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Herbs & Plants

Hibiscus syriacus

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Botanical Name : Hibiscus syriacus
Family: Malvaceae
Genus: Hibiscus
Species: H. syriacus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malvales

Synonyms : Althaea frutex.

Common Names: Rose Of Sharon, Althaea, Shrub Althea, Hardy Hibiscus, Syrian ketmia or Rose mallow (United Kingdom) and St Joseph‘s rod (Italy).

Habitat :Hibiscus syriacus is native to E. Asia – China to India. Locally naturalized in S. Europe. It is found wild on mountain slopes, though the original

Description:
Hibiscus syriacus is a hardy deciduous shrub. It is upright and vase-shaped, reaching 2–4 m (7–13 ft) in height, bearing large trumpet-shaped flowers with prominent yellow-tipped white stamens. The flowers are often pink in color, but can also be dark pink (almost purple), light pink or white. Individual flowers are short-lived, lasting only a day. However, numerous buds are produced on the shrub’s new growth, and this provides prolific flowering over a long summer blooming period. Shoots make interesting indoor vase cuttings, as they stay green for a long time, and some new flowers may open from the more mature buds. The species has naturalized very well in many suburban areas, and might even be termed slightly invasive, so frequently does it seed around.
Bloom Color: Blue, Lavender, Pink, Purple, Red, White. Main Bloom Time: Early summer, Late summer, Mid summer. Form: Rounded, Upright or erect…

...CLICK &  SEE THYE PICTURES

Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Foundation, Standard, Seashore, Specimen. Prefers a well-drained humus rich fertile soil in a sheltered position in full sun. Succeeds in any soil of good or moderate quality. Dislikes shade or badly drained soils. Plants grow best with their roots in cool moist soil and their tops in a hot sunny position. This species is hardy to about -20°c but plants only really succeed in the warmer counties of Britain because of their late flowering habit. When planted in colder areas of the country, they will need protection for the first few winters. The flowers only open in sunny weather. Plants rarely require pruning, though they respond well to pruning and trimming and this is best carried out in the spring or just after flowering. Plants are late coming into leaf, usually around the end of May or early June. A very ornamental plant, there are many named varieties. Special Features:Attracts birds, Not North American native, Naturalizing, Attracts butterflies, Blooms are very showy.

Propagation:
Seed – sow early spring in a greenhouse. Germination is usually fairly quick. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first year. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Some reports say that the seed can be sown in situ outside and that it gives a good rate of germination. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Good percentage. Cuttings of mature wood, early autumn in a frame. Good percentage. Layering in mid summer to early autumn.

Edible Uses:… Oil; Tea.….Young leaves – raw or cooked. A very mild flavour, though slightly on the tough side, they make an acceptable addition to the salad bowl. A tea is made from the leaves or the flowers. Flowers – raw or cooked. A mild flavour and mucilaginous texture, they are delightful in salads, both for looking at and for eating. Root – it is edible but very fibrousy. Mucilaginous, without very much flavour.
Medicinal Uses:
The leaves are diuretic, expectorant and stomachic. A decoction of the flowers is diuretic, ophthalmic and stomachic. It is also used in the treatment of itch and other skin diseases,  dizziness and bloody stools accompanied by much gas. The bark contains several medically active constituents, including mucilage, carotenoids, sesquiterpenes and anthocyanidins. A decoction of the root bark is antiphlogistic, demulcent, emollient, febrifuge, haemostatic and vermifuge. It is used in the treatment of diarrhoea, dysentery, abdominal pain, leucorrhoea, dysmenorrhoea and dermaphytosis.

Other Uses:
A low quality fibre is obtained from the stems. It is used for making cordage and paper. The seed contains about 25% oil. No further details are given, but it is likely to be edible. A hair shampoo is made from the leaves. A blue dye is obtained from the flowers. This species is planted as a hedge in S. Europe.

National flower:
Hibiscus syriacus is the national flower of South Korea. The flower appears in national emblems, and Korea is compared poetically to the flower in the South Korean national anthem. The flower’s name in Korean is mugunghwa. The flower’s symbolic significance stems from the Korean word mugung, which means “eternity” or “inexhaustible abundance”.

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://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Hibiscus+syriacus
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hibiscus_syriacus

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Categories
Ailmemts & Remedies

Leprosy

Other name :  Hansen’s disease

Description:
Leprosy is a chronic infection caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium leprae and Mycobacterium lepromatosis. Initially, infections are without symptoms and typically remain this way for 5 to as long as 20 years. Symptoms that develop include granulomas of the nerves, respiratory tract, skin, and eyes. This may result in a lack of ability to feel pain and thus loss of parts of extremities due to repeated injuries. Weakness and poor eyesight may also be present.

Leprosy is spread between people. This is believed to occur through a cough or contact with fluid from the nose of an infected person. Leprosy occurs more commonly among those living in poverty and is believed to be transmitted by respiratory droplets. It is not very contagious. The two main types of disease are based on the number of bacteria present: paucibacillary and multibacillary. The two types are differentiated by the number of poorly pigmented, numb skin patches present, with paucibacillary having five or fewer and multibacillary having more than five. The diagnosis is confirmed by finding acid-fast bacilli in a biopsy of the skin or via detecting the DNA by polymerase chain reaction.

Leprosy is curable with treatment.  Treatment for paucibacillary leprosy is with the medications dapsone and rifampicin for 6 months.Treatment for multibacillary leprosy consists of rifampicin, dapsone, and clofazimine for 12 months.  These treatments are provided for free by the World Health Organization.  A number of other antibiotics may also be used.  Globally in 2012, the number of chronic cases of leprosy was 189,000 and the number of new cases was 230,000.  The number of chronic cases has decreased from some 5.2 million in the 1980s.  Most new cases occur in 16 countries, with India accounting for more than half.  In the past 20 years, 16 million people worldwide have been cured of leprosy.  About 200 cases are reported per year in the United States.

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Leprosy has affected humanity for thousands of years.  The disease takes its name from the Latin word lepra, which means “scaly”, while the term “Hansen’s disease” is named after the physician Gerhard Armauer Hansen.  Separating people by placing them in leper colonies still occurs in places such as India,  China,   and Africa.   However, most colonies have closed since leprosy is not very contagious.   Leprosy has been associated with social stigma for much of history, which is a barrier to self-reporting and early treatment.  The word “leper” is considered insulting with the term leprosy being preferred.   World Leprosy Day was started in 1954 to draw awareness to those affected by leprosy.

Forms of Leprosy:
Leprosy may also be divided into the following forms:

*Early and indeterminate leprosy
*Tuberculoid leprosy
*Borderline tuberculoid leprosy
*Borderline leprosy
*Borderline lepromatous leprosy
*Lepromatous leprosy
*Histoid leprosy
*Diffuse leprosy of Lucio and Latapí
This disease may also occur with only neural involvement, without skin lesions

Symptoms:
Leprosy is primarily a granulomatous disease of the peripheral nerves and mucosa of the upper respiratory tract; skin lesions (light or dark patches) are the primary external sign. It first affects the skin and the nerves outside the brain and spinal cord, called the peripheral nerves. It may also strike the eyes and the thin tissue lining the inside of the nose.

The main symptom of leprosy is disfiguring skin sores, lumps, or bumps that do not go away after several weeks or months. The skin sores are pale-colored.

Nerve damage can lead to:
*Loss of feeling in the arms and legs
*Muscle weakness

It usually takes about 3 to 5 years for symptoms to appear after coming into contact with the leprosy-causing bacteria. Some people do not develop symptoms until 20 years later. The time between contact with the bacteria and the appearance of symptoms is called the incubation period. Leprosy’s long incubation period makes it very difficult for doctors to determine when and where a person with leprosy got infected.

If untreated, leprosy can progress and cause permanent damage to the skin, nerves, limbs, and eyes. Contrary to folklore, leprosy does not cause body parts to fall off, although they can become numb or diseased as a result of secondary infections; these occur as a result of the body’s defenses being compromised by the primary disease.  Secondary infections, in turn, can result in tissue loss.
How the infection produces the symptoms of the disease is not known.

Causes:
Leprosy is caused by a slow-growing type of bacteria called Mycobacterium leprae (M. leprae). Leprosy is also known as Hansen’s disease, after the scientist who discovered M. leprae in 1873.
M. leprae and M. lepromatosis are the causative agents of leprosy. M. lepromatosis is a relatively newly identified mycobacterium isolated from a fatal case of diffuse lepromatous leprosy in 2008.

An intracellular, acid-fast bacterium, M. leprae is aerobic and rod-shaped, and is surrounded by the waxy cell membrane coating characteristic of the Mycobacterium genus.

Due to extensive loss of genes necessary for independent growth, M. leprae and M. lepromatosis are obligate intracellular pathogens, and unculturable in the laboratory, a factor that leads to difficulty in definitively identifying the organism under a strict interpretation of Koch’s postulates. The use of nonculture-based techniques such as molecular genetics has allowed for alternative establishment of causation.

While the causative organisms have to date been impossible to culture in vitro, it has been possible to grow them in animals such as mice and armadillos.

Naturally occurring infection also has been reported in nonhuman primates, including the African chimpanzee, sooty mangabey, and cynomolgus macaque, as well as in armadillos and red squirrels.

Risk factors:
At highest risk are those living in areas with polluted water and poor diet or people suffering from diseases that compromise immune function. There appears to be little interaction between HIV and the risk of leprosy. Genetic predisposition appears to play a role in susceptibility.

Transmission:
Transmission of leprosy occurs during close contact with those who are infected.  Transmission is believed to be by nasal droplets.

Leprosy is not known to be either sexually transmitted or highly infectious. People are no longer infectious after as little as two weeks of treatment.

Leprosy may also be transmitted to humans by armadillos  and may be present in three species of non-human primates.

Two exit routes of M. leprae from the human body often described are the skin and the nasal mucosa, although their relative importance is not  very clear. Lepromatous cases show large numbers of organisms deep in the dermis, but whether they reach the skin surface in sufficient numbers is doubtful.

The skin and the upper respiratory tract are most likely entry route. While older research dealt with the skin route, recent research has increasingly favored the respiratory route. Experimental transmission of leprosy through aerosols containing M. leprae in immune-suppressed mice was accomplished, suggesting a similar possibility in humans

Diagnosis:
Endemic areas:
Per the World Health Organization, diagnosis in an endemic area is based on one of these cardinal signs:

*Skin lesion consistent with leprosy and with definite sensory loss
*Positive skin smears
*Skin lesions can be single or multiple, usually hypopigmented, although occasionally reddish or copper-colored. The lesions may be macules (flat), papules (raised), or nodular. Sensory loss at the skin lesion is important because this feature can help differentiate from other causes of skin lesions such as tinea versicolor.

*Thickened nerves are associated with leprosy and can be accompanied by loss of sensation or muscle weakness. However, without the characteristic skin lesion and sensory loss, muscle weakness is not considered a reliable sign of leprosy.

*Positive skin smears: In some case, acid-fast leprosy bacilli are considered diagnostic; however, the diagnosis is clinical.

Treatment:
A number of leprostatic agents are available for treatment. For paucibacillary (PB or tuberculoid) cases, treatment with daily dapsone and monthly rifampicin for six months is recommended. While for multibacillary (MB or lepromatous) cases, treatment with daily dapsone and clofazimine along with monthly rifampicin for twelve months is recommended.

Multidrug therapy (MDT) remains highly effective, and people are no longer infectious after the first monthly dose.  It is safe and easy to use under field conditions due to its presentation in calendar blister packs.  Relapse rates remain low, and no resistance to the combined drugs is seen.

Prevention:
Early detection of the disease is important, since physical and neurological damage maybe irreversible even if cured. Medications can decrease the risk of those living with people with leprosy from acquiring the disease and likely those with whom people with leprosy come into contact outside the home. However, concerns are known of resistance, cost, and disclosure of a person’s infection status when doing follow-up of contacts. Therefore, the WHO recommends that people who live in the same household be examined for leprosy and only be treated if symptoms are present.

The Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) vaccine offers a variable amount of protection against leprosy in addition to tuberculosis. It appears to be 26 to 41% effective (based on controlled trials) and about 60% effective based on observational studies with two doses possibly working better than one.  Development of a more effective vaccine is ongoing as of 2011

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leprosy
http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/guide/leprosy-symptoms-treatments-history#1

Categories
Featured Healthy Tips

Broccoli ‘May Help Protect Lungs’

 

A substance found in broccoli may limit the damage which leads to serious lung disease, research suggests.
…….CLICK & SEE

Sulforapane is found in broccoli and brussel sprouts

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is often caused by smoking and kills about 30,000 UK residents a year.

US scientists found that sulforapane increases the activity of the NRF2 gene in human lung cells which protects cells from damage caused by toxins.

The same broccoli compound was recently found to be protective against damage to blood vessels caused by diabetes.

Brassica vegetables such as broccoli have also been linked to a lower risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Cell pollutants

In the latest study, a team from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine found significantly lower activity of the NRF2 gene in smokers with advanced COPD.

Writing in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, they said the gene is responsible for turning on several mechanisms for removing toxins and pollutants which can damage cells.

“We know broccoli naturally contains important compounds but studies so far have taken place in the test tube and further research is needed to find if you can produce the same effect in humans” :-Spokeswoman, British Lung Foundation

Previous studies in mice had shown that disrupting the NRF2 gene caused early onset severe emphysema – one of the conditions suffered by COPD patients.

Increasing the activity of NRF2 may lead to useful treatments for preventing the progression of COPD, the researchers said.

In the study, they showed that sulforapane was able to restore reduced levels of NRF2 in cells exposed to cigarette smoke.

“Future studies should target NRF2 as a novel strategy to increase antioxidant protection in the lungs and test its ability to improve lung function in people with COPD,” said study leader Dr Shyam Biswal.

A spokeswoman for the British Lung Foundation said: “This is an important study for the 3 million people in the UK with COPD because of its findings about the imbalance of oxidants and antioxidants in the lungs.

“We know broccoli naturally contains important compounds but studies so far have taken place in the test tube and further research is needed to find if you can produce the same effect in humans.

Sources:BBC NEWS:Sept 12. ’08

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Categories
Herbs & Plants

Palas(Butea) Or Flame of the forest

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Botanical Name : Butea monosperma
English Name : Flame of the forest
Hindi Name
: Palash, Dhak
Sanskrit Name : Palash

Scientific name: Butea monosperma, Butea frondosa
Family: Faboideae / Leguminosae / Papilionaceae

Common names: Flame of the Forest, Dhak, Palas, Bastard Teak, Parrot Tree, Dhak or Palas (Hindi); Porasum (Tamil) ; Khakda (Gujerati).

Other names::Butea monosperma, Butea frondosa, Erythrina monosperma
Flame of the Forest, Dhak, Bastard Teak, Parrot Tree.

Trade names Palasha, Dhak.

Description:
Butea Monosperma is a tree of Fabaceae plant family. This is a small tree. The leaves are three foliate. Leaflets are coriaceous and round. The flowers bloom in February to March. The flowers are in big racemes and bright orange red in color. The petals are silky and hairy.
East Indian tree bearing a profusion of intense vermilion velvet-textured blooms and yielding a yellow dye.

The Flame of the Forest is a medium sized tree, growing from 20 to 4O feet high, and the trunk is usually crooked and twisted with irregular branches and rough, grey bark. It is seen in all its ugliness in December and January when most of the leaves fall: but from January to March it truly becomes a tree of flame, a riot of orange and vermilion flowers covering the entire crown. These flowers, which are scentless, are massed along the ends of the stalks  dark velvety green like the cup-shaped calices  and the brilliance of the stiff, bright flowers is shown off to perfection by this deep, contrasting color. Each flower consists of five petals comprising one standard, two smaller wings and a very curved beak-shaped keel. It is this keel which gives it the name of Parrot Tree. The back-curving petals are covered with fine, silky hair, which, seen at certain angles, change the deep orange to a silvery salmon-pink. The buds too, have this downy growth and acquire a beautiful mauvish bloom.

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

Twisted trunk habit………..PICTURE

The leaves, which appear in April and May, are 10-18″ wide and trifoliate. When fresh they are like soft suede ; thick, velvety and a beautiful pale, bronze green. Old leaves are as firm and tough as leather, smooth above and hairy below. This silky down gives them a silvery appearance from a distance.

The pods, when young, are pale green, are covered with a dense growth of fine hair and sometimes give the effect of a tree in full leaf. They are pendulous and 3 to 4 inches long. When ripe they become yellow-brown and contain flat, brown seeds.

That the flowers contain much nectar is evidenced by the frequent visits of many species of birds; sunbirds, mynahs and babblers are usually to be seen, hurrying from flower to flower, chattering and twittering. With man, also, the tree is very popular, having numerous uses. From an infusion of the flowers a brilliant colouring matter can be obtained, which may be made into water-paint or into a dye. Cotton, prepared with alum, can be dyed a bright yellow or orange.

From the seeds a clear oil is obtained and the gum which exudes from the stems, known as Bengal Kino, is valuable to druggists because of its astringent qualities, and to leather workers because of its tannin. Young roots make a strong fibre which has many uses, the making of rope sandals being one of the most important. Roots, eaten raw, cause giddiness, but, baked, are eaten by Mundari children. The leaves, because of their strength, are sewn together by poor people to make plates and the lovely flowers are popular with all Indian women for adornment of their hair.

The Palas is sacred to the moon and is said to have sprung from the feather of a falcon impregnated with the Soma, the beverage of the Gods, and thus immortalised. It is used in Hindu cremonies for the blessing of calves to ensure their becoming good milkers. When a Brahmin boy becomes a Sadhu, his head is shaved and he is given a Palas leaf to eat—the trifoliate formation representing Vishnu in the middle, Brahma on the left and Shiva on the right.

A rare yellow varity of the Flame of the Forest is sometimes found in India.
Butea Frondosa is named after the Earl of Bute, a patron of Botany and Frondosa, meaning “leafy”. It is a native of India but is not found in the dryest parts, being most common in Central India and the Western Ghats.

Uses:

The Palas is known for much more than its flowers . The powdered flower is used as “gulal” in Holi, the flowers produce a dye which Buddhist monks used to dye their robes, the tree is a host tree for the lac insect and the resinous exudation of the insect gives us shellac/lac with its numerous uses such as polishing and finishing furniture. The most surprising use of lac is as confectioner’s glaze. These glazes are used across the industry including glazing of chocolate covered and sugar coated peanuts & raisins.

Traditional use: KHASI and GARO : Leaf: in delirium; TRIBES OF PURULIATRIBES OF MA YURBHANJA (Orissa) : Seed: (West Bengal) : Seed: in ascaris; as contraceptive; TRIBES OF SANTAL PARGANAS (Bihar) : Root: in tuberculosis; TRIBES OF VARANASI (Uttar Pradesh) : Leaf: in boils; Seed: as vermifuge; TRIBES OF MIRZAPUR (Uttar Pradesh) : Bark: in dysentery; Gum: in diarrhoea, dysentery; TRIBES OF SIWALIK (Uttar Pradesh) : Gum: as tonic; BHAT: Seed: as abortifacient; BHOXA: Bark: in bone fracture, Gum: in piles, urinary complaints; GARHWALI: Leaf: in boil, inflammation, Flower: in diarrhoea, dysentery, pimples, Seed: as anthelmintic; THARU: Gum: as diuretic, Seed: as cooling agent; FOLKS OF DELHI: Gum: as astringent, Flower: as aphrodisiac, astringent, diuretic, Seed: as anthelmintic;Â Â Â FOLKS OF KURUKSHETRA (Haryana): Flower: in stomachache; DANG: Bark: in diarrhoea; TRIBESOFRATANMAHAL HILLS (Gujarat) : Flower: in eye complaints; KORKU (of Maharashtra): Flower, in dysentery; TRIBES OF KHANDLA (Maharashtra) : Flower: in dog bite, urinary complaints; TRIBES OF CHANDRAPURA (Maharashtra) : Leaf: in skin diseases; TRIBES OF JHABUA (Madhya Pradesh) : Root: in dog bite; TRIBES OF SAGAR (Madhya Pradesh): Leaf: as vermifuge, Flower: in diabetes, diarrhoea, piles; TRIBES OF EAST GODAVARI (Andhra Pradesh) : Gum: in diarrhoea; TRIBES OF NILGIRI (Tamil Nadu) : Bark: as haemostatic, in wounds, Flower: in eye complaints; TRIBES OF KANNANORE (Kerala): Flower: in antifertility.

ATHARVA VEDA
: Extract of stem: beneficial for sperms and helps securing conception; CHARAKA SAMHITA : Stem-extract: useful in leprosy, piles, gastroenteritis and menorrha­gia; SUSHRUTA SAMHITA : useful in diseases caused by vayu (wind), Seed: effective against intestinal worms; A YURVEDA : Bark: useful against snake venom, wounds, indigestion, gastroenteritis, fever, tuberculosis, Gum: astringent, beneficial to children and women, Leaf: astringent, sex stimulant, useful in intestinal worms, dyspepsia, piles, menorrhagia, pimples, wounds in mouth/throat, Flower: diuretic, sex stimulant, helps menstruation, useful in gastroenteritis, Seed: useful against intestinal worms.

SIDDHA : Flower-juice: used in preparation of the medicine Murukkam, Seed and Kernel: in Palac

UNANI: Ingredient of the medicine called ‘Dhak(tesu)’ and ‘Samaghke Dhak’.
Chemical contents: Plant: flavonoids, glucosides, butin, butrin, isobutrin, palastrin; Flower: butrin, coriopsin, monospermoside, sulphurein, chalcones; Seed: palasonin, Seed oil: d-Iactone of n-heneicosanoic acid, monospermine, new phytolectin.
Medicinal Usage:    The gum obtained from the tree is astringent and it is used for diarrhea in addition, dysentery. The extracts from the root is used for treating eye-diseases. The leaves are aphrodisiac. In Ayurveda palas leaves have several medicinal properities and uses for different women manstrual problems.

Modern use: Plant  :  alcoholic extract: produces persistent vasodepression in cats, shows activity against earthworms; Bark: insecticide against house flies; Alcohol extract of bark : inhibitory against E. coli and Micrococcus pyogenes var. aureus; Gum: solution applied to check conception; Root (bark) : aphrodisiac, analgesic, anthelmintic, useful in elephan­tiasis, applied in sprue, piles, ulcers, tumours and dropsy; EtOH (50%) extract of leaf: spasmogenic; FlolYer: effective in leprosy, gout; Alcoholic extract: antiestrogenic in mice; Aqueous extract: anti-implantation in rats; along with Hygrophila auriculata leaf and root taken with milk to cure leucorrhoea; Seed (freshly powdered) : effective against Ascaris; Extract (in vitro) : anthelmintic against Asacridia galli worms; finely powdered along with Acorus calamus rhizome or mixed with juice of Cyperus rotundus rhizome: cures delirium; Saline extract: agglutinates erythrocytes of animals; Hot alcoholic extract: anti-implantation and anti-ovulatory in animals.

Remarks: An important tree for lac cultivation, but the lac produced on it is of inferior quality. Bark yields fibre, wood yields timber of poor quality; stem-bark used as fish poison by tribes of South Rajasthan. Plates and bowls are made by stitching the leaves by the tribes of Purulia and Saurashtra. Flowers yield a yellow dye of little permanency.

Flowers are eaten as vegetables by tribes of Manbhum and Hazaribagh Districts of Bihar while fruits by Garhwalis.

Tree is sacred to the Hindus and Buddhists. Flower is an essential item of Saraswati Puja.

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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.

 

Help taken from:http://www.toptropicals.com/html  and http://www.bsienvis.org/medi.htm#Bauhinia%20vahlii