Herbs & Plants

Musa acuminata

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Botanical Name :Musa acuminata
Family: Musaceae
Genus: Musa
Species: M. acuminata
Kingdom: Plantae
clade: Angiosperms
clade: Monocots
clade: Commelinids
Order: Zingiberales

Common Name :Wild banana

Habitat :Musa acuminata is  native to Southeast Asia.(E. Asia – Southern China, India, Malaysia and the Phillipines.) It grows in Shaded and moist ravines, marshlands, semi-marshlands and slopes from near sea level to 1200 metres.

Musa acuminata are perennial herbs (not trees) growing to 3m. The trunk (known as the pseudostem) is made of tightly packed layers of leaf sheaths emerging from completely or partially buried corms.

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The inflorescence of Musa acuminata grows horizontally or obliquely from the trunk. The individual flowers are white to yellowish-white in color and are negatively geotropic (that is, growing upwards and away from the ground). Both male and female flowers are present in a single inflorescence. Female flowers located near the base (and develop into fruit), and the male flowers located at the tipmost top-shaped bud in between leathery bract
The rather slender fruits are berries, the size of each depends on the number of seeds they contain. Each fruit can have 15 to 62 seeds. Each fruit bunch can have an average of 161.76 ± 60.62 fingers with each finger around 2.4 cm (0.94 in) by 9 cm (3.5 in) in size.

The seeds of Musa acuminata are around 5 to 6 mm (0.20 to 0.24 in) in diameter. They are subglobose or angular in shape and very hard. The tiny embryo is located at the end of the micropyle. Each seed of Musa acuminata typically produce around four times its size in edible starchy pulp (the parenchyma, the portion of the bananas we eat), around 0.23 cm3 (0.014 cu in). The ratio increases dramatically for the ‘seedless’ modern edible cultivars. The much reduced in size and sterile seeds are now surrounded by 23 times its size in edible pulp. The seeds themselves are reduced to tiny black specks along the central axis of the fruit

It is hardy to zone 9 and is frost tender. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)
The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.

Requires a sunny sheltered position in a well-drained fertile soil with a pH between 6 and 7.5. This species is able to tolerate light frosts, but it requires a very sheltered position. Another report says that it requires a minimum winter temperature of 10°c and no lower than 18°c when the fruit is ripening. Wild plants are diploid (2n = 22) and bear fruits containing numerous seeds making them inedible. Cultivated plants are triploid (2n = 33) and bear seedless, edible fruits; such plants have been called M. acuminata ‘Dwarf Cavendish’ (M. cavendishii Lambert ex Paxton; M. chinensis Sweet; M. nana Loureiro).

Seed – sow the large seed in individual pots in the spring in a warm greenhouse at about 20°c[200]. Grow the seedlings on in a rich soil, giving occasional liquid feeds. Keep the plants in the greenhouse for at least three years before trying them outdoors. Division of suckers in late spring. Dig up the suckers with care, trying to cause the least disturbance to the main plant. Pot them up and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in a greenhouse until they are well established.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Fruit.

Fruit – raw or dried for later use. Sweet. The fruit is up to 12cm long and 2.5cm wide.

Medicinal Uses :
Banana Lectin BanLec linked to anti-cancer and anti-HIV properties.

Bananas have been present in our diets since long time ago, they are rich in potassium, a mineral that plays a very important role in mass bone formation and regulation of blood pressure, magnesium, selenium, phosphorous, iron, vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc (very important to regulate sleep cycles and enhance male reproductive functions)…etc.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider


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Herbs & Plants

Aralia chinensis

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Botanical Name : Aralia chinensis
Family: Araliaceae
Genus: Aralia
Species: A. chinensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales

Synonyms: Aralia sinensis Hort,A. elata.

Common Names :Chinese Angelica Tree, Pumila Spirea, Chinese Astilbe

Habitat :   Aralia chinensis is native to E. Asia – China. (China, Vietnam, and Malaysia.)  It grows in forests on rich well moistened soil.

Aralia chinensis is a deciduous Shrub growing to 3.5 m (11ft 6in).It is somewhat prickly and hairy ornamental type,  having leathery twice-pinnate leaves, and panicles of creamy-white flowers, succeeded by black berries. The variegated form with an irregular silvery bordering to the leaflets is particularly handsome

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It is frost tender. It is in flower from Aug to September, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils.The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils..It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) or semi-shade (light woodland).It requires moist soil.

Prefers a good deep loam and a semi-shady position. Requires a sheltered position. Plants are hardier when grown in poorer soils. The young growth in spring, even on mature plants, is frost-tender and so it is best to grow the plants in a position sheltered from the early morning sun. This species is closely allied to A. elata. A very ornamental plant.

Propagation  :   
Seed – best sown as soon as ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed requires 3 – 5 months of cold stratification. Germination usually takes place within 1 – 4 months at 20°c. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse for at least their first winter. Once the plants are 25cm or more tall, they can be planted out into their permanent positions, late spring or early summer being the best time to do this. Root cuttings 8cm long, December in a cold frame. Store the roots upside down in sand and pot up in March/April. High percentage. Division of suckers in late winter. Very easy, the suckers can be planted out direct into their permanent positions if required.

Edible Uses:       
Edible Parts: Leaves.

Young shoots – cooked. Used as a vegetable. Blanched and used in salads. Although no records of edibility have been seen for the seed, it is said to contain 5.8 – 17.5% protein, 4.2 – 46.3% fat and 3.7 – 5.7% ash.

Medicinal Uses:

Anodyne;  CarminativeDiuretic;  Sialagogue.

The stem and root are anodyne and carminative. It is used as a warming painkilling herb in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. The root is also considered to be useful in the treatment of diabetes and dysmenorrhoea. Some caution is advised since the bark is considered to be slightly poisonous. The stembark is diuretic and sialagogue.The plant also relieves flatulence.  It regulates body moisture and  promotes the health of the circulatory and respiratory systems.  The roots and stems are used in decoctions.  Single dose: 31-62g.  Studies in vitro showed that the water extract of herb had cytotoxical effect on esophageal cell line and tests in vivo indicated that it was effective against SAK, HepS, EAC, s180, and U14 murine tumors.

Other Uses:Birds & Wildlife; Deer Resistant; Wind-Breaks; Likes Shade;

Known Hazards :  The bark is considered to be slightly 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.


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Herbs & Plants

Limnophila aromatica

Botanical Name : Limnophila aromatica
Family: Plantaginaceae
Genus: Limnophila
Species: L. aromatica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Synonym: Limnophila chinensis var. aromatica
Common Name : Rice Paddy Herb;     It is called “roum om” in Khmer or Phnom Penh dialect “ma om”.

Habitat : Limnophila aromatica is native to Southeast Asia, where it flourishes in hot temperatures and grows most often in watery environments, particularly in flooded rice fields. It is called ngò om or ngo in Vietnam and used as an herb and also cultivated for use as an aquarium plant.The plant was introduced to North America in the 1970s due to Vietnamese immigration following the Vietnam War.


Limnophila aromatica grows to a height of 10 to 20 inches (up to 24in.) (MID to BACKGROUND) The width of each stem is about 2 inches, based on leaf growth
Medium to high lighting (2.0 – 4 watts/gal)  Optimum growth temperature is 72 to 82.4 degrees

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There are several varieties of this plant. The variety grown by Tropica is said to come from Malaysia. It is characterised by its narrow green leaves, which are purple underneath. Like most other red plants, the colour depends on a supply of intensive light. CO2 addition promotes growth significantly, and it also thrives in hard water. Limnophila aromatica is easy to propagate by cuttings. (Excerpt From Tropica)

Limnophila aromatica grows best on drained but still wet sandy soil of harvested rice paddies for a few months after the rainy season ended. After rain stops at the end of monsoon reason in Cambodia, on the right soil, the herb grows everywhere like wildfire. it dies out soon after it flowers. Rural Cambodians often harvest them and put them on the roof of their houses to dry for later use.

Edible Uses:
L. aromatica has a flavor and aroma reminiscent of both lemon and cumin. It is used most often in Vietnamese cuisine, where it is called ngò om. It is an ingredient in canh chua, a sweet and sour seafood soup which also includes tamarind,not to be confused with ngò gai which is also added as an accompaniment to the noodle soup called ph?. In Thai cuisine it is known as phak kayang and is also used to make om
It is used in all traditional Cambodian soup dishes

Medicinal Uses:
In Asia, rau om is employed to treat many ailments.  In China, it is used for the treatment of intoxication and pain; in Indochina, to treat wounds; in Malaysia, chiefly as a poultice on sore legs, but also to promote appetite, and as an expectorant to clear mucus from the respiratory tract, and to treat fever; and in Indonesia, as an antiseptic or cleanser for worms.  The plant is also used in Asia for menstrual problems, wounds, dysentery, fever, elephantiasis, and indigestion.

The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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Herbs & Plants

Pogostemom patchouli

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Botanical Name :  Pogostemom patchouli
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Pogostemon
Species: P. cablin
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Common Names:Patchouli,Pogostemon cablin,patchouly

Habitat :Pogostemom patchouli is native to tropical regions of Asia, and is now extensively cultivated in China, Indonesia, India, Malaysia, Mauritius, Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam, as well as West Africa.

Pogostemon patchouli, or Patchouly plant, is a tender perennial herb that hails from Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and southern China. It is widely grown for Patchouly oil that is used in perfumery. Plants have dark to medium green leaves that reach up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) long by about half as wide. Plants in containers run about 12 inches (30 cm) tall with an equal spread. They are hardy in USDA zone 8-12.


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Blooming Time: In late fall, this greenhouse-grown plant blooms with very small flowers that are purplish. They are very insignificant.

Pogostemon patchouli need full sun to partial shade, with a rich well-drained soil mix. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix consisting of 2 parts peat moss to 1 part loam to 1 part sand or perlite. During the growing season, the plants are watered regularly and fertilized every other week with a balanced fertilizer diluted to ½ the strength recommended on the label. After the plants flower, they are cut back and water is somewhat restricted for the winter months.

Propagation: Pogostemon patchouli is propagated by cuttings or by seed. Cuttings are taken in the spring and are slow to root, so be patient.

Medicinal Uses:
In China, Japan and Malaysia the herb is used to treat colds, headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain an halitosis.  In Japan and Malaysia it is used as an antidote to poisonous snakebites.

In several Asian countries, such as Japan and Malaysia, patchouli is used as an antidote for venomous snakebites. The plant and oil have many claimed health benefits in herbal folk-lore and the scent is used to induce relaxation. Chinese medicine uses the herb to treat headaches, colds, nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Patchouli oil can be purchased from mainstream Western pharmacies and alternative therapy sources as an aromatherapy oil.

Other Uses;
Patchouli is used widely in modern perfumery[8] and modern scented industrial products such as paper towels, laundry detergents, and air fresheners. Two important components of its essential oil are patchoulol and norpatchoulenol. From the sixties until today, it is a favored scent by members of the counterculture.

One study suggests patchouli oil may serve as an all-purpose insect repellent.  More specifically, the patchouli plant is claimed to be a repellent potent against the Formosan subterranean termite.

During the 18th and 19th century, silk traders from China traveling to the Middle East packed their silk cloth with dried patchouli leaves to prevent moths from laying their eggs on the cloth.[citation needed] It has also been proven to effectively prevent female moths from adhering to males, and vice versa. Many historians speculate that this association with opulent Eastern goods is why patchouli was considered by Europeans of that era to be a luxurious scent. It is said that patchouli was used in the linen chests of Queen Victoria in this way.

Patchouli is an important ingredient in East Asian incense. Both patchouli oil and incense underwent a surge in popularity in the 1960s and 1970s in the US and Europe, mainly due to the hippie movement of those decades.

Hair conditioner:
Patchouli oil is also used as a hair conditioner for dreadlocks.

The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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Herbs & Plants

Dryobalanops aromatica

Botanical Name : Dryobalanops aromatica
Family: Dipterocarpaceae
Genus: Dryobalanops
Species: D. aromatica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malvales

Arbor camphorifera Rumph., Dipterocarpus dryobalanops Steud., Dipterocarpus teres Steud., Dryobalanops camphora Colebr., Dryobalanops junghuhnii Becc., Dryobalanops vriesii Becc., Pterigium teres Correa, Shorea camphorifera Roxb.

Common Name:Borneol, Borneo Camphor, Camphor Tree, Malay Camphor, or Sumatran Camphor
Local Names in Borneo :Kapur, Kapur anggi, Kapur bukit, Kapur peringii, Kapur ranggi, Keladan, Kladan, Telajin.

Habitat :Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo (Sarawak, Brunei, Sabah, East-Kalimantan).In undisturbed mixed dipterocarp forests up to 300 m altitude. Growing on hillsides and ridges with sandy soils. In secondary forests usually present as a pre-disturbance remnant tree.

Emergent trees up to 62 m tall and 197 cm dbh. Stem with resin. Stipules up to ca. 7 mm long. Leaves alternate, simple, penni-veined, secondary venation very close together. Flowers ca. 5 mm in diameter, white, placed in short panicles. Fruits ca. 35 mm long, yellow-red-purplish, with five wings originating from the calyx base up to ca. 50 mm long, wind dispersed.

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Medicinal Uses:
Used internally as sedative and antispasmodic.  Externally it is employed as antiphlogistic in stomatitis, nasal mucositis, conjunctivitis.    The drug’s analgesic and antipyretic properties make it an excellent external remedy for abscesses, boils, sores, sore throat and other external heat excess symptoms.

Other Uses:Timber is used.It is a heavy hardwood sold under the trade names of Kapur. It is recorded from at least two protected areas (Lambir and Gunung Mulu National Parks).

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.