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Herbs & Plants

Rubus coreanus

Botanical Name : Rubus coreanus
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Rubus
Species: R. coreanus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales
Synonyms : R. tokkura. ; Rubus tokkura

Common Names: Korean black raspberry

Habitat : Rubus coreanus is  native to Korea, Japan, and China.  300 – 900 metres in W. Hupeh. Thickets on slopes, montane valleys, riverbanks and roadsides at elevations of 100 – 3100 metres

Description:
Rubus coreanus is a deciduous Shrub growing to 3 m (9ft) by 3 m (9ft).
It is hardy to zone 6. It is in flower from Jul to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil.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 :
Easily grown in a good well-drained loamy soil in sun or semi-shade. Plants are rarely cultivated for their edible fruit in Japan. This species is a raspberry with biennial stems, it produces a number of new stems each year from the perennial rootstock, these stems fruit in their second year and then die. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.

Propagation:
Seed – requires stratification and is best sown in early autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed requires one month stratification at about 3°c and is best sown as early as possible in the year. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and grow on in a cold frame. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring of the following year. Division of the suckers in early spring or just before leaf-fall in the autumn

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Fruit.

Fruit – raw or cooked. Small with a poor flavour. The dark red or purplish black fruit is 5–8 mm in diameter.

Medicinal Uses:
Aphrodisiac;  Astringent;  Ophthalmic;  Restorative;  Tonic.

The fruit is aphrodisiac, astringent, restorative and tonic. It is taken internally in the treatment of complaints associated with disturbed liver and kidney functions, such as back pain, urinary dysfunction, premature greying, blurred vision, infertility, impotence and premature ejaculation. The fruit is harvested when fully ripe and can be used fresh or dried. The juice of the bruised leaves or a decoction of the root are used in the treatment of ophthalmia. The seed is astringent and tonic

An astringent herb that acts as a kidney and liver tonic.  Internally for complaints associated with disturbed liver and kidney functions, such as urinary dysfunction, premature graying, blurred vision, infertility, impotence, and premature ejaculation.  Fresh raspberry leaves can be pureed with some pure water and the juice extracted for use as an astringent wash to treat excessive watering of the eyes.  The juice of the bruised leaves or a decoction of the root are used in the treatment of ophthalmia.  The drug improves vision in liver and kidney deficient symptoms.

Other Uses
Dye.

A purple to dull blue dye is obtained from the fruit.

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/Rubus_coreanus
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rubus+coreanus
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_RST.htm
http://www.asianflora.com/Rosaceae/Rubus-coreanus.htm
http://xyerectus.blogspot.com/2010/08/de-corea-rubus-coreanus-otra-planta-del.html

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Herbs & Plants

Bracken

Botanical Name : Pteridium aquilinum
Family: Hypolepidaceae
Genus: Pteridium
Species: P. aquilinum
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pteridophyta
Class: Pteridopsida
Order: Pteridales

Synonyms: Pteris aquilina Linnaeus

Common Name : Bracken or Common bracken

Habitat : Bracken  is the most common species with a cosmopolitan distribution, occurring in temperate and subtropical regions throughout much of the world, including most of Europe, Asia, and North America in the Northern Hemisphere, and Australia, New Zealand and northern South America in the Southern Hemisphere. It is a prolific and abundant plant in the highlands of Great Britain. It is limited to altitudes of below 600 metres in the UK, does not like extreme cold temperatures, poorly drained Marshes or Fen. It causes such a problem of invading pastureland that at one time the British government had an eradication programme. Special filters have even been used on some British water supplies to filter out the bracken spores. NBN distribution map for the United Kingdom

It has been observered growing in soils from pH 2.8 to 8.6. Exposure to cold or high pH inhibits its growth.

Description:
Bracken is easily recognized by its large, triangular fronds. It is a very common fern, and it often grows in large colonies. Bracken is a fire-adapted species. It has deep rhizomes that survive fires, and ashes make the soil more alkaline, a favorable condition for germination of its spores.
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Evolutionarily, bracken may be considered to be one of the most successful ferns. It is also one of the oldest, with fossil records of over 55 million years old having been found. The plant sends up large, triangular fronds from a wide-creeping underground rootstock, and may form dense thickets. This rootstock may travel a metre or more underground between fronds. The fronds may grow up to 2.5 m (8 ft) long or longer with support, but typically are in the range of 0.6–2 m (2–6 feet) high. In cold environments bracken is winter-deciduous, and, as it requires well-drained soil, is generally found growing on the sides of hills.

It is an herbaceous perennial plant, deciduous in winter. The fronds are produced singly from an underground rhizome, and grow to be 1–3 m tall; the main stem is up to 1 cm diameter at the base. The rhizomes typically grow to a depth of 50 cm, although in some soils this may extend to more than a metre.

Sori on outer edge under the leavesThe spores used in reproduction are produced on the underside of the leaf in structures found on the edges of the leaf called sori. The linear pattern of these is different from other ferns which are circular and towards the centre.

An adaptable plant, it readily colonises disturbed areas. It can even be invasive in countries where it is native, such as England, where it has invaded heather (Calluna vulgaris (L.) Hull) stands on the North Yorkshire moors.

Different Uses:
Bracken fiddleheads (the immature, tightly curled emerging fronds) have been considered edible by many cultures throughout history, and are still commonly used today as a foodstuff. Bracken fiddleheads are either consumed fresh (and cooked) or preserved by salting, pickling, or sun drying. In Korea, where they are called gosari , they are a typical ingredient in the mixed rice dish called bibimbap.
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Both fronds and rhizomes have been used to brew beer, and the rhizome starch has been used as a substitute for arrowroot. Bread can be made out of dried and powered rhizomes alone or with other flour. American Indians cooked the rhizomes, then peeled and ate them or pounded the starchy fiber into flour. In Japan, starch from the rhizomes is used to make confections.

Bracken is called wiwnunmí útpas ‘huckleberry’s blanket’ by the Umatilla Indians of the Columbia River in the United States Northwest. The fronds were used to cover a basket full of huckleberries in order to keep them fresh.

Bracken has also been used as a form of herbal remedy. Powdered rhizome has been considered particularly effective against parasitic worms. American Indians ate raw rhizomes as a remedy for bronchitis.

In East Asia, Pteridium aquilinum (fernbrake or bracken fiddleheads) is eaten as a vegetable, called warabi   in Japan, gosari  in Korea, and juécài   in China and Taiwan. In Korea, a typical banchan (small side dish) is gosari-namul   that consists of prepared fernbrake that has been sauteed. It is a component of the popular dish bibimbap.

Bracken has been shown to be carcinogenic in some animals and is thought to be an important cause of the high incidence of stomach cancer in Japan. It is currently under investigation as a possible source of new insecticides.

Uncooked bracken contains the enzyme thiaminase, which breaks down thiamine. Eating excessive quantities of bracken can cause beriberi, especially in creatures with simple stomachs. Ruminants are less vulnerable because they synthesize thiamine.

It was traditionally used (and still is in certain areas like mid Wales) for animal bedding, which later broke down to a rich mulch which could be used as fertilizer.

When used by gardeners as a winter mulch it has been shown to reduce the loss of potassium and nitrogen and to lower soil pH.

Other uses were as packing material for products such as earthenware, as a fuel, as a form of thatch. The ash was used for degreasing woolen cloth.

The ash of bracken fern was used in making forest glass in Central Europe from about 1000 to 1700.

Bracken is currently harvested in the Lake District, Cumbria, United Kingdom to make commercial composts.

Medicinal Uses:
The young shoots are diuretic, refrigerant and vermifuge. The young shoots have been eaten as a treatment for cancer. The leaves have been used in a steam bath as a treatment for arthritis.  A decoction of the plant as been used in the treatment of tuberculosis.  A poultice of the pounded fronds and leaves has been used to treat sores of any type and also to bind broken bones in place. The root is antiemetic, antiseptic, appetizer and tonic. A tincture of the root in wine is used in the treatment of rheumatism. A tea made from the roots is used in the treatment of stomach cramps, chest pains, internal bleeding, diarrhea, colds and also to expel worms. The poulticed root is applied to sores, burns and caked breasts.  An infusion of the plant has been used to expel intestinal worms and treat diarrhea.  Native Americans used it to increase urine flow and to relieve stomach cramps. Medicine was made from the roots for Turkey Illness, symptoms of which are toes and fingers permanently bent. The plant was chosen because of its resemblance to turkey feet.

Known Hazards: The plant is carcinogenic to animals such as mice, rats, horses and cattle when ingested, although they will usually avoid it unless nothing else is available. Young stems are quite commonly used as a vegetable in China, Japan and Korea. However, some researchers suspect a link between consumption and higher stomach cancer rates. The spores have also been implicated as a carcinogen. Danish scientist Lars Holm Rasmussen released a study in 2004 showing that the carcinogenic compound in bracken, ptaquiloside or PTQ, can leach from the plant into the water supply, which may explain an increase in the incidence of gastric and oesophageal cancers in bracken-rich areas.

In cattle, bracken poisoning can occur in both an acute and chronic form, acute poisoning being the most common. In pigs and horses bracken poisoning induces vitamin B deficiency. Poisoning usually occurs when there is a shortage of available grasses such as in drought or snowfalls.

It damages blood cells and destroys thiamine (vitamin B1). This in turn causes beriberi, a disease linked to nutritional deficiency.

Also it contains ptaquiloside, pterosins and some metabolites

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://hardyfernlibrary.com/ferns/listspecies.cfm?auto=109
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pteridium_aquilinum
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm

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Herbs & Plants

Baloon Flower

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Botanical Name :Platycodon grandiflorum
Family: Campanulaceae
Genus: Platycodon
Species: P. grandiflorus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms:Platycodon chinensis Lindl, P. autumnalis Decne., P. sinensis Lem., P. stellatum, Campanula grandiflora Jacq., Campanula glauca Thunb., Campanula gentianoides Lam.

Common Names : platycodon, Chinese bellflower. Depending upon the region, it is also referred to as the Japanese bellflower, common balloon flower, or balloon flower.

Parts Used : dried root

Local names
Balloon-flower, chieh keng, Chinese bell flower, gil gyeong, Japanese bellflower, jiegeng, jieseng, kikiyou, kikyo, kikyokon, kikyou, platycodon radix

Habitat : It is native to East Asia (such as China, Korea, Japan, and East Siberia) and bears big blue flowers, although varieties with white and pink flowers are in cultivation. In Korea, white flowers are more common.

Description:
Balloon Flower is a Perennial herb wholly glabrous, slightly glaucescent; root white, fleshy, radishshaped, finger-thick, with abundant milky juice; stems ascending from base or straight, simple, 40–50 cm, herbaceous, glabrous or smooth, longitudinally striate in lower part; radical leaves alternate or sometimes nearly opposite, arranged along the lower half of stem or even higher, ovate-lanceolate, sessile, tapering at base, 2.5–3.4 cm long, 2–3 cm wide, rather large-toothed, pale beneath, glaucescent, upper leaves reduced. Flowers usually 1, sometimes 2, large, lengthily pedunculate, broadly campanulate or deeply saucer-shaped; calyx in 5 segments; corolla 5-lobed, violet-blue, 4 cm long; stamens 5; ovary many-celled. Fruit an ovoid capsule dehiscent at the top; seeds ovoid, compressed, obtuse, first violet then brown; albumen fleshy

CLICK & SEE THE  PICTURES

Chemical assays:
Triterpene saponins, not less than 2%. Saponin content of the root can be evaluated by thin-layer chromatography–densitometry

Major chemical constituents:     The major chemical constituents of Radix Platycodi root are triterpene saponins based on the sapogenins platycodigenin and polygalacic acid; examples are platycodins A–I and polygalacins D and D2

Medicinal Uses:
The root of this species (radix platycodi) is used extensively as an anti-inflammatory in the treatment of coughs and colds; in Korea the plant is known as doraji  and its root, either dried or fresh, is a popular ingredient in salads and traditional cuisine. However, doraji (Chinese bellflower) should not be confused with Korean bellflower. Chinese bellflower  is used in traditional Chinese medicine.

It loosens phlegm, stops cough in both hot and cold conditions, aids the elimination of pus in the upper parts of the body, is effective for sore throat, lung abscess, and loss of  voice.  It has an ascending energy and is sometimes added in small amounts to formulas to direct the therapeutic action of other herbs to the upper parts of the body.

Other Uses:
The plant is also a popular garden ornamental. It is hardy to USDA plant hardiness zone 3 and requires little care.

Popular culture:-

In Taiwan
In the Taiwanese drama Autumn’s Concerto, “Hua Tuo Ye” refers to the woman of his affection, “Liang Mu Cheng” as a Chinese Bellflower.

In Japan
Rumiko Takahashi named her character Kikyo (??, Kikyou) from her manga Inuyasha after the flower. The Cloud Real Six Funeral Wreath leader, Kikyo, from Katekyo Hitman Reborn! is also named after this flower, following the “one thousand flowers” naming of the Millefiore family. Kikyou (aka Reverse Sia) from the Shuffle! series is named after this flower, but her name is written in katakana rather than the actual kanji. Mahoro from Mahoromatic leaves theres flowers at the Grave of Commander Morisato every year and was known to Shugura as the “Bell Flower” person until late in the anime.

In Japan, the pentagram is sometimes called the “Bellflower seal”, and the flower was the symbol of the Onmyoryo (Bureau of Taoist Geomancy), because of its associations with Abe no Seimei and the Five Chinese Elements.

In the manga and anime series Bleach, the insignia for the Fourth Division is the Bellflower; the meaning behind it is Those who grieve are loved.

In Korea
Main article: Doraji (folk song)
In Korea, the white Chinese bellflower is called Doraji and is sung in the traditional folk song, Doraji.

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.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm
http://www.ask.com/wiki/Platycodon_grandiflorus
http://herbalinformation.awardspace.com/?cm=p&fn=platycodon_grandiflorum

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Herbs & Plants

Angelica anomala

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Botanical Name : Angelica anomala
Family:Apiaceae (alt. Umbelliferae)
Subfamily: Apioideae
Tribes: Selineae
Genus: Angelica
Species: Angelica anomala

Synonyms: Angelica amurensis Schischkin; Angelica anomala Avé-Lallemant subsp. sachalinensis (Maximovicz) H. Ohba; Angelica anomala Avé-Lallemant subsp. sachalinensis (Maximovicz) H. Ohba var. glabra (Koidzumi) H. Ohba; Angelica cincta H. Boissieu; Angelica czernaevia (Kitagawa) M. Hiroe; Angelica jaluana Nakai; Angelica kawakamii Koidzumi; Angelica montana Brotero var. angustifolia Ledebour; Angelica pubescens Maximovicz forma glabra (Koidzumi) Murata; Angelica purpuraefolia T. H. Chung; Angelica refracta F. Schmidt var. glaucophylla Koidzumi; Angelica rupestris Koidzumi; Angelica sachalinensis Maximovicz; Angelica sachalinensis Maximovicz var. glabra (Koidzumi) T. Yamazaki; Angelica sachalinensis Maximovicz var. kawakamii (Koidzumi) T. Yamazaki; Angelica sachalinensis Maximovicz var. pubescens T. Yamazaki; Angelica sachalinensis Maximovicz var. sachalinensis forma pubescens (T. Yamazaki) T.Yamazaki; Angelica sachalinensis Maximovicz var. sachalinensis forma saninensis T. Yamazaki; Angelica sylvestris L. var. angustigolia Turczaninow

Common Name : Bai Zhi, (Japanese common name) ezo-no-yoroi-gusa  [meaning: Ezo armor weed (Ezo = an old name of Hokkaido)])

Habitat: (Japan) Hokkaido, Honshu (north of Central region) (Other nations) Russia (Far East), Korea, China.  Mountane field.Damp habitats in C. and N. Japan. In grasses or forests, at forest edges or by streams in northern China.

Description:

Angelica anomala is a Perennial flowering plant growing  100-200cm tall. Leaves 30-50cm long, 30-50cm wide. It is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.
Click to see the pictures
Cultivation :
We have very little information on this species and do not know how hardy it will be in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in most parts of this country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Requires a deep moist fertile soil in dappled shade or full sun. Plants are reliably perennial if they are prevented from setting seed[200]. There is some confusion over the correct author of the Latin name for this species. We have used Lallem. as is found in  and , but and  cite Pallas as the author.

Propagation :
Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe since the seed only has a short viability. Seed can also be sown in the spring, though germination rates will be lower. It requires light for germination. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter, planting them out into their permanent positions in the spring. The seed can also be sow in situ as soon as it is ripe.

Medicinal Uses:

The root is analgesic, antibacterial, antidote, carminative, depuritive, diaphoretic, poultice and is also used to treat women’s complaints. The drug (an extract of the root?) lowers arterial pressure, increases diuresis and stimulates contraction of the smooth muscles, especially the uterus, but without causing abortion. The plant is used in the treatment of colds and headaches, coryza, leucorrhoea, boils and abscesses. Small quantities of angelicotoxin, one of the active ingredients in the root, have an excitatory effect on the respiratory centre, central nervous system and vasculomotor centre. It increases the rate of respiration, increases blood pressure, decreases the pulse, increases the secretion of saliva and induces vomiting. In large doses it can cause convulsions and generalized paralysis.

Known Hazards :  One report says that caution is advised in the use of this plant but it gives no reason. All members of this genus contain furocoumarins, which increase skin sensitivity to sunlight and may cause dermatitis

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://www7a.biglobe.ne.jp/~flower_world/Umbelliferae/Angelica%20anomala.htm
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Angelica+anomala

https://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Angelica_anomala

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Herbs & Plants

Bai Zhi

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Botanical Name :Angelica dahurica
Family: Apiaceae /Umbelliferae
Genus: Angelica
Species: A. dahurica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales

Common NameBai Zhi

Habitat :In grasses of valleys, by streams or at forest edges in China.   E. Asia – Japan, Korea, Siberia. It  grows in the  damp habitats in mountains, C. Japan. Thickets.

Description:
Angelica dahurica  is a biennial/perennial plant, growing to 1.8 m (6ft).
It is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

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.

Cultivation:
We have very little information on this species and do not know how hardy it will be in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in most parts of this country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Requires a deep moist fertile soil in dappled shade or full sun. Plants are reliably perennial if they are prevented from setting seed.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe since the seed only has a short viability. Seed can also be sown in the spring, though germination rates will be lower. It requires light for germination. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter, planting them out into their permanent positions in the spring. The seed can also be sow in situ as soon as it is ripe

Edible Uses:    .The stalks of this plant have also been commonly used as a food ingredient. The stems have been made into decorative items. The seeds are often used as a seasoning condiment in food as well as a source of flavoring in liqueur. Another popular usage for this herb is its ingredient in cosmetic products.

Medicinal Uses:
Analgesic;  Antibacterial;  Antidote;  CarminativeDiaphoreticPoultice;  Stimulant.

Bai Zhi has been used for thousands of years in Chinese herbal medicine where it is used as a sweat-inducing herb to counter harmful external influences. Bai Zhi is contraindicated for pregnant women. The root contains an essential oil, resins, furanocoumarins etc. It is analgesic, anodyne, antibacterial, antidote, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, poultice and stimulant. It is used in the treatment of frontal headache, tothache, rhinitis, boils, carbuncles and skin diseases. It appears to be of value in treating the facial pain of trigeminal neuralgia. The roots are harvested in the autumn, dried and stored for later use. Small quantities of angelicotoxin, one of the active ingredients in the root, have an excitatory effect on the respiratory centre, central nervous system and vasculomotor centre. It increases the rate of respiration, increases blood pressure, decreases the pulse, increases the secretion of saliva and induces vomiting. In large doses it can cause convulsions and generalized paralysis.

Known Hazards :    Aside from the medicinal properties that this plant offers, this species also contain furocoumarins which increases skin sensitivity to sunlight and may cause dermatitis. Another compound called the angelicotoxin, is an active ingredient within the root. This has an excitatory effect on the respiratory system, central nervous system, and the vasculomotor system of the body. It is known to increase the rate of respiration, blood pressure, decrease pulse rate, increases saliva production and induces vomiting. In large doses, the toxin can induce convulsions and paralysis.

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.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Angelica%20dahurica
http://www.nobodybuy.com/product_desc/pid741959/angelica-dahurica-extract.htm

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