Britain. When ripe for pollination, the flowers have a foetid smell to attract carrion flies and midges. This smell disappears once the flower has been pollinated. Special Features:Attractive foliage, Edible, Fragrant flowers, Flowers have an unpleasant odor.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a pot in a warm greenhouse as soon as it is ripe and the pot sealed in a plastic bag to retain moisture. It usually germinates in 1 – 8 months at 24°c. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least a couple of years. Plant them out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts, and give them some protection such as a cloche until they are growing away strongly. Division of offsets. These are rarely produced

Edible Uses:
Rhizome – cooked. The root must be thoroughly boiled or baked, it is acrid when raw. Very large, it can be up to 30cm in iameter. In Japan the large brown tubers are peeled, cooked and pounded to extract their starch, which is solidified with dissolved limestone into an edible gel called ‘Konnyaku’. Konnyaku is a type of flour valued for its use in many dietary products. The flour is valued for its ability to clean the digestive tract without being a laxative. A nutritional analysis is available. This root is very high in water and low in calories, so it is being promoted as a diet food in N. America.

Composition :
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Leaves (Dry weight)

•308 Calories per 100g
•Water : 0%
•Protein: 3.8g; Fat: 0g; Carbohydrate: 88.5g; Fibre: 3.8g; Ash: 7.7g;
•Minerals – Calcium: 654mg; Phosphorus: 269mg; Iron: 11.5mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 0mg; Zinc: 0mg;
•Vitamins – A: 0mg; Thiamine (B1): 0mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0mg; Niacin: 0mg; B6: 0mg; C: 0mg;

Medicinal Uses: The root is oxytoxic and sialagogue. It is used in the treatment of cancer. The flowers are febrifuge.

Other Uses : The plant has insecticidal properties.

Known Hazards: We have one report that this plant is very toxic raw, though no more details are given. It belongs to a family where most of the members contain calcium oxalate crystals. This substance is toxic fresh and, if eaten, makes the mouth, tongue and throat feel as if hundreds of small needles are digging in to them. However, calcium oxalate is easily broken down either by thoroughly cooking the plant or by fully drying it and, in either of these states, it is safe to eat the plant. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones and hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet.

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.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Amorphophallus+rivieri
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amorphophallus

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Amorphophallus+rivieri

 

Myroxlon pereirae

Botanical Name : Myroxlon pereirae
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Tribe: Amburaneae
Genus: Myroxylon
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Common Names: Peruvian Balsam

Habitat ; Myroxlon pereirae is native to Central America (primarily in El Salvador) and South America.

Description:
Myroxlon pereirae is a tall perennial woody plant having a main trunk and branches forming a distinct elevated crown; includes both gymnosperms and angiosperms. The tree is large, growing to 40 metres (130 ft) tall, with evergreen pinnate leaves 15 centimetres (5.9 in) long, with 5–13 leaflets. The flowers are white with yellow stamens, produced in racemes. The fruit is a pod 7–11 centimetres (2.8–4.3 in) long, containing a single seed. The tree is often called Quina or Balsamo, Tolu in Colombia, Quina quina in Argentina, and sometimes Santos Mahogany or Cabreuva in the lumber trade.

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Medicinal Uses:
The Myroxylon pereirae resin (MP; balsam of Peru) is a natural resin used in the local treatment of burns and wounds. M. pereirae extracts and distillates are very often contained in a wide range of cosmetic products and causes frequently allergic contact dermatitis – to the extent of being considered an allergy marker to perfumes. We have carried out a retrospective study of 863 patients who have been submitted to patch tests from January 2002 to June 2004. A total of 50 patients were positive to MP. Thus, the prevalence was 5.79%, slightly higher in men (7.32%) than in women (4.91%). The positive patch tests were relevant in 64%. Over the last years, it appears that there is a clear increase of the prevalence of the sensitization to MP in all the studies published. We observe an increase of the prevalence especially in aged patients, where the sensitization is linked with the use of topical medications secondary to stasis dermatitis. The high frequency of allergy to MP in our area might be associated with manipulation of citrus fruits. The increasing use of cosmetic products by the male population can also be held responsible for the higher sensitization rate in this group of patients.

Balsam of Peru has been in the US Pharmacopeia since 1820 used for bronchitis, laryngitis, dysmenorrhea, diarrhea, dysentery and leucorrhea and has also been used as a food flavoring and fragrance material for its aromatic vanilla like-odor. Today it is used extensively in topical preparations for the treatment of wounds, ulcers, and scabies, and can be found in hair tonics, anti-dandruff preparations, feminine hygiene sprays and as a natural fragrance in soaps, detergents, creams, lotions and perfumes.

Peruvian balsam is strongly antiseptic and stimulates repair of damaged tissue. It is usually taken internally as an expectorant and decongestant to treat emphysema, bronchitis, and bronchial asthma. It may also be taken to treat sore throats and diarrhea. Externally, the balsam is applied to skin afflictions. It also stimulates the heart, increases blood pressure and lessens mucus secretions. Traditionally used for rheumatic pain and skin problems including scabies, diaper rash, bedsores, prurigo, eczema, sore nipples and wounds. It also destroys the itch acarus and its eggs.

Other Uses :

The wood is dark brown, with a deep red heartwood. Natural oils grant it excellent decay resistance. In fact, it is also resistant to preservative treatment. Its specific gravity is 0.74 to 0.81.

As regards woodworking, the tree is moderately difficult to work but can be finished with a high natural polish; it tends to cause some tool dulling.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myroxylon
https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/Myroxylon%20pereirae
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_OPQ.htm
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15932578

Apple

Apple 'Sundown' Showing use of a common name a...

Apple ‘Sundown’ Showing use of a common name as part of the cultivar name (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Botanical Name  : Malus domestica
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Malus
Species: M. domestica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Common Names  : Apple , Apple cider vinegar, wine vinegar

Habitat :  The apple tree originated in Central Asia, where its wild ancestor, Malus sieversii, is still found today. Apples have been grown for thousands of years in Asia and Europe, and were brought to North America by European colonists. Apples have been present in the mythology and religions of many cultures, including Norse, Greek and Christian traditions. In 2010, the fruit’s genome was decoded, leading to new understandings of disease control and selective breeding in apple production.

Description:
The apple forms a tree that is small and deciduous, reaching 3 to 12 metres (9.8 to 39 ft) tall, with a broad, often densely twiggy crown. The leaves are alternately arranged simple ovals 5 to 12 cm long and 3–6 centimetres (1.2–2.4 in) broad on a 2 to 5 centimetres (0.79 to 2.0 in) petiole with an acute tip, serrated margin and a slightly downy underside. Blossoms are produced in spring simultaneously with the budding of the leaves. The flowers are white with a pink tinge that gradually fades, five petaled, and 2.5 to 3.5 centimetres (0.98 to 1.4 in) in diameter. The fruit matures in autumn, and is typically 5 to 9 centimetres (2.0 to 3.5 in) in diameter. The center of the fruit contains five carpels arranged in a five-point star, each carpel containing one to three seeds, called pips.

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Histry:
The center of diversity of the genus Malus is in eastern Turkey. The apple tree was perhaps the earliest tree to be cultivated, and its fruits have been improved through selection over thousands of years. Alexander the Great is credited with finding dwarfed apples in Kazakhstan in Asia in 328 BCE; those he brought back to Macedonia might have been the progenitors of dwarfing root stocks. Winter apples, picked in late autumn and stored just above freezing, have been an important food in Asia and Europe for millennia, as well as in Argentina and in the United States since the arrival of Europeans. Apples were brought to North America by colonists in the 17th century, and the first apple orchard on the North American continent was planted in Boston by Reverend William Blaxton in 1625. The only apples native to North America are crab apples, which were once called “common apples”. Apple varieties brought as seed from Europe were spread along Native American trade routes, as well as being cultivated on Colonial farms. An 1845 United States apples nursery catalogue sold 350 of the “best” varieties, showing the proliferation of new North American varieties by the early 19th century. In the 20th century, irrigation projects in Washington state began and allowed the development of the multibillion dollar fruit industry, of which the apple is the leading product.

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Until the 20th century, farmers stored apples in frostproof cellars during the winter for their own use or for sale. Improved transportation of fresh apples by train and road replaced the necessity for storage. In the 21st century, long-term storage again came into popularity, as “controlled atmosphere” facilities were used to keep apples fresh year-round. Controlled atmosphere facilities use high humidity and low oxygen and carbon dioxide levels to maintain fruit freshness.

About 69 million tonnes of apples were grown worldwide in 2010, and China produced almost half of this total. The United States is the second-leading producer, with more than 6% of world production. Turkey is third, followed by Italy, India and Poland. Apples are often eaten raw, but can also be found in many prepared foods (especially desserts) and drinks. Many beneficial health effects have been found from eating apples; however, two forms of allergies are seen to various proteins found in the fruit.

Cultivars:
There are more than 7,500 known cultivars of apples. Cultivars vary in their yield and the ultimate size of the tree, even when grown on the same rootstock.  Different cultivars are available for temperate and subtropical climates. The UK’s National Fruit Collection, which is the responsibility of the Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs, has a collection of over 2,000 accessions in Kent. The University of Reading, which is responsible for developing the UK national collection database, provides access to search the national collection. The University of Reading’s work is part of the European Cooperative Programme for Plant Genetic Resources of which there are 38 countries participating in the Malus/Pyrus work group.  The UK’s national fruit collection database contains a wealth of information on the characteristics and origin of many apples, including alternative names for what is essentially the same ‘genetic’ apple variety. Most of these cultivars are bred for eating fresh (dessert apples), though some are cultivated specifically for cooking (cooking apples) or producing cider. Cider apples are typically too tart and astringent to eat fresh, but they give the beverage a rich flavour that dessert apples cannot.

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Commercially popular apple cultivars are soft but crisp. Other desired qualities in modern commercial apple breeding are a colourful skin, absence of russeting, ease of shipping, lengthy storage ability, high yields, disease resistance, common apple shape, and developed flavour. Modern apples are generally sweeter than older cultivars, as popular tastes in apples have varied over time. Most North Americans and Europeans favour sweet, subacid apples, but tart apples have a strong minority following.   Extremely sweet apples with barely any acid flavour are popular in Asia  and especially India.

Old cultivars are often oddly shaped, russeted, and have a variety of textures and colours. Some find them to have a better flavour than modern cultivars,[36] but may have other problems which make them commercially unviable from low yield, disease susceptibility, or poor tolerance for storage or transport. A few old cultivars are still produced on a large scale, but many have been preserved by home gardeners and farmers that sell directly to local markets. Many unusual and locally important cultivars with their own unique taste and appearance exist; apple conservation campaigns have sprung up around the world to preserve such local cultivars from extinction. In the United Kingdom, old cultivars such as ‘Cox’s Orange Pippin’ and ‘Egremont Russet‘ are still commercially important even though by modern standards they are low yielding and susceptible to disease.

Human Consumption:
Apples are often eaten raw. The whole fruit including the skin is suitable for human consumption except for the seeds, which are slightly poisonous. The core is often not eaten and is discarded. Varieties bred for raw consumption are termed dessert or table apples.

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Apples can be canned or juiced. They are milled to produce apple cider (non-alcoholic, sweet cider) and filtered for apple juice. The juice can be fermented to make hard cider, ciderkin, and vinegar. Through distillation, various alcoholic beverages can be produced, such as applejack, Calvados, and apfelwein. Apple seed oil and pectin may also be produced.

Popular uses :
Apples are an important ingredient in many desserts, such as apple pie, apple crumble, apple crisp and apple cake. They are often eaten baked or stewed, and they can also be dried and eaten or reconstituted (soaked in water, alcohol or some other liquid) for later use. Puréed apples are generally known as apple sauce. Apples are also made into apple butter and apple jelly. They are also used (cooked) in meat dishes.
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*In the UK, a toffee apple is a traditional confection made by coating an apple in hot toffee and allowing it to cool. Similar treats in the US are candy apples (coated in a hard shell of crystallized sugar syrup), and caramel apples, coated with cooled caramel.

*Apples are eaten with honey at the Jewish New Year of Rosh Hashanah to symbolize a sweet new year.

*Farms with apple orchards may open them to the public, so consumers may themselves pick the apples they will purchase.

Sliced apples turn brown with exposure to air due to the conversion of natural phenolic substances into melanin upon exposure to oxygen. Different cultivars vary in their propensity to brown after slicing. Sliced fruit can be treated with acidulated water to prevent this effect

Organic production:
Organic apples are commonly produced in the United States. Organic production is difficult in Europe, though a few orchards have done so with commercial success, using disease-resistant cultivars. A light coating of kaolin, which forms a physical barrier to some pests, also helps prevent apple sun scalding
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Nutrition:
The proverb “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”, addressing the health effects of the fruit, dates from 19th century Wales. Fruit specialist J.T. Stinson popularized this proverb during a lecture at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri.

Research suggests that apples may reduce the risk of colon cancer, prostate cancer and lung cancer. Apple peels contain ursolic acid which, in rat studies, increases skeletal muscle and brown fat, and decreases white fat, obesity, glucose intolerance, and fatty liver disease.

Apple peels are a source of various phytochemicals with unknown nutritional value and possible antioxidant activity in vitro. The predominant phenolic phytochemicals in apples are quercetin, epicatechin, and procyanidin B2.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a typical apple serving weighs 242 grams and contains 126 calories with significant dietary fiber and vitamin C content.

Apple juice concentrate has been found to increase the production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in mice. Other studies have shown an “alleviation of oxidative damage and cognitive decline” in mice after the administration of apple juice. Fruit flies fed an apple extract lived 10% longer than other flies fed a normal diet.

Constituents:  acetic-acid, alpha-linolenic-acid, benzoic-acid, benzyl-acetate, caffeic-acid, calcium-oxalate, chlorogenic-acid , ferulic-acid, geraniol, hyperoside, isoquercitrin, lactic-acid,lutein,p-coumaric-acid, protocatechuic-acid, quercetin, rutin, sugar, ursolic-a

Properties: * Anti-inflammatory * Antifungal * Astringent * Laxative
Parts Used: fruit, flowers, bark

Medicinal Uses: * Arthritis * Athletes Foot/Ringworm * Cardiovascular * Cholesterol * Diabetes * Nutrition * Rheumatoid_arthritis * Sunburns

The old folks really knew a good thing when they saw it. “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”; this humble fruit can help prevent two of the major lifestyle diseases of modern life, diabetes and heart disease. Apples contain malic and tartaric acids, and salts of potassium, sodium, magnesium, and iron. They also contain soluble fiber, which can lower cholesterol, help prevent plaque buildup in your arteries, and slow the uptake of glucose, helping you maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

Herbalists consider apples to be cleansing and tonic to the liver and kidneys. The best of the medicinal compounds are contained in the apple peel, so buy organic whenever possible and always wash thoroughly.84

Apple cider vinegar is such a useful and versatile substance, truly no household should be without it. You can’t go wrong with something that is good to eat, prevents hair loss, softens skin, and cleans and disinfects the bathroom to boot. When it is made from whole, crushed apples vinegar contains all the nutrition of apples, with some added enzymes and amino acids formed by fermentation. 125 The mother of all home remedies for arthritis is 3 tablespoons of ACV mixed with honey every day. This simple remedy has so much anecdotal evidence of its benefit that I can think of no reason for anyone with arthritis not to try it. If nothing else cut down on calories by substituting a fresh  vinaigrette salad dressing with herbs for the calorie laden, bottled kind to help increase weight loss. Vinegar is often touted for its alkalizing, effect as a balance to the many acid producing foods we tend to overeat, like meats and grains. There is some disagreement over whether vinegar, which is an acidic substance, makes the body more acidic, which acts to prevent food poisoning by killing harmful bacteria, 124 or whether it indeed has alkalizing, effect on the body. In any case, there is wide agreement that two or three tablespoons of vinegar as a daily tonic works to decrease inflammation, increase metabolism, and may help to alleviate the crippling pain of arthritis.

The entire apple tree is useful in home and herbal medicine. In addition to the fruit of the apple tree, its bark, flowers, and leaves all have healthy properties. Herbalists use the apple tree much like its cousin the rose, for its astringent properties. The inner bark of the apple tree as well as blossoms are an astringent tonic, and can be used as an infusion for sore throats. The wild crab apple tree is considered better than modern cultivars for use in herbal medicine.

Allergy:
One form of apple allergy, often found in northern Europe, is called birch-apple syndrome, and is found in people who are also allergic to birch pollen.[citation needed] Allergic reactions are triggered by a protein in apples that is similar to birch pollen, and people affected by this protein can also develop allergies to other fruits, nuts, and vegetables. Reactions, which entail oral allergy syndrome (OAS), generally involve itching and inflammation of the mouth and throat,[59] but in rare cases can also include life-threatening anaphylaxis. This reaction only occurs when raw fruit is consumed—the allergen is neutralized in the cooking process. The variety of apple, maturity and storage conditions can change the amount of allergen present in individual fruits. Long storage times can increase the amount of proteins that cause birch-apple syndrome.

In other areas, such as the Mediterranean, some individuals have adverse reactions to apples because of their similarity to peaches. This form of apple allergy also includes OAS, but often has more severe symptoms, such as vomiting, abdominal pain and urticaria, and can be life-threatening. Individuals with this form of allergy can also develop reactions to other fruits and nuts. Cooking does not break down the protein causing this particular reaction, so affected individuals can eat neither raw nor cooked apples. Freshly harvested, over-ripe fruits tend to have the highest levels of the protein that causes this reaction.

Breeding efforts have yet to produce a hypoallergenic fruit suitable for either of the two forms of apple allergy.

Toxicity of seeds:
The seeds of apples contain small amounts of amygdalin, a sugar and cyanide compound known as a cyanogenic glycoside. Ingesting small amounts of apple seeds will cause no ill effects, but in extremely large doses can cause adverse reactions. There is only one known case of fatal cyanide poisoning from apple seeds; in this case the individual chewed and swallowed one cup of seeds. It may take several hours before the poison takes effect, as cyanogenic glycosides must be hydrolyzed before the cyanide ion is released.

 

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail424.php

Curare

 

Botanical Name: Chondrodendron tomentosum
Family:Menispermaceae
Genus: Chondrodendron
Species: Tomentosum
Parts Used: Leaf, Root

Synonyms: Pereira Brava. Cissampelos Pareira. Velvet Leaf. Ice Vine.
Parts Used: Dried root, bark, bruised leaves.

Common Names: Curare, Grieswurzel, Pareira Brava, Pareira, Vigne Sauvage,  pareira, uva-da-serra, uva-do-mato, ampihuasca blanca, antinupa, antinoopa, comida de venados, curari, ourari, woorari, worali, velvet leaf

Habitat: Curare is native to   West Indies, Spanish Main Brazil, Peru.  It grows in  Amazon Basin of South America.(In El Salvador and other parts of Central America)

Description:
This deciduous plant will flower in a container just prior to leafing out. The flowers are attractive red “spikes”. Zone 9+ The bright red seeds contain a number of poisonous alkaloids that have a curare-like action.

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Curare grows as a large liana, or vine, found in the canopy of the South American rainforest. The vine may get as thick as 4 inches in diameter at its base. It has large alternate, heart-shaped leaves which may be 4-8 inches long and almost as wide, with a 2-6 inches long petiole. The leaves are smooth on top with a hairy white bottom, and deeply indented veins radiating from the leaf base. Clusters of small (1/16-1/8 inches), greenish-white flowers are made up of separate male and female flowers. The fleshy fruits are oval, narrow at the base, and approximately 1-2 mm long.

Edible Uses:

The fruit of this vine is edible with a bitter-sweet taste.
Some Indians of South America crush and cook the roots and stems, and add other plants and venomous animals, mixing it until it becomes a light syrup. They call this mixture “ampi”, or “curaré”, which they use on the tip of their arrows and darts to hunt wild game. Crude curare is a dark brown or black mass with a sticky to hard consistency and an aromatic, tarry odor. The name comes from Indian word meaning “poison.”

Curare, in large doses, paralyses the motor nerve-endings in striped muscle, and death occurs from respiratory failure. Curare is very bitter, and is actually a common name for various dart poisons originating from South America.

The young flowers and new growth are added to soups and other food preparations as a soporific vegetables.

Curare has differing effects depending upon dosage, whether it is injected into muscle tissue, or ingested. Curare is used internally in tribal medicine for edema, fever, kidney stones and testicular inflammation. It is also known to relax muscles into a state of inactivity.

Under appropriate medical care and attention, curare is also used to relieve spastic paralysis, to treat some mental disorders, and to induce muscle relaxation for setting fractures. Curare is now used extensively in modern medicine. It is only toxic if it enters the bloodstream. Curare is not for sale to the general public.

As with many Amazonian tribal plant history and legend, curare is prepared by old women. In some traditions, the witch doctor has a monopoly of the business, but generally, wise old men get together to brew a batch. Extra curare was usually carried by tribal members in a gourd or calabash, and stored with weapons.

Medicinal Uses:

The active ingredient in “curaré”, D-tubocurarine, is used in medicine. Brazilians consider the root a diuretic, and use it internally in small quantities for madness and dropsy, and externally for bruises. It is also used for edema, fever, and kidney stones.

Curare is an alkaloid, and acts as a neuromuscular blocking agent to produce paralysis in muscles. It first affects the muscles of the toes, ears, and eyes, then those of the neck, arms and legs, and finally, those involved in breathing. In fatal doses, death is caused by respiratory paralysis. Curare must get into the blood system for it to work. It doesn’t hurt to eat something killed by a poisoned curare arrow, for instance.

The therapeutical employment of curare has been suggested in certain severe and obstinate spasmodic affections, as in epilepsy, chorea, hydrophobia, and, more particularly, in tetanus. It is used by subcutaneous injections of its filtered aqueous solution, thus: Add curare 1 grain, to distilled water 24 minims; dissolve, let the solution stand 48 hours, and filter; of this, from 2 minims (1/12 grain) to 6 minims (1/4 grain) may be used at one injection, carefully repeating the injections until relaxation of the muscles has been effected. Curarine, dissolved in water, with a few drops of sulphuric acid added, to facilitate its solution, is to be used in still smaller doses—from the 1/240 to the 1/120 part of a grain. It is doubtful whether this agent will ever come into general use as a medicinal remedy; at least, not so long as other medicines are known in which greater confidence can be placed. The diversity of action, attributable, in some instances, to its difference of composition, in others to its inertness, or to its highly active qualities, render it an uncertain, as well as an unsafe, remedy.

It is used in modern medicine primarily as an auxiliary in general anesthesia, frequently with cyclopropane, especially in abdominal surgery. Upon injection, curare acts as a neuromuscular blocking agent to produce flaccidity in striated (striped) muscle (it competes with acetylcholine at the nerve ending, preventing nerve impulses from activating skeletal, or voluntary, muscles). It first affects the muscles of the toes, ears, and eyes, then those of the neck and limbs, and, finally, those involved in respiration. In fatal doses, death is caused by respiratory paralysis.
Practitioners commonly rely on velvet leaf as an excellent natural remedy for menstrual difficulties, including cramping and pain, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), excessive bleeding, and fibroid tumors. Its ability to curb excessive menstrual bleeding very quickly can be quite remarkable. It is often employed in overall female balancing formulas, in kidney formulas (for its diuretic and smooth-muscle relaxant effects), and, in combination with other plants, in heart tonics and hypertension remedies. It is also considered effective against malaria, fever, hepatic ailments, gastric ulcers, diabetes, anemia, high cholesterol, cerebral tonic, fever, typhoid, stomach ulcers, pain killer, chronic inflammation of the urinary passages, good diuretic, etc. In North American herbal medicine, velvet leaf is used for many of the same conditions as in South America as well as for inflammation of the testicles and minor kidney problems. Pereira root also acts as an antiseptic to the bladder and is therefore employed for the relief of chronic inflammation of the urinary passages. It is also a good diuretic. The decoction of the stems and roots mixed with wild bee honey is used to treat sterile women. Root decoction used for post-menstrual hemorrhages, the alcoholic maceration, for rheumatism. Macerated leaves, bark and root, mixed with rum, are used by as aphrodisiac. Root decoction used as a cardio tonic, anti-anemic, anti-malarial. One tribe use a leaf decoction for fever and another use the decoction of the bark and stem as a dental analgesic. Some Ecuadorian tribes use the leaf decoction for conjunctivitis and snakebite. Others use the root tea for difficult delivery and nervous or weak children with colic. Also used in homeopathy, in the form of a mother tincture.

Abutua is a very useful herb for women’s affections. Its antispasmodic action makes it influential in treating cramps, painful menstruation and pre and post-natal pain. Brazilian Indian women have for centuries valued its analgesic powers, and the satchels of almost all midwives contain the root of this plant. Helpful for menstrual cramps and difficult menstruation, pre- and post-natal pain Aids poor digestion, drowsiness after meals and constipation.

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.blueplanetbiomes.org/curare.htm
http://ezinearticles.com/?Rainforest-Plants—Curare&id=1030007
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/146779/curare

http://www.henriettesherbal.com/eclectic/kings/curare.html

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