Tag Archives: Maize

Zea Mays

Botanical Name: Zea Mays
Family: Poaceae
Subfamily: Panicoideae
Tribe: Andropogoneae
Genus: Zea
SpeciesZ. mays
Subspecies: Z. mays subsp. mays
KingdomPlantae
Order: Poales

Synonym:  Maize.

Common Name:  Corn

Habitat: Zea Mays or maize is native to South America; also cultivated in other parts of America, in the West Indian Islands, Australia, Africa, India, etc., and now in France and many other countries in the world.

Description:
Zea Mays is a monoecious plant. Male flowers in terminal racemes; spikelets, two-flowered glumes nearly equal, herbaceous, terminating in two sharp points; females, axillary in the sheaths of the leaves. The spikes or ears proceed from the stalls at various distances from the ground, and are closely enveloped in several thin leaves, forming a sheath called the husk; the ears consist of a cylindrical substance, a pith called the cob; on this the seeds are ranged in eight rows, each row having thirty or more seeds. From the eyes or germs of the seeds proceed individual filaments of a silky appearance and bright green colour; these hang from the point of the husk and are called ‘the silk.’ The use of these filaments or stigmata is to receive the farina which drops from the flowers, and without which the flowers would produce no seed. As soon as this has been effected, the tops and ‘the silk’ dry up. The maize grains are of varying colour – usually yellow, but often ranging to black.

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A coarse annual, culms 60-80 cm high, straight, internodes cylindrical in the upper part, alternately grooved on the lower part with a bud in the groove. The stem is filled with pith. Leaf-blades broad. Has separate staminate (male) and pistillate (female) inflorescences. The staminate inflorescence is a tassel borne at the apex, the pistillate flowers occur as spikes (cobs) rising from axils of the lower leaves. The ovary develops a long style or silk which extends from the cob and receives the pollen from the tassel.

Cultivation :
Requires a warm position a well drained soil and ample moisture in the growing season[16, 33]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 to 6.8[200]. Requires a rich soil if it is to do well[201]. Corn is widely cultivated for its edible seed, especially in tropical and warm temperate zones of the world[200], there are many named varieties. Unfortunately, the plant is not frost tolerant and so needs to be started off under glass in Britain if a reasonable crop is to be grown. There are five main types:- Sweetcorn is of fairly recent development. It has very sweet, soft-skinned grains that can be eaten raw or cooked before they are fully ripe. Cultivars have been developed that can produce a worthwhile crop even in the more northerly latitudes of Britain if a suitable warm sunny sheltered site is chosen K. Popcorn is a primitive form with hard-skinned grains. When roasted, these grains ‘explode’ to form the popular snack ‘popcorn’. Waxy corn is used mainly in the Far East. It has a tapioca-like starch. Flint corn, which shrinks on drying, can have white, yellow, purple, red or blue-black grains. It is not so sweet and also takes longer to mature so is a problematic crop in Britain. There are many other uses for this plant as detailed below. Dent corn has mostly white to yellow grains. This and Flint corn are widely grown for oils, cornflour, cereals and silage crops. Corn grows well with early potatoes, legumes, dill, cucurbits and sunflowers, it dislikes growing with tomatoes.
Propagation:
Seed – sow April in individual pots in a greenhouse. Grow on quickly and plant out after the last expected frosts. A direct outdoor sowing, especially of some of the less sweet varieties, can be tried in May.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Oil; Oil; Pollen; Seed; Stem.
Edible Uses: Coffee; Oil; Oil.

Seed – raw or cooked. Corn is one of the most commonly grown foods in the world. The seed can be eaten raw or cooked before it is fully ripe and there are varieties especially developed for this purpose (the sweet corns) that have very sweet seeds and are delicious. The mature seed can be dried and used whole or ground into a flour. It has a very mild flavour and is used especially as a thickening agent in foods such as custards. The starch is often extracted from the grain and used in making confectionery, noodles etc. The dried seed of certain varieties can be heated in an oven when they burst to make ‘Popcorn’. The seed can also be sprouted and used in making uncooked breads and cereals. A nutritional analysis is available. The fresh succulent ‘silks’ (the flowering parts of the cob) can also be eaten. An edible oil is obtained from the seed, it is an all-purpose culinary oil that is frequently used as a food in salads and for cooking purposes. The pollen is used as an ingredient of soups. Rich in protein, it is harvested by tapping the flowering heads over a flat surface such as a bowl. Harvesting the pollen will actually help to improve fertilisation of the seeds. The roasted seed is a coffee substitute. The pith of the stem is chewed like sugar cane and is sometimes made into a syrup

Composition:
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Seed (Fresh weight)

*361 Calories per 100g
*Water : 10.6%
*Protein: 9.4g; Fat: 4.3g; Carbohydrate: 74.4g; Fibre: 1.8g; Ash: 1.3g;
*Minerals – Calcium: 9mg; Phosphorus: 290mg; Iron: 2.5mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 0mg; Zinc: 0mg;
*Vitamins – A: 140mg; Thiamine (B1): 0.43mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0.1mg; Niacin: 1.9mg; B6: 0mg; C: 0mg;

Part Used in Medicines:  The Seeds.

Constituents:  Starch, sugar, fat, salts, water, yellow oil, maizenic acid, azotized matter, gluten, dextrine, glucose, cellulose, silica, phosphates of lime and magnesia, soluble salts of potassa and soda.

Medicinal    Uses: 

A decoction of the leaves and roots is used in the treatment of strangury, dysuria and gravel. The corn silks are cholagogue, demulcent, diuretic, lithontripic, mildly stimulant and vasodilator. They also act to reduce blood sugar levels and so are used in the treatment of diabetes mellitus as well as cystitis, gonorrhoea, gout etc. The silks are harvested before pollination occurs and are best used when fresh because they tend to lose their diuretic effect when stored and also become purgative.  A decoction of the cob is used in the treatment of nose bleeds and menorrhagia. The seed is diuretic and a mild stimulant. It is a good emollient poultice for ulcers, swellings and rheumatic pains, and is widely used in the treatment of cancer, tumours and warts. It contains the cell-proliferant and wound-healing substance allantoin, which is widely used in herbal medicine (especially from the herb comfrey, Symphytum officinale) to speed the healing process. The plant is said to have anticancer properties and is experimentally hypoglycaemic and hypotensive.

Other Uses:
Adhesive; Fuel; Oil; Oil; Packing; Paper.

A glue is made from the starch in the seed. This starch is also used in cosmetics and the manufacture of glucose. A semi-drying oil is obtained from the seed. It has many industrial uses, in the manufacture of linoleum, paints, varnishes, soaps etc. The corn spathes are used in the production of paper, straw hats and small articles such as little baskets. A fibre obtained from the stems and seed husks is used for making paper. They are harvested in late summer after the seed has been harvested, they are cut into usable pieces and soaked in clear water for 24 hours. They are then cooked for 2 hours in soda ash and then beaten in a ball mill for 1½ hours in a ball mill. The fibres make a light greenish cream paper. Be careful not to overcook the fibre otherwise it will produce a sticky pulp that is very hard to form into paper. The dried cobs are used as a fuel. The pith of the stems is used as a packing material
In addition to use as a human food, the seed head and whole plant are used forage and silage, an important source of feed for livestock. Corn has become an increasingly important biofuel, both in the form of corn oil (used as bio-diesel) and ethanol (an alcohol fermented and distilled from the processed kernels), which is blended with petroleum-based gasoline in various proportions for use as fuel.

With Although grown in temperate and tropical countries worldwide, the U.S. alone produces more than one third of the global total of dried corn (316.2 metric tons), with China, Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina also producing significant amounts. Corn production increased by 42% worldwide over the past decade, associated with the increased demand and prices for corn as biofuel.

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:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maize
http://media.eol.org/pages/1115259/overview
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/c/corni103.html
http://www.fao.org/ag/agp/AGPC/doc/Gbase/data/pf000342.htm

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Zea+mays

Sandhyamaloti ( Mirabilis jalapa )

Botanical Name : Mirabilis jalapa
Family: Nyctaginaceae
Genus: Mirabilis
Species: M. jalapa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Common Names:Four o’clock flower or Marvel of Peru. In Pakistan it is called “Gul Abas” (Urdu:). In Sri Lanka it is called “Hendirikka”. In Southern India it is called “Anthi Mandhaarai” (Tamil:). In Andhra Pradesh it is called “Chandrakantha”(Telugu:). In Kerala it is called ‘Naalumani poovu’ (Malayalam: . In Maharashtra it is called “Gulabakshi” (Marathi:. In Assamese it is called ‘Godhuli Gopal’, ‘godhuli’ meaning evening. In Bengali it is called “sandhyamaloti” .In Maithili it is called “sanjhaa phool” as it blooms in evening . In Oriya it is called ‘Rangani’. In China it is called the “shower flower”

Habitat : M. jalapa hails from tropical South America, but has become naturalised throughout tropical and warm temperate regions. In cooler temperate regions, it will die back with the first frosts, regrowing in the following spring from the tuberous roots. The plant does best in full sun.

Desacription:
Mirabilis jalapa is a perennial plant  grows to approximately 0.9 m in height. The single-seeded fruits are spherical, wrinkled and black upon maturity , having started out greenish-yellow. The plant will self-seed, often spreading rapidly if left unchecked in a garden. Some gardeners recommend that the seeds should be soaked before planting, but this is not totally necessary. In North America, the plant perennializes in warm, coastal environments, particularly in USDA Zones 9–10.
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. It is in flower from Jul to October, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

Genetic Studies:
Around 1900, Carl Correns used Mirabilis as a model organism for his studies on cytoplasmic inheritance. He used the plant’s variegated leaves to prove that certain factors outside the nucleus affected phenotype in a way not explained by Mendel’s theories. Correns proposed that leaf color in Mirabilis was passed on via a uniparental mode of inheritance.

Also, when red-flowered plants are crossed with white-flowered plants, pink-flowered offspring, not red, are produced. This is seen as an exception to Mendel’s Law of Dominance, because in this case the red and white genes are of equal strength, so none completely dominates the other. The phenomenon is known as incomplete dominance.

Cultivation:   
Succeeds in almost any ordinary garden soil. Prefers a fertile well-drained soil in full sun or part day shade. This species is not very hardy in Britain. The top growth is cut back by frost but the tuber survives the winter outdoors if the temperature does not fall much below -5°c, a good mulch would be beneficial. Tubers can be lifted and stored over winter in a cool frost free place in the same way that dahlia tubers are stored. The marvel of Peru is usually grown as a half-hardy annual in temperate zones, it flowers freely in its first year. Plants also self-sow freely in warmer areas (these seedlings can be easily transplanted) and they can become a weed in such situations due to their deep rooting habit. This species was cultivated as a medicinal plant by the Aztecs prior to the Spanish conqust. The flowers are sweetly scented and do not open until the afternoon. The young growth is particularly susceptible to aphis infestation. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation  :
Seed – sow spring in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in early summer, after the last expected frosts. The seed remains viable for several years[196]. Division in spring as the plant comes into growth

Edible Uses:
Tender young leaves – cooked as a vegetable. An emergency food, only eaten when all else fails. An edible crimson dye is obtained from the flowers. It is used for colouring cakes and jellies. The seed is crushed and used as a pepper substitute

Medicinal Uses:
Diuretic;  Purgative;  Vulnerary.

The root is aphrodisiac, diuretic and purgative. It is used in the treatment of dropsy. A paste of the root is applied as a poultice to treat scabies and muscular swellings. The juice of the root is used in the treatment of diarrhoea, indigestion and fevers. The powdered root, mixed with corn flour (Zea mays) is baked and used in the treatment of menstrual disorders. The leaves are diuretic. They are used to reduce inflammation. A decoction of them is used to treat abscesses. The leaf juice is used to treat wounds

Other Uses;
The flowers are used in food colouring. The leaves may be eaten cooked as well, but only as an emergency food.

An edible crimson dye is obtained from the flowers to colour cakes and jellies.

The leaves are used to reduce inflammation. A decoction of them (mashing and boiling) is used to treat abscesses. Leaf juice may be used to treat wounds.

Powdered, the seed of some varieities is used as a cosmetic and a dye.

 Known Hazards :  The seeds and the rots are reported to cause digestive disturbances .The seeds are considered poisonous

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/Mirabilis_jalapa
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Mirabilis+jalapa

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Cajanus cajan (Pegion pea)

Botanical Name :Cajanus cajan (Linn) Millsp.
Other scientific names:  Cystisus cajan, Cystisus pseudo-cajan  ,Cajan inodorum  ,Cajanus bicolor,Cajanus indicus
Family :Fabaceae

Genus: Cajanus
Species: C. cajan
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Fabales

Synonyms:Cajanus indicus Spreng. (Valder 1895) and Cytisus cajan (Crawfurd 1852)

Common Names :Arhar, Red gram, Pigeon pea, Gablos (Tag.) ,Kadios (Mang., Tag., P. Bis.) ,Kagyos (Tag.) ,Kaldis (Ig., Ilk.)   Kagyas (Tag.) ,Kalios (Tag.) , Kardis (Ibn., Ilk., Ig.) ,Kidis (Ilk., Bon.) ,Kusia (Ig., If.) , Tabios (Bik., C. Bis.) ,Guandu (Brazil) .Pigeon pea (Engl.),toor dal or arhar dal (India), Congo pea or gungo pea (in Jamaica), Pois Congo (in Haiti), gandul (in Puerto Rico), gunga pea, or no-eye pea.   arhar dal  in Bengali


Habitat :
Probably native to India, pigeon pea was brought millennia ago to Africa where different strains developed. These were brought to the new world in post-Columbian times. Truly wild Cajanus has never been found; they exist mostly as remnants of cultivations. In several places Cajanus persists in the forest. The closest wild relative, Atylosia cajanifolia Haines, has been found in some localities in East India. Most other Atylosias are found scattered throughout India, while in North Australia a group of endemic Atylosia species grow. In Africa Cajanus kerstingii grows in the drier belts of Senegal, Ghana, Togo, and Nigeria. Pigeon peas occur throughout the tropical and subtropical regions, as well as the warmer temperate regions (as North Carolina) from 30°N to 30°S (Duke, 1981a). In settled areas throughout the Philippines: cultivated, semicultivated, and in some places, spontaneous.

Description:

It is  is a perennial herb.An erect, branched, hairy shrub, 1-2 meters high. Leaves are oblong-lanceolate to oblanceolate with three leaflets. Flowers are yellow, in sparse peduncled racemes, about 1.5 cm long. Pod is hairy, 4-7 cm long, 1 cm wide, containing 2-7 seeds.

 

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Cultivation:
The cultivation of the pigeon pea goes back at least 3000 years. The centre of origin is most likely Asia, from where it traveled to East Africa and by means of the slave trade to the American continent. Today pigeon peas are widely cultivated in all tropical and semi-tropical regions of both the Old and the New World. Pigeon peas can be of a perennial variety, in which the crop can last 3–5 years (although the seed yield drops considerably after the first two years), or an annual variety more suitable for seed production.

Pigeon peas are an important legume crop of rainfed agriculture in the semi-arid tropics. The Indian subcontinent, Eastern Africa and Central America, in that order, are the world’s three main pigeon pea producing regions. Pigeon peas are cultivated in more than 25 tropical and sub-tropical countries, either as a sole crop or intermixed with cereals such as sorghum (Sorchum bicolor), pearl millet (Pennisetium glaucum), or maize (Zea mays), or with other legumes, such as peanuts (Arachis hypogaea). Being a legume, the pigeon pea enriches soil through symbiotic nitrogen fixation.

The crop is cultivated on marginal land by resource-poor farmers, who commonly grow traditional medium- and long-duration (5–11 months) landraces. Short-duration pigeon peas (3–4 months) suitable for multiple cropping have recently been developed. Traditionally, the use of such input as fertilizers, weeding, irrigation, and pesticides is minimal, so present yield levels are low (average = 700 kg/ha). Greater attention is now being given to managing the crop because it is in high demand at remunerative prices.

Pigeon peas are very drought resistant and can be grown in areas with less than 650 mm annual rainfall.

World production of pigeon peas is estimated at 46,000 km2. About 82% of this is grown in India. These days it is the most essential ingredient of animal feed used in West Africa, most especially in Nigeria where it is also grown

Edible Uses: Vegetable food crop ( seeds and pods) in South-East Asia.Pigeon peas are both a food crop (dried peas, flour, or green vegetable peas) and a forage/cover crop. They contain high levels of protein and the important amino acids methionine, lysine, and tryptophan.  In combination with cereals, pigeon peas make a well-balanced human food. The dried peas may be sprouted briefly, then cooked, for a flavor different from the green or dried peas. Sprouting also enhances the digestibility of dried pigeon peas via the reduction of indigestible sugars that would otherwise remain in the cooked dried peas.

In India, split pigeon peas (toor dal) are one of the most popular pulses, being an important source of protein in a mostly vegetarian diet. In regions where it grows, fresh young pods are eaten as vegetable in dishes such as sambhar.

In Ethiopia, not only the pods but the young shoots and leaves are cooked and eaten.

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In some places, such as the Dominican Republic and Hawaii, pigeon peas are grown for canning and consumption. A dish made of rice and green pigeon peas (called “Moro de Guandules”) is a traditional food in Dominican Republic. Pigeon peas are also made as a stew, with plantain balls. In Puerto Rico, arroz con gandules is made with rice and pigeon peas and is a typical dish.

In Thailand, pigeon peas are grown as a host for scale insects which produce lac.

Pigeon peas are in some areas an important crop for green manure, providing up to 40 kg nitrogen per hectare. The woody stems of pigeon peas can also be used as firewood, fencing and thatch.

Nutrition
Used mainly for its edible young pods and seeds.

Chemical constituents :
Roots are considered antihelminthic, expectorant, febrifuge, sedative, vulnerary.
Seeds are rich in carbohydrates (58%) and proteins (19%).
Fair source of calcium and iron; good source of vitamin B.
Chemical studies reveal: 2′-2’methylcajanone, 2′-hydroxygenistein, isoflavones, cajanin, cahanones, among many others.

Analysis of dhal (without husk) gave the following values: moisture, 15.2; protein, 22.3; fat (ether extract), 1.7; mineral matter, 3.6; carbohydrate, 57.2; Ca, 9.1; and P, 0.26%; carotene evaluated as vitamin A, 220 IU and vitamin B1, 150 IU per 100 g. Sun-dried seeds of Cajanus cajan are reported to contain (per 100 g) 345 calories, 9.9% moisture, 19.5 g protein, 1.3 g fat, 65.5 g carbohydrate, 1.3 g fiber, 3.8 g ash, 161 mg Ca, 285 mg P, 15.0 mg Fe, 55 mg b-carotene equivalent, 0.72 mg thiamine, 0.14 mg riboflavin, and 2.9 mg niacin. Immature seeds of Cajanus cajan are reported to contain per 100 g, 117 calories, 69.5% moisture, 7.2 g protein, 0.6 g fat, 21.3 g total carbohydrate, 3.3 g fiber, 1.4 g ash, 29 mg Ca, 135 mg P, 1.3 mg Fe, 5 mg Na, 563 mg K, 145 mg b-carotene equivalent, 0.40 mg thiamine, 0.25 mg riboflavin, 2.4 mg niacin, and 26 mg ascorbic acid/100 g. Of the total amino acids, 6.7% is arginine, 1.2% cystine, 3.4% histidine, 3.8% isoleucine, 7.6% leucine, 7.0% lysine, 1.5% methionine, 8.7% phenylalanine, 3.4% threonine, 2.2% tyrosine, 5.0% valine, 9.8 aspartic acid, 19.2% glutamic acid, 6.4% alanine, 3.6% glycine, 4.4% proline, 5.0% serine with 0 values for canavanine, citrulline and homoserine. Methionine, cystine, and tryptophane are the main limiting amino acids. However, in combination with cereals, as pigeon peas are always eaten, this legume contributes to a nutritionally balanced human food. The oil of the seeds contains 5.7% linolenic acid, 51.4% linoleic, 6.3% oleic, and 36.6% saturated fatty acids. Seeds are reported to contain trypsin inhibitors and chymotrypsin inhibitors. Fresh green forage contains 70.4% moisture, 7.1 crude protein, 10.7 crude fiber, 7.9 N-free extract, 1.6 fat, 2.3 ash. The whole plant, dried and ground contains 1,1.2% moisture, 14.8 crude protein, 28.9 crude fiber, 39.9 N-free extract, 1.7 fat, and 3.5 ash. (Duke, 1981a)

Medicinal Uses:
Parts used
Leaves, roots.

Folkloric:-
*Decoction or infusionn of leaves for coughs, diarrhea, abdominal pains.
*Tender leaves are chewed for aphthous stomatitis and spongy gums.
*Pulped or poulticed leaves used for sores.
*In Peru, leaves are used as an infusion for anemial, hepatitis, diabetes, urinary infections and yellow fever.
*In Argentina, leaves used for genital and skin problems; flowers used for bronchitis, cough and pneumonia.
*In China, as vermifuge, vulnerary; for tumors.
*In Panama, used for treatment of diabetes (See study below).
*In Indian folk medicine, used for a variety of liver disorders.



Other Uses:

As forage or hay.
Branches and stems for basket and fuel. (Source)

Often grown as a shade crop for tree crops or vanilla, a cover crop, or occasionally as a windbreak hedge. In Thailand and N. Bengal, pigeon pea serves as host for the scale insect which produces lac or sticklac. In Malagasy the leaves are used as food for the silkworm. Dried stalks serve for fuel, thatch and basketry. (Duke, 1981a).

Studies:-
RBC Sickling Inhibition: StudyClinical studies have reported seed extracts to inhibit red blood cell sickling and potential benefit for people with sickle cell anemia.

• Antiplasmodial constituents of Cajanus cajan: Study isolated two stilbenes, longistylin A and C and betulinic acid from the roots and leaves of CC and showed moderately high in vitro activity against Plasmodium falcifarum strain.

• Stilbenes / Neuroprotective / Alzheimer’s Disease: Study of stilbenes containing extract-fraction from C cajan showed significant amelioration of cognitive deficits and neuron apoptosis. Findings suggest sECC has a potential in the development of therapeutic agent to manage cognitive impairment associated with Alzheimer’s disease through increase choline acetyltransferase activity and anti-oxidative mechanism.

• Hypocholesterolemic Effect: Study on the stilbenes containing extract-fraction of CC showed a hypocholesterolemic effect possibly through enhancement of hepatic LDL-receptor and cholesterol 7-alpha-hydroxylase expression levels and bile acid synthesis.

Hyperglycemic Effect: Evaluation of traditional medicine: effects of Cajanus cajan L. and of Cassia fistula L. on carbohydrate metabolism in mice: Contradicting its traditional use for diabetes, CC did not have a hypoglycemic effect on sugar, instead at higher doses, it produced a hyperglycemic effect.

Antimicrobial: Study shows the organic solvent extracts to inhibit E coli, S aureus and S typhi and the aqueous extract were inhibitory to E coli and S aureus.

• Antimicrobial / Antifungal: Nigerian study on the antimicrobial effects of the ethanol and aqueous extracts of locally available plants, including C cajan, showerd inhibition against S aureus, P aeruginosa, E coli and C albicans. The extracts of C cajam produced wider zones of inhibition against C albicans.

• Hyperglycemic Effect: Study of the aqueous extract of C cajan leaves showed a hyperglycemic effect, suggesting a usefulness incontrolling hypoglycemia that may be due to excess of insulin or other hypoglycemic drugs.

• Hepatoprotective: (1) Study of the methanol-aqueous fraction of C cajan leaf extract showed it could prevent the chronically treated alcohol induced rat liver damage and presents a promise as a non-toxic herb for therapeutic use in alcohol-induced liver dysfunction. (2) Study in mice with carbon tetrachloride-induced liver damage showed the methanol extracts of B orellana, C cajan, G pentaphylla and C equisetifolia showed significant decrease in levels of serum markers, indicating the protection of hepatic cells in a dose-dependent manner.

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/Pigeon_pea
http://www.stuartxchange.com/Kadios.html
http://vaniindia.org.whbus12.onlyfordemo.com/herbal/plantdir.asp

http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/duke_energy/Cajanus_cajun.html

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Is Red Meat’s Bad Name Justified?

The news for red meat seems to be getting worse and worse.

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In December, a survey of more than 494,000 people by the National Institutes of Health found that men who ate more than 5 ounces of red meat each day and women who ate more than 3 ounces had a 51% greater risk of esophageal cancer, 61% of liver cancer and 24% of colorectal cancer than those who ate less than an ounce of red meat daily

In October 2007, the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research, two charities that fund research on the effects of diet and activity on cancer risk, declared that the evidence linking red meat consumption and colorectal cancer was “convincing.”

And though previous reports for breast cancer have been contradictory overall, findings published in July from a Harvard study of more than 39,000 young nurses suggested that the risk of getting breast cancer before menopause goes up for every extra daily serving of red meat a woman ate as a teenager, a time period that had not been studied before.

Add the numerous studies linking red meat to other cancers, cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and even Alzheimer’s disease, and it sounds like the hamburger you had for lunch might as well have been laced with rat poison.

In fact, there is a place for red meat in a healthful diet, scientists say, but they recommend choosing smaller portions of lean cuts and cooking them well but not at high temperatures.

The question is which meat components are responsible for the observed health risks. Scientists have several theories, though none seems to tell the whole story.

Red meat can contain a lot of saturated fats and cholesterol, known contributors to cardiovascular disease. “We know that dementia is strongly related to vascular disease, so it’s likely we’ll find a relationship there as well,” says Dr. Walter Willett, chair of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Contributing factors
Meat from commercially raised livestock also contains a high amount of omega-6 fats, which have been associated with poor cardiovascular health, but a low amount of omega-3 fats, which may be protective.

Another potential culprit is the iron in meat. Iron is essential for health, but iron from meat comes in a different form than that from vegetables and legumes, one that is absorbed whether the body needs it or not. “This type of iron can cause oxidative damage to all the components of the cell — the protein, lipid, DNA, RNA,” says Al Tappel, professor emeritus of food science at UC Davis.

Many of the studies that found an association between meat consumption and health risks did not differentiate between unprocessed meat, such as a steak, and processed or cured meats such as salami, bacon, pepperoni, bologna and hot dogs. Chemicals in processed meats may account for some of the cancer risk.

Finally, high-temperature cooking methods, such as grilling over charcoal, can cause the formation of known carcinogens such as heterocyclic amines, or HCAs, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs.

Mary Young, a registered dietitian from the Centennial, Colo.-based National Cattlemen’s Beef Assn., says that a study it commissioned on the science of red meat reached a very different conclusion (the study has not yet been published). “Red meat does not cause cancer,” she says. “Beef is really one of the most underappreciated nutrient-rich foods out there” — rich in protein and eight other nutrients, including B vitamins and zinc.

Some scientists, too, think that the risk of red meat has been overplayed. “The proof is not as strong as some people would like to think,” says Iowa State University animal science professor Don Beitz. “Cancer is such a multifactorial [problem]. I don’t see how one can just pin it on certain pollutants or nutrients.”

Rock-hard conclusions require carefully controlled, long-term, well-defined studies of many people. Each one of these requirements can be difficult to meet, so scientists rely heavily on epidemiological studies in which the normal habits of large numbers of people are tracked, often pooling the results of multiple studies.

But unlike lab rats, humans don’t live in a perfectly controlled environment, which makes it difficult to determine if it’s meat or something else in the diet or environment that leads to an observed cancer risk. Also, some studies ask people to recall what they ate years ago, and many studies don’t even define red meat the same way.

Even when a correlation between meat consumption and illness is found, the effect can be significant but small. In the December 2007 study, for example, high meat consumption resulted in only a 50% increased risk of developing esophageal cancer — by way of comparison, smoking can increase a person’s risk of developing lung cancer by 1,000% or more.

But to dismiss all risks because of inconsistencies in the research is unreasonable, Willett says. “That’s exactly the same argument used by cigarette manufacturers to say that smoking is not harmful. . . . The perfect study will never be done. The next best thing will be epidemiology.”

Scientists generally agree that lean red meat has a place in a healthful diet — in moderation. Studies showing increased cancer risks have mostly focused on high meat intake; the greatest risk increases are for those eating far more than the USDA-recommended limit of 18 ounces per week.

“One approach is to treat red and processed meat as a treat and not a regular staple,” said Dr. Michael J. Thun, vice president of epidemiology and surveillance research at the American Cancer Society

Moderation, it appears, is not the American way. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in 2006 the average American consumed 95 pounds of beef and 64 pounds of pork — about 7 ounces of red meat a day.

To sidestep some health concerns without giving up steak, some consumers have turned to grass-fed beef, which studies have shown to contain a heart-healthier ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids.

Meanwhile, scientists are looking to make beef more healthful via selective breeding.

The amount of specific nutrients in steaks from two animals of the same breed can vary by a factor of two or three, Beitz says. He and others in a group of researchers known as the National Beef Cattle Evaluation Consortium hope to find genetic markers for a host of nutrients, including omega-3 and other beneficial fats, zinc and vitamins B6 and B12. The research, sponsored by Pfizer Animal Science, would help animal breeders look at animals’ genetic profiles to select ones with the best nutritional composition.

“In a way, we’re trying to allow people to indulge themselves to a greater extent than to moderate,” said James Reecy, an Iowa State geneticist also involved in the project.

The same technique could be used to limit the unhealthy components of meat as well, such as specific saturated fats. Cattle breeders have already begun doing this, Reecy says.

Willett isn’t convinced that these efforts will eradicate the health risks that come from consuming red meat. “You may make it healthier in one way, but you’re unlikely to fix all the problems at the same time,” he says.

Click to see:->Red Meat Does and Doesnot

Sources:Los Angles Times

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Cornsilk (Zea mays)

Other names: Maize, mais

Description: Corn is a grass which can grow up to 3 meter. Corn forms thick stems with long leaves. The flowers of corn are monoecious: each corn plant forms male and female flowers. The male flowers form the tassel at the top and produce yellow pollen. The female flowers are situated in leave axils and form stigmas or corn silk (yellow soft threads). The purpose of the cornsilk is to catch the pollen. The cornsilk is normally light green but can have other colours such as yellow, yellow or light brown.

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The yellowish thread-like strands found inside the husks of corn. The stigmas are found on the female flower of corn, a grain that is also known as maize and is a member of the grass family (Gramineae or Poaceae). The stigmas measure 4–8 in (10–20 cm) long and are collected for medicinal use before the plant is pollinated. Cornsilk can also be removed from corn cobs for use as a remedy.

If fertilized, the stigmas dry and become brown. Then yellow corn kernels develop. Corn is native to North America and now grows around the world in warm climates.

Cornsilk is also known as mother’s hair, Indian corn, maize jagnog, Turkish corn, yu mi xu, and stigmata maydis.

Parts used: Only cornsilk (styles and stigmas) is harvested for medicinal properties. Cornsilk should be harvested just before pollination occurs. Cornsilk can be used fresh or dried. The corn kernels (or corn) are a well known food.

Phytochemicals: Maysin, Carvacrol, Flavonoids, Polyphenols

Medicinal properties: Cornsilk has detoxifying, relaxing and diuretic activity. Cornsilk is used to treat infections of the urinary and genital system, such as cystitis, prostatitis and urethritis. Cornsilk helps to reduce frequent urination caused by irritation of the bladder and is used to treat bed wetting problems.

Some historians believe that corn has grown for more than 7,000 years in North America. About the time that Christopher Columbus brought the first corn to Europe, the grain grew throughout North and South America. The venerable plant’s stigmas have long been used in folk medicine to treat urinary conditions including inflammation of the bladder and painful urination.

Cornsilk also served as a remedy for heart trouble, jaundice, malaria, and obesity. Cornsilk is rich in vitamin K, making it useful in controlling bleeding during childbirth. It has also been used to treat gonorrhea.

For more than a century, cornsilk has been a remedy for urinary conditions such as acute and inflamed bladders and painful urination. It was also used to treat the prostate. Some of those uses have continued into modern times; cornsilk is a contemporary remedy for all conditions of the urinary passage.

Drinking cornsilk tea is a remedy to help children stop wetting their beds, a condition known as enuresis. It is also a remedy for urinary conditions experienced by the elderly.

Cornsilk is used to treat urinary tract infections and kidney stones in adults. Cornsilk is regarded as a soothing diuretic and useful for irritation in the urinary system. This gives it added importance, since today, physicians are more concerned about the increased use of antibiotics to treat infections, especially in children. Eventually, overuse can lead to drug-resistant bacteria. Also, these drugs can cause complications in children.

Furthermore, cornsilk is used in combination with other herbs to treat conditions such as cystitis (inflammation of the urinary bladder), urethritis (inflammation of the urethra), and parostitis (mumps).

Cornsilk is said to prevent and remedy infections of the bladder and kidney. The tea is also believed to diminish prostate inflammation and the accompanying pain when urinating.

Since cornsilk is used as a kidney remedy and in the regulation of fluids, the herb is believed to be helpful in treating high blood pressure and water retention. Corn-silk is also used as a remedy for edema (the abnormal accumulation of fluids).

Cornsilk is used to treat urinary conditions in countries including the United Sates, China, Haiti, Turkey, and Trinidad. Furthermore, in China, cornsilk as a component in an herbal formula is used to treat diabetes.

In addition, cornsilk has some nonmedical uses. Cornsilk is an ingredient in cosmetic face powder. The herb used for centuries to treat urinary conditions acquired another modern-day use. Cornsilk is among the ingredients in a product advertised to help people pass their drug tests.

In China, cornsilk is traditionally used to treat oedema and jaundice. Studies indicate that cornsilk can reduces blood clotting time and reduce high blood pressure.

Preparations:
Some herbalists say that cornsilk is best used when fresh, but it is also available in dried form. Cornsilk can be collected from the female flower or from corn cobs. In addition, cornsilk is available commercially in powdered and capsule form and as an extract. Cornsilk is usually brewed as a tea, a beverage that is said to be soothing.

Cornsilk tea or infusion can be made by pouring 1 cup (240 ml) of boiling water over 2 tsp (2.5 g) of dried cornsilk. The mixture is covered and steeped for 10–15 minutes. The tea should be consumed three times daily.

In addition, a tincture of 1 tsp (3-6 ml) of cornsilk can be taken three times daily. Tincture can be purchased over the counter, or made at home by mixing the herb with water or alcohol at a ratio of 1:5 or 1:10.

Cornsilk is also available in capsule form. The usual dosage for 400-mg capsules is two capsules. These are taken with meals three times daily.

A Remedy for Bedwetting:
Herbal remedies can be part of the treatment when children wet their beds. Methods of stopping this behavior include having the child exercise during the day, drink fewer beverages in the evening, and drink a cup of cornsilk tea one hour before bedtime. Cornsilk could be the only ingredient in the tea. However, cornsilk can be part of an herbal combination if bedwetting is caused by lack of nervous control of the bladder.

Cornsilk Combinations:
Cornsilk combines well with other herbs to remedy a range of urinary conditions. One remedy for a bed-wetting tea is to combine one part of cornsilk, St. John’s wort, horsetail, wild oat, and lemon balm.

An herbal practitioner can recommend other combination remedies to treat more complicated conditions. For example, when a person has cystitis, cornsilk can be combined with yarrow, buchu, couchgrass, or bearberry.

Furthermore, cornsilk may be an ingredient in a commercial remedy taken to maintain the urinary tract system. Other ingredients could include yarrow and marsh mallow.

Other facts: Corn originates from Central America but is cultivated in many countries as a food crop and as fodder. In countries with colder climate the whole corn plant is used a cattle feed.

Precautions:
Cornsilk is safe when taken in proper dosages, according to sources including PDR (Physician’s Desk Reference) for Herbal Medicines,, the 1998 book based on the findings of Germany’s Commission E. The commission published its findings about herbal remedies in a 1997 monograph.

If a person decides to collect fresh cornsilk, attention should be paid to whether the plants were sprayed with pesticides.

Side Effects:
There are no known side effects when cornsilk is taken in designated therapeutic dosages.

Interactions:
Information is not available about whether there is an interaction when cornsilk is taken with medication. People taking medications should first check with their doctor or health practitioner before using cornsilk.

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.phytochemicals.info/plants/cornsilk.php
http://www.answers.com/topic/cornsilk

 

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