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Herbs & Plants

Picramnia antidesma

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Botanical Name: Picramnia antidesma
Family: Picramniaceae
Genus: Picramnia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Picramniales

Synonyms: Mountain Damson Bark. Simaruba Honduras Bark.

Common Names: Simaruba bark

Habitat: Picramnia antidesma is native of the West Indies and yields the drug known as Simaruba bark. The tree grows to a considerable height and thicknessJamaica and South Guiana.
Description:
Picramnia antidesma has alternate spreading branches; the bark on the old trees is black and furrowed, on the younger trees smooth grey, in places spotted with big patches of yellow, the wood is hard, white and without any special taste; it has numerous leaves alternately on the branches, each leaf has several pinnae, nearly elliptical, upper side smooth deep green, under side whitish, short foot-stalks, flowers male and female on different trees, colour yellow in long panicles. The bark is rough scaly and poor; inside when fresh is a good yellow colour, but when dry paler; it has very little smell and taste and though very bitter is not disagreeable. Macerated in water or rectified spirits it gives a yellow tincture; makes a better and stronger infusion in cold water than in boiling water; the decoction is transparent yellow when hot, but when cooled, is turbid and brownish red in colour. The bark was brought from Guiana in 1713 as a remedy for dysentery. In France in 1718 to 1825 an epidemic flux was cured by the bark and this established its medicinal use in Europe…..click & see the pictures
Parts Used in medicine : The Bark, root-bark.

Constituents: A bitter tonic credited with specific alternative properties. It belongs to an undetermined species of picrammia and contains a bitter sweet amorphous alkaloid.

Medicinal Uses:
Purgative, tonic, diaphoretic. A very valuable bitter tonic, useful in diarrhoea, dysentery, and in some forms of indigestion; in large doses it is said to act as an emetic. It restores tone to the intestines, allays spasmodic motions, promotes a healthy secretion. Big doses cause vomiting and nausea – should not be used in dysentery attended with fever. In dysentery with weak indigestion it is often preferred to chamonilee.

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/Picramnia
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/c/casama26.html

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Herbs & Plants

Picraena excelsa

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Botanical Name :Picraena excelsa
Family: Simaroubaceae
Genus: Picrasma
Species: P. excelsa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Synonym: Jamaica Quassia.

Common Names:Bitter Ash ,Picraena excelsa, Quassia undalata, Quassia amara

Habitat: Bitter Ash  is native to West Indies. It is found in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Venezuela. It is threatened by habitat loss.

Description:
This is the Quassia excelsa of Linnaeus, though the genuine plant is the Quassia amara. The species amara is a large shrub, or low tree, inhabiting Surinam; while the excelsa is a lofty tree with a very large trunk, and is found in Jamaica and other portions of the West Indies.The tree grows from 50 to 100 feet in height and has smooth, gray bark.  “Leaves alternate, unequally pinnate; leaflets opposite, oblong, acuminate. Flowers polygamous; sepals five, minute; petals five, pale; stamens five. Racemes axillary toward the ends of the brandies, very compound, panicled, many-flowered. Fruit of three black, shining drupes the size of a pea, only one of which comes to perfection.”

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Medicinal Uses:
Parts Used: Wood of trunk and branches, dried

Quassia is tonic, stomachic and antiseptic, possessing all the properties that belong to the other pure bitters. It is employed in cases of anorexia for promoting the appetite and assisting the digestive functions. It is wholly devoid of all irritant, stimulant, or astringent properties, and hence has been regarded as the type of the pure bitters. Its use is mostly confined to atonic states of the system, with indigestion and loss of appetite.

It is an excellent remedy in dyspeptic conditions due to lack of tone. As with all bitters, it stimulates the production of saliva and digestive juices and so increases the appetite. It may safely be used in all cases of lack of appetite such as anorexia nervosa and digestive sluggishness. The wood has been used to prepare “qQuassia cups.” A Quassia cup is filled with hot water and the wqater is allowed to cool somewhat before being drunk. This results in a liquid that is very bitter and thus acts to stimulate the appetitie. Quassia cups can be used in this way for a number of years and will retain an ability to produce a bitter water extract.. It is used in the expulsion of threadworms and other parasites, both as an enema and an infusion. The herb’s bitterness has led to its being used as a treatment for malaria and other fevers, and in the Caribbean it is given for dysentery. Externally as a lotion it may be used against lice infestations.

Known Hazards;
Allergies:

Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to quassia or its constituents.

Side Effects and Warnings:

*Quassia is likely safe when consumed in amounts found in foods and beverages. It has Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status in the United States.

*Quassia appears to have a very mild side effects profile. The most common side effects are nausea and vomiting, due to its bitter taste. There have also been reports of mucous membrane irritation.

* Quassia may cause drowsiness or sedation. Use cautiously if driving or operating heavy machinery. Long-term use of quassia may cause vision changes and blindness

*Use cautiously with cardiac (heart) medications and blood thinners.

*Avoid in people who are pregnant, and in males and females trying to become pregnant due to quassia’s potential antifertility effects.

* Avoid intravenous use in cardiomyopathy (heart disease) patients.

Other Uses:
Quassia has been used by brewers as a substitute for hops and is in general use by gardeners, mixed with soft soap, for spraying plants affected with green-fly.

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/Picrasma_excelsa
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/a/ashbi074.html
http://doctorschar.com/archives/quassia-picriena-excelsa/
http://www.appliedhealth.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=108436
http://www.thefreshcarrot.ca/ns/DisplayMonograph.asp?StoreID=5020E137E9014BC38944489AF1F99926&DocID=bottomline-quassia
http://www.henriettes-herb.com/eclectic/cook/PICRAENA_EXCELSA.htm

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

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Smilax ornata

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Botanical Name : Smilax ornata
Family: Smilacaceae
Genus:     Smilax
Species: S. regelii
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Liliales

Synonyms:Smilax regelii, Smilax Medica. Red-bearded Sarsaparilla

Common names:Sarsaparilla, Honduran sarsaparilla, and Jamaican sarsaparilla,Sarsaparilla,  khao yen, saparna, smilace, smilax, zarzaparilla, jupicanga

Habitat: Smilax ornata is native to South America, Jamaica, the Caribbean, Mexico, Honduras, and the West Indies. Principally Costa Rica.

Description:
Smilax ornata is a large perennial climber, rhizome underground, large, short, knotted, with thickened nodes and roots spreading up to 6 or 8 feet long. Stems erect, semiwoody, with very sharp prickles 1/2 inch long. Leaves large, alternate stalked, almost evergreen with prominent veins, seven nerved mid-rib very strongly marked.  It produces small flowers and black, blue, or red berry-like fruits which are eaten greedily by birds. Cortex thick and brownish, with an orange red tint; when chewed it tinges the saliva, and gives a slightly bitter and mucilaginous taste, followed by a very acrid one; it contains a small proportion of starch, also a glucoside, sarsaponin, sarsapic acid, and fatty acids, palmitic, stearic, behenic, oleic and linolic.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Medicinal Uses:
Part Used: Root.
Smilax regelii was considered by Native Americans to have medicinal properties, and was a popular European treatment for syphilis when it was introduced from the New World. From 1820 to 1910, it was registered in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia as a treatment for syphilis. Modern users claim it is effective for eczema, psoriasis, arthritis, herpes, and leprosy, along with a variety of other complaints. There is no peer-reviewed research available for these claims. There is, however, peer-reviewed research suggesting that S. regelii extracts have in vitro antioxidant properties, like many other herbs.

Sarsaparilla has been used for centuries by the indigenous peoples of Central and South America for sexual impotence, rheumatism, skin ailment, and a tonic for physical weakness. Sarsaparilla root was used by South American indigenous tribes as a general tonic where New World traders found it and introduced it into European medicine in the 1400’s. European physicians considered it an alterative tonic, blood purifier, diuretic and diaphoretic.

Other Uses:
Smilax regelii is used as the basis for a soft drink, frequently called Sarsaparilla. It is also a primary ingredient in old fashioned-style root beer, in conjunction with sassafras, which was more widely available prior to studies of its potential health risks.

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/Smilax_regelii
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/sarjam17.html
http://www.theherbprof.com/hrbSarsaparilla.htm

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Herbs & Plants

Quassia amara

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Botanical Name :Quassia amara
Family: Simaroubaceae
Genus: Quassia
Species: Q. amara
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Common Names :Amargo, Bitter-ash, Bitter-wood,Quassia, Jamaica Quassia

Habitat :Quassia amara is native to Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Brasilia, Peru, Venezuela, Suriname, Colombia, Argentinia, French Guiana and Guyana. Q. amara is widely planted outside its native range.

Description:
Amargo is a shrub or rarely a small tree, growing to 3 m tall (rarely 8 m). The leaves are compound and alternate, 15–25 cm long, and pinnate with 3-5 leaflets, the leaf rachis being winged. The flowers are produced in a panicle 15–25 cm long, each flower 2.5-3.5 cm long, bright red on the outside, and white inside. The fruit is a small drupe 1-1.5 cm long.  It has beautiful red flowers and fruits that turn red as they mature.

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

Quassia amara is marketed and used interchangeably with another tree species, Picrasma excelsa. Sharing the common name of quassia (and many of Quassia amara’s constituents and uses), P. excelsa is much taller (up to 25 m in height) and occurs farther north in the tropics of Jamaica, the Caribbean, the Lesser Antilles, and northern Venezuela. In herbal medicine in the United States and Europe, very little distinction is made between the two species of trees; they are used identically and just called quassia. The name amargo means “bitter” in Spanish and describes its very bitter taste.

Chemical Constituents:
In the wood a share of 0.09 to 0.17% of quassin and 0.05 to 0.11% of neoquassin was detected in Costa Rician plants. Quassin is one of the most bitter substances found in nature.

Other identified components of bitterwood are: beta-carbolines, beta-sitostenone, beta-sitosterol, dehydroquassins, gallic acid, gentisic acid, hydroxyquassins, isoparain, isoparaines, isoquassins, malic acid, methylcanthins, methoxycanthins, methoxycantins, nigakilactone A, nor-neoquassin, parain, paraines, quassialactol, quassimarin, quassinol, quassol and simalikalactone D.

Medicinal Uses:
In the Amazon rainforest, Quassia amara is used much in the same manner as quinine bark: for malaria and fevers and as a bitter digestive aid. It grows at lower elevations (where quinine does not) and contains many of the same antimalarial phytochemicals (plant chemicals) as quinine. In addition, it is used as an insecticide and tonic, and for hepatitis. Brazilian Indians use the leaves in a bath for measles as well as in a mouthwash used after tooth extractions. Indians in Suriname use the bark for fever and parasites. Throughout South America, amargo is a tribal remedy for debility, digestion problems, fever, liver problems, parasites, malaria, snakebite, and back spasms. In the rainforests of Suriname, carved cups made out of amargo wood can be found in local markets. They are called “bitter cups” and they used medicinally in indigenous Saramaka traditional medicine systems. Drinking from these cups are thought to help digestion with the “bitters” leached from the wood.

In current Brazilian herbal medicine systems, Quassia amara is considered a tonic, digestion stimulant, blood cleanser, insecticide, and mild laxative. It is recommended for diarrhea, intestinal worms, dysentery, dyspepsia, excessive mucus, expelling worms, intestinal gas, stomachache, anemia, and liver and gastrointestinal disorders. In Peru, amargo is employed as a bitter digestive aid to stimulate gastric and other digestive secretions as well as for fevers, tuberculosis, kidney stones and gallstones. In Mexico, the wood is used for liver and gallbladder diseases and for intestinal parasites. In Nicaragua, amargo is used to expel worms and intestinal parasites as well as for malaria and anemia. Throughout South America, the bitter principles of amargo are used to stimulate the appetite and secretion of digestive juices, as well as to expel worms and intestinal parasites.

In herbal medicine in the United States and Europe, amargo is employed as a bitter tonic for stomach, gallbladder, and other digestive problems (by increasing the flow of bile, digestive juices, and saliva); as a laxative, amebicide, and insecticide; and to expel intestinal worms. In Europe, it is often found as a component in various herbal drugs that promote gallbladder, liver, and other digestive functions. In Britain, a water extract of the wood is used topically against scabies, fleas, lice, and other skin parasites. U.S. herbalist David Hoffman recommends it as an excellent remedy for dyspeptic conditions, to stimulate production of saliva and digestive juices, and to increase the appetite (as well as for lice infestations and threadworms). He also notes, “It may safely be used in all cases of lack of appetite such as anorexia nervosa and digestive sluggishness.”

The preparation of a tea out of young leafs is used traditionally in French Guyana. Experiments showed a high inhibition of Plasmodium yoelii yoelii and Plasmodium falciparum.

Other Uses:
Insecticide:
Extracts of Quassia wood or bark act as a natural insecticide. For organic farming this is of particular interest. A good protection was shown against different insect pests (eg. aphids, Colorado potato beetle, Anthonomus pomorum, Rhagoletis cerasi, Caterpillars of Tortricidae).[3] Quassin extract works as a contact insecticide. Adverse effects on beneficial organism were not found.

For Switzerland, a licensed formulation available for organic farming.

Formulation:
Around 200 gramms of Quassia wood chips are put together with 2 liters of water. It is allowed to stand for 24 hours and then it is cooked for 30 min. It is then diluted with 10 to 20 liters of water and used as a spray.  The use of approximately 3-4.5 kg wood extract per hectare seems to be optimal to minimize the damage of Hoplocampa testudinea on apple trees.

Flavouring:
Extracts of Q. amara wood or bark are also used to flavor soft drinks, aperitifs and bitters which can be added to cocktails or to baked goods.

Contraindications:
•Amargo should not be used during pregnancy.

•Amargo has been documented to have an antifertility effect in studies with male rats. Men undergoing fertility treatment or those wishing to have children probably should avoid using amargo.

•Large amounts of amargo can irritate the mucous membrane of the stomach and can lead to nausea and vomiting. Do not exceed recommended dosages.

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/Quassia_amara
http://www.rain-tree.com/amargo.htm#.UgY4yL7D92Y
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail488.php

Categories
Fruits & Vegetables Herbs & Plants

Ambarella(Spondias dulcis)

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Botanical Name :Spondias dulcis
Family: Anacardiaceae
Genus: Spondias
Species: S. dulcis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Common Name:- Ambarella,Malay Apple,Golden Apple,Pomme cythere in Trinidad and Tobago, June plum in Jamaica, Juplon in Costa Rica, Jobo Indio in Venezuela, and Caja-manga in Brazil.
Hog Plum in English , In Bengali it is called as  Amra or bilati amra

Vernacular names:-
(Ambarella) (Sinhalese)
ambarella (Dutch)
amra (Bengali)
buah kedondong (Malay)
cajá-manga (Brazilian Portuguese)
cóc (Vietnamese)
Manzana de Oro (Dominican Republic)
évi (Réunion)
Goldpflaume (German)
gway (Burmese)
hevi (Philippines)
hog plum
jobo indio (Español de Venezuela)
June plum (Jamaica)
kedondong (Indonesian)
makok farang (Thai)
manga zi nsende (Kikongo)
mkak  (Khmer)
mokah (Cambodian)
naos (Bislama)
pomarosa (Puerto Rico)
prune Cythère, pomme Cythère (French)
sugar apple (St. Lucia)
wi apple (Hawaii)
Pomcite (Trinidad and Tobago)

Habitat: Native to Melanesia through Polynesia, S. dulcis has been introduced into tropical areas across the world. The species was introduced into Jamaica in 1782, and, among other places, is also cultivated in Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and also from Puerto Rico to Trinidad, and Sucre east, in Venezuela. Although the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) received seeds from Liberia in 1909, S. dulcis has yet to become popular in America.

Description:
This fast growing tree can reach up to 60 ft (18 m) in its native homeland of Melanesia through Polynesia; however, it usually averages out at 30 to 40 ft (9-12 m) in other areas. Spondias dulcis has deciduous, “pinnate leaves, 8 to 24 in (20-60 cm) in length, composed of 9 to 25 glossy, elliptic or obovate-oblong leaflets 2 1.2 to 4 in (6.25-10 cm) long, finely toothed toward the apex” (Morton 1987). The tree produces small, inconspicuous white flowers in terminal panicles, assorted male, female. Its oval fruits, 2 ½ to 3 ½ in (6.25-9 cm) long, are long-stalked and are produced in bunches of 12 or more. Over several weeks, the fruit fall to the ground while still green and hard, turning golden-yellow as they ripen. According to Morton (1987), “some fruits in the South Sea Islands weigh over 1 lb (0.45 kg) each”.

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

Edible Uses:
Spondias dulcis is most commonly used as a food source. Its fruit may be eaten raw; the flesh is crunchy and a little sour. In Indonesia and Malaysia, S. dulcis is eaten with shrimp paste (a thick black salty-sweet sauce, called hayko in Chinese Southern Min dialect). It occurs as an ingredient in rojak. It may also be juiced, and goes then under the name “umbra juice” in Malaysia, or balonglong juice in Singapore.

click to see

Alternative food uses include cooking the fruit into a preserve, similar in consistency to apple butter, sauce flavoring, soups, and stews.

In Fiji, it is used to make jam.

In West Java, its young leaves are used as seasoning for pepes.

In Vietnam it is not considered as a regular “table” fruit, just a snack. It is consumed unripe, like green mangoes, sliced and dipped in a mixture of salt, sugar and fresh chili, or in shrimp paste. Another recipe favored by children is to macerate in liquid, artificially sweetened licorice extract.

In Jamaica it is mostly considered a novelty especially by children. The fruit is peeled and sprinkled with salt. The sourness and saltiness provide amusement. The fruit is also made into a drink sweetened with sugar and spiced with some ginger.

In India & Bangladesh this fruit is used in “Achar” and “Chatni”

The ambarella has suffered by comparison with the mango and by repetition in literature of its inferior quality. However, taken at the proper stage, while still firm, it is relished by many out-of-hand, and it yields a delicious juice for cold beverages. If the crisp sliced flesh is stewed with a little water and sugar and then strained through a wire sieve, it makes a most acceptable product, much like traditional applesauce but with a richer flavor. With the addition of cinnamon or any other spices desired, this sauce can be slowly cooked down to a thick consistency to make a preserve very similar to apple butter. Unripe fruits can be made into jelly, pickles or relishes, or used for flavoring sauces, soups and stews.

Young ambarella leaves are appealingly acid and consumed raw in southeast Asia. In Indonesia, they are steamed and eaten as a vegetable with salted fish and rice, and also used as seasoning for various dishes. They are sometimes cooked with meat to tenderize it.

Food Value Per 100 g of Edible Portion:-
Calories -157.30
Total Solids -14.53-40-35%
Moisture -59.65-85.47%
Protein- 0.50-0.80%
Fat– 0.28-1.79%
Sugar (sucrose)-8.05-10-54%
Acid-0.47%
Crude Fiber- 0.85-3-60%
Ash-0.44-0.65%

Medicinal Uses: In Cambodia, the astringent bark is used with various species of Terminalia as a remedy for diarrhea.

Other Uses: The wood is light-brown and buoyant and in the Society Islands has been used for canoes.

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/Spondias_dulcis
http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/ambarella_ars.html
http://saintlucianplants.com/cultivated/spondulc/spondulci.html
http://www.tradewindsfruit.com/ambarella.htm

http://www.kew.org/mng/gallery/348.html