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Black Spruce

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Botanical Name: Abies mariana – Mill.
Family :Pinaceae
Genus: Picea
Synonyms : Abies mariana – Mill.  Picea nigra – (Aiton.)Link.  Pinus nigra – Aiton
Common names:
•black spruce   (Source: World Econ Pl ) – English
•bog spruce   (Source: Trees US ) – English
•Schwarzfichte

Habitat :Northern  America – Alaska to Newfoundland and south to British Columbia and W. Virginia.   Cool slopes and bogs. Found on well-drained soils in the north of its range and swamps in the south.Found on a variety of soil types, it grows best in those that are moist and acidic.

Description : An evergreen Tree growing to 20m by 4m at a slow rate.

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It is hardy to zone 4. It is in leaf all year, and the seeds ripen from October to November. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Wind.

Cultivation:-
Likes abundant moisture at the roots, if grown in drier areas it must be given a deep moist soil. Tolerates poor peaty soils. Succeeds in wet cold and shallow soils but is not very wind-firm in shallow soils.   Prefers a pH between 4 to 6 and dislikes shallow chalky soils. Dislikes shade. Intolerant of atmospheric pollution. . Resists wind exposure.  This tree is one of the most widespread and abundant species in N. America where it is extensively utilized as a timber tree. A short lived and slow growing tree both in the wild and in cultivation. New growth takes place from early May to the end of June and rarely exceeds 60 cm even when young and is less as the tree grows old. Trees have been planted experimentally as a timber crop in N. Europe   (this appears to contradict the previous statement that the tree is slow growing. The reason is probably that it is either planted in areas too harsh for most trees to grow or it is only slow growing in milder areas such as Britain[K]). A prolific seed-producer, usually beginning to bear cones at around 10 years of age. In some upland areas, especially over granitic or other base-poor soils, growth rate and health have been seriously affected by aluminium poisoning induced by acid rain. Closely related to P. rubens. Plants are strongly outbreeding, self-fertilized seed usually grows poorly. They hybridize freely with other members of this genus. Trees should be planted into their permanent positions when they are quite small, between 30 and 90cm. Larger trees will check badly and hardly put on any growth for several years. This also badly affects root development and wind resistance. Lower branches often self-layer and form a ring of stems around the parent plant. There are some named forms, selected for their ornamental value. The crushed foliage has a strong scent of balsam or lemon balm.

Propagation:-
Seed – stratification will probably improve germination so sow fresh seed in the autumn in a cold frame if possible. Sow stored seed as early in the year as possible in a cold frame. A position in light shade is probably best. Seed should not be allowed to dry out and should be stored in a cool place[80]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter. They can be planted out into their permanent positions in early summer of the following year, or be placed in an outdoor nursery bed for a year or so to increase in size. They might need protection from spring frosts. Cuttings of semi-ripe terminal shoots, 5 – 8cm long, August in a frame. Protect from frost. Forms roots in the spring. Cuttings of mature terminal shoots, 5 – 10cm long, September/October in a cold frame. Takes 12 months. Cuttings of soft to semi-ripe wood, early summer in a frame. Slow but sure. Layering. Lower branches often layer naturally in the wild.

Cultivars:-
There are some named forms for this species, but these have been developed for their ornamental value and not for their other uses. Unless you particularly require the special characteristics of any of these cultivars, we would generally recommend that you grow the natural species for its useful properties. We have, therefore, not listed the cultivars in this database

Edible Uses:-
Edible Parts: Flowers; Inner bark; Seed; Seedpod.

Edible Uses: Condiment; Drink; Gum; Tea.

Young male catkins – raw or cooked. Used as a flavouring. Immature female cones – cooked. The central portion, when roasted, is sweet and syrupy. The cones are 1 – 4cm in diameter. Inner bark – cooked. It is usually harvested in the spring and can be dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickener in soups etc or added to cereals when making bread. An emergency food, it is only used when all else fails. Seed – raw. The seed is about 2 – 4mm long and is too small and fiddly to be worthwhile unless you are desperate. A refreshing tea, rich in vitamin C, can be made from the young shoot tips. A tea is also made from the needles and the bark. A gum obtained from the bark is collected in considerable quantities and used for chewing. Hardened blobs make an excellent chewing gum. It should be aged for 3 days or more before using it. The best gum is obtained from the southern side of the tree. Another report says that the gum, called ‘spruce gum‘, is a resinous exudation collected from the branches[183]. A source of ‘spruce oil’, used commercially for flavouring. The young twigs are boiled with molasses, sugar etc and then fermented to produce ‘Spruce beer’. The beer is ready to drink in a week and is considered to be a good source of minerals and vitamins.

Medicinal  Actions & Uses:

Antiinflammatory; Disinfectant; Kidney; Odontalgic; Poultice; Salve; Skin; Stomachic; Vulnerary.

A poultice of the inner bark has been applied to inflammations. A tea made from the inner bark is a folk remedy for kidney stones, stomach problems and rheumatism. An infusion of the roots and bark has been used in the treatment of stomach pains, trembling and fits. A resin from the trunk is used as a poultice and salve on sores to promote healing. The resin can be mixed with oil and used as a dressing on purulent wounds, bad burns, skin rashes, scabies and persistent scabs. The resin can be chewed as an aid to digestion. A decoction of the gum or leaves has been used in treating respiratory infections and kidney problems. An infusion of the leaves has been used as a bath or a rub in treating dry skin or sores. A decoction of the young twigs has been used in the treatment of coughs. A decoction of the cones has been drunk in the treatment of diarrhoea. A decoction has been used externally as a gargle to treat sore throats. The cones have been chewed to treat a sore mouth and toothaches.

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.

Other Uses:-
Dye; Pitch; String; Waterproofing; Wood.

A yellow-orange dye is obtained from the cones[106]. Various native North American Indian tribes made a string from the long roots of this species and used it to stitch the bark of their canoes, to sew baskets etc. The pitch obtained from the trunk has been used as a sealing material on the hulls of canoes. Wood – light, soft, not strong. It weighs 28lb per cubic foot. Since it is a smaller tree than the other spruces, it is not an important lumber source for uses such as construction[. However, it is widely used for making boxes, crates etc, and is valued for its use in the pulp industry to make paper, plus it is also used as a fuel.

Scented Plants
Leaves: Crushed
The crushed foliage has a strong scent of balsam or lemon balm.

Economic importance:
•Environmental: ornamental
•Materials: essential oils; wood   (fide AH 519; HerbSpices 2:190. 1987)
•Social: religious/secular   (also as Christmas tree fide AH 519)

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/database/plants.php?Picea+mariana
http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/taxon.pl?28305

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Herbs & Plants

Raktchandan(Pterocarpus santalinus)

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Botanical Name : Pterocarpus santalinus
Family Name: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Fabales
Tribe: Dalbergieae
Genus: Pterocarpus
Species: P. santalinus

Synonyms:  Pterocarpi Lignum. Santalum rubrum. Lignum rubrum. Red Sandalwood. Rubywood. Rasura Santalum Ligni. Red Santal Wood. Sappan.

Vernacular Names:Erra Chandanam,  Sans: Hind: Raktachandana; Eng : Red sandalwood…..Bengali:Raktchandan

Habitat: Native to India. It is only found in south India in Cuddhpah and Chittoore on the Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh border.

Description: Pterocarpus santalinus is a deciduous tree.It is a light-demanding small tree growing to 8 m tall with a trunk 50–150 cm diameter. It is fast-growing when young, reaching 5 m tall in three years even on degraded soils. It is not frost tolerant, being killed by temperatures of -1 °C. The leaves are alternate, 3–9 cm long, trifoliate with three leaflets. The flowers are produced in short racemes. The fruit is a pod 6–9 cm long containing one or two seeds


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Bark deeply cleft into rectangular plates, wood dark-red. Leaves 3-foliolate. Leaflets ovate, rounded at both ends, slightly emarginated, appressed.  Grey hairy below. Flowers yellow in axillary and terminal racemes.  Standard ovate. Pod suborbicular, style brought near to the basal corner, narrowly winged, 1-seeded. Blooms once in a year during dry season from late March to late May.

Uses
The wood has historically been valued in China, particularly during the Ming and Qing periods, referred to in Chinese as zitan  and spelt tzu-t’an by earlier western authors such Gustav Ecke, who introduced classical Chinese furniture to the west . It has been one of the most prized woods for millennia .King Solomon was given tribute logs of Almug in Sanskrit valgu, valgum by the Queen of Sheba Due to its slow growth and rarity, furniture made from zitan is difficult to find and can be expensive. Between the 17th and 19th centuries in China the rarity of this wood led to the reservation of zitan furniture for the Qing dynasty imperial household. Chandan, the Indian word for Red Sandalwood which is Tzu-t’an, are linked by etymology. The word tan in Chinese is a perfect homonym of “tan”, meaning cinnabar, vermillion and the cognition is suggested by the interchange of chan for oriflamme, the vermilion ensign of the ancients. Chinese traders would have been familiar with Chandan. Tzu-t’an then is the ancient Chinese interpretation for the Indian word chandan for red sandalwood.

The other form of zitan is from the species Dalbergia luovelii, Dalbergia maritima, and Dalbergia normandi, all similar species named in trade as bois de rose or violet rosewood which when cut are bright crimson purple changing to dark purple again. It has a fragrant scent when worked.

Chemical Compounds Identified:-

*The red wood yields a natural dye santalin.

*Ether, alkalis, and three other crystalline principles Santal, Pterocarpin, and Homopterocarpin, small quantity of tannin, probably kino-tannic acid, has also been found in the wood.

*Heart wood is known to possess isoflavone glucosidessavinin, calocedrin, triterpene, isoflavone glucosides1-3 , lignan viz., savinin and calocedrin4 & triterpene

Medicinal  Uses:-

*A decoction of the fruit is used as an astringent tonic in chronic dysentry. An infusion of the wood is used in the control of diabetes.6-8

*The wood of P. santalinus is considered astringent, tonic and diaphoretic.

*A paste of the wood is used to give cooling effect, applied externally for inflammations and head-ache.

*It is useful in bilious affections and skin diseases.

*The wood is bitter in taste with a flavour, anhelmintic,aphrodisiac, alexiteric useful in vomiting, thirst, eye diseases, cures diseases of the blood ,vata and kapha , mental aberrations and ulcers.

*The wood is in treating headache, skin diseases, fever, boils, scorpion sting and to improve sight.9

*The wood and fruit is used in treating diaphoretics, bilious infections and chronic dysentry.6

*Heart wood is known to possess isoflavone glucosidessavinin, calocedrin and triterpene.

*The lignan isolated from the heartwood is known to inhibit tumor necrosis factor , alpha production and T-cell proliferation.

*The heart wood contains isoflavone glucosides1-3 and two anti-tumour lignans, viz., savinin and calocedrin.

*A triterpene is reported from the callus of stem cuttings.

*Ethanol extract of stem bark at 0.25 g/kg body weight was reported to possess anti-hyperglycaemic activity.

*The stem bark extract was shown to contain maximum activity against Enterobacter aerogenes, Alcaligenes faecalis, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Proteus vulgaris, Bacillus cereus, Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus.

*The leaf extract showed maximum activity against Escherichia coli, Alcaligenes faecalis, Enterobacter aerogenes and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

*The ethanol extract of Pterocarpus santalinus L.f. (Fabaceae) at dose of 50-250 mg/kg showed gastroprotective effect in reserpine-induced, pyloric-ligated experimental rats.

Parts used- heart wood, fruits.
It is extremely sheeta (sheelaveerya), tikta; beneficial in opthalmia, dyscrasia, mental diseases, deranged pilla, kapha, cough, fever, vertigo, worms, vomiting and thirst.

Therapeutic uses,
Wood as decoction, tonic, astringent, beneficial in fever, dysentery and haemorrhage, applied externally in the form of paste in headache, inflammations, boils, piles and in opthalmia.

The wood is bitter with a flavour; very cooling; antipyretic, anthelmintic, tonic, aphrodisiac, alexiteric; useful in vomiting, thirst, eye diseases; cures diseases of the blood, .. vata” and” kapha ” biliousness, mental aberrations, ulcers .

*The wood is bitter with a bad taste; inferior to white sandalwood; good for topical application only; if given by mouth causes coughing with expectoration; useful in fever, inflammation, trouble of the head and neck. toothache; cures hemicrania-

*The seeds stop haemorrhage of the urethra; useful in dysentery .

*Red sandalwood is considered astringent, tonic, and is used as a cooling external_ application for inflammation and headache.

*It is a home remedy, useful in bilious affections and skin diseases, also in fever, boils, and to strengthen the sight. It also acts as a diaphoretic, and is applied to the forehead in headache.

*The wood, rubbed up with water.is advantageously employed as a wash in superficial excoriation of the genital organs.

*A decoction of the legume is useful as an a:stringent tonic in
chronic dysentery, after separation of the slough.

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/Pterocarpus_santalinus

http://svimstpt.ap.nic.in/MedicinalPlants/pterocarpus%20santalinus.htm

http://www.ayurvedakalamandiram.com/herbs.htm#raktachandana

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