Herbs & Plants

Curculigo ensifolia

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Botanical Name : Curculigo ensifolia
Family: Hypoxidaceae
Genus: Curculigo
Species: C. ensifolia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

Common Names: Hsien Yu

Habitat : Curculigo ensifolia occurs in northern and eastern Australia.

Curculigo ensifolia is a biennial herb, it is 10–50 cm tall; corm vertically elongated, 1–16 cm long, to 1 cm wide. Leaf lamina flat, complicate or ±plicate, arched; pseudopetiole absent or to 20 cm long. Inflorescences 1–6; peduncle 0.5–4 cm long, flattened; bracts attenuate, 2–6.5 cm long, lowest spathe-like and sheathing, upper when present basally fused to axis internode; lower 1–3 flowers bisexual, remainder ?. Perianth villous abaxially; tube 1.5–3 cm long above ovary; lobes ±elliptic, 5–12 mm long, yellow, glabrous adaxially. Stamens 3.5–5.5 mm long; anthers 1.5–4 mm long, versatile. Stylar limb 1.6–4.8 mm long including stigmatic lobes 0.6–2.5 mm long; ovary 2–3 mm long. Fruit oblong but irregular, 6–11 mm long, 2.5–4.5 mm wide. Seeds ±ellipsoidal, 3–4.5 mm long. Sometimes develop clumps but usually single Plant. Tap root well established.


Curculigo ensifolia var. ensifolia – Queensland, New South Wales, Northern Territory, Western Australia
Curculigo ensifolia var. longifolia Benth. – Northern Territory

Edible Uses; Tap root reported to be edible

Medicinal Uses:
Curculigo ensifolia  is used in Chinese medicine
A biennial herb, the root of which is used for fatigue, impotence, urinary incontinence, paraesthesias, premature senility and tinnitus; it is believed by some to be an aphrodisiac.
The root is used for fatigue, impotence, urinary incontinence, paraesthesias, premature senility and tinnitus; it is believed by some to be an aphrodisiac.It is used for arthritis, blenorrhea, cachexia, enuresis, impotency, and weak kidneys, incontinence, lassitude, lumbago, nervine, tonic, for neurasthenia, to increase virility in premature senility
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.


Herbs & Plants

Casuarina equisetifolia

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Botanical Name : Casuarina equisetifolia
Family: Casuarinaceae
Genus: Casuarina
Species: C. equisetifolia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fagales

Common Names : Common names include Coast Sheoak, Beach Casuarina, Beach Oak, Beach Sheoak, Whistling Tree, Coastal She oak, Horsetail She oak, and Coast She oak The specific name equisetifolia is derived from the Latin word equisetum, meaning “horse hair” (referring to the resemblance of the drooping branchlets to horse tail). The species has many common names including coastal she-oak, beach she-oak, horsetail beefwood, horsetail tree, Australian pine, ironwood, and whistling pine Filao Tree and Agoho

There are two subspecies:
1.Casuarina equisetifolia subsp. equisetifolia. Large tree to 35 m (115 ft) tall; twigs 0.5–0.7 mm (0.020–0.028 in) diameter, hairless. Southeast Asia, northern Australia.

2.Casuarina equisetifolia subsp. incana (Benth.) L.A.S.Johnson. Small tree to 12 m (39 ft) tall; twigs 0.7–1 mm (0.028–0.039 in) diameter, downy. Eastern Australia (eastern Queensland, New South Wales), New Caledonia, southern Vanuatu

Habitat ; The native range  of Casuarina equisetifolia extends from Burma and Vietnam throughout Malesia east to French Polynesia, New Caledonia, and Vanuatu, and south to Australia (north of Northern Territory, north and east Queensland, and north-eastern New South Wales). Populations are also found in Madagascar, but it is doubtful if this within the native range of the species. The species has been introduced to the Southern United States and West Africa. It is an invasive species in Florida.

Casuarina equisetifolia is an evergreen tree growing to 6–35 m (20–115 ft) tall. The foliage consists of slender, much-branched green to grey-green twigs 0.5–1 mm (0.020–0.039 in) diameter, bearing minute scale-leaves in whorls of 6–8. The flowers are produced in small catkin-like inflorescences; the male flowers in simple spikes 0.7–4 cm (0.28–1.6 in) long, the female flowers on short peduncles. Unlike most other species of Casuarina (which are dioecious) it is monoecious, with male and female flowers produced on the same tree. The fruit is an oval woody structure 10–24 mm (0.39–0.94 in) long and 9–13 mm (0.35–0.51 in) in diameter, superficially resembling a conifer cone made up of numerous carpels each containing a single seed with a small wing 6–8 mm (0.24–0.31 in) long.

Click to see the pictures:->
Casuarina equesitifolia tree :

C. equisetifolia subsp. equisetifolia  :

Casuarina equisetifolia leaves  :

Casuarina equisetifolia fruits; 

Chemical Constituents:
Caffeic acid,chlorogenic acid,d-gallocatechin. ellagic acid, epicatechin, ferulic acid, gallic acid, kaempferol,prodelphinidin, propelargonidin,quercetin, rutin

Medicinal Uses:
Gastro-intestinal Diseases;
Leaves are used to treat abdominal colic in the form of decoction, In the island of South pacific the inner bark is used as to treat diarrhoea and various other digestive problems.Indians use the bark to treat dysentry and diarrhoea.In Figi  and Cook island the extract of bark is used to induce vomiting in stronger contration.

Other Uses;
Casuarina equisetifolia is widely used as a bonsai subject, particularly in South-east Asia and parts of the Caribbean. Indonesian specimens and those cultivated in Taiwan are regarded among the best in the bonsai world. The wood of this tree is used for shingles, fencing, and is said to make excellent, hot burning firewood. Among the islands of Hawaii, Casuarina are also grown for erosion prevention, and in general as wind breaking elements.

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


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Herbs & Plants

Mimosa Pudica(Makahiya )

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Botanical Name:Mimosa Pudica
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Mimosoideae
Kingdom: Fauna
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Fabales
Genus: Squirrel
Species: Squirrel
Part Used : Root, Flower, Leaves, And Stem.
Common names:Mimosa Pudica,Makahiya,Twelve O’Clock
English: Sensitive Plant, Sleeping Grass
French: Sensitive
Latin : Mimosa Pudica Linn.

Bengali Name: Lajjaboti
Other: Betguen Sosa (Guam); Memege (Niue); Mechiuaiu (Palau); Limemeihr (Pohnpei); Ra Kau Pikikaa (Cook Islands)

The Chinese name for this plant, translates to “shyness grass”. In Japanese it is known as (o-jigisou), meaning “bowing grass”. Its Sinhala name is Nidikumba, where ‘nidi’ means ‘sleep’. Its Tamil name is Thottal Sinungi, where ‘Thottal’ means ” touched’ and ‘Sinungi’ means ‘little cry’. Other non-English common names include Makahiya (Philippines, with maka- meaning “quite” or “tendency to be”, and -hiya meaning “shy”, or “shyness”), Mori Vivi (West Indies), and mate-loi (false death) (Tonga).

Mimosa pudica is common in rather moist waste ground, in lawns, in open plantations, and weedy thicklets. It forms a dense ground cover, preventing reproduction of other species. It is a wild land fire hazard when dry.

The plant is a native of tropical America, naturalized nearly all through the tropical and sub tropical parts of India.

Mimosa pudica is native to South America,Brazil and Central America. It has been introduced to many other regions and is regarded as an invasive species in Tanzania, South Asia and South East Asia and many Pacific Islands. It is regarded as invasive in parts of Australia and is a declared weed in the Northern Territory, and Western Australia although not naturalized there. Control is recommended in Queensland. It has also been introduced to Nigeria, Seychelles, Mauritius and East Asia but is not regarded as invasive in those places. It also grows in parts of Florida, in the United States of America.

Bloom Season: Summer
Conditions: Full Sun

Mimosa pudica (Sensitive Plant) (pudica = shy) is a creeping annual or perennial herb often grown for its curiosity value; the compound leaves fold inward and droop when touched, re-opening within minutes. The species is native to South America and Central America, but is now a pantropical weed.

The stem is erect in young plants, but becomes creeping or trailing with age. The stem is slender, branching, and sparsely-to-densely prickly, growing to a length of 1.5 m (5 ft). The leaves are bipinnately compound, with one or two pinnae pairs, and 10-26 leaflets per pinna. The petioles are also prickly. Pedunculate (stalked) pale pink or purple flower heads arise from the leaf axils. The globose to ovoid heads are 8-10 mm in diameter (excluding the stamens). On close examination, it is seen that the floret petals are red in their upper part and the filaments are pink to lavender. The fruit consists of clusters of 2-8 pods from 1-2 cm long each, these prickly on the margins. The pods break into 2-5 segments and contain pale brown seeds some 2.5 mm long. The flowers are pollinated by the wind and insects.

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This short lived evergreen sub shrub is usually treated as an annual. It is grown for its curiosity value- the fern like leaves close up and droop when touched, usually re-opening within minutes. It has prickly stems and small, fluffy, ball shaped pink flowers in summer. It grows to a height of 5 ft and spreads around 3 ft- a perennial plant, it grows to a height of 0.5m with a spread of 0.3m. In some areas this plant is becoming a noxious weed. The stem is erect, slender and branching. The leaves are bipinnate, fern like and pale green- closing when disturbed. The flowers are pale lilac pink, occurring in globose heads and appearing in summer. Indigenous to the northern hemisphere, it is adaptable to most soils in an open, sunny position, and is drought and frost tender. Due to its ability to fix nitrogen from the air it does well on poor soils. “Sensitive Plant” folds up its leaves when touched or exposed to a flame. This plant requires a medium light exposure, an evenly moist soil, and temperatures between 60 and 85 degrees. One should use caution when handling seedlings because the plant dislikes root disturbance. Mimosa may be difficult to grow and is sensitive to over watering.

*stems- red-brown prickly.

*leaves– immediately fold by pulvini if touched, pinnae 4, often reddish, leaflets 12-25 pairs, acute, bristly, 9-12mm long,1.5mm wide.
*flowers– pink, in globose heads, nearly 1cm in diameter, auxiliary, punduncle up to 2.5cm long.
*pods- crowded, flat, prickly, briskly.
– Bristles on seed pod cling to fur and clothing, about 2 mm broad, rounded, brown.

Mimosa is difficult to grow because it dislikes root disturbance and is sensitive to over-watering. Mimosa pudica is a beautiful flower and to be truthful it is known for decoration purposes only. One cannot eat the plant since it is believed to be toxic if ingested, nor can one run in it since its stems are pricky. The bristles on the seed pod which are flat and briskly also cling to your clothes. There have been researches which show mimosa pudica to be a herbal medicine but it hasn’t proven itself to be able to treat anything. Pharmaceutical companies are still researching its properties and uses.

In many places, Mimosa Pudica is becoming a noxious weed, and it can be controlled with various chemical herbicides such as dicamba. Mimosa pudica is also a host to parasites such as Cochineals insects, one gets rid of the insects by progressively removing them using a cotton stem soaked with alcohol, but if the insects are too numerous, one much sacrifice the sensitive plant and to not re-use the ground nor the pot on which it was cultured. The plant must also be grown in low humidity or it may also have fungal problems. I find this plant interesting because it appears to be sensitive and weak to one’s touch yet is very powerful and defensive because of its bristled seed pods.

Plant movement
Mimosa pudica is well known for its rapid plant movement. In the evening the leaflets will fold together and the whole leaf droops downward. It then re-opens at sunrise. This type of motion has been termed nyctinastic movement. The leaves also close up under various other stimuli, such as touching, warming, or shaking. The stimulus can also be transmitted to neighbouring leaves. These types of movements have been termed seismonastic movements. The movement is caused by “a rapid loss of pressure in strategically situated cells that cause the leaves to droop right before one’s eyes”. This characteristic is quite common within the Mimosaceae family.

Agricultural impacts
The species can be a troublesome weed in tropical crops, particularly when fields are hand cultivated. Dry thickets may become a fire hazard. In some cases it has become a forage plant although the variety in Hawaii is reported to be toxic to livestock.

In cultivation, this plant is most often grown as an indoor annual, but is also grown for groundcover. Propagation is generally by seed.

By seed or by cuttings. Seeds need to germinate- cover the seeds with very hot water and let soak overnight or until they swell. Pick out those that didn’t swell and repeat this process with them. Sow swollen seeds immediately in seeding mix, covering with two to three times their thickness. Do not over water or allow to dry out and provide good drainage and bright light. It should germinate within a few days with pretreatment. Do not over water and keep humidity low or fungal problems may occur.

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Mimosa pudica is sold as an educational product and novelty gift sometimes under the trademark name Tickle Me Plant.A very popular ornamental due to its ability to close the leaves upon being touched.

Other Uses :
*Grown as garden herb
*Useful for green manuring
*Fixes nitrogen
*Can be used as fodder.
*Suitable for growing in wastelands
*Seed yield an oil like Soybean oil with similar properties

Chemical Constituent: Contains an alkaloid Mimosine. Roots contain tannin, ash, calcium oxalate crystals and mimosin. “It is susceptible to several herbicides, including dicamba, glyphosate, picloram and triclopyr” (Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992).

There hasn’t been any information on this species so far, but many other Mimosa species, such as Mimosa tenuiflora and Mimosa scabrella are known to contain tryptamines in the roots. Recent reports on the internet suggest that this may be the case with this species too.

Medicinal properties

The plant lajjalu described in Ayurveda has been identified as Mimosa pudica. This plant has several alternate Sanskrit common names, including Namaskari, and Rakta Paadi.

In Ayurveda, the plant is described as a plant which folds itself when touched and spreads its leaves once again after a while. It is said to have a bitter and astringent taste, and has a history of use for the treatment of various ailments. Most commonly used is the root, but leaves, flowers, bark, and fruit can also be implemented.

Traditional Medicinal Uses: According to Ayurveda, root is bitter, acrid, cooling, vulnerary, alexipharmic and used in treatment of biliousness, leprosy, dysentery, vaginal and uterine complaints, inflammations, burning sensation, fatigue, asthma, leucoderma, blood diseases etc. According to the Unani system of medicine, root is resolvent, alternative, useful in diseases arising from blood impurities and bile, bilious fevers, piles, jaundice, leprosy etc.

Ayurvedan Properties (guna) of Lajjalu
*Has tikta and kashaya rasa (bitter and astringent taste).

*Has property of cold (sheetha).

*Balances kapha, pitta.

*Shushrutha has placed this plant in Priyangwambhastaadi gana

The plant is sheetala, tikla, kashaya; subdues deranged kapha and pitta; beneficial in haemorrhagic diseases, diarrhoea and gynaecological disorders.

Parts Used; Leaves and root.

Therapeutic Uses;

juice used in sinus, sores, piles and fistula: paste applied to glandular swellings and hydrocele; root: decoction efficaccous_in gravel and other urinary complaints.

The root is bitter and acrid; cooling, vulnerary, alexipharmic; cures” kapha “, biliousness, leprosy, dysentery, vaginal and uterine complaints, inflammations, burning sensation, fatigue, asthma, leucoderma, diseases of the blood

The root is resolvent, alterative; useful in diseases arising from corrupted blood and bile, bilious fevers, piles, jaundice, leprosy, ulcers, smallpox

A decoction of the root of this plant is useful in gravellish complaints. Some prescribe the leaves and root in cases of piles and fistula; the first are given in powder, in a little milk, to the quantity of two pagodas weight or more during the day.

The leaves are rubbed into a paste and applied to hydrocele; and their juice, with an equal quantity of horses’ urine, is made into an anjan, used to remove films of the conjunctiva by setting up an artificial inflammation.

The juice of the leaves is used to impregnate cotton wool for a dressing, in any form of sinus. the plant is considered diuretic, astringent, antispasmodic. It is much used for convulsions in children.

it is prescribed for vesical calculi. Externally it is used rheumatism, myalgia, and tumour of the uterus.

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


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Herbs & Plants

Peltophorum Pterocarpum or Radhachura in Bengali

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Botanical name: Peltophorum pterocarpum.
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Caesalpinioideae
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Fabales
Genus: Peltophorum
Species: P. pterocarpum

Synonyms : Baryxylum inerme (Roxb.) Pierre, Caesal pinia ferruginea Dcne., Caesalpinia arborea Zoll. ex Miq., Caesalpinia inermis Roxb., Inga pterocarpa DC., Peltophorum ferrugineum (Dcne.) Benth., Peltophorum inerme (Roxb.) Llanos, Poinciana roxburghii G.Don

Common Name:Copperpod, Golden Flamboyant, Yellow Flamboyant, Yellow Flame Tree, Yellow Poinciana.
(English: Copper pod tree, Rusty shield bearer. Kannada: Peltophorum, Bengali: Radha chura)

Native to tropical southeastern Asia and northern Australasia, in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines (doubtfully native), and the islands off the coast of Northern Territory, Australia.

It is a deciduous tree growing to 15–25 m (rarely up to 50 m) tall, with a trunk diameter of up to 1 m. The leaves are bipinnate, 30-60 cm long, with 16-20 pinnae, each pinna with 20-40 oval leaflets 8-25 mm long and 4-10 mm broad. The flowers are yellow, 2.5-4 cm diameter, produced in large compound racemes up to 20 cm long. The fruit is a pod 5-10 cm long and 2.5 cm broad, red at first, ripening black, and containing one to four seeds. Trees begin to flower after about four years.


You may click to see the pictures of Peltophorum Pterocarpum  


Its with wide-spreading branches form an umbrella-like crown up to 25′ across. The stems and twigs are rusty-red tomentose (fuzzy). The leaves are bipinnate (twice compound), about 2′ long with 8-20 pairs of 3/4″-long oblong leaflets. The fragrant flowers are clustered on upright stalks (racemes, actually) about 18″ long. Each flower is about an inch and a half across with translucent yellow, strangely-crinkled petals. The flowers have conspicuous orange stamens and each petal has a reddish brown mark in the center. They are followed by purplish brown, flattened, oblong seed pods, 3-4″ long, which remain on the tree until the next flowering season.

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Compared to gul mohar this tree flowers for longer periods, and often you can see buds, flowers, pods (copper coloured) and also leaves in the same tree. It is remarkably drought resistant and can grow very big and is a good shade tree.

Peltophorum pterocarpum is widely grown in tropical regions as an ornamental tree, particularly in Nigeria, Pakistan, and Florida and Hawaii in the United States.Propagation of yellow poinciana is by seeds that must be treated before they will germinate. In nature, the seeds would have passed through the gut of a bird or mammal before germinating in a pile of rich “compost.” We simulate that process with scarification (use a file or sandpaper), or a two-minute immersion in dilute acid or boiling water.

Yellow poincianas are usually planted as specimen trees or as shade trees. They are used as street trees in tropical cities, and commonly planted for shade in tropical and subtropical gardens. They are fast-growing and vigorous, but they cannot tolerate frost.The wood has a wide variety of uses, and the foliage, which are rich in protein, is used as a fodder crop.
It serves as a host for lac insects.

It is also used as a shade and cover plant in cacao and coffee plantations, for reforestation of wastelands covered with (Imperata cylindrica) and as a windbreak.

Also grown as an ornamental. Sap wood soft and light, not durable and of little use, heartwood red, hard and strong. Good for carpentry, construction and cartwright’s work. Bark contains tannins, giving a light yellow color to leather, tannins also present in leaves and wood.The wood is used for cabinet work, coach-building, furniture, planks and as firewood.

Medicinal uses: bark for dysentry, tooth powder, eye lotion, embrocation for pains and sores; the bark gives a dye of a yellow color. Can be used as a shade – or specimen tree.
USDA hardiness zone 10b..

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


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News on Health & Science

Donkey Skin to Boost Women’s Libido

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Bizarre as it may sound, but chocolates, strawberries and various herbs are not the only aphrodisiacs that would provide your libido a boost, for the latest to join the list of such substances is — believe it or not — donkey skin.

As it turns out, donkey skin is used in traditional Chinese medicines that are designed to increase women’s sex drive. And now, a Hong Kong company is trying to locate up to a million donkey skins every year to use them for making traditional medicines.

After a long time of sourcing the donkey skin from South America, the company has now set its gaze on Australia. Sydney-based exporter John Fleming wants to hunt feral donkeys in the Northern Territory to sell overseas. “They want the skins, but not for leather. Apparently there is a certain extract in the skin they can use for traditional medicine,” the Northern Territory news quoted him, as saying.

Though, Fleming has no idea about the type of medicines that would be produced, it is believed that Chinese traditional healers use donkey skins to extract ‘ejiao’. The ‘ejiao’ extract can be used to make Nu Bao, a traditional Chinese medicine which is meant to improve vitality, increase women’s libido and help with menstruation pain.

“They’re after a lot of donkey skins. As much as they can get their hands on,” said Fleming.

There are an estimated 300,000 feral donkeys in the Northern Territory. And he is expecting that the donkey hides would be worth around $30 each. “We need to get a handle on how much they would pay. We need to make sure it would be cost effective,” he said.

Click tro see:->Feral donkey a boost for women’s sex drive

Sources: The Times Of India

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