Herbs & Plants

Smilax lanceolata

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Botanical Name : Smilax lanceolata
Family : Smilacaceae
Gender : Smilax
Species : S. laurifolia
Division : Magnoliophyta
Class : Liliopsida
Subclass: Liliidae
Order : Liliales

*Parillax laurifolia (L.) Raf.
*Smilax alba Pursh
*Smilax hastata var. lanceolata (L.) Pursh
*Smilax lanceolata L.
*Smilax laurifolia var. bupleurifolia A.DC.
*Smilax reticulata Std.

Common Name :Red China Root

Habitat : Smilax lanceolata is native to South-eastern N. America – New Jersey to Florida and Texas.It grows on swamps and low ground. Moist woods and thickets. Bays, bogs, pocosins, swamp margins, marshy banks.

Smilax laurifolia is an evergreen Climber growing to 6 m (19ft 8in). It is a vine that forms extensive colonies woody, with rhizomes irregularly branched, tuberous. Stems perennial cylindrical reaching 5 + m in length and 15 mm in diameter, dark spines, flat 12 mm rigid. The leaves are evergreen, ± evenly arranged, with petiole 0.5-1.5 cm, green undersides, dried light brown to brownish green, oblong-elliptic, lance-elliptic, or sometimes linear or broadly ovate , leathery. The inflorescence in umbels numerous, axillary to leaves, branches usually short, 5-12 (-25) flowers. The perianth yellow, cream or white, petals 4-5 mm. The fruits as berries ovoid, 5-8 mm, shiny black, glaucous. The stems of Smilax laurifolia are brutally armed with thorns.

You may click to see the pictures of  Smilax lanceolata :

It is hardy to zone 8. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Jul to August. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required)The plant is not self-fertile.

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

Succeeds in most soils in sun or semi-shade. This species is not very hardy in Britain. It succeeds outdoors in S.W. England, but even there it is best when grown against a wall. The fruit takes two growing seasons to ripen. The stems have viscious thorns. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required

Seed – sow March in a warm greenhouse. This note probably refers to the tropical members of the genus, seeds of plants from cooler areas seem to require a period of cold stratification, some species taking 2 or more years to germinate. We sow the seed of temperate species in a cold frame as soon as we receive it, and would sow the seed as soon as it is ripe if we could obtain it then. When the seedlings eventually germinate, prick them out into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first year, though we normally grow them on in pots for 2 years. Plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer. Division in early spring as new growth begins. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found it best to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in a cold frame, planting them out once they are well established in the summer. Cuttings of half-ripe shoots, July in a frame

Edible Uses :
Edible Parts: Leaves;  Root.
Edible Uses:

Root – cooked. Rich in starch , it can be dried and ground into a powder to be used as a flavouring in soups etc or for making bread. The root can be up to 15cm thick. Young shoots – cooked. Used as an asparagus substitute.

Medicinal Uses:

Astringent;  Birthing aid;  Poultice;  Rubefacient;  Tonic.

The stem prickles have been rubbed on the skin as a counter-irritant to relieve localised pains, muscle cramps and twitching. A tea made from the leaves and stems has been used in the treatment of rheumatism and stomach problems. The wilted leaves are applied as a poultice to boils. A tea made from the roots is used to help the expelling of afterbirth. Reports that the roots contain the hormone testosterone have not been confirmed, they might contain steroid precursors, however . The root bark is astringent and slightly tonic. An infusion of the root bark has been used as a wash in treating burns, sores and pox.

Chop and boil a small handful of roots in 3 cups of water to use as a pleasant tasting blood tonic and for fatigue, anemia, acidity, toxicity, rheumatism, and skin conditions.  Drink with milk, cinnamon, and nutmeg to strengthen and proliferate red blood cells.

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


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Herbs & Plants Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Trachyspermum roxburghianum(Bengali Radhuni)

Trachyspermum ammi (Daucus anisodorus, IS) US6...
Trachyspermum ammi (Daucus anisodorus, IS) US623737 (Photo credit: filibot.web)

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Botanical Name :Trachyspermum roxburghianum
Family: Apiaceae (Umbelliferae)
Genus: Trachyspermum
Species: T. roxburghianum
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Apiales

Synonyms: Pimpinella lateriflora, Pimpinella dalzellii, Carum roxburghianum

Common Name :Wild Celery • Hindi:  Ajmod • Tamil: Asamtavomam • Malayalam: Ayamodakam • Telugu: Ajumoda, Vamu • Kannada: Ajamodhavoma • Bengali: Randhuni, Shah jira • Urdu: Ajmod • Sanskrit: Ajamoda

Habitat : Native habitat of celery extends from Sweden to Egypt, Algeria and Ethiopia and in Asia, India and China. It is an annual in the planes, whereas, biennial in cold climate and on hills.

Trachyspermum roxburghianum is an erect, branched annual herb, 0.5-3 ft tall. Stems are longitudinally triped. Leaves are double-compound, ultimate segements all linear. Flowers occur in compound umbels. They have rounded white or pink petals. Fruits are ovoid, ultimately shining, yellow. Stem much branched, striate, subglabrous. Leaves alternate, pinnately compound; blade ternately pinnate or 1-2 pinnate, leaflets pinnatifid to pinnatipartite, gradually becoming nearly filiform upward. Inflorescence terminal or axillary, compound umbel; peduncle up to 8 cm long; involucral bracts 2-5, linear-lanceolate; primary rays 2-9, up to 4 cm long; secondary rays (pedicels) 5-15, up to 7 mm long. Calyx teeth 5, small or obscure. Petals 5, obcordate with broadly inflexed obtuse apices. Pistil with compressed, glandular hairy ovary. Fruit laterally compressed, ovoid to sublobose schizocarp, easily splitting into 2, one-seeded mericarps; mericarp with 5 prominent longitudinal ribs.

You may click to see the picture

It is a very Trachyspermum roxburghianum is a strong spice, with a characteristic smell similar to parsley. A couple of pinches can easily overpower a curry. In Bengali cuisine the seeds are used whole, quickly fried in very hot oil until they crackle. Flowering: December-February.

The small dried fruits, mistakenly referred to as seeds, are similar in appearance to those of ajwain, celery, and caraway. Because of their similarity in both appearance and flavor, it is often confused or substituted with celery seed.

Edible Uses:
It is a very strong spice, with a characteristic smell similar to parsley and a taste similar to celery. A couple of pinches can easily overpower a curry. In Bengali cuisine the seeds are used whole, quickly fried in very hot oil until they crackle. They are part of a local panch phoron (Bengali five spice) mixture, where they replace the more commonly used mustard seed; the other ingredients are cumin seed, fenugreek seed, fennel seed, and kalonji (often wrongly called “wild onion seed,” and known locally (though erroneously) as “black cumin seed” Nigella sativa. In other places, a common use is in pickles or spice mixtures.

Young plants are harvested and consumed fresh as side dish or added to soup. Dried whole plant with inflorescence is used aas spice to flavor curries. Highly antimutagenic (Nakahara, 2002).

Chemcial Constituents:
Seeds – Essential oil 1.8 – 2 %, ( d -limonene, a-terpene, dipentene, d-linallol, terpineol, dl-piperitone, thymoquinol, thymol and a ketonic acid, 0.09 % ) C.A. 1943, 1009  Ind.J.Pharm . 1953, 15, 298, (4 ) . Fruits – Bergapten and Carvacrol.

Medicinal Properties:
Fruit -50 % alcoholic extract in broth culture at 125 mcg / ml . is active Vs E.histolytica  . Seeds exhibited activity against E.histolytica .Ind . J . Exptl . Biol . 1968, 6, 232

Medicinal Uses:
The fresh leaves are used as an herb in Thailand and it is used medicinally in Myanmar.

Fresh leaf – Methanol extract at 200 mg / ml . showed strong activity Vs CVells Raji . EBVactivation induced by HPA ( 40 ng / ml . )

oil produced marked diuretic effect in rabbits . Ind.J . Med . Res . 1954.

Fruit – 50 % alcoholic extract given I / P in mice at 500 mg / kg . showed neuroleptic activity  . Seeds induced hyperactivity of CNS in mice . Ind . J . Exptl . Biol . 1968, 6, 232

oil produced marked diuretic effect in rabbits . Ind.J . Med . Res . 1954,

Fruits left after extraction of essential oil showed marked cardiotonic activity . . Ind.J . Med . Res . 1954, 42, 389  . Etherextract showed antiasggregating effect against platelet aggregation bt arachidonic acid .pro0bably due to effect on throboxane production Prostaglandin LeukotEssen.fatty acids, 1988 .

Essential oil and crystalline substance loweredblood pressure in dogs and ratsdue to direct action on blood vessels . Ind.J . Med .  1954, 42, 389.

Seeds – Ketonic compound showed antispasmodic actvity particularly on smooth muscle of rabbit gut ., Ind.J.Pharm .1953, Ind.J . Med .1954.

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


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Herbs & Plants

Goodyera pubescens

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Botanical Name:Goodyera pubescens
Species:G. pubescens

Common Name :Rattlesnake Plantain

Habitat :Goodyera pubescens is native to eastern N. America – Maine to Florida, west to Alberta and Quebec. It grows in almost any wooded habitat with acid soils, mainly on moist humus soils in shady, upland woods of hemlock, pine, oak, or maple, less frequent in lowland woods, bogs, swamps; 0 -1600 metres

Goodyera pubescens is an evergreen Perennial orchid growing to 0.4m. It is of terrestrial species with variegated leaves. The variegation is in the form of a densely-reticulated network of veins that are a much lighter green than the rest of the leaf tissue. It is a creeping plant that divides on the ground surface and sends out short stolons. It may be terrestrial or, occasionally, epipetric, growing on rock shelves. It prefers mildly to moderately acidic soils, such as in oak-heath forests


Plant pubescent above the leaves, 10-40 cm tall (including inflorescence), arising from a branching rhizome supported by a cluster of slightly fleshy, fibrous roots, often forming dense clusters of rosettes. Leaves 4-8, forming a basal rosette, petiolate, oblong-elliptical to elliptical-lanceolate, 3-9 cm long and 1-3.5 cm wide, dark green or blue-green with a prominent white stripe along the midrib and a prominent network of reticulate white markings. Inflorescence a downy, dense spicate raceme 10-40 cm tall, 20-50 flowered, typically cylindrical, each flower subtended by a small, lanceolate bract. Sepals ovate to ovate-lanceolate, concave, 4-5 mm long and 3-4 mm wide, white and smooth inside, the outer surfaces pubescent and often marked with green, lateral sepals typically smaller than dorsal sepal and slightly spreading; dorsal sepal connivent with petals to form a hood over the column. Petals oblong or spatulate, 3.5-6 mm long and about 3 mm wide, closely appressed to the dorsal sepal, white. Labellum deeply globular-saccate to scrotiform, the apex prolonged into an blunt point (looking somewhat like a spout), 3.5-4.5 mm long and 3-3.5 mm wide, white, pubescent outside.

It is hardy to zone 6. It is in leaf all year, in flower from July to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.
The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) 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 dry or moist soil.

SIMILAR SPECIES: Goodyera pubescens can easily be confused with G. tesselata or perhaps G. repens var. ophioides. G. pubescens can be separated from G. tesselata by the labellum, which is concave in G. tesselata, but is deeply globular-saccate in G. pubescens. Also, the leaves of G. tesselata are smaller than those of G. pubescens, and typically lack the thick white central vein of G. pubescens. G. pubescens can be separated fromG. repens var. ophioides by the inflorescence, which is secund or loosely spiraled in G. repens var. ophioides, but is a cylindrical, densely-packed spike in G. pubescens.

Requires a somewhat shady site and a well-drained compost of peat, leafmold and sand. Does well in the woodland garden. Orchids are, in general, shallow-rooting plants of well-drained low-fertility soils. Their symbiotic relationship with a fungus in the soil allows them to obtain sufficient nutrients and be able to compete successfully with other plants. They are very sensitive to the addition of fertilizers or fungicides since these can harm the symbiotic fungus and thus kill the orchid. This species is closely related to the British native species, G. repens. This plant is too rare in the wild to be harvested.

Seed – surface sow, preferably as soon as it is ripe, in the greenhouse and do not allow the compost to dry out. The seed of this species is extremely simple, it has a minute embryo surrounded by a single layer of protective cells. It contains very little food reserves and depends upon a symbiotic relationship with a species of soil-dwelling fungus. The fungal hyphae invade the seed and enter the cells of the embryo. The orchid soon begins to digest the fungal tissue and this acts as a food supply for the plant until it is able to obtain nutrients from decaying material in the soil. It is best to use some of the soil that is growing around established plants in order to introduce the fungus, or to sow the seed around a plant of the same species and allow the seedlings to grow on until they are large enough to move

Medicinal Uses:
Appetizer; Miscellany; Odontalgic; Ophthalmic; Poultice.

A tea made from the roots is used in the treatment of pleurisy and snakebites. A tea made from the leaves is taken to improve the appetite, as a treatment for colds, kidney ailments, rheumatism and toothaches. Externally, a poultice of the wilted leaves is used to cool burns, treat skin ulcers and relieve rheumatic joints. An ooze from the plant (this probably means the sap or the juice of the bulb) has been used as eye drops to treat sore eyes.

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


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Herbs & Plants

Spondias radlkoferi

Botanical Name : Spondias radlkoferi
Family: Anacardiaceae
Subfamily: Spondiadoideae
Genus: Spondias
Species: S. radlkoferi
Kingdom: Plantae
clade: Angiosperms
clade: Eudicots
clade: Rosids
Order: Sapindales

Common Names:Hog Plum,  Jobo verde,Bengali name: Amra

Habitat: Spondias radlkoferi  found most often along streams or other riparian borders and also in secondary-growth forests.

Spondias radlkoferi is a species of flowering plant
Tree; leaves alternate, once pinnately compound, odd pinnate; leaflets oblong-elliptic, base oblique, margin entire, apex acuminate with a prominent drip tip; flowers in panicles; fruit plum-like.


Medicinal Uses:
Drink as an astringent tea for diarrhea, gonorrhea, or sore throat – boil a handful of flower buds and bark together in 3 cups water for 10 minutes;  drink 1 cup before each meal.  For gonorrhea, take in this way for 10 days and re-test.  Use as a bath for stubborn sores, rashes, painful insect stings, and to bathe pregnant women who feel weak and tired beyond first trimester—boil a large double handful of leaves and a strip of bark 3 cm x 15 cm in 2 gallons of water for 10 minutes.

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


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Herbs & Plants

Grindelia nuda var. aphanactis

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Botanical Name : Grindelia nuda var. aphanactis
Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower or  Aster family Family)
Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom :Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision : Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division:Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class:Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass: Asteridae
Order: Asterales
Genus: Grindelia Willd. – gumweed
Species : Grindelia nuda Alph. Wood – curlytop gumweed

Common English Names: Curlytop Gumweed,Yerba del Buey

Habitat :Grindelia nuda var. aphanactis occurs in California, Utah, and Colorado south into Trans-Pecos Texas and Mexic

Grindelia nuda var. aphanactis is probably a perennial shurb, 15-250+ cm (taprooted, rhizomatous in G. oölepis). Stems (1-6+) usually erect , sometimes ascending or decumbent to prostrate , simple or branched, glabrous or hairy , often gland-dotted and/or resinous . Leaves basal and cauline or mostly cauline; alternate; petiolate (proximal ) or sessile (distal) ; cauline blades 1-nerved, oblong , obovate , oblanceolate , or spatulate to triangular, lanceolate, or linear (bases usually clasping ), margins usually serrate to dentate , sometimes entire, crenate , or pinnatifid (especially proximal), faces usually glabrous and gland-dotted, sometimes hirsutulous , hirtellous, puberulous , scabridulous , villous , or stipitate-glandular . Heads radiate or discoid , in corymbiform to paniculiform arrays or borne singly. Involucres usually globose to hemispheric or broadly urceolate , sometimes campanulate to obconic, 5-25+ mm diam. (excluding phyllary apices). Phyllaries (persistent ) 25-100+ in (3-) 4-9+ series, 1-nerved or obscurely so (± flat, proximally and/or medially thickened), mostly filiform , linear, or lanceolate, usually unequal, sometimes subequal , bases usually ± chartaceous (apices ± herbaceous, looped, hooked , patent , recurved, straight, or incurved ), abaxial faces usually glabrous and ± resinous. Receptacles flat or convex , ± pitted (pits sometimes flanked by membranous or setiform enations ), epaleate. Ray florets 0 or 5-60+, pistillate , fertile ; corollas yellow to orange. Disc florets (20-) 100-200(-300+), bisexual and fertile (all or outer) or functionally staminate (ovaries not producing cypselae) corollas yellow, tubes shorter than gradually to abruptly ampliate throats , lobes 5, erect or spreading , ± deltate (equal) ; style-branch appendages linear or lanceolate to ± deltate. Cypselae (whitish or stramineous to gray, brown, or reddish) ellipsoid to obovoid , ± compressed , sometimes ± 3-4-angled (apices smooth, coroniform , or knobby), faces smooth , striate , ribbed , furrowed , or rugose , glabrous; pappi falling, of (1-) 2-8[-15], straight or contorted to curled, smooth or barbellulate to barbellate , sometimes distally clavate , subulate scales , setiform awns, or bristles in 1 series (in G. ciliata, persistent or tardily falling, of 25-40 barbellate bristles subtending 8-15+ barbellate, setiform awns or subulate scales). x = 6.

Medicinal Uses:
Pharmaceutical uses include waxes and resins, and a source of acids and alkaloids used for kidney problems, skin abrasions, and sores. Sticky blossoms can be placed on an aching tooth. As a balsamic bitter tea, the flowering tops are widely used for sore throat and incipient chest colds; and combined with yerba santa and honey as an expectorant.  The sticky flowers, boiled are used to treat bladder and urethral infections. It is effective but intensely bitter. The flowers, boiled in lard are a stimulating salve for burns and slowly healing ulcers.  It is also used internally and externally to treat bites caused by red ants.  The sticky juice can hold cuts together until they heal.

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


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