Categories
Herbs & Plants

Saussurea obvallata

 

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Botanical Name : Saussurea obvallata
Family: Asteraceae or Compositae
Tribe: Cynareae
Genus: Saussurea
Species: S. obvallata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Common Names; Local names of this flower are Brahma Kamal, Kon and Kapfu .

Habitat : Saussurea obvallata is native to E. Asia – western Himalayas from Kashmir to Sikkim at elevations of 3,000 – 4,500 metres. It grows on alpine meadows and slopes, rocky slopes
and along the sides of rivers and streams.

Description:
Saussurea obvallata is a perennial plant, growing to 0.3 m (1 ft). The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by insects. Flowers bloom in mid-
monsoon (July– August) amongst the rocks and grasses of the hillside at an altitudinal range of 3000–4800 m. Flower heads are purple,hidden from view in layers of yellowish-green papery
bracts, which provide protection from the cold mountain environment. The flowers can be seen till mid-October, after which the plant perishes, becoming visible again in April. It is the state
flower of Uttarakhand. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist
soil.

In Hindu drawings Brahma is seen sitting on a pink flower that resembles a lotus (Sanskrit: kamal), which is India’s national flower. Hence people claim that the pink flower of Nelumbo
nucifera is the Brahma Kamal. However others claim the flower on which he is sitting, which resembles a lotus is sprouted from the belly button of Lord Vishnu. The flower which Brahma is
holding in one of his four hands, a white flower resembling Saussurea obvallata is the Brahma Kamal. There are people who claim that the flower of Epiphyllum oxypetalum, the orchid
cactus, which blooms at night, is the Brahma Kamal. Some North Indians claim that the flower of Saussurea obvallata is the Brahma Kamal.

Cultivation: 
Succeeds in most soils in a sunny well-drained position.

Propagation :
Seed – we have no information for this species but suggest sowing the seed in a cold frame in the spring. Surface sow, or only just cover the seed, and make sure that the compost does not dry   out. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring    after the last expected frosts. Division in spring might be possible.

Medicinal Uses:
Brahma kamal is a medicinal herb. The plant is considered an herb in Tibetan medicine. Its name is Sah-du Goh-ghoo. It has a bitter taste. The entire plant is used. It is found in the region
of the Himalayas. It is also used to cure urogenital disorders. It is used in the treatment of paralysis of the limbs and cerebral ischaemia.

Other Uses:
Uttarakhand formerly Uttaranchal, is a state located in the northern part of India. It is often referred to as the Land of Gods – Dev Bhumi due to the many holy Hindu temples and cities found      throughout the state which are some of Hinduism’s most spiritual and auspicious places of pilgrimage and worship. The shrines of Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath make up     the Char Dham Yatra, four highly sacred destinations of the Hindus. Uttarakhand also known for its natural beauty.

Known Hazards: It is endangered because people are cutting it down for their own use.

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/Thelesperma_megapotamicum
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Thelesperma+megapotamicum

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Categories
Herbs & Plants

Capparis spinosa

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Botanical Name : Capparis spinosa
Family: Capparaceae
Genus: Capparis
Species: C. spinosa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Brassicales

Common Name : Caper ,Common Caper, Caper Bush, Flinders rose

Habitat :Capparis spinosa is found in the wild in Mediterranean, East Africa, Madagascar, south-western and Central Asia, Himalayas, the Pacific Islands, Indomalaya, Australia. It grows on rocks, affecting the hottest localities, to 3600 metres in the Himalayas. Old walls, cliffs and rocky hillsides in the Mediterranean.
Description:
Capparis spinosa is an evergreen Shrub growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 2 m (6ft) at a fast rate. The shrubby plant is many-branched, with alternate leaves, thick and shiny, round to ovate. It is in leaf 12-Jan. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) The flowers are complete, sweetly fragrant, and showy, with four sepals and four white to pinkish-white petals, and many long violet-colored stamens, and a single stigma usually rising well above the stamens. The bloom Color is red & white….CLICK  &  SEE  THE  PICTURES

Cultivation:
Requires a hot, well-drained dry position in full sun. Plants are tolerant of drought. Tolerates a pH in the range 6.3 to 8.3. This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the country, it tolerates temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c. A perennial species, this plant produces annual stems from a woody base. The flowers open in the early morning and fade by midday. Capers are often cultivated in tropical and sub-tropical zones for their aromatic flower buds, which are used as a condiment, they are also frequently gathered from the wild. There are some named varieties, the most commonly cultivated form tends to be the spineless C. spinosa inermis. Special Features: Not North American native, Invasive, Attractive flowers or blooms.

Propagation :
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a greenhouse. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots of well-drained soil when they are large enough to handle. Grow on the young plants for at least their first winter in a greenhouse and plant out in late spring or early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in sand in a cold frame.

Edible Uses: The flower buds are pickled and used as a flavouring in sauces, salads etc. The young fruits and tender branch tips can also be pickled and used as a condiment. The flower buds are harvested in the early morning and wilted before pickling them in white vinegar. Young shoots – cooked and used like asparagus.  CLICK  & SEE  THE PICTURES

Medicinal Uses:
Analgesic; Anthelmintic; Antihaemorrhoidal; Aperient; Deobstruent; Depurative; Diuretic; Emmenagogue; Expectorant; Tonic; Vasoconstrictor.
The root-bark is analgesic, anthelmintic, antihaemorrhoidal, aperient, deobstruent, depurative, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, tonic and vasoconstrictive. It is used internally in the treatment of gastrointestinal infections, diarrhoea, gout and rheumatism. Externally, it is used to treat skin conditions, capillary weakness and easy bruising. The bark is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. The stem bark is bitter and diuretic. If taken before meals it will increase the appetite. The unopened flower buds are laxative. They are used internally in the treatment of coughs, and externally to treat eye infections. The buds are a rich source of compounds known as aldose-reductose inhibitors – it has been shown that these compounds are effective in preventing the formation of cataracts. The buds are harvested before the flowers open and can be pickled for later use – when prepared correctly they are said to ease stomach pain. A decoction of the plant is used to treat vaginal thrush. The leaves are bruised and applied as a poultice in the treatment of gout.

The unopened flower buds are laxative and, if prepared correctly with vinegar, are thought to ease stomach pain. The bark is bitter and diuretic, and can be taken immediately before meals to increase the appetite. The root bark is purifying and stops internal bleeding. It is used to treat skin conditions, capillary weakness, and easy bruising, and is also used in cosmetic preparations. A decoction of the plant is used to treat yeast and vaginal infections such as candidiasis. Capers are an appetizer and digestive. Since ancient times, caper poultices have been used to ease swellings and bruises and this led to the belief that rutin had properties affecting the permeability of the blood capillaries; such as reducing their fragility though clinical evidence is inconclusive .

Other Uses: An extract of the root is used as a cosmetic and is particularly useful in treating rose-coloured rashes and capillary weaknesses. The plant is used as Landscaping :Cascades, Container, Erosion control, Ground cover.

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/Caper
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Capparis+spinosa
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Butterfly Ginger or White Ginger (Dolon Champa)

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Botanical Name :Hedychium coronarium
Family: Zingiberaceae
Genus: Hedychium
Species: H. coronarium
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Zingiberales
Common Names:White ginger lily,Dolan champa  (in Bangal)   Takhellei angouba in Manipur, Sontaka in Maharastra, and Suruli sugandhi in Karnataka.
Bengali Name : Dolon Champa
Habitat:   It is originally from the Himalayas region of Nepal and India.Grows in Brazil where it is very common and considered to be an invasive weed. It was introduced in the era of slavery, brought to the country by African slaves who used its leaves as mattresses. It is also considered an invasive species in Hawaii.
Click to see the pictures..>..…....(01).……..(1).……(2).…….(3).……(4)…...(5)
In Cuba it is the National Flower, known as “Mariposa blanca” literally “White Butterfly Flower”, due to its similarity with a flying white butterfly. This particular species is incredibly fragrant and women used to adorn themselves with these flowers in Spanish colonial times; because of the intricate structure of the inflorescence, women hid and carried secret messages important to the independence cause under it. It is said that a guajiro’s (farmer’s) house is not complete without a white ginger in its garden. Today the plant has gone wild in the cool rainy mountains in Sierra del Rosario, Pinar del Rio Province in the west, Escambray Mountains in the center of the island, and in Sierra Maestra in the very west of it, but the plant is not endemic of Cuba.

Description:
Hedychium coronarium is a perennial herb growing to 1.5 m (5ft) by 1 m (3ft 3in).It is a robust, attractive plant that will reach 6 feet in containers. It is a vigorous grower and needs to be divided often.Blooming time is  Summer-Fall. The white flowers are extremely fragrant and are good for cutting.
It is hardy to zone 9 and is frost tender. It is in flower from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)

CLICL & SEE

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils.The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils..It cannot grow in the shade.It requires moist or wet soil.

Cultivation:
Requires a rich moist soil and a sunny position. It succeeds in shallow water and can also be grown in a sunny border as a summer sub-tropical bedding plant. Plants are not very hardy, they tolerate temperatures down to about -2°c and can be grown at the foot of a south-facing wall in the milder areas of Britain if given a good mulch in the winter. The flowers have a delicious perfume which is most pronounced towards evening. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits. The tubers should be only just covered by soil.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a warm greenhouse at 18°c. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on for at least their first winter in the greenhouse. Plant out in late spring after the last expected frosts. Division as growth commences in the spring. Dig up the clump and divide it with a sharp spade or knife, making sure that each division has a growing shoot. Larger clumps can be planted out direct into their permanent positions, but it is best to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in a greenhouse until they are established. Plant them out in the summer or late in the following spring.

Edible Uses :-
Edible Parts: Flowers.

Young buds and flowers are eaten or used as a flavouring.   Root – cooked. A famine food used when all else fails.

Medicinal Uses
Antirheumatic;  Aromatic;  Carminative;  Febrifuge;  Stomachic;  Tonic.

The seed is aromatic, carminative and stomachic. The root is antirheumatic, excitant and tonic. The ground rhizome is used as a febrifuge. An essential oil from the roots is carminative and has anthelmintic indications. The plant has been used as a remedy for foetid nostril.

Other Uses
Essential;  Paper.

The stems contain 43 – 48% cellulose and are useful in making paper. An essential oil obtained from the flowers is valued in high grade perfumes. The root contains 1.7% essential oil, which is used medicinally.

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/Hedychium_coronarium
http://www.plantoftheweek.org/week086.shtml
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Hedychium%20coronarium

Categories
Healthy Tips

Two Foods You Should Never, Ever Eat After Exercise

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Did you know that what you eat directly after exercising – typically within two hours – can have a significant impact on the health benefits you reap from your exercise?

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Consuming sugar within this post-exercise window, will negatively affect both your insulin sensitivity and your human growth hormone (HGH) production.

A recent study in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that eating a low-carbohydrate meal after aerobic exercise enhances your insulin sensitivity. This is highly beneficial, since impaired insulin sensitivity, or insulin resistance, is the underlying cause of type 2 diabetes and a significant risk factor for other chronic diseases, such as heart disease.

In addition, as HGH Magazine explains, consuming fructose, including that from fruit juices, within this two-hour window will decimate your natural HGH production:

“A high sugar meal after working out, or even a recovery drink (containing high sugar) after working out, will stop the benefits of exercise induced HGH. You can work out for hours, then eat a high sugar candy bar or have a high sugar energy drink, and this will shut down the synergistic benefits of HGH.

… If you miss reaching HGH release during working out, you will still receive the calorie burning benefit from the workout. However, you’ll miss the HGH “synergy bonus” of enhanced fat burning for two hours after working out.

This is an extremely important fact to remember if you want to cut body fat and shed a few pounds.

The University of Virginia research team demonstrated that carbohydrates are burned during exercise in direct proportion to the intensity of training. Fat burning is also correlated with intensity. However, the actual fat burning takes place after the workout, during the recovery.

This makes the “Synergy Window,” the 2 hour period after a workout, very important in maximizing HGH, once it’s released during exercise.

… If you are middle-age and want all the benefits from exercise induced HGH, then apply this strategy.”

Fitness expert Phil Campbell, author of Ready, Set, Go! further explains how you can maximize your HGH production by limiting sugar intake for two hours post exercise, in this article on HowToBeFit.com.

Exercising one hour a week and getting the same results as traditional strength training might sound impossible. However, University of Florida orthopedics researchers have developed a system that may do just that, and as you will read in my comment below, the kind of exercise you perform can dramatically reduce the time you spend in the gym while still getting better results than you did before.

The system created by University of Florida researchers uses eccentric (negative) resistance training, which capitalizes on the fact that the human body can support and lower weights that are too heavy to lift.

According to UF Health Science Center:

“Through a system of motors, pulleys, cams and sensors it adds weight when a person is performing a lowering motion, and removes that weight when the person is lifting. As a result, the body starts seeing loads, resistance, and forces that it doesn’t normally see”.

Other scientists have found additional clues that explain how exercise reshapes and strengthens more than just your muscles.

It changes your brain too.

In the late 1990s, researchers proved that human and animal brains produce new brain cells, and that exercise increases the process. But precisely how exercise affects the intricate workings of your brain at a cellular level remained a mystery.

However, a number of new studies have begun to identify the specific mechanisms, and have raised new questions about just how exercise reshapes your brain.

In some studies, scientists have been manipulating the levels of bone-morphogenetic protein (BMP) in the brains of mice. The more active BMP becomes, the more inactive your brain stem cells become and the fewer new brain cells you produce. Exercise reverses some of the effects of BMP.

According to the New York Times:

“BMP signaling was found to be playing a surprising, protective role for the brain’s stem cells … Without BMP signals to inhibit them, the stem cells began dividing rapidly, producing hordes of new neurons.”

Resources:

UF Health Science Center February 23, 2010

New York Times July 7, 2010

PloS One October 20, 2009; 4(10):e7506

Cell Stem Cell July 2, 2010; 7(1):78-89

Journal of Applied Physiology December 31, 2009

HGH Magazine

HowToBeFit.com

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Categories
Herbs & Plants

Indian Barberry

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Botanical Name: Berberis asiatica
Family:Berberidaceae
Genus:Berberis
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:Ranunculales

Common Name:Chutro, Rasanjan (Nep); marpyashi (Newa); Daruharidra, Darbi (Sans)

Habitat:Indian Barberry is native to E. Asia – Himalayas (Nepal)
It is normally found in  shrubberies, grassy and rocky slopes up to 2500 metres. Found in heavy shade, on north-facing slopes  and on open hillsides in the drier areas .

Description:
Indian Barberry  is an evergreen Shrub growing to 3.5 m (11ft 6in) at a medium rate. It is a large thorny shrub with yellow wood & whitish or pale Grey branches.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 8 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower in May. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects, self.The plant is self-fertile.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

The root-bark is light coloured, corky, almost inodorous, with a bitter, mucilaginous taste. It contains much Berberine, and a dark-brown extract is made from it employed in India under the name of ‘Rusot.’ This extract is sometimes prepared from the wood or roots of different species of Barberry. It has the consistency of opium and a bitter, astringent taste.

Cultivation & Propagation:
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay and nutritionally poor soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame, when it should germinate in late winter or early spring. Seed from over-ripe fruit will take longer to germinate , whilst stored seed may require cold stratification and should be sown in a cold frame as early in the year as possible. The seedlings are subject to damping off, so should be kept well ventilated . When the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick them out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame. If growth is sufficient, it can be possible to plant them out into their permanent positions in the autumn, but generally it is best to leave them in the cold frame for the winter and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Cuttings of mature wood of the current season’s growth, preferably with a heel, October/November in a frame

Edible Uses:
Fruit  is eaten  raw or dried and used like raisins. This species is said to make the best Indian raisins. Fully ripe fruits are fairly juicy with a pleasantly acid flavor, though there are rather a lot of seeds. The fruit is abundantly produced in Britain. The fruit is about 8mm long.

Medicinal Uses:
Antibacterial;  Cancer;  Laxative;  Odontalgic;  Ophthalmic;  Tonic.

The roots  are used in treating ulcers, urethral discharges, ophthalmia, jaundice, fevers etc. The roots contain 2.1% berberine, the stems 1.3%. The bark and wood are crushed in Nepal then boiled in water, strained and the liquid evaporated until a viscous mass is obtained. This is antibacterial, laxative and tonic. It is taken internally to treat fevers and is used externally to treat conjunctivitis and other inflammations of the eyes. Tender leaf buds are chewed and held against affected teeth for 15 minutes to treat dental caries. The fruit is cooling and laxative. Berberine, universally present in rhizomes of Berberis species, has marked antibacterial effects. Since it is not appreciably absorbed by the body, it is used orally in the treatment of various enteric infections, especially bacterial dysentery. It should not be used with Glycyrrhiza species (Liquorice) because this nullifies the effects of the berberine. Berberine has also shown antitumour activity.

Indian berberry has been made official in the Pharmacopoeia of India.It is an amportant indigenous medicine.The bark is useful in restoring the disordered process of neutrition and restores the normal function of the system.It helps open the natural pores of the body, arrest bleeding and induces copious perepiration despite the astrigent properties.The drug also constitute anti-tubercular activities.

Fever: Indian barberry is as valuable as quinine in maleria fevers.It is particularly useful in relieving pyrexia and checking the return of the violent intermittent fevers.The herb’s- bark and the root- bark are given as a decoction. It should be given twice or thrice a day.The decoction is given in doses of 150 grams between paroxysms of fever.

Monorrhagia: Indian barberry arrestes excessieve bleed loss during the monthly period.In skin diseases the decoction of the bark and the root-bark is efficacious as a cleanser for ulcers ans sores, as it helps formation of scar over the wounds.

Stomach Disorders :  Indian barberry is very useful in all kinds of stomach disorders.It is also effective in the treatment of Cholera.It is a popular remedy of diarrhoea and dysentery in Northwern India.It is useful in bleeding piles treatment. It is given with butter. A dilute solution can also be externally applied on the piles.

Eye Problems: The drug is highly beneficial in the treatment of all kinds of eye disorder.
It is mixed with butter and alum or with opium or lime juice and applied externally on the eye lids to cure opthalmia and other eye diseases. Mixed with milk, it can be used effectively as a lotion of Conjunctivitis.

Other Uses: A yellow dye is obtained from the roots and stems. The spiny branches are used to make fencing around fields in Nepal.
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:
Miracle of Herbs
http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Berberis+asiatica
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berberis