Tag Archives: Kashmir

Bergenia ciliata

Botanical Name : Bergenia ciliata Sternb.
Family :  Saxifragaceae
Genus :Bergenia
Species :Bergenia ciliata

Synonyms : Bergenia ligulata – Engl.,Megasea ciliata – Haw.,Saxifraga ciliata – (Haw.)Royle.,Saxifraga ligulata – Wall.,Saxifraga thysanodes – Lindl. B.ligulata E.L
Common Name : Pashanbhed, Pakhanbad, Dhoklambu, Patharchat, Silphoda

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Habitat : E. Asia – Himalayas from Afghanistan to E. Tibet.  On moist rocks and under forest shade, 1900 – 2600 metres in Kashmir .Woodland Garden; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Ground Cover;

Description:
An evergreen Perennial growing to 0.3m by 0.5m. Leaves few, spreading, 4-11 x 3-10 cm, glabrous or hirsute, suborbicular to orbicular or broadly obovate, base cordate or sometimes rounded, apex rounded or sometimes abruptly acuminate; margin entire to occasionally denticulate at top, ciliate. Petiole 1-2(-5)cm long, glabrous or hirsute. Inflorescence a one sided raceme or corymbose, often subtended by an ovate leafy bract; bract glabrous or sparsely ciliate; scape and inflorescence greenish or pink tinged. Peduncle up to 10 cm long; flowers pink to purplish, pedicellate. Sepals c. 7 mm long, oblong. Petals 10 x 4 mm, unguiculate, limb orbicular. Filaments c. 1 cm long, pink to red. Carpels 2. Styles c. 7 mm long. Carpels and styles green or pinkish. Capsule 13 x 6 mm, including styles. Seeds elongated, c. 1 mm long, brown, minutely tuberculate.

click to see the pictures……...(01)...(1).....(2)....(3)....(4).…...(5).……..(6).....

It is hardy to zone 7 and is frost tender. It is in leaf all year, in flower from March to May. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)
The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay and nutritionally poor soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.

Cultivation :
Succeeds in full sun or light shade in most soils but prefers a deep fertile soil that does not dry out fully. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Plants are at their best in a medium-heavy soil. Succeeds in shade or semi-shade-. The leaf colour is best when plants are grown in a poor soil in a sunny position[188]. Dislikes cold winds . The plant is hardy to about -20°c, but the flowers and young leaves are rather sensitive to frost so it is best to choose a position with shade from the early morning sun. This species is only hardy in sheltered gardens of south and west Britain. If the leaves are cut back by frost then they are soon replaced by fresh leaves in the spring. The roots of this plant are commonly collected from the wild for medicinal purposes. Overcollection in many areas of its range are a cause for conservation concern. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits. The different species of this genus will hybridise freely when grown near each other.

Propagation:
Seed – surface sow in a greenhouse. Make sure that the compost does not dry out. Two weeks cold stratification can speed up germination which usually takes 1 – 6 months at 15°c. Fresh seed, sown as soon as it is ripe in late spring is liable to germinate better than stored seed. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in late spring after flowering or in autumn. Very easy, larger divisions can be planted straight into their permanent positions whilst smaller clumps are best potted up and kept in a cold frame until they are growing away well.

Edible Uses:
The flowers are boiled and then pickled.

Medicinal Uses:
Lithontripic; Ophthalmic; Poultice; Tonic.

A juice or powder of the whole plant is used to treat urinary troubles in Nepal. The juice of the leaves is used as drops to relieve earaches . The root is used as a tonic in the treatment of fevers, diarrhoea and pulmonary affections. The root juice is used to treat coughs and colds, haemorrhoids, asthma and urinary problems. Externally, the root is bruised and applied as a poultice to boils and ophthalmia, it is also considered helpful in relieving backache. The root of this plant has a high reputation in indigenous systems of medicine for dissolving stones in the kidneys.

Other Uses
Ground cover; Tannin.

The root contains 14 – 16% tannin. A good ground cover plant, forming a slowly spreading clump.

Resources:
http://server9.web-mania.com/users/pfafardea/database/plants.php?Bergenia+ciliata
http://vaniindia.org.whbus12.onlyfordemo.com/herbal/plantdir.asp
http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=5&taxon_id=242308319
http://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bergenia_ciliata.JPG

Kutuka or Kutki

Botanical Name: Picrorhiza kurroa
Family: Scrofulariaceae
Synonyms: Black hellebore, black kutki, kali, kali kutki, kali-kutki, karru, katki, katukurogani, kaur, kuru, kuruwa, kutaki, kutki, picroliv, Picrorhiza kurroa, Picrorhiza kurroa extract, Picrorhiza kurroa Royle, Picrorhiza kurroa Royle ex Benth., Picrorhiza lindleyana Steud., Picrorrhiza kurroa,
Common name: Katuka
English Name: Gentian
Genus: Picrorhiza

Parts Used: Root(exceptionally bitter)

Tradition: Used in Ayurvedic medicine

Habitat: E. Asia – Himalayas from Kashmir to Sikkim.  Found in the higher mountain elevations at 2700 – 3600 metres

Description:
Kutuka is a Perennial harb.
It is hardy to zone 0. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)  The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.
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English: Bamboo with rhizome Français : Pousse...

English: Bamboo with rhizome Français : Pousses de bambou avec rhizome apparent (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cultivation details:
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain. However, judging by its native range, it is likely to succeed outdoors at least in the milder areas of the country.

Propagation:
Seed – we have no information on this species. It is likely that the best way of propagating from seed is to sow it as soon as it is ripe, preferably in a cold frame or greenhouse. If this is not possible, sow the seed in late winter or early spring in a greenhouse. Prick out the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle and plant out in the summer. Division of the rhizome in the autumn or spring.

Constituents:
*iridoid glycosides such as
*picrosides I, II, III
*kutkoside
*cucurbitacin glycosides (highly oxygenated triterpenes)
*apocycynin
*androsin

Medicinal Uses:
Antibacterial; Antiinflammatory; Antiperiodic; Bitter; Cathartic; Laxative; Stomachic; Tonic.

Kuru has a long history of medicinal use, especially in India but also in China where it is known as hu huang lian . The dried rhizome is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiperiodic, cathartic (in large doses), cholagogue, laxative (in smaller doses), stomachic and bitter tonic. The root contains a number of very bitter glucosides including kutkin and picrorhizin. It also contains apocynin, which is powerfully anti-inflammatory and reduces platelet aggregation. In trials, the rhizome was shown to boost the immune system and to have a specific action against the parasie Leishmania donovani, which causes the tropical parasitic disease called leishmaniasis. The rhizome has a very beneficial effect upon the liver and digestive system and is used in the treatment of a wide range of conditions including fevers, constipation, dyspepsia and jaundice. It is also often used in the treatment of scorpion stings and snake bites. There is also some evidence that the rhizome can be of help in the treatment of bronchial asthma and a number of auto-immune diseases such as psoriasis and vitiligo, whilst it has also been shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels and reduce coagulation time. The rhizome is gathered in the autumn and dried for later use.

Immune System Conditions
*acute and chronic infections
*treatment for allergies
*treatment for autoimmune disorders
*weakened immunity

Liver Conditions
*liver infections
*toxic liver damage

Respiratory Tract Conditions
asthma
Dosage: 500mg – 2g/day of the dried root    1-4mL/day of 1:2 extract

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:

Picrorrhiza Kurroa


http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Picrorhiza+kurroa
http://www.wellness.com/reference/herb/katuka-picrorhiza-kurroa/

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Atees

 

Botanical Name : Aconitum heterophylum
Family: Ranunculaceae
Subfamily: Ranunculoideae
Tribes: Aconiteae
Genus: Aconitum
Species: Aconitum heterophyllum

Common Name: Atees
Other Names: Indian Atees, Atis, Ativisha, Ataicha, Atavasa, Ateicha, Athivisha, Atirasa, Ativadayam, Ativasu, Bhangura,  Pankura, Sitashringi, Upavishaaka, Vajji-turki; Vaj-turki, visha.

Part-Used : Tuberous root

Habitat:This herb is found in hills of India , Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Jammu & Kashmir , Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. It is usually found on humus-rich soils in the alpine and subalpine zones, and in forests, 2300 – 2900 metres.

Description :
Perennial, aesthetic herb containing tuberous roots and standing 1-3 ft tall. Roots biennial, paired, tuberous, daughter tuber cylindrical to cylindrical, oblong or conic, long, thick, bearing few root fibres which are friable, bark very thin. Stem erect, simple or branched, high, glabrous below internodes short. Leaves are mainly heteromorphous, glabrous, Inflorescence a slender raceme, leafy panicle or in alpine specimens reduced to a few flowers, crispo-pubescent. Sepals blue or violet, Nectaries, glabrous. Seeds obpyramidal, long blackish brown.

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It is hardy to zone (UK) 6. It is in flower from Aug to September, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. and are pollinated by Bees.

Cultivation: Sandy loam and acidic soil is best for seed germination, survival, better growth and yield. In general, cultivation up to 2200 m, elevation having sandy textured soil with rich organic matter is recommended for cultivation.
Propagation :  Seeds

Chemical Constituents : Diterpene Alkaloid- Heteraticine.
* atisine – an intensely bitter alkaloid that is also non-toxic
*aconitinic acid
* tannic acid
* pectous substance
* starch
* fat
*a mixture of oleic, palmitic, stearic glycerides
* vegetable mucilage
*sugar
*ash (2%)

Active Compounds:
Atisine – an intensely bitter alkaloid that is also non-toxic aconitinic acid, tannic acid, pectous substance, starch, fat, a mixture of oleic, palmitic, stearic glycerides, vegetable mucilage, sugar, ash (2%)

Medicinal Properties & Uses:
The roots are acrid, bitter, thermogenic, expectorant, stomachic, digestive, antiperiodic and tonic. they are useful in dysentry, diarrhoea, stomach disorders fever, malarial fever, vomiting, helminthiasis, haemorrhoids, haemorrhages, internal inflammatory conditions and genaral debility. They are highly recommended for diseases in children. It reduces arrhythmia and hypertension.

They are highly recommended for diseases in children. It reduces arrhythmia and hypertension.

This is useful for a cute inflammations, chronic fevers, convalescing after fever, cough, debility, diarrhea, dysentery, edema, Hemorrhoids, indigestion, liver disorders, vomiting.

It is used in India in the treatment of dyspepsia, diarrhea and coughs. It is also used in Tibetan medicine, where it is said to have a bitter taste and a cooling potency. It is used to treat poisoning from scorpion or snake bites, the fevers of contagious diseases and inflammation of the intestines.  The dried tuberous roots are used for hemorrhoids, vomiting, edema, liver disorders, Kapha and Pitta diseases; convalescing after fever, debility, diarrhea, dysentery, acute inflammations, cough, indigestion, chronic fevers. Even though Aconitum heterophyllum belongs to the aconitum family, it is non-toxic if used properly. In Ayurvedic medicine it is used for children experiencing fever and diarrhea. It does slow the heart rate.  It is also used to treat headaches caused from eating excessive amounts of greasy foods, thirst associated with fever, yellowish sclera, nausea, vomiting, throat pain, and lung and eye inflammation. This herb is also used for treating digestive disorders such as anorexia, piles, and worms. It is said to help revitalize sexual desire and reduce obesity. Mitigates breast milk in lactating mothers.    The recommended doses of Aconitum heterophyllum depend on the condition that is being treated. Different formulations of Aconitum heterophyllum can be toxic, therefore, strict supervision by a qualified herbalist or physician is advised before using this herb. Do not use old herbs as they lose their potency. Historically before using the root it would be purified by being kept in cow’s urine for one night and then dried in sunlight and ground into powder.

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Known Hazards  : The whole plant is highly toxic – simple skin contact has caused numbness in some people.    One report says that this plant does not contain the toxic alkaloid aconitine, and so is not poisonous. It does, however, still contain an intensely bitter alkaloid.

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.herbsncures.com/atees.html
http://apmab.ap.nic.in/products.php?&start=0#
http://www.impgc.com/plantinfo_A.php?id=171&bc=Raw%20Herbs%20»%20Others
http://www.motherherbs.com/aconitum-heterophyllum.html

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

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Cedrus Deodara

Photograph of the needles of the Deodar Cedar ...

Image via Wikipedia

 

Botanical Name: Cedrus deodara
Family :Pinaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Genus: Cedrus
Species: C. deodara

Synonym(s): Cedrus libani Barrel, Pinus deodara Rxb.

Common Name: Deodar Cedar, Himalayan Cedar, or Deodar; Hindi, Sanskrit: devadaru; Chinese: xue song.

The specific epithet and English vernacular name derive from the Sanskrit devad?ru, “wood of the gods”, a compound of deva (god) and daru (wood).

Parts used: Heartwood, bark, leaves and oil.

Habitat: Native to the western Himalayas in eastern Afghanistan, northern Pakistan, north-central India (Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand states,Kashmir, southwesternmost Tibet and western Nepal, occurring at 1500-3200 m altitude.

Cultural importance in the Indian subcontinent:
It is worshipped as a divine tree in the Indian subcontinent, particularly in Kashmir and Punjab villages, as the name deodar, a Sanskrit word, (Sanskrit: devdar), which means, “divine wood”. The first half of the word deva means the words divine, deity, deus, and Zeus and the second part connotes durum, druid, tree, and true. Several Hindu legends refer to this tree.

Forests full of Devadaru trees were the favorite abode or living place of ancient Indian sages and their families who were devoted to Hindu god Shiva for whom they performed very difficult tapasya (meditation) to please him.
It is the national tree of Pakistan.

Description:
It is a large evergreen coniferous tree reaching 40-50 m tall, exceptionally 60 m, with a trunk up to 3 m diameter. It has a conic crown with level branches and drooping branchlets.Dioecious trees are very rare.

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The leaves are needle-like, mostly 2.5-5 cm long, occasionally up to 7 cm long, slender (1 mm thick), borne singly on long shoots, and in dense clusters of 20-30 on short shoots; they vary from bright green to glaucous blue-green in colour. The female cones are barrel-shaped, 7-13 cm long and 5-9 cm broad, and disintegrate when mature (in 12 months) to release the winged seeds. The male cones are 4-6 cm long, and shed their pollen in autumn.

Cultivation and uses
It is widely grown as an ornamental tree, much planted in parks and large gardens for its drooping foliage. General cultivation is limited to areas with mild winters, with trees frequently killed by temperatures below about ?25 °C, limiting it to hardiness zones 8 and warmer for reliable growth. It is commonly grown in western Europe (north to Scotland), in the Mediterranean region, around the Black Sea, in southern and central China, on the west coast of North America as far north as Vancouver, British Columbia, and in the southeastern United States from Texas to Virginia.The most cold-tolerant trees originate in the northwest of the species’ range in Kashmir and Paktia Province, Afghanistan. Selected cultivars from this region are hardy to zone 7 or even zone 6, tolerating temperatures down to about ?30 °C. Named cultivars from this region include ‘Eisregen’, ‘Eiswinter’, ‘Karl Fuchs‘, ‘Kashmir’, ‘Polar Winter’, and ‘Shalimar’. Of these, ‘Eisregen’, ‘Eiswinter’, ‘Karl Fuchs’, and ‘Polar Winter’ were selected in Germany from seed collected in Paktia; ‘Kashmir’ was a selection of the nursery trade, whereas ‘Shalimar’ originated from seeds collected in 1964 from Shalimar Gardens, India (in the Kashmir region) and propagated at the Arnold Arboretum.

Use in Construction material:
Deodar is in great demand as building material because of its durability, rot-resistant character and fine close grain, which is capable of taking high polish. It’s historical use to construct religious temples and as landscape around temples is well recorded. In India, during the British colonial period, deodar wood was used extensively for construction of barracks, public buildings, bridges, canals and railway cars.

Major chemical constituents
Essential oil
The heartwood yields about 2.1 % of essential oil, consisting mainly of the sesquiterpene hydrocarbons a-himachalene 6-7%, p-himachalene around 91 % and other isomers including o-himachalene,2 with p-methyl acetophenone, p-methyl 3-tetrahydroacetophenone, atlantone and himachalo.

Hydrocarbons
The petroleum ether extract of the bark oil yields saturated, straight chain and branched chain hydrocarbons (CI4-C2O)’

Flavonoids
Stem bark contains deodarin (3′,4′,5,7-tetrahydroxy-8-C-methyl dihydroflavonol), taxifolin and quercetin.

Medicinal Uses:
The curative properties of Deodar are well recorded in Indian Ayurvedic medicines, which are indicated below:-
Antidote; Astringent; Carminative; Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Skin; TB.

The inner wood is aromatic and used to make incense. Inner wood is distilled into essential oil. As insects avoid this tree, the essential oil is used as insect repellant on the feet of horses, cattle and camels. It also has antifungal properties and has some potential for control of fungal deterioration of spices during storage. The outer bark and stem are astringent. Its Biomedical actions are reported to be Carminative, antispasmodic, creates sweating, urination and is aromatic. Deodar’s Ayurvedic actions are reported to be a) increasing digestive function, b) removal of toxins from the bowel, c) alleviating coughing, d) cures skin disorders such as eczema and psoriasis. Cedar oil is often used for its aromatic properties, especially in aromatherapy and has characteristic woody odour which may change somewhat in the course of drying out. The crude oils are often yellowish or even darker in colour. Its applications cover soap perfumes, household sprays, floor polishes and insecticidesand also for microscope work as a clearing oil.

The heartwood is carminative, diaphoretic and diuretic. It is used in the treatment of fevers, flatulence, pulmonary and urinary disorders, rheumatism, piles, kidney stones, insomnia, diabetes etc. It has been used as an antidote to snake bites.

The plant yields a medicinal essential oil by distillation of the wood, it is used in the treatment of phthisis, bronchitis, blennorrhagia and skin eruptions.

The bark is astringent. It has proved useful in the treatment of fevers, diarrhoea and dysentery.

In Ayurvedic medicine the leaves are used in the treatment of tuberculosis.
Anticancer activity: The ethanolic extract was found to have cytotoxicity against human epidermal carcinoma of the nasopharynx in tissue culture.

Ayurvedic properties
Rasa: Tikta (bitter)
Guna: Laghu (light),
snigdha (unctuous)
Veerya: Ushna (hot)
Vipaka: Katu (pungent)
Dosha: Pacifies vata and kapha

Safety profile
A 15 % mixture of C. deodara oil in castor oil was subjected to acute toxicity tests in mice and found to be non-toxic. The formulation was non-irritant to the skin of rabbit and sheep and did not alter blood urea nitrogen and blood glucose levels. The LDso was 500 mgiii in adult albino mice. Applied topically to rabbits, it was found to have no adverse effects on skin or any other vital organ.

Dosage
Powdered wood: 3-6 g Decoction: 28-56 ml
Oil: 0.5-3 ml

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/Deodar
http://www.ibiblio.org/pfaf/cgi-bin/arr_html?Cedrus+deodara
http://www.divineremedies.com/cedrus_deodara.htm

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Kashmir Hospitals Using Leeches

Hospitals in Indian-administered Kashmir have started using leeches to suck blood out of patients as part of their treatment.

Doctors in three hospitals are using leeches to treat heart problems and conditions such as arthritis, gout, chronic headaches and sinusitis.

……...CLICK TO SEE THE PICTURES
The leeches are described as ‘wonder doctors’

Patients who have not been cured using conventional medicine are the most likely to want to try using leeches.

The doctor heading the programme says there have been some “amazing results”.

Leeches were widely used in medicine until the end of the 19th century.

Cautiously optimistic

The Kashmir hospitals using leeches follow the traditional unani system of medicine that originated in ancient Greece and is recognised by the Indian health authorities.

A patient at the unani hospital in Sopore town, Abdul Razak Mir, says he has suffered from a chronic headache and bad cold for two decades, which has recently affected his eyes.

Allopathic (conventional) medicines have failed to cure me,” he says. “I am hopeful that the leech therapy will help me.”

Abdul Rashid Bhat has had a skin disease for three years. “I have been to many doctors but have had no relief. Now I have come for leech therapy. I hope I will be cured. People have told me it helps.”

An orthopaedic patient, Ghulam Hassan, is also cautiously optimistic:

………...CLICK TO SEE THE  PICTURES
Traditional workers are being used to apply the leeches

“I have been on medicine and have also had physiotherapy but to no avail. Now I am trying the leech therapy. Maybe my pain goes. I cannot say anything yet.”

Dr Nasir Ahmed Hakeem heads the three hospitals. He says he has used leeches on at least 200 patients in the past year.

He describes the leech as a “wonder doctor” and a “medicine factory which makes numerous enzymes”.

According to Dr Hakeem, there are more than 100 bio-active substances in the saliva of a leech which go into the body of a patient while it sucks the patient’s blood.

Unani colleges do not train people in leech treatment, so Dr Hakeem has taken on traditional workers to apply the leeches to his patients.

Once a leech is used on a human it is then killed as part of the measures to prevent it passing on an infection from one patient to another.

Dr Hakeem has drawn a lot of criticism from the allopathic, or medical mainstream, community.

But he claims now that “some allopathic doctors are among my patients” after being convinced of research showing the effectiveness of using leeches.

‘Not a strong case’

He cites the example of allopathic doctors using maggots to treat ‘diabetic foot’ (feet problems that develop in diabetic patients).

The maggot, he says, eats the rotten tissue in the foot but not the healthy tissue.

Dr Abdul Waheed Banday, former head of the department of medicine in Srinagar‘s Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, says that there is renewed interest in leech therapy in the West.

He says that although leech treatment is affordable for the poor, he does not expect its use in allopathic hospitals in the near future: “Fresh research on leech therapy is going on, but as of yet, there is not a strong case for its use.”

But Dr Nasir Hakeem remains hopeful.

Sources:BBC NEWS:April 4,’08

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