Herbs & Plants


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Kingdom: Flora

Division: Chlorophyta

Class: Trebouxiophyceae


Family: Chlorellaceae

Genus: Chlorella

Chlorella is a genus of single-celled green algae, belonging to the phylum Chlorophyta. It is spherical in shape, about 2 to 10 ?m in diameter, and is without flagella. Chlorella contains the green photosynthetic pigments chlorophyll-a and -b in its chloroplast. Through photosynthesis it multiplies rapidly requiring only carbon dioxide, water, sunlight, and a small amount of minerals to reproduce.

The name Chlorella is taken from the Greek word chloros meaning green and the Latin diminutive suffix ella meaning “small.” German biochemist Otto Heinrich Warburg received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1931 for his study on photosynthesis in Chlorella. In 1961 Melvin Calvin of the University of California received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his research on the pathways of carbon dioxide assimilation in plants using Chlorella. In recent years, researchers have made less use of Chlorella as an experimental organism because it lacks a sexual cycle and, therefore, the research advantages of genetics are unavailable.

Many people believed Chlorella could serve as a potential source of food and energy because its photosynthetic efficiency can, in theory, reach 8%, comparable with other highly efficient crops such as sugar cane. It is also an attractive food source because it is high in protein and other essential nutrients; when dried, it is about 45% protein, 20% fat, 20% carbohydrate, 5% fiber, and 10% minerals and vitamins. However, because it is a single-celled algae, harvest posed practical difficulties for its large-scale use as a food source. Mass-production methods are now being used to cultivate it in large artificial circular ponds.

Chlorella as a food source:-
Following global fears of an uncontrollable population boom, during the late 1940s and the early 1950s Chlorella was seen as a new and promising primary food source and as a possible solution to the then current world hunger crisis. Many people during this era thought that world hunger was a growing problem and saw Chlorella as a way to end this crisis by being able to provide large amounts of high quality food for a relatively low cost.

Many institutions began to research the algae, including the Carnegie Institution, the Rockefeller Foundation, the NIH, UC Berkeley, the Atomic Energy Commission, and Stanford University. Following WWII, many Europeans were starving and many Malthusians attributed this not only to the war but to the inability of the world to produce enough food to support the currently-increasing population. According to a 1946 FAO report, the world would need to produce 25 to 35 percent more food in 1960 than in 1939 to keep up with the increasing population, while health improvements would require a 90 to 100 percent increase. Because meat was costly and energy-intensive to produce, protein shortages were also an issue. Increasing cultivated area alone would go only so far in providing adequate nutrition to the population. The USDA calculated to feed the US population by 1975, it would have to add 200 million acres (800,000 km²) of land, but only 45 million were available. One way to combat national food shortages was to increase the land available for farmers, yet the American frontier and farm land had long since been extinguished in trade for expansion and urban life. Hopes rested solely on new agricultural techniques and technologies. Because of these circumstances, an alternative solution was needed.

To cope with the upcoming post-war population boom in the United States and elsewhere, researchers decided to tap into the unexploited sea resources. Initial testing by the Stanford Research Institute showed Chlorella (when growing in warm, sunny, shallow conditions) could convert 20 percent of solar energy into a plant, when dried, contained 50 percent protein. In addition, Chlorella contained amino acids, fat, calories, and vitamins. The plant’s photosynthetic efficiency allowed it to yield more protein per unit area than any other plant — one scientist predicted 10,000 tons of protein a year could be produced with just 20 workers staffing a one thousand-acre (4 km²) Chlorella farm. The pilot research performed at Stanford and elsewhere led to immense press from journalists and newspapers, yet never proved out. Chlorella was a seemingly-viable option because of the technological advances in agriculture at the time and the widespread acclaim it got from experts and scientists who studied it. Algae researchers had even hoped to add a neutralized Chlorella powder to conventional food products, as a way to fortify them with vitamins and minerals. However, the hype far surpassed the productivity of the plant, and early estimates of its success were proven to be no more than exaggerated optimism.

In the end, scientists discovered Chlorella would be much more difficult to produce than previously thought. The experimental research was carried out in laboratories, not in the field. In order to be practical, the entire batch of algae grown would have to be placed either in artificial light or in shade to produce at its maximum photosynthetic efficiency. Also, for the Chlorella to be as productive as the world would require, it would have to be grown in carbonated water, which would have added millions to the production cost. A sophisticated process, and additional cost, was required to harvest the crop, and for Chlorella to be a viable food source, its cellulose cell walls would have to be pulverized. The plant could reach its nutritional potential only in highly-modified artificial situations. Economic problems and the public’s distaste for the flavor of chlorella and its byproducts ultimately led to the plan’s demise.

Since the growing world food problem of the 1940s was solved by better crop efficiency and not from a “super food,” Chlorella has lost public and scientific interest for the time being. Chlorella can still be found today in rare occasions from companies still promoting its “super food” effects

It was believed in the early 1940s that, unlike most plants, Chlorella protein was “complete,” for it had the ten amino acids then considered essential, and it was also packed with calories, fat, and vitamins. Chlorella has been found to have anti-tumor properties when fed to mice. Another study found enhanced vascular function in hypertensive rats given oral doses of chlorella. Although at its onset Chlorella was thought to add a “dirt-cheap” form of high protein to the human diet, studies proved otherwise. Chlorella, which actually loses most of its nutritional value when altered or processed in any way, was no longer an effective protein, and, therefore, pro-Chlorella supporters decided to communicate other health benefits of the algae. Hence, weight control, cancer prevention, and immune system support are all positive health benefits attributed to this algae.

It was also thought humans would never eat algae directly; instead, they believed it could be added to animal feed, thereby increasing to protein consumption indirectly.

Under certain growing conditions, Chlorella yields oils high in polyunsaturated fats—Chlorella minutissima has yielded EPA at 39.9% of total lipids.

Active Ingredients: Dried Chlorella contains: Moisture 4.6%; Protein 58.4%; Total lipid (fat) 9.3%; Carbohydrate, by difference 23.2%; Fiber, total dietary 0.3%; Ash 4.2%. Minerals (per 100g): Calcium, 221mg; Iodine 0.4mg; Iron, 130mg; Magnesium, 315mg; Phosphorus, 895mg; Zinc, 71.0mg. Vitamins: Vitamin C, 10.4mg; Niacin 23.8mg; Biotin 0.2mg; Pantothenic acid 1.1mg; Vitamin B-1 1.7; Vitamin B-2 4.3; Vitamin B-6 1.4mg; Vitamin B-12 0.13; Folate, 94mcg; Vitamin A (activity) 51,300 IU; Vitamin E >1.5mg (ate). Lipids include essential fatty acids and gamma linolenic acid (GLA). Amino acids: Tryptophan 0.5g; Threonine 2.4g; Isoleucine 2.3g; Leucine 4.7g; lysine 3.0g; Methionine 1.3g; Cystine 0.7g; phenylalanine 2.777g; tyrosine 2.6g; Valine 3.2g; Arginine 3.3g; Histidine 1.1g; Alanine 4.3g; Aspartic acid 4.7g; Glutamic acid 5.8g; Glycine 3.1g; proline 2.4g; serine 2.0g; Proline 2.5; Others 11.4. [Source of Information: Dr. Joseph M. Mercola 1997-2001].

Health Benefits and healing effects:
The use of Chlorella for healing effects has received criticism. However, clinical studies demonstrate healing effects of chlorella, including dioxin detoxification in humans and animals, healing from radiation exposure in animals and the ability to reduce high blood pressure, lower serum cholesterol levels, accelerate wound healing, and enhance immune functions in humans.

You may click to see:>Chlorella provides a tremendous source of concentrated nutrition

>Chlorella for cleansing and detoxification

>Superfoods For Optimum Health: Chlorella and Spirulina
Chlorella – The Natural Wonder Supplement

> Health Benefits of Chlorella:

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

Euphorbia Tirukalli(Milk bush)

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Botanical Name:Euphorbia tirucalli L. (Euphorbiaceae)

Family: Euphorbiaceae

Genus: Euphorbia

Species: E. tirucalli

Other Names:Indian Tree Spurge, pencil tree or milk bush

English name
: Milk bush, Indian tree spurge.

Sanskrit names : Shatala, Trikantaka.

Vernacular names: Ben: Ganderi, Lankasij, Latadoona; Guj : Thor dandalio; Konpol, Sehund; Hin :Kan : Bantakalli; Mar: Shera; Tam: Tirukalli, Kalli; Tel: Chemudu.

Trade name:

Habitat: Introduced from tropical Africa, naturalised in the drier parts of India; elsewhere largely cultivated as hedges and fuel plants.

Euphorbia tirucalli is an Erect tree, 3-6 m high, branches thin, cylindrical, spreading, scattered, clustered, whorled, latex extraordinarily abundant, sticky and acrid; leaves alternate, linear, caducous, petioles modified to phylloclade; involucres clustered in the forks of branches, inconspicuous, flowers shortly pedicelled, bracteoles numerous; cocci dark brown, velvety, compressed; seeds ovoid, smooth.


Flowering: very scarce, mainly in June-July; Fruiting: July-October.

Ecology and cultivation: Xerophytic.
According to Melvin Calvin, Euphorbia tirucalli “will grow in the same soils sugarcane will grow in, even without irrigation” (Gogerty, 1977). Calvin notes that 5 cm cuttings take readily and increased one-thousand fold in one growing season, attaining more than 50 cm height in the first growing season (Calvin, 1980).

General Uses:
Euphorbia tirucalli is a shrub that grows in semi-arid tropical climates. Milk bush produces a poisonous latex which can, with little effort, be converted to the equivalent of gasoline. This led chemist Melvin Calvin to propose the exploitation of milk bush for producing oil. This usage is particularly appealing because of the ability of milk bush to grow on land that is not suitable for most other crops. Calvin estimated that 10 to 50 barrels of oil per acre was achievable.

Chemical contents: Root: cycloartenol, euphorbol and its hexacosanoate, taraxerone, tinyatoxin; Bark: euphorbol and its hexacosanate, euphorginol=taraxer­14-en-6-01, ingenol and its triacetate, taraxerone; Latex: a-amyrin, β-sitosterol, cycloartenol, cycloeuphordenol, 4-deoxyphorbol and its esters, euphol, euphorbinol, isoeuphorbol, palmitic acid, taraxerol, tinyatoxin, tirucallol, trimethyl ellagic acid; it may be noted that there are differences in chemical contents of latex of plant growing in differenet countries; Stem: campesterol, hentriacontane, hentriacontanol, kaempferol, stigmasterol, methyl ellagic acid.

Different  Uses:
Probably most familiar as a subtropical and tropical ornamental, aveloz has recently made popular headlines as a potential “cancer cure” and more important, as an energy source. Growing in rather arid zones as well as more mesophytic zones, the species makes a good living fence post. A large shrub, Euphorbia tirucalli, is used as a hedge in Brazil. According to Calvin, these plants grow well in dry regions or land that is not suitable for growing food. He estimates that the plants might be capable of producing between 10 and 50 barrels of oil per acre. Cut near the ground, they would be run through a mill like a cane crushing mill, while the plants would regrow from the stumps. Crude obtained from these plants would run $3.00 to $10.00 per barrel. Calvin discussed this concept with Petrobas, the Brazilian national petroleum company, which is investigating. Calvin’s most exciting statement, if true, would be a boon to Brazil and the United States. “He estimates, assuming a yield of 40 barrels per acre (100 barrels per hectare) that an area the size of Arizona would be necessary to meet current requirements for gasoline” (in the U.S.). (Science 194: 46, 1976). The latex is toxic to fish and rats. Africans regard the tree as a mosquito repellent. In Ganjium, rice boiled with the latex is used as an avicide. Aqueous wood extracts are antibiotic against Staphylococcus aureus. The wood, weighing 34 pounds per cu. ft., is used for rafters, toys, and veneer. The charcoal derived therefrom can be used in gun powder. Since the latex contains rubber, whole plant harvesting seems most advisable from an energy point-of-view (if the tree coppices well) with rubber, petroleum, alcohol as energy products, and resins, which may find use in the linoleum, oil skin, and leather industries. In Brazil, Euphorbia gymnoclada, very similar to tirucalli (both are called aveloz), is much used for firewood. One cu. m. of wood yields 2 kg latex with the fibrous residue usable for paper pulp.

Milk bush also has uses in traditional medicine in many cultures. It has been used to treat cancers, excrescences, tumors, and warts in such diverse places as Brazil, India, Indonesia, Malabar and Malaysia. It has also been used as an application for asthma, cough, earache, neuralgia, rheumatism, toothache, and warts in India. There is some interest in milk bush as a cancer treatment.

In the 1980s the Brazilian national petroleum company – Petrobras – began experiments based on the ideas that Calvin put forth.

.Medicinal Uses:
Traditional use: IRULAR: Latex: in body pain, eczema, scabies; ETHNIC COMMUNITIES OF CHAMPAKARAI and DHOOMANOOR (Tamil Nadu): Latex: on wounds; NAYADI : Latex: in rheumatism; ETHNIC COMMUNITIES OF MADHYA PRADESH: Latex: in earache, rheumatism, warts; ETHNIC COMMUNITIES OF CHHOTANAGPUR : Latex: in earache.

BHAVAPRAKASHA: Itis pungent, bitter, helps digestion, beneficial in oedema, deranged phlegm, epistasis, deranged bile, constipation and dyscrasia.

AYURVEDA : Root: beneficial in colic; Latex of stem and leaf: cures cough, earache, emetic, laxative and rubefacient.

Modern use: Stem-extract: antifungal; Aerial parts (50% EtOH extract) : antiprotozoal.

Folk Medicine :
Recently (SPOTLIGHT July 14, 1980) Alec de Montmorency kindled long-sleeping interests in aveloz (Euphorbia spp. including tirucalli) inferring that it “seems to literally tear cancer tissue apart.” Several Brazilian Euphorbias, E. anomala, E. gymnoclada, E. heterodoxa, E. insulana, E. tirucalli, known as aveloz, have local notoriety as cancer “cures,” and often find their way into the U.S. press as cancer cures. I fear they are more liable to cause than cure cancer. Still the following types of cancer are popularly believed in Brazil to be alleviated by aveloz: cancer, cancroids, epitheliomas, sarcomas, tumors, and warts. Hartwell (1969) mentions E. tirucalli as a “folk remedy” for cancers, excrescences, tumors, and warts in such diverse places as Brazil, India, Indonesia, Malabar and Malaya. The rubefacient, vesicant latex is used as an application for asthma, cough, earache, neuralgia, rheumatism, toothache, and warts in India. In small doses it is purgative, but in large doses it is an acrid irritant, and emetic. A decoction of the tender branches as also that of the root is administered in colic and gastralgia. The ashes are applied as caustic to open abscesses. In Tanganyika, the latex is used for sexual impotence (but users should recall “the latex produces so intense a reaction … as to produce temporary blindness lasting for several days.” In Zimbabwe, one African male is said to have died of hemorrhagic gastroenteritis after swallowing the latex to cure sterility.) The root is used as an emetic for snakebite. In Malabar and the Moluccas, the latex is used as an emetic and antisyphilitic. In Malaya, the stems are boiled for fomenting painful places. The pounded stem is applied to scurf and swelling. In the Dutch Indies, pounded stems are used as a poultice for extracting thorns. The root infusion is used for aching bones, a poultice of the root or leaves for nose ulcers and hemorrhoids. The wood decoction is used for leprosy and for paralysis of the hands and feet following childbirth. Javanese use the latex for skin complaints and rub the latex over the skin for bone fractures.
Remark: The plant is worshipped as a sacred one.

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.