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Herbs & Plants

Balm of Gilead(Populus spp )

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Botanical Name :Populus spp, Populus balsamifera,Populus tremuloides,Populus grandidentata
Family: Salicaceae
Genus: Populus
Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Salicales
Species: spp.

Common Name: aspens and poplars

Common Name Synonyms : cottonwood

Habitat:  Range:
Most of the following range description is taken from Fowells, H.A., compiler, 1965, Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, USDA Agriculture Handbook No. 271.

P. balsamifera: Newfoundland, Labrador to northwest Alaska, northeastern British Columbia, east through Alberta, northern portions of the Great Lakes states, northern New England, and locally from Iowa to Connecticut and in the Rocky Mountains.

P. grandidentata: Nova Scotia to Manitoba, south to northeastern Missouri, east to Virginia, and locally in the eastern United States.

P. tremuloides: Newfoundland, Labrador to southern Alaska; British Columbia through Alberta to New Jersey. Locally in Virginia, Missouri and mountains of western United States and northern Mexico.

Climatic conditions vary throughout the ranges, but are often characterized by low seasonal temperature provided by high altitudes or northern latitudes, and short growing seasons.

Most of the following habitat description is taken from Fowells, H.A., compiler, 1965, Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, USDA Agriculture Handbook No. 271.

P. balsamifera most frequently grows in moist soils of various textures including subirrigated sandy and gravelly soils, calcareous clay loams, or silt loams. It grows at elevations from sea level to about 5,500 feet (1,676 m). It is usually found in cool lowlands such as alluvial bottoms, sandbars, stream banks, lake shores and swamps. It grows in pure stands or in the following forest types: aspen, balsam fir-paper birch, white spruce-balsam fir-paper birch, black ash-American elm-red maple, aspen-birch, white spruce-aspen, and black cottonwood-willow (Fowells 1965).

P. grandidentata is usually found on drier sites than the other two species, at elevations from 500 to 2,000 feet (152 to 660 m). Soil textures include sand, loamy sand, light sandy loams, and, less frequently, heavier textured soils. High water tables closer than 18″ (45.7 cm) to the surface reduce aeration, and increase chances of windfall (Fowells 1965). It is most commonly associated with quaking aspen, gray birch, paper birch and red maple.

P. tremuloides tolerates a wide range of soil conditions from rocky soils or loamy sands, to clay soils. The most favorable soils are porous, and loamy soils that have abundant lime and humus. Growth in clay soils is reduced because of poor aeration; growth in sand is poor because of low moisture and nutrient levels. Rocky soils can hinder the spread of lateral roots. Quaking aspen grows at elevations up to 5,800 feet (1768 m) in the north, and rarely below 8,000 feet (2438 m) in lower California. It grows at sea level only as far south as Maine and Washington. In the southwest United States, quaking aspen often grows in cool shaded mountain slopes, canyons, and on stream banks, at about 6,500 to 10,000 feet (1981 to 3048 m) in elevation. It grows with other aspens and often in the following forest types: Jack pine-aspen, white spruce, balsam fir-aspen, black spruce-aspen, aspen-paper birch (Fowells 1965).


Description:

The following descriptions are taken from Barnes and Wagner 1981 and Rosendahl 1970. Further taxonomic description is available in these texts.
Populus balsamifera is a shade-intolerant tree 6-30 m high with gray or greenish bark that becomes darker and furrowed on older trunks. Resinous buds are large; twigs are stout and lustrous turning gray-green with age. Alternate simple leaves are ovate-lanceolate or cordate-ovate with acute or acuminate tips and finely crenate margins. The aromatic leaves are glabrous and dark green above, and pale silver or rusty brown beneath. Staminate catkins are 3-5 cm long; pistillate catkins 3-5 cm long. The fruit is an ovoid capsule 7-9 mm long. Balsam poplar has numerous shallow spreading roots and forms clones.

Populus grandidentata is a shade intolerant tree 10-20 m high with smooth gray tan or yellowish-green bark that becomes furrowed and darker with age. Stout twigs are white tomentose becoming reddish brown to greenish-gray with age. The alternate leaves are ovate and coarsely sinuate-toothed. Young leaves are densely white tomentose beneath; older leaves are glabrous, yellow green or dark green. Young suckers often have larger leaves than mature plants. Staminate catkins, 4-7 cm long, are silky pubescent; pistillate catkins are 3-5 cm elongating in fruit to 10-15 cm.

CLICK TO SEE THE PICTURES..>..(01)...(1)..…….(2)..…….…(3)…..

Bigtooth aspen has a wide spreading lateral root system with larger and fewer roots than P. tremuloides, and sinker roots (vertically penetrating roots) to 3 m. This species forms clones by root-suckering. Suckers are distinguishable from seedlings because they have a thickening that develops on the distal side of the parent root next to the sucker (Maini 1972).

P. tremuloides is a shade intolerant tree 6-20 m high with smooth greenish-white or gray bark, turning darker and slightly furrowed with age. Twigs are slender, glabrous and reddish-brown, turning gray with age. The thin, alternate leaves are ovate to orbicular, truncate or sub-cordate at the base and short acuminate at the tip. Leaves are glabrous when mature, have finely serrated margins, and range from bluish to dull green in color. Young suckers frequently have much larger leaves than older plants. Staminate catkins are 3-6 cm long with silky hairs. The fruit is a capsule about 5 mm long. This species is typically clonal, with suckers arising from extensive lateral roots. Quaking aspen has “sinker roots” like bigtooth aspen and distinction between seedlings and suckers is the same as with P. grandidentata.

Aspen Tree (Populus spp.)
These deciduous trees are tall and fast growing. In North America they are the most widely dispersed tree. They are great in rural areas because they have large root systems. They have triangular shaped leaves that provide beautiful colors in the fall. The bark is creamy white to a light olive-gray color. They are a lovely addition to any large open area.


SEXUAL REPRODUCTION:

Flowers of all three species appear before leaf expansion, usually in April or May. Phenology varies between clones, with air temperature, and geographic locations (Maini 1972). Following wind pollination, fruits ripen in May or June and are dispersed by wind or water May through July. The light seeds have a silky hair aiding in dispersal. P. grandidentata flowers, fruits, and disperses fruit about ten days later than P. tremuloides in Ontario (Maini 1972).

Most aspens are capable of flowering at ten years (Maini 1972) and 20 year old trees of P. tremuloides and P. grandidentata produce good seed crops every four or five years (Fowells 1965). A 23 year old P. tremuloides tree 33 feet tall in Ontario produced 1.6 million seeds (Maini 1972). Under favorable natural conditions, seeds of P. grandidentata and P. tremuloides maintain viability up to two or three weeks. P. balsamifera seed is viable for a few days (Fowells 1965).

Medicinal Uses:
Balm of Gilead Medicinal Properties & Benefits

Common Uses: Abrasions/Cuts * Burns/SunBurn * Rheumatoid Arthritis *
Properties: Antibacterial* Analgesic* Anti-inflammatory* Antirheumatic* Astringent*
Parts Used: Leaf buds
Constituents: volatile oil, up to 2% (including cineole, bisabolene, bisabolol and humulene), resins, palicin and populin, phenolic acids.

Use popular buds in balms and pain relieving creams.

The dried, unopened buds of the poplar tree are used in ointments and skin treatments to reduce pain and inflammation, and to ease rheumatic pain. Salicin, a major constituent of this plant, is a painkiller, while bisabolol in the oil reduces inflammation and is antimicrobial.

Side Effects:
If you are sensitive to aspirin, you should not use Balm of Gilead.Recommended for external use only.

How to Us
e
: Balm of Gilead
Preparation Methods :Oils, salves and lotions.

Click to learn more.
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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.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail358.php
http://www.gardenswithwings.com/plant/Aspen%20Tree/index.html
http://wiki.bugwood.org/Populus_spp

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Aparajita (Clitoria ternatea)

Botanical Name:Clitoria ternatea
Family Name : Fabaceae,Pipilionaceae.
Subfamily: Faboideae
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Fabales
Tribe: Cicereae
Genus: Clitoria
Species: C. ternatea
Parts Used : Root, Leaf, Seed.

Synonyms: Aparajita has several synonyms in Ayurvedic scriptures like gokarnika, ardrakarni, girikarnika, supuspi, mohanasini, sveta etc. It is one of the herbs mentioned in all ancient scriptures of Ayurveda.
Aparajita (Hindi)
Gokarna (Marathi)
Butterfly pea (English)
Blue pea vine (English)
Bunga telang (Malay)
Dok anchan (Thai)
Pigeon wings (English)

Common Name: Sankhapusphi

Habitat:Asia, but has been introduced to Africa, Australia and the New World. It grows well in moist neutral soil and requires little care. Aparajita grows throughout India. It is a beautiful-looking plant, hence cultivated in gardens.

Description: It is a perennial twining herb having 7 leaflets, which are elliptic and obtuse; There are few varieties with white, violet and blue flowers. The pods are 5-7 cm long, flat with 6 to 10 seed, in each pod. The flowers resemble in shape to cow’s ear, hence the synonym- gokarnika.Propagates through Seeds

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Chemical Constituents :
Roots contain Taraxerol and taraxerone while seeds contain cinnamaic acid and an anthoxanthin glucose. Palmitic, Stearic, Oleic, Linoleic and Linolenic acids are said to be found from the seed oil. Leaves contain glycosides of kaempferol. Flowers furnished with a blue anthocyanin and flavonols. A lactone, aparajitin and clitorin can also be found on the leaves

The root bark contains starch, tannin and resin. The seeds contain a fixed oil, a bitter acid resin (the active principle), tannic acid, glucose (a light brown resin) and ash. The taste of the seeds is brittle and contains a cotyledon, which is full of granular starch. From leaves, clitorin and kaempferol have been isolated. A lactone-aparajitin from leaves, sitosterol from seeds, taraxerol from roots and sitosterol and anthoxanthin from seed are isolated (Ind. J. Pharm. 1968, 30, 167.) Isolation and identifi-cation of cyanine chloride and kaempferol from the flowers has been done. From seed-oil palmitic, stearic, oleic, linoleic and linolenic acids are yielded. Six acylated anthocyanins A, B, C, D, E and F are isolated from blue flowers along with kaempferol and its 3- glucoside, robinin, quercetin and 3-glucoside and ternatins A and B are partially characterized

Uses : The roots are bitter, refrigerant, ophthalmic, laxative, intellect promoting, alexeteric, diuretic, strong cathartic, anthelmintic, depurative, aphrodisiac, and tonic, useful in ophthalmology, tubercular glands, amentia, hemicriana, strangury, helminthiasis, leprosy, leucoderma, bronchitis, asthma and fever, also used in poultices for swollen joints. The leaves are useful in otalgia, hepatopathy and eruptions. Seeds are cathartic, and useful in visceralgia. Powdered seeds mixed with ginger are powerful laxative.

It is grown as an ornamental plant and as a revegetation species (e.g., in coal mines in Australia). It fixes nitrogen and is therefore also used . in southeast asia the flowers are use to colour food. In Malay cooking, an aqueous extract is used to colour glutinous rice for kuih tekan (also known as pulut seri kaya) and in nonya chang. In Thailand, a syrupy blue drink is made called nam dok anchan.

Medicinal Uses:
The roots, seeds and leaves are used for medicinal purpose; Aparajita is used both, internally as well as externally. Externally, the paste of the roots, of white flowered variety, is applied in skin diseases and simultaneously, the seeds fried in ghee are powdered and given orally, with hot water. The same variety of roots is salutary in guinea worm infestation, to expel them out, by their topical application. The paste of its leaves, combined with little salt is applied in retroauricular adenitis, with great benefit. The seeds mashed with honey, applied topically, in tonsillitis render excellent relief. In migraine, the root juice instilled into nostrils helps to ward off kapha.

Internally, aparajita is used in various diseases. It works well as an appetizer, digestant, and vermicide and digests ama. The powder of its roots or seeds, combined with sunthi of fennel is recommended in ascites, with hot water. Being sharp in attribute, it breaks down the accumulations of dosas and malas. The sticky phlegm in cough and asthma is relieved, when the root juice with milk is given. It works well as febrifuge especially in gout. In glandular swellings like cervical adenitis, the root powder or juice is valuable. The decoction of its roots alleviates the burning sensation in the vagina, effectively. In habitual abortion, the roots of white varity, mashed in milk are given orally to avert the abortion and stabilize the foetus. The juice of its leaves mitigates the toxins. The fresh leaves juice, combined with ginger juice, effectively controls the excessive sweating. It is also used to promote the intellect (medhya).

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://apmab.ap.nic.in/products.php#
http://www.herbalcureindia.com/herbs/aparajita.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clitoria_ternatea

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Fruits & Vegetables Herbs & Plants

Jicama ( Sankalu)

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Botanical Name:Pachyrhizus erosus Blanco

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Genus: Pachyrhizus
Species: P. erosus

Other Names:Spanish: hee-kah-mah, from Nahuatl xicamatl hee-kah-mahtl, also Mexican Potato and Mexican Turnip,is the name of a native Mexican vine, although the name most commonly refers to the plant‘s edible tuberous root. Jicama is one species in the genus Pachyrhizus that is commonly called yam bean, although the “yam bean” sometimes is another name for Jicama. The other, major species of yam beans arealso indigenous within the Americas. In India it is called Sankalu

 

Habitat :Jicama  is native to maxico but now it grows in  many tropical cuntries

Description:The jicama vine can reach a height of 4-5 metres given suitable support. Its root can attain lengths of up to 2 m and weigh up to 20 kilograms. The root’s exterior is yellow and papery, while its inside is creamy white with a crisp texture that resembles raw potato or pear. The flavor is sweet and starchy, reminiscent of some apples, and it is usually eaten raw, sometimes with salt, lemon, or lime juice and chili powder. It is also cooked in soups and stir-fried dishes.

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Jicama is a tropical plant and thus requires at least 9 months of warm growing season for good sized roots to mature. However, if soil is rich, light and there is at least 4 months of warm weather available, the resulting roots will be smaller, but still quite delicious. Presoak seeds in water for about 24 hours before planting. Can be started indoors about 8 to 10 weeks before the last spring frost. Transplant into your garden as soon is weather is warm, but be careful where you plant it as the ripe pods, leaves and seeds are toxic and narcotic. Care should be taken so that no humans or animals will mistakenly eat these parts. The immature seed pods are edible as well as of course the turnip like roots for which it is grown. Can be grown near a trellis for support or like pole beans. Can also be grown on the ground but then requires a lot of space. When they grow to about 3 feet tall, pinch the tips to promote horizontal branches. Tubers form as the days grow shorter and should be harvested before the first frost. If you allow the plants to go to seed, the root lobes will be small. Blossoms appear in late summer, but can be pinched out for maximum root growth.

Due to its growing popularity, cultivation of jícama has recently spread from Mexico to other parts of Central America, China and Southeast Asia where notable uses of raw jícama include popiah and salads such as yusheng and rojak. Jícama has become popular in Vietnamese food,  In Mexico it is very popular in salads, fresh fruit combos, fruit bars, soups, and other cooked dishes.

Edible Uses:

Standard Uses: This is an unusual vegetable that is becoming increasingly popular with American cooks, but has been grown in its native Mexico for centuries. More and more U.S. supermarkets are now carrying this turnip shaped, usually four lobed root. Its skin is a brownish gray, but its flesh is white and crisp. It’s flavor resembles that of water chestnuts but is sweeter. Makes a great appetizer and is a very good addition in both taste and texture when added to salads.

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While many vegetables and fruits are common, others are not, but that doesn’t mean they’re not an excellent food – just unfamiliar. For one thing, jicama plants thrive in tropical regions.

Like other foods, jicama contains real culinary goodness: sliced and baked, julienned in salad, chopped in stir-fries and soups, and mixed with other veggies and fruits to emphasize its sweetness or starchy texture. Just remember to eat only the root, since the other parts may be toxic.

So if you haven’t experienced jicama in your dining repertoire, you have everything to gain – and if you’re actually hoping to lose, this might be your new favorite.

You may click to see:->Expanding Your Pantry: Jicama

Jicama : Kitchen & Cooking Tips

Health benefits, and the common uses for Jicama in cooking.

Medicinal Uses: .

Low in calories but high in a few vital nutrients, jicama is a bit of a contradiction when it comes to its starch content. It provides one-quarter of what’s needed daily in fiber per serving. But not just any fiber – jicama’s fiber is infused with oligofructose inulin, which has zero calories and doesn’t metabolize in the body. Inulin, a fructan, promotes bone health by enhancing absorption of calcium from other foods, protecting against osteoporosis. Inulin has a prebiotic role in the intestine – it promotes “good” bacteria growth that maintains both a healthy colon and balanced immunity. Because it has a very low glycemic index, jicama is a great food for diabetics, and low in calories for those interested in weight reduction.

Jicama is also an excellent source of fiber and vitamin C – 44% of the daily value per serving – and a powerful antioxidant that zaps free radicals to protect against cancer, inflammation, viral cough, cold, and infections.

Jicama is starchy. The most interesting health benefit related to jicama is the inulin, which studies have shown can protect against osteoarthritis, and have a positive impact on colorectal cancer, especially when eaten during its early stages. Studies are increasing on this root veggie that has until recently been quite overlooked.

Besides healthy amounts of potassium, this little powerhouse can help promote heart health, since high-potassium vegetables and fruit are linked to lower risks of heart disease. Jicama contains important vitamins like folates, riboflavin, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid, and thiamin, and the minerals magnesium, copper, iron, and manganese. Like potatoes, they should be used sparingly due to the high carbohydrates content.

Other Uses:

Jicama is a vine plant that makes an attractive ornament, deserving a place in your flower garden. It blooms profusely with white to lavender colored flowers that resemble sweet peas. Its leaves are heart shaped and large.click & see

Studies on Jicama:

A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition in 2005 showed that foods containing inulin, such as jicama, lower colon cancer risks in several ways, which include reducing exposure as well as the toxic impact of carcinogens in the gut, and inhibiting the growth and spread of colon cancer to other areas of the body. Scientists concluded that inulin-type fructans may reduce colorectal cancer incidence when given during early stages of cancer development.

Jícama is high in carbohydrates in the form of dietary fiber. It is composed of 86-90% water; it contains only trace amounts of protein and lipids. Its sweet flavour comes from the oligofructose inulin (also called fructo-oligosaccharide).

 

Known Hazards:The leaves, ripe seed pods and seeds are toxic and narcotic  .  In contrast to the root, the remainder of the jícama plant is very poisonous; the seeds contain the toxin rotenone, which is used to poison insects and fish.

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/J%C3%ADcama
http://boldweb.com/gw/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=44&Itemid=25

http://foodfacts.mercola.com/jicama.html?i_cid=jicama-rb-articles

 

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Herbs & Plants

Blackberry

Botanical Name: Rubus fructicosus
GAELIC NAME : Sméar.
LATIN NAME : Rubus villosus.
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Subfamily: Rosoideae
Genus: Rubus
Subgenus: Rubus (formerly Eubatus)

COMMON / FOLK NAMES : Bramble, Cloudberry, Dewberry, Goutberry, High Blackberry, Thimbleberry, Bly, Bramble-kite, Bumble-kite. Rubus fructicosus
Other names: Bramble, brymbyl, bumble-kite, brameberry, brambleberry.

Parts used: Blackberry leaves, bark and root can be used to make tea. The blackberries (fruits) are also eaten and used in fruit juice and jams.

Habitat:Blackberry is native to Europe (mainly Mediterranean region) and is cultivated in many countries with moderate climate. There exist various cultivars which produce larger berries.

DESCRIPTION : Blackberry is a trailing perennial plant that grows in dry or sandy soils. The slender branches feature sharp, recurved prickles. The leaves are finely hairy or almost glabrous and pinnate with 3 to 5 leaflets. The leaflets are ovate and doubly serrate. The upper leaves are sometimes simple and palmately lobed.

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FLOWERING PERIOD : The white, five-petaled flowers appear from June to September. The fruit is an aggregate of black druplets collectively called the Blackberry.

Phytochemicals: Blackberry leaves contain Tannins, Gallotannins, Dimeric Ellagitannins and Flavonoids. Blackberries (fruits) are exceptionally rich in phytochemicals mainly, Flavonoids, Anthocyanins, Cyanidin, Ellagic Acid.

Cultivation and some general uses:
Primary cultivation takes place in the North American State of Oregon located in the United States of America. Recorded in 1995 and 2006: 6,180 to 6,900 farmed acres of blackberries, producing 42.6 to 41.5 million pounds, making Oregon the leading blackberry producer in the world.

The soft fruit is popular for use in desserts, jams, seedless jellies and sometimes wine. Since the many species form hybrids easily, there are many cultivars with more than one species in their ancestry.

Blackberry flowers are good nectar producers, and large areas of wild blackberries will yield a medium to dark, fruity honey.

The blackberry is known to contain polyphenol antioxidants, naturally occurring chemicals that can upregulate certain beneficial metabolic processes in mammals. The astringent blackberry root is sometimes used in herbal medicine as a treatment for diarrhea and dysentery.[5] The related but smaller European dewberry (R. caesius) can be distinguished by the white, waxy coating on the fruits, which also usually have fewer drupelets. (Rubus caesius) is in its own section (Caesii) within the subgenus Rubus.

In some parts of the world, such as in Australia, Chile, New Zealand and the Pacific Northwest region of North America, some blackberry species, particularly Rubus armeniacus (syn. R. procerus, ‘Himalaya’) and Rubus laciniatus (‘Evergreen’) are naturalised and considered an invasive species and a serious weed.

As there is forensic evidence from the Iron Age Haraldskær Woman that she consumed blackberries some 2500 years ago, it is reasonable to conclude that blackberries have been eaten by humans over thousands of years.

PROPERTIES : Astringent, Tonic.

Nutrients and antioxidant qualities:
Blackberries are notable for their high nutritional contents of dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid – a B vitamin, and the essential mineral, manganese (table)

Blackberries rank highly among fruits for antioxidant strength, particularly due to their dense contents of polyphenolic compounds, such as ellagic acid, tannins, ellagitannins, quercetin, gallic acid, anthocyanins and cyanidins.

Blackberries have an ORAC value (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) of 5347 per 100 grams, including them among the top-ranked ORAC fruits. Another report using a different assay for assessing antioxidant strength placed blackberry at the top of more than 1000 antioxidant foods consumed in the United States.

Nutrient content of seeds:
Blackberries are exceptional among other Rubus berries for their numerous, large seeds not always preferred by consumers. They contain rich amounts of omega-3 (alpha-linolenic acid) and -6 fats (linoleic acid), protein, dietary fiber, carotenoids, ellagitannins and ellagic acid.

Medicinal Uses: Blackberry leaves are traditionally used for the treatment of burns and scald. Tea from blackberry (leaves, root and bark) is astringent and used against intestinal disorders such as diarrhoea and dysentery. Prolonged use of the tea is also beneficial for enteritis, chronic appendicitis, and leucorrhoea. Chewing of fresh blackberry leaves helps to heal bleeding gums and inflammation of the mouth and troat.
The anthocyanins in blackberries are responsible for the potential anti-carcinogenic properties. The chemopreventive effects of fresh blackberries is caused by their antioxidant properties. Flavonoids strengthen the blood vessels and capillaries.

. It is said to have expectorant properties as well. A tea made from the dried root can be used for dropsy. The chewing of the leaves for bleeding gums goes back 2000 years.

Other facts: From the blackberry juice a very nice red wine can be produced.

Beliefs, Superstition and myths:
Blackberry was considered to be sacred to the Pagan deities of Europe, and was widely used in worship.
A bramble bush that forms a natural arch is a great aid to magical healing. On a sunny day, crawl through the arch backwards and then forward three times, going as nearly east to west as possible. This will cause boils, rheumatism, whooping cough and even blackheads to disappear. The blackberry leaves are used in spells of wealth, as are the berries themselves, and the vines are protective if grown.

The blackberry plant is also used to heal scalds by dipping nine blackberry leaves in spring water and then laying them against the wound gently, while saying the chant three times to each leaf (27 times in all)
Three ladies came from the east.
One with fire and two with frost.
Out with fire, in with frost.
This is an old invocation to Brigit , the Celtic Goddess of poetry, healing and Smithcraft.

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/Blackberry
http://www.shee-eire.com/Herbs,Trees&Fungi/Herbs/Blackberry/Factsheet1.htm
http://www.phytochemicals.info/plants/blackberry.php

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Herbs & Plants

Gentians

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Botanical Name: Gentiana lutea
Family: Gentianaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Gentianales
Genus: Gentiana L.

Common Name:  Great yellow gentian

Habitat:This is a cosmopolitan genus, occurring in alpine habitats of temperate regions of Asia, Europe and the Americas. Some species also occur in northwest Africa, eastern Australia and New Zealand. They consist of annual, biennial and perennial plants. Some are evergreen, others are not.

The Gentians are an extensive group of plants, numbering about 400 species, distributed throughout all climates, though mostly in temperate regions and high mountains, being rare in the Arctic. In South America and New Zealand, the prevailing colour of the flower is red, in Europe blue (yellow and white being of rarer occurrence).

Gentiana is a genus of flowering plants belonging to the Gentian family (Gentianaceae), tribe Gentianeae and monophyletic subtribe Gentianinae.

The name of the genus is derived from Gentius, an ancient King of Illyria (180-167 B.C.), who, according to Pliny and Dioscorides, discovered the medicinal value of these plants. During the Middle Ages, Gentian was commonly employed as an antidote to poison. Tragus, in 1552, mentions it as a means of diluting wounds.

Descriptions:
Gentians have opposite leaves that are sometimes arranged in a basal rosette, and trumpet-shaped flowers that are usually deep blue or azure, but may vary from white, creamy and yellow to red. Many species also show considerable polymorphism with respect to flower color. Typically, blue-flowered species predominate in the Northern Hemisphere, with red-flowered species dominant in the Andes (where bird pollination is probably more heavily favored by natural selection). White-flowered species are scattered throughout the range of the genus but dominate in New Zealand. All gentian species have terminal tubular flowers and most are pentamerous, i.e. with 5 corolla lobes (petals), and 5 sepals, but 4-7 in some species. The style is rather short or absent. The corolla shows folds (= plicae) between the lobes. The ovary is mostly sessile and has nectary glands.

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Gentians are fully hardy and like full sun or partial shade, and neutral to acid soil that is rich in humus and well drained. They are popular in rock gardens.

Species:-
Gentiana acaulis (‘Stemless Gentian’)
Gentiana affinis (‘Pleated Gentian’)
Gentiana alba (‘Plain Gentian’)
Gentiana algida (‘Whitish Gentian’)
Gentiana alpina (‘Alpine Gentian’)
Gentiana altaica (‘Altai Gentian’)
Gentiana amarella (‘Autumn Dwarf Gentian’)
Gentiana amoena
Gentiana andrewsii (‘Closed bottle Gentian’)
Gentiana angustifolia
Gentiana asclepiadea (‘Willow Gentian’)
Gentiana austromontana (‘Appalachian Gentian’)
Gentiana autumnalis (‘Pinebarren Gentian’)
Gentiana bavarica (‘Bavarian Gentian’)
Gentiana bellidifolia
Gentiana boryi
Gentiana brachyphylla
Gentiana bulleyana
Gentiana burseri
Gentiana cachemirica
Gentiana calycosa (‘Rainier Pleated Gentian‘)
Gentiana catesbaei (‘Elliott’s Gentian’)
Gentiana cephalantha
Gentiana cerina
Gentiana clausa (‘Bottled Gentian’)
Gentiana clusii (‘Trumpet Gentian‘)
Gentiana crassicaulis
Gentiana crinita (‘Fringed Gentian’)
Gentiana cruciata (‘Cross Gentian’)
Gentiana dahurica
Gentiana decora (‘Showy Gentian’)
Gentiana decumbens
Gentiana dendrologii
Gentiana depressa
Gentiana dinarica
Gentiana douglasiana (‘Swamp Gentian’)
Gentiana elwesii
Gentiana farreri
Gentiana fetisowii
Gentiana flavida (‘Pale Gentian’)
Gentiana freyniana
Gentiana frigida
Gentiana froelichii
Gentiana fremontii (‘Moss Gentian’)
Gentiana gelida
Gentiana gilvo-striata
Gentiana glauca (‘Pale Gentian’)
Gentiana gracilipes
Gentiana grombczewskii
Gentiana heterosepala (‘Autumn Gentian’)
Gentiana hexaphylla
Gentiana kesselringii
Gentiana kurroo
Gentiana lawrencii
Gentiana lhassica
Gentiana linearis (‘Narrowleaf Gentian’)
Gentiana loderi
Gentiana lutea (‘Great Yellow Gentian‘)
Gentiana macrophylla (‘Bigleaf Gentian’)
Gentiana makinoi
Gentiana microdonta
Gentiana newberryi (‘Newberry’s Gentian’)
Gentiana nipponica
Gentiana nivalis (‘Snow Gentian’)

Gentiana nubigena
Gentiana nutans (‘Tundra Gentian’)
Gentiana ochroleuca
Gentiana olivieri
Gentiana ornata
Gentiana pannonica (‘Brown Gentian’)
Gentiana paradoxa
Gentiana parryi (‘Parry’s Gentian’)
Gentiana patula
Gentiana pennelliana (‘Wiregrass Gentian’)
Gentiana phyllocalyx
Gentiana platypetala (‘Broadpetal Gentian’)
Gentiana plurisetosa (‘Bristly Gentian’)
Gentiana pneumonanthe (‘Marsh Gentian’)
Gentiana prolata
Gentiana prostrata (‘Pygmy Gentian’)
Gentiana przewalskii
Gentiana pterocalyx
Gentiana puberulenta (‘Downy Gentian’)
Gentiana pumila
Gentiana punctata (‘Spotted Gentian’)
Gentiana purpurea (‘Purple Gentian’)
Gentiana pyrenaica
Gentiana quadrifolia
Gentiana rigescens
Gentiana rostanii
Gentiana rubricaulis (‘Closed Gentian’)
Gentiana saponaria (‘Harvestbells Gentian’)
Gentiana saxosa
Gentiana scabra
Gentiana scarlatina
Gentiana sceptrum (‘King’s scepter Gentian’)
Gentiana septemfida (‘Crested Gentian’)
Gentiana setigera (‘Mendocino Gentian’)
Gentiana setulifolia
Gentiana sikkimensis
Gentiana sikokiana
Gentiana sino-ornata
Gentiana siphonantha
Gentiana speciosa
Gentiana squarrosa
Gentiana stictantha
Gentiana stragulata
Gentiana straminea
Gentiana tenuifolia
Gentiana terglouensis (‘Triglav Gentian’)
Gentiana ternifolia
Gentiana tianshanica (‘Tienshan Gentian’)
Gentiana trichotoma
Gentiana triflora
Gentiana trinervis
Gentiana tubiflora
Gentiana utriculosa (‘Bladder Gentian’)
Gentiana veitchiorum
Gentiana venusta
Gentiana verna (‘Spring Gentian’)
Gentiana villosa (‘Striped Gentian’)
Gentiana waltonii
Gentiana wutaiensis
Gentiana yakushimensis
Gentiana zollingeri

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Cultivation:
In general, gentians require a moist well-drained soil in a sheltered position, a certain minimum of atmospheric humidity, high light intensity but a site where temperatures are not too high. They are therefore more difficult to grow in areas with hot summers and in such a region they appreciate some protection from the strongest sunlight. Most species will grow well in the rock garden. This is an easily grown species, succeeding in most good garden soils, though it prefers a light loamy soil and lime-free conditions. It grows well in a pocket of soil amongst paving stones, so long as there is a gritty substrate. Plants dislike growing under the drip from trees. A very ornamental plant, there are many named varieties. It is a rare and protected species in the wild. Plants are intolerant of root disturbance.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a light position in a cold frame. It can also be sown in late winter or early spring but the seed germinates best if given a period of cold stratification and quickly loses viability when stored, with older seed germinating slowly and erratically. It is advantageous to keep the seed at about 10°c for a few days after sowing, to enable the seed to imbibe moisture. Following this with a period of at least 5 – 6 weeks with temperatures falling to between 0 and -5°c will usually produce reasonable germination. It is best to use clay pots, since plastic ones do not drain so freely and the moister conditions encourage the growth of moss, which will prevent germination of the seed. The seed should be surface-sown, or only covered with a very light dressing of compost. The seed requires dark for germination, so the pots should be covered with something like newspaper or be kept in the dark. Pot up the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. The seedlings grow on very slowly, taking 2 – 7 years to reach flowering size. When the plants are of sufficient size, place them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Division in early summer after the plant has flowered. Dig up the entire plant, divide it into 2 – 3 fair-sized clumps with a spade or knife, and replant immediately. Cuttings of basal shoots in late spring or early summer. It is best to pot them up in a cold frame until well rooted, and then plant them out into their permanent positions.

Medicinal Uses:
An infusion of the whole plant is used externally to lighten freckles. This species is one of several species that are the source of the medicinal gentian root, the following notes are based on the general uses of G. lutea which is the most commonly used species in the West. Gentian root has a long history of use as a herbal bitter in the treatment of digestive disorders and is an ingredient of many proprietary medicines. It contains some of the most bitter compounds known and is used as a scientific basis for measuring bitterness. It is especially useful in states of exhaustion from chronic disease and in all cases of debility, weakness of the digestive system and lack of appetite. It is one of the best strengtheners of the human system, stimulating the liver, gall bladder and digestive system, and is an excellent tonic to combine with a purgative in order to prevent its debilitating effects. The root is anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, bitter tonic, cholagogue, emmenagogue, febrifuge, refrigerant, stomachic. It is taken internally in the treatment of liver complaints, indigestion, gastric infections and anorexia. It should not be prescribed for patients with gastric or duodenal ulcers. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. It is quite likely that the roots of plants that have not flowered are the richest in medicinal properties

Click for:-> Gentian species with medicinal properties

Complete Gentian information from Drugs.com
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:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gentian
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Gentiana+acaulis

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