Herbs & Plants


[amazon_link asins=’B000QTG3ME,B000UYA0WO,B01M00Q0GI,B004XJQR60,B00ZSTPK62,B01JDI60PI,B01NCP3XNM,B015RYLDD6,0340008555′ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’finmeacur-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’35c41f6b-28b0-11e7-9bf7-67f0b0ee466e’]

Botanical Name: Gentiana lutea
Family: Gentianaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Gentianales
Genus: Gentiana L.

Common Name:  Great yellow gentian

Habitat:This is a cosmopolitan genus, occurring in alpine habitats of temperate regions of Asia, Europe and the Americas. Some species also occur in northwest Africa, eastern Australia and New Zealand. They consist of annual, biennial and perennial plants. Some are evergreen, others are not.

The Gentians are an extensive group of plants, numbering about 400 species, distributed throughout all climates, though mostly in temperate regions and high mountains, being rare in the Arctic. In South America and New Zealand, the prevailing colour of the flower is red, in Europe blue (yellow and white being of rarer occurrence).

Gentiana is a genus of flowering plants belonging to the Gentian family (Gentianaceae), tribe Gentianeae and monophyletic subtribe Gentianinae.

The name of the genus is derived from Gentius, an ancient King of Illyria (180-167 B.C.), who, according to Pliny and Dioscorides, discovered the medicinal value of these plants. During the Middle Ages, Gentian was commonly employed as an antidote to poison. Tragus, in 1552, mentions it as a means of diluting wounds.

Gentians have opposite leaves that are sometimes arranged in a basal rosette, and trumpet-shaped flowers that are usually deep blue or azure, but may vary from white, creamy and yellow to red. Many species also show considerable polymorphism with respect to flower color. Typically, blue-flowered species predominate in the Northern Hemisphere, with red-flowered species dominant in the Andes (where bird pollination is probably more heavily favored by natural selection). White-flowered species are scattered throughout the range of the genus but dominate in New Zealand. All gentian species have terminal tubular flowers and most are pentamerous, i.e. with 5 corolla lobes (petals), and 5 sepals, but 4-7 in some species. The style is rather short or absent. The corolla shows folds (= plicae) between the lobes. The ovary is mostly sessile and has nectary glands.

Click to see the pictures

Gentians are fully hardy and like full sun or partial shade, and neutral to acid soil that is rich in humus and well drained. They are popular in rock gardens.

Gentiana acaulis (‘Stemless Gentian’)
Gentiana affinis (‘Pleated Gentian’)
Gentiana alba (‘Plain Gentian’)
Gentiana algida (‘Whitish Gentian’)
Gentiana alpina (‘Alpine Gentian’)
Gentiana altaica (‘Altai Gentian’)
Gentiana amarella (‘Autumn Dwarf Gentian’)
Gentiana amoena
Gentiana andrewsii (‘Closed bottle Gentian’)
Gentiana angustifolia
Gentiana asclepiadea (‘Willow Gentian’)
Gentiana austromontana (‘Appalachian Gentian’)
Gentiana autumnalis (‘Pinebarren Gentian’)
Gentiana bavarica (‘Bavarian Gentian’)
Gentiana bellidifolia
Gentiana boryi
Gentiana brachyphylla
Gentiana bulleyana
Gentiana burseri
Gentiana cachemirica
Gentiana calycosa (‘Rainier Pleated Gentian‘)
Gentiana catesbaei (‘Elliott’s Gentian’)
Gentiana cephalantha
Gentiana cerina
Gentiana clausa (‘Bottled Gentian’)
Gentiana clusii (‘Trumpet Gentian‘)
Gentiana crassicaulis
Gentiana crinita (‘Fringed Gentian’)
Gentiana cruciata (‘Cross Gentian’)
Gentiana dahurica
Gentiana decora (‘Showy Gentian’)
Gentiana decumbens
Gentiana dendrologii
Gentiana depressa
Gentiana dinarica
Gentiana douglasiana (‘Swamp Gentian’)
Gentiana elwesii
Gentiana farreri
Gentiana fetisowii
Gentiana flavida (‘Pale Gentian’)
Gentiana freyniana
Gentiana frigida
Gentiana froelichii
Gentiana fremontii (‘Moss Gentian’)
Gentiana gelida
Gentiana gilvo-striata
Gentiana glauca (‘Pale Gentian’)
Gentiana gracilipes
Gentiana grombczewskii
Gentiana heterosepala (‘Autumn Gentian’)
Gentiana hexaphylla
Gentiana kesselringii
Gentiana kurroo
Gentiana lawrencii
Gentiana lhassica
Gentiana linearis (‘Narrowleaf Gentian’)
Gentiana loderi
Gentiana lutea (‘Great Yellow Gentian‘)
Gentiana macrophylla (‘Bigleaf Gentian’)
Gentiana makinoi
Gentiana microdonta
Gentiana newberryi (‘Newberry’s Gentian’)
Gentiana nipponica
Gentiana nivalis (‘Snow Gentian’)

Gentiana nubigena
Gentiana nutans (‘Tundra Gentian’)
Gentiana ochroleuca
Gentiana olivieri
Gentiana ornata
Gentiana pannonica (‘Brown Gentian’)
Gentiana paradoxa
Gentiana parryi (‘Parry’s Gentian’)
Gentiana patula
Gentiana pennelliana (‘Wiregrass Gentian’)
Gentiana phyllocalyx
Gentiana platypetala (‘Broadpetal Gentian’)
Gentiana plurisetosa (‘Bristly Gentian’)
Gentiana pneumonanthe (‘Marsh Gentian’)
Gentiana prolata
Gentiana prostrata (‘Pygmy Gentian’)
Gentiana przewalskii
Gentiana pterocalyx
Gentiana puberulenta (‘Downy Gentian’)
Gentiana pumila
Gentiana punctata (‘Spotted Gentian’)
Gentiana purpurea (‘Purple Gentian’)
Gentiana pyrenaica
Gentiana quadrifolia
Gentiana rigescens
Gentiana rostanii
Gentiana rubricaulis (‘Closed Gentian’)
Gentiana saponaria (‘Harvestbells Gentian’)
Gentiana saxosa
Gentiana scabra
Gentiana scarlatina
Gentiana sceptrum (‘King’s scepter Gentian’)
Gentiana septemfida (‘Crested Gentian’)
Gentiana setigera (‘Mendocino Gentian’)
Gentiana setulifolia
Gentiana sikkimensis
Gentiana sikokiana
Gentiana sino-ornata
Gentiana siphonantha
Gentiana speciosa
Gentiana squarrosa
Gentiana stictantha
Gentiana stragulata
Gentiana straminea
Gentiana tenuifolia
Gentiana terglouensis (‘Triglav Gentian’)
Gentiana ternifolia
Gentiana tianshanica (‘Tienshan Gentian’)
Gentiana trichotoma
Gentiana triflora
Gentiana trinervis
Gentiana tubiflora
Gentiana utriculosa (‘Bladder Gentian’)
Gentiana veitchiorum
Gentiana venusta
Gentiana verna (‘Spring Gentian’)
Gentiana villosa (‘Striped Gentian’)
Gentiana waltonii
Gentiana wutaiensis
Gentiana yakushimensis
Gentiana zollingeri

Click to learn more about Genetians:->..……..(1)(2)

In general, gentians require a moist well-drained soil in a sheltered position, a certain minimum of atmospheric humidity, high light intensity but a site where temperatures are not too high. They are therefore more difficult to grow in areas with hot summers and in such a region they appreciate some protection from the strongest sunlight. Most species will grow well in the rock garden. This is an easily grown species, succeeding in most good garden soils, though it prefers a light loamy soil and lime-free conditions. It grows well in a pocket of soil amongst paving stones, so long as there is a gritty substrate. Plants dislike growing under the drip from trees. A very ornamental plant, there are many named varieties. It is a rare and protected species in the wild. Plants are intolerant of root disturbance.

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a light position in a cold frame. It can also be sown in late winter or early spring but the seed germinates best if given a period of cold stratification and quickly loses viability when stored, with older seed germinating slowly and erratically. It is advantageous to keep the seed at about 10°c for a few days after sowing, to enable the seed to imbibe moisture. Following this with a period of at least 5 – 6 weeks with temperatures falling to between 0 and -5°c will usually produce reasonable germination. It is best to use clay pots, since plastic ones do not drain so freely and the moister conditions encourage the growth of moss, which will prevent germination of the seed. The seed should be surface-sown, or only covered with a very light dressing of compost. The seed requires dark for germination, so the pots should be covered with something like newspaper or be kept in the dark. Pot up the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. The seedlings grow on very slowly, taking 2 – 7 years to reach flowering size. When the plants are of sufficient size, place them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Division in early summer after the plant has flowered. Dig up the entire plant, divide it into 2 – 3 fair-sized clumps with a spade or knife, and replant immediately. Cuttings of basal shoots in late spring or early summer. It is best to pot them up in a cold frame until well rooted, and then plant them out into their permanent positions.

Medicinal Uses:
An infusion of the whole plant is used externally to lighten freckles. This species is one of several species that are the source of the medicinal gentian root, the following notes are based on the general uses of G. lutea which is the most commonly used species in the West. Gentian root has a long history of use as a herbal bitter in the treatment of digestive disorders and is an ingredient of many proprietary medicines. It contains some of the most bitter compounds known and is used as a scientific basis for measuring bitterness. It is especially useful in states of exhaustion from chronic disease and in all cases of debility, weakness of the digestive system and lack of appetite. It is one of the best strengtheners of the human system, stimulating the liver, gall bladder and digestive system, and is an excellent tonic to combine with a purgative in order to prevent its debilitating effects. The root is anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, bitter tonic, cholagogue, emmenagogue, febrifuge, refrigerant, stomachic. It is taken internally in the treatment of liver complaints, indigestion, gastric infections and anorexia. It should not be prescribed for patients with gastric or duodenal ulcers. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. It is quite likely that the roots of plants that have not flowered are the richest in medicinal properties

Click for:-> Gentian species with medicinal properties

Complete Gentian information from
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.


Related articles:

Enhanced by Zemanta
Herbs & Plants


Botanical Name: Acer

Family: N.O. Aceraceae

Habitat: The Maples, belonging to the genus Acer, natural order Aceraceae, are for the most part trees, inhabitants of the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, particularly North America, Northern India and Japan. There are approximately 125 species, most of which are native to Asia, but several species also occur in Europe, northern Africa, and North America.

Description: The leaves are long-stalked, placed opposite to one another, and palmately lobed; the flowers, in fascicles appearing before the leaves as in the Norway Maple, or in racemes appearing with, or later than, the leaves as in the Sycamore Some of the flowers are often imperfect.


The dry fruit, termed a ‘samara,’ is composed of two one-seeded cells, furnished with wings, which divide when ripe, the winged seeds being borne by the wind to a considerable distance.

The leaves of the Maples commonly exhibit varnish-like smears, of sticky consistence, known as honey-dew. This is the excretion of the aphides which live on the leaves; the insect bores holes into the tissues, sucks their juices and ejects a drop of honeydew, on an average once in half an hour. In passing under a tree infested with aphides the drops can be felt like a fine rain. The fluid is rich in sugar. When the dew falls, the honey-dew takes it up and spreads over the leaf; later in the day evaporation reduces it to the state of a varnish on the leaf surface, which aids in checking transpiration. Many other trees exhibit this phenomenon, e.g. lime, beech, oak, etc.
Most of the Maples yield a saccharine juice from the trunk, branches and leaves. The wood of almost all the species is useful for many purposes, especially to the cabinetmaker, the turner and the musical instrument-maker, and for the manufacture of alkali the Maples of North America are of great value.

Many species with finely-cut or variegated leaves have been introduced, especially from Japan, as ornamental shrubs, most of them remarkable for the coppery-purple tint that pervades the leaves and younger growths.

The Common Maple (Acer campestre, Linn.) is the only species indigenous to Great Britain. This and the Sycamore, or Great Maple, were described by Gerard in 1597, the latter as ‘a stranger to England.’

Botanical Name: Acer campestre
Though a native tree, Acer campestre is not often seen growing freely for the sake of its timber, being chiefly looked upon as a valuable hedge-tree, and is therefore frequently found in hedgerows.
When growing alone it is a small tree, seldom attaining more than 20 feet, but the wood is compact, of a fine grain, sometimes beautifully veined and takes a high polish. For this reason, it is highly praised by the cabinet-maker and has always been used much for tables, also for inlaying, and is frequently employed for violin cases. The wood makes excellent fuel and affords very good charcoal.

The wood of the roots is often knotted and is valuable for small objects of cabinet-work.
The young shoots, being flexible and tough, are employed in France as whips.
Sap drawn from the trees in spring yields a certain amount of sug.

Botanical Name:Acer saccharinum (LINN.)
Acer saccharinum (Linn.), the Sugar or Bird’s Eye Maple, is an American species, introduced into Britain in 1735.
It bears a considerable resemblance to the Norway Maple, especially when young, but is not so hardy here as our native Maple and requires a sheltered situation.

So far it has only been grown as an ornamental tree, the vivid colours of its foliage in winter ranging from bright orange to dark crimson. Sometimes it attains a height of 70, or even 100 feet, though more commonly it does not exceed 50 or 60 feet. It is remarkable for the whiteness of its bark.

Where the tree is plentiful in America, the timber is much used for fuel and is extensively employed for house-building and furniture, used instead of Oak when the latter is scarce, being also employed for axletrees and spokes, as well as for Windsor chairs, shoe-lasts, etc. The wood is white, but acquires a rosy tinge after exposure to light. The grain is fine and close and when polished has a silky lustre.

The wood of old trees is valued for inlaying mahogany. The name ‘Bird’s Eye Maple’ refers to the twisting of the silver grain, which produces numerous knots like the eyes of birds. Considerable quantities of this Maple are imported from Canada for cabinetmaking.

The wood forms excellent fuel and charcoal, while the ashes are rich in alkaline principles, furnishing a large proportion of the potash exported from Boston and New York.

Large quantities of sugar are made from the sap of this species of Maple. The sap is boiled and the syrup when reduced to a proper consistence is run into moulds to form cakes. Trees growing in moist and low situations afford the most sap, though the least proportion of sugar.

The trees are tapped in early spring, just before the foliage develops, either by making a notch in the stem, about 3 feet from the ground, with an axe, or by boring a hole about 2 inches deep and introducing a spout of sumach or elder, through which the sap flows into a trough below. The sap is purified and concentrated in a simple manner, the whole work being carried on by farmers, who themselves use much of the product for domestic and culinary purposes.

A cold north-west wind with frosty nights and sunny days tends to incite the flow, which is more abundant during the day than during the night. The flow ceases during a south-west wind and at the approach of a storm, and so sensitive are the trees to aspect and climatic variations that the flow of sap on the south and east sides has been noticed to be earlier than on the north and west sides of the same tree.

The sap continues flowing for five or six weeks, according to the temperature. A tree of average size yields 15 to 30 gallons of sap in a season, 4 gallons of sap giving about 1 Ib. of sugar. The tree is not at all injured by the tapping operation.

The quality of Maple Sugar is superior to that of West Indian cane sugar: it deposits less sediment when dissolved in water and has more the appearance of sugar candy.

The profits of the Sugar Maple do not arise from the sugar alone: it affords good molasses and excellent vinegar. The sap which is suitable for these purposes is obtained after that which supplies the sugar has ceased to flow.


Botanical Name: Acer pseudo-Platanus (LINN.
Acer pseudo-Platanus (Linn.), the Sycamore or Great Maple (the Plane-tree of the Scotch), grows wild in Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Italy. It is remarkably hardy and will grow with an erect stem, exposed to the highest winds or to the sea-breezes, which it withstands better than most timber trees, being often planted near farmhouses and cottages in exposed localities for the sake of its dense foliage.
Description: It is a handsome tree, of quick growth, attaining a height of 50 or 60 feet in 50 years. Though not a native, it has been cultivated here for four or five centuries, and has become so naturalized that self-sown examples are common.

The timber was formerly much used by the turner for cups, bowls and pattern blocks; and is still in repute by the saddlemakers and the millwright, being soft, light and tough.

In spring and autumn, if the trunk is pierced, it yields an abundance of juice, from which a good wine has been made in the Highlands of Scotland. Sugar is to a certain extent procured from it by evaporation, but 1 ounce to 1 quart of sap is the largest amount of sugar obtainable.

The leaves may be dried and given to sheep in winter.

The lobed shape of its leaf and its dense foliage caused it to be confounded with the True Sycamore (Ficus sycamorus) of Scripture.

Botanical Name: Acer Platanoides

Acer Platanoides, the Norway Maple, grows on the mountains of the northern countries of Europe, descending in some parts of Norway to the seashore. It abounds in the north of Poland and Lithuania, and is common through Germany, Switzerland, and Savoy.
It was introduced into Great Britain in 1683. It is a quick grower and on a tolerable soil it attains a large size (from 40 to 70 feet).

Description: The leaves are smooth and of a shining green, as large or larger than those of the Sycamore, and are seldom eaten or defaced, because the tree is full of a sharp, milky juice disliked by insects. In the spring, when the flowers, which are of a fine yellow colour, are out, this tree has great beauty.

The wood is used for the same purposes as that of the Sycamore.

Sugar has been made from the sap in Norway and Sweden.


Botanical: Acer rubrum (LINN.)
Swamp Maple. Curled Maple.

Acer rubrum (Linn.), the Red or Swamp Maple, is another American species, a middle-sized tree, introduced here in 1656, but so far only cultivated in England as an ornamental tree, for the sake of its striking bright scarlet flowers, which appear before the leaves in March and April, its red fruit and leaves rendering it very attractive also in autumn.
The wood is applicable to many purposes, such as the seats of Windsor chairs, turnery, etc. The grain of very old trees is sometimes undulated, which has suggested the name of ‘Curled Maple’: this gives beautiful effects of light and shade on polished surfaces.

The most constant use of Curled Maple is for the stocks of fowling pieces and rifles, as it affords toughness and strength, combined with lightness and elegance, but on the whole the wood is considered inferior to that of the Bird’s Eye Maple, both in strength and as fuel.

Sugar has been made from the sap by the French Canadians, and also molasses, but the yield is only half as great as that from the Sugar Maple.

The inner bark is dusky red: on boiling, it yields a purple colour, which with sulphate of lead affords a black dye. It makes a good black ink.

Medicinal Action and Uses: The bark has astringent properties and has been used medicinally as an application for sore eyes, a use which the early settlers learnt from the Red Indians.

It occurs in long quilled pieces 6 to 12 inches or more in length, 1/4 to 3/4 inch wide, externally blackish brown, slightly polished, with innumerable fine transverse lines and scattered, brownish, warts. The inner bark is in very tough and fibrous layers, pale reddish brown or buff. The bark has an astringent and slightly bitter taste.

The CHINESE SUGAR MAPLE is Sorghum saccharatum (known also asAndropogon arundinaceus, var. saccharatus), a cane-like plant containing sugary sap, belonging to the Grass family Graminaceae.

It somewhat resembles Indian corn, or maize, from which it is distinguished by producing large heads of small grains.

It is cultivated in the United States to some extent as a forage crop, but is not used in the manufacture of sugar, owing to the difficulty of effecting its crystallization.

Click to learn more about Maple Tree..……………....(1)……...(2)………(3)


Enhanced by Zemanta
Herbs & Plants


Botanical Name : Astragalus
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Tribe:     Galegeae
Subtribe: Astragalinae
Genus:     Astragalus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Fabales

Common names: Milkvetch (most species), locoweed (in North America, some species) and goat’s-thorn (A. gummifer, A. tragacanthus)

Habitat : The genus is native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere

Astragalus (As-trá-ga-lus) is a large genus of about 2,000 species of herbs and small shrubs, belonging to the legume family Fabaceae, subfamily Faboideae. The genus is native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Common names include milk-vetch (most species) and goat’s-thorn (A. gummifera, A. tragacanthus). Some pale-flowered vetches are similar in appearance, but vetches are more vine-like.


It is a beautiful plant from the pea family, and native to northern China, has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries, with is first recorded use transcribed over 2000 years ago. This powerful tonic root, has been traditionally used to invigorate vital energy, and an immuno-stimulant.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, Astragalus should be implemented into a persons daily diet while the individual is healthy, and not only in time of sickness. This is said to build and strengthen the immune response, and carry the body through normal routines of healthy response.

Astragalus species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including the following case-bearers of the genus Coleophora: C. astragalella (feeds exclusively on A. glycyphyllos), C. cartilaginella (feeds exclusively on Astragalus), C. colutella, C. euryaula (feeds exclusively on Astragalus), C. gallipennella (feeds exclusively on A. glycyphyllos), C. hippodromica (feeds exclusively on A. gombo), C. onobrychiella (feeds exclusively on Astragalus), C. polonicella (feeds exclusively on A. arenarius) and C. vicinella.

More than 40 Saponins such as Astragaloside, several Flavonoids, Polysaccharides, multiple trace minerals, Amino Acids, and Coumarins

Parts used
The root in whole, shredded or sliced form.

Typical preparations
Astragalus can be used in a number of ways. The root can be dried, powdered and encapsulated. It can be made into a liquid herbal extract. The root can be sliced into soups, and it can be chewed on like licorice root!

Medicinal use
Astragalus membranaceus, or huángqí (黄芪, literally “yellow leader”; also called bÄ›iqí, 北芪, literally “northern leader”) is a tonic herb originally used in Chinese medicine. It is believed to be a galactagogue, and recent studies show that it may strengthen the human immune system.

The natural gum tragacanth, which is used in pharmaceuticals and textiles, is obtained from Astragalus tragacanthus. It is claimed to help the immune system, and to increase the body’s resistance to common viruses.

In western herbal medicine, Astragalus is primarily considered a tonic for enhancing metabolism and digestion and is consumed as a tea made from the roots of the plant. It is also traditionally used to strengthen the immune system and in the healing of wounds and injuries.

Astragalus is an extremely versatile herb that has been used for centuries. Many published reports have found that it is quite useful for individuals undergoing chemo or radiation therapy, helps to support kidney function, protects the liver and promotes tissue regeneration. Many of the studies on Astragalus are preliminary, but they are promising.
In some other studies, primarily performed in the US, Astragalus appears to be a promising botanical for atherosclerosis, hyperthyroidism, hypertension and insomnia, as well as diabetes, hepatitis, herpes, AIDS, and the side effects of chemotherapy. These studies are recent, undeveloped and further research is needed.

The biotech company Geron Corporation has determined that a molecule from this plant called TA-65 is a telomerase activator. According to PRNewswire, TA Sciences, has a license from Geron to sell TA-65 and is now selling it as a neutraceutical anti-aging product at their TA Sciences Center in New York City.

Benefits of astragalus:

Can be used as an antibacterial

Used with the ginsengs

Helpful for young adults for energy production and respiratory endurance

Generates warming energy

Helpful in the treatment of hypoglycemia and used for “outer energy” as ginseng is used for “inner energy”

Used to bolster the white blood cell count

Strengthens the body’s resistance

Used to reduce debilitating conditions

Helps to promote the effects of other herbs and helps to improve digestion

Astragalus is of the most popular herbs used in the Orient; the Chinese name for astragalus is Huang Ch’i. This is a tonic producing warm energy and specifically tonifying for the lungs, spleen, and triple warmer via meridians.

In studies performed at the National Cancer Institute and 5 other leading American Cancer Institutes over the past 10 years, it has been positively shown that astragalus strengthens a patient’s immune system. On the basis of cell studies researchers believed that astragalus augments the white blood cells that fight disease and removes some of those which make the body more vulnerable to it. There is clinical evidence that cancer patients given astragalus during chemotherapy and radiation, both of which reduce the body’s natural immunity while attacking the cancer, recover significantly faster and live longer. It is evident that astragalus does not directly attack cancers themselves, but instead strengthens the body’s immune system. In these same studies, both in the laboratory and with 572 patients, it also has been found that astragalus promotes adrenal cortical function, which also is critically diminished in cancer patients.

Scientists have isolated a number of active ingredients contained in astragalus, including bioflavanoids, choline, and a polysaccharide called astragalan B. Animal studies have shown that astragalan B is effective at stimulating the immune system and protecting the body against a number of toxins.

Astragalus is well known for strengthening the immune system. Historical uses include oriental tonic and promoter of health, supports natural defenses and supports peripheral circulation.

Astragalan B seems to work by binding to cholesterol on the outer membranes of viruses, destabilizing their defenses and allowing the body’s immune system to attack the weakened invader. Astragalus shows support for peripheral vascular diseases and peripheral circulation.

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.


Enhanced by Zemanta
Herbs & Plants Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Saffron,the Costly Spice

[amazon_link asins=’B004OKTBVQ,B00EFIPV0C’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’finmeacur-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’2fe8f1f0-fa4d-11e6-81be-7df47ad492e9′]

[amazon_link asins=’B000T9Q0IS,B00MI548XA’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’finmeacur-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’484fbdd5-fa4d-11e6-aa4b-214892105014′]

Botanical Name :Crocus sativus
Family: Iridaceae
Subfamily: Crocoideae
Genus: Crocus
Species: C. sativus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

Common Name :Saffron

Habitat :Saffron  is native to Greece or Southwest Asia and was first cultivated in Greece. As a genetically monomorphic clone, it was slowly propagated throughout much of Eurasia and was later brought to parts of North Africa, North America, and Oceania.

The domesticated saffron crocus, Crocus sativus, is an autumn-flowering perennial plant unknown in the wild. Its progenitors are possibly the eastern Mediterranean autumn-flowering Crocus cartwrightianus, which is also known as “wild saffron” and originated in Greece. The saffron crocus likely resulted when C. cartwrightianus was subjected to extensive artificial selection by growers seeking longer stigmas. C. thomasii and C. pallasii are other possible sources

click to see the picture..

Saffron crocus grows to 20–30 cm (8–12 in) and bears up to four flowers, each with three vivid crimson stigmas, which are the distal end of a carpel. Together with the styles, or stalks that connect the stigmas to their host plant, the dried stigmas are used mainly in various cuisines as a seasoning and colouring agent. Saffron, long among the world’s most costly spices by weight,

Saffron : is a spice derived from the flower of the saffron crocus (Crocus sativus), a species of crocus in the family Iridaceae. The flower has three stigmas, which are the distal ends of the plant’s carpels. Together with its style, the stalk connecting the stigmas to the rest of the plant, these components are often dried and used in cooking as a seasoning and colouring agent. Saffron, which has for decades been the world’s most expensive spice by weight, is native to Southwest Asia. It was first cultivated in the vicinity of Greece.

CLICK TO SEE THE PICTURES….>...(01)...(1).(2)….…(3)....(4)...…..(5)....(6).…..(7)......

Saffron is characterised by a bitter taste and an iodoform- or hay-like fragrance; these are caused by the chemicals picrocrocin and safranal. It also contains a carotenoid dye, crocin, that gives food a rich golden-yellow hue. These traits make saffron a much-sought ingredient in many foods worldwide. Saffron also has medicinal applications.

The word saffron originated from the 12th-century Old French term safran, which derives from the Latin word safranum. Safranum is also related to the Italian zafferano and Spanish azafrán. Safranum comes from the Arabic word aá¹£far (أَصْفَر‎), which means “yellow,” via the paronymous zaÊ»farān (زَعْفَرَان‎), the name of the spice in Arabic. Yet, some others believe it has a Persian root, i.e “Zarparan”زَرپَران. Zarزر meaning gold + parپر meaning feather, or stigma. Proponents of this theory cite the cultivation in the plateau of Iran as evidence.

The most precious and expensive spice in the world is saffron. The Saffron
filaments, or threads, are actually the dried stigmas of the saffron flower, “Crocus Sativus Linneaus”. Each flower contains only three stigmas. These threads must be picked from each flower by hand, and more than 75,000 of these flowers are needed to produce just one pound of Saffron filaments, making it the world’s most precious spice.
But, because of saffron’s strong coloring power and intense flavor, it can be used sparingly. Saffron is used both for its bright orange-yellow color and for its strong, intense flavor and aroma.
“Crocus Sativus Linneaus” contains crocin, the source of its strong coloring property, bitter-crocin, which offers the distinctive aroma and taste and essential oils, which are responsible for its therapeutic properties.
Saffron is available both in filaments and powder, though the long, deep red filaments are usually preferable to the powder as the latter can be easily adulterated.
Today, the greatest saffron producing countries are Greece, Spain, Turkey, Iran, India, and Morocco. The largest saffron importers are Germany, Italy, U.S.A., Switzerland, U.K., and France.

Prefers a well-drained sandy or loamy soil that is free from clay. Prefers a sunny position. Grows well on calcareous soils and on hot sheltered stony banks. Plants are very frost hardy. They also thrive in areas with poor summers, though they usually fail to flower in such conditions. Plants produce less saffron when grown on rich soils. They do not flower very freely in Britain. Saffron has been cultivated for over 4,000 years for the edible dye obtained from the flower stigmas. It was at one time commercially grown in Britain and the town Saffron Walden obtained its name because of this. There is at least one named form. ‘Cashmirianus’ comes from Kashmir and has large high quality corms. It yields about 27 kilos of rich orange stigmas per hectare. When inhaled near to, the flowers have a delicate perfume. Unlike most members of this genus, the flowers do not close of a night time or in dull weather. The flowers are only produced after hot, dry summers. Plants tend to move considerably from their original planting place because of their means of vegetative reproduction, it is therefore wise not to grow different species in close proximity. Any planting out is best done in late spring or early summer. Plants take 4 – 5 years to come into flowering from seed.
Seed – according to some reports this species is a sterile triploid and so does not produce fertile seed. However, if seed is obtained then it is best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed can be sown in the spring in a cold frame. Germination can take 1 – 6 months at 18°c. Unless the seed has been sown too thickly, do not transplant the seedlings in their first year of growth, but give them regular liquid feeds to make sure they do not become deficient. Divide the small bulbs once the plants have died down, planting 2 – 3 bulbs per 8cm pot. Grow them on for another 2 years in a greenhouse or frame and plant them out into their permanent positions when dormant in late summer. It takes 3 years for plants to flower from seed. Division of the clumps in late summer after the plant has died down. The bulbs can be planted out direct into their permanent positions.
A brief Histry:
It was not defined well when saffron cultivation began, but it is believed that this might have happened during Prehistoric Greek times. The excavations in Knossos, Crete, and Akrotiri in the island of Santorini brought to light some frescoes where saffron is depicted.
The most famous of these frescoes is the ’saffron gatherer’, where it was depicted that there was a monkey amongst the yellow saffron flowers. Etymologically, the word crocus has its origin from the Greek word “croci” which means the weft, thread used for weaving on a loom. Mythologically, according to Ovidius, the plant took its name from the youth Crocus, who after witnessing in despair the death of fair Smilax was transformed into this flower.

Known since antiquity, saffron it was one of the most desired and expensive spices of ancient Greeks, Egyptians and Romans for its aroma, color and aphrodisiac properties. It was quite popular among the Phoenician traders, who carried it wherever they traveled. The ancient Assyrians used saffron for medical purposes.

Hippocrates and other Greek doctors of his time, like Dioskourides and Galinos mention crocus as a drug or a therapeutical herb. From the writings of Homer who calls dawn, “crocus veil”, Aeschylus, Pindaros, and others, we know that the crocus was considered a rare pharmaceutical plant of ancient Greece with unique properties. It is referred throughout ancient history and in the course of many medical writings of the classical Greek and Roman times all the way to the Middle Ages. Another saffron use in ancient Greece was that of perfumery. The history of red saffron in modern Greece starts in the 17th century when red saffron was cultivated in the area of Kozani in Macedonia. For more than 300 years, Greek red saffron is systematically cultivated under the warmth of the Greek sun, in the rich soil of a unique area including many small towns of Kozani in West Macedonia
As a therapeutical plant, saffron it is considered an excellent stomach ailment and an antispasmodic, helps digestion and increases appetite. It is also relieves renal colic, reduces stomachaches and relieves tension. During the last years it was used as a drug for flu-like infections, depression, hypatomegaly and as a sedative for its essential oils. It is also considered that in small quantities it regulates women’s menstruation, and helps conception.

It is a fact that even since antiquity, crocus was attributed to have aphrodisiac properties. Many writers along with Greek mythology sources associate crocus with fertility. Crocus in general is an excellent stimulant.
The basic ingredient of crocus is crocin, the source of its strong coloring property. In antiquity it was a very rare and expensive substance and the color it produced and signified a high status or royalty. Romans used it to dye their hair and the “purple carpet” of saffron of Irish kings was such impressive examples.
As a spice it is used for colouring and flavor improving while giving a distinct aroma and a beautiful golden color. There is a great list of foods where saffron is added including cheese products such as cottage cheese and parmesan, soups, chicken and meat, various spirits, pasta and rice. To use saffron, either infuse a few threads in a cup of hot water and add the coloured liquid towards the end of cooking, or crumble the threads and add directly to the pot.

Alternatively, dry roast, crumble and then steep the crumbled threads. Unlike other spices, a good pinch will suffice to add flavor and color most dishes. Cook with red Greek saffron and indulge in its excellent flavor.
Greek Red Saffron, is distinguished for its excellent quality, which places it in the top quality of Saffron in the world. A small quantity of saffron adds an exquisite flavor, color and aroma in all your dishes such as pasta, rice, soups, sauces, poultry, meat, fish. Krokos Kozanis is perfectly pure and combined with coffee or tea forms an excellent beverage.
Here you can find some indicative recipes where the use of Greek Saffron adds its special characteristics to your dish.
Medicinal Uses:
Saffron is a famous medicinal herb with a long history of effective use, though it is little used at present because cheaper and more effective herbs are available. The flower styles and stigmas are the parts used, but since these are very small and fiddly to harvest they are very expensive and consequently often adulterated by lesser products. The styles and stigmas are anodyne, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, appetizer, carminative, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, sedative and stimulant. They are used as a diaphoretic for children, to treat chronic haemorrhages in the uterus of adults, to induce menstruation, treat period pains and calm indigestion and colic. A dental analgesic is obtained from the stigmas. The styles are harvested in the autumn when the plant is in flower and are dried for later use, they do not store well and should be used within 12 months. This remedy should be used with caution, large doses can be narcotic and quantities of 10g or more can cause an abortion.
The legendary ayurvedic physician Charaka compiled the first Indian medical and botanical encyclopaedia in the first century AD. Since then voluminous documentation has been done on herbal medicine as well as saffron’s therapeutic properties. Both the Ayurvedic and Unani schools of medicine propagate the use of saffron:

* For curing respiratory problems
* To treat alcoholism
* To treat acne and skin diseases
* Used in medicines that reduce inflamation
* For treatment of enlarged liver and infection of urinary bladder and kidneys
* As an ingredient in recipes for treating menstrual disorders
* For strengthening the heart and as a refrigerant for the brain
* As a diuretic
* For treating diabetic patients
* As an anti-depressant and relaxant
* As aphrodisiac for impotency
* Prolonging vitality

Other Uses: …Dye…..The yellow dye obtained from the stigmas has been used for many centuries to colour cloth. It is the favoured colouring for the cloth of Indian swamis who have renounced the material world. A blue or green dye is obtained from the petals.

Known Hazards:  The plant is poisonous. The plant is perfectly safe in normal usage but 5 – 10 grams of saffron has been known to cause death.

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.


Safron has many other uses in Ayurveda
(Partly extracted from: